August 27, 2434
Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant
4th Fleet, 4th Fleet Security Forces (FSF)
We are currently in orbit over the first planet we have been tasked with scouting. We did a preliminary touchdown yesterday to recon the landing site for the CSS Mako. Fleet want’s complete surveys of the planet since we are here so they also ended up attaching a bunch of pencil pushing white coats to the operation as well.
Before departing Outpost 86 I was granted a field promotion to Technical Sergeant. The Marine detachment’s Lieutenant was pissed off that an enlisted member was being put in overall command of the operation. I have been given authority over everyone during ground operations due to the extra training and experience we have gained over the last 11 weeks.
While the jarhead was raising the fuss, there was talk of commissioning me so he would shut up. They asked my opinion on the matter and all I could think of was, though a commission would be great, that is not quite the why and how that inspires confidence in my men. The promotion to Technical Sergeant was a decent enough compromise, although there is a potential commission in my future depending on my team’s performance.
During our time on the surface yesterday we encountered no wildlife. We deployed the standard observational satellite system that the nerd squad brought with them and we were able to determine that there is wildlife on the planet. We were unable to interact with any of it. Everything within 10 kilometers scattered when our shuttle finally made contact with the ground. It was not the most graceful landing ever.
We had a fire team of Marines with us for backup but we left them on the shuttle. We did a thorough job of scouting everything within a kilometer of that sight and then did the same thing at four other sights. It took the better part of a day, but we were able to learn what we needed.
The vegetation on this world is considerably different. The colors don’t feel right, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. There is a lot more blue plant life and it is strange because there is no liquid source that we were able to locate. Even our scanners were not picking up any of the usual or familiar readings that normally accompany any kind of life.
Once we finished scouting all the different sights, we dusted off from the planet’s surface. We brought all the rock and sand samples back and handed our readings over to the scientists so the white coats could decide which landing sights were optimal and which might not be worth landing at. Wouldn’t make any sense trying to land the larger vessel down to the planet’s surface if we land on and sink into a damn sand pit.
We are waiting now. More time for idleness and reflection. I wish you were still apart of Fleet. I remember in my beginning years of enlistment, wondering why you refused to use your position to assist my advancement, and now I look back with gratitude. Your not doing me any favors or providing any kind of special treatment was the greatest guidance of all.
In the beginning, officers and senior enlisted personnel would bother me because I was your son. People were nervous during my first few assignments and they feared me, thinking I would go to you if I was ever dissatisfied and that you would destroy their career. I would have to say that I attribute my current success to having to work my way from the ground up like everyone else.
Having earned the respect of my team and those in command is what lead me to where I am now. Looking down on yet another new planet, in charge of a mission that could protect the lives of thousands. The burden is heavy, but the path that has led me to this point prepared me well. I hope that I am making you and Mom proud.
Should be going back down in a few hours. Satellite imagery has spotted a few open areas that look unnatural. There has been potential non-native activity in those locations and my team and I are going to check it out. The CSS Mako’s Ansible is top of the line so all messages will be instantaneous. I will write to you at the next opportunity I get.
I love you all and will try sending pictures one of these days. Take care of yourselves.