October 15, 2434
Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant
4th Fleet, 4th Fleet Security Forces (FSF)
We couldn’t find any of the crew of the missing vessel. While there was definitely evidence of people planetside, we did a fairly thorough search and came up empty. Typically, the fleet protocol will only allow for a week to search. After that, it is determined that the expenditure too greatly exceeds any gain from the recovery of any ship and it’s crew.
The fleet even allowed an extra 48 hours in this situation, given the sensitive nature of the ship’s mission but we still couldn’t find them. Their statuses have been changed to missing in action and we have received orders to return to Outpost 86 so the CSS Mako can receive a full retrofit with all system updates and repair all the damage that enemy action and wear and tear have inflicted.
Both my team and the Marines are looking forward to some time off. The only real breaks we have gotten over the last several weeks were when we could write home. We are about 36 hours out from the Outpost but I have not yet told Russell. I request that you don’t either. I would like to surprise him.
The scientists we have aboard the ship are quite gitty at the prospect of having access to a real science facility once we have returned so they can properly analyze all of the samples that were collected on the various planets that we visited. I have no doubt that Russell will enjoy himself too. Him and that doctor. I can’t even remember her name now. Dr. Nerd.
I am looking forward to getting some time off but I do also have concerns, Dad. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. The skirmishes between the GFI and Coalition fleets, as well as the increase in skirmishes on the ground, is a clear indication that they are up to something. Fleet intelligence hasn’t given us much information.
I know that the Mako’s Captain, the Marine Commander, and I, have all expressed our concerns to both our chain of command and the commanders of fleet intelligence, but I am getting the feeling that our warnings are either being brushed aside, or completely disregarded. I know that my letters aren’t even a small fraction of the information that you have access to so I am going to ask that you please find out what you can and tell me what you are able to tell me.
Now is not the time for the whole “Classified” bull shit. They may feel that the front line troops don’t need to know, which is beyond stupid in my opinion, but we are going beyond the front lines. We don’t even know if we are stepping into territory that the GFI considers to be theirs and that is something that we need to be informed of. While we would still continue our exploratory mission, we would do so with the correct type of caution, rather than flying blind.
I am going to see what I can dig up once we return to the Outpost and the Captain and Marine Lieutenant have agreed to go through their respective chains to do the same. Hopefully, our mission will continue with better and more accurate information. Maybe better information might have saved the other vessel and maybe not, but at this point, it is unlikely that we will find out.
In other news, upon our return, I have been notified that fleet command no longer wishes to postpone my commission. I was told that some of the officers that I was coordinating with during our previous engagement and search for GFI ground forces complained about taking instructions from an enlisted member, regardless of fleet orders. They have decided that, even though it hasn’t even been that long, they don’t want to hear any more complaints.
They asked if I had any requests and I insisted that I thought a ceremony or celebration of any kind would be stupid. They were reluctant at first but I managed to convince them. Being that it won’t take long to get the Mako ready to continue our mission, I asked that my team and I be allowed as much time as possible to be spent with friends and family on the planet, which included the Marines and the ship’s crew. Fleet officials agreed. There will be a minor presentation in a few days and the rest of the time will be left to me and the other officers.
You read that correctly, the next letter that you receive from me will be marked, Lieutenant Barren. As pleasant as that sounds, and as pleasant as the pay bump might be, I am not 100% sure I am that pleased with it. They keep telling me that I earned it, but even so, Lieutenant just sounds and feels like a rank that was given away as if it were nothing. I earned my NCO stripes and when you have them, everyone knows that you earned them. With the Lieutenant bar, not so much.
Luckily for me, I won’t be exposed to too much of the political garbage that entails. Being aboard a vessel, and an especially small one where the entire crew knows who I am and what I have done makes things much easier. I demanded that all of my men receive a rank bump as well and the fleet brass agreed. I don’t know how many other teams like us there are or if we are the only ones with this type of mission, but I am fairly certain we are the most experienced.
We are moving into jump position now so this is where this letter ends. Please let mom know, I won’t pick on Russell too much when I get planetside. I promise. Might even let him tack on the Lieutenant’s bars on my uniform. We will see. Take care. I love and miss you all.