Letter XXIII

November 13, 2434
Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant
4th Fleet, 4th Fleet Security Forces (FSF)

Dear Dad,

Things are starting to heat up pretty quick out here. It looks like the fleet is tired of putting out the fires that GFI is causing and is looking to adopt a more preventive strategy. They gave my team, the Marines that have been assisting us, and the CSS Mako’s crew, a few days of R&R before embarking on our new mission.

It is basically the same as the old mission but some new parameters have been added. The last mission was solely the gathering of information and avoiding contact wherever possible. That has been changed. Now, wherever possible, we have orders to search and destroy, if we can manage it with minimal to no casualties. They also say to “capture when possible,” but right after that, “do not risk capture if it is likely to cost a life.”

FleetCom is also lending us someone with a little more rank and authority so that engagement decisions can be made/discussed. I still have authority over the mission, but she will be helpful in determining strategies and whether or not a target is worth capturing or taking out. That sounds a bit cumbersome, I know, but I feel that will come in handy when a tough decision comes up. You know as well as I do those tough decisions are inevitable.

They gave us three days for R&R and wanted us to spend four days training. They left it up to me as to how I wanted to schedule but I saw no reason on this one to decide for my team. They decided they wanted to do the R&R first. I thought they might want to do the training first so the three days R&R would precede our journey but they were in the same mind as I was. They thought it best to do the training before lift off so they would be refreshed and in the right mind.

I count myself to be fortunate to have such a devoted team. The Marines and the ship’s crew all agreed. We spent some of our time in the town near Outpost 86 but everyone drifted off as time progressed and we all met back up at the last minute when R&R was over. It is unfortunate that I didn’t get to see Russell. I contacted him on his communicator but he and the doctor were several kilometers away on some kind of dig or sample gathering thing.

That doctor is really keeping him busy. I am just glad that the action isn’t deterring them from continuing their work. You and Mom should be so proud of him. I know I am. He is so committed to furthering human knowledge and understanding while the rest of us seem so keen on destroying it. I almost feel ashamed when I speak with him. Like what the rest of us are doing while he does his research and studies completely undermines his purpose in life.

I hope this war ends soon but it doesn’t look like it. We may have managed to beat back the GFI forces but they were able to supply reinforcements and establish a defensive line that is still deeper in Coalition controlled space than anyone is comfortable with. I am elated that we didn’t encounter those troops during our search and capture mission. We would not have been able to handle those kinds of numbers.

Unfortunately, it looks like they had other command and controllers on standby after all. There was enough confusion that we were able to beat them back but it didn’t last. It also would appear that the reason my team didn’t encounter much resistance during our mission was that they had all of their reserve troops awaiting orders to get into the fight and reinforce the attack.

Our capturing of their command and controllers caused a considerable delay in the GFI’s ability to issue those orders, but they did eventually come. FleetCom was able to push them back far enough to give our forces some breathing room so we are counting that as a victory.

I apologize but I am going to have to cut this letter short. I have just been summoned to a briefing with FleetCom before we depart. I will let you know how things go. Take care of yourselves.

Love,

Mitch

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