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December 25, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

4th Fleet, 4th Fleet Security Forces (FSF)

Dear Dad,

Before I say anything else, I would like to wish you and Mom a Merry Christmas.  Please express my well wishes for the holidays to everyone else as well. I hope that you have plans to make the day a special event.  I must apologize now. I wanted to get you something and had every intention of doing so once we got to Midway Station.

We were supposed to be stopping there for a 48-hour refit.  The CSS Mako needed some mechanical upkeep that had to be conducted there so we were supposed to have that time for some liberty.  Unfortunately, that ended up getting canceled. I am sure that by now, you know exactly why.

We pulled in to the port on Wednesday as expected but before the Mako could even begin initiating the docking procedures, we got an emergency call from FleetCom.  We were instructed to disengage from docking procedures and to immediately rejoin with the rest of 4th Fleet.

It only took us about an hour to get to where the rest of the 4th Fleet was gathering.  Intelligence claimed that they discovered where the GFI might have set up a small forward operating base (FOB) on Mars.  No one knows how it was missed during security sweeps but that didn’t matter.

We immediately set out for Mars while the 4th Fleet came up with an assault strategy that they hoped could be kept relatively quiet.  I am fairly certain that you know by now that didn’t work out too well. What a mess they made.

The CSS Mako got us into orbit above the suspected location but we didn’t want to risk whoever might have been on the surface that we were aware of their potential presence.  We took a shuttle down but we landed in the nearest settlement with the Marines to back us up. We got our hands on a couple trucks and made our way towards the suspect location.

We parked the trucks a little more than 10 klicks out and made our way on foot with the Marines in tow.  We had the Marines set up our own little FOB about two klicks from the suspect location and my team proceeded the rest of the way alone to conduct some reconnaissance and see what we could figure out.

That was when things started to go sideways.  It is no one’s fault. The intelligence we received didn’t tell us enough, that is why we were there, but we couldn’t have known the GFI’s numbers or defensive situation.  We were able to get eyes on their base of operations but one of their security patrols stumbled upon the Marines while they were setting up.

The Marines were able to make short work of the patrol but not before the patrol was able to send a distress call to alert the FOB that Coalition troops were nearby.  The FOB went on high alert and we lost the element of surprise. They couldn’t see us because of our adaptive camouflage so they started lobbing ordinance in several different directions.

The Mako was in orbit to keep overwatch and to let us know if any air or spacecraft attempted to enter the area of operations but they were also maintaining contact with the 4th Fleet.  They informed the Admiral that we got burned and the hostilities began prematurely. We still had no idea about GFI numbers or equipment.

The Marines set up hasty defensive positions while we kept our eyes on the base but that wasn’t going to do much good.  We watched as nearly 200 bodies ran out of a tunnel system that must have been dug out recently and they ran towards the Marine’s position.  We gave them the heads up and told them to bug out and await reinforcements but they refused. Stubborn bastards.

The sentiment was nice but the next hour was chaotic.  I couldn’t let them fight on their own Dad. The numbers were no good.  I commanded two of my men to maintain a visual on the FOB and I took one with me to provide support for the Marines while we waiting for the 4th Fleet.  Longest 30 minutes of my life Dad.

The Marines put up one hell of a fight.  Fending off wave after wave. Given the circumstances, I can’t believe they didn’t suffer worse casualties.  I have to give them credit, they may be a bunch of crayon eating jarheads, but there is no other service I want getting my back more than a Marine.  They are fighters to the end and they put up a fight for the history books.

By the time the 4th Fleet arrived and landed ground support, the Marines had completely beaten back the attacking force.  The fleet landed an Army regiment and they took over from there. My team managed to conduct a basic perimeter recon of the FOB while the Army was landing and we gave them all the information we were able to gather.

I had hoped they would have been a little more strategic with the information, but it was the Army.  They disregarded most of what we gave them and just went straight in with an attack. They may have won the battle, but their casualties were appalling.  They called it a win, but I call it a disaster.

Our Marine contingent, fortunately, did not suffer any deaths, but more than half of them sustained wounds, three of which are critical.  Medical tech is taking care of them but one of them might not make it. Medical is telling us it is still not clear whether or not he will survive.  We got them all back on to the Mako and hauled ass to Midway Station. Their medical facilities are second to none.

We will be here for a while but I have spent the last few days going over the intelligence that the Army gathered with the Marines still able to fight and discussing what our next course of action might be.

I wanted to give you the heads up because I know you had to have heard of my team’s involvement by now and I wanted you to know that we are all physically and mentally OK.  No permanent damage. I also wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas. I will try to keep you posted. Please have some prime rib for me.

Love,

Mitch

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