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February 26, 2435

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

I still maintain what I told you in my last letter about being out here and seeing the universe but I need to make a slight amendment to my statement.  I still love it and I still consider myself lucky, but there is a slight catch. I do not like being aboard a vessel that is in the middle of a combat engagement with enemy ships.

I am sure that by now you have guessed, since the last time I wrote to you, we were involved in a combat engagement with GFI vessels.  You would be correct. It also ends up being one of the few times in the military where I don’t believe I could possibly be more useless and possess absolutely no control over the situation.

My team was assigned to assist in damage control, along with the Marines, while the Marine Lieutenant and I stood on the bridge to assist the Captain in any way needed.  She didn’t need it. While I hate the lack of involvement in the situation, I have to say, watching her thump those GFI ships was amusing for us, and quite shameful for them.

There is even a part of me that is convinced she was disappointed in the lack of challenge and when I discussed my theory on it with the Marine Lieutenant, he agreed.  We took a few hits but some of the more recent modifications made to the CSS Mako were meant for this kind of engagement. Much better armor and shielding, combined with the additional weapon systems, made this entire engagement a one-sided fight.

As a result of this engagement, FleetCom has ordered us to return to Outpost 86 for a debriefing.  While it is nice that the battle was so one-way and less than five minutes in we knew we were in complete control of the battlefield, the circumstances surrounding this engagement are somewhat troublesome.  

I can’t go too far into the details on that, but I can say that even though we crushed them, everything about the fight is being hushed, other than the fact that there was a fight.  Even though we completely dominated, there is no way we can hide the fact that our ship was in a fight due to the damage we sustained. Nothing major, but more than enough to be noticeable.  We will need some repairs and that is going to involve parts and paperwork.

I am looking forward to another break.  It has been a few weeks since our last nacho binge and I would love a chance to catch up with Russell and see what he and his fellow white coats are up to.  He is going to do such great things. I know that you and mom are proud of him. I am too. I am glad he is breaking the cycle and going the science route.

I love what I do but there are times when I wouldn’t wish some of these hardships on anyone.  It would break my heart thinking about Russell trying to get by in this kind of life. I promise you and I promise mom that I will do whatever it takes to keep encouraging and motivating him to stay on the path he is on.  It is a good one and it is perfect for him.

They are talking about potentially letting him accompany planetary reconnaissance vessels in the future.  He is catching the attention of some high ranking people. They like what they are seeing. His research into planetary biology and ecology is incredible and the fact that he is so young is making some pretty big waves.

If that comes to pass I will look into making sure that he has the best security team and vessel crew available.  I know that Fleet research and development teams could use help in their field of planetary exploration. There haven’t been any casualties in those departments yet but with all of the military escalation that has taken place, they are understandably much more nervous when it comes to setting foot on previously unexplored worlds.

Given the fact that there are so many of them out here, I am not surprised that FleetCom is looking into potentially contracting exploratory security out to private military contractors.  I am not a big fan of PMC’s looking out for Russell, but we will see how things go. It is still in the development stages.

I just got word from FleetCom.  They want us in a briefing via ansible on Tuesday, time to be determined, so I will be at Outpost 86 for at least 48 hours.  That is good to know. Plenty of time for some nachos. Might even try taking my girl out on another date. Long distance relationships are difficult, but given how busy we both are, it isn’t proving to be impossible yet.

We write to each other often enough and knowing that we are both more than capable of taking care of ourselves makes things a whole lot easier.  In fact, as soon as I am done with this, I will be writing to her to let her know we are en route now and should be touching down at Outpost 86 within the next few hours.

I will keep you posted on things.  Please give mom and everyone else my best.  Miss you all.



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