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March 19, 2435

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

I am going to have to keep this one brief.  We are currently engaged with GFI forces and it isn’t going so well.  My team is fine but the same can’t be said for the rest of the task force.  Casualty rates are much higher than anticipated.

Based on intelligence we were able to gather from the outpost we took last week, we were able to locate another GFI stronghold on the same planet, not too far from the outpost.  It looks like the reason the outpost was so easy to take was because most of their men and defensive systems were moved to this much more defensible position.

The standard defenses we have encountered before in this kind of situation were already pretty intense but now that they have doubled up, it is proving to be much more difficult and costly to overtake.  So far, we have barely managed to make a dent and FleetCom is getting impatient.

My team has been probing for a way in but it is not looking good.  We have yet to find an approach that isn’t as heavily covered but so far, we have gotten pinned down on every attempt.  On our last try, we had to have our Marine contingent come to bail us out. My second in command nearly lost his head and my radioman’s communication gear took a shot that was meant for him.

With that close of a call, I had a chat with the officer in charge and she agreed that we needed to take a step back and re-evaluate our approach.  So far, there are only a few dozen casualties, but based on the way things have been going, that is lucky. The whole thing is unacceptable and to make matters worse, they have some kind of orbital cannon we can’t get to.

We had a destroyer come in for an attempt to bombard the position from orbit but during its approach, the cannon opened up and nearly destroyed our ship.  They lost almost a third of the crew and were barely able to limp back to the fleet position.

All of our forces are holding their positions or have fallen back to a safe enough position while also maintaining a perimeter to keep an eye on things while we regroup.  FleetCom is strategizing right now so I thought I would take a moment to get you up to date.

I am sure they will come up with something.  I just hope that something doesn’t risk massive casualties.  There is no point in taking the hill if there is no one left to stand on it and I won’t lead my men into a slaughter.  There are still plenty of options.

We haven’t used any of our combat aircraft yet because of the need to preserve potential intelligence gathering but at this point, that doesn’t matter.  It is unlikely that any useful intelligence hasn’t already been destroyed.

An air strike might be the only low casualty option (for us anyway) left at this point.  If FleetCom doesn’t come to the same conclusion, you better believe I will do all I can to persuade them.  My team and I have flirted with death a few too many times here and I have no interest in pushing our luck any further.

I miss you guys and am looking forward to our reunion.  I only have another 11-12 weeks left on this tour and then I am coming home.  I have every intention of taking some leave and taking a much-needed rest. I will keep you posted.



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