January 22, 2435

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

Not much to report this week.  The CSS Mako is getting a pretty serious overhaul so we have been using that time to get some pretty intensive training in.  We even had a war game that started Tuesday and went on for a few days.

Outpost 86 has come a pretty long way since we first got here seven or eight months ago.  My team has gotten to see the evolution of the installation from a pretty interesting perspective.  We may be out spending time aboard the Mako or ground pounding on other worlds, but we are still assigned to Outpost 86.

They have put a lot more time and money than any of us were expecting into turning this into a first class military base.  Every time we have touched down here there has been a noticeable change, whether it is the latest air defense systems, shuttle ports, ground defense cannons, and so much more.

The base has also done a fairly decent job at keeping the invasiveness on the planet’s local ecosystem as minimal as possible.  It may not sound like much, but the even Russell and the scientists that he is working with are saying the Fleet is doing a better job than expected.  

I found that out during the war game.  FleetCom wanted all civilians working on the installation to participate in this one, given that recent GFI incursions involved attacking local populations and not just Coalition military positions.  They complained about it at first but by the end, I am convinced that they were all disappointed that it was over so soon.

While the air and ground defensive systems are the absolute best that the Coalition has access to, and far better than anything that the GFI could possibly get their hands on, you know where I am going with this Dad.  Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Russell enjoyed it as well.  They let him participate without regard for his age.  You and I both know why but that one will be your call as to whether or not you tell mom.  He did quite well for himself. As a courtesy, the base commander contacted me in regards to Russell and allowed me the decision of who he trained with.

They refused to allow me, given the family connection, but fortunately, the Lieutenant attached to my team was with me during the discussion and offered to have his Staff Sergeant take on that task.  I graciously accepted. I was unsure of how it would go at first, but everyone was more than pleased with the results.

The Staff Sergeant, also being what most would consider to be a “Poster Marine,” did not take it easy on him, but he did inform me that Russell took to the training well.  He even told Russell that if the lab coat wearing days ever became too dull, “he would make a helluva Marine.” The NCO’s words, not mine. You and I both know he belongs in a lab coat.

I need to cut this one short.  The CSS Mako is dusting off in about 30 minutes.  Unknown at this time whether the next mission is combat or recon.  Fingers crossed for recon. I have had more than enough combat as of late and would like to actually spend some time on a planet where my team and I are not being shot at.

Please give my best to Mom and everyone else.  Might be getting some leave in the not too distant future but that is another unknown for the time being.  I will keep you posted. Take care.




Letter XXXII

January 15, 2435

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

I absolutely love this girl.  I am talking about the bartender that I went out with last time we came through Outpost 86.  She doesn’t know it yet and I am too chicken to tell her anytime soon for fear of scaring her off, but I am fairly certain she is the one.  I don’t even know where to begin explaining how awesome she is.

I went with my guys to her bar to grab some nachos and drinks.  We haven’t had fresh food in a few weeks and it was driving us a little mad.  We got there and she was standing near the door when we entered. She escorted us to a table and made sure that one of her staff took care of us immediately.

I have to admit, we felt pretty great about the service and special treatment, especially considering it has been a rough and busy couple of weeks.  There were several different groups of Fleet personnel and one of them saw that she had personally sat us down and was taking a special interest in us.

The Wolfpacks operations aren’t classified so plenty of people within the Fleet have heard of us and know what we do, but we don’t exactly go around advertising it.  FleetCom does the best they can to protect our identities but as I am sure you are well aware, it is not the easiest task. Not everyone knows who we are or what we look like.  We certainly don’t go around asking for special treatment or favors.

It was apparent that this group had no clue who we were and when they saw her taking a special interest in us, they were less than pleased.  My girl was coming back to our table when a pair of them got up and into her way. I never found out what was said but they resumed their seats with a look on their faces that suggested they had homicide on the mind.

We got our food and drinks but I couldn’t help but keep at least one eye on these guys.  I don’t know if I will ever be able to sit comfortably in a crowded room ever again to be honest.  These guys were transfixed on us and when we ordered our second round and got it quickly I guess that was the tipping point for them.

They got up and practically announced to the entire room that a fight was about to break out.  We just wanted to be left in peace to enjoy our food and drinks but my guys were more than ready to step in if need be.  It never got that far. I couldn’t make this stuff up Dad. What came next was the best show with food and drinks my team has got to experience since we got this new assignment.

One of the guys making their way toward us knocked a server out of the way and caused her to drop her tray and all its contents.  My girl observed this and then proceeded to make clear for all to see that her staff was off limits. Now, I know for a fact that fights break out here every now and again but I never noticed that the locals always avoided hurting any of the staff members.  We now all know why.

I have never seen two grown men that were not on a battlefield cry for their mothers so quickly in my life.  I have no doubt that both of these men had at least one broken bone each and I would not be surprised if they both had more.  It was quite a show. The caper was when she called Outpost 86 and had Fleet Security Forces come to arrest them for assaulting one of her people.

I have to admit, I love a woman that can take care of herself, but a woman who is that protective of the people she is responsible for was the true selling point for me.  A woman after my own heart. She eventually joined us when she was finished with her duties and by the end of the evening, the rest of the Wolfpack was talking to someone of the opposite sex as well.

Whether my girl introduced them or they met on the dance floor or at the bar, I wanted to ensure that my guys get a reminder of why it is we do what we do.  The last few months have been a fairly rough road and it becomes easy to forget right versus wrong when you spend so much time in isolation or in situations that are nonstop stress.

We all ended up taking these lovely young ladies on a trip to another part of the world to a cave system we had previously been through and did some exploring.  It is fascinating that people live on this planet and still know so little about it. We encountered some new animals and we captured a couple that we could bring back for Russell to have a look at.

I wanted to let you know that my team and I are safe for the moment and enjoying some much-needed downtime.  I love you all very much and hope that the time comes where I will be able to see you all soon. Please take care of yourselves.



Letter XXXI

January 8, 2435

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

I warn you now, this letter might get a bit long-winded (or long worded I guess would make more sense), but there is a story I have to tell you.  This is one you will have to use your best judgment with as to whether or not you are going to share it with Mom. It wasn’t exactly a mission that we were trained or ready for but I definitely got the “feel goods” after.

One of our advanced recon teams went missing 10 days ago on some uninhabited jungle and desert planet somewhere near the planet Outpost 27 is on.  The ship that carried them, the CSS Marlin, and their Marine contingent lost contact with them but was unable to determine how. Around the same time, their planetary scanners went offline.  At the time, it was for reasons unknown.

The call for help was sent and my team was dispatched to investigate.  We got there four days after contact was lost. As soon as the CSS Mako hit orbit, we knew something was going on that wasn’t friendly.  Our scanners were not functioning properly either. It would be one thing if we were unable to track human life, but there was no sensor activity at all.

Fortunately, knowing that our vessel had just been overhauled and all systems were at 100%, we knew something was wrong.  We took a shuttle down and made contact with their Marines and the shuttle that had brought them. There was still no contact, but we did have their recon route so it wasn’t going to be difficult to track where they were supposed to be.

We took one of their Marine fire teams for extra support and followed the other recon team’s trail to their last known location.  I put my designated marksman, code name Overwatch, and one of my Marine fire teams in a good vantage point so they could observe our approach and call out any potential threats.  It is a good thing too, he has the best eyes in the business.

Once we were about 200 meters away from the last known location, Overwatch called out a well-concealed ambush.  They had been monitoring all communications up to our arrival, using the recon teams captured communication tech.  They knew we were coming, but fortunately for us, we knew they were waiting before we walked into it.

Knowing they were there, we were able to make last minute adjustments to our approach and were able to take half of them without a shot being fired or a warning being given to their fellow ambushers.  I would be lying if I told you there wasn’t a minor firefight. It was shortlived. Having already taken half the ambush into custody, we were able to turn the ambush on them.

It must have been our lucky day.  One of the ones we caught before the firefight ended up being the officer in charge of all the GFI forces that were on the planet.  There wasn’t much of a GFI presence. Not enough to warrant calling in a larger battle group. But there was more than enough to cause us to pause before proceeding with what we now knew was going to be a rescue operation.

The GFI officer didn’t say much but we didn’t really need him to.  Some of the other prisoners we took were more than a little loose-lipped and we had a detailed layout of what was going on.  They were able to get some access to new tech that even Coalition forces weren’t employing yet on any kind of massive scale and it was interfering with all sensor access within the field the machine established.

Once we knew where to look and what we were dealing with, some of our engineers aboard the Mako were able to adjust our sensors and we were able to see where the GFI was holding our team and how many there were.  They numbered almost 200 so any kind of assault was out of the question.

We had to settle for a plan that was snatch and grab with minimal exposure.  We set up our Overwatch and a defensible fallback point in case things went bad.  I took the other two members of my team in and we were able to locate the missing recon team members quickly and quietly.  It wasn’t until we were making our way out that we ran into an enemy patrol that was out of Overwatch’s line of sight and was forced to engage.

We were close enough to the perimeter that running for the fall back point wasn’t going to be interrupted by any more patrols.  Overwatch was able to cover the rest of our escape with ease but we were pursued all the way back to the shuttles. We made a short stand at our fall back position in an effort to cause the GFI forces to pursue us with more caution.  It worked.

They followed us with enough apprehension to allow us the time we needed to load both of the shuttles and make our escape.  Once we were back aboard the Mako and the Marlin, we called for a battle group to come in and finish them off. The Fleet Admiral was reluctant at first but once we explained the tech that the GFI had employed, we got more than we asked for.

The deployment of this newer disruption technology is cause for investigation.  The battle group that was dispatched to help us did a fine job at mopping up the GFI forces on the ground but all enemy engineers were found dead within the GFI position.  All were executed by their own men. It is unfortunate that we were not able to capture any of them but their execution was indication enough that this is something the GFI doesn’t want us knowing more about.

We were also unable to capture any of the equipment intact.  Once they realized what we were trying to do, they proceeded to destroy anything and everything related.  We were able to capture bits and pieces but no information or instructions of any kind. Looks like the nerd squads are going to have their work cut out for them.

Needless to say, it has been a rather busy week.  My team isn’t exactly meant for search and rescue but it definitely felt good to do good.  We are en route back to Outpost 86 for a re-supply. I am planning on dropping in to say hello to Russell.  I hope that this letter finds you and Mom well. Please know that I am doing great and I am loving every minute of what we do.  Take care.



Letter XXX

January 1, 2435

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

Happy New Years to you both.  I hope that you and Mom have more fun plans to execute to ring in the new year.  Do either of you have a New Years resolution you are planning to try to stick to?  I never was much for those, but this year I think I am making a slight exception to the rule.  I am planning to read at least one book a week that is not a military manual or military-related in general.

I believe I have to read enough military rubbish during my day to day operations so why put more on myself.  Might make some exceptions for some memoirs though. There are a few that I heard were really good and some that would actually help me in my leadership role.  I will take all the help I can get in that regard.

So far, my team has been pretty fortunate.  We have come through all these hostilities relatively unscathed (knocks on wood), although things have been far from uninteresting.  We have had so many close calls that I can’t help but feel like our luck will run out soon. I need to stay ahead of it and keep doing anything I can to keep getting better.  Same goes for my team.

You always taught me to treat those under my command as I would if they were my children.  I have taken that quite literally and I see now why you always said that. I care about my men and I want to do whatever it takes to get them through this.

We had an interesting situation a couple days ago that could have turned disastrous.  We were in the middle of a recon operation and one of the Army’s combat patrols were way off course.  The Lieutenant in charge was some lazy scumbag that dumped all his responsibilities on his NCO and there was a miscommunication with their navigation.

We nearly ran into each other while searching for potential enemy outposts.  Fortunately, my team members are as good as they get. My point man was able to identify them as friendlies and we were able to contact Army headquarters and identify what was going on.  Turns out, the combat patrol was about two kilometers off course.

My team nearly lost all control over our noise discipline when we heard the company commander shouting at the Lieutenant over the comms.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that company commander got a talking to in regard to her radio etiquette. Enjoyable as it was, it was also not at a good time.  We ended up making contact with a GFI outpost a few hours later.

There were no casualties on either side during our initial engagement.  I didn’t want to take any chances with my team. The GFI had a really good defensive position and we couldn’t get an accurate count on their numbers.  I called in our Marine team for support but they are still hurting after the last engagement. We eventually called for an air strike and once the flyboys were done, we let the Army mop it up.

I am going to be keeping this one short.  We have a lot of work to do and the war isn’t going to take a break for the holidays.  If anything, the GFI is picking up the pace with their operations. They are growing desperate, which is not a good sign.  Our biggest fear is them to focus their attention on a civilian target.

So far, they haven’t hit as many civilian heavy locations as originally expected, but desperation can change that pretty easily.  We will just have to stay focussed ourselves and maintain vigilance.

Please give everyone my best and let Mom know that I am thinking about you both every day.  I love you with all my heart. Happy New Year!



Letter XXIX

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.




December 18, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

I hope that you and Mom have something nice planned for the holidays.  I am not quite sure where I will be or what I will be doing but it is unlikely that any of us will be off.  It has been a few weeks since the last major encounter with GFI forces but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still out there.

There is still a pretty large fleet unaccounted for that could be lurking somewhere close by.  Until we find and deal with them, no one back home is safe. There is nothing I want more than to make that a reality for you and everyone else on our homeworlds.

I discussed it with my team and even the Marines that have been supporting us agreed that they wanted in on the action.  We are joining the search effective immediately. We were not originally assigned the task but I spoke with an Admiral from FleetCom and he agreed that any assistance would be welcomed.

There was a large number of ground forces that were accompanying the GFI fleet and so our mission will be to locate them and determine what they might be up to or planning.  If they haven’t yet retreated back to GFI controlled space, there must be a reason. We will uncover what that is as quickly and safely as possible.

Until that happens, everyone is on full alert.  There have been some complaints but the threat is still all too real and everyone knows it.  Even though we were able to beat the attack back, that doesn’t make them any less desperate or dangerous.  For all we know, they could be trying to bait our main forces so that another fleet could launch an attack when and where we aren’t looking.

Intelligence gathered suggests that there is a good chance that the fleet dumped their ground forces off somewhere and took off.  The ground forces have had enough time to dig in deep enough to protect them from any kind of orbital bombardment. There are plenty of unoccupied worlds where they could be with enough resources to maintain a big enough force.

We will let the fleet sniff out the GFI’s fleet.  Our job is the ground forces. There is little chance that any kind of significant force wouldn’t leave some noticeable signs of activity on the surface so we will be conducting orbital surveys of every world we go to.  Any world with signs of use that are supposed to be unoccupied will be thoroughly investigated.

It is pretty much the same thing that we were already doing but instead of new worlds, it will be worlds that we have already charted.  It is most unfortunate that the worlds were cataloged but nothing was left behind to at least monitor for any signs of activity. Yet another one of our Armed Forces leadership blunders has come back to bite us.

I hate to say it Dad but this lack of foresight is likely going to cost a lot of lives.  When we do find them, they will have had plenty of time to prepare defensive positions. We will have to root them out and it is going to get messy.  Had we been able to identify where they are in a faster manner, we might have been able to hit them before they were able to dig in. Now, not so much.

I have been keeping in touch with that girl I was telling you about.  She is pretty good when it comes to keeping in touch. While I am unable to write back as often as I would like, she is pretty consistent.  Things at the barkeep her pretty busy but it is pretty clear she understands how important letters are to military personnel.

Let me know if there is anything I can get you or Mom or anything within my power to do so that your holidays can be more enjoyable.  I will tell you this, I have sent a surprise for you. I hope that it gets to you in time for Christmas. You know how delivery goes. No matter how advanced technology gets, Christmas time will always muck up the delivery services.

Take care and give my love to everyone.



Letter XXVII

December 11, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., 2nd Lieutenant

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

Dear Dad,

The last few days have proven to be rather interesting.  I just hope that it ends up being a good thing. My team was granted some time to get some rest and to decompress a bit.  It was initiated at Outpost 86. Given the nature of our work, they don’t want us going off-planet but they also knew that we needed a few days of being left alone.  They met us halfway.

We were allowed anywhere on the planet given that someone on the base knew where we would be.  It wasn’t much, but it was good enough. I managed to snag Russell away from the lab for a few hours and we went into the nearest town to get some lunch and catch up.  I hope that he has been writing to you. He is really blowing them away out here.

I talked to some people about him and there is chatter going around that they are going to bring someone out to finish his formal education as quickly as possible.  He is going to be a pretty big deal out here. I know how proud of him I am so I can only imagine how proud you and Mom must be.

His appetite hasn’t changed much though.  Apparently, once I introduced him to the nachos out here, that was that.  He asked me to come up with a work out program for him that he can safely go around the lab.  When he orders these nachos he gets everything on them. I don’t blame him. The chips are always crunchy, never stale, the cheese is always hot and never grainy, the beans, meat, sour cream, lettuce, and tomatoes are always fresh, and when all this is combined, it makes a plate of irresistible and crunchy deliciousness.

The people in town are still warming up to the Fleet presence on their homeworld.  They love the money that our service members bring to town but that is about the extent of their appreciation for us.  Outpost 86 was meant to be the jump-off point for further exploration, instead, it has become the rally point for ship and troop deployment to combat this latest GFI threat.

That being the case, troop and fleet numbers have greatly increased and while that is good for business, it is also creating other issues.  Supply shortages, late deliveries due to the increase in security measures, and some additional trouble from other causes. Troops will be troops.  That, unfortunately, led to a bit of a brawl while Russell and I were out to lunch.

Do not fear though.  It was not difficult to move him out of harm’s way.  Even though I am not around as much as I used to be, the owner still remembers me.  I moved him to her office and then assisted in restoring order. It didn’t take long.  The owner’s bartender just so happened to be a Marine, once upon a time, and I jumped in to help him remove the trouble parties from the establishment.

No physical damage to either of your sons, I assure you.  That was when things got interesting. The owner thanked me and then asked if I would be coming around for dinner.  She even told me that if I did, there would be a plate of nachos and a captain and coke waiting for me, on the house.  How could I refuse?

After Russell and I finished our lunch, we went for a hike not too far off base.  It was near one of the cave systems I explored a while back. We got in some exercise and enjoyed a nice and relatively quiet afternoon.  It was nice being able to catch up in person. I dropped him off back at the base not too long after.

I went back to the bar later that evening and she joined me for my meal.  Come to find out that she has been trying to find out when my team would be back for a while.  My team was in here a lot before we got our new duty assignment and she was under the impression that she might not be seeing me again.

I couldn’t believe it but she asked me to go on a date with her while we sat there having dinner and told me that she would understand if I said no.  I agreed that a date would be nice but I also explained to her the nature of what I do and that it might not be in her best interest to go out with someone like me.  She told me that she understood and didn’t care.

The next day, I took her out for dinner and we had a pretty nice time.  She is absolutely beautiful, Dad. Only a few inches shorter than me, long and wavy brown hair, the bluest eyes you have ever seen, and a sense of humor that was able to tolerate my personality throughout the date.  We ate and danced and it was a wonderful time.

I explained to her that a relationship would be extremely difficult but she claimed not to care.  She said she would like to at least correspond with me to see how things go. I agreed to give it a try.  We spend a few more days going on dates and even a couple hikes but you know how it goes Dad. My time off came to an end and I am now awaiting new orders with my team.

Not sure yet whether we will be redeployed to conduct further recon or possibly reassigned back to Outpost 86.  Time will tell. I will keep you posted. Please give everyone my best. I will write again soon.