Letter XVI

September 24, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant

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

Dear Dad,

In response to your last letter, no, there were no signs that GFI ever made landfall.  Once we made contact with them, telemetry indicates that the rest of their fleet paused where they were while their ships attempted to intercept us.  Beyond that, if they did make landfall, they covered their tracks too well.

Also, please tell mom that, while it would be greatly appreciated, I cannot give a good answer as to when a care package would find its way into my hands.  Given the way things are going at the moment, it could be a while for anything beyond electronic communication to get to me. We are going to be moving around at an even more rapid and random pace then we were before this contact.

Fleet has been on high alert for the past several days.  While the task force was unable to locate the GFI fleet we had run into, the Valkyrie finished analyzing the sensor data that we had originally sent them and the task force commander freaked.  Turns out we were lucky that we didn’t encounter them planetside.

The ship numbers were not shared but the troop numbers were since that information is most relevant to me and my team.  There were several personnel carriers and construction vessels that were among the GFI fleet encountered. Unless we encounter them again, there is no way to know for sure, but the intel boys and girls are theorizing that the GFI was intending on building a fleet installation.

Some of the construction equipment they were able to identify were the kind that the GFI has been seen using to construct orbital defense cannons and ship docking platforms.  The fact that we spooked them has the fleet going crazy even more because now we don’t know where they are. FleetCom wants the Mako to keep scouting and they want my team to stay aboard but the mission parameters are being altered.

I am pretty sure mom will appreciate that we have been ordered to find out what they are up to but not to engage unless absolutely necessary.  Given that our warship is a bit of a runt compared to most war vessels, the Captain was inclined to agree that was a reasonable order. We are currently attached to one of the fleet support vessels for repair and rearmament but will be setting off immediately.  I am afraid that Russell and my reunion will have to wait.

I would love any input you have on what you think the GFI is up to.  You were a member of the fleet the last time they made an attempt like this.  It is one thing for them to attack and/or raid a planet within the Coalition’s domain, it is quite another to make an attempt at a planetary seizure like this.  Do you think they have the kind of numbers that our fleet has been fearing they would attain? Do you think they are confident that they have the fleet and ground strength to take us on again?

Fleet Intel is being fleet intel.  You know what that is like. They share the bare minimum with us and more than half the time, they are way off base with their information.  I would appreciate your input. If you are able to get your hands on the data and give me your analysis, I would appreciate it. If not, don’t do anything stupid to get it, please.  While I would love to know more, I don’t want anyone getting in trouble over this.

Trust me when I say I have a great team, the Marines backing us up are among the best the Fleet Marine Corps has to offer, and the crew of this ship has proven themselves to be among the best.  If anyone can handle the challenges that lie ahead, it is us. We are prepared and equipped to get through any scenario we can think of. Tell mom that is the case. We will be fine.

I hope that this letter finds you all well.  I will do my best to take some leave and come home as soon as I am able, or as soon as they will allow.  Given how busy my team and I have been since receiving the assignment to Outpost 86, I kind of feel like they owe us some leave.  

Please tell Russell that he needs to be careful.  That planet’s defensive systems may be up and operational, but that doesn’t stop insurgency from within.  Even the GFI is not so low as to target innocence when they can help it but that doesn’t mean it is safe out here.  You know as well as I do that nowhere among the stars is safe. You and mom also know that there can be no progress without risk.  Russell is going to be human progress. I just know it.

Please take care and I will write to you again next week.

 

Love,

 

Mitch

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Letter XV

September 17, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant

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

 

Dear Dad,

 

The last week started off hectic and ended with a result that was less than favorable.  It is a good thing your former position carries some weight because it is doubtful I would be able to tell you much.  I am sure the fleet understands there isn’t much they could do to prevent you from finding out so they let me share anyways.  For the most part.

We were wondering why we were not further pursued once we jumped out.  They had to know we no longer had the armament to put up much more of a fight.  Though we were able to escape the ambush and notify the fleet that the GFI were conducting a large operation in that sector, our response fleet was not able to get there in time to figure out what they were up to.  

Using the ansible, our contact was immediate so the fleet knew to jump within minutes of our escaping, but the best guess is that having made contact with us was enough for them to not want to risk a larger engagement.  It took our response task force less than six hours to get to the GFI’s former location but they were already gone.

We transmitted the data to the CSS Valkyrie, the main battleship in our response fleet that the task force commander spends most of his time on, for analysis.  They escorted us back to the planet so that we could investigate.

Understandably, the Commander didn’t want to take any chances so two battalions of Marines were landed first to secure a large landing sight.  Once those Marines finished securing enough space for the CSS Mako to land planetside, they radioed us. We made planetfall and touched down right smack in the middle of them.

Once on the ground, we prepared to conduct our planetary recon mission so that the science team could do their survey.  I decided to take the small Marine contingent along for our recon and things went pretty well, for the most part. We operated fairly well together but I would be lying if I said we didn’t have some work to do.

Once we were done with the first recon patrol, I spoke with the Lieutenant in charge of our special Marine team and he agreed that we needed to do some remedial training with both of our teams operating together.  I have to admit, he isn’t so bad after all. I think he is starting to warm up to me, and I have to say, I am starting to feel that they aren’t a bunch of brainless jarheads after all.

The two battalion commanders, both Colonels, caught me completely by surprise when they asked me how I wanted them to move.  I am not quite used to that kind of rank asking me what to do but it was nice to see they were more focused on our mission and its intent than going on a GFI hunt.   

I asked the two battalion commanders to perform a leapfrog security strategy while we did our survey.  Every time we selected the next sight, one of the battalions would take their combat shuttles in advance to secure the sight while the other stayed behind for security.  We chose all of our sights in advance and communicated them to the battalion commanders. Once we departed a sight, that Marine battalion would move to the sight after next so it would be secure before we finished the next and the process would be much faster.

It took less than 16 hours to complete our survey.  We didn’t wait for on sight analysis by the science team this time.  While we were ready for an engagement, we didn’t want a battle taking place because our science team was taking their sweet time.  We got all of the samples and data that we needed and made our way back into orbit. All of our findings were transmitted to the CSS Valkyrie and we stood by while their people assisted our scientists.

In the end, we were unable to identify what might have made the planet so interesting to the GFI, other than its location.  It was near enough to Coalition controlled space and the planet’s size and gravity was comparable to most human-friendly planets.  The water was compatible with the human body and there were some local vegetation and wildlife that was edible.

The best we were able to figure was that it would make a decent enough jump off point for a GFI fleet to be serviced and operated from.  All of that is a problem for fleet intelligence to figure out. We are heading back to Outpost 86 for a resupply and to have the CSS Mako serviced.

I am thinking I will surprise Russell when we get back.  There is this place just outside the installation in the nearest town that has some really good chow and it isn’t too expensive.  I am pretty sure he will like it. It will be nice to see him and catch up. Tell mom I promise not to pick on him or give him a rough time.  To be honest, I don’t much have the energy for practical jokes at the moment

Please give everyone my best and tell mom not to worry.  The fleet is taking pretty good care of us and the crew on this vessel are proving to be among the very best.  They will keep my team as safe as possible. I love you all and will talk to you soon.

 

Love,

 

Mitch

Letter XIV

September 10, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant

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

 

Dear Dad,

This has been a rough week.  We were en-route to the next recon mission location on our list and the standard procedure is to jump in a minimum of one astronomical units out.  On the Mako, we randomize it be rolling a dice so there is no chance of it being predictable. All section leaders are present for several pre-rolls so everyone knows the di isn’t tampered with.

We jumped in about three astronomical units away from the planet and ended up less than 100,000 kilometers away from a GFI fleet.  The best guess was two battleships, 11 destroyers, and frigates (we weren’t able to get an accurate count of the types), at least one carrier, and a dozen other support vessels.  Our best guess was at least one or two were troop ships.

They noticed the gamma-ray burst from our entry immediately.  We knew that because two of the destroyers, four frigates, and one of the battleships diverted our direction almost instantly following our arrival.  Unfortunately for us, we had to wait at least 30 minutes for our jump drive equipment to recharge and reset and given the numbers, it wasn’t looking good.

Obviously, I am able to write to you now so you know things turned out all right but it was too close for comfort Dad.  The only things we had going for us were the fact that we were in a much faster ship and the crew of the CSS Make is some pretty hot stuff.  I am not joking Dad the men and woman that fly this vessel are the best I have ever encountered.

They started off by trying to outrun the GFI ships long enough for everything to recharge and reset.  In a race with no jump drives, the Make would win. This ships power and engine systems are the newest and most advanced in the Coalition’s arsenal and based on sensor readings, they were flying outdated rust buckets.

Unfortunately for us, they had charged and ready jump drives.  They could easily leapfrog us using a single jump and, outdated or not, vaporize us as they jump directly into our flight path and we fly right into their firing brackets.

Fortunately for us, the captain of the Mako not only knew it but saw it coming.  She was amazing, Dad. We have the weapon capacity to theoretically put up a fight but that would only work in a mostly defensive capacity.  Our captain used defensive weapons in an offensive manner and ended up taking out one of the destroyers, one of the frigates, and even damaged the battleship.

As she expected, all but two of the GFI vessels jumped ahead of us, but seeing this coming, she had some of the crew prepare several of the magnetic mines and two of our smart missiles for launch and release.  Once the Mako detected the enemy jump drives start to initiate their jump sequence, she launched the two missiles with preprogrammed targetting instructions and then executed a sharp 180-degree turn while simultaneously releasing four of the magnetic mines.

The GFI ships all jumped and appeared about 20,000 kilometers ahead of the direction where we had just altered course from and in the attempt to further pursue us, flew right into the ordinance we had deployed.  One missile struck a destroyer dead on while the other hit the stern of the frigate and completely destroyed the entire back half of the ship.

We detected that two of the mines were able to latch on the battleship and cause some pretty major damage but a battleship is still a battleship.  No matter how old, those things were designed to handle some serious punishment. The main bulk of the chasing ships were slowed but the two that had been behind us were now heading directly at us.

There were still three minutes left on the charge by the time we were within firing range so we had to endure the gauntlet.  Our defensive systems were able to hold off the missiles but their light rail cannons were a different story. They managed to get a few direct hits but only one was able to breach our hull and no one was near the breach.

That section of the ship was sealed off and we were able to make an escape jump not long after.  It was way too close and the captain admits it. It was a mixture of both good and bad luck. No one was hurt and we scored a few GFI warships destroyed but we also know now that GFI is making a move on one of the planets that we suspected.  

I am not sure that GFI leadership will call it off but I do know that FleetCom was prepared for this possibility and has a fleet and a large number of troops standing by for our reports.  We will see what happens.

This is one letter that I prefer you do some next level sugar coating on for mom.  I don’t know that this incident would be reported but the engagement that is likely to take place between the fleet and GFI will be.  She knew that this planet was on our list (though she didn’t know the order) and she isn’t stupid. She knows my team is doing the recon for the outer planets.  It wouldn’t take much for her to figure this one out.

Please give my best to everyone.  I will keep you posted. There is a pretty good chance that we will be heading back to assist with the engagement.  We still have the only people in this part of the galaxy to gather the samples and conduct the tests that FleetCom wants to be done.  I will be in touch.

 

Love,

 

Mitch   

Letter XIII

September 3, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant

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

 

Dear Dad,

We are nearly finished with our initial survey of this planet.  There were no complications during our preliminary scouting missions.  The Marines with us are getting pretty restless but I would consider that to be a good thing.  The scientists are nearly finished and we will move on to the next.

We were able to capture some of the local wildlife for study but other than that, there is nothing else out here.  The planet’s location is ideal in a strategic sense in terms of location, but it would be a logistical nightmare. We managed to find several different water sources and the water itself is compatible for human use, but there is some kind of microbial life within it that is not.

Not just that, it is actually fatal.  Before Mom starts worrying, you know to tell her that we brought enough water with us to last the entire crew for months and that isn’t even with strict rationing.  Plus, the microbe can be removed from the water and consumed, it would just take the kind of equipment that would make it not worth the military effort.

The water is infested with it.  We don’t have the equipment to see how long it would take to purify on an industrial scale, but with the equipment we have, it takes several hours for one liter.  The microbe, whatever it is, isn’t like anything we have ever encountered. The scientists are starting to throw words and phrases around like sentient and fighting back.  Being that it isn’t something we have ever encountered, it would stand to reason that not all purification methods would work.

The wildlife would also not be cooperative with human digestion.  They consume the water, and therefore, the microbes. Most of them have built up some kind of need for it in their bodies.  I think. I am a military man. I believe I have just about exhausted my scientific linguistic abilities.

We got word through ansible that another assault was made on Outpost 86.  Fleet Special Investigators and Fleet Intelligence determined that they spent the better part of a month smuggling ground troops and weapons planetside.  You worked intelligence for a while. Can you explain what they were thinking?

I understand the tenacity but the logic in some of these doomed attempts escapes me.  This isn’t like the history books where you are just trying to demonstrate that you aren’t afraid or the small hopes that the raid would be successful.  They sent something around the size of a battalion but Fleet Security Forces absolutely hammered them. There was never even a call made to the Marines. It was almost like they wanted to get rid of these men and the attack was so sad and pathetic that no journalist or reporters even bothered covering it.

Granted, if the attack would have done any damage or cost any life I would feel terrible for being all the way out here and unable to help my unit.  Based off what I was told, the auto defense system was more than enough. They even joked about removing some of the turrets because it was a waste of munitions.  Many of the attackers were hit by crossfire from multiple turrets.

Obviously, they have no intention of removing anything.  In the off-chance that was the purpose of the attack, the turrets are being left where they are, for the most part.  Adjustments are being made to some of the positionings of several turrets in order to increase round expenditure efficiency but that is about it.

It made me uncomfortable that I couldn’t help but we are in just as much if not more danger out here.  Any planet we set foot on is previously unexplored by the fleet. We are stepping carefully and taking every possible precaution, but that will not always be enough.  We have less than 20 fighting men on this vessel and we are taking on open space in a damn convertible. Running into any GFI vessel that isn’t a troop transport would be a disaster for us.

The Mako is a fast ship and has a fantastic crew, but the fighting capacity just isn’t there.  We could put up a bit of a fight but we are just too small and our munitions are mostly defensive.  We could take any individual vessel out, but to encounter more than one at any given time, we run. Mako may have some of the smallest guns, but she is a speedster.  As long as we don’t get caught in anyone’s targeting system, we stand a pretty fair chance of escape.

I have to mention a side note.  There is absolutely nothing that anyone can do about this, but I am hoping that our excursions will bring us within shuttle range of Midway Station.  There was this amazing bar not too far from one of our outposts that had good drinks but the strangest food. They said it was all food that is mostly no longer made or in circulation throughout most of the coalition but that part I can’t understand.  It was so good that I have been thinking about it ever since.

The place was called “Mira’s.”  They recommended this plate of little triangular things that were covered with cheese and some kind of ground up meat.  I think it was beef. There was also beans on it and the waitress told me that you are supposed to use the triangle things to scoop up the rest and eat.  I can’t remember what the dish or the triangle things were called but it was amazing. I would love the opportunity to take my team there sometime soon and order that meal.  So good.

I will talk to you soon.  Take care of everyone. I heard Russel is on his way to the research station near Outpost 86 so I will either write to him directly or see him as soon as we return.

 

Love,

 

Mitch

Letter XII

August 27, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Technical Sergeant

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

 

Dear Dad,

 

We are currently in orbit over the first planet we have been tasked with scouting.  We did a preliminary touchdown yesterday to recon the landing site for the CSS Mako.  Fleet want’s complete surveys of the planet since we are here so they also ended up attaching a bunch of pencil pushing white coats to the operation as well.

Before departing Outpost 86 I was granted a field promotion to Technical Sergeant.  The Marine detachment’s Lieutenant was pissed off that an enlisted member was being put in overall command of the operation.  I have been given authority over everyone during ground operations due to the extra training and experience we have gained over the last 11 weeks.

While the jarhead was raising the fuss, there was talk of commissioning me so he would shut up.  They asked my opinion on the matter and all I could think of was, though a commission would be great, that is not quite the why and how that inspires confidence in my men.  The promotion to Technical Sergeant was a decent enough compromise, although there is a potential commission in my future depending on my team’s performance.

During our time on the surface yesterday we encountered no wildlife.  We deployed the standard observational satellite system that the nerd squad brought with them and we were able to determine that there is wildlife on the planet.  We were unable to interact with any of it. Everything within 10 kilometers scattered when our shuttle finally made contact with the ground. It was not the most graceful landing ever.

We had a fire team of Marines with us for backup but we left them on the shuttle.  We did a thorough job of scouting everything within a kilometer of that sight and then did the same thing at four other sights.  It took the better part of a day, but we were able to learn what we needed.

The vegetation on this world is considerably different.  The colors don’t feel right, but that doesn’t make it any less spectacular.  There is a lot more blue plant life and it is strange because there is no liquid source that we were able to locate.  Even our scanners were not picking up any of the usual or familiar readings that normally accompany any kind of life.

Once we finished scouting all the different sights, we dusted off from the planet’s surface.  We brought all the rock and sand samples back and handed our readings over to the scientists so the white coats could decide which landing sights were optimal and which might not be worth landing at.  Wouldn’t make any sense trying to land the larger vessel down to the planet’s surface if we land on and sink into a damn sand pit.

We are waiting now.  More time for idleness and reflection.  I wish you were still apart of Fleet. I remember in my beginning years of enlistment, wondering why you refused to use your position to assist my advancement, and now I look back with gratitude.  Your not doing me any favors or providing any kind of special treatment was the greatest guidance of all.

In the beginning, officers and senior enlisted personnel would bother me because I was your son.  People were nervous during my first few assignments and they feared me, thinking I would go to you if I was ever dissatisfied and that you would destroy their career.  I would have to say that I attribute my current success to having to work my way from the ground up like everyone else.

Having earned the respect of my team and those in command is what lead me to where I am now.  Looking down on yet another new planet, in charge of a mission that could protect the lives of thousands.  The burden is heavy, but the path that has led me to this point prepared me well. I hope that I am making you and Mom proud.

Should be going back down in a few hours.  Satellite imagery has spotted a few open areas that look unnatural.  There has been potential non-native activity in those locations and my team and I are going to check it out.  The CSS Mako’s Ansible is top of the line so all messages will be instantaneous. I will write to you at the next opportunity I get.

I love you all and will try sending pictures one of these days.  Take care of yourselves.

 

Love,

 

Mitch

 

Letter XI

August 20, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Staff Sergeant

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

 

Dear Dad,

 

To stay on the safe side, all letters from now on will be addressed to you.  With your information in the recipient section, they won’t censor the letter and you can tell Mom what you feel is ok.  The Wolfpack was officially upgraded to operational status as of 72 hours ago and upon activation, we received our first official op order.

This planet was chosen for the new outpost and jump off point because it was the furthest away from Midway station but it is not the only potential habitable planet in the area.  There are a few that are within a reasonable jump distance and that makes FleetCom a little nervous, as I am sure you are aware.

FleetCom wants the Wolfpack to start scouting these different planets and that is going to take a lot of time and effort.  Variations in gravity won’t be an issue. The new uniforms we were issued possess gravitational compensation measures that adapt to the wearer’s body so any place should feel like the normal gravity that humans are used to.

Let me pause here to say wow.  Ever since receiving this new assignment the Fleet has been providing us with equipment and technology that we never even knew existed.  How is individual gravitational compensation even possible? How does that even make sense? We even got yelled at by the instructor when the introduction to the new tech (new to us at least) lead to a waterfall of questions.

We have been preparing for our first journey to the closest planet.  Unknown designation. Planet naming will be left to whoever FleetCom or the coalition decide is allowed that privilege.  Satellite imagery shows that the planet’s surface is mostly some kind of heavy vegetation but there are some rocky areas that we need a closer look at.

Before a sensor network is set up, the fleet needs to know whether or not the GFI could establish an outpost that could be hidden from our detection grids.  The vegetation and forestry is not an issue, though, for the sake of being thorough, we will be investigating some of the potential outpost sites in those areas as well.

The GFI has proved time and again that when it comes to the employment of their strategies, they are unpredictable in their predictability.  I remember you used to always say that and I never understood what you meant until now. For every time that we are able to anticipate one of their moves, they make a side move that was unforeseen.  Each time that happens, while it costs them, and sometimes dearly, it usually ends up costing us too.

In light of this revelation, and given my team and I’s new assignment, I have decided to take your advice and invest in something you have recommended on so many separate occasions.  I downloaded a copy of “The Art of War” into my mobile reader and started reading it. It will forever blow my mind that one of the oldest pieces of literature/instruction manual in human history still applies so many centuries after being written.

From what I have read so far, you were right.  I have also instructed the rest of my team to download a copy and read it.  We all agree that it will serve us well once we are able to grasp more of the concepts and understand how best to apply them.

The ship we will be assigned to for the first three planetary recon missions will be one of the coalition’s Corvettes.  I think they call is the CSS Mako? It was some kind of really fast shark name from Earth. I am sure you could pull the details if you wanted to.  They were considering assigning a destroyer but given that we will still be in the system and the Corvette’s speed they did not want to detach a bigger vessel from any of the armada’s that are currently engaged in keeping the GFI restricted to their space.

Once we start moving out into uncharted territory they will likely reconsider.  It would stand to reason that they would want a mission of that importance to be assigned to a ship with ansible capabilities so communication and reporting can all be done in real time.  I will keep you posted as best I can. Please tell mom not to worry. We are taking a Marine Strike Team as well for back up and the Corvette is being retrofitted with some better counter-ship capabilities than standard Corvettes possess.

In other news, tell Russell that the fleet has agreed to sponsor him and the Doc in their nerdventures.  Please express my congratulations. I will be on the planet here and there so we might not be in constant communication but we will be able to see each other more often.  They acknowledge that he has not yet finished school but given the impression he made on the Doctor and the Fleet’s reaction to some of his research, that will not be an issue.

Please also give my love to Mom and tell her I am sorry that the letters are no longer addressed to her.  I will still write her directly on occasion but this is the only way I can tell you all what I am up to. I love you all and will keep you posted on our progress.  Exciting things are coming for humanity and my team and I are at the forefront of it. Take care of yourselves.

 

Love,

 

Mitch

Letter X

August 13, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Staff Sergeant

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

Dear Dad,

I had every intention of addressing this letter to Mom.  We almost made it through the entire week without any serious incident.  We are getting through the training requirements quickly and will be certified and out on our own soon enough.

Fleet Intel picked up so GFI chatter the day before yesterday and we were deployed to check it out.  Fortunately, this wasn’t anything like last time. The GFI position had no idea we knew about their presence.

FleetCom wanted prisoners so we couldn’t just identify the target and call in an air or orbital strike.  When we got to their position, which was about 2,400 kilometers away from the nearest settlement, we discovered they were in the middle of constructing some kind of tunnel system.

It was safe to assume they were planning on constructing some kind of permanent station that would provide them with protection from even an air or orbital strike.  They had some intense digging equipment and were well underway.

If we would have had a larger fleet presence in orbit there is a decent enough chance they would have been spotted much sooner but with the coalition fleet spread as thin as it currently is, things like this are more likely to be taking place.  I wouldn’t doubt it if there were more than just this one around the planet.

It is still a mystery how they were able to get all of this equipment past our orbital defense system but that is more than likely the reason FleetCom wanted the Wolfpack to nab a few prisoners.

We landed about two kilometers outside of their likely sensor range and managed to find three decent vantage points that provided extra concealment.  Once we had a reasonable idea of what was happening and their security situation, we came up with a plan to grab one of their sentries. I wish words could describe our luck.

We were keeping a close eye on a few of the more remote sentries they had placed when we noticed that a GFI officer was checking on the sentries with someone that wasn’t in a GFI uniform.  We couldn’t get a positive ID on either, which was no surprise but after 12 hours of close observation, we saw a pattern.

The officer and his companion were checking the sentries every four hours and at the midpoint between his checks, there was a sentry change.  Huge oversight maybe? Nerves? I don’t know. We identified the most isolated post and waited for them to do their next check.

Another one of the nifty devices provided by our Special Forces friend were those new laser pistols with a decapacitation feature.  The military calls them the Night Pistols because of their effect and how silent they are. I believe civilians call them stun-munitions.  The charge in each round is enough to bring down any man or woman and can deliver its charge through up to four inches of any kind of armor.

After 15 hours on sight, we saw the officer and his friend making their rounds and we readied our new toys and closed in.  We caught the sentries by surprise and had them incapacitated and out of sight before the officer arrived. We took up positions and as expected, the officer and his friend were right on time.  Idiots.

They were even easier to take down than the two sentries.  Since there was five of us and four of them, we each dragged one out of range while our instructor provided us with overwatch.  We called for a shuttle pick up and notified FleetCom about our prisoners. The GFI contingent never knew we had been there.

A battleship was dispatched and in orbital position above the GFI encampment and once we were out of range, a massive orbital strike was conducted.  I have to be honest, it was not the most awesome feeling. While the strike was every bit as impressive as any other orbital strike I have ever seen, the reality was hundreds of men and women were just blasted without ever having seen it coming.

I know what they are and what they have done.  The GFI has murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians during the course of this conflict.  They kill indiscriminately and had we not taken this encampment out it is likely they would have used it as yet another one of their murderous bases.  I just don’t like the idea of not seeing it coming. A soldier should be allowed to die with honor and dignity.

That being said, you should have seen it.  I have seen orbital bombardments from frigates and destroyers, but never a battleship.  We found debris several miles away from the impact site. No survivors were located after our search and none of their equipment was found intact.  I don’t know what happened to our prisoners once they were collected but that isn’t my place to wonder.

I hope that everything is going well back home.  I hope that the fleet is leaving you alone. I know they spent a long time trying to bring you back but I don’t know if you were ever aware they tried at one point getting me to try talking you into it.  I refused. I respect your decision, Dad. I know it was a difficult one. As far as I am concerned, you made the right choice for you and our family. Anyone who says different is a fool and would never understand.

On another note.  The Doctor here, I can’t remember her name, the one Russell has been working with, is demanding that Russell be allowed to come out here and work with her.  It is amusing really. FleetCom has even started begging me to ask her to back off but she isn’t having any of that. They are starting to cave so let Russell know there is a chance he might be able to get some field experience before he even graduates.

I love you all and hope that you are well.  I am planning on taking some leave once the Wolfpack is finished with this training to come home and spend some time with you for a couple weeks.  Keep the letters and Tootsie rolls coming. Maybe even increase the candy. I have had to resort to hiding it because the rest of the Wolfpack enjoys good candy too.

Love,

Mitch