Letter II

June 18, 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., Staff Sergeant

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


Dear Mom,


Things are progressing well.  I have been put in command of Charlie Flight’s Second Element (currently 11 members including myself).  Unfortunately, it does not look like ansible communication is going to be as high up on the construction list as I thought it would be.  Fleet Command wants all of our initial focus to be on the establishment of ground and air defense while simultaneously setting up the ground based orbital defense systems.  I know it sucks but look on the bright side, they want us to be as safe and as well secured as possible before we commit to other endeavors that are not of immediate importance.  Communication, while important, won’t do much good this far out anyways.

I wish you all could see what I see out here.  I promise that I will do my best to send some pictures soon.  We truly are on the frontier of human space and I must admit that it is difficult to contain my excitement.  In fact, that could be why they have us setting up an installation here. A way-point for future exploration even further out.  Once you get over the inconveniences involved in setting up a base on a planet that was not exactly meant for human habitation, the landscape is quite beautiful and perfect for anyone who loves an outdoor challenge.  

There are mountain ranges galore; so many that some even blend in together to look like one massive collection of mountains. There is little to no snow and very small amounts of water, but the fact that there is water at all will allow the Whitecoats to play with the atmosphere and create a more long-term situation.  I hope. I don’t exactly buy into all this terraforming magical handwavium. Fleet intelligence and the Planetary Habitation Department like to keep secrets. Pompous jerks. Look at the acronym for crying out loud. PHD? Really?

We chose a cluster of mountains where there was some flat ground at a low enough elevation to where breathing won’t be affected.  It was difficult finding a spot like this where there weren’t any other ranges within close enough proximity to where anyone could sneak up on us and/or have the high ground.  Until we are able to finish the orbital defense system, a small carrier group is staying in orbit, just in case, which is another reason they want defensive focus first. It is weird really.  Committing a carrier group, even a small one, to this planet, makes little sense, but I am sure fleet has its reasons and I am quite sure that information is unlikely to trickle its way down to our level.  

The base is located between the main PHD facility and the planet’s equivalent of a capital/main hub. We have enough defensive positions to where we are now able to focus on perimeter security while anti air and counter-battery platforms are nearly established.  Funny how we have the capability to travel between solar systems now, yet we have yet to come up with a better tool than a shovel for digging ditches and latrines.

Fleet duties aside for a moment, how are things back home?  How is William doing? Has he been keeping in touch with Russell as well?  I am thrilled that he decided to take a mechanical job for Fleet closer to home where he can be relatively safe and periodically check in on you all and Russell from time to time.  I may only be a few years older than him but the Fleet is definitely aging me quickly. Although it could just be the specific career field I chose.

Security is a pretty thankless job but then when you add enforcing Fleet rules and regulations you become almost as hated as anyone in charge.  Did you know a lot of the other fleet personnel refer to us as fashion police? Of course, that is mostly just the members of the fleet that have never served outside of Sol so they have never encountered any of the revolutionaries or insurgents. Though there is a treaty in place between systems, tensions are still there.    

We usually get treated like outsiders but people never hesitate to call us for help when they have a problem.  It is always amusing. We had to break up a minor dispute between a C-RAM (Counter Rocket, Artillery, Mortar) crew and a ground battery crew over a slight peak that both wanted to use to set up one of their weapon systems.  Apparently there was a miscommunication and they both showed up on site with all their equipment and neither wanted to turn around and set up elsewhere. No one was able to use their words and the highest ranking member from either side was a 1st Lieutenant.  

It was a petty fight, pathetic actually. It took minimal force to subdue both sides and we forced them to work it out right there in front of us in the hope that it would prevent any further issues. It did. Being forced to communicate and with us standing over them while they did, negotiations went quickly and one of the groups moved to a new location.  You were right Mom, communication is key.

Once we are finished setting up I promise that I will write more often.  For the moment, we only get enough time for one letter per week but that will change once more personnel are brought in.  There is no intention of this being a hardship post. This will eventually become a full star-port with all the capabilities of any other standard fleet run star-port.  Travel to and from this planet will become common place eventually and when it does I will take a HOP home and come visit. I miss you all very much and though things are rough for now, I don’t want any of you to worry.  I love you all very much and will write again soon.





P.S.  Tell Russell that I will be able to send him those samples as soon as the Fleet mailing unit is established.  I got permission from the base commander. Also……still waiting on the candy.




Letter I

11 June 2434

Barren, Mitchell D., SSgt, ESF

4th Fleet, 4th FSFS, Charlie Flight


Dear Mom,

I know I only put dear Mom, but this is for everyone else as well.  I sure as heck am not taking the time, every time I write home, to write out everyone’s name in an effort to include everyone in a letter that you all know is for everyone anyways…..please tell Russell I will be back before he knows it and we can do another tour of any of the Mars Museums he wants.  Just make sure he picks one out a few months in advance so I can make the reservations. Let him know all the museums in the capital are worth a look.

I finally made it to my new assignment.  Sorry that it took so long. Transit was crazy, unexpected issues arose that caused problems.  Although the issues were against the odds, it was still nothing bad enough to warrant any worries.  Travel delays that never cease. In the end, things happen. As we were departing and the pilots did their standard system checks before leaving Mars orbit, the systems responsible for air filtration began to short circuit due to defective wiring.  Sounds horrible but it is really no big deal. There are enough backup systems on these vessels but you know the military way. 100% or its a no go until its brought back to %100. A maintenance shuttle was dispatched and they fixed the issue in a matter of hours while we stayed in Mars orbit. Threw off the jump timing though.  More time to hit the shipboard dining facility and score some nachos. That one delay cost us nearly a week in transit time. Oh well. Made it.

Where do I even begin?  There really is nothing much out here.  The people who have spent the last decade colonizing have done an incredible job creating a livable situation but were less than pleased when they discovered that Fleet Command wanted to establish a military presence.  Being that those of us arriving today are the first from fleet, we get the pleasure of building up the installation and preparing for the follow on forces and construction crews. First order of business is to establish a defensible security perimeter.  I must admit this makes me nervous, being my first assignment as a non-commissioned officer. Still, I think I will do well. I have the experience and I know I can handle the pressure. Fingers crossed that things stay calm and the population receives us well.  There hasn’t been any reported insurgent activity so hopefully that remains the case. There hasn’t exactly been a consistent fleet presence though either and given that the population is still so small it isn’t like there has been any reason for them to operate out here.  

The planet is like a mixture between Mars, Earth, and the moon.  There are three massive continents and the rest is mostly water. There isn’t much vegetation or wildlife though so planetary engineers had to come in to conduct minor planetary modifications in order to make it livable for humans.  The only good part about the modifications is that the air is breathable. Sucks that it doesn’t make the planet much more useful other than a place to put humans and conduct trade. I honestly don’t even know why these people wanted to come here but who am I to judge right?  There is some kind of science station near where we are supposed to be establishing our perimeter but we have been instructed that all research being conducted is none of our business so we are ordered to steer clear of the facility and its personnel.

I am sorry that I have to keep this letter short.  I am exhausted after the trek and there is still so much more to do. Please extend my love to the rest of the family and let them all know that I will write again soon.  I promise that I will write to you as often as I am able but times may come when it gets busy, especially for the next couple weeks. Once the ansible is set up they will allow us to video call with the standard time allotments so we won’t be restricted to just letters.  Know that you will all be in my thoughts. Take care of yourselves.



P.S. Tell Russell I am working on his request.  Should know by the next letter whether or not it will work.  Also, There isn’t a place where I can get good candy. No base exchange or commissary yet.  Please send some Tootsie rolls if or when you can.