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Reinforcements: Task Force Three

In peacetime, being ten weeks behind schedule on a hundred and twenty week job wouldn't have been a big deal.  But this is wartime, and heads have already rolled.  Finally, we got the commissioning documents signed off.  Barsoom has left its construction bay for the last time.  Half a million tons of loaded ship -- two thirds of it was fuel, which took another ten hours to load -- is leaving Phobos behind.

They're calling us Task Force Three -- a little pretentious with only a cruiser, two destroyers and a corvette.  But we are the reinforcements for Jupiter, and Doris Shakel has enough political pull and PR skills to get us a fancy title.  Task Force One had two cruisers among twenty ships.  Task Force Two split off One with fourteen of those ships.

It doesn't matter.  We're still strong enough to keep the Roiders from hitting us as we pass through the Belt.  What matters is that we're finally out of the barn and heading for the fight.  We'll get those problems with Reactor Six and the bad thruster and the door on Airlock Twelve... and the balky main maser communicator and the main galley food processor all taken care of long before we reach Jupiter.  Or so they tell me.  And we probably won't need those stern chaser laser blisters right away.

Optimism is the word of the day, according to Captain Shakel.

-Commander Adrian Vander, XO, IMN Barsoom,  3 June 2519


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