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Tartarus Ambush

History may record this campaign as a success, but we should take no comfort in that. Eleven years ago, my father died at Tartarus. In that time we have perfected our tactics, but strategically, we’ve learned nothing.

Since we entered the system, we’ve lost over eleven hundred people, nearly half our starships and over two thirds of our fighters and gunships. The enemy withdrew, but we only killed their fighters, not one of their carriers. We won not because we were better, but because we couldn’t run. We had to fight or die. And we fought and died until they found the cost too high and they chose to withdraw.

The nature of this war has changed. We now know that we’re not fighting a few thousand dead-ender Easterners and their clones, but an alien race that’s had star flight for thousands of years. There are two lessens here.

First, the arguments over the military utility of reaction versus pseudo grav drives have to stop. Gravs are not too delicate for battle. The M’kkiae fight just fine on grav drive; they’d never get trapped refueling deep in a gas giant well.

Second, no more joint task forces, integration study groups and military commissions. The Confederation needs a unified naval command. I don’t care if I have to report to a Belter or Libertine Admiral; we have to fight as one. There’s no more time for petty squabbles. It’s us or them out here.

- Captain August Timmins, Third Duke of Texas. Acting commander, Terran First Battle Fleet. Report to the Chief of Naval Operations, September 30, 2254.

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