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Integrated Combat Information System: Page 24

Commander Patricia Drake

for whining, complaining and general morale busting, and I’ve also seen newsletters which did not do one thing either positive or negative. I hope that Waypoint! will turn out to be the first kind.

I’m not one to turn down a bully pulpit when it’s offered to me, so now that the warm wishes are out of the way there’s something I want to put out loud and clear to all Space Forces personnel on this vessel. I’m talking about crewmen – and even worse, pilots – who talk about “peacetime service” like it was some kind of holiday. Now I have been in combat, and I do not like being shot at, and I am just as glad as anybody on this ship that, as far as I know, there is nobody out there planning to shoot at me right at this moment. But I am here to tell you that in my group there is no such thing as “peacetime service”. Because war is not something you get an early warning about. When the Kilrathi started the war, they didn’t write an invitation first, and when the Border Worlds conflict broke out nobody wrote training time into the schedule. War is not simply an event, it is a process that begins in peacetime.

As I write this, it’s been 58 days since we took out the pirates in the Valgard system. We won that fight, but we lost two good pilots in what should have been a clean operation. By way of comparison, Colonel Dekker’s men on the ground faced a much tougher fight than we did, but came out with no casualties at all. I’m not pointing fingers at anybody except myself for the loss of those men, but they died because we did not yet have our act completely together as a unit. I’m here to say that the next time we go into combat (and there will be a next time – the galaxy is still a dangerous place with or without the Kilrathi empire) we will have our act together, and the reason we will have our act together is because this group is going to stay at a wartime level of readiness at all times. This is the attitude which will keep you alive in the next conflict, whether that conflict is against a handful of pirates and smugglers, or against a full-scale invasion fleet.

– Commander Patricia Drake, Commander Air Group

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