Other People's Mail....

From: Helena Remek, Counter-Admiral, Director Triplanetary Fleet Operations
To: Penelope Cartwright, Senator from Mars Orbital
Date: 4th January, 2167
Subject: State of the Triplanetary Fleet, January 2167
Classification: MOST SECRET


Allow me first to congratulate you for your recent by-election victory, and your subsequent appointment to the Extrasolar Affairs Subcommittee. I will do my best to answer the questions your aide put to me; feel free to contact me at any time if you require additional information. I request that you do not disclose the contents of this letter to anyone who does not possess Most Secret clearance, as defined by the Contingency Appropriations Act of 2166.

Currently, our fleet is in the process of a massive expansion in all areas, assisted greatly by the pool of personnel and materiel provided by the Planetary Defence Forces, in order to cope with our growing extrasolar commitments following the discovery of human colonies on Ragnarok (Lalande 21185) and Jefferson (GJ 2097), and the joint Confederation-Republic mining effort on Desdemona (Uranus). Further, increasing evidence of an inimical power based beyond Jefferson, one which has already engaged Triplanetary forces in battle, suggests that a strong defensive posture is required at this time.

The loss of the TSS Thunderchild has left our current front-line battlecruiser strength at five, all of them Thermopylae-class, but two additional Gilgamesh-class battlecruisers will be completing overhaul and refit within the next six months. These ships are were designed for long-range independent operation, and all are of the vintage of the Interplanetary War. Given overhauls and refits, we estimate that four battlecruisers will be in operation at any one time during 2167/68; to answer your specific question, TSS Alamo (Lieutenant-Captain Marshall) has recently concluded its refit following Operation Dampier, and will be proceeding to its next assignment soon.

In December last year, the Mars Defence Forces also agreed to the transfer of two fleet carriers, the Wright and the Curtiss, to Triplanetary control. Both of these vessels had been placed in 'mothball' status, and we estimate that with current funding levels, they will be operational in March and September 2168. We did consider reactivation of the older 'escort' carriers, but it was decided that these had been in 'mothball' status for too long for them to be brought into service in any reasonable period, though a low-level effort has been authorized should an urgent need arise.

Our current carrier strength, therefore, consists of two assault carriers. We currently operate twenty-one squadrons, a significant increase from our initial estimate of nine, but eleven of these are currently at half-strength or less. A crash training programme has been implemented, though we are uncertain whether these squadrons will be ready until 2170.

There is a significant gap in smaller vessels that has become apparent; this is being mitigated in two ways. Firstly, the development of the new Warren-class Cruisers, designed for convoy- and fleet-escort roles, as authorized by the Fleet Appropriations Act of 2165. These ships are being constructed to designs that originated in the Military Reappraisal Conference of 2159, and hence the first is scheduled to begin its shakedown testing in June 2167, with five more in the series to be ordered. As your predecessor suggested, all of these ships are to be named after individuals who have died in Triplanetary service.

The second method of mitigation is the reactivation of the Mariner-class scoutships, designed for long-range deep patrols during the early stages of the war. Whilst this class did not prove effective during the conditions of the Interplanetary War, it is hoped that the vessels bring brought into the fleet will serve at the very least as stop-gap escorts, as well as freeing heavier fleet assets from patrol or guard-ship duty. The first two of these vessels are already in operation, with the remainder to be activated over the course of the year.

Our fleet auxiliaries are likewise due for upgrades over the next five years, with increasing reliance planned on the commissioning of civilian vessels on a rental basis; currently the fleet operates five support tenders and four tankers, all of them modified Mullane-class vessels, with another three tenders and five tankers in various degrees of 'mothball' status. The decision to acquire the assets of Caledonia Shipping upon that company's collapse in 2165 has left the fleet with four personnel carriers; one of these is to be commissioned as a casualty-receiving ship, the Musgrove, with the remainder being utilized as espatier transport vessels, in co-ordination with the assault carriers.

As for the Triplanetary Espatier Corps, it was apparent early on that the original plan of establishing an enlarged company would be insufficient for fleet requirements; the current plan projects two regiments of four companies each, to be in full operation by 2174. As yet, there is a significant personnel shortfall, especially in the senior NCO ranks, and only three companies are currently at operational readiness. In addition to our ongoing commitment on Jefferson, we are maintaining garrisons at Ragnarok and Desdemona, the former also serving as a training facility for atmospheric combat.

Our non-FTL capability is of course limited by the original act that formed the Triplanetary Fleet; it currently consists of only four frigates, two of them on permanent loan from the Republic of Ragnarok, the remainder transferred from the Belt Defence Force to defend assets in-system; these are stationed at Ragnarok and Uranus, respectively, and are not expected to be replaced when they reach the end of their current design lifespans, in the 2170-75 period.

I hope this has answered your questions satisfactorily; as to the other matter we discussed, I'm afraid that we will have to meet in a secure location to discuss it. I will say that as a result of our recent discoveries, all capital ships are to be assigned a Science Officer with responsibility for such matters, and by the end of the month these should all be at their assigned stations. We had some difficulty finding sufficient suitable candidates, and this is definitely a deficiency in the training program we will address upon the formation of a Triplanetary Fleet Academy; your suggestion of Phobos as a location for such a facility has been passed to the relevant committee.

If there is anything further you wish to know, then please feel free to contact my office, and I will be only too happy to answer any further questions, or to meet with you in person.

Yours sincerely,

Helena Remek, Counter-Admiral, Director Triplanetary Fleet Operations

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BCC: Christopher Thorpe, Lieutenant
Classification: TOP SECRET (Destroy After Reading)

For God's sake Chris, keep this woman off my back until Alamo and Camerone have left. Preferably for at least two weeks. Make up some sort of excuse – and that goes for anyone else poking to deep. I've already got the spooks on this one just in case, Vlad's death was a bit sudden.

See you at dinner?

Helena Remek, Counter-Admiral

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From: Sam Paine, Fleet Captain, Triplanetary Intelligence, Cabal Case Officer
To: Helena Remek, Counter-Admiral, Director Triplanetary Fleet Operations
Date: 6th January, 2167
Subject: Extrasolar Affairs Committee
Classification: TOP SECRET (Destroy After Reading)

We've looked into every member of that committee with as fine a data sweep as we can get away with, and thus far have drawn a blank, though I assure you that we will keep looking – though I personally think it's a bit of an obvious trick for the Cabal to use, and thus far they have been anything but obvious.

Your suggestion that my people could join Alamo and Camerone as Science Officers was a good one, but I don't think that either of them could do that job well enough, especially on the short notice. Frankly, they might as well go in as Intelligence Officers; they'll need to do their jobs openly in any case. That reminds be, I'll need two blank commissions for Senior Lieutenants; could you get Sandy down in Fleet Personnel to get some made up for me under the radar?

Isn't that aide of yours a bit on the young side? You want to hang around with Fleet Captains more often instead!


Sam Paine, Fleet Captain, Cabal Case Officer

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