From: Tasker William T W/GEN <wtasker@navy.mil.earthsys.gov>
To: Koenraad Gertodtenhaupt <kgertodtenhaupt@ross128-ventures.com>
Delivered-To: Koenraad Gertodtenhaupt <kgertodtenhaupt@ross128-ventures.com>
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Date: 16 Sep 2421 19:21:44 +0000
Date-Local: 16 Sep 2421 19:21:44 +0000
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Subject: Re: I need you at Ross


We have our new orders and are preparing with all dispatch to
relieve the colony. As of 1700 today, ship's movement is set for
0800, 1 October. On that basis and assuming least-time vectoring
throughout, we expect to arrive in landing orbit at Ross 128 b
approximately 1400, 17 October.

There are two reasons for this apparent delay. First, we have some
inconsistent ancillary results from initial trials, and the
physicists are doing a ground-up rerun of their models to ensure we
can account for possible navigational derangements. Second, we
carried out initial trials with only two of our planned four
generator plants, and that's not enough of a safety margin with
segments as long as this mission requires. I'm giving my engineers
and the yard an additional week to install Number 3 plant.

I know you don't like it, Connie. I don't like it either. But
without it, we're better off not risking the mission at all. We
can't ask Titan for a tow if we find ourselves adrift halfway to
Ross! We get there later this way, yes. But we can be certain we
will get there this way, too. From where I sit that counts for

And there's good news to counterweight the bad. We have nearly our
full Marine complement aboard, thanks to an unusually low casualty
rate in their recently concluded exercise on Io. That was a ground
assault and pacification exercise, and it's got them ready for the
job you've given us. Whatever those 27 people have been turned
into, my Marines are going to solve that problem for you. Be ready
to pay up on that Phoebe bonus.

Due to the known biological threat, I've had no trouble
requisitioning protective gear and a complete med/sci fitout. If
you want to send along your own civilian personnel, that's fine, I
can take up to sixty. Get them here by next Friday if you can. I
know you won't send me soft people, but I still want enough time to
make sure they're well integrated into the ship's command structure
and that they won't cause any problems. Make sure they understand
how that works, Koenraad. I'm exceeding my orders on this, and if
that comes out, I'll be landside on half pay and of no more use to

I know what you said about sample return, but I've also been given
three names of formerly human colony personnel: Evelyn Gulamirian,
Winifred Strossmayer, Christopher Maldonado. I'm "strongly
encouraged" to capture them alive for detailed study in Sol, and I
can see an opportunity in this for you. Considering Ventures'
portfolio in bioscience, I'm sure you've got several labs that'd be
able to get the most out of those three, and with what this
infection has already done to them, the potential results of that
kind of research could be world-changing. And you could be at the

Understand me, Connie: I'm not crossing you on this. My intention
at this time is for all three of them to die in the fighting. Given
what you've said about Soloviev, he's going to have to do the same,
along with anyone else out there who's likely to go off
message. That's what you're sending me out there to do, and I'll do
it. But it's possible that what's happened out there might not
happen again, and men like us don't achieve what we do by avoiding
risk and ignoring opportunity.

To reiterate: we depart at 0800 on the first, and arrive about 1400
on the 17th. Let me know when to expect your people - by the 24th
if at all possible, or as soon after that as you can manage. And
let me know if you want me to change my plans regarding those

TASKER, William T., Wing General
Experimental Systems Command, NSS Busiris