UNSC Transmission 34670J-17
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United Nations Space Command Transmission 34670J-17 was a United Nations Space Command transmission sent by Captain Jacob Keyes of UNSC Pillar of Autumn to Vice Admiral Kopano N'Singile of Reach Central Command in 2552. The message was sent to discuss the ongoing refits to the Pillar of Autumn. Keyes also discussed the upcoming mission, Operation: RED FLAG, and his concerns of not being able to debrief his crew about the situation that is currently going on Reach with the invasion of the Covenant planetside.
It was encoded by encryption key Red and the Public Key was File/ Douglas-Six-Six-Lima.
The Pillar of Autumn's refit is 98 percent complete, and if we can maintain the current pace we should meet all RED FLAG specs in seventy-two hours.
The Halcyons were always impressive but with the modifications made here this ship shows what the Hals truly could have been. My concern about the fragility of her reactor remains, but after seeing its energy output in our test sequence I can appreciate the value of the new design. Let's just hope that nothing gets loose in there.
You told me that this mission is big, and you and I have been through enough together that I believe you. While I expect I'll be the last person to know where we're sailing, I've been around long enough to be able to tell that we're going alone. I've got a who's who of engineers, scientists, and ONI "monitors" crawling all over my ship right now, and if they're all here that means every other ship in the dock is going without. Plus, we've already taken on enough <<retracted>> to account for every gram left at Reach if I've been reading the fleet reports correctly the last few months, so no other ship could even keep up with us if they tried.
All this, and the modifications without any room for an army make it pretty clear that I'm about to get some visitors... and I know what kind of missions they go on.
My men know it, too.
Which leads to why I'm reporting out of schedule. You can give me all the missiles in the fleet, but I need a crew to fire them, and I need them for the duration.
The damned ONI orders not to discuss what's going on out there are a serious interference with my command. I get the briefings and the real numbers and I understand that there's not much we could do if we launched The Autumn directly into the heart of it, but I can't explain any of that to my men because I can't officially acknowledge that any of it is even taking place.
But you know as well as I do that these Blackout orders aren't worth a damn. Crew talks. Always have, always will. If it's not the techs or the NAVCOM ops, it's my platewelders out verifying the hull with a great big view of the show below, and there's no way that stays quiet, not with as many husbands, wives, and kids as we have down on the surface. And every day those doubts grow,, and my crew is one more nightmare further away from full readiness. I can't have that if you expect me to do my job, whenever you tell me what that job is.
They need to know that Reach won't be here when we get back. There's nothing we can do about it but make this loss mean something by completing our mission to the best of our abilities. And I have to make them understand that this means standing down on board the Autumn while everything goes to hell around them.
I was lucky enough to make my peace down there while on official business, but none of my crew thought they were shipping for the last time and now it's too late. I have to focus them, turn their doubt into an anger I can use, and hope like hell that they don't turn that anger on me. Not sure I'd blame them if they did. If somebody told me I had to stay in orbit thirty minutes away from my last chance to see Miranda...
But I'm going to keep this ship and her crew ready to fly, so I have to be able to tell them the truth.
This is a hell of a war, that we have jobs like this.
Now let me do my job.
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