First Letter

Written on 10 ACH. Folded-up and placed into one of the books in her bunk.

Dad,
I reread your last letter tonight. Wanted to let you know that things aren't going as well as you 'knew' they would. Apparently your little girl still has a lot of growing up to do. Funny how much war changes things and it still doesn't help in the ways I thought it might. I always thought about what Pap said about it. How it focuses you? Changes your perspective? I guess it did.

I flew a mission a few days ago. Volunteered to lead the Raptor group for an assault onto a spacestation. The Tauron Complex. Anyway, our Viper squad was flying top cover. A Raider got through and shot my boat full of holes. We had a fire and everything. Still delivered our chalk and brought them home. But I'll never fly another Raptor again. I'm basically forbidden from even trying to shoot back in those things. If my chalk had zero-G gear I would have depressurized and had them shoot out the door at it. I was so scared, Daddy.. But after the Raider's last pass (and before the CAG took it out).. I guess I just stopped caring. That heaviness in my chest just lifted. My mind cleared. I knew I'd be seeing you all again soon and that comforted me. I know I haven't done much with my life so far. Made you and mom mad. Graduated from the Academy. Got into Vipers.. But I don't think the future matters anymore. If it even exists.

I know. I know. I told you I wanted to do you proud. But I don't know if I can do that here with this group. I almost submitted my resignation the other night. But don't tell Paps about that. He wouldn't understand. You know how he is. But I just meant that I wanted to not betray you all. The family. Which I guess is my own betrayal if I do. I won't ever crew Raptors again, though. I'm not sure the squad has 'revenge' out of their system yet and they are more interested in kills than making sure our tasking survives. Paps talked about it with the 342nd when he made CAG, didn't he?

I just. I'm lost now. I don't care if I live or die. I'm not even excited about flying anymore. Indifferent. I miss you all and want to see you again. But I know you all would be really disappointed in me if I didn't try. So I move along. I mean, its nice that I'm not worried anymore. I can sleep. But it feels.. empty. Numb. My CAG mentioned that if I didn't care, I wouldn't be here. It rung with me because I realized that I do care about something.. The Raptor crews. Defenseless by order. But beyond that? There's nothing tieing me to this crew or ship anymore. There isn't much camaraderie with the squad for me and I get the idea I'm not liked. Sound familiar? I'm an Ensign anyway so I don't matter for shit. Not sure how long I'll be for this life, regardless. Eventually I'll just be replaced by some new Ensign culled from our rag-tag fleet. But it'll be okay. In the meantime, I'll keep my word to you. I'll fight. I'll try. I'll look for a reason.

Tell everyone I love them.
Kiss Mom for me.
Hopefully Joseph hasn't made it to you yet, but I fear he has.
I miss you.
I'll see you soon.

Love and G-Forces,
Baylee

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