((Cross-posted to skye-rangers.net))
In these, the closing hours of 3048, let us look back.
It has been a year of changes for all of us. The integration of the Armed Forces of the Federated Commonwealth has brought a lot of new faces to Skye, and transferred many of our old friends elsewhere in the Commonwealth. To those of you who find yourselves serving elsewhere during your tours of duty, always remember that you are one of us, and the lessons you learn on your journey abroad will only make you, and us, stronger upon your return.
I speak especially to the Seventeenth Skye Rangers, who remain exiled to remote Trellshire Theater, despite all efforts to bring them home to the Skye March. For all of my past issues with the late Duke Lestrade, part of me chafes at the thought of so elite a unit languishing on so remote a planet. Still, we can take solace that Barcelona and its neighboring worlds are now safer than they've ever been, and that any Periphery pirate who dares strike there shall soon regret it.
For those of you new to the Skye March, I bid you welcome. As a transplant from the Tamar Pact, and married to a native of New Avalon (looooong story, that!), let me assure you that whatever you may have heard, we are neither hostile to outsiders, nor “a mass-mutiny waiting to happen” as one Avalonian blogger put it. We are merely a federation of worlds with a unique culture, much like you'll find in the Capellan and Draconis Marches, with a distinct culture and distinct issues that we are concerned might be drowned out in the hubbub of the Federated Commonwealth union. If you respect the right of people to live their lives with a minimum of outside interference, then you'll fit right in.
On the subject of outside interference, our “friends” from the Combine have, as usual, spent the year making a nuisance of themselves. We've handled it well, however: while we've not yet been able to retake Komephoros or Kimball II, the Fourth Skye and our new friends in the Ninth FedCom RCT have been giving the Kuritian occupying garrisons a proper fight on both worlds. Activity on our section of the Marik front has been relatively light, but given the calls from certain members of the Free Worlds League Military to retake the worlds they lost to us during the Fourth Succession War, we will have to remain alert into the new year.
3049 promises changes for me as well, as I'll be returning to front-line duty for the first time in nearly three years. I'd been attached to regimental HQ as a staff officer, and while the experience has been enlightening, I cannot deny that I've been dying to get back into a 'Mech. More personally, I'll be on Coventry this May, to attend the graduation of Cadet Makenzie Bruce, daughter of Kommondant Moira Bruce, callsign Steelhand. Moira was my first lance commander when I joined the Fourth in 3027, and soon became both a mentor and friend. A full account of what we experienced would take ages to write; suffice it to say that I owe her both my life and most of what I know about combat, and I was devastated when she was killed in action a few years ago. For me, seeing Kennie toss her cap will be like coming full-circle. (No idea what her assignment will be post-grad, but I've been dropping hints...)
While I won't pretend to know what 3049 will be like for any of us, I do like what I've seen of those of us who'll be reading this. With men and women like these leading the charge, we cannot help but succeed. And so we bid a fond farewell to 3048, and those we have lost along the way, and wish the best for everyone in the new year.
-Hauptmann Lina Thoren, Grafina von Dundalk, Alexandria SMM
31 December 3048