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Officer's Log, Apprentice Quinn "Strobe" Cuzen, 22 August 3000. Finally got a nickname from the troops. "Strobe". I don't really know how to feel about it. Apparently, the idea is that I'm quiet for 95% of the day, and then for about ten minutes in the morning I talk so fast that people can barely tell who's being told to go do what before I vanish to go do more paperwork. The routine isn't exaggerated too much, though, I'll give them that.

We made planet fall four days ago. Prinis Prime isn't exactly the highrolling core world, but the militia's bunks aren't that hard, and the food is this interesting spicy hot sort of thing I'm told is called "Thai". When we landed, we also learned that the last pirate raid against any significant target was over four months ago, leaving us precious little to go on in trying to find this pirate base.

Knight Commander Hansen isn't taking any chances, though. We haven't seen hide nor hair of anything remotely smelling of piracy, and he's got the SAR platoon on ready 10 status. Jimmy, the platoon leader for the SAR unit, is a relaxed sort of guy and if I'm going to be totally honest only knows what he's doing because he's got a good platoon sergeant. Eiric's got a good head on his shoulders, and knows well enough how to take a 'Mech's head off its own shoulders to scare me good. Eric's the guy running the company Anti-Mech courses. You wouldn't believe the sorts of things that man can do with a satchel charge. Thanks to him we've got nearly a full platoon's worth of troops that at least know where to shoot to get a 'Mech to notice. That's not always a good thing for the grunts, but it's a good thing for the battlefield, and the number of volunteers is pretty good. Everybody wants to be that one hero, the grunt who pulls the trigger and suddenly they've got their own 'Mech. It doesn't actually work like that, but apparently we've got a bunch of romantics in the group. It's good for morale.

The Commander's also got the other platoon, headed by Hagen, out on patrol. We picked up both platoons while we were on our way here (within the first month and a half, in fact), and it's good to see them doing more than sucking up two thirds of our payroll. They haven't seen anything yet, but with a little over a dozen ATVs I'm not terribly surprised. They've set up a TOC in the middle of abso-fucking-lutely nowhere that has pretty good visibility in all directions, and is supposedly close enough to where the last pirate raid vanished that there might actually be some results.

Until then, we've got the lances on patrol, too. Right now it's Scout lance, and I can hear their chatter on the radio. Safiy is still having a display problem with the small lasers we installed, and Kazi is trying to maintain comms discipline. It's not particularly working. They're two hours into a six hour patrol, headed up toward some big ravine in the north. It's some local legend, and most of the civilian folk don't like to head up that way, so no one's gotten proper eyes on it in years, let alone since these pirates popped up. Given how much we've seen of the pirates so far, I doubt they're even on planet, let alone -

*Suddenly, the comms light up with signals, with at least six voices all talking at once. A few seconds later the chaos comes under control as Senior Knight Kazi takes command.*

"Contact, contact! Four vehicles, five o'clock, 600 meters. Night, status!"

"Green on armor, they missed me. I didn't get a good look at anything, and seismics aren't picking anything up; they must have been waiting there before we got here. Small caliber autocannon fire at long range. Shitty trigger discipline."

"Roger. Sury (post-log note: attached liaison), hang back. Melvin, get across that village and get back in one piece. All other units stand fast. Command: we are code Amber on pirate contact."

Amber meant suspected, unconfirmed. Melvin's Ostscout was the fastest thing on the field at that particular moment, and that hemisphere of Prinis was black as pitch. Dawn wasn't for three more hours, and local conditions were foggy to boot. All Melvin needed to do was get a good look at those vehicles as he passed and not get shot down, and we'd have positive confirmation that this was actual pirate activity, and not some local militia thug too stupid to read his IFF. That was the exact moment the contract got interesting.