Sometimes, things simply don't go your way - as a Chaffee has to find out.
Hunter gave the tank next to him a scrutinizing glance. The Chaffee had picked up a Stuart recently. She had been starving, somehow completely confused as to where she was, and in need of a teammate. It had also turned out that she had a lot of catching-up to do. While she wasn’t bad as a scout per se, he had noticed that she was completely clueless in some fields. Hunter had decided that some training was in order. He had tried to explain the strategies to her beforehand at the campfire, but he always felt like he wasn’t good at getting across what he meant, so he had decided to just show her. He had tried to trace another team, but hadn’t been lucky. It seemed like there were only high tier teams around. He had become desperate, as their fuel had started running out, and eventually found another team … which had high tiers as well. Hunter wasn’t happy about it; he wasn't sure if he could do anything about such powerful enemies at all, but he had to give it a try. Maybe he would be able to just take out some of the lower tiers and steal the fuel before the others could get him. “Watch and learn,” he said to his apprentice, who looked at him with wide, attentive optics. “To defeat a heavy, you must circle it. You can’t just stand there and trade shots with it.” The Stuart nodded. That made sense. Hunter turned his gaze back to the IS-3 that was resting nearby. The light tanks had sneaked up on the team successfully and were now sitting behind a bush, so it hadn’t noticed them yet. They were facing its backside, and Hunter mentally prepared himself for rushing it. This one had to be taken out quickly, and the rest of its teammates would follow just as quickly, if everything went well. “Alright,” he said, more to himself than to his team mate. He mentally counted down from three, then burst out from the bush. The heavy tank in front of him started turning its turret around, throwing a puzzled look behind itself. It had been dozing and didn’t really know what was going on. Hunter saw his chance and shot its back. The shell bounced off. The light yelped and had to swerve to the side as the IS-3 finally realized what was going on and tried to shoot back. The heavy tank’s shot buried itself in the ground, and Hunter – in desperate hopes of achieving anything this time – shot it in the side. Again, the shell just ricocheted harmlessly. Now this was getting frightening. The IS-3 tried to keep up with its turret, but was apparently getting dizzy quickly as it turned and turned and Hunter just kept escaping its line of fire. Things were getting more complicated, however. An M103 had turned up as well, and it was taking aim at the light tank that was pestering its team mate. Hunter only barely managed to evade the shell. ‘Mistakes were made,’ he thought as another shot just bounced off the IS-3's armour. He drove away from the Russian and turned his attention to the American instead, bringing a hill ridge between himself and the IS-3. New enemy, new luck. Or not. He got to the M103’s rear in the blink of an eye, but the damn shell just … It just bounced. This couldn’t be happening. He threw a quick look to the bush that his apprentice was still sitting behind. She must have been getting second-hand embarrassment from watching. At least she hadn’t been spotted and was safe. That didn’t make his situation any less troublesome, however. The M103 had suddenly caught up with its turret and planted a really painful shot in Hunter’s side. The Chaffee almost lost control of where he was going, and to top it all, two mediums were now appearing as well. ‘The heavies should be dead by now!’ Hunter thought with a mental outcry, before two shells hit him and knocked him out. The next thing he knew was sitting in what looked like some sort of workshop and the sympathetic looks of his teammate. “What happened …?” he asked the Stuart. How was he not dead? “They let us go,” the Stuart said with a small, awkward cough. “They also had a good laugh …” Hunter looked at her in disbelief, then turned his cannon away with embarrassment. “I am not proud of this encounter,” he said. “You had really bad luck,” the Stuart replied, smiling defeatedly. Hunter sighed and shook his turret. “Let’s hope next time isn’t as disastrous.” There was the noise of a third engine as the owner of the workshop, a Bergepanther, joined them. “Oh good, you woke up,” the mechanic said with a small smile. “How are you feeling?” “I’ll survive,” Hunter said dryly. “You can leave whenever you want, I’m done with your repairs,” the Bergepanther said, then motioned at two fuel cans in the corner of the room. “Maybe you should take these with you, I think you can really use them.” He winked at them, and Hunter got the mortifying feeling that the TRV knew what had happened. Oh, well. He bowed and looked at his apprentice. “We should make haste,” he said to the Stuart, and lowered his voice as he went on, “I never want to be seen around here ever again.” The Stuart nodded and quickly went to pick up the fuel cans, and they left the workshop.
Published Aug 10th, 2015
Rewritten Apr 18th, 2018