With a string of curses, the GW Panther stopped shooting. The smoke from her last shot cleared. Nordic wasn't a wreck. He was out of her sights. Out of her reach.
'Oh, you mangy little …
The Hellcat's disappearance was no longer a mystery. He hadn't fled. He had told the others — they clearly had known
. They had been prepared for the strike. The GW Panther's world was one of disappointment.
Without doubt, Eohelm was leading the other side. The way they had taken advantageous positions, the wedge that had so effortlessly cleft the GW Panther's team — they had the strategist's handwriting smeared all over them. He was in control. Not only of his own force, but the whole battle.
The GW Panther, on the other hand, was still
struggling to gain control of even her own tanks. Her gaze scanned the streets for her allies and enemies. Half of the enemies weren't visible, and her allies … She hadn't been able to keep them from fleeing into all directions. The responsibility of overseeing the disaster that had unfolded before her sights wasn't a task she relished.
Yelling at the T34 hadn't yielded any result. He was still pointlessly trading shots with Rex. And losing
But the rest of her pathetic force wasn't doing any better. She couldn't see the Challenger at all anymore. Eject, on the other hand, was still there. The GW Panther could see bits of him between the buildings every now and them. He too
was looking for the missing TD.
The GW Panther tried to ping her ally again. This time, she got a response.
She focused on the location of its origin — and could have screamed when she saw that the Challenger hadn't made it far since the beginning of the battle. She was hiding
"Are you serious?
" the GW Panther asked through her radio.
«He's gonna kill me …!» the Challenger replied. Her voice spoke of raw panic.
"He sure will if you keep hiding and he finds you!"
«What am I supposed to do??»
hiding! Kill him!" the GW Panther said.
«How?! I can't do that!»
The GW Panther had to tune out of the channel for a moment. She took a deep breath. Collateral damage.
If the Challenger wanted to be that, then she was going to. She tuned back into the channel and addressed the Challenger again.
"Then die!" she spat.
She didn't pay attention to the reply she got. Instead, her sights darted to where she had last seen Fox; he had disappeared as well. If he managed to get to the lane where the T34 and Rex were fighting … The GW Panther quickly adjusted her plans.
"Forget Eject, ambush Fox! Shoot him in the back, or something!" she ordered the Challenger. Frustratingly, the TD's sentiment hadn't changed.
"Do it! Go!!"
There was no further reply.
' the GW Panther thought — but then found that simply thinking
it wasn't sufficient.
" she yelled. That wasn't sufficient either, but — unfortunately — all she could do about the issue.
Seething, she moved on to her next ally. The T-150 somehow had failed
to kill the Pershing already. If the angle had been better, the GW Panther would have taken care of it herself, but all she likely would have achieved would be shooting her own ally in the back.
At least the Pershing was being pushed back. They were moving towards the rails slowly. It seemed like her gun wasn't capable of getting through the T-150's armour. The GW Panther decided that there was no intervention needed on her part, for now. It would sort itself out.
As she was about to turn away, she suddenly noticed something further down the lane.
She focused her sights, looked closer. Behind one of the buildings, there was something … familiar. She looked at the two combatants again — and suddenly realized what was going on. She immediately turned to her radio and contacted the heavy tank.
"T-150, you idiot!
"You're running straight into a trap!"
She watched the T-150 halt and turn his turret in search of said trap.
'Oh my god.
"Left!" the GW Panther barked. "Watch your left!"
He seemed like he only just
understood what she was trying to tell him. He set himself into motion purposefully, driving the Pershing back even further. At least one
thing that was going alright. There was only one other thing to take care of.
Of course she also hadn't forgotten about a certain Hellcat.
She gestured briskly at the Indien-Panzer behind her. He rolled a bit closer. The GW Panther turned around.
"Nordic will be here soon," she said to him.
His posture grew tense, but he nodded. He knew what to do. While he turned and drove over to take cover near the road, the GW Panther backed up behind cover as well.
She had decided that she didn't trust the medium with her life. Not because she had little trust in this tank's abilities in particular. She did
have little trust in his ability. But that wasn't the sole reason. No one she knew would have fulfilled her criteria for that kind of trust. Having another cannon on her side was a nice bonus, but she would rely on her own, if necessary.
There was no certainty where Nordic would appear. A few paths led up the hill — a road, but also some less used trails. The Indien-Panzer's cannon was pointed at the road. The GW Panther had hers facing the other way, but kept both sides in her sights.
Then, the waiting begun. She only hoped that her woefully incompetent allies would survive without her guidance for a bit.
Sky halted. She had backed up fully into the junction. The building fronts were right behind her, blocking her from reversing further. A shell from the T-150 slammed into her front, ricocheting violently and shaking her whole frame.
Eohelm could see the dent that the shell had left in her armour; the previous ones had caused similar effects. He watched Sky shoot back another time, again with no result other than an audibly harmless bounce.
Then, as quickly as it was possible for a Pershing, Sky suddenly turned to her left and started running into the lane there. Eohelm stared straight ahead. The T-150's engine noise was close, and approaching steadily.
Any moment now.
Eohelm realized that his trap had been foiled in the exact moment when the T-150 finally appeared in his field of view … and was pointing his cannon straight at the Centurion. Out of reflex, Eohelm pulled the trigger, but whatever the shell achieved, it wasn't sufficient. The T-150 shot back immediately, planting a hastily aimed shell right into his opponent's gun mantlet. It bounced.
Staring with wide optics, Eohelm noticed that the heavy tank was turning, apparently trying to get to his side.
Before that could happen, Eohelm spun around to the left and hurried to set himself into motion. He collided with the other tank's hull. For a moment, it felt like he was stuck, but then, with a loud screech of metal against metal, he managed to break free and get ahead of the T-150.
"Sky! Come back!!" Eohelm shouted with a quick, rushed glance down the lane she had fled into. He could see her rear briefly before he entered the opposite lane that branched towards the central square.
«What the in the fucking —» Sky growled on the radio. «How?!»
"Can't handle me by yourself?" the T-150 jeered from behind.
"Personal glory is not the way to win battles!" Eohelm replied, but then focused on spotting any possible cover or whatever would save him now; if he made it to the train tracks, he would be able to bring the cars between himself and the enemy's gun. He was faster than the T-150. It could work. But the heavy had entered the lane as well already, judging by the shell that buried itself into the road just behind Eohelm's left track.
"Hey!" Rex barked. "Optics on the enemy!"
A shell emphasised his words — returning the T34's attention to him fully as it hit the American's weak hull and penetrated it. The T34 screamed out, promptly turning towards Rex again. He was in a pitiful shape already, falling back further and further in constant search for new cover.
Rex was able to push aggressively, only had to worry about keeping his lower plate hidden. That, and making sure the T34 wasn't going anywhere. But with how the T34 was performing right now, neither would be an issue. It could only be a matter of a few more shots until Rex would land the hit needed to finally take out this sorry excuse for a heavy tank.
Eject eventually realized that he had been waiting pointlessly for Sky to show up. A quick inquiry on the radio told him that she was busy elsewhere right now. To Eject, it was questionable who needed her assistance more direly at the moment, but he abstained from judging a situation he couldn't see.
With a frown, he reversed out from his cover. He had been creeping forward, but not made it far. The Challenger was still out of sight, and it was getting unnerving. Eject had to assume that she was only waiting for him to run in front of her gun.
Rolling a few indecisive meters, he kept a close optic on both sides of the street. Around him, he could hear the sounds of the ongoing battle — sounds that seemed to urge him to join the hectic activity of fighting. But instead of doing that, he was forced to sneak around.
To both sides, the buildings were badly damaged. Trees and bushes grew out of broken walls and windows, ivy was sprawled over the facades. Collapsed houses formed alcoves that offered plenty of cover for a tank. The still enduring rain created needless illusions of movement, only making it even less likely that Eject would spot his enemy before it would be too late.
He halted with a deeply disgruntled expression.
It wouldn't work. It wasn't worth the risk. He needed to come up with a better idea. His gaze darted behind himself, where his previous cover was still close enough to reach effortlessly. Back to there it was, for now.