Magic und Panzers

Aug 29th, 2016
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  1. >You lie prone in the dirt, pressing yourself hard into the ground. The only sounds around is the wind rustling the leaves of the trees above your head. The sensation of small sticks and leaves poking into your belly making you wish for movement.
  2. >In front of you is an open field, grass waving in the wind. The sun beats down on the field and gives the ground at the edge of the forest a mottled appearance.
  3. >You have never been more nervous in your life. Heart thudding in your chest you look to your right. There, laying in the dirt, is your handler.
  4. >Anon is staring straight ahead out across the field but you can see that his breathing is heavy and he seems on edge.
  5. >”Eyes straight!” Anon must have seen you out of the corner of his eye as evidence by the hissed command.
  6. >Returning your gaze to the field you take a moment to fix a strand of mane that had come loose. Using your magic you tuck it back into your helmet to try to keep it out of your eyes.
  7. >Movement behind you catches your attention as your ears swivel to find the source.
  8. >A man is running crouched down the line hissing out a set of orders.
  9. >”Up and ready to move, get ready!” He rushes onwards further down the line.
  10. >You rise from the dirt and assume a crouch, heart now pounding in your chest. Glad to be up from the ground, the promise of movement soon causing your muscles to tense.
  11. >Anon has risen to a knee and you hear the click of his rifles safety cycling. You swallow hard as you swing your own weapon down from its place on your back.
  12. >Catching it in your magic and readying the gun in one swift practiced motion.
  13. >Minutes pass in what seems like an eternity to you.
  14. >”Go!” the short cry shatters the silence.
  15. >Anon swats you on the back to signal you to move. As so you obey, charging out of the treeline and onto the field. To your left and right hundreds of others just like you follow suit.
  17. >The thundering of hooves beating the ground is an impressive sound to behold as you cross.
  18. >About a hundred meters distant you can see your destination. A line in the field where the ground falls off sharply, only to rise a few feet later.
  19. >You make it about halfway before the real noise begins. From the furrow in the ground human shapes begin to emerge. The crack of a rifle sounds from somewhere left of you. Then another, and another.
  20. >Just as quickly as they appeared the human forms drop quickly back into the dirt. Re-emerging seconds later and adding their own rifles to the din of battle around you.
  21. >A scream of terror issues from your mouth as you continue to charge. Twenty five meters remaining until your goal.
  22. >Somewhere nearby the distinctive rattle of a machine gun starts up and is nearly instantly silenced by the whining noise of a magical detonation.
  23. >Eyes still focused straight forward you see that there is a mere five meters until you reach the trench line. Suddenly a man appears at the trench parapet in front of you.
  24. >The two of you lock eyes, terror and confusion apparent in his eyes. You freeze, transfixed by the contact of eyes.
  25. >Time slows to a crawl as the two of you stare. The human is the first to move, raising his gun.
  26. >Reflexes take over and instinctively raise your own weapon. You have less distance to move than the man in the trench, barely sighting the rifle you squeeze the trigger in your magical grip.
  27. >The crack of the rifle brings back the normal flow of time. The man jerks violently where he stands then falls out of sight.
  28. >You stand in disbelief for a moment, rifle shaking in your magical grip. Realization dawns at what you just did as your vision blurs with involuntary tears.
  29. >With a dull thud your weapon falls to the dirt, magical grip having failed you. You try to fight back the tears but fail miserably. Collapsing to one knee you start to violently wretch, disgorging your breakfast onto the ground.
  31. >When the vomiting stops you let out an anguished scream into the air. Your cry of dispair and pain lost into the din of battle around you.
  32. >Anon finally catches up to you, crashing to a halt on your left side.
  33. >”God fucking damnit Nightshade! Get fucking moving! Now!” Anon cuffs you on the helmet.
  34. “….” You blubber at him vaguely gesturing towards the nearby trench.
  35. >”Move you worthless bitch!” Anger with a hint of fear evident on his face.
  36. >Anon moves quickly, snatching your discarded rifle from the ground and jamming it roughly into your back holster. He then grabs you by the collar and starts hauling you towards the trench.
  37. >After a few feet of dragging Anon bodily throws you into the trench. The impact with the hard ground nearly knocks the wind out of you.
  38. >Clenching your eyes shut you allow yourself to roll down to the bottom of the trench, only opening them when you have come to a complete halt.
  39. >Opening your eyes seems to be your biggest mistake of the day. You have ended up face to face with the same man that you had shot moments earlier. His eyes open, face locked into an expression of shock.
  40. >You scream and futily attempt to backpedal away from the terrifying sight. Anon slides down the trench wall and lands next to you.
  41. >”Hey! Nightshade!” He hits the back of your helmet again. “Pay attention dammit! You are going to get us both killed!”
  42. >He wrenches your face over to face his.
  43. >”Worry about that later” Anon gestures towards the body behind you. “For now we need to survive this charge.”
  44. >You shake your head, tears returning quickly as the situation you are in sinks in ever deeper.
  45. >”No! Not acceptable!” Anon delivers a swift hand to your muzzle. “You are a soldier! Now act like it!”
  47. >You nod, shakily at first, and re-draw your firearm. Anon releases you and takes up his own rifle once more. Hustling over to the other wall of the trench Anon signals to the left and right before taking up a firing position looking out of the trench.
  48. >You snap into position, covering Anon’s back. You wish you did not have to as this forced you to stare further at the body of the poor soldier that you had just killed.
  49. >A call of all clear begins passing from one end of the trench to the other. Anon taps your helmet without looking.
  50. >”Flare spell. Signal the rest” Anon’s eyes don't leave the horizon.
  51. >You focus on the spell you had been taught and practiced countless times. Summoning your magic you force the spell out of your horn and high into the sky.
  52. >The ball of green energy travels fifty or so feet into the air before bursting like a firework. All along the trench it is joined by similar bolts of magic.
  53. >For a moment nothing happens but then the roar of engines begins to echo from the trees that you had recently left.
  54. >Panzers burst from the tree line and roar across the open field, their turrets scanning left and right as they move. The great metal monsters at the back edge of the trench, engines rumbling ominously.
  56. >”Mount up! Mount up! Lets move!” An officer down the line yells.
  57. >Anon hoists you up the far edge of the trench then climbs the opposite wall and ascends onto the back of the nearest Panzer. Ahead of you stretches miles of open field.
  58. > The engines behind you roar as the Panzers cross the trench and slowly roll past, you break into a trot to keep pace.
  59. >The machines quickly pick up pace, you match their speed easily. Anon is resting against the turret of the tank to your left. A quick glance at his face tells you all you need to know, a look of disgust and annoyance.
  60. >He clearly catches you looking at him as he starts shaking his head. He says something but his words are lost into the roar of engines around you.
  61. >Despite this you are a decent lip reader and he is making no move to conceal his words.
  62. >”Stupid bitch.”
  64. >The tanks drive across the open fields ahead of you, stopping only when night falls. Keeping up with them is not much trouble for you though. One thing that can be said for your military training is that you are in the best shape of your life.
  65. >When the tanks finally stopped, as the sun finally dipped beyond the horizon, you come to a halt standing ready for your handler.
  66. >Anon steps down from the tank he had been riding, signaling to you the release command and allowing you to finally rest.
  67. >You collapse to the ground with a mixture of relief and exhaustion.
  68. >”Don’t you ever stop in the open like that.” Anon crouches down to get to your level, his voice a low hiss. “If I ever see you pull that shit again, dropping your weapon, I will personally put you down.
  69. >He shakes his head rising from his crouch. “Gonna get us both killed.”
  70. >Your ears droop and your head starts to hang in shame.
  71. >”I can’t hear you soldier!” Anon’s earlier look of anger and annoyance returns.
  72. “Sir yes sir!” You respond loudly so as not to draw more of Anon’s ire.
  73. >Anon gives another shake of his head. Fishing in his pack for a moment he tosses a can to the ground in front of you and turns to walk away.
  74. >The can lands with a thud and you quickly scoop it up in your magic. Quickly you pull a can opener from a pouch on your belt and begin working at the can of food.
  75. >Anon’s departure barely registers to you except for a mutter under his breath. Likely not meant for your ears, but he often forgets how good your hearing is.
  76. >”This is why you don’t let women into the military.” Shaking his head more Anon walks away into the field of stopped tanks.
  78. >Having made it about halfway through the lid of the can a thud on the ground nearby catches your attention. Looking up you see the tank's commander stretching, having just dismounted.
  79. >”Have a nice run Shade?” He grins at you. “Werent too fast for you were we?”
  80. “No Erich you were just fine.” You return to your can.
  81. >”You alright? Looked like you were pretty messed up when we got there.” Hans plops to the ground in front of you, sprawling out in the grass.
  82. “I will be. Hard day.” You do your best to not think of the events of earlier.
  83. >”First day of combat is always rough.” Erich nods “Anon seemed mad with you. Everything ok there?”
  84. “You know him Erich. He hates me.” You shrug at the mention of your handler.
  85. >”I am sure he will come around. You are pleasant enough company.” Erich smiles and returns to his standing position. “Well, I am off to find some chow. Don’t piss off Anon too much while I am gone.”
  86. >After Erich departs you finally get the can open and the sweet smell of canned vegetables assaults your nose. Taking a deep breath to savor the all too sweet smell you take a look around quickly.
  87. >No one seems to be looking, or even in line of sight. Throwing manners to the wind you plunge your snout directly into the can.
  88. >You doubt you have ever had better canned food in your life for how good that can of mixed vegetables tasted.
  89. >A deep laughter snaps you quickly back to reality. Withdrawing your muzzle from the can you quickly look about for the source of the disturbance.
  90. >Leaning out one of the side hatches of the Panzer is Eckhard, the tank's gunner.
  91. >Your cheeks flush as you wait for Eckhard to stop laughing.
  92. >”Hungry I see Nightshade.” Eckhard pushes himself out of the hatch and descends to the ground.
  94. “You try running all day and tell me if you are hungry.” You carefully pick off several errant bits of food from your muzzle.
  95. >”Please, don’t let me stop you.” Eckhard pulls out a box of smokes and lights one up.
  96. >You go back to eating, but this time using your magic. You and Eckhard lock eyes, you with a grimace of annoyance, him with an amused half smile.
  97. >Only Anon’s re-appearance breaks the stare. Without thinking you are back on your feet at his as he walks up to you.
  98. >”Finish eating and catch some sleep. We aren’t on watch any time tonight.” Anon drops his pack to the ground and starts to lie down. “Get some rest, we move at dawn.”
  99. >Resting his head on his pack and drawing his cap down over his eyes Anon lets out a deep sigh.
  100. >Seeing the wisdom in his suggestion you finish eating and curl up next to one of the tracks of the Panzer.
  101. >You had not realized how tired you actually were, falling asleep not long after your eyes close.
  103. >You are running across the afternoon’s field again, gun raised high. The sounds of battle distant and indistinct. As you near the end of your run you slow, fearing what comes next.
  104. >Stopping in your track fifty or so yards from the trench, you don’t want to do that again.
  105. >”Get moving you stupid bitch! Move!” Anon is behind you, hand raised in anger.
  106. “No! I won't do this again! Not here!” Words that you dare not utter in the heat of battle but in the safety of your dreams are acceptable.
  107. >”You will kill that man or he will kill you! Get moving you useless girl!” Anon hits you with the butt of his rifle. His eyes ablaze with blue fire.
  108. >Fear and pain push you onward. An eternity later you reach the fated spot. The man stands from his entrenched position.
  109. >This time he has no gun. This time his look is not one of confusion or fear but sadness.
  110. >”Why?! Why did you do it?” His voice reaches you crystal clear despite the noise of battle.
  111. “Because I had no choice!” Tears stream down your face. “It was my order! It was me or you! I have to”
  112. >You start to raise your rifle.
  113. >”No! Please don’t do it! Don’t kill me!” Fear returns to the man's face as he begs for his life.
  114. >You squeeze your eyes shut as your magic puts more and more pressure on the trigger.
  115. >”Look at me! Don’t you dare close your eyes when you kill me!” The man’s voice changes somehow, becomes deeper and distorted.
  116. >Opening your eyes you see that his eyes are now burning with blue fire.
  117. >”Do it! Shoot me! Kill me little girl!” He beats his chest with his hands, pointing to where your bullet will tear through his skin.
  118. “No! I….I don’t want to!” tears return to your face as you shake your head violently.
  119. >”Do it! Shoot me or I will shoot you! Kill or be killed!”
  120. “Aaaagh!” You scream as you pull the trigger.
  121. >The sound of the rifle is deafening and the flash blinding.
  123. >You wake with a start and in a cold sweat. Looking around you are still in the makeshift camp among the Panzers. Glancing around you see the tanks crew in differing states of sleep and wakefulness around the area.
  124. >Most are asleep but you see Will the driver sitting atop the vehicle with a cup of coffee. Noticing you he points at the cup and then gestures over to a pot of over a small fire.
  125. >You nod at him and give him a small smile. You pour a mug of coffee and take a seat to watch the sun rise.
  126. >A few minutes later an officer comes walking down the panzer line barking orders.
  127. >”Mount up. Ponies up top, road driving to do. Lets go, move out in ten.”
  128. >You stand at attention as he passes, Anon stirs from his rest.
  129. >Five minutes later the Panzer’s crew is in the last stages of starting up the vehicle. You sling your rifle onto your back and trot over to the back of the tank where Anon is finishing a cup of coffee.
  130. “Ready to move sir.” You try to avoid eye contact, not sure as to Anon’s current mood.
  131. >Anon nods and motions for you to step closer. With a swift motion he lifts you up onto the back of the tank.
  132. >You step up next to the turret so you can look over it and see forward. Ahead of you is the vast array of Panzers in your unit and beyond that the wide open fields ahead of you.
  133. >Erich turns around in his commander's hatch and yells to you over the roar of engines.
  134. >”You ok back there? Don’t fall off!” He smiles “Tough driving ahead!”
  135. >You nod in reply glancing over to Anon who has taken up his position on the opposite side of the tank.
  136. >The order is given and the tanks begin to roll out. Ahead of you is another day of driving across the streets and fields of France.
  138. >The Panzers roll off the fields and onto a road forming a single file line. The ride is not the most comfortable as the back of the tank gets warm due to the engine as well as the constant vibration of the vehicle.
  139. >Erich is standing in his commander's hatch eyes scanning the horizon. Your tank is the second tank in the column, giving you a fairly unobstructed view of the and land ahead.
  140. >Eckhard is leaning out of his side hatch, a smoke in his mouth. Leaning out the opposite hatch is Gerhardt the loader.
  141. >Shortly after rolling onto the road Erich turns around in his spot and hands Anon a headset, its cable leading back into the inside of the tank.
  142. >Anon puts the headset on and clips a set of contact microphones to his throat. A motion in front of you catches your eye.
  143. >Gerhardt is passing you a headset as well. This one made for Pony ears, you smile at him and take it with your magic.
  144. >Placing the headset carefully onto your ears, Erich’s voice can be heard clearly.
  145. >”Anon, Nightshade? Hear me? Good. The Obersleutnant is about to address the battalion.” He check to see each of you nodding.
  146. >After a short pause you hear each tank in the column count off as being ready.
  147. >A crisp voice crackles to life over the headset.
  148. >”Men. We have broken through the French lines successfully. The units in this area are in full retreat and we have achieved total surprise. Our orders come straight from the Furher himself. We are to flank around the rear of the French and British forces engaging our troops in Belgium. Forward Panzers!”
  149. >A cheer rises from the tank column, loud enough to be heard even over the engine noise.
  150. >The radio crackles to life again as someone in the column begins to sing.
  153. >”Whether it storms or snows, or the sun smiles on us,the day burning hot, or ice cold the night. Dusty are the faces, but our spirits are high, yes, spirits are high. Our Panzers bursts through there in the stormwind of the assault.”
  154. >The song barely makes it three words before others join the first voice. By the end of the first line the entire column is singing.
  155. >The day's drive is uneventful and the column spends several hours singing marching tunes and being merry.
  156. >Through the rest of the drive you do notice a distinct absence of other people. Each farm you pass seems to be empty, each village abandoned.
  157. >As the Sun begins to set the column rolls into a small village. The order is given to stop for the night and the Panzers fan out. Some find a place to park while others are assigned defensive positions on the outskirts of the town.
  158. >Your tank pulls into a small square and parks. Anon is the first to dismount as the tank’s crew work on securing the vehicle for the night.
  159. >A quick hop brings you to the top of the turret. Having nothing better to do you settle down on your perch to observe the comings and goings of the newly formed camp.
  160. >Erich hauls himself up and out of the turret, taking a seat next to you. ‘
  161. >”Enjoy the ride Shade?” He snaps off a quick salute to a passing officer.
  162. “Was a nice day, sure. Everything was so empty though.” You come to attention for the passing officer.
  163. >”French people likely fled the war, what with being so close to the border.” Erich lets out a sigh.
  164. >”Just wait until we hit one of the bigger cities. People can’t and won’t leave those in quite the numbers as out here.” Erich continues.
  165. >The two of you sit for some time watching the camp. Anon comes back into sight just enough to motion you over impatiently.
  166. >Dismounting the tank you say goodnight to Erich and follow as fast as you can, no need to once again draw Anon’s ire.
  168. >Anon leads you away into the village, away from the tank by a couple blocks.
  169. >”Found a place for us to stay overnight. We have early morning watch not far from there so best go right to sleep.” Anon leads onwards.
  170. >Anon walks right up the steps of a house and opens the door.
  171. “Did we get assigned here?” You ask as you follow him inside.
  172. >”No, just found it empty. There was food in the kitchen last time I checked. Bedroom is upstairs, be there when you are done eating.” Anon starts up the stairs before he is finished speaking.
  173. >The kitchen is fairly empty but you do manage to find a couple cans of food left lying around as well as a jar of pickles.
  174. >The canned goods are not much, but the pickles taste good at least.
  175. >Heading upstairs you find the bedroom easily enough. Anon looks to have already gone to sleep in the rooms only bed. There is however a large dog bed laid out in the middle of the floor.
  176. >Demeaning, yes, comfortable, totally. Settling down on the bed you fall asleep quickly.
  178. >You are once again standing in the same field from last night's dream. This time the sounds of battle are absent, replaced by a quiet breeze.
  179. >You are sitting on the edge of the trench line. Looking to your right you see the same soldier as before. This time he is sitting next to you on the lip of the trench.
  180. “Here to torment me more about killing you?” You sigh.
  181. >”Not tonight.” The man responds with a small laugh. “No, tonight I am here to help you get over killing me.”
  182. “Get over it? You want to help me cope with killing you?” You recoil slightly.
  183. >”I am your subconscious after all.” He answers with a shrug. You notice his eyes still burning with that odd blue flame.
  184. >”Perhaps it will help me if I knew more about you.” He turns to better face you.
  185. “My subconscious wants to know more about…...myself?” You raise an eyebrow more than a little bit.
  186. >”No, I want you to tell the person you killed more about yourself.” He smiles.
  187. “Fine…..uh. What do you want to know?” You rub your forehead with a hoof slowly.
  188. >”Where were you born? Who are your parents? Why are you in the army?” He shrugs at the question.
  189. “Born in a breeding center in Germany. No idea who my parents are, see born in a breeding center. Did not join the army perse. They needed ponies for a new division and I got chosen.”
  190. >”Wow. That's rough.” The man frowns.
  191. “Not really. It is the way it is. At least I was lucky enough to be born a Unicorn. The inferior races have a far harder time of life here.” You shrug.
  192. >”You know, you can usually tell a little about a unicorn’s heritage from their magic.” The man points to your horn.
  193. >”Here, let me try…” He reaches out and touches your horn. The moment his finger comes into contact with the tip his eyes fly open wide, the blue fire shrinking significantly.
  194. >”....Oh…” his finger falls slowly. “Oh my…”
  196. “What? What did you find?” Your question dies as the dream ends, you are being rudely awoken.
  197. >Anon is shaking you awake.
  198. >”Hey, get up dammit. We got watch.” Anon has his rifle in hand and gear ready to move out.
  199. >You roll to your feet and blearily get up to follow Anon out into the pre-dawn air.
  201. >Anon leads you to a building on the outskirts of town, sunrise still several hours off. You enter the house and ascend to the second floor.
  202. >You find another handler and their pony in a room on the south side of the building. The handler is smoking and staring out one of the windows while the pony is leaning on an MG42 in the window next to him.
  203. >”Replacements? Good, let’s go buddy, time for a bit more sleep.” The handler notices you and Anon enter, rising from his seat.
  204. >Anon nods at him as they pass. The pony gives you a tired nod as he passes. Anon snaps his fingers to get your attention and then points to the machine gun propped in the window.
  205. >You rub the last sleep out of your eyes and step up to the weapon. Dutifully you check the action to make sure the gun is loaded and ready for use.
  206. >Anon adjusts the chair by the next window over and picks up the discarded binoculars.
  207. >The next two hours pass in near absolute silence as you and Anon constantly scan the field and nearby woods for any sign of movement.
  208. >The watch is long and boring, but you dare not move or speak for fear of Anon’s retribution for such an act.
  209. >The sky slowly begins to show signs of light as the hours crawl by.
  210. >Suddenly Anon stiffens beside you. Following his gaze you spot a pair of soldiers moving through the woods at a low crouch.
  211. >Without thinking you sight in the machine gun and start to get a bead on the pair.
  212. >”Woah. Hold a moment” Anon whispers, his hand coming into view palm open signaling you to wait.
  213. >”Let's see what they do. Likely scouts for an attack.” Anon gets low to the window so that only the smallest part of his head is likely visible from the outside.
  214. >The soldiers stop just at the edge of the woods and drop down to the dirt. One pulls out a pair of binoculars and starts scanning the town.
  215. >Anon taps you on the shoulder, crouching low to the floor to stay out of sight.
  216. >”Stay here, man your weapon. Let those two go, if you see any more kill them.” He shoulders his own gun and moves swiftly out of the room and down the stairs.
  217. >Returning your attention to the woods you see the pair of soldiers leaving their position and darting off back into the woods.
  219. >Minutes that feel like hours pass, you are not sure how long. Ten minutes? Twenty?
  220. >Movement once again catches your eye in the woods. This time there are more soldiers. A lot more.
  221. >You try to count but make it to thirty and give up. There are just too many of them and they are all moving.
  222. >Anon said to fire. He would be very mad if you did not. But you don't want to take another life!
  223. >You press your eyes shut in indecision, a grimace of anger and pain on your face. When your eyes open the soldiers are nearly at the woods edge.
  224. >There, at the edge of the woods, stands the man you killed two days past, blue fire still streaming from his eyes.
  225. >”Do it!” He screams at you, pounding his chest with his fists. “Shoot me!”
  226. >You shake your head, tears streaming down your face.
  227. >”Fucking do it you bitch! Kill me! Kill all of us!” He roars at you, voice seeming to come from everywhere.
  228. “No….no I won’t” You whisper back.
  229. >”Then you will die.” His response is but a whisper in your ear.
  230. >At that moment you squeeze the trigger with your magic. The soldiers had just cleared the edge for the forest
  231. >A torrent of bullets issues from the barrel of the MG42 and rakes the ranks of soldiers. Several men are hit with your opening salvo.
  232. >You drag your weapon down the lines of unfortunate men. They start to take cover in the trees at the edge of the woods, some even return fire. However their position is bad, you have excellent cover in a mostly stone building while they have scant trees for protection.
  233. >Another MG opens up from somewhere nearby, further pinning the enemies.
  235. >A new noise enters the battlefield as the grown of an engine enters your perceptions.
  236. >You weapon runs dry and you search around quickly for another belt of ammo. It is lying nearby on the floor. Grabbing it with your magic you quickly swap in a new belt and slam the bolt back home.
  237. >As your eyes return from the weapon to the battlefield you find the source of the engine noise.
  238. >An enemy tank has rounded the corner of the woods and is slowly rumbling towards the town.
  239. >It barely enters your consciousness as all you care about is getting this gun firing again.
  240. >With a squeeze of the trigger more enemies fall. You can't quite remember how many you are up to at this point, you just keep firing.
  241. >More and more guns join yours firing out of the town towards the attacking enemy. Anon comes running back into the room, rushing towards the window.
  242. >Peering out of the window Anon’s eyes go wide. You glance over just long enough to see the tank’s barrel pointed directly at you.
  243. >A strong force slams into your left side and you go down hard. Half a second later the world seems to explode.
  244. >There is a titanic roar accompanied by a tremendous shaking of the house you are in.
  245. >You feel Anon’s body covering yours and you realize that he must have tackled you off of your post.
  246. >Just as your ears stop ringing Anon hauls you up to your hooves again.
  247. >”Damnit! Nearly getting us killed again!” Anon grabs you by the collar and starts dragging you bodily from the room.
  248. >The room is a mess, building material scattered everywhere and a gaping hole where your MG position used to be.
  249. >You get your hooves under you and follow Anon down the stairs and out the back door of the house.
  251. >Peering around the corner of the building you see the enemy tank sitting in the open area between the village and the forest. With a thud its main gun fires again at one of the other MG positions.
  252. >You can see the enemy soldiers crossing the distance quickly, moving towards you. Anon raises his rifle and fires at the oncoming hostiles, striking one in the chest.
  253. “Where are our tanks?!” You join your rifle fire to his.
  254. >”Give it a second!” Anon yells back.
  255. “Give what…”
  256. >As if in answer to your question a tank round whistles in from somewhere off to your right and strikes the side of the enemy vehicle.
  257. >The French tank explodes, its turret thrown into the air. This causes an almost immediate reaction from the soldiers in the field.
  258. >Dropping to the ground they seem to be looking around for the source of the attack.
  259. >More distinctive tank fire echoes in the distance and the enemy soldiers start to retreat.
  260. >Anon takes off down the road towards the outskirts of town. Running after him you fire a couple rounds at the retreating Frenchmen.
  261. >You are joined at the edge of town by other ponies and handlers, all firing at the retreating soldiers.
  262. >As they disappear into the still dark woods a cheer rises from the ranks around you.
  263. >You join in the whooping and hollering, feeling on top of the world.
  264. >One of the officers comes running down the line shouting orders. “Mount up! Were moving. Let’s move before they bring up artillery.”
  266. >An hour later you are riding on the back of your mighty Panzer once more. The division is singing once more as you drive onwards through the French countryside.
  267. >Spirits were high as there had apparently been no casualties in the dawn attack of the French. Only a few injuries had been sustained in the entire division.
  268. >Anon had went to warn command about the impending attack and several tanks had apparently left from the opposite end of the town to drive around and attack the French from the flank.
  269. >You spy Erich sitting in his command hatch, a broad grin on his face.
  270. “You look chipper today commander” You press on your microphone.
  271. >”It’s a good day to be in the Panzer corps.” He responds with a smile.
  272. >”We got a pair of kills this morning!” Eckhard’s voice comes over the radio. “We now have the most kills of any tank in the unit. Though that is likely to change soon, but for now we are the leading tank.”
  273. >”And how did you fare this morning Shade?” Erich returns his eyes to the road ahead.
  274. >”Nightshade was the first MG to open up during the attack.” Anon casually cuts in.
  275. >A chorus of “Well done” and “That's our girl!” issues over the radio.
  276. >”How many did you get?!” Gerhardt adds.
  277. “Not too sure. I was more worried about keeping up the fire than counting.” You shrug.
  278. “I also lost count.” You blush slightly “...somewhere around twelve or so.”
  279. >Erich rotates slowly in his hatch to look at you, eyebrows raised. Even Anon rotates from his seat to look at you, one eyebrow slightly raised.
  280. >”Hot damn Shade. That’s impressive.” Erich says after a moment of silence.
  281. >Your cheeks flush as you give him a sheepish grin.
  282. >”Huh, guess nearly taking a tank shell was sort of worth it huh.” Anon’s normal scowl returns with the slightest hint of a smirk added in.
  284. >The radio crackles before you have a chance to reply. “All vehicles button up! Recon reports the next town is crawling with enemies.”
  285. >”Infantry be ready to disembark at a moment's notice. Command has instructed us to take and hold that town. For the Fatherland!”
  286. >Erich drops down into his hatch and closes the top. The turrets side hatches close after you and Anon hand in your headsets.
  287. >You are left alone in the loud roar of the armored column. The tanks roll off the road and out into the surrounding fields.
  288. >The column splits in half, some going left and others right. Just as the other half of the tanks start to fade from view the town comes into view ahead of you.
  289. >Your group of tanks takes a drive far around the side of the town, the buildings barely visible in the distance.
  290. >Finally the tanks fan out and turn in towards the village, gunning their engines to approach at top speed.
  291. >There is a faint glint from the town, then something glances off the tank to your left. In its passing it leaves a large dent in the upper turret armor.
  292. >”Anti-tank gun!” An officer yells over the engine noise “Dismount! Follow the tanks in, keep close and low!”
  293. >You roll off the back of the panzer and hit the ground with a thud.
  294. >The tanks start a leapfrog advance, half stopping to fire once while the previous half advance. This allows the soldiers like Anon to keep pace with the armor.
  295. >The anti-tank gun thunders occasionally until a high explosive round explodes in its vicinity.
  296. >As you get closer machine guns open up from several of the buildings sending rounds pinging off of the armored hides of the panzers.
  297. >This was certain to be a much tougher fight.
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