Chapter 12: Dungeon Diving

"HERE THEY COME!"

"AMMO! WHERE'S MY AMMO!?"

"GREENSKINS!"

"HOLD YOUR FIRE UNTIL THEY'RE CLOSER!"

The chaos of the trenches and hastily erected defensive positions is amplified by yelling of players, everyone skittering for cover as the soggy ground shakes from tank tracks both in front and behind them.

"Klein! Where's that MG-42 ammo?!" Amy calls over her shoulder, huddled down behind a pile of rubble next to a prone Agil. The Ex-Samurai sprints out from behind a burned-out tank hull and slides to a stop beside her, dropping an ammunition can next to Agil.

"Right here."

Amy places a peck on his cheek before opening up the can of ammo and linking the belts together on Agil's MG-42.

The familiar echo of a tank cannon echoes in their ears followed by a distant explosion.

Amy turns and looks past Rift's tank, at a second-story window where Sinon is well-hidden in the shadows of the room. Nodding her head she gives the sniper the go-ahead to start the engagement, then she readies her own rifle, peering over the rubble.

"Should I fire yet?" Agil asks, not glancing away from his sights.

"Not yet. Let Sinon kick this off." Amy hums, resting her rifle on the rubble.

One of the advancing Pact tanks slows to a stop and takes aim, the orcs giving it plenty of room before it fires, the round screaming overhead and striking the Centurion on the top of its gun mantlet, deflecting up and hitting the building behind it without detonating. Seconds later, a rifle round cracks overhead and an orc toting a dismantled anti-tank gun topples over, dead.

"HIT 'EM!" Amy yells, firing her Garand as Agil and Klein open up beside her. Across the street, Kirito, Silica, Leafa, and Lou open up, cutting down any orcs without shields before their brethren move their shields to the front.

Amidst the cacophony of gunfire, Rift's Centurion traverses its turret and services the tank that fired at them, punching a hole clean through the front of the hull.

"YEAH! Hit 'em again!" Amy yells, standing up slightly. "Rifle grenades! Let 'em have-"

*plink!*

Klein looks over at Amy to see her on her back, staring up at him with a shocked expression on her face, her helmet a few yards away with a hole in it.

"Fucking hell that's a first!" She giggles, getting back up and continuing firing.

"You alright?!" Klein asks, firing his rifle into an exposed orc's legs.

"Never felt better!"

Klein looks over at her after ducking behind cover, watching her long muddy hair sway gently with each shot, her eyes fiercely focused and a slight grin on her face.

"Frag out!" A familiar voice yells from behind him, seconds before Stonewall sprints past Agil, throwing a stick grenade into the bunched-up orcs. The tank commander turned fallschirmjager dives into cover once the grenade leaves his hand and joins in the deafening noise of gunfire and explosions. Liz sprints past too and dives into cover beside Stonewall, the pair of them laying down brief covering fire while Asuna and Kirito sprint forward.

"Quit staring Klein and let's go!" Amy's voice snaps Klein's attention back to her as she reloads. "We're next sweetheart!"

"Right!"

"Firebug up!" Stonewall yells, raising up to one knee and keeping up the high rate of fire. Leafa fires a rifle grenade into the center of the group of orcs as Klein and Amy sprint out of cover, bounding aggressively past Stonewall and Liz to the entryway of a building.

"Covering!"

"Moving!" Agil yells, grabbing his MG-42 and jumping up, him, Silica, and Leafa sprinting forward to the next piece of cover across the street from Klein.

Lou waves up Miss Moody as he moves up, the Centurion moving while Roscoe and Dick take cover behind it. Before it can get very far, the street collapses under the weight of the tank, sending it crashing into what at first appears to be a sinkhole.

"Our armor's down!" Stonewall yells to Liz. "Push! Clear this street and make a perimeter!"

"Right!" The Engineer yells back before they both leap up from behind cover, being joined by Kirito and Asuna as they all spray down any exposed orcs. Stonewall preps a grenade while Agil cuts through the exposed legs of the monsters with a hail of lead, his barrel glowing a soft orange.

Startled by the sudden rush, some of the orcs turn to run, only to be cut down by bullets. Others eagerly rush forward to try to meet the players in melee combat while reinforcements climb past Miss Moody and join in the fight. Stonewall throws his grenade and kneels down, fixing his bayonet with a sinister grin on his face.

"Fix bayonets!"

Kirito looks at him and stores his carbine in his inventory, drawing his sword. Klein and Amy both kneel beside him and fix bayonets to the muzzles of their rifles before they continue to shoot. Liz smoothly slides the bayonet onto her Garand, grinning while she moves over to kneel by Leafa. Several more US garbed players fix bayonets and set up machine-guns, the latter ripping into the ranks of the eagerly charging orcs. Amy fires the last few rounds in her en-bloc and stuffs a full one in while everyone readies for the wall of muscle and blood charging at them.

A hundred yards behind them, Sinon fires as fast as she can acquire a target, dropping the most heavily armored orcs and leaving the lesser orcs for everyone else.

Rift and his crew climb out of Miss Moody and prepare to defend their stuck tank, being joined by more reinforcements.

By the time the orcs have gotten close, only twenty out of some sixty remain. Stonewall, Kirito, Amy, and Klein bolt forward to meet them, weapons raised.

Kirito cleaves through the leading orc with his sword, narrowly dodging a makeshift club from another orc who is bayoneted by Amy and Klein simultaneously. Stonewall bayonets an orc and fires his rifle twice before it's ripped from his hands. A shot rings out over the yelling and the culprit collapses with a hole in his temple, felled by Sinon's expert marksmanship. Two more orcs drop in quick succession as Stonewall grabs his rifle off the ground, narrowly dodging a piece of hedgehog tank trap being used as a club.

Amy yanks her bayonet out of yet another orc and fires from the hip, striking the assailant in the hip and leaving it for Stonewall, who dispatches it with a burst of automatic fire to the chest. Liz bayonets another orc to protect Leafa while Asuna jumps into the fray to protect Kirito, firing short bursts from her Thompson.

As the orc's numbers begin to wear thin, they start falling back, only to be cut down by Squirrel and their supporting infantry. Once the street is cleared of orcs, the reinforcements move up, continuing their advance into the city.

"Baker! Rally up!" Stonewall yells, his field shirt ripped and tattered from close calls. "Seth! Call for a wrecker!"

"Already on it!" Seth yells back before continuing to speak into his radio.

"Everyone good? Check your ammo."

Amy grins at Klein and moves her hair before abruptly kissing the ex-Samurai, surprising him. Asuna and Kirito smile at the sight while they take stock of how much ammo they have left. Sinon calmly strolls over, being congratulated and thanked by everyone while ammo is re-distributed, a few cases being pulled off the rear of Miss Moody for everyone to restock.

"Hey Stonewall! This is a tunnel!" Amy yells, looking at the hole the centurion is trapped in.

"Is it? Think it might be a dungeon?" Stonewall asks, putting magazines in the pouches on his harness.

"Only one way to find out." Amy hums while she slings her rifle on her shoulder and pulls out a flashlight and a pistol.

Before she can enter, Amy hears the droning of a truck engine followed by shouting.

"Oy! Sorry we're late!" Nguyen shouts as he hops off the back of the truck with the rest of 'La Montréalaise's crew, "We managed to get the tank back to the repair depot."

"You're just in time! I think we found a dungeon on accident." Stonewall hums, sticking two grenades in his belt. "Amy was just about to check it out."

"Nguyen! You first! This is your area of expertise." Dick chuckles while his best friend glares at him, "Oh come on! You're the Vietnamese guy here!"

"Oh fuck you man!" Nguyen shoots back while his friends laugh.

Amy merely rolls her eyes and enters the tunnel, Klein following her in. Seconds later gunshots ring out from the tunnel, followed by Amy yelling "Definitely a dungeon!"

Stonewall jumps down into the hole and climbs into the tunnel, looking back at everyone. "Well, are y'all coming or not?!"

"TAAAABARNAK!"

Stonewall looks up and sees Nguyen tumbling into the tunnel, swearing in three different languages before landing face first on the hard, cold ground.

"Ow. Lou, fuck you!" the tank commander groans as he dusts himself off, "Sorry about that."

"All good. Hope you're ready to be a tunnel rat for a day." Stonewall chuckles as he helps his comrade up.

"Don't worry. I should be able to do some good," Nguyen says, inspecting his Thompson and looking around, "Looks like a dry tunnel, rock looks solid… might want to avoid using anything explosive though."

"Any idea what we're running into?" Tony asks as he gets inside the tunnel, followed by the rest of the Canadians as well as the ALO gang.

Gunshots ring out from further down the tunnel, followed by Amy yelling. "Arachne! Lots of them!"

"What are those?" Asuna asks, following the Canadians.

"Spiders."

A loud, high pitched scream pierces the medic's unfortunate ears.

"FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF! FUCK OFF!" Lou screams as he begins turning tail.

The ALO players look at him incredulously.

"An arachnophobe?" Sinon asks as she stares at him.

"Yeah, big time," Nguyen answers calmly, "Still remember a story at my old job..."

"Aww come on man, they're not even real bro," Klein remarks in disbelief, "It's only a video game."

"Fuck you!"

Stonewall chuckles and hurries after Amy, the two leading the way down the tunnel.

"Are there a lot of spiders in ALO?" Roscoe asks as he walks the path with a flashlight in his hands.

"Nah, not really," Klein replies.

"Can we play that game someday then?" Lou suddenly says.

"Woah shit!" Stonewall yells as his feet abruptly slide out from underneath him and he slides down a steep slope.

"Fuck! Stonewall," Tony rushes over, his flashlight pointed at the trap door.

"You still with us?!" Kirito shouts into the hole while Tony waves his flashlight around trying to see their friend.

"Pina says there's more traps around here!" Silica suddenly exclaims, her face pale.

"Watch your step everyone!" Asuna shouts, her eyes darting around for any signs of a trap.

"All clear down here!" Stonewall yells from down below. "I'm gonna continue forward! Hopefully we can meet up!"

"Alright bossman!" Nguyen replies, "Klein, Amy keep an eye out for trouble alright?"

"On it!" Amy yells back down the tunnel from their spot thirty yards further in. The crew can finally start to see the corpses of the monsters her and Klein are killing, the glimpse lasting only briefly before they disappear.

"What are you guys fighting?" Lou shouts.

"I think there's some more Arachne further in!"

"Aww seriously?" he groans while the rest of the guys snicker.

"Don't worry, we'll clear the way for you bro," Klein shouts back with a laugh, "Shame you're gonna miss out on the exp."

Amy moves up quickly, a grin on her face before there's a metallic click further down. At the same time, Pina cries out in alarm.

"There's a trap!" Silica shouts at the top of her lungs..

Something round rolls out of a hole in the ceiling and hits Amy on the back before hitting the ground with a solid thunk. The ex-samurai wheels around and shoves Klein back the way they came. "GRENADE! MOVE!"

Kicking the grenade further down the tunnel, Amy jumps on top of Klein a moment before the grenade goes off, filling the tunnel with dust. A colorful mix of French and English swear words fills the tunnel, followed by some coughing.

"Is everyone ok?!" Asuna shouts as she readies her medkit while Kirito and Silica scan for any more traps.

"Ain't dead yet..." Amy coughs, pulling herself up off of Klein before she helps him up and goes to check further down the tunnel. She comes back moments later. "Tunnel collapsed. Now what?"

"Back the way we came? We can try that trap door Stonewall fell in." Kirito says with a shrug.

"Good idea."

Everyone starts filing back up the tunnel, one by one sliding down the steep tunnel to another tunnel with cobble walls and floors. Again, Amy and Klein lead the way, but this time with Silica and Pina close behind.

"Really don't like the vibes this place is giving off." Amy murmurs with a shiver. "Lotsa bad memories with tunnels like these."

"This isn't that. We're all here with you and we're not going anywhere." Klein says with a smile, brushing his knuckles against hers. She smiles and nods, attaching her bayonet to her rifle before shouldering it and leading the way further down the tunnel, occasionally kicking spent shell casings.

Up ahead, a single set of gunshots echo down the tunnel, muzzle flashes lighting up the dimly lit tunnel. Everyone can feel the concussion from the heavier rifle shots in their chests before the owner switches to a handgun and fires rapidly, six rounds, followed by a very rapid seven. Amy and Klein round the corner to find Stonewall reloading his favorite revolver amidst a small pile of disintegrating kobolds. Hearing their footsteps, he snaps closed the loading gate and wheels around, pointing the revolver at Amy before lowering it.

"I take it the tunnel up there didn't work out?"

"Nope. Booby trap collapsed it, so we backtracked." Amy explains.

"Well, that's probably better off. I'm pretty sure this is the actual dungeon."

"How do you know?" Liz asks.

"Okay, allow me to rephrase. I know this is the dungeon."

"Isn't that cheating?" Kirito inquires, watching the kobolds disappear.

"Not really. I only know the layout. I don't know where the monsters or loot spawns."

"Well then lead the way to the end of the dungeon. We've got a boss to kill." Amy says impatiently. Stonewall holsters his revolver before reloading his rifle, then he grins at the engineer.

"Ladies first?"

"Always a gentleman." Amy grumbles with a roll of her eyes, shouldering her rifle and leading the way.

"We'll keep an eye on our six." Nguyen shouts as his crew look around for danger.

"You guys wondering what kind of shit waits for us down here?" Dick asks as the group begins walking inside the tunnel.

"I don't we won't run into anything big if that's what you're asking," Agil replies, "Tunnel's too narrow."

"Pina isn't picking anything up yet." Silica reports.

"Keep an eye on her then," Asuna replies, "We don't want to hit another trap."

Walking deeper into the dungeon, they find multiple groups of Kobolds and naga, dispatching all of them with an almost contemptuous ease before they reach a large pair of doors.

"HYAAHH!" Nguyen shouts as he kicks the doors who answer to his gesture by stubbornly refusing to move.

"Before we open the doors, is everyone ready?" Amy asks, restocking her pouches with ammunition from her inventory. "I know I'm not the only one who remembers how hard these boss battles are."

"Oh right smart idea there," Nguyen remarks as Roscoe and Tony both facepalm.

"You really forgot that man?" Kirito asks, slightly disbelieving what he just heard.

"What?"

"He didn't go through that." Amy sighs as she reloads her Garand.

"Did I say something wrong?" Nguyen asks as he tops off his ammo.

"Nguyen here never reloads unless if he's running dry," Lou points out, "Be it in old school FPS's, Airsoft or VRMMORPG."

"Seriously?" Klein looks at Nguyen slightly surprised, "You know that having an extra round can save your ass right?"

"It's just a game eh?"

Amy shivers and places a hand on the door, hesitating before she slowly pushes it open. "Let's do this." Her voice breaks slightly and she clears her throat to try to hide it.

"Let's kick ass!" Nguyen roars with a grin.

Everyone slowly enters the boss room, fanning out, weapons raised as they wait for the boss to reveal itself. Klein stays near Amy, scanning the room before he spots Amy's fixed bayonet quivering softly.

"Hey, you okay?" Klein whispers, shocked to see the girl shaking out of fear. Amy merely shakes her head before the torches around the room begin lighting, a large bundle of fur uncurling and standing up, revealing it to be a clydesdale-sized wolf-fox hybrid. It bares its teeth and snarls, cat-like claws gouging deep furrows into the stone before two health bars appear above it, along with a name.

Experiment J918

"What the fuck is that thing?!" Dick shouts as he readies his Panzershreck, "Prepare to-"

"Put that fucking thing away!" Roscoe snaps, forcibly pushing down the rocket launcher, "Are you trying to blow our asses off man?!"

"Alright, alright," the driver replies, producing his shotgun and racking it, "Let's take down this bitch the boring old way."

"FIRE!" Klein orders, snapping his rifle up and unloading on the beast. The second his bullets impact the beast turns towards him and runs forward, covering the gap between them surprisingly quick. A swipe of a monstrous paw sends him flying into a surprised Leafa, sending them both sprawling on the cold stone. Agil wheels around and fires his MG42 from the hip, catching the beast with a quick burst before it darts behind everyone else, using his comrades as cover. Kirito unloads a magazine from his M2 carbine before he too is swatted aside by a monstrous paw, the single swipe of those razor-sharp claws decreasing his health by a quarter.

"This thing hits like a truck!" Klein yells, picking himself up off the ground. Amy runs to his side and fires at J918, her shots chipping away at the first health bar.

"Go for the eyes!" Nguyen shouts before he gets slammed into a nearby wall, knocking him out.

"Guess it's too late to calm and tame it. What a waste of a beautiful animal…." Stonewall mumbles. "Rifle grenade! Leafa!"

"Right!" Leafa yells, emptying her en-bloc into J918 before sliding a rifle grenade onto the muzzle of her rifle. She confidently slides a blank into the chamber and lets the action slide closed before taking aim and letting it fly, the grenade striking the creature in the side. The smoke obscures the damage before the beast charges out, grabbing her around the waist in its jaws and shaking its head from side to side, quickly depleting her health pool. Finally it lets her go, flinging her across the wide open space. Asuna blazes away at it while she rushes over to Leafa, finally sliding to a stop and going to work on healing her.

"Does anyone have any antivenom?! I don't have any!" The medic yells, watching Leafa's health bar being slowly drained.

Amy jumps into action while J918 prowls around, seemingly waiting for the next person to attack. The engineer sprints across the open space, pulling a satchel out of her inventory before lightly tossing it to the medic.

It's easily caught and Asuna rifles through it, withdrawing a vial of antivenom while Klein and Amy rush J918, covered by Agil. A couple of Amy's rushed shots go low, hitting below J918 multiple times until one round strikes a front paw. J918 yelps loudly and stumbles, a larger portion of its health being chipped away.

"Paws! Aim for the paws!" Stonewall yells, adjusting his aim and hitting a rear paw.

"You got it!" Kirito shouts back as he reloads another time. Meanwhile, Pina circles around the monster, unleashing her magic bursts and occasionally biting the monster's unguarded points.

A shot hits J918 in the knee, Sinon quickly seizing another opportunity to hit the creature's right knee. Her shot strikes true, the arm dangling uselessly with pixelated blood dripping down on the ground. After one more shot from Sinon, however, its wounds start to heal. J918 roars angrily, the first health bar finally depleted.

"Good shot!" Roscoe shouts back.

Amy rushes forth and plunges her bayonet into J918's hind leg, pulling it out just in time to use her rifle to block a slash from a set of wicked claws. Jumping back she inspects the weapon just in time for it to disappear in a burst of pixelated shards.

"Son of a bitch! That was brand new!"

Klein jumps forward to defend her, but is smacked away, hitting the wall and sliding down limply.

"Its patterns are changing!" Kirito yells. J918 rushes Asuna and uses a gigantic paw to hit her over the head, driving her head into the ground, then it turns its head towards Agil and starts towards him, only to catch a shotgun blast across the muzzle. Snarling, it turns and bounds towards Dick, grabbing him by the legs in its jaws and throwing him around like a ragdoll before it throws him across the boss room. He lands on his head with a sickening crunch, then disappears in a flurry of pixels.

"Goddamnit!" Stonewall yells, "light it up!"

"Cover me!" Amy yells, opening up her inventory.

Agil is next to face J918's wrath, the beast rushing him and knocking him onto his back before pinning him down with its massive paws. It leans in and goes for the kill before Kirito slashes it across the flank with a Katana. Agil is roughly abandoned as it focuses on the swordsman, steel ringing out with each claw swipe he blocks. Stonewall rushes in and bayonets J918, followed by Liz, but the two are smacked away by a backhanded swipe from the beast. Sinon takes a shot at the rear hip and narrowly misses her mark. Kirito is knocked back by a particularly rough swipe, but manages to stay upright, preparing for another attack before he hears Amy's voice bark.

"Switch!"

Kirito jumps back, watching Amy bound forward with a Nodachi gripped firmly in both hands. Her first swing cleaves a deep gouge in the beast's right flank before she jumps back, narrowly avoiding a row of claws in return. Kirito jumps forward and carves another gouge in the left flank, then jumps back in time for Sinon to shoot the same place his blade carved open. J918 snarls in anger and rushes the sniper, deceptively quick for its size. Sinon snaps off two more shots before turning to run, but she's halted abruptly when a powerful set of jaws clamp down on her shoulder, shaking her like a dog toy prior to flinging her back at Kirito.

"Let's kill this bitch before it gets anyone else!" Amy yells, rushing forward and swinging low, taking off a hind leg just beneath the knee joint. J918 yelps loudly and wheels around, snarling and snapping at her. Stonewall grins and rushes forward, jumping on the beast's back and plunging a knife into its neck, whooping when it starts trying to throw him off.

"Get it while I have agro!" He yells, twisting the knife and raising one arm when it bucks, "Come on you beast! Gimme a damn rodeo!"

J918 snarls and shakes, then rears up on its one hind leg, falling back and body slamming Stonewall into the stone. Amy takes the opportunity to slice at the exposed underbelly, dealing a surprising amount of damage. J918 rolls upright and gets up with some difficulty, stumbling. A glance at the final health bar shows it's a cherry red, and just a sliver is remaining. Amy rushes forward again, her shadow growing more defined before it splits from following her, the two attacking J918, carving it up in multiple spots before she jumps back, her shadow rejoining. J918 stumbles weakly, swaying before it takes a step forward and collapses, eyes closing. A brief moment passes before the name above its head fades out.

CONGRATULATIONS!

The players scan around them, trying to see who was still standing and who needs help right away. Lou and Roscoe go about helping those that are lightly wounded.

"Goddammit Nguyen," the gunner groans as he produces a medpack, "Are you always that unlucky?"

Lou chuckles lightly as Nguyen comes back to life, muttering various curses in three different languages.

"Urgh… fucking hell!"

"Morning sunshine."

"Fuck you bro."

Amy slides her Nodachi into the scabbard and runs over to Klein, sliding to a stop beside him and pulling out some bandages, starting to bandage his head. The Engineer holds some smelling salts under Klein's nose and he wakes up abruptly, looking at the sword-toting engineer in surprise.

"Welcome back to the land of the living. The boss is dead."

"I saw everything. I was spectating. You were amazing." He says with a smile, cupping her cheek.

"Still got it I see?" Stonewall chuckles softly, slowly bandaging himself.

"That was impressive." Kirito says with a grin. "Good work."

"Why, thank you. I'm quite proud of it myself."

Klein grins and hugs Amy while everyone patches up their wounds, the samurai duo eventually patching their wounds and joining the rest of the party in taking stock of their ammo situation.

"I've got three belts left and a partial." Agil says with a sigh, swapping out a dimly glowing barrel for a cold one.

"Five belts. Klein and I are both still carrying one each." Amy interjects.

"Oh. thanks."

"Got four FG mags left, plenty of revolver ammo." Stonewall hums.

"Six en-blocs left."

"Here. y'all take mine, since my Garand got destroyed." Amy says with a smile, passing out en-blocs to Liz and Leafa.

"Burnt through 2 mags," Nguyen states as he pats down his equipment, "Still have 3 left. Also got my pistol with 3 mags."

Kirito, meanwhile, looks around for an exit with the help of Silica and Pina, easily finding a hidden switch that opens a disguised door at the back of the boss room.

"Here's our exit everyone!" Silica shouts back, "It looks like a tunnel."

"Any idea where this'll lead us?" Agil asks as he and the others move up.

Stonewall opens his mouth, but clicks his teeth shut just as quickly, shrugging before Amy hums. "Looks like it's leading towards the enemy lines."

"In front, middle or behind?" Nguyen speaks up, "Don't feel like getting cut to pieces the second we pop eh?"

"Man's got a point," Klein adds as well, "Would be a big waste of exp and time if we get our asses kicked when we come out."

"We'll see where we come out. Stay calm and keep your head on a swivel." Amy says before she sucks in air through her teeth and shakes her head.

"Hmm, we'll have to be careful as we exit," Kirito says, putting a hand on his chin, "Silica and I'll lead the way. Pina can spot enemy players before they find us."

"Smart idea." Tony raises a thumb.

Stonewall nods, stepping aside to let Silica pass him, clutching his rifle. Everyone files up the long staircase until they reach what looks like a cellar door. Kirito carefully opens the door, just enough so he can see out.

"Looks clear, man?" Nguyen says as he pulls out a grenade from his backpack.

"Nobody out here. There's a bunch of rubble." Kirito whispers back, easing open the door and letting the bright sunlight in.

"Put that fucking thing away before you blow us up Nguyen," Lou teases, "I still remember that one time…"

"Oh fuck you man."

"Let's get outta here and make a perimeter. Someone lobs a grenade in here and we'll all be paste." Stonewall instructs. Kirito raises a thumb and leads the way with Silica, Pina and Liz. Everyone hurriedly files out of the cellar, weapons raised. Finding the immediate area clear, they make a perimeter and give Stonewall time to figure out where they are. After some minutes looking at a map and their surroundings, the American sighs before motioning Kirito and Nguyen over.

"Good news and bad news." Stonewall talks quietly while he folds up his map. "Good news is we're near our objective. Bad news is we're behind enemy lines."

"What's our objective again?" Kirito asks, "You never fully explained it…"
"We're trying to attack a depot being used as a FARP for tanks. If we can take it out, it'll cripple their tank operations in the surrounding area and make it significantly easier for everyone else to advance."

"Don't want to rain on anyone's parade but how are we supposed to do that without tank support?" Agil asks.

"We'll figure that out when we get there."

Kirito nods in agreement as everyone exits the small cottage.

"So how far is this depot?" Kirito asks.

"Less than two clicks." Stonewall points out.

"A lovely little walk then," Klein mutters, looking around for enemies while Sinon moves ahead of them.

"I'll scout ahead," she says before disappearing into a nearby building.

"Good idea Sinon-non," Asuna replies, "I'll keep an eye on our backs with Liz and Leafa."

As if on cue, Pina began to sniff the air around her but didn't seem alarmed at anything. The group moves carefully through the city's streets, watching their every step. The occasional buzzing of mosquitoes can be heard followed by slapping sounds.

"Just had to fucking model mosquitoes, didja?" Nguyen curses as he slaps another one off his arm. "Should have fucking bought bug repellent."

"Shut up with the bitching!" Stonewall mutters back while the others snicker.

"Guy's gotta a point," Tony adds as they dart across the ruined street, running from crater to crater.

"Anyone hear anything?" Kirito asks, glancing around him and raising a hand for everyone to stop.

"Now that you mention it… yeah." Asuna replies, "I think I hear voices and engines maybe?"

Rubble and bricks crunch underfoot as Sinon gracefully drops out of the remnants of a two-story building.

"Get down everyone!" she hisses as she quickly crouches, "There's an enemy depot just beyond these houses. Seems our intel was good."

"Of course it was. My informant has a spotless record of providing info." Stonewall chuckles.

Sinon nods as she produces a map.

"They have a couple of tanks, half a dozen halftracks and roughly twenty trucks scattered all over the place. There's also a lot of ammunition and fuel lying around. Some of the halftracks look like they're being repaired though."

"Any chance we can slip in undetected?" Stonewall asks.

"Well…" Sinon puts a finger on her chin, "We'd have to be careful not to tip off their sentries but they don't look like they're expecting anyone to come in."

"In other words, they have no idea we're here," Kirito remarks smugly.

"Seems like it. If we want, we could even steal one of their tanks," Sinon quips, "They're parked all over the place and they don't seem to be careful. There's a few guard posts scattered around as well. I also saw at least one guard tower here."

She points to another point on the map.

"There's a pretty deep ditch right over here. It's behind an ammo dump. I think we can blow our way in from there."

"Ammo depots can take hours to stop blowing up. If we blow that depot, it should be a distraction." Amy informs her.

"Wha…"

"Yeah."

"Pretty big one if you ask me," Nguyen whistles out, "Better be careful not get hit by stray ordnance."

"There's also a fuel dump over here, next to these buildings," Sinon points out another spot on the map, "With the amount of barrels and cans, looks like it's their main one."

Stonewall grins and cracks his knuckles. "Let's try it."

"Think we could sabotage their tanks while we're at it?" Agil suggests, "Could help us get some time when we get out of there."

"Perfect. Booby trap some of their tanks and we can use a tank to break out and get back to friendly lines."

"Don't even need to booby trap them," Liz says, "Just rip out a few things in the engine blocks and you're good to go."

"Let's move out people. Amy, Kirito, Roscoe, and Liz, with me. The rest of you, set up in these buildings and get ready to provide suppressing fire if things go sideways. Wait for our signal to start firing."
"What's the signal gonna be?"
"You'll know it when you see it."

"I've identified some targets of opportunity," Sinon says.

"Time to work your magic," Agil says.

"Understood." the sniper vanishes back into the ruined buildings with a grin on her face.

A grin slowly forming on his face, Stonewall waves his fireteam along and readies his rifle.

"What tank are we stealing though?" Nguyen asks, "I don't want something slow as fuck."

"Don't know yet. We'll see."

"Beggars can't be choosers," Lou jokes as he follows his tank commander.

"Oh fuck you Lou."

The group sticks to the shadows as they walk the ruined buildings, the sound of distant gunfire melding with the quiet crunching of rubble underfoot. One by one, they pass through a partially intact house and pause at the front door before Amy sprints across, sliding into the ditch and waving the others across while she covers with her M1911. One by one, the assault team sprints across. With Stonewall taking Amelia's position and allowing the two engineers to move towards the depots around the rear of the FARP. Together, they both pull satchel charges out of their inventories and prep them, Liz throwing hers over the fence into the fuel depot before sprinting back past Amy. The American throws hers over the fence into the ammo depot, then sprints back towards the road, diving into the ditch after taking five steps and covering her ears.
"Fire in the hole!"
Seconds later, Liz's satchel charge explodes in the fuel depot, rupturing two fuel large fuel bowsers and lighting the fumes, then Amy's satchel charge detonates, the blast rupturing the eardrums of anyone not covering their ears within a quarter mile radius and breaking windows for hundreds of yards. The engineer laid in the ditch for a moment while the 'stunned' debuff ticked down, eventually allowing her to move again.

Confused shouting can be suddenly heard from the enemy base before machine gun fire rips into the guards at the front gate along with rifle fire.

"Looks like we kicked the hornet's nest," Nguyen remarks as another explosion rocks the base

"Let's get in there!" Stonewall yells, rushing down the ditch past an empty machine gun nest.

"I see some tanks and half-tracks over there," Roscoe yells, pointing at a parked Panther and halftrack with Stuka Rockets.

"Fuck off! I'm not driving that!" Lou shouts in horror as he sees the Panther. Nguyen rolls his eyes.

"Beggars can't be choosers, my ass!"

Amy finally shakes off the dirt covering her body and jumps up, joining Stonewall in his charge through the front gate, firing her pistol. "Liz, with me!"

"Firebug! Secure that Panther!" Stonewall yells.

"You're driving that thing!" Lou shouts at Stonewall.

"Then you're loading!" The American shouts back, throwing a grenade into a building as he sprints past. Several Pact players yell in alarm before the grenade detonates, awarding Stonewall with a multikill as he jumps onto the Panther. "Liz! You're driving!"

"Wha?!"

"Just get in there!" Stonewall shouts. The engineer awkwardly crawls into the driver's position. Nguyen and Lou climb onto the turret.

"Oh fuck!" Nguyen shouts before shooting his Thompson inside the tank.

"You good?!" Stonewall yells, emptying his FG-42 in the direction of two Pact mechanics trying to fight the fire raging in the fuel depot.

"There was a guy inside the fucking thing!" Lou shouts as Nguyen checks inside.

"CLEAR!"
"Liz, start the fucking tank!" Stonewall shouts into the open hatch as a burst of automatic fire pings off the turret mantlet next to him. "Sinon! I need a gunner!"

The sniper gracefully leaps out of a nearby building. At the same time, Nguyen swings open the hatch to the radio operator's position and slides in.

Sinon waves at Stonewall before gracefully leaping on and getting inside the turret. The American forcibly crams Lou into the commander's hatch before climbing in and closing the hatch.

"Fuck who the hell designed this thing?!" the bulky player says, trying to figure out how to load the Panther's gun, "Did they use midgets for this?!"

"Don't know. Don't care. Load the gun." Stonewall snips, "Sinon, grab that right hand crank and traverse left. Take a quick second and get used to the controls."

Lou swears at the unexpected movement, almost dropping a shell he was awkwardly holding.

"Calisse!"

"C'mon Princess. Sometime today please. We got tons of targets and no ammo in the gun!" Stonewall snaps at before peering out his periscopes. "Nguyen! Get that fucking bow gun loaded!"

"On it!" Nguyen exclaims as he racks the bolt on the MG34, "Bow gun ready!"

"Bow gunner, infantry front! Cut those fuckers down!"

The machine gun roars to life as Nguyen cuts them down, clearing the road in front of them. Rifle shots bounce off the Panther's front as it roars forward. Nguyen quickly puts on the radio's headset.

{All units, be advised, the farp is under attack! Withdraw heavy units and cut them off!}

{Requesting air support on my-}

"I think we really pissed them off guys!" Nguyen shouts excitedly.

{This is Konig one-six. We're on our way now.}

{Panther 212 returning to the farp.}

{Panther 304, do you copy?}

Nguyen's eyes widen in surprise as he turns his head.

"Stonewall! Can you check what's the number on the side of the tank?!" he shouts before the same message plays over. The American lifts himself out of the hatch and looks at the number before a burst of rifle fire sends him diving back inside.

"304!"

"Oh fuck…"

{Panther 304 are you still at the farp?}

"This is Panther 304. We are currently experiencing mech-"

{Panther 304 has been stolen by the enemy!}

{What? Enact emergency protocol...}

"Well there goes that plan..."

"Gunner, cover the others while they steal that halftrack." Stonewall orders, "Loader, HE." Sinon gently traverses the turret towards a machine gun crew and presses her foot down on the coax trigger, hosing them down with short controlled bursts before she sends the HE round downrange, obliterating the sandbags.

Outside, the others bound across the street and hop in a functional halftrack, starting the engine in a hurry before Stonewall nods in satisfaction. "Liz, let's get the hell outta here. I think we've overstayed our welcome."

"Careful with the engine there," Nguyen warns Liz.

"Why? Engine sounds fine to me," she replies as she pushes the tank forward down a street.

"Panthers were known to have engine and transmission issues," he explains quickly, "Don't try anything fancy!"

"Why would I do that?" she asks, slightly annoyed.

"Just don't red-line it and we'll be fine." Stonewall says with a grin. "Driver, Flank speed."

"You got it!"

As the tank lurches forward, Stonewall takes an AP round from Lou and set it in his lap as he watches through his periscopes, the loader picking up another round.

"Sinon, if we run into a heavy tank, I want you to donk the shot into the ground about a foot ahead of their tank." Stonewall instructs.

"Understood," she replies calmly.

It isn't long before Stonewall finds just what he'd feared, a King tiger turning onto their road, blocking the way back to friendly lines.

"Gunner, tank front! Engage!"

Two heartbeats pound in Stonewall's chest before Sinon grasps the trigger with two fingers.

"Target acquired."

"Fire!"

"On the way!"

A/N:

I hope you all enjoyed it. Sorry for the wait. We're losing inspiration to write this but we've got enough juice in us for one or two more chapters. Let us know what you think. - SirStonewall

Super sorry about the lack of updates… been working on other projects such a Salamanders army for 40k and playing Factorio. We're gonna try and wrap 'The Armored Cavalry' as well. -Goodalwayswins98