After recovering Jiira it also became clear that he wasn't seriously hurt, but Gaussburg would be out of action for a while. Similarly, Heem-Lyeh was experiencing a dissociation attack and was sent back to the hospital with Gaussburg. As absurd as it sounds, this left Bjornlöf with seniority and responsibility, which he wasn't too happy to accept. Alexander was himself slightly injured, and asked Fuub for more pilots, since so many of theirs were incapable of continuing the operation. Fuub relayed the information to the rest of the active mercenary companies and told them that he would try to send at least one substitute.
Handling the communications, Gunther read through recent bulletins. The agent named "Crane" had apparently been unable to reach Mihail Nemsov and also complained that he had not been paid or given better instructions or information for a long time. The message ended with the note that the cell would be deactivated until further notice. Another note was from agent "Gannet", who stated that she was about to be discovered and needed extraction from Feoul inner city. This note was accompanied by a secure return address for response and a desperate plea for immediate response. Gunther discussed both matters with Alexander, and they resolved to address this as soon as possible, possibly assigning the task for the serbians if necessary.
Meanwhile, Jiira didn't think too much of his condition and desperate for some gear, set up to the battlefield to salvage something for himself. The most suitable target was the Jagermech, which had not suffered serious damage, and as Jiira was extremely crafty with old human technology, it wasn't too difficult to throw out the unconscious pilot and hotwire the console. This couldn't have happened at a better time, either, as Entropy started receiving artillery fire from afar.
The players were perhaps too optimistic with their assumptions about controlling the battlefield, as their salvage operations could not be completed without problems. Keeping the dropship on the ground was too risky as the artillery started zeroing in, and Gunther did the only reasonable call, immediately ordering the vessel to take off. He only waited for the engineers to run in, which left both Ivan and Jiira on the battlefield, as they were too far to reach the ship in time. Fortunately for both, their mechs were mostly intact and ready to fight, when a familiar Mist Lynx appeared on the horizon.
No longer spotting the dropship for the artillery, the Mist lynx proceeded to perform a small skirmish against the two pilots. The encounter lasted for less than a minute, during which the mech attempted to stay out of the effective range of both pilots and snipe them with its single ERPPC. However, this didn't work too well, as the anti-aircraft configuration in the Jagermech allowed superior range. After making a single poke and trying to eliminate Ivan, the Mist Lynx decided to retreat.
While the skirmish was ending, both Shadow Flare and Iron Pulse reported that they were heavily engaged in their fronts. Both were requesting information about the players' progress and possible relief. Gunther was forced to admit that they had been intercepted and stopped, but this was unacceptable to Fuub, who immediately ordered them to resume their assault towards Feoul. Before the end of the day, they were to reach the loading yard for the industrial district and cut off the supply route towards the city, whatever the cost. Fuub also reported that they would only have limited air cover, as while Shadow Flare reported that they had succeeded in capturing the western one, the eastern air defense platform was still intact and Iron Pulse was retreating west. Mindful for the agent's plight, Gunther requested for stealth vehicles for the extraction operation, and Fuub assured them that one would be on its way.
This forced the players to choose mechs in reserve in order to continue and leave their current forces for repairs. Fortunately for the players, Lietnutant Charles Harlton from Iron Pulse reached them around this time and reported that Iron Pulse would be bringing a mobile field base with them. Entropy and the field base would act as the forward outpost when they reached the industrial district.
Shadow Flare reached the district first, which probably spared Black Nebula from total annihilation, as the defensive forces on the loading yard were light. Once again, the knight in the Mist Lynx was there to hamper the offensive, but this time Josef made a fast advance and managed to shoot off the right arm which housed the TAG. It was questionable whether the mech had artillery support available anyway, but the loss of the arm and further damage from Josef forced it to retreat anyway, especially as Ivan harassed the mech from the other flank. This victory was minor and short-sighted, though, as Josef got swamped by tanks and was forced to eject, while Jiira, Gunther and Charles Harlton were trying to deal with enemy Rusalka fighters. Eventually Ivan had to give up chasing the Mist Lynx, as the fight escalated and ended up going way too close for comfort.
After destroying Josef's Warhammer, all four tanks advanced towards the mechs, which were constantly retreating and trying to stay out of their optimum range, while two enemy Crusaders tried to zone Charles and eliminate Gunther. The critical point came when Ivan forced the Crusaders into melee combat before the tanks managed to down Gunther. It's safe to say that Jiira's anti-air configuration and superior range saved the day, as he himself downed both of the aircraft and three of the tanks mere seconds before they were able to tear down his lancemates.
Behind them, both Iron Pulse and the players' own supply forces were approaching the loading yard. It would serve as the beachhead for the assault towards Feoul, but first they would have to address Gannet and her troubles.