I wonder if some sort of protect command should be put in place during combat situations. For example, typing "protect x" will protect x person, making most of the attacks aimed at them hit you instead, kind of like how grappling works. The protected can't attack but they have an added boost towards fleeing. The protector can only parry attacks.
Could add some flavor text as well, such as:
'Y swings his weapon at X, but you step forward and intercept the attack, taking it on your shoulder.'
'Y takes a shot at X, but you push X down and shield X, blood flying as the bullet rips through your back.'
Just a suggestion.