1166: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters One, Two, and Three

Title: John and the Dragon Rider
Author: Silent Archangel
Media:  Video Games / Books
Topic: Halo / Eragon
Genre:  Adventure / Romance
URL: Chapter One
Critiqued by AdmiralSakai and Gul

Hello again, everyone out there in Libraryland, and I hope this post finds you well. Gul’s been torturing me with more of his old Army stories-

“I prefer the term ‘enhanced interrogation’, actually.”

– so rather than listen to him describe for the eighty-sixth time how he lead his entirely fabricated unit to victory against a bunch of Cerberus Commandos he made up to further his political career, I’ve decided to take on not just a Halo Stufic, not even just a Halo crossover Stufic, but a Halo crossover Stufic with Eragon.

DCB posted about it over in the suggestions page, and since I was actually kind of a fan of Eragon back when I was in the sixth grade and really didn’t know much better, I figured I’d take it on. It’s got something like 20 chapters to it, but since they are extremely short for the most part I figure I’ll be getting through two or three a day. Today, for instance, we will be dealing with not only the introduction and the ‘fic’s little splurt of a first chapter, but Two and Three as well.

“That sounds surprisingly well-thought-out, Sakai. Akin to ripping off a lump of congealed medigel quickly so as to avoid prolonging the discomfort. But what, exactly, is this ‘Eragon’ series about?”

Well, it’s a very long and somewhat poorly-received fantasy series depicting the rise of a Dragon Rider named Eragon and his dragon Saphira from simple farm boy to leader of the rebellion against King Galbatorix’s evil Empire. Along the way a disproportionate amount of screen time is given to Roran Stronghammer, Eragon’s resistance-soldier cousin, and he picks up an elf lady named Arya who doesn’t really do much. If this all sounds painfully generic to you… that’s because it kind of is. The books are long and sort of purple, but not not really much on substance. Basically, imagine what would happen if Gul here tried to write human fantasy.

“I resent that more than you could ever know. But it does mean that this is probably going to hurt you a lot more than it hurts me, and there can’t be too much wrong with that. So, let’s begin.”

As for the Halo angle, I’m assuming by now you are familiar with the basics and the game’s three core protagonists- John-117, an augmented human supersoldier; Cortana, an AI that serves as his in-helmet mission control and prosthetic sense of humor; and the Arbiter, a disgraced Sangheili warrior who lead his people into a shotgun alliance with the humans in order to escape the murderous retribution of his old bosses in the theocratic alien Covenant. More basic information on the Human-Covenant War and the Halo fandom in general can be found in the introduction to my True Meaning Of Christmas riff, or on the Halo Nation links scattered throughout this post.

We begin this time with the ‘fic’s summary:

A sequel to Halo 3, with a slight twist. Arbiter and the Chief is transported into the world of Eragon. Now they must try to survive long enough to brag about their guns, and blow up some of the Empire’s pathetic cannon fodder. Non-canon/bordering crack.

There’s a number of red flags here. Seeing the primary enemy faction reduced to ‘pathetic cannon fodder’ so that the protagonists can ‘brag about their guns’, for instance. That, and ‘bordering on crack’, which is probably a better description of the author’s physical state while writing than a statement about the story itself.”

That, and the prologue’s description as “a sequel to Halo 3” already tells me what the crossover method is going to be without even looking at the rest of the ‘fic:

You see, about half of Halo 3 takes place on or near a titanic Forerunner megastructure known as the Ark, which is located well outside of the traversable galaxy and can only be accessed via a giant wormhole-like Portal with its other end just above Earth’s surface. The final mission of Halo 3 involves firing an unfinished Halo ring above the Ark in order to prevent two or three distinct galaxy-ending disasters, and the process not only tears apart the ring but also destabilizes the Portal itself. John, the Arbiter, and Cortana scramble to the last ship out, and are inside the Portal when it goes- the resulting collapse gets the Arbiter and the Dawn‘s bridge to Earth where he is rescued by UNSC forces, but John, Cortana, and the aft section are spat out at an unknown point midway along the path:

It’s a powerful, bittersweet ending, and it also leaves our protagonists in a completely arbitrary location thanks to poorly-understood physics- therefore, it’s no surprise that all four of the crossover ‘fics DCB sent me used the collapsing Portal as a means of punting the Dawn‘s aft section into some other story entirely. I suppose there are worse ways to do a crossover… but we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves here. There’s still the first “chapter”, if it can even be called that, to get through first.

Author’s Note

New story: John and the Dragon Rider

Well, ‘new’ in 2010, anyway.”

Okay, first of all, Arbiter, Master Chief, and Cortana are on half of the Forward Unto Dawn, but, there is a slight malfunction in the slipspace drive that teleports them into the world of Eragon.

Again, commas are, not, a general, purpose, sentence glue.

That, and a portal a hundred kilometers in diameter violently disintegrating due to the destabilization of a megastructure that is itself over a thousand times that size is not exactly what I would call ‘a slight malfunction in the slipspace drive’…”

And then they start to kick some Empire ass!

So, here’s the deal, this fic will have almost nothing but blood, kicking ass, more kicking ass, and badassness. Everybody loves badassness.

No, no, badassitude is sort of like ketchup on a cheeseburger. It can make a good thing even more palatable, but it’s just not very satisfying on its own. Unless it’s HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, of course. But somehow, I sense this ‘fic will have a distinct lack of groinsaws.

“And, despite the Empire not actually being particularly evil in the Eragon books themselves, the author has already made it abundantly clear where his particular loyalties lie.”

So, if you came for action, adventure, blood, and scenes too gory to be put into a picture, DON’T CLICK AWAY!

“’… please?’”

If you came for a story, on the other hand, you should probably just leave now.

“As for the comparative tactical analysis… this is actually one of the few crossovers where it would be possible to say that one universe legitimately completely overpowers another. Ultra-sophisticated shielded armor and powerful kinetic weapons are simply going to prevail over swords and arrows every time, up to and even potentially past the ratio of forces where soldiers cease to be threatening because they are soldiers and simply become mass. If the Halo characters are cut off from their world, securing more ammunition and replacement parts may become an issue, but UNSC technology is extremely durable and well-supplied, so we could be looking at a timeframe of years or decades before that happens. Finally, while in another fantasy setting magic would provide a legitimate means for the locals to overcome outsiders in a way the UNSC could not easily counter, magic is so rare and poorly-understood in the Eragon world that it’s not terribly much of an issue.”

That little Author’s Note being the extent of Chapter 1, we immediately end up in Chapter 2, which is called “Fall of the Dawn”.

Author’s Note: I do not own Halo or Eragon, I just enjoy writing. And also, this takes place after Brisingr so, yeah, enjoy.

Ok, this isn’t a terrible Author’s Note, it’s just… I dunno, kind of phoned in. If you as the author are not enthusiastic about your writing, your readers won’t be either.

The last thing John saw before going into cryo was Cortana’s hologram and the Arbiter standing beside her.

Whoa, whoa, whoa…

The Arbiter made it through the Portal. He should be on Earth, finalizing peace agreements and preparing to return to Sanghelios, not floating around in the intergalactic void with the others.

He sighed and closed his eyes, “It’s finally over.” Arbiter turned away and walked to the armory of the Dawn. He was free, a concept he never knew when he joined the Covenant. He was free of his shame. He was free from his conflicts. He ripped off his armor; it was the last thing that bound him to his past. As the last piece of armor clattered to the ground, Arbiter could feel the weight of the past being lifted from his shoulders. He looked into a mirror, and he saw a new elite, different, changed, free.

“Ok, this isn’t great, but aside from Tarzan grammar I suppose backing away from his Covenant past is a reasonable character path for the Arbiter to take. Although he seems remarkably sanguine about being trapped on half a human frigate in an unknown location where it is very possible he will never see another of his kind ever again.”

Tarzarbiter’d better pray those cryo pods work on Sangheili physiology, too. Otherwise, he’s going to run out of air before the rescue ships get to him.

He smiled in contentment and quickly changed into a simple outfit consisted of a shirt and pants made for elites.

Which are a thing that exist on any old human ship… why, exactly?

Just be glad he opted for both a shirt and pants. I for one could do without a repeat of the introductory cutscene of The Arbiter here.”

… actually, I do have a reason why such garments would be on a UNSC warship- for the handling of Sangheili POWs.

This is going to be another ‘fic that presents the humans and Elites as one big happy unit, isn’t it?”

A rumble shook the entire ship; the arbiter ran to the Dawn’s bridge and faced the holopedestal.

“What’s happening?”

Cortana’s hologram flashed into existence. “I don’t know, there may be something wrong with the Dawn’s slipspace drive, we’re going to make a blind jump!”

Spontaneously making highly dangerous FTL jumps would be a pretty damn significant malfunction!”

I am becoming less and less convinced that Silent Archangel ever actually saw the ending of Halo 3: This sounds like the Dawn is fully intact and not in any way fleeing an exploding megastructure or two.

“What do you suggest we do?”

“Hold on to something! Secure yourself in the emergency safety pods!”

… whatever the hell those are…

Arbiter sat awkwardly in the seat, buckled his seat belt and held on tight to the handlebars.

“Slipspace jump in 5…4…3…2…1…” and everything went black.

… Shit.

John could feel himself being awaken from cryonic sleep, but when he opened his eyes, it was a different scene. The Dawn was in shambles; wires were hanging from the walls and ceilings, and his cryo pod glass was cracked. He retrieved Cortana’s data chip and inserted it into his helmet.

Thereby unexpectedly depriving the Dawn of central control and ending their Slipspace jump earlier than planned inside of a super-massive black hole. The end.

He felt Cortana’s presence enter his mind.

“What happened?”

“It must’ve been an unstable engine reactor that triggered that blind slipspace jump.”

Once again, this is a very major design flaw. The Dawn‘s Slipspace drive is now about as far from fail-safe as it is possible to get aside from releasing Flood infection forms if all access plates are not screwed shut tightly enough. Completely unlike a Rillek Heavy Industries product, each of which is built with pride according to the highest engineering standards of the Turian-”

Gul….

Oh. Right. Sorry.”

“Where’s the Arbiter?”

“He’s in one of the bridge’s emergency safety pods.”

The Master Chief rushed to the bridge, to see Arbiter, not in his armor, stumbling out of a safety pod.

Yeah, back in Basic I had mornings like that too.”

“Arbiter, are you alright?”

“I have not sustained any damage.”

Which seems like a kind of odd thing for him to say, since he’s aware he’s not a machine. I’ll give points for not having Elites who say “phooey” and so forth, but still, wouldn’t “I am unhurt” or something be more appropriate?

“Cortana, where are we?”

“My calculations report that we are near a planet that can sustain life, we have lost both thrusters, and we are in the planet’s gravitational pull.”

In other words, we’re on a direct collision course with the plot.”

“Arbiter, do you mind suiting up? We might have to clear the area of any natives or Insurrectionists.”

I love how his first two potential targets are an indigenous population (who could be perfectly friendly, and would make this a shooting First Contact to boot) or Insurrectionists (human rebels who have negotiated with the UNSC and teamed up against the Covenant in the past) as opposed to, you know, an actual omnicidal threat like the Flood.

Arbiter nodded and took a walk to what’s left of the Dawn’s armory.

Blast, and we’re out of temporal sickness bags, too.”

It’s the deja vu effect- people forget they saw the tense shift, think they are now also seeing it, and wind up taking twice as many bags as they should.

He was waiting for this moment, the moment when he was to be called to battle yet again, but he never imagined it would be this soon. He stood before something draped with a sheet of fabric. He removed the sheet to uncover a full set of golden elite armor, his armor.

Which is another perfectly normal thing to find on a human ship of the line, no sirree, it’s not like the Dawn‘s crew were looting dead Sangheili for trinkets, not at all…

He donned the shiny new suit, he was no longer Thel ‘Vadam the Arbiter, he was Thel ‘Vadam the Supreme Commander, and he liked it.

Thel ‘Vadam, the Supreme Commander with nobody around to command, that is.”

Cortana spoke through the loudspeakers.

“We’re coming in hot, brace for impact.”

00000

… what was that?”

I dunno, some kind of counter for how long they’ve been planetside, maybe? That, or a panel of judges who weren’t very impressed with the ‘fic.

Eragon was soaring high above the world on Saphira. Today, something was wrong; the sky was black and red instead of the usual blue. He predicts this was the work of Galbatorix.

Probably as good a guess as any in Eragonland…

Then suddenly a blinding flash of light and scorching heat hotter than the Hadarac Desert exploded all around him. Through all of this he caught a glimpse of a ball of flaming inferno streaking towards the earth.

Yeah, those purple prose storms can get pretty nasty sometimes.

Hold on tight Eragon!” Saphira cried.

Eragon gripped the saddle and held on for dear life as they both hurtled through the air.

00000

The Master Chief and the Arbiter stepped onto the soft earth ground.

Oh, those zero-zero-zero thingies are supposed to be scene breaks! That’s fine, except, well, they’re very inconsistently applied, and also because they just kind of look terrible.

“I do not recognize this colony, or its surrounding orbital star formations.” Cortana reported, “But I did pick up activity on the surface, be careful.”

“Isn’t that why I brought this?” John hefted a rocket launcher.

So I guess Cortana doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to tell him what kind of activity, since that rocket launcher will work just as well against a Flood Key Mind as it would against a crashed Phantom with two wounded Grunts onboard.

Cortana rolled her eyes “Men and their toys…”

Boys and their fanfiction…”

Then, several small red dots appeared on her long range radar.

“John, I’m picking something up on radar, it’s coming towards us.”

A small thing, but that device in the bottom right corner of John’s HUD is called a motion tracking sensor, not radar.

John and Thel readied their weapons, expecting brutes and grunts to come into view, but instead, a group of horsemen with pikes and swords approached them. The leader approached them and said jauntily, “You will bow down to King Galbatorix, or suffer his infinite wrath!”

Too stupid to live in five… four… three…”

Arbiter immediately said without thinking, “We will bow down to no king! We are free to do what we wish.”

The soldiers narrowed his eyes and sneered, “Then die a slow, painful death.”

two… one… zero.”

Just as the group was about to charge, John fired his rocket launcher and it resulted in an explosion of blood, guts and dismembered body parts.

Great, this is going to be one of those “action” ‘fics where the average human has several oil drums’ full of pressurized blood in them, isn’t it?

John caught the head of a soldier and slowly crushed it in his powerful hands, blood and brain fluids dripping down into the soil.

Ok, Spartans have dramatically enhanced vision, reflexes, and physical strength, so it’s at least plausible the Chief physically could catch a severed head as an explosion propelled it by him, but why would he ever do this? He’s pretty emotionless about most combat engagements, and never does much of anything to fallen enemies. He scares a Grunt in Halo 2, but that’s about the extent of it.

In my home continuum, at my orders the Homeguard occasionally did do some rather grisly things to the slavers, pimps and other scum that came into our hands, but that was to set an example for others who were considering victimizing the peace-loving workers of the Turian Hierarchy. The soldier here is already quite dead, and there’s nobody around to watch but the Arbiter.”

The explosion of blood stained the Chief’s armor a menacing red; it even frightened Thel to see the Chief in this manner.

I should certainly hope so!”

After another hour of walking,

There are so many problems with that.

One: I can buy scouting the perimeter of their crash site, but why go in one direction for a solid hour? Your top priority should be to get comms and hopefully engines working again so that you can get home. If you get back from chasing the plot to discover that a Kig-Yar salvage operation made off with your ride, it’s going to be your own damn fault.

Two: You just got attacked by a bunch of Ren Faire rejects brandishing polearms, and are bringing a rocket launcher. A weapon with a maximum capacity of six rockets, intended for medium-range combat against hardened targets or tight groups of infantry. Due to the extreme inferiority of their body armor most any weapon in the Dawn’s armory is going to drop these guys with one solid hit, and since they have to get into extremely close range to even stand a chance of hurting you accuracy is much less of an issue than against a regular opponent. A weapon that could fire very short bursts and possessed a large ammo capacity- such as an MA5-series assault rifle, or perhaps a Covenant Carbine– would be a much better choice.

Three: You just got attacked by a bunch of Ren Faire rejects brandishing polearms. That is an intensely strange experience for Space Marines, and surely warrants at least a bit of discussion or examination of what’s left of the bodies. If these guys do turn out to have been just a pair of extreme LARPers who thought it would be funny to stay in character when a Spartan showed up, the UNSC Marine Corps is going to have a lot of explaining to do.

the two were approached by another group of horsemen, but this time, they were carrying a different banner.

Well, that rocket launcher does have two chambers…”

“Let me handle this.” Thel said to the Chief.

“You handled the last one so great too.” John mumbled.

I should like to mention that Thel ‘Vadam is not the one with the blood-and-brains-splattered armor here.”

Again, the leader of the group stepped forward, for some reason, he was carrying a hammer.

Good for him, I guess?

“My name is Roran Stronghammer, state your business.”

“We seek refuge from the king, we can help you fight.” Thel replied.

Oh, hi Roran. You’re a Stu too, but you’re nowhere near as bad as your cousin Eragon.

Also, at first I thought Thel was being awfully quick to throw in his lot against a king he knows nothing about in front of people who for all he knows work for that king, but I’ve since grown to appreciate his trial-and-error approach to diplomacy. If taking that tack here doesn’t work, the Chief will just erase all evidence of it (explosively), and he can try some other broad, sweeping pronouncement on the next group to come up to their landing site.”

Roran pondered this for a moment, then said, “Follow me to our camp, we will discuss your terms there, and tell your friend to come too.”

01

♫Three of these things belong together♫

 

♫Three of these things are kind of the same♫

♫Three of these things are kind of the same♫

 

♫But one of these things JUST DOESN’T BELONG HERE♫

♫But one of these things JUST DOESN’T BELONG HERE♫

 

♫And now it's time to play our game!♫

♫And now it’s time to play our game!♫

Roran’s reaction to coming across a fully-armored Spartan, and an Elite, wandering around in the medieval countryside? “Durrrr… okey dokey!”

John rose to his full height and stared down at Roran. Roran was unnerved by the huge giant that stood before him.

What was he doing before, kneeling in a pit or something?”

You know, I was too busy dealing with the rest of the stupid to notice it before now, but we have been given absolutely no description whatsoever of where the crash site is. I sort of mentally filled in a Fantasy Forest here, but they could literally anywhere. Or, more likely, nowhere.

Roran ordered two of his men to dismount their horses and give them to Thel and John.

Leaving the two soldiers to… walk, I guess.

So, perfectly in character with his small-unit leadership abilities in the books?”

Pretty much.

“These things can’t carry us.” John said.

Roran looked confused. “Of course you can. Just sit atop that saddle and…”

“My friend means, our armor is very heavy, about five times heavier than yours.” Thel interrupted. “We will go on foot.”

John nodded.

Well, John’s is. Elite armor is not powered, so it wouldn’t be abnormally heavy or it would restrict mobility on the battlefield. Then again, if an Elite tried to get on a horse, I don’t imagine the horse would be too happy about it.

“By the way, welcome to the Varden army.” Roran said.

We’re all kind of dumb here.”

00000

Well, not a bad start, I think…

Well, you think wrong.

I promise you, there will be more blood and gore in the next chapter.

I’d like a little less gore and a bit more sense.

“Chapter 3 is called ‘Base Camp’, and it opens with an author’s note apologizing for the story’s irregular update schedule. Then…”

00000

John was expecting to see a full military base complete with gymnasium, cafeteria, armory, and concrete bunkers.

“… because everyone knows that facilities like this are the natural habitat of preindustrial cavalrymen.

I guess the scene dividers aren’t the only zeroes in this ‘fic.

But, all he could see were tents, a lot of tents. ‘When they say base camp, I wasn’t looking to see a sea of tents,

“Because apparently John never bothered to learn about any of the refugee camps the UNSC set up for colonists whose planets the Covenant glassed.”

, and it’s hardly defendable in that position.’

Roran interrupted John’s thoughts, “Welcome to the Varden’s base of operations. I’m sure Nasuada would like to see you.”

Both of these conversations make perfect sense, but both are completely divorced from each other. In the hands of a more competent writer, I could see this as deadpan humor (“This isn’t a defensible position”, “I’m sure Nasuada would loooove to see you.”), but as it is the characters from different franchises seem to be weirdly causally decoupled from each other, like they aren’t fully aware the others exist.

“Who is Nasuada?” Arbiter asked. Roran looked puzzled, “Nasuada is the leader of the Varden army, and she is widely known for her participation in the battle of the Burning Plains.”

Blah blah continuity porn blah. The Varden are the resistance fighters against King Galbatorix and his Evil Empire of Evilness, and the Battle of the Burning Plains was a big fight between them where Nasuada didn’t really express much leadership. She doesn’t have much character other than “leader figure” in the books, so there’s not much for Silent Archangel to warp here.

00000

Nasuada sat in her baking tent, expecting two “strange” visitors.

… I suppose because the cooks were busy making bread in her conference tent?”

She had received a messenger from Roran’s squad informing her of two new additions to the army, two strange additions.

*ALARM BLARES*

Goddammit. I hope the engineers can come up with a solution in time…

*DRD assault teams are unable to clear the piles of dead engineers.*

Not how I would have done it, but effective…”

‘As long as they can fight,’ Nasuada thought, ‘we are going to need all the help we can get in order to win this war.’ Her tent flap opened and Roran entered, followed by two hulking figures who looked like they could snap her neck with little to no effort, one wearing green armor and the other wearing golden armor. “Kneel before Nasuada, the leader of the Varden army.” One of the guards said.

This is still really weird.Thel ‘Vadam, snake-like neck, quad mandibles and all, is just a “figure” in this story.

It’s like the characters are psychologically incapable of recognizing anything at all unusual about their situation.”

John and Thel glanced at each other and did as they were told. Nasuada spoke with a commanding tone with a hint of tiredness. “Who are you and where do you come from?” Thel stood up first, “I am Thel ‘Vadam, supreme commander of the Covenant Separatists.” Then John got to his feet, “I’m Master Chief petty officer John 117 of the UNSC army.”

Nasuada whispered something to one of her guards, he nodded. The guard walked towards them, “I will escort you to your tents.”

Because everything you just said makes no sense to me at all, and I am absolutely certain of the righteousness of these factions I have never heard of before in my life.”

Also, John is with the Navy, not the Army.

As the group walked out, Eragon entered and for a moment, John’s and Eragon’s eyes met. Eragon was unsettled by the fact that he couldn’t see his face. He walked towards Nasuada, “I don’t trust those two, they give me a very bad feeling.”

Oh, hi there Canon Stu!

“Eragon, you know we are losing, we are going to need all the help we can get.” Said Nasuada, exasperated. “Well, allow me to examine their minds, to put the men at ease.” Nasuada sighed, “Fine, do what you have to do.”

Yeah, in the Eragonverse all magic-users (including Eragon, naturally) are also telepaths. Don’t ask me why, it made just as much sense to me the first time I read it.

Eragon walked to the green armored soldier’s tent first. Just as he was about to enter, John emerged in full battle armor, towering over Eragon. “Nasuada has given me permission to examine your mind for any sign that you may be one of the Empire’s spies.” John continued to stare down at him, then nodded. Before Eragon started John spoke, “Just a fair warning, you may not like what you see.”

Again, despite telepathy being extremely rare in the Halo universe, the Chief takes it all in stride.

I think we need a counter:”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 4

Oh, and one would assume that since he shares headspace with Cortana, of whom he is intensely protective, the Chief wouldn’t be so sanguine about being brain-scanned.

As Eragon slipped into his mind he saw horrible memories, the kidnapping, the torturous training, the horrible battles he witnessed, the pain, the excruciating pain. Eragon searched for a way out but he could not he was lost in the terrible nightmare, he was assaulted by a torrent of memories of dying people, and more pain, so much pain…

Ok, either Eragon remembers things the Chief himself does not, Cortana did this to him deliberately because she didn’t like his being there, or the Chief is turning into a massive angstbucket.

Anyone interested in a bet as to which?

I didn’t think so.”

Actually, for that matter, why doesn’t Eragon notice Cortana sharing the Chief’s headspace? The only other telepathic entity in Halo, the Gravemind, detects her presence immediately.

Eragon woke in the green armored soldier’s tent with a throbbing headache.

And the slashers rejoiced!

Saphira poked her head in the tent. ‘Are you alright Eragon? What happened? If somebody hurt you, I will rip them to pieces!’ “I’m alright Saphira; I just looked too deep into somebody’s mind.” Saphira looked troubled, ‘All those disturbing memories, was that him?’ “Yes.” Saphira looked even more troubled, ‘We must watch this one, his mind is very… alien.’ “I still have one more to examine, he is an alien.”

Which is totally a thing that I, a semi-literate farm boy from a Medieval Britain knockoff, am familiar enough with to refer to by name.

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 5

I will accompany you this time, whenever I turn my back; you’re always getting yourself into trouble.’ She said with a growl.

00000

Thel could feel the stares of other men in the cafeteria. He was nibbling on an apple quietly,

You know what, yeah, actually. Looks like an apple'd fit right down there…

You know what, yeah, actually. Looks like an apple’d fit right down there…

when a human approached him with a great beast with shining sapphire scales and wings following.

Actually giving the ‘fic a pass on this. Thel has little to no experience with Earth animals, and so has no way of knowing that dragons are abnormal.

Thel jumped to his feet with his hand on his energy sword handle. “Nasuada has given permission to examine your mind to tell if you wish us any ill will.” “I think I’d like to keep my mind’s privacy.” Thel spat. “Then I will just have to examine you by force.” As if cued, the dragon leapt forth and pinned Thel to the ground.

Whoa, what? This got horrible really, really quickly.

I hope I don’t have to explain to anyone exactly why holding a sapient being down and forcing telepathic contact on them is wrong. A subordinate of mine had a very similar experience with an asari interrogator on Omega, and she became my subordinate after I got her treatment for the resulting psychological trauma and helped her put her life back together. Eragon, if you try to pull a stunt like that ever again, I’ll send Captain Argovigian into that ‘fic of yours and have you skinned alive on the Extranet news, do you understand?”

Saphira yelped as she felt somebody pull her tail with immense force. Saphira turned to confront the attacker. John jumped and landed on Saphira’s neck, holding her head down with the weight of him and his armor.

Oh.”

Good for him then, although I’d say it’s less about weight than leverage- dragons don’t seem like they’d have a lot of muscle dedicated to lifting their heads, so it’s probably like how you can hold a crocodile’s jaws shut with very little difficulty.

Thel jumped to his feet and activated his energy sword. Eragon murmured something in the Ancient Language and then John and Thel both froze. Saphira squirmed and rolled but she could not lift her head with the massive weight on her neck. Eragon whispered another spell, and John slumped and fell off Saphira’s neck with a loud thud.

Nope.

Ok, we’ve got an actual magic-user here in the form of Eragon, so despite their massive technological advantage John and the Arbiter are in legitimate trouble.

Saphira reared her head and prepared to burn her attacker to a crisp. “Wait,” came Nasuada’s voice. “Eragon, what is the meaning of this?” “Nasuada, this one refuses to let his mind be examined.” Thel eyed Eragon hatefully. “Well, you can now, can’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Then get it done.” Then, she left.

I bet that magic can’t stop a shotgun to the face, can it prettyboy?”

John rose, “Why did you attack my friend?” “His mind was to be examined, he refused.” “So, let him be.” “It is necessary…” John cut him off, “Well, you “examined” my mind, so there is no need to examine his.” Eragon sighed and whispered another spell. Thel could move again. He deactivated his energy sword and stormed towards the crash site, and John walked towards the sparring arena.

Ok, granted, this does open up the possibility that the Arbiter is an Empire sleeper agent using John as an unwitting cover, but… really, the alternative is worse.

00000

The man in charge of the sparring arena arranged who fought who.

“Really now?”

And John was to fight a big man named Thor,

01

Ok, John’s armor system was developed in something called Project MJOLNIR, which is named after the hammer wielded by the Norse god Thor. I have no idea if Silent Arseangel knew this and was trying to be cute, or if he just thought the name sounded cool. Either way, it’s stupid.

wielding a huge sword and shield. John didn’t need any weapons; he had his personal shielding and brute strength with him.

They let him fight in full powered armor?

“Prepared to be humiliated by the might of Thor!” the man taunted. John remained quiet as they circled each other, waiting for each other to attack. John’s silence made Thor nervous.

Big, but obviously not too bright.”

Suddenly and without warning,

and from behind,

John rushed with blinding speed and struck the man square in the chest, making a huge dent in his chest plate and sent him flying across and out of the arena. Everybody stopped to gaze upon John in awe and fear.

Yeah, I could maybe buy a Spartan doing that. The in-game melee attacks don’t have that kind of punch, but are probably not intended to move the target so much as just kill it.

He probably just semiseriously injured one of his own army in the process, but seeing as his own army condones involuntary telepathic searches I’m not exactly (slips on glasses) beating myself up over it.

The man in charge of the arena placed John against four people, seeing that one is no match for him. The group chanted various taunts and insults meaning to infuriate John, but he kept his cool. One of the attackers lunged at him, but with lightning speed, John caught the oncoming sword in his hand and sent the attacker flying back with a push. Then, all three attackers rushed him, but John didn’t even flinch as his personal shield deflected two blows while John caught another sword in his hands, the man fell back. John crushed the sword in his hands and flung the unbroken tip at the man, striking the ground uncomfortably close to the fallen man’s testicles. After seeing this, the other two men threw down their swords and ran away. John was disappointed; he was expecting more of a challenge.

All well and good, but I don’t know what this is supposed to be showing us. That the technology of 2552 allows fighters to be more effective than the technology of 1252?”

A strange woman with pointed ears approached John and got into a fighting stance. For some reason, John felt a tingling sensation as he looked upon the beautiful woman before him.

Oh dear… I’m not sure what would be worse, that this turned out to be yet another author who forgot that Spartans are asexual, or that she did something directly to his brain just now.

He shook his head and also crouched in a fighting stance. The elf lunged forward with inhuman speed, but John caught her arm and attempted to twist her arm into a lock. The elf squirmed with great flexibility, wriggled out from John’s hold and ducked behind him and kicked him in the back. John rolled and got to his feet. He had to figure out how to immobilize his opponent without injuring or causing excessive pain.

Well it isn’t like he cared about that before.”

Also, how does he know that Arya (we all know it’s Arya, Eragon’s useless elf girlfriend) is an elf? It just pops into the narration without any source.

Arya thought, ‘This is no ordinary man, nobody can move that fast.’ Arya ran at John and kicked him square in the chest. But he didn’t budge an inch. For once in a long time, Arya felt scared. Arya leapt out of John’s reach, and they circled each other once again. This time, John rushed forward with a punch, Arya managed to block the incoming blow. But then John grabbed her neck with his other hand and applied pressure to a specific area and Arya slumped, unconscious. John had not noticed the crowd that gathered around them to see the fight.

Well. That was…

Untitled

00000

Arya opened her eyes. She was in the infirmary.

Odd term for a hospital tent or ‘healer’s’…”

‘I wonder how I got here.’ She thought to herself. Then she saw the green armored giant and she remembered the sparring arena. John, seeing that she was awake, approached her. “Hello, I am John 117,” he said in his deep, gravelly voice. “I’m Arya,” she replied.

Gosh, all the chemistry of hooking a chatbot up to itself!

A messenger approached them, “Nasuada has asked you both to come and report to her office.”

00000

Thel walked through the remains of the Forward Unto Dawn. He picked up a Covenant plasma rifle and attached it to his magnetic plates. He also picked up his holopad then proceeded back to the camp. In the distance, an Empire archer strung his bow, loaded an arrow, took aim, and let go of the string.

Thel could hear a buzzing sound, but could not locate the source. He suddenly saw an incoming arrow. He caught it midair and threw it back at the archer. The arrow pierced his eye and blood sprayed out of the wound and soaked into the soil.

Ok, that’s it. Even a hyperfast, hyperstrong Elite can’t do that. These two are overpowering their opponents not through their superior tactics and technology but simply by being massive Gary Stus.”

The troops behind the archer lost all their morale and fled, leaving behind the archer with a bloody arrow through his head.

I can’t say I blame them, if I was nearby I’d be worried about catching stupid through osmosis too.

As Thel entered the camp, a boy walked towards him and told him, “Lady Nasuada wants you to report to her office immediately.” Thel took some time to find Nasuada’s tent. He saw John and a woman standing together. “About time, you took some time getting here.” Nasuada said impatiently, “Now that we’re all here, the discussion can begin. Today, we will put your abilities to the test. Arya will accompany you to take down an Empire supply caravan. It will be heavily guarded, so if you need any help, tell me, and I will send for Eragon.

Yeah, sure, counter a Stu with a Stu.

Or two.”

John reached into one of his armor pouches and pulled out two small devices. “Take this and put it into your ear.” He said to Nasuada and Arya. They both did so reluctantly. This is how we will be able to remain constant communication.” The group headed towards the trade route. They saw dozens of black armored soldiers guarding the carts and wagons.

“It’s go time,” John said with a smile.

Wow. In between John the Bloodthirsty Spartan, TSA Agent Eragon, and a bunch of worthless supporting characters, Thel is actually my favorite Stu so far. I can only imagine what the author might do to ruin him later on…

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38 Comments on “1166: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters One, Two, and Three”

  1. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    I actually can’t seem to recall Arsebiter doing anything terribly ridiculous later on… (Aside from a boggling *sequel* scene which both showed him off as giving a damn about vidya gaems and that Reach wouldve gotten a direct sequel)

    Though that maaaaay just be because, the way I remember it, he was about the only one who maintained a semblance of sanity.

    I distinctly recall a short, completely irrelevant bit with him just nibblin on some bacon (probably because it came right after “John” [I fkn hate how the fic kinda just so casually uses his real name] did something incredibly stupid)… I like to think that establishes him as just somebody who can enjoy the simple things in life whilst everybody else was concerned about boning.

    Wai-

    Oh *shit*, I could almost swear I suddenly remember he might’ve actually been paired up with somebody…

    Pls let me be wrong

    Pls let me be wrong

    • He never ends up paired with anyone or anything, for which we can all be intensely grateful, and while he does get some Stuey action sequences later on he never really does anything too objectionable in comparison to the other characters. Of course, he reacts kind of strangely to his circumstances just like every other character in the ‘fic, but I’d sort of like to think that at some point back during the “slipspace accident” plotline, he just gave up and decided to adopt a “smile and nod” approach to every other fucked-up thing the story threw his way.

      Of course, his relative good sense means he must suffer terribly through no fault of his own later on, but that’s just yet another thing to blame the plot itself for.

      • DasCheesenBorgir says:

        Oh, okay

        I guess the obligatory racial minority pairing was just some twisted shit I must’ve thought of myself at the time :/

        (I thought he might’ve been going with that Varden leader or something)

        Yknow looking back on this, I think this couldve been both so much more effective and amusing had Arsebiter not been present at all and ‘John’ was replaced with DOOOOOOOOOMGUY

        The hilariously baritone and one-liner spewing one from Brutal Doom, mind you

        Seeing how he prolly seems like the kinda guy actually would infuse rockets with the hellish powers of imbuing its targets with unholy gallons of blood and crushing a guy’s head for the lolz after they’ve been gibbed

        The fucking dumbshit Flood plot from later on could be so much more easily handwaved if we just had a demonic incursion from Hell instead

        And we wouldn’t have to worry about no dumbshit Hollywood level wuv plot either!

      • DasCheesenBorgir says:

        YOU’RE AN ELF!

        THAT MUST MEAN YOU HAVE HUGE EARS! RIP AND TEAR! RIP AND TEAR YOUR EARS!

      • I guess the obligatory racial minority pairing was just some twisted shit I must’ve thought of myself at the time :/

        (I thought he might’ve been going with that Varden leader or something)

        I dunno, I could actually see that one working out- he’s sensible, she’s bland, and the narrative seems to take a passive-aggressive dislike to them both.

        YOU’RE AN ELF!

        THAT MUST MEAN YOU HAVE HUGE EARS! RIP AND TEAR! RIP AND TEAR YOUR EARS!

        It’s better than what actually happens, anyway…

        And we already did have a demonic incursion from Hell- it’s called John and the Dragon Rider.

      • Tie Dye Mage says:

        THAT ELF IS GLOWING! HE MUST BE RADIOACTIVE!! THAT CAN’T BE GOOD!!!

  2. Oh, and Lyle, you seem to have forgotten the image for the line “well, that was…”.

    If it’s one of the copyrighted ones that WP won’t upload, I have another that I know would go through.

  3. agigabyte says:

    About five times heavier than yours.

    Cain: As far as I know, the Arbiter never studied the weight of Medieval human armor.

  4. Tie Dye Mage says:

    While the Eragon series is a bit derivative and not the top fantasy series out there, I still consider it among my favorites. One of my favorite elements of the series was how they explained magic, going into detail about how it works as opposed to being vague.

    Plus, Paolini was only 15-17 when he wrote the first book. The fact that he wrote it at that young of an age and have it turn out to be somewhat decent, that’s pretty impressive all things considered.

    • agigabyte says:

      agig: I concur. Goddess can’t stand them because great characters are needed for her to like something, but everything was great aside from the characters themselves, so I enjoyed it.

      Goddess: Still think your brain is broken.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      I used to be much more favorably disposed towards the series before I read Kippur’s sporking of it (which has sadly been dehosted from the site where it used to be). He pointed out a lot of broad continuity issues that aren’t immediately apparent when reading the series without notes.

  5. Tie Dye Mage says:

    Yeah, those purple prose storms can get pretty nasty sometimes.

    I got caught in one of those earlier today. Now my brain feels as though it was hijacked by a poet afflicted with sesquipedalian loquaciousness who’s sole purpose in its existence is to have me spout off random philosophical nonsense in the most wordy way possible, like some well read puppet on strings.

  6. Tie Dye Mage says:

    Cortana rolled her eyes “Men and their toys…”

    “Boys and their fanfiction…”

    Librarians and their Rifftrax….

  7. Tie Dye Mage says:

    “… what was that?”

    I dunno, some kind of counter for how long they’ve been planetside, maybe? That, or a panel of judges who weren’t very impressed with the ‘fic.

    *holds up “0.5”*

  8. TacoMagic says:

    I’ve decided to take on not just a Halo Stufic, not even just a Halo crossover Stufic, but a Halo crossover Stufic with Eragon.

    *Removes glasses*

    Mother of God…

  9. AdmiralSakai says:

    Wow, 30 comments already? And I don’t think Crowbar, Neji and the others have even gotten here yet!

  10. TacoMagic says:

    “These things can’t carry us.” John said.

    If you’re looking for a carry, you’ll need the 9-volt, brimstone, chocolate milk, Guppy’s head, and Polyphemus.

  11. TacoMagic says:

    “Kneel before Nasuada, the leader of the Varden army.” One of the guards said.

    Given that they blew up the last regiment of knights who asked them to kowtow to the leadership, I think we can safely say that the resistance is about to get-

    John and Thel glanced at each other and did as they were told.

    My mistake, I forgot about the “fuck consistency!” clause of fanfiction.

  12. TacoMagic says:

    Yeah, in the Eragonverse all magic-users (including Eragon, naturally) are also telepaths. Don’t ask me why, it made just as much sense to me the first time I read it.

  13. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    having recently installed Halo CE with a modded campaign I’m from now on treating sword elites like fucking Chryssalids

    did you gaiz know there’s a Legend of Zelda multiplayer mod for the game? I actually first heard Nightwish in a video showcasing that shiz

    maybe someday I oughta pick up modding myself and recreate this story as a modded campaign… keh heh heh

    • DasCheesenBorgir says:

      this shit looks genuinely awesome too

      can’t wait to give it a whirl once I’m done with modded vanilla

      unfortunately from what little I’ve seen it follows a fairly predictable pattern of Halo OCs I could give less of a shit about :/

      • DasCheesenBorgir says:

        After actually watching Forward Unto Dawn at last I’m coming to the realization that I actually outright *despise* how a great many human characters are handled in Halo. I find myseIf rather vehemently cheering on the Covenant in those depictions of the early years of war as they fall upon the feeble bags of disgusting hormone driven flesh and purge them in fiery plasma, partly cuz it gets my war crime boner sky high and the other part I often neglect is cuz those people they’re slaughtering are often the fucking cunts I’m absolutely sick of.

        Fucking normies, to sum it up and save me from having to go on a long winded rant. I think Buck and Dare were easily always the worst offenders in that regard. Sgt Forge was a shitheap as well. And ofc, almost all the Spartan IVs can cry in a gas chamber as they’re glassed from orbit as far as I care.

  14. X Equestris says:

    This has to be one of the strangest crossover mashups I’ve ever seen. It still loses out to this one Honor Harrington/Buffy the Vampire Slayer crossover I stumbled upon, though.


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