1181: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters Six, Seven, and Eight

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

Hello again, noble patrons!

Welcome back to John and the Dragon Rider, the Eragon-Halo crossover where having a thousand-year technological advantage on the bad guys really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Last time, John and the Arbiter managed to overpower (or perhaps just overbullet) a troop of Evilpire soldiers doing nothing in particular despite demonstrating all the tactical sense of an Unggoy on LSD. Then Thorn the Big Red Dragon showed up and breathed fire on the Chief with the force of a single undercharged plasma pistol, which nonetheless caused him to pass out completely and wake up in the medical tent. Horrible, horrible shipping with Arya The Elf ensued, the outsiders initiated a firearms training course that almost made sense, and then a jealous Eragon very nearly cooked poor, sensible Thel ‘Vadam and exposed his crippling weakness to magic.

Which reminds me, last time we forgot to increment the counter for the Halo characters’ reaction- or rather, non-reaction, to a human capable of producing massive gouts of flame from no visible source.”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 9

Chapter 5 ended with the arrival of a bunch of Pointless Dwarves and the beginning of a massive battle with an Evilpire army over some patch of dirt that is just like every other in the ‘fic- namely, Formless Void.

Author’s Note: Oooohhh yes, the moment we’ve all been waiting for.

The moment we’ve all been dreading.

Army vs. army, time for some blood to be spilled and limbs to be hacked off. As always, enjoy.

“Your primary advantage here is the presence of firearms. If limbs are being hacked off as a result, that would signal to me that something is terribly wrong!”

00000

There was a moment of complete silence. Suddenly Nasuada and the Empire general yelled simultaneously, “CHARGE!” There was a loud roar as the two factions rushed towards each other. The armies clashed in a flurry of confusion, pain, and blood.

Otherwise known as John and the Dragon Rider.

Thel hacked his way through one enemy by another with dual energy swords.

You know, I am not at all sure he should actually be doing that. In canon, his stupid Sangheili honor code would sometimes compel him to give unarmed or badly-armed opponents additional time to equip themselves before fighting. These guys have such rudimentary weapons compared to his that they’re basically helpless.

Also, “one enemy by another”? Did he kill one guy, but leave the soldier standing next to him alone?

“FIRE!” John commanded. Suddenly, the battlefield erupted in gunfire. Scores of the Empire’s soldiers fell before the awesome power of modern gunfire. Arya yelled, “Archers at the ready… FIRE!” a volley of deadly arrows rained on the Empire’s soldiers but for every soldier they killed, there was always another one to take their place.

Well, fair enough I suppose, but we seem to be experiencing a strange situation where the author doesn’t want to admit the obvious fact that arrows are less lethal than firearms, and so has to invent some other vaguely-defined reason for the modern soldiers to be superior.”

I dunno, there might be circumstances where the arcing flight path of arrows would make them more effective than bullets, but given that we have no idea what the battlefield is like, how many soldiers there are, or where anyone is in relation to anything else it may as well be guesswork. Even just a ratio of troops would be helpful.

John was going in close range with his shotgun. Every time the loud BOOM sounded, a soldier would be blasted into bits of bloody flesh.

Thereby negating the advantage of attacking a melee opponent at range and opening himself up to the very real possibility of damage due to friendly fire from his own inexperienced marksmen in the rear.”

Many soldiers fell before Arby ‘n’ The Chief’s fearsome power.

WHY?

Thel’s energy swords sliced through armor, flesh and bone like a chainsaw through butter. With each stroke, a soldier would lose an arm, a head, both his legs, or all of the above.

But never both arms or just one leg. Or any combination of the above other than all of them.

The dynamic duo was unstoppable. John soon ran out of ammunition for his shotgun, so he used his hands instead, which surprisingly, made more of a mess.

Forgetting his three other weapons entirely…”

John gave a fierce battle cry, frightening the enemy soldiers, forcing many of them to flee. He ripped through their fragile bodies with his gauntleted hands like ripping through paper, only messier. Internal organs were spilled all around them. The scene was one, big, slaughterhouse.

Only, with too, many, god, damn, commas.

John smiled as he tore a man’s head off of his neck and hurled it at a fleeing soldier causing him to fall and get trampled into the ground under other soldiers’ feet. All around them, blood, organs, body parts, and dismembered limbs were flying in all directions.

How many times do I have to remind you, author, that John-117 is a professional soldier, not a bloodthirsty psychotic? What even is the point of making him this violent- is it to make him angstier? Is it because you think it’s funny? One of the things that made him such an impressive fighter in-game was how nonchalant about everything he was, and you’ve pretty much completely destroyed that here.

And it seems that we forgot to amend the counter for the Imperials’ rather blasé reaction to their first experience with UNSC technology. Even if they assumed the rifle division were some form of spellcasters, that would still be an intensely strange thing for the Varden to deploy en masse.”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 10

Soon, there was an explosion of fire. Saphira entered the fight, a stream of fire spilling from her maw, engulfing many soldiers in a fiery inferno. John could smell the scent of burnt flesh even through his helmet filters. After hours of endless gore and fighting, Thel and Chief began to tire. Their progress slowed. John’s muscles began to ache, and his blows were weaker and slower.

I’m somewhat torn on the plausibility of this- John and the Arbiter both have to basically fight for days on end in the course of your average Halo game without any ill effects, but that includes covering wide swaths of territory, hiding out in ambushes, and so on- being faced with thousands of hostiles that they have to kill one-after-the-other is a different and potentially more draining situation.

That said, it might help to actually spray some gunfire around instead of beating each individual soldier to death with their fists. All of those dismembered limbs and extracted organs are energy that could have been expended killing somebody else.”

Almost when it seemed that they would lose,

They are getting tired. That is not the same thing as losing. They have the Maxim Gun, and the Empire does not- the only way it would be even physically possible to lose this battle is through the massive tactical mismanagement of their own forces.”

Oh.

Right.”

somebody yelled, “The dwarves are here, the dwarves are here!” John could see an entire legion of relatively short but bulky people wielding axes and short swords.

Well, they’re going to be a big help in a gunfight.

John grinned behind his helmet and pulled out his dual SMGs and began to fill the enemy with holes and lead.

Something he should have done three paragraphs ago.”

Just when the Empire’s soldiers seemed to lose their morale, a huge red dragon with its rider dove down from the sky and engulfed the archer line with flames.

“NO!” John yelled as he ran towards Arya’s fallen squad of archers. He searched for any sign of Arya, or her body. “Arya, ARYA!” John yelled her name again and again in hopes of hearing an answer. There was none.

Because instead of attacking the far more important firearms squad or extraterrestrials, the Empire has decided to cripple the Varden through angst.”

The ruby dragon landed in front of John with a loud thud, the rider stared at John with a sadistic smile on his lips.

It should be noted that neither Murtagh nor his dragon Thorn are actually “evil” in canon, just mind-controlled into serving the Empire through magic. They rarely if ever do more than is absolutely required of them to win a battle, and certainly don’t enjoy their work.

Then again, if he wasn’t vitally important to winning this conflict, anyone who could take down this psychotic non-Spartan would probably be a hero in their own right.”

“Life, is so fragile when it comes to war, don’t you agree?” Murtagh asked coldly.

What does that even mean??

Also, Murtagh is a magic-user, so in a sane universe John would already be dead.”

John aimed his SMGs at the dragon and fired. The rounds clattered harmlessly on the Dragon’s rock-hard scales. The Rider laughed at John’s feeble attempt to hurt them. The blood red dragon swiped at John with its clawed feet.

All right, Sierra-117 has a number of tactical options here. He could try to hit the dragon in the eye or another vulnerable area. He could use a rocket, plasma grenade, or other higher-yield weapon that may be more effective against its armor. Or, he could simply do what his far more intelligent Sangheili comrade did and shoot the rider.”

Instead of dodging or blocking the blow, John caught the dragon’s arm and threw it over his shoulder along with its rider with a fearsome roar.

Or, I suppose, he could do that. Despite the dragon likely being too heavy for even a Spartan to easily lift.”

Murtagh got to his feet and drew power from his sword’s jewel. He was surprised, ‘No man can has the strength to throw a dragon this size.’

He’s right, you know. Not even Spartans can do that.

“His implication, though, seems to be that there do exist smaller dragons that are possible for regular, unenhanced turianoids to toss about normally.”

Before Murtagh had a chance to retaliate, John rushed past Murtagh and charged at the dragon. Murtagh’s dragon reared his head back to unleash another torrent of searing flames but John clamped the dragon’s mouth shut with one arm while beating its head with the other. The wards Murtagh placed around his dragon quickly drained his strength while John was still beating the dragon.

Ok, there is actually precedent to this in that one of the ways to destroy heavy Wraith tanks in canon is to jump onto them and beat on the cockpit with John’s fists. Nonetheless, doing it to a dragon is intensely stupid.

His dragon and he both cried out in shared pain, Murtagh could not find the right words to remove the wards he had placed on his dragon through all the pain. He soon collapsed from exhaustion and lack of energy while John now continued to tenderize the dragon’s head with both fists now.

John was still beating on the dead dragon when the battle was over. Murtagh’s wards had drained him of his power and taken his life whilst his dragon’s skull caved in from John’s devastating attack.

Ok, wow.

I know Murtagh and Thorn were kind of wimpy villains in the Eragon series itself, but they at least deserved a better death scene than this.

When he lost the will to fight, John fell to his knees and let out a cry of angst. And for the rest of the night, John knelt there, crying for his lost love.

He didn’t react this badly when Cortana almost died.

It’s like this story doesn’t know if it wants to be serious, or a hyperbolic parody of the Eragon series. Regardless of its intent, it cannot successfully execute either.”

00000

Arya opened her eyes to a bright and wonderful world. She felt a degree of happiness and peace that she had never felt before.

This is what it feels like to not be in John and the Dragon Rider.

She inhaled the scent of fresh flowers and juniper trees. She heard a river with its water flowing almost musically downriver.

Are there rivers in Eragon where the water flows upriver?”

There was a strange figure standing beside her, and he spoke in a booming voice, “Arya, it is not your time yet, return now to your loved one, and pursue everlasting peace and happiness.” there was a blinding light, and everything faded to black.

why????

Arya woke to a different scene. Her back ached and she had a deep gash in her hip.

Which is strange, given that she was burnt to death by a dragon.

She was lying among the charred remains of her archers. There was an iron smell of blood and burnt corpses in the air. Hundreds of crows and vultures could be seen picking on the flesh of the dead. Arya painfully stood up and headed towards the base camp.

00000

“He has been becoming ever more despondent.” Thel reported to Nasuada in her tent. “Yes, Arya’s loss has inflicted a heavy toll on our troops’ moral and our alliance with the elves.

So I guess the troops’ “moral” was something along the lines of don’t bring a bow to a gunfight?

“You don’t understand, I sometimes see him holding his pistol against his head.” Nasuada replied coolly, “I don’t think you understand Thel ‘Vadam, I have other, more important issues to focus on, like trying to hold together our alliance with the elves, I congratulate your friend’s achievement on killing Murtagh, but I am just too busy to see to everyone’s problems.” Thel glared at her then said, “So be it.”

The elves are nowhere near as important as the only being capable of operating that invincible MJOLNIR armor that just dropped into your lap. You, Nasuada, are a horrible leader.”

00000

“I don’t understand it!” Galbatorix paced tirelessly in his throne room. “How can one man kill my powerful dragon rider?” He continued to mutter unintelligibly. A servant came into the room and bowed to the Mad King. But before the servant could open his mouth to speak, Galbatorix blasted him into tiny pieces of burning flesh and mangled limbs. “That’s better.” He said to himself with a smile.

00000

Now, Galbatorix was a pretty cartoonish villain in the books, but he was never this bad…

If the author ever remembers to include him again, we will probably need a counter.”

King McEvil Counter: 1

This is actually one of the sections that wouldn’t be particularly bad if the story could just commit to being a parody of Eragon‘s failings. It’s not exactly subtle wit, but the stupid simplicity of it could be very funny if presented in the right context.

John studied the pistol in his hands without actually seeing it. The magazine was gone, but there was one bullet in the chamber. He contemplated on how he would die every day in the UNSC; he would never think that he would claim his own life. He pressed the barrel of the weapon to his temple, counted to three, and pulled the trigger. ‘Click’ the pistol jammed. John yelled in frustration and hurled the weapon out of his tent. He buried his face in his hands and wept. ‘I have failed.’ He thought to himself.

00000

Oh, you’ve failed all right.”

Oh, right, and not only are falling in wuuuuv and being psychotic now within the expanded emotional range of the formerly stoic John-117, extremely rapid-onset depression and suicidal ideation are too.

He can’t finish himself off soon enough.”

Man, poor John. Little did he know, Arya is not dead. This story wouldn’t be a story without her.

“This story shouldn’t be a story, period.”

The story will continue. As always, REVIEW, REVIEW, REVIEW! See you next chapter. PEACE!

I haven’t read through the story’s 90-some reviews, but given that criticism-defying authors usually put up some kind of whiny author’s note I’m guessing they are of the echo-chamber variety.

“Regardless, we must forge ahead into Chapter 7, which is entitled ‘John’s Proposal’. Somehow I doubt that he’s submitting a new Marine weapons loadout for consideration.”

I’d yell at the author for spoiling the chapter in its title, but I don’t think anyone cares.

Author’s Note: About this chapter, no blood and guts here, but bear with me, there will be blood and gore in the next chapter. Enjoy.

“You know, Silent Archangel, there is more to writing than gore. Palaven’s Dogs got violent more than occasionally- it was, after all, a story about soldiers fighting a civil war. But that wasn’t its goal.”

Also, the violence in Palaven’s Dogs had a bit more variety to it depending on the circumstances and who or what the protagonists happened to be fighting. Here, the Master Chief tears Ren Faire rejects’ limbs off, and… that’s about it.

00000

John sat in his tent, unmoving; he had bags under his eyes. He couldn’t sleep, if he slept, he would only dream of her. The painful image of Murtagh’s dragon dousing the archers with flames kept running through John’s mind over and over again.

Oh, shut up. You’ve watched Flood Infection Forms burrow inside of Marines and rip them apart while they were still alive, and you didn’t twitch a mandible. A little firebombing isn’t all that bad.”

He didn’t even notice Thel coming into his already crowded tent.

Wait, who else is in there?”

Probably Linkin Park, providing a live musical accompaniment to the proceedings.

“We have all lost loved ones in war, John. You have to shake it off.”

Dammit, Thel, stop making sense!

When all this is over, I’ll see to it the Homeguard extracts him from the Eragonverse. I’m sure there’s an AU out there that needs a replacement Arbiter.”

John was about to answer when a messenger entered the tent, “Sir, Arya has been found on the battlefield, she is in the infirmary now with a nasty wound, but she’ll live.”

Transparently manufactured tension is going, going… gone.

And good riddance.”

John’s heart jumped, Arya was still alive! He quickly dashed out the tent and sprinted toward the infirmary. There she was! Her wound was treated by a magician healer. When Arya saw John she smiled. John came to kneel beside her. She sat up, and they locked lips in a reuniting kiss.

It’s common in Eragon for main characters to get magical healing while the great unwashed have to make do with a weird mix of Civil War- and Renaissance-era medicine, so it’s not really chargeable here, but still. I’d like to think this passionate kiss took place between dozens of cots filled with men and women howling in pain from their recent injuries and amputations.

“Did I ever mention that I love you?” John whispered in between kisses. “I think you did once.”

With the force of a sledgehammer…”

Arya replied with a smile, and then they continued.

00000

I feel it’s appropriate to warn you that RIFFCON is running very low on the dextro melodramamine.”

I’ll be sure to pick up some more next time I head over to Sector D.

Eragon paced back and forth restlessly. Arya had returned, he was still deciding whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Bad.”

Yep, definitely bad.

Rest little one, you and Arya were never meant to be. You should just let the past be past. I’m sure you will find someone else in due time.’ Saphira chided “But it’s just not fair!” Eragon growled. “I don’t understand why she would be interested in a simple soldier instead of a Rider.”

I’d say it was because you’re a mewling, overemotional dramatist who thinks entirely with his bone bulge, but given the ‘competition’…”

‘Eragon, do not let your feelings for Arya overcome your reason and logic, I had thought that Oromis and Brom taught you better.’ Eragon was taken aback by her insult. It felt like now, everybody was against him, even his own dragon!

Well, it’s pretty clear that the author is against him, at least…

There’s the seed of a good idea here in that this Eragon person is very much a canon Stu who, in a rational universe, would have to face the consequences of his innumerable defects and poor decisions. However, deconstructing a canon Stu is much like engineering the downfall of a politician in that the source of their undoing must come from their own flaws, and not external circumstances or the malice of other people. Otherwise, there is a very real danger of the operation backfiring and building sympathy for the target.”

He suddenly felt very alone. ‘I am not against you Eragon, I am merely giving reasonable advice that I expect you to heed.’ Eragon sighed and lay down next to Saphira, then fell into a deep, dreamless sleep under Saphira’s wing.

It should be noted that after spending far too much time with the Elves throughout Brisignr, which JatDR is set well after, Eragon replaced the need for actual rest with vivid, dream-like hallucinations: the polar opposite of dreamless sleep.

00000

The next morning, Arya and John woke at the same time.

Good for them, I suppose?

Not really. The camp probably has an organized reville set up. Of course, back in the Army I was usually up and about a good hour and a half before then to get my spot at the firing range, but it did cost me a bit of precision as far as the actual time was involved…”

Sure, if by “beat reville to get your spot at the firing range” you mean “beat your alarm clock to get a head start on translating intelligence so that you could go home in time to catch the new episode of Fleet and Flotilla”…

Arya headed to the shooting range to practice using her pistol while John headed to the blacksmith.

No doubt to gloat about how the Dawn‘s arrival atop a working computer record of 2550s technology is going to bootstrap his profession into oblivion beneath a steadily-progressing ladder of boilermakers, machinists, and mechanical engineers.”

“What can I do for you Riderslayer?” “Is there by any chance that you can make a silver wedding ring?” John asked awkwardly.

I never understood how humans could ever manage to procreate when they hold to such an unnecessarily byzantine mating process. What happened to just announcing your bond and being done with it?”

The blacksmith grinned, “Sure, now, if you don’t mind me asking, who is it for?”

The Arbiter, perhaps?

Oh, shut up.”

John looked at the man and spoke in a mechanical monotone, “That information is classified and will not be released to the general public.”

This is another bit that could actually be funny if the ‘fic decided to, you know, be funny.

And if the Chief were asking after something else personal that wasn’t horribly out of character.”

The blacksmith shrugged and went to work.

00000

The day passed quickly for everyone. It was nighttime again when John found Arya in the mess hall.

Don’t you have men to train or something?”

He noticed other men staring at them.

Given that you’re an augmented supersoldier in King Arthur’s court, you really shouldn’t be surprised.

Then again, you are an idiot…

He sat beside her and whispered in her ear, “Come with me, I have a surprise waiting for you.” They both stood up, and walked away.

And good riddance.”

Arya followed John to the clearing by the river.

And we have… description!

It’s not much, but it’s there.”

John turned around and asked her in a serious voice, “Arya, you know I love you, right?” She nodded.

We’ve only been told about it 57 times…”

“Then I have to ask you something… when this is all over …” John knelt to the ground and pulls out the silver halo, “…will you marry me?”

You know, this entire Arya arc is painful enough without the heavy-handed symbolism and bolding of random nouns

Arya stood dumbstruck; she could feel tears brimming in her eyes. “Oh, John.” She fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around him. “Of course, my answer is yes.”

You know, I was kind of thrown off by the Halo series’ generally extremely good handling of female characters and the fact that Arya actually seems slightly tougher here than in the books, but in between the sappiness and Arya’s damsel-in-distress complex this whole relationship seems to have gotten an extra hit or two from the Sexist Stick.

“M'lady?”

“M’lady?”

John could also feel tears about to overflow as he slid the ring onto Arya’s finger.

*Unloads fifteen cells from a fuel rod gun into the ‘fic.*

John. Is. Not. This. Angsty.

They both smiled at each other and sealed their love with a passionate kiss.

It was right after midnight when John and Arya were lying outside by the     riverbank, out under the shining moon and the stars. They held each other in their arms kissing tenderly. Tonight, the stars seemed to smile, it cast a romantic glow on the couple.

01

Oh, and a word of advice- if, like myself, you happen to find the human reproductive system somewhat… disconcerting, you may want to skip to the end of the chapter now.”

John pulled out a plastic packet from his pocket, ‘I never thought that I would have to use this.

They handed extras out to all personnel right about when the Elites came onboard, and he’d never built up the nerve to ask why.

Oh, and Arya seems to have no reaction whatsoever to a condom, despite them not being a thing in Algaesia.

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 12

He thought as they both undressed and forgot about all their worries. “Are you sure you want to do this?” John asked, she nodded.

No you don’t. He’s literally gonna break you in half!

Arya gasped in ecstasy as she felt John slide into her and push. She had never felt anything like this.

What, beige?

They first started out slow, but their pace began to grow in intensity as they both began to grow hotter and hotter. John and Arya were slick with sweat as they continued. Arya cried out in delight as they reached the climax. After a moment, John slowed, they let out their held breaths and they both drifted off into sleep with their bodies still intertwined.

I’m back, what did I miss?”

Well, the sex itself was dull. Fast, dry, disappointing, and when it was all over, everyone felt a little depressed it happened at all.

However, the characters did seem to enjoy it.

00000

YEAH JOHN, GET SOME! DAMN, I’m gonna have to change this story to a rated M.

That is not a fact worth celebrating. Palaven’s Dogs often deals with mature topics, but what Silent Archangel doesn’t understand is that this sort of thing should move the story forward in some way, not bend the story around to accommodate its presence like light in a gravity well.

So, yea, you know the drill, GET SOME REVIEWS IN! I need your advice, comments and wisdom.

“Oh, you need additional wisdom all right…”

So, Gul, you up for another chapter?

Given that I took the liberty of leaving during that *shudders* mating scene to consult with my lieutenants and make sure nothing important had come up, and given that the story itself seems to be trapped in a holding pattern for the time being, I don’t see why not.”

All right. Chapter 8 is called “Another Mission”, so hopefully we’ll get away from this pointless romantic plot tumor and go back to… well, Stus being Stus I guess.

Author’s Note: Great, now John and Arya are engaged.

My thoughts exactly, only with, you know, actual sarcasm.

Tell me what you think about that in the reviews. In the meantime, enjoy.

“I think it was a terrible idea, for any number of different reasons.”

00000

Thel saw John sitting by Arya in the mess hall chattering idly. Everything was normal as can be.

Well, as normal as being dropped into a poorly-directed D&D campaign can ever get,     anyway.

Especially since the Eragonverse is derived entirely from human mythology, and should therefore be doubly strange to ‘Vadam.”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 13

Just the way I like it.’ Thel thought to himself. He grabbed a plate and piled it with every kind of meat that he could get his hands on and went to join his friends.

He died in agony four hours later, having discovered that a certain combination of chemicals found in pork and turkey is, in fact, deadly poison to Elites.”

It wasn’t until Thel sat down beside Arya when he caught a glimpse of the silver band around her finger. He didn’t know much about human traditions, but he knew this was a sign of upcoming marriage, and there was only one person he knew who Arya would answer ‘yes’ to. He gave John an awkward stare, John returned the stare with a sheepish grin. Thel had spent much of his time in the camp’s library, when engaged, a couple of royal blood must be rich in order to receive the parents’ approval, he wondered how this would work out.

God, not only is he making sense, but he’s doing research to keep the rest of the Idiot Blob out of trouble. We bloody need this guy!

“John, can I talk to you in private for a moment?” Thel asked John haltingly. “Sure.” John replied. “John, you do know that Arya’s mother is a queen?” There was no answer. “How are you going to win her mother’s approval?” Again, there was no answer. Then John spoke, “You’re kidding, right?”

“No, I take matters seriously. John, Arya is a princess.”

This is true- she is Princess of the Elves in canon, because Stu I guess. It is interesting to note, however, that in this supposed extremely close, hyper-intimate relationship, it falls to the Arbiter to inform John of that fact.

“How do you know?”

“I’ve been doing some digging on Arya’s family in the camp archives.”

It was a gradual change so I didn’t notice it at first, but our friend ‘Vadam’s florid Sangheili vocabulary is gradually slipping. If this were a better work I could understand him becoming more acclimated to the local dialect, but… this is not a better work.”

John frowned and said, “Alright, I’ll think of something.”

“Better think fast, because if the queen finds out that you are engaged with her daughter without her permission, she will execute you personally.”

“Gee, thanks.”

She can’t find out soon enough.

The two returned to their table and continued eating as if nothing had happened. John was troubled, ‘Arya, a princess, it seems so unlikely. I wonder if Eragon knows about this.’ Arya noticed John’s troubled look, “John, is something wrong?” He put on a fake smile and replied, “No, everything’s perfect.”

Close, intimate relationship, everybody!

Suddenly Nasuada’s voice rang out from the intercom system that was installed this morning,

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 14

It should be noted that this system would have to be physically extracted from the Dawn‘s walls, without damaging any of its connections”

“John, Thel, and Arya, report to the command tent immediately!”

When they arrived at the large tent, it was completely transformed into a futuristic command center with the equipment from the Forward Unto Dawn.

Having no idea how to actually use such equipment, Nasuada’s attendants have done nothing so far today but call in orbital strikes on their own position from nonexistent fire platforms and court-martial Private QWERTASDFASDF for negative-five counts of Conduct Unbecoming.”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 15

Actually, why don’t they just make their camp around the Dawn? It has A/C, electric lights, all the equipment is already installed, and the hull plating can shrug off anything the Empire can throw at it.

Nasuada greeted them with a nod and spoke with a tired voice, “Today, you are to eliminate an Empire camp located about three leagues north from here.

It’s a tiny detail, but handing all of the footwork in leagues or fathoms or whatever when all of their new equipment reads distances in meters or kilometers is going to invite a whole host of screwups.

Our scouts tell us it is heavily guarded by two magicians, seven horsemen, and a whole legion of swordsmen. We would send other men, but you are the only units we can spare at the moment. Good luck.”

Why only seven vakarians? Other than to allow Silent Archangel to bold his heavy-handed references, I mean. They have around five thousand melee fighters, and two of the incredibly rare spellcasters. For comparison, your Roman Empire usually maintained a ratio of around three hundred animal-users per legion.”

The trio saluted and began the long march towards their target, hiding among the many bushes and plants to avoid being seen by enemy recon forces.

It should be noted that three leagues works out to about sixteen kilometers depending on what definition of “league” you use. Fortunately, the entire area has apparently been visited by the PCC Landscaping Service, which has introduced some really quite pretty cultivars of Generic Plant.

Once they reached the enemy’s camp, John and Thel readied their sniper rifles to take out the enemy’s magicians, since they would represent the greatest threat. BANG, BANG! The two spell casters’ heads exploded in an eruption of blood, skull, and brain matter.

Surprisingly sensible tactics- the casters are still the only non-dragon things in this world that could stand to harm you, so it makes sense to take them out quickly and quietly.”

The Empire’s soldiers were alert in moments. The two continued to snipe from their position. While Arya advanced to finish them with her pistol.

Aaaaand we lost it. Yes, let the one person without energy shields wander into the enemy mass while you sit back and snipe at… something.

Especially painful since the M6C/SOCOM pistol she has been “blessed” which is scoped, very accurate, and pretty much only good for sniping large numbers of unarmored targets from range.”

More troops poured from the barracks to confront them.

Also note the Empire troops reaction to loud, bloody, undetectable death raining down on them from range: “Hmeh.”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 16

John grinned in excitement as he watched another head pop clean off the man’s shoulders in a shower of blood. Thel ran out of ammunition first, he attached his empty beam rifle on his back, activated both of his energy swords, and rushed the enemy.

I can’t really fault him for that, seeing as there are five thousand soldiers to deal with and he physically could not carry enough rounds to kill them all, but despite being held with one hand energy swords have never been dual-wieldable in canon (presumably because two of them would just be too awkward to handle or something).

Arya was amazed at the effectiveness and lethality of the pistol in her hands. With each shot, another empire soldier fell to the ground with a bloody hole in his head.

A sensible reaction, had she not already possessed the pistol for a period of time and become accustomed to it.”

Maybe Arya is one of those fanfic characters who is so dumb it literally takes her several days to process her circumstances.

Thel cut down every single soldier he saw, he moved so fast that he became a dancing blur, sowing death and mayhem everywhere he went.

Yeah, those energy swords are going to run out of power sooner or later. He’s still strong enough to beat soldiers to death with his bare hands, but do we really want to see eight hours of Thel ‘Vadam punching various Late Medieval people?

Silent Archangel does, apparently.”

The soldiers were powerless against John’s sniper rifle as he picked off any soldiers who tried to flee.

Again, semisensible tactics, but it’s gonna take a lot more than one sniper to corral five thousand retreating soldiers in the Void.

Arya then ran out of ammo and joined Thel in his violent frenzy of flying blades and flying severed limbs.

As opposed to… flying limbs that were still attached to their owners??”

The soldiers were soon eliminated. The last man standing threw down his sword and ran away.

Good for him.”

John proceeded to shoot him in the leg with his last bullet. The wounded soldier tried crawling away, but Thel grabbed and lifted the man into the air by his neck. Great fear could be seen in the man’s eyes.

All right, thus far we’ve seen John-117, and to a much lesser degree the Arbiter, enjoy doing their jobs far more than is entirely healthy. However, I believe this is their first instance of genuinely committing war crimes.”

We’re still picking Thel up when the ‘fic is done with him, but he’s going to have to read and memorize the Geneva Conventions before we let him interact face-to-face with anyone other than D-Class personnel.

Thel smiled as he pulled down the man’s trousers and sliced off the person’s manhood with his energy sword and watched him bleed to death clutching the area where his reproductive organs were supposed to be.

And this weird obsession with testicles returns!

(Also, run-on sentence.)

John looked up to see a humongous black dragon descend from the sky and wrap its claws around him. He could feel himself being lifted into the air. The rider recited a quick spell, and John relaxed, asleep as the dragon carried him away.

Arya couldn’t find John anywhere; there was a loud roar of a dragon. She looked to the sky to see Galbatorix with his colossal dragon carrying the unconscious super soldier away in its talons.

Dignified ancestors you people are unobservant!”

And at last, the truth of John and the Dragon Rider is revealed!

There are ways to take on something the size of a dragon with two soldiers- get in a few good shots to its belly with a fuel rod gun from a concealed position, or get one of the Hornets or Pelicans from the Dawn working and take to the skies after it. But all of these plans would require the characters to reason tactically, use their hardware in the manner it is meant to be deployed, and become aware of (and describe!) their surroundings. We see through the success of Galby’s incredibly simple abduction plan that, when deprived of absolute technological advantage and put up against an enemy they could still easily defeat by thinking about their situation, the characters run by Silent Archangel are completely incapable of figuring out what to do and rely on hit-or-miss tactics at the absolute best.

Thel approached Arya and put a hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture.

Oh dear, are we getting ready for some hot elf-on-squidhead action?

Of course not. The Arbiter only exists to slice things with swords and have his advice     ignored.”

“Come Arya, we must inform Nasuada of what conspired here.”

Unless there is in fact a cadre of men in dark suits sitting in a conference room under the Imperial camp and watching the entire thing unfold, that is not what that word means.”

She nodded forlornly as she followed the elite back to the base camp.

00000

“What do you mean he’s been captured?” Nasuada yelled. “The King had the courage to show his face and abducted John.” Thel replied calmly. “Where is Arya?” Nasuada asked.

As far as AARs go, that’s… actually about as detailed as everything else in this ‘fic.”

“Arya… is in her quarters she’s… not feeling well.”

“There is no hope for John; it is likely that he was taken to Uru’baen, the capital of the Empire. No Varden has ever breached its walls.”

If John wakes up and somehow manages to overcome the King’s spellcasters (why is there a “King” at the head of an “Empire”, anyway???), he could simply walk out after having won the war for them all.

“I understand, Lady Nasuada.”

And with that, Thel left, and walked towards Arya’s tent. When Arbiter entered the tent, he could see that she was still in full grey Mark IV Recon-variant powered assault armor

A variant of the MJOLNIR armor that only Spartans are physically capable of wearing. Anybody else will get the motion-amplification system stuck in a feedback loop that usually results in violent dismemberment. Also not something that I would expect to be on the Forward Unto Dawn, given that it held only a single Spartan, already possessed of an armorsuit two generations more advanced.”

with her sword, pistol, and seven clips of magnum ammo clipped to her belt.

That’s not going to be enough to get her to Uru-baen, much less inside it. She should be carrying at least a backpack worth of the stuff, or better yet just try and find a working vehicle that the Arbiter can drive.

Thel sighed, “Going alone is suicide, and you know that right?”

“Yes, I know.”

“Then I’m going with you.”

Arya was surprised, she expected that Thel would try and convince her to stay.

Well, no, John’s an insanely high-value asset and needs to be recovered with all possible speed.

Thel brought his two energy swords and a plasma repeater.

It took a while to sink in for me, but I have to wonder where these Covenant weapons are coming from. The Dawn was, after all, a human military ship.”

That, and the Arbiter seems to be the only one who ever uses them. Covenant weapons can at least in theory be recharged, and it wouldn’t seem to be too much trouble to rig up an adapter from the Dawn‘s presumably still functional power system. That would eliminate concerns about expending ammunition, the current number-one limitation on the outsiders and their allies.

They snuck out of camp when it was nightfall while everybody was still asleep, and so began their journey to find their comrade.

As opposed to simply proposing a rescue mission, seeing as Nasuada seemed all for the idea earlier.

00000

Man! John just can’t catch a break! For those of you who don’t know what a plasma repeater is, go on halopedia and look it up.

“…

The site is called Halo Nation.”

And yes, Arya has recon armor! Also, I have the Halo seven references in bold.

And it’s really, really painful.

So yea, see you next chapter.

“Unfortunately.”

Can we go back to being Stus at some point? This romance crap is excruciating.

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15 Comments on “1181: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters Six, Seven, and Eight”

  1. agigabyte says:

    Author’s Note: Oooohhh yes, the moment we’ve all been waiting for.

    agig: You aren’t writing anymore?!

  2. agigabyte says:

    “NO!” John yelled as he ran towards Arya’s fallen squad of archers. He searched for any sign of Arya, or her body. “Arya, ARYA!” John yelled her name again and again in hopes of hearing an answer. There was none.

    Dakota: You’ve known the girl for about a day, have had your sex drive suppressed, and are trained to ignore any non sexual feelings for your comrades. The fuck are you doing?

  3. agigabyte says:

    No man can has the strength to throw a dragon this size

    Cain: It’s small, but this made me chuckle for a minute.

  4. "Lyle" says:

    *smacks the author with one of Koori’s dead fish* Bad! No bolding references!

  5. TacoMagic says:

    Man, poor John. Little did he know, Arya is not dead. This story wouldn’t be a story without her.

    Poor, deluded author.


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