1203: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen

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

“Welcome back to John and the Dragon Rider, everyone. Last time, our tepid trio managed to find their way to Ellesmera with minimal incident, stopping only to give some civilians defective armaments and pick up a flaming Stu named Kyle-214 from the wreckage of a crashed UNSC plot transport. The now quadratic Stuplex wandered on to their destination, where the elves’ inbred leader took entirely too much pleasure in stripping the Master Chief to the waist and whipping him until he passed out (or possibly just fell asleep). After that she forgot what she was doing and allowed the Chief and her daughter to pair-bond in that weird ceremony humans always do, and everyone got together to try to drink themselves out of the ‘fic. Upon returning to the Varden camp, Eragon moped and a loud, annoying human named ‘Mr. T.’ phased in and out of existence for no readily comprehensible reason.”

We’re only going to be doing two chapters today because they are longer and actually somewhat more meaty, but don’t let that fool you into thinking the ‘fic will start making sense.

Chapter 15 is called “New Enemies”, and since we’ve been stuck in a holding pattern bouncing back and forth between “romance” and pointless battles that never involve the massively superior alien-backed Varden walking up to Uru’baen and just ending the war I’d say introducing new enemies, provided it actually changes something and isn’t done as stupidly as the last chapter’s events, might substantially improve the ‘fic.

Author’s Note: Okay, so about this chapter, I’ve decided to throw in new enemies just for the heck of it. ENJOY!

“As pleasant as it might be to break from the current monotony, you should still not be doing this “for the heck of it”. Then again, if you took that particular nugget of advice, there would be no John and the Dragon Rider to begin with.”

I fail to see the downside to this scenario.

0000

Deep within a Forerunner complex, a great and ancient power stirred from     its rest. ‘After eons of patience and waiting, I finally wake from my slumber and rise again.’ The creature thought. It waved a green, slimy tentacle and then thousands upon thousands of misshapen figures rushed from the darkness with loud shrieks and screeches. ‘They will all perish and become one with our power.’ The creature thought with a mental smile.

That’s… not really how the Gravemind talks. It’s not incredibly far from it, but while metaphorical the real thing is a bit more blunt, and its statements are a bit more structured. B+ for effort.

00000

An Empire scouting party camped in the dark and damp cave for the night. The magician set the dry wood ablaze with a quick spell. In the corner of his eye, the captain of the group saw something move across the dark cave floor. He rubbed his eyes, ‘It’s just the firelight.’ He thought tiredly.

Famous last words.

Just as he closed his eyes, he saw something dart across the cave. The group stood up and drew their swords. All around them, small, greenish creatures were running to and fro. Suddenly, they heard a loud, piercing screech. Dozens of humans with tentacles, disfigured bodies and decayed skin approached them. The mutated humans reeked of rotting flesh. The group looked in horror as one of the small, green globs jumped onto one of their men and transformed him into one of the deformed people in a puddle of brown fluid and puss. Another man screamed as a glob embedded itself into his chest and mutated him into another one of them. They were paralyzed with fear and revulsion. Now, the whole cave smelled like rotting corpses, the captain swung wildly with his sword, not caring if he hit anything. He heard the dying screams of the rest of his men as they were changed by the green blobs. The captain squeezed his eyes shut as he felt one of them dig into his chest and then he felt nothing but coldness.

That… was actually decent. The physical description of the Flood is a bit blasé, and this seems somewhat derivative of the Flood introduction in the Halo novel of the same name, but at the same time we actually have atmosphere, some sense of what the characters are experiencing, and an almost humanlike reaction to the horror of the Flood. Take one of the good redemption cookies, my friend, you’ve earned it. And play us out, Martin O’Donnel.”

That said… Algaesia’s pretty much fucked. There’s no way an army outfitted with arrows and very basic melee weapons is going to be able to confront superstrong, superdurable combat forms, and given the population density of your average Fantasyverse city or army camp ten infection forms are going to become two hundred are going to become two hundred thousand pretty much overnight. If an Evilpire legion shows up, immediately covers the area surrounding this cave with oil, and sets it all on fire, (or if the outworlders do the sensible thing and bring in a Pelican filled to the brim with napalm) they might have a chance of surviving until the next Flood sighting. But if they have to fight any substantial number of these guys… the Varden’s stereotypical high-casualty, high-density fantasy army is going to be just one giant buffet on legs for the Flood.

00000

“Come on John! When are we going to do something fun? It’s so boring out here!” Kyle complained loudly. John was lying under a broken warthog, “Quit whining, we’ll go blow something up later, but right now I have to fix this one… last… vehicle.”

“You know what your problem is? You don’t know how to have fun.” Kyle replied.

No, your problem is you have a frat boy for a brother.

“Knowing your definition of fun, I’m not sure I want to.” John retorted as he picked up a wrench.

John turned to the marine in the driver’s seat of the hog, “Alright, try it now.” The marine turned the key and the engine rumbled to life. “Now, can we go blow something up?” Kyle nagged. John sighed in exasperation, “Fine.”

Seven minutes later…

A massive explosion rocked the hillside. “Yeah! Look at that baby go!” Kyle hooted in excitement with the remote detonator in his hands. “Come on! Let’s go do it again!”

Yes, let’s keep wasting our incredibly powerful and nigh-irreplaceable supply of explosives in a pointless attempt to cast Summon Mythbusters.”

As they ran back to camp to retrieve more explosives, they noticed the entire camp was on alert. Thel and Arya were in full battle armor. “Thel, what’s happening?” He only pointed at the sky. As the clouds cleared, they revealed a massive Covenant fleet. “Oh shit.” John and Kyle said simultaneously.

‘Oh shit’ indeed. I was going to ask some hard questions about how exactly the Covenant got to Algaesia, but as we have seen so far even looking at a slipspace drive improperly is apparently a one-way ticket to the Ren Faire here. I’m surprised that this hasn’t happened earlier.”

You know, I’m thinking of retiring the Everyday Anacrhonism Counter under the theory that after a while the people of Algaesia would just come to expect weird crap to keep falling from the sky and not get bent out of shape about each individual type of battle cruiser.

I vote we keep it around, as we are still waiting on the Algaesian people’s reaction to the first assemblage of aliens.”

Fine.

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 22

And we’ve surpassed the dings-to-chapters point!

They reported to the command center in full Mark V Mjolnir armor. A prophet‘s voice rang out from the communicators, “You will all burn until all that surfaces is glass. We have come to claim this holy relic and purge this place of your ignorance in the Great Journey! Your destruction and humiliation is the will of the gods, and I… I am their instrument!”

That is a mangled but still relatively direct quote from the Prophet of Truth, the last Hierarch of the Covenant and the ultimate architect of both the Human-Covenant War and betrayal of the Elites. As one should expect from Halo fanfiction after all this time, the Prophet of Truth should not be alive right now, as he was killed by the Arbiter towards the end of Halo 3. Then again, it may be that some other minor Prophet who did survive the War has taken an interest in quoting him. Or something.”

John shook his head in disbelief, ‘Here we go again.’

“Cocky bastard just loves to run his mouth.” Kyle said disdainfully.

And that is a direct quote from Master Sergeant Avery Junior Johnson, in response to Truth’s actual speech in Halo 3. It seems that even in Algaesia we are not safe from misapplied plot regurgitation.

“You got that right.” John murmured.

00000

A phantom landed outside the cave and a squad of grunts and brutes jumped out.

Because apparently there is only one cave in all of Algaesia, and the Covenant is immediately interested in it.”

As they slowly entered the dark, damp cave, they saw a marble white door with forerunner symbols and runes carved into it.

Ok, well, that does explain why the Covenant is interested in this cave (seeing as they have an obsession with Forerunner technology that is quite literally religious), as well as how they might have found it so quickly (getting the position from another Forerunner source). It does, however, also raise the question of just what Forerunner ruins are doing in Algaesia– although I suppose the elder races might not have been immune to slipspace malfunctions either.”

That, and continually referring to the cave with no description other than “the dark, damp cave” makes me suspect that I chose the soundtrack for these events incorrectly:

There, that’s better.

“Forward, lousy grunts, for the Great Journey!” The brute shouted. As the door opened, hundreds of flood infection and combat forms leapt from the darkness and overwhelmed the small squad. The grunts’ morale dropped, they fled only to be taken down by an army of infection forms.

Have you noticed yet that John and the Dragon Rider has a few terms it really, really likes?

I’m not saying having soldiers break discipline and run away is a bad thing to include, especially when the alternative is the Everyday Anachronism Counter (although I do think it is somewhat overused and just in general Silent Archangel needs to work on adding some more variety to his action sequences). I am just tired of hearing it described the exact same way every time.”

The brute minor screamed in horror as an infection form buried itself into his torso. The brute captain fired his brute shot violently, desperately trying to keep the flood at bay. The transformed flood combat forms spoke indistinctly with a voice that sent shivers down the brute’s spine. His shields failed and his armor fell off. A combat form swung his tentacle and the huge brute’s head fell off with a spurt of blood.

Wow, pronounophobia much?

Although I for one like the imagery of a Brute Minor being infested by the Flood, being promoted to Captain, firing his weapon, having a panic attack, and only then losing his armor and being decapitated.”

00000

Covenant Separatist assault carrier- Shadow of Intent

Ok, “Covenant Separatists” is actually no longer the canon term for the less horrid side of the Covenant Civil War, but I for one prefer it to their new official name “The Swords of Sanghelios”. The Covenant really does not need any more purple prose.

And the ship is classed properly too!

“Shipmaster! We have picked up enemy activity, are we to engage?” An elite reported. Shipmaster Rtas ‘Vadum sat upon his gravity chair. “Burn them all; leave no traces of their existence. All ships prepare to engage!”

High above the ground, multiple ships fired upon the fleet, a shower of sparks and flaming scrap metal could be seen from the earth.

Oh, shit, the Covenant’s attacking Earth again! What happened to the Home Fleet? Have they started glassing yet? This is extremely confusing!

The Covenant Loyalists didn’t react in time; their fleet was quickly destroyed as plasma torpedoes ripped through their hulls. Hundreds of escape pods could be seen dropping down.

Filled with Brute soldiers ready to foist unimaginable barbarism on whatever population centers they happen to land in. For the love of the Spirits, deploy fighters and shoot them down!”

In the command center of the Varden camp, a new transmission was broadcasting, “This is shipmaster Rtas ‘Vadum to all ships, well done. That’s the seventh Loyalist fleet we’ve obliterated. Deploy ground units to clean up the remains of their forces.”

Ok, now how did the Elites get here?

And more importantly, how did they not notice anything was amiss? All dialogue suggests that to the Sangheili, this is a routine mop-up operation, and yet they have at some point been transported to an entirely different universe.”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 23

00000

The Empire’s army gathered when they saw thousands of deformed figures approaching for an attack.

Oh no, they’re under assault from supermodels!

As they charged each other, many of the Empire’s soldiers were quickly dispatched and transformed by the small infection forms. The morale of the soldiers was quickly reduced to nothing

Again.

as they watched their comrades mutate into gross-looking combat forms.

Is 'gross-looking' really the best description you could come up with for one of these guys?

Is ‘gross-looking’ really the best description you could come up with for one of these guys?

Many of them fled, leaving only a few squads of brave soldiers to defend themselves. But bravery only got them so far as they were cut down by the combat forms and their bloody corpses were changed. The fight was no longer a fight, it was a massacre, and fleeing soldiers were killed and turned into flood. The ground was wet with greenish-brown fluid and blood.

This is still actually pretty good. In particular, I am impressed by the description of the speed of a Flood assault and the psychological effect it has on primitive troops. A lot of authors seem to slot the Flood into the tired old “zombie apocalypse” trope, but Silent Archangel seems to understand that they’re something much more alien and substantially more threatening. Good show, man!

That said, the Flood just got to eat an army. Barring a good heavy glassing from the Elites who are suddenly here, Algaesia isn’t long for this world.”

00000

“OPEN FIRE!” The Varden soldiers mowed down the incoming horde of walking corpses.

And SUDDENLY PROTAGONISTS.

The machine gun turrets did well at keeping them at bay. John opened up with both of his SMGs, his bullets tearing through rotten and decayed flesh as if it was paper.

That’s all well and good, but if the Flood spreads as organically as it does in canon, Uru’baen is already a hive and will soon be starting to terraform the planet. Have fun trying to cram thousands of evacuees onto the mere ██ Separatist ships you brought!”

Now, both of John’s nightmares of his past have returned to greet him.

Whatever the hell that means…

He unloaded the rest of his SMGs’ clip into a flood brute combat form at point blank range, brown fluid spewing everywhere. He attached his empty SMGs onto his thigh armor then equipped his shotgun and began to blast away at any flood he could see.

Fair enough, I suppose, although gouts of Flood ichor are quickly becoming the new loss of morale.”

Arya and Kyle were back-to-back fending off the horde with their melee weapons.

What melee weapons?! Kyle has a machete (which is going to be intensely awkward in addition to tagging him as a massive Stu) and Arya just has a pistol!

Every time a flood combat or infection form was cut down, it would send a     gush of greenish-brown liquid flying in all directions. Kyle went for their tentacles since that was their only weapon aside from a few various weapons from every faction. Thel was a frenzy of flying energy swords and appendages as he cut down any flood that was stupid enough to stand in his way.

I really do not want to know what appendages he was using in addition to his hands.”

I will choose to visualize him as having a tiny energy sword attached to each mandible.

The flood infection forms represented the greatest threat since they were the smallest and most numerous. Within a few hours, it was over, the Varden won.

Bullshit. Only a small segment of them can even use guns! They’ll just be providing more biomass to the swarm…

Decomposing corpses of the flood littered the battlefield. Even the crows and vultures were afraid to feast upon their flesh.

I would imagine so. In canon we don’t really get a detailed examination of exactly how infectious just free floodcells are as opposed to the infection forms, but we definitely wouldn’t want this much raw Flood biomass seeping into the groundwater.

The Shipmaster can’t glass this place soon enough.”

“What are these monsters?” Arya asked.

“They’re called flood, they are a parasite that feeds on sentient life and transforms them into… combat forms. The small ones are called infection forms.” John replied. “It is likely there is a Gravemind controlling them; otherwise they wouldn’t be so organized.”

“What is a Gravemind?”

“When flood consume enough biomass and knowledge, they develop into a smart being which controls the lesser flood.” Thel answered.

All right, I’ve never actually seen a description of the Flood that is so technically correct, and yet so completely understates the threat the organism poses to sapient life. This makes it sound as though the Flood is some type of pest that can be dealt with via a quick squirt of chemicals.”

A few Separatist dropships deployed their forces near the Varden encampment. John, Arya, Thel, and Kyle approached to meet with them. “Thel, is that you?” Thel grinned as he saw his old friend Half-Jaws. “Rtas! It is good to see you after so much time.” Rtas noticed John, “Good to see you again too, demon.”

“Maybe we should continue this conversation in the command tent.” John replied.

I’m going to put aside the fact that it really is good to see the properly-punctuated Shipmaster Rtas ‘Vadum after all of this time (although it’s Half-Jaw, singular), and ask the inevitable question of exactly why he is not in the least bit curious about his circumstances.”

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 24

00000

The group gathered in the tent with Nasuada. “The outbreak must be contained; we must resort to glassing.” Rtas said quietly.

“Finally, someone who makes sense!”

When we grab the Arbiter, can we take him along too?

I don’t know, Captain Argovigian is quite strong, but she may not be able to carry two full-grown Sangheili over that distance.”

Aww, fuck, I’ll just grab one, then I’m sure the other’ll chase after me so’s he can try an’ gut me with his funky swords.”

“But the problem is… where did they come from?”

“We picked up a transmission from the fleet before you destroyed it; the prophet said something about a ‘holy relic.’ It must be a forerunner facility, if any flood were there, they would have a lot of time to build up their strength for an attack without us even knowing.” John replied. Rtas nodded in agreement, “We will start from there.”

Great idea, except that you don’t seem to know where it is!

00000

The Prophet of Redemption floated into the city known as Uru’baen on his     gravity throne with his seven brute bodyguards wielding gravity hammers and invincibility shielding surrounding him. The king has agreed to meet with him to discuss the terms of their alliance.

No, what should have happened is that the Covenant should have burned Uru’baen to ash along with every other settlement nearby. They aren’t exactly discerning about different factions within humanity, and don’t usually stop to consider if humans are doing something strange before ‘cleansing’ them.”

As they walked into the king’s grand chambers Galbatorix greeted them, “Welcome, I’ve been expecting you.”

Yeah, calling it:

King McEvil Counter: 5

00000

The Gravemind fumed in silence. A long lost reclaimer has returned and obliterated half of his army. ‘Time has taught me patience; this defeat is only a small delay in what is sure to come.’ The Gravemind thought to itself as he turned on the forerunner cloning machine.

00000

What does a Gravemind want with a ‘Forerunner cloning machine’?”

Maybe that‘s where all of those Mr. Ts were coming from…

Then we must find that machine and destroy it.”

John found Saphira in the dragon keep.

Whatever the flippity fuck that is.

The dragon keep is where one keeps dragons. Obviously.”

Cute.

“How’s Eragon doing?” She shook her head forlornly, ‘He seems to be getting worse.’

“Has he been talking to anyone else?”

‘He’s talking to Roran now.’

John nodded and proceeded to find him. ‘Wait.’ John stopped and turned around. ‘When you see him, kick his ass for me.’ John smiled.

Whose, Roran’s?”

Sure.

When he found Eragon, Roran was pinning him to the ground.

Some “talk”…

When Roran saw John coming he yelled, “How about some help here?” John grabbed Eragon’s tunic and lifted him into the air. “What do you think you’re doing?” John yelled in his face, “Do you think drinking is going to solve any problems?”

Well, it’s as likely to solve problems as manhandling Eragon and yelling in his face…”

Eragon was not listening, “Fuck off, you’re not my dad.” John threw him into a pile of hay. Eragon suddenly remembered one of the words of death that Oromis had taught him. He raised his palm and shouted the incantation; he felt the spell drain his strength as he released it.

And good riddance.

00000

Here serves as a cliffhanger, how’s that for a longer chapter, huh?

“Well, it started out halfway decently and went downhill as soon as the ‘main characters’ showed up.”

So, we’ve got a lot going on, anyways, I will not tell you what’s going to happen next. See you next chapter, PEACE OUT!

The next chapter, in fact, happens to be Chapter 16- ‘To Hell and Back’.

“We’ve already been through Hell, so…”

Sadly, we’ve still got five more chapters before we can go back.

Author’s Note: Right, John’s dead and… (John bursts into the room) “You don’t pay me enough for me to die!” Fool, get the hell out of my room or so help me I will cut your insurance! (John pulls out a pistol) “Rewrite the story so I don’t die!” (I pull out a rocket launcher). Don’t worry; you won’t die permanently, unless you get the fuck out of my room right now. (John storms out of the room). It’s so hard to find help that doesn’t try to kill you these days. Enjoy.

Ummm, what?

00000

As Eragon shouted the words John collapsed, lifeless. Roran stared in horror, “Eragon, what did you do? …You’re not my cousin; you’re not the man I’ve known almost all my life.”

Normally I’d call him to the mat for such heavy-handed dialogue, but it’s true. Eragon is so out of character that he may as well be an entirely different person.”

Eragon didn’t listen; he was busy realizing his grave mistake through all the alcohol.

Hehe, “grave” mistake…

That hurt me, Sakai.”

00000

Arya was talking to Thel about how an energy sword worked when Roran sprinted towards them,

Ok, other than “squeeze here and it activates”, I’m not 100% sure that Thel knows how an energy sword works. That sort of thing was usually the Prophets’ bailiwick.

“It’s John, he’s dead, Eragon killed him with magic!” Arya dropped the energy sword she was holding while Thel rushed to get a defibrillator.

Which is strange, because the spell severed his spinal column.”

“When did this happen?” Arya asked.

“It happened about a minute ago, your friend better hurry.”

Thel was hefting a heavy defibrillator, “Let’s go, where is he?”

“Right by the stables, but he’s dead, you can’t do anything about it…” Roran replied.

“Watch me.” Thel growled menacingly.

I’m gonna beat that dead Spartan until it gets up and walks away!

Thel pulled out the two shock paddles and placed them against John’s torso, “CLEAR!” John’s body jolted, but that was all it did. Thel growled with determination as he placed the paddles on John’s chest, “CLEAR!” The body remained lifeless. Suddenly, Eragon walked in with a smirk on his face. “You can’t save him; looks like my magic did its job well.” Arya walked towards him and slapped him across his face.

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiimpy……….

She has a pistol, for the Spirits’ sake.”

The loud smack cued the silence that followed. Eragon was rubbing the red hand print on his face as he walked away. “CLEAR!” Nothing happened. Arya knelt beside John as Thel put away the shock paddles. “There’s nothing we can do, he’s gone.”

Well maybe if he wasn’t still wearing his metal-on-rubber armor and lying on damp ground, some of the current might actually get to his heart.

She knelt there and wept silently while Thel patted her back as a gesture of comfort.

Oh, boo blubberty hoo.

Arya grit her teeth and yelled, “John! Come back dammit! Come on soldier, come back to me! John, I love you, come back to me!” Thel walked away, seeing that Arya needed time alone.

Awww, still no hot elf-on-squidhead action?

She lied next to John as she whispered his name over and over again.

00000

John could hear Arya whispering to him, but he couldn’t talk, he couldn’t move, and so he could not comfort her. As she held his hand, he could not close his fingers to hold hers. They both cried there for the rest of the night. As dawn approached, her whispers became inaudible.

That’s not dead, that’s paralyzed. Maybe the spell just locked down his armor?”

Suddenly, Thel approached them with a syringe. Arya looked up to see the gigantic needle. “Behold, the wonders of medical science.” He held up the needle that was filled with strange blue liquid. “It’s reversed engineered forerunner technology. It has the ability to bring back the dead; I found it in the Dawn’s wreckage.”

A list of things found in the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn:

    • The fully-intact armor of a Sangheili Supreme Commander.
    • Assorted pieces of other random high-ranking Sangheili armor.
    • Supplies for the keeping of Sangheili prisoners of war.
    • A massive pile of various Covenant weapons, including those last encountered during the Fall of Reach.
    • Massive surpluses of remotely-detonated explosives.
    • Not one but two surplus suits of MJOLNIR armor, including a Recon variant.
    • Surplus electrical wiring for a full duplicate command setup and PA system.
    • No uniforms or medical equipment to speak of.
    • A machete.
    • Forerunner technology that can revivify the dead.
    • Condoms.”

Man, before they left for the Ark the crew of the Forward Unto Dawn must have had one hell of a shore leave.

Thel injected the fluid into John’s bloodstream; Arya could hear his heart pumping faintly.

00000

Well, that’s good at least. If his heart wasn’t beating, there’d be no way for the Magical Blue Goop to get anywhere in the first place.

In the infirmary, John stirred from his sleep. Arya, Thel, and Kyle were watching him.

Creeeeeeeepy.

Kyle grinned when he saw John open his eyes. “Well, well, well, he’s alive! The stubborn bastard just doesn’t know how to die!”

Boy have you got that right.

Arya leaned forward and planted a solid kiss on John’s lips, “Don’t ever leave me like that again.” She growled. John only smiled and returned the kiss. Thel ushered Kyle out, seeing that they wanted time alone.

00000

Oooh, hot Stu-on-squidhead action then?

Don’t press your luck.”

“Eragon! What were you thinking?

A question that should have been asked sixteen chapters ago…”

You are charged with unprovoked attack of fellow soldiers, one casualty of a Varden…” Nasuada rattled on. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

That those are not recognizable crimes, perhaps?”

Eragon took another drink from his bottle of vodka, “I dunno… but this stuff is great.”

Nasuada sighed and motioned for her guards to take him away. As her guards dragged away the drunk, she closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. ‘I need a drink.’

“Oh, the irony.”

00000

Explosions lit up the night as Covenant wraiths fired upon the Varden camp.

Wha?

Gaah!”

Ok, seriously, this is the second time that’s happened. I’m starting to get whiplash!

Soldiers rushed from their barracks and readied themselves for the fight. Separatist ships landed and deployed troops to aid the Varden army.

More like ‘protect’ the Varden army, seeing as they’ll be about as effective against the Covenant as, well, swords against energy shields.”

John donned his armor and grabbed his trusty assault rifle.

On the horizon, hundreds of brutes, grunts, jackals, and Empire soldiers lined up for an attack.

I’d like to think that the Covenant put the Imperials up in front of the Grunts where they belong…”

As the Varden prepared their troops, ghosts advanced and burned down any Varden or Separatists in firing range. All this brought back memories from both John’s and Thel’s past. The Covenant invaded the camp, all around the site, weapons were being fired and the Varden troops were being bombarded by Covenant wraiths. Hunters stood out from the throng of brutes, their pulsating fuel rod cannons unleashed a torrent of searing plasma at any Varden they could see.

Welp. Once again, Algesia’s screwed. It doesn’t matter that for no reason at all the Empire is now a subject race of the Covenant as opposed to ash- the UNSC survivors, the Flood, and the Covvies are the only factions that matter in this fight, and the Covenant not only took the humans by surprise but have them heavily outgunned. Now it’s just going to be a question of whether the Flood eats the planet, or the Covenant purges it.

John ran at the hunters with his assault rifle ablaze. The two massive creatures turtled behind their shields. When John ran out of ammo, he pulled out two combat knives.

Good idea. Because two short combat knives are going to be highly effective against massively strong, relatively agile creatures clad head-to-toe in indestructible armor and composed internally of a gestalt colony of individually-insignificant worms.

John ducked under one of the hunters’ shield as he swung it. When he saw the creature’s exposed back, the hunter spun around with surprising agility and smashed John with its huge shield. He flew back as the force of the blow drove the wind from his lungs. The other hunter trained its cannon straight at John.

Well, that actually went about as I expected. Don’t bring a knife to a fuel rod fight, children.”

He waited for the searing heat, but it never came. When he opened his eyes, he saw Kyle on the hunter’s back, slashing at its exposed midsection with his machete.

Alright, this is actually one of the less implausible Stu moves. Having one person distract a Hunter while another attacks the back is a legitimate in-universe tactic, and unlike a combat knife a machete would slash through a large number of worms in one hit so it’s just a question of whether it would get stuck.

That said, we did just have a ‘cobalt’-armored twin brother of John-117 climbing onto a Hunter’s back and killing it with a machete, saving the canon protagonist in the process.”

John got to his feet and pulled out another knife. The two titans came together again in a flurry of punches, slashes and kicks. As they exchanged blows, they sought an opening in each other’s defenses.

Wait, is he fighting Kyle now?

Took him long enough.”

As John stumbled on a corpse, the huge hunter brought its shield down like a hammer. Just as the hunter was about to crush the Spartan, John brought up his hands to protect himself, then neon sapphire beams of light burst from his hands, the intense heat turned the huge hunter into molten glass.

… whah?

Doctor Halsey, I don’t care how badly the war effort needs an updated armor design- take those palm blasters back to Stark Industries where you found them!”

John peeked out of one eye to see the hunter’s melted shield hovering within inches of his breastplate. He stared at his hands in wonder, ‘What the hell?’

My thoughts exactly.

Kyle saw what happened, “Hey bro, that was badass, can you teach me how you do that?” John shook his head, still staring at his hands. “I don’t know how I did that.”

You know, Silent Archangel was actually doing a lot better with his action sequences until the Stuparade started. It’s really kind of a shame.”

Also,

Everyday Anomaly Counter: 25

00000

Arya unloaded the last of her pistol ammo into a brute chieftain’s brain as Thel gunned down another brute with his plasma repeater. More Covenant were on the way, the second wave of infantry was rushing towards the camp.

“Maybe that’s why you should have brought a weapon with some effect against shielded enemies and a decent mag capacity!”

Suddenly there was a deafening BOOM, dozens of Covenant troops were turned into bloody bits and pieces by the devastating explosion.

Thel and Arya saw the smoking barrel of a scorpion tank as it fired another blast, shredding the Covenant infantry into scraps of bloody meat and armor. Kyle was in the gunner’s seat, mowing down any brutes he could see.

Wait, how did he get to a tank that fast? Wasn’t he just brawling with those hunters?

Well, his armor is a shade of blue…”

Works for me.

Marines were riding on the armored treads of the huge vehicle, adding to the bloody mayhem as they shot up any Covenant forces senseless enough to stand in their way. John grinned as he fired another round into a group of brutes, blowing them into gory severed body parts. A brute screamed as he was crushed under the heavy treads of the fearsome vehicle. “How does the bumper taste asshole?” Kyle shouted while laughing hysterically. John groaned, “It’ll take days to clean out all the brute bits from the treads.”

“But it’s so freaking worth it!” Kyle said as he mulched another brute with the machine gun turret. “You’re right.” John said with a smile as he blasted an enemy ghost into oblivion.

Ok, this actually does sound like realistic dialogue.

But for Marines, not Spartans.

00000

Eragon sat in the cafeteria drinking from his bottle, oblivious to the     surrounding fight. A Varden soldier’s mutilated head landed on his table, “I don’t have any spare change, go away.” Eragon slurred as he pushed the bloody head off the table and continued to drink.

00000

Well, that was certainly an insightful look at Silent Archangel writing a chapter of John and the Dragon Rider…”

The Covenant and Empire soldiers retreated after UNSC reinforcements arrived. Dozens of scorpion tanks and marines were dropped off by pelicans.

Wow, the Fury must have landed nearly intact.

Although they do seem to have roughly as many Marines as they do main battle tanks, so the Flood must have taken its toll.”

After the fight, John stared at his hands, ‘I couldn’t do that before…’ The incident left John trying to do it again. He held out his palms and concentrated. Nothing happened;

Good. Maybe he’ll just attribute the night’s weirdness to plasma fire coming in from over his shoulder, and we can put the whole sorry incident behind us.”

John sighed in exhaustion as he removed his armor and reported to his tent only to find Arya waiting for him in his bed with a devilish smile on her face…

Not again……

(You know what happens next, no need to repeat myself over and over again.)

Thank the Spirits.”

“OH JOHN! OOHHHHH YES, OH YES, YES, OOOHHHH!” (Oops).

Oh god dammit!

“’Oops”, indeed.”

The next day was busy, the UNSC and the Separatists have agreed to send supplies, troops, and vehicles to the Varden to help defeat the Empire, Covenant, and the Flood. Technicians helped train the Varden on how to operate vehicles. And the camp was no longer consisted of tents; the UNSC donated a lot of concrete and spare materials, enough to make adequate fortifications and replace tents with concrete barracks and bunkers. ‘There’s no way we can lose this war.’ John thought as he saw the primitive army with swords, pikes, and bows transform into the army with guns, war vehicles, and heavy artillery. ‘There is absolutely no way we can lose this war.’ He thought again as more pelicans arrived to drop off more supplies.

Well, this is the part where, due to using UNSC personnel and UNSC technology to accomplish UNSC objectives, the Varden basically ceases to exist as a military-political entity and the war simply becomes another planetary-scale engagement between the UNSC, Covenant, and Flood, with the natives pushed to the side to either die in huge numbers or be assimilated into the wider UNSC colony.”

Sadly, I don’t think we will be free of Eragon’s death spiral quite that easily.

00000

The Prophet of Redemption was arguing with Galbatorix about their recent     defeat. “I don’t understand it! You promised us victory, but instead we are defeated!” The King shouted in fury.

King McEvil Counter: 6

“I was unaware of the demons that resided there. One is enough to defeat an entire army, they have two. It was an impossible fight.” Redemption retorted. “Then what do you expect us to do, surrender?”

“No,” was the prophet’s calm answer. “I have in my possession, a great weapon of mass destruction, a weapon that will wipe out our enemies in one fell swoop.” The prophet smiled as he pressed a button on his gravity throne. As the king looked upon Redemption’s great weapon he grinned in excitement, “Oh yes, this will do very nicely.”

King McEvil Counter: 7!

00000

Yes, another cliffhanger. So, yeah, blah, blah, blah, see you next time.

All right, fair commenters, I’ll make a game of it- without being a douchenozzle and reading ahead in the ‘fic, what do you think Redemption’s “great weapon” will be?

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31 Comments on “1203: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen”

  1. Tie Dye Mage says:

    The Empire’s army gathered when they saw thousands of deformed figures approaching for an attack.

    Oh no, they’re under assault from supermodels!

    *looks through binoculars*

    I think the Kardashians are among them.

  2. Tie Dye Mage says:

    When he found Eragon, Roran was pinning him to the ground.

    Thanks Silent Archangel, you’ve just given the yaoi/incest fangirls more to work with.

  3. Tie Dye Mage says:

    I love how they just casually brush off Eragon’s crime of murder. Then again, they just as easily brought John back to life so I guess in this world, death is a minor annoyance.

  4. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    I’d like to think the next logical step up in slamming the whole rainbow of Covenant military types into something would be introducing the Amazing Cardboard Legged Scarab that pisses weakshit plasma out of its green splurge cannon?

    Man, fuck Scarabs from Halo 3 onwards

  5. AdmiralSakai says:

    Lyle, when I access this from my work computer it does not appear on the front page, and instead the previous JATDR post (11,12,13,14) appears twice.

  6. TacoMagic says:

    The now quadratic Stuplex

    I cannot love this term enough. Ima steal it.

  7. TacoMagic says:

    “Come on John!

    “Meh, I’ll pass.”

    Not cool, author, not cool.

  8. TacoMagic says:

    The grunts’ morale dropped, they fled only to be taken down by an army of infection forms.

    This is why when assembling your grunt-based units, you go with either a champion leader with the bravery aura, or you spec the unit into unbreakable. You don’t get as much raw DPS with the units that way, but overall they’ll do better in combat by actually staying where you order them.

    It goes without saying that you’re going to need a medic unit or a healing post for between battles. Hitpoints area always going to be a struggle when using grunts so-

    “Taco, it’s a fic.”

    Oh, my mistake. Got distracted by the gaming mechanic terminology.

  9. TacoMagic says:

    He attached his empty SMGs onto his thigh armor then equipped his shotgun and began to blast away at any flood he could see.

    You know, with Spartans having high strength and fortitude stats, as well as a full extra row in their equipment loadout, it’d be much more effective to have set John up with a heavy weapon, such as a M247H Heavy Machine Gun. It takes up the same number of equipment slots as a shotgun when equipped and-

    “Still a fic.”

    Dammit!

  10. CrunchyRaptor says:

    “They’re called flood, they are a parasite that feeds on sentient life and transforms them into… combat forms. The small ones are called infection forms.” John replied. “It is likely there is a Gravemind controlling them; otherwise they wouldn’t be so organized.”

    “What is a Gravemind?”

    “When flood consume enough biomass and knowledge, they develop into a smart being which controls the lesser flood.” Thel answered.

    Hmmm. Sold! In fact, I shall take three. Where do I send Taco’s credit card information?

    • Tie Dye Mage says:

      The one you’ve got won’t work. He canceled it after your last “questionable purchase.” Need I remind you how that turned out?

      • Syl says:

        Who can forget? All that screaming, crying, the blood, calling in the National Guard, the Army, the Boy Scouts… *sighs* The lizard really knows how to throw a hell of a party.

  11. TacoMagic says:

    Thel pulled out the two shock paddles and placed them against John’s torso, “CLEAR!” John’s body jolted, but that was all it did.

    When the hell did Thel learn to use a defibrillator? Was he watching reruns of General Hospital while John was wearing his penis hat?

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      Best.
      Mental.
      Image.
      EVER.

      (In all seriousness, Hunters in the Dark implied that Sangheili naval officers are trained in medicine in order to treat the subject species under their command,and that overall the Sangheili distrust of medicine has started to wane as they interact more with humans. But that came out some 5 years after the ‘fic, so as far as canon’s concerned at this point Thel should still consider doctoring to be one of the most, if not the most, shameful professions a Sangheili could get involved in. Then again, it’s not like his dignity matters to anyone else in the ‘fic…)

  12. TacoMagic says:

    Suddenly, Thel approached them with a syringe. Arya looked up to see the gigantic needle. “Behold, the wonders of medical science.” He held up the needle that was filled with strange blue liquid. “It’s reversed engineered forerunner technology. It has the ability to bring back the dead; I found it in the Dawn’s wreckage.”

    Man, the PCC really outdid themselves on this one. Wait, hold on, there’s small print…

    “May rarely cause mild outbreaks of zombie apocalypse.”

    Meh, it’s probably fine.

  13. TacoMagic says:

    Wait, is he fighting Kyle now?

    I’m rooting for Mutually Assured Destruction.


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