1210: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters Seventeen, Eighteen, and Nineteen

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

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the penultimate posting of John and the Dragon Rider.

Last time, the Flood showed up! And so did the Covenant! This actually went about as a reasonable person would expect, with the Flood easily overpowering the Evilpire’s army and coming into contact with the UNSC survivors. Then the Covenant made a shotgun alliance with King Galbatorix instead of glassing Uru’baen-

“Alright, so mostly the way a reasonable person would expect.”

Anyway, the Flood and Covenant attacked the survivors one-after-another in force, but through the power of Stupidity the grossly outgunned UNSC managed to prevail. Also Eragon morphed into Officer Harkin and killed/paralyzed John-117, only for him to be resurrected through a terrible ass-pull and somehow gain laser hands or something, and King Galby and the Prophet Of Redemption met in Uru’baen for a very important Evil Gloating conference.

“Chapter 17 is called ‘Weapons of Destruction’, which I suppose separates them from… I don’t know, weapons of reconstruction, maybe? Did the Foundation misplace a pallet of 540 again?”

*ALARM BLARES*

Dammit, Teron, see if you can lead them into the rocket propulsion labs!

Ok, I’m in the control room, but what the fuck kinda’ propulsion lab’s got switches labeled ‘rare’, ‘medium’, and ‘well done’?”

Just go ahead and push the red button labeled “EXTRA CRISPY”.

From here on out, I’m not putting “Author’s Note” at the beginning of every story, it’s tedious and nobody’s going to read it anyway.

“Thank the spirits!”

Okay, about this chapter, find out what secret weapon Redemption has up his sleeve.

00000

Thel and Arya were playing chess while John and Kyle were talking in the cafeteria.

Which is rather strange, given that neither are human and neither have spent a great deal of time around humans, and chess is a human game.”

“Checkmate.” Arya stated. Thel’s jaws dropped open as Arya won for the seventh time. “I declare a rematch!” Thel growled. Arya only smiled as they reset their pieces, “Oh, come on, it’s just a game.” Thel only stared at the chessboard with intense concentration and made his first move.

All right, given that Thel ‘Vadam was a fleet commander known for his unconventional tactics and we would be generous calling Arya a Varden field agent, I’m going to call bullshit on that one.  Assuming they both have the same understanding of the game (i.e. zero), Thel ‘Vadam should win every time.

“Hey, you know that new girl that came with the reinforcements, Lieutenant Argent?” Kyle asked. John rolled his eyes, “Don’t Kyle, I’m warning you.”

“Aw come on, you got a girl, and I’m not complaining about it.” Kyle retorted. “Besides, it’s she that’s into me, not the other way around.”

Oh, this is going to end badly. Why did she have to fall not just for a Spartan, but that Spartan?”

John sighed in exasperation, “Alright, fine. But don’t come crying to me when it doesn’t work out.” “You mean if it doesn’t work out, right?”

You mean when you insist on being on top and then crush her ribcage.

John sighed again, “Yeah, right.”

00000

In the courtyard of Galbatorix’s castle stood seven massive brutes wearing silver forerunner armor. “These Jiralhanae have received the same, if not greater enhancements as the demons. They cannot fail.” Redemption boasted.

If these things were actually able to be created, seven of them with the support of a Covenant army would be able to overwhelm two Spartans and a Sangheili Arbiter easily. There’s just the fact that Covenant medical technology is fairly limited and they would likely be unable to perform any of the procedures that went into making the Spartans (much less on only ██ days’ notice), as well as the question of where exactly they got seven full suits of Forerunner armor.”

Wait, you mean this time you didn’t actually-

Sorry, but Rillek Heavy Industries is a shipbuilding, munitions, and media company. We just don’t have access to archaeological digs or genetic augmentation.

Not yet, anyway…

Wait, what was that last bit?

Oh, nothing.”

Each brute was armed with two spikers, a brute shot, and a gravity hammer. The king was still skeptical, “But how can seven warriors defeat an army of hundreds of thousands?” The prophet glared at the king, “One demon can defeat an army of hundreds, think of what seven can do.

“Defeat an army of seven hundreds, presumably.”

You are free to send your soldiers to accompany them, and so shall I.”

Then they both nodded in agreement.

Actually, the King really does have a purpose here- those seven Spartabrutes are numerically small and individually valuable enough that he could place all sorts of very effective defensive wards on them to protect them from both mundane and magical assault. Wards in JATDR just seem to get drained of energy in order to kill the caster, and it’s not like the Covenant usually stops from exterminating humans just to see if they have any abilities that would be of use, but still, it’s worth thinking about I guess. That, and if magic is ever used to defeat these guys, I know who to blame.

00000

“I can’t believe they made a video game out of us.” John growled as he and Thel played Halo 3. “But you have to admit, it is still quite fun even though it’s not very accurately based on what we did.” Then a flood combat form killed John, “Shit! Legendary on the Cortana level is just bullshit.” Respawn in 5… 4… 3… 2… Then another combat form killed Thel, Game Over.

Ok, putting aside how kind of dumb this is for a moment, the only way this game could have gotten to Algaesia is onboard the Everlasting Fury, and there wasn’t that much story in between the two crashes. Do you really expect us to believe that those three or four chapters of nothing much really equated to the years it would take for a game to be developed based on historical events?

“Goddammit!” Thel and John cried at the same time.

Which is strange, as Thel is an Elite and worships the Forerunners as gods, plural.”

“John, Thel, Arya, and Kyle, report to the command center immediately!” Nasuada’s voice rang out from the loudspeakers.

When John and Thel arrived, Arya and Kyle were already waiting for them. As soon as Nasuada acknowledged their presence she began to speak, “There is an abnormal horde of Empire and Covenant troops heading this way,

That would be abnormal whichever way it was heading.”

I want you to take a squad of elites to eliminate them before they get here     and do any damage. Also, this time Eragon will be joining you.” The four simultaneously shouted, “WHAT?” As if cued, the man himself walked in with full battle armor. “Look who came fresh out of rehab.” Kyle muttered.

Ha. Ha. Ha.”

You know, having written a Snarky!Stu myself back in high school, I can tell you they have a genuine talent for turning otherwise funny lines painful.

“Now, I understand your past experiences with Eragon have not always been pleasant, but you will maintain your reason and try not to kill each other.” Nasuada ordered. “Were it so easy.” Thel murmured. “You have your orders, move out!”

The squad included seven elites not including Thel.

So, eight Elites, period. Unless you mean that seven Elites on the squad refused to accept Thel.”

Also, is the Arbiter going to have any reaction whatsoever to reuniting with his brother Sangheili after so long?

Of course not.

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 27

The group marched for hours until they came upon their target. There were dozens of honor guards, a brute chieftain, Empire soldiers,

Once again, we have an incredibly strange distribution of troops, with dozens of the hyperelite Honor Guards surrounding a single mid-level field officer.”

and seven huge brutes that made hunters look like dwarves. “Those aren’t ordinary brutes, and their armor is different too.” Kyle muttered silently.

Ok, I definitely wasn’t expecting Redemption’s Sprutes to have inflated to Hulk-like proportions as a result of their augmentations. John isn’t that much taller than a powerfully-built human…

That cannot be healthy.”

“They don’t know we’re here. Engage active camouflage and pick them off.” John ordered.

The group opened fire. Many of the honor guards and soldiers fell before their suppressive fire and Eragon’s magic, but the brutes however, stayed standing.

“Maybe because you just charged in instead of engaging active camouflage and picking them off like you were ordered to! That, and if your suppressive fire is the most lethal component of your strategy, something has gone terribly wrong.”

As the group ran out of ammo, they rushed forward to engage in a close ranged skirmish. Shotguns could be heard shredding the enemy into mush.

Meaning that they still, in fact, had ammo.”

The colossal brutes pulled out their gravity hammers and started hammering away at anybody they could see, including their allies. The soldiers didn’t put up much resistance, but the brutes were undefeatable. Their armor repelled all attacks, and they moved with lightning speed. Four elites were killed and the rest were injured fatally.

Unless the four were the only ones killed without being injured, I fail to see the distinction.”

John and the rest of the group engaged in a hopeless fight. John pounded one of the giant repeatedly, but the brute showed no signs of weakening or tiring as it raised its larger-than-normal gravity hammer and brought it down with enough force to crush a tank. John went flying as the shockwave hit him.

Yeah, yeah, Sprute go smashy, human go ouchy.

Not that we should be complaining about the potential elimination of so many obnoxious characters simultaneously, of course.”

Eragon rode on Saphira fighting with his magic, his dragon, and his sword.

Can you spot which one will be of no use at all to him in this fight?”

While that was happening, Thel was busy fending off two at once with his dual energy swords. He had scored multiple hits on the hulking figures but they paid no attention to their wounds as they continued to fight.

Not buying it. Gravity hammers have a longer reach than energy swords, and the increased mobility the swords offer won’t be as useful when ‘fending off’ two enemies at once. The Arbiter should be chunky purple salsa by now.

“What are these things?” Arya yelled as she blocked another swing from one of the giants. “I don’t know, but they sure like to play hardball.” Kyle answered as he emptied the rest of his shotgun shells into one of them. Saphira wasn’t doing so well, she had to fend off three at once. The bladed gravity hammers sliced through her scales and into her flesh while her claws, teeth, and fire didn’t even scratch their tough armor.

She might have an easier time of it if she flew out of hammer range, just a suggestion…”

Eragon whispered a spell of death as one of the brutes bore down on him. As the huge beast collapsed, Eragon was surprised at the amount of strength used to kill one of them; he was so close to collapsing from exhaustion.

Huh! Looks like my wards theory had some weight to it after all!

That, or the author just wanted Eragon not to steal the glory from his own Stus.”

Meanwhile John and Kyle worked together to bring down one of the huge brutes. Kyle lifted John from the ground and threw him at the massive beast.

That… might just be the most terrible idea in this ‘fic so far.”

As John collided with the brute, he could feel the giant fall backwards. John and Kyle both pounded on the brute’s face as it lay on the ground, dazed. The giant’s helmet crumpled into useless scraps and its skull caved in from the devastating attack. In the meantime, Thel and Arya tried desperately to keep the oversized brutes at bay. Thel smiled as he pulled out his custom sawn-off double barrel shotgun and blasted one of the brutes with both barrels at point blank range in the face. The force of the blast took the beast’s head clean off in a shower of crushed skull and brain matter.

Yeah, I’m gonna have to call bullshit on that, too. These things are the size of hunters, which can already take two shotgun blasts easily, and in addition to that are augmented with Spartan-level shields and “Forerunner armor”. This is the part where you fall back and call in for air support.

Yeah, and the M90 CAWS sure don’t fuckin’ look like it could fit another barrel in there, or that it’d be any good sawed off. What dumb fuck‘d do that to a perfectly good shotgun, anyway?”

Teron, out!

Thel then blew out the smoke from the bloody barrel of the weapon and proceeded to help the rest of his friends.

While that happened, Arya dueled with one of the beasts with her pistol and sword. Her weapons did nothing against their tough armor while the gravity hammer left a series of dents and scratches on her armor.

Oh, you mean the Gravity Hammer that can kill a Spartan in one or two hits?

Oh yes, spirits forbid a front-line soldier get her armor scratched– whatever is she going to do the next time the Varden hold a parade?!”

She mainly attacked to keep the brute on the defensive. Suddenly, the colossal brute pinned her sword to the ground and sent Arya flying back with a kick to the chest. Lying on the blood-stained ground, Arya saw the brute lift his enormous hammer for the finishing blow. She squeezed her eyes shut as she felt the brute make the downward swing. Arya waited for the crushing pressure, but it never came.

Sort of like her Spartan boyfriend.

Oho, nice one!”

OUT!!

She peeked out of one eye to see John pushing against the heavy gravity hammer. John and the beast were locked in an epic struggle as they both pressed against each other. The brute smiled as he pulled out his spiker

Oooh, hot Sprute-on-Spartan action?

… really?”

and slashed at the Spartan. John could taste blood in his mouth as the spiker blade slammed across his helmet and brought him to the ground. The gigantic brute placed his half-ton boot on John’s chest and pressed downward with all its strength and weight. He yelled in pain as he felt the overwhelming pressure on his torso press him into the ground. John yelled again as he heard a few of his near-indestructible ribs snap under the intense pressure.

Ok, pronoun problem aside this actually seems like a decent way for a fight between a Spartan and some hunter-sized monstrosity to go.

Let’s see what the Stus do to ruin it.”

Desperately, he brought his hands up and suddenly, bright, neon-sapphire beams of light burst from John’s palms and melted the brute in its armor and turned it into a statue made of molten glass and ashes.

Aah, there it is.”

Also, a statue made of molten glass and ashes would just slump over due to its lack of rigidity. It’s not really all that impressive.

Seeing half of their brethren killed, the remaining brutes retreated from the fight.

After which, they were hung by their entrails and paraded through the streets by Redemption for their cowardly violation of Covenant military doctrine.”

A battered and bloody Kyle spoke into his COMM, “Spartan 214 to orbiting frigate, requesting air strike to these coordinates, fast.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. They now have a working ship?

Rillek Heavy Industries is, after all, a turian company. We never abandon our maintenance contracts.”

This… really changes quite a lot, actually. Going off of Cortana’s statements back in Chapter 1, the planet they are currently on is so far removed from UNSC territory by space, time, and/or dimensionality that it is impossible to even calculate their position through astronomy. That means there’s a whole new sphere of space beyond it that could contain resources, aliens, artifacts and more, and they now have the capability to explore and potentially even colonize it. It also means they have a base of operations that whatever’s left of the Evilpire, possibly the Covenant (since their ships were apparently shot down) and most importantly the Flood cannot get to, and it means that if they can recreate the slipspace accident that brought them here (which shouldn’t be too hard, given that it happened by chance to something like five different ships in the last year-ish) they can finally go home. But will it matter? Of course not!

A few minutes later, a longsword fighter swooped down and bombarded the brutes with a barrage of tactical explosives, a split second later, there was a deafening explosion followed by a devastating shockwave. After the smoke and debris cleared, the group could see that all that remained of the brutes was a black and smoking crater.

Which is also what you would have had, minus a severely injured high-level asset, had you just done as I suggested at the beginning of the fight!”

John could feel himself being lifted from the ground. He hacked up a glob of blood that spattered the inside of his helmet while Thel supported most of John’s weight as they slowly traveled back to base.

00000

An ignominious end for an incompetent soldier.”

I am a dishonest person, dear readers. I will break a promise to you, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about here’s a hint: What do you get when you cross an elf with a Spartan?

A terrible idea?”

I was going to say “an Elfartan”, but I like yours better.

Then let’s get this over with.”

All right. Chapter 18 is entitled “Broken Promise”, and while in a normal Halo story one might assume such a title would have something to do with the Sangheili rebellion and the Great Journey, here it’s a pretty good indicator that we’re just in for more angst.

Hello readers, yes I am breaking that promise in this chapter. Enough spoiling, time to get the game on.

“And the only way to win is not to play.”

00000

With bandages wrapped around his torso, John lied on a cot in the medical wing. He could remember the massive boot crushing him. ‘So that’s how a cockroach feels…” John thought miserably.

Ok, that’s actually closer than average to John’s incredibly sparse-worded sense of humor. Congratulations?

Suddenly Cortana’s image blocked out his vision and he could hear the heart monitor pinging KIA.

In that case, it needs to be recalibrated- John might be dying (Spirits willing!), but he most definitely is not in any action at the moment.”

‘You have been called upon to serve.’ John shook his head; a waypoint had been placed on the doorway even though he didn’t have his helmet on. His HUD flashed and flickered before his eyes while he climbed painfully out of his cot and out of his room, his chest pounding. As he reached the ghosted waypoint, another one appeared on the entrance to the building. All the while, visions of Cortana flashed vividly.

All right, the last time this happened the Gravemind was imprisoning Cortana in High Charity and telepathically broadcasting images of her to mess with the Chief, and waypoints didn’t really involve themselves because the Gravemind wasn’t trying to assist the Chief. It also messes with his suit when it happens, so presumably the armor is an important and probably necessary part of the process. Having his HUD reappear for no reason when he is out of that armor is… well, really dumb, and reeks of a pretentious author trying to lean on the fourth wall.

He fell in and out of consciousness as the pain was too much to ignore, but the drive to reach the blue arrow kept him going. As he stretched out his hand towards the waypoint in a final attempt, the arrow faded and disappeared altogether. Suddenly, an excruciating wave of pain shot up his entire body, not just his chest. John screamed in agony as another surge of demanding soreness attacked him. His cries became shriller until the grating screaming sounded inhuman.

All right, I’m not a hundred percent sure what is happening here, but there is a Gravemind in proximity so perhaps this is simply another mind trick. It would probably be more useful to the Flood for this sort of attack to be made in the heat of battle, but I imagine the Gravemind will take whatever opportunity it can get.”

That, or the ‘fic thought we needed some more gratuitous angst.

Well, probably, yes.”

He felt as if he was receiving his augmentations ten times at once. In his peripheral vision, he saw nurses rush to his aid. The pain became no more as his world faded into darkness.

00000

When John opened his eyes, his vision was blurry. The bandages on his chest were gone, as he pushed himself off the uncomfortable cot and made his way to the armory. Everything seemed normal aside from the fact that John’s sight was sharper and he could hear conversation from all around the base.

Maybe that’s because he was augmented ten more times.

By the way, the Admiral’s is the only explanation of these events that we are ever     going to get. They won’t run a more detailed medical exam, and nobody will even express any memory of this event. Much like the Palm Lasers of Stuishness, it simply occurs because it does.”

Everyday Anachronism(??) Counter: 28

As he pieced together his armor, he went to check out the sparring arena which had been transformed and remodeled into the training course, sparring ring, and full gymnasium.

That… doesn’t sound entirely in congruence with the Euclidean laws of volume.

There, he saw Arya and Thel fighting in the ring.

Thel raised his fists to pound on Arya’s defenses. As the incoming blows were struck, the elf retaliated with a punch to the alien’s stomach and a kick in the shoulder. Thel stumbled back as Arya threw blow after blow. As Arya made the final kick to the face, Thel fell on his back.

My hearts really do go out to Thel ‘Vadam in this. Getting trounced by a Sue is never pleasant.”

Suddenly, a wave of nausea overcame Arya as she was brought to her knees. Arya ripped off her helmet and vomited on the sandy ground. John rushed to help his wife, when he reached her; Arya was wiping the last of her lunch off her lips. Thel looked in surprise as the Spartan closed the distance between them faster than he could blink. John scooped up Arya in his arms and carried her back to the medical wing.

He was on the verge of collapse not five minutes ago. Surely the fellow supersoldier can carry herself.”

Maybe the Sexist Stick broke her legs for him?

00000

“Seriously John, I’m fine. Really.” Arya said for the seventh time. “I’m not letting you go before the medics say you’re good to go. You look horrible.” Indeed, there were bags under Arya’s eyes, she looked thinner than usual and her skin was a shade of pale gray. The doctor entered the room in a white hospital uniform. He asked a series of questions like “Have you been getting enough sleep?” and “Are you eating enough?”

Now, I’m no physician, but those don’t seem like first guesses for the cause of nausea.

He wrote down Arya’s answers, and then he asked his final question, “Have you engaged in any sexual activity?” Arya blushed a deep red then answered, “Yes.” He jot down a few more words on his data pad. “There is a major possibility that you have a child on the way, but I need a urine test to confirm it.” Arya sunk in her chair as she let the words sink in.

Your medical license. Hand it over. Now.

00000

John couldn’t believe it; he was going to be a father. ‘A battlefield is no place to raise a child.’

“Just from personal experience I would beg to differ.”

Pipe down, I told everyone you were a draft-dodger chapters ago.

“Spoilsport.”

He went to the gym to calm himself down. John raised his fists in a boxing position and proceeded to beat on a sandbag. Each strike was more violent than the next, until he reached the point where he punched through the bag and watched the sand flow smoothly onto the floor. The other marines were beginning to stare as John threw another powerful punch that launched the heavy sandbag across the gym and smashed against the wall, leaving a large crack.

00000

The doctor examined the test results as Arya sat in the other room, filled with anxiety. The elf jumped when he entered the room, “The test result is positive.

You have random-pattern bolding disease. And it’s contagious.”

Congratulations, you are going to be a mother.” Arya’s hand flew to her stomach as soon as she heard the words spill from his mouth. Arya walked out of the hospital wing with her hand still attached to her stomach area.

She went in for a pregnancy test and left with her hand fused to her abdomen. I think that would be grounds for a malpractice suit.”

‘Calm down John, calm down.’ He thought over and over again to quiet his raging anxiety. But it was no use; his thoughts always came back to the term ‘Father.’ John gripped the sink of the bathroom and stared into the mirror, he gasped in surprise, his eyes were a bright, neon blue than the usual brown. ‘What the hell?’ Pieces of the bathroom sink broke in his hands as he gripped it until his knuckles were white. ‘I’m not ready for this, and I never will be.’

Boy have you got that right.

00000

‘Our enemies grow stronger, and so we must strike before they become more so. We, the flood, will consume the galaxy of flesh and mind and bone!’    

Knock it off with the random bolding already!

The Gravemind thought as he set out hundreds of thousands of mutated and deformed figures which ran screeching their horrible war cries.

In the distance, battle horns were sounding.

Which is strange, because all of the factions have been upgraded to space-age technology by now.”

Hmm, not what it was meant for exactly, but I’ll add it:

Everyday Anachronism Counter: 29

The flood had mounted another attack, but this time, they had brought an army well over seven times the last one. The Varden army set up defense turrets and snipers formed up on the base’s outer wall.

It’s going to take more than defense turrets and some materializing snipers to deal with an outbreak of this size. Where exactly is your air support again?”

And who the hell uses snipers against the Flood anyway?

And on that sort-of-cliffhanger (come on, it’s not like the Flood is going to do the sensible thing and win), we move on into Chapter 19: “Rage and Fury”. Not exactly Truth and Reconciliation, I have to say.

Okay readers, things in here are about to get a little gory. So get those vomit bags on hand and ready to use cuz you’re in for a wild ride.

“Given that your idea of ‘gore’ consists of the same buckets of blood and precious little else repeated over and over again, I think we’ll be fine”

It’s not the gore you have to worry about, it’s those sneaky little tense shifts that have been creeping into the last few chapters…

Oh, and I won’t be putting my seven references in bold anymore.

“Praise! The! Spirits!”

00000

Kyle let out a feral war cry as he hacked up a pure form with his energy machete while Three Doors Down was blaring in his helmet.

Energy. Machete.”

Three. Doors. Down.

You know, I have it on good authority that Garrus Vakarian listens to music during firefights as well (although I would assume he has better taste.) That’s what makes him a bad soldier, and why when I needed a problem solved on Kar’Shan I went to Elizabeth Shepard and not to him.”

John blasted a combat form into pieces of yellow gore with an old SPAS-12 shotgun.

Which would be immeasurably inferior to a modern weapon- for one thing, it would lack a SmartLink interface, making it difficult to aim. For another, it would be an antique and would be unable to support most modern ammunition.”

A pelican roared overhead and released tactical explosives and a hail of plasma rounds into the horde, literally tearing the flood into nothing but flying scraps.

Why are UNSC ships releasing plasma rounds? Is this going to be like Halo 4, where they turned into “liek da Covnunt, but BETTER” for no good reason?

Saphira and Eragon were slashing away at the oncoming deformed figures.

Accomplishing nothing as, instead of using their legitimately effective dragonfire and magic, they once again opted to bring swords to a fight against a melee opponent where everyone else possessed guns.”

Somewhere in all this, seven flood juggernauts joined the raging fight. To tell the truth, the marines were enjoying this, John could hear one laugh maniacally as he mowed down a mass of flood with a blood-covered machine gun turret.

Considering that Flood engagements almost always end with massive and gruesome casualties sustained by human forces, I’m imagining the reaction being less “gleeful destruction” and more “firing madly on the edge of panic”.

Gore spurted and sprayed in all directions as the flood of mutant parasites continued to lay siege to the fortified base.

I see what you did there, author. And I’m not impressed.”

John cried out in agony as a powerful blow from a flood juggernaut‘s tentacle sent him across the battlefield. He landed on his back, hard. The massive monster landed beside the Spartan with a loud crash. As John propped himself up on his elbows, he felt pain explode all across his back and torso area. He looked down to see a long tentacle tipped with a razor-like blade protruding from his chest.

Welp, now he’s infected. I’d like to say it was nice knowing John, but… it really wasn’t.

He was lifted up from the ground and raised to face the huge, ugly motherfker. The flood form gurgled in victory as it raised another tentacle to pierce it through John’s heart. Just then, something inside John’s brain snapped. He lost all control of his rage and self-control as he ripped apart the limb into pieces with his bare hands. Growling like a feral animal, he tore the bladed appendage from his chest with an inhuman roar. His mind blazed with raging anger, and uncontrollable thoughts of bloody revenge. He didn’t even notice that the hole in his torso closed almost immediately with new tissue and skin. Screaming like a savage beast, he leapt onto the flood monster and punched into the giant’s armored flesh. All the while, John was screaming while digging deeper and deeper with his… claws? The huge flood form squealed in agony as the small Spartan continued to claw and punch his way into the flood form. It smelled heavily like rotting corpses and flesh inside the huge beast, but John didn’t notice. His only intent was to make this damned creature suffer as much as possible. The Spartan yelled in victory as he burst out the other side of the massive beast in an eruption of yellow fluid and puss.

I’ll reiterate what I’ve been saying for a while now- these action sequences, assuming the author did his research and fixed numerous realism- and canon-related tactical blunders, would actually be reasonably good if they weren’t entirely fixated on sucking off the Stus!

John’s helmet was removed while all of this happened.

“Twice infected, then.”

His eyes were blazing crimson red.

I’m sure they have drops for that back at the infirmary.

John looked out over the intestine, severed limbs, and blood strewn battlefield. ‘They must all suffer, they will all pay…’ The crazed Spartan laughed crazily

“Really now?”

as he rushed the enemy. He threw away precautions and safety measures as he tore through the flood by the hundreds. Bodies flew in all directions like ragdolls as John punched and kicked his way through the small combat forms and pure forms. John didn’t even notice that he was far behind enemy lines. Fueled by his anger and wrath, he abandoned all strategy and combat techniques and started to flail wildly and violently, not caring if he hit anything.

Yeah, he’s doomed.

The absolute worst thing you can do against any Halo enemy, but especially against Food, is to charge forward mindlessly.

As Kyle and Thel cut down a tank form together, they saw John in his state of frenzy. Kyle caught a glimpse of his crazed look in his bright ruby eyes. “What’s with your brother, Kyle?” He slowly shook his head, “Maybe he’s finally lost it.”

Kind of a blasé reaction to the whole affair, honestly. This would work as another humorous scene if the ‘fic could just make up its mind about being funny, but as it stands…”

Everyday Aberration Counter: 30

John ripped off a Juggernaut’s bladed tentacle and stabbed the creature to death with it in a wild shower of chunks of rotting and decaying flesh. Using the limb as a weapon, the Spartan gave an experimental swing and slashed a tank form clean in half. He grinned wildly with his newfound mace and proceeded to cut down every flood he could see. Severed and mutilated body parts were shooting everywhere. John threw the juggernaut tentacle like a spear and it pierced and exited another Juggernaut in a violent spray of red and sickening green unknown fluid.

The Spartan was still in his demented condition when the fight was over,

Sort of like the story.

as soon as he saw Eragon walk towards him, John flew towards him and slammed him to the ground with a wild growl. “AAHH, get off of me! What’s wrong with you?”

Good question.”

Eragon looked up into John’s crimson eyes, filled with bloodlust. Just as the Spartan pulled his fist back to smash Eragon’s face in, Kyle pulled the bloodthirsty John off of him and pinned him to the ground. Kyle saw John’s wild crimson eyes fade into tranquil neon blue. As he felt his brother relax, he loosened his hold on him. “You alright?” Kyle asked hesitantly. John shook his head as he lurched and vomited all of his lunch all over the ground. “Shit.”

00000

“There is something wrong with me, Kyle. I didn’t go crazy in the battlefield, that wasn’t me.”

You’re right, of course. That was not John-117. That was Gary Stu.”

John muttered solemnly. His brother sighed, “Look, we all have our stressful moments, so this is nor…” John suddenly growled, “This is not normal; don’t tell me this is normal. What happened today was far from normal.”

He’s right, you know.”

“What do you want from me, to say that you screwed up?” Kyle snapped, “Fine. John, you royally fucked up.” John closed his eyes and said in a low voice, “I’m sorry, it’s been a long day. Maybe I just need some rest.” Kyle’s expression lightened, “Yeah it has been a long day. Go get some sleep, that’s an order.”

Everyday Aberration Counter: 31

Arya sat in her barracks patting her distended belly softly while John entered the room.

Jesus Christ on a taco shell that’s a rapid pregnancy!

“John! You’re back, so how’d it go?” He shook his head forlornly, “Something happened to me out there, I don’t know what happened to me, I just got so mad… and…” Arya noticed something different about her husband, “John, why are your eyes… blue?”

“I have no idea, this all started ever since…”

“Ever since what?”

John gasped, “Arya, how did Thel bring me back to life after Eragon killed me?” Arya looked puzzled, “He gave you a shot, said it was reverse engineered forerunner tech. John, what’s wrong?” John’s eyes widened in realization, “Of course… that’s what gave me my powers and my enhanced abilities.” Arya shook her head, “John, what are you talking about?”

John sighed in exhaustion, “Never mind, I’m bushed. I have to get some sleep, or tomorrow will kill me.”

No, I’m pretty sure he’d just rip tomorrow’s intestines out and use them to lasso enemies or something equally stupid.

“Wait, why does he not know this? The ‘fic had previously stated that he was in fact fully conscious during his “death”.”

00000

John was in what looked like a forerunner temple with seven forerunner warriors facing him, “You must go, Reclaimer. We will hold back the parasite until you make your escape.” John shook his head, “No, I can’t just leave you behind; I will not have you sacrifice your lives for mine.” They all turned their heads when they heard a loud screech emanating from down the dark hallway. The warriors activated what looked like energy swords and rushed into the darkness. John ran, he ran like all hell was on his heels, maybe it was. He pitched forward and hit the ground as a flood infection form leapt on his back. John screamed as it dug into his chest. He pulled out his energy dagger and stabbed himself in the torso, killing himself and the infection form.

00000

“AAHHHH!” John felt himself being shaken from his nightmare. Arya was over him with her hands on his shoulders. He was panting heavily and covered in sweat. ‘Just a nightmare, just a nightmare, just a nightmare…’

All right, let’s take stock:

  • John-117 is able to quite literally get away with war crimes and be considered a hero.
  • John-117 is constantly abusive to his friends and loved ones, and yet adored for it regardless.
  • John-117 makes monumentally foolish tactical judgments, and yet prevails against overwhelming odds.
  • John-117 has an abnormally brutal and spectacle-driven hand-to-hand fighting style that nonetheless succeeds against opponents trained in proper close-quarters combat or armed with ranged weapons.
  • John-117 is occasionally injured in implausible circumstances, only to either     continue fighting on without any significant handicap or recover almost immediately.
  • John-117 has Technicolor eyes.
  • John-117 has flashy, broadly-defined “powers” with no reasonable limitations or origin.
    • John-117’s “powers” are tied to his emotional state.
    • John-117 obsesses over his “powers” being dangerous, and they are, but nobody tries to secure him so that he cannot harm others and no others are ever harmed.
    • John-117’s superiors do not immediately send him and his “powers” off to a secure location for study, but instead allow him to continue to operate basically as he had.
  • John-117 is extremely emotionally unstable and flies into rage or depression with no real provocation, only to return a day later collected and ready to fight.
    • John-117’s allies are not alarmed by this.
  • John-117 experiences intense physical pain at random intervals with no discernible cause, but this does not interfere with his ability to operate as a soldier.
  • John-117 receives visions of the plot apropos of nothing.

And, finally, in this last passage…

  • John-117 is anointed by a higher power.

I was initially worried only about his “cobalt”-armored, insult-spewing “twin brother”, but it seems that over this last chapter the original John-117 has mutated from Safe, to Stuclid, to Keter right under our mandibles. My Librarian brothers and sisters, we have found here an incredible Class XVI Stu!       

Arya wrapped his arms around John in a comforting hug while he returned the favor. Then they fell into a dreamless sleep in each other’s embrace.

Next morning…

Will this ever be addressed again, or even remarked upon?

Of course not.

Everyday Aberration Counter: 28

“Kyle, Thel, I need you two to make me mad.”

Ok, sure- Halo 4 is going to turn you into a blundering angstbucket who can barely function as a soldier.

Oh, wait.

The elite and the Spartan stood frozen in shock. Kyle spoke first, “I thought you didn’t want what happened yesterday to happen again.”

“That’s the point of this whole exercise; I need to control my power so I don’t hurt anybody next time I go off.” Kyle huddled with Thel for a moment, when they faced John again, they both said simultaneously, “NO.”

Good show, gentlemen. I’m half convinced that there might be a place for an irascible Spartan who happens by sheer coincidence to resemble the late great John-117 somewhere in the multiverse as well.”

John growled, “Look, would you rather wait for the next time I go off and hurt UNSC personnel or you can help me to avoid a situation like that.”

We would rather you stepped off the front line if you can’t do your job.”

Kyle thought over this for a second, “Fine we’ll help you.” Thel looked surprised, “We will? Er… yeah we will help you.” John breathed a sigh of relief, “Thanks, now let’s get started.”

00000

Okay fine, so this chapter wasn’t all that, hope you enjoyed it anyway. See you next time, peace out.

“Wasn’t all that what? Readable? Well-thought-out? Sane?”

Is “all of the above” an option?

Regardless, log on next week for the exciting conclusion of John and the Dragon Rider, and then we can finally punt the abomination that’s taken over Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 into the intergalactic void where it belongs.

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22 Comments on “1210: John and the Dragon Rider – Chapters Seventeen, Eighteen, and Nineteen”

  1. Tie Dye Mage says:

    Our enemies grow stronger, and so we must strike before they become more so. We, the flood, will consume the galaxy of flesh and mind and bone!’

    Knock it off with the random bolding already!

    Emphasizing random words does not a talented writer make.

  2. Tie Dye Mage says:

    “Energy. Machete.”

    Three. Doors. Down.

    Punctuated. For. Emphasis.

  3. agigabyte says:

    From here on out, I’m not putting “Author’s Note” at the beginning of every story, it’s tedious and nobody’s going to read it anyway.

    Cain: Well, we are reading your fic.

  4. agigabyte says:

    Your medical license. Hand it over. Now.

    Goddess: Don’t worry, I already stole it.

  5. agigabyte says:

    ‘Calm down John, calm down.’ He thought over and over again to quiet his raging anxiety.

    Dakota: *Looks up from datapad* Why is the surgeon thinking that?

    Cain: Lack of dialogue attribution. Now go back to your logistics. That’s the entire reason Commodores exist.

  6. agigabyte says:

    My Librarian brothers and sisters, we have found here an incredible Class XVI Stu!”

    agig: What’s that by GONS Measurements?

    Cain and Goddess: Class One.

    agig: Please stop that.

  7. Tie Dye Mage says:

    Oooh, hot Sprute-on-Spartan action?

    “… really?”

  8. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    ‘fleet commander known for his unconventional tactics’

    One thing that does bug me a little, why does fiction seem to draw the conclusion that a great battlefield tactician is a great chess player? I… suppose that could work…

    I guess it’s more the inverse that bothers me under normal circumstances, seeing how Chess is made to be incredibly limited with rules n shit, a lot of the idea of ‘fair play’ that I’d think would breed more of an idiot aristocrat general :/

    I mean I guess in older times when you had technological limitations it’d be alright but I’m pretty sure Chess don’t account for precision Slipspace jumps and black ops supersoldiers n nukes n shit…

    • agigabyte says:

      Goddess: I’d like to see a chess Player handle a Squad of Snipers who can move to a different spot at any time with Formless Teleporters.

    • DasCheesenBorgir says:

      In the grim darkness of the far future, overpriced tabletop games will be the only valid test of one’s strategic mettle…

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      You make a valid point, but I’m kind of also going off of the fact that Thel ‘Vadam’s war record indicates that he is a faster learner and probably just generally more intelligent than Arya.


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