1456: Love of a Spartan – Chapter Five

Title: Love of a Spartan
Author:  AshleyBudrick
Media: Video Game
Topic: HALO
Genre:  Sci-Fi/Romance
URL: No Longer Available Online
Critiqued by Admiral Sakai, Gul, and the Arbiter

Hello! Hello, everyone! Welcome back from our little crappypasta interlude to the titanic pile of nothing much that is Love of a Spartan!”

Last time, with the battle for Capricornia well and truly lost and everyone’s various medically-dubious injuries at least temporarily treated, Privates Renee Kilburn and Amy Smythe decided to spend their Slipspace jump doing what they do best- following the poor, bored Master Chief around and pestering him like twelve-year-old fangirls. And yes, that’s… really about all there was to it. Hardly even any bashing of Troy Fisher!

Oh, yeah, and then a Covenant Assault Carrier showed up to ruin everyone’s day.

Terrible Troy Counter: 11

Mommy’s Little Marines Counter: 13

Halight Counter: 4

Chapter Six (five in the story itself) is long and entitled “Infiltration”, which sort of gives away the Covenant’s battle plan before we even start. But it also promises combat, and so there’s at least some chance (however narrow) that the chapter might actually be good.”

Chapter Five

[March 9th, 2525 – Halcyon Class Hercules

Could these location stamps possibly get any less specific?

— Space]

Oh god dammit.

Dr. Halsey and Thomsen stood on the bridge, watching as the giant carrier and its entire fleet exited Slipspace with a bright flash. They slowed from a light speed to a lazy glide in the fraction of a second. Keira, whose body flashed dark purple for a moment, put her hands on her hips, observing them through the glass.

It’s a small thing, but since Keira is an AI and her avatar is just a visual display, she would not be observing external objects through the glass but rather through the ship’s sensors.

Oooh, I smell a Turing Award for this one!”

Shut up.

“Give them a moment,” she said, “They’re currently deciding on battle tactics…

How gentlemanly of you, to wait until the genocidal alien zealots are ready to take their turn!”

wait, second that, they’re sending their boarding craft our way.”

“Fire the MLA auto cannons,” Thomsen ordered,

That’s… strangely product-placementy, actually. What other autocannons does he have?

“Try and take out as many of them as you can before they can reach our escape pods.”

“Commencing fire,” Keira said, and several of the Hercules front MLA’s came to life, and she, Thomsen and Dr. Halsey watched as it caught a couple of boarding craft, instantly sending them exploding into a ball of fire with a few rounds, the ship’s pieces coming apart fast at first, then slowing to a lazy drift in the vacuum.

… and then an assault rifle came out of nowhere and said”some wished us here”and then Cortana turned and said”John-117 why you doing here”.Then John said”we came to help you and also we got rid of the ring”and then the Gravemind said”oh no”and then the magical powers from Cortana distoryed the Gravemind.

Also, according to the plurals, it would appear that it was in fact the Hercules that just disintegrated.”

Don’t I wish.

“That’s two, I’m activating the guns further down the ship, to try and eliminate a few more,” Keira said, “To save our marines a little grief.

You could do that a lot more efficiently if you just let the Covenant kill Amy Smythe.”

Of course, some of them will board…” and then she turned on her holographic panel to peer curiously at The Domination, which was just almost floating there in space,

Oh, shit, the Mykan qualifiers are back!

So if it was almost floating in space, was it in fact slowly sinking into an upper atmosphere?”

it’s smaller counterpart The Redemption, trailing along its side like a puppy. She folded her arms, “That’s odd, they aren’t making any sudden attacks, well I suppose that’s for the better at the moment.

Whatever that means.”

However, if they’re waiting around, thinking they can wipe us out from the inside, they’ll be disappointed.

And so will the readers.

We’ve got a Spartan.”

“Wait a few minutes,” Thomsen said, “And then we’ll make the first move. Show them we’re not giving up easily.

Ignoring, for the moment, the fact that sitting around doing nothing in the middle of a pitched battle communicates exactly the opposite impression…”

On my signal, fire the MAC gun at The Redemption, the poor little fellow trailing along behind the big bastard.”

Yes, we know how the two ships compare to each other in size. No need to restate it every two or three lines.

“I don’t mean to question your actions sir,” Keira turned to him, “But that would be engaging the fight, throwing the first punch, so to speak.

I think it’s a little late for diplomacy and restraint.

And that tactic worked so well at Harvest all those years ago.”

That assault carrier isn’t to be underestimated.”

“Neither am I,” Thomsen said with a smirk, adjusting his hat.

Come on, you know you were thinking it too.

Come on, you know you were thinking it too.

He glanced at Dr. Halsey, who slightly returned it, “Needn’t worry, the hull like ours can take at least five plasma torpedoes before we have to worry about any real crippling damage. I’ve got this all planned out. This is one battle we’re going to win.”

I really don’t see how. They’re one light cruiser, in fact one of the less effective models of light cruiser the UNSC fielded, going up against the second-largest Covenant battleship in existence.

Actually, that tells me everything I need to know about how they will win- through the time-honored strategy of authorial intervention.”

Onboard The Domination, Ship Master M’to ‘Malnoonee sat in his chair on the bridge, watching the scene through the various video screens throughout the room, which provided different angle shots of the Hercules.

Hmm, no canon presence that I could find, so apparently this shipmaster is in fact completely a fan-created Sangheili (a Fangheili?). Therefore, I hereby rechristen him “Shipmaster Loonie”- you know his tactical sense is going to live up to the name.

The Elite, donning silver armor, rested his elongated head on his hand, chuckling amusingly to himself, watching as his deployed boarding craft cleverly darted out of the way of the guns, heading for the underbelly of the cruiser, to attach to its escape pod routes.

Huh. I always wondered how a species without hair engages in mustache-twirling…

I’d have expected him to just wiggle his mandibles a bit. That’s what I always do.”

They had only managed to shoot down two boarding craft, which wasn’t bad for Humans, but it was a common average.

So apparently Sangheili military academies do not teach introductory statistics.

‘Malnoonee preferred to not even bother sending in his troops via the escape pods, he usually just pummeled his enemy with the plasma torpedoes until it was destroyed.

But, this was a special mission. He sent in his troops this time, not just to kill, but to be his eyes.

Of course! Because Spirits forbid you just do the sensible thing!”

To answer the rumor that had surfaced from his Covenant survivors he pulled from Capricornia before he glassed the planet.

As opposed to the ones he evacuated after he glassed the planet?

Suddenly, the commander of The Redemption, Rtas ‘Vadumee came up on the main screen, interrupting ‘Malnoonee’s observation of the unfolding scene.

Poor, endlessly-abused Rtas ‘Vadumee. I wonder what the author has in store for you this time… although at least your name is spelled and punctuated correctly.

“‘Vadumee, what is it now?” ‘Malnoonee snapped in his Sangheili tongue,

He… has access to non-Sangheili tongues?”

Typically I’d be worried about the DRD, but it looks like they and the SCP Foundation are too busy arguing about jurisdiction in the lobby.

clicking his mandibles in irritation, “I was in the middle of watching our troops descending on our enemy.”

“My apologies, Ship Master,” ‘Vadumee said, folding his arms across his chest, “I was just wondering, you hadn’t made it entirely clear as to what you’re doing…”

He’s twirling his mustache and gloating well before his victory is secured. I thought we went over this!”

“I’ve sent in our troops,” ‘Malnoonee shot back, “To do a bit of confirming for me, and kill some humans while they’re there.”

I love how exterminating the humans has somehow managed to become the Covenant’s secondary objective.

“The rumor of the Spartan?” ‘Vadumee picked up quickly.

“Yes,” ‘Malnoonee replied, drumming his long fingers on the arm of his chair, “And if it’s confirmed, I have K’tao ‘Kolsamee who’s going to do a little mission for me, to say the least.”

Well, that last bit… almost made sense…

“‘Kolsamee?” ‘Vadumee said aloud thoughtfully, “One of the Special Operations… Stealth, if I’m not mistaken?”

“Hmm,” ‘Malnoonee narrowed his eyes, nodding, “If this all goes the way I’ve planned, and the rumor is indeed confirmed, ‘Kolsamee is instructed to stay aboard that cruiser and gather as much information as possible about this Spartan.”

‘Vadumee looked disappointed, yet interested in ‘Malnoonee’s idea.

As opposed to us, who are disappointed and bored.

“You mean, we’re not going to engage in battle?” ‘Vadumee tilted his head.

“No,” ‘Malnoonee leaned back in his chair, “Once the rumor is confirmed, whether true or false, I’ve instructed whoever’s surviving to leave, and if it’s a positive outcome, for ‘Kolsamee to remain onboard.”

Or, well, you know, you could just confirm his presence, pull back your boarding parties, and then blow the Hercules out of existence. That way, instead of gambling several high-level assets on an extraordinarily high-risk scheme that accomplishes basically nothing, you could actually strike a major blow to the enemy! Imagine that!

“Very well, then,” ‘Vadumee replied, “I’ll be waiting for your signal.”

And the image of him flickered and went from the screen.

‘Malnoonee looked back at the Hercules; it was still around the vessel now. The boarding craft must already have attached and were infiltrating the cruiser at that moment.

Now all he had to do was wait.

And, possibly, repeat Officer Candidate school a few more times.

John bolted down the hallway as fast as he could, heading towards the escape pods. He already could hear gunfire from both human and Covenant weapons down nearby hallways. He rounded the corner of the hallway leading to the escape pods, and a plasma bolt whizzed right by his head, crackling the air.

There was a small group of Grunts and an Elite jumping out of the escape pod. The rest of them must have dispersed into the ship. John quickly ducked back behind the wall as a few more shots of plasma sizzled through the air. He heard the high-pitched yowls from the Grunts, and a low, guttural roar from the Elite.

No…

John knew how to easily fix this little clique of aliens. He reached down and pulled a grenade from his belt, pulled the pin, waited a second, then let it fly. He heard the clunks as it hit the floor-plates and bounced, and then the surprised yells from his enemies as they realized what it was. Not a second later, a loud explosion rocked the hallway as the grenade detonated, and a Grunt body went flying past him and came to a skid not three feet away, leaving a streak of light blue blood on the floor.

Can it be…?”

The Spartan whipped around the corner, snatching up his pistol from his utility belt. The hallway was splattered with alien blood. He had successfully killed the Grunts, but the Elite was still standing. Its armor’s shields sparked and crackled as they tried to recharge, and the Elite, upon seeing him, backed away, raising its plasma rifle to him. John was quicker than the dazed Elite, however, and he killed it with a well placed bullet to the head.

It can! It can!

The writing is actually decent again!”

HALLELUIAH!

The alien let out a low rumble, as its knees gave out, and the rest of its body followed as it crumpled to the ground in a bloody heap, dark purple blood oozing out from the shot to its head. John walked over to the body, gave it a good kick to make sure it was dead, and put his pistol back to his belt, and took out his assault rifle again.

Ok, so, yeah, the whole switching-weapons-in-the-middle-of-combat thing does get kind of video-gamey, but still… this section actually has some dynamism to it!

He walked past the rest of dead bodies, and as he headed down a side corridor, his HUD blinked with upcoming enemies. This time his ears picked up not only Covenant, but Human words this time.

He picked up his speed and ran down the corridor, and rounded a corner, and sure enough, there was a larger group of Covenant, and a good share of marines at the scene, who were crouched behind a few supply boxes as the aliens fired angrily at them.

John spotted Troy Fisher amongst them, who was in the process of shooting at one of the Elites in the group.

“Take their fucking shields down, then someone throw a frag, dammit!” Troy shouted over the gunfire, and then ducked behind the boxes again, and he saw John just about the same time the Elite did.

Terrible Troy Counter:

Nope, still good!”

John was surprised to see it almost get excited at his appearance. It pointed a finger at him.

Wort, wort, wort!” It yowled, and suddenly all the Grunts and the other Elites turned to look at him. For a moment, gunfire on both sides stopped. Troy looked at the Elites and then back at John, a bewildered look on his face.

“What the hell!” Troy said, and then a Marine saw his chance, and pulled a pin on a grenade and threw it into the group of aliens. John and everyone else ducked as it exploded. Screams of pain from the Grunts and Elites filled the air as shrapnel tore through their skin.

The Grunts were killed instantly, and an Elite whose shields hadn’t been full when the grenade detonated, lay on the ground twitching and writhing in pain, thick purple blood bubbling from its mouth.

“Open fire marines!” Troy shouted, and they all shot at the two remaining Elites, who didn’t seem to care they were there. They turned away from them, and seemed to be trying to frantically talk into their headsets, but were taken down in a spray of bullets.

… and, sadly, we are still left with the feeling that something is amiss. Namely that, even in an infantry engagement, where the Marines canonically should be able to pull out a victory, the story seems to demand that the Covenant be so incompetent that the hard work of these genuinely capable soldiers is effectively wasted.”

It grew quiet as the last Elite fell dead, except for the one Elite who had been caught in the grenade blast – it was still groaning softly to itself. Troy got to his feet, approaching it as it lay on the floor, its body in spasms. He aimed at it with his assault rifle.

“Take this you son of a…”

John, who hadn’t been beside him second ago, quickly put his hand on the LT’s shoulder. Troy turned and looked into his mirrored visor quizzically.

“Hold your fire,” John said quietly, walking past him and stopping at the writhing Elite. He gazed down on the injured alien. Blood spurted from several shrapnel wounds dotted across its body, and was struggling to keep from choking on its own blood. It looked up at him with wide eyes. Its mandibles fell open, and it weakly raised its hand to its helmet, and rasped out a jumble of words spoken its alien tongue.

John quickly silenced it by shooting it in the head.

Ok, so… what was the point of that? The Chief stopped Troy from mercy-killing an Elite, and then… killed it anyway? Is he supposed to look morally superior because her went for a pistol versus an assault rifle?

Well, he also gave the Elite the chance to radio intelligence back to its mothership when Troy would have plugged the leak immediately. So there is that.”

Terrible Troy Counter: 12

‘Malnoonee sat in his chair in the bridge, when suddenly; a voice came over the speaker.

And that right there is emphatically not how you semicolon.

It was one of his Elites, from onboard the Hercules. Before there were words, he heard him gasping for air.

“The Spartan is on board,” the raspy voice said, “the Spartan is here…”

And then a loud gunshot came through the Elite’s headset, causing ‘Malnoonee to startle. Then he lost the signal. He sat there for a few seconds, realizing the value of the information he had just received; the rumors were not just rumors anymore. It was true, then. One of the Humans’ Spartan soldiers was indeed aboard that ship.

‘Malnoonee felt overwhelmed, and he clenched his fists – not having to guess that it was the Spartan who had just killed the messenger.

And, sadly, the Spartan who was idiot enough to give his location away to the enemy.”

Slowly and cautiously, the marines came out from behind their cover, as John stood over the dead body of the Elite. Troy led the nervous pack with an air of confidence as he came up behind the Spartan. He walked up beside him, staring down at the dead alien.

“What was that bastard saying?” Troy said with a frown, giving the body a kick, “Probably praying to not go to hell, the ugly squid-headed piece of shit.”

John looked down at Troy, and he didn’t have to guess he was angry – an emotion that seemed frequent for the hot-headed Lieutenant.

Gosh, anger at an incomprehensible alien race that’s murdered millions of innocent people with no provocation whatsoever. Imagine that!”

“There’s more of those ugly squid-headed piece of shits,” John quoted Troy wryly, “Where that one came from. Let’s get a focus on the mission, Lieutenant. We can curse them later when we’re all out of this situation.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Troy answered miserably.

By all means, Master Chief. Please continue to deny your fellow soldiers their already-limited ability to react to the tension of combat- after all, we have a veneer of false professionalism to maintain!”

Terrible Troy Counter: 13

John’s HUD suddenly blinked as enemies suddenly came into the radar.

Suddenly, and from behind! And did we mention it was sudden?

Also, it is called a motion sensor.”

He raised his weapon, staring ahead at a side hallway. Troy went to move past him, but John whipped out his arm, stopping him.

“There’s more of them on their way,” John said quietly, “Quick, all of you, up against the wall. When they arrive, we can surprise them and take most of them out while they’re not suspecting it.”

That, or you’ll already be nice and lined up for execution by firing squad…”

It’s just come to my attention that, as punchy and well-paced as that last firefight was, we really don’t have any information on where anything is in relation to anything else! Certain extremely basic facts, such as how the corridor is configured and what direction the Covenant are coming from, could easily change his suggestion from brilliant to suicidal, or vice versa:

battle1

Here has a very different combat dynamic…

 

… than here.

… than here.

“I’m the Lieutenant, here, Master Chief,” Troy snarled, shoving his arm out of the way, looking right into his visor, “You may be a Spartan, but I’m a Lieutenant and you’re a Master Chief Petty Officer, and I don’t need you telling me how the hell to handle this goddamn situation.”

Terrible Troy Counter: 14

John was taken aback by Troy’s sudden retort, but wasn’t about to let it get to him. A few replies he could use in response to Troy’s rudeness whizzed through John’s head, but he wasn’t in the mood for getting into an argument, nor was it the time. He simply nodded.

“We’re gonna meet them face to face,” Troy gave the new orders, “When they come around the hallway we’ll…”

John stopped listening as he watched his HUD. The Covenant would be around the corner in two… one…

Several shots of plasma seared through the air, past Troy’s head.

Way to not warn your comrades that the enemy is sneaking up on them…

“An enemy exploiting the momentary distractions caused by your argument with a superior, no less.”

He ducked, cursing in surprise, and rolled onto his stomach, opening fire on the aliens. John felt his impatience rise, doing what Troy told them to do could get them all killed.

He ran down the hallway, right in Troy’s line of fire – he heard Troy curse as he stopped firing to avoid shooting John:

“Jesus Christ Spartan, what the fuck are you doing!”

Your guess is as good as mine, Lieutenant.”

John didn’t answer him as he opened fire on the aliens as he approached the unsuspecting group. The Grunts screamed and fell as the bullets peppered their bodies. There was only one Elite with them, and it roared in anger when he saw John assassinate his Grunt counterparts.

Ok, a slight note about pronouns- various humans refer to Covenant species either as “he” or “it”, depending on circumstance and (presumably) how much they happen to actually know about alien biology. Sometimes it even changes over the course of one game- the Prophet of Truth went from “it” to “he” between Halo 2 and 3. But don’t just change it mid-sentence!”

Unless, of course, the narration wants us to think that John-117 either felt some kinship with the Grunts or was considered to be of roughly similar threat level.”

“Based upon his previous performance, I fear the latter has already come to pass.”

It raised its plasma rifle, meanwhile John was firing at its head, neck and chest. The Elite’s shields sparked, but it shot at John persistently, and he had to fall to the floor to avoid several smoldering shots of plasma.

And now we’re back to “it” again!

This is just pointlessly confusing.

Some of them streaked dangerously close, sending the temperature control within his armor haywire. As he landed on the floor, John saw the solution. By a dead Grunt’s body, there was a plasma grenade. He snatched it up, activated it, and threw the shining blue grenade, sticking it right to the Elite’s head.

The Elite roared in fury, quickly realizing its death was imminent. John scrambled to his feet and backed up as the alien began to charge him, but it didn’t get too far. The grenade exploded, sending pieces of the Elite’s head flying all over the walls.

Pronoun problems aside, I still really like this scene. What can I say? I’ve always been a sucker for exploding heads.

John heard Troy and few of the marines make a few noises of disgust, as they peeked out into what had-been a danger zone.

And yes, that right there is a goddamn hyphen.

Brain matter and purple blood now adorned the walls and John’s armor.

Troy was the first to approach John, who was wiping pieces of alien flesh from his chest plates. John wasn’t bothered nor really disgusted with being splattered with what had once been an Elite’s head. He was long since used to it.

Troy was trying to look angry, but disgust was winning his face over. John held out one hand, which was smeared with alien blood.

“Want some, Lieutenant?” he asked, smirking wryly behind his visor.

“No thanks.”

Well that was… kind of mean, actually.

Indecorous to the extreme!”

Terrible Troy Counter: 15. Come on, no Marine wants Elite blood all over them. Well, Ok, that’s not entirely true, but the ones that do get an honorable discharge and a nice padded cell.

Ok, who said that?

At the other escape pods, Renee and Amy, along with several other marines, were trying their best to kill as many Covenant as possible as they poured out of their boarding craft. The Grunts were the easiest to kill, but it was hard to get a good shot at them, with the Elites successfully pinning them down behind their cover.

“Helpful friendly fire! What an interesting concept!”

No, functional pronouns would be an interesting concept.

Renee and Amy were crouched behind a supply box, and the rest of the marines were scattered along the hallway, trying to find cover in every nook and cranny possible. The hallway was sizzling as a constant spray of plasma flew past them. Every once and a while, someone was able to duck out and get a few shots in, and even if they were able to get an Elite’s shields down, it would be recharged by the next time they were able to get another shot.

“Damn these things!” Amy shouted, and she looked to Renee, who momentarily peeked out from behind the storage box, only to duck behind a second later. They felt the box’s temperature take a considerable jump as it was pummeled with searing plasma. Renee raised her eyebrow, looking bewildered.

“We can’t even get in a single shot!”

“Care to go tackling Elites now?” Amy asked jokingly.

“Oh yes,” Renee said sarcastically, “Might lose a couple limbs in the process, but sure. What one do you want me to charge at? The big red guy or the blue buddy?”

Amy smiled at her friend sympathetically, enjoying their mid-battle humor; she stood up and opened fire momentarily at the aliens, but she ducked down a second later to avoid the suppressing Covenant fire.

“Got a Grunt!” she said with a proud sigh, “One less alien bastard to worry about.”

Renee rolled her eyes desperately.

“I wish it would make a difference.”

“Where the hell’s Spartan when we damn well need him?” Amy complained,

Right now? Probably still being an obstructive idiot to your commanding officer.”

“I say, John better get his ass right here right now and help us before we’re fried!”

… “I say”? “I SAY”???

And you were doing so well with the pessimism and profanity, too!

Renee jumped up and shot at a blue Elite, who roared and returned fire. She ducked back behind the supply box as more plasma hit the other side.

“They’re going to melt the friggin’ box on us, for Christ’s sake!” Amy cried, “These bastards are really starting to piss me off!”

Amy picked a grenade off her belt and held it out, exchanging glances with Renee.

“It’s risky… but…” Amy started, and they finished the sentence together:

“Throw it.”

I’m not entirely sure why a grenade would be risky in this context given that we still have next to no idea of where anything is, but I suppose I’ll take your word for it.”

Amy pulled the pin and biffed the grenade over the box. It flew past the Elites, but bounced off a wall and came rolling back, right in amongst their feet.

“Nice throw,” Renee remarked, almost drowned out by the startled cry of the Elites. As they ducked back behind the box, the grenade detonated. Screams of pain filled the air. Renee set her assault rifle down on the ground, and pulled out her pistol.

“I’ll get the rest; cover me!”

She rolled out behind the box onto her stomach, ignoring the smarting in her ribs, and saw one Elite was wearily left standing, wobbling unsurely on its feet and dripping blood. It was disoriented, but saw Renee, let out a growl of frustration, and took a shaky step towards her, raising its weapon, but she was already aimed, and fired right at its head. The last of its shields were dropped and the bullet penetrated its head, killing it.

With a gurgle, the Elite dropped to the floor like a dead weight.

Renee let out a sigh, lowered her weapon, and rolled over to her back. Amy and the rest of the marines emerged from their cover, relief painted across their features. Amy walked over to her friend, and offered a hand. Renee took it, and Amy helped her up off the floor.

“Good job,” Amy smiled, handing her the assault rifle.

“You weren’t too bad yourself,” Renee nodded approvingly, and she looked around to the rest of the marines, “Split up and check the surrounding hallways and secure the perimeter. If you find any Covenant, well you know what our job is.” The marines nodded and divided themselves in pairs of three or four and went down separate hallways. Amy, of course, walked up to Renee.

That was… actually pretty good! I’m not 100% sure why Renee ditched her rifle there since this isn’t a video game any more and there’s no such thing as headshot and non-headshot weapons, but I’m willing to believe that the pistol might either be more accurate or just easier to hold onto while jumping around behind cover.

Seems like the Chief and the Marines are pretty much competent on their own, it’s when they interact that everything goes six ways to non-Euclidean.

“Jeez, you sure you’re not a Lieutenant?” Amy gave her a wry smile, “I said to myself, think like Troy,” Renee shrugged, as she and Amy started off down a narrow hallway, “When he’s not being a dick, he leads.”

Terrible Troy Counter: 16. Actually, I just lead. You’re the dicks.

Sakai…”

Yes?

You wouldn’t have happened to make the counter artificially intelligent, would you?”

No comment.

“Then what are you doing being a Private?”

Mostly, being a fool.”

“I’m content with my rank,” Renee answered, wiping some sweat off her brow, “Besides; higher ranks mostly spawn stuck-up bipolar crackpots, who get so absorbed with their little rank patched to their arm, they think they are of ultimate importance and act like they’re the rooster and the rest of us are common barnyard chickens. Troy being a perfect example.”

Terrible Troy Counter: 17. At least, I think I’m being bashed?

What happened next was a blur. An Elite suddenly came around the corner, almost walking right into Amy. It had faster reflexes than she did, and let out a roar, knocking Amy across the face with its elbow so hard, it knocked her helmet off.

“Maybe it’ll knock the moron out of her!”

Terrible Troy Counter:  I can only hope.

Renee froze, watching as her friend flew back, fell, and skidded along the floor. She screamed her name, her voice coming out high-pitched and shaky, staring in horror at her friend’s still body. She whipped around and saw the Elite standing in the middle of the hallway, looking right at her, its yellow eyes burning with hatred.

This Elite was huge, it had to crouch to not hit its head on the ceiling and seemed as wide as the entire hallway. Its upper arms were the size of her body was around.

That’s not an Elite, that’s a goddamn Hunter.

This Elite was wearing black armor, and something about its eyes frightened Renee. They seemed to glow on the black backdrop of its dark leathery skin and shining black armor.

Renee went to raise her weapon, but her arm wouldn’t move. She stared at the Elite’s unblinking eyes, which seemed to burn right through her. Saliva pooled around its bottom mandibles and dropped to the floor. It just stared at her, its shoulders heaving with each rattling breath.

The realization of the situation hit her, and for the first time, real fear tore through her. She was alone; and she knew that she couldn’t fight this Elite by herself. Not one this big. She looked at its huge arms, shuddering as she realized those arms could easily break her in two.

Is… umm… is this the Sangheilomance part?

What is a ‘Sangheilomance’?”

*Draws plasma rifles and begins scanning RIFFCON with genuine concern.*

I feel that as Kaidon of Vadam Keep I should be informed of the nature of this phenomenon with all haste.”

Trust me, you’re better off not knowing.”

“Shit,” she whispered, her voice shaking, and she took a step backwards. The Elite took a step forwards, not taking its eyes off her. She doubted it could understand her, but she started talking anyway, her voice small, “Please… don’t kill me… please…”

Please… keep your crotch armor on… please…

Raise your weapon! A voice in her head was screaming; Raise your weapon! Pull the trigger!

“That would be your readers.”

The Elite took another step towards her, and Renee whipped her assault rifle up to aim, but in a split second with a swipe of its arm it knocked the weapon out of her hands. She barely heard it as it bounced off the wall and hit the floor. Renee screamed at the top of her lungs, and kept screaming, as she felt its huge hand close around her throat.

She felt her body slam up against the wall, and the grip tightened on her throat, and she gasped, feeling her airway being squeezed shut. It cut off her scream – and her supply of oxygen. She couldn’t breathe. Frantically, she grabbed and pried at its fingers to no avail, looking into its eyes which now seemed to be dancing with amusement.

You know, despite too many bad experiences with fanfiction immediately leading us to assume the worst, on its own this section is actually fairly competently written.”

Competently written, and yet at the same time really, really unsettling from a damsel-in-distress standpoint.

Which, really, is a fairly good description of the 25% of Love of a Spartan in which events actually happen.”

Renee felt a great pressure building in her head and her chest. One thought filled her mind. This Elite was strangling her. She opened her mouth, but no noise came out, no oxygen travelled to her lungs. She felt lightheaded, and the image of its ugly face started to blur as white spots danced in her vision. I’m dying, she thought. After that one thought, her brain seemed to cloud, her thoughts didn’t come, she couldn’t move, she couldn’t breathe, she couldn’t do anything.

Is there still a threat from ‘Sangheilomance’?”

Sadly, yes.

In her head, she heard footsteps, they sounded like footsteps… she heard yelling… or was it her heart? Her heartbeats were suddenly so loud…

Suddenly, she felt the hand release her neck, but everything went black.

I hate it when stories do that.

She never felt the impact of her body hitting the floor.

Please let the Sue be dead…

And really, really please don’t choose now to turn into a Sangheilomance.

John, Troy and the marines had been walking up the hallway when they first heard an earsplitting scream that seemed to pierce the air. Not a second passed and another echoed through the hallways, a frightened, high-pitched scream; a woman’s scream.

Oh, it’s probably just Captain Thomsen again. He does that whenever the ship takes fire.”

John and Troy seemed to act at the same time.

But didn’t, I guess because of special relativity or something.

They bolted down the hallway, and heard the scream again, but it seemed to cut off halfway through. As they ran, John heard Troy curse under his breath. John picked up speed, his heart pounding in his ears. He was faster than Troy and the rest of the marines.

Terrible Troy Counter: Hey, buddy! Long time no see!

Halight Counter: 5

It took him seconds to reach the scene, and as he drew nearer, he could hear a strange sound, a gasping, choking sound. He rounded the corner of the corridor, and saw what he had been dreading.

“Hot Marine-on-Squidhead action.”

And here you were accusing Amy of being immature.”

Twelve is still more mature than nine.

Squidhead…?”

Amy was lying halfway down the hallway, unmoving. Her helmet had been knocked off and her red hair had fallen over her face; her eyes were closed. Less than three feet away, a huge Elite had Renee pinned to the wall, its hand closed around her throat. Her face was a reddish-purple, and her body hung like a limp rag doll, her eyes darting around but not seeing anything. She was being strangled.

“HEY!” John yelled, and the Elite whipped around, and soon as it saw him, dropped Renee, and ran. John fired a few shots after it, but it darted around the corner and disappeared.

Ok, so it looks like giant roid-rage Elites are just that scared of our hero’s pale pecs.

His heart was pounding in his ears, and he darted over to Renee’s side, crouching beside her. He heard Troy and the rest of the marines just arriving on the scene.

“Oh my god,” he heard Troy whisper. He looked over his shoulder, and saw the marines going over to Amy. She stirred when they shook her, and he felt a little relief. But Renee…

“Renee,” John spoke her name, touching her shoulder lightly. She was unconscious. Troy ran to his side, and fell to the floor,

Terrible Troy Counter: I bet the bastard tripped me on purpose.

staring at Renee.

“Please tell me she’s not…” Troy trailed off, unable to finish his sentence.

John remained calm as he pressed two fingers to her neck to feel a pulse. Either it was his armor, or she didn’t have one.

Now he panicked.

Well that’s a bit of an extreme reaction…”

He threw off his helmet, ignoring the gasp from Troy as he made the same realization he had moments before, and pressed his ear to her chest.

“She’s not breathing,” John announced.

He heard Amy from behind him, who must have woken up.

“Oh no!” her voice sounded on the verge of breaking down.

John’s brain whizzed into action, back to his life-saving course. She had a fractured rib, and CPR wouldn’t be a good idea, especially with how strong he was.

Well, it’s pretty much the only idea, regardless of what her ribcage is doing. A punctured lung is much more survivable than a deoxygenated brain.”

The other option came to him, mouth to mouth resuscitation.

He pinched her nose, just like they were trained to do, and put his mouth over hers, breathing air into her lungs.

Not only is that… somewhat uncomfortable to be watching (I think I preferred the Elite), but it’s also not going to work. Mouth-to-mouth gets air into the lungs if the subject is not breathing, and relies on the heart to move it around- Renee’s heart’s not beating, so all the air in the world isn’t going to do her any good!

Actually, for that matter, her heart stopped beating because she was being choked into unconsciousness– presumably, that means her brain stopped telling her heart to beat, meaning that it is already fried.

He drew back, and got no response. He tried again, and then desperately, as gently as possible, tried CPR.

Which, of course, was exactly what he supposedly could not do before this…”

Amy was still sitting on the floor, several marines surrounding her. Her eyes were welling up with tears, and she was chewing on her fingernails.

Mommy’s Little Marines Counter: 14

She had a gash on her forehead, and blood was running down one side of her face. For once, she was silent.

Forerunners be praised for that!”

Troy, too, was silent as he sat beside John, staring at him as he tried to recusitate Renee. The color had left his face and his jaw was tightly clenched.

Just as John was leaning in to try mouth-to-mouth again, Renee’s eyes shot open, and she gasped in a breath of air. Troy sighed in relief, muttering a “Thank God” beneath his breath. Renee looked up at John, appearing disoriented, her chest heaving as she gasped for big breaths as he leaned back from her face

John put an arm under her shoulders, lifting her head up slightly from the ground.

“Are you alright?” he murmured.

Renee nodded, numbly. She raised a hand weakly to her throat, and looked around the room, she saw Amy, whose nose was red. She took notice of the trickle of blood running down her face. Meeting Troy’s eyes next, Renee was surprised to see they were welling up with tears, but he blinked furiously, looked away from her and got to his feet, walking over to Amy and the rest of the marines, wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand. Renee looked back to John.

“You saved my life, sir,” she made the connection. Her voice sounded weak, “Thank you.”

“It is part of my job,” John replied quietly, “You don’t have to thank me.”

“But I do,” Renee smiled slightly, and she put a hand on his cold shoulder-plate, “Thank you, John.”

Hmmm, cold to the touch, is he?

It’ll do.”

Halight Counter: 6

John stiffened at this uncommon gesture, glancing down at her small hand resting on his shoulder-plate. Clearing his throat, he picked his helmet up off the floor, and stood, offering his hand to Renee. She took it, and he easily pulled her to her feet.

Oh, how chivalrous.

“I’m so glad you’re alright,” Amy was there to hug her, “You scared the shit out of me.”

Renee laughed slightly,

“Good to see you’re okay too.”

As she was hugging her friend, she saw Troy, who was leaning against the wall. He made brief eye contact with her as she broke the hug with Amy and took a step towards him before stopping hesitantly.

“Good, you’re alive,” Troy said indifferently, stepping away from the wall, “I would have hated to lose another marine.”

Renee was at a loss for words, somewhat taken aback by Troy’s rudeness. A marine, she was just a marine now?

Pretty much, yes.”

Terrible Troy Counter: 18

No, he wouldn’t acknowledge her as a friend, she shouldn’t have expected it. It might have made him look like he had a heart.

I’d still like the story to make it look like you have a brain

But, she had seen the tears in his eyes moments before, there was no doubt about that.

Glancing from Amy back to Troy, she saw his gaze was permanently directed at the floor; he wouldn’t meet her eyes. He knew she’d seen his tears, and he couldn’t bear to meet her challenging gaze.

Renee sighed, looking over her shoulder to John, who was picking his assault rifle off the floor. He still held his helmet in his hand. Approaching him calmly, Renee watched him as he sensed her coming

– ew –

– he paused from putting on his helmet. He looked from her, then to Amy, and pointed to her forehead.

“You should get that seen to,” he said simply, “You might have a concussion.”

“It’s just a little scrape,” Amy shrugged, “I’ve had worse.”

And it’s not like damage to her brain would slow her down…”

Renee was half suspecting for Amy to mention something humorous, but it seemed everyone was bummed from the incident.

“Did you kill that Elite?” Renee asked John.

“No. It got away,” John said, narrowing his eyes, “I would have chased him down, but I figured your condition was more important.”

“Well, you could yet go after it…”

“It was the biggest Elite I’ve ever seen,” she said, rubbing her neck. She shuddered at the faint memory of its cold grip on her throat, “I never knew they could be that big.”

“They’re a different rank of Elite,” John explained, “I’ve only seen a few of them. They’re a stealth class, they have invisibility cloaking.”

“How come he didn’t use it then?” Amy spoke up, “That fucker was far from invisible when he came around the corner and hit me, let me tell you that!”

… or you could stand around and gabble with the rest of the idiots. That works too.

“I don’t know.”

“Find him and kill him before he tries anymore of that bullshit on anyone else.”

“I plan on it,” John said lowly.

“‘Just not right now. I’m missing Fleet and Flotilla!’

“They’re leaving!” Troy suddenly interrupted, and he pointed out one of the windows, in which the escape pods were visible. Everyone turned to look, and sure enough, the boarding craft were all pulling away.

“Good! See ya! Don’t come back, you alien bitches!” Amy had her two cents worth to say as usual.

“That’s odd,” John announced, narrowing his dark eyes, “I don’t like it.”

Yes, because usually the Covenant does that just before they blow a ship to smithereens!

K’tao ‘Kolsamee stood inside the dark, cramped compartments of a broom closet.

Which is… something of an odd thing to find on a warship. I would have expected a general maintenance area or something like that, not someplace where loose cleaning supplies could shift about when the ship is hit.”

It was uncomfortable; he wasn’t able to stand up straight, but rather crouch so his neck and shoulders touched the ceiling.

Jegus, this guy’s… kind of freakish, actually.

halo

Ordinary Elites aren’t that much taller than humans, and can navigate corridors in human warships with ease.

He tapped his helmet. His signal to The Domination was fading in and out. He growled softly to himself.

That Spartan, he was here; he had interrupted him from strangling that human girl. ‘Kolsamee narrowed his yellow eyes, and clenched his fists. If he didn’t have orders to stay aboard The Hercules, to spy and gather information about this Spartan, he would have killed him and the rest of those marines that had been with him without a second thought.

‘Kolsamee looked down at the deactivated energy sword hanging from his waist. He could easily kill the Spartan, find his sleeping quarters and slit his throat in his sleep, but no. ‘Malnoonee had instructed him to gather information first.

“That is because ‘Maloonee is a fool.”

Finally, the headset cleared, and ‘Kolsamee spoke:

“‘Malnoonee, are you there?”

“Yes.” It was an instant reply.

“I saw the Spartan.”

“As I’m aware. I’ve already told our troops to leave. They’re returning to The Domination as we speak. You’re on your own now, ‘Kolsamee. You know what to do.”

“Yes, Ship Master. I most certainly do.”

“What, stand around and do nothing? Well, you’ll be in good company.”

And yes, it really is paragraphed like that in the original document.

On the bridge, Thomsen, Keira, and Dr. Halsey were observing the scene with utmost interest, as they saw the boarding craft leaving. Keira folded her arms on her chest.

“How peculiar, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen the Covenant retreat. Why, not to sound grim, but, they could easily take us over and destroy us without as much as really batting an eye. They overpower us, they know this, but why would they be retreating?”

Perhaps it’s because they’re incompetent?”

“They can run, but they chased us all the way from Capricornia, made us exit our Slipspace jump, and now they’re not even attacking,” Thomsen narrowed his eyes, “They’re wasting my time. I’m going to spice this game up a bit. Keira, charge the main MAC gun. Fire four shots at that battle cruiser, The Redemption. Take it out.”

“Are you sure, Captain? After all they…” Keira began, but Thomsen cut her off.

“You heard me.”

Right. Because now, after the Covenant fleet that vastly outmatches you has somehow lost interest and decided to let you go with no possible explanation other  than the direct intervention of the spirits of your honored ancestors, the tactically sound thing to do is to return the enemy’s attention to you.”

Rtas ‘Vadumee was sitting aboard The Redemption, when suddenly he was thrown out of his chair when a huge tremor shook the entire ship. ‘Vadumee cursed in Sangheili, and pulled himself to his feet, and whipped around to face several other Elites that had been in the room with them.

“Assessment; what the hell is going on?” ‘Vadumee yelled.

Your guess is as good as mine.

The ship was shaken again violently, and the lights flickered. The ship was plunged into a few terrifying seconds of blackness – and when the lights came back on, the whole one side of the wall of the bridge had fallen loose, and an electrical fire was burning down the hallway.

“The Hercules, it’s attacking us, sir!” one of the Elites shouted.

“Damn them!” ‘Vadumee said, his head was whizzing, “Give me the assessment!”

“Fires in multiple locations, including the engines,” another Elite replied, having just run into the bridge.

“Abandon ship,” he ordered, “Take the boarding craft and get to The Domination, immediately!”

“But, sir…”

“Go!” ‘Vadumee bellowed, slamming his fist against the control panels.

The Elites looked hesitant, but they turned and bolted down the hallway. ‘Vadumee turned to the control panel, and with a quick survey, he realized the ship couldn’t take much more. There were multiple fires, extreme damage – and only on the second fire from the Human’s MAC gun.

“Had their shields fallen? Was the vessel due to be scrapped? A cruiser should not fall so quickly!”

“Kill me,” ‘Vadumee growled beneath his breath, “Come on, you Human scum; blow me into oblivion. Let’s have another shot!”

“Because I’ve been a bad, bad boy, oh yeah…”

Do you ever stop?”

Not when I’m bored. Which, in this ‘fic, is about 75% of the time.

“‘Vadumee!” A voice came through his headset. It was ‘Malnoonee.

“Ship Master,” ‘Vadumee replied, “The Humans, they’re…”

“I know,” ‘Malnoonee snapped, “Abandon your ship! That goes for you, as well. You’re a fine leader, brother – deserving a death much more heroic than this!

“It would be a task indeed to find one less.”

Your hands are destined to be stained with more Human blood! This destruction of your ship is a cause for you to seek your revenge – you thirst for it!

Yeah yeah, keep twirling that mustache…

Rejoice my brother – we need you with us on our path to the Great Journey.”

“Fine,” ‘Vadumee snarled, and he shut down the control panels, and ran from the bridge, and down the long hallway, dodging patches of fire that had started out of the walls, and shoving his way past fallen wall panels.

The ship shook again as it was hit with another impact, and ‘Vadumee was thrown against the wall, hitting his head quite hard, but he pushed the pain aside and kept running.

When he finally reached a boarding ship, he jumped into it, turned it on, and flew out though the hangar bay, into space. He looked behind him momentarily, to see the hangar bay envelope into flames as the ship was hit once again. He could only watch as The Redemption’s hull collapsed inwards and the ship disintegrated into a sickly white explosion, which was strangely silent in the black vacuum.

Well that was… anticlimactic.

Come back next time to observe… well, I’ve got to be completely honest with you here, not a whole goddamn lot.

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36 Comments on “1456: Love of a Spartan – Chapter Five”

  1. MopeyDickBorgir says:

    two ships compare to each other in size

    Diiiiiiicks

  2. BatJamags says:

    — Space]

    IN SPAAAAAAAACE!

    • BatJamags says:

      Halcyon Class Hercules

      It’s a minor point, but I just realized that the UNSC also has a tendency toward purple ship names (See: Pillar of Autumn, In Amber Clad, and Forward Unto Dawn). That’s another issue with Halo 4 and 5, ship names like Infinity kind of break the pattern set down in the trilogy.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        You actually beat me to bringing it up by two or three chapters- later on we get a list of a bunch of ships, and they’re all one word.

        Having linked to the full UNSC ship list Halo Nation maintains in order to make my point, I discovered that there are indeed several with shorter names, usually in EU materials, but even those typically have a larger syllable count.

  3. BatJamags says:

    MLA auto cannons

    Of course. Wouldn’t want to fire the APA autocannons, or – heaven forbid – Chicago Style.

  4. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    John held out one hand, which was smeared with alien blood.

    “Want some, Lieutenant?” he asked, smirking wryly behind his visor.

  5. BatJamags says:

    “The rumor of the Spartan?” ‘Vadumee picked up quickly.

    Wait, don’t the Covenant call all Spartans (or at least S-IIs) “Demon?”

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      I was willing to buy it because this is earlier in the war and they may not have had as much experience with the program, but that makes it equally less likely that they would know what Spartans are actually called.

  6. BatJamags says:

    Amy picked a grenade off her belt and held it out, exchanging glances with Renee.

    “It’s risky… but…” Amy started, and they finished the sentence together:

    “Throw it.”

    Alright, Presumably, we’ve got the following situation:

    |BOX|
    Baby Marines|BOX|-Plasma fire-Covenant

    Our plucky protagonists would actually be safer with the grenade than by shooting around the box. Bullets travel in a roughly straight line, so to shoot at the Covenant, you’re at least putting your arms in the line of fire, and presumably your head.

    A thrown grenade could be arced over the box without leaving cover. Unless the Covenant forces are standing right next to the box, there’s no reason the grenade would be risky.

    • BatJamags says:

      Oops, disregard the extra |BOX|. I had a formatting issue.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      I sort of assumed that they might be near some kind of vital and fragile system that would not take kindly to things exploding near it, since (AGAIN) we have absolutely no idea where this firefight is taking place and it may as well be the main AI core.

      • DasCheesenBorgir says:

        It is weird that you point that out actually… the whole time I honestly just felt really comfortable picturing it as being really similar to the bits of Cairo Station you see in Halo 2

        Cuz at the time I read this that was pretty much my only experience with the series lol

        I guess at the time the fic was written the only real portrayal anyone would’ve gotten of UNSC spacecraft would’ve been based off the first two games

        Just found it kinda funny how naturally every instance of boarding action so far instantly makes me think of those exact settings- hell, even with the opening planetside combat I never stopped picturing it as New/Old Mombasa from 2

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        It’s a difficult balance to strike in fanfiction between describing canonical locations the reader is already familiar with, and letting them mentally sub in description directly from the book/movie/game/whatever.

        However, almost universally authors who end up in the Library take the extreme canon-crutching position simply because they are supremely averse to describing anything whatsoever.

      • DasCheesenBorgir says:

        I suppose

        though I was more trying to suggest there might be something I can’t quite put a finger on in the narration here that somehow kinda captures what the in-game combat dynamics kinda felt like

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        It’s definitely able to capture the pacing and feel of Halo combat- in fact, with characters switching guns in the middle of combat and making sure they have a pistol in order to get headshots, I’d say it captures the feel of Halo combat a little too well.

  7. BatJamags says:

    The other option came to him, mouth to mouth resuscitation.

    Oh, for the love of fuck. Not this crap.

    *Headdesk* *Headdesk* *Headdesk*

    *Sigh*

    Alright, how badly is the author gonna screw it up?

  8. DasCheesenBorgir says:

    fuck it

    somebody oughta turn this thing into a Halo CE mod

    complete with the vanilla game shitty marine AI

    and you fail any mission involving the plot-essential characters if they die

  9. Swenia says:

    John wasn’t bothered nor really disgusted with being splattered with what had once been an Elite’s head. He was long since used to it.

    Oh, yeah, big-bad Spartan got goo all over his airtight, EVO armor. Good thing big man here can stand the thought of alien ichor all over an external surface.

    Maybe come back to the big-kids’ table when you’ve actually got bone fragments of a squad-mate in your mouth because he threw himself on the grenade to save your sorry ass.

  10. TacoMagic says:

    Actually, for that matter, her heart stopped beating because she was being choked into unconsciousness– presumably, that means her brain stopped telling her heart to beat, meaning that it is already fried.

    Heart’s a weird organ that way. It doesn’t actually need the brain to tell it what to do. It’s got a little “brain” (bundle of nerves) of it’s own called the Sinoatrial (SA) node that can, and often does, function without any direct input from the brain.

    However, sudden onset of hypoxia can cause the SA node to stop depolarizing leading to cardiac arrest, which would be the case here. This kind of heart shutdown means that the brain’s got about five minutes before it starts to die unless complete CPR is started immediately (chest compression and forced breathing).

    But, as you say, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation alone really isn’t going to do anything here. The standard CPR regimen of chest compressions AND aided breathing is pretty much the only hope to revive Renee here.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      Yeah, I actually learned about pacemaker cells between submitting this to Lyle and its actually going up.

      • TacoMagic says:

        My original path through school was with pacemakers, so I actually picked up quite a bit about cardiac elecrtophysiology.

        Still not sure how I ended up in image acquisition and processing, but there it is.

      • "Lyle" says:

        Same way I ended up in dairy processing lab management: that’s who hired.

  11. Swenia says:

    Renee was at a loss for words, somewhat taken aback by Troy’s rudeness. A marine, she was just a marine now?

    That’s what happens when you join the marines, punkin’. You become a marine.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      Wait, when did you suddenly become professional?

      Not that I’m complaining, of course.

      • Swenia says:

        Just because I don’t usually like to talk shop doesn’t mean I can’t.

        I mean, I may have been a shit queen, but I was a decorated officer before that with several years of front-line service under my belt. So if there’s one thing I don’t have any tolerance for, it’s sloppy soldiers who can’t keep it together. Not to mention officers who let their personal feelings interfere with their command. You can do whatever and whomever the hell you want off the clock, but when the shit goes down, you do your job or people die.

  12. TacoMagic says:

    “Kill me,” ‘Vadumee growled beneath his breath, “Come on, you Human scum; blow me into oblivion. Let’s have another shot!”

    Not quite as pithy as, “More weight.”

  13. […] I think the Chief just really needs to work on keeping his equipment clean- remember the Elite-blood incident from Chapter Five? […]


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