1604: Love of a Spartan – Chapter Thirteen, Part OnePosted: November 28, 2016
Hello hello, everyone, and welcome back yet again to Love of a Spartan.
“Last time Troy Fisher was able to deliver to Renee her well-deserved comeuppance for sleeping through most of the defense of Lacerta Colony, only to be interrupted and directly countermanded by his old foe the Master Chief. Having secured his bunkmate effective immunity from anything resembling proper discipline, the once-proper Spartan split the Marines up into pretty much randomly-determined teams, and then they finally loaded up the Pelicans to deploy to the colony.”
Terrible Troy Counter: 68
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 51
Halight Counter: 20
“Chapter 13 / “Twelve” is entitled ‘Arrival’, and Forerunners willing promises more of the same genuine combat as the first several.”
[March 11, 2535, – The Planet Lacerta, Lacertae System]
Wow, really imaginative names here, folks. The planet is named after the system it’s in, which in turn is named after a pre-existing constellation.
Eight Pelicans zoomed from the Hercules’ Docking Bay in single fashion, led by Pelican 0-76.
“Only eight? For a planetary-scale engagement, that doesn’t seem like very many.”
They soared down out of the upper atmosphere, going through a layer of thick, puffy white clouds. The cloud cover began to thin, until they finally dissipated altogether and they got a clear view of the land below.
Lacerta had a sub-tropical climate, making the air humid. Rain was a common factor for this planet’s weather – thus where cities didn’t stand, lay miles of lush green forests, lagoons, snaking rivers, and miles of white sand beaches. The large, gaping ocean, which made up nearly eighty-five percent of the planet, had a beautiful blue-green color.
“Is this… world-building?”
I mean, sure, I have to wonder what being 85% ocean would actually do to a planet’s climate, but there’s a lot of other variables in terms of orbit, atmosphere, and so on. Overall, I’m quite impressed.
When Pelican 0-76 reached a safe altitude, the back hatch swung lazily open, offering John and his squad of marines a wonderful view.
“How nice of the pilot. Now, when the Banshees come calling, the Marines will have that much less metal between them and explosive plasmonic death.”
Far off in the distance, the ocean could be seen, but currently they were flying over deep green forests. Birds could be seen flying, clustered together, heading in the opposite direction the Pelicans were heading.
“If only we could join them.”
“It’s so beautiful,” Renee whispered, watching the scenery as it flew by, and she glanced to John, who didn’t bother being seated, as he stood almost at the very edge, gazing somewhere down at the scenery. He glanced up, unbelievably quickly due to his suit – in one swift movement that was almost a blur, past her, then towards the pilot’s cockpit.
Halight Counter: 21
“No wonder the birds are flying away,” the pilot said grimly, “I spot two Covenant Assault Carriers up ahead, just over the large part of the city.”
Wait, there’s a city?
“All of this description, and we still have no idea what’s going on or where anything is.”
“Have they begun glassing?” John had sped down the aisle and was peeking over his shoulder in an instant.
Also, why is the Master Chief suddenly the Road Runner? This, quite honestly, goes beyond Edward Cullen into the simply comedical.
“It doesn’t appear so, sir,” the pilot answered.
“Huh, ” John remarked to himself, turning around and walking back down to the aisle, swinging his assault rifle as if it were just a toy, “Strange, I thought they would.”
“Fool… don’t you know that the Covenant never actually does anything in this story?”
“They’re waiting for us, that’s what,” Troy spoke up, leaning back casually in his seat, setting his assault rifle across his lap and folding his hands on his chest, “They’re not stupid, they’ll wait until we’ve been dropped off, and as soon as Spartan starts kicking ass, they’ll radio in to their carriers and we’ll all be fried like meat left unattended on the BBQ . “
“That would be a fine strategy, which is how I know it will not be enacted.”
“True enough,” Josh snorted, “Either that or we’re gonna lose the planet to them and get out just in time, like Capricornia.”
“It’s a shame,” Amy added in her two cents worth, “This planet looks so nice. It’d be good for a vacation.”
“In a couple days it won’t be,” Kirk snapped, giving her a look like she was stupid.
Maybe that’s because Amy Smythe is, in fact, stupid.
“Where’s the morale, team?” John said lowly, a warning floating in his voice, “I want it up, not down under our feet. That’s an order.”
Again with the happiness-is-mandatory shit! At this point, the Chief might have been taking leadership lessons from Grand Ruler Celesto.
“I would say you can’t order me around, but…” Josh muttered to himself, trailing off as he got to the end of the sentence. Blaine guffawed randomly, and John looked at Troy’s trio, realizing that they were more or less like Troy in one way or another. With Josh, it seemed to be the defiant and arrogant attitude, Blaine, the immaturity, and Kirk, the rudeness.
Meaning, I’m sure, that Josh is a professional soldier, Blaine has an actual adult sense of humor, and Kirk respects the goddamn chain of command.
“Why can’t we be reading a story about these people? They sound interesting!”
Terrible Troy Counter: 69
Heh heh. 69.
Terrible Troy Counter: Oh, shut up. I get enough of that from Kilburn and Smythe.
Seriously, though, this thing is kind of growing out of control on me. Back when I first set it up I was kind of hoping it’d hit triple digits before the ‘fic was over. Now it looks like it’s going to do that before we even get halfway.
The other two marines John weren’t completely familiar with were Luke Diller and Henry O’Riley. They sat beside one another, and they looked to have a certain air of maturity tat Troy was lacking. One was a Private, the other a Corporal, and John guessed they weren’t much older than he was, if they were at all.
Holy fuck ‘tat’ was a lot of typos.
They didn’t seem really annoyed by Troy’s posse, but they didn’t look pleased about them either. Decent soldiers with selflessness, discipline, they knew when to keep their mouths shut.
“Unlike certain others we could name…”
At least Renee and Amy weren’t completely alone.
“That is true. They also have the childling-Spartan with them.
“Good to see some reinforcements!” a female voice came over the radio of the Pelican, and Renee watched as John’s head snapped around as soon as he heard it. If his helmet had been off, she guessed his face would have been surprised.
“Who’s that?” Amy muttered, but Renee shushed her.
“Wait. Everyone, enhanced or not, can hear the cockpit radio?”
Or is the newcomer just spamming the helmet comms of every Marine on the planet too?
“Yes, we’re on our way,” the pilot replied.
“You happen to have Spartan-117 with you?” the voice asked.
Everyone turned to stare at John, who felt happy. He was smiling, though no one could see through his mirrored visor. He knew that voice, it was Kelly.
“Run, Kelly, run! Get away from the ‘fic before it ruins you, too!”
He hadn’t spoken to her or any of his Spartans since the battle of Jericho IV. Dr. Halsey must have contacted her somehow and told her he was on his way.
Or, you know, her current CO in NAVSPECWAR could have done it. Since, contrary to what this ‘fic’s obsession with having named characters do absolutely everything might lead you to believe, the UNSC military does indeed have more than ten people in it.
“Yes, I do, ” the pilot answered, glancing back over his shoulder to John, whose stance was somewhat eager looking.
“I bet he can hear me,” the female voice replied, “John, James and I will be there to meet you as soon as you touch down. Kelly out.”
Why does all of this dialogue suddenly sound filthy?
“James and Kelly?” Troy asked quizzically, raising an eyebrow at John, “Care to fill us in here. Master Chief?” Sarcasm was heavy on the usage of his rank.
“Two of my fellow Spartans, ” John leaned back against the wall of the Pelican, “They will help us in the battle.”
“More Spartans?” Kirk asked with a whoop, “Great, now we’ll be kickin’ some serious ass!”
“Although if they’re portrayed anything at all like the Chief here, you should probably just go ahead and see if the Covenant are hiring.”
However, Troy gave him a jab in the ribs, shooting him a death glare. He didn’t look the least bit thrilled to find out that there would be more of those tall armored freaks like John meeting them at the rendezvous point.
“And the three of us wholeheartedly share the sentiment!”
Terrible Troy Counter: 70
“It’s good news,” Luke said cheerily with a nod, giving a weird look to Troy before looking to everyone, “We’ve really got a hope now.”
Well, you do, anyway. It’s the main cast that’s hopeless.
“John is excellent at what he does, ” Renee announced with a smile,
“This is true. He is, indeed, excellent at stalking.”
“Now that James and Kelly will be joining us, I have faith that we can win this battle. Anything is possible if we try hard enough and set our minds to it, right everyone?”
When did John-117 become a motivational speaker?
“Probably the same time he stopped being any use as a soldier.”
“Well said,” Henry agreed, and everyone else’s expressions- besides Troy’s of course- carried an agreeable expression.
Wait, their expressions had other expressions?
*THE ALARM THAT INDICATES BLARING ALARMS BEGINS BLARING*
*AdmiralSakai is manhandled out of the riffing chamber and left in one of those endless mirror hall things by the Department Of The Department Of Recursion.*
Terrible Troy Counter: … 71.
Renee glanced to John, who was looking in her direction, and she assumed he was looking at her. She received a nudge from Amy, and she turned around to face her friend, who looked proud.
“Lieutenant Kilburn,” she whispered lowly with a wink,
“… now there’s a terrifying thought!”
“Not really, no.”
Well said is right, that’s more morale boosting in a few sentences than Troy’s done in a week.
Terrible Troy Counter: 72. And there’s a lot more to command than motivational speaking.
If anyone ever suggests you to be promoted, you’d have my vote.”
“The military is not a democracy. Fortunately.”
Amy leaned back from her friend’s ear, and saw Renee was smiling slightly, almost looking like she was going to laugh. Satisfied, Amy turned and looked to Troy, who was slouched in his seat, glaring at her.
“And for good reason.”
Terrible Troy Counter: 73
She gave him a challenging look, a quick raise of her eyebrows and a saucy expression on her freckled face.
“… a what?”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 52
Then, all of a sudden, there was a loud soaring noise from outside,
“Whatever that is…”
Especially egregious since Banshees on an attack run make a very distinctive escalating whir that does not by any stretch of the imagination be described as “soaring”…
Also, those mirror hall things have really thick glass.
the Pelican was shaken violently, and a loud explosion tore through everyone’s ears. An alarm went off in the cockpit, and the pilot was quick to fill everyone in.
“Banshees! They got us good- I’m losing the main engine!”
“Right. Because, lest we forget, there is actually a war going on throughout all of this…”
Renee felt all color go from her face, and she looked to Amy, who looked panic stricken. Everyone looked at each other in silence for a second, and then at the same moment, everyone went into action, talking all at once, and panic threatened to overwhelm them.
“Can we jump!” Troy demanded.
“Not unless you want to die, ” John replied, his voice surprisingly calm.
“We want you to die; does that count?”
He looked down to the ground, which was two hundred feet below.
Remember that number for later, by the way.
“Everyone stay calm, strap yourselves in- we’re going in for a crash landing. Do it n-“
“They were not already strapped in?”
Well, I mean, yeah, in the games Pelican troop compartments utterly lack any sort of restraint system, but I always chalked that up to the technical limitations of rendering many individual floppy bits of cloth on what is mostly just one static model- there’s just no way a transport craft that routinely drops into heavy enemy fire wouldn’t have something to keep the troops from bouncing around every time it has to take some sort of evasive maneuver.
“Especially egregious given that the author obviously knew this, and mentioned that restraints do exist- they just weren’t being used until the actual moment of the attack for some incomprehensible reason.”
John was cut off when the Pelican lurched sickeningly to the side, dropping quickly. He grabbed onto the wall for support, but almost everyone was thrown out of their seats.
God dammit, even civilian motorists know that by the time you realize you need a safety restraint, it’s already too late to do anything about it.
“This isn’t even applicable to any of the counters- it’s just massive incompetence on virtually every level.”
“Shit!” Amy screamed, scrambling to put her helmet back on her head, as everyone struggled to climb back onto the seats, but the Pelican was starting to pull some Gs as it began in its plummet towards the ground. Renee looked out at the view, which had disappeared and all she could see was sky and black smoke billowing behind them from the engines.
Aaaand the goddamn hatch is still open.
This portrayal of the UNSC makes fucking Black Mesa look OSHA-compliant.
“We’re gonna die!” Blaine cried, “We’re going in too fast- ”
“No we’re not!” John shouted, “Hold on!”
“You know, someone really ought to tell the Master Chief that just saying things does not automatically make them true.”
The Pelican hit a high tree, causing it to jerk crazily through the air, still plummeting. It lurched to one side, threatening to barrel roll. John heard the choking engine as the pilot was no doubt trying to keep her level. Suddenly, out of the corner of John’s eye, he saw a movement, and then a scream,
“He saw a scream?”
Was it by any chance hyper-realistic and pixellated?
and to his horror, he saw Renee fall out of the Pelican.
Terrible Troy Counter: …
“I am without words.”
Well, I’m not.
That, ladies and gentlebeings, is exactly why you keep your safety harness on and the rear hatch closed until it is safe to disembark from the vehicle!
He didn’t think twice. He heard Amy scream “No!” by the time he was already airborne.
“John doesn’t think, period.”
He dropped like a lead weight, and he looked down, and saw Renee falling, several feet below him, she was screaming hysterically.
Understandable, given the circumstances, but still- loaded phrasing.
And Imperial units.
John made his body the most streamline.
“And I think the author accidentally a few chunk of sentence.”
He was just close enough – he reached down, and grabbed Renee’s arm and pulled her, gravity was insanely against him, but he managed to get her into his arms.
I’m not sure how gravity was against him, seeing as he’s denser and more aerodynamic than Renee and gravity would therefore be causing him to accelerate towards her, but honestly the sheer moronicism of this scene is making it kind of hard to focus on the small stuff.
He heard her gasp as she realized he had caught her.
“We’re going to die!” she screamed hysterically.
“Forerunners, I hope so!”
“Hold on, ” John said loudly over the sound of the air rushing past them as they fell together, “This will be slightly uncomfortable . “
Ok, time for another physics lesson!
200 feet is about 61 meters (Imperial units again…), and since there are colonists on the planet who are breathing atmosphere and not dying horribly we can assume that acceleration due to Lacerta’s gravity is pretty close to that of Earth- 9.8 meters per second, with negligible air resistance for dense bodies like Spartans. Thus, if we let t be the time it takes to cross the given distance under the given acceleration…
Keep in mind that this is an upper bound- since they left the Pelican at lower than 200 feet, at a nonzero initial velocity, they would in fact hit the ground much faster.
That’s nowhere near enough time for the Chief to catch up to her and have this whole conversation. Being extremely charitable, that’s time for “We’re going to- *thud*”.
They crashed into the canopy of the forest below, and Renee screamed again, as they tore through, branches scratching and pulling at them. As they dropped, John tried to shield her best he could from the branches, knowing they could injure her.
Well, OK, fair enough, I guess.
“Here it comes, ” John said, sounding rather calm.
Calm? How could he be calm?
“Maybe because he has no idea what is going on.”
They hit the ground, John landing feet first. He gritted his teeth, feeling the shooting pain that shot through his legs,
*BLARING ALARM BLARES*
Ohh, not these assholes again…
“Wort wort wort!”
-[ONE EPIC FIREFIGHT BETWEEN THE ARBITER AND THE DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCY DEPARTMENT LATER]-
and they instantly gave out, and he crashed to the forest floor, hitting hard, knocking the breath out of him.
And legolas ran down the hall.
Renee rolled off of him, breathing heavily, blood running down her face from a scratch.
“John!” she cried, instantly realizing that he might be dead, “John! Please tell me you’re okay!”
Please, oh please tell me he’s dead…
She forced herself to get up, and she leaned over him and took off his helmet, and threw it aside onto the ground. His eyes were closed and dark red blood was running out of his mouth.
“No!” she shrieked,
Terrible Troy Counter: Hell FUCKING yes!
feeling tears coming alongside with hysteria,
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 53
but John’s eyes shot open and he gasped, air filling his lungs.
Look, ma! No tension!
The gasp caused him to choke on the blood, though, and he rolled onto his side and coughed it up.
“Are you okay?” Renee demanded, looking at him in horror. She was dumbstruck. She knew that a normal person could have never survived such a fall. But the two of them were sitting on the ground as if they had just fallen a few feet, almost completely unharmed. That’s what she didn’t believe.
She was fine, except for a few scratches, but it didn’t seem possible that John could be okay. He was bleeding from the mouth, but looking at it from a logical view, John should have shattered bones and internal bleeding. He should be dead.
I’m not actually too sure about that. They fell from less than 60 meters into a dense tree canopy, and John was able to land feet-first with his legs encased in armor that mitigates some transverse stresses on his bones and makes his joints both rigid enough to offer resistance and flexible enough to actually absorb force- assuming he kept Kilburn oriented so that she was decelerating “face-first” and her head wasn’t bouncing around or anything, this actually sounds like a fairly survivable fall. Really, my big issue is that Chiefy is the more injured of the two- Renee has less armor and fewer augmentations.
“I’m fine,” John sat up, his forehead trickled with sweat.
“How is that possible?” she shrieked, tears running down her face, from fear and just overwhelming adrenaline from the event of falling roughly two hundred feet from a Pelican and living to tell the tale, “How is it possible? You’d be dead right now! You should be dead! We both should be dead!”
From a distance, they heard a loud crash, and John looked from her to the direction of the noise.
“The Pelican,” he said lowly, and then he looked to her, “It’d take a lot more than a fall to kill me. Calm down. We might be alive, but let’s just hope everyone on our Pelican is.”
Oh, right, shit, the normal people are still in danger.
He got to his feet, grabbing up his helmet and putting it back on. Renee weakly got to her feet, feeling her stomach churning sickeningly. She wiping away the tears,
And this grammar be like ghetto-style all the sudden…
and looked around for her assault rifle. She spotted hers and John’s not twenty feet away, and went over and picked them up in silence, and handed John his gun.
“That’s the second time you saved my life,” she said softly.
Third, actually, if you count the incident with the Warthog back in the first chapter.
“You know, that’s the other problem I have with all of this:”
*Pushes AdmiralSakai’s rollie chair out of the way of the RIFFCON smartboard, and begins writing*
Number of times John-117 has saved Renee Kilburn’s life while she is unconscious, immobile, inert or otherwise helpless: 3
Number of times John-117 has required the assistance of Renee Kilburn to do anything at all he is not capable of doing on his own: 0
“It’s like a… stealth variant of that weird wasting disease that affects female characters in human-made literature. Renee is more or less capable of taking on the Covenant when it’s just her and the other Marines, but as soon as John-117 shows up she becomes about as effective in combat as a newborn chick, and constantly requires his presence to save her.”
“I wasn’t about to let you die,” John replied, putting his assault rifle back onto his magnetized part of his armor on his back, “Let’s find that Pelican. Sling your assault rifle over your shoulder, and get on my back.”
“I can walk perfectly fine,” Renee answered in a small voice, although she slung her rifle over her shoulder anyway.
“Yes, but you can’t keep up with me,” John turned his back to her and bent down, “I’m going to run. Get on my back.”
They’re not seriously going to…
Renee hesitated, but she jumped on his back, and he linked his arms under her knees and hoisted her up, and rose to full height. She screamed slightly, not used to being seven feet in the air, but she wrapped her arms around his neck, the armor cold even through her clothes .
“Hold on tight,” John instructed, “This will be a little fast.”
In four strides, he was going faster than Renee had ever believed was humanly possible. The forest was just a blur as he navigated his way through the trees.
“You never told me you can run this fast!”
“You never asked.” A pause as he leapt over a small stream, “Spartans can run just about forty miles per hour.”
He dodged wildly to the right to avoid a rather large tropical tree. He then leaped up onto a boulder and balanced himself there, pausing for a moment.
Fucking Halight Counter: 23
They both saw smoke billowing through the trees. The crashed Pelican.
And here I thought it was the smoldering remains of the story’s credibility.
Good night, and good luck. I have a feeling we’re all gonna need it.