1615: Love of a Spartan – Chapter Thirteen, Part TwoPosted: December 8, 2016
Hello hello, all you patrons, and welcome back to… oh, God, the stupid…
Terrible Troy Counter: Come on, keep it together soldier! We’ve gotta push through this!
*begins muttering feverishly*
“Well, since our host is currently… indisposed… I suppose it falls on me to summarize the events of the previous hemichapter… and Venerated Ancestors, what a hemichapter it was:
En route to the defense of Lacerta Colony, the Pelican dropship containing the story’s horrid excuses for soldiers- and also Troy Fisher- took a bad hit from some roaming Banshees and was forced to make an unpowered emergency landing. Since for some absolutely baffling reason nobody was strapped into their seats and the back hatch was wide open this resulted in Renee Kilburn falling out of the craft, and the Master Chief decided that the best course of action was to jump after her and thereby confuse the laws of gravity enough to save her life.
Tragically, both survived.
After that, immature Marines were immature, and… Edward and Bella happened.”
Terrible Troy Counter: 73
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 53
Fucking Halight Counter: 23
… And that’s that.
“Looks like somebody finally made his Sanity roll…”
No, I just had the Arbiter shoot me in the head with a carbine.
“I fail to see how that-”
Twenty-seven times. I can’t even remember my last name, much less whatever happened last chapter!
Amy was hysterical when she saw Renee fall out of the Pelican… and John jump out after her. She had almost jumped after them both, but she resorted to screaming.
“And this is different from her usual behavior… how, exactly?”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 54
“They’re going to die!” Amy cried, looking around hopelessly at everyone else. Troy looked horrified, but after a second his face hardened .
“We’re going to crash! Brace yourselves!” he shouted.
Terrible Troy Counter: I… honestly can’t tell if this is more bashing, or if the story actually recognizes that I’m acting like a proper officer here.
Three more seconds rushed by as they plummeted, and then there was a loud tearing noise as the Pelican tore through the trees, breaking branches. The windshield smashed out, sending glass flying back into the passenger’s compartment, shards cutting everyone’s arms and faces.
“That… doesn’t seem right to me. Even the completely wrecked Pelicans seen in-game have mostly intact cockpit glass, so it’s obviously nearly as durable as the metallic portions.”
Breaking free of the trees, there was a sickening feeling for a brief few seconds where the Pelican was in dead fall, with nothing to stop it. Everyone covered their heads with their hands as the Pelican did a nose dive, right into the ground.
Oh! Just like the story!
“And so on, and so on. The Pelican comes to a stop and Troy continues to do his job by checking to see if his men are in one piece while Amy continues to wander around and be useless. Everyone’s survived without serious injury, which I don’t actually find that implausible given that they started their unpowered descent at a relatively low altitude and velocity, and crashed into a dense forest.”
Still… It’s really starting to stand out to me that these Marines have apparently suffered zero casualties in two distinct major Covenant encounters and a Pelican crash. Now, I figure that the missions the Chief goes on in the games are way higher-risk than usual combat and so your average Marine does indeed have a pretty decent chance of making it through a given engagement (this makes their extremely gung-ho dialogue make a lot more sense, actually)… but still. I’d’ve expected them to lose at least one or two by now, especially since Pelican crashes seem to be the number-one killer of troops in the games. I keep expecting the Thomas the Tank Engine narrator to show up and assure us that “thankfully, no one was hurt”!
She wondered where John and Renee were- if they had survived, or if they were injured somewhere, lying on the forest floor with broken bones.
Slowly and agonizingly bleeding out as it finally sinks in that their predicament is entirely due to their own foolish actions… realizing that they had been given… say, around 73 different chances to redeem themselves and that they’d spat on each and every single one… hoping and praying for just one more chance, and promising that this time they’ll actually listen to Troy Fisher…
“Were the universe so just.”
She felt a lump in her throat, but fought it back, and looked to Troy, who was limping slightly, clutching his helmet under his arm. He had a large cut across his cheek, and looked particularly somber.
He met her eyes.
“Alright, Smythe?” he asked quietly, looking back to the smoking, smashed Pelican.
“Yes, sir, ” she answered, not bothering to mention her wrist, which was hurting like hell.
Because medkits are for sissies.
“Better off than your friends, hm?” he answered bitterly, “Everyone, as soon as we feel up to it, we better start looking for Kilburn’s body… the Spartan’s too.”
“Do you think they’re really dead?” Henry asked,
Well, no, but hope springs eternal.
“I mean, he probably saved her!”
“No one can survive a fall from that height, ” Troy replied with certainty, “They’re dead.”
Well, for a number of reasons I outlined in detail last time, that’s not really true. I mean, yes, if they didn’t land exactly right they very well could be dead, or seriously injured (in fact, since it would absorb some of her kinetic energy, Renee’s chances of survival increase if she deliberately lands in a way that breaks her legs) but those same factors mean that the Chief wouldn’t really be able to contribute too much to her survival chances one way or the other.
Terrible Troy Counter: 74
I mean, yeah, he’s wrong, but I only know he’s wrong because throughout high school and my first semester of college I wanted to get my PhD in physics… and that means that when confronted with genocidal alien hordes my only available response is to run in the opposite direction, then after about 50 meters get winded and need to sit down. How dare Troy skip out on that Advanced Placement curriculum to, you know, fight the Covenant…
He paused, and looked past Henry, and his eyes widened. Everyone looked in the direction Troy was and there was a dead silence that fell over the group, as they watched John, with Renee by his side, come walking out of the forest.
Aaaand just like that we’re back in to where we would have been if the Pelican hadn’t crashed in the first place. No uncertainty, nothing gained, and certainly no actual action.
“Why is it that the ‘fics that are the absolute worst at actually maintaining tension are the ones that keep trying to artificially inject it?”
John’s armor was covered in scratches, Renee had leaves in her hair and cuts on her face, but they were alive.
“Excuse me, but how does she have leaves in her hair? Don’t these people ever wear helmets?”
“Impossible,” Kirk whispered.
“Amazing, ” Luke breathed.
“Entirely to be expected.”
Everyone stared in bewilderment as they walked over to join the group, not saying anything. Amy was the first to break the awkward silence .
“Both of you have damn good luck, ” she announced, although her voice wavered. It was hard to believe that they both were alive.
She lowered her voice and looked to Renee, “You’ll have to tell me later.”
Renee nodded slightly, and glanced up at John, who wasn’t making any moves to do anything. She wondered if he actually might have hurt himself and wasn’t saying anything. John struck her as the kind of person who would be too proud to declare that they had been hurt in any way.
The blood that had come out of his mouth wasn’t just random, she knew that, but if he was injured at all, he wasn’t about to let on.
I’m… honestly not sure on that one way or the other. On one hand, Spartans aren’t exactly known for their hypochondria, and their morale impact is so substantial that their handlers do try to present them as invincible (“Spartans never die, they’re just missing in action”). On the other hand, though, it’s not like the Chief ever passes up medical kits in the games, and if he were remotely in character he wouldn’t charge into combat without telling anyone when his medical condition was severe enough to make him a potential liability.
“Well, ” Troy raised his eyebrows, and paused for a moment, thinking of appropriate words, “It’s good that you’re both alive- it saved us a trip from scouring the forest for your mangled bodies.”
Well, I suppose this was inevitable, but that doesn’t make it any less of a powerful moment.
“He’s gone from simply pointing out all of the story’s flaws, to complaining about them with a sarcastic and defeatist attitude.”
Terrible Troy Counter: 75… But can I really be…
“Indeed. I had not thought it possible.”
Our man Troy’s become a riffer.
“I am so, so proud.”
He looked to the rest of the team, “Now we obviously have no flight out of here, so I think it would be best that we try and rendezvous with the rest of our men. You know where we were going?” he asked the pilot.
“Nah, I was kind of just flying around in circles looking for anything interesting.”
“Of course, sir,” the pilot answered, “We were almost there. We need to walk eastwards at least a mile or two and should reach where our designated team was to call base camp.”
“Why does the pilot sound substantially more educated than Dr. Halsey?”
Even if he, too, is using Imperial units.
“Well we better get moving, ” John declared, beginning to lead the way out of the clearing in the direction the pilot mentioned, “Before the Banshees come snooping around looking for any survivors. Move it, team. Double time!”
The team hurried to catch up with him; Renee and Amy following close behind John. Josh joined up beside Troy, as he walked calmly but quickly after the rest of the team. He looked to Troy, whose face was scrunched up with anger.
Terrible Troy Counter: 76. And that just sounds uncomfortable.
“You know, it’s not the Master Chief completely usurping Lieutenant Fisher’s command that I find remarkable- after all, he’s an unstable psychopath who seems to derive genuine pleasure from having other sapients under his direct control. It’s that none of his men even bother to bring up the change, even to say that they’re glad he’s in charge or something else equally asinine. It’s like Fisher’s the only one who remembers that he was ever their commanding officer in the first place.”
“You ok, LT?” Josh asked, eying him curiously.
“I think I’m going to kill that Spartan before this mission is over,” Troy simply growled, and he picked up pace, breaking sync with Josh, who sighed and gave a shrug.
“Good luck, ” he murmured after him.
“He will, after all, need to beat me to that goal.”
As they walked, Renee studied John, staying close behind him. Amy was glued to her side, and she prattled on about how she was amazed that they had survived the crash, and how John had jumped out of the Pelican right after she had fallen. Renee didn’t really listen, for she was still in a daze from the ordeal. The memory of her fall out of the Pelican seemed to get already foggy- it happened so quickly and had ended just like that. Both she and John were fine like nothing had happened.
She was fine. John, though, she wasn’t so sure.
So, she was fine… and she was fine. Is that what you’re telling me, ‘fic?
“And the Demon was both fine, and… not fine?”
-[THE DEPARTMENT OF REDUNDANCY DEPARTMENT AND THE DEPARTMENT OF CONTRADICTIONS AGENCY BEGIN A PITCHED FIREFIGHT IN THE LEVEL ONE VISITORS’ CENTER]-
“Well, that looks like it’s going to take care of itself for once…”
It wasn’t that apparent at first, and Renee had thought it was the uneven ground, but the longer she watched John walk the more she realized he was limping. It wasn’t that noticeable, but she knew John was probably fighting back the pain to try and make it look that way.
“… We smashed into the ground with insane force… the windshield shattered, even; we all ended up in a tangled dog pile…”
OH MY GOD SHUT UP!!!!
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 55
Amy was saying, but Renee elbowed her, whispering her name quietly. Amy stopped talking and looked at Renee, clearly annoyed.
“Look at John.”
“Yeah, he’s attractive, I know.
Yeah, and now that this ‘fic’s had its way with him that’s pretty much his only defining quality…
“No! Look at his left leg, he’s limping.”
Amy raised an eyebrow, but watched John in silence for a few minutes.
“He is,” she agreed, “From the fall?”
“No, you idiot, from sharing his bunk with Renee! Of course it was from the fall!”
“He told me he was fine, ” Renee said lowly, “but when I took his helmet off after we fell, he had blood running out of his mouth, Amy. I think he’s hurt and not telling anybody.”
“You know, John-117 is supposedly an adult. If you have an issue with his behavior, you could always ask him about it instead of talking about him as though he isn’t there…”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 56
Well, I will say this- Love of a Spartan never seems to stop running out of new and interesting ways to infantilize its characters.
“A little limp – he probably just hurt his ankle or something. This is John you’re talking about here. He wouldn’t have jumped out of the Pelican if he knew he was going to shatter his bones or something.”
“You give the Demon’s intelligence far too much credit.”
No, she really never does. Hasn’t stopped her from talking, though…
“Of course I do,” her friend answered with a little scoff.
She rubbed sweat off her brow and batted at a mosquito that was buzzing around her head, “I like this planets tropical climate, but there’s one problem. It would be wonderful if we were all on the beach sipping cocktails, but not when we’re hiking through the fucking jungle in full combat armor!”
“Keep alert back there,” John hissed suddenly, “Amy, we’re hiking through a fucking jungle in full combat armor, and in this fucking jungle, there could be an alien behind every bush.”
“Sorry, ” Amy muttered quickly, and she glanced to Renee and raised her eyebrows, “Was it just me or did John just seem cranky?”
“No, he is just acting like a proper warrior for the first time since Chapter Three.”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 57
Renee nodded, and then she quickened her pace to walk alongside John .
“Are you sure you’re okay?” she asked quietly, looking up at him. Gently, she reached over and touched his arm. He must have felt it through his armor, because he moved his arm away.
“Good for him.”
“I’m fine.” He didn’t even look down at her.
“I don’t think you- ” she started, but he was quick to interrupt.
“I’m fine, ” He snapped icily.
He wasn’t fine, he knew that- but he wasn’t about to announce it. It seemed that every bone in his body was aching- it was almost like how he had felt when he had been recovering from his augmentations.
“An analogy that is really, really getting overused in Halo fanfiction, by the way. There are painful things in the world other than Spartan augmentations, you know…”
Every footstep sent a shooting pain up through his legs- but he wouldn’t tell anyone. It was nothing; really, he should recover from it within a few days. There was no need to get Renee worrying about it. He wasn’t fine, but he would be fine- just give it time, he thought.
You know, if he just told somebody he’d hurt his legs, they’d give him enough biofoam to get himself back into fighting condition immediately. As it stands, well, I really, really hope he doesn’t get a radio message that some Marines are pinned in an untenable position half a klick away and he needs to run over to them…
When Alpha Team arrived at the designated base camp, they had only begun setting it up. The Pelicans were aligned on the far left of the camp,
“Huh. I didn’t know Pelicans had political views.”
I dunno, maybe they all spontaneously manifested Che Guevara nose art or something.
and everyone was bustling to unpack the makeshift tents and weapons. With a quick count, John found out that Pelican 0-76 had been the only one to crash. He felt a shiver run down his spine. Dr. Halsey had always said out of all the Spartans, he had the best luck, but why was it him that always seemed to be on the Pelicans that crashed or blew up?
Maybe because he’s the one who always manages to survive and repeat the experience?
The Senior Lieutenant that was in charge of Beta Team, was quick to approach their team as they emerged from the trees. John allowed Troy- who was quick to run up to the leading position- to explain everything and assure him that everyone was fine and besides the loss of a Pelican, there wasn’t anything tragic.
“Other than the writing, of course.”
He noticed that Troy neglected to mention Renee falling out of the Pelican. Troy just didn’t want him to get any glory of saving her life again, John mused.
“Which is, in more ways than one, probably for the best.”
Terrible Troy Counter: 77
As he was thinking, he was suddenly rushed. John whipped his head around just in time to see two green blurs come flying towards him -one faster than the other- and then they skidded to a stop right in front of him. Kelly and James.
Ok, seriously, this Roadrunner Spartan shit is getting kind of weird.
Troy stopped talking and everyone from his team stopped to stare at the two other Spartans, who wore MJOLNIR armor identical to John’s. John was taller than both of them by a few inches, but they still towered over everyone else in the camp.
They both saluted at the same time.
“Good to see you, sir,” they announced in unison.
Wow. Kelly and James have been in this ‘fic for all of 60 words, and I already hate them. That’s got to be come kind of record.
“I heard about your little crash,” Kelly said, her voice feminine, but it had a masculine undertone at the same time,
“Which sounds like… what, exactly?”
*Headshotted in the chest by the Department of Contradictions Agency Sustainable Scorched-Earth Battalion.*
“It seems danger likes to find you out, and gives no fun to any of us. Quit hogging it all!”
I’m sorry, I must have missed the part of The Fall of Reach where it was revealed that Kelly-087 spoke fluent Engrish.
She threw a punch at him, just like she used to- and she hit him before he could move. His shoulder was jerked back, and John let out a groan as it seemed to shoot through his entire body.
“The Demon’s shoulder shot through his entire body?”
That sounds worthy of a bit more than a groan to me- assuming, of course, that the Chief still has lungs.
However playfully threw a punch back at her, but she dodged it quickly.
[DATA EXPUNGED] threw a punch at her?
“Oh come now, we both know it was Slenderman.”
James looked at her, shaking his head. She swiped a Spartan smile at both of them, and the two boys returned it.
Renee, who was watching the Spartans in awe like everyone else, noted how foolish they seemed to act-she instantly realized John must have good friendships with them, especially with Kelly, who seemed almost immaturely playful despite his rank. She glanced to Troy, who looked absolutely disgusted at their antics,
Terrible Troy Counter: Oh God. It’s spreading. 78.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 58
and then to Amy, who met her glance and gave her a wink.
“I wonder if James is single!” she whispered.
Dear God, I hope not…
Wait- no, I mean…
“Just give it up. There’s no way sanity can win that one.”
Renee sighed and rolled her eyes, and looked back to John, Kelly, and James .
“You’re alright, though?” James asked John calmly… James seemed to be even calmer than John was.
“Oh, meaning he’s only mostly psychotic?”
“I’m fine,” John said again, rubbing his shoulder, and then he looked back to Kelly, “Well up until you slugged me one.”
Kelly let out a small laugh- contained, but a laugh none the less.
“You can take it, sir. Did you get the briefing?”
“No… our Pelican crashed before we received any information.”
“Which is generally why proper military operations brief their troops before dropping them into enemy fire…”
“Well the deal is we’re going to finish setting up here. James and I have set up a tent, there’s room for you. After everyone is settled, we’re going to do what we do best.
Stand around and be ineffectual?
We may get orders to stay here ’til tomorrow. It’s getting fairly late.”
“It was only noon.
“Lacerta’s days are shorter than say those of Earth or Reach,” James explained, “Right now it’d be the equivalent to about 1800 hours,
Ok, what the fuck?
If it took them the sidereal equivalent of six hours to make the “one or two mile” hike (one chronological hour, give or take), then Lacerta’s complete day-night cycle would only be four hours long. That’s a long ways away from physically destroying the planet or anything like that, but it’d still play unholy hell with the weather. Especially since the place is warm and 80% ocean.
won’t be long before twilight.
“Oh, judging the the counter it’s been Twilight for the last ten chapters or so.”
It’s not that easy fighting Covenant in the dark, well it is for us, but not for your marines.”
“They’re blind as bats,” Kelly added, “Elites can easily pick ’em off at nighttime.”
“Although with this lot, that’s also true in broad daylight…”
“We’ve already explained the situation to one of your Senior Lieutenants, ” James said, and then he gestured, “That one over there next to the Jr. LT from your team.”
John looked over his shoulder, and spotted the Senior Lieutenant they were talking about,
You know, that person! The one who doesn’t merit a name!
and next to him was Troy. He’d have to warn Kelly and James about Lt . Fisher.
“Hopefully to tell them to clean up their act.”
Terrible Troy Counter: Oh God. It’s spreading. 79
“What’s his problem?” Kelly snorted. John knew she was talking about Troy, he must’ve been making a sour expression in their direction.
“Hates Spartans with a passion, John explained.
“Oh, one of those guys, huh, ” Kelly put her hands on her hips, “My favorite.”
Yes, and after seeing you idiots represent the program, I find myself fully agreeing with him.
Terrible Troy Counter: 80
“So, what team have you assigned to you this time?” James questioned, “A good batch of marines?”
Terrible Troy Counter: But if you can find one somewhere I’d be very interested…
John turned to look at his team, and addressed them sharply.
“At attention, everyone, I’d like you to meet two of my fellow Spartans, Kelly and James.”
Alpha Team snapped to attention, besides Troy, who refused because of his rank. He just glowered blankly at the three Spartans armored in green.
“How dare he expect the deference due to his rank?!”
Terrible Troy Counter: 81
“Who is who?” Amy spoke up loudly, “You all look the same.”
John looked to his Spartans.
“Up for taking off your helmets?” he asked.
Kelly didn’t answer; instead she took off her helmet and slung it under her shoulder, a small smile on her face. She had light brown hair, cropped nearly as short as John’s, except she had longer bangs, and blue eyes. Her face was fairly masculine, with prominent cheekbones and a prominent jaw-line, a sharp nose and thin lips.
Granted, that’s not how she looks in the canon materials, but I’m not going to knock it because the story came out before most of the new miniseries and things were released. In fact, I like this description of Kelly a little better than the canonical picture.
James took off his helmet after her, more hesitantly. He had buzzed dirty blonde hair, with green eyes.
“His hair had green eyes?”
Goddammit, the Lovecraft ‘fics were last episode.
His nose, which was slightly off-center, was dusted with a few freckles. He had a scar running through his lip and a five-o-clock shadow, with a round face that made him look younger than he was.
Wait, he has a manly stubble on his chin?
“Does he have a sexy English accent? Does he look just like Joel Madden?”
Both of them, however, like John, were ruggedly attractive.
Of course they were.
“Kelly,” John gestured to her, then to James, “James.”
Really? And here I thought it was the other way around…
Kelly glanced to John, and in a split second, she had whipped the helmet from his head, pushing it into his arms.
“Don’t make us feel alone,” she said, taking in his face, “You got blood on your mouth, John.”
“Is… Kelly supposed to be talking like this?I mean, everyone in LoaS has rather stilted dialogue, but hers is not just much worse than the others, but also extremely consistent about being so.”
John felt all eyes on him, as he reached up and wiped it away .
“Looking good, sir,” Kelly complemented him, “Dr. Halsey always said you were a handsome leader.”
“I very much doubt that is something Dr. Halsey said.”
Knowing John wouldn’t reply, she looked to the marines of Alpha team again. She spotted out Renee and Amy.
“Two women!” she remarked, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen any female marines- they seem to be a rare sort.”
For… some arcane reason…
“Although, while they might very well be female, I’m still having a very hard time considering these two to be Marines.”
She gestured to them, “What are your names?”
“Private Renee Kilburn, ma’am.”
“Private Amy Smythe, ma’am.”
“Well, Privates,” Kelly said approvingly, “Good to see you with us. Do you know John well?”
Sadly, I think we all do.
“Yep, we do,” Amy spoke up predictably, jerking a thumb in Renee’s direction, “She knows him hell of a lot better, I guess you could say.”
Renee jammed her elbow into Amy’s side secretly, but this made Kelly curious.
“Oh?” she looked to Renee, “How’s that?”
Carnally, you idiot.
“Except not really. I suppose because it’s ‘romantic’ or something.”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 59
Renee made brief eye-contact with John, and she could tell by the look on his face not to say anything. It was obvious neither of his Spartans knew.
And, of course, she defers to him for instructions on what to do.
Fucking Halight Counter: 24
“Well…” Renee began, thinking fast to cook up a lie, but Amy interjected .
“They’re close,” Amy grinned, throwing a wink at Kelly, “If you know what I mean.”
Renee felt all color drain from her face, and she looked at Amy, then to Kelly, John, and James. Oh the horror! Amy and her big mouth!
Shut up, Jane Eyre.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 60
Kelly and James both looked at her, and then to John, who looked as mortified as Renee did.
“Really,” was Kelly’s only reply.
“I’m afraid so.”
That about does it for Chapter 13, everyone.
“And good riddance!”
Come back next time to observe the story try to ruin Troy Fisher… and fail harder than you could ever have thought possible.