1637: Love of a Spartan – Chapter Fifteen

Title: Love of a Spartan
Author:  AshleyBudrick
Media: Video Game
Topic: HALO
Genre:  Sci-Fi/Romance
URL:  Saved to this Archive
Critiqued by Admiral Sakai, Gul, and the Arbiter


This section of the riff contains potential flamebait in the form of relatively in-depth discussion of military sexual assault. Because we really needed to read Space Twilight’s hamhanded attempts to deal with that again…

Hello hello, all you patrons!

We return once again with another chapter of Love of a Spartan. When we left off last session, the-”

AmyXFuck-Shit OTP!

… as I was saying, we watched as the Marines-”

AmyXFuck-Shit OTP!!!!!! *Jumps up and down.*

Ok, that’s it.*fires a few plasma-pistol rounds into the control room soda machine* No more caffeine for you.”

… Fine.

So, yes, what my annoyingly irrepressible colleague here is trying to tell you was that last chapter featured the beginning of a beautiful pair-bond between Amy Smythe the Worthless Marine and Fuck-Shit the Giant, Freakish, and Equally Worthless Elite. He wandered into the UNSC base camp to grab a ration pack filled with pepperoni, she took it upon herself to save him from immediate detection by deliberately removing the numerous physical traces of his arrival that he left behind, and they indulged in a brief but sexually-charged conversation.”

Oh, and I guess there was a lot of other stuff about the Marines setting up their base of operations completely unguarded, Edward-117 meeting the other two Spartans and their turning out to be relatively normal, and Troy Fisher trying to kiss Renee Kilburn due to what I can only explain as a spasm-inducing brain injury and getting punched in the nose for his trouble. But who cares about that?

AmyXFuck-Shit OTP!!!

Terrible Troy Counter: 87

Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 65

Fucking Halight Counter: 26

All of which brings us to Chapter 15/”Fourteen”, Complications.

[March 12, 2535 – Marine Base Camp – Outskirts of Lacerta’s Main City – Lacerta]

Looks like they still haven’t settled on a name for that city yet, so it can’t be too important, right?

We open with some description of the rain and mud they faced on the night’s patrol. To the story’s credit it does do a fair job of portraying this part of Lacerta as a swampy hellhole (which is why I’m skipping the line-by-line analysis), although that in turn makes me wonder why the Marines ever picked this location for an operations base to begin with- Warthogs are impressive vehicles, but I doubt they can drive through pools of mud that are waist-high on a Spartan.

He wanders through the camp and encounters Renee Kilburn’s tent, where she is apparently just lying around wide awake instead of either resting up or doing something productive.”

Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Count-

Actually, I can sympathize with her there. One of my biggest time-sinks (after navigating the Escher drawing that is University Circle, of course) is lying awake at night, refusing to get up and do anything productive because I know I need to sleep, but being physically unable to and subsequently spending the morning both sleep-deprived and late. I don’t know how common that problem is with actual soldiers whose jobs are physically much more exhausting, but it’s definitely a thing.

“Good morning, ” he whispered, Renee moving her legs slightly to allow him to set his helmet temporarily on her mattress. He folded his arms on the bed, smiling earnestly.

Forgetting entirely that the previous descriptive bit mentioned his armor was dripping wet and covered in mud from the waist down, and thereby getting the sheets, the flooring, and Renee herself absolutely filthy.”

Also, it looks like Renee has an entire tent to herself out in the field as well. If I’d known that your average military grunt on patrol gets better digs than most corporate retreats, I’d’ve signed up right out of high school too!

“Morning, ” she whispered back, reaching out and grabbing his large gloved hand, intertwining fingers gently. She met his eyes lovingly, “You’re covered in mud,

Yes, and now she is too!”

She asks where he went, he talks about going out on patrol, and just when you think the ‘fic can’t possibly get any more boring, the Chief spots Troy’s blood on her knuckles:

“I wonder where this blood is from.”

Renee’s expression changed instantly- she went a little pale and carried an expression a child would have when they had been caught doing something bad.

Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 66

“Um-” she began, but John let go of her hand and formed his own into a fist. He playfully placed it to her cheek, raising an eyebrow.

“Punching a Lieutenant, whether they were your childhood friend or not, isn’t a good idea,” he declared seriously, furrowing his brow, meeting her surprised gaze sternly. He lowered his fist.

“You- found out?” she asked sheepishly.

“Saw Troy’s broken nose,” John replied, “And he told me the rest.”

“Ah, well,” she said sulkily.

“I hope you realize that if he decides to go open his mouth about it, you might be in deep trouble, so you need to tell me what he did that provoked you to lash out.”

Why are you assuming that anything provoked her to lash out? So far, the only provocation Renee Kilburn has needed to lash out at Troy Fisher has been the prompting of the family of cockroaches that live inside her skull.”

Terrible Troy Counter: 88

Renee shook her head, and let out a sigh, and rolled onto her back .


“You’re lying.” John said almost instantly, “Renee. What did he do?”

“Nothing that deserved a broken nose, ” she answered, looking up at the ceiling, “Well, I thought so at the time. He just was saying shit about you and the other Spartans, tried to sway me into staying away from you. He was actually nice for a few minutes before, like… the old Troy,” Renee glanced at John momentarily, “For a moment I’d thought he’d wizened up; it was the Troy Fisher I used to know. Then when I told him I loved you, the old Troy was gone again. He got really mad at me, got kinda rough… well… pulled some shit . ”

“What type of shit?” John quoted her, feeling his adrenaline spike. Just the thought of Troy being rough with her alone made him want to break his neck.

Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 67

Also, I love how the phrasing makes it sound like he’s jealous of Renee being the one to receive Troy’s aggression.”

I don’t think Freud would want to touch that one with a ten-foot cigar.

“He kissed me,” Renee heaved a big sigh, “I shoved him away though, of course. Then he said something about you, I was already mad enough and his words just- made me lose control. I must have hit him harder than I thought.”

John didn’t say anything for a few seconds.

“Are you alright?” Renee asked quickly, noticing John’s change in breathing .

“I will be,” John said, clenching his jaw, “Give me a minute. Had I known last night he’d done that, I would’ve broken his nose again.”


I realize that over these last couple of chapters, I have been ranting a lot– about physics, relationships, the chain of command, aircraft safety, and pretty much everything else that’s come across my screen. That’s because, as I dig down deeper into it past the surface typos and double entendres, there turns out to be an awful lot wrong with Love of a Spartan, on a lot of different levels- fractal wrongness, as the egghead community likes to call it. But we’ve been skating around this whole issue of Troy’s unwanted (involuntary?) advances for a while now, and… it’s handled, on one level, really poorly, and on another exactly the way I would expect, and on yet another really, really poorly again. So I guess it’s not so much fractally wrong as it is… I guess sinusoidally wrong.

You see, whenever one of these… events… happens with Lieutenant Fisher, I always found myself wondering why Renee doesn’t just report what he did to their superiors. It might not be as drastic as what we’re used to here at the Library, but kissing her like this definitely counts as sexual assault under any sane regulation system, and (assuming that no exculpating neurological condition was found) this sort of accusation could get Troy Fisher in quite a bit of trouble. She certainly had no problem telling the Chief what happened, so it’s not as though she’s too ashamed to admit it (which I would find rather strange, but then again humans are a strange species), and it’s not like she’s turned down any previous opportunities to make the poor man’s life as difficult as she possibly can.

On the other hand, though, this makes a weird sort of sense. Especially back in the early 2010s when this was written, the American military had a huge problem with officers treating their subordinates in a wildly inappropriate manner, and the incidents either going completely unreported or being reported and then dropped. I’m really not familiar with the Canadian military so I don’t know if they ever had a similar problem- I’d assume not, but then I thought the same thing about segregated bathrooms and apparently they still do that- but it’s definitely a thing that people who at all follow the news would be aware of.

On the third hand (since apparently we’re Vortigaunts now)… that argument really doesn’t hold water, because this isn’t the American military, it’s the UNSC Marine Corps. And I always thought of the UNSC as beyond that sort of thing, and that it was important for it to be that way. You see, as the very existence of the Spartan program likely already confirms, the United Nations Space Command has done some really rather questionable things in its run, but they always stood out to me as inherently good because of their culture– meritocratic, egalitarian, pragmatic, and everything else that an organization fighting to represent humanity should be. That culture would not let harassment like this go unpunished, and really it’s what I always thought of the Human-Covenant War as being a fight for. If that culture is suddenly no longer a thing, what, really, is making the UNSC so different from the Covenant?

“Calm down, ” Renee bit her lip, reaching out and resting her hand on John’s cheek. His face was burning hot- it shocked her, and strangely enough, she could feel him trembling.

Ok, now, in robotics if something is burning hot, vibrating, and shocks you when you touch it, that’s usually a good indication you need to cut the fucking power. Not sure what to do when a Spartan demonstrates those symptoms, though…

“… still, I think we should snip both his carotid arteries, just in case.”

For a moment, she was frightened to think he was that angry that he wanted to harm Troy-

Which is different from his usual behavior… how, exactly?”

Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 68

Fucking Halight Counter: 27

Well, this time it says he’s angry at his own anger, so I’m not sure if that even counts



*The Admiral grabs his Tau Cannon and begins blasting away at the Department of the Department of Recursion’s Special Agents In Charge Of Agency*

and she withdrew her hand like she had touched something scalding .

John’s eyes met hers, and for a moment, they looked dangerous, but they softened.

“I’m sorry,” he said, letting out a sigh, and he leaned in and kissed her. Although his expression had softened, his emotions obviously hadn’t yet, for his kiss was rough, his lips were almost a crushing pressure against her own.


So, he leaves Renee, runs into Kelly and James, they continue to make fairly sensible points that Renee is probably going to get the Chief killed, and he ignores them.

However, her words went in one ear and out the other; as John’s HUD lit up with a giant red blob, and he whipped his head up to see a Covenant cruiser fly over head. His heart rate spiked, for he knew if this thing decided to fire on the camp… they’d all be dead within a split, searing second.


But that would require the Covenant to actually do their jobs, and you know we can’t have that...”

The rumbling of its engines awoke mostly everyone in the camp, and marines ran out of their tents to look up at the Covenant cruiser. It seemed like an eternity, but the ship passed, heading on towards Lacerta’s main city of Zarunai.

Oh. So now it gets a name.”

By the way, I did a little Web-fu for that one, and the closest match I could find was the title character in a Disney movie called The Pirate Fairy named “Zarinia”. So it looks to be completely a novel construct- which, I dunno, I guess I’m OK with, but it still sounds kind of silly.

Also, what exactly differentiates a ‘main city’ from a capitol, anyway?”

A moment later, several other Covenant cruisers followed. John counted mentally, seven.


Based on the current reading of the Mommy’s Little Marines counter, I was expecting him to need to use his fingers.

The reality of why they were heading to Zarunai… John had feared it, but he realized that it was happening now.

He looked around, to the sleepy-eyed marines, who were all gazing up at the sky in question.

As opposed to all of those other skies they could be looking at…”

He spotted Renee and Amy amongst them, who looked slightly intimidated. John glanced up to the east, and saw the Hercules firing at passing ships.



Because it’s still around.

In perfect honesty, the only reason we didn’t ask how the Hecules didn’t try to stop the Covenant ships when they first appeared was because we’d completely forgotten it existed.”

Thomsen’s voice suddenly came over his intercom.

“Chief! This is not looking good. I’ve just received reports from the Corinth. The entire southern end of Lacerta has been glassed, although from up here, the area around you looks untouched.

… well, that was rather sudden. I’m not so much concerned that they haven’t been fighting the Covenant this whole time, as I suppose there could easily be strategic reasons for waiting here as opposed to engaging them directly, it’s just that we’ve had basically no indication up to this point that half the planet was already gone. Now, building up any sense of time pressure in a static narrative is one of the more difficult things a writer can do, but… you could’ve at least made an attempt.”

Also, even though I really have no idea where Zarunai is in relation to the rest of Lacerta Colony, I find it very difficult to believe that they wouldn’t have noticed the effects of this- glassing, after all, involves dumping enough thermal energy into a planet to melt large portions of the surface, and that’s going to play absolute hell with the weather. Those oceans supposedly covering 80% of the planet are going to start to evaporate (and boil), releasing massive clouds of water vapor into the lower atmosphere which the absurdly strong Coriolis effect of the planet’s four-hour day will spin into continent-sized hypercanes with wind speeds exceeding 800 kilometers per hour. Even if the Covenant decides to leave immediately (which I wouldn’t put past them, given their previous behavior of doing exactly that for no comprehensible reason) it’s going to be years or decades before even the un-glassed half of the planet becomes suitable for long-term human habitation!

Try your best to kill as many Covenant infantry as you can.

Instead of, you know, executing a strategy…”

Keira has informed me that the cruisers you just saw pass are heading to the north! the Corinth has some marines waiting for them-”

“John, oh excuse me Blake. ” Keira’s voice interrupted, “John, they will be looping back for Zarunai soon- but, do you see that Assault Carrier on the horizon? Well, that just happens to be the Domination, and they’ve made special arrangements to stay over Zarunai.

Special… arrangements?

They hired a catering service.”

They’ve been mentioning you. I’ll tell you more as I come to understand what exactly it is their up to.

Wrong ‘they’re’, by the way.”

I’m not entirely sure if I want to understand any of the Covenant species’ up-tos.

So they get ready to deploy, and Kelly vows not to let the Covenant do to Lacerta what they did to Jericho IV. Good luck with that, by the way.”

Renee, who had already geared up, was the first to join John. She looked back over her shoulder as Amy and the others scrambled into their gear and collected their weapons. The camp had instantly been turned into a chaotic scramble.

Because if there’s one thing they never teach you in the military, it’s how to arm yourselves in a quick and orderly fashion.”

Kelly and James both looked at the girl then up to John.

“What are our orders, sir?” Kelly asked him, “What team?”

“You’ll lead, with us,” John answered, “James, you’ll be to the right side, covering our flank, get a sniper rifle and your AR. Kelly, you’ll be our rabbit. Taking the lead, you’ll scout out the area.

Ok, I don’t honestly know if “rabbit” is an actual military term (I feel like I’ve been doing this long enough to have heard the majority of them even if I don’t know what they all mean), but if it is then why is he explaining it to his fellow Spartan, and if it isn’t why is he inventing random and kind of stupid terms for things?

I want you with the same weapons as James.”

“And you don’t even give us time to clean our armor, you devil,” Kelly mused, “I guess you don’t mind being dirty.” With that, she turned and hurried over to the boxes of ammo alongside James.

… Why do all of Kelly’s lines sound filthy now?

That, and I’d’ve thought they’d be happy to be dull and swamp-colored when fighting in the swamps…”

They stand around a little while longer doing nothing, Renee and Edward do the brofist for some reason, and while the rest of Alpha Team shows up Troy is nowhere to be found:

“Did anyone see Lieutenant Fisher?” John asked, shooting a glance to Renee, who looked ashamed even without being able to see his look. Amy, who was clueless about the night before, put in her own theory.

“He’s probably hiding,” Amy said with a scoff.

Because that’s definitely something that soldiers can do if they don’t happen to feel like fighting at the moment.”

Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 69

Terrible Troy Counter: 89

She had a very restless night, and wanted to go off somewhere and get a few more hours sleep. The whole incident with ‘Kolsamee had got her thinking. Never before had she ever been that close to an Elite in a non-hostile situation, let alone long enough to carry out a conversation. She was worried after she had gone to bed, for she knew ‘Kolsamee must have a reason to hang around the camp. He hadn’t been interested in killing her; she hadn’t been on his “list”. Then who was? Somehow, she got a sneaking suspicion John or his other Spartans might be on his so called list. He had mentioned that his name would mean something to her later on. She doubted it would mean shit, but somewhere she also had a sneaking suspicion it would, and it wouldn’t mean anything good.

Freakish Elite; she wondered where he was now. Probably still watching from the tree line, maybe still casually seated beneath that tree. Wherever he was, she knew he’d be watching, probably in bleak amusement, or anticipation, waiting for the right moment to come out and attack.


AmyXFuck-Shit OTP!”

Knowing he could attack them gave Amy a panicky uncertainty that made her want to tell John, tell Renee, and tell whoever would listen.

But, also, who would believe her when she told them she found an Elite in their camp last night, had a conversation with it, let it steal a ration pack and come out of the situation alive?

No one, that’s what, it was too absurd to believe. She’d keep the event to herself.

Actually, everyone would believe her if she’d not gone and destroyed the physical evidence he’d left behind!”

What, and sabotage her own chances to finally get some cloaca? Not likely!

After that, Troy finally does show up, with his nose freshly bandaged (which is probably why he was late in the first place). He makes it abundantly clear that he doesn’t want to talk about last night’s events (I don’t blame him), and is subsequently completely ignored as the Chief briefs the team on their mission.”

We haven’t discussed much of the battle plans, but we’ll go right in through the middle, in the main road into the city. The other teams will span out to either side. We’ll take the warthogs through the jungle; I scouted the area last night. There’s a narrow path that leads into the city’s outskirts, it’s a few miles, and it ‘ d be a good place for an ambush, so keep your eyes peeled. Once we reach the city, it’s on foot. The main objection, wipe the city clean of Covenant.

So his plan, essentially, is to drive down the “main road” directly into the city (which is apparently not a highway or anything like that) while the other teams move out to the side and… I guess just take other roads into the area. However, they will also be taking another, narrower path through the jungle that the Chief apparently scouted offscreen last night when he was supposed to be patrolling the camp, which leads into the city outskirts (since apparently the “main road” does not actually go beyond the city it is supposed to provide transport to). Confused yet? No?

Well, once they get into the city proper, their main objective- sorry, objection– is to clear the city of Covenant by some unspecified method, and I guess we’ll just hope that there are as many Marines involved in this operation as Zarunai is large, since we don’t know the size of the force or the area they’ll be covering!”

You know, they say no plan survives contact with the enemy, but this one didn’t even survive contact with the keyboard. The invasion of fucking R’lyeh wasn’t this baffling!

Regardless, they board their Warthogs, Amy takes the rear turret, and the Chief asks if she’s “fine” with it. I cannot, for the honor of my ancestors, figure out why he would do that. It’s not a difficult weapon to operate – indeed, judging by the in-game dialogue Marines seem to really enjoy firing it — and it’s not as though she’s had any accidents with it that would make her reluctant to use it again.”

They pull out, and- to everyone’s surprise but ours- the Chief drives like a maniac:

“Okay, ” John muttered, and then he started the warthog up, revving the engine. He jerked the gearshift into reverse, backed up, and then he drove towards a small, mostly bush covered path that was barely visible, and declared, “Hope you don’t mind a little mud.”

Then he slammed the gas pedal to the floor, and the warthog ‘ s engine roared as it jerked forward, and flew into the path, bushes and leaves whipping at the windshield. Amy, though she was momentarily assaulted by vegetation, let out a little whoop as the warthog sped down the path, curving around a bend, and going over a small boulder .

There a was a split second where they were in the air, and then the warthog slammed into the ground, swerving slightly, sending mud splattering all over the windshield, and everyone in it.

Wait, there are people in the windshield?”


*quietly resets the “[X] Days Without A Visit From The SCP Foundation” sign to 0*

Renee shielded her face in disgust as mud flew in her direction.

“Sorry,” John glanced at her momentarily.

“Oh she doesn’t mind getting dirty, ” Amy exclaimed, laughing at her own joke, “Right Renee?”

John raised an eyebrow, getting the joke. He glanced at the redhead in the rearview mirror, shaking his head in disbelief. Even in this situation, Amy never failed to throw some suggestive content into the conversation.

I dunno, she’s got a long way to go before she’s riffer material.

Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 70

“Shut up Amy, ” Renee remarked with a scoff, “Oh John, did I happen to mention she was interested in James?”

“You liar!” Amy screeched from the turret, “I’ve got Wayne back home; I simply think James is hot. I think John is hot, too. I mean, what’s to not like?”

Well, there’s pretty much his entire personality


Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 71

The Chief does something sensible for once and tells them to pipe down, but they make it to their destination without any further incident- basically, a property on the city’s outskirts that backs directly into the jungle. Then the rest of the Warthogs show up, because I guess this is actually a rally point or something. Then

John snatched up his assault rifle, and got out of the warthog, doing a sweep of the area. As he was just about to finish his sweep, a purple flash caught his eye, but by the time he had turned around, one of the marines from Beta team had a plasma beam through the head, and he fell from the warthog, blood pooling out onto the ground.

Cue action sequence.

It’s a fairly typical Love of a Spartan firefight- punchy and well-paced, until you realize that you don’t really know where anyone is or what, on the grand scale, is going on– which is why I’m just going to give you the highlight reel.

He glanced over to Renee, who was successfully slaughtering the Grunts. He watched her as she emptied a clip, and quickly jerked it out and replaced it with a new one and took to firing again, quick, accurate bursts of the assault rifle.

She was relatively close to him, but he wanted to reach out and grab her and throw her behind him.

Or… the Twilight reel, as the case may be.

Fucking Halight Counter: 28

Behind all the craziness, ‘Kolsamee was crouched behind a tree, hearing all the wild gunfire. Bullets and plasma alike flew through the air, making it hard to move from his position. ‘Malnoonee came onto his headset.



Maloonee X headset OTP?

“Are there three of those Demons?”

“Yes- and that’s the problem… they’re all equally strong! They’re slaughtering our troops easier than I figured!”

“Damn them,” ‘Malnoonee cursed, “This isn’t going to work. I’ll have to think of a new plan.

… This was a plan?”

Tell them to pull back- there’s no fun in just killing them.


Looks like somebody needs to repeat Covenant School.

I want them to suffer, spend their last breaths in unsustainable agony…

Sorry, but since the late 21st century humanity has pretty much completely moved to clean, renewable, fusion-powered agony.

I’ll get back to you, ‘Kolsamee. Stick close, follow them. Don’t let the girl or the Demon out of your sight.”

“Yes sir,” ‘Kolsamee answered, and turned off his headset, and shouted in Sangheili, “Pull back!”

Right. Because Spirits forbid the Covenant actually allow the Marines to earn their own victories…”

Kelly filled him in, “We lost at least four marines- about five or so injured, but for the Covenant, at least two dozen killed.”

Aaaand… they’re finally taking casualties! And I’m… really not sure how I feel about that.

First… ‘at least’ four dead? ‘About’ five injured? I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Chief didn’t know how to count that high, but I’ve come to expect better from James and Kelly. Is this… group… large enough that individual field officers have to report back their status? This’d be the first we’ve heard about it…”

More to the point…

I can’t help but notice that the Chief knew there was a possibility of a Covenant ambush along this route, and didn’t give his men any instructions whatsoever on what to do about it other than “keep your eyes peeled”. Then he had them all gather together in this one exposed area and sit around to wait for new instructions. I get that sometimes the only option available to accomplish your objective is the risky one, and even in a perfectly-planned operation sometimes people are going to get hurt carrying it out, but it’s impossible to properly discount the hypothesis that those four people died because Master Chief Petty Officer Edward-117 just didn’t think this through.

John cursed under his breath, closing his eyes. Casualties… he felt the sickening feeling in his stomach as he always did. It was the same feeling that he had felt when he had lost over half of his Spartans to the augmentation surgery.

Aaaaand, now he has to go and make those four people’s deaths all about him.

“Get someone to take a troop transport and take the dead and injured back to camp, make sure they’re treated correctly,” John said,

Treated ‘correctly’?

Yeah, last time this happened they operated on the dead and buried the wounded. Spirits was that difficult to explain to the families back home!”

allowing Kelly and James to help him to his feet. It wasn’t a surprise that every bone in his body was back to aching.

“Yes, ” Kelly said solemnly, and she turned to go talk to the nearest Senior Lieutenant, and James followed. John watched as the marines gathered up the dead bodies, and placed them on the troop transport. Those who were injured had only minor plasma burns, so they were able to jump in the back.

If their injuries are ‘minor’ and they’re still completely mobile, why not just have the medics spray on some biofoam and put them back on the line?”

This is Love of a Spartan, remember? There’s no such thing as field medics.

He felt a faint pressure on his hand, and glanced down and saw it was Renee.

“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.

“I’ve been told it’s not my fault,” John replied, “But, every single time it happens, I can’t help but feel that it is.”

That’s mostly because it is, in fact, your fault.

Renee sighed, and hugged his arm slightly. John looked down, and saw her right arm was bleeding. Instantly he felt alarmed.

“You’re bleeding,” he pointed out.

“Oh,” Renee answered calmly, “Plasma just grazed my arm.

How she developed a laceration from a plasma burn, we will never know.”

I dunno, maybe it was really sharp plasma?

So, they wonder about the Covenant’s stupid decision to retreat, it starts to rain, and they set out on foot for the city proper. Why they don’t think to check the outlying areas for enemy forces first I really don’t know, but then again it’s entirely possible that the ‘outskirts’ are indeed just this one building since we still don’t have any idea how large Zarunai is or how it’s laid out.”

“We’re heading into the city now; do you want me to fall behind?” James asked, gesturing to the sniper rifle he had on his back.

“Yes, get somewhere up high and follow us, from the roof if it’s possible. Kelly, you go ahead, stay at least forty meters ahead of us at all times, signal me when you see something, snipe if it’s possible, then loop back around and join us.”

“Yes sir, ” Kelly and James said in unison, and James went off down a side alley to get to a higher location, and Kelly sped on ahead.

I… really have no idea if this is tactically a smart thing to do. It sounds sensible enough, but then again it is the Chief proposing it.

John looked around at the rest of the Alpha team, their expressions in a general area of disgust and exhaustion.

Huh. I wasn’t expecting to find that much common ground with the characters this quickly…”

Amy, John noted, looked particularly cautious, like she was expecting something to come jumping out at her. Well, he couldn’t really blame her attitude now, after the previous ambush.

“Alright, let’s move; keep it at a good pace. The one main rule, kill all Covenant. Leave no survivors,”

Again, how? Even if this is just a standard street-by-street clearing operation (which it really shouldn’t be, considering the assault carrier up above), individual units are still going to need to know which areas of the city they’re going to be responsible for walking.”

John ordered sternly, “Let’s do a damn good job of protecting Zarunai, marines. What do you think!”

“Sir, yes, sir ! ” They all replied in average unison.

Whatever that is…

And with that, they all started off into the city at a light jog, in double or single file, assault rifles at the ready.

‘Kolsamee, with his invisibility cloak and plasma rifle at hand, was quick to duck out of an alleyway and follow,

Ok, I’ve been wondering why the story calls his stealth equipment an “invisibility cloak” and not “active camouflage” for a while now, but now it looks like it’s a physical object that he has to carry around with the rest of his equipment?? Should I just ask Lyle to add a “Harry Potter” tag to the ‘fic now?

keeping close behind, but was aware of the Spartan James flanking the group with the sniper rifle. He had to be extra cautious now, but despite it all, he had a sudden good feeling that this was going to be a very successful mission.

Well, he’s pretty much the only one.”

Come back next time to witness the story go even more John and the Dragon Rider than it already was. And for civilian casualties. Those are always nice…


22 Comments on “1637: Love of a Spartan – Chapter Fifteen”

  1. BatJamags says:

    Ok, I don’t honestly know if “rabbit” is an actual military term (I feel like I’ve been doing this long enough to have heard the majority of them even if I don’t know what they all mean), but if it is then why is he explaining it to his fellow Spartan, and if it isn’t why is he inventing random and kind of stupid terms for things?

    Pretty sure it’s a thing from the books, and it’s specific to Kelly.

  2. BatJamags says:

    “Because that’s definitely something that soldiers can do if they don’t happen to feel like fighting at the moment.”

    It’s another thing that used to be common, but would be difficult even in a modern military, let alone a twenty-sixth century one. I know at least during the American Civil War, both sides would lose significant portions of their numbers to soldiers hiding or running away before battles started.

    • GhostCat says:

      From what I understand, a significant portion of the training that modern armed forces and law enforcement go through is designed to overcome that instinctive urge to run away – people don’t really like dying a violent death so we’ll avoid it if we can, and it takes a lot to suppress that deeply buried monkey-brain instinct that is screaming “Fuck this, I’m outta here!” at us. I would assume that in the twenty-sixth century they would have similar training for their troops.

  3. BatJamags says:

    the Chief briefs the team on their mission.”

    We haven’t discussed much of the battle plans, but we’ll go right in through the middle, in the main road into the city. The other teams will span out to either side. We’ll take the warthogs through the jungle; I scouted the area last night. There’s a narrow path that leads into the city’s outskirts, it’s a few miles, and it ‘ d be a good place for an ambush, so keep your eyes peeled. Once we reach the city, it’s on foot. The main objection, wipe the city clean of Covenant.

    Wait! Wait! Stop. Just stop. This is an attack on an entire city, which holds a significant portion of the Covenant’s forces. There are something like ten teams here, and Edward-117 here usurped control of one of them. There are presumably several more UNSC camps like this one scattered around the city.

    So why the hell is this one random NCO Spartan planning this assault? It seems like it should be managed by, you know, an actual senior officer. At least a colonel or something.

  4. BatJamags says:

    They pull out, and- to everyone’s surprise but ours- the Chief drives like a maniac:

    Which is odd, because in the games, it’s usually the marines who drive like maniacs, while Chief can actually drive normally (doesn’t have to, but can).

  5. BatJamags says:

    Even in this situation, Amy never failed to throw some suggestive content into the conversation.

    Eh. It’s a start, but she’s no Tucker.

  6. BatJamags says:

    He glanced over to Renee, who was successfully slaughtering the Grunts. He watched her as she emptied a clip, and quickly jerked it out and replaced it with a new one and took to firing again, quick, accurate bursts of the assault rifle.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure the Grunts are actually moderately dangerous to Marines. It’s just the Spartans who can steamroll through them.

    • AdmiralSakai says:

      In my experience they only have a decent chance of inflicting casualties if they throw grenades, but maybe things are different on higher difficulties.

      • AmyXFuckShitOTP says:




      • agigabyte says:

        In the EU, they were dangerous to Marines.

        In gameplay, they were dangerous-ish. In Reach, Ultras were dangerous. An Ultra Grunt could win 1v1 if it got lucky. Any Grunt with an FRG is dangerously effective.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        I have also seen the ones manning plasma turrets inflict casualties.

        Typically Marines seem much more vulnerable to heavy weapons, vehicle ramming, and snipers- they can actually soak a good amount of damage, but are typically slow to avoid things they can’t just take head-on.

  7. AmyXFuckShitOTP says:

    AmyXFuck-Shit OTP!

    You are absolutely going to regret making that a thing :)

  8. Leider Hosen says:

    However, her words went in one ear and out the other; as John’s HUD lit up with a giant red blob, and he whipped his head up to see a Covenant cruiser fly over head. His heart rate spiked, for he knew if this thing decided to fire on the camp… they’d all be dead within a split, searing second.

    The rumbling of its engines awoke mostly everyone in the camp, and marines ran out of their tents to look up at the Covenant cruiser. It seemed like an eternity, but the ship passed, heading on towards Lacerta’s main city of Zarunai.

    Okay, I’ve mentioned this multiple times with communication, but seriously, WTF?

    Most first world countries present day use highly advanced monitoring equipment on all their shit, so they can spot enemies on the ground from the air. Yet a highly advanced civilization that has mastered space travel doesn’t fucking notice the army that landed in the area is fucking about the camp? Or that there’s a camp there?

    Here’s what would happen if the Covenant was competent:

    They would use satellites or a recon craft to sweep the planet surface to find the landing force that banshee shot down earlier. They would use radar, sonar, thermal, and Christ knows what else since that technology was mastered hundreds of years ago at this point, and they don’t want the enemy force to rally.

    The camp would be found instantly and the covenant would tell that cruiser: “Hey? See that ten square kilometer stretch of woods? Blow it fucking hell, than do it again. Then send a few squads down there and kill everything that moves, just to be safe. Banshee MIL-0999 reported a Spartan flinging himself out the back of a transport he shot down, make sure he is extra, extra dead.”

    Then again, if the UNSC was competent, they would presumably have a defense against being detected by spaceships flying overhead, or, ya’ know, not set up a base-camp and stay on the move all the time rather than gathering in one spot and instantly being bombed to hell.

    Maybe this was an in-game thing, but once, just once, I want to see people highlight the fact that spaceships would have really fucking advanced instruments and you’d have to account for that.

    It’s a nitpick, but it just seems ludicrous to me that the “hiding in the woods” strat still works on a race that has traversed the fucking stars.

    • BatJamags says:

      The one thing that would at least be an acceptable handwave of this (even if it doesn’t make much sense) is that the Covenant develop by imitating Forerunner technology they find (which does raise some fridge logic when you realize that Forerunner tech and Covenant tech look and work nothing like each other – and it’s not like the Covenant modify the Forerunner stuff, since that’s heresy under their religion.), so maybe they just haven’t found anything like what you’ve described. Still, making sense is usually better than making up explanations for why you’re not making sense.

      • AdmiralSakai says:

        If this was a better story, the problem could have been fixed in one sentence. Just idly mention “jammers and camouflage netting” somewhere, and the reader would assume that since the characters were competent they had taken whatever steps were necessary to prevent detection of the camp from the air.

        Our characters, however, are staggeringly incompetent, so we are left to assume that the worst case scenario is indeed what is happening, and ‘Kolsamee keeps calling off bombing runs until he can at least get to third base with Smythe.

      • BatJamags says:

        AmyXFuck-Shit OTP!

      • Leider Hosen says:

        The fact that AmyxFuck-Shit actually makes this story more logical is both funny and sad.

  9. TacoMagic says:

    ‘Malnoonee came onto his headset.



    Maloonee X headset OTP?

    *Dumps his coffee soaked keyboard into the trash and pulls out another*

    Been going through a lot of those this week. Good thing we buy in bulk.

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