1651: Love of a Spartan – Chapter EighteenPosted: January 12, 2017
Hello hello, all you patrons! I return with another scintillating chapter of Love of a Spartan. And, of course, by ‘scintillating’, I mean boring as all get out.
“Previously, the push to reclaim Lacerta’s capital of Zarunai ground to a halt when the Marines encountered a mass grave filled with civilians and then immediately fled as the Covenant glassed the city. Truly, this was a great day in the annals of military history.”
After that, well, a whole bunch of the usual shit went down. On the way back to the landing site for extraction Renee tripped and knocked herself unconscious… again… (seriously, this woman is awake less often than Kerian from MjoAWoF!), although this time it was Troy and not Edward-117 who got to administer first aid to her for some reason. That’s not a euphemism, by the way, iodine and gauze really is about as explicit as Love of a Spartan ever gets.
Back on board the Normandy, they pretty much spent an entire other chapter just dicking around- Renee went to the medical bay and then immediately left because X-rays are scary or something and the Chief refused any sort of professional treatment for what turned out to be two broken ribs, multiple unspecified broken bones in his feet, and a torn Achilles tendon. Amy freaked the fuck out over Renee providing first aid to the Chief in a way that really didn’t look inappropriate at all, and Troy Fisher was heartbroken to hear that his longtime friend and big-brother-figure, Lt. Redshirt, had been murdered by the Covenant thanks to the Chief’s poor tactical reasoning.
So, basically, it was just another day in the interplanetary soap opera that is the UNSC Marine Corps.
Terrible Troy Counter: 95
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 77
Fucking Halight Counter: 38
All of that gets us to Chapter 18/Seventeen, the once again spoilerifically-titled ‘Promotions’.
“Or at least it would be a spoiler, if anyone actually cared.”
[March 12th, 2535 – Halcyon Class Hercules – Slipspace]
It was dark, and John stood in the middle of a forest, with Kelly, James, Linda, Fred, and Will.
Obvious dream sequence is obvious.
The marines were there as well, all standing silently.
“What, the Marines? As in all of them?
Must be a big forest.”
For a moment he was confused; what was going on? What were they waiting for?
“Eventually he’ll learn that it’s pointless to question these things. In the world of Love of a Spartan, logic holds no authority.”
John opened a private COM channel to Kelly, to question the team’ s actions, but he got no reply, only static. He looked over to her, and she was standing exactly the same as the rest of the Spartans, head bowed, gun lowered, unmoving. What the-… The Marines were the same way. He walked around to each one of them, speaking, calling their names, Renee, Amy, Troy, Josh, Kirk, Blaine, but they all looked at the ground and didn’t move a muscle, didn’t even blink.
I think the story is so boring, all the characters went AFK.
Suddenly, his HUD flickered and failed, and instantly it was like John had been submersed in darkness.
Except not really, because he’s still able to see.
Without his HUD, he didn’t have his motion tracker, his team ‘ s vital signs, his ammo supplies. was his suit malfunctioning?
“Oh, quit your whimpering! Are Spartans really this dependent on their equipment?”
Suddenly, he heard a roar and an earsplitting scream from behind him, and turned around just in time to see a blur, a flash of plasma, and Kelly’s body crumple to the ground.
Aww shit, we lost one of the saner ones.
He yelled, and hurried towards her, but at the same time, he saw James fall. Then Linda, Fred, Will. They all grew limp and fell, blood and hydrostatic gel oozing from their armor.
He went to scream, but it was like someone had ripped out his vocal chords.
“It’s about damn time. I’ve been wanting to do that since Chapter One.”
He saw a glimmer, a cloaked Elite. John moved his arm up to raise his assault rifle, but his limbs felt like lead. He heard the alien laugh, and it began to approach the marines.
The… very inconsistently capitalized Marines…
No, not Renee!
“Doesn’t Fuck-shit remember that Amy is his one true love?!”
John turned, but it seemed to take forever,
What did, the scene? Believe me, we know.
and the cloaked Elite headed straight for her, and he tried to warn her, tried to tell her, but none of the Marines noticed- it was like they were frozen.
“And this is different from their usual levels of attentiveness… how, exactly?”
The Elite approached Renee, and he saw the sickening whitish blue of the plasma rifle discharge, and in slow motion fly through the air towards her.
Ok, so either Fuck-shit just decided to throw his rifle at her, or that last sentence is missing a few words and/or tenses.
John’s eyes shot open, and he awoke gasping, sweat beading his forehead.
“… to the surprise of absolutely no one.”
He glanced down, and was relieved to see Renee lying asleep in his arms, where she had been when he had closed his eyes. He pulled her closer to him, breathing heavily. He was glad that she was safe. The dream had been almost horrifyingly real,
“Not really, no.”
Oh, it was horrifying all right… just not in the way it was intended.
despite the unrealistic abilities of being unable to speak and his limbs being like dead weights.
That’s just the crushing weight of heavy-handed symbolism.
He hated nightmares, and he was particularly worried about this one. Of course nightmares weren’t real, but normally in his nightmares, John was the one who was injured or killed, not his fellow Spartans, not the marines, not Renee. It was like his defiance earlier towards death and his attitude being bent on keeping her alive came back to ironically haunt him.
You know, I’m becoming increasingly uncertain as to the point of these dream sequences in the narrative. They don’t really indicate anything vis a vis the plot (which makes sense, since premonitory dreams in a military SF setting that likes to show its work scientifically would be kind of hard to swallow), but once they have them the characters never even seem to mention them again, so they can’t be for character development either.
Suddenly, before John had any more time to dwell on his dream, the door to his room opened, and he wasn’t really surprised to see Amy come barreling in the room,
“So, apparently the VIP quarters don’t have lockable doors, and anyone can just wander in whenever they feel like it.
You know, if this is the sort of security Fuck-Shit had to deal with, I am no longer at all surprised he was able to move around the Hercules as easily as he did.”
wearing her full dress uniform, her face flushed like she had run the whole way. A few pieces of curly hair had come loose from her neat ponytail. She paused in her tracks when she saw the two of them on the bed, and smiled.
“Cute, ” she remarked, walking boldly into the room, folding her arms on her chest.
“What are you doing here?” John ignored her comment, keeping his voice low as to not disturb Renee, but he felt her stir in his arms, and a glance down proved that she had awoken. She met his eyes momentarily, but turned her sleepy attentions to her friend.
“Yeah Amy,” Renee echoed groggily, “What are you doing here?” She lifted her head a little from John’s chest as she rubbed her eyes sleepily. She blinked a couple of times, looking relatively calm, and she didn’t particularly look embarrassed about her and John’s position in which they’d been caught.
No, your eyes do not deceive you… that is indeed three whole paragraphs taken up just to have the lovebirds ask Amy what she’s doing in their room.
“Apparently you guys didn’t hear the announcement,” Amy said, coming over and sitting down gingerly on the edge of the bed, careful not to touch John’s swollen feet, “You were sleeping through it, I guess.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 78
Anyway, the Captain just told everyone to attend the memorial service they’re holding in the docking bay in fifteen minutes- dress uniforms; he wants everyone clean and proper.” She gestured down to herself, but then self consciously batted at the few stray curls that had fallen out of place, and cursed quietly.
“Oh,” Renee sat up, patting down her hair, “It must be for those marines who were killed.”
Back in the Turian Army, we always held memorial services for the troops who survived…”
Who promoted Kilburn to Captain Obvious?
“Mhm, ” Amy nodded, removing a bobby pin from her hair, swiping the stray pieces back and putting the pin back snugly in place, “Now I thought I would come and check on you two, and you’d better hurry, considering the time. Is it just me or are you both beginning to be late for everything? “
Pretty much, yeah.
“Thank you for your briefing, Amy, ” John groaned, rolling over on his side, and he ignored the pain and forced himself to sit up and swing his legs over the side of the bed, and muttered to himself, “Dress uniform…”
He slid off the bed and rose to his full height. He paused for a moment to stretch, the muscles in his back rippling as he raised his arms above his head. The girls watched, of course,
“Oh, of course!”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 79
and Amy made sure Renee caught her eye after John was done stretching. She half mouthed, half whispered something to her, but Renee was not yet fully awake and didn’t try and figure out exactly what it had been. She knew though it probably was something to do with John’s muscles.
John turned around abruptly, narrowing his eyes quizzically at Amy, having cleverly heard every word she had whispered. To him, it wasn’t really a whisper, and not a challenge to make her out.
Fucking Halight Counter: 39
So Amy sort of sits there and goggles for a few more paragraphs about the fact that he overheard her, and… we never actually get to hear what she said. I mean, I’m sure it was stupid, unimaginative, and just generally completely forgettable, but still. That’s no excuse for the author forgetting about it…
Apparently women were more interested in muscles than he figured.
Ok, there’s something about that line that just screams ‘MRA’ to me, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is.
He thought back to when Amy had first arrived in his room when Renee had been dressing his wounds, and commented on his “six pack”. He’d heard the term before, a common nickname amongst the marines.
“The marines commonly call Spartan-IIs ‘sixpacks’?”
Could this passage get any more awkward?
And honestly, I much prefer it this way.
He couldn’t help but chuckle softly to himself as he tossed the shirt into the locker .
“You have intense hearing!” Amy squawked at his back.
When John didn’t respond, she looked to Renee, “Intense muscles, intense stamina, intense speed, intense hearing… what next? He’s gonna fly?”
“At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me.”
I mean, he already broke gravity when he pulled that skydiving stunt on Lacerta…
Renee laughed at her friend, and John glanced back over his shoulder at them.
“Sorry to disappoint,” he muttered, smirking wryly, “I’m not that ‘intense’.”
Boy, have you got that right…
“Unless intensely deviant counts…”
“Oh well, you have supersonic hearing, so that makes up for it, I guess, ” Amy pursed her lips, and then she looked to Renee, disappointed; “Now I can’t even whisper.”
Hmm. Good point! Maybe now she’ll finally shut the FUCK up!
“I never thought I’d be saying this, but thank the Spirits for Edward-117!”
“Whisper, by all means, ” John cocked an eyebrow at her thoughtfully, and he removed his dog tags and hung them on one of the hooks in his locker,
You know, it took me a while to realize this, but I’m not 100% sure if UNSC Marines should have dogtags: they all get IFF transmitters surgically implanted, and once you’ve gone to the trouble of putting hardware inside all your troops that seems like a much more reliable place to stick their identification info than an external trinket that can be more easily lost.
“Just remember that I’ll be able to hear you. Besides Private, you shouldn’t be saying things that you don’t want others to hear.”
You know, I was going to ding the Chief for talking to his fellow marines like they were kindergarten students, but then I remembered his fellow marines are kindergarten students.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 80
Amy’s cheeks flustered a little, and she folded her arms on her chest.
“Yes sir!” she replied saucily with an equally saucy smile.
Renee finally decided to get to her feet, although the gloominess from sleep was still with her. Amy did too, and Renee shot a warning glance towards her, clearly seeing that she was flirting with John.
“For a very broad definition of ‘flirting’, anyway…”
“Go flirt with someone else, please?”
Yeah, think of what Fuck-shit would say if he saw you like this!
Renee gave her friend a little shove, a grin coming on her face.
Ok, seriously, can we just arrest the ambulatory smile already?! This is absurd!
“Oh you’re just jealous,” Amy squawked with a laugh, “You just want him to give you some orders instead of me- classified orders …”
Oh GOD, and now the creepy chain-of-command dom-sub stuff is back…
So, Edward plays the idiot to try to get Amy to elaborate on her thought, and to absolutely nobody’s surprise… she chokes, and can’t offer anything more than “you know, dirty orders”!
Then she turns around and claims she’d
be more than happy to tell you some tips for the next time you and Renee have a kissing fest.”
“And her ‘tip’ is…”
“Use your tongue!”
For fuck’s sake, woman, even I could’ve told her that much!
“I think Amy Smythe might just be the most sheltered pervert I’ve ever had the misfortune of encountering.”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 81
Amy’s last words shocked him, and it took his brain a couple of seconds to register her words and what she had actually said and meant. Use his tongue?
“He… seriously never thought to do that already?”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 82
“Oh you love me for it, and don’t try to deny that!” Amy persisted, a smile on her face, “How would John know about freakin’ tonsil hockey?
“… tonsil hockey??”
The Canada jokes pretty much write themselves.
He doesn’t, and I know you did that with Troy- as disgusting as that was- but anyway, I assumed- no wait- I know that you’d enjoy frenchin’ John too! And it’s not like you were going to initiate anything, so I thought I’d help you out!”
This is what Hell would sound like if it was a fourteen-year-old girl.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 83
“You’re so vulgar!
Umm, not really?
I’m not like you, not one bit! I never thought would honestly say something like that to him! Why, you think he’s a friend, but you forget he’s a friend with a superior rank…”
“He’s your lover,” Amy added, catching up with Renee and forcefully linking arms with her, “Stop bull-shitting me. You’ll be forever gracious to me when John utilizes my tips.”
“I swear… ” Renee started angrily, although she was noticeably biting back a smile, “I swear Amy-”
She made a sad attempt to jerk her arm free of Amy’s.
“Look at you!” Amy roared, laughing hysterically, “You’re trying not to smile-”
Renee was quite relieved that her room was just up ahead. She ignored her friend and bit her lip hard. Amy allowed her to unlink her arm from her own and watched as Renee quickened her pace down the hallway, making a b-line for her room.
“I’m getting changed!” she announced, not facing her.
“Renee…” Amy teased, laughter dancing in her voice.
So, hot on the belled heels of all this madcap hijinks and whimsical japery, it’s time to attend the memorial service for all the soldiers who just died painful, messy deaths light-years away from their families so that humanity could struggle on another day.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 84
“And, of course, they treat preparing for the memorial as though it were one of your human senior proms:”
“Do I look alright?”
Amy walked forward and picked off a piece of lint from her dress coat, and flicked it away. Then she leaned back and smiled.
“There,” she said, “You look fine, very mature.”
“Well, as you people say, looks are often deceiving…”
“Considering it is a mature ceremony we’re going to, that’s a good thing,” Renee noted, trying to make it clear to Amy that she didn’t want the previous conversation to be brought up again.
“Yes, of course,” Amy gave her a little grin, but didn’t say anything more about it. Instead, she gestured off down the hallway with a sweep of her arm and declared, “Let’s go then, shall we?”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 85
Surprisingly Renee and Amy weren’t late for the memorial. When they entered the Docking Bay,
“Which is still Capitalized for no adequately explained Reason…”
not everyone was there yet, only some of the marines and of course the officers and the Captain. Renee also spotted Dr. Halsey, her white lab coat standing out from all the dress uniforms.
Which is strange, because Marine dress uniforms are also white and cut not dissimilarly to a short lab coat.
I could see what she was wearing underneath standing out, but not the coat itself.
As they walked closer, they fell in; both Amy and Renee were able to get into the second line. They struck the position of attention, and were quiet.
The entire room was deathly quiet; no one so much as flinched.
Captain Thomsen stood at the front of everyone, wearing his uniform which was decorated with numerous medals. The higher ranking officers stood to the side, in their own line. Troy was among them, his expression one of chagrin.
“All right, for the last time, on an entire ship full of Marines a Junior Lieutenant is not actually all that important!”
As Renee gazed along the line, of course, there was one man who stood out from the rest. At first she didn’t recognize him, but realized it was John. He was standing at the very end of the line, his posture stick-straight and his dark eyes were absolutely serious. He almost looked like he was going to kill someone.
“And this is different from his usual expression… how, exactly?”
But it wasn’t his expression that caught her eye, it was his dress uniform. Even through the fabric, the muscles in his broad chest and arms stood out- almost to a point where he looked like he was going to bust out of it.
“All that means is that his uniform is improperly sized.”
His rank of Master Chief Petty Officer was clearly visible on his shoulders, and his chest was _loaded_ with medals. Every kind imaginable ones Renee hadn’t even seen before. She even spotted he had been awarded with the Purple Heart.
Which… as I understand it, is awarded relatively commonly, and would only get more common as medical technology reaches the point where soldiers can get entire major organs swapped out like hard drives and go right back to fighting.
She was utterly amazed, and gently gave Amy a nudge, and the two exchanged glances, and then Amy looked at John, and a similar expression crossed her face- one of surprise. She met Renee’s eyes again and raised her eyebrows, and then smiled. After that though, the two broke eye contact and stood at proper attention.
Well, that was pointless…
“So the stragglers make it, and Thomsen begins his observance speech.”
And, I dunno, maybe I’m used to memorial services for soldiers being painfully over-rehearsed political checklists, but it actually doesn’t sound that bad.
“Now, ” he said, lifting his head slightly, his voice carrying across the large room, “I do believe all of you know why we’re gathered here today. We not only lost another colony to the Covenant, but seven of our fellow comrades- who were friends, brothers, sons, husbands. They had families, they had their whole lives to live but unfortunately had it stolen away by the Covenant. But they did not die pitifully; they died doing their job- defending Humanity. No, we will not dwell on the things that they never got to see, got to do- we will praise their heroic war efforts and look back and remember them for who they were, what they did. We will honor them, respect them, miss them, and most certainly never forget them. Am I correct ?”
Everyone answered in almost-perfect unison. “Sir, yes, sir!”
I mean, it’s not great either- it’s very short, awkwardly phrased, and kind of pessimistic, but you know what? I’m actually perfectly fine with the idea of a starship captain who’s a perfectly capable tactician but not this great, charismatic leader.
“Who said Thomsen was a capable tactician?”
Ok, good point.
Renee looked around and saw some of the marines were crying, or trying their best not to cry. Even she, who knew no one who had been killed on Lacerta, felt a pang of guilt and sadness for them. Quickly though, she composed herself, and glanced over to John. His expression hadn’t changed, he hadn’t moved one single muscle in his face- it was almost unreadable.
“Again, how is this different from every other facial expression he’s shown so far?”
She knew though, that on the inside he would be feeling the necessary grief for those who had fallen.
This is an odd turn of phrase, and while there’s a lot that could be unpacked from it I really don’t think it actually means anything- LoaS, after all, is filled with odd turns of phrase that exist for no other reason than thesaurus abuse.
She glanced among one stern face to another of the officers until she came to Troy. He was looking somewhere but not seeing. His bottom lip was puckered and he almost looked like he was going to burst into tears. He must have known someone who was killed. She too, found it odd though, that Troy allowed himself to succumb to the feelings. Normally, he would act like he didn’t care.
“That’s called being professional, and holding it together even after the comrade who was showing you pictures of his mate and children suddenly developed a charred stump where his head used to be!”
Terrible Troy Counter: 96!
“Now,” Thomsen continued, and everyone’s attentions went back to him, “Since we have lost one of our Senior Lieutenants today. Lieutenant Boudreau, I find it is only suitable that I select someone to hereby take command of his rank. At first, it was a trying decision, but suddenly it came clear to me who most definitely deserves it. He has come a long way, trained hard, and worked his way up the ranks. Although at times, he has exhibited some frustrations, he has never faltered in battle or in being a great leader. He knew Lieutenant Boudreau personally and I think Boudreau would have wanted me to make the same decision.”
Terrible Troy Counter: Please, oh please don’t be the Master Chief…
One of the bridge officers stepped up to his side, and held out the rank pin placed delicately in a box. Thomsen took it carefully, and turned and marched towards the line of officers, and stopped in front of Troy Fisher.
Terrible Troy Counter: !!!!!!!!!!!!
Troy met his eyes with somewhat of a shocked look, but didn’t say anything, as Thomsen leaned forward and removed the previous pin of Junior Lieutenant from his uniform, and replaced it with the full Lieutenant .
“This was Boudreau’s,” Thomsen said lowly to him, “I have no doubts that you’ll make a great Lieutenant, Fisher.”
Troy struggled with his facial expressions, and tried to think of something to say, but was too shocked. He simply saluted Thomsen.
“Thank you, sir.” He said, his voice momentarily croaking.
“You don’t need to thank me,” Thomsen said quietly, returning the salute.
Amy glanced briefly to Renee as everyone began to politely clap for him. She didn’t dare say anything but their expressions said enough. Amy looked somewhat weary about Troy being appointed, but Renee for some reason, could feel no grudge, no jealousy. She was just happy for him.
I’m not sure why given that she’s basically made it her life’s work to make his time on the Hercules a living hell, but OK?
Up in the officer’s line, Troy’s expression grew solemn, and even as Thomsen turned away, he continued to salute, trying his best to ignore the applause. For a moment, he didn’t feel he deserved it; it didn’t seem possible that he could try and fill Boudreau’s shoes.
You’re a credit to humanity and to the UNSC. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you don’t deserve that rank.”
He realized though, that the Captain must know what he was capable of. He was trusting in him to make a good Lieutenant, and Troy was ultimately determined to make him proud, mentally deciding then and there that he would have to change, for the good.
No, no, you’re perfectly fine as is. Now get out there and whip the rest of these idiots into shape!
Start making good decisions, and he realized that there was one that could be done right now.
So, he takes two whole paragraphs to suggest something to Thomsen, because the story is trying to be all mysteeeeeeerious and build up tension around what it is. Then it’s time for his own little speech:
“I apologize,” Troy said, his voice nearly as clear as Thomsen’s had been, “This wasn’t planned, but I personally think that it’s absolutely necessary. Firstly, I want all of you to know, that as a Lieutenant, I will most certainly do everything I can to act like one. Some, more than others, know that my actions recently haven’t been the nicest, smartest, or the most mature.
“No, but he’s come pretty damn close.”
Terrible Troy Counter: 97
I want to apologize to everyone, and hopefully you can forgive me and look up to me as a role model. I know I will never come close to being half the Lieutenant Boudreau was, but I will be the best I can be and work to make sure all of you stay in line and ultimately stay safe.” He paused, and looked around, glancing momentarily to John, and then he face the marines again, “And, I feel what I am about to do is by all means deserved by those who are about to feel the consequences. There are two marines that I’ve known for a long time, and I admit they were the two that probably felt the worst of my immaturity. They are not only my comrades, but my friends as well. They’ve done an excellent job so far in this war, and should be adequately commemorated, and deserve far more than they’ve been given credit for. They’re brave, smart and never been ones to give up, they are perfect examples of what a marine should be…” Troy trailed off, and glanced through the crowd. He finally found the two he was looking for.
“Kirkland and Blaine?”
Renee and Amy were both surprised well as stricken when he met their eyes.
“And they deserve better ranks than they currently have, ” Troy continued, a small smile forming on his lips, “Now, these two probably know who they are, and they don’t need to come up- since this is an on the spot, split second decision, I don’t have any pins to present to you as of the moment, but it will be taken care of.” He paused, and then announced, “Renee Kilburn and Amy Smythe, I hereby promote the both of you to the rank of Corporal.”
Terrible Troy Counter: …
Ok, I realize that Troy might need a little time to grow into the rank he’s just been given, but still– I wasn’t expecting his first decision to be this monumentally terrible.
“I don’t know, maybe he hopes the increased responsibility will finally drive home to them that this is a war and not a bad salarian soap opera, driving home the gravity of the situation even when lectures fail to penetrate their dense little skulls.
Oh, who am I kidding, the only way this is going to end is in plasma fire.”
Renee and Amy’s mouths fell open, and everyone turned to look at them, and began to clap. John, from a distance, almost allowed himself to smile, but stopped himself.
You know, Chief, there’s nothing that requires you to brood all the time…
Fucking Halight Counter: 40?
Oh. Right. I guess there is.
He clapped graciously instead. They both deserved it, Troy was right. He had a feeling that from now on, there would be a change in Troy’s attitude, and it wouldn’t be for the worse.
Amy forgot about the needing to be silent and she let out a little whoop and yelled, “Love you, LT!” She laughed afterwards, but Troy didn’t say anything. He exchanged glances with Thomsen.
Terrible Troy Counter: Regretting my decision in three, two, one…
“You know, there’s still time to rescind that promotion…”
Renee glanced at her friend, feeling happiness well through her. She was a Corporal now, thanks to Troy. Perhaps this was a good sign; perhaps promoting them was his idea of a penance, to try and make up for his attitude. She found hard to believe, though. Was it possible that Troy- the one she had originally known, could make a comeback, and stay for good? And if it was, was it really a good thing?
Both she and Amy were congratulated by the marines around them with claps on the shoulders and quick handshakes.
I have to say that I’m morbidly impressed by how quickly this memorial service for their dead buddies has devolved into the Marines congratulating themselves over their promotions.
“Especially seeing as they likely got those promotions because the previous people to occupy their positions are the ones the service is about.”
As Troy went back and fell in with the officers, Thomsen took the wheel again, and cleared his throat. Everyone whipped back around to face him, the room becoming instantly silent.
The ceremony ended with his congratulations, and he gave another speech about not forgetting the marines who had been killed, but it wrapped up within another ten minutes, and everyone was dismissed.
“And apparently his exhortations to remember their fellows were so forgettable even the narrator won’t bother to repeat them.”
Now, the level of hyperexaggerated pomp and circumstance that surrounds military funerals (at least in the United States) always kind of wierded me out and as a result I never really bought into it, but still– surely some sort of recognition is in order for the fact that seven human beings just died less than 24 hours ago. This sounds more like Amy and Renee are reacting to their one Catholic aunt coming over and making their family attend a Sunday Mass.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 86
Renee and Amy wound their way through the crowd. Renee spotted John over everyone else and ran up to him, and Amy quickly found out Troy, and surprisingly gave him a big hug.
Terrible Troy Counter: Ugh.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 87
Renee glanced up to John, who smiled kindly.
“Congratulations, Corporal, ” He said softly to her, deciding it wouldn’t be best for the both of them to hug. Instead, he saluted her. She smiled and returned it, and then turned to face Troy, who was getting his neck squeezed by Amy. She was fanatic.
“You were such a big asshole but I knew you would come through!” she was saying, and Renee knew she was lying. She was the one who had doubts about Troy and reportedly hated his guts. Renee found it interesting how she could easily be swayed by just being promoted.
“I find it entirely predictable.”
Troy pulled from the hug, and straightened, a smug look on his face.
“Congratulations, Amy, ” he said, pausing to straighten his sleeve of his uniform that she had successfully wrinkled. He looked up and met Renee’s eyes, and cleared his throat. Renee didn’t hug him; instead, she gave him a salute. She wasn’t sure if she could hug Troy even if the situation called for it. He’d have to earn her friendship back; she wasn’t going to just go back to being good friends just because he had promoted her.
After the ceremony they run off to the cafeteria like idiots to celebrate, but I think this passage is the best one to end on because it pretty well encapsulates the Big Issue of this chapter- the fact that I’m really of two minds about this attempted “redemption” of Troy Fisher.
As happy as I am to not still be seeing the poor man getting bashed all the time, the very idea of a “redemption” implies that he has something to be redeemed for. Troy really hasn’t done anything wrong (and what he has done wrong can’t be made to stick), and so this feels more like the story “redeeming” him by having him admit that the Sues’ warped model of reality is the right one than it does the story actually admitting that he kind of has a point. There’s a very self-serving, public-relationsy weaseliness to it, like when a celebrity makes some racist remark and says they’re sorry that you were offended.
There’s also those odd little bits scattered throughout the chapter that seem to be implying Troy’s change of heart is not entirely genuine and engineered to get him back into the Mommy’s Little Marines’ good graces- I can’t remember off the top of my head whether that last part actually comes to any sort of fruition or not later on, but I’ll be keeping it in mind.
And, quite honestly, I am very glad to be done with this block. I thought it would be easier to get through because this was another arc where battles are actually fought, the grammar had improved, and there wasn’t as much constant Fisher-bashing, but really it turned out that Troy pointing them out was what gave me some sort of handhold to grasp this story’s deep and major flaws, not having silly typos robbed the section of a lot of its humor value, and the combat has just gotten completely overshadowed by Edward And Renee’s Angsting Hour. It’s really extraordinarily draining to review, and I really do feel like AshlyBudrick cannot have had much more fun writing it. I never thought I’d be saying this, but thank God I have the Creepypasta Wiki to keep me sane!
In fact, after all of this nonsense I’m feeling pretty pumped to take on whatever fucked-up nonsense it can throw at me! I’ve got a co-riffer who actually knows what the fuck she’s talking about and I’ve been reading up on esoteric models of higher-dimensional physics, so I’m pretty damn sure I can take on pretty much anything that gets in my-