1687: Love of a Spartan – Chapter Twenty-FivePosted: February 16, 2017
Hello hello, all you patrons, and welcome back to Love of a Spartan.
Last chapter was thankfully entirely free of moping, as it focused solely on the Spartans in their mission to deny the Covenant Capricornia’s strategic resources through pinpoint sabotage of their mining equipment blowing everything to smithereens with an anachronistic NOVA bomb. Nobody whose name we know died, but other than that the entire mission, on behalf of both the UNSC and Covenant, was pretty much one massive, poorly-planned, poorly-executed, scientifically-dubious clusterfuck.
“So, basically, exactly what you would expect from Master Chief Petty Officer Edward-117 and Fuck-Shit the Ossoona.
And… that was about it.
Terrible Troy Counter: 106
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 109
Fucking Halight Counter: 52
“Chapter 25/Twenty-Four is called ‘Deviant Interventions’. The good news is, it isn’t spoiling the main event for once. The bad news is, that’s because neither of us have any idea what it means.”
We’re only doing the one again today and it’s incredibly short, but the chapter that comes after is very long and really quite bizarre, so I wanted a whole riff dedicated to dissecting it.
[April 2nd, 2535 -Halcyon Class Hercules – Slipspace]
There was an unusual amount of chatter in the cafeteria. It was filled with the majority of the marines aboard, the ranks going from the highest to the lowest and everything in between. They were talking, laughing – and just at that moment they broke into song – a centuries old tune that had survived while most mainstream music through the ages had not
‘He’s a jolly good fellow‘?
“An obscene version of the Marine Corps anthem?”
– happy birthday.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 110
In the midst of it all, one person sat in glory and pride as his comrades sang for him – Troy Fisher. It was his birthday, and the day before Amy made sure that no one forgot it was coming. The freshly appointed Full Lieutenant was turning twenty-three. Though there was no cake, balloons, party hats or other things normally associated with a birthday celebration, the mood and the song was enough.
Motherfucking party hats.
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 111
Troy grinned, and awaited for the song to be over, which ended with the classic “And many more! ” He could only hope that would actually be true. In this war, you’d never know when your time could be up .
“Twenty-three, Troy, sweet Jesus, you’re getting old!” Amy exclaimed, putting her arm around him, laughing, “Time to find you an old-folks home back on Earth, huh? You can retire as a veteran.”
I’m twenty-three, so I guess by Amy logic I should skip out on finishing my first year of grad school and just go ahead and ask the university to make me a full tenured professor!
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 112
She and Renee sat on either side of him, along with Josh, Kirk and Blaine clustered around closely as possible. Renee laughed as she watched Troy’s face sour at Amy’s joke, and he turned and gave her a little glare, his brows knotting together- an expression that actually made him look old, like some old geezer who frowned at kids playing on his lawn, Renee noted this with silent amusement. If he kept that up the dents and wrinkles on his forehead would become permanent features before he turned thirty.
Terrible Troy Counter: 107
“Ha ha,” Troy remarked to Amy, “Very funny.”
“Everyone else seems to think so!” Amy raised an eyebrow, gesturing around as the crowd was recovering from a bout of laughter, the last few laughs, snickers and guffaws dying away as they were muted into cupped hands or uniform sleeves.
“Then everyone else is an idiot.”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 113
So we waste two and a half paragraphs on Amy not remembering the exact date of Troy’s birthday (didn’t we just have multiple sections on how Slipspace somehow makes exact time measurements impossible anyway?), and we learn that- fortunately- she’s stopped being super-mopey literally all the goddamn time and is patching things up with Troy.
Troy’s attitude had changed considerably, and he actually apologized for the things he said to her about John. If that hadn’t been so, Renee would’ve let Amy make the mistake with the birth date. Even despite his apology, Renee knew that Troy had only apologized for the sake of their friendship, and his jealousy and detest towards the Spartan hadn’t lifted.
Good for him.
Terrible Troy Counter: 108
“Why thank you, RenRen, ” Troy smiled, extending his arms out expectantly for a hug.
Renee hesitated for a moment, but she realized she was under the watch of lots of people, so hugging him would be the most appropriate thing to do.
Wait, it would?
“The hug, by the way, literally takes three paragraphs.”
In the last week she’d cut her hair, since it had grown quite a bit since the last time she’d cut it- almost to the point where it was an unacceptable length of a civilian.
Her hair was as long as the average civilian is tall?
That is unacceptable.
She’d cut her bangs to eyebrow level, and her hair went just past her ears, and since Amy had been present, the ends were choppy instead of straight. Amy always was tweaking the proper ways of doing things it seemed- and even tried to persuade her to bleach her hair, but Renee quickly denied, picturing John’s horrified expression when he would return.
Because that’s totally a thing you can get done on a warship in the middle of deep space.
“Also, the only objection is that she’s afraid of her mate of what her mate might think.”
Fucking Halight Counter: 53
Troy seemed to like her hair, for he was the first to comment besides Amy. Renee couldn’t help but wonder what John would say if he was there. He’d probably like it too.
“She complains that nobody is telling her what Edward’s mission is- since apparently she’s completely unfamiliar with the concept of classified information- and Kirland goes to get a candy bar only to discover that they’re out. Since apparently the idea that whoever maintains the cafeteria just needs to restock more from the ship’s stores never occurs to any of them, they conclude that they’ll need to head back to Reach to resupply, and decide to continue the celebration at a bar once they get there.
This process takes the better part of a page, two-thirds of which are dedicated to the candy bar alone.”
Thomsen paced the bridge, his arms folded behind his back. His hat was lying on a nearby control panel, and Keira was watching him as he went.
“We’ve received several reports from the marines and crew that we’re running low on provisions, ” Keira announced in her smooth voice, “We’re going to need to restock on supplies soon.”
So I guess there aren’t people onboard whose job it is to actually keep track of your supplies and schedule resupply runs before you run out…
“Yes,” Thomsen nodded, “What’s our closest option?”
“Closest would be Reach,” Keira pursed her lips, “We’re only 1.2 light years away if we continue in our Slipspace travel. Of course, I’d have to slightly edit the coordinates, but we could be there before the end of the day, Blake. The next closest option would be…
“Charter our course to Reach then, Keira,” Thomsen didn’t wait for the AI to spout the other options. They had been to Reach not several weeks ago to drop off Master Chief and Dr. Halsey,
“… and I guess nobody thought it’d be a good idea to check if they were going to need to resupply soon then…”
but it wouldn’t hurt for them to return, “Send them a message ahead of time to let them know we’re coming. I’m getting a full out resupply- food, water, ammunition, the whole package. I want to dock and be gone by the next day.”
“Yes, sir, ” Keira answered, and replied a few seconds later, she replied, “Coordinates set and message sent.”
Once again, I’m not sure what if anything they might be using to send that message, since Slipspace communication technology was super limited in the 2530s, but whatever.
“Thank you, ” Thomsen replied, and he then turned to the control panel and pressed the loud speaker button to inform everyone aboard of the course change.
“This is your Captain speaking.
Is… is that even a thing Navy crews do? The first thing it brings to my mind is airliners.
We’re currently en route to Reach to resupply, we’ll be there before the day is out, and remain on Reach until the next day. That’s all.”
Renee made instant eye contact with Amy, a smile uncontrollably breaking out on her lips. Speak of the devil, they were really heading to Reach, and they’d be there soon! She felt the excitement welling up in her stomach, and her heart began to pound. All of a sudden Troy’s birthday celebration didn’t matter anymore; she was instantly focused on the possibility of seeing John again.
Just the thought of being back in his arms once more made her ecstatic.
She watched Amy’s features as they surprisingly didn’t change, and instantly felt confused. Renee glanced to Troy, who was busy engaged in a conversation with Josh, and then back to Amy. She leaned closer to her friend over Troy’s back.
“I’m so happy!” Renee exclaimed in a low whisper, “I’ll get to see John!”
“Are you sure?” Amy asked flatly, “He just got dropped off on Reach, and that was weeks ago. Who knows if he’s even there? He’s probably off on some planet no one’s ever heard of on some Spartan excursion.”
Renee for a moment was struck silent by her friend’s words. She blinked, surprised how bluntly Amy had shot down her hopes. What on earth was up with her?
It’s called ‘being realistic’. Maybe you should try it sometime.
“Jeez, thanks for your encouragement, ” she muttered, although pretending to not be hurt by her words, “Won’t you even pretend with me?”
Mommy’s Little Marines (And Spartans) Counter: 114
Blah blah blah, Amy keeps up the pessimism and Renee mopes, then Troy tries to get her to come along with them (which would probably do her mental state some good) and Renee agrees… and then mopes. Then it’s back to Edward.
John was lying stretched out on his cot in the Spartan’s mess.
“Oh, had he eaten dinner in the bunkroom, too?”
It had been days since he’d returned from the mission, where he, Kelly, James, Will and Linda each gave their own speeches of the battle and what had gone down. The NOVA bomb, being an early prototype, John wasn’t surprised to find that the Top Brass weren’t completely satisfied with the results, yet it had destroyed an entire planet. He wondered why they didn’t consider its immediate possibilities – if they ever located a Covenant planet, they could destroy it instantaneously.
“Well, that requires them to locate a Covenant planet… and come up with an insertion strategy… and it would have to be used on a very major target, you can’t just go tossing around expensive superweapons like that at every little supply depot and farming colony between the front and High Charity.”
Instead, the NOVA bomb’s prototype was once again going to be examined and tweaked slightly and checked for faults. A team had already been sent to the remnants of Capricornia to check for any possible harmful gasses or radiation that could cause harm to passing ships or nearby planetary systems.
“Which is odd, considering that this was still Covenant territory…”
Once this had been decided upon, John and his fellow Spartans who’d accompanied him on the mission were made to take the oath of silence-
“The what now?”
to not mention the NOVA bomb, to pretend they had never been sent on the mission and that the whole ordeal never happened.
How convenient for canon.
“They sit around and act bored for a while, and then Edward falls asleep.”
The Hercules arrived on Reach late in the afternoon. It was a rocky, fiery decent through the atmosphere, and then a calm and careful ride through to the large docking bay by the military facility. The huge ship carefully docked in the large hangar bay, and once everything was secure, the marines onboard were allowed to leave.
Why does dry-docking a massive warship take approximately one-eighth the narrative time of going to get a candy bar?
When Amy, Renee, Troy and the others crossed the black tarmac, weaving their way through Pelicans and Longswords towards their way to the main military facilities,
“Wait, what are they doing on the small-craft tarmac? Did a Pelican fly them from the docking installation? You can’t just sit an entire frigate on a landing strip, after all…”
She goes into the ‘main building’ and immediately bumps into Dr. Halsey (remember, in this story the UNSC has all of ten people in it), and since random Corporals can just wander into any restricted area they please in this place she gets pointed right to the Spartans’ barracks… mess hall… thing.
She turned and looked to the door, and glanced to the complex panel by the side, not sure of the combination. Just as she was raising her fist to knock, the doors slid open, and the doorway was almost filled with Kelly’s tall frame.
Renee who was a little startled, looked up to Kelly’s ghostly pale face, and watched as it instantly changed expressions. Her blue eyes- which were so bright against the backdrop of her pale skin – narrowed and the corners of her thin mouth turned down into a faint, yet noticeable frown. For a second, Renee didn’t say anything, feeling intimidated with a glare that Kelly suddenly shot her down with.
“What are you doing here. Corporal?” Kelly demanded icily.
Good for Kelly.
“My ship is here to restock on supplies, ” Renee answered, disturbed by Kelly’s tone. What on earth was her problem? The way she’d opened the door and looked at her was like a wealthy person would look down upon a homeless person on the street.
“Oh, back to being an abnormally boring Dickens novel again, I see…”
There was silence, Kelly didn’t reply, but instead just looked at her with that icy expression. Renee took a deep breath.
“Is John- ” she began.
“Can I- ” she began again.
“Oh,” Renee frowned, somewhat irritated by Kelly’s unfriendliness and curtness of her words. She spoke in monotone and her expression didn’t falter. Renee took a deep breath and started again, “I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if I-“
Oh for fuck’s sake, stop pestering the poor woman already!
“I said, he’s sleeping,” Kelly snapped coldly, her features hardening even more.
Renee stood her ground, although she was no match to Kelly, who she mustn’t forget was as strong as John. She could easily throw her through a wall, but Renee was determined. She came here to see John,and she wasn’t about to let Kelly turn her away. John wouldn’t care if he was woken up if he got to see her.
“Can I please see him?” Renee asked, remaining firm.
“No. Now go away.”
Kelly didn’t answer, instead she stepped out into the hallway, and the door closed behind her. Renee instantly took a step backwards, looking up unsurely at her.
“No, you can’t,” Kelly answered after a long beat, “And before you go whining any further, let me tell you why. John’s decided that it would be the best if you no longer associate with one another. It’s completely unprofessional, and you have proven to be nothing but a hindrance to him. The day after he left the Hercules, we went into the training fields for a practice mission, and John carelessly ran onto a minefield. One blew up, and he was severely injured- because his mind wasn’t on what mattered. After that, he made his decision that he can no longer continue associating with you or any of your friends- permanently.”
Renee’s mouth hung open, and she stared in bewilderment at Kelly. She was lost for words, and for a moment she thought Kelly was joking, but her words had been coldly sincere. The initial shock slowly began to seep in as Renee mentally replayed Kelly’s words in her mind. She blinked several times, and shook her head, not willing to believe her .
“That’s absurd,” she stammered, at first her voice had been a hard thing to find, “He- he- wouldn’t do such a thing.”
“John’s not going to see you anymore,” Kelly repeated, “And he’s not going back on the Hercules. So you can stop wasting your time, and get over it. You and John are from two different categories, and he’s not allowed to love. He’s glad that he made this decision before things got too complicated, and no offense, but I don’t understand what he could have seen in a weak, clumsy little marine like you, anyway.”
I didn’t know Kelly was a fan of those “how it should have ended” animations.
“This, of course, results in more moping– Renee even speculates that the Chief is now ‘with’ Kelly, since apparently now all of the Spartans have to be shipped with something and everything Kelly said about distractions and unprofessionalism doesn’t apply equally well to that pairing too.”
Kelly watched as Renee hurried off down the hallway, clearly upset. It was so obvious on her face, and how she had just taken her words and hadn’t even anything to say. For a moment, Kelly felt sympathetic for her, but her expression hardened. What she had just told the young Corporal had been all a lie, but a necessary lie, for the sake of John’s safety.
To say nothing of the readers’ sanity…
Even since the incident in the mine field, Kelly knew that John still allowed himself to think of Renee. Not during battles, perhaps, but whenever they were in their mess, eating dinner in the cafeteria or any other time of general leisure, it didn’t take a scientist to figure out he was obviously thinking about her. She was concerned. John had been seriously injured, and could’ve been killed.
Even though it was years ago, Kelly hadn’t forgotten Sam’s untimely death. It had hurt her, and it still did. When Sam was killed, she realized how easily she could lose one of her fellow soldiers, and ever since then, Kelly silently feared for her fellow Spartan’s lives.
When John had carelessly run into that mine field, and she had watched one explode, watch John’s body be tossed into the air and drop into the dirt with a sickening thud, she had felt sick. She had feared for his life, and even when she learned he’d be fine, still feared. She didn’t want John to be hurt again- and be hurt again he could, if that Renee was in the picture. This was the best way to protect him, even though she felt somewhat guilty for having just pulled such a thing- but it was like any other mission she’d been on, to her it had made sense, it had to be done.
Is this… character?”
First Troy, now Kelly- why is it that the ‘antagonists’ in this story are the only ones who have any actual sensible motivation for doing what they do?!
“Well, except for the Covenant, of course.”
I don’t even think the Covenant qualify as antagonists at this point. They’re just a group of constantly-frustrated mustache twirlers.
Kelly was just turning around to walk back into the room, when the door slid open, and John was standing there, dressed simply in a t-shirt, a pair of sweatpants and his dog tags. She froze and met his
eyes, which were cold and black, and realized that he must have heard what she’d said to Renee. Yes, judging by his expression, he’d heard every word.
“He chases after Renee and eventually catches up to her as she leaves the base and waits for the taxi to wherever the closest bar is. He then spends the better part of a page convincing Amy to tell her that what Kelly said was a lie… even though Kilburn is still right there and he can either walk over to her or simply yell and she’d be guaranteed to hear it. And then, mercifully, the chapter ends.”
And with that, we’re officially more than halfway through Love of a Spartan– and that fact terrifies me. Not just because it’s taken us so long to get to this point… but also because basically everything I remember from skimming through the ‘fic the first time has already happened. That does not say flattering things about the story’s pacing.
Considering that fact, and especially considering the debacle that is the ending of this whole ‘breakup’ arc, I think it’s best if I take a break from LOAS for a while- that’s why, after this, I won’t be doing just one creepypasta, but five of them! That’s right, five! Starting with our old friend Demonic The Hedgehog.
Come back next time for the heart-pounding, spine-tingling, brain-rotting conclusion to Sonic.exe/Round 2.
[Future AdmiralSakai: Actually, since the Pastathon was aired out of order, come back next time to more Love of a Spartan and/or Fear and Loathing in the Inner Colonies.]