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Longsword Argh!
Posted By: Sterfrye36<Sterfrye36@yahoo.com>
Date: 14 June 2007, 6:27 am

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      "Break port Swordsmen Leader!" came a yell across Major Marcus Easley's COM.
      "Why, because you want me to die? You'd like that, wouldn't you? If I just keeled over and died you'd be happy," Marcus pouted.
      "No, you moron, it's because you've got a blast of plasma headed right at you! That and my sole desire is to make you a convert and I can't do that if you're dead. Seriously, I have a terribly one-track mind. I must convert you. It's become my sole mission in life. Did I mention I'm an evangelical Christian?"
      "Fine," the emo leader of the squadron muttered before snap-turning out of the way, launching a pair of Viper missiles, and firing a salvo from his Falcon Mk I plasma cannons. He hauled back on the stick and pulled up from the explosions on the hull of the Covenant Cruiser Synonym Function on Word with precious few inches to spare if only because inertia and momentum don't count for jack in the series, and then promptly began to weave at supersonic speeds through dozens of large pulse laser turrets with surprising ease.
      "Snakes…" Easley whispered through his teary eyes. "Why'd every frickin' missile in this series have to be named after a snake?"
      "Beats me, boss," James McCall said as he followed Marcus flawlessly through his maneuvers. "Makes about as much sense as a Longsword having nose art in the 26th century. Or, for that matter, the fact that we've both given ours names that involve alliteration."
      "Or the fact that Samantha and Chase's call signs are from World War II USN fighters?"
      "Yeah. Sterfrye apparently thought he was being clever. What he didn't realize is that no one thinks it's clever if they don't catch it."
      The only response James received was a muffled sob over the COM. The two pilots continued to talk and converse in normal tones even though the strenuous flying they were doing would have caused lesser men to pass out long ago.
      "Furthermore," James continued, "why are Seven and Eight assholes?"
      "Mary-Sues," Marcus managed to choke out.
      "Oh, yeah…all of the squadron, right?" James got a funeral dirge in reply. "I'll take that as a yes. So, which one was Sterfrye inserting himself as? Because he kinda sank to a new low by Mary-Sueing his grandfathers into the thing…And moreover, why did Eight get killed and not Seven?" James asked incredulously.
      "Because Seven's the QB on his team now."
      "Oh," James muttered as the two pilots continued their nine-G flying without so much as a hint of blacking out. "Chuckles ought to be writing this series. If he was, half of the squad would be dead before the end of the first chapter. Anyway, think we should get out of here before the Top Gun Reference nails this thing with a triple MAC?"
      "Sure," Marcus replied, apparently managing to stop his self-introspection momentarily, though Chopin's "Funeral March" continued to play over the COM.
      The two pilots yanked their birds into a steep climb as the cruiser exploded behind them with some vague description that was meant to inspire hellish imagery…

      Oh, yeah Marcus thought as he watched Zoë Park. Beautiful hair, beautiful curves…and those legs! He wiped the drool from his mouth as he watched one of the two female pilots in the squadron walk down the ramp of her Longsword. She was as dainty as a sparrow; her figure was something to applaud. Where she was narrow, she was as narrow as an arrow; and she was broad where a broad should be broad, Sterfrye wrote, totally oblivious to the fact that there was no way in hell anyone on HBOFF would recognize a reference to the Broadway musical South Pacific. Without a second thought, Sterfrye launched into the next mammoth paragraph, hell-bent on dragging every single detail of the girl into the story, mainly because he realized that he had no idea where the main plot of the story was going and had to fill space somehow.
      Her flight suit, in spite of its bulkiness and general reduction of form magically seemed to make her all the better looking as it somehow managed to outline her muscular but still surprisingly thin thighs. Her figure was perfect, too; rather than having the appearance of an extremely anorexic Keira Knightley or an overweight, blobby Rosie O'Donnell, Zoë was neither too fat nor too thin. The drab olive contrasted nicely with her long, blonde hair—even though that flew in the face of military discipline—which hung precisely three inches past her shoulder blades. Whenever she walked, it tended to sashay from side to side like so much golden wheat in a Kansas prairie wind. Was it natural? No, but Oak Express is. Who could tell? Besides, who cared? Despite her stereotypical California Valley Girl personality and the fact that her only other distinguishing characteristic was that she made inappropriate remarks on the tactical channel, she was still hot. Hothothothothothothot—
      An elbow in the stomach brought Marcus crashing back into his pitiful existence. Chase leaned over and whispered in his squadron commander's ear, "Even though Sterfrye mentioned you as being attracted to the two of them, he totally invalidated that plot line by making you...uh…confused. Those girls are mine."
      Marcus let loose an explosive sigh.
      "So," Marcus moaned, "how's he going to reconcile that one?"
      Chase shook his crazy hair disgustedly. "Who cares? No one remembered it until I brought it up."

      "So even though I've got a strong belief in military protocol and I never appear past the chapter where James gets killed…I've got a ponytail? Who the hell am I, Ripley?"
      "Yeah," Hunter Creighton said absentmindedly as he stared off into space. "That's right. And I'm the big, strong guy of implied German and Irish descent, naturally."
      "So why on earth would someone who's pedantic have a ponytail? Aren't there regs for that?" Matthews asked, arching her eyebrows.
      "Then why did he…?" Hunter shrugged as he arched his eyebrows.
      "He was too busy creating ridiculous acronyms like LEMRS to realize it was a stupid descriptor. And, thankfully, it wasn't until after he'd started the series that he realized he could've given me an 'Ahnuld' voice." Samantha Matthews nodded, indicating she got the picture. As she did so, a balding, middle-aged black man walked up to the both of them, showing his pearly-white teeth off in a flashy smile. Samantha and Hunter both stared.
      "Who are you supposed to be?" they said in unison.
      "Captain George Rwanda," the man said pleasantly. The two Swordsmen traded glances.
      "Never seen you around here before," Hunter said cautiously, arching his eyebrows. "You new?" Rwanda's demeanor shifted suddenly and he became moody as he arched his eyebrows.
      "No, I was around in the first chapter, but Sterfrye never ended up using me. I got a grand total of one mention."
      "Sucks to be you."
      "Yeah. He's afraid to use me now because it'd make Longsword look like an episode of The Mod Squad."
      "What's the Mod Squad?" Samantha asked. Rwanda glared at her.
      "Why don't you go fight something in your power loader?"
      "At least I'm not named after a country!"

      "I'm telling you, he's racist!"
      "He is not!"
      "Is too!" Adam Martinez said angrily in his low bass voice, shaking his ever present bottle of liquor and arching his eyebrows.
      "Is not!" retorted Anton Penny in his mellow baritone, also arching his eyebrows.
      "Look," Martinez growled, "I'm Mexican. I was a smuggler before joining the UNSC. I'm always smashed and have a bottle of tequila. How is that not racist?"
      "Hey, I'm Greek but you don't see me throwing plates into walls!"
      "What's that prove?"
      "Shut it, the both of you!" Jonathon Roy Goodnight muttered in his tenor voice from his RIO station, though nobody other than the writer knew what the hell a RIO station was. "I'm trying to concentrate! I'm the pensive one here; can't you see that I eat carrots and stare at radar readouts?"
      "Oh, you all think you have it so tough!" Macabee screamed from his seat at the defensive systems operator station or DSO for short. "I'm a short dude with a high pitched voice! I'm loud! I'm obnoxious! I'm annoying! I provide more testosterone than this aircraft could possibly hold! Could it get any! More stereotypical than that?!"
      "Yes," Martinez grumbled. "You could be a short guy with a low voice. Hell, we could form our own barbershop quartet." Macabee visibly brightened.
      "I get to sing lead!"
      "No," Martinez glared.
      "Aw, man…" Macabee mumbled. A few moments of silence, and then…
      "Lida Rose, I'm home again, Rose," Goodnight sang from the RIO station. Macabee perked up and began singing immediately.
      "Toooo get the…" he continued.
      "Suuuuunnn baaaack in the skyyyyyy!" Penny joined in. Martinez huffed in frustration and guzzled from his stereotypical bottle of tequila.
      "Singing harmony shucks," he slurred as he slipped into a drunken haze, totally missing the reference to Meredith Wilson's The Music Man.

      Reeves stood on the bridge doing nothing but thinking of somewhat vague military maneuvers that the author only knew of because he'd sat through all three hours of Gettysburg on TNT.
      "Eagle," Reeves ordered. The AI appeared instantly in the holotank, shimmering into existence in his obligatory 20th century naval fighter pilot regalia.
      "We're facing an extremely large group of CCS ships. Do you think flanking them would work?" Eagle blinked.
      "Sir?" Reeves gave the AI a stern glance.
      "I said, 'do you thank a flanking maneuver would work'. I'd like an answer."
      "Sir, how the hell can we flank an enemy in open space? This is the 24th century, old cavalry and infantry tactics don't work here." Reeves rolled his eyes in annoyance.
      "Well it's obvious: first, we move all of our ships around to the side. But before our turn's over, we use your Super CO Power to move again and we hit 'em from the rear." Eagle arched his eyebrows in disbelief just like every other character in the series does.
      "This is Halo, not Advance Wars, sir."
      "Tell that to Sami." Eagle became indignant.
      "You're a Robotech allusion. What the hell's next, Starfox? Ace Combat? You've got no right to be critical."
      Reeves rolled his eye just like every single other friggin' character does and said, "Just be glad he didn't include Minmei and her stupid Do You Remember Love? song." Eagle grimaced obligingly.
      "Agreed. That damn thing always makes my ears bleed."
      "Anyway, will it work or not?"
      "Look, with our engines running at full speed to make a maneuver like that, what makes you think we'd be able to hit anything?"
      "It's simple. We have to be in range to fire our triple MACs, of which we have a ludicrous number, ninety Longswords because Sterfrye thought there were thirty to a squad, stupidly large autocannons for point-defense, a reinforced hull, plus an outrageous number of Spitfire missiles—" Eagle cut him off.
      "Archer didn't sound cool enough and he liked the reference to an RAF fighter. Anyway, we've got those and that nuclear football launching thingy. We're invincible, too." Even though they already were and had been for some time, Eagle arched his eyebrows even further up on his virtual forehead.
      "How do you figure?"
      "Because the Covie commander has no balls and we have character shields. All of the really important characters reside on this ship. Sterfrye can't kill us or he'd have no series. Hell, he only managed to kill James and Eight off and James wasn't really dead."
      "Still," Eagle persisted. "How can we hit anything when we're flying like that? Targeting is a pain at those speeds."
      "Come on, it can't be too hard. Constant thrust equals constant speed in space, right?"

      It was epic.
      Sterfrye stared lovingly at the submission screen as he finished proofreading Longsword R: Requiem. For months he had polished and shined, carefully crafted every word and phrase. And, with Chuckles' help, it was destined to be the best fic of the New Year. Sweeping, gripping, compelling; action, horror, Marcus getting depressed again; the chapter had it all.
      Sterfrye could feel it in his bones: this was it. This was the one that would cement his rep as a great author on par with Wado and the HBOFF's Master of Menace, Chuckles.
      This one…was for all the marbles.
      He clicked the submit button and waited patiently.

      Slowly, Nick Kang finished reading the latest chapter of Longsword R and mulled over what he had read. He gazed at the last sentence contemplatively and then reflected upon the rest of the twenty-one page beast Sterfrye had unleashed on the community. He rested his head on his hands as he tried to foresee the impact it would have on future writers. The masterful orchestration, the unbelievable dream sequence, the shocking plot twist with James…it was magnificent in scope and skill.
      There was only one thing that stood out to Nick as he sat in his chair so he—what else?—arched his eyebrows.
      "That whole thing made no damn sense whatsoever," he muttered as he clicked the back button on his browser…