Episode 7: Halo – The Fall of Reach Part 2

We continue through the pages of Eric Nylund’s Halo: The Fall of Reach, which despite producing some moments of pure joy and comedy from Kevin and Phil, is a damn good book. Seriously!

Automated Transcript

Kevin Erhard 0:00
I’m picturing now that the Spartans as The Goonies and and Robert watts is one eyed Willie. Oh,

Phil 0:09
well, I mean, obviously, we gotta we gotta we gotta find out who chunk is

Kevin Erhard 0:14
and chunk and who are their fatalities and yeah, I’m I will figure out this metaphor by the end of the episode. Okay good good for forget about it

Phil 0:25
but you know what I think we can both agree it’s definitely going to be one of the

Kevin Erhard 0:27
other it’s going to be one of the other Hey there everybody welcome back the pixel it My name is Kevin and with me as always fill the keys to dork How are you? Oh,

Phil 0:41
I’m good, I’m good. I am here. I am haloed up. And and actually, I’m ready to eat a little Pro. We’ll get to that in a minute. Because we haven’t even released this episode. We haven’t even released the episode before this one. And I already know that we’re gonna we’re gonna have to we’re gonna have to hang our heads in shame, shame. Shame.

Kevin Erhard 1:09
Where are you? We are gonna get the tall lady from from Game of Thrones to ring that bell and just shout shame at us while we walk naked down the streets of King’s Landing.

Phil 1:21
You said you said tall lady. And I immediately went to Lady Dimitris in my head and I was like, Oh, I could be in that that headcanon could be okay. shame shame. Lady. timid. I could roll with that. Because Because after all, there are no other tall ladies left there all it is. It is only her It is only her there is one. Just Just the one there. There can only be one nine foot tall woman.

Kevin Erhard 1:49
She is the new Highlander.

Phil 1:51
It’s true. It’s true. And I can I mean, she wins. I’m just gonna give it up to her. She’s

Kevin Erhard 1:57
so we’re gonna start with we’re gonna go through chapter eight and beyond tonight. With with Halo the fall of reach. And do you want to eat the crow now? Or do you want to wait a little bit?

Phil 2:13
let’s just let’s just start off right off the bat. Let’s Let’s humiliate ourselves immediately. I want I okay, we made a we made a whole thing. Last episode we we brought up a Mr. Keys. Keys. Yeah. And I made I would like to point out by the way, I made a whole point of saying that I was trying my best to look up wiki articles like the halo wiki, like anytime a name came up just to see if they were significant. That is true. But it is awfully embarrassing to say that. And then to admit that you have to believe that keys will never show up ever again after his disappearance, in the opening chapters of this book, because I did just finish I played Halo A long time ago, like when I was in college, and it was still a relatively new game. And I that was the last time I played it. I played it again recently just to get myself back into the zone and who shows up with this pipe

Kevin Erhard 3:24
nine piece of pipe that a big deal was made out of one he’s introduced

Phil 3:29
such an odd detail

Kevin Erhard 3:33
detail for a throwaway character, right.

Phil 3:36
And now and now all I can think is any time the author brings up some random detail that might just be to flesh out the world to make the character more interesting just to add details that that, you know, make make the whole thing a little more real. I’m going to have to assume from here on out that it’s fan service. Because I’ve been burned. I burned myself I have no one to blame but myself. But now I’m just a little embarrassed over having publicly stated that one of the main NPCs in the first game of this entire franchise probably is no one when you’re introduced to them in the book. I fucked up but I think we can all agree that nothing is going to come of this john 117 character. Like I still stand by that opinion.

Kevin Erhard 4:36
Yeah, I agree.

Phil 4:37
I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I don’t just boring you know, it’s just like, oh, you’re good at you’re super strong, like,

Kevin Erhard 4:46
so noble. And yeah, he’s a leader.

Phil 4:50
Yeah, I feel like we I feel like we’re gonna lose him in the next few chapters. And it’s all about Kelly. That’s my assumption.

Kevin Erhard 4:59
Kelly is the best.

Phil 5:01
Kelly’s the best. She’s fast everyone likes that. Everybody has to assume everyone likes the fastness You know? And so that’s that’s that’s what I’m putting my money behind my ancient coin with a head on one side and the evil on the other. That goes directly towards john 117 being a useless NPC a minor blip minor blip on the

Kevin Erhard 5:29
road to the Kelly the Kelly Kelly Kelly’s supremacy the Kelly supremacy

Phil 5:37
is what it is Kelly supremacy. Yeah, I think we all know that’s where this is going. So apologies for anyone whose nerd brains exploded out their ears over this clearly. The greatest oversight that I have ever been I can’t I can’t speak for Kevin, but this is obviously the worst thing I’ve ever done.

Kevin Erhard 5:59
Yeah, and I I don’t care.

Phil 6:04
Yeah. That’s because you’re a rebel. And you’re you know, you’re cool. You’re a rebel.

Kevin Erhard 6:11
I’m wearing my Mr. Invincible t shirt today. Sorry maybe that should that’ll protect me from the internet. Who knows?

Phil 6:18
Yeah, I hope so. It Mr. Invincible can’t protect you from the internet then. You’re just fucked. I don’t think there’s anything you can do after that. So chapter eight, chapter eight is good and thoroughly politically macro.

Kevin Erhard 6:37
That was that’s just bones left.

Phil 6:41
Notes. Not Not a single drop of moisture left. All the cartilage and tendons and

Kevin Erhard 6:48
even a little crow. That was Kangoo big.

Phil 6:51
Yeah, he were he was begging me to stop in his own weird, you know, imitative language. Is that a word? imitative? Yeah, sure. mimicking language. It’s weird when you’re consuming a creature that is using your own voice to beg you to stop. Renaissance Fair was a weird time.

Kevin Erhard 7:14
Oh, 930 hours, September 11 2525. Military calendar, epsilon eridani. System reach un sc. We’re in chapter eight. And we got we got a doctor halsy chapter.

Phil 7:30
These are always these are always some of the most intriguing chapters by the way.

Kevin Erhard 7:34
They really get into the dirt of of what what are we looking at here?

Phil 7:39
She’s got a heart. She’s got emotions and everything like that. But she still is looking at them like insects at the same time. He has a very cold, stereotypical scientist kind of thing coming from her. So I always look forward to these chapters. They’re always fun.

Kevin Erhard 7:55
So halsy has arrived on reach to meet with Mendez and the Spartans to see you know, what’s going on? What do we what are we doing here and finds that they have taken their training underground? And she is, at first kind of kind of worried because Mendez makes mentioned about the

Phil 8:19
exoskeletons, and now we’re realizing that the exoskeletons aren’t for the Spartans, these exoskeletons, but they’re for the protection from the Spartans, right, that that they’d had this project from way before that had been basically, they call it quits on it. And it basically been a development of these exoskeletons to to do the whole Super Soldier thing. In a less genetic DNA. spitting in the face of God’s style. Yeah, and they finally found a good use for them, and it is to protect the trainers. And Kevin, does it do a good job of protecting the trainers from the Spartans?

Kevin Erhard 9:00
You know, not really,

Phil 9:03
no, no,

Kevin Erhard 9:04
it keeps the trainers it keeps the trainer’s alive. But, you know, there’s sometimes fates worse than debt worse than death.

Phil 9:13
And doesn’t even say that they killed some of their trainers

Kevin Erhard 9:16
may have already accidentally killed a few of the trainers.

Phil 9:20
Yeah, like and he tells her all this and by that he tells her he’s, he’s kind of, I just this is how I imagined in my head where he’s like, you know, the trainers they got to use the exoskeletons protect themselves from the Spartans. They’ve already killed several of their trainers you want to watch and she proceeds to watch Yeah, as the Spartans just kill the fuck out of there trick. Yeah, it’s ridiculous. Things like I got it. I got it on tape. Yeah, yeah. Now this was this was my favorite part. By the way, they they, she’s watching this whole thing go down. And the the Spartans appear like they use guerrilla tactics and they appear wearing like black clothes like kind of the kind of black ninja looking jumpsuits and they use the stealth, you know, to their advantage and everything like that. Yeah. It’s, it’s so here’s a quote from what she she’s she’s asking about how it all went down and she says any physiological or mental instabilities and he says none they work like no team I’ve ever seen before. damn near telepathic, if you ask me, they were dropped in these caves yesterday and I don’t know where they got black suits or the rope that or the rope for that maneuver. But I can guarantee you they haven’t left this room. They improvise and improve and adapt. Alright, now here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. Yes. improvising. improvising is one thing. You’re literally talking about them making outfits out of nothing. We don’t know where they got the black suits. We don’t know what happened. They build a fat burger in the corner to it’s fully staffed. They all get 15 bucks an hour full benefits. We don’t know how they did that either.

Kevin Erhard 11:17
We don’t know how they did that. We don’t know where the staff came from. Their miracle workers man.

Phil 11:21
I have not seen anyone go in or out. It’s a good burger too. It’s fucked. Do you see any cows around here? Spartans are amazing. They are cooked and basically brought you here because I don’t think that we should be investing our time in warfare and tactics anymore. We got to get into the fast food sector spiel again, there’s

Kevin Erhard 11:46
the Spartans are good at killing, but you know what, they’re better at entrepreneurship.

Phil 11:51
Yeah. We throw them in a cave, and they made black jumpsuits. Here’s the thing. That’s incredibly impressive.

Kevin Erhard 12:01
Here’s the most impressive thing that they’ve done down here.

Phil 12:04
And they do some amazing shit. They like just kill the fuck out of their trainers with their bare hands. And then you’re like, Wait, you mean to tell me? They they, they they? They made jumpsuits out of like cobwebs and spit like yeah, that’s honestly, I’d rather I’d rather get into that business that

Kevin Erhard 12:22
seems lucrative. It’s real Iron Man, one vibes.

Phil 12:30
That’s exactly what it is. You just built it in a cave. gave you the best, like, cut to the montage built looms out of rat bones. And, you know, it’s like it. Here’s the thing. That’s kind of a throwaway. They don’t bring it up again. They certainly don’t go any into any detail.

Kevin Erhard 12:55
If I was if I was halsy. I would have stopped him right there. Yeah, and said, That’s, wait a minute.

Phil 13:02
Yeah. it’s mind blowing. Like it’s this detail that he just kind of we don’t know how they did it. And there’s like, there’s no way I would be able to be like, wait, I would be able to avoid being like no hold on backup they make they just, they conjured clothes out of the ether. Is that what you’re saying to me? Shouldn’t we expand on that? He never bring it up again. Unless it’s a easter egg from the first Halo game that I totally missed. And you know it if they show you their magical soup making capabilities in the opening cutscene that apparently I didn’t pay enough attention to, in which case I’ll be eating crow in Episode Three, perhaps. Perhaps, perhaps, which I’m you know what, at this point? I’m not willing to say that that isn’t what’s going to happen. anything. Anything is possible. Anything is possible. I could I could learn how to make my own stealth jumpsuits out of the sky.

Kevin Erhard 13:59
Sun Tzu’s. Basically they do this really creepy ass Bourne Identity bullshit. They neutralize their trainers, palsy mentions to the chief that they have a they have a mission now for Scoob in the gang. Yeah. And she says no, there’s no more harvest that harvest is gone. And this is our first hint that things are starting to turn a little bit in the Halo universe based on the prologue chapter where the covenant glasses, the planet that that they’re trying to fight for. You know, she says there is no more harvest kind of harkens back to that. So she said we have a we have a mission for them. Chapter nine happens and they send them on a mission that has absolutely nothing to do harvest or the covenant.

Phil 14:53
Nothing, nothing. It’s baby’s first murder mission. They get all of the Get all the Spartans are what are they at this point they’ve got like 30 Spartans basically,

Kevin Erhard 15:04
Yeah, something like that I

Phil 15:05
yeah, I can’t

Kevin Erhard 15:06
I lose track of the numbers,

Phil 15:09
right right there. And that will and then and that doesn’t matter because basically in this scene they let you know, here are the Spartans that you need to give a shit about. Here’s the ones. Right, right. These ones have names and you know, they, you know, john is still squad leader there and so, he’s gonna lead them and so they say basically assemble your crew. And he calls out immediately to the people that he is going to work with. It’s it’s kind of insulting, I would like you’re not even gonna consider me. Okay, fine. You know, if I were one of the Spartans, that’s fine, whatever. Yeah, yeah. And he just goes, it’s Sam, Kelly, Linda and Fred, meet me in the weapons locker in 10 minutes. The other Spartan side and their gaze dropped to the deck. The rest of you fall out, you’ll have the more difficult part of this mission. You’ll have to wait here, which is a nice little FUCK YOU TO THE REST OF. I can’t believe that the plotline of this isn’t like other Spartans just trying to murder john 117 and asleep. They can fail, but I cannot believe that isn’t a subplot. Yeah, there’s

Kevin Erhard 16:27
there definitely could have been a C plot. In this book. Yeah. That in the Spartans had developed their own culture of murdering each other to climb up the ranks.

Phil 16:41
Absolutely. Absolutely. Because you can’t tell me you’re gonna I know they’re doing a great job brainwashing them everything. But you can’t tell me that someone given that level of power. There wouldn’t be a single one of them that didn’t have some level of Machiavellian sensibilities. Yeah. You know, just like some thirst for power. I do not believe that for a split second, because right now, you know, we’ve got john, as it’s Captain America, that’s what he is.

Kevin Erhard 17:06
Yes. Yeah. He’s very much Captain America.

Phil 17:09
Yeah, yeah, he’s clean cut. He believes in what he’s doing. He’s brainwashed to shit and don’t get me wrong. That’s gonna fall off a cliff at some point soon. But, you know, he’s he’s gonna have his Nomad phase. But, you know, that’s that’s not. That’s, that’s for the that’s, that’s for the agent geeks.

Kevin Erhard 17:29
Gonna be no mad and there’s gonna be a US agent to his Captain America. salutely.

Phil 17:35
Absolutely. But, but for now, that’s where he is. But, but they do indeed meet in the weapons lucker. And this is this is the best part of the chapter as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if there’s anything else to be said for this chapter except for the weapon porn scene. You know exactly what I’m talking about. I do.

Kevin Erhard 17:58
They’re just, they’re just the book goes for Tom Clancy.

Phil 18:07
If we’re a movie, there’ll be a close up on each weapon. And then bat nipples. You know, it’s that kind of scene. You know what I’m talking about that I think one of the best examples of this is when they talk about Linda because by the way, you know, we’ve got two women in this group of six. I think it’s six. Which you know what? Not bad. Not bad. 1/3 of the crew. I get that right. No, probably not. Doesn’t matter. Math. Yeah, math. Fuck it. Now that’s 1/3 I got it. But, but still, the women are doing kind of like the Women’s Work roll. Your standard 90s Commando Unit. Like there’s Kelly who we’ve met before and Kelly’s fast she’s the fast one. Yeah, she’s super fast because girls are fast and that’s cool. And then there’s Linda who’s the sniper so she’s sneaky and basically the implied Now don’t get me wrong look, being a sniper is badass being fast as badass that’s all cool shit. But kind of the unspoken implication there is that neither of them could take a direct hit. So they’ve got a they got a pass or they got to do things from the shadows Yeah, it’s

Kevin Erhard 19:18
the very old fashioned way of writing about female combat characters where they are indirect they they’re they’re very indirectly involved in combat.

Phil 19:32
Right like links got a sword and shield Zelda has got a bow we like that’s just that’s how this stuff right? Yeah, but but they do save the best piece of weapons porn for Linda. Linda gravitated toward a matte black long barreled rifle. The SRS nine nine c s 2am. What the fuck? The sniper rifle system had modular sections. scopes, stocks barrels, even the firing mechanism can be swapped. She quickly stripped the rifle down and reconfigured it. She assembled a flash and sound suppression barrel. And then to compensate for the lower muzzle velocity, she increased the ammunition caliber to 450. she ditched all the sights and scopes and settled for an integrated link to her helmets heads up display. She pocketed five extended ammunition clips, and most of the men in the audience ejaculate. Here’s a it’s and they do this for just to everyone. Everyone gets their little everyone gets their moment. Yeah. And it’s just it’s it’s technobabble. It’s the same. This is basically the sci fi military, the military sci fi version of what you get in a fantasy book or something? Sure, where, you know, they say the, you know, the end of the world with the teeth, like the mountains like teeth and the dragons that we own. You’re like, Oh, I’m never going to I’m never going to actually interact with these things. But it sure does put me in a mysterious place. And this that’s basically this is like, yeah, they’re just like we’re gonna work it up. You’re gonna get pumped boy,

Kevin Erhard 21:12
it’s seen there’s some some heavy metal music playing while they exactly strap these these weapons to their body.

Phil 21:22
Yeah, yeah. And it’s like you’re about to kill people. I just wish they I just kind of wish they throw in like a sex toy. In like, about three quarters of the way through to see if anyone notices like, you know, double ended silicone, hot pink, you know, and just throw that in.

Kevin Erhard 21:38
That would definitely be in like a Hot Fuzz version of the Halo universe.

Phil 21:45
Oh, yeah. Halo fuzz.

Kevin Erhard 21:49
So yeah, they do their they do their gear porn. And they’re on the mission. Now. The mission in case in case y’all missed it is to go and capture a rebel dude, and bring him back live. It’s, it’s really disappointing in terms of what the parameters are, given all the stuff that they’re all the stuff that is promised in the book, which is massive existential war against aliens. And right then we get to this sneaky Black Ops mission to capture a rebel leader.

Phil 22:29
And he lives inside of an asteroid, if I recall

Kevin Erhard 22:33
lives inside of an asteroid yet, Colonel Colonel Robert watts, I believe is and I’m just going to assume that he has something to do with the Halo universe from this point forward, as you said earlier, as well might as well got something to do with something. Yeah, so

Phil 22:49
yeah, he’s he’s the main bad guy and one of the prequel games. I don’t know. I’m looking it up. Fuck it. I’m looking it up. Look it up. Look around Halo Robert watts, known as that bastard by most you NSC personnel once a highly regarded commander before becoming an insurrectionists Oh, I think he is and and one of the games Holy shit. Hold on. appearances. Oh, he’s in the book follower. Ah, yeah. Yeah. Halo first strike mentioned I’m learning. Okay. Okay. Okay. He’s only in the book. That’s okay. He’s just in the book. He’s just in the book. We’re good. He’s mentioned a couple of times at some of the other books. But he is he is not. He is not in any of the games where I think unless they’re fucking with me. We’re safe. I think I don’t but you know what, I

Unknown Speaker 23:42
don’t trust anything anymore. So fuck it back. And he’s in what he’s in all the games. He’s actually standing and all of the scenes in the game. You actually in

Phil 23:49
the back? You’re not playing? You’re not playing masterchief you’re playing Robert watts. Everyone knows. Agreed headcanon Yeah, yeah. Done. No, I think I think it was kind of disappointing. The way they find him because they just couldn’t resist because we talked about this last episode. The idea of the rebels being the bad guy. Yeah. Which is still so weird. Weird. Yeah, it still feels kind of weird. They just it’s like such an easy I I like Eric nylund is writing this is this is a great book. This has been a lot of fun to read so far. But it does feel kind of lazy here. It’s like he just couldn’t resist like the bad guy. The leader of the rebellion. The way they find him is they see a crate a shipment of champagne. And cigars. Right Stuff. Right? And they’re like, Well, you know, that must be going to him because he’s one of these fat cat bastards. That was his rebel. His rebel insurrectionists are dying in the mud. And he’s back there drinking the finest bayanus and tarean champagne girl In the vineyards of bass and tar. Like, they just couldn’t help it. They were just like, he’s just just some fat cat like the rest of them. So they so they’re gone, they’re going to but they are they do need to bring it back alive, which I found interesting.

Kevin Erhard 25:18
You need to bring him back alive because they need to interrogate this fat get and find out where he keeps the rich stuff. And we’re just gonna keep calling it rich stuff you know I’m gonna channel channel Goonies and it’s it’s all it’s the rich stuff.

Phil 25:34
I like it. I like

Kevin Erhard 25:36
I’m picturing now that the Spartans as The Goonies and, and Robert watts is one eyed Willie.

Phil 25:44
Oh my Well, I mean, obviously, we gotta we gotta, we gotta find out who chunk is and chunk and who are the fatalities? And

Kevin Erhard 25:52
yeah, I’m I will figure out this metaphor by the end of the episode. Okay, good, good, or forget about it.

Phil 26:00
Or wait, but you know what, I think we can both agree, it’s definitely going to be one of the other it’s gonna be one of the other. So now they do have to get him alive. But in the process, they kill a lot of

Kevin Erhard 26:14
kills so many people. Like a lot of them are just people who didn’t even see it coming. And one person is just standing at the door or something like that. And Kelly just snaps his neck.

Phil 26:25
Yeah, yeah. And, and it’s funny because I like I said, it just got done finishing the first Halo game. And I’m just used to the now I’ve played other third third person first person shooters or violent video games where your enemy is other people, other human beings. But there’s something funny about it. That Halo is this game about killing cartoonishly ridiculous aliens. Yeah. And then you hear about them just just murdering the shit out of other human beings and you’re like, Oh, I see. Okay. Yeah, it’s really

Kevin Erhard 27:04
like, Oh, I got some Splinter Cell on my Halo.

Phil 27:07
Pretty much you got some Halo on my Splinter Cell call us and vote for whatever Splinter Cell novelization we’re gonna do. Do we have a phone number doesn’t matter. Yeah, and they kill just they kill everybody. And they take the crate. And they just shove the rebel leader inside the crate and they just they keep an eye on his vitals. And they just kill their way out of there. And they stay they escaped and like a stolen Pelican. One of the ships

Kevin Erhard 27:41
Yeah. And john stuff. The chapter ends john stuffed his doubts deep back in the back of his mind. Nothing’s wrong, he said and squeezed Kelly’s shoulder. JOHN smiled. What could be wrong? We won.

Phil 27:57
Ah, so he learned the important lesson. Hello, I will give them credit. It does have a moment before that where he like kind of has some regrets he thinks about

Kevin Erhard 28:11
all the dead dockworkers and civilians that they killed.

Phil 28:13
Killed the fuck out of them. Like they just just blew everybody away. Explosive decompression just horrible Ways to Die. And he’s just sitting there way by going, oh, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. If he has more, and then he goes, it’s cool. We won. And so I I feel pretty confident that he’s setting us up here for him to have a human moment, I guess a moral panic. I guess I just don’t know how they’re gonna do it. Because, you know, we’re gonna go we’re gonna go from here into aliens. And and he’s not gonna have to worry too much about it. Yeah,

Kevin Erhard 28:58
I don’t think the problem is going to go away on its own.

Phil 29:02
Pretty much. Like most problems like most proud, like, like that

Kevin Erhard 29:07
venereal disease I got, I just ignored it. And eventually it went away. There you go. I’ll hear and I’ll hear no argument to the contrary, once now that the Spartans have proven that they will just kill the fuck out of people without any concern. And they’ll stuff the any doubts that they have deep down, way down, way down, way, way down. Now they’re being told about the harvest.

Phil 29:35
Yes, do they?

Kevin Erhard 29:37
And I guess that was so my issue with the whole Black Ops chapters was like, why are we doing this? Unless this is gonna unless and it may pay off later? I don’t know. I’m just about at the end of the book, and I haven’t seen a payoff, but maybe it happens in the last chapter, a few chapters or so. So yeah, Maybe there’s there’s some payoff to this almost human moments. mastery.

Phil 30:06
Right? You’re absolutely right. Why

Kevin Erhard 30:08
are we delaying the van damage?

Phil 30:12
Right? Right. Why Why? It’s kind of it feels like padding. It feels a little bit like padding. It’s he’s a great combat writer, I will say, Eric nylund he is a really good combat writer. He does great action scenes. It’s a good combination of smart action and just good old fashioned exploding. Which I dig. But I can’t help but feel like this chapter is completely pointless. Just I guess, I guess like even even when they have a

Kevin Erhard 30:49
sorry, what I said, I guess I mean, they killed a lot of people. And that’s what happened. Yeah. The closest

Phil 30:54
thing I think to beyond him having a brief moment of humanity there then they have a moment where john takes a bullet he gets shot a couple of times. And and then he’s fine. Yeah. Like, everyone’s kind of like, Oh, no, he’s been shot. And then he gets up and he’s like, No, I’m fine. Just patch me up. And they and they fill them full of foam. That’s not even that’s not even me making a euphemism they literally fill out a full of med foam. foam up, and then he’s good. So it doesn’t really like it doesn’t show that he’s human in the sense that he nearly died because they take care of that pretty quick and it doesn’t show that he’s human in the sense that he’s having regrets because he kind of squelches that down pretty quick. So unless unless the point is that low key Master Chief is a fucking psychopath. And we’re gonna Spec Ops The Line this bitch unless that’s like the quiet subtle implication there. I don’t get the point. It’s I truly don’t

Kevin Erhard 32:09
move right on to alien invasion of harvests

Phil 32:12
alien invasion and Rear Admiral and a guy who is a naval officer who appears to be Emperor Palpatine. Did you catch that? Yeah. Like, I like I like military sci fi and I like the over the top uniforms and that kind of thing that you’ll see in things like Warhammer 40k for example, it’s fun, and it’s over the top is very Starship Troopers. It’s terrific. This guy, this naval officer. It’s literally like a stooping figure in a hooded robe.

Kevin Erhard 32:53
Right? It’s these are sleeves. It’s the AI Isn’t it? Isn’t it? Oh, it

Phil 32:59
is the AI? Yeah, yes. It’s even less of a

Kevin Erhard 33:02
it’s the oneis AI weekend. LDA is have their own appearances. Named

Phil 33:11
Beowulf. That’s right. That’s right.

Kevin Erhard 33:13
He stands for stand for AI and yeah, just swirled on stage collected into a robed figure its face obscured within the shadows of its hood. JOHN could discern no hands at the end of its sleeves.

Phil 33:28
That makes it worse. worse. He’s, he was designed. Yeah. It wasn’t like some here’s the thing. You know, I totally get it. If you’ve got a character who’s like eccentric and dresses outside of the norm and the other characters like man, we’d love for him to cut his hair, but he’s just so damn good. We can’t force him to do anything. You know, but it’s like, wow, this

Kevin Erhard 33:52
AI appears on stage. Just like crush the rebels. Yeah.

Phil 34:00
Do we do I know exactly how that would go down in a real military situation. You’d get like the designer, some geek sitting there making the guy the commanding officer comes over and looks at and goes alright, Lopez, stop fucking around. That was like a last minute decision. They’re like we have to present this now. Fuck. It looks like a wizard. What am I gonna do? Just do it, man. We just got to

Kevin Erhard 34:29
just lean into it. Like, change it later. And they never did.

Phil 34:34
They never did. They just left Beowulf somewhere a geeky AI guys just like gas. snuck him in. But so the admirable the admirable. The Admiral. Yeah, he might be admirable, I don’t know. And embro Palpatine. There. They tell them about covenant. Yep, this is our first like outside of the prologue. This is our First is their first introduction to

Kevin Erhard 35:01
them and mentioned. And they they talk about how harvest is gone. They call themselves the covenant. And there’s a quote here as to what the covenant broadcasts out to humanity. It was your destruction is the will of the gods and we are their instrument. So that kind of tells you a few things. One is that this is the name covenant. And the statement they make it’s kind of a religious movement. And yet, they’re not here to mess the mess around. They’re just here to kill humans.

Phil 35:44
They’re not here to make friends not here to make friends or to win. organized religion. Am I right? Yes. Boo. Yeah. Hey, they finally get their orders basically that this this is we got a we got a whole new fish to fry. Meanwhile, cut to a crate. With some rebel leader in it going, I come out. I’ll help you kill the aliens. I swear. I

Unknown Speaker 36:20
know. You don’t have much time for me anymore. But please don’t forget that I’m in this crate. Please don’t forget, I can only eat so many of the rich stuff until I die. Just

Phil 36:31
living on champagne galleries. Is there no Bordeaux. For me? This is not the way a man was meant to live.

Kevin Erhard 36:40
At least at least pass me a Pinot Noir.

Phil 36:43
Right. I’ll even drink the Rio in one of the softer moments of the book. We find out that their long time. Leader Mendez, they’re sending him off.

Kevin Erhard 36:59
He’s

Phil 37:01
and don’t they say that he’s like that he’s gonna basically be training the next generation or something like that? Isn’t that how they put it?

Kevin Erhard 37:08
Yeah, I believe that’s something like that.

Phil 37:11
They have a moment. You know, he and he and john 117 get to sit down and and have their tough guy talk where they discuss the different options of warfare. When you’re faced with an enemy who is stronger than you? What are your options and john kind of rattles off the two main ones you know, the two that he knows and it’s in its, you know, either attack hard and fast before he’s able to muster strength or fall back and use guerrilla tactics and taking advantage there. Yeah. And then Mendez says that there is a third option and Kevin what is that third option,

Kevin Erhard 37:50
my friend that option is surrendering. But it’s never an option for the likes of you and me. And I say that both as Mendez and as Kevin to Phil. We have there is no option to surrender. No, we can’t.

Phil 38:07
It’s just it’s just not in our blood cuz we’re very manly. In fact, I’m

Kevin Erhard 38:11
going back and saying it right now. Jacob keys never came back after that opening chapter.

Phil 38:21
You know what? Yeah, fuck you, Jacob keys is not a character outside of those few pages. And the opening book. It was a different guy. And you can’t prove that it wasn’t. The pipe was a total coincidence. Everything else told me so. Every You’re right. Thank you. You you and Mendez inspired me Kevin. Never surrender. I appreciate that. I needed that man. They have a they have a nice little moment.

Kevin Erhard 38:50
Basically their equivalent of the birds and the bees.

Phil 38:53
Right. Right. They chat and you swear. Mendez walks away. And they say that he never sees them again. And I swear. You can very faintly in the distance hear john? Singing I don’t know how to love him. As he as he steps into the darkness. Yeah, it’s an end. Yeah. And they say never saw him again. So

Kevin Erhard 39:19
yeah, that’s a really bold Proclamation. Right. Started john never saw him again.

Phil 39:28
Nope, not even in his dreams.

Kevin Erhard 39:30
I wish that I mean, they could have Eric could have left that up in the air at least.

Phil 39:37
But he’s funny isn’t

Kevin Erhard 39:38
it goes right into the future tense. In that moment of like, by the way, just forget about him. Now. He’s this character has gone

Phil 39:47
on. Yeah. unbeknownst to us, because you’re right. As far as writing is concerned. It’s not a great move, you know? Yeah, because you never know when you’re going to write yourself into a corner or have a problem and need something you’ll go, Oh fuck, I’ve got that one character. He hasn’t he could he could, you know, come in and save the day or some damn thing you know? And so for him to say that, unbeknownst to us, I’m just imagining Eric nylund you know, writing on his laptop just fucking hating Mendez for whatever he just fucking meant. I hate that. I never saw him again.

Kevin Erhard 40:26
Like that child abuser like, well, you’re the one who made him a child abuser.

Phil 40:30
Yes, I know. And he deserves it. He’s an asshole. You made him an asshole. Fuck you. I never saw him again. Yeah. No, don’t say, oh,

Kevin Erhard 40:43
and the eraser from that Daffy Duck comes down from the sky.

Phil 40:53
Just he just writes us out of exist. And

Kevin Erhard 40:56
it reveals that Eric nylund is actually Bugs Bunny.

Phil 41:00
Yeah, you heard it here. First, ladies and gentlemen. Eric nylund. Is Bugs Bunny slash God.

Kevin Erhard 41:07
How is that? I don’t know how many people are actually going to get that reference.

Phil 41:12
It’s a tough one. You know, you and I have made a podcast where we talk about the novelizations of video games. We’re just going to have to rely on the notion that 12 people just love our jokes. That’s

Kevin Erhard 41:29
we just have to accept that and move on. Yeah,

Phil 41:32
yeah, I’m good with it. I’ve made peace with it. This is just this is this is what we do. God dammit. This is this is our

Kevin Erhard 41:39
This is our bread and butter.

Phil 41:41
Our fate maybe this is it. And that brings us to chapter 12 cookies when shit really heats up.

Kevin Erhard 41:49
We are cooking shit does truly heat up in chapter 12. What happens to chapter 12? Oh, yeah, they they?

Phil 42:01
It’s truly, truly,

Kevin Erhard 42:04
once they’re there, they’re often there. They’re basically off in space and they’re flying to another planet because obviously, they couldn’t have just done the mule near stuff on reach. It was somewhere else. So they have to leave reach. And they’re going to try SETI four which is where which is where the mule near armor is being developed.

Phil 42:31
Yes. And that at this point they just notice like the mule near project.

Kevin Erhard 42:35
Yeah, that is we don’t even know its armor yet.

Phil 42:38
Right. Right. And john at some point, like he looked it up and found out that mule near was like Thor’s hammer. So he’s like, Oh, it’s super wet minion. Oh, yeah, sure. Yeah. millenary. Cool. And then so while they’re on their way, they’re trying to jump over to that area. And while they’re on their way there they are attacked by covenant.

Kevin Erhard 42:57
Yes, the covenant happens to to basically intercept them on their way to get the one thing that they need to fight the covenant.

Phil 43:07
Right. It’s just it’s just too lucky. Really? Yeah, just fancy. They’re just the covenant is there. God must be real. He truly shows them the way it

Kevin Erhard 43:17
really shows them. His or her blessings. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 43:21
it’s true. Are there?

Phil 43:23
I don’t know. Are there? Yeah, there’s wherever you are. God, I’m down. As long as you show me the path to my enemies.

Kevin Erhard 43:31
Exactly. That’s that’s what the covenant does is they they’re on their way to their enemies. And it is a bit harrowing there for a moment. Yeah, because the cap I know just

Phil 43:43
how tough they

Kevin Erhard 43:44
are. The covenant is out gunning them basically with every aspect of their technology. They’ve got energy shields, which protect them from basically everything.

Phil 43:59
You know, their, their their energy, energy shields just keep them covered. And they takes basically to make any impact at all. They like a giant heavy. I was just imagining a cartoonish to bring up Looney Tunes again, like just some cannon ball. The way they were describing it like it’s not a guided weapon.

Kevin Erhard 44:19
Yeah, the mag Mac gun.

Phil 44:21
That’s right. Yeah. And it just kind of shoots out into space and you hope for the best.

Kevin Erhard 44:26
Yeah, it’s basically a rail cannon. Yeah, that, you know, I believe the Navy has been working on rail cannons

Phil 44:35
forever.

Kevin Erhard 44:35
It’s like yeah, electron. It’s Matt using Magneto magnetic. Electromagnetic. Yeah. Shoot,

Phil 44:44
I was just my article, but it’s so cool.

Kevin Erhard 44:49
It’s basically that but massive and in space.

Phil 44:52
Right. Right. So they do manage to make a dent, kind of literally In the shields and the ship but it it’s really unwieldy and clearly not something that they can

Kevin Erhard 45:08
just keep doing. They they’re just flinging the there they did they just have to fling it they get a firing solution and hope for the best basically this gun Yeah,

Phil 45:22
yes it’s it’s a real spray and pray kind of situation Yeah, it’s just spraying you’re firing a single

Kevin Erhard 45:28
Yeah, it’s it’s like a it’s like a torpedo and that’s the thing that’s kind of the cool thing I like about this space combat is that it is very much reminds me of submarine combat. Yeah, because they were talking about firing solutions, which is what submarines need in order to actually fire their torpedoes. It’s It’s really cool. I like it And honestly, you you’re in a in this three dimensional space that is really hard to maneuver in. It’s hard to it’s hard to like get a get a good estimation as to where anything is at any given time

Phil 46:14
you don’t have a terrific grasp on your enemy right you’re right that is that’s a really cool way of thinking about it actually.

Kevin Erhard 46:21
So yeah, they are they’re just firing at where they they’re charging up this MAC cannon and firing it uh where they think the covenant ship will be at a certain point in time.

Phil 46:35
It’s kind of like in a less elegant metaphor it makes me think a little bit of the hard man cannon in Mega Man three yes shoot and it builds up speed and it goes and maybe a timed it right maybe you timed it right

Kevin Erhard 46:49
or maybe it just flies right off the screen and does nothing and that’s why you have to use against top man because he only moved on a straight line

Phil 46:57
fucking it they they they’re they’re trying to get a second shot off they do get another shot in but not before the covenant fires and insane energy weapon that almost destroys them entirely. Yeah, like just absolutely blows the crap out of them. Like they lose their they’re losing a lot of sections of the ship and the powers being you know, just it’s a lot of people are dead just from that one shot.

Kevin Erhard 47:30
Yeah. And then they lose the lose the Mac cannon basically. And it’s the only one where one weapon that is that damages the covenant ship. And they lose that and it’s pretty much it seems like it’s getting getting close to over here. It seems like it’s gonna be a lie. And this is just a one on one fight with not even a big covenant ship.

Phil 47:55
Yeah, exactly. It’s just it’s just the standard he did a good job of just making it making you go wow, they really are fucked like this is

Kevin Erhard 48:03
not going to work out this is not going to go the way that they expect it to go.

Phil 48:09
Then it’s in at this point, smaller craft From there, the naval vessel are, you know, circling the huge covenant craft and trying to distract it or blow it up or something. And the only way that they’re able to get away is they the reactor is melting down essentially and they shunt plasma from the melt down. Basically that prevents the entire thing going up. And but it also and it and it does hit the covenant, but it also kills just like basically every little vessel that was out there. So they just they kill a ton of their own people right in an effort to get away. So it’s a really, you know, so that chapter ends on a pretty grim note where they’re they’re getting away on a certain level there they bought themselves some time. Yeah, lost a ton of people.

Kevin Erhard 49:06
Yeah, the covenant ship mostly retreats to tend to tone wounds after it after that, but it’s still flying. It’s still fine for the most part. Yeah. And john and his crew hop on a drop ship and go to go down to the planet and so you know that

Phil 49:25
Yeah, let’s go look at Nolan there.

Kevin Erhard 49:27
Let’s go look him up on the air. We’re gonna end the captain’s like we’re gonna be up here. We might be alive when you get back.

Phil 49:35
Yeah, everything works out. You don’t need me to walk you down there. Do you know No. Okay. Fun with your cool marine weapons. I

brings us to chapter 13. Where long story short, the Spartans have The classic masterchief style armor. They are, it’s shown for the first time that classic green and gold. Yeah, well near style armor.

Kevin Erhard 50:12
It’s our first time seeing It’s our first time seeing it. It’s the original version of the armor. It looks looks pretty much the same as it does in the games. But the one in the first Halo game is apparently it’s that’s like mark two or whatever it is. And this is the this is the O g version of it. And yeah, it’s it’s, it’s fast. And it basically like reads their mind at this point.

Phil 50:43
Yeah, it’s crazy reactive. I thought this was some clever writing, where it’s basically any normal human being who’s ever tried it on, like, dies essentially. Yeah, cuz, you know, it reacts so strongly to your every movement that it just snaps every bone in your body. And so basically, yeah, like you said, they kind of they have to kind of think their way. They literally tell john, when he puts it on for the first time, they said, I just want you to think about moving your arm. Right. And that does it. So yeah, it’s it’s pretty. It’s crazy, responsive, super strong. And they’re all kind of enjoying their armor, I think. So it’s a boy goes, Hey, when are we going to get to test this out? I’ll see. It’s like, have you been painted right now?

Kevin Erhard 51:36
It was like, right in it and they were all gonna die if we don’t hurry up. So get your armor on.

Phil 51:42
Please put that the fuck on. And sure enough at that point, covenant shows up again. And then started pursuing them again. Like it didn’t take them long. They were like, okay, we’re good. We’re ready for the next the next fight. That was fun, though. When you find that one thing at us do that again. Dude. We’re gonna hear

Kevin Erhard 52:01
Yeah, we’re gonna fuck you up this time is basically the confidence.

Phil 52:06
Pretty much there. Like that was huge. When you when you killed a ton of your people. To wound us a little bit. Yeah, let’s see if how often you can do that.

Kevin Erhard 52:16
I bet you can’t do it again.

Phil 52:19
Yeah, I’m gonna go ahead and bet that that’s not something that you can do. brings us to chapter 14, where the Spartans are going to board the ship and just they’re going to blow it up with a goddamn warhead.

Kevin Erhard 52:34
Yeah, it’s this they they decide how do they actually get onto the ship? They they fire themselves and they jump okay,

Phil 52:42
right. Yeah, they just they just fire themselves because they’re, you know, they’re fully sealed in the suit in a spot any mule near armor. Right. Right. And and so it’s it can resist the, you know, vacuum of space. And they fire themselves into the one kind of essentially broken area that they that they the one little bit of damage that they did with the Mac round. Yeah, exactly. It’s left it’s left an opening. And so yeah, they basically just fire these. This app doesn’t group of soldiers in this new armor with with a suitcase warhead, essentially.

Kevin Erhard 53:27
Yeah, and it’s pretty cool. I mean, it’s it’s Yeah,

Phil 53:30
it’s real cool.

Kevin Erhard 53:31
It actually kind of reminds me of something that happened in Have you play you have you played Doom eternal?

Phil 53:40
Oh, yes.

Kevin Erhard 53:41
Yes, I have so there’s a part at which Doom guy loads himself onto into a Railgun and fires himself into Mars I want to

Phil 53:54
because because Doom at that boy it just and bless them for this just said fuck it.

Kevin Erhard 54:00
Let’s just fucking go for it. He just gets inside of a giant gun and shoots himself into a planet.

Phil 54:06
Little did we know that Halo the fall of reach had them beat by a couple of Dec. Yep. Yeah. And they just Yeah, they drop ship, essentially, into that part of the covenant ship except they are the drop ship.

Kevin Erhard 54:22
Yeah. So so they get in there. And there’s a lot of nice action here. They kind of they, you know, they’re fighting their way through but we finally have our first I guess I want to say casualty of the endure. Yeah, the entire Spartan. Well post augmentation Spartan group because I don’t think anybody find

Phil 54:43
out we find out that

Kevin Erhard 54:44
they’re not quite so invincible or not so invincible. So Sam, who is John’s BFF, one of John’s two VMs apps from childhood. They’ve known each other since they were six years old. Old Sam takes a takes a shot and part of his armor gets broken away.

Phil 55:08
Yeah. And and it’s funny because they at first like he’s just been shot and everyone’s like, you know, he’s it’s kind of I ain’t got time to bleed moment, you know, this energy blast, and he seems fine and and then basically john tells him his fate by just saying you stay here and and basically hold them off and they’re like Wait, what the fuck are you saying? Right? Yeah and they point out that you know because of the shot that Sam took he can’t get back because his suit is no longer pressurized and he would he would die and say yep,

Kevin Erhard 55:41
he says you’ll have to stay and hold them off. That’s an order. What are you talking about? Kelly said Sam knows. Sam nodded. I think I can hold them off that long. He looked at john and then Kelly he turned and showed them the burns side of his suit. There was a whole size of his fist and beneath that the skin was blackened and cracked. He smiled but his teeth were graded in pain. That’s nothing Kelly said. We’ll get your patched up in no time. Once we get back, her mouth slowly dropped open and Kelly basically has the

Phil 56:09
right. Yeah, Kelly, thank you for paying attention.

Kevin Erhard 56:17
Thank you for paying attention in class. Kelly.

Phil 56:20
Yeah, it’s it’s good writing. Like, I think that’s great. You know, I think a lesser author, if they wanted to show the mortality of the Spartans, they would have just had a guy go down under a hail of gunfire or some damn thing, you know, maybe in a gruesome way. But, you know, it shows how strong these guys are, right? Because as Kelly points out, like, that’s nothing you’re you’ll be fine. But he’s fucked because no one can know and doesn’t matter how many supersoldier procedures you’ve had done on you, you can’t survive the vacuum of space. Only Xenomorphs can do that.

Kevin Erhard 56:54
Always enough to do that. And they are not Xenomorphs

Phil 56:57
No, they are not. And it’s the last search

Kevin Erhard 57:00
I have met is, you know, morphs. And you’re nosy.

Phil 57:06
Let’s just keep rolling in those highly accessible Generation Z references. Yeah, for the kids. loving this. We’re doing good. Kevin. We’re doing great. And so finally, we get your your standard ticking bomb, you know, down 33 seconds down 12 seconds, down nothing. And as they are tracing their

Kevin Erhard 57:33
way back turns into the Metroid moment.

Phil 57:36
Exactly, exactly. And, and it works. The warhead goes and the ship explodes. The Covenant ship just absolutely explodes. And we end this chapter on on John’s true, I think I get it moment where he writes, john finally understood what the chief had meant the difference between a life wasted and a life spent. JOHN also knew that humanity had a fighting chance. And he was ready to go to war.

Kevin Erhard 58:10
Done and subtract done, and when and then we’ll pick up on section three. Next, section three.

Phil 58:17
Oh, so Kevin, what do you how you feeling about this book so far?

Kevin Erhard 58:22
You know, for all the little jokes I make about it. I love it.

Phil 58:25
Oh, me too. Me too. I think it’s definitely as far as the second book we’ve read for this podcast. I can see why I did reach out to people and say, you know what kind of video game books stand out as the ones to you that are once you really enjoyed and people brought up Halo all the time. Yeah. And I’m absolutely seeing why this is this is good. And it’s funny because like I said, I just beat Halo one. Yeah. And it’s, it’s fun. I had a really good time. But it is not this complex. The

Kevin Erhard 58:57
stark contrast between the silly aliens and Halo. Writer. This book is really hilarious.

Phil 59:05
It is it really is. But yeah, so far, so good. I’m looking forward to seeing what we get in section three.

Kevin Erhard 59:13
Me too. And I think that’ll do it for today’s episode. Ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentle them’s Peggy. Good

Unknown Speaker 59:21
evening,

Kevin Erhard 59:22
day, afternoon. whatever time it is. Take care. Bye bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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