ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 16

Episode 16: “Day 12 (Part 3)/Day 13.”

Featured characters: Snow Plough, Deputy Hayes, Dodd, Tweak, Nemo, Fa Tsu.

Prominent Friendies: Connor Bull, Carl Bull, Dr Ross, Dr Stapes, Amelia, Anatoli Demidov.

Pre-credits scene

Continuing from the last episode’s pre-credit’s scene, the Ice Miners are packing up their equipment as Mac booms at them to their gear in the trucks. One of the miners is either not listening or deliberately ignoring Mac as he continues to lase into the ice. “Come on, I said get a move on!” Mac yells at the miner, striding up to Dodd, just guard at the side of a lorry. Cracks starts to run through the ice under the miner’s feet, which no-one seems to have noticed. “Just gimme a sec, chief!” the miner calls back. The camera cuts inside the nearest lorry, as Carl Bull peers up behind the driver’s seat, watching events from outside. He hears Mac continue to bawl at the miner. Mac then turns away and starts yelling at the other miners. Carl sees cracks open up further in the ice. He moves back suddenly. The miner disappears under the ice. “Shiiiiiiiiit!” Carl push the door of the lorry open. Mac spins back to Carl: “What the hell are you…?” “Look out!” Carl screams as cracks run through the ice towards Mac. Mac turns. Dodd steps in the way, rifle out. A Blue Razor Ant smashes through the surface of the ice and leaps at Dodd, ramming its mandibles through her visor and right into her eyes. “Shit!” Mac calls as he grabs the creature, tears it from Dodd and tosses it back into the ice. He grabs Dodd’s now unconscious body and hauls it into the back of the lorry. Other people are screaming in the background. “Kid, you know how to drive a truck?” “I’m just a…” “DO YOU!!?” Carl gulps and nods. “Then get her out of here!” Mac runs for the big land train. Ahead of him, a miner runs as a White Ant comes out of the tunnel into the mountains, pierces his mandibles through the miner’s chest, turns and carries him off to the tunnel. The camera shows each legs striking the ice and cracking it like a series of picks. Other miners are being pulled through the ice. A van half collapses into the ice. Carl guns the engine and drives. “Shit, shit, shiiiiiiiiiit…” Mac throws himself into the front of the land train and slaps his seat-belt on. The ice bursts open in front of the vehicle. The back of the land train tilts backwards as it is slowly and partially put into the ice as Mac fails to get it moving. A Blue Ant hurls itself through the windscreen, punching a mandible into each shoulder. Screaming, Mac is torn out of the seat and vanishes under the glacier. There are two holes left punched into the leather seats, just as the marines found back in Episode 1. Carl meanwhile guns it for the lift out of the glacier, and Frost.

The opening credits roll…

Darkness. A gun-shot. A second gun-shot. Connor Bull staggers back, clutching a bullet wound in his shoulder as blood gushes from it. His eyes blink in disbelief. He looks over to Dodd who has her sniper rifle magged onto one shoulder and has her pistol in the other hand, barrel smoking, pointing at Connor. “It wasn’t me… I didn’t pull the trigger…” Dodd squints at him. She mags her pistol and then brings her rifle into both hands. He gestures over at Nemo. “It’s him! I told you! Carl told you! He’s the TK!” “Oh fuck off!” Nemo says. Dodd sweeps the rifle left and right towards Stapes, Nemo, Dr Ross and Mei all together, squinting her eyes, trying to determine culprit. In the background, Amelia has her shotgun out. Carl stands to the left of his father, watching everyone. Behind Carl, David lies unmoving on the floor, the only one who erected the barrier and got electrocuted and had armour on at the time. Dodd lowers a rifle a little, unable to determine who the culprit. Connor’s is still raised, however. He is furious. “Come on, own up!” The rifles fires. Nemo staggers back. “He shot me! He fucking shot me! He’s nuts” Connor blanches. “It wasn’t me! I didn’t fire the trigger! I’M TELLING YOU SOMEONE IS A TK!” Mya strides forward. “And you were sure it was Nemo. And clearly, it isn’t. Put the gun down.” Connor is clearly losing his mind. “Well, if it isn’t him, ITS’S ONE OF YOU!” “You can’t prove that. You’re losing it Connor jus-” “Maybe its you, Ross! WHY ELSE WOULD YOU BE TRYING TO STOP ME!?” He points his rifle at Ross. “Of course it isn’t me!” “YOU’RE FLYING!” His finger goes for the trigger.

“Dad no!” A shot fires. Ross is thrown onto the front of the jeep. “CARRRRRRL!” Carl Bull lies in front of his father. Shot through the neck. Dead. Ross watches in horror. “You’re fucking nuts!” There is another blast… one of a shotgun. Connor drops to his knees. Shotgun shell fragments are stuck in his back. He scoops up his dead son. “CARRRRRL!” Amelia steps forward, shotgun barrel smoking. “AW’ RIGHT, THAT’S IT, NAE MORE! THERE AIN’T NO TELEKINETIC! THIS IS INSANE! -WE’RE- KEEPING THE GUNS FROM NAE ON!” she says looking at Dodd, removing Connor’s guns from him, magging them to Dodd’s armour. Connor looks over to Dodd, telling her how he didn’t mean to do what he did, telling her the Psychic is real, that she needs to help. But Dodd responds with her usual stoic silence. “HE SAVED YOUR LIFE, DAMN IT” Connor screams. But no-one helps. Ross runs over to Stapes and helps him with Nemo. Connor sobs over his son’s dead body, whilst blood streams from his own wounds.

Snow Plough looks down at the Razor Ants now aflame, still alive. Then he looks to Yeti’s dead body. He drops the flame thrower, runs over to Yeti and shakes him “Come on, man!” But Yeti is clearly dead. Hayes just blinks in shock at the situation. Fa Tsu steps over the grate, looking down at the Ants climbing towards him and cuts loose with the laser, tearing the first two apart with mad glee, knocking the others down to the bottom, creating a flaming pile of living and dead razor ants. Tweak, having got all the workers safely into Waste Purification, runs over to help. Snow Plough is screaming incoherently, holding onto Yeti. Hayes is turned towards Fa Tsu, keeping his pistol ready, trying to concentrate on the threat. Snow Plough lunges at Hayes, continuing to scream. Hayes turns. He fires. Snow Plough falls back. Hayes looks at his gun in incomprehension. “Oh god… oh no…”

“You SHOT me!” Snow Plough screams. The shot has torn through his visor, and he has a bullet embedded in his forehead. “Ah’m… ah’m…” Hayes cannot give a logical response. Jeeves then flies over “MASTER ENDANGERED. DEFENDING!” The support drone wrestles the gun out of Hayes hands, sending it tumbling to the floor. Crusher rotates its barrels, pointing them at Hayes, but Snow Plough remotely deactivates it. “Good work, Jeeves!” Tweak is caught between utter horror and disbelief. “I can’t believe… you call yourselves marine corps! You’re a mess… a disgrace… I just can’t believe… we need to concentrate on the enemy, not fighting each other!” Jeeves is not lunging at Hayes with his cybernetic arm, trying to grab him. Tweak quickly disables the arm by removing some wires. Jeeves continues trying to attack Hayes however, bumping into Hayes, causing no harm. Tweak then passes Hayes his gun and then points his automatic shotgun down at the bugs. The living Ants tears they way through the corpses, but do little else other than flail wildly, as they are still aflame. Fa Tsu continues to grin manically, magging the flame thrower to one arm and then torching the chute. He then welds the grate shut with his cutting laser. Further sounds of bugs fighting can be heard, but they come no closer. Fa Tsu then calms, surveying the scene. “Hey Ross, we need your help in here!”

“My help? MY HELP! You’re supposed to be the MARINES and you left us here with gun wielding MAD PEOPLE! Nemo’s been shot! Dodd just murdered a bunch of people and now has all the guns! The Deputy just killed his own DAMN SON and you want MY help?” Ross screams down the comms. “Okay, okay Ross, callllm dowwwwwn!” Fa Tsu says. “CALM… calm… FUCK OFF FA TSU!” she cuts off the comms. Fa Tsu looks over to the injured Snow Plough. “Looks like you’re on your own…” Snow Plough picks himself up and deliriously states he just needs to lie down, and goes to grab one of the technician’s bunks. Ross continues to rant and scream at pretty much everyone. She starts twitching, unable to coherently express her rage. “I can’t… just…” She vanishes out into the vehicle airlock. Nemo follows after her. Fa Tsu broadcasts “guuuuuuuuuuuuys, I have an idea!” to those who will listen over the comms. His idea is to breach some of the waste pipes into the heating pipes, to fill the bug tunnels with “steaming shit!” but Tweak is the only one really listening, and immediately questions the logic of his idea due to the planet’s freezing temperatures. Snow Plough collapses into bed, and at the news of hearing of Carl’s death at the hands of his own father, Hayes is in a near catatonic state. With no-one else willing to support him with his plan (after he goes into great enthusiastic length trying to sell it to people), Fa Tsu decides to get out of the Mech and rest, staying in the accommodation for heating and waste management workers, rather than going back outside.

Nemo and Ross come back into the maintenance building. Anatoli Demidov approaches the jeep, geared up in his environment suit, with his chainsaw and mining laser and other equipment, carrying his daughter, in a child-sized environment suit. “You’re all insane” he says, looking to Amelia, Connr and Dodd in particular. “I’d rather brave going out there than keeping my daughter here. There are others at the hydroelectric plant. I’ll take my chances at the plant.” He climbs into the jeep with his daughter. Nemo looks knowingly at Ross, then to the jeep. Demidov curses, as the engines fails to start. Nemo grins. “Looks like you are stuck with us.” Demidov grumbles, choosing to stay inside the jeep, nonetheless.

Time passes on. “Times Like These” (by the Foo Fighters) plays in the background (deliberately in an ironic sense) as Connor clings onto his dead hero of a son, bleeding to death himself, Ross stands over David, who is lying in bed, breathing, with some electric burns tracing his skin following where the segments of his armour presses down on the skin, the Mayor seems to have gone near-catatonic, sat on a mattress and Demidov and Stapes carry out the dead of Carl Bull, lying him next to Connor, who has also died from his wounds. Hayes sits, shaking and Fa Tsu strips off his clothes, and climbs into bed with the injured Snow Plough to give him warmth, wrapping his arms around him, whilst Snow Plough sleeps.

Events cut ahead to Day 13.

Nemo decides to head next door, after the others radio again for medical aid, and Ross lets them know how much she cares about their supposed guardians who have once again left people to die, (as far as she is concerned). He steps into the airlock. As the door raises, he checks outside. The snow is cascading down still, giving about 20ft of visibility. It seems quiet. He runs across the snow. As he runs, Blue Razor Ant Soldiers burst out of the snow behind him, one after the other. But he gets to the next airlock, slams the button and runs inside. There is a constant clanging on the airlock behind him. Tweak, Hayes, Fa Tsu and Snow Plough (all borrowing bunks from workers already presumably keeping machines maintained) awaken. “They’re coming”, says Snow Plough. Nemo manages to remove the bullet from Snow Plough’s head and spray the wound with flesh sealant. Snow Plough sets Jeeves to work on using the metal bunk frames to create a barricade by the wall next to and in front of the western airlock, which Hayes assists with. Snow Plough rigs the airlock door to turn it into a death-trap. Fa Tsu tells Dodd that more ants are on their way. When asked where they are coming from by Hayes, Fa Tsu shows him the motion tracker readings, saying “Everywhere!” Which seems accurate to the readings, as a mass of red blips covers the entire radius, indicating they are either in the air, underground or both, around the human-occupied buildings. Hayes blanches when he sees the truth and works more frantically to erect a barricade. Fa Tsu listens out to try and work out where they are coming from; hearing no sounds against the eastern airlock, he decides to stand guard there. Tweak takes the team of waste and heating technicians and they weld shut and barricade the door in between central water heating and waste purification, keeping everyone on the water heating side.

In the maintenance building, Amelia keeps her gun trained on the eastern airlock, whilst the bar’s chef Berthold, something of a bear of a man, helps Ross carry bunk frames to make a barricade in front of that airlock. Demidov sits up in the rail-gun seat of Maisy, but doesn’t touch the rail-gun. He takes out his laser, pointing it to the western vehicle airlock. Stapes meanwhile is working on the airlock’s wiring to create a similar trap to Snow Plough. Dodd grabs some maintenance equipment and starts welding the bed frames already ready half-fused to the floor over the bug tunnel. Then, they wait.

A Workers tears its way through the outer airlock door of Central Water Heating. Snow Plough, Hayes and Nemo clamber over the barricade. The inner door opens as the bug comes forward. It slams down, tearing off the mandibles. Snow Plough picks up a mandible. “Got one!” He waits for more to come, but nothing does. They hear the sound of the Ant corpse being dragged off. “Well, good show. Tea, anyone?”

Roll end credits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 15

Episode 15 “Day 12, Part Two.”

Featured characters: Snow Plough, Hayes, Fa Tsu, Dodd, Nemo.

Prominent Friendlies: Connor Bull, Carl Bull, Dr Mya Ross, Amelia

Pre-credits scene

The scene begins outside the Ice Miners. A team is prepping their vehicles outside. Equipment is being loaded onto the trucks. There are miners the viewer has not seen before. Among them, there is Mac, the foreman of this team; a massive man, both in terms of fat and muscle, with a bald hairless head and dark skin. He is whipping his team into shape verbally, whilst not lifting a finger himself. Dodd is there, visor up, still with human eyes, looking out across the glacier, rifle out.

“Everythin’ clear, Dodd?” says Mac in an outrageously booming voice. Dodd doesn’t respond. Meanwhile, the camera cuts to the back of one of the trucks, where Carl Bull sneaks over, whilst one of the workers loading equipment inside has their back turned to him. Carl clambers into the truck with a cheeky grin, and hides. “Hey Dodd, anyone there? Ready to go?” Mac bellows whilst waving his hand in front of the sniper’s face. She simply nods and climbs into a passenger seat at the front of the truck. The camera pans above, as the fleet of vehicles drives off for the mountains. Events cut ahead to the miners cutting the ice with their laser drills. One of the miners exposes the rock of the mountain and a tunnel leading inside. Mac stands there, scratching his head.

“Hey Dodd, do ya think there is anything living in there?” As is usually her way, Dodd makes a noncommittal shrug. “Well, maybe we’ll mention it back at base. Ain’t for us to worry about. Come on everyone back to work!” The camera view change to inside the tunnel as “work!” echoes through it. There is a scurrying sound.

Roll opening credits.

The episode opens where the last left off, as the three soldier Razor Ants lunge at Connor and Amelia… and then the weakened ground underneath them, as they fall through the slippery rubble. Connor breaths a sigh of relief… and then his face whitens again as he sees the Worker, having tore out Gerda’s tongue and ripped her mouth open. Anyu is cowering underneath the creature clutching onto Gerda’s body and sobbing. Dodd sighs, and mags her sniper rifle to her left shoulder, pulling out the pistol with her right hand. She drops to one knee, sighting at the exposed underside of the creature as it rears over its next intended victim, and fires. She fires a few shots, aiming for the slit in the carapace, and manages to fire a few holes into it, as blue liquid drops from it. It staggers, though it is still alive. Connor, Amelia and Dodd all move back to get distance from the creature. Connor and Amelia keep fire on it to keep it pinned against the wall. Anyu crawls away from the creature, dragging Gerda with her, as the Worker has definitely set its sight on new prey.

After having struck his head on a pipe, Snow Plough sets off more slowly after the rest of his impromptu squad. Fa Tsu is still stood back on his own contemplating whether to join the fight or not, and in the end, decides to choose “the blade” and charges ahead of Snow Plough. Meanwhile, Hayes and Yeti head outside. There are three Soldiers and one Worker outside. The Worker is attempting to chew its way through the thick outer door of the vehicle airlock, and doesn’t appear to be having much luck. The metal is simply scratched. The three soldiers turn and hiss at the two humans as soon as the airlock door opens.

“Come on Hayes, lets take ’em!” Yeti yells, about to run. He pauses and squints through the snow. There is a haft sticking out of the back of the Worker and an axe blade. “Hey, its got my axe!” Yeti speeds forward. “Give that back!” He leaps onto the back of the Worker, maintaining balance and wrapping his massive hands around the haft. Hayes fires a few sprays of his machine pistol; he didn’t harm them, but manages to drive them back a little.  Yeti pushes all of his might against the axe and partially dislodges it, as blue liquid starts to spray from it. “These things bleed, Hayes!” Yeti roars in exultation.”Ain’t that nice…” says Hayes drolly.

Dodd approaches the broken part of the maintenance bay wall where the railgun first fired. She looks back at it; it is motionless, put pointed right at her. She turns back to the worker and dives backwards through the hole whilst firing her pistol repeatedly. She punches several more holes into the underside of the Worker. It flips over, unmoving. Then the three temporarily buried Soldiers burst out of the rubble. The railgun fires. It hits the head of the first, exploding it, and continues through the bodies of the other, blowing them apart as the shell continues, most of its momentum reduced, as it cracks the door of the eastern airlock, though it doesn’t break it.

Yeti tears the axe out of the Worker as it collapses to the snowy ground. The three Soldiers move in. He tears the axe out, drenched in blue blood, as he brings the axe around in a sweep at the three soldiers. His swing is halted as one bites into a hand and the other two tear into his right arm and shoulder. “A little help here, Hayes!”

“Uh, that’s what ah’m trying” Hayes fires more shots, but they seem to do little.  Then Fa Tsu steps out of the airlock and charges the beasts. He blasts them apart with his cutting laser. “Now that’s what I’m talking about!” says Yeti to Fa Tsu. “No thanks to you!” he says to Hayes, who seems to lack the enthusiasm to defend himself. Snow Plough exits the building with Jeeves to find the combat done with. “Oh, looks like we’re not needed. Jeeves, go and find Crusher.” The support drones flies off, as ordered.

With the fight done, Connor Bull snaps at Dodd. “What the hell were you doing, firing an explosive round in here, you could have killed us? And WHO THE HELL fired the railgun?” He continues to rant and yell whilst the Razor Ant Queen screams nearby; Dood does her usual, barely saying a thing, responding mostly with shrugs, which makes Bull even crazier. Amelia approaches him, places her hands on his shoulders and calmly points out that as the Queen is still roaring, she may not have found them yet, and him making more noise won’t help. She encourages him to quieten down, though he is still fuming. He radios Hayes, asking if he was remotely firing the gun, a comment that confuses him, since it doesn’t remotely fire at all. Hayes also gets annoyed that anyone is firing his railgun indoors, and heads inside to get to the bottom of the issue. Hayes and Bull seem united on the issue of the railgun, agreeing that the only way to remotely control it would have been telekinesis, and since they didn’t know they had one, that would mean someone is illegally concealing their Sensitive capabilities. But no-one owns up. Carl Bull then speaks up and points at Nemo. “It was him!” Nemo refutes the idea as ridiculous. Carl explains that he saw Nemo approach and examine the railgun before the fight, and was watching it the entire time, but Nemo continues to dismiss that idea and rightly points out they have no evidence, and that the kid is a liar. But Connor doesn’t take kindly to his son being accused of being a liar and leans in to him, quietly but firmly telling Nemo that he is keeping an eye on him. He also lets the crowd that have gathered to watch know that concealing Sensitive nature is against the late, and all because things have gone to hell, it doesn’t mean he won’t maintain the law, a statement to which Hayes agrees.

Jeeves finds Crusher, half buried in the snow, motionless and frozen and drags the fellow drone inside into the Central Water Heating building which Fa Tsu, Snow Plough and Yeti have returned to. Tweak immediately starts trying to restore Crusher’s systems to functionality. Snow Plough starts talking about continuing Fa Tsu’s plan to heat the food warehouse. The maintenance workers point out that to do so, they’ll need to fix the damaged pipe using the underground maintenance shafts. Snow Plough tries to encourage Fa Tsu to come with him, but the Mech pilot refuses to go underground ‘with them.’ Snow Plough tries to order him down until he is reminded that the Mech is too big to fit in the maintenance shaft anyway… which also includes Yeti. Snow Plough activates his comm. “Hayes, get in here!” Hayes obliges, only to be told they he is heading underground with Snow Plough and the drones; Hayes doesn’t resist the notion, but doesn’t exactly seem happy about it either. Tweak re-activates Crusher, though his vocal functions seem mostly scrambled. Tweak suggests sending the two drones into the shaft since one can do the repairs and one fire by itself, but Snow Plough screeches at him “They’re part of the squad, we can’t send them alone, man!” which makes Tweak move back a little from the slightly screw-loose Sergeant. In the maintenance building, Dodd and Connor keep their rifles aimed at the collapse bug-hole through the hole in the wall, Amelia watching over them from the opposite side, whilst several of the Food Warehouse workers and one of the remaining maintenance workers stacks the metal frames of several bunk beds around and above the hole in an attempt to trap the next Ant that bursts through. Meanwhile, Snow Plough and his drones, followed by Hayes and Tweak head into the maintenance tunnel.

After tending to Anyu, Stapes and Ross give her some space, as they drag the dead Worker into a corner, helped by Nemo. Ross gets out a hacksaw. “Finally, I actually get to do my job. And hack one of these bastards up!” Nemo grins; “You’re my kind of ctazy Ross? How do you do it?” She smiles and starts hacking into the corpse. “Vitamins!”

There is a hatch next to the east wall of Central Water Heating, leading to a ladder that leads 20ft underground. The tunnels are only big enough to crawl in, made with metal grating. There is a quickly cooling pipe on the left hand side of them. Snow Plough hears the sounds of Ants ahead but out of sight. It sounds like they are crossing the tunnel presumably from there own earthen tunnels. Snow Plough is ahead and listening out, but as the sound gets louder, his burst of courage finally fades. He then orders Hayes to go on and ahead of him, which Hayes does begrudgingly. Hayes hears, amongst the sounds of Ants scrabbling along, a bizarre metal scraping. He sights a cross-roads and sees a bizarre sight: Blinky, the long-lost recon drone, is partially attached to the mandibles of a BLUE Razor Ant. (Fa Tsu, monitoring over the comms, directing Hayes with a tunnel map and monitoring them with a motion tracker, was unaware of the Blue colony’s existence, and seems especially shocked by that development.) Wires seem to be entangled with mandibles having pierced the drones camera, resulting in it taking minimal damage and being dragged along. The Ant then goes out of sight to the right, followed by others. Hayes hears what sounds like fighting. Blinky is detached and rolls a little towards Hayes, though it is still closer to the bugs than Hayes. Then more and more Blues pile across the tunnel. They seem to defeat whatever they are fighting, and disappear out of sight. Hayes is urged to carry on. “Uh guys”, Fa Tsu pipes in over the comms “You might not want to go that way. There are a LOAD of blips coming your way… and I can’t see anything on the camera… which means they’re either in the sky… orr….” “Coming right at us”, Hayes finishes for him. More Blues appear along with a massive swarm of Whites from the eastern buildings; the bugs are going for each other, and don’t seem to have spotted the survivors. Snow Plough orders Jeeves to ‘save Blinky!’ The support drone does so, dragging the recon drone down the tunnel with great rapidity, due to its lifting-based enhancements. Snow Plough heads after Jeeves, ordering Hayes back to. As soon as Hayes moves out of Crusher’s line of sight, the battle drone intones “Way clear. Hostiles zzzzt-tected. Opening BZZZ fire!” The drone rakes the bug horde with fire. Most of the Blues die, and the Whites finish off the remaining ones. “Move!” yells Snow Plough, as they all head down the tunnel as quickly as they can, the battle drone being recalled. The Whites, with no Blue prey, head after the squad. Tweak, Hayes and Snow Plough all get out incredibly quickly, beaten to it by Jeeves. Yeti is waiting by the grate, battle-axe out. There is a maintenance worker holding onto the open grate. As Hayes climbs out, Yeti tells the worker to “Close it!” but Snow Plough says “No! Crusher is still down there!” Yeti sighs, and tells the worker to hold the grate open, keeping his axe ready. Fa Tsu and Hayes stand near the grate, ready to fire. Snow Plough attempts to detach the flame-thrower from Blinky, and is partially successful, getting it into his hands, but not removing it entirely. He starts to drag Blinky over to the grate, with little success. Crusher flies out of the grate… with Soldiers just behind. The worker slams the great down on the closest Ant head. Yeti then jumps onto the grate, pushing it down. “Got it held Sarge… for now!” Tweak takes the maintenance workers next door into Waste Purification for their own safety. Crusher hovers above the grate ready to fire and Fa Tsu and Hayes maintain their positions. Snow Plough removes the fuel canisters from Blinky, mags them to himself and then fully detaches the flame thrower, approaching the grate. Four Ant heads start to lift the grate up and bite through the bars, as the mandibles push through it into Yeti’s legs, tearing away some of the protective foam from where larvae had eaten parts of his skin days ago. This triggers near paralysing pain in the giant Aug. Flesh falls away in chunks and blood flows over the grate. Fa Tsu tries to save Yeti, reaching forward with one hand, trying to pry a mandible free, only for the Mech hand to get bitten, causing Fa Tsu pain through the nerve sensors. He then activates the cutting laser and removes half of the mandible. Snow Plough points his flame thrower at the heads and down into the grate, setting the ants alight. It doesn’t seem to kill them, though they set ablaze. They go into a maddened frenzy. Yeti embeds his axe in the wall and pulls… he tears himself free, but as he does so, the very flesh is torn from his legs, leaving exposed muscle and bone. He screams out again. He collapses. He looks to Snow Plough. and says “You gotta… stop ’em… Sarge…” and dies.

Dodd watches as the barricade is piled high. She feels them coming through the ground. She looks up at the ceiling, noting the strip lights, then looks back to the barricade. A Blue Worker bursts through the floor. Connor says “One, two…” as he takes aim. The barricade is lifted, with three workers clinging or snagged onto it. A fourth is balancing on top of it as it rises in the air. Dodd looks to the ceiling and fires an explosive round. The strip light falls, slamming into the barricade. The skin of those holding onto it, snagged and the man stood on it, fry and smoke horrifically. The electricity passes through the Worker too, as it ceases moving, having half emerged through the floor. Four people collapse dead. Bull spins on Dodd, rifle pointed at her, point blank. “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU JUST DO?” The camera cuts to Nemo. Then to the rifle trigger. It fires. But Bull’s finger does not press it.

End of part two.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 14

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE 14 (DAY 12)

Featured Player Characters: Sergeant “Snow Plough” Fentington, Deputy Hayes, Nemo, Fa Tsu, Dodd (the glorious return!), Tweak (new character/player)

Prominent Friendlies: Dr Mya Ross, Connor Bull, Amelia

Pre-credits scene…

The episode opens with the same planet seen in the previous episode. There is a burnt wreck of the building.

Jim-Bob and the young Gerry Hayes, both a few years older than the previous episode, in their early teens stand with a girl of similar age who is tall, skinny, has slick-back hair tied into a pony-tail and far too much make-up.

A shadow strides in front of them. The camera shows thigh-high black leather boots as a thickly accented voice of an adult male addresses the three youths, demanding to know who is responsible for the burnt-out house. All of them deny knowledge, and the man says he will have to ‘take them in’ and see who confesses during a one-on-one interview.

The scene cuts to a police station interview room. Hayes seems to be in tears. The officer repeatedly asks him who did it, but Gerry insists he doesn’t know and doesn’t change his stance. The officer reminds him that the kids he is sticking up for used to beat him up… and probably still do, as he brushes back Hayes long hair to look at a large bruise on the right side of his face. But Hayes still insists, tearfully, that he knows nothing.

Events cut ahead, as Hayes is back outside, strolling past Jim-Bob and Jenny-May leaning against a wall, drinking beers. Jim-Bob calls to to Gerry, who stops and turns. Jim-Bob thanks Gerry and Gerry says ‘why?’

‘Fer not sayin’ nothin.’” He tosses Gerry a can of beer, which he catches.

“Ain’t nothin’. Just know when to turn a blind eye.”

“Haha! That’s what they all gonna say; Gerry Hayes, he knows when to turn a blind eye.”

Roll opening credits!

The episode opens with Hayes, cleaning Maisy (his jeep). And as he cleans the jeep he talks to it, telling Maisy how, despite the temporary fix to the windscreen, he is probably going to have to ask some other people to ‘take a look at you.’ Yeti sits up, where he appears to have been sleeping along the back row of seats of the jeep and mocks Hayes for talking to the jeep, but it doesn’t seem to bother or stop Hayes at all. Jeeves then floats over and says hello to Maisy, admonishing Yeti, since Jeeves is a machine, and yet they all talk to him, which makes Hayes grin. Jeeves continues to try to gesture with his new cybernetic arm, and the fingers continue to move in random, unnatural directions.

Snow Plough, looking very grumpy indeed to be awoken by the conversation says “Sounds like its time for tea then”and starts to climb out of the jeep. As he walks over to the kitchen, he is approached by one of the survivors not yet personally encountered, one of the maintenance workers, who is a large man with a wild mess of hair cascading down from his head, with a beard to match.

He introduces himself as “Tweak” and takes immediate interest in Jeeves, approaching the drone, rather than anyone else, as he asks it if he can examine its arm and the continues to jerk in a bizarre manner. Jeeves informs the man that he is not authorised. Snow Plough, surprisingly, tells Jeeves to let the man take a look. Jeeves obliges and floats to the floor, as Tweak partially removes the arm and inspects the wiring whilst Snow Plough takes in tea orders as the others slowly awaken.

As the remains of the militia get together (with Dodd, Tweak, Ross and Nemo nearby listening in and chipping in their opinions). The Mayor is not present; as Snow Plough walks past the office with the teas, he can hear the Mayor sniffling behind the door. The others continue to discuss their next course of action without him. Snow Plough seems to be of the opinion that staying put and keeping quiet as possible is their best course of action.

Fa Tsu is using his com-pad, and grinning from ear to ear, and Hayes takes the bait and asks what he is grinning about. Fa Tsu shows him the com-pad screen and explains what Hayes is being shown to everyone present. He explains that he is analysing temperature read-outs from the opposite buildings that have been taken over by the razor ants. Whilst there are no reading from a majority of the building, presumably due to the cold exposure destroying the equipment, indicating they are uninhabitable, that is not the case for the food warehouse. The temperature is incredibly low, yes, but the fact that there are still readings means that the temperature controls are still operational. He starts laughing almost maniacally as he explains that he could burn them in their nest, and then they could recover the warehouse. Ross says what nearly everyone else is thinking as he points out that taking the warehouse would then be pointless, as they would destroy the remaining food stored there. Unless they want to start eating razor ants. Which she then adds is perhaps not a bad idea as a continual food source. Everyone goes silent, looking at her with some horror. Then Fa Tsu laughs; “I like you Ross. You’re brutal.”

She shrugs. “Just thinking scientifically.”

“So. Thinking scientifically. How would you go about this? I mean, we know they don’t like fire.”

“As is the case for most living things. But if they respond negatively to heat, we don’t need to burn the place down. Just increase the temperature in the warehouse to room temperature and see if they respond. If they don’t like it, it should make them vacate.”

“Excellent! Sounds like a good plan!”

“If the ants are still there, of course.”

Fa Tsu decides to hack into the cameras to check and then suddenly passes the com-pad over to Snow Plough, who raises one eyebrow. Fa Tsu explains that if they are there, he doesn’t want to see them. Snow Plough takes the com-pad… there is barely anything on the cam-feed, the lens seems to have taken damage, but he can see some shadowy forms moving about.

“All right then!” says Fa Tsu as he takes the pad back. He then tries to remotely increase the heat, but realises he can only monitor the temperatures and cannot remotely alter the buildings heating, due to the primitive tech (in 2450 terms) used on the frontier colony. In order to try out Fa Tsu’s plan, they will need to go next door to the Central Water Heating Building, which involves going outside (though very briefly). Tweak volunteers to go with the group, since he knows all about systems maintenance, and reckons he can carry out Fa Tsu’s plan when they get to the equipment needed for the job. Tweak finishes his maintenance on Jeeves who can now clench and unclench his fist… though it is not clear he can do anything else with it, as of yet.

Hayes points out that before they go anywhere, Maisy is their only remaining form of transport if anything goes wrong. If anything happens to him, he needs to know that someone else can take over control of Maisy for him; Tweak volunteers to take a look. (A montage occurs as Hayes shows Tweak the working of Maisy, as the song ‘Silver Machine’ plays.)

As some of the militia get ready to head out, Dodd points out that some people competent with weapons should stay behind, just in case, so Amelia and David from the conscripts stay behind, and there is also Connor Bull and Gerda to help defend the place (though Gerda is not involved with any discussions and continues to be withdrawn, sat near the east airlock with Anyu). David goes over to Tweak and slaps him affectionately on the shoulder. He tells him that he has some spare gear he requisitioned from the warehouse that Tweak might like. David proffers him an automatic shotgun.

“Know how to use one of these?” Tweak reminds David that he used to be in the Corps too, and seems eager to take the weapon. David gives him a fist bump for joining the team.

Fa Tsu, Snow Plough, Hayes, Yeti and Tweak (in old Corps issue battle armour, also with the shotgun, Greyjoy’s remaining machine pistol and McClusky’s enhanced engineering tools) head into the vehicle airlock at the west of the building (though they leave Maisy inside). Dodd waits on the other side of the airlock as they head out. She closes her eyes in concentration.

Though she cannot see outside, her empathic senses stretch outside instead, seeing colours in her mind’s eye which give her impressions of the emotions of the others. Tweak doesn’t seem to be lying about his prior experience; she gets the feeling of ice cold calm from him. From the others, they seem largely calm, but there is either anger or fear mixing in with that calm. She senses something else… a feeling of watchfulness, but she is not sure from where. She radios the others and tells them to keep an eye out.

Fa Tsu nervously checks his motion tracker. He gets movement in the building they are heading to, but assumes they are the survivors. He doesn’t get any other blips out in the snow.

The blizzard has receded, and though snow still falls, they have visibility of about 20ft ahead of them. Despite his tracker readings, Fa Tsu keeps an eye out ahead of him too. Snow Plough is also being more alert than usual. Fa Tsu holds a hand up. He looks to the roof, then down at the ground, where Snow Plough is also looking. There are shadows stretched across the snow. Fa Tsu and Snow Plough look at each other. The shadows flicker slightly and then remain still.

“Uhhhhhhhh guys, we’ve got company above… so everybody just keep quiet and head into the airlock, okay?” He dashes for the airlock and opens it as everyone piles inside. The airlock swishes shut and locks behind them. They hear a small, brief shriek outside. Dodd feels the feeling of watchfulness become disturbed, a slight tinge of anger… hunger. She tells the group to get inside, but they already have. Dodd feels three different minds, yet all tied by the same emotions, as three Ants fly down to the snow. They shriek briefly again. Irritation, curiosity. They then quickly disappear from the range of her empathy.

The others head through the airlock into Central Water Heating. The accommodation area is dark and silent, empty of people. Fa Tsu checks his motion tracker. Blips are moving intermittently on the other side of the door, in the work area. Light shines through the crack in the door. He breathes a sigh of relief as he hears human voices. Fa Tsu swings the large doors open. People dart out of sight. Someone shouts in panic.

“It’s okay guys, it’s me, Fa Tsu!” The six workers emerge from their hiding places, briefing a collective sigh of relief to see of all the people to survive is the Mech pilot. The others follow him inside. Tweak heads over to the workers and explains Fa Tsu’s plan and helps them get it into play. Another montage occurs as Fa Tsu plays “The Heat is On!” as he watches the temperature readings for the food warehouse start to increase.

“It’s working! Hahahaha!” He takes his com-pad out to check… and then quickly passes it to Snow Plough.

“They seem to be moving”, the Sergeant confirms.

“Yes!”

And then a few minutes pass, and the temperature readings start rapidly dropping. Tweaks confers with the other workers, who confirm that one of the underground heating pipes may have been ruptured. And then the lights go out (though the other equipment is still working). One of the workers screams. Tweak forcefully addresses the workers and everyone else, telling to keep quiet and keep calm. They all back into a corner behind Tweak, who stands ready with his shotgun.

Snow Plough dives in the nearest corner, by the door, rifle out, Jeeves hovering above him. He starts checking over the pipes and valves near him frantically. Yeti gets on the other side of the door, machete out, whilst Hayes is behind him. Fa Tsu in the middle of the large chamber, in between the largest pipes, and his breathing starts to increase rapidly and he refuses to step forward.

Dodd radios the group, telling them she can sense Razor Ants coming; a group are heading for where the marines were spotted outside, but another group seem to be heading for the office where an Ant got through the previous day.

“All right marines, let’s go!” Courage suddenly takes over Snow Plough, as he orders his squaddies ahead. Hayes and Yeti both charge for the airlock outside. Snow Plough suddenly rises his declaration… only to bash his helmet and get knocked back onto the floor. Tweak remains guarding the civvies. Fa Tsu stays put. “No… not going out there… they’re gonna kill us all!”

Dodd grabs Deputy Bull and Amelia (with her pump action shotgun ready) and the three of them head for the office. The Mayor can still be heard sniffling. Dodd shoves the door open without ceremony and asks the Mayor to get out of there. He refuses to move, until Dodd explains more bugs are coming, and the Mayor moves pretty quickly then. She loads her rifle, standing in front of the office door as she watches the area of floor where Snow Plough collapsed the tunnel.

“They’re coming. Everybody ready.” Amelia stands on Dodd’s left, Bull is on the right, assault rifle ready. Gerda and Anyu remain where they are on the right of the three, behind the right-hand wall of the office. Seeing commotion by the office, Nemo sneaks behind the three defenders and makes his way over to Maisy. He climbs up onto the front, examining the railgun mounted over the top of it. He then climbs down and moves behind and to the left of the defenders, trying to keep an eye on them, whilst also still being able to see the railgun.

Mandibles burst out of the floor. Dodd fires. The round hits… and explodes. The office is engulfed in a blast of fire. The blast wave misses the three by inches.

“What the… WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?” Connor screams, half in fury and half in panic at Dodd.

“How it’s done” says Dodd. And then the smoke clears. As the hole in the floor has been blasted open, and out of it climbs a smoking, but very much alive bug. A round impacted in its face, smoking as well. “What the hell?”

Amelia and Bull fire their weapons, but the shots bounce off of its chitinous armour, as it is only half emerged from the floor, its legs bent so its underside is close to the floor, and no-one can get a shot at its weak point.

Nemo looks at the railgun. His fingers twitch. The railgun moves slightly. It fires. The slug hits the left hand wall of the office and punches right through it. It hits the Razor Ant Worker in the left side, which tears it from the floor and hurls it through the air. The shell and Ant go through the right-hand wall, Anyu and Gerda are knocked to the ground as the Ant practically lands on them.

Hayes radios through “Who the hell is firing Maisy inside? That ain’t a good idea!”

“I’ve no idea; I haven’t got a visual!” Bull screams back over the radio as dust billows around him.

Gerda looks up at the exposed underside of the creature, bares her claws and fangs, leaps, and grapples onto the underside of the Ant. The Ant dips its head under it. It opens its mandibles wide and rasps. Gerda opens her mouth to snarl… and the mandibles lock around her mouth.

Powerless underneath it, Anyu screams “Gerda!” and watches as the mandibles pull off part of Gerda’s mouth and tear out her tongue with it as she falls dead to the floor. “Gerrrrrrda!”

And then three more Razor Ants, the sleeker, faster Soldiers, clamber out of the hole in what was the office. Connor and Amelia fire again, more shots ricocheting, as the creatures lunge in…

as everything goes black.

End of part one.

Roll end credits.

ILTC Cold Frontier, Episode 13

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE 13 (DAY 11)

Featured Player Characters: Sergeant “Snow Plough” Fentington, Deputy Hayes, Nemo (new character)

Prominent Friendlies: Irene Winkleman, Mayor Ted Winkleman, Dr Mya Ross, Gottlieb Auttenberg.

The pre-credits scene begins with a planet with two white-hot suns blazing in the sky. The camera sweeps across a settlement of mostly wooden shacks, spread across a flat, dusty plain. A dog scampers in front of the camera, sniffing at the ground, as some kind red, spiky mobile plant resembling a tumbleweed rolls into view. It then fires a barb, which causes the dog to leap into the air and run away. The plant rolls away.

The sound of jeering children can be heard as the camera pans away.

“Gerry! Gerry!” A circle of children are surrounding a skinny little boy with long blonde hair that is mostly covering his face. There is a particularly large, chubby boy with ginger hair and lots of noticeable freckles and pimples, pushing at the blonde child.

The children continue to mock the child for having a girl’s name.

“Maybe he is a girl, Jim-Bob, you should check!” calls out one of the children, with a very strong redneck accent.

“Yeah, maybe I should” says Jim-Bob, the ginger child. “Hold ’em still!”

The children grab Gerry and try and lift him up as Jim-Bob goes to pull his trousers. All the while, Gerry is kicking and struggling, saying “No, no, no!”

The camera then cuts to show Deputy Hayes, asleep, rolling back and forth muttering, “no, no, no…” His eyes then shoot open.

Opening credits roll!

The “Frost Marine Corps” (Snow Plough, Yeti, Hayes, the Mayor and their conscripts) are assembled for meeting in the maintenance bay. All of the other settlers aren’t present this time, as the Mayor talks with his conscripts and the two bona fide marines about their next course of action. However, the meeting is made more difficult by the echoing sounds of Irene Winkleman.

“Where is my baby! Bring my baby back to me!” and similar rants, punctuated by repeated slamming on a door, echo in the background.

Ted Winkleman, the Mayor, is trying to massage away a head-ache. “Dr Ross, could you try and, uh… calm down my wife, please!?” He turns and calls to Dr Ross, sat with Stapes in the background.

Ross sighs and gets up giving her usual mutter about being a “biologist, not a doctor.”

The camera cuts to the office where Irene was in the last episode. The door is shut. Her hysterical and delusional screaming (about the baby, as if it were still alive) can be heard behind the door, and occasionally, it shakes as she slams against it. A few faces are looking out from the bunk room, as the screaming is rather noticeable. In the bunk room, it is mostly frightened silence. Anatoli Demidov clings onto his six year old daughter, trying to keep her safe.

The camera turns to a a particularly tall, gaunt man with particularly pallid skin. He sits on his bunk, staring in the direction of the sound. His fingers tighten around the bed sheets, squeezing them. He slowly, rises from his bunk, and exits the room. He stares across at the office door. The camera switches to his view, as he sees a bright yellow haze around the door, intermixed with deep red. And then the view returns to normal view as Ross approaches and looks over at gaunt man briefly, before looking to the door.

“Damn, no way I’m getting in there… need to give her some meds.”

“You need someone to open the door, and then two to grab her.”

“Good idea. I’ll go and get your help N… sorry, what was your name?”

“Nemo”, he says, looking more then slightly perturbed.

“Right, better get some ‘marines’ to help.”

Ross walks over to the marines and asks for two people to come and help her. Snow Plough immediately volunteers Hayes for the job, which prompts to try and encourage Snow Plough to join them.

“Oh Hayes, has got it. Why don’t use a grenade, Hayes?” Snow Plough, blurts out with his growing inability to control his tongue.

“That’s my WIFE in there!” Winkleman yells at him.

“Just a joke”, Snow Plough says quickly.

“A joke.” Connor Bull stomps over. “My wife died to one of his grenades.” He leans in very close. Uncomfortably close. “You think that is a joke?”

“Ummm Yeti… he’s threatening your commanding officer”, says Snow Plough in his sudden panic.

“Ohhhh you got yourself into this one Sarge”, says Yeti. “Sure you can get yourself out.”

“I SAID do you think my wife being dead is a joke?” Bull continues.

“No. No, no, no. No.”

Bull grabs him by the shoulders. “Then why don’t you learn to shut your mouth?”

“Jeeves… remove him please.”

“Oh, I see. Always getting your drones to do your dirty work. What kind of marine are you? I used to be a marine. You make me feel ashamed for even being associated with you.”

“Look, now see here…”

“You haven’t even used that rifle. You’re pathetic.” He lets go of Snow Plough. “Why don’t you go and deal with something yourself, for once.” He gestures towards the screaming of Irene.

“Ross… I’m coming!” says Snow Plough.

Hayes, Ross and Snow Plough approach the office. Nemo is opposite the door, leaning against the wall. Nemo explains that one of them should probably open the door and the other two grab and restrain Irene. Snow Plough immediately responds with “I can open a door!”

Ross starts to count down for Snow Plough to open the door, whilst Irene continues to scream, causing Snow Plough to panic and open the door to early. Ross curses as the door swings open unexpectedly. But Hayes is ready, and as a screaming Irene comes at them, he rushes her, pushing her back into the room.

The camera then cuts to Nemo, who is staring at Irene. The fingers on his right hand tighten, as if squeezing something.

Irene staggers back, continuing to shriek at them… and her screaming stops as she splutters, losing control of her tongue. Irene’s right hand spasms, her right eye closes and the right side of her face starts to fall.

“Oh my god, she’s having a stroke!” Dr Ross runs over and grabs her as she falls to the floor, unmoving. “Oh god… she’s dead.”

“What?” says Snow Plough, hanging at the door, refusing to go in. “She can’t be! She was fine.”

“Must have been the stress… the shock… triggered it…”

Snow Plough almost completely shuts down about the situation. When they are discussing how to tell the Mayor (already suffering from the shock of his baby) the Sergeant completely loses it, fully in favour of just closing the door and not tell him about it. Hayes manages to get Snow Plough to see reason and calms him down and Nemo urges them not to ignore Irene’s body (whilst they are all panicking), and Nemo enters the room, closing Irene’s her eyes, and lays her down respectfully.

Ross and Nemo remain with the body, as Hayes and Snow Plough return to Mayor Winkleman and the conscript marines.

The Mayor seems relieved of the quiet, asking if Ross has given Irene more meds. Snow Plough tries to respond with what has happening, but is reduced to a stuttering mess, so Hayes manages to tell him is wife is dead. The Mayor, understandably, blanches and is very much in denial and ends up running to his wife. Nemo leaves the office and shuts it behind him, leaving Ross with the Mayor, as he cries over his wife’s dead body.

Snow Plough and Hayes attempt to discuss the next course of action with the conscripts. They agree that they need to secure the maintenance of the hydro-electric power plant, as they only have roughly two days on the back-up generator. When Snow Plough asks ‘who that guy in charge of the power is again’ and Hayes reminds him of Gottlieb’s name, Snow Plough remembers their last experience together, and does his usual ‘delegation’ and sends Hayes to speak with him about reinstating the plan of sending him and some others to keep the plant maintained. Hayes does so.

Gottlieb is not the warmest person in general, and when he realises that Hayes wants something that relates to the marines, he becomes positively (or rather negatively) icy. He sits writing notes, and doesn’t look up and make eye contact with Hayes even once. He explains how Snow Plough ‘went mad’, ‘tried to kill everyone’ by trying to get him to help blow up the Jeep and then ‘forced him’ to flee him in the blizzard, where he could have died. He also explains how the previous Sergeant wanted him to stay at the plant with only one person capable of using a gun, and tried to lump him with the ‘savage with the sword’, and makes it clear he is not going near the plant with Snow Plough or Yeti.

“You can give zis message to ze ‘Sergeant’…” he then slowly raised his middle finger. “You have a camera, right? You can record ze message if you like.”

“No, no… that’ll do. I think he’ll get the idea.”

Hayes relays Gottlieb’s message in a slightly more diplomatic manner to Snow Plough. Snow Plough confirms if Gottlieb will still have Ryan with him, and Hayes thinks that will probably be fine, and then Hayes suggests he can at the plant himself. Snow Plough agrees with this, and Hayes goes back to Gottlieb to further discuss terms. Gottlieb agrees, saying he will bring Kaleigh, the remaining plant worker with him, and asks to make sure they are given a decent amount of food and supplies for the ten days they will have at the plant. Hayes agrees… though Kaleigh doesn’t seem too happy about being dumped with Gottlieb for ten days.

Demidov, however, seems quite happy to see Gottlieb go, and silently mouths ‘thank you’ to Hayes.

Times passes as Hayes gets the jeep prepped and ready, and Ryan waits outside the bunk room for Gottlieb and Kaleigh to back their things, whilst others load the jeep with supplies.

There is a rumbling sound. A tearing. The floor vibrates.

The Mayor screams out “IREEEENNE!” Ross follows, yelling “HAYES, SNOW PLOUGH, GET IN HERE!”

They burst through the door, as they see Irene disappear through the floor. There is a hole, as if something tore up through the concrete.

“GIVE ME BACK MY WIFE!” Ted screams, diving at the hole. Dr Ross leaps, colliding with him in mid-air, pushing him against a wall.

“She’s dead already! There is nothing you can do for her!” She screams at Ted, holding him down, as he still tries to go for the hole.

Demidov, a respected figure among the survivors, manages to urge everyone into the maintenance bay, to try and get away from where Razor Ants will likely come through, whilst Hayes, Snow Plough and Nemo hover at the office door.

Snow Plough sends Jeeves into the office. The drone shines his torch down into the hole and Snow Plough looks through the cam. The tunnel burrows through the floor, into the ground, through the soil. He can’t see anything, but he can see a flickering shadow, and hear something down there.

“Something is coming. Oh god… we can’t leave here, we’ve not nowhere else to go!”

“I’ve got a cryo-grenade. Could freeze the hole over”, Nemo offers.

Snow Plough turns to him, incredulous. “Why do you have a cryo-grenade? What even is that?”

“If we freeze it, they’ll just burrow through. The only way is to stop them burrowing up here”, Ross reasons.

Snow Plough turns to Hayes. “Hayes, you’ve got grenades.”

“So have you.”

“Oh yeah. Okay, I’ve got this.” In a rare moment of courage, Snow Plough steps into the office and looks down the tunnel as he bounces an incendiary grenade down it. The camera shows the grenade tumbling down the tunnel, which leads into the underground vehicle storage bay. Dozens of shadows, maybe more, clutter around it. It explodes above one of the heating grills. The wave of fire passes under each vehicle, blowing the storage bay to hell. The fire doesn’t travel up the tunnel, as the ceiling collapses over the storage bay and the tunnel collapses, filling the office with dust.

Panic and tension once again runs rife through the survivors. An engineer, Phil, a bald headed and bearded chap, decides to get into the jeep, along with Darla, in addition to Ryan, Gottlieb and Kaleigh. Dean and Cara offer to go too as extra physical back-up; Hayes agrees to this, as it means he can drive back to the other survivors and help support them, whilst Gottlieb’s group stay at the plant. Snow Plough doesn’t seem to have a problem with having less people to worry about.

However, the panic increases among those left behind the building that has already been breached once. Hayes addresses everyone, reminding them that they need people to go the plant, otherwise, everyone else won’t have power, and without it, they’ll all freeze. So they need plenty of support at the plant. Then he reminds them that those that stay have the protection of Fa Tsu. Fa Tsu climbs into his Mech, to give them all some confidence.

“We’re going to get through this. Because we’re all going to be… what?”

A few mumbles come from the crowd.

“We’re going to be WHAT!!?”

“Awesome!”

“That’s more like it.”

Hayes drives out into the snow. The blizzard is still blowing, and visibility is still minimal. Once again, the jeep gets stuck in the snow and Gottlieb criticises him for not having a better prepared vehicle on an Iceworld. He says he will go out and make sure the jeep gets started. Dean and Cara go with him.

Hayes sits and waits with bated breath.

Cara knocks on the window, a few minutes later. She mimes at him. He nods and starts the engine.

The three survivors get back in.

Using a GPS, Hayes makes his way to the hydro-electric plant. He waits and watches as the group take the supplies into the plant and go inside. Ryan gives him a thumbs-up.

Hayes sets off into the snow. Alone.

The snowfall seems to be lessening a little, but Hayes still cannot see far. He ducks as something swoops overhead. There is a shriek. He increases speed as he shoots across the glacier.

Something leaps at him from the left. He swerves past it. He has to keep swerving, as more shadows come running at him out of the snow. Pursuing. The camera cuts above. The glacier is swarming with small Ant groups, as Hayes swerves past them.

And then he hears a shrieking roar. The Queen. Near, but he doesn’t know where. He considers going straight ahead at Frost, but sees reason, and veers round it.

Hayes radios through to Snow Plough.

The roar can be heard from inside too. Snow Plough is staring at the walls where the sound is coming from, telling Hayes he can hear it, and reckons it is why in Chang’s old warehouse.

Hayes suggests taking it down with his railgun, suggesting that cutting the head from the Razor Ants may be what they need. Snow Plough agrees, the two of them overtaken with destroying the thing. Snow Plough assumes Fa Tsu will be happy to come and kill the Queen, but he just stands staring at the noise, shaking. “No… we’ll die… it’ll kill us all… we need to stay here…”

Yeti, however, is more than up for the idea of killing the Queen. He nearly charges out there by himself. Hayes then comes inside with the jeep, and some of the others start to get ready for war.

But Ross makes them see reason. “We don’t know enough about those things or how many there are. If you go out there, you’ll die, and then alert them to us. We don’t know why it is roaring like that. There could be many biological reasons. Either way, there is too much we don’t know. We should stay here.” The bloodlust calms in all except Yeti, but he has to follow Snow Plough’s orders, regardless.

“Right then. We’ve some time to kill”, says Snow Plough, as the Queen’s roaring continues outside.

The camera cuts above to show swarms of white Razor Ants moving in around Frost.

“Tea, anyone?”

Roll end credits.

Post credits scene: The camera cuts underground. Part of a blue mandible is protruding, lifeless, from underneath rubble. White mandibles pull it out. Teams of white colony Razor Ants are dragging out and up the tunnel blue colony dead…

The Queen roars, as her more and more dead are gathered around her, and her colony gathers to feast…

ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 12

NOTE: The beginning to this game is possibly the creepiest intro I have ever described, so I am just giving a warning before you continue on. If you have any horror related triggers revolving around harm to children, then I wouldn’t read on. Nothing is directly described, merely implied (which was how it was handled in-game), but nonetheless, if that is too freaky for you, you can read the first paragraph, skip the second, and read the rest.

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE 12 (DAY 10)

The pre-credits scene continues on from the last two episodes with the young Devon Greyjoy.

He is lying on his bed when there is a knock at his door. A handsome, muscular, long and auburn-haired gentleman walks into the room and sits on the edge of the bed. His voice is that of the man who hung the other man in the prior two flashbacks.

He thanks Devon for covering for him, and says that the man who died was a traitor. He says that Devon is a patriot for what he did, and explains that he is a Corps Command Operative, and implies his little brother has the same stuff.

Time then cuts ahead, showing a montage Devon Greyjoy growing up, with a clear military obsession as he gets into the Corps and works his way to Sergeant… and then receives his secret status and badge as a Corps Command Operative.

The montage ends with another little scene. The voice of the Commander that was heard ‘talking’ with Ramirez in the very first episode of the season is heard off-camera, addressing Greyjoy from off of the camera.

He tells Greyjoy about the former Sergeant Greyjoy, and how his actions have brought unwarranted attention from the Mendoza Cartel that the Corps doesn’t want. The Admiral explains how some of the Cartel’s activities have been overlooked since they provide significant financial boosts to other colonies, and now Ramirez has linked the Corps with his actions, hence his very public sending to Frost. However, Ramirez has proven that he can make trouble anywhere, so Greyjoy has been attached as the new Sergeant in replacement of Ramirez’s former command, in order to keep an eye on Ramirez. Greyjoy asks if he needs to dispose of Ramirez, and is told that if Ramirez causes problems, then he is to be “dealt with discreetly.”

The camera then flashes ahead briefly to the episode where Ramirez died… as Greyjoy saw the vision of his death, and didn’t tell anyone about it.

(The player reaction to this reveal, and the player of Ramirez was pretty much ‘you bastard!’ towards Greyjoy’s player. Twas quite satisfying.)

Opening credits roll.

(The opening scene is depicted as a silent montage as the players open the episode describing their characters actions. The only sound is a nursery rhyme… which I sung, in person, with the voice of Irene Winkleman, the mayor’s wife.)

The episode begins with just darkness.

“Rockkkkk a bye baby…”

The camera cuts to show Snow Plough… he seems to be panicking, striding backwards and forwards. The camera pans out to show that the survivors are now all rammed into the building where all the various general maintenance workers live. The maintenance workers bunk room is now also housing the food warehouse survivors, along with Anatoli Demidov and his daughter, Alyona, asleep in her bunk.

“Onnnnnn the tree top…”

The bar staff are clustered in a corner with nothing to sleep on at all. Then the camera cuts to the maintenance area, where the jeep is inside. Gerda and Anyu sit separate from the others, Anyu holding Gerda, who looks distant.

“Whennnnnnnnn the wind blows, the cradle will roccccck…”

The camera zooms in to Hayes, sat in the drivers seat of the jeep, fidgeting, occasionally glancing over at the Bulls. Connor Bull is just staring into the middle distance, as if he isn’t registering anything at all.

“Whennnnnnnn the bow breaks, the cradle will fall….”

Fa Tsu and the last survivor of the Tsu family, Mei, sit together by the rear end of the jeep, eyes closed, a candle flame between them, daubing symbols in ink, and sat in ceremonial robes.

In the background, Yeti stands defensively over the dead body of Sergeant Greyjoy, leant up against a wall. The Mech stands up against the south wall, which Ryan sits next to, slightly separate from the rest as usual. Cara and Dean sit together not far from Ryan, talking.

“Annnnnnnnnd down will come babbby, craddlllleee and allllll….”

Dr Ross walks away from McClusky. Half of his face, and much of his back are black from frostbite. She turns to Stapes, stood nearby and shakes her head. “There’s nothing I can do.”

McClusky mutters some last words before his head falls back and his eyes close.

Ross approaches Snow Plough to tell him about McClusky’s death from hypothermia, referring to him as ‘Sergeant Snow Plough’ with her typical sarcastic tone. She points out that taking people out into a blizzard could have had far worse consequences, referencing Snow Plough’s setting fire to the building they were staying in (with more space). Snow Plough snaps at her, pointing out that they would have all eaten by bugs otherwise, which she agrees, elaborating that if Greyjoy hadn’t decided to go out into a blizzard to solve something that wasn’t a problem for several days, it wouldn’t have led to where they are now. She also points out that Hayes is an idiot for driving out in the blizzard too, in the dark to boot, as he knows the danger of that far more than the marines.

Since Snow Plough is in charge, she asks him what they’re going to do next. Snow Plough isn’t taking the responsibility pushed onto him as a result of Greyjoy’s death at all well and starts to panic at the mere implication. He insists on going to see the Mayor to decide their next move.

They approach the office where the Winklemans and their baby are staying. The door is closed, and Irene Winkleman begins singing another nursery rhyme.

They hear the Mayor’s voice. “Irene… you need to put the baby down… its been hours…” He is pleading, desperately. Irene carries on singing. “Irene, please! But the baby down! It isn’t here any more!” Snow Plough and Ross’s faces blanch. The door opens as the Mayor exits, panicked, and his face streaming with tears. Then, as he looks at Snow Plough, his face turns from bitter tears.

“You! This is your fault! You burned our shelter down, took us out into that blizzard, and now my baby is dead!”

“And if I hadn’t you’d have been eaten!”

“They never left those mountains till you idiot marines came along. You were supposed to protect us! But you’ve just killed us!”

Snow Plough is boiling with rage from the look in his eyes, but his voice is oddly calm, whilst also a lot sterner than usual. “Jeeves. Remove the Mayor. Take him to the airlock.”

“Very good sir.” The support drone grapples onto the Mayor with Ramirez’s cybernetic arm, grabs him by the shirt and starts dragging him along into the vehicle maintenance area where the jeep and many of the others are.

“You can’t do this! Winkleman screams. “I’m the god-damned MAYOR! I’m in charge of this town, NOT YOU! YOU CAN’T TREAT ME LIKE THIS!”

Snow Plough maintains his chilly disposition. “Jeeves; take him to the vehicle airlock.”

“Very good sir.”

People watch in awkward silence as the Mayor is dragged literally kicking and screaming across the floor. “Someone help me! He killed my baby and now he is trying to kill me!”

Deputy Hayes climbs out of the jeep. He tries to wrestle the Mayor free of Jeeve’s grip. “Now see here…” Hayes ends up on the floor as he is pushed back.

As the Mayor is dragged towards the airlock, he approaches Yeti and Greyjoy’s corpse… and Yeti does not take kindly to the Mayor’s ranting, and points out the people they have saved. Fa Tsu jumps to the Mayor’s defence, pointing out that many of the settlers are dead, and the marines didn’t save them, and reminds Yeti of his dead family. Yeti yells back that they have lost their own too. There is a brief moment of aggression between the two, before Yeti’s aggression breaks down in the face of Fa Tsu’s philosophical logic and compliments towards Yeti’s loyalty; he speaks to both the Mayor and Yeti as he reminds them that both that they cannot make enemies of each other, or they will all be dead. The enemies are all outside. The Mayor screams back, pointing out that most of the death has been from Greyjoy’s moronic decisions, and that the Ants have barely killed anyone. Fa Tsu reminds him that Greyjoy is dead, and blaming him now, or his last two marines, won’t help anyone. They need to work together, or they are all dead. Ted Winkleman can’t help but agree. As the Mayor calms, Snow Plough releases him (though rather reluctantly). The Mayor agrees to forget Snow Plough’s treatment of him, so they can all get off the planet alive, on one condition; from now on, everything that is done goes through him first. No more people acting on their own… it is still his town. Snow Plough, relieved to not have to be in charge any more, agrees. The Mayor adds that two marines is hardly enough to protect Frost, though many others have proven themselves over the last few days, and it is time to get conscripting some extra members for Snow Plough’s squad.

Frost is going to have its own marine corps, and with Snow Plough as acting Sergeant, Winkleman is to be treated as acting general. His first course of action will be to discuss with EVERYBODY what is to be done next, so he asks that everyone be assembled for a settlement meeting in the maintenance. Which means McClusky and Greyjoy’s body need to be put somewhere. He also pleads for someone to convince his wife to relinquish the baby. Snow Plough volunteers Ross.

Dr Ross tries to convince Irene to pass the baby to her, but she goes hysterical, screaming at her. Whilst this is going on, the maintenance and warehouse workers are leaving the bunk room and going into the bay for the meeting. A tall, hardened, scarred warehouse worker comes pushing his way through the crowd and into the office.

He tries to take the baby off of Irene.

“LEAVE MY BABY ALONE!” She tries to stab him in the neck, but due to lack of skill, slashes the surface, doing some minor damage.

“David; what the hell!” Ross screams, as she gently grabs Irene from behind and rams a stim into her neck, and then lowers her to the floor and against the desk, making sure the still and silent baby still in her arms does not fall to the floor.

Ross gets up and sprays some flesh sealant on David’s wound. “I was trying to help”, he explains.

“You could have gotten yourself killed, you bloody idiot!”

Hayes is alerted to the trouble and appears at the door. Ross looks over to him. “Ah good, Deputy… Irene is unconscious for now, but I have a feeling she won’t be rational when she wakes up. Can you restrain her?”

“Uhhh…” he scratches his head.

“You’re telling me you don’t have mag-cuffs? What kind of law enforcement officer are you! I assume Connor must have some. Go and see.”
Hayes doesn’t seem too happy about that prospect. “Ahhhkaaayy…”

Hayes approaches Connor Bull. Connor is just staring ahead into the middle distance still. Carl seems more receptive, looking up as Hayes approaches.

“Uh, Connor, ah need your help” the Deputy asks.

“You’re not getting my help. You killed my wife.”

Hayes blinks in shock. He backs off into the crowd, unable to process the situation.

“Oh, come on Dad! You said it yourself! Hayes didn’t kill her! The telekinetic did!”

Connor suddenly snaps, turning to his son. “She had knives floating around her! And he threw a god-damned grenade! HE KILLED HER!”

Carl leaps to his feet. “Yelling about it isn’t going to bring her back!” He disappears off into the crowd as Connor shouts after him. Despair then falls on Connor, and he shrinks back into the corner.

Hayes informs Ross that they’ll need another form of restraint. Ross sighs, and takes the baby from her; she’ll be out for a few hours, and Ross hopes, without the baby to cause her hysteria, and with her in a fuzzy mental state, that might be enough to avoid a scene. She also takes the knife away from her.

Fa Tsu remains clothed, as ‘requested’ by Demidov previously. She gently lifts up Alyona and puts her into his mech. “To keep you safe” he says to her, and to Anatoli “so she feels safe. And it’ll protect her if they attack.” He shuts the Mech around her.

Anatoli nods in thanks. “I am still staying with her.”

“Of course.”

“Look at me!” says Alyona. “I am Fa Tsu. BE… AWEEEEESOMMME!”

Yeti carries Greyjoy’s body into the vehicle airlock out of the way. Dean and Cara follow with McClusky’s body.

Dr Ross follows with the Winkleman’s baby, still wrapped up. She lays the baby into Greyjoy’s arms. “This was your fault, you bastard”, she whispers.

Some time passes as the remaining survivors (bar the water purification and heating workers, still safely ensconced in their buildings next door) gather around Hayes’s jeep for a meeting.

The Mayor asks for volunteers to act under Snow Plough’s orders, explaining that Snow Plough will act under him, and all of his missions will be approved by him before going ahead.

Snow Plough and Yeti gain Fa Tsu, David (who seems incredibly eager to help out, citing military experience, which the Mayor seems to frown upon, but excepts anyway), the Ice Miners Dean and Cara and Nick Ryan (reluctantly) as conscripts. The Mayor explains that he will essentially be acting in lieu of the Sheriff, and that Conner Bull (referred to as Deputy once again) will help him coordinate defences whilst the marines and conscripts are off on missions (after Conner makes it clear that he understands strategy, and makes a good marine, but not a good sheriff).

The Mayor then asks what armaments are available among the marines, and who has weapons to spare. Ryan and Bull each have many weapons which they say they can share around to others, whilst Cara and Dean have plenty of mining tools that double as weapons, whilst Demidov offers his own. Amelia mentions her sawn-off shotgun, but points out is her Dad’s, and she isn’t giving it to anyone else. Winkleman asks her to join the militia if she will not loan her weapon; she refuses, but Hayes manages to convince her otherwise.

Snow Plough points out that bullets don’t seem to be of use, and that fire works better, so the Mayor asks what they have in the fire and heat department, which seems to be mainly the mining lasers, of which they have four. Dodd also mentions her explosive rounds, which are a valuable but limited resource.

The next plan of action is discussed; they still have approximately three days of working power without staff being sent to the hydroelectric plant, so after the disaster of the previous day, they decide to waive that plan for now. Since they are living in a very tight space, they agree that they should perhaps all move into the food warehouse where there is more space, as well as more food (though the warehouse workers bought a few days with them).

David reveals that he has a cache of armour and weapons stored there, a fact which isn’t received well by the Mayor or Deputy Bull, what with that being illegal, but they decide that now is not the time to worry.

It is agreed that a squad needs to be sent to recon the warehouse before the group goes over there.

Fa Tsu, Hayes, Snow Plough, Yeti and David are sent on the recon mission.

Dr Ross makes it clear to the group to remember that they know the Razor Ants are hyper-sensitive to sound, even in the blizzard, so they should approach slowly and carefully, and if they have to fight, to aim for the underside, where they appear to have a slit, possibly for excretion, which makes them vulnerable to attack.

As the team are about to head out, Dr Ross lends Hayes Ramirez’s silenced pistol; “They don’t react to sound, so it might be useful… I am not saying you should start shooting anything. But just in case.” Then then looks to Snow Plough. “Oh, and bring me back a body.” He blinks in disbelief. “Razor Ant, of course. We need to learn more about them.”

The team step out into the blizzard… it isn’t dark, but visibility is still minimal. They spent a lot of time edging through the snow a few feet at a time. Fa Tsu starts to panic and refuses to go forward. He says he can see blips at the very edge of his motion tracker’s hundred foot range. They appear at the edge and then disappear again. Hayes manages to convince him to keep going; the blips aren’t coming towards them, and are going north of their destination, so they should be safe. Though Fa Tsu keeps with the group, he is far from calm. As they approach the warehouse airlock and step inside, he sees more blips very close by… on the other side of the warehouse wall. As they enter the warehouse, the blips move up against the opposite side of the wall. Fa Tsu’s panic is increasing. David runs to his stash and starts donning UCMC issue armour and guns rapidly. Snow Plough, Hayes and Yeti start getting frozen food into mag-cases and slapping them onto the back of the Mech. Meanwhile Fa Tsu stares at the wall. Something thumps against it. And again. The wall cracks a little.

“They’re coming! We need to kill’ em all!” He punches the wall with one metallic fist and again.

Hayes manages to stop him by telling him that if they get through the wall and he helps them, he’ll get them all killed.

As the wall cracks further, they escape with the food they have as David follows hastily beside.

They get outside before the Razor Ants come crashing through the wall.

Dr Ross is waiting as they come in through the airlock.

She smiles, one eyebrow raised. “What’s this? You went out on a mission and came back with everybody. Is the warehouse clear?”

“No. The bugs have settled in over there” says Hayes.

“But we got food” adds Snow Plough.

“You’re already doing better than your predecessor.” She leans forward and kisses him on the cheek. He rapidly lowers and locks his visor, blushes and steps ahead. Ross laughs. “Hang on where’s my body?”

“Sorry, we forgot” Hayes shrugs.

“Well, at least you’re still alive. Now we’ve just gotta survive crammed in here for a few days.”

The end credits roll.

(I also added a POST-CREDITS scene.)

Dr Stapes has a folder open in his lap. It appears to have blueprints with a human shape. He closes it as Ross approaches.

“Well, still alive”, Ross says.

“I bet you’re glad the Sergeant is gone” says Stapes. She just stares back at him. “You were right not to trust him. Let’s just say, he wasn’t quite what he said was…”

ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 11

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE 11 (DAY 9, Part 2)

Played characters- Sergeant Greyjoy, Deputy Hayes, Snow Plough, McClusky, Fa Tzu, Seb (new character/player)

Featured Friendlies- Pretty much everyone…

The pre-credits scene follows on from last episode, in the barn where a man seems to have been hung by another man called ‘Johnny.’ This scene is almost entirely described showing the floor, feet and shadows cast across the floor.

A detective inspector and a heavily armoured police officer enter the barn, cutting down the hanging body, questioning why the man would kill himself. The officer notices movement above and climbs up into the hayloft, finding the ten year old Devon Greyjoy, who is carefully led down the ladder, as the inspector rather bluntly makes sure the body is removed from sight. It is pointed out that Devon has probably seen the whole thing. The camera cuts to Devon, whose expression seems completely distant. They resolve that now is not the time for questioning and lead him out of the barn…

Roll opening credits…

The episode opens with the Icebreakers (Sergeant Greyjoy and Snow Plough) and their volunteers (McClusky, Deputy Hayes, Gottlieb and the plant worker he brought with him, Seb) inside Haye’s jeep, with Fa Tsu clinging on the back, as they slowly push through the blizzard. Unseen by the rest of the squad, Fa Tsu trembles. The camera cuts to show the view from his Mech helmet’s HUD, as he helplessly watches as the jeep unknowingly rides straight at the mass of blips congregating at and breaking through the southern wall of the western building, right into the hangar.

“Uh guys… I think we need to turn back!” he finally blurts to the others he is with over the radio.

“Why?” Hayes asks, at the wheel, unable to see more than a few feet in front of him, and driving slowly.

“Uhhhhhh…. cos we’re riding right into a horde of Razor Ants!”

“What? I can’t see anything!”

“Iiii can see them on my motion tracker…”

“Why didn’t you tell me before!” Hayes turns the jeep sharply to the right… and then the jeep stops, as it turns into and gets stuck in a particularly large mound of snow. “Wellll that’s just great.” He turns to the Sarge. “What we do now? Ah can’t rev the engine since we know they react to sound, and they’re right in front of us.”

With his usual confidence says “Two of us will have to go out there and see if we can free the jeep manually.”

Fa Tsu radios everyone again. “We got another problem. They’re getting inside the hangar.”

“Then we need to get this jeep moving and get back inside quickly.” The Sergeant flips open his wrist communicator.

The camera cuts to Yeti, outside the Foragers, alone, as he slams on the airlock. “RYAN!” The controls suddenly go red and say LOCKED. “RYANNN!” Yeti bellows, as he then hears high pitched screeches that cut through the blizzard, coming from above him.

The camera cuts inside, as Ryan steps away from the airlock panel, having locked it. He looks across the room; Geoffrey O’Hanlan and stands with his warehouse workers and Darla, in a defensive huddle, all dressed and ready to go, near Darla’s office. Dr Ross is also with them; she has a bonesaw out and ready. Gerda, Anyu and Fenris are in the vehicle airlock, but have the inner door open, as Gerda has her rifle out and ready, as everyone keeps an eye on the southern wall. Stapes has clambered up onto one of the lab desks, staring around warily. Dodd is in the bunk room by herself, cleaning her rifle.

In the Ice Miner’s HQ, Mei Tsu stands behind Dean, Cara and Antoli, who all have mining lasers ready, with chainsaws at their feet. They stand in front of an office, where the Winklemans and the children are hiding, with the door shut. Sheriff Connor Bull strides back and forth in front of the miners. “Okay, so if they break in, keep them at a distance, use your lasers. I’ll be providing fire from behind you. We need to take them before they get to us. When one of them gets close, one of you drops your laser, and goes for your chainsaw. We’ll cover you. Then one by one, go for melee weapons, and take them down… hopefully it won’t come to that.”

“But we’re safe aren’t we?” says Demidov.

“The Sergeant told us to get to ready to move, which means they could be near. Hopefully we won’t have to, but we need to be ready to fight.”

His hand then goes for his helmet. The Sergeant’s voice says “Sheriff. I need to speak to the Mayor… now.”

Connor’s face blanches. He opens the office door and whispers in the Mayor’s ear. His face whitens.

He looks to his wife. “Uh… I just need to sort something” and hastily leaves the office.

“What are we gonna do!” he says to the Sheriff.

“All right, they’ve been warned. We need to get out of here. McClusky, you’re with me” says the Sarge, as the two step out into the blizzard. Greyjoy looks for the biggest build-up of snow around the wheels and starts shovelling the snow by hand, but the progress is slow. McClusky gets his large lead pipe ready and shoves it under the chassis, above the wheel and lifts with all of his great might, lifting the wheel out of the snow. This works, but gives out an almighty metallic shriek.

Perspective cuts to Hayes. He looks at the two outside, just about visible, as McClusky grins and gives him a thumbs up. Hayes’s expression confuses McClusky, as his face is not one of a pleased man. He looks panicked. He gestures at McClusky. McClusky has no idea what Hayes is trying to say. Greyjoy looks behind him, and sees five Razor Ants slowly coming at them through the snow. Their pace is far slower than normal, having to tear each long thin leg out of the snow. McClusky has no comm facility whatsoever, so the Sergeant’s shouts mean nothing through the noise of the blizzard. The wind blasts right at them from the east. The Sergeant climbs up above the massive wheel, turns his head and throws a stun grenade at them… the wind blasts it right over his head. He turns fully to the Razor Ants and draws both of his combat knives. “Come on you fuckers!”

Fa Tsu blinks in disbelief as he sees a blip rapidly flying towards him, reactively flinging himself off the back of the jeep, partially sinking into the thick snow. “What the fuck!” He watches the bright flash detonate only a few feet behind and above him. Hayes gets control of the railgun, and fires a slug, emitting a blue streak from the barrel. Snow Plough is sat as far back of the jeep as he can be, with his drones, and sat right under the railgun. He screams in panic as he suddenly goes deaf, and starts yelling down the comms to know what is going on, but he can’t hear anything and all he can see outside is snow cascading down.

Fa Tsu gets to his feet. “Hilt… or… blade?” he says, as he considers running back inside by himself, or going into the fight… he chooses the fight. And unlike the others, slowly struggling through the snow, the mining Explorer Suit pounds through the snow at great speed.

McClusky’s expression gets gradually more confused as he sees Fa Tsu run at him, firing his arm-mounted cutting laser, whilst the shoulder-mounted, AI operated mining laser on his shoulder fires again. And then the confusion increases as a Razor ant leaps from behind McClusky, onto the Mech. It wraps its legs tightly around the torso of the suit, its mandibles snapping near the face-plate. McClusky tears his pipe out from the vehicle, and swings it like a baseball bat, knocking the ant into the snow. It is on its underside, legs kicking wildly in the air. McClusky takes the opportunity to beat it. Repeatedly. He cracks open the underside, as blue organs and fluid spray across his environment suit, as he horribly kills it. He delivers another grin and thumbs up, this time to Fa Tsu, who looks on in horror, as three Razor Ants ram their mandibles into McClusky’s back, tearing through the environment suiting, and puncturing his armour underneath.

Snow Plough climbs across the seat, sending his drones ahead of him. Gottlieb is cowering in a foetal position on the floor, hands braced over his head. Snow Plough can’t see anything still, but Jeeves can, and he sees through Jeeves camera what Hayes can see, as the deputy sees a line of Razor Ants stalking right at the front of the jeep, whilst three latch onto McClusky, and another crawls up to the front of the left-hand tyre after the Sarge. Snow Plough swings open the nearest door. “Crusher! Attack Hostiles in front!”

“Command acknowledged!” The drone flies out of the jeep… and is buffeted by heavy winds. Plough shuts the door in time as the spinning drones, its bullets wildly raking down the left side of the jeep. And then it disappears into the blizzard. “CRUSSSSSHER!”

He then looks down at Gottlieb and slaps him around the back of the head. “What are you doing?”He slaps him again. “WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING?”

The Sergeant watches as the creature crawls up onto the wheel, moving back a little. He throws one of his knives… which flies backwards, spinning into the blizzard.

Hayes loads and fires another railgun shell, killing at least one more.

Two more Razor Ants come at Fa Tsu. He burns one alive with his cutting laser. The mining laser fire, burning a hole into the shell of another.

Inside the jeep, Seb, the young, spotty plant worker brought with Gottlieb raises his head up and around, trying to see what is going on, greeted only by snow. However, from the continued firing of the railgun, he knows there is some kind of fight going on. He takes out a mono-filament tripwire and starts attaching it to the door.

McClusky reaches around behind him to try and attack the Razor Ants embedded in his back, but cannot do so. He tries to use brute force to push free. He fails. So he does he does back-flip, tearing himself free, landing behind the Ants that had him in their grip… with yet more behind him.

Snow Plough grabs onto Gottlieb and pulls him up from the floor. “YOU’RE NOT STAYING HERE! STOP BEING USELESS YOU’RE GOING TO HELP ME GET THIS THING MOVING!”

“Let go! Vat are you doing!”Seb is forced back into his seat, as Plough clambers over, dragging Gottlieb with him, out into the blizzard. With frightening determination, Snow Plough storms through the blizzard, not slowed at all, even dragging Gottlieb along with him, as they reach the back of the jeep.

“Vat the hell are you doing?”

“I NEED YOU TO RELEASE THE FUEL!”

“Vat! You’ll kill everyone! ARE YOU MAD?”

“DO WHAT I SAY!”

Gottlieb backs off. “Screw you! You’re insane! I’m not dying here with you!” And he starts to stride off into the blizzard.

“FINE! I’LL DO IT MYSELF!” And Snow Plough crawls under the jeep.

Seb stops trying to place his trap and decides to follow after them… he slips and falls into the snow, almost entirely disappearing under it.

Ross looks to the other civilians. “All right, I’ve just got word from the Mayor we need to be ready to move. The bugs could break through any moment-”

The south walls shakes, where the door into the hangar is still barricaded. The office shakes to the left of the barricade shakes… as a Worker bursts through it, right in front of Geoffrey O’Halan.

“OH SWEET JAES-” It snaps its mandibles, as his head flies right off. His workers scream all suddenly moving back, as the wall to the left of the office gives away, as another Workers comes through the wall. The barricaded door remains untouched.

“Everybody back!” yells Ross, stepping forward, hacksaw ready.

Dodd, right by the bunk door, sees the thing come through the wall and moves back into cover.

Ryan looks ahead, and then to the airlock. Outside, three Screamers descend, shrieking at Yeti.

“Damn. No way out” Ryan says. He unlocks the airlock door. Yeti swings his machete at the screamers, as the machete bounces off their carapaces. He looks back at the airlock, seeing the lights are green. He opens the door and dives inside, shutting it behind. “Ryan! I am going to fucking kill you!”

The Razor Ants in front of the jeep crawl onto the front, chipping at the reinforced glass, as in united force, they break through it. The Sergeant grabs one of his machine pistols in his right hand after moving the remaining blade into his left hand. He comes at it with the blade aiming low and swinging upwards. Its mouth opens wide and he shoves his machine pistol into its mouth. “Eat this you-ARRRRGH!” It snaps the mandibles shut before he can fire. As the Sarge tries to pull his arm free, the arm is completely torn off at the elbow. The Sarge falls back, grabbing onto a door handle.

Hayes see the Ants about to get in, panics, and revs the engines. The wheels spin, and the Ant that just took the Sarge’s arm is sucked under the wheel and then spat away into the blizzard. The Ants are flung off the front of the jeep, as Hayes barrels through the rest. Fa Tsu reaches over and grabs onto the jeep as it rides off, as he flung through the air sending Ants flying, as McClusky grabs onto one of his Mech’s legs and is dragged along. Plough grabs onto the underside.

Hayes hastily drives back into the building, with everyone else quite literally hanging on…

Except for Seb, who briefly looks out of the snow, and then covers himself up again, and Gottlieb, wherever he is.

The lights in the airlock shatter as the screamers scream. Yeti tears the inner door open manually. “I should kill you for that, Ryan!” he bellows.

“Still alive aren’t you?”

Sheriff Bull orders the ice miners to hold their area, and runs through the hole in the wall from the equipment cupboard in the Forager’s bunk room, pushing past Dodd. He comes face to face with a worker, dropping to his knees, as he shoots it in the underside, and knocks it to the floor. It is still alive, but writhing about.

“Hit them in the underside!” he calls out.

Ross thinks back to when Ramirez killed two of the screamers by punching through the helicopter windscreen into their undersides… “Of course!” she calls out. The second worker has moved around to get at the warehouse workers, who flee back towards the lab area, so it turns towards Ross. She ducks underneath it, swinging, the hacksaw, but her swing is inaccurate and bounces off the carapace as it lunges at her. It bites again, and she jams the hacksaw into its mandibles, as they close around it. With incredible strength, especially for a slight scientist, she digs her heels into the floor and holds it back. But, as the second worker moves to attack her, it leaves the hole free, and hunters (the standard and most common Razor Ant) start to stream it.

Gerda fires at them, but the darts pin harmlessly off them, and Fenris stays by her, barking at them, further drawing their attention.

Ryan and Yeti look back at the airlock, which shakes and rattles. “There’s no way out this way” he radios to Bull.

Sheriff Bull kicks the fallen worker over and shoots it in the other underside, blasting its organs everywhere, as its writing ceases. “We can kill these things. Concentrate attacks this way, we can get out if take out the things in the way!”

Hayes gets the jeep into the building, and then sits back in something of a state of shock. The last of his strength gone, Greyjoy lets go off the jeep and shuffles over to the nearest wall. He reaches for his tags with his one remaining hand, and just stares at the tags. The group are mostly in stunned silence… except for Snow Plough. He runs over to Greyjoy. “Don’t worry Sarge, I’m gonna find Ross, and you’ll be okay! I’ve got this Sarge!” He hears the sound of the Razor Ants scuttling along the other side of the wall, in the hangar, and then hears Bull shouting and shooting and runs through the Ice Miners HQ, through the Foragers bunk room and right behind Ross.

“Ross! The Sarge needs you!” He grabs Ross, and throws her into the bunk room behind him. He then looks up at the bug before him. “Uh-oh” he readies his assault rifle.

Ross picks herself up and goes to find the Sergeant. She stands over him.

“Well, I can’t say I’m surprised this happened to you” she says, injecting the Sergeant pull of painkillers, whilst Jeeves cauterises the wound.

He looks at her, somewhat delirious. “Does that mean… you still won’t go out with me?”

“Little tip Sergeant… if someone puts a gun against your face, that means they’re probably not that into you.”

She walks over to McClusky and Fa Tsu, whilst Hayes climbs out of the jeep.

“How is he?” Hayes asks.

“Just a matter of time. No way he is surviving that kind of shock.”

“Isn’t there anything you could do.”

“Not me. I’m a biologist, not a surgeon… maybe Stapes can help. But the bugs are coming… good luck getting to him… and getting the others out.”

McClusky and Fa Tsu look at each other. Both go charging off towards the fight.

Fa Tsu comes crashing through the hole he made the other day… and makes a new one directly opposite as he goes through the other bunk room wall.

Outside, Seb pushes his way of the snow, making his way in the direction of the jeep tracks. A light shones at him out of the blizzard.

“Attention: non-combatant located.” Crusher hovers before the technician. “Where are the Hostiles located?”

“I think they’re that way.” Seb gestures over to where he guesses the bugs came from, in the direction where the jeep had been driving. “Pretty sure.”

“Acknowledged. Opening fire.” Seb continues on his way, whilst Crusher slowly fights his way against the wind, cutting loose on full-auto with the minigun. His lights illuminate some of them, swarming by the wall, as he cuts them down in large numbers whilst they are trying to enter the building.

McClusky makes his way through the bunk room (as Fa Tsu blocks the hole), but Snow Plough is in between him and the nearest bug.

One bug gets near to Gerda as she fires too wide as it plunges at her. Fenris bites at it to protect her, only to get the ant’s mandibles biting into his stomach. “Fenris!” Gerda calls.

The Worker in front of Snow Plough snaps right at his neck. McClusky pulls Snow Plough out of the way and throws him back. He swings his pipe at the insect, but is bitten through the arm, as it slices easily through his undercover armour, as it wasn’t even there. Snow Plough looks ahead of McClusky, where more bugs are starting to pour through the hole. Yeti and Ryan tuns as the inner door of the airlock flies off its hinges; Snow Plough sees the three screamers come into the room. He grabs an incendiary grenade he acquired from the armoury, aiming for the hole. He sets the bug that bit McClusky aflame, along with every bug coming through the hole… except for the one before Gerda. The bugs caught in the fire instantly die. The other bugs immediately back away from the fire and disappear into the cold… into Crusher’s swathe of fire. The fire’s radius is small, but starting to spread.

But the fight is not finished. The remaining Hunter lifts Fenris from the floor, tearing into his stomach, as the dog drops dead on the floor.

“My dog! YOU BASTARD!” Gerda drops her rifle to the floor, showing her claws and fangs. She jumps on top of the Razor Ant, using her weight to knock it to the floor. She then proceeds to tear apart with its underbelly with claws and fangs, as she goes completely wild.

And then the screamers make their way into the room. Yeti stands before them with his machete.

Connor ways the civilians over. “Everyone this way, now, before the entire place burns down.”

They do as told without any need for further encouragement.

Ryan shoots at the screamers, slowing them down as he shoots around them, making their legs jerk back with every shot. “Go. I’ll keep them back”, Ryan says, as he climbs onto a lab desk.

Yeti looks over, some of his rage towards the man gone. He retreats… and Fa Tsu takes his place, storming over in rage. Whilst Ryan holds them back, Fa Tsu punches his fists through the ceiling and drops a section of it on the bugs. The two then make their way after the others.

Dr Stapes is no more confident that he can help Sergeant Greyjoy, than Ross was. He tells Yeti and Snow Plough that he doesn’t think he has much longer. The two marines approach their Sergeant.

“Snow Plough. You… need to take over. You’re Sergeant now.”

“No Sarge! You can do this.”

“I can’t… the squad… needs a leader.”

“What squad!?” says Snow Plough. “There’s just us.”

“Looks like we need to go on a recruitment drive” says Yeti. “Some here have already shown they have what it takes.”

Snow Plough nods sadly.

Yeti holds out his fist. All three marines connect fists. “Ice Breakers!”

Roll end credits.

ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 10

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE 10 (DAY 9, Part 1)

Played characters- Sergeant Greyjoy, Deputy Hayes, Snow Plough, McClusky, Fa Tzu

Featured Friendlies- Dr Stapes, Gottleib Auttenberg, Yeti, George O’Hanlan, Dr Mya Ross, Amelia and Abigail Munroe, Anatoli Demidov, Mayor Ted Winkleman, Nick Ryan.

The episode begins showing a green countryside, and a barn. The camera cuts inside, showing two pairs of boots. In front of them, there is another pair of boots on a chair.

“Please Johnny, don’t do this.”

“You know I have to. You’re a traitor.”

“But Johnny… I can help you! I can get you -in-. Nobody will know a thing…”

“Then I’d have to continue associating with a traitor.”

“Please Johnny! You’re not listening…”

“I’ve listened enough…”

The chair is kicked out from the boots. The boots dangle, as the other voice does nothing gurgle and sputter, as he fights strangulation. The other pair of boots remain where they are.

The camera cuts to a hayloft. From the hay, emerges the face of a ten year old with a spotty face, a mess of black hair, and some resemblance to Sergeant Greyjoy. The young face looks out, and downward, as the strangled noises continue. Slowly, his face disappears back into the hay.

The camera focusses on the hay stack for another ten seconds of strangled noises before the noise finally stops.

There is the sound of large wooden doors creaking. “Somebody help! He’s hanged himself! There’s been a suicide! Help me please!” The voice is that of ‘Johnny.’ “Anybody!”

Roll opening credits.

It is pitch black outside the settlement of Frost. A blizzard howls between the buildings. Visibility is virtually non-existent. The camera jumps inside to the Foragers HQ. The place is a mess after the party. In the far right corner, right by the toilet, Greyjoy sits against a wall, heavy bags under his eyes, surveying the rest of his room from his vantage point. (He has acquired an extra machine pistol, presumably from the armoury). Snow Plough is by him, eyes close, pretending to snore, though clearly awake. On the edge of one of the lab desks near them, Jeeves rests, deactivated. Crusher drifts back and forth, still active. Yeti is asleep against the wall by the airlock out, with Abigail curled up against him.

Where there was once a lounge area (before being moved to barricade the door to the compromised hangar), the food warehouse survivors lie on the floor, huddled together. Ryan is near them, leant against a wall, armour and helmet still on and gun across his lap, though he seems to be asleep, near the barricaded door.

The remaining survivors of the Foragers (Doctors Stapes and Ross, Darla, Gerda and Fenris and Anyu) have pushed the wrecks of their bunk frames to one corner and are asleep on floor mattresses in their bunk room. Thanks to Fa, there is a hole melted into the Ice Miner’s HQ, into their equipment cupboard, where Hayes is fast asleep on the floor in one corner. A discarded whisky bottle lies nearby, and not far from him lies a small pool of sick.

Carl Bull lies asleep across a sofa in the lounge area, and a chair is turned towards the Ice Miner’s airlock, as his father Connor sits, quite awake, rifle across his lap, watching. The miners remain in their undamaged quarters, along with Mei Tzu and the Winkleman family, all asleep in bunks.

Events go back to Greyjoy and Snow Plough. Greyjoy notices Snow Plough is awake, and speaks with him. Plough opens his eyes. The roaring wind outside can be easily heard inside.

Greyjoy voices his worries about continued survival, which sets Plough off with one of his nervous episodes.

“12 more days, Sarge. How are we going to survive 12 more days! I don’t want to stay here any more!”

“We’ll get off-planet.”

“How? How are we going to survive that long!”

“We just need the food and power to stay alive. Without power, we’ll all freeze to death. We might have to go out there, though.”

“Why don’t you go out there and do some carving, Sarge?”

The Sarge raises an eyebrow.

“It was a skiing joke. Sorry. It was poor.”

Abigail, woken by the conversation, she wanders over and sarcastically mocks them for waking her with their noise.

“You can’t say anything about noise!” as Snow Plough. “What about you and Yeti?”

“If you’re jealous, I can always suck you off. There’s a toilet behind you.”

Plough reddens and looks away. “No thank you.” She wanders off back to Yeti. “I don’t like it here Sarge, there’s too many people around. We need to get out of here. We should just leave these people behind.”

The storage cupboard then swings open, as Amelia stomps out, not looking too pleased with the two marines. “You know you’re supposed to be taking us with you?”

“And we will” assures the Sergeant. She doesn’t seem convinced, then glares at Snow Plough. “You know we are just inside a bloody cupboard and can here everything you say, right?”

The Sergeant gets up. “Need to find out who I can talk to about the power. I’ll go and talk with Stapes.”

As the Sergeant makes his way to where the Foragers are, he is approached by Geoffrey O’Hanlan. Briefly featured at the beginning of the season, O’Hanlan is the manager of the food warehouse. He is seems a little nervous as he approaches the Sergeant. He is relatively tall, with a receding hairline.

He introduces himself as Geoffrey, and is rather surprised when the Sergeant smiles, shakes his hand and says “Devon.” O’Hanlan asks the Sergeant about how he plans to keep them all safe, but the Sergeant is not greatly forthcoming outside of explaining the general intention of keeping everyone with enough power, warmth and food. O’Hanlan explains that there should be enough food, and if not, then there are plants to eat, though he doesn’t seem too happy about that notion.

Greyjoy gets to business and asks how the power works, though O’Hanlan isn’t terribly helpful on the matter. The Sarge moves on, and when Geoffrey says “Bye Devon” the Sarge responds with “That’s Sergeant.” O’Hanlan looks a little perturbed, unable to think about what he said wrong.

The Sergeant then goes to the door of the Forager’s bunks and rudely swings the door open. Dr Ross is awake, lying on her mattress, reading a book. The others are asleep.

“What are you reading, Doctor?”

She responds, though, almost through gritted teeth. “A book about plant genetics. Something I am sure you’d hardly find fascinating.”

“Fair enough” he says, being surprisingly civil, despite the fact that Ross had a gun pointed at his face the previous day. Stapes (wearing a night cap) opens his eyes and comments that he assumes Greyjoy didn’t come to wake people up by talking about books. Greyjoy explains he came to talk to Stapes, and offers him some tea whilst they talk.

Snow Plough is already preparing tea as Greyjoy and Stapes come over to the kitchen area. Greyjoy says quietly to Stapes. “What I told you the other day… can we just forget about it? I perhaps was under some stress and was not entirely truthful, to motivate you.”

“We are all suffering from great stress, but you saved a great deal of people yesterday, so I feel I can forgive you a little lie, Sergeant. Though it seems some people will take a lot longer to forget some of the things you have done.”

The Sergeant then asks for Stapes for more information about the settlement. Stapes explains that Gottlieb Auttenberg lives in the adjacent building, and is head of maintenance. There is a hydro-electric plant to the North where two of the four workers operate to work in shifts, so if the truck that came crashed, they are dead, meaning the plant will be without power, and without maintenance, will likely stop feeding power after a day or so. The back-up generator (between the two buildings that make up Frost, outside) will have enough power for about another day or so, giving four days of power at most if somebody isn’t sent to man the plant. Greyjoy thanks Stapes, pointing out that he is his closest ally in the settlement, though Stapes seem to think he is given too much credit, well as relied upon for information that isn’t really his area. Greyjoy resolves to go and speak to Mayor Winkleman about the power situation. Stapes make it clear that they will have to risk going outside to get next door to speak to Auttenberg, as they have are separated by walls and have their own airlock for entry. Greyjoy decides that if they need to get workers to the power plant, it will have to be under guard, and thinks he will also need volunteers. He suggests taking ‘Fushu’, as he seems useful… when Stapes and Plough looked baffled, Stapes eventually works out that he means Fa Tsu. Greyjoy leaves Stapes and Snow Plough to their tea.

He annoys some more Foragers by going back into their bunk room to get through the wall-hole into the mining equipment cupboard. He encounters Hayes, who awakens. Greyjoy asks Hayes if he would accompany his squad to go and help ensure the power stays on, and Hayes surprisingly and quickly agrees without complaint, and immediately begins arming himself.

Greyjoy then moves past another larger storage cupboard (where there is the sound of welding) and continues on to the miner’s head quarters. He knocks this time before entering. The baby starts crying, rudely awakening McClusky, who is sleeping by the door.

The Mayor is awake and comes to the door to speak to Greyjoy, who approves of the general plan. The Mayor assures him to be careful though, as Auttenberg is a little prickly, and though Greyjoy may have redeemed himself with the rescue of the Mayor and others the previous day, Auttenberg won’t be so easy to sway. He also reveals about the near-riot he caused before the rescue, and how feelings against him are not just going to magically change. He reminds Greyjoy that he is not the one charge of the settlement, Winkleman is. Greyjoy asks where he can find Fa Tsu (though he gets the name wrong again) and Winkleman says he has no idea, but there can’t be many options. Greyjoy walks back the way came, and focusses on the welding sounds, and opens the door. Fa is say atop the shoulders of his Explorer Suit Mech, having just finished welding a mining laser to the shoulder of it. Fa Tsu is almost naked, as usual, except with a metal crotch-guard. The laser rotates towards the Sarge and says ‘target acquired’ before Fa Tsu turns it off and climbs off the Mech.

Sarge compliments his engineering skills, and yet gets “what the fuck do you want?” in response, taking the Sergeant a back a little.”You got my brother killed” he continues.

“Chang was your brother.”

“How did you work that out? Cos was one of the four Chinese guys here?”

The loud shouting and swearing draws attention. Hayes is still getting equipped whilst watching, and Snow Plough decides to remain a little out of sight. McClusky, half-awake and half-dressed, wanders over to watch the fun, slightly amused by it all.

“Looks like he’s gonna kill him”, McClusky remarks to Hayes, about Fa’s attitude to the Sarge.

Hayes grins in a dark manner. “Think he’s gonna have to join the queue.”

Greyjoy maintains calm, though as usual, his words get the better of him; “Your brother had a good death.”

“A good death? A GOOD DEATH? He got the back of his head blown off! And you just stood there! He screamed for you to help. But you fucking did nothing! Nothing!”

Greyjoy tries to apologise, but is continually shouted and sworn at.

Demidov comes striding out of the bunk room, pushing his way past McClusky. He grabs Fa Tsu and very aggressively demands that he stops swearing and shouting, as his daughter can hear every word.

“And put some clothes on, before I rip your balls off!”

“Hey, its not my fault. You’re the one who won’t pay for a proper suit that fits around my nodes. I -have- to be naked.”

“But your not -in- the suit now, are you? And if even if you are, you can put some damn pants on!”

Fa Tsu continues to argue, until Demidov shuts him up, showing a picture his daughter has drawn, where Fa Tsu appears to have a snake drawn from his crotch. “Have you -seen- what she is drawing?” Fa Tsu’s face whitens. “You are around my -daughter-. You will do what I say. I was not joking about the balls thing.” And then he strides off.

Fa Tsu now looks more than a little embarrassed, which at least means it has lessened the tension a little bit towards the Sarge, who explains his intended mission to Fa Tsu and asks for his help. Fa Tsu agrees, but still isn’t exactly warm to the Sarge. He then turns and sees McClusky standing there, and asks if McClusky wants to help; McClusky agrees.

The team need to get out through the airlock but have the slight problem that the metal of the outer door was buckled and warped by the shrieks of multiple screamers (when Fa Tsu tried to go outside through it) and the internal electrics to operate it have been fried. McClusky at least manages to use his considerable brute strength to get the inner door open.

Fa knows a lot about electronics, so with aid from Snow Plough, who understands plenty from his knowledge in robotics, but takes a little guidance from Fa Tsu, they end up completely removing the internal wiring from the airlock and replacing it. Meanwhile, McClusky ends up trying to fix the outer door, but only ends up seeming the make the situation worse. Snow Plough then tries to address the problem. Greyjoy comes over, lays his hands on their shoulders and says “You’re on a mission from God”, to try and encourage them.

After some time, the three agree that the only way to open the airlock door will result in being unable to close it. They decide to take another way out. McClusky and Fa Tsu lead them through the door that leads into the vehicle exit. There is a code-locked shutter door at the top of a ramp which leads into the underground storage bay, the only problem being that McClusky smelt smoke coming from there only a day ago. They reason that if there was still a fire, they’d have noticed by now, and so McClusky opens the shutter. They are hit with a blast of chill, as the vehicle bay is covered in frozen fire retardant foam, across the vehicles and floor, and air is rushing down from another, where there is a hole in the ceiling at the eastern end of the bay. The first Cartel dropship is flipped upside down, and it is clear where one of the external engines has been melted. The strut that would have lifted up the ship and locked with the ceiling was blasted through by railgun shell, and cuts off most of that end of the bay. There is a hole in the wall where a shell punched through the concrete into the earth, though the hole itself is mostly filled with earth that collapsed inward. Despite the fact that all the vehicles are covered with a frozen layer of foam, Hayes assures them that Maisy (his jeep) will run, and scrapes as much of the ice of as he can. Unfortunately, try as he might, the engine will not start. Meanwhile, Fa Tsu finds the floor heating controls and manages to get them activated. This warms Maisy enough that her engine starts up. McClusky, Hayes and Greyjoy get in the jeep, as Fa Tsu climbs on the back (Yeti has remained inside to keep an eye on everything for Greyjoy). McClusky tries to convince Hayes to let him sit at the railgun turret, but Hayes not surprisingly, assuring him that he can control the railgun remotely.

The jeep goes out through the vehicle exit (which doesn’t use an airlock system, hence, in a separate part of the Ice Miners HQ) and out into the blinding blizzard. It then drives for a seconds before stopping, since they only need to get into a separate part of the same larger building.

Fa Tsu looks at his motion tracker. At the periphery of his scanner range, he sees a few red blips. These expand in number every few seconds. The blips are heading towards the hangar wall. He suddenly leaps off the jeep and says “Lets go in!”, without further explanation, and activates the airlock.

They go into the maintenance and plant workers HQ. They are met by Gottleib Auttenberg, head of maintenance, who has slicked back blonde hair and a broad moustache and a general perturbed expression, with a mood to match.

Greyjoy introduces himself. “Ah, the infamous Greyjoy. We had heard you were dead.”

“We were! But we came back, nonetheless.”

Greyjoy then explains to Gottlieb that his remaining two plant workers need to go to the plant, as the other two are dead. Gottlieb points out that if that were to happen, they would have to remain there, and if there giant insects out there, they’ll kill his remaining workers. Greyjoy points out that if nobody goes to the plant, it will be out of power in four days, and then they’ll freeze to death and they will all be dead, to which Gottlieb responds that if his people go out there, they’ll be dead anyway, and the situation won’t have changed.

Greyjoy says that his squad and volunteers will transport them to the plant themselves, before returning to protect the settlement, and the two workers sent will have to stay at the plant until the UCMC cruiser arrives in 12 days. Gottlieb makes it clear about the danger to his worker and how he can’t possibly leave them out there for that long by themselves; now they know the bugs aren’t just staying in the mountains, there is nowhere to be safe.

The plant will sleep two, and they could survive with enough food and water, but he won’t leave them out there if it is so dangerous; Gottlieb insists he have some marines with him, but Greyjoy insists he can’t spare more than one. Gottlieb argues and then Greyjoy says ‘how about one and a half’ and offers to leave Yeti with them. Gottlieb is hardly satisfied, even with the giant, since he doesn’t even have a gun (so they have heard… Yeti is the most obvious of the marines, so everyone knows about him). He demands another marine and one with a gun, but Greyjoy will not shift position, and eventually Gottlieb gives in. Greyjoy then radios Dr Ross, who is not too thrilled to be contacted by the Sergeant. Greyjoy asks for a favour, bringing a derisive snort. Greyjoy asks if she can pass her info-link to Yeti, and she sarcastically says “I suppose I can just about manage that for you.”

Greyjoy tells Yeti he is going to be sent with two workers to guard the hydro-electric plant for the rest of their stint on the planet.

“Will I get to kill anything?”

“Probably.”

“Fine. I’ll do it.”

“Oh… and bring Ryan for back-up.”

“Do I have to? He’s not really great with the… y’know, talking.”

“That’s an order, marine. Oh, and you’ll need food and water for the next 12 days.”

“Can I bring my lady with me?”

“You can, but only if you are willing to share your food and water.”

“Hey, I ain’t yer lady” says Abigail. “It was fun, but I ain’t going out there with yer. Safer in here, and plenty of other people to fuck, besides.”

Yeti sighs. “Just me and Ryan then” he says to the Sarge.

With Gottlieb and another worker in tow, Greyjoy’s team get into the jeep, and drive into the blizzard. Hayes aims to drive around the south of the building. Fa watches in terror as the blips on the motion tracker swarm exactly where they are travelling, all along the southern wall. Yet he doesn’t tell anyone he is with. Fa Tsu instead contacts Ryan, telling him what is coming, just as he and Yeti exit the airlock and head outside.

Ryan says to Yeti “We need to get back inside. They’re coming.”

“But we need to wait here for the Sarge. Those’re my orders!”

“Not my orders. Have fun.” Ryan closes the airlock door behind Yeti.

“Hey! You can’t leave me alone! HEY!” Yeti bangs a fist on the door.

He then hears a familiar screech from above, but hears nothing as he looks up. “Damn.” He draws his machete.

The others unknowingly drive towards the horde of red blips, as Fa Tsu looks very, very nervous indeed…

Emd of part one.

Roll end credits.

ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 9

Here is the run-down of the first Cold Frontier episode of 2015

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE 9 (DAY 8, Part 2)

Played characters- Deputy Hayes, Snow Plough, McClusky, Fa Tzu

Prominent Friendlies- Sarge, Yeti, the Tzu family

Prominent Hostile- Razor Ants (Screamers)

Also- Carl Bull, Connor Bull, the Winkleman family, the bar staff

The episode opens with the Sarge, leaning up against a wall, having just been disarmed by Yeti after the gun incident with Dr Ross. His eyes widen in shock as he sees a vision of Hayes, lying motionless on the floor, as Connor Bull, eyes already streaming with tears from the death of his wife, calls “Gerald! Gerald! Wake up!” The Sarge pulls himself to his feet. He then gets another vision of the crashed truck, and the people inside being eaten, and hears the crying of a baby. He flips open his wrist-communicator. “Deputy Bull! This is Sergeant Greyjoy. Hayes has a medikit, you need to use, it quickly. Snap out of it man, he needs you.”

Events cut to the warehouse as Connor kneels down to Haye’s side, but finds that the medikit’s metal case has been warped by the grenade blast. “The medikit won’t open… its been damaged by the blast!”

“Damn it…” curses Greyjoy. He surveys the frightened people in the Forager’s People. “All right people! Your deputy is in Chang’s right now! He might die! We need to go out there and save him.” The people that can look at all at the Sarge look certainly sheepish. “On top of that, your Mayor is in danger too, but there are plenty of Ants out there, I know, but he’s the leader of your town, dammit people. My men can kill those things, ask Dr Ross, but you need to get people in the truck moving! We’re not savages, we’re not going to leave them to die! Who’s with me!” He is greeted by an unwelcoming silence, as most eyes turn away. “Anybody?”

“I’m with you” says McClusky, alone out of the civilians.

“Thank you.” He looks to his two remaining marines. “You two don’t get a choice.”

The three marines, ice miner and two drones make their way across the snow, whilst music continues to blare through the speakers at the north of the right-hand building, causing all ten screamers to cluster around the crashed truck. The four people and the drones get into Chang’s Warehouse without notice.

They see the now burned corpse of Ramirez for the first time, part of a wall collapsed on him, but his one side of visible cybernetic limbs seem to be mostly intact.

They step into what remains of Chang’s warehouse, down with a large part of the floor blasted away, showing the cold ground underneath, where Hayes lies unmoving, whilst the pieces of Bull and the dead Cartel members are scattered about. Greyjoy and McClusky run over to Hayes. Snow Plough, ever paranoid, scans the warehouse for any further dangers. He sees the burned corpse of Karina, worrying that there may be more ‘Alkarbi’ about. He notices where a canister of chemicals has been pierced by the grenade, and quickly takes out his engineering kit, sealing the canister as quickly as he can.

Greyjoy injects Hayes with meds from his own medikit, whilst McClusky slams his fists onto Hayes’ chest and he awakens, eyes shooting open.

Hayes is alive… but as he looks at the bereaved Deputy Bull, and then at the pieces of his boss, whose death he partially caused… he doesn’t look too happy about it.

Opening credits roll.

(The day continues on!)

Whilst Hayes sits in mostly stunned silence, and Connor wipes away his tears and makes himself out of the two, Connor decides that he must now be Sheriff… Hayes looks hardly up for the job, despite Connor’s own awful mental state. Greyjoy makes sure they are aware that their next course must be to get to the Mayor and his family and rescue them. Snow Plough remains in the armoury with Jeeves, sending Crusher with the others as they head through the armoury into the Sheriff’s office, hearing the baby’s cries and the Razor Ant shrieks from the other side of the wall. McClusky decides to use his engineering kit to make a hole through the wall, taking out some vibro-tools, easily capable of piercing their way through.

Snow Plough removes his contact armour, taking some battle armour instead, for its improved protective capabilities. He then takes Jeeves back into the warehouse, where he goes to Ramirez’s corpse and takes his dog-tags, hanging them from Jeeves, along with the tags of their former squad (the call-sign ‘Valkyrie’ is visible on one pair of tags). “Sorry, Ramirez” he says as he disconnects a cybernetic arm and starts attaching it to Jeeves.

Meanwhile, in Ice Miners HQ, Fa Tsu is still using his com-pad to keep an eye on the Razor Ants. He now appears to be playing some kind of relaxation tape that he himself has recorded, speaking in slow and calm and philosophical metaphors. He speaks to Hayes through his comms, who is explaining their attempted rescue of the Mayor’s family, currently in progress and asks if Fa Tsu can be playing loud music elsewhere. Fa switches the ‘music’ to the speakers on the roof of the opposite building, causing all but three of the screamers to fly to the other building. The three already tearing their way through the truck are still intent on going inside the Mayor’s drawn by the baby’s screams; Irene’s attempts to calm her are for nought, as the bugs continue to screech. Their hyper-sonic screams are warping the metal at the back of the truck, showing that the rescuer’s time is running out.

McClusky breaks a hole in the wall connected to the Winkleman’s, large enough to crawl through, calls out to the family and Irene passes the baby through, as the two parents follow after them. The baby, however, is continuing to wail. Greyjoy points out that somebody needs to quieten the baby, as it will attract the bugs. McClusky says with (misguided wisdom) that a little alcohol should knock the baby out, but it seems the two grenades destroyed the alcohol, along with a lot of other warehouse supplies.

The Sarge decides that the bugs need to be destroyed, as they will keep coming. And if nothing else, the bugs will be distracted from chasing the Mayor and his family, whilst they are sent back to the others, whilst the marines are blasting away at the bugs. Snow Plough, with an upgraded Jeeves, suggests blowing up the truck with the Razor Ants in it. The Mayor reminds them all that the bar staff still need rescuing before they go blowing anything up. The Sergeant asks for a volunteer; they’ll need to go through the Mayors, into the meeting hall and then outside through an airlock north of the bugs to get into the accommodation area for the bar staff, and try to get free.

Hayes, rather quickly and surprisingly, volunteers. Yeti volunteers to go with Hayes, since he isn’t exactly in top physical condition. Greyjoy urges them to go, as they don’t have much time, and Snow Plough sends in the drones into the Mayor’s to watch the truck, in case the bugs break through. Snow Plough orders Jeeves to start to release the fuel from the engine as it pools over the floor. Greyjoy and Snow Plough wait in the Sheriff’s office with bated breath, watching the trucks situation through the drone cams, whilst McClusky and a fully armoured Connor Bull take Carl and the Winkleman’s to the airlock of Chang’s, getting ready to run across the snow when the time is right.

The seven razor ants on the north roof of the western building trash and tear out the speakers in their search for the source of the sound. As the sound is massively reduced, Greyjoy asks for music that’s a little more distracting from the eastern speakers. Fa Tsu starts to blare the ‘Ace of Spades.’ Snow Plough order’s Crusher to enter ‘riot control mode’ as Crusher loudly and literally reads the Riot Act of 2425, as the all the screamers are drawn to the truck. Expecting excitement, Fa Tsu climbs into his Mech. McClusky and his group wait anxiously as the maybe continues to cry.

Hayes and Yeti step out into the thick snow. Hayes stumbles and cries out. The call warrants the attention of one screamer… Hayes sees its silhouette flying towards him in the cascading snow.

As Hayes just stares, Yeti bellows “Run!”, which breaks Hayes enough out of his shock to run for the airlock into the bar. He punches the airlock button, waiting for it to cycle and open, as he watches the screamer come for him. Yeti runs forward, draws his machete, and stands in front of Hayes. The screamer lunges at Yeti, tearing off a small chunk of flesh from his right cheek.

Fa Tsu, in his Mech, stomps into the storage cupboard for mining equipment, clearing them out of the way, as he heads for the door ahead of him.

The airlock door opens. Hayes throws himself inside. Yeti follows after, almost falling inside. Hayes punches the button, shutting the door on the bug. It screams. The airlock rattles, lights blinking on and off.

Fa Tsu reaches the wall at the back of the cupboard. With his cutting laser, he inscribes the shape of a large hole.

The second airlock door opens. Hayes and Yeti run inside.

“Anybody there?” Hayes shouts.

“Aye, we’re down here”, a female, scottish accented voice responds from stairs leading underground. “Are ye come to rescue us, or are you comin’ fer shelter?”

Hayes looks down the stairs. Stood there is a red haired, short, broad shouldered, thick-armed and large breasted lady. Hayes look at her, then back at the rattling airlock. “Uhhh…”

“Well?”

Yeti slaps a hand on Hayes shoulder. “I keep down is safer.”

“Wise man” says the landlady, Amelia.

Fa Tsu burns through the wall. He jerks back as the gunshot fires.

“Shit, Fa Tsu!” Dodd calls out, sat in the bunk area of the Foragers, rifle smoking as she lowers it from the hole where she was pointing. “Sorry!” he says, calling loudly through.

“Fa Tsu?” comes a Chinese voice. The three survivors from the warehouse appear at the door.

“Heng Tsu! Niu Tzu! Mei Tzu! What are you doing here?” says Fa, very happily indeed.

Hayes and Yeti run down the stairs into the bar. There is Amelia’s sister, Abigail, who has the same red hair, tied into a long, plaited pony tail running down her back, but is otherwise the opposite in frame, being tall and skinny. There is Berthold, a big, brazen, bearded albino chef, and Fredik, a skinny, pale, spotty youth in his early twenties. They are on the other side of a barricade of tables and chairs at the bottom of the stairs, which Yeti climbs over. Hayes runs into the kitchen, to look for weapons.

Plough watches nervously through the drone cams, as the doors to the back of the truck are warping and about to burst open.

“Sarge, they’re coming through, and the others aren’t back. What do we do it?”

The Sarge squints. “They’re out of time. We need to kill the bugs.” He takes a deep breath. “Blow it.”

Snow Plough orders Jeeves and Crusher back. He then radios Hayes. “Uh, we’re gonna have to blow it!”

Hayes runs out of the kitchen, urging everybody to the back of the bar. “Get clear!”

Crusher then fires, sparking the fuel. The drones fly out of the hole and into the warehouse, as Greyjoy and Snow Plough run. Greyjoy contacts the new Sheriff Bull. “Go, go, go!”

Connor, McClusky and their charges run out into the snow. The baby’s cry seems to be drowned out by the loudly blaring Motorhead music.

The food warehouse airlock opens. Ryan exits and stops, urging out others. The food warehouse staff come running into the snow, as he covers them, urging them towards the Foragers.

All the bar staff, Yeti and Hayes run to the back wall of the bar.

The truck explodes. The bits and pieces of all ten screamers are blasted upwards. The wall into the mayors is blasted open, and the fireball rushes through the Mayor’s office, as the Sarge and Plough leap and just get clear in time into Chang’s.

The ceiling of the north end of the bar is blown out, bringing down burning timbers, but the people inside are clear of it. All the extinguishers activate, immediately putting out the fires.

McClusky and the others get into the Forager’s airlock.

Fa Tsu meanwhile is trashing all the bunks in the Forager’s as he excitedly makes his way to his family.

Greyjoy can’t help but grin at Snow Plough. Hayes radios them to let them know they are alive, and in need of rescue. Jeeves is sent in, using his lifting arms to carry each survivor out of the bar.

As Jeeves hovers down, Abigail says “After all that, I need a shag. Who wants one?”

Yeti says “Okay.”

Hayes gives him a sideways glance.

“What? Its been a long day.”

Hayes shrugs. “Fair enough.”

Hayes and the bar staff are last to arrive in the Forager’s HQ. The food warehouse staff have brought some food, whilst the bar staff and Yeti have carried what booze they could recover.

“I think this calls for a big party!” says Amelia.

As the party rages, Greyjoy remains still armed and armoured. Snow Plough sits with Dr Stapes in a corner, sharing several cups of tea.

There is shaking from one of the storage cupboards where Yeti and Abigail are going at it, drowned mostly by the music and sounds of general cheer.

Dodd sits alone in the wreckage of the bunk room, cleaning her rifle. Hayes sits in his own corner, nursing a bottle of whisky, and giving the occasional awkward look over to the Bulls, certainly not enjoying the party. But everybody else seems to do be doing so. The party is in the Foragers HQ, and since there is now a hole leading into the Ice Miner’s, Irene Winkleman is staying in the Ice Miner’s bunk room, trying to keep her asleep, whilst also watching over the sleeping little girl, Alyona.

The remaining Ice Miners, minus Fa (Anatoli and McClusky, along with the other two, Cara and Dean) are around a table, doing shots. Cara is a tall wiry woman in her mid20s, with long blonde hair and a strong Texan accent. Dean is a little younger and heavily pierced and tattooed. The two seem to be arguing over the historical origin of the name ‘Jager bomb’… so McClusky swoops in and drinks them.

Fa Tsu sits with his brothers, Heng and Niu, and his cousin, Mei. They seem to be having a good time until Fa says ‘Ohhh, where is Chang?” And they are forced to explain his horrid death and who killed him. Anger floods through Fa as he uses his com-pad to check the warehouse cams, and finds the last two of the Cartel, the fake ‘Alkarbi ambassador’ and the old man, hiding in the accommodation area. He decides it time for vengeance, as he climbs into Mech, and leads his family to the airlock.

Seeing this, due to being not remotely involved in the party, Greyjoy goes over to the equally sober Snow Plough, who fobs off Greyjoy’s worries about the Tzus, and says he is off-duty. Greyjoy decides to follow them alone, though by the time he is outside, they have already gone into the warehouse. It is pitch black out, and the snow cascading down, getting heavier and heavier.

Greyjoy makes his way across the snow.

Fa gestures to his cousins to start grabbing some bigger ‘weapons’ as they start searching through the still intact shelves of larger appliances. Mei picks up a bottle of highly corrosive acid, and is silently directed over to the wall on the other side of the bunk-room, where Fa can see the two Cartel through the cameras, aware of their presence, and squatting by the wall.

Fa stomps over to the wall. He gestures to Mei, and she throws the acid at the wall, burning a small hole. He puts his cutting laser against the wall.

“Nobody fucks with my dynasty!” he screams, as the laser burns a hole right through the old man and out of the back of his head, as he collapses. The woman who called herself Aressa draws a pistol from the folds of her skirt, firing repeated shots and obscenities, which don’t go through the hole in the wall. And the laser carries on, going through the back of her head as well.

Fa then looks up as he hears a loud rushing noise from outside.

Feng and Niu look at each other. “What’s that?”

Greyjoy hears the sound too, just as the airlock is opening… he shuts it again, and squats down, hands over his head.

Fa connects to the outside cameras and sees the missile flying down at the building. He can also see the blue flares of plasma thrusters. He watches, powerless, as the roof explodes, and his two remaining brothers disappear in a cloud of debris.

He looks up at the shuttle flying above hole in the roof, the same design as the other Cartel vessel.

Fa screams out in anger. He punches his fist through the hole in the wall, clasps it over the Cartel’s woman’s head and tears it from her shoulders.

He continue to scream as he tosses the head at the ship.

Her face hits the windscreen. The disembodied head slowly slides down the screen, eyes open towards the pilot. He panics, and flies away.

Fa then drops onto his knees. Greyjoy enters the warehouse, slightly admonishing Fa for going off on his own, and the two of them see a bright flash in the sky, and then nothing.

“Chang is avenged” says Fa, bitterly.

Roll end credits!

ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 8

So this is the breakdown of two separate games that had a week break between, all condensed into one episode. (One game started late due to character creation for a new player, so episode is slightly longer than usual due to a full sized second game.)

This episode features both more human vs human action (a particularly frightening set of abilities for the Hostile known as “Knives”), bug vs human out in the partially blinding snow, marine vs Friendly, some great one liners and a new comic relief character and new badass (along with a new player), a near-riot, literally explosive action and some significant deaths.

This is the last Cold Frontier game of the year, and very much comes across that way, without design.

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE/DAY 8

Played characters- (Full House!) Sergeant Greyjoy, Deputy Hayes, Snow Plough, McClusky (new character and player), Dodd, Fa Tzu (new character)

Prominent Friendlies- Max Hannon, Yeti, Dr Mya Ross, Sheriff Bull

Prominent Hostile- Karina (“Knives”)

Also-, Anatoli Demidov, Alyona Demidov, Dr Stapes, Gerda, Darla, survivors from Chang’s warehouse, Connor and Carl Bull

Hostiles- Karina aka Knives, Razor ant screamers

The episode opens with the pay-off from the final moments of the last episode, as the horrific shrieks of the screamers sound in the background and the Sheriff bellows “Everybody inside!”, her pump-action shotgun in hand. The Cartel look towards her and to the weapons on the ground and she screams “Leave them there!”, pointing the gun at them, as they run towards her, whilst the three surviving hostages from Chang’s run the other way, towards the squad.

The Sarge calls for everybody to come to the same building for safety, but the fleeing Cartel members go for the nearest airlock, whilst the warehouse workers head to the marines for safety. There are two men and one woman, all Chinese, all upset and distraught as the woman screams “They killed Chang!” She looks back at Chang’s headless body, chunks of his head already frozen, strewn across the snow.

“We haven’t time for that now, we need to get inside.”

Dodd sways from left to right, looking down at her chest, the plating of her armour seeded with shrapnel. Where Standard human blood would be freezing upon leaving the body, her Iceworlder blood is steaming and streaming down her chest. She looks down at it in stupefaction.

Yeti looks down at her “Sarge, its Dodd! She needs medical attention!”

The Sarge runs over to her, and then looks to the crashed helicopter, where Ross has climbed out, and seems dumbstruck by the events before her. The Sergeant calls to her: “Ross, I need your help here! Everybody, get inside!”

Ross looks into the helicopter to Snow Plough. He is unplugging Crusher from the helicopter. He doesn’t appear to be rushing.

“Come on Snow Plough! They need you out here!”

“I need you to shut up” Snow Plough mumbles, but Ross doesn’t seem to here, running across the snow to help Greyjoy.

Greyjoy checks over Dodd, as Yeti scoops her up into his arms whilst the warehouse workers head for the airlock into Foragers HQ. Greyjoy uses his comms: “Squad: SOUND OFF!”

Yeti just looks down at Greyjoy like he is the biggest idiot in the world.

“Yes, I’m here Sarge”, says Snow Plough, a little too calmly, as if nothing unusual was going on.

“There’s your squad” says Yeti, in a dry tone, dripping with black humour.

“What?” says Snow Plough “What about Ramirez?”

“Don’t worry about that now, Snow Plough, just get out of there. We need to head inside before they get here!”

“Coming, Sarge!” Crusher, uncoupled, comes flying out of the helicopter, following Snow Plough, as he runs for the others. Ross and Greyjoy work together, applying flesh sealant to Dodd’s wounds and jamming in stims and anaesthetics, and then they all head to the airlock into the Foragers.

The Cartel surround Bull and Hayes in the airlock, keeping their guns trained on the former aggressors, who, whilst unarmed, outnumber them. However, not all of the Cartel head into the airlock. Arturo, the big giant, calls to the woman who has been silent, until announcing her disagreement at surrender.

“Karina…” her mouths. The exposed circuitry and wiring where his arm was blown off is no longer sparking. The stump has frozen. And the ice is spreading across his synthetic flesh. “Help… me…”

“You wanted surrender. And your charge is dead” she looks over to Carlos’s dead body. “You chose this fate” she hisses in scorn, as the Dupe collapses in the snow. She then heads into the airlock after the others of her kin. Both airlocks slam shut.

Roll opening credits!

The episode proper opens with Sarge giving a speech to the survivors with him from the remainder of the Foragers (the secretary, Darla, doctors Stapes and Ross and Gerda) and the three warehouse survivors, along with Yeti and Snow Plough, Jeeves and Crusher, the last of his squad. (Dodd is having bed rest, along with Anyu the formerly hypothermic helicopter pilot.)

He assures them that all need to prepared for what is coming, addressing them like marines. He orders them to search the building and arm themselves.

Yeti sneers at Greyjoy. “Can I have my machete back then?”

“Oh, yes.” He hands it over. Yeti grumbles his usual disobedient remarks at the Sergeant as he strides off to help the search for weapons.

Events cut to the HQ of the Ice Miners. Anatoli Demadov, striding up and down the sleeping quarters of the miner, hands behind his back, deep in thought. In the top bunk is a sleeping little girl. Sat on another bed is Max Hannon, the miner/padre, taking a draught from a hip flask. There are two other miners awake, and two asleep. The camera focusses on one of the miners in particular; he looks immensely hungover and only half-awake, a haggard young man with one cybernetic arm.

“So, we here shots fire. We don’t know who shooting at who. Not many who could have gun. There’s the Sheriff… she have all the guns”, Anatoli muses. “Unless…. it the marines. But those idiots been lost in the mountains for days. I doubt they even alive. But why would Sheriff be shooting at people? Any ideas?”

The hungover man says “Whatever you say, boss.”

“I’m asking for help, not sucking up! Suggest something!”

“Maybe somebody should go out and find the Sheriff. See what’s going on.”

“You volunteering, McClusky?” Anatoli says, with a slight grin.

The young man grins back. “Actually, I was figuring we could send Max.”

Max stoppers the hip flask. “Fine, I’ll go with the kid. Could be dangerous, not knowing who is shooting at who. God will watch over me, but doesn’t hurt to have two of us.”

“Think God is watching over a ******* drunk like you, McClusky!” the other awake miner calls.

“Shut your mouth, or I’ll shut it for you!”

“Not very holy of you, padre.

“All right, shut it”, Anatoli says firmly. “It decided. Get out there and find the Sheriff, find out what going on. And be quiet about it, da?”

“Da” says McClusky with a grin, as the two gear up. Max arms gets a laser drill in hand and puts a chainsaw across his back. McClusky has his own chainsaw, an ice drill, a massive pipe and a nail-gun for good measure, as well as wearing an environment suit, where Max relies on thick layers of furs like most Frost citizens. “Let’s go.”

Events cut to Hayes, sat in front of the hole he made from the armoury wall into the warehouse.

He is singing “100 bottles of beer on the wall” in an attempt to keep himself awake, after days of no or little sleep. His body starts to sag and his head tilt forward, as he messes up the count, and starts to drift off to sleep…

Military drums sound. Greyjoy strides forward. “All right squad, present yourselves.”

The camera moves down the line of men and women.

Yeti stands to proper attention, machete across his back, and shows a big kitchen knife he has obtained.

Snow Plough stands with his assault rifle ready… pristine, because he hasn’t used it.

“Snow Plough: good to see you with a weapon in hand, soldier!”

Crushers hovers next to him. “Minigun ammunition capacity: 40%”

Jeeves floats next to the other drone, manipulators out. “Jeeves has… fingers!”

“Very good.” Next is Ross, with Ramirez’s pistol out, silencer connected to it again. She attempts to cock and load it, but looks rather confused at the process.

“Do you need help with that, Doctor?”

“I’m afraid Ramirez only attended me to shoot this once. For myself… I don’t have the faintest.”

The Sarge shows her how to load and use the pistol, before moving on.

Next, the Sarge comes to Gerda, sat cross-legged on the floor, sharpening her claws (as part of her Feral GeneMod enhancement) grins, and then cheekily says “Oh, am I supposed to stand up?” She stands, displaying her dart rifle, and gives a cheeky salute.

Next come the three from the warehouse. The woman has a knife from the kitchen, one of the men has a lead pipe and the other has a frying pan, which he seems to be wielding with great pride.

Dr Stapes has a scalpel in hand.

“Is that all, doctor?” says the Sarge questioningly.

“Oh, I see, so frying pan is fine, but you somehow have a problem with precise incisions?” he says in his usual calm, polite yet derisive manner. Satisfied enough, the Sarge moves on to the end of the line, to Darla, the administrator for the building. She has done her make-up afresh, and is just finishing her nails.

“And where exactly is your weapon?”

“Well, sir, I am, ugh, hardly going to be useful with a, uh, weapon so… uh, I thought I might just hide under the desk?”

McClusky and Max stand in the airlock, as it loudly clunks and whirs. McClusky suddenly starts to look very nervous, until the noises stop. The Ice Miner HQ is behind the Foragers, so their airlock exits on the other side of the building, it’s West wall. The snow is coming down continually now, enough to limit vision to around 50ft ahead. McClusky heads off through the snow to the south, quickly and quietly. He hears and sees nothing of interest but the snow. He reaches the corner of the south of the building, and when all seems clear, Max dashes towards him, and stops against the wall next to him. McClusky then heads around the corner, along the south wall, the south wall of the hangar bay, where he notices a crack running up the concrete wall. He puts his eye against it, and can see the floor appears to be lowered into the underground vehicle bay, and make out smoke.

“Hey Max, look at this!”

And as Max runs towards McClusky, there is a shriek. Something large flits through the snow, behind Max. Max screams as it grabs him by the hood and lifts him into the air. Max swears profusely, loudly, as other creatures approach. McClusky throws his drill, impacting the creature hard enough that it drops Max into the snow. He then flattens against the wall as two of the creatures land in between the two men, two more on the roof, and another near the helicopter wreck. Max lands on his feet and runs towards McClusky. One of the creatures screams, but it only spurs Max onward further. But the three Screamers nearest approach, surrounding him.

Darla starts to squeal as she hears the shrieks outside. The Sarge shuts her down pretty quick with a few choice words and a terse attitude. She goes into the office to hide under the desk. Greyjoy orders for the survivors to start barricading the building, to stop the creatures being able to get inside. He tries to find weak points, but he really has no idea where the creatures might come through, if it all. Snow Plough starts working on repairing Crusher, their best defence, whilst Jeeves starts tugging a sofa by himself. The civilians gather together in the centre of the room in a frightened circle…except for Ross, who calls out the Sergeant.

“What about the others? There are people out there who won’t know what’s going. What about their protection.”

“My priority is the people in this building!”

“Really? I thought you were supposed to be protecting the settlement… not that you’ve done well at that so far.”

Greyjoy gives in and radios Hayes.

Hayes is asleep, jolted awake by Greyjoy’s comm broadcast. In the warehouse, Hayes can’t see a whole lot due to shelves in the way, but he can vaguely make out Bull’s massive figure, trying to order calm among the remaining Cartel members. She doesn’t seem to be doing well at it, using her booming, most aggressive nature to try and get them all to remain seated.

Greyjoy tells Hayes to try and find things to get the building barricaded.

“Ah must be tired, cos it sounds like you just made a good point…”

But before Hayes can act further, it appears that Karina has somehow taken Bull’s shotgun.

“We won’t be left here undefended! Get the weapons!” she hisses at her lackeys.

The four mooks run into Hayes view…

He rolls a concussion grenade. The four are eviscerated. The shelves are blasted apart, and Bull is thrown to the floor. The back of her armour is partially melted and smoking.

“Hayes… I’m going to kill you for that…” she stands to her feet, eyes locked with Karina. “But first…”

“No closer. Or I blow your head off.”

“You don’t know how to use that thing.” Bulls lifts her fists. “And I don’t need a gun.”

Karina tosses the gun to the floor. “Neither do I.”

Hayes looks at his hands in some confusion. He looks at the grenade crater he just made… then to the bits and pieces of the criminals. There are bags under his eyes… he is tired, shaky and traumatised.

He has a flashback of his first days in Frost, meeting the Sheriff, of her giving him advice. Then events cut back.

“Come on Hayes, you can do this. The Sheriff needs your help.” He strides forward.

The camera cuts to the Ice Miner’s quarters. Demidov paces up and down as he hears the screams outside. “Oh god, the bugs are here. I sent Max and McClusky to die. Fa Tzu! I need you get out there and get them back here!” He yells over at a bed, as someone stirs under the covers, mumbling “Fa Tzu!” At which point a Chinese man, similar in appearance to Chang, but taller and skinnier emerges from the bed, completely naked, stretches and grins inanely. He has several cybernetic ports link into his skin; one at the back of his head, two on each limb and three along his back and chest.

“Of course, you need Fa Tzu! I think it is time we step off the hilt, and onto the blade!”

Alyona, Demidov’s little girl, lifts her sheet up and looks at her father asking what is going on, hearing the bug’s screeches outside. She is understandably frightened. He urges her that Tzu is going to make everything all right. Her eyes brighten. “Is the Metal Man going to save us?” he grins “That’s right.

Dodd is awoken by high pitched screams. She lies in a medical bed, plastic curtains pulled around her. She pulls the bed-sheet over her head.

The Sarge stands and watches as the refugees from the warehouse, Ross and Stapes stack up furniture over the door leading into the hangar, which Jeeves organises into a proper barricade, the weak point that Greyjoy has decided upon. Yeti watches the work, swinging blade back and forth. Gerda eyes one of the airlocks, rifle ready.

Snow Plough runs to a corner between two cupboards and in front of a toilet. He crouches down, clutching onto his assault rifle. “Sarge wants me to use my assault rifle, YEAH I’LL USE MY ASSAULT RIFLE!” he mutters mostly to himself.

The Sarge rummages around looking for more weapons, but doesn’t seem to find anyway. He then moves over to the airlock where Gerda is located.

Max stands in the snow, looking between each of the three screamers that circle him. He has a laser drill out and ready, planting into the ground and pointed at him. McClusky stands behind, watching, unnoticed.

Max gives a speech, telling the kid they can’t possibly fight these things. He tells McClusky to run, he says that he has a lot of things to redeem himself for, and he’ll keep the creature’s busy whilst McClusky runs.

The camera zooms in to show McClusky’s face as he thinks: “What would Fa Tzu do?”

He then gets an image of Fa Tzu grinning and saying “Beeeee…aweeeeesomeeee…”

McClusky leaps onto the back of one of the screamers, and starts beating it about the head with a massive pipe. Its wings lift up and McClusky leaps forward, ending up hanging off of its long neck, as it swings left and right, the creature enraged and unable to find its target.Max fires. The camera cuts to the creature’s view, making out Max as a black, indistinct form, but keenly hearing the whine of the laser, as the two fly up into the air, and then crashing on top of Max, pinning him down with their legs, as one set of mandibles tears off his right ear, and a considerable amount of flesh from that side of the face. The other jams its mandibles into Max’s chest, fountaining blood as Max screams in agony. McClusky is swung off of the neck, as the creatures bucks back and forth. McClusky hits Max, rolling him, as more flesh comes away, but is send tumbling under one of the screamer’s legs and out of the other side. He then as all three staring at him.

Bull pulls out her stun baton, charging the end, as electricity crackles.

“That’s just cheating” says Karina.

Bull pushes the baton forwards, but it stops inches before Karina’s skin as she concentrates and her eyes now.

“Who’s cheating!” yells Bull. Karina gestures up, and the stun baton flies up to the ceiling. Karina just grins.

“Fine!” Bull reaches down and picks up the shotgun again. “Just going to have to use this.”

Karina gestures again, and the gun flies out of Bull’s hands, clattering on the ground near to Aressa, who picks up the shotgun. A knife then slides out of her sleeve and into her hand, as she tries to stab Bull in the chest, but the blade bounces off the plating.

“You’re going to need more tricks, bitch” says Bull with a cocky grin.

Hayes moves ahead behind the shelves to the left of Karina, shoving a massive microwave out of the way so he has a clear view but between the shelves, but also cover.

There is a montage of Fa Tzu, as he climbs into his Explorer Suit Mech, still completely and utterly naked, and enjoy himself a little too much as he connects the nerve-link cables with ports emerging from his skin. He has a little wriggle of please as the suit folds close around him.

“Ohhhhhh yeahhhhhh!” he says. “Awesome!” He begins playing “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath over the civilian comms.

Dodd hears Iron Man playing. She curls up inside her sheets even more.

Snow Plough remains hiding in the corner, moving Crusher into his line of sight.

Greyjoy hears the continued screeches from outside, and opens the inner doors of the airlock (leaving the outer door closed). Gerda immediately questions what he is doing, and Yeti strides over to see. “I have an idea”, he says simply. Dodd hears this, mutters “****”, and climbs out of bed.

McClusky rolls under the screamers and yells “Come and get me!” Then he runs around the corner, sprinting ahead through the snow.

“**** **** **** ****!” He looks behind as the forms fly after him following him through the snow. As they swoop at him as he continues to swear, swinging his pipe back and forth as he knocks them out of the sky. They fall onto their backs, and he fist pumps the air in triumph. Then the creatures fold up their wings, flex their limbs downwards and immediately right themselves. And there are only two of them. McClusky then continues to swear loudly.

The remaining screamer turns to the horrifically maimed Max, his laser drill lying in the snow.

“Come on, you ****er” he mutters as he takes his chainsaw from his back, and revs it up. “COME ON!” The creature lunges forward.

Hayes open fire at Karina with his machine pistol. As he does so, she lobs a knife at him. He tears through her thick robes with the spray of bullets, as blood starts to seep out. The knife strikes Hayes in between the armour joints between neck and should plating, drawing its own slow dribble of blood.

She glances between him and Bull. “Finally, a challenge.” She then looks back to the other two Mendozas, ‘Aressa’ and the unnamed old man. Aressa is crouched, holding the shotgun. Karina turns back to her foes but calls back to the other woman. “Would you like to help?”

“Since my bodyguard is dead, that leaves you to do the job”, comes the sly response from Aressa.

Fa Tzu strides towards the miner’s quarters. Demidov glares at him; “What the hell are you doing?”

“I… don’t… know?”

“You’re supposed to be outside! Max and McClusky are out there!”

“And…”

“You need to save them! I didn’t know their were bugs when I sent them out there!”

“There’re bugs? I’m staying here…”

“They have pipes and chainsaws! They don’t stand a chance! You’re in a MECH!”

The Explorer suits have no fire-arms, designed for mining, but Fa has a cutting laser. “Fiiiiiine…” He turns for the airlock.

Dodd runs to go and get her gear on, whilst Snow Plough emerges from the corner he was hiding in and makes his way to the airlock.

Greyjoy can hear McClusky outside. “There’s someone outside…” he smiles “We need to get them inside. We open the second door when its time.” He turns to the civilians, finishing their barricade and decides to make a rousing speech. But hearing the human screams and bug screeches, he falters. The pipe wielding Chinese man from the warehouse notices Greyjoy as he approaches. Greyjoy looks upon the fearful people, and suddenly loses his train of thought… he attempts to rouse the man. “If they come.. um… hit them, and keeping hit them… till they die.”

“I was… going to do that.” The man’s eyebrows raise, and he steps back, holding tighter to the pipe, as if confronted with a crazy man. The others look at him concern too. The Sarge turns back to the airlock, not seeing the even more frightened glances behind him…

Outside McClusky continues to run as the screamers swoop down at him, but he keeps ahead of them and ducks as they swoop down at him. As he runs, he hears the whirr of Max’s chainsaw, but it is drowned out by a super-sonic scream…

Karina shrugs off her heavy set robes. They drop to the floor revealing a petite woman, covered in Cartel tattoos; snaking intertwine across her skin, the tails and mouths wrapping around knives. The attractive image of the woman is lessened by her scowl, the bullet wounds and blood, and the sixteen knives held by mag-pads to her body.

Bull stares slack jawed: “You’re Cartel! God damn it, how did we let a bunch of -Cartel- stay here for days.”

Karina just grins, as each knife lifts from the her body and starts to glide around her in the air.

“Try and kill me now.”

Bull noticeably backs off from the woman.

Carl Bull, the sheriff’s son, appears, watching through the hole in the armoury, but his mum yells at him to get away. The father, Connor, literally has to pull his son away as he enters the room.

Hayes decides to run from behind the shelves, back towards the armoury. As he runs, he throws a concussion grenade.

“Ay carumba!” comes from the old man as he watches the grenade sail towards Karina. Her eyes lock with it. She gestures at it with two fingers. The grenade changes course, following after Hayes. He leaps. The grenade slams into the hole made by the previous grenade. Bull is engulfed by the blast wave. Hayes hits the floor, eyes open, but unmoving, his legs and lower torso caught in the blast.

“Natalie!” Connor screams out. The fate of his wife is not shown, but his tears say enough.

Karina is blasted backwards by the grenade. She lands, skin blacked to a crisp across her limbs, torso and face, yet her long black hair remains unblemished… very dead indeed.

Fa Tzu strides into the airlock at great speed, “Iron Man” blazing out through his speakers. The first door closes behind him.

Dodd continues to gear up.

Snow Plough suddenly charges forward, past the Sarge. “I’ve got this! You wanna see me use my assault rifle! I’ll use my assault rifle!” He crouches down in front of the airlock.

Sarge steps forwards and opens the airlock door.

McClusky hears the explosion. He massively out-paces the screamers and runs into the airlock.

The screamers fly off towards the explosion.

“UNITED COLONIAL MARINE CORPS!” the Sarge bellows.

McClusky closes the door behind him.

“Table for one?” Snow Plough says, enjoying himself a little too much.

McClusky heads into the building as he closes the second door behind him, telling them that Demidov sent him to find the Sheriff, and that they need to fine a way to get the Ice Miners to them.

Stapes points out that their HQ is behind where they all are, and that they can reach it through the access doors through the hangar and the garage.

When the Sarge rightly and critically demands to know why Stapes mentioned this before, he reminds the Sergeant that somebody ordered a railgun fired below them in the underground vehicle storage bay, and then he didn’t think that area would be likely safe. Despite the danger, McClusky immediately decides he needs to get the others, and runs over to the barricade and starts pulling it down.

Greyjoy orders Snow Plough to check through Jeeves video footage to see what happened below when Hayes orders the drone to fire the railgun at the Cartel ship.

Faz Tzu steps out into the snow, as his speakers blaze the music out. As seven screamers drop out of the sky and land in front of him in a semicircle. He steps back into the airlock and closes it behind him. The screamers scream in concert… the lights falter and then shatter. The airlock ceases functioning. Tzu starts tearing wires out of the control panel, and manually overrides it sliding the inner open and slamming it shut, as the outer door starts to buckle slightly.

Demidov continues his glare.

“What the hell are you doing? What about Max and McClusky?”

“There were seven! Seven is too many! Seven is not my lucky number!”

“Damn it… they’re gonna get killed out there.” He radios McClusky who responds, that he is safe. “Damn. Max.”

Snow Plough analyses Jeeve’s footage. He watched as Jeeves uses the railgun to fire the first slug, piercing through one side and out the other. He watches as the pilot guns the engines. He watches as the ceiling opens up, and the ship is raised up on a platform into the hangar. He watches as a shell is fired clean through the bottom of the platform, causing it to crash down, bringing the ship with it, which flips over, landing on its top. The engines still active, as the plasma stream blasts into the floor, filling Jeeve’s’s feed with smoke. The drone floats up, job done, and opens the door into the Foragers and closes it behind (whilst nearly everyone was outside, after the fight outside with the Cartel.)

“Uhhhhhhhhh, Sarge… we’ve got a problem!”

“What is it, Private?”

Plough sends the video to the Sarge. The Sarge swears out loud.

“What is it?” demands Stapes.

“We have a problem.”

“What problem? It won’t help you to discuss these things from us.”

“I need to speak to you in your office first. Snow Plough, with me.”

The civilians who are all mere feet away notice this, and it only increases their fright. Just as the door is about to shut Greyjoy looks to Yeti, who is watching over the civilians, who are helping McClusky take down the barricade. “Yeti: keep an eye on things. If anybody tries anything… kill them.”

“Will do, boss.”

Several faces whiten at this exchange. Except the Chinese man with the frying pan. He swings it in a ridiculous, over the top, pretend kung-fu manner. “Just you try it.”

“What the ****?” Ross exclaims to Greyjoy as he slams the door shut.

McClusky tears the last of the barricade down and opens the door… as black smoke pours through. He shuts the door again. “The hell is going on!!?”

“They’re trying to kill us all!” yells of one of the civvies.

“They’re trying to blow us all to hell!”

Yeti raises the blade towards them as they start to panic. “Everybody calm down!”

Ross steps forward. “Oh, for ***** sake Yeti, what are you going to do, stab us?”

“Those’re my orders.”

“How about you use your brain? Clearly the Seregant knew there was a FIRE below us which is why he is HIDING in that damn obvious. He’s keeping things from us, and he’s getting people killed! You aren’t a robot! The one with the robots is hiding in there!” She points at the office. She steps towards Yeti. He points his blade at her.

Then McClusky walks up to Yeti and punches him across the face. Yeti doesn’t even flinch.

“That was a bad idea” says Yeti.

“That wasn’t how I was expecting that to go”, says McClusky, in some genuine surprise.

The screamers continue to shriek outside the airlock of Ice Miner’s HQ. Alyona sticks her head out of the quarters, looking upset by the noise, but Demidov assures her the ‘Metal Man’ will get rid of them. Ha tells the girl to close her eyes, as he climbs out of his mech, showing his male assets to the world. She peeks anyway, screams and runs back to her room. Ha takes out his com-pad. He links into speakers on top of the Meeting Hall, and once again plays “Iron Man”…. but first gives the message “If there is anyone here, you better get the hell out of here!” As the music plays, all the screamers take off.

We cut to show two men driving in a truck across the snow, driving into town from the hydro-electric plant to the North. They hear Black Sabbath.

“What’s going on?”

“Dunno… maybe it’s a party?”

“Can’t be! Still light!”

And then a horde of screamers drop out of the air, striking the windscreen. The driver swears, as the truck does a 360, and rams into an airlock near the bar…

Yeti tries to grab McClusky’s arm with his free hand and attempts to twist him round. McClusky kicks the giant in the balls. Again, he doesn’t flinch. “What the hell are you MADE of?” McClusky kicks the giant’s legs out from under him as he twists the arm and flips him onto the floor on his front. He then climbs onto Yeti and pins him down.

Ross pounds her fist on the door. “Sergeant! Get the **** out here now!” The other civilians have their weapons out and ready.

Sergeant looks to Snow Plough: “Man the drone, Snow Plough.”

“Man the kettle, was that?” he jokes as he commands Crusher to start whirring its minigun and to try and intimidate the two to stop fighting. It doesn’t seem to work, as Ross continues to pound on the door.

Stapes looks to the Sergeant “We’ll talk when your done.” As Snow Plough and the Sergeant exit the office, Stapes goes under the desk.

As the Sergeant exits the office and says “What the hell is the matter?”

Ross responds with “-THE MATTER? You just told Yeti he could KILL us! You were sent here to PROTECT us! Frankly, I think we’d be safer WITHOUT you!” She takes Ramirez’s silenced pistol, and points it at Greyjoy’s faceplate. He takes his pistol and points it at her forehead.

“I think you better put the pistol down, Doctor.”

Ha hears slamming on the airlock outer door.

“Let me in!” says the voice.

“What the **** are you doing man, are you crazy?” Ha responds.

“I can’t open the door! Controls are fried! Let me in!”

“You’re crazy!”

“They’ve gone over to the music! Quick! Before they come back!”

Ha manually opens the outer door, as Max stumbles in. He is covered in the bright blue fluids and dripping flesh. He has his chainsaw out, similarly covered.

“So I killed one. Turns out their blue inside” he says somewhat deliriously.

Ha shuts the airlock door again and walks around Max. “Man… you are ****ing awesome!” and lifts his hand for a high five. Max reciprocates. And collapses.

It is that point that Ha notices Max is missing half of his face and has a massive hole in his chest. The fact he managed to get this far is IMPRESSIVE.

“********** man!” Ha exclaims.

Demidov kneels down to Max.

“Chief, I don’t think I’m gonna… McClusky, did he make it?” Max says.

Demidov nods.

“Knew he would… knew he had it in him… tell him I did it… tell him I…” and his face falls slack to the floor.

Ross and the Sarge rant at each other, neither lowering their pistol from the other.

The krux of Ross’s venom is that the Sarge’s actions have (in her belief, at least) killed nearly all of her Foragers, when he was sent to protect them, and now he is ordering for others to cause problems to be killed. She also believes he may have got Ramirez killed or abandoned him, since Greyjoy is the only one who claims to know what happened to him.

“I liked Ramirez. And you killed him… and now you are trying to kill the rest of us by hiding a god-damned fire below us. Christ! I thought if we were gonna die here, it would be freezing to death, not the other way round.”

“Put it down; we have other enemies to deal with! We need to stand together”

“You’re incredible! One moment, you order for Yeti to kill us, next you say we need to work together! Right now, the enemy is probably distracted by the loud music.”And she looks to the silencer. “And they won’t hear a thing. So maybe I should just deal with one problem now. We might all have a better chance of surviving.”

Greyjoy once again tries to calm her, but can’t get his words out.

“God, you’re pathetic!” She responds. “I bet you can’t even wank by yourself!”

“Course I can’t, cos I’m too busy getting off with your mother!” as he says it, he realises how pathetic he sounds from the expression on his face.

“Hah! You can’t even pull off an insult! Is there ANYTHING you can do competently?”

At this point Dodd has geared up and is chuckling in the background, stood in the doorway of the quarters, watching the scene. Mc Clusky lets go of Yeti and climbs off him.

“Come on Ross, they’re all right really.” He helps Yeti up, and Yeti gives the small but strong man a look of respect. “I lift ice all day”, he gives as an explanation.

“You don’t know them like I do, McClusky” says Ross.

Dodd decides to raise her sniper rifle and point it at the Sergeant.

Greyjoy looks at Snow Plough, behind Ross. “Private. Put a gun to Dr Ross’s head please?”

“But I like Ross!” Snow Plough says. He then controls Jeeves, using the two the support drone to grab each arm, forcing them to drop their pistols and to their knees.

“Fine, have it your way” says Ross.

Yeit scoops up both pistols. “I’ll keep ’em for now, boss. Till things calm down, yeah?”

Greyjoy nods. Yeti keeps one, passing the silenced pistol to McClusky. “You earned it.”

Greyjoy looks to Ross. “I’ll remember this.”

“Sure you will.”

Dodd lowers her rifle and stares at the Sergeant. “Next time, I’ll pull the trigger.”

Ross looks at Dodd in genuine shock and then smiles. Dodd simply smiles. Ross puts her hand out. Dodd shakes it.

“Gerald? Gerald! Oh god…”

The camera cuts to show Natalie Bull’s head… detached, only half of the face left, as Connor looks away from it, stood over Deputy Hayes. Not breathing. Carl gives his father a hug. Whilst the father cries, the son has a steely gaze.

We cut to the crashed truck. The windscreen is shattered and guts and intestines are torn into little pieces as a majority of the screamers fly off into the air. Then the crying of a baby is heard from inside.

Mayor Winkleman looks at the back of the truck crashed through his airlock as he squeezes his wife who holds their bawling baby. As the Mayor speaks, his breath is seen in the quickly freezing air. “Take the baby to our room, now.”

“But…”

“Now!”

Winkleman goes to his kitchen and starts laying knives and pans on the counter…

END OF EPISODE

ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 7

Okay, so this game was technically an Action Scene for the entire two and a half hours of game time, but this is not the same as a constant combat.. due to a constant state of ‘someone might get shot’, I kept it an Action Scene… so no three beat scene resolution rules, and passives abilities are not as useful without high scores. However, it wasn’t a case of taking loads of time to cover a minute, like in most games, it was still a whole episode of events… not even much fighting, just a lot of potential for fighting, as a Hostage situation.

First time I think I ever ran such a thing in any game, let alone ILTC.

This game was also notable for some other reasons which can be found by reading on…

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE/DAY 7

Played characters- Sergeant Greyjoy, Private Ramirez, Deputy Hayes, Leon Dodd, Snow Plough (FULL HOUSE!)

Guest Player Characters- Gerda Rundstrom (played by a DIFFERENT guest player this time)

Prominent squad Friendlies- Yeti, Fenris the Dog, Dr Mya Ross, Sheriff Bull, Nick Ryan

Also- Chang, Connor and Carl Bull, Dr Stapes

Pre-credits scene

There is darkness. The cracks of gunshots can be heard. Yeti’s voice calling out, roaring in combat. The controlled bursts of a minigun.

Sergeant Ramirez opens his eyes. He sees Carlos Ramirez running from him, pushing his way through the civilian, masked workers running everywhere in the chaos, as he pushes one of them down to get through. Then Carlos gets clear of them, heading for a corridor opposite, where gas canisters stands. Ramirez grabs his pistol, stands and aims at Carlos, and then towards a canister.

There are men nearby who point rifles at Ramirez. There is a whir of a minigun. They die. Ramirez glances up. Crusher flies above him.

The camera cuts to Crusher’s cam as it spins, firing controlled bursts at various groups of men. The camera cuts to Drones (Snow Plough), perfectly calm as he taps his controls, killing men by the dozen.

We cut to Ramirez as he aims his shot. Drones does the same, also aiming Crusher at the canisters. From the drone’s high vantage, Drones can see what Ramirez cannot see through the mass of people… a running child.

Ramirez fires. Drones fires.

People scatter left and right. Carlos is seemingly engulfed by the blast.

As the people scatter, Ramirez’s eyes widens just as he sees the girl… before the fire engulfs her. And spreads towards him. He shields his face. Everything goes black.

“Sarge, SARGE!” Vision returns. Yeti is in front of Ramirez. He looks at the burned stumps of his arms and legs. There is no sign of Carlos’s body. But there is a small, charred corpse.

He blacks out. “Don’t worry Sarge… I’ll get you through this”, Yeti’s voice says, faintly.

Roll opening credits!

Ramirez’s face is that of contorted rage. He locks eyes with Carlos Mendoza, very much alive, with not a burn on him. Carlos has one arm wrapped around Chang, the other holding the pistol pressed against the side of the chinese man’s head. Chang has gone white with terror; the cool and collected businessman now a shaking wreck.

Ramirez is also aware of a presence behind him, who has shut the door.

They are in a small store room area behind the customer service desk; there are lot of long, empty shelves to the right of Ramirez.

There is a timer at the bottom of the screen as it ticks to midnight as the title “Episode 7- Day 7 scrolls across.”

“Hello Ramirez. Why don’t you start by removing that helmet so you don’t go calling your friends.”

“**** you Mendoza!”

“If you don’t do what I say, I am going to blow this little ****er’s head off!”

“You won’t, you need the leverage. You’re a monster, but you need him.”

“I’m no worse than you. You killed a lot of ****ing people. Women and children, too. You’re no better than me. But we are blood, after all.” He stares ahead, but not at Ramirez, he stares behind. “Remove the helmet.”

The big thug behind him (Arturo Mendoza) reaches down with his massive hands, but Ramirez ducks under them, as the giant’s hands swipe at him, but miss. Ramirez reaches behind him, aiming for the big man’s fruits, but misjudges, due to the size difference, and grabs onto the legs, as he triggers the shock pulsers built into the palms of his cybernetic arms. Arturo screams as the electricity travels through his body. He starts smoking, as his body convulses, flinging the open the door behind him and shaking the walls of the small room. Ramirez’s hands retract into the arms as the blades pop out, just as the giant slams his hands down and spins Ramirez around.

“I can do better” Arturo says, as the perfectly human looking right arm separates outward, as a shotgun rises out of it and locks around his hand, as he smashes the gun barrel into Ramirez’s face, cracking him with a swing from the left, hurting him off to the right. The shelves collapse like dominoes as the marines strikes them, landing on top of the wreckage.

Carlos flings the cringing Chang into the corner. “No shooting. We don’t want to call his friends”, he says to Arturo, as an assault rifle folds out of the giant’s remaining arm, and he points both at Ramirez. “I got this.” Carlos grins at his foe as he strides over to his fallen foe, bloody face visible behind the cracked visor, as Carlos brings a boot down. And Ramirez slashes a blade across the ankle, and cuts across the Achilles tendon as blood sprays.

“ARRGH *** IT! I changed my mind” he staggers back “Kill this ****er!” Arturo discharges both weapons at Ramirez, who is very much a sitting duck, as he blasts open a massive hole in his chest plating, which takes the blunt of the harm from Ramirez, but things are not looking good.

“I ain’t dead yet” says Deputy Hayes to Sheriff Bull. And then the two guns sound, very close by.

“What the hell, that was from Chang’s… what the hell is going on?”

“Ah don’t know… Ramirez said something about seeing the Alkarbi…”

“****. Head next door and deal with it now… we’ll be with you soon as we can.” The Sheriff and her husband hastily tug clothes on as Deputy Hayes runs for the airlock.

The Sergeant is with Stapes, tending to Yeti. The Sergeant looks up as he hears the shots, trying to make out where they are coming from.

His hand goes to his wrist-pad. “This is the Sergeant. Anybody know where those shots are coming from?” He gets no response. The camera cuts to Gerda and Dodd who have stripped off their armour and our getting into their bed clothes, sat on their bunks upstairs. Dodd’s helmet sits on a chair, as the Sarge’s voice can be faintly heard from it, but Dodd doesn’t seem to notice.

“Damn” says the Sarge.

With a fluid movement, Carlos draws the second pistol “YOU’RE GONNA ****ING DIE RAMIREZ!” He fires repeatedly as Ramirez leaps from his prone position, as the shots bounce ricochet around the inhumanly fast cyborg. He barrels into Carlos, knocking him onto his back. The marine roars defiance as he gets both blades and pushes them into Carlos’s chest… and feels the pressure of armour plating under Mendoza’s vest. Carlos snarls in pain, and blood seeps from the wounds, but it is not enough.

Carlos’s eyes are maddened as he looks up at Ramirez. He presses both pistols onto the hole in Ramirez’s armour, where clothing can be seen underneath. “You’re ****ing DEAD!”

We cut to Ramirez’s view as he looks down at Carlos. The triggers are pulled. Everything… distorts.

As the Sergeant says “Ramirez.” He runs for the airlock.

“Where are you going?” Stapes calls out. But the Sergeant runs into the airlock, ignoring him.

Greyjoy steps out into the pitch black, the only light, his head torch. The snow sprinkles down lightly, and is thick on the ground. He runs across the ground between the one line of concrete buildings that make up Frost, to the one opposite. And then he looks between the two warehouses, panting frantically. He doesn’t know which one to go.

And then the twin gun-shots sound, and his face drops. “Ramirez.”

He looks at Chang’s warehouse… at least he knows where the shots came from…

Dodd and Gerda look at each other, as the shots sound.

“Ah, hell” says Dodd, and starts magging on the chest pieces of her armour (not worrying about clothing too heavily, as an Iceworlder), grabs her sniper rifle, and runs for the airlock.

Gerda, not a marine or a warrior, decides to remain, attempting to comfort Fenris as the dog starts barking and howling madly.

The Sergeant heads north of Chang’s warehouse, slowed by his trudge through the snow after a burst of speed. He sees a light ahead of him.

“Halt! Who goes there?” He gets onto one knee and points his pistol.

“Its me, yer dang idiot!” says the Deputy.

“Oh thank god. I heard shots in there. They may have taken hostages?”

“What should we do?”

“They could be coming out of here any moment.” He looks around him, seeing a complete lack of cover, just flat snowy land and a back-up generator to the North-west of his position. He racks his brains for a strategic solution. “You have explosives in the armoury right?”

“Yeah…”

“Head back that way. Get to the armoury. You need to find a way through to them. Go through the wall, you can take ’em from behind. I’ll try and hold them here… distract them.”

“Aw, all right”, the Deputy runs back through the snow as Greyjoy trudges just ahead of the airlock. He spins, pistol level once again, as the airlock opens.

Carlos steps out, Chang being man-handled with a gun at his head once again. He is followed by three of his mooks, two of them with a hostage, with their own guns to their heads. To south of the group is Arturo, guns still formed out of his arms, wearing no protective gear at all, slightly twitching, much of his body scorched.

“Okay, here’s the deal, I’ve got hostages. Make any attempt to stop us, and I start shooting them”, Carlos says.

“I’m Sergeant Greyjoy, put your weapons down!”

“Are you joking? I said I would shoot them.”

“You won’t shoot them, you need them.”

“I shoot one, I’ve got three more. Don’t test me!”

Greyjoy radios Hayes as he is cycling through the airlock. “Where will there be going? They seem to be heading south.”

“Ah think they’re heading to the hangar, to their ship.”

“All right. I’ll keep them here as long as I can. Stick with the plan.” Greyjoy then holds up his hands. “Okay, we can talk!”

Events cut to the remaining marine, Snow Plough, with Doctor Ross.

They are still in the helicopter, on the mountain. The cold air and snow is blasting in through the hole bitten into the side of the helicopter. The mountain is currently silent, but still, Doctor Ross looks very afraid. “Snow Plough, we need to get out of here.”

Snow Plough paces back and forth. “Okay… but we can’t leave without Crusher.” He goes to his wrist-pad and types “Crusher, are you there?”

“Acknowledged. Stealth mode adopted.” The camera cuts to on top of the helicopter… where Crusher sits, motionless, hidden in the dark. Lights activate and his rotors start as he flies down to the window of the helicopter. “Crusher!” The drone flies in.

“All right, I think I have a plan.”

Dodd runs into the airlock out of Foragers HQ. She sees that Gerda and Fenris are heading after her, so she waits.

“What the hell is going on, the Sergeant just pissed off leaving me with this man…” Dr Stapes gestures down at Yeti, lying on the plastic sheeting. His wounds are still covered in flesh sealing foam, but an area of it has been punctured where Greyjoy was suturing and now blood is dripping out of the wound, though Yeti is now conscious. “I hardly have the expertise to deal this… I don’t have nearly enough cybernetics!”

Dodd not much for words, just says “I have no idea.”

“Well, who could be shooting at who! This is madness!”

Gerda heads into the airlock. The door starts to close. A massive hand stops it, one missing several fingers. The door is pulled open. It is Yeti. With no weapons whatsoever.

“Need any help?”

The two women look to each other. “Yes”, they say in unison.

“You can’t go outside!” yells Stapes. “You’re in no condition to…” The door shuts.

“Nothing to talk about man… you try anything, one of these ****ers lose their heads. Pretty simple. If you don’t learn, then I shoot another. I got enough to go around.” Carlos and his group are waiting in the snow, not currently making a move. One of his men has a rifle on the Sergeant.

“You don’t want to do that. Just leave the hostages, and you can go.”

“I ain’t stupid man, you ain’t gonna let me go anywhere, unless I bring these hostages anywhere.”

“And you’re not going to shoot anyone.”

BAM! Chang’s head explodes. “One down” says Carlos, as the barrel of the pistol that was against Chang’s head smokes, as the headless body collapses into the snow… and then everything distorts…

and the Sergeant still has his gun pointed at Carlos, and Chang is still alive.

“****!” says the Sarge as he attempts to open fire. Carlos sees the reaction, moving Chang so he is front of him. Chang screams… as the pistol fires. The bullet punches through the back of his head and out of his screaming mouth in slow motion as the head flies apart in chunks.

The bullet hits the Sarge’s shoulder. “Damn!” He then heads off through the snow away from Carlos.

“Still think I’m not gonna shoot anyone?” Carlos calls mockingly after the Sergeant. He looks behind as the airlock opens, as the two women, old man and another mook still in Alkarbi guise, exit with another hostage. “Got three more left; don’t test me!”

Deputy Hayes cycles back through the airlock and heads into the Sheriff’s. Carl, the Sheriff’s son is stood in the doorway of the armoury; Carl has the blond hair of his mother, but otherwise appears entirely different, being a short and scrawny teenager.

“Oh look who’s running away from the fight!”

“Aw, shuddup kid, people are getting shot out there, we need bigger guns.”

“What the hell is going on, who is firing?” says the Sherrif. She and Connor are both getting into their old marine gear. Across the front of her old battle armour, in red paint is “BULLDOZER.”

“Its the Alkarbi… no idea why. Need to see what else we got to deal with ’em.”

The Sergeant heads back to the western buildings, whilst still trying to distract Carlos.

“Where are you going?”

“To **** your mamma, of course!” The mooks with him laugh.

“You won’t be flying anywhere; you won’t get that far.”

“Well, you doin’ a real good of stopping me so far!” His men laugh again. “Cause, don’t stop me, no-one dies… course, the hostages might have a 20ft drop when I give ’em back… but don’t worry, snow is nice and soft.”

“Any way we can stop them flying?” Greyjoy radios Hayes. “Any explosive fuel down there?”

“You wanna blow up the hangar?”

“He wants to WHAT?” yells the Sheriff. “Then we won’t have any way off this planet… and that building connects, to others, we can’t blow it!”

“Nah, we can’t do that” Hayes radios Greyjoy.

“Any other way we can stop their ship?”

“Uh…” Hayes checks his cam-feed, and looks through the feed for Jeeves. The drone is looking over Maisy, the jeep. “Jeeves, you there?”

“Yes sir. I have checked Maisy as you asked. She is functioning. Would you like anything else, milord? Cup of tea?”

“Uh, actually yeah Jeeves… is there a ship in the bay with you?”

The drone cap rotates. It is looking right at the shuttle. The engines are fired and there is a pilot inside frantically toggling switches. The jeep and ship are in an underground vehicle bay. Part of the ceiling is opening above the dropship.

“Acknowledged.”

“Jeeves, ah want you to man the rail-gun on Maisy, and shoot that ship. It ain’t allowed to go nowhere.”

“Jeeves is not programmed to fight but… “ the drones shows its many arms to the camera. “Jeeves has… fingers… Jeeves will try.” The drone turns the railgun on the dropship.

The pilot sees and mouths something obscene. The shell fires… not hard to hit a stationary target. The shell punches through one side of the ship and out of the other. Though it does deliver crippling structural damage, it will certainly not be wise to fly it out in the cold… and space would certainly be a no.

“Good work, Jeeves.” Hayes then runs into the armoury and swipes a plasma charge, whilst the Sheriff shouts at her pithy son and insists he go back to bed in the background.

Snow Plough has opened up the top of Crusher. Wires are spools out everywhere. Plough looks in slight panic from the drone to beneath the dashboard of the helicopter, where a panel has been opened and their wires everywhere. He doesn’t seem to quite know where to start. Ross gets into the co-pilot seat. “Come on Snow Plough…” she has her pistol out, pointing at the crack, out at the imperceptible darkness…

“HAYES, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?” comes a distorted voice through Hayes’ comms.

“Who is that?”

“WHO THE **** DO YOU THINK IT IS? THE TOOTH FAIRY?… ITS RYAN.”

Hayes explains to the mercenary that the Alkarbi seem to have taken some of Chang’s people hostage, and they shot Chang.

“ALL RIGHT. I’LL SEE IF I CAN HELP.”

The camera cuts to Ryan, right at the south of the eastern building, on the roof, where he was last seen watching the glacier. He makes his way along the roof edge, and looks down at the chaotic mass of figures in the dark, trying to make out who is who.

Dodd and Gerda exit into the snow, only half-dressed and armoured, weapons out, followed by Yeti and Fenris. Gerda decides to hide behind Yeti, who just decides to stand and look threatening, doing little else. Dodd weights up her strategic options, and doesn’t see a whole lot. She switches her eyes to infra-vision, and clearly make out every hostage and Cartel member. The most striking image is that of Arturo; the giant is not human at all, she notices, making out the heat pulse of the plasma reactor inside him. She decides on her target.

The Cartel and their hostages start moving south through the snow, though their going is slow.

Greyjoy keeps moving, nearly reaching a ramp (all the airlocks have little ramps leading to them, as the buildings are built just below ground level to conserve hear), keeping low.

“They’re heading south. Is the ship still functioning?” He radios to Hayes.

“Yeah. Got two big holes in it, I think it’ll still fly. Might slow ’em down though.”

“All right, proceed with the plan.”

“Ah got a plasma charge. Won’t make any noise, and will still make a hole.”

“All right. We don’t have much time.”

Hayes grabs the charge and approaches the armoury wall aligned with Chang’s.

“Deputy Hayes, you better not be doing what I think you are doing!” Sheriff Bull shrieks.

“Sorry, ma’am, but we need to get around them.”

“And then do what? They’re already outside, aren’t they? They’ll hear us coming through the airlock and we won’t be any better!”

The Sarge hearing shouting in the background as he listens in. “Let me guess; she is objecting.”

“Yeah….”

“Just do it, we don’t have time!”

Hayes approaches the wall.

“Deputy Hayes…”

He presses it onto the wall.

“If you plan to put a hole in the wall… what is that going to do for the heating!”

He starts entering the code.

“If you DARE..” He moves back as the wall disintegrates.

“HOW DARE you listen to that Sergeant, -I- am your superior not h-”

He steps through the wall.

The Sheriff looks to Connor. “Keep an eye on Carl, I’ve got a feeling he might try and ru-”

“For ***** sake Mum!” laments the teen.

“LANGUAGE! I DON’T CARE IF PEOPLE ARE SHOOTING AT EACH OTHER, YOU WON’T USE THAT LANGUAGE! BED! NOW!”

The teen complies.

Bull heads after the Deputy, fuming.

Snow Plough has linked some of the wires from Crusher, into the helicopter, and wires from both into the wrist pad of his armour. “Hmmmm… better…” He sits in the pilot’s seat. “No…” He still isn’t happy. “Crusher? We are nearly ready to go. Won’t you prepare some inspiring music, please?”

“Command acknowledged. Scanning for appropriate music- themes: inspirational, flight, helicopters…”

Ross still has the gun Ramirez gave her, pointing it outside, at nothing.

Ryan makes out Carlos amongst the Cartel, as he and the Sarge continue their mocking back and forth. He stares down his sight, waiting.

Gerda stays behind Yeti, using the nine foot hulk as cover, readying her dart rifle. Next to them, Dodd aims at Arturo.

The Cartel continuing moving south, guns trained both on hostages and the shapes in the darkness around them.

The Sergeant reaches the ramp and drops onto it, keeping the pistol sighted to the group of Hostiles.

Hayes and Bull head through the foyer area of the warehouse.

“Jeeves, is the target still there?” Hayes says through comms.

“Affirmative.” The pilot continues to swear, as the platform underneath the ship lifts it up into the air, as it goes out of sight, going to the floor above.

“Gonna need you to ready to fire the rail-gun again.”

“Very good, sir.”

Plough cracks his knuckles. He sits next to Dodd. He looks strangely… calm. And grins.

“Tell me my dear, have you flown before?”

“Just get us out of here, Snow Plough.”

“Very well. Crusher, music please.” He starts the engine. The rotors whirr.

“I wish I could flyyyyyyyyyy awayyyyy….”

“Very good.” The helicopter takes off, over the lip of the mountain peak. And then plunges down the mountainside.

“Arrrrrrrrgggggggggggh!” they both scream. As they plummet down the slope, they hear the now familiar screams of the Razor Ants screamers.

“Oh NOOOOOOOOO!”

“Donnnnn’t drooopppp us dowwwwwn onnnne of thosssse holllesss…” screams Ross.

“Crusher, different music!” Plough calls out.

The scene in Frost changes, as the deafening screams of the Screamers echo over the glacier.

“****, their coming!” one of the mooks releases a hostage, and tries to run. The others follow suit.

“What are you doing, stay together!” Carlos screams as the tight bubble of men and women suddenly splits apart.

“We need to get inside before they get us!”

“STAY TOGETHER!” Ryan shoots Carlos in the back as his armour seems to take most of the shot. Gerda ducks down, so she is visible between Yeti’s legs. She fires. The dart takes Carlos in the eye… his Red-Eye no less. “ARRGGH *********!” He clamps a hand onto the dart and tears the dart out… along with his eyeball. “You ****ing *****!” The acid released from the dart melts a far larger hole than that of his eye socket. And then freezes. He collapses, very dead.

Yeti looks down at Gerda, in sudden admiration… and perhaps a bit more. She grins.

“Nice work.” He holds out a hand, and the Aug woman clasps onto it.

Arturo and Dodd fires at the same time. He blasts her in the chest. Her armour holds, but steaming blood seeps out of the wound. Her shot is set off-course. It misses the reactor but tears through his right arm. The bullet explodes on impact, flinging the shotgun arm into the snow.

He looks at in shock, and then at Carlos. He transform the other arm to its human appearance and raises it, as the other mooks drop their weapons into the snow and raise their hands.

“What are you doing?” hisses the woman who has been silent up unto this point.

“Carlos is down… and they’re coming… we need to surrender…”

“No… you can’t…” she hisses in protest, but raises her arms regardless.

Then everyone goes silent and looks up at the hundreds of shapes flitting up into the darkness of the mountains. And then, there is a more different sound.

“I beliiiiiiiiieve I can flyyyyyyyy…”

“Better” says Snow Plough, confidence returned to his face. Forms fly into the windscreen but bounce off. Others bounce off the hull.

He looks at Ross and clasps one of her hands. “Where were you born.. oh never mind…”The helicopter thunders down the slope, an avalanche blasting down behind it. He hits an edge… and goes airborne.

“I’m taking you home, my dear.”

The Sheriff and Deputy exit the airlock, seeing the distance screamers, hearing the boom of the avalanche, and see another, larger shape zooming through the air towards the settlement. Bull has her shotgun pointed at the Mendozas as they run for the airlock, along with former hostages.

“Everyone inside! Quickly!”

The camera shows Dodd blinking in disbelief at her chest wound. The Sarge, ramming a stim through the sealant foam his Contact Armour formed around where he was shot, hissing in pain. Yeti and Gerda looking admiringly at each other, Fenris panting happily to both, and then barking at the forms in the air. Ryan looking up from his vantage on the roof. Arturo slinging his broken arm across his back, people scattering around him.

And the helicopter strikes the ground at the south of the settlement. Sliding to a halt, using the struts at the bottom as skis. Ross steps out, hands on her hips. “Honestly, I leave you alone for five minutes…”

ROLL END CREDITS!

Game Notes

  • So there we are, first character death, and also first named Friendly death. The turning point of the campaign… I was being nice up until this point… this was my demonstration of the remorseless nature of this game. If people can kill, Compromise and wound three separate characters, what will the bugs do if they catch the marines off guard?

  • Why did Ramirez get defeated, despite putting up a good fight? He is basically most built for moving stealthily and Powerhouse, but was using Kick-ass, to use Powerhouse twice, which gave me no defence against being shot… giving me enough SL to breach his armour. Carlos then had him in Short Range… meaning he could shoot him with impunity, and as he got hit through the Breach… getting Neutralised was an instant kill, unlike are dear Yeti, who got to fight on and live. Ramirez was built for both melee and avoiding attack, but in close quarters with close quarters gun experts… he was outclassed, uber totals aside.

  • He did some severe damage to both foes, but Carlos was constantly getting hit by things he was Resistant to, coupled with decent Hardass, he took a lot of hits. Arturo just had a high Hardass of stupid… but is very nearly Neutralised…

  • A general demonstration of how brutal combat is… and team work (Ramirez was a Lone Wolf though, so well played.) Also, picking the right Abilities and Ability Type can make all the difference.

  • Why did Chang die twice? The Sergeant has Necroseer… he sees death, and then gets a chance to save someone (he got an extra Ability letting him save Yeti before)… great for him in a medical situation, but wasn’t a good enough shot to oppose pistol expert Carlos, who has Prepared a shot, and outdid him, hitting the Sarge hard enough to throw off his shot.

  • GLORY POINTS! Dramatic editing was used for convenient Jeeves placement… Ramirez spent a Glory Point to get an extra Beat of Abilities to leap onto Carlos, but still got taken down with not a high enough effect to kill Carlos to stop his shooting defence. Snow Plough gained one for turning the helicopter into a remote-controlled snow-mobile drone by connecting it to his Remote Control Drone… who conveniently appeared with another spending of a Glory Point. Things went horribly wrong for the other characters despite best intentions, so no more points were awarded. Fortunately they had a few from previous games as the Story directly continued.

  • Use of cover, stealth and shooting- Carlos went down to Gerda cos he has no idea the shot was coming, and was near dead anyway. No chance. Dodd got shot cos she was out in the open with no cover, dark aside, and Arturo was Prepared as she was. All the Mooks were Prepared too, but because of Carlos’s death, they started Losing It, and I therefore decided they scattered and then surrendered, rather than shoot.

  • Next… The Screamers come to Frost… and the citizens are forced inside with the Cartel that just killed one of them, with the marines responsible for more deaths… everything before now was just warm-up for the horror and madness to come…