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.”
“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…”