I LOVE THE CORPS- COLD FRONTIER
(Pre-credits scene- set on Day 1, after the mission of the previous episode.)
The Ice Breaker Squad and their two associates, the Deputy and Dodd, are all present in Frost’s meeting hall. Whilst Ramirez, the Deputy and Snow Plough are seated, Sergeant Greyjoy paces up and down, Yeti stands behind Ramirez, arms folded and Dodd leans against the airlock to the outside world.
With the marines are Mayor Winkleman, Sheriff Bull and Anatoli Demidov; Demidov is a taciturn miner in his early fifties. He is short, stocky, veteran manual labourer and has a distinctly gruff Russian accent. He is the foreman of the ice miners, in charge of the still-living crew as well as the entire ice mining operation.
When the Mayor asks what happened with the Ice Breaker’s recon, Ramirez succinctly answers “All your men are dead” and Greyjoy follows with “You’ll need to collapse the mine as soon as possible.”
This, not too surprisingly, causes a furore among the locals present. When the Mayor asks to know what brings them to this conclusion, the Sergeant doesn’t really explain beyond heading into tunnels and ‘hearing a noise’ which causes more derision, until Ramirez backs up his Sergeant and points out that the tunnels must have been made by something. But the others are hardly convinced. Ramirez asks for use of the Info-screen, and transmits his camera footage, focussing on the tunnel, the vehicles partially submerged in the ice, the torn drivers seat, the blood and ice cracks leading into the tunnel.
Demidov is still highly against stopping the mining; “If we have no ice, that means no trade, no trade… no food!” But, Greyjoy was not aware of a second mining site, and gives Demidov leave to carry on there until Ramirez changes his mind by questioning Demidov on how far deep his own miners have dug. When Demidov points out that their pace should be roughly similar, Ramirez says that his mine will be compromised too; they have clearly dug too and disturbed it. Demidov protests, as his team have not exposed the mountain rock and so his crew will be in no danger.
Bull decides to back up the marines after reviewing the footage, pointing out that the ice is too deep for the vehicles to have collapsed through it naturally, meaning that something must have caused them to be trapped in the ice, a theory which Demidov cannot disagree with, since the glacial ice is likely miles deep, being part of a continental glacier. Greyjoy decides that both mines will have to be collapsed. The Mayor is still furious that the same man who insisted he send his people out regardless of danger the previous day for the Corps needed the ice was now saying to do the opposite. Greyjoy scathingly points out that there is an entire planet of ice, which rather shuts the Mayor up.
Demidov works with the marines, suggesting that he can pull back closer to Frost and start cutting elsewhere; Ramirez suggests he cut wider rather than deeper this time, to avoid disturbing anything else. Greyjoy asks if they have any laser equipment to collapse the mines with, and Demidov reveals that his team has several laser drills, but they will need them for drilling.
Winkleman suggests that the squad goes back to the missing team’s vehicles and finds a way into the back of the van since it will contain that team’s laser drills, and then they can use them to collapse both mines whilst the ice miners and foragers continue their daily task as usual.
The squad agree to embark on this mission the following day.
(Opening credits roll!)
The episode proper opens with Greyjoy, Ramirez and Fentington/Snow Plough (the characters with present players) being driven by the Deputy (being RPed by me in Rich’s absence, since they needed their wheels) back to the disturbed ice mine.
“Nothing.” After a few seconds of confused silence, Fentington has a eureka moment, saying that he has worked out how to stop his drones freezing, as he over-clocks their internal heating systems safely to stop them freezing on the outside. Once they reach the mine, the Sergeant orders the Deputy to get on the rail gun and point it at the tunnels and shoot it if he sees anything, a prospect he seems very happy about. Whilst Greyjoy and Ramirez get out of the jeep, Fentington stays in the jeep, but sends his recon drone Blinky under his direct remote control to investigate the tunnel and see if there is anything there, before investigating the van. The other two marines remain above the mine cut into the glacier, both keeping their eyes out for movement, but all is quiet and still.
And then the Sergeant draws his pistol and points it at the ice near the tunnel. He fires once. Twice. Three times.
The absolute silence and still continues. Blinky looks in the tunnel, shining a light, but can’t see anything.
Greyjoy- “I knocked, but nobody was home. Get to it.” (He got a Glory Point for amazing piror descriptions and delivery of this awesome line… and also for the unexpected change in story direction that came next.)
Ramirez suddenly looks at the sky and then to the mountain peaks. He is sure he can hear something. Must be the helicopter of the foragers. Fentington sends Jeeves, his support drone down over to the fan, and Ramirez climbs down the same way as before.
And then everyone hears a cacophony of inhuman screeches coming in bursts from the mountains. And the marine’s helmets film with radio chatter. Demidov demanding to know about the gun-shots, then demanding to know what those screeches are. And then Rundstrom, the survival expert, and Dr Ross with the Foragers. Shots can be heard being fired over the radio, Rundstrom yelling that they are under attack and Ross demanding help. Ramirez radios the Deputy and asks if they can get to the Foragers, but he makes it clear that won’t be possible on wheels. Ramirez says that they are dead, then, and cuts his radio feed as he races over to the van.
The Sarge tries to get Rundstrom to tell him what they’ve encountered but she seems unable to hear him and carries on firing. He decides they are gone too, and cuts his comm feed, and then heads down into the glacier, ordering the Deputy to fire his railgun at the tunnel and collapse it, which he does with a decent shot. Jeeves pops out engineering tools to try and melt the ice around the door and open it, but is not quite able to do so, the ice being weeks old. Ramirez comes sprinting over to the van, slamming his cybernetic palms onto the door and releasing electricity into it via his shock pulsers implants. The entire van judders and the ice around the door turns to steam and the doors are flung open. Jeeves tries to use its lifting arms to pull out one of the four laser drill emplacements in the back of the van, but the entirety of the inside is frozen, and the drills are stuck to the metal. The Sarge heads past the van to the rubble over the tunnel entrance, and runs his hands over it, checking it for weaknesses.
He then puts an eye against a crack he sees in the rubble. He screams. The rubble collapses outwards into the glacier and the Sergeant is sent skidding across the ice, coming to a halt right by Ramirez who looks down in horror as the Sergeant’s visor is covered in cracks and blood as something protrudes from it, embedded into his face. “My eye! My ****ing eye!” the Sarge screams. Fentington starts gibbering over the radio as in a panic, he tries to free the laser drills with a crazy plan as he sends in Blinky, with it’s underslung flame-thrower…
Ramirez tries to look into the tunnel, but the Deputy fires, collapsing rocks on the entrance again, spurring slight derision from Ramirez before he orders Fentington to ‘get those damn drills!’ and scoops the Sergeant over his shoulder and sprints across the glacier, managing to climb one handed back up to the jeep, where he puts the Sergeant in the back and leaps in himself.
Blinky hovers in to the van as Jeeves hovers back to the van. Fentington controls the drone, carefully eking out the flame in small bursts, as he starts to melt the ice without unduly damaging the laser drills. And then the entire van shakes. And plummets the rest of the way through the ice, as Blinky’s feed goes black and the drone disappears with the van.
(We got to the third and final Beat of the Narrative Scene and they needed one more SL to free the lasers, and that was the Purpose of the Scene… so with that just saying, there was a negative ending to the scene for the squad.)
“BLINNNNNKY!” Fentington cries out as the jeep goes full speed back towards the ice miners. Lying on the back seat, the Sarge injects himself with a stim.
(The Sarge was Compromised; he didn’t get high enough to remove the condition, so if that doesn’t happen… he’s gonna die.)
Demidov demands to know what is happening, but Ramirez taking control due to the Sarge’s injury insists that it isn’t save and orders him into his vehicle (the rest of his miners) and back to Frost. He then tells Dodd, Yet and Ryan is pace backwards back to Frost, keeping an eye out for anything following and to shoot whatever they see, and orders the Deputy to use the railgun to prevent anything getting into Frost. The Deputy protests that idea with the need to get the Sergeant medical help, and gets Ramirez’s full anger as he tells the Deputy that obviously he needs to drive them back first and then take perimeter outside the settlement, and not to leave the railgun till Ramirez says so.
Fentington and Ramirez walk into the Forager’s HQ, Ramirez carrying the Sarge again, as the Sarge, still conscious, hisses and demands a bed. As soon as Dr Stapes pulls a curtain aside and the Sarge is on the bed, he pulls the curtain and pulls Stapes close to him, and whispers something into his ear, agressively. Whatever Stapes responds with gets him cuffed across the ear.
The camera then cuts into the cubicle where Stapes examines the Sergeant’s injury; he has some kind of chitinous, hooked piece of anatomy embedded into his reinforced visor, and stuck into his face. The visor is slammed down and locked, due to being out in the extreme cold.
Stapes- “So I have your leave to raise your visor?”
“You’re sure? The damage caused could very well be irrevocable, if it isn’t already.”
“Just do it.”
“Very well. I would say to bite down on something, but being that I can’t get to your mouth… you’ll just have to think of Avalon.”
Stapes opens up the Sergeant wrist-pad, slowly raising the visor. The Sergeant’s agony is apparent, but he is lucky… the anatomy embedded in his face is just to the right of his eyeball, and he has only been temporarily blinded by the agony and the blood, though a horrid permanent scar is left as the visor raises and drags the sharp piece of animal anatomy up past his nose and up his forehead before it is torn free. The Sergeant is then anaesthetised.
Dr Stapes shows Ramirez and Fentington what nearly killed the Sergeant; it appears to be either a piece of fang, claw or similar, though he laments that it is not his area to tell much about it. He assures them that Doctor Ross will be able to tell them more… and Fentington’s face drops. Stapes demands to know what Ross has to do with any of this, and though Ramirez tries to scare Stapes off the trail, he is more than stubborn enough to stand up to him. As fellow Avalonian tea drinkers, Stapes and Fentington form a mutual connection, and Fentington manages to obscure the details of their encounter a little to take the blame away from them in a way that is convincing to Stapes; the fact that the Seergeant’s gun-shots came before Mya Ross’s crew were attacked is not mentioned.
Stapes points out that the Sergeant won’t be awake till the sun has gone down, so there will be little else they can do safely for the rest of the day. With that, Ramirez declares he needs a drink.
Fentington “Won’t we need to talk to the Sheriff?”
“She can talk to us at the bar.”
We cut to Jeeves entering the Sheriff’s office and asking for the Sheriff, whilst his dialogue is being remotely typed by Fentington, in the bar with Ramirez, already downing drinks.
We then cut to Bull slamming her hand down on the bar. “I believe you have some explaining to do.”
We then cut to the Deputy realising he should let the Sheriff know what’s going on. He activates his comms. And then he gets a distorted distress signal. From Dr Ross.
We cut to Ross, hiding in a tunnel with several others.
“Is anyone coming?”
“I don’t think they can hear us…” says Ross. “Don’t worry, I’ll get us out of this.”
ROLL END CREDITS.