ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 5

So I know this a sci-fi horror game to start with, and this campaign is being run in a very survival horror manner, but still… DAMN, last night was really the most Halloppropriate (I am coining this term) that I could asked for. Partially due to some of my design, but mostly because of the players choosing the most genre appropriate actions.

This game took place entirely in tunnels, pitch black mountains and a helicopter surrounded by aforementioned dark mountains.

COLD FRONTIER, EPISODE/DAY 5

Played characters- Sergeant Grayjoy, Private Ramirez, Deputy Hayes, Private Fentington/Snow Plough, Leon Dodd (full house!)

Prominent squad Friendlies- Yeti, Gerda Rundstrom, Fenris the Dog, Dr Mya Ross

Pre-credits scene

The scene opens with Yeti running through the corridors of a spaceship. On his left and right, doors open, as Hispanic individuals with assault rifles and shotguns raise them at the giant Aug, but get no chance to fire as the giant, two handed, bone axe cuts left and right, as Yeti is soaked in blood spray. Further down the corridor, other men and women open fire as he charges toward them, most of the shots trailing past him, a few lodging in his fur, causing small dribbles of blood where the bullets embed in his thickened skin. He ducks as Crusher sweeps in on the right over his shoulder, and Blinky on the left. Crushers halts in front of the giant, blasting several Hostiles with minigun fire, as Blinky flies at them. We then cut to “Drones” (Snow Plough) calmly walking forward, right wrist raised as one finger rotates the drone controls round and round. Blinky spins 360, spraying fire in every direction once amongst the enemy.

“Come on!” yells Yeti, charging forward as the other enemy writhe and scream and burn.

We cut to Ramirez (the one of a few months ago, arms and legs intact) dressed on in vest and combats. His armour and weapons lie discarded on the ground a few feet away from him. He is circling Carlos Mendoza, also without weapons or armour. The camera pans around them to show many masked workers, men, women and children, trying to depart the scene, as on gantries above, armed men and women of the mostly young, tattooed and pierced variety watch, but with guns at the ready. A boiling hot red liquid flows through troughs running parallel to the gantries before plunging down into big industrial vats.

Carlos swings a punch at Ramirez who ducks under it. “You shouldn’t have come here.” Ramirez gives a stern retort. Carlos sweeps his legs out from under him. He then leans down and grabs him by the vest. “Of course, where would we be without your family’s help. And do you know why we’re so close, your family and mine…” he pulls Ramirez forward, hissing in his face. “Your mother.” He then shoves Ramirez, as the marine slides along the floor. A channel of red liquid runs right above him. The liquid spatters down near him, hissing on the floor.

“You know, Ramirez, you should have shot me. Cos I might be a thief… but I’ve got no honour.” He reaches under his vest, where he has a pistol mag-padded to his side, as he removes it and points it at the defenceless Sarge.

Then all hell breaks loose. Yeti bursts in to the other end of the chamber, cutting down men around him as the drones fly in and open fire and the guards turn away from the duel to fight the newcomers. Carlos turns to the noise, just as the liquid spatters down, striking his right eye. He winces, clutching his face. He then looks back at Ramirez, the affected eye now bulging and blood-shot, the skin around it also deep red.

“I really wanted to finish you. But guess you get to live a little longer. But I am going to kill you.” Carlos runs, pushing his way past workers trying to flee the fight. Ramirez crawls over to his pistol.

He points it towards Carlos.

Yeti runs towards the Sergeant. He looks to where he is shooting and sees gas canisters.

“Sa-” his warning is cut off as an enemy lunges at him. Yeti throws the enemy aside, then looks back to the Sarge, but it too late to warn him as the shot is fired. The canisters explode. “SAAAAAAAAAARGE!”

Ramirez is flung against the wall, unmoving. His arms and legs are nothing more than burned stumps. Yeti screams in despair as the fire spreads around him, people running and burning.

Roll opening credits.

The episode opens with darkness and heavy breathing. A pair of gauntleted human hands scramble along a stone tunnel. The camera pans back to show it is Greyjoy.

A scream that is half agony, half defiance, echoes through the tunnels. It is Yeti’s voice.

“Yeti, I’m coming.”

He hears other noises, clacking against the stone. He freezes. There is a cross-roads ahead of him, the tunnel straight ahead swooping downward at a steep angle. The clacking comes from the left.

A chitinous legs spears the wall inches in front of his face. Another behind him. The legs then move on. He glances back; it is one of the bulkier, four-mandible Workers. Once it is behind him, Greyjoy continues on slowly.

The camera shows another tunnel, this was dimly illuminated by the smallest possible flicker of blue light. A booted foot steps down, with fur wrapped and tied around it, making no noise. Another pair of equally wrapped boots follows behind. The camera rises to show Private Ramirez, followed by Deputy Hayes, keeping low, sneaking ahead. Hugging the ceiling, Jeeves follows behind them.

We cut inside the helicopter, where Dr Ross and Snow Plough are still present. Plough tries to monitor Jeeve’s process, but the camera is mostly just distortion. Crusher floats outside the helicopter, outside in total darkness, sweeping a thin beam of light left and right.

They hear a creaking from the front of the helicopter. Plough orders the drone to quickly move behind the helicopter for cover. There hear a dragging sound. Looking outside, Plough sees nothing, and then hides behind the window.

Ross looks at him and places her hands on his shoulders. “Just be quiet. Keep calm” she whispers to him. “We’ll get through this.”

We cut to show another pair of gauntleted hands, climbing up a mountainous slope, as then the camera moves back to show Leon Dodd hurling himself up to a boulder, and then skipping between them, moving between covers. A pair of white paws; Fenris, the husky/wolf cross, followed by Gerda Rundstrom, the survivalist, moving sleek and silently.

Dodd sees the silhouette of the helicopter, and ahead of it, a flicker of movement. She squints, but sees nothing herself. She switches to infra-red vision, but cannot see anything movement. But she feels something, hunger, coming from within the stone. She moves ahead up the mountain, taking care to avoid the holes leading inside it. She looks inside the helicopter and sees two heat signatures in the helicopter and heads towards it.

Ramirez tries the comms, and gets a response from Greyjoy. All Plough hears through his comms are distorted crackles. They try to get his location, but it seems all three of them have no idea where they are, but they can all hear Yeti’s echoing screams. Ramirez and Hayes see a Worker cross the tunnel in front of them and continue off to the right. They decide to follow it and see where it is going.

The Sergeant hears crunching sounds. He looks behind and sees the Worker biting into a wall; it uses the upper pair of mandibles to pierce the stone, and the lower mandibles to tear it into its mouth, where it chews it and spits it onto the floor as pulp.

“They’re eating the stone to make tunnels. Maybe we can use this to our advantage.”

Dodd sees a heat signature of blood across the rocks. Drag marks. They are heading into a hole behind her. She nearly steps on something? Bone? She lifts her boot as she makes contact, not making a sound. Then a light shines at her, as she covers her face.

Plough instructs Crusher to speak to her, as it shines its light.

“Don’t make me shoot you”, Dodd responds.

“Negative. If you open fire, I am programmed to treat you as a Hostile” Crusher responds.

“Fair enough.”

Dr Ross opens the helicopter door a small way, and Dodd, Gerda and Fenris enter the helicopter, with Crusher remaining outside.

Gerda asks where the others are, and Plough explains that they have gone into the mountain. Gerda despairs that the people they came to rescue have but themselves in even more trouble.

Dr Ross; “It seems their Sergeant has a potato for a brain.”

Dodd makes a snide remark about Plough still remaining in the helicopter whilst the rest of the marines remain in the squad. He folds his arms and then defensively says, “Crusher, tell Dodd why we are still at the helicopter?”

“Crusher is tasked with protecting the helicopter. The helicopter containing Snow Plough and Dr Ross. Crusher is protecting Snow Plough and Doctor Ross”; the drones voice projects from outside.

“See! Crusher is keeping the Doctor safe!”

“Really, and what are you doing?” Dodd says sarcastically.

“Snow Plough is Crusher’s operator. Crusher is tasked with…” as it repeats the same sentence as before. And then scrabbling sounds can be heard outside again. Everyone goes quiet.

Greyjoy freezes again as another Worker climbs over his head. He looks back, as both plunge their heads into the wall. “They must be on the move somewhere. Another one just joined in.”

Ramirez and Hayes have suspicions where the Sergeant is, as the Ant they are following also turns right. They then hear skittering sounds coming directly behind them, though hisses, scrabbles and screams continue to echo from all around and are difficult to pinpoint. Ramirez gestures at Hayes and they both drop to the ground on their chests. Four Warriors (the sleeker Ants with two serrated mandibles, of around horse length like the Workers) continue over their heads, on the ceiling. They pass the marines without noticing them. The Warriors are travelling at great speed straight ahead and disappear out of sight. The two marines then see Greyjoy very obviously move across the intersection; he is using strategic knowledge to keep out of the Ant’s notice, but isn’t being stealthy to the other two, with the aid of dim light. The three meet up, and begin to decide their next move. Their discussion is interrupted by Yeti booming; “IF YOU’RE GOING TO ****ING EAT ME, THEN JUST ****ING DO IT ALREADY!” And then they hear more chattering and scuttling in response, estimating the noises to be coming from the tunnel heading further downward. Ramirez charges ahead, Hayes draw his machine pistol (it has Ramirez’s silencer attached to it) and runs after Ramirez.

Greyjoy lastly draws Yeti’s machete, which he had magged to his back, and heads after them.

Snow Plough rotates Crusher, and sees a Worker crawling out of the hole behind the helicopter.

He decides to see if they react to light; apparently so, as he turns a full beam on the creature and it hisses at the drone, heading right for it. Plough flies the drone above the helicopter, and the Ant crawls up the windscreen onto the propellers. Plough moves it up a few feet as the Worker stands up on its hind legs, snapping up at the drone. Plough orders Crusher higher… and then the Worker leaps, latching onto it, wrapping it legs around it. Plough squeals out in shock, frantically trying to throw the Ant off, and it bites into the drone, as the cam-feed cuts off. Plough can’t see to control Crusher so orders it fly up, and the drone disappears into the dark.

Dodd says “We need to take to the tunnels. If we stay here, we are just sitting ducks.”

“Here is the safest place!” Ross argues “As long as we make minimal noise they won’t know we’re here!”

“I’ve had it with this!” Dodd says and heads for the exit, but Gerda stands in front of the door and pushes her back. Dodd goes to throw a punch, but stops as Fenris growls at her, leaving them at a stand-off.

Ramirez charges ahead down the tunnel as it gets steeper and steeper, though it doesn’t do much to slow Ramirez. He turns a corner as a gout of a blue smoke-like chemical spurts out from ahead of him, sounding him with the smoke. And then something hisses and leaps, striking him, wrapping body, head and legs around his head and torso. Hayes runs into the smoke and is also blinded and knocked down as Ramirez is smashed from wall to wall, trying to throw the creature off him. Greyjoy charges in, machete swinging, but strikes Ramirez instead (without harm), as he pulls the sword away, spins and slips, landing on his back next to Hayes.

Ramirez pops a blade from one cybernetic arm and punches the blade at the creature, which leaps away from him onto the ceiling, as Ramirez fails to stop the momentum, and blade and attached arm punch into a wall. Greyjoy gets to his feet and decides to plummet on down the corridor towards Yeti’s loud defiance, though he is still surrounded by smoke. Hayes tries and fails to scrabble to his feet.

The Ant leaps at Ramirez, moves out of the way partially as it climbs onto his shoulder. With a shake of his shoulders, he throws it onto the floor. He then plunges the free hand straight down. He feels some kind of soft, bulging, soft organs growing from its neck, grabs one, and releases a jolt of electricity from the shock pulser built into the palm of his free hand. He pulls the other arm out of the wall. Hayes wants again tries to get to his feet, but is panicking and keeps slipping and falling.

Greyjoy runs clear of the smoke, and into a much wider, winding tunnel, connected to by at least a dozen other tunnel entrances he can see. There are tunnels that go completely vertical, into the ceiling and floor, and then many others curling off to left and right. On the ceilings of the tunnel entrances hang “Ninja” Ants (what Ramirez is fighting); they have smaller bodies than the others, more bunched together with curving legs more like that of a spider (they are size-wise, close to a lion) with fleshy sacs hanging from their otherwise chitinous necks. There are sounds of reinforcements coming from every tunnel. Right of Ramirez is blue some kind of blue liquid spread across a wall, and partially contained in that liquid are two human skeletons, entirely stripped of flesh, muscle, organs and even clothing. And ahead and to the left of Greyjoy is Yeti.

His once long, barbarian, flowing hair has been chewed off in massive clumps, and where it missing, raw muscle and bits of skull can be seen. Where his right eye once was, there is now a massive gaping hole, far larger than the eye socket. There are holes through fur over his torso and limbs, where there are chunks of missing flesh showing exposed muscle or bone.

And Yeti stands, tearing himself from the blue adhesive attached to the wall behind and still partially attached to him. He has no weapons. There are six Larvae chewing on him; they are like white, armoured slugs with four mandible at the ends of their heads. He is tearing them from his flesh, as he continues to bellow his defiance at the creatures that approach him; four Workers following behind… the Queen.

Dodd tries to shove her way out of the helicopter but fails. She decides to reason with Gerda; “Look, we were sent here to save them, so we can hardly do that from in here can we? If we stay here, nobody is going to be rescued. If we go now, they might have a chance of getting out.”

Gerda nods and says “Fair enough” and orders Fenris to back down. “Let’s finish the job.”

Dodd looks to Ross and Snow Plough and says that whether they come or stay is up to them.

Ross makes it clear she is not getting herself killed trying to rescue the people that were supposed to save her, and Snow Plough is too busy obsessing over his drone to even acknowledge the conversation. (At this point his player left.)

Dodd, Gerda and Fenris head out. Dodd uses her empathic powers, feeling the hunger within the mountain, though it is mostly replaced by anger. She decides to follow those feelings, to find the others and picks the nearest tunnel near the helicopter that isn’t completely vertical and heads in after the others.

The Queen more closely resembles larvae than the other Razor Ant varieties, like a colossal armoured worm with six stocky legs slamming into the ground. It has a head which is mostly a humongous, near circular open mouth, protected by six mandibles of different shapes and flexibility per pair. It bellows a horrific scream as the Sergeant appears, and the sounds of other Ants nearby audibly increase. At the bottom of its mouth hang two pulsating organs and it constantly dribbles blue liquid from the bottom of the mouth.

“Run Yeti, RUNNNN!” calls the Sergeant, as Yeti vaults towards him, screaming as the larvae bite more chunks from his flesh as he runs and hurls them away. The Queen follows right behind with surprising speed for its bulk, snapping mandibles mere inches from the Aug warrior’s neck.

Ramirez punches the Ninja Ant fighting him, as it bounces off the wall. He then runs back up the tunnel, as the creature still fights on, and he can hear the other two marines approaching him in the smoke. He clears the smoke, and sees two Warriors approaching from ahead of him. He drops flat onto his back, as they pass over him without noticing him and head into the smoke.

Hayes hears the bug hissing and snapping near him as he pauses his crawling.

The thing scuttles near him. Mandibles open, snapping near his nose. Hayes fires his machine pistol in a quick spray; the bullets strike, but bounce off it without sight to aim for weak points.

The Sarge slings an arm around Yeti to help him as he staggers forwards, as the two head into the smoke. Yeti grunts in pain as the Queen’s head plunges into the smaller tunnel, biting a chunk out of Yeti’s back. “You can do this Yeti!” Greyjoy urges him on, as they run through the tunnel, and trip over the crawling Deputy, both landing on their chests ahead of him.

The ninja creeps onto Yeti’s back as he punches at it to try and drive it off. He gets to his feet, taking the Sarge with him, followed by Hayes. Ramirez heads towards the others, as the Warriors snap at them from the ceiling, the Ninja leaps after them and the Queen gives pursuit.

Ramirez takes a concussion grenade from Hayes and one of the Sarge’s machine pistols, magging them together. He jams the trigger of the machine pistol so it goes fully automatic, and sets the grenade for a five second time. He shoves the Sarge and Yeti ahead of him as he throws the machine pistol. It flies through the air, constantly firing shots which draw the attention of the ants. And then the grenade explodes, collapsing the tunnel behind them.

Ramirez sees that Hayes has rubble on his legs and pulls him out, unharmed. He then gets one of Yeti’s arms and he and the Sarge haul Yeti down the tunnel, as Hayes follows behind.

We cut to an undetermined amount of time later. Dodd, Gerda and Fenris are heading down, quietly padding through a tunnel. The screeches, hisses and scrabbles of the Razor Ants, as well as the bellow of their Queen, continues to echo through the tunnels, but seem distant enough.

With her infra-vision, Dodd picks out noticeable human shapes approaching her, and smiles to see Yeti on his feet, as the other two help him walk, as they reunite.

The Sergeant is smiling and beaming at Yeti in pride. “You did good, soldier” he says to Yeti. “Yeti?” Yeti’s face slackens, as his body droops.

Greyjoy feels the giants pulse stop… and they when we flicker a few seconds back, as he is still approaching Dodd and the others. “Yeti, we’re gonna pull through this, stay with me!” He attracts Yeti’s attention, stopping him from slipping away as the maimed giant looks at him and smiles sadly. “I don’t think I am.”

We cut, as the marines and their allies exit the tunnel into the mountains. Greyjoy lays Yeti in the snow as it cascades down. Greyjoy leans over him. “You can do this, don’t give up!”

Yeti smiles, slowly raising up one arm with great agony.

“You did good Sarge. You did good.” He salutes. And then he head falls back and his arms thumps into the snow.

“NO! NOOOO!” The camera pans above the group stood in a circle around the fallen warrior as the snow swirls down. Greyjoy fists pound against Yeti’s chest, again and again. “No”, more softly this time.

The camera continues to rise.

“The war is over… for the dead at least.”

Roll end credits.

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