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!!?”
“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.
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…