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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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