ILTC Cold Frontier Episode 17

Episode 17 “Days 14 to 17.”

Featured Remaining Survivors (thought it was time for a breakdown of who is left as we approach the end of the campaign… four more days left.)

(Group 1: Central Water Heating Building)

Characters: Snow Plough, Deputy Hayes, Tweak, Fa Tsu

Friendlies: Nemo (his player is not present for three weeks, I have been told to ‘be reckless’ with him, however) and assorted heating and waste workers (9 in total.)

(Group 2: Maintenance Building)

Characters: Dodd, David/Bones

Friendlies: (Group 2.1) Anatoli, Alyona, Dr Mya Ross, Dr Stapes, Mei Tsu.  (Group 2.2) Amelia, Abigail, Fredrik, Berthold. (The Loners) Mayor Winkleman. Lucy and Anyu.

(Group 3: Hydro-electric plant.)

Friendlies: Gottlieb, Nick Ryan, Cara, Dean, Phil, Kayleigh, Darla

Total Survivors: 34 locals, 1 off-world marine (started with 58 locals and four off-world marines)

PRE-CREDITS SCENE

A jungle planet is shown. Three suns are in the sky, one massive and red, another small and orange and another a distant white speck in the sky. A wedge of Corps dropships plunges through the clouds, flying over the jungle. A shanty-town exists in the jungle; rickety drawbridges extend between treetops. People live in huts made from wood and thatch. The ground is pounded into mud, and most people walk on bare foot. And despite what stereotypes you might expect, the people living here are as Caucasian as they come. There is a constant, loud chant, that of thousands of people. “We want food! We want food!” There are lines of marines stood in the way of a far larger number of protesters, continuing their chant. “Deploy mag-shields!” a marine calls out, as the front punch their fists onto circular devices on their wrists, they deploy the reinforced riot shields, as objects are hurled at then. A Lieutenant attempts to address the crowd, but his speech is thrown off as he is struck by a rock; many in the crowd laugh. They stop laughing when a huge Mech lifts the LT above the crowd. He addresses them telling them to turn away, before they are fired upon for criminal actions. Someone in the crowd responds with “We’re not criminals! That’s our food!”

“This food is property of the Colonial Dominion, and we, the United Colonial Marine Corps, serve the Dominion. If you oppose us, you oppose the Dominion, which makes this protest Rebel action. Proceed, and we will be made to use force!” But the warning does not stop the protesters as they continue to chant. The camera moves away from the protesters to a hearing behind the marine’s line of defence, as large crates are being moved off a shuttle. The shuttle is on a landing pad in a makeshift base surrounded by a pre-fab wall. The camera zooms in to one of the towers so a sentry with an automatic shotgun and pristine battle armour. It says “Private H. Hermann” on the right shoulder pad, and below that… “Tweak.”

ROLL OPENING CREDITS

“Day 14.”

The episode opens with Nemo stood over Snow Plough, injecting him with something. Snow Plough is very, very unconscious. Nemo unclenches one fist. There is the bullet he extracted from Snow Plough’s head. The fist closes again. The waste workers, no longer able to get into Waste Purification due to the barricade are sat around on mattresses or in the lounge area, talking amongst themselves whilst the Central Heating workers carry on their work with head-lights, as the lights are out in the main work area. Tweak inspects the barricade by the western barricade. There are parts of the mandibles and carapaces of several Razor Ants littered around the airlock. He inspects the rigging Snow Plough has done to the western airlock and then goes to the eastern airlock to attempt to replicate Snow Plough’s procedure. Tweak walks past Hayes who is sat alone on the floor, stripping apart his machine pistol and checking all the component parts. He lines up the ammunition clips he has remaining, and seems to be running low. Tweak walks past the lounge area where some of the furniture has been moved aside. Fa Tsu has climbed up onto the right shoulder of his Mech and is welding the flame-thrower that once belonged to Blinky to the right arm. Tweak begins taking apart the wiring of the eastern airlock. Next door in maintenance, Dodd is sat to the right of the jeep by herself, cleaning her sniper rifle. Anatoli and Alyona are sat in the front of the jeep, as Anatoli is trying to keep his six year old daughter happy, singing songs in Russian with her and clapping. Dr Stapes sits against the south wall, alone. Mei sits in the corner near to them, looking terrified and alone. Amelia strides back and forth, in front of the equipment cupboard, pump-action shotgun at the ready, with the welded barricade over the bug tunnel to the left of her. Fredrik, Berthold and Abigail sit inside the large cupboard, talking quietly. In the bunk room, the Food Storage admin sits on a bunk, alone. Anyu is curled under her sheets, looking terrified. Mayor Ted Winkleman sits on the edge of his head, slightly rocking, staring into space… catatonic. The camera then cuts to the perspective of a pair of opening eyes. They look up at Dr Ross, arms folded, grinning. “Where am I?” asks a gruff voice. David’s. “In bed” Ross responds. “What happened?” “You got electrocuted”, Ross responds. David sits up, confused. “What how?” Ross smirks; “Dodd decided to shoot an explosive round at the ceiling, which brought down an electrical light, electrocuting the barricade.” David is furious and leaps out of bed. “Be thankful you’re not dead. The other four were not so lucky. Your armour saved you; what with the metal plating, its got to be well insulated on the inside, otherwise, you’d be easy to kill.” David doesn’t listen any further and storms out of the room. Ross follows behind him, a grin still on her face; “This should be good.”

Tweaks takes a break from his engineering work. He activates his helmet comm. “Dodd, you there?”

“Yup”, she responds nonchalantly. footsteps stomp towards her. “Everything good over there?” says Tweak. “Yup.”

“DODD!” David screams. “Or maybe not”, Dodd radios back to Tweak. David lunges right at Dodd, and grabs her by the collar. She tears off her scarf and tries to wrap it around his arm. He lifts her up… not off the ground, but enough to be looking eyes despite the height difference. He grabs the scarf with his free arm and throws it to the floor. “You’ve got a lot of explaining to do! Do you KNOW why they call me Bones!!?”

“HEY!” Anatoli climbs onto the front of the jeep. “I am trying to teach daughter here, you understand, and here you are, shouting like children.” With that, David drops Dodd to the floor. “You want to go shout and fight and kill each other, you go, elsewhere, da?” David nods and says “Da.” Dodd mutters something sarcastic under her breath. “Oh, you not understand that? ‘Da’… means, yes, DA?’ She rolls her eyes. “I’m sorry, ME NO SPEAK ENGLISH GOOD!” he continues, matching her tirade with his own, which goes on for a minute or so of back and forth between him and Dodd. Dodd and David can’t help but smirk. “See, Anatoli has a sense of humour! You be nice, you get FUNNY Anatoli.” His face then darkens. “You don’t want to screw with serious Anatoli. We clear?” “Da” they both respond. “Good. I have daughter to teach. She needs education.” He climbs back into the jeep. Tweak blanches, able to hear all of this. “What the hell was that?” Dodd gives a typical overly casual response: “Oh nothing”, and carries on cleaning her guns, her many, many guns. Tweak gives up trying to communicate with her and goes back to her work.

A few hours pass; Snow Plough is awake and drinking tea. He has Jeeves continue repair work on the deactivated recon drone, Blinky. He decides to count out the food that they have. Since all of the waste and heating workers are all still alive, and running on stores from the previous delivery before the marines came, so, five weeks without new food, they are on the last. With rationing, he reckons they can stretch the ‘actual’ food to two more days before they need to start chewing on plant matter. He gets into a discussion with the others in his building over what to do next. Tweak and Fa Tsu both seem eager to get to the food warehouse and to see what they can recover. They check the Food Warehouses camera… but the feed is entirely cut out, likely frozen over. It is quiet outside; nothing but snow. Tweak insists that a mission can be made… so Fa Tsu shows the motion tracker readings in the HUDs of those with helmets. Tweak looks more than a little shocked, whilst the others seem to have adjusted to the sight, as there are red flashing blips EVERYWHERE within the 100ft radius. After that, even Tweak has to admit that the warehouse is off-limits. They radio Ross, asking her what to do about the food crisis, and what the food levels are like in maintenance. “We’ve still got a few days left. As for you… you’d better get used to the taste of bug.” She says this whilst she seems to be calmly, too calmly, eviscerating the Worker corpse into its component parts. None of the others seem happy at her suggestion. “Well, if you go outside, you’ll only get yourselves killed. And we aren’t going outside to bring you food… how about you get Fa Tsu to roast you some bug?” Since she is cutting up the bug, she carries on talking about them. “The internal organs roast well.” She holds up a piece of blue internal organs and uses a lighter, which immediately ignites it. “They must have a lot flammable gases. But if you’re going to set them on fire… be accurate.” She holds up a piece of carapace and lights it. It remains on fire, but doesn’t disintegrate or show damage. “They aren’t entirely vulnerable to the fire; the carapace is practically indestructible. Remember to shoot the underside. I think the slit on the underneath is for passing foecal matter. You might be able to shoot the eyes… but their lids are armoured, so you have to be a good shot. Plus, there’s the mouth. But don’t put your hand in their mouths unless you want to go the way of the previous Sergeant.” Tweaks pipes in: “Will armour piercing rounds work?” “I don’t think so; those are designed to penetrate anywhere in armour, and this stuff is practically indestructible. You need to go for the weak spots.” Hayes, seeming rather disturbed by the whole thing, says “Thanks Dodd!” and ends the communication. Snow Plough’s eyes brighten. “All right, who wants to try some Ant?” Hayes sighs and volunteers.

The day passes as Fa Tsu attempts to cook the pieces of Ant they have, but alas, they only have carapace pieces and Hayes breaks a tooth trying to eat it. “Well, that’s that.” Tweak continues his maintenance work on the airlock. Snow Plough works with Jeeves and they restore both Blinky and Jeeves to full functionality. Meanwhile, Dodd sticks with her weapons and David strides back and forth, patrolling… not that it does much good.

“Day 15.”

The Queen can be heard be shrieking, it is a staccato, stuttered scream, not the focussed roar of previous days. Fa Tsu checks the motion tracker, but other than the movement below and aboveground going mental as usual, he can’t make much sense of it. Snow Plough borrows Fa Tsu’s com-pad and checks outside the warehouse; it seems quiet outside, except for the constant shadows flicking over the ground… and then something blue bursts out of it. A bug. It spits… there is a bright flash. A White Screamer falls from the sky. As soon as it hits the snow, the snow practically explodes outwards… and then the screamer is gone. “Oh. So not going outside then.” They radio Ross about this. Ross is sat, still examining bug parts, covered in bright blue liquid. “It makes sense. These are carnivorous creatures we are talking about, and they need to eat. They have a colony or hive culture, so clearly they can’t eat other. So they eat other colonies. From what I have seen, the Blues and Whites could be different species, similar yet, but different. Just let them fight. This is just nature going on around us. Until we came and fucked it up by shooting at ice and blowing things up and drawing them here. Let’s just not cause any more damage, shall we?” As the comm conversation is broadcast to all listening, Hayes asks Ross what the screaming could be about. She recounts the first time they heard it, going into the White colonies caves and finding the Queen; she screamed, and they came from everywhere and then pursued them to the colony. According to Hayes, when he was out there, and it last screamed, Whites came from all around, descending on Frost. “So the roar is clearly some kind of all call to arms… but it sounds different now. Panicked, maybe? But it isn’t about us, or we’d be dead already. Leave them to fight.” Nobody can really disagree with that sentiment.

Snow Plough decides to see how things are going at the hydro-electric plant by contacting Nick Ryan.

Ryan: “Wow, you’re alive. I’m impressed. The last time we heard so those screams, swarms of those things came. Figured you were dead by now.”

Snow Plough: “Well, thanks Ryan! Can you see them now?”

Ryan: “Nope. Fucks know what they’re up to.”

Snow Plough: “Well thanks again… so how are things over there? Warm and cosy?”

Ryan: “Yup. Anything else?”

Snow Plough: “… well, no not really-” CLICK. The comm chat ends. “What a dick! Ryan is a dick!”

Hayes: “How are things at the plant?”

Snow Plough: “I don’t know!”

Hayes: “The plant will have comms. Let me try.” He contacts Gottlieb, who sounds surprisingly chirpy.

Gottlieb: “You know, I’ve got to admit, Sergeant Greyjoy was onto something, it’s not so bad here!” He sounds a little too cheerful. “But zen he is dead. Can’t have been that smart. Plus, I actually have people vith weapons. Not some oath with a sword. He dead yet?”

Hayes groans. “Yes actually.”

Gottlieb: “Told you! So, vat did you want?”

Hayes: “Just wanted to see everything was okay over there.”

Gottlieb: “Oh yes, fine. From vat Ryan tells me, you have been attracting all ze attention from us, so thanks for that.”

Hayes: “Where IS Ryan?”

Gottlieb: “Oh, he spends most of his time on ze roof. Anything else?”

Hayes: “Well, ah guess not. Oh hang o-” the communication cuts off. “Damn.” Hayes texts a message: “Remember: shoot them on the underside of the carapace.” A response of “Noted” flashes on his visor.

As the day passes on, Snow Plough collects as many spare parts as he can, mostly pipes and tubing and starts building what he intends to be a ‘steam gun.’ Tweak sits with the idle maintenance workers, telling them stories, raising their spirits and his own. Fa Tsu keeps giving Nemo accusing stares and accusing him of strange powers from nowhere. Nemo reiterates that Connor shooting him proves that he isn’t the so-called Psychic he was raving about. Fa Tsu throws a spanner at Nemo; Nemo moves out of the way of it. “Ha! Did you see that!?” Fa Tsu calls, as if he has proof. “What? Those are called reflexes?” Fa muses on that; “Reflexes… rigggggggggght…” He then proceeds on his next construction project, as he welds his linked weapons to his suit with extra reinforcement to prevent their removal with reinforcement. When he job is finished, he continues to hear the Queen’s screams, checked his readings to try and find a pattern to the bug movements… but it only gets him over-excited at the prospect of killing them. Once again, he starts making plans to destroy them… until Hayes walks over, places calming hands on Fa Tsu and manages to calm him the hell down.

Fa Tsu decides to get in touch with his cousin Mei, by getting Ross to loan her her info-link. Mei goes from quiet and despondent to overjoyed in a few moments; she explained how she is alone, with only a knife to defend her. She explains how the Demidovs sit in the jeep and won’t let anyone else in, how Ross just sits cutting up an Ant into tiny pieces and Stapes does little else than watch her. Dodd sits on her own and David is creepy, the bar staff keep to themselves and the other three don’t interact with anyone. Fa Tsu says he will help and calls his former boss, Anatoli. He manages to convince Anatoli to look after Mei, and since Stapes and Ross still seem to be relatively sane or at least not trying to kill anyone, he lets them into the jeep as well. Alyona then excitedly talks to Fa Tsu, and after she tells him about how she wants all the bugs to die because they are making people angry and kill each other, Fa Tsu agrees to kill them all himself and be a hero.

David spends most of the day in the vehicle airlock. He sets up a series of cans, shooting them down with his silenced assault rifle. Once he has finished shooting them, he then starts shooting the multitude of corpses. Since he makes no noise, and creeps everyone out, no-one comes to check on him. Dodd decides to take a look at Fa Tsu’s motion tracker readings. She sees a pattern he did not… the vast amount of blips beneath them are moving east, to the sound of where the Queen can be heard, and the blips in the way are slowly disappearing….

“Day 16.”

Both buildings stink. The toilets are not draining and are filled with faecal matter. When asked why, the survivors explain that since Tweak had them barricade the way into Waste Purification, the drains have become clogged and their is no way to drain the waste. People are starting to get sick, as both buildings have more people living in them than intended, without going outside, and they are running out of actual food and drinkable water… and the stench alone is making people ill. Tweak sets the waste workers to task on bringing down his barricade whilst he gives occasional advice, whilst he and Hayes stand by with guns ready, watching over them. Their barricading was complex work, so they take most of the day working on it.

Fa Tsu and Snow Plough work on another project. Fa Tsu decides to go looking for the ready roasted corpses to eat, so decides to take out the grate he had previously welded, to the top of the maintenance shaft. Snow Plough tears off the legs from bed frames, sharpening them into stakes and making a trap over the shaft entrance. Fa Tsu removes the grate, only to discover the corpses he burned our gone. He sighs, rather than fully reattach the grate, he and Snow Plough create a system to they can retract the grate to slam down the spikes onto whatever comes up the shaft. Then the waste workers, finishing their work on the barricade for the day (the barricade is down, but the doors are still welded shut) remove the waste from the toilet and dump the poo down the maintenance shaft. Fa Tsu watches closely to see what happens; the faecal matter doesn’t instantly freeze, but it doesn’t take long to do so. “Ahhhhhhh!”

David speaks to Anatoli, trying to get onside with the man, and more importantly, into the additional protection of the stationary but otherwise intact jeep.

“You need me. We need each other. At the end of the day, you need to decide, who you need, and who can be sacrificed”, David explains.

“No!” Anatoli slams his hands on the bonnet of the jeep. “There has been too much death already. I will not sacrifice. We are not the same you and I; protect yourself, I do not need you.” He climbs back in the jeep. David does not take a no for an answer, and stays by the jeep, near to Dodd, standing guard. As the day passes on, however, David falls asleep against the wall.

Meanwhile, all is quiet outside.

“Day 17.”

Tweak works alone on the door he ordered closed, alone at the work. Hayes watches over him, pistol at the ready. Such a thorough work has been done on the doors, he cannot free them and leave them intact. In the end, he has to tear them off their hinges as they reach the end of the day. As he removes them, the immense reek of weeks worth of solid faecal matter that the workers have been unable to dispose of blasts out. Tweak collapses, throwing up everywhere. Nemo peeks round, drawn by the sound. “Well… this is proving interesting.” He opens his clenched fist where the mangled bullet lies. He throws it up. It pauses in mid-air, spins around, then lands back in his hand.

End of episode!

 

 

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