Now there is a fanfiction category for Frostpunk
Here is a link to my story.
We survived. New London stands as the last city of earth, capable of surviving the mightiest storm. Now if only it was so simple from there.
Some changes to the Lore:
-1 game day is equal to 3 real days. (Meaning the Storm happened around the 3rd Month)
Chapter 3: Relief
A thunderous blast echoed around him.
He noticed one of the bear's front leg bucking under it, causing it stumble down as blood started dripping down to its paw. What confused him was that his gun didn't even fire.
Another shot rang out, hitting the bear on the side. Finally distressed with fear, the bear desperately turned around, trying to get away from the harm being thrown at it.
"Hey, Runner! You can stop being hero now! We need you alive for tomorrow's hunt, you know!"
Jackson turned his head around to find the source of the shout. When he found it, a feeling of relief he never experienced before took hold of him that he just dropped his rifle beside him and laughed at the sky, shouting a retort to his saviors with humorous teasing and gratitude.
"About time, you damn fools!"
A steel and wooden air barge hovered above him, radiating the majestic but powerful aura of human steam technology. From the open deck, three hunters were firing their rifles on the retreating bear. Contrasting the reddish glow of the ship's furnace, the ship's dull brown hull of metal had an imprinted word on its side that Jack was more than happy to see.
One of the hunters jumped out of the aircraft, taking a 5-meter drop into the snow below her. As she stood up, Jackson noticed she held a large dagger that was almost as long as his forearm. She took a mad sprint across the snow towards the stumbling bear, getting closer every second.
Thus the hunter has become the hunted when the human leaped from a boulder overlooking the bear. She locked on to her prey and aimed her weapon towards the bear's nape. In one swift motion, the dagger plunged through the bear's backside, finally bringing down the beast. The hunter took a final push on her dagger through the bear's spine, stilling the bear to become a motionless corpse. After a few seconds on the dead bear's back, she lifted the bloodied dagger and took a look at her bounty, appearing satisfied at a clean and painless kill.
The Rockwing approached a small clearing near the creek, continuing to hover less than meter off the ground. A metal ramp went down the side and four hunters left the barge, two heading towards Syndey, who was smiling, teary-eyed with thankfulness despite carrying both the sled and the radiator. The other pair went to a still laughing Jackson.
"Oy madman, get up." Said one of the hunters as they stood above him. He was a large, bulky man, visibly muscular from head to toe, despite the layers of winter coat on him. With is goggles down, his brown eyes had a hint of annoyance at his comrade lying down on the snow.
"Just a moment, Russell. I had a close encounter with death over here." Jackson humorously replied with his laughter slowly dying down.
"Join the rest of the city, mate." Said the other one at his right. His lanky structure contrasted the hunter opposite him, being a lot thinner but half a head taller. An exposed tuft of brown hair partly covered his forest green eyes. "Can you walk?"
"I can limp. Kind of sprained my leg as I tripped." Jackson said as he finally stood up, proving what he said as he tried putting as much of his weight as he can on his left leg.
"Come on, Mac. Let's help this poor bastard." Russell said with a deep voice as he positioned himself on Jackson's left side to put his arm on his shoulders.
Mac nodded but stopped to after seeing a pair of discarded clothing by his feet. He picked up Jackson's gloves before moving crouching him to support the downed hunter. He bent awkwardly to put Jackson's arm on his shoulders due to the height difference, but was able to help support him enough to walk.
"Better put these on, Jack. Some hunter you'll be if you lose your fingers to frostbite." Mac adviced as he gave the other glove to Russell before focusing on putting one of the gloves on his left hand.
"I'm touched that you both care." Jackson teased with an actual hint of sincerity.
"Hpmh. Keep yapping and I'll leave you here for the wolves." Russell scoffed.
Both men helped him board the Rockwing, where the elk was already loaded in the cargo nets, soon to be joined by the polar bear carcass that was being carried by the rest of the crew.
"That was pretty mad of you, Runner. Taking down a polar bear by yourself." A sharp voice came from behind him as he stepped off the ramp and into the barge.
He looked back at the hunter who slew the polar bear that was almost responsible for his death. She was casually cleaning the blood of the dagger, her blue eyes not even looking down where she walked as stepped onto the ramp.
"You're one to talk. Jumping out of a flying hunter barge and engaging a bear with a combat knife." Jackson retorted as the men to his sides let go of him by the wall of the barge's deck so he can lean on it.
"That's my sister for you. Anna 'The Eagle' Beaks." Another voice, more relaxed and welcoming, came from the steering helm of the ship.
Unlike the white-coated hunters, he wore a dull-brown pilot's winter garment that had a thick, furry hood. The bi-speckled flight goggles on top of his blonde hair also distinguished him from the rest of the hunters, who had goggles with a much more protective design than an ocular one. The most noticeable difference from the man was a metal arm and claw that took the place of his right arm.
"I didn't even realize she was out of the Rockwing until I heard Paul shout 'Bloody hell! Anna jumped out of the ship!' Both loonies, you two are." The pilot half-joked, half-scolded his blonde twin, who rolled her eyes in response.
"A polar bear like that could feed a family for half a month. Besides, its coat would be a fine gift for the captain." Anna defended as she took a seat on one of the metal chairs welded by the deck wall, right next to Jackson.
While the blonde hunter continued to pay close attention to the cleaning of her blade, Jackson gave a thankful smile to the ship's pilot.
"Thanks for the save, Adriane. Really got me through there." Jackson appreciated with gratitude, eliciting a scoff from the pilot.
"Good thing for you that we spotted that flare. Set the Rockwing's engines to overdrive once we saw it. Marcy's going to kill me back at the hangar for pushing this lady to her limits." The pilot joked as he lightly pat the ship's wall with his natural hand.
Jackson look outside, trying to find a specific person that Adrianne mentioned. He only saw Friedrich and Wesley securing the nets.
"Where is Paul?"
A weak voice brought his attention over to the Rockwing's furnace, which gave both the power of flight to the ship and life-giving heat to the crew. Right by the controlled fire, Paul Lance sat on the floor with a thick, roughened blanket that covered his shivering body. The bandage that covered most of his face revealed a small lock of black hair and only one of his brown eyes that revealed exhaustion.
"Paul! What happened to you, mate?" Jackson asked in concern.
Paul tried answering, but came really bad stutters that Jackson was only able to understand a few isolate words.
"He wasn't lucky as you were. One of the elephant seals from our hunt bashed him into an ice wall, right before he fell through some thin ice." Explained Russell, pulling a lever that brought up the ramp once the final crew members stepped on the ship. "Talk about tough luck."
"We're all on board!" Cried Friedrich to Adriane.
"Good. Let's get out of here. Jenny, full power to engines!" The pilot called out to the woman behind the furnace who had a similar outfit as he had.
The black haired woman nodded her head and turned multiple handles and levers by the furnace's control interface. The glow of the engine seemed to get brighter, then she gave a thumbs up to Adriane, who confirmed with a nod of his before pulling a metallic chain by his side.
"Hold on tight!"
The fire of the furnace intensified as the Rockwing's engines roared with activity. The ships propellers spun faster and every second, the ship moved farther and farther away from the ground. It continued its ascent before stopping around a hundred meters on the air. Smaller, side propellers then shifted direction and pushed the ship towards the north before the main propellers launched it forward. The flight was a bit rocky at first. The sudden adjustments would cause a first-time hunter to stumble. But all the hunters stood or sat steadfast as the ship took a smoother, straight flight.
"Okay, that's everyone. We're set for New London. At this rate, we'll be home just in time for the Morning Assembly." Adriane announced without turning towards the hunters, hands on the steering wheel and eyes up front.
"Can we just make it to the City after the Assembly? I just want to sleep." Complained Russell as he walked up to the helm beside the pilot.
"You're not going to get any recognition from the Captain with that attitude." He was soon joined by Anna, saying so with the straight face she usually carried.
"Anna's got a point. I wouldn't mind taking a guard's position. To stay in the comfort of New London and help keep the peace." Mac entered the conversation, leaning on the wall near them and wishfully looking out into the sky.
"Please. Life out here as hunter in the Frostland is much more exciting than sitting at some guard post all day." Russell scoffed.
"It's a lot warmer too!" Joked the ever-concentrated Adraine. "Running around, being chased by polar bears really gets the blood flowing!"
As the group of hunters bickered like a proud but sorry lot, Jackson noticed he hasn't seen Syndey since they entered the Rockwing. He scanned through the ship's deck, looking side to side to find her.
The light clangs that rang as you pat the metal walls that lined the interior of the deck was contrasted by the deep thumps that arose from every step on the brown, wooden floor. Adriane continued to fly the ship without ever turning his head away from their path, laughing at the conversation he shared with a reserved Macbeth, an annoyed Russell, and his poker-faced sister, Anna. Wesley was leaning on the wall, sitting sloppily as he dozed up with the rocking of the barge. Jenny looked through the furnace controls one more time before walking over to Paul with a blanket. Friedrich was already by the injured hunter's side, giving him fresh water from a steaming waterskin.
At last, Jackson saw his hunting partner, the last member of a crew of ten, by the rear of the ship. He could not see her face as she was turned away from him, but he can tell that she was looking down into the ground below them. Wind blew across her, sending whatever strands of brown hair that escaped her hood flying around her head. Yet she herself remained still, leaning on the deck window's surface with depressed shoulders.
Jackson forced himself to stand up to walk over to her. The pain on his leg was still present and made him limp, but at least who could walk towards her. He could tell she already knew he was coming, but did not bother raising her downcast face.
"Well we're finally he-" He was immediately interrupted by a hard slap to his right cheek. Not enough to knock him down, but it sure stung.
"Ow! What the hell, Syn-" The look of tears falling from his partner's enraged and distressed face stop his him mid-speech. She was still looking down, looking at the Rockwing's floor than his face.
"Do you know the fear I felt when I saw the bear corner you in that crevice?" She reprimanded softly in a deathly, yet worried tone.
"Hey, I had a plan, right? You saw that I got out of there."
"Do you know the thoughts that ran through my mind when I saw you on the snow, lying on the ground, facing that beast?! The heart-stopping realization that you could only crawl away from it as it got closer to you!?" She angrily screamed at him, conflicted by the terror seen in her grey eyes.
The loud screaming caused more than a few eyes to turn towards them. No words were uttered by anyone else on the barge as it flew. Only the howling wind fulfilled the role of being the silent music to their ears.
"The pure agony that I was helpless as death approached you inch by inch?" She whispered softly, bringing her head down not even bothering to look at him once more.
Jackson was about to say something when she leaned forward into him and rest her head on his chest. Right before thumping her forehead roughly over and over it.
"Why do you have to be such an id*ot? We have had this conversation before. You can't expect me to just tell your mum and Alexis that you died because of something stupid like that. I can't do that, you know?" She complained annoyed and scared, with the last sentence muffled into his coat.
He felt shivers from her. Not from the cold but from whatever feeling she had that brought tears into his chest. The hunter wrapped his arm around his spotter, suddenly forgetting the sting on his face.
"Hey, come on. You know me. You knew me since we were wee babies back at London. You remember the time I was gonna throw myself in the river, even if I didn't know how to swim, just because you dropped your doll in it?"
Jackson continued to remind her, rubbing his hands warmly on her shoulders to comfort his childhood friend. He looked up to see Jenny, Paul, and Friedrich looking at them with curious eyes, with maybe a few from the co*kpit. He subtly jerked his head and eyes to the side, silently asking them to mind their own business. They complied by averting their eyes and continuing what they originally were supposed to do.
"You remember the time you got yourself caught in the tree and I had to climb an automaton's leg in order to reach you? You remember the time I jumped over the policeman's barriers just to get you on board the dreadnought?"
Her shaking became less and less, as well as the hiccups and tears that came from her.
"How I nearly went toe-to-toe with some id*ot, drunk guard because he thought you were some piece of meat and slapped you on the bum?"
The memory caused a small laugh from the spotter.
"I could have handled that myself. You, on the other hand, nearly got arrested for that, dumbass." Syndey joked, still covering her face with his coat.
"And damn right did I fight for it. Hell, I was about to storm all the way to the Captain just to rant about his men who were like this. Good thing for the drunkard that the Captain was smart bloke and reprimanded him or else I would have punched him right in the noggin."
"And he would have punched you in yours. The man was larger than you, if I can recall."
"Still, I would have kicked his arse from here to London. He would have been as knocked out as Wesley is over there" Jackson bragged as he humorously pointed out to their fellow hunter, who was starting to snore in a less-than-graceful position.
Both hunters shared a laugh at that, completely at peace despite the rocking of the ship. Syndey finally looked up to Jackson, eyes slightly red from tears that marked on her face.
"I'm not going to die. Not today, not tomorrow, and certainly not like that." Jackson declared to her. Syndey responded with a disappointed chuckle and a shake of her head.
"Don't make promises like that. Not where we are." She replied in a gentle but solemn voice. "It might comfort me, but don't make that promise. Not in this world."
"Then how the hell am I supposed to reassure you that I have it according to plan?" Jackson asked with fake urgency as he once again tried to break the serious atmosphere.
"You can't reassure me of something you know that you don't have!" Syndey teased with laughter, bringing a sigh from Jackson.
"That is true."
"Oy lovebirds, hate to break the moment but-"
"Ships to our starboard!"
Russell was interrupted by another announcement from Adriane. Both Jackson and Syndey broke their embrace to head to the Rockwing's right deck, being greeted by the sight of two similar hunting barges. One had a catch similar to theirs, full of seals and other mammals, while the other seemed to be loaded with fish.
"Looks like the Sea Eagle and Shooting Star had good runs today." Macbeth pointed out, seeing the other two ships had successful hunts. As they grew closer, they see the outline of the hunters aboard the other ships, with some waving at them. Syndey and Macbeth also waved in return, a way of congratulating them for a good hunt.
"We'll be joining up with the rest of the fleet soon. I guess this a good end to another night of hunting." Adriane declared as he looked through his telescope. From his vision, he can see a few more barges farther up north, also heading towards their destination.
Jackson took a breath of relief. All worked out well today. They did their job, got a good bounty plus a rarity, and now the only thing waiting was a warmed bed and a hot meal.
"Yup. Onward to New London. To home"
After hours of reading reports, papers, and other proposals, a man by a wooden desk filled with documents just sighed. He looked out and watched a few snowflakes dance down to the earth, glowing gently as the blue sky of the morning came without the sun. It was small moments of peace like this that still kept him together, all because of one fact in his life.
Steven Swordfoot was not a rested man.
So now I'm not sure if I will continue posting the story on reddit. Maybe I'll stop around chapter 4.
© Post "AfterFall (Chapter 3): A Frostpunk Fanfiction [Spoilers]" for game Frostpunk.
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