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My Half-Life fanfic (a very early Work-in-Progress)

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Okay, folks. I'm sending this to you guys to get your feedback on this very early work-in-progress fanfic I'm writing on the story of Half-Life--originally to be told from the perspective of Dr. Eli Vance, but has changed into a multi-POV story. The only person right now that I don't plan on getting inside the mind of is Gordon Freeman. Ross ably provides THAT perspective. ;)

 

Let me know what you think. Again, very early work-in-progress and needs a lot of fleshing out. I'm writing this on breaks while at work (lunches, midmorning, midafternoon). Thanks!

 

---

 

"Churr gala lung," a gravelly voice filled the darkness. "Cha. Oo weeja ooweejya." A feeling of dread filled his mind and he began to run through the darkness. He felt like he was being chased.

 

The voice chittered and suddenly, it was as if it was right next to his ear. An inhuman bloodcurdling screech pierced his eardrums and he screamed, sitting bolt upright in bed.

 

Gasping for breath, he looked around the darkened room, blinking away the confusion.

 

"What's wrong, dear?" a slurred voice came from his right.

 

"It's... it's nothing, dear," Dr. Eli Vance said, laying back down. "Just a dream."

 

To his right lay Azian, his darling wife, who mumbled something and was quickly back to sleep. A dream.

 

The voice continued to echo in his ears, however, as he rolled over to try to go back to sleep himself.

 

It was no use. He was wide awake now. Brushing aside the sheet, he swung his legs out of bed. They protested the movement, preferring to remain where they were. "C'mon, feet," he silently told them, "time to wake up."

 

The Topside Dormitories were essentially refashioned military barracks. They attempted to emulate all the comforts of home, but spectacularly failed at this goal. There was a certain kind of mustiness in these old barracks that was a constant reminder of how utterly disconnected they were from the civilized world.

 

Situated deep in the New Mexican desert, the remoteness of the Black Mesa Research Facility required staff to live on site.

 

The wood creaked beneath his feet as he passed little Alyx's room. He smiled at the slight snore issued for the room.

 

Coffee. That's what he needed. He walked into the kitchen and began fumbling with the coffee filters when the wall phone began jangling. Cursing under his breah, he leapt at the phone.

 

"Vance. Do you have any idea what time it is?"

 

A wavering voice on the other end said, "Good morning, Eli. Sorry to wake up the house but the administrator called an early morning meeting.".

 

Blast that... He growled. Exhaling, he told Dr. Isaac Kleiner, "Thanks, Izzy. Tell MISTER Breen I'll be on the next tram."

 

Eli hung up the phone before Kleiner pedantic reminder that the administrator was also a doctor. He heard a rustling and turned and saw a sleepy Alyx holding a small pink blanket.

 

"Who was it, daddy?"

 

Eli smiled and swept Alyx up in his arms. "Work, honey. I'll be back as soon as I can."

 

"I don't want you to go," she said, looking straight into his eyes. There was something a bit off about the way she said this. Her normal happy-go-lucky attitude was marred by an unexpected seriousness.

 

Alyx was about two years old but smart as a whip. She was already getting into mischief. Just yesterday, she had removed the side panel of the family computer tower and placed a bunch of plastic spider rings from Halloween inside.

 

She had tried to keep a straight face when she told him that the computer had bugs. Eli playfully exclaimed at the fake spiders that he 'discovered'. Alyx squealed in glee at the prank she was able to pull on her old man.

 

But, today, there was an uncharacteristic seriousness in her voice. Chalking it up to early-morning grumpiness, Eli said, "Don't worry, baby. I promise everything will be okay."

 

"Daddy, please." Alyx seemed to be on the verge of crying.

 

"C'mon," Eli said, "let's get you back to bed."

 

He carried her back to the bedroom and set her in bed next to a little plush dog she had creatively named, "Dog.". He thought he heard a sniffle come from her on the way. She too must have had a nightmare but was unwilling to show a reaction to it. Alyx was sometimes quite stubborn that way.

 

Kissing her on her forehead, he said, "Don't you worry, dear. Dog will keep the bad guys away." He set the plush into her arms and she gripped it tightly.

 

"I'll be home soon."

 

Just as soon as I have my coffee. They'll just have to wait for me.

 

---

 

"Good morning, and welcome to the Black Mesa Transit System.". Eli sat down, thankful that the tram had windows to protect against the still chilly desert air.

 

"The time is 5:19 AM. Current topside temperature is 49 degrees with an estimated high of 105. The Black Mesa Compound is maintained at a pleasant 68 degrees at all times. This train is inbound from the Topside Dormitories to Sector A Administrative Offices."

 

Eli mostly tuned the tram's PA system out. It was the same thing over and over again. Safety instructions, employment information, the usual.

 

Dr. Arne Magnusson was standing expectantly on the platform when the tram arrived in Sector A. Christ... Next to him was Dr. Kleiner and a security guard.

 

Roughly 10 years his junior, Magnusson was headstrong, by-the-book, and seemingly always on the verge of throwing said book at someone. Newbies cowered in fear of him. Kleiner and Magnusson always locked horns. While he didn't look it, Kleiner was quite spry and often got the drop on Magnusson when they got into verbal altercations with his eidetic memory. Whenever Magnusson lost an argument with Kleiner, it was the newbies or others with weaker constitutions that bore the brunt of Magnusson's anger. It's a wonder Arne wasn't fired a long time ago.

 

Still, Eli observed, when he wasn't sparring with everyone, Magnusson did stellar work. His dissertation on entanglement is required reading at the Anomalous Materials lab.

 

"Well," Magnusson scoffed as the guard opened the door of the tram, "glad you could finally grace us with your presence, doctor."

 

"Magnusson," Kleiner began, "it is still quite early and--"

 

"Izzy, please. Drop it." Eli said, exasperated. He wasn't in any mood to put up with their bickering today.

 

"Yes, yes. Let's just forget that we have a very important meeting with the Administrator of this entire facility. Did we have ourselves a cup of coffee first?"

 

Eli said nothing. He knew that Magnusson was trying to get a rise out of him, but he was uninterested in accommodating him.

 

He stalked past Magnusson and into the Administration sector. The hallways were still darkened for the night shift. Every once in a while, he saw an office worker scurry past with a stack of papers, but the offices were, by and large, empty. Sane people were still asleep.

 

Magnusson, for his part, kept silent on their way to the conference room, for which Eli was grateful.

 

Inside were a small group of scientists, Dr. Breen, and a man in a dark blue suit. Drs. Harry Robin, Samantha West, Hilary van der Witt, and Peter Vonnegut, he recognized, but the man in a suit, he didn't.

 

The man had an emaciated face and stood tall and rather awkwardly. His face appeared to be plastered on his skull.

 

"Right," began Breen as Eli, Isaac and Magnusson sat at the table. "I called you in here today to report to you on matter of utmost confidence. What is said here does not leave this room. You six are the only people in this department I can trust with this information."

 

The scientists looked at each other but remained silent.

 

"Your work, up until now has been exemplary, but you have been in the dark about why you were doing it. I commend each and every one of you for not being nosy."

 

"Let me just say it, right out. The crystals you have been studying from an extra dimensional world we're calling Xen."

 

Van der Witt raised her hand. Though Breen looked like he didn't want to be interrupted but nodded to her.

 

"Sir, I don't understand. What is Xen?"

 

"I will explain. The team in the Lambda Complex," Breen continued, "unwittingly opened a rift about a year ago, a tear in the dimensions leading to an extraterrestrial world of alien life."

 

There were murmurs around the table.

 

"Yes, yes, I know this is big news, that there's life beyond our world, but the President has not authorized us to reveal this news to the public until we can get a handle on the scope and nature of the life.

 

"A semi sentient race of aliens seem to congregate around these yellow crystals, the ones you have been studying these past eight months. I'd like to know why.

 

"No one in the Lambda Lab has the combined expertise of the six of you, which is why I called you in.

 

There is a particular crystal we have recovered that these creatures were unduly interested in. They resisted our collection. Now, why did they particularly guard this crystal above the others?

 

"The crystal is putting out immense theta radiation, harmless to humans, but might have some unique properties that the United States government would be keen to have. Today, we will be testing this particular crystal in the anti-mass spectrometer. I want a conclusive analysis of it. Increase the power to 105%; we need the extra resolu--"

 

An uproar around the table began. Eli was able to pick out West's and Vonnegut's voice, loudly protesting the dangerous possibilities of increasing the power beyond the safe limits. These protestations mirrored his own. What was Breen thinking? The maximum safety parameters dictated to never go beyond 95%. Something like that had the possibility to create a resonance cascade scenario. Surely, Bren knows this!

 

Through the briefing, the man in the blue suit stood, managing to look both uncomfortable and intimidating at the same time. When the uproar began, the man leaned over to whisper something into Breen's ear.

 

Breen held up a hand to quiet things down. When the din had lowered to a point where he didn't have to shout, the administrator continued, "Your protestations are noted and appreciated, but we need the extra resolution on this sample. The Lambda steam went through great lengths to retrieve it. You have your orders for today. And remember, the origins of the crystals are not to be discussed with your teammates. All findings on the the new sample must be delivered to me, in person. Now," he said, tapping a folder on the table for emphasis, "have a very safe and productive day."

 

Eli knew he probably wouldn't be home until the evening because of this. Anti-mass spectrometry wasn't like normal mass spectrometry. Breen wanted findings back as soon as possible, that much is clear. But, bypassing safety protocols like this?

 

He was the last person out of the room and fell behind the exiting group. He could feel a headache coming on already.

 

The fact that he arrives to his office glowing a bright blue from his computer monitor didn't help matters.

 

---

 

Eight o'clock came and went without any sign of Kleiner's appointee, Dr. Gordon Freeman. This was on top of the massive system issues the labs were experiencing. Today is shaping up to be a GLORIOUS day, Eli scowled.

 

Just as he got through to tech support (they were inundated with calls), the code red line flared on the phone. "Unbelievable," Eli groaned and apologized to the harried tech before hanging up and switching lines.

 

"Dr. Vance!" barked Magnusson on the other end of the line, "you're needed down at Anti-Mass Spectrometer! Now!"

 

There was loud click as if Magnusson slammed the phone down into its cradle.

 

"Such a lovable asshole, ain't he?" Dr. Bennish said dryly, clearly overhearing the call.

 

Eli smiled thinly and set off for the test chamber.

 

---

 

Despite the comedy of errors this morning, Dr. Arne Magnusson reflected, today was shaping up to be a good day. He placed the casserole in the microwave in the break room closest to the anti-mass spectrometer and bullied a newbie into watching it as he answered the call of nature.

 

He heard a scientist make a query to another scientist about the ridiculousness of the dress code. Without the dress code, he reproved the scientist in his mind, there would be anarchy!

 

Magnusson heard the HEV suit dispenser open in the other room and someone collect the suit. So. Dr. Freeman had finally decided to show.

 

Magnusson grunted in the stall, in effort just as much as consternation. No penalties for Kleiner's pet would come, but let him be a minute late and he'd never hear the end of it.

 

Angrily, he flushed the toilet and stalked out to the break room...only to find the programmed setting was altered and the top had blown off the container, coating the interior of the microwave with what would've been breakfast.

 

Whirling on the newbie, he demanded to know who did it. It was Gordon Freeman. Magnusson demanded that the newbie clean up the mess. Well, he was partly responsible, wasn't he?

 

The good day had turned into a fiasco!

 

Magnusson threw the ruined casserole in the trash and stalked back towards the administrator's office. There'd be hell to pay.

 

 

Dr. Eli Vance stood at the BTS-950 mainframe and smelled something that was like burning wires. Blast the administrator! The energy requirements for this test...

 

He was discussing procedures with Dr. Kleiner when Kleiner's protege, Dr. Gordon Freeman, rounded the corner.

 

He was about to acknowledge Freeman when the BTS-950 suddenly exploded, sending sparks and and acrid blue smoke into the air. "It's about to go critical!" he shouted over the angry arcs of electricity buzzing dangerously inside the now gaping hole in the front of the machine.

 

"What the devil is going on with our equipment?" Kleiner said, his voice unusually gruff. He was standing next to the mainframe when it blew. His voice was worrying but otherwise, he looked okay.

 

"It wasn't MEANT to do this in the first place," Eli reminded Kleiner. The BTS-950 was ordinarily a glorified number cruncher but the analysis that the administrator was having them do on this sample from the border world known as Xen was overtaxing the equipment.

 

Dr. Freeman looked on, concerned about the explosion. Freeman was not authorized to know about where the sample came from, so Eli could not explain to him what had gone wrong. He waved Freeman on by. Freeman would have a lot on his mind anyway with the experiment.

 

Freeman didn't ask questions and proceeded on his way to the test chamber. Bright young man, that Gordon Freeman, Eli reflected.

 

Accepted into MIT directly out of high school and, under the tutelage of Kleiner, excelled in the field of theoretical physics. Not much of a talker, though.

 

Not like Kleiner. Eli chuckled to himself as he turned back to his friend. Get him started and you couldn't shut him up. Not that you'd want to, of course, considering he was in the leagues with Dr. Stephen Hawking and and Albert Einstein.

 

But Kleiner was unnaturally quiet. "Kleiner? Izzy, what's wrong?"

 

Kleiner looked at Eli, his eyes unfocused. "I... I just felt...". His eyes snapped back into focus and he smiled to Eli. "It's--it's nothing. Let's see if we can't fix this dadblasted thing."

 

Kleiner's voice had started to go back to normal as the focused on the work. First, they'd have tired outs the power couplings. Shouldn't take longer than ten minutes."

 

About five minutes into it, he felt a presence behind him. Kleiner was so deep into the structure of the BTS-950 that only his feet showed.

 

Because he was holding the server tray up so it wouldn't fall on Kleiner, Eli could only turn his head. There, standing uncomfortably close, was the man in the dark blue suit from the early morning meeting.

 

"What is it?" Eli demanded.

 

"Prepare for unforeseen consequences," the man said, his voice halting and strange.

 

"What was that, Eli?" Kleiner asked, his voice muffled by the structure of the BTS-950.

 

He looked down at Kleiner. His legs were more visible now, but a bunch of wires had fallen down into his lap.

 

Eli looked back to the strange man and gasped as he was nowhere to be found. Eli almost dropped the server tray.

 

"Eli, what are you doing?!" Kleiner complained as more wires tumbled into his lap.

 

"Sorry," Eli said, a little embarrassed, "I thought I saw..."

 

"Oh fie," Kleiner interrupted, "the HEC817b has come loose. Hang tight Eli. Shouldn't be more than a couple minutes."

 

Eli was beginning to have serious reservations about this whole thing. So many problems today and Breen demanding too much out the equipment without explanation beyond "increased resolution". And then there was that person's words. Perhaps he should use his position of authority in the Anomalous Materials lab to abort the test. Something felt eerily wrong here, but he couldn't put a finger on it But he didn't feel like having to endure the reprimand because of it.

 

He continued to hold the server tray up.

 

---

 

Magnusson brushed off an errant fuzzball from his suit as he waited for the elevator to ascend to Dr. Breen's office. He relished the idea of getting the newbie, "Kleiner's protege" as he was becoming known, called on the carpet.

 

Suddenly, the elevator lights went out and the red emergency lights sputtered on. The elevator ground to a halt, a sickening sound of groaning metal.

 

Terrific, he sighed. Just what I need. First Vance taking his dear sweet time, then the casserole, now this. Heads are going to roll, he thought. I'll make sure of that.

 

Warning klaxons began to sound from the other side of the elevator door. An automated voice said, "Warning: containment failure in Sector C."

 

What the blazes? Was this some kind of drill? No, they wouldn't stop the elevators unless it was the real thing. What happened?

 

Magnusson found the phone in the emergency compartment and put the receiver to his ear. After an interminable number of rings, a shaky voice answered.

 

"Bl-Black Mesa Emergency..."

 

"This is Magnusson. I'm stuck in Elevator 3b in the Office Complex," he barked. "Get me the hell out of here."

 

"Y-yes, sir. We've have a situ--"

 

"Don't make excuses. Just get--"

 

"Look, sir," the voice was more assertive. "A resonance cascade just happened and all emerg-- Jackson? What's that on your head?!"

 

There was an inhumane screech and

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Oh, how cool you write fanfics! ;) I wrote some too. I'll read yours when I have time...

Ross's girlfriend (IRL) Twitter: @AmazingMagda follow me! ^^to somewhere! ^^

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I read most of it and it reads smooth. I noticed one spelling error and don't ask me about grammar...

You definietly put more effort into grammar than me :mrgreen:

 

It's still in progress but I can tell there is a visible change in narration style from the second and surely from the third part. As if you sped up and it's still easy to read but doesn't let to get so immersed in the action as the first part. More like a raport than a story.

And the last part feels "on" again. I was imagining Half-Life movie starting more or less with a scene like this :D

Ross's girlfriend (IRL) Twitter: @AmazingMagda follow me! ^^to somewhere! ^^

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