Waited Half a Lifetime

Matthew Drachman, Staff Writer

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“Rise and shine Mr. Freeman……  Rise and shine……  Not that I wish to imply that you have been sleeping on the job, no one is more deserving of a rest, and all of the effort in the world would have gone to waste until… Well let’s just say your hour has come again.”  (Long Pause) “The right man in the wrong place, can make all the difference in the world.  So wake up, Mr. Freeman, wake up and….. Smell the ashes.”  

Those were the opening words from the mysterious character known as “G-man” in the famous first person shooter, Half Life 2.  The game was released in 2004, and two games followed it, episodes one and two.  After episode two ended on a cliff hanger back in 2007, there hasn’t been another game released since then to conclude or progress the franchise.  Recently the main writer for Half Life, Marc Laidlaw, had leaked the story plot for Half Life Episode 3, or Half life 3, but before we get into that I think I need to explain the plot to folks who haven’t even heard of Half Life.

The first Half Life was made back in 1998 and took place in a research facility known as Black Mesa.  You play a character known as Doctor Gordon Freeman who is starting his first day in the research facility.  Freeman is a MIT Graduate and has a PhD in Theoretical Physics.  Freeman on that day will probably experience one of the worse first day on the job’s in history.  Freeman is instructed to test a crystal that has been given to them by the government to see if it can be used to generate power, Freeman is in the test chamber in the iconic HEV (Hazardous Environment) Suit.  When all seems to be going well, that entire station malfunctions and opens a portal to another dimension and allows aliens to flood into our world.  For the rest of the game Freeman is tasked with escaping the facility while also trying to close the rift between the two dimensions.  Freeman travels to the borderworld, Xen, between the dimensions and fights the “Nihilanth” which is keeping the rift open.  When he defeats the monster, a mysterious figure appears before him, who is in a blue suit and carrying a briefcase, who looks of a man but isn’t a man, visits Freeman.  He says that his employers have authorised him to off Freeman a job working for him, when you take it, you fall asleep waiting for the first assignment.  Thus ending the first game.

Now going back to the beginning of this article, this is how Half Life 2 begins.  G-man places Freeman on a train to City 17, one of the cities that now houses what is left of the human race about 20 years into the future from the previous game.  City 17 also houses the Combine Citadel, the home of the Combine Puppet government ran by Wallace Breen, the old administrator from Black Mesa and also negotiated the surrender of the Human Race.  From the dimensional rift, a race known as the Combine has taken over the earth and is now slowly genociding the human race.  The Combine has established a field that has taken the ability of reproduction from what is left of the race of man.   Gordon comes in contact with on of his old buddies from Black Mesa, Barney.  He tells him to meet with Alyx, whom is the daughter of Eli vance, a scientist from Black Mesa.

You meet up with Alyx and head back to a lab in which you try to teleport to the Rebel outpost where Eli is.  This fails so you have to travel by foot through City 17 and the outskirts of it which you see the total decimation of a place you used to call home.  You finally make it to the Rebel Base and after you are there for about five minutes the base is attacked by the Combine and Eli is captured and taken to the Citadel in the city.  You then sneak your way back into the city which you discover that there is a full on battle for the city with Rebel Forces, inspired by your presence, Freeman being the mockingjay for say.

You make your way into the citadel and are captured by Breen and taken to his office, where you are integrated until a previous traitor helps you escape.  Breen runs and then you track him to the top of the Citadel where he trying to escape using a device that takes you to another dimension, you stop this process which causes an explosion.  Before the blast engulfs both you and Alyx, our mysterious friend seems to freeze time in place and begins to talk to you again.

“Time… Doctor Freeman?  Is it really that time again?  It seems as if you only just arrived.  You’ve done a great deal in a small time span.  You’ve done so well in fact that I’ve received some pretty interesting offers for your services, ordinarily I wouldn’t contemplate them but these are extraordinary times.  Rather than offer you the illusion of free choice, I will take the liberty of choosing for you, if and when your time comes round again.  I do apologize for what must seem to you an arbitrary imposition Dr. Freeman.  I trust it will all make sense to you in the course of, well, I’m really not at full liberty to say.  In the meantime, this is where I get off.”  The Gman leaving you in darkness, with a seemingly dark door opens with light, and he disappears.  This is where the second game ends.

The Third game, or Half Life 2 Episode 1, opens on many creatures, known as the Vortigaunts, save you from the Gman’s grasp, and as Gman would say, “We will see about that.” You wake up in the rubble near the base of the Citadel where Alyx find you.  The Citadel is about to explode due to the explosion of the teleporter so to buy the city time to evacuate you and Alyx re enter the Citadel to ease the core.  You do this and escape, for the rest of the game you escape from the city along with some of the resistance.  The citadel blows up and that’s the end of that game.

Half Life 2 Episode 2 Begins with you in the destroyed train that you used to get away from City 17, Alyx finding you and then freeing you  The destroyed Citadel has formed a portal between the dimensions, if it closes the Combine on earth are stranded.  Due to the Citadel also being destroyed, the field that had stopped humans from procreating has been deactivated.  You now have to travel to the Rebel Base that now houses a rocket that will close the rift between earth and the other dimension.  Around mid game Alyx is wounded by a Combine hunter, and the Vortigaunts, offer to help heal her.  While this is happening, Gman appears to you and says the following.

“Doctor Freeemaaan. I realize this moment may not be the most convenient for a ‘heart-to-heart’, but I had to wait until your… ‘friends’ were otherwise occupied.  There was a time they cared nothing for Miss Vance… When their only experience of humanity was a crowbar coming at them down a steel corridor. When I plucked her from Black Mesa, I acted in the face of objections that she was a mere child and of no practical use to anyone. I have learned to ignore such naysayers when… quelling them… was out of the question.  Still, I am not one to squander my investments… and I remain confident she was worth far more than the initial… appraisal. That’s why I must now extract from you some small repayment owed for your own survival. See her safely to White Forest, Doctor Freeman. I wish I could do more than keep an eye on you, but I have agreed to abide by certain… restrictions.”  He then turns to Alyx lying on the table, “Well… now… listen carefully, my dear. When you see your father relay these words: Prepare for unforeseen consequences.”  This is the last time you will hear of the G Man in the released franchise.

Alyx is now ok and you travel successfully to the Rebel base, the base comes under attack by Combine forces which you repel, and now the rocket that has been prepared has fired into the portal and closes it, trapping the Combine on earth.  Now you and Alyx aren’t done yet, now you have to travel somewhere, not quickly summarising this, as you do this Combine administrators come in, kill Eli and leave, the game’s ending on Alyx crying over her dead father’s corpse.

Wait, what’s that I hear?  Did I hear a, “And?”.  No ands, that’s the end.  That is where the game ended and there hasn’t been another game made since.  Here recently though, we have had some luck.

The 10 year anniversary came around for the game and still nothing, until Marc Laidlaw (Writer of Half Life) posted a blog post which mirrored many things from the franchise.  This supposedly was the story line for Half Life 3 or Episode 3.  In summary, Gordon and Alyx go to the Antarctica to Destroy the Borealis, which is a ship than can go through time and space. Alyx tries to take the ship and ram it into the Combine invasion HQ, and this is where Gman stops time and ask Alyx to come with him, her following him in a trance, and him smiling at you leaving you to die.  Luckily the Vortigaunts pull you out before the ship explodes.  Then the last paragraph seems to be a message to Valve, (Developer of Half Life) for not making the right choices.  Then Marc signs off for the last time.  This seemed to be end of the episodic series of Half life and could had lead to Half Life 3 itself which would have involved Alyx as the main character rather than Freeman, but I guess we will never know due to Valve.

Valve has been screwing the fans for more than a decade, at least now we have closure to the story, it’s up to you now to make your own conclusions.  Now to quote Gman, “This is where I get off.”  Expect no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final epistle.