Chapter 3

*disclaimer* Before people go on and complain about this story, I want to say a few things. Yes, I have read the comics on Valve's website and I know about the story of Redmont and Blutarch Mann. Yes, I only have aspects of them in here and not the full story. This is what this is, a different story since I wasn't completely happy with Valve's edition, granted that the story does belong to them. Also, this is based more on what is seen in the "Meet the…" series than the actual game. Thank you and please enjoy.

The building almost seemed as if it could have been abandoned, there were no cars located anywhere outside of it, besides the one that was now pulling away from the curbside after dropping me off, and there were absolutely no people walking around outside of it. With a grunt, I picked up the two duffel bags I had with me and lumbered towards the two wooden doors that were at the end of the shaded entryway. There was still nothing to suggest that anyone was there, but I still leaned back against the door only to be surprised that it actually gave way under my weight.

The inside showed the signs of constant care, white-washed walls that gleamed in the bright white light, equally white tile making the room blinding, and the large symbol of the facilities, without dents or scratches, right above a huge wooden reception desk. A single man in his late twenties sat behind the counter, typing frantically into a computer that looked much fancier than any person could buy from the local store. He was an unshaven fellow with a mop of brown hair on top of his head and a pencil sticking out from behind his left ear. His appearance definitely didn't go well with the environment he was placed in, yet he seemed to be comfortable just the same.

Upon hearing my footsteps approaching across the tile, he stood up straight so fast that there was a resounding thump as his knee hit the corner of the table. He flinched at the pain that doubtlessly traveled up his leg but he didn't look away from me or lose the smile that came to his face, though now it looked really strained as tears appeared in the corners of his eyes. I would have laughed if the spectacle hadn't been so pathetic. Needless to say I still came up to the desk and set my baggage down in front of it, looking back at the bearded man while adjusting my glasses. Finally he spoke though it was in a stuttering and broken manner, "S-so… you must be the o-one they were waiting on. C-c-come on then. Leave your baggage and p-please follow me to your r-room."

British… with a cockney accent no doubt. He may have spoken with a stammer but he wasted no time in turning on his heel and walking down a hallway to my right. I paused a moment in surprise before turning and following him. "Vait a moment, aren't you supposed to check my ID or escort me to someone who vill interview me for ze position?"

The man did nothing but let out a nervous little giggle. "N-no. This is a very secure location. Y-you wouldn't have gotten in i-if you hadn't been formally invited. Plus, how many scary looking German men could we possibly have g-gotten in here?" He turned another corner and stopped in front of an elevator, hitting the up button and smirking at what was his idea of a joke. Naturally I should have been offended, but I don't really care about such petty insults. Once on the elevator he turned and offered his hand to me, I reluctantly took it in mine and we shook. "My n-name is Finny and I am the guy who will keeping track of your schedule. I will show you where you need to be and w-when you need to be there."

I smirked and responded, "I am Josef… but undoubtedly you already knew zat." He gave me a full smile this time for apparently as he got used to a person, his nervousness and stammer lessoned considerably. The elevator jolted and began to rise up, one, two floors, before it stopped. The doors parted and we stepped out into a large hallway complete with the white tile and fancy chandeliers every few feet. I grimaced and followed Finny to the right and down to the end of the hall where there was a lone door carved from dark mahogany. This place was too clean and too fancy for my tastes and I feared what Finny was going to say before he even opened his mouth.

"T-this is where you will be staying, Josef… or should I say Medic?" Finny grinned wider and pulled a nametag from his breast pocket before handing it to me. "There you a-are. Wear that whenever you decide to leave your room. That will be w-what you are formally known as n-now. Do not tell anyone your real name and d-do not ask others for theirs. Got it?"
With a glance at the tag that only had one word upon its surface, I grumbled, "Ja, I got it. But I have one question for you." Finny raised his eyebrow and clasped his hands behind his back in a gesture of 'I'm waiting'. I adjusted my glasses, "Vhere am I und vhat is zis program?"

As I should have expected, Finny just smirked and opened my door for me. "T-those are things that will be answered for you in due time. However, I-I will let you know that you are the last one to finally arrive and that tomorrow morning, y-you will meet with your fellow teammates in the foyer. Signs will be posted to show you the way. I shall bring your bags in an hour until I formally c-check you in. Dinner will be brought to you promptly at six. T-there should be a button for you to press in your r-room to call me if you should need anything more." He opened the door and gazed at me expectantly as I gritted my teeth, shocked and annoyed. I stormed into my room, having none of my real questions answered, and crashed onto the bed while Finny shut the door. Great, I was going to have to work with people again, and we all know how well that worked out the last time.

In boredom, I turned on the TV and let it play some older reruns that I barely paid any attention to while I waited for my bags. Why was this place so secretive? It was odd that they still couldn't tell me anything even though I was in here already and couldn't exactly just run away if I wanted to. I glanced to the bedside table with my small, plastic nametag resting upon it with my new identity, Medic. If that was any indication, they wanted me for my skills as a doctor even though my license was no longer valid. Maybe they intended on granting me a new one even though that would be breaking many laws and this seemed like a government facility.

About an hour after Finny had closed the door, there came a swift knock upon it as he had promised. With a tired groan, I rose and loosened the tie around my neck, just now realizing I probably didn't need all of this fancy clothing on anymore. I undid the jacket just before opening the doorknob and looking down at my bags, though that wasn't all that was there. On the bags lay an entirely new suit of clothing and on top of that was a note scrawled neatly in a woman's writing. I picked it up and moved my glasses to the edge of my nose so I could read it.

To Medic:

We, here at Mann Co., are so sorry that we have brought you here under deception and secrets. We can assure you, however, that many of the questions you have will be answered tomorrow morning at breakfast in the foyer. See? I already answered one of your questions! Yes, we are known here as Mann Co., a subdivision of TF Industries, if you have ever heard of them. I would also like to inform you that you are part of a program that is going to be hand picking those who we deem…capable of handling our particular needs. Just a heads up of what you will be facing in the near future!

Have a nice day! ~Pauling

P.S: Your room has been remained unlocked but don't even think about heading out the front door. Oh, and be sure to wear the provided garments to tomorrow's meeting!

So I could not leave now? I figured that this would happen. With a small curse I pocketed the note and stooped to pick up the uniform. It was a full-length white overcoat with an equally white dress shirt for underneath and tan slacks. Black, mid-calf boots were also included along with a red tie and red surgical gloves. Wunderbar, now I was going to look like some odd field surgeon. With a roll of my eyes, I placed the strange outfit into the small closet and lugged my bags inside to dump on the bed.

Unknowingly, I had left the door partially cracked open. I hadn't exactly realized yet that there were other people living on this floor and that they may have more curiosity than me. A few minutes after I had settled back down to stare at the television set, I heard a loud exclamation from the bathroom in my room. I muted the TV and stood up with a raised eyebrow, finally taking off my constricting jacket and depositing it on the bed along with the rest of my belongings. Having still been new to this place and not realizing what it was that this company wanted me to do, I took no caution in swinging open the bathroom door to confront the intruder.

He was a scrawny little man, no; boy would have been a better description. He wore overlarge, ratty white sneakers with long socks that stopped barely below his knees along with a simple pair of basketball shorts and a T-shirt. A tan colored baseball cap covered his short light brown hair and he was currently standing in the middle of the bathtub. He noticed me before I could say anything and he let out a high-pitched laugh that immediately made me frown and bare my teeth. Just by the sound of his voice I could tell that he was mischievous and annoying.

"Man, you gotta better set up here than I do at the end o' the hallway. You got yourself a whole tub! I only get a shower that won't even spray full blast." He leaped out of the bath with one graceful motion and landed right in front of me. I let go of the doorknob and took a step back for I hadn't expected him to suddenly be so close. The boy stuck out his hand and tilted his head in a surprisingly friendly manner. "Yo, the new name's Scout since I can't tell ya my real name. Not sure why but comes with the job."

Grudgingly I gripped his hand in return and shook it once before dropping it quickly. "And I am Medic, pleased to meet you. Now get out of mein room… if you don't mind." I'd never really been a fan of people that I couldn't cut into, and apparently Scout got that from my atmosphere and tone since I could see his smile dim just a tad.

"Yeah look man, I'm sorry. I busted into your room and all, but ya left your door wide open. I thought you'd be the welcoming type." He smirked, "I can tell you're foreign. Don't tell that to the whack job down the hall. He'd kill ya in a second from what I can hear through the walls. See ya!" With that he shot past me and was gone, somehow closing the door behind him. What an odd person in an odd place. So this was one of the other people that I would have to be working with? I stood there brooding in the bathroom door for a moment more considering if this would really be worth it, not that I had a choice.

I let out a long sigh and took off my tie completely followed by my shirt and my dress shoes. I watched the reruns for a few hours until I heard another knock at my door. Fearing that it might be the Scout person again, I looked through the convenient eyehole only to see Finny with a tray full of food. I opened the door and stood aside to let him in and he immediately went over to the bedside table and set down the tray, looking a tad bit shaky. Admittedly, I was curious but I knew that it was one thing that I needed to control if I wanted this job. Without a word I watched the British man leave again in silence, making doubly sure that the front door was indeed closed and locked.

After the disgusting meal of sugary soda and burnt hamburgers, I decided that it was time for me to shut off the TV and get some sleep to shake off the jet lag. One thing was for sure, tomorrow I was going to have to face the rest of this 'team' I was going to have to work with and I just knew that I wasn't going to like a moment of it. I just wanted the moment to come when I was finally going to get the tools I was promised. My curiosity couldn't be held back forever.