In retrospect, the jump was an incredibly bad idea. A rooftop ramp across to a cliff end, a pit of potentially hazardous waste in the middle, and an old Dodge Charger barely holding together. They had been there for half an hour already, according to the HEV suit's internal log, and the duo had been brainstorming on how to get across the chasm. They had tried to drive around, but the chasm had still gone on for miles on end. And then Alyx had pointed out the inconspicuous shape of the roof of a structure by the cliff; "Hey, Gordon! That looks like a ramp over there... maybe we could get across to the other side!" It would have been another one of their magical moments, those where they succeeded despite the odds. And then Gordon's finger had missed the "Turbo" button by a fraction of a centimeter.
Yep. This was definitely not one of those moments.
And now, facedown in broken glass, hunched over a broken dashboard and with the weight of the Jalopy almost crushing him, Gordon sighed. If only he hadn't gotten his hopes up. Everything was blurry- groping around, Gordon couldn't seem to find his glasses. While the world around him was barely definable, a single crisp orange number hovered in the bottom-left corner of his peripheral vision: 13. Well, shit.
Turning his head and looking around, he noted the slumped form of Alyx next to him, sprawled out through the nonexistant windshield and onto the coarse dirt outside and out cold. Well, at least the pit hadn't been filled with radioactive waste. That was a plus. The steering wheel- no, the socket that had held the steering wheel- flickered, sending small sparks tumbling down around Gordon. The Jalopy was upside down, judging by the interior orientation of the vehicle in question.
Groaning, Gordon turned and reached out instinctively for the door... and promptly flopped over, his hand reaching out unhindered into the harsh sunlight of the Outlands.
Right. No doors.
Still dizzy from the impact and vision blurred from lack of glasses, Gordon crawled outside and paused, staring blearily around the open forest ground. A flash of light prompted Gordon to look up jerkily, wincing as the ripped shards of his HEV neck guard scraped against his skin. They were definitely in the pit, alright. The looming walls of rock and dirt stretching far above them attested to that. From the bottom Gordon could just make out the green blurs of distant trees, and even without aid he could see the looming blue vortex, all that remained of the City 17 Citadel.
A familiar shriek filled the air, and Gordon winced.
Oh, God no...
The distant yellow fleck of an antlion appeared, peeking out curiously behind a rock at the overturned Jalopy. Noticing Gordon's prone form, it gave another shriek and almost immediately, a second antlion burrowed up from the ground to join the first.
Gordon looked around, searchin for a weapon. He spotted his crowbar, wedged inside the engine, and grabbed on to it. The antlions began to slowly make their way to the wreck, dodging the trunks of trees and the grey jagged edges of rocks on the forest floor.
Propping himself with one arm, Gordon nudged the crowbar. It didn't move. Gordon pulled the crowbar's handle, trying to pry it out from under the car. No luck.
Concentrated on freeing the crowbar in his grasp, Gordon barely had time to roll out of the way as one of the antlions flew at him, swiping futilely before slamming into the Jalopy. Crap.
Righting itself, the antlion wasted no time to attempt to claw Gordon, missing him by an inch and causing him toroll right into the second antlion, which had just managed to reach them. The antlion Gordon had rolled into sliced at the HEV suit, cutting through into flesh and bone and almost causing Gordon to cry out in pain.
The HEV suit, ever so insightful, beeped to notify it had registered 'minor lacerations' and droned into Gordon's ear that 'user death' was imminent. A bright red 8 replaced the orange 13, flashing as to catch Gordon's attention. However, Gordon's attention was squarely set on something else, namely trying to not have his health drop any farther. Swinging his fist at the attacker, he caught the antlion by surprise and whacked it solidly on the face, a loud shriek and immediate retreat the outcome. The antlion that had hit the car launched itself at Gordon, the short range between them leaving no time for him to get out of the way.
Tumbling around onto Gordon's hurting back, he grappled with the antlion, trying to throw it off of him. A lucky hit took Gordon in the chest, and the HUD updated accordingly; a red 3 flashed and the HEV suit began its' warnings again. Gordon was barely concious, groggily swinging at the antlion. It rolled off and righted itself, the second antlion arriving to back up the first.
Sensing that its brethen was not in danger, the antlion joined the first and chittered at Gordon.
And that was when it happened.
A loud whining noise came into existance, culminating in a loud bang that caused the antlions to quickly retreat, shreiking in pain as they burrowed back into the ground.
As Gordon stared into the sky, he noticed lights flickering eerily in the sky. A dot grew larger, turning quickly into a long, silver ship that descended with a quiet, almost peaceful hum from the sky. Long legs unlocking in a smooth ballet of technology, the ship alighted gently on the ground and went silent.
A ramp extended itself. Light streamed out.
A tall figure appeared, walking down the ramp slowly. It was alien, very alien. It was pale green, very tall, with a flattened head, slitty eyes, and wearing pristine golden robes.
Gordon stared on silently with an air of disbelief, a red flashing 3 in the corner of his vision. The alien gazed levelly back at him.
"Gordon Freeman. You're a complete and utter ass."
The alien frowned, consulting his clipboard.
"You are Gordon Freeman, correct?"
Gordon could do nothing except for nod.
"Not Gordon Frohman?"
Gordon nodded again.
"Excellent. You are indeed an utter ass. Now, if you excuse me..."
Gordon reached out to the alien, trying vainly in an attempt to grasp the hem of his ropes and staring up at the alien unblinkingly.
"Oh, don't give me that look. Crowbar-waving mute. Come back when you have some personality for a change."
And with that, the alien promptly boarded his ship.
The ramp un-extended itself, the ship's legs re-locked in a smooth ballet of technology, and it quickly disappeared into the sky. The two antlions from before, now sensing that the source of the tremors was gone, immediately rose up from the ground.
No, Gordon thought. This can't be the end... after all we've been through...
And with that, the antlions struck.
The HEV suit beeped.
"Minor lacerations detected. User death detected. HEV failure, shutting dowwwwwwwwwwn-"
But there was no one alive to hear it.
Gordon Freeman was dead.
HALF-LIFE 2 EPISODE 2
Select a saved game in the list below, then click 'Load Game'.
|RIDING SHOTGUN, Sat Jul 19 15:32:53 2014 QUICK SAVE|
RIDING SHOTGUN, Sat Jul 19 15:26:43 2014 AUTO SAVE
FREEMAN PONTIFEX, Sat Jul 19 15:04:01 2014 QUICK SAVE
TO THE WHITE FOREST, Sat Jul 18 18:48:09 2014 AUTO SAVE
"Hey, Gordon! That looks like a ramp over there... maybe we could get across to the other side!"
Gordon dipped his head in acknowledgement, pulling the car into a turn. A few meters away, there was a small structure built precariously over the cliff; part of the roof was level with the forest floor, and right on the roof's peak... there was a metal ramp pointed at the other side.
Sighing, Gordon got ready to prime the Turbo. He would like to find some other way across, but it was getting late and they were still quite some distance away from White Forest. Gordon was brought out of his musings by Alyx, who gave him a pointed look.
"Hey, you ready?"
Gordon nodded affirmative, and pushed hard on the pedal. With a loud 'vroom,' the Jalopy shot forward with a jolt. Struggling to keep the car in a straight line with his left hand on the steering wheel, Gordon was too preoccupied to notice his right hand had started drifting away from the 'Turbo' button.
Suddenly, Gordon got a strong feeling that he should start the Turbo early. And so he did.
The Charger would never have made it across without that extra burst of speed. Even as he did a silent cheer (Alyx was not so silent in her cheering), Gordon could not shake the feeling he was being watched.
Someone (or Something) had told him to activate the Turbo, after all.
With a shake of his head and a hug from Alyx, they continued on.
11 minutes later...
"Hey, stop the car! That peak, you can see it from White Forest... we're heading in the right direction."