OH MY GOD, THIS IS DONE! I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT THIS IS FINALLY DONE!
Geeze, guys, I've been working on this story since June 30th! Holy hell, am I SO glad that I finally finished this. I was going along pretty nicely, I guess, and then it came to the ending and my writer's block decided that it had to get in the way because it felt that it had a MISSION for me to screw you guys over and cheat you with the ending. But be glad, I did not! I forced myself to write this, even with my stupid writer's block!
Real sorry for the lack of updates lately. I had a five day camp and I just came back from a week long vacation Sunday. Other days I've been busy, or I haven't felt like I could write. But I'm so glad I got this done! Phew!
Based On: Half-Life 2 (Valve. What else do I write for?)
Rating: K+ for a lot of "OH MY GOD!"'s and uh...disturbing images? (I hope, at least. Barney had to get nightmares from SOMETHING...)
Author's Notes: Since I wrote this while having writer's block, this lacks the amount of detail I wish it had. It came out nice enough, though, hopefully. Be prepared to wonder "What the hell?"!
For some reason this was six pages on Word yet it only ranks in at a little over 2,900 words. I thought I wrote more than that! I guess "And Then Came The Thunder" made me realize that line breaks are your friend.
"Oh, fie! Where did that little one get to, now?"
The complaints of the old Black Mesa scientist greeted his used-to-be colleague, now close friend, as he walked into the room. Barney Calhoun cracked a smile to himself as he watched his old friend run around the room before him.
"Uh oh," Barney began, as the sound of the hidden entrance to the lab closing behind him interrupted his speech. "What'd you do now, Doc?" The old scientist continued to circle around the room, adjusting his glasses back onto the bridge of his nose, yet not paying attention to the question of his old friend.
"Oh, hi Barney," he just simply replied, taking a peek behind a dusty computer monitor at the corner of the room. "Glad to see you made it." Barney let a little grunt slip past himself for a moment, as he watched his friend run this way and that. Crossing his arms, Barney continued to have a conversation with the half-down-to-earth man before him.
"Yeah, well, I can't stay for long. My shift starts soon." Doctor Kleiner didn't seem to be paying attention to him, as he circled the room, looking for…whatever he was looking for. "So, uh…" Barney tried to break the silence. "Why'd you call me here?" He didn't even know why he asked that—it was already kind of obvious. Doctor Kleiner usually called him for the same reason—either he had something to show him, he needed help moving something, or just somehow he locked himself out of something or another. This probably was no exception.
"Oh, same as usual," Doctor Kleiner replied, scratching the scalp of his balding head. He turned around to make eye contact with his fellow Black Mesa colleague. "The teleportation device is finally up and running, now…and I had a test subject around here, however I can't seem to find it…"
Barney let a laugh escape through his widened mouth as he placed his hands on his hips. "What, you mean like one of the Combine, or something? Hell, I could have grabbed one of the Metro Cops for ya," he responded, shifting his weight to one of his legs. Doctor Kleiner gave Barney a serious look, adjusting his glasses yet again.
"Very funny, Calhoun, but this is something that the Combine must never know about! The whole thing that Eli and Doctor Mossman had discovered about entanglement had lead to a breakthrough—in fact, we are…for once…a step ahead of the Combine with our technology! They would do anything to even look at the blueprints for a mere five minutes—"
"Yeah, yeah, I get it, Doc." Barney raised his hand in order to signal Doctor Kleiner that he had heard enough. "Look, I didn't get this in Black Mesa, and I still don't get it now. It's bad if the Combine figure out what we've done, let's just leave it at that." Doctor Kleiner sighed silently to himself, and then looked at Barney with nervous eyes.
"I do say, Barney, there is much more to it than that!" He made a random hand gesture of his index finger pointing towards the ceiling, as though that would help signify the importance of such a creation. Barney was about to respond to the old man's exclamations, until he suddenly felt something rub against his leg.
"What the hell?" he nearly shouted, stepping back as a reaction. His hand automatically went towards his pistol, which he was about to pull out and shoot until Doctor Kleiner had stepped in the way.
"Barney, please!" He looked down towards something that couldn't be more than about a foot and a half in height. Barney's hand slowly drifted away from his holster, but he felt the need to rub his eyes once he saw what Doctor Kleiner was looking at.
There was a cat in front of him—an orange, furry, somehow healthy, cat. It purred as Doctor Kleiner ran two of his fingers across the top of its head, its deep blue irises seeming to gleam with happiness from the attention it was receiving. Barney rubbed the back of his neck, his face seeming to be uneasy.
"Doc, you've gotta be kidding me." Doctor Kleiner looked up at his friend with confusion. "Is that seriously an actual, real-life, breathing cat?" Doctor Kleiner just simply nodded as a response.
"Why yes, Barney, it is…" He went on with telling Barney the specifics of the feline before them—its gender, species, weight, even its Latin name, which Barney just seemed to ignore. He wasn't trying to do it on purpose, exactly, but the shock in his mind just seemed to fog everything up for a moment.
"Whoa, whoa, hang on a sec." Barney lightly placed one of his gloved hands above his forehead before continuing. He thought he felt the tickle of a sweat drop slip down his forehead as he exclaimed, "I didn't even know cats still existed!"
"Well, I guess you could say I might have struck some luck," Doctor Kleiner responded, as he picked up the cat gingerly. "But anyway, this one shall be our test subject." Barney looked shocked yet again, and it seemed as though he was showing sympathy towards the cat, if only for a brief moment.
"Are you sure? I mean, the whole, you know, re-arranging of your atoms thing might catch the cat off guard—" He was interrupted by Doctor Kleiner's stubborn part of his personality getting in front of his ego.
"Oh nonsense, everything will be fine. Now come, I need your help with the experiment." Doctor Kleiner walked over towards the back of the lab, with Barney following closely. "Here," he said, as he passed the cat to him. "Hold this for a second." Barney nervously looked at the furry face of the animal, as he gently gripped the body of the feline.
"I…uh, sure, I guess," he muttered, as a delayed reaction. The cat gave a soft meow towards him, making it even harder for Barney to look at it. For a moment there was an awkward silence—the sounds of beeps from random machinery and Doctor Kleiner's own murmurings were the only things heard until the door had finally opened. Barney was relieved when Doctor Kleiner had finally taken the cat back, letting a quick sigh exit his nostrils.
"Geeze Doc," Barney exclaimed with astonishment, as his eyes caught sight of the creation once he had entered. "I haven't seen this thing in a while, but this is insane!" The pair of his dark green eyes quickly made a scan across the room. They drifted from one part of the large machine to the next, trying to catch each and every detail that they could. It seemed bigger from last time, not to mention that it was clear of dust now that Doctor Kleiner had done some tinkering on it.
"Why thank you, Barney," replied the old scientist, as he walked forward towards the mysterious machine. "It has taken us years, but I think we have finally gotten to the end of this long and tedious breakthrough." The gate of the device opened up, and Doctor Kliener slowly leaned over while still holding the cat. He gently placed it down, giving it another quick pat on the head before walking over towards the other side of the room, with the gates of the teleport closing behind him.
"So, how do you know that the cat'll stay put?" Barney asked. Doctor Kleiner let a quick smile slip past his lips.
"Oh, I trained it just for this event," he said, as he walked over to the opposite side of the room. He stood on a platform as it rose up and led him to another one, filled with computer monitors and random machines that Barney couldn't exactly see. "It's already used to all of these flashing lights and loud sounds and…whatever else it might face. It's like it's a fearless cat!" He made a quick motion of raising his fist near his head, in order to support his statement. Barney just smirked to himself, shaking his head and crossing his arms.
"So," he began, taking a quick glance of the cat before returning his vision to Doctor Kleiner. "How are we gonna do this?"
"Oh, it's really quite simple," Doctor Kleiner began, pressing a few buttons on one of the random machinery parts near him. Barney let a quick grunt escape his lips.
"Simple to you and simple to me are two totally different things, Doctor K," he quickly responded. "Just tell me in laymen's terms." Doctor Kleiner sighed, as the chance of explaining things "his way" was torn away from him.
"Oh, fine." He muttered something to himself before continuing. "Since Eli and the rest of the crew at Black Mesa East are still working on their teleport, we'll have to do this on our own." Barney placed his hands on his hips as he continued to listen to Doctor Kleiner. "What I am going to do is send this little kitty on a…round trip, shall we say. Basically, it will teleport to here, from here. It's like going in a circle, in its own sort of way." Barney let his head lean to the side slightly, as he raised a brow.
"Uhh…ok then," he responded, his confusion leaking into his voice as he neared the end of his sentence. The cat let out a soft meow before it sat down, yet it was acting very well behaved and didn't leave its spot, for whatever reason Barney couldn't exactly get. Doctor Kleiner went from one piece of machinery to the next, as he began to mutter things to himself.
"Let's see…the massless field-flux should self limit and I've clamped the manifold parameters to CY base and LG orbifold, Hilbert inclusive..."
All of that was just in one ear and out the other for Barney. He just stood there, scratching his head, watching Kleiner run from one computer to the other.
"Conditions could hardly be more ideal," the old scientist said, quickly adjusting his glasses. That really didn't comfort Barney in any sort of way.
Oh god, this can't turn out good. The thought just kind of automatically popped into his subconscious, but he couldn't exactly help it…something in his gut just told him that this couldn't end well.
"Commencing teleportation device test in five…four…"
Barney thought he could feel his stomach beginning to swirl. He wasn't much of a pet kind of person, but not even he would do this to the poor cat.
"…three…two…one…initiating teleportation device test."
Barney nearly jumped as sounds he had never recognized before began to swing through the air. The platform of the teleport rose, and yet the cat still remained in place, as though it was promised treats should it behave. Barney had to blink in order to make sure that his eyes weren't tricking him. Four thin, half-circle shaped metal objects soon began to spin around the platform, becoming faster and faster with each turn. Swishing noises followed it, becoming louder and louder.
Barney was so amazed as to what was currently happening in front of him that he refused to notice Doctor Kleiner shouting his name. "Barney!" Doctor Kleiner screamed, battling with the sounds of the machine.
"Huh, wha—" Barney forced out of his lips, tearing his sight off from the machine and towards the what-could-now-be-counted-as "mad scientist".
"Barney, please flip the switch over there," Doctor Kleiner yelled, pointing to a panel next to the teleport. Barney's eyes followed the direction of where Doctor Kleiner was pointing, and caught sight of a red lever, which he quickly pulled as he was told.
"Good," Barney could barely hear Doctor Kleiner say, as he watched each monitor with open eyes, his mouth slightly ajar. "If these calculations are correct, the teleport should happen right—"
Flashes of light soon began to obscure each being's vision. Some kinds of bright neon lights began to dance around the cat, as they became more brilliant with each second. Another few flashes of light, and then it sounded like a catapult had just tossed off. Barney wasn't sure if his old ears were tricking him, but he could have sworn he heard the angry scream of a cat. Then the sound of thunder rolled softly for a moment, as the lights began to flicker. Barney waited until everything was calm—or, calm enough, at least—before he let out his reaction.
"What the hell was that, Doc?" Barney asked, as he began to check himself to make sure that he hadn't suffered from any side effects from standing too close to the godlike machine. The odd half-circle pieces of metal were still spinning around, creating a streak of light that followed them as they continued their hovering rotations.
"Oh…it should be coming back around right now," Doctor Kleiner said with a hint of worry in his voice, as he rushed from one monitor to the next, yet again. Barney just shook his head, letting a sigh come out from his lips. He jerked his attention back to the teleport, just as a loud bang sort of noise had entered their eardrums, followed by another flash of light that interrupted their vision.
"Great Scott…" It was hard to hear Doctor Kleiner murmuring things to himself, but somehow Barney was still able to detect a bit of shock that quavered in his voice. The sounds quieted and the flashing lights had stopped, allowing full concentration on the device.
"What Doc, what?" Barney nearly screamed, as spots of blindness still corrupted his eyes. He soon gasped at the sight as his vision returned to him.
"Doc," he whispered, rubbing his eyes to make sure he hadn't lost any part of his mind. His sanity was still there, right? Sure, he was paranoid, but that wouldn't mean that he was seeing what he thought he was seeing…
"What the hell did you do to it?"
Doctor Kleiner seemed to be shocked by the outcome, as well. He just stood there, speechless, with one hand shaking with shock as he tried to adjust his glasses.
"How…how did that happen?" Barney could barely hear Doctor Kleiner ask the question to himself, as he was most likely running through the whole procedure through his mind right now.
Barney felt like he was about to lose it—his mind, his lunch, he didn't know what, but he was about to lose something.
"Oh my god," he just managed to say, taking a few steps away from the teleport. He didn't know how many times he repeated that phrase, but it seemed necessary.
The cat sat there, its thin pupils staring at them with confusion. Actually, it didn't even have eyes—somehow or another, the two eyes had merged into one. Its mouth was hanging to the left of its head, where its ear should have been. Its body was that of a blob, with one leg slung around the back of its neck, one on the middle of its stomach and back, and the other in its proper place. Its tail flickered back and forth for a moment, although it was attached to the top of its head. Yet, for some reason, the cat let out a soft meow, as if nothing happened and it wasn't feeling any pain.
"Dear Lord." The words of shock escaped from Doctor Kleiner's lips this time, and he began to list everything wrong with the cat. Bone structure disproportional, its vision being worsened, the tone of its voice should be wrong with how it vocal cords could be…the list got longer and longer and Doctor Kleiner kept asking himself why it had happened, and why the cat seemed to be fine.
"Look Kleiner," Barney barked, his voice raising with a hint of anger slipping through. "I don't care about the specifics, all I know is that this cat is messed up for the rest of its poor damn life!" Doctor Kleiner remained speechless as Barney's emotions flooded his mind. "You better fix that thing, 'cause there's no way in hell we're letting anybody use that." He could have sworn he saw Doctor Kleiner have a spasmodic shiver as a cold tingle covered his spine.
"Y…yes, I'll get right on it," he replied, as he continued to talk to himself about what could have possibly gone wrong. Barney let his head tilt upwards toward the ceiling as he let a sigh erupt from his mouth. Was it time for his shift yet? Hell, he didn't care if he was two hours early, he had to get out of there.
"Now, I gotta get back on my shift," Barney said, managing to control his emotions for a quick moment. "Good luck with…well…you know, that." He began to walk out of the room, quickening his pace as he got farther and farther away from Doctor Kleiner.
"Man, am I gonna have nightmares about this."
Geeze, I hope that ending was good enough. I was so tired of writing this, so the second I finished the last few paragraphs, it was up hot-off-the-press-style! (As much as I hate doing that). Hope you liked it! Geeze, did this thing kill me.
Thanks for reading!