Half-Life

Fan screenplay by Beth Einspanier

Adapted from the Valve games "Half-Life", "Half-Life: Blue Shift", "Half-Life: Decay", and "Half-Life: Opposing Force". These games and all characters and likenesses belong to Valve, and are used here with great respect but sadly without permission. All rights reserved.

Author's note: This is mainly an experiment, inspired by the cries of Half-Life fans to the effect of "Valve should make a Half-Life movie!" Well, I have since read that Valve has received many screenplays for just that, but none have been considered good enough to be worth making a movie. So, to prove (or disprove) once and for all the validity of a Half-Life movie, I've decided to write my own screenplay. Consider this a proof of concept. So... I'm looking for feedback. Be constructive. Be informative. I already have a co-worker giving this first chapter a beta read to see if it works as a movie. Now I leave it to the Half-Life fans to see if it works as a Half-Life movie. For the sake of tidiness, dialogue tags will be in bold, and dialogue will be in "double quotes".

I've used game dialogue wherever possible, but for obvious reasons I've had to pull a lot of this out of my ass - including Gordon's personality (he has none to speak of in any of the games). It's been tricky figuring out where the games overlap and cross, so feel free to help me out. Thanks!


Black screen.

Title card: HALF LIFE

The screen flickers as though from signal interference, and the A in "HALF" is briefly replaced by a lower case Greek Lambda: λ

Title card: Somewhere below New Mexico…

We hear the controlled squeal of metal-on-metal from an automated tram.

FADE UP ON:

INT – BLACK MESA – TRAM PLATFORM

The tram station resembles that of a subway – a slab of reinforced concrete coming out in a gently curved peninsula edged in black and yellow caution stripes. Beyond the platform we see a pair of sliding glass doors, and beyond them, what looks like the common room of a dormitory: pool table, snack machine, and a small microwave on a countertop above some cabinets.

A man enters the tram platform from the dormitory area. He is dressed in the blue uniform of a Black Mesa security guard. His ID badge identifies him as BARNEY CALHOUN. Barney is in his late twenties or early thirties, in reasonably good shape, with dark hair and brown eyes. He is clean-shaven, but there is a bit of toilet tissue stuck to his face where he has cut himself shaving. He is finishing the last of a breakfast sandwich as a tram car pulls up. He pops the last morsel in his mouth, boards, and sits. The train pulls away from the platform.

ANNOUNCER

"Good morning, and welcome to the Black Mesa transit system. This automated train is provided for the security and convenience of the Black Mesa Research Facility personnel. The time is 8:47 A.M. Current topside temperature is 93 degrees with an estimated high of 105. The Black Mesa compound is maintained at a pleasant 68 degrees at all times…"

CUT TO:

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS

Anomalous Materials is a minor industrial nightmare. In this particular section, the floor is made of metal gratings as often as not, and fat pipes curl over the walls like metal anacondas. Through rounded windows glazed in safety glass, scientists and technicians can be seen at various points on the spectrum between hard at work and dealing with malfunctions that are preventing work from getting done.

Two women in hazard suits, each with a lower-case Greek Lambda emblazoned on the chest-plate and each carrying a visored helmet under one arm, enter the area through a heavy reinforced blast door; their identification badges indicate that they are DR. COLETTE GREEN (late thirties, jaw-length brown hair, wearing a red hazard suit) and DR. GINA CROSS (early thirties, short red hair, wearing a tan hazard suit). They are met by a SECURITY GUARD.

SECURITY GUARD #1

[nodding to each in turn] "Good morning, doctor… doctor. Looks like you two are right on time today. I'm afraid there's been some trouble with the system, so you may have been deleted from the security database. If you follow me to the door I can get you inside, where you can straighten it all out."

DR. CROSS

"These network problems are starting to be a bit of a habit lately. I hope we don't have a system-wide crash today – Rosenberg would have a fit."

SECURITY GUARD #1

"Nah – according to the computer guys the crash already happened, half an hour ago. They've got almost everything back up though."

He heads off down the corridor. Cross and Green exchange a dubious look and follow.

SECURITY GUARD #1

"So I guess today is the big day, huh?"

DR. GREEN

"News travels fast."

SECURITY GUARD #1

"The big guy was pretty excited when he came in earlier. He was talking about the new guy, Dr. Freeman. I just hope everything goes well today."

DR. GREEN

"So do I. The sample we're testing today is by far the largest and purest we've retrieved so far – but as long as we're careful I don't expect any problems."

They cross a bridge and reach a security door, beyond which is a sterile white corridor reminiscent of a hospital. It is dimly lit, but periodically one can see large observation windows that reveal brightly-lit offices.

SECURITY GUARD #1

"All right – this should only take a second. [He punches them in] There you go – see you after the experiment."

They head into the dim corridor, and further into Anomalous Materials.

CUT TO:

INT – BLACK MESA - DORMITORY

CLOSE UP: A pair of feet clad in red Converse knockoffs jogs along the corridor. Their owner is clearly in a hurry.

CUT TO:

INT – BLACK MESA - TRAM

Barney sits idly in the tram car, playing a handheld game. The tram car behind his slows to a stop at another platform to pick up a passenger, a man in a lab coat and a familiar pair of red sneakers, with a messenger bag over one shoulder. Red Shoes hits the tram at a run, flashing an ID badge at the door, sidestepping inside as the doors open, and collapsing in relief in one of the seats. A few seconds later, his tram pulls away from the platform to follow Barney's.

CUT TO:

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS

Dr. Green and Dr. Cross head down the corridor towards a metal sliding door.

DR. GREEN

"Have you heard anything about this Freeman guy?"

DR. CROSS

"Just the basics – MIT grad, mainly interested in theoretical physics. [considers] Single. I *have* observed him in the Hazard Course though. He's shown considerable adaptability and improvisational skills under unexpected conditions, particularly during his run this morning."

DR. GREEN

[grins] "Is he cute?"

DR. CROSS

[mock-primly] "Since we are *not* in junior high, all I will say is that I've seen very few physicists who fill a Hazard suit quite like he does."

To the right of the door is a large observation window, through which can been seen a scientist, DR. WALTER BENNETT. He is older, bespectacled, and bald except for a fringe of silver hair around the base of his skull. He tends to put one in mind of Dr. Bunsen Honeydew.

DR. BENNETT

[As they reach the door] "Greetings! It looks as though your data was lost in the system failure this morning. Not to worry – I can re-register you at this station. Just step into the booth, one at a time, and I'll start the procedure."

He presses a button, and the booth door slides open. Dr. Cross steps in, and the booth scans her; inside the booth we see a pattern of light passing over her, apparently reading her biometrics.

COMPUTER VOICE

"Welcome… Gina… Cross."

INT – BLACK MESA – TRAM

Barney's tram slows to a stop at a station platform in front of a closed security door with a scanner. The platform is otherwise currently occupied by a vaguely unsettling man in a blue suit, wielding a briefcase.

ANNOUNCER

"Now arriving at Level 3 Security. Have a nice day."

The door slides open, and Barney steps out onto the platform, nodding an absent greeting to the man in the blue suit, who boards the tram but does not sit.

As the tram pulls away, Barney scans his ID badge at the reader, but gets a rejection beep.

BARNEY CALHOUN

"The hell?"

He tries again, with the same result. He frowns, and pounds on the metal door.

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Open up! The sensor is messed up again!"

SECURITY OFFICER #2, within

"We've been having problems all day. Let me try."

In the foreground, a tram passes, bearing Red Shoes. More on him later.

After another unsuccessful attempt…

SECURITY OFFICER #2, within

"I think I've just about…" [acceptance beep] "There we go!"

The door slides open, and Barney enters Level 3 Security.

INT – BLACK MESA – LEVEL 3 SECURITY

BARNEY CALHOUN

"They need to replace that piece of shit."

SECURITY OFFICER #2

"Seems like something new breaks down every day. I'm surprised this place hasn't been shut down."

BARNEY CALHOUN

[chuckles] "The director's too cheap anyway. The world will end before he upgrades anything around here."

SECURITY OFFICER #2

"You got a package this morning." [He hands over a small parcel wrapped in brown paper] "It's from Lauren."

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Excellent! I've been waiting for this."

He takes it and tucks it under his arm, then turns to head off.

SECURITY OFFICER #2

"I swear, Barney, I don't know why you don't just break down and marry that girl."

BARNEY CALHOUN

"I'm still young. I got all the time in the world. Besides, I'm not taking romance advice from a guy who's been divorced three times."

The security officer laughs.

SECURITY OFFICER #2

"You better get checked in before Wilson shits himself."

BARNEY CALHOUN

"All right. Catch you later."

Barney heads off.

INT – BLACK MESA – TRAM

The tram has stopped, several yards away from a spill of glowing green liquid that does not look at all safe for human consumption.

ANNOUNCER

"A reminder to all Black Mesa personnel: Regular radiation and biohazard screenings are a requirement of continued employment in the Black Mesa Research Facility. Missing a scheduled urinalysis or radiation check-up is grounds for immediate termination."

Its occupant, a goateed man in familiar red shoes, glances impatiently at his watch. He is aware that he is late. His ID badge reads DR. GORDON FREEMAN. He is a tidy, serious-looking man in his mid-twenties, wearing square, black-rimmed glasses, lab coat, and red-striped tie over a blue shirt. In accordance with Dr. Cross' earlier assessment, he does indeed appear to be in good shape, with a wiry build. There is, however, a small coffee stain on his lab coat, which looks as though he tried to clean it off, with limited success.

He becomes aware that he is being watched, and he glances over to his left, peering uneasily at the other tram car that has also been detained by the spill. It is occupied by the creepy man in the blue suit. We will call this man the G-MAN.

ANNOUNCER, cont'd

"If you feel you have been exposed to radioactive or other hazardous materials in the course of your duties, contact your radiation safety officer immediately. Work safe, work smart. Your future depends on it."

Gordon shifts uneasily and returns his attention to the front, as presently his tram begins moving forward again. The G-Man's tram remains where it is.

INT – BLACK MESA – LEVEL 3 SECURITY – LOBBY

WILSON, a security officer in his late thirties, mans the desk, which already bears evidence of a rotten morning ahead for everyone in his department. Barney approaches, and Wilson glances up.

WILSON

"Ah – just the man I was looking for."

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Jesus. You say that every morning."

WILSON

"This time I mean it. The computer guys were able to get the network back up, but stuff is still malfunctioning all over the place. Right now I need you to go help out the eggheads in Sector 6." [chuckles tiredly] "I hope you're ready for a long shift."

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Can't be any worse than last week."

WILSON

[clearly remembering whatever unpleasantries happened the previous week] "Eeesh."

Barney continues on to…

INT – BLACK MESA – LEVEL 3 SECURITY – LOCKER ROOM

Barney approaches a line of lockers with surnames printed on each and opens the one on the end marked CALHOUN. Inside the door there is a Polaroid of a pretty blonde woman – presumably Lauren – and below this, an adhesive note with BUY FLOWERS FOR LAUREN written in Sharpie.

Hanging inside the locker is an armored vest, which he grabs.

On the shelf we see a couple of books: "The Truth About Aliens" and "Government Conspiracies", on top of which is a helmet, likewise grabbed. He sets the parcel atop the stack of books while he gets equipped.

Once fully outfitted, Barney takes a penknife from his pocket and starts cutting the sting and tape holding the parcel closed. He strips off the brown paper, opens the box within, and reaches inside, emerging triumphantly with a plastic figurine about the size and shape of a large toad, representing a small purple alien creature with a single large red eye in the middle of its forehead. Barney grins with geekish delight as the looks over the figurine.

He sets the alien toad on top of the stack of books and shuts his locker.

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – CONTROL ROOM

Dr. Green and Dr. Cross have been checked in, and they enter a control room currently occupied by a middle-aged man in an electric wheelchair, DR. RICHARD KELLER. With a deft turn of the joystick, he turns to face them.

DR. KELLER

"Good morning, Dr. Green, Dr. Cross – punctual as always, I am happy to note. Unfortunately, they new guy appears to be running late. Personally, I don't know what Dr. Kleiner sees in that boy. I need the two of you to begin preparations so we can start as soon as he gets here."

Another door slides open to admit a younger scientist. This is DR. STANLEY ROSENBERG. He appears to be in his later thirties or early forties, and he has a thin beard, glasses, and a receding hairline. His hair is dark, but graying at the temples.

DR. ROSENBERG

"Dr. Keller."

DR. KELLER

"Ah, hello Dr. Rosenberg. We're sort of in the middle of briefing, so—"

DR. ROSENBERG

"I've been talking to Harold. He seems to be under the impression that you're planning to run my anti-mass spectrometer at greater than 90 percent. You realize that there *is* a reason for the safety buffer."

DR. KELLER

"Of course, I understand your concerns, Doctor, but our administrator wanted—"

DR. ROSENBERG

"The Administrator is a bureaucrat, not a scientist! I did not design this equipment to be run at such a high intensity."

DR. KELLER

"This is not your decision. Now, if you wish to stay and monitor the experiment, so be it. Otherwise, you can go back to your little labs in the train yard." [He turns back to the controls, effectively dismissing Dr. Rosenberg.] "Dr. Cross, if you would kindly retrieve the sample from storage? Dr. Green, I need you in the test chamber. We'll monitor the experiment from here."

Dr. Cross and Dr. Green head out through another door.

INT – BLACK MESA – TRAM

The tram containing Dr. Freeman pulls up to the platform outside Anomalous Materials. Barney is at the security door further in, with a toolbox at his feet, and heads for the dock, having equipped himself with a handgun in a shoulder holster.

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Morning, Gordo. Glad to see you decided to show up for work today."

Gordon smiles; these two are good friends.

GORDON FREEMAN

"Don't start, Barney. This morning has already been a series of migraines."

BARNEY CALHOUN

[unlocking the security dock] "Seriously, what's the worst that could have happened to you before nine in the morning?"

Gordon exits the tram, shifting his messenger bag on his shoulder. As they walk to the door leading to Anomalous Materials:

GORDON FREEMAN

"The power went out while I was in the Hazard Course. Just, FOOM – pitch black."

BARNEY CALHOUN

"That bites. What did you do?"

GORDON FREEMAN

[the answer is obvious to him] "I finished the course. Thought it was a new element that Dr. Cross had added."

BARNEY CALHOUN

[laughs] "Okay, it's official. You are completely unshakeable."

Gordon shrugs. Barney punches Gordon in at the security door. As Gordon goes to step through:

BARNEY CALHOUN

"I'd love to stay and chat, but something's busted further down the tram line. Catch me later – I'll buy you a beer."

Gordon waves and continues in to:

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – LOBBY

Gordon approaches the front desk, manned by a security guard whose name tag identifies him as TAFT, currently the target of a scientist's ire. Taft cranes his head to see who has just entered.

TAFT

"Morning, Dr. Freeman."

GORDON FREEMAN

"Good morning. Any messages?"

Taft winces; he has been dealing with this all morning.

TAFT

"Yeah, I had a bunch of messages for you, but we had a system crash about 20 minutes ago, and I'm still trying to find my files. Just one of those days, I guess."

GORDON FREEMAN

"At least it couldn't get any worse."

TAFT

"Tell me about it. They were having some problems down in the test chamber, too, but I think that's all straightened out. They told me to make sure you headed down there as soon as you got into your hazard suit."

GORDON FREEMAN

"All right. See you after the experiment."

TAFT

"Oh, and Dr. Freeman?" [Taft pulls a bleach pen from a desk drawer and offers it to Gordon.] "My wife swears by these. This'll get that coffee stain out. I know how Rosenberg can be."

Gordon glances dubiously at the stain on his lab coat, and then takes the bleach pen, apparently deciding that he has nothing to lose.

GORDON FREEMAN

"Okay. Thanks. I'll get it back to you later."

As he leaves:

SCIENTIST #1

"This is unacceptable! Where is the IT department through all this?"

TAFT

[beat] "Montana. Getting the server working."

OTS TAFT as he tries again to bring up the server. To the left of the terminal we see a few security monitors. On one we see a helmeted Dr. Cross pushing a cart bearing a large glowing orange crystal sample. On another we see Gordon heading down another hallway.

Move in on:

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – OFFICES

Gordon comes up on an office with a large window, through which he sees two people are having a heated argument. He pauses, recognizing both of them. One of them is the G-Man, while the other is DR. ELI VANCE, an African-American scientist in his late 30's or early 40's.

DR. VANCE

"This is not what this facility is designed for!"

G-Man's speech patterns are odd, as though he is being translated from a very complex foreign language on the fly.

G-MAN

"Your concerns have… been taken innnto… account. Nevertheless, the… experiment will proceed."

DR. VANCE

"You, of all people, should know the risks involved in this sort of experiment. I won't be a part of it."

G-MAN

"Mr. Vance, I am… afraid that you and your research facility… already are. Prepare for… unforeseen consequences." [the last word is pronounced with extended sibilants, becoming an almost sinister hiss]

G-man glances to the window, giving Gordon a pointed look: This is not your business. Then he adjusts his tie and leaves the office.

Now that we can get a better look at the mysterious G-Man, he looks even more unsettling than before – as though the soul of an intelligent reptile possessed an embalmed corpse in a funeral home, gave its hair a good combing and a dollop of pomade, and dressed the whole horrifying mess in a pale blue suit. His eyes are pale and soulless, and his skin has a decidedly unhealthy, yellowish pallor. He looks like he eats brains.

Dr. Vance comes out into the corridor shortly after the G-Man leaves; he looks a bit spooked. Gordon catches his eye.

GORDON FREEMAN

"Who was—?"

DR. VANCE

[lightly] "Morning, Gordon. Have you had breakfast?"

GORDON FREEMAN

"I got a bite before Hazard Training. What—"

DR. VANCE

"Come on, I'll buy you a soda."

He starts to usher Gordon down the hall.

GORDON FREEMAN

"Who was that guy?"

DR. VANCE

"Just a stuffed shirt from the government trying to throw his weight around. I wouldn't worry about him."

They head off.

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – STORAGE

Dr. Cross has wheeled the cart with its glowing cargo over to a cart elevator. Presently she pushes it inside.

She goes to a nearby panel and pushes a button. The elevator whirrs and churns, and starts rising with its cargo…

… only to grind to a halt halfway to the next floor.

Dr. Cross frowns and hits the button again. Discouraging grinding noises issue from inside the machinery.

DR. KELLER (H.E.V. radio)

"What's the problem?"

DR. CROSS

"The lift is stuck. It's stopped halfway."

DR. KELLER (H.E.V. radio)

[sighs] "You'll have to go to the test lab and find out what's wrong. Just leave the sample where it is. It's not going anywhere."

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – LOCKER ROOM

Gordon enters the locker room, draining the last dregs of what appears to be an energy drink rather than a soda. He pitches the empty can in a waste bin just inside the door. He makes his way down the row of lockers to the one marked FREEMAN.

He opens his locker and stows his messenger bag inside. On the shelf inside the locker we see two books, "The Orchid Eater" and "The 37th Mandala". Affixed inside the door is a small poster of Albert Einstein poking his tongue out at the camera; below this we see a wallet-sized photo of a toddler of indeterminate gender.

He pauses to dab at the coffee stain with the bleach pen, before shrugging off the lab coat and hanging it up in his locker to dry. He is decently built, but apparently not overly conscious of it.

He shuts the locker door and goes over to a series of pods at the far end of the locker room; each one contains a hazard suit with a Lambda embossed on the chest-plate, except for two empty pods at the end marked GREEN and CROSS. The suit marked FREEMAN is orange. In front of the pods is a series of large buttons.

A small smile crosses Gordon's face as he regards his hazard suit, and he hits the corresponding button. The pod slides open with a hiss.

SAME – A BIT LATER

HAZARD SUIT, v.o.

"Welcome to the H.E.V. Mark IV protective system for use in hazardous environment conditions."

Gordon has the Hazard suit on and is checking everything. A helmet sits on a nearby bench. The suit is almost skin-tight, but the arms, legs, chest, and back are covered in armored plates. The suit A.I.'s voiceover continues:

HAZARD SUIT, v.o., cont'd

"High-impact reactive armor activated. Atmospheric contaminant sensors activated. Automatic medical systems engaged. Defensive weapon selection system activated. Munition level monitoring activated. Communications interface online. Have a very safe day."

Satisfied, Gordon picks up the helmet, tucks it under his arm, and leaves the locker room, headed for the test lab.

INT – BLACK MESA – TEST CHAMBER – LOWER LEVEL

Dr. Green is at a control terminal, punching in commands. A monitor prints: "OVERRIDE SAFETY PROTOCOLS?"

Dr. Green hits the ENTER key.

As she continues typing, we see the capacity indicated on the screen increase from 80% to 105%.

INT – BLACK MESA – TEST LAB

Gordon reaches the test lab and is punched in by the guard using a retinal scanner. In the lab we see three scientists.

GORDON FREEMAN

"Hi. Sorry I'm late."

SCIENTIST #2

"There you are, Gordon. We just sent the sample down to the test chamber. We've also boosted the anti-mass spectrometer to 105%. It's a bit of a gamble, but we need the extra resolution."

SCIENTIST #3

"The administrator is very concerned that we get a conclusive analysis of today's sample. I gather they went to some length to get it. You might want to hurry up and get down to the test chamber before Dr. Keller has a litter of kittens."

Scientist #3 unlocks the door for Gordon, who heads in.

Gordon enters an elevator and heads down. Through a Plexiglas window in the elevator we get a panoramic view of the testing chamber Gordon plans to enter. It looks moderately hazardous and very impressive. A low-level core of energy writhes in the center of the chamber between two receptors.

The elevator reaches the bottom floor and Gordon exits and heads down a corridor towards the test chamber (as indicated by a glowing sign).

He is met at the door by two more scientists; one of these is Dr. Vance.

DR. VANCE

"I'm afraid we'll be deviating a bit from standard analysis procedures today, Gordon."

SCIENTIST #4

"Yes, but with good reason. This is a rare opportunity for us. This is the purest sample we've seen yet."

DR. VANCE

"And, potentially, the most unstable."

SCIENTIST #4

"Now, now, if you follow standard insertion procedure, everything will be fine."

DR. VANCE

"I don't know how you can say that--although I will admit that the possibility of a resonance cascade scenario is extremely unlikely."

GORDON FREEMAN

"…resonance cascade? I thought that was only a theoretical occurrence."

SCIENTIST #4

"Of course. We have every safety measure in place to prevent any resonance from the sample from magnifying into a cascade. The odds of it even happening are infinitesimal."

DR. VANCE

"Of course. We have complete confidence in you, Gordon. Are you ready?"

Gordon takes a deep breath, exhales, and dons his helmet, locking it in place.

GORDON FREEMAN

"Let's do this."

Dr. Vance operates the retinal scanner beside the door, and it hisses open. Gordon heads in.

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – TEST CHAMBER

A low thrum of power fills the chamber, emanating from a writhing green tendril of energy in the center of the device. It sounds like a swarm of radioactive bees. Gordon looks up at the heart of the device. Beyond this, we see an observation window near the high ceiling. Two silhouettes are visible within, recognizable as Dr. Rosenberg (standing) and Dr. Keller (seated, by default). One leans over and taps something on the control panel. The pound of someone tapping a microphone echoes through the test chamber.

DR. ROSENBERG (intercom)

[feedback] "Testing, testing. Everything seems to be in order. Dr. Cross, did you happen to find out what was wrong with the elevator?"

DR. CROSS (H.E.V. radio)

"Yes, sir. There was a crowbar stuck in some gears. I cleared it out and everything's working at this end."

DR. ROSENBERG (intercom)

"Excellent. Dr. Green, is everything working properly at your end?"

DR. GREEN (H.E.V. radio)

"All lights are green."

DR. KELLER (intercom)

"All right, Gordon. Your suit should keep you comfortable through all this. The specimen will be delivered to you in a few moments. If you would be so good as to climb up and start the rotors, we can bring the anti-mass spectrometer to 80 percent and hold it there until the carrier arrives."

Gordon climbs a ladder to a control panel and types in a series of commands, finishing by flipping up a mollyguard and pushing a red button. We see that there is a crowbar on the floor under the control panel, near a toolbox. Three emitters surrounding the main core activate and add their power to the mix.

DR. KELLER (intercom)

"Very good. We'll take it from here."

DR. ROSENBERG (intercom)

"Power to stage 1 emitters in 3, 2, 1."

There is an additional burst of power from the outside arrays. A few seconds pass."

DR. ROSENBERG, cont'd. (intercom)

"I'm seeing predictable phase arrays."

Gordon watches through his visor as the power core shifts from green to white.

DR. ROSENBERG (intercom)

"Stage 2 emitters activating...now."

Another burst of power from the outside arrays. The core shifts from white to brilliant purple.

DR. KELLER (intercom)

"Gordon, we cannot predict how long the system can operate at this level, nor how long the readings will take. Please, work as quickly as you can."

DR. ROSENBERG (intercom)

"Overhead capacitors to one oh five percent. Uh, it's probably not a problem, but I'm showing a small discrepancy in... well, no, it's well within acceptable bounds again. Sustaining sequence."

DR. KELLER (intercom)

"I've just been informed that the sample is ready, Gordon. It should be coming up to you any moment now. Look to the delivery system for your specimen."

INT – BLACK MESA – SECTOR G

Barney is looking a bit grouchy as he makes his way down a corridor. He has the toolbox hooked on his elbow as he wipes his hands with a greasy rag, with negligible mutual benefit. He passes a sign that reads, "Sector G- Main Access Lift".

BARNEY CALHOUN

[under breath] "God damn useless scientists with PhDs barely worth the paper they're printed on… Idiot turned off tram power and they thought it was broken… I swear, the elevator better not be something stupid or…" [He reaches an open elevator car containing two annoyed-looking scientists and switches from grouchy to cordial without missing a beat.] "Good morning! What seems to be the problem, doctors?"

SCIENTIST #5

"It's about time you got here, Calhoun! Where have you been?"

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Things are breaking down all over, Doc. Looks like the elevator isn't immune, either." [forced laugh]

SCIENTIST #6

"Do you think we would still be here if the elevator *was* working?"

There is tightly restrained homicide behind Barney's rictus smile.

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Let's see if we can get you on your way, then."

He enters the elevator car, sets the toolbox at his feet, and inspects the control panel.

Somebody has pulled out the red emergency stop knob. Barney snorts and pushes it back in. The elevator dings and the doors slide closed.

BARNEY CALHOUN

"There we go. What floor you headed to?"

SCIENTIST #6

"Third."

Barney pushes the "3" button and the elevator whirrs to life.

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – TEST CHAMBER

Gordon glances over to see the sample cart bearing the glowing orange crystal entering the test chamber on a motorized rail. The safety barriers retract into the floor, and Gordon walks over to the cart, wheeling it towards the core of the anti-mass spectrometer.

He pushes the sample into the core and—

--all hell breaks loose. Electricity starts arcing out of control all over the machine. Gordon backs away instinctively.

DR. KELLER (intercom)

"Oh dear…"

DR. ROSENBERG (intercom)

"Gordon, get away from the—"

DR. KELLER (intercom)

"Shutting down-no, attempted shutdown. It's not… it's not… it's not shutting down!"

The test chamber is rocked by a thunderous explosion. Gordon hears one of the female scientists scream in pain or surprise over his H.E.V. radio. He glances around for some escape, his mind in survival mode.

INT – BLACK MESA – SECTOR 6 – ELEVATOR

The elevator containing Barney and the two scientists shudders, the lights dimming.

BARNEY CALHOUN

"*That* doesn't sound good."

SCIENTIST #6

"It's probably Anomalous Materials, brewing a cup of coffee in the particle accelerator again."

The scientists chuckle. Barney doesn't join them. This doesn't feel right.

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – TEST CHAMBER

Gordon runs for the door, but is knocked off his feet by an explosion in the core. He lands—

EXT - XEN

—in front of a bizarre creature about the size of a large dog in an alien landscape. He hurriedly backpedals as it turns, registering his presence. He trips, stumbles—

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – TEST CHAMBER

—and lands on his backside in the test chamber, which is still shaking violently. He scrambles to his feet and again runs for the door, trying to escape—

EXT – XEN

—and once again his boots skitter and crunch on the unfamiliar terrain of the alien world. He hears a series of guttural syllables sent in his direction—

—and looks up to find himself facing down another alien creature, this one bipedal and nearly seven feet tall.

Gordon waves helplessly at it in an "I come in peace" gesture.

In response, the creature's brow furrows over its single huge red eye. It bares sharp teeth at him, and green electricity crackles menacingly at its fingertips.

GORDON FREEMAN

"Holy shit."

Just as the creature unleashes its attack—

INT – BLACK MESA – ANOMALOUS MATERIALS – TEST CHAMBER

—Gordon finds himself back in the test chamber, tumbling backwards.

He lands hard in the corner, hitting his head (fortunately protected by his helmet) on the metal valve of a fire suppression pipe. He falls limp, his glasses falling askew within the helmet.

HAZARD SUIT, v.o.

"Mild concussion detected. Vital signs stable."

As we survey the scene within the test chamber, we see that the number of silhouettes in the observation window has been reduced to one – a tall, thin man. In the flash of an electrical short, we catch a glimpse of his face, which is utterly deadpan despite the chaos around him.

It is the G-Man.

INT – BLACK MESA – SECTOR 6 – ELEVATOR

The elevator shudders to a halt, and the main lights go out, replaced by the emergency light.

There are a few moments of watchful silence from the three passengers.

BARNEY CALHOUN

"Well, that's not so—"

There is a metallic snap, and the elevator plunges into a freefall.


End of Part 1.