Hey guys, just in case you're wondering, Illya is mine. He's not a real Vort in the HL universe, although that would be cool.

"We are located 23 miles from City 17." Illya replied, trudging through the unkempt grass.

"Where in the bloody hell is City 17?" Wheatley said. Didn't humans name there cities? Like Seattle and Sacramento? He didn't know they gave them generic names like that. It did make things easier, though. At least he thought so, anyways.

"Each of Earth's major cities are turned into capitals for the Combine. What is left of City 17 is unknown by name; I did not reside here when it was not called City 17."

"Ah." He said, understanding but still a bit confused. "Wait a minute, what do you mean, "what is left of City 17?"

"The Freeman has stopped Earths Administrator, Dr. Breen, from escaping to Xen. In the process he destroyed the dark fusion reactor." Before Wheatley could ask, he went on. "The Citadel is where the Combine forces are kept as well as Dr. Breen. In layman terms, one could say that it was a factory, shipping and receiving soldiers for battle against the Resistance."

Wheatley asked for the entire story instead of having it explained to him in bits and pieces.

"Black Mesa was delivered a sample of Xen's crystal from an unknown source, and Dr Breen, as of then, was the head of Black Mesa, willed them to test it in their Anti-Mass Spectrometer. The device works by scanning a sample with oscillating electromagnetic fields and beams of high-energy plasma, agitating the exotic matt-"

"Look, I appreciate the explanation of what the Anti-Mass thingy does, but I really would just like the bare bones of the story."

" You are right. When certain objects resonate too much, it can open dimensional rifts and portals. The crystal, highly unstable, resonated enough to tear a rift between Xen and Earth, allowing us to escape from the Combine."

"Because you guys were enslaved by them, right?" He said, looking up at Illya for approval.

"You are not entirely correct. We have endured these chafing bonds for eons by Nihilanth, and when the Combine arrived at Xen, we fled to Earth for safety."

"So Nihilanth enslaved you, not the Combine?"


"Okay, go on."

"The Freeman had put the crystal in the Anti-Mass Spectrometer and escaped from the chamber. The Eli Vance had sent The Freeman to the surface to get help, and The Freeman went through the entire facility, fighting many of us Xen creatures and military along the way.."

"Wait, hold on a minute, their military? I mean, I understand him attacking you guys, I mean no offense but you were trying to kill him and all, but why the military? Aren't they supposed to help the humans?"

"They were sent to cover up the mess, killing anyone that knew about the project and cleaning up the mess they had made."

"Ah, okay, I suppose that makes a bit of sense. Wouldn't want the world to panic that an alien apocalypse is happening, right?"

"Alas,The small inter-dimensional rift causes Portal Storms to rage across Earth, bringing large amounts of Xen wildlife to the planet."

"...Okay let's just go back to this, um, Freeman guy. So he was going through the facility, correct?"

"Yes. Encountering a team of scientists, The Freeman was told he could fire a rocket into the portal to prevent anymore of us from coming through."

"I'm guessing it didn't work, did it, because I mean, you're certainly still here."

"For one so ignorant, you seem to grasp concepts rather quickly. Yes, you are correct once again. The rocket launched a satellite though to be able to close the Portal, but Nihilanth, our leader, kept the portal open, and The Freeman portaled to Xen. While our own lay scattered at his feet, he severed the vortal cord that bound the Nihilanth to life, and to us."

"OOH! So he freed you guys when he killed the Nihilanth guy?" Wheatley said, livid with the fact he understood.

"The Freeman indeed freed us. His song we sing and shall sing for eternity. No matter the consequences of this struggle."

"...Riiight. Okay so, even though he closed the big super Portal, the Xen monster thingys kept coming to Earth?"

"As I have mentioned before, smaller portals had opened on Earth due to the Super Portal. The Freeman only closed the Super Portal."

"Wait a minute, you said that he teleported into Xen, right? So if he killed Nihilanth, which he did, that closed the portal, didn't it?"

"Yes, The Freeman sealed off the gateway from Xen to Earth."

"So if he closed the portal, how the bloody hell did he get back to Earth?"

Illya stopped walking and looked down at him. Curious as to why he stopped, he met his gaze. The two of them stared for what felt like minutes (which he knew was only seconds) before Illya spoke.

"It is not of my knowledge. Only the Freeman and Him know."

"Him?" Wheatley asked as the started moving again. (Wow they had traveled far, he hadn't

been paying attention to his surroundings.)

Illya either had not heard or was ignoring him; he wasn't sure. It was probably a touchy subject, he presumed.

"Okay, so the smaller portals are still open and those Xen thingy's are there. Then what?" he asked, trying to break the awkward silence between them.

"Earth governments set up protection centers across the planet as they tried to deal with us Xenians."

"Didn't work out too well, did it?"

"It was a futile effort. The continuing portal storms and dimensional fluctuations attracted the attention of the Combine, who mount a full scale attack on Earth. In turn, what was formerly known as the United Nations declared war on the Combine. In a mere seven hours the Combine completely overwhelmed Earth's military forces and smashed all opposition, giving it the name of The Seven Hour's War."

"Seven hours? I though humans fought for years! Decades, even!"

"They were not prepared for such a massive force of overwhelming size."

"Bloody hell.." Wheatley whispered, looking down at the ground. He wasn't sure he could even begin to grasp the concept of the size of the Combine. He wasn't sure if he even wanted to.

"The Wallace Breen negotiated a surrender at the expense of humanity's freedom, and is appointed as Earth administrator, but is simply a puppet for the true ruler-The Advisors. Shortly afterward, the Eli Vance established the Resistance and recruited us Vortigaunts to join forces to over throw the Combine."

"I'm guessing the Combine still haven't been overthrown, am I right?"

"We have struck a mortal blow to the Combine not a day ago."

"Really?" Wheatley asked incredulously. He wished he could have seen it, it must have been a tremendous achievement. "Okay, but before you tell me, fill me in until now."

"For the next 20 years the Resistance grew, as well as Combine control over Earth. The Freeman came to City 17 little more than 12 days ago out of nowhere. Along with The Alyx Vance, The Barney Calhoun, and the Resistance, he managed to prevent The Dr. Breen from escaping to the Combine OverWorld and destroyed the Citadel in the process. The destruction of the City 17 Citadel has also caused the other Citadels across the planet to shut down. "

"Soooooo...that's it? I'm all up-to-date with world events?"

"Not quite. The Alyx Vance and The Freeman were at the Citadel's base when it was to explode. In order to buy more time for themselves and more citizens to escape, they went into the Citadel's core to delay its inevitable meltdown, ultimately saving many lives. In the process, The Alyx Vance finds that the are working to open another superportal to call for reinforcements. They sacrifice the Citadel itself, using all of its energy, to send the transmission.

"Ooh, that's not good, not good at all. Please tell me they stop them."

"Unfortunately, no. But The Alyx Vance and The Freeman have stolen a copy of the transmission packet containing the location of the Combine OverWorld and allows the creation of the superportal to be controlled from the other side."

"So we can hunt them down and murder them all, right?" Wheatley said, looking at Illya expectantly.

"...Did I not say before the Combine span in many parallel universes? Earth alone could never managed to put an end to them."

"But this Freeman guy went through an entire research facility with aliens and monsters, and managed to take down this Citadel thing."

"Earth's population has dwindled over the past two decades from Suppression Fields, making repopulation impossible until now. We would not have enough forces or weapons to take them on ourselves. The Freeman had help; and if Earth were to destroy the Combine Empire, Earth would need help also. But you do prove a valuable point."

Wheatley silently contemplated this as they continued walking through a forest (when had they gotten there?)

"So...that's it? What's going on now?"

"The Freeman and The Alyx Vance are proceeding to White Forest Base to close the Super Portal to stop the Combine from getting reinforcements. I have not heard any more news, since I have been away fetching you."

"How long did it take you to rescue me? I mean, I was out for 18 hours, who knows what's happened since!"

"The Citadel exploded not too long ago. You can see it from here."

Illya released Wheatley from his third arm and firmly grasped him in his other two and turned around, lifting him above his head to see.

Silence filled the air as he stared at the-well, what used to be the Citadel. A monstrous blue spiral portal lit up the sky before him, he didn't even notice the bloody thing. Probably because he was facing in the wrong direction, but still.

"We are located far enough away that the initial blast cannot touch us, but will be close. Our camp has been taking the evacuated refugees from City 17 to White Forest. The Alyx Vance and The Freeman saved many lives with their bravery."

"So where are they now?" Wheatley asked as Illya set him back in his claw and continued forward.

"I have just attended to the Alyx Vance. She suffered mortal wounds, dying quickly, and The Freeman and my kin traveled to the ancient mine which held the Antlion extract to save her. I helped stabilize The Alyx Vance as they stole the extract. In order to resurrect The Alyx Vance, The Freeman participated in our healing ritual wherein his life is "weaved" with hers in a pact . "

"Ooh, he must love her if he goes through all that. I mean, why else would he do all that? Other people would have just taken the information thingy and ran like hell. They seem like a good couple from what you've told me. Wait, so when he weaved his life with hers are they kinda married now? ."

Illya smirked and was silent for a few moments before speaking.

"In a sense, yes. It depends on how the individual looks upon it."

Wheatley contemplated that for a few moments, letting his eyes wander around from the surrounding landscape before noticing a different shape from the trees around them.

"Oi, what's that over there?" he asked, moving his optic to the shape.

Illya looked to his right and made a sound of acknowledgment as he approached it. Studying it closer, he saw a crudely made sign with a spray painted image on it in yellow, a circle with a weird symbol in the middle.

"Aaaah, The Resistance have been through here."

"Really? Where are they? I don't see them." Wheatley said, looking around.

"Their presence is marked with the Lambda symbol."

"Is that what that thing is?" he asked, shining his flashlight onto the sign.

"Yes. It symbol that The Freeman bears on his hazardous environment suit."

"What's it mean?"

"There are many meanings behind the Lambda symbol, but in The Freeman's case it indicates the radioactivy decay constant in nuclear physics and radioactivity. This constant is very simply related to the half-life radioactive material."

"Right. Half-Life. Got it." he answered. He'd have to remember that for later. If he even needed it.

Illya proceeded forward and reached for the handle and pushed the door open, sounding with a loud creak in response. Wheatley shone his flashlight inside the little shack (he presumed), and there really wasn't too many thing in there. A window with a simple tool bench under it, a few boxes labeled "SUPPLIES" and then another window to their right.

"We shall stop here to rest." Illya said as he set Wheatley down on the tool bench, right in the square of light so he could look out the window, the perfect view of the Super Portal.

He checked his internal clock to see how much time had passed. At that moment it was 10 AM, but it confused him. The sun was supposed to be out at this time, wasn't it? And if it was, why was it dark? (Besides the light from the Super Portal.)

"Illya," he began, watching as the Vortigaunt sat down on the dirt floor. "Why is it so dark here if it's 10 AM? Isn't that when the suns out?"

"It was, not too long ago. The weather has been off and on lately, changing from cloudy to sunny to fog and mist. It may have something to do with the Super Portal or the smoke from City 17, depending on which way the wind is blowing."

"Aah, that explains a lot." He said, trailing off at the end, his focus now on the Super Portal.

Illya sat as still as a rock, and Wheatley wondered if he was okay. Maybe he was sleeping? He wasn't too sure. From the urgency in his voice, he had decided he was a pretty valuable piece of equipment. He hoped Illya didn't take long. He really wanted to see Chell.

Once again, he set his sleepmode on, and as he faded out into darkness, he heard Illya chanting to himself...

"Churr galing chur alla gung..."

Something was moving.

He opened his eye slowly, his system trying to catch up as it started back from sleepmode, his hardware whirring in motion. He figured it was Illya, telling him it was time to go.

"Chur lung gong chella gurr...

But it wasn't him. He was still chanting on the floor. He could hear little noises, tiny squeaks, in a repetitive call. But then something gave a high pitched, sharp shrieky squeal and landed on top of him, and all he could see was one long, spidery leg.

Looking up, all he saw was a massive hole with sharp, bloody teeth. He screamed.


Illya instantly jumped up from the floor and a weird, green electricity came from his claws before arcing towards the alien thing on top of him. With a loud crackle of lightning the thing flew back and smashed into the window,dead. Yellow liquid was everywhere, dripping from the limp alien.

"W-what was that thing?" he asked, having rolled on his side from the impact. Illya picked him up to face the thing, and Wheatley responded with a small "eugh."

"That is a Headcrab, the weakest Xen creature left on Earth. It must have mistaken you for someones head."

"What exactly does it do? Eat your brains? That'd be nasty."

"The Headcrab takes control of the host's nervous system and causes physical alterations to the host's body. The host then rips open its own torso for feeding purposes. You will be unlucky enough to see some when we head out in a moment; I must finish conversing with my kin."

"What? How can you do that if they're god knows where?" Wheatley asked incredulously. Wasn't he just talking to himself in some sort of weird language?

"Us Vortigaunts can communicate with one another telepathically. We speak with flux shifting; our native language is what humans call 'Vortigese.'"

"That's really cool. Kind of how like I can communicate to different people using radio frequencies?"

"Almost exactly. You are learning well in such a short time span. Now, please excuse me whilst I finish."

Wheatley watched with an intense interest as Illya sat on the ground, stock still and silent. Really, it was amazing to see such a creature who could do so many strange things; firing lightning from its two claws, communicating telepathically, having a third arm, really, he couldn't wait to see what Illya could do next. Wheatley waited patiently until Illya was finished.


AN: Thanks for all the reviews guys! I'd just like you guys to know that I'm always working on this, I write the story everyday. I think I know where I'm going from here. And also, I lied, I was pretty sure the camp would be in this part then I figured "Eh, it's too early. Let this chapter explain the Half-Life universe for those who don't know it, like many say they do (I slaved 4 days for you guys!) Getting all the details right is very hard and boring to say, in the least. Also, this is located in the portalkink prompt, page 13 and I update it everyday bit by bit, so if you like reading short snippets but constant, the link is on my profile.