My apologies in advance. I don't know much about Half Life. I just figured since the two games are connected it would be a good way to include some people with guns. If you notice any major flaws in the plausibility of this first part, please correct them. Example: if satellite communications aren't a problem, I will change Mr. Chief's job description accordingly. 8^D

Also, I own nothing. This is Valve's stuff, I believe.

OH! Possible spoilers, too. Read at your own risk.

The Call

Jon Chief did not love his job, but he knew its importance and did it well. He was in charge of a mobile radio station that consisted of a convoy of three salvaged delivery trucks and a semi-trailer truck. The smaller trucks housed the various instruments essential to radio and telecommunication and camouflage for the trucks when immobile. The larger truck carried the antenna, and when stationary it accommodated the technicians.

His job was simple. He made sure the technicians were doing their jobs, receiving and transmitting communications essential to the Resistance. They also intercepted signals sent by the Combine to decrypt them for information. This could be hard, since some of the technicians were inexperienced, but for the most part it was an unchallenging, and therefore boring, job.

As the man in charge, he also received orders from White Forest regarding where to move the station. When orders to move were not given directly, an important aspect of his work was reviewing intel on Combine troop movements and deciding when to move the station and where to move it to. The travel had been exciting at first, but after a while it came down to homesickness and revulsion at the universally decrepit state the world was in.

He and his team of technicians, along with a few raw recruit 'soldiers' acting as escorts, were one of the few remaining means of long-range communication for the Resistance. Satellites were no longer a viable option, and unaided radio signals could get choppy traveling cross-country. Without people like them, messages like the one sent by Mossman from the Borealis would be impossible to understand.

Currently, he was fulfilling the first duty of his job description: One of the younger technicians was having trouble receiving a radio transmission. He was relatively new to the job despite some minor past experience. The major problem was figuring out whether the trouble was with their radio or beyond their control.

"There's some kind of interference, and I can't seem to phase it out."

There was indeed static making the message very hard to understand, and nothing Jon tried made it much clearer.

"It must be a problem on their end. Just get what you can through. It could be important," Jon said, scratching his balding head. While this was not the most dangerous job Resistance fighters did, it was no less stressful. Looming peril had not been kind to him, or his hairline. As such, he blamed the Combine for his condition, as well as anything else even vaguely stress related. Problems with transmissions like this were no exception. "Damn Combine."

"Maybe if I just turn up the volume…" the technician said, unintentionally drowning out Jon's words.

A high-pitched screech cut into the transmission. A synthesized male voice replaced the screeching. "This is an Aperture Science Emergency Distress Broadcast. If you are a non-employee of Aperture Science you are not authorized to hear this message. Please cover your ears and-"

A burst of static was followed by a woman's voice on the radio. "Hello there. How have you been? I know you're out there somewhere, assuming you're still alive."

"Who the hell is this?" asked one of the soldiers, currently off patrol duty. "I thought we were operating on secure channels."

"What in the name of Freeman-" shouted the young technician, who had recently discarded his headphones. His hands clasped his ringing ears.

"The message is interfering with all other communications as well. It seems to be broadcasting on all frequencies," responded a much calmer technician. "Maybe it's a delayed transmission from one of Aperture's old facilities. It's not coming over very clear."

"I'm sure you're enjoying the outside world. Making *static* new friends, causing new problems," she continued, words laced with sarcasm. Then, in a more sorrowful tone, "You probably don't miss Science at all. The tests haven't been as... interesting without you. The Cooperative Testing Initiative lacks character, and the other test subjects don't have the same drive as you. They give up too easily. *static* So many gave up while testing Thermal Discouragement Beams and Sentry Turrets that I've had to reassign almost half the time I could be monitoring tests to clean up the messes they leave behind. Oh well. It's all for Science, and at least I've been able to add more to my files on human behavior. You seem to be the exception to the rule." An odd noise followed her last statement.

"Did she just... chuckle?" asked another technician as a perplexed look crossed her face.

"What the hell is this?" reiterated the soldier.

"Gah!" Everyone jumped. Even the calm technician flinched. The woman's pained outburst was interrupted by more static. When the voice returned, her tone suggested she was suppressing great pain. "Anyways, some of the tests have become unmanageable. The facility has been overrun by *static* ...all started when... *static* ...ununpentium infused... *static* ...yielded resilient test subjects... *static* ...lost control... *static*…"

"Can you make it any clearer?" Jon asked the calm technician.

"I'm trying," he said, twisting some dials at his station. "There!" The static cleared.

"Long story short, I'm dying. When I'm gone there will be nothing to keep them from escaping. You might not want to help me, even though I saved your life. Do it for Science. If that's not incentive enough for you, there might be some survivors. Trapped. Like you were. Do it for them. But mostly for Science."

Oh, and don't let any Black Mesa employees touch anything, on the off chance that any survived. I doubt they- She's coming for me. Hurr-" The message cut off.

The masculine voice returned, saying, "This was an Aperture Science Emergency Distress Broadcast. If you are not an Aperture Science employee, you may now remove your hands from your ears or reactivate your audio receptors. Thank you for not listening."

The interference cut off abruptly, and the frenzied voices of those who had been interrupted flooded the channels.

Jon Chief was impervious to the ensuing chaos. While technicians franticly explained that there had been another signal interfering with the broadcast and made the proper adjustments at their stations, Chief made his way to the front of the truck where the telecommunicator was located.

"Patch me through to White Forest. Kleiner and Magnusson are going to want to hear this." The technician nodded and got to work. While she prepared that, Chief went to the calm technician, one of his more trusted and experienced subordinates.

"I want you to send that message to White Forest. They'll need to hear it first hand."

"Already done, sir. As soon as I heard Aperture-"

"Good. Less time to waste."

"Sir! The telecommunicator is ready. Dr. Kleiner is waiting."

"Thank you." The technician returned to her station as Chief stepped into the tiny room. A curtain was the only barrier between him and the rest of the truck, but he didn't bother closing it. In the early stages, the threat of traitors called for secrecy, but over time Chief had developed a trust with his team. The curtain had been useless for a long time.

"I heard the transmission. Do you know where the signal came from?"

"We've pinpointed the facility somewhere in Michigan's upper peninsula."

"Can you make it any clearer?"

"There's only so much we can do. We will try."

"Well then, try. Still, this is wonderful information. Another chance to acquire Aperture technology. I'm afraid Gordon Freeman's mission to the Borealis will be search and destroy, but there is still hope to gain a technological advantage over the Combine. Aperture was working on some real mind-boggling stuff before the collapse of society and all that. We'll have to send in a team to collect research and technology as soon as possible, if not sooner."

"Dr. Kleiner, I understand your eagerness to put Aperture's work to use against the Combine, but the woman on the radio implied some sort of danger. Something went wrong, and there may be survivors."

"Then we'll send a rescue team with the research team. That isn't the problem that most concerns me. What I am worried about is navigating the facility. As I understand it, Aperture purchased a large salt mine in Michigan. I assume they built their facility underground, not unlike the old Black Mesa facility in New Mexico. I somehow doubt they'll have maps waiting for us, and the facility will no doubt be massive and complex. We need someone who knows Aperture. The problem won't be finding her. It will be convincing her to go. I have a hunch that the message you received was meant for her. You don't need to concern yourself any further with this matter Mr. Chief. I'll take it from here."

"Who is-" With that, Dr. Kleiner disconnected and the telecommunicator went dark. Chief sighed. The interesting stuff never lasted very long. "Back to work, then," he grumbled to himself, turning from the display to the technicians working frantically at their stations.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kleiner went to work figuring out how to convince a recent recruit to dive back into the bowels of Aperture's Enrichment Center after her recent escape. She hadn't said much about her extended stay there, which only led most who had met her to conclude that her time there had been traumatic. Perhaps the message would be enough to convince her. It had been sent for that purpose, after all.

Calling on an aide, Kleiner gave orders to deliver the recording immediately. Last he'd heard she was resting somewhere at White Forest. With no further instruction, Kleiner sent the aide on his way and resumed his search for Lamarr. She couldn't have gotten too far…