To my Readers:

Please be relatively familiar with Combine Soldiers, Gordon Freeman, and Alyx Vance. If you are not, I've provided wiki links in my profile to these characters. Portal IS part of the Half-Life world and I plan to stick to my guns on that.

Expectations of Myself

1. My thoughts about a particular chapter will always be at the end, and you can learn a little about my thought process.

2. Characters will stay as true to form as I can allow. I.E.: Chell will remain 'mute.'

3. Updates. I don't write to please my readers, I write to please myself. When I am happy with something, I know my readers will be too. This means no update will be a rushed piece of dog poop and only a paragraph long just for a review. I've been around far too long (10+ years) and have learned this lesson the hard way.

4. I will apologize for nothing! HAHA!

That said… enjoy.

Chapter Quote: "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances…"

Prologue

"Ready or Not, Here She Comes"

'They' where walking the streets.

Their white shining metallic armour was in stark contrast to the dark decaying city that they patrolled, devoid of all human life.

Combine Soldiers.

The rain was just starting to come down from the dark and polluted skies. The air was thick with both the smell of rain and potent smog. The surrounding city, known as City-17 and once the strong hold to the Combine, was now in a state of decay and ash. It was war torn to say the least, not unlike something out of texts books depicting World War Two. The streets were littered with remains of both a once thriving civilization and a dying one.

The alien soldiers that now combed the tattered and cracked asphalt where on high alert. With the darkness and the rain it was hard enough to see. The perfect cover for their enemy. It didn't help matters that the rain was causing clouds of stream and smoke to roll across the streets and hide things from view. Tonight a special transmission was supposed to be received. It was to either reconquer earth, even after the resistance had horribly crippled their forces, or destroy the planet all together. Nothing could go wrong or their next mission was doomed to fail. Still, the immediate threat had changed. From fearing Gordon Freeman, the man who had showed up out of no where and virtually steamrolled the Combine, to a more silent and sophisticated killer. While Freeman was infamous for mass destruction, this one worked in a much more orderly and deadly fashion. It was silent, swift and made short order of every thing in its path. It was the killer that no one had ever seen and, to make it worse, it wasn't bias. Whatever this thing was, it killed both Combine and Resistance members alike to get what it wanted.

Within some of the tattered buildings of the city Resistance members were hiding, laying in wait, as it's top two team members were already on their way to infiltrate the decimated Combine Citadel. A once tall metal structure that had dwarfed even the tallest world tower, was now only half it's size and just a pile of scrap, but still, some of the technologies within had survived. That was the rumor anyway. The Black Mesa scientists had intercepted a radio transmission calling all forces to City-17 for special instructions. Now the Resistance was ready to infiltrate and get the transmission or destroy it before the Combine could get and act on it. They only hoped that they would not run into the 'Black Death,' the killer that treated all Combine and Resistance members alike.

As an Enemy.

If only there was a warning of their presence. If only…

All the while, the one clue that both sides wished they could see was soaring above their heads, hidden in the clouds, glowing golden eyes watching in knowing and in waiting.

Across the city in a cathedral left abandoned, the rain pounded against the stain glassed windows depicting pictures of the good book, and the god who had turned his eye away from humanity. Among the wooden pews that were cracking and breaking were scattered copies of the bible. The cold stone floors were lined with a deep red carpet that went all the way up to the aging altar. The marble arches, still grand with age, and their pillars, rose high to the vaulted ceilings where frescos depicting humanities fictional nonsense were slowly being worn away with time.

And yet; still the shadows of the souls that once walked these very floors, that once sat on those very pews and chanted to their god could still be heard in the echos of the church. Their songs unforgotten by the ears of that who was in their presence. A break in the storming clouds outside allowed moonlight to cascade through some of the windows and on to the single solitary soul within. They stood before the grand alter of wood, bronze and marble, both painted in gold and carved to depict the gateway to salvation. Within the center stood the life-sized carvings of the apostles, as well as Joseph and Mary, surrounding a large wooden carving of the Son on the cross.

The one being within the building was on her knees in prayer. She prayed under her breath, the words hardly forming as her lips barely uttered them. Her voice was as silent as the souls that now resided there. Her eyes remaining closed as she prayed for both her victims, those of the damned and the one that could never truly be saved. Herself.

Her body was draped with a black duster to keep the weather off, her dark hair tired back in a pony tail. She wore dark clothing from head to toe, nothing to identify her by, even her hands were gloved so as not to leave prints behind. Next to her feet, a full faced riding helmet. Her full identity would be concealed till her last breath. She was known by many things. The Reaper, The Black Death, A Shadow, A Monster, and a Whisper. She had heard many of the names to which she had been called by, but she only knew and answered by one. To give her name was to give up her soul and she had already signed that over to the Devil who made her into what she was now. Soulless.

'-Amen' came her whispered prayer's end and she opened her hard silver eyes to look up at the statues before her. No more wasting time, she picked up the helmet and slipped it on. She had a job to do. She stood there momentarily in the silence before turning sharply and walked out of the building. The large heavy oak doors echoed over the stone halls as they closed behind her.

Some time after, out in the streets, several Combine Overwatch Soldiers were patrolling together. So far they had not run into Resistance members. The rain was coming down in a finer haze that added to mist the rolled along the streets. As they continued, they halted when something came into their view. The shadow of a figure standing in the middle of the street, a long coat fluttering against their frame. The soldiers wasted no time and open fired. The figure fell almost instantly to the pavement and the soldiers ran over to investigate their kill. They were caught off guard to see one of their own, already dead, with a black duster draped over him. Their stares only lingered for a moment at this, but they were never able to communicate this new development, or rather, they didn't have time. The soldiers didn't even see it coming as they hit the pavement, their lives draining away swiftly from their new wounds, as the light to their red optics died out. The Black Death was making her move.

~0~0~0~0~

Both Gordon Freeman and his partner, Alyx Vance, were well into the crumbling Citadel. They had been the reason it was demolished in the first place, however it seemed that not all the technology had been destroyed. This was troublesome, especially if they could still receive messages from the Combine Overworld. The two partners were currently pinned down, trapped within their hiding spot as at least fifty or more overwatch soldiers paced the halls with their guns held out ready to fire.

"This must be important" Alyx muttered under her breath. Gordon nodded at her. "This isn't going to be easy."

It was true. There was going to be no quiet way to go about this which was honestly what they were wishing for, but then again, it never really had been either Gordon and Alyx's style. Quiet. Gathering up their courage and their weapons, all hell broke loose as the bullets, plasma and energy pellets began to fly. Unbeknownst to the feuding parties below, a figure was slipping past along the rafters and to the targeted destination.

"How thoughtful of them to provide us with a distraction" a cool femme voice said through the ear piece of the helmet the woman was wearing; the head protection also acting as a communication device. The woman was no longer in her duster but in a black leather jacket and black jeans with chaps. Strapped to her back was something the duster had kept hidden. A white and black gun-like device. The ASHPD. Looking up, the woman saw the glowing golden eyed black bird fly past her. It was in the form of a Hawk and to the ordinary eye it could blend in perfectly with the crows that took to the skies. It's movements and actions were flawless, but if one were to look at it more carefully they would soon realize that the black hawk was metallic, and it's eyes pupilless. Scanning the ground below it, it swerved and circled over a pit for a moment then dived down into it like a predator after it's pray. The woman in question ran along the iBeams towards the pit and, without so much as a second thought, swan dived down into it.

Had any of those fighting several stories above the duo's heads seen her do this they would have classified her as something non-human, (and really, the resistance and combine had already done that) but pulling stunts such as this; like dropping down elevator shafts, and lifts was nothing new to the two. Shifting to land on her feet, the landing on the lift was hard and loud but she never felt it thanks to her specialized footwear. Getting to her feet she looked to see her partner swoop down out of the shaft and down the hallway towards the control room. The two Combine guards nearby never stood a chance. She followed her feathered guide with unwavering faith to their destination. They ran into the room at the end of the hall and into the control room. The hawk landed on a large machine with a screen that was showing nothing more than static.

"This is it!" the same femme voice spoke again into the ear piece. "The control room and it still looks to be operational." The voice gave a dark chuckle that caused the woman to get goosebumps. "Not for long though. Look for a place to plug the device in, I can do the rest" it commanded. The human reached into her pocket and pulled out something similar to a memory stick and looked for a USB plug. She found it quickly and a small light on the device turned on. The human looked up at the bird who seemed to be observing the console when an explosion several floors above them jarred their thoughts. "Sounds like they've come to a resolution" the voice spoke dryly. They heard the sounds of the lift activating and going up.

The fight had indeed come to an end for a short time until back up would arrive. Gordon, finally giving up on bullets, decided that a bomb was a short quick fix to the solution and it was. This left them with a pile of rubble, many Combine corpses and Alyx questioning his sanity at detonating one at such close range to them. They had called up the lift, retracing their steps from the first time they were there. They wasted no time jumping onto it and getting down to the half way point where the control room was. Quickly they took off down the hall but came to a dead stop at what met them.

"Black Death…" Alyx muttered.

Yanking the device out of the computer, the figure turned to face them. The bird on the console swooped down and swiped the device from the woman and took off out of the room. Just then the voice that had been communicating with the mysterious figure came on over the speakers.

"Well, well, if it isn't the Black Mesa Morons. If I were you I'd get out of this place before it blows sky high in the next ten seconds. However, you don't have to take my advice if you don't want to. It's just good advice" and the voice cut out. The figure wasted no time sticking around and took off down the hallway with Alyx and Gordon close behind. They had just reached the lift when a hail of bullets came down from atop.

"The backup!" Alyx shouted, "We're going to have to fight!" Gordon was at the ready once more but the other person simply hit the lift button for it to go up.

"What are you doing?" Alyx yelled.

The mystery figure just turned to them gave them a casual salute as if to say 'enjoy your fight' and then jumped down the remainder of the shaft.

Alyx and Gordon looked at one another. The idea was simple, use the lift as a shield! But when they looked down there was no way they would be able to survive the drop. "Okay, I'm positive that thing's not human" Alyx muttered.

While outside the Citadel, all hell was erupting between the two sides. After Gordon and ALyx's less than quiet bombing attempt, it had alerted the others. Inside, the person found herself at the supply train station connected to the building, a place long abandoned and no longer functioning. The perfect place to hide the getaway vehicle, just as planned.

Sitting on it's kickstand, a white speed bike stood there but on the front was a red eye in which a red tracking laser shot out. The laser hit it's rider.

"Hello? Friend" it said in a small voice. "There you are."

Up above, Alyx and Gordon were sliding down the rails to the shaft. "I don't see a corpse below, there's no way that thing could survive a fall like this!" Alyx hissed. Gordon was shaking his head in disbelief. When they reached the bottom they saw nothing. The mysterious 'Black Death' was gone. The two looked at one another. Who was this person? More importantly, how did the two of them survive the encounter?

"Building self-destruction in fifteen seconds" a computerized voice spoke and began counting down. Alyx and Gordon ran for their lives. Apparently they hadn't survived the encounter just yet!

From outside both the Combine and Resistance members took cover as the Citadel lit up the city like a fourth of July fireworks extravaganza. Explosion after explosion caused the remainder of the building to collapse in a plume of fire and ash. Up in the sky, the golden eyed hawk swerved, the small device clutched tightly in its talons, before spotting a white speck speeding along the railway tracks. It was the woman and she was just escaping the explosion as a cloud of ash raced behind her, threatening to over take her. The hawk swooped down and matched the speed of the biker.

"Good work!" the voice in the rider's headset spoke up, "I was able to reroute the frequency and I'm receiving the Combine's message now. Return to base before you cause another disaster. You should be able to create a portal on the walls up ahead. Your exit is already waiting." The rider reached for the ASHPD she had strapped to her back and pulled it forward. As she sped down a tracks, she pulled a trigger in the chamber end of the gun and a blue spark shot out and hit the cement wall. It expanded creating a worm hole to another that was already open some distance away. She could see through it, a lush of trees and a dirt path. Suddenly she heard rocks hitting the back of her bike and she looked to see ash and rubble right on her tail. Flipping the portal gun to her back, she grabbed the handles of her bike and floored it through the portal with the black metallic hawk right behind her. The moment they were through it closed and the ash, dust and soot over took the tracks. They had just narrowly escaped.

Once on the other side she slowed the bike to a more casual speed as she hit a dirt path in the wooded area. Behind her several large panels of white with two metal automated portal strips faded into the distance. The woods thinned out slightly and dirt path quickly led to a paved road that wound its way through a mountainous area. The woman and bird continued along for a fair bit, at least fifteen minutes, until a warehouse could be seen in the distance. It looked old and worn down, but the faded wording across the top of it was still legible. It simply read 'Aperture.' As they approached, a security camera hanging just outside on a tree looked at the approaching rider. The large metal door started rolling up to allow them access then, once both were inside, it closed. The inside was nothing special. It was littered with scrap metal and some tool benches. She drove to the back of it and parked the bike. Two panels at the back moved to reveal an elevator. Getting off her bike she removed her helmet and shook her hair out. She casted her silver eyes up to the bird. It flew down and stopped before her. She held out her hand and it obediently dropped the device into it then holding out her arm it perched there, and scaled her arm to be up on her shoulder. She moved to the elevator, the doors closed and it began its decent into the underground. She leaned against the glass paneling, closed her eyes, and sighed. The metallic bird observed her with interest. What a day.

The ride was over soon enough as the lift drew closer to it's destination. She could see out the glass of the elevator as it entered a large chamber of black wall panels. Hanging from the ceiling within was the giant mechanical devil about the size of a jetliner. The very thing she had signed her soul over to. The Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System. Aperture's Killer Queen. GLaDOS.

The massive A.I. had her golden optic trained on the human as the elevator came to a complete stop. The doors opened and the bird flew over to her and perched in the upper workings of the computer. The eyes to the bird then grew dim as it shut down. The woman looked at the computer in a stoic manner. A mechanical arm came up from the middle of the floor beneath the A.I. and reached out towards the woman. The human in turn gave it both the portal device and the other she got from the bird. It then disappeared into the floor once more.

"Welcome back… Chell" came her cool femme voice as GLaDOS finally acknowledged her presence.

To Be Cont.

Author's thoughts: Well there is your opening. I wanted to share something different with the community. Something much more darker but still believable. I wanted to keep the half life world as a part of it, that was a big thing. I also whated to share just the scope of the type work Chell is now undertaking. I really wanted to leave the reader asking and wondering why Chell is doing this. Why is she working for her enemy? Why has she become such an unbias killer? What's her drive? What's the reason? As I said I needed a believable reason. With that in mind I was reminded of how much Chell and Amon (from witch hunter robin) are similar in goals, actions, emotions and how they react to those around them. Within this context I had finally found my reason for Chell's actions. While no man is unbreakable they can be very stubborn. Chell is not invincible, just stubborn. When the reason does eventually come to light, I hope you will all agree with me that it was a good one.