"Please, help her..." He whispered so faintly that none of the rebels could really make out the words.

"We have to get to the HEV suit as fast as possible!" Commanded a strong male voice. "He won't make it anymore!"

It was hard to remain conscious, but just to be sure that SHE is SAFE. Give her the damn suit! One breath after another, he tried to open his eyes. It was becoming harder and harder. Somewhere deep, a glimpse of no-hope showed up. It lit up for a second and faded away...

"Where did this bitch hide it?! Is it even fixed?"

"Yeah, Clarke was supposed to fix it. He also promised to move it to the evacuation point ... But he may be as well dead by now..."

Everything went blurry in his mind, like a temporary high, no sounds, just white noise. So he couldn't hear if Alyx is safe. Where was she?

"How can a ridiculous, orange suit, from twenty years ago help him?! I'm surprised he IS still alive! Freakin weirdo!" Commented some woman as he experienced feeling of being lifted.

"He's not that heavy... Thanks god! We have to abandon this building ASAP."

"Please, shut up Berta. You have a living legend in the flesh here!"

"More like a living murder- maniac junkie..." The tone was pretty irreverent.

"C'mon ladies! Cover me! Off we go!" The commander of this small squad seemed unmoved by anything that had been said.

"I still think he's hot..." Interjected another female voice.

He almost smiled... He missed those times. When world was more dating friendly. And less murderous.

***

"Ah!" A powerful breath, almost exhausting.

Eyes wide open, he raised his body in total panic!

...adminstered. Finished the soft suit voice.

"Calm down Freeman." Thick accent girl put her palm on his shoulder. "You aR betteR now." His hearing was much better too. Amazing accent!

Gordon turned his head and saw that her palm had the middle finger wrapped in a bandage.

"Oh... It's you." He mumbled. "I... I'm so sorry for your finger." He suddenly remembered what this sneaky doctor creature had told him. This girl was holding his hand... Did she pretended to be Alyx? He wiped sweat off his forhead.
That would be a little... odd?

He calmed down his breath and sent her another shy look.

She just smiled so innocently. A beautiful girl, he thought. She looked very Slavic.

"It's ok FReeman. It's not bRoken. YouR pain was much, much woRse."

He was in some other building than before. If any of these ruined buildings with cracked walls and scattered wallpapers could really make any difference... Only thickness of walls counted.
There was a bunch of rebels crouching quietly, meditating close to the walls, their raw figures drawn in the twilight. All in positions ready to fight. None of them really paid attention to him. He looked around and then heard slightly muted noises coimng from the outside. He glimpsed at a small window at the top of one wall. Maybe it was close to dusk? The light let him see Sarah so clear.
Nah... These must had been spotlights that were still working.
Nothing new to listen, mostly shots, screams of people and Combine attacked by rebels or, what he was always happy with, zombies.

"What's-" He started with his voice raised.

"You may notice that youR suit is on." Explained Sarah.

"Wha.. Oh!" He looked down on his chest. Obviously, this is why he felt so much better. No pains bringing him close to agony.

He streteched his arms and fingers. Black gloves fitted perfectly, and all the other parts. The one good thing about this whole situation was that he absolutely had NO chance to put on weight. He never told anyone, but he was pretty chubby in some part of his childhood. And HEV felt like a second skin, more like a part of his own body!

He opened his mouth again.

"Alyx should be safe, but she's not here. Fled with bigger squad to nort-east base. They managed to make it before the first dropship. And people are coming just right now to help us too!" Answered Sarah.

"And how they-"

"Alice is gone, at least that we know." Sarah rolled her eyes.
He kinda got used to her pronunciation.

That was a brief meeting with Alyx... He though.

"How long-"

"Just about fifteen minutes. You've been unconscious for fifteen minutes."

"Damn!" It felt like ages!

He sprang onto his feet, searching for any gear he could use. Then the world spinned.

"Whoa..." Said the squad commander quickly, holding him. "You're not going there. Suit keeps you alive man! We're going to stay here until the slaughter is over!"

Then all of the rebels turned silently to Gordon, but more as to a potential threat, not a saviour. He could barely see their eyes, just flashes of whites in the dark.

"I have to..." He slowly sat down, drifting calmly on another gentle morphine high. "Give me a gun!"

***

"Freeman! You..." Shouted commander after a man abruptly running out of a small building at a far corner of the main battlefield."Cover this bastard!" Another order was bearly hearable.

Gordon was running like crazy, not the first and hopefully last time.

He clunched his fingers on a shotgun he jerked off out of surprised rebel's arms. Once the guy noticed his deadly look, he let go the gun. Gordon moved a machine gun closer to his side. Everything done in a speedrun.
Fighting figures blinking on his left. As always he had his heart terrified of bullets flying here and there, luckily none directed at him...

There was a small chance that doctor Alice Smith was still present around here. He should have asked this question at first. Damn prettty girls always mess up his head!

Alice HAD to collect some of her treasure.

He blinked while sweeping the area with his eyes. There was no doubt, more zombies killing the Combine than actual rebels still alive. And of course, some ZOMBINES. He barely ignored infected soldier exploding in a flash, taking with himself a few Combine pals. One scared headcrab rushed to find a shelter on a dead gas mask.

Fucking zombines...

Yeah, Alyx had a great talent for very bad jokes.

"That makes you kinda weird, woman!" He whispered to himself just while climbing a small wall.
How come no one tried to kill him yet?

"Shit!" A piece of a wall sprinkled out an inch from his head. Gordon panicked and found a crack to lock his foot in. Pushed off and flew above the barrier ... and lost his machine gun.

Hard ground landing made him hiss again.

"Minor fracture detected."

This corner was covered in the dark. He cursed his awkwardness and sped up, to reach not so distant, broken tower drawn like an abstract sculpture on the navy blue sky.

This is where she should still be. Or at least the rest of the buried treasure. What did they REALLY hide there?

Gordon stopped in the last moment, before almost running into a Combine patrol. He squatted behind some ruined, chest high wall. Shotgun was ready. He loved shotguns, they always got him double kill, a dead zombie body and a dead headcrab. Headshot miracle!

There was no one here except them. This was a wasteland area, radioactive, with no protection areas whatosoever. no point to attack. So she might had been here still. Dead or even alive. Soldiers seemed unusually calm.

A blast! He squeezed his lips not to make a noise of despair. A huge, huge blast torn apart the twilight far behind him. Combine servants became quiet as well.

Gordon froze for a second with his shotgun ready and eyes closed. Trying to calculate their position. They always moved like programmed robots. More or less predictable patterns... This had to be quick.
Got up! Gaze on the left gas mask. BAM! Right mask! BAM!

One of them seemed to say "Fr..." Just before his head exploded.

Piece of cake. Gordon didn't even wipe blooddy pieces off his face. He grabbed Combine machine gun in a rush and moved on.

***

Doctor Alice didn't look so much teriffied when a headless body fell thtough a glassless window. The body made a deaf thump like an annoucement. A few seconds after, two Combines grumbled helplessly in a chamber next to hers. She unlocked her gun, thinking that maybe she should have had twice as much protection. No, unless Freeman was dead, protection had no sense anyways. Dumbass soldiers could not find him sooner! So he had his revenge!

She should have killed him when they brought him. Defensless, in shattered suit! But some rebels were already suspicious then!

Alice stepped back away from the main source of light and grabbed two bags. She put them on her shoulder, quite heavy. then she quickly pushed a button on a small, dark and strange device. She left it on a table.
With eyes glancing around everywhere Alice tried to be as quiet as possible. Just three minutes... She NEEDS to hold three minutes.

A breath. He appeared out of the dark, with a badass Com,bine machine gun, aimed at her.
she froze in terror, because his eyes were cold. This man was nothing like before. Alice didn't drop her pistol though. He didn't want to kill her yet. she hoped for that.

"Drop the gun." He said emotionlessly."Now!"

Alice stood there motionless. He could not see her face, but the gun was visible enough. This time, a real sunrise was coming. Summer time delivers it fast.

"so we meet again... Two doctors serving opposite forces." She chewed every word slowly, staring at him with grey eyes.

Gordon got this vibe before, as if she knew MORE than everyone he ever met. A notion of doubt went through his face. Only because of this secret she was still alive. Or at least not hurt. Not yet!

"Drop the fucking gun!" He shouted angrily and raised the badass cannon." He decided to make it quick. "I'm gonna shoot you if you won't! I don't care THAT much!" His voice sounded like of a broken man.

She opened her lips slightly and gun slipped out her palm. She raised her arms slowly, but not too high.

"you won't know the truth, even if you torture me." She started explaining while he approached. He came so close, al,ost like a lover, very dangerous lover. And much too young for her...

"What's in there? What was that in that ship? answer!"

Barrel of the gun was pushing her stomach. She regretted again not killing him, when he was almost dead anyway!

Alice looked down, his face was too well visible. With all the shadows spilled across his face, he looked twenty years older.

"they're coming here now. A whole squad. Can you fight twenty soldiers again?"

His heavy breath became weaker. He seemd to be loosing temper. He took away her bags, as if he stopped carrying if she attaxcks him. She stayed stiff, staring at his face, satisfied that she didn;t reveal the secret.

Gordon stepped back into the dark while putting precious bags on his arm.

"I'm not gonna kill you, not just like that!"He was angry but very tired. "I'm just an accidental hero, a pawn in a war I don't understand...You can't kill the king by killing a pawn..."

That was not wht she wanted to hear. Something broke inside of her too.
She shooked her head. This story again. A lost, confused young man! Treated cruerly by the fate! But she knew! She knew the truth! The man with a briefcase was very sincere!

"Better run! These bags contain something precious for you! But don't show this to anyone... He probably already knows..." She turned around to get down on her knees. Hand on the head. Ready for further cooperation with Combine.
Her voice echoed in his ears accompained by much too familiar grunts of soldier's radio transmissions.

He started running the same way he arrived here. A few second after he killed two of the guys, a thud in his back stunned him for good. Again.

"Minor fracture-"

"Shyyyesh?!"

"What?"

"Shyyeesh chluviekoo?"

"Mhmm... Yes, I'm..." He could move his head was trying to explode..." I'm okay..." Nothing new...

"Okay, okay." Said happily the stranger and kept on nodding his head to emphasize his body language. "to ty jestesh ten legendarny Gordon Freeman?" He mumbled encouraging.

"Mhh... Yes, it's me! Gordon..." He looked around, not sure where he was. Apparently these were ruins of radioactive ruins he visited at night. that would explained why the guy was wearing a mini version of a gas mask. And some kind of protective suit. "I'm sorry, I can barely make out what you're saying. Spanish? French?"

"No, no French!" Apparently happy man shook his head with dissaproval. "Polski!"

"Polish... Hmmm... Dziekuyee" That was the only one word he could remmeber. Before they take him and take off the suit.

his new freind kept on staring at him with pericingly joyful psycho eyes. Very nicely... Gordon started thinking how to tell him that he can't stand up. He could not feel any pain. He could not feel his back at all.