This story follows the journey of one Adrian Shephard, protagonist of the Opposing Force expansion as he now has to deal with a girl who has more personal issues than Black Mesa had safety issues. Just let that sink in…
Corporal Adrian Shephard finally struck the killing blow on the towering, withering green monster in front of him. The purple orb in the creature began to cackle and pulsate wildly sending cracks of light up the screaming creature. The creature began lashing out with its tentacle's, one of which knocked a pillar that was alongside Shephard. With a slow, deep rumble it began to topple down on top of him.
Through cracked lenses in his mask Shephard's eyes betrayed no fear, only a calmness that came from a man who had accepted his fate. He had no delusions that this place would become anything other than his tomb. The nuclear bomb guaranteed that. Why had he even come this far when it was so hopeless?
Maybe he just didn't like the idea of going quietly.
Now however his struggles would soon be over. He was tired. He closed his eyes, regretful he was unable to save his new friends. Just one of his many failures.
But the impact never came.
The roaring of the creature was gone. In its place were the sounds of a V-22 Osprey, chugging away melodiously.
He opened his eyes; he was sitting in the same seat in the V-22 when he arrived, the mountains of the New Mexico desert swiftly going by outside. He was unarmed and without his friends.
And standing before him, smiling like a condescending teacher, the G-man, his briefcase by his side. He opened his mouth and a deep slithering voice oozed out.
"Ssso, Corporal Shephard, we meet at last. Please, don't think that I've been… avoiding you, a great many matters require my attention in these… troubled times." He smiled falsely. "I do hope you understand." He took a sudden, choked breath, sounding like he had just swallowed something unpleasant. "And… now I require a further indulgence, on your part. I cannot close my report until every loose end has been tied up."
That was something Shephard understood quickly. Loose ends… like those the military had been slaughtering. His fellow soldiers, turned into heartless, mindless killers, something which disgusted Shephard to no end.
"The biggest embarrassment has been… Black Mesa Facility, but I think that's finally taken care of, itself."
He spoke in a disjointed, unfamiliar manner. But his words were all so well pronounced, it wasn't like he was foreign. It was like he had the dictionary, but none of the grammar.
A gradual flash of white light blinded Shephard, the distant rumble of an explosion still managing to make his ears ring from this distance. His eyes widened as he realized exactly what that was.
The G-Man smiled.
Shephard couldn't find the will to speak. They were all gone. Everyone he had met, everyone he had saved and spared and seen… all of them, burnt to nothing.
With another blinding flash and the sound of a teleportation, the Osprey suddenly found itself surrounded by green sky. The occasional small, floating island drifted past. But Shephard wasn't interested in that. He was only concerned with the murdering scum in front of him.
As hard as he tried to stand up, however, he couldn't. It was as though his body simply didn't want to function. He couldn't even clench a fist or wriggle his toes. All he could do was move his head and even that seemed to take the greatest of efforts.
Either the G-Man didn't know or didn't care about his predicament, because he simply continued on. "But there is still the lingering matter of… witnesses. I admit I have a fascination with those who adapt and survive against all odds…" He smiled. "They rather remind me of myself."
The way he smiled, it was like he knew that Shephard would want to kill him for the comment. This bastard was fully aware of Shephard's immobility.
The scene behind him changed again, this time however there was just nothing, an endless black expanse with the occasional streak of light, like a star whizzing past.
"If for no other reason, I have argued to preserve you, for a time. While I believe a civil servant like yourself understands the importance of… discretion, my employers are not quite so trusting, and, rather than continually subject you to the irresistible human temptation of telling all, we've decided to…" He paused to swallowed loudly, "…convey you somewhere you can do no possible harm… and where no harm can come to you."
The door to the cockpit slid open, revealing a pulsating green portal inside. The G-Man nodded to Shephard with the slightest tip of his head, and moved towards the portal. He stopped and turned halfway, looking to Shephard.
"I'm sure you can imagine there are worse… alternatives."
With the barest of smiles, he turned, straightened his tie, and walked into the portal.
And with a flash, he was gone.
Shephard stared after him, waiting for the portal to close or for the door to slide shut. Or for his arms to suddenly gain the ability to move. But… nothing. Just nothing.
That was it then. He had survived aliens, Black Mesa, agents sent by his own government to silence everyone… all of it so he could be left here to float in nothingness for eternity. His breathing disappearing into the endless void beyond.
Shephard closed his eyes, his voice barely audible even in the deafening silence around him.
"Nothing… it was all for nothing…"
Mercifully, darkness overcame him before his thoughts could drive him insane.
Subject: Adrian Shephard. Age 22
Status: Detained. Further evaluation pending
The blackness surrounded him, consumed him.
"Corporal Shephard, awake at last."
Shephard slowly opened his eyes. He looked around and saw he was still in the osprey. And more importantly he could actually move now. Good. He fully intended to use his regained ability to plant two hands around this bastard's neck.
"It seems my… Employers have come around and found a use for you." he continued unfazed by Shephard's intents.
Probably due to the strange energy field separating him from the marine.
"I suspected you were… displeased the last time we had a heart to heart." He smirked. "I'm pleased to see you still have your usual drive."
Shephard stood up, but chose to hold his tongue. He had no intention of giving him the privilege of hearing him speak. Looking at himself he noticed most of his weapons were gone. Only his wrench and knife remained.
"I would like to apologize for the removal of most of your weapons, but considering the nature of this assignment, if you choose to accept, it was felt they would be excessive. However I believe the power vest and mask are rightfully yours."
"While I'm sure you still understand discretion about... certain matters" he said while his hand very fainty gestued to himself" we have found a place where you can do no possible harm with your knowledge."
He tilted his head forward as if the next information was particularly secret." I... must tell you even with that..." he paused as if looking for the word that would suffice "precaution. My Employers are still... deliberating." He said while rasing a hand towards Shephard.
"Only the potentional this assignment offers has... enticed them. Do not give them reason to think otherwise." It was strange the way he said that last part. it He could have sworn it bordered on pleading and commanding.
"Of course the choice is ultimately yours to make." Somehow Shephard doubted that.
"I belive the door should be..."
A green glow emerged behind Shephard, turning he saw a large green smooth oval in the doorway to the cockpit. It was different than the other portals he had witnessed, it wasn't chaotically swirling with energy. Just floating there. Almost inviting really.
"Ah right on time." The G-man mused.
"Just step into the portal and I will take that as a yes. If you wish to decline well…" he swallowed loudly, as if the next choice was particularly unpleasant to him.
"I can offer you a battle you have no hope of surviving. It would be a shame for this new… chapter in your life to be cut short. And i think many parties would be disappointed in your choice." He said.
"Time to choose."
Had Shephard been in a talking mood he would not have been able to tell that prick in the suit to fuck off fast enough. All the people who were still alive in Black Mesa, everyone he thought he saved… all dead due to the smirking piece of shit behind the energy field. Hell He prevented Shephard escaping in the first place. Now he just expected Shephard to work for him?
He mentally sighed.
But what else could he do? He could reject the offer, but he had no doubts the G-man would follow up on the 'battle you have no hope of surviving'. So that was it then? He survived Black Mesa, just to become a goddammed pawn? No. Slave. He was willing to accept death before because he honestly thought there was no way out.
He clenched his fists.
There was only one way out of here alive, and both present knew it. Go into 'employment', or die on this bastard's terms.
What else could he do? Nothing really. If he had to guess this 'choice' was probably just a formality of some sort.
But this wasn't over he told himself. He had no intention of letting the smug snake get his way forever. One way or another he was going to find a way free himself.
Making his choice he finally stepped into the portal, whiteness beginning to take him.
"Wisely done. Oh and Corporal… Mind the explosion."
Explosion!? That lying sack of-
Whiteness was still in Shephard's eyes even as he reached for his knife, his body instantly getting ready for combat. His vest thankfully absorbed the worst of the explosion. He looked around but saw the whiteness was replaced with smoke preventing him from seeing anything beyond the front of his knife.
His body tensed as a wind blew away the smoke and revealed…
He wasn't sure what he was expecting but he knew it wasn't a group of teenagers dressed in robes in front of him. His eyes went over them, searching for any kinds of threats but he found none. From the kids at least, the creatures surrounding them were another thing. Most looked threatening, some looked stupid but Shephard knew better than to discount them because of that. Headcrabs proved that better than anything.
He shifted his head to the left and saw a balding man with glasses who could very well could pass for a scientist from Black Mesa. He actually seemed somewhat shocked to see him, almost as if he saw a ghost. He appeared to get over it shortly.
Nothing happened for the first five seconds, only Shephard's breathing in the mask breaking the silence.
After five seconds however the entire group erupted into laughter, pointing and laughing at him.
He honestly had no idea how he missed the small pink haired girl in front of him who was looking at him with a look of terror and disbelief. She looked wobbly in the knees, tears beginning to form in her eyes.
Someone from the crowd spoke above the rest in a foreign language, though it didn't take a translation to figure out it was mocking in nature. It also didn't take a translation to figure out that pinky was definitely not amused by it.
Adrian didn't know what to make of this. This was his job? Going back to school?
…Bit Horrifying actually.
At this point he lowered his knife, but didn't sheath it, the creatures gathered here looked like they were under the kids control and as long as he didn't do anything he hoped they wouldn't either. He knew he couldnt take them all on and hope to win with just his wrench and knife.
The older man turned to the pink haired girl and a conversation began, and though he still couldn't understand the language he gathered they were talking about him if the constant gestures were any indication.
Pinky at this point looked livid. With a set jaw and slightly red eyes she marched over. When she got close however she stopped and pinched her nose, her face scrunching up indicating that she must have smelled something pretty rancid.
In other words him. Ten hours of accumulating blood, both alien and human, and being force to take a swim in raw sewage had probably taken a toll on his hygiene. If the girl's face was anything to go by he was lucky he didn't kill the grass around him.
Regaining her composure, though still with her nose pinched, she said more words in her language again. Shephard realized he hadn't said anything to make the language barrier noticeable to them yet. Time to change that.
"I can't understand you."
The pinkette's eyes widened and another round of laughter came from the crowd. The girl in front of him whipped around and yelled something at a redhead from the crowd. He could sympathize. It was starting to grate his nerves too. She turned back to him and made a motion for him to remove his mask.
It was the only thing preventing the stink of various filth from affecting him as well, but at the same time the inside of his mask had not fared much better. The inside was coated with numerous specks of blood he had occasionally coughed up during battle. He figured he really couldn't be worse off. Taking it off he felt the warm rays of the sun hit his face in a long time, eyes hurting slightly due to the polarization of his lenses gone.
He took in a breath of fresh unfiltered air, damn if being so close to death doesn't make you appreciate the small stuff. The girl in front of him however was oblivious to his elation and pointed to his head and then to the ground indicating she wanted him to kneel.
Knife still by his side he slowly made his way down, much to the girls annoyance. After being transported to an alien planet, having to fight through alien creatures from another dimension, and gaining the interest of an interdimensional bureaucrat Shephard wondered if anything could truly surprise him anymore. He got his answer when she put her stick to his head muttered a few words and promptly kissed him.
Yes. He could say with absolute certainty that he did not see this coming.
He could feel her fingernails slightly digging into his face, her soft lips tembeling against his. She was trying real hard not to breathe, something which Shephard could hardly blame her for. As nice as it was to breathe in air without it being filtered it also made the smell of raw sewage pretty damn potent.
She pulled away a second later, looking redder than one of those electricity shooting aliens' eyes, though whether it was from embarrassment or her holding her breath he couldn't say. Instantly afterword a sharp hot pain exploded in his left hand. Quickly slipping off his glove he saw with a slight horror as symbols began etching themselves onto his flesh. He had to admit, he didn't see that coming either.
"What the fuck is this?"
"That" the girl replied now speaking English, haughtiness evident in her voice "is the mark that proves you're my familiar. I am now your Master."
Through it all in a place just in the corner of everyone's eye a certain presence was watching with great interest. It watched as the runes marked Shephard. On this day long held suspicions were confirmed.
After relaying the information it had received new orders.
Subject: Louise Vallière. Age 16
Status: Under Evaluation.
Not much to say right now. I love Familiar of Zero and I love Half Life and I always wondered why no one bothered to combine (hah!) them and thus this fic is born. So let me know what you think, constructive criticism is favored here. And Enjoy!
Edit: Made some minor changes in G-man's dialouge.
And no im not dead. Just working out some minor kinks and details in the story. hopefully the next chapter will be up by late January or early February.