I am a writer and concept artist that is good with fantasy and even better with science fiction. I am trying to assemble a team for a Half Life 2 mod named Dark Skies, that closely follows the ideas and concepts of the Air Exchange storyline.
G-man: Rise and shine, Gordon Freeman.
The G-man’s face appears before Gordon.
G-man: I do believe I’ve kept you waiting long enough.
Behind him is a view of a big city surrounded by grassy hills, a river leading into a lake and a small forest. The sky is blue with a bright sun, several clouds and some birds flying overhead.
G-man: Ten years, Mr. Freeman. It won’t seem that way to you, of course. But ten years is a long time.
The image behind the G-man changes to something darker. Much of the grass is dead with crashed jets scattered and wrecked in the hills, Combine ships flying in the sky. The city is ruined and smoking, a massive tower rising above the carnage.
G-man: Long enough for humanity to swallow its pride and begin to accept its common fate. Long enough for your fellow man to develop callouses against the master’s collar.
Another image flashes before Gordon: a shadow of a man being beaten by a Metrocop.
G-man: Long enough for the first scars of whiplash to begin to heal. Long enough to forget how things used to be.
The destruction disappears for a second; briefly being replaced with the beautiful landscape of its past.
G-man: But you won’t have forgotten, Mr. Freeman. You still remember how the air used to taste.
Now the image is from a rooftop, looking toward the sky. The sun is tinted red and the sky a hazy green as a dark cloud of smog approaches in the distance.
G-man: You remember how freedom felt. You remember… the sky.
The whole image changes this time. G-man and the smoggy sky disappear, only to be replaced by a man’s face.
Train Ride: During the train ride, Gordon will be able to walk around the train and see various posters of the Consul. He will also get to look out the windows and see even more of the devastation brought by the Resonance Cascade and the Combine. There will be several citizens aboard the train ride, but Samuel will be the only person who interacts with Gordon.
Samuel: Hey, buddy...
Gordon sits up. He’s on a bench in an old, messy train car.
Samuel (with concern): Mister, you can’t ride around like that. Where’s your mask? Take one step outside without it, you’ll be coughing up bloody foam. It can kill you that fast. Here, look, I’ve got a spare. Can’t be too careful. I had one fail on me once, and I’ve carried an extra ever since. Took some real damage that time.
Samuel’s Gasmask Failure: Samuel will have a slightly raspy voice to indicate some of the damage done from the noxious fumes of the Air Exchange.
Noxious Fumes: The smog of the AirEx is extremely lethal and will liquefy a person’s eyes, nostrils and internal organs very quickly. For this reason, citizens are always wearing gasmasks when outside or in unfiltered buildings. Throughout the game, Gordon can find the bodies of people who have given up and removed their masks (or had it torn off by someone/thing. Xenotheric species, for unknown reasons, are unaffected by the toxins in the air.
Samuel: I hope I don’t get in trouble for this, but you need it more than I do. Come on... won’t be long before we arrive. Put this on.
Samuel tosses a gasmask to Gordon, who puts it on. He then puts another on himself and sits across from Gordon. Now Gordon (the player) can walk around as Samuel continues to talk.
Samuel: Name’s Samuel, by the way. Samuel G-11789RF, if you want to be formal. Came through here, saw you laid out like that on the bench. I thought you’d already bought it. Don’t know how they’d let you on the train with without a mask anyway. You must have been working in a dome, right? Out in the Waste? We were wondering why they’d stop the express out in the middle of nowhere like that – never seen that before.
Out the windows Gordon can see a ravaged landscape covered in rocks, ash and dead, twisted trees. The sky is a dark, murky green and has a wispy look to it. In the distance, aliens can be seen roaming around and picking fights with each other. As Gordon watches the scenery, the train progresses into a slightly more urbanized area; the foundations of buildings becoming more and more common in the desolate landscape. Not far away, but still blurry from the smog, is another railroad. A Gargantua can be seen standing on it, facing an oncoming Razor Train. As the two collide, the Gargantua is ripped in two by the powerful Combine train. Shortly after this, a wild Skitch leaps at the train Gordon is on. The window cracks and the creature climbs just above it, reaching down and clawing viscously at the glass. Then something causes the car to shake. Several empty suitcases fall from the storage compartment and open as they hit the ground.
Samuel: Are you from City 17 originally? I got my Notice a couple days ago: Shift to 17. Same old game. Shuffle the population, keep ‘em confused. Spent my last trimester in 49. I’ve never been in the same zone more than six months.
In the distance, Gordon can see a few large tripedal shapes moving about. Several Combine ships fly past the train, toward the city.
Samuel: 17’s supposed to be nice enough. I hear the Consul’s been stationed there for the time being. Might even get a look at him in person. Some people still hate him, but I say… how can you hold it against him? It was strike a deal or lose everything, right? We owe him big time, the way I see it. I’d sure like to see him in person. Hey…there it is. Seventeen.
The ruins outside have become increasingly urban by this point. Some buildings still stand (at least partially) but look heavily damaged and ready to collapse. In the direction the train is heading, Gordon can see the dark shapes of City 17 growing larger by the minute.
Samuel: I’ve gotta say… it looks a lot like 49. And 40 before that. They all look pretty much alike from this distance. Only when you get into them can you start to get an idea of how the place looked before… you know. Just before.
Eventually the surroundings of the train start to turn into a Scrapland; piles of debris and miscellaneous junk. Here and there, aliens can be seen burrowing in the piles or wade through the pools of toxic sludge between them. Soon the train passes through four layers of fence. Each one glows blue with electricity. The outer fence has charred alien corpses and skeletons stuck to it. A panther eye can be seen leaping onto the fence; an explosion of lightning frying it almost instantly. As the train passes through, a pack of chargers chase it through the opening. Then several Autoguns point their lasers on the aliens and open fire. The powerful blasts rip them apart and ignite their guts and limbs as they fly through the air. And then the train’s in a dark tunnel. When it emerges, Gordon sees the old city for the first time up close. The buildings are old and in various stages of disrepair. Cremators sulk around, torching dead people and aliens alike. In one place, Gordon can see the Metropolice beating several citizens with their batons. Further in, a civilian runs from an alley way, shortly followed by two elite Metrocops. They open fire and the civilian drops dead. Then the train’s passing an apartment building. Through one of the windows is a family huddled around a TV with the Consul’s face on it. Soon Gordon can also see rebels lined up at a firing squad. The Synth Soldiers behind them fire their weapons; sending the men and women to the ground with bloody holes in their heads. The train progresses deeper into the city and passes under the Stenographer’s Chasm. As it comes into a train station on the edge of the New City, its breaks engage and pull it to a screeching halt.
Train PA: Now arriving: City 17
Ch.1 – Rude Awakening
The Train Station: This area is open and has more trains than the Train Station currently in HL2. The floor is to be shinny like this Img1.wikia.nocookie.net but with traces of ash that has been swept up (as will all of the New City). This location will also be dark and gloomy like the concept above. The Station’s ceiling will be high with a few cracked and dirty window panes.
As the doors open, the other passengers rise and file out. Gordon follows and upon exiting the train is met by several things: a scanner taking his picture, Cremators torching dead Headcrabs and a human corpse, masked civilians shuffling off other trains and being bullied by Metrocops. Gordon can also hear a prerecorded welcome message from the Consul, but there are no screens to show his face.
Consul: You have chosen, or been chosen, to relocate to the world’s finest remaining urban center. Here you will find the luxuries of freedom and safety, and more importantly, your duties. So welcome… welcome to City 17.
Gordon takes a left and heads to the front of the station. Here he sees enslaved Vortigaunts sweeping through a fence to his right. To his left, he sees a Metrocop shove a citizen into a stack of suit cases, telling him to pick up the mess. Past that, more civilians are lined up as two Metrocops and a camera check the CID’s (Civilian Identification) on the red bands located on their right sleeve. Gordon gets in line and passes this small checkpoint into a short hallway with an orange forcefield in the center. Passing through it, there is an open plaza.
Smog Shield: These force fields aren’t like the others encountered in the game. Instead of blocking objects, they only block the fumes from the AirEx in order to keep certain areas safe for humans. The field is only visible close to its emitter as it quickly fades out of sight near the center.
Here, civilians stand and sit at the tables without wearing their masks, as this area has filtered air. Gordon goes to the far side of the plaza where he works through a short maze of fences. After this, he comes to a second, larger checkpoint, leading to two razor trains. Here, Gordon gets blocked off by Metrocops as a door opens and another Metrocop emerges.
Metrocop: You, come with me.
Then he turns and walks to the end of a long, dark hall. Gordon follows to where the Metrocop knocks on a door. Another cop opens it up from within, exchanges a few words with the one escorting Gordon, and then stands aside.
Metrocop: Get in.
As he enters the room, the second Metrocop steps outside and Gordon’s escort comes in and shuts the door behind him. He then walks over to a Combine computer.
Metrocop: I’m gonna need me some privacy for this.
Then he takes off his mask and turns to face Gordon.
Barney: Now about that beer I owe you. It’s me Gordon; Barney, from Black Mesa. Hey, sorry for the scare. I had to put on a show for the cameras. I’ve been working under cover with Civil Protection. I can’t take too long or they’ll get suspicious. I’m way behind on my beating quota. Anyway, we gotta get you to Dr. Kleiner. Meet me by the apartments just past the Arcade. Cutting through the industrial sector will get you there fastest. You’ll have to find your own…
Barney is interrupted by rapid knocking on the door.
Barney: Aw man! That’s what I was afraid of.
Running past the computer, Barney opens a door and stands aside.
Barney: Get in here Gordon, before you blow my cover. Pile up some stuff to get through that window. Oh and stay away from checkpoints.
Razor Trains: These alien trains carry troops, Stalkers and crates of weapons, ammo and other, unknown cargo. These trains will look like this Img3.wikia.nocookie.net
Entering the room, Gordon climbs a latter then has to stack some boxes to reach the window. Once through, he lands on another box which breaks from his weight. To his right is a door that leads to a series of hallways. Through here, he comes to a narrow alley. Going a few yards to the left, Gordon then turns to his right and follows the alley to a road. Now he is in the Industrial Sector of City 17.
The Industrial Sector: This area is to have a grittier and more industrial feel than the rest of the city. The floor is dirtier and the variously sized buildings are covered in pipes and smoking chimneys. The Industrial Sector spans part of both the New and Old City. In this area, a lot of citizens are wearing aprons and rubber suits. At this point in the game, Gordon passes through a small portion of the Old City part of the Industrial Sector. The Old City is made of worn out, modern day American buildings and is much dirtier than the New City.
In the middle of the street, Gordon sees a Cremator standing over two scorched bodies. Through a window behind it, he can glimpse a stalker limping by. Taking a left, Gordon follows the street to the Cremator factories, where he sees children assembling Cremator heads. At the entrance, a woman holds her child’s as a Metrocop yanks him a way.
Citizen 1: No! My boy! He’s too…
The Metrocop punches the woman in the face, and then continues to beat her with his baton. Meanwhile, the kid is screaming and crying as another Metrocop drags him into the factory. Then Gordon turns right, passes a tall building that has been largely invaded by combine tech, and takes another right into a parking lot littered with a few old, rusted cars. Also in the parking lot is Bradley with three Conscripts and two Worm Soldiers standing around it. This is also where Gordon can see the Citadel; a dark, looming silhouette, towering far over the city with massive search lights glaring downward. At this point he can’t make out much detail due to the thick smog between him and the Citadel. In the far left corner of the parking lot is the back entrance to the Stenographer’s Chasm.
Crossing the parking lot, Gordon enters the building and takes some stairs to his right into the chasm. Here he walks along the edge of the chasm as citizens work suspended above a passing train.
The Stenographer’s Chasm: Here citizens work to type up the Consul’s speeches as they listen to them with headphones. Its appearance should be similar to this, only with a dim green light coming through the skylights. The Chasm crosses above the railroads leading to the train station. Img3.wikia.nocookie.net
Once across the chasm, Gordon comes to a door and a staircase which leads him to an old storage room. Taking a right, he heads out of the storage room, into an alley and through the front of an abandon diner. Gordon passes through several abandon buildings before he arrives on a street of the New City. Here he can see several Vorti-cells and some citizens standing around with Metrocops not far away. Following the street to the left, Gordon comes to a barricade and takes a right. Now he comes to a fork in the road with a large machine suspended by two buildings and covered in yellow-orange TV screens showing the Consul’s stern face.
Consul: Freedom is a powerful motive; one that can not only build upon a species, but tear it down with either too much, or the simple inability to handle it. When it comes to Human-Kind, the latter is the case. This is why the Combine has set so many restraints. Mankind is incapable of dealing with freedom without tearing its self apart. Our Benefactors work to subdue this fault by restraining various aspects of our lives. But as you know, Combine Urban Centers each contain entertainment and relaxation centers. You may wonder why they would provide us with such luxuries when they are supposed to be restraining us. The answer is simple: a small amount of freedom can give one a taste of what they must achieve. The day that the Human Race proves it can handle freedom in safe manner, these restraints will be removed. But first, you have a duty.
Taking the left road, Gordon follows it to a barricade, then turns to the right and follows the road to the Arcade.
Entertainment and Living Sector: Like the train station and the rest of the New City, this area has glossy, futuristic feel to it. The architecture of the New City is comprised of both futuristic human designs, as well as abstract Combine designs.
The Manhack Arcade: The Arcade is a big building with Holographic screens and strange Combine machinery. Here citizens play what they think is a game, but are really controlling Manhacks. Here you cans see screens and posters encouraging the use of the Arcade. The Manhack Arcade’s appearance should be similar to these Concepts:
Entering the building, he makes his way through the front lobby, down a hall and into the arcade. Here he can see citizens unknowingly controlling Manhacks (Gordon doesn’t even know what a Manhack is at this time). Many of the stations have several citizens lined up, waiting for their turn. As Gordon takes a left, he passes a grumpy looking citizen who speaks to him in a whisper.
Citizen 2: Here to play the game? Don’t. There’s something not right about this place.
Gordon continues to the left end of the Arcade, where Barney waits for him with his Civil Protection mask on.
Barney: You, citizen. Follow me.
He then turns, opens a door with Combine lock on it, and steps outside. Once Gordon is through the door, Barney closes it behind him.
Barney: Manhacks are small flying drones used by Civil Protection. They bump into people with their razor sharp propellers… and the people in the Arcade are controlling those things without knowing it.
Barney says this as he walks down the alley. Before turning left, he speaks again.
Barney: This way. The doc isn’t much farther.
Reaching the end of the alley, Gordon and Barney arrive at block with several apartment buildings. As two Metrocops pass by, Barney motions (impatiently) for Gordon to move faster by stopping, facing him, and pointing to an apartment on the far side of the block with his stun baton.
Barney: Get moving!
Gordon makes for the apartment, with Barney right behind him. Inside, several maskless citizens sit on old, worn out furniture and watch as Barney takes lead and brings Gordon through the back door of the building.
Barney takes him through several alley ways before coming to a door. Through the door is a set of stairs leading downward. Once inside, Barney takes off his mask, climbs down the stairs and heads for a vending machine on the left side of the room.
Barney: Here, let me buy you a drink.
After pressing several buttons, he steps back as the door swings open to reveal a secret room inside.
Ch.2 – Special Delivery
Kleiner’s Lab: This small laboratory consists of a tiled floor, computers, several tanks of mysterious orange liquids and pipes and cables running along the walls. There is also a portal located in this lab, which Gordon will attempt to take to Kraken Base. All the windows here are dirty and boarded up to keep the Combine from seeing what goes on within. This is also where Gordon receives his HEV suit.
Barney enters the lab behind Gordon.
Barney: Hey doc! Dr. Kleiner! Look who’s here.
Kleiner: What is it this time, Barney? Another fugitive? You can’t keep dragging in every stray…
Kleiner looks up from his work and sees Gordon standing near Barney.
Kleiner: My God!
Barney (with a chuckle): I thought that would get your attention.
Kleiner: Gordon Freeman! Is it really… after all these years. But why on Earth would you bring him here! If they follow him, all my work could be ruined!
Barney: It’s okay Doc, relax. We haven’t set any alarms off, so I think we’re safe… though we should keep moving.
Dr. Kleiner: Well, if you say so. But I really think this is most unwise. It could jeopardize not only Gordon’s mission, but years of my research!
Barney: Don’t mind him Gordon. We’ve all been a bit on edge.
Kleiner: I… I do apologize, Gordon. Of course I am delighted to see you… absolutely delighted. You look a bit pale, but nothing like… my God Barney! They’ll be scouring the city! Are you sure it’s worth the risk?
Barney: Just get him in his suit and I can get him off to Eli’s.
Barney walks toward a large metal door.
Kleiner: Eli’s? But Dr. Mossman has been waiting for him.
Barney: Oh and how’s that supposed to work?
Kleiner: I’ll have to call her right away. I’m sure she’ll think of something. I must say, it is unfortunate they haven’t found a way to deliver directly to Kraken Base. It’s extremely secure.
Barney: Eli’s place is a hell of a lot closer, but I’m not taking Gordon out in his civvies.
Barney walks toward a metal garage-like door. Kleiner motions toward a soda machine.
Kleiner: I expect you’ll be pleased to see this. I can’t vouch for the carbonation, but still there’s a choice of diet or regular.
Barney: Knock it off Doc.
Kleiner: I just thought he might be a bit parched is all.
Barney: Here we go. Hurry up and put this on.
Barney presses a button on the HEV case. When it’s open, Gordon puts the suit on.
The HEV Suit: Gordon’s HEV suit will be based on one of the old concepts of Gordon from HL2.
In Dark Skies, it will come with a helmet which will be incorporated in the player’s HUD in order to make it more immersive.
Kleiner: Well I see it fits like a glove… at least, the glove parts do. I have made a few adjustments, but it should still be the suit you remember. Let’s familiarize you with the basic functions, and then you’ll be on your way.
Kleiner makes his way into a room next to Gordon.
Kleiner: Now over here you have a collection of charging mechanisms. We have enabled the HEV suit to draw power from a variety of common Combine charging systems using a standard UVC interface. This will allow you to use the same devices utilized by the Metro Police and the Combine military.
Barney: Okay gang, time’s a-wastin. I’m gonna need to send word out to Eli and smooth a way for Gordon to get out of town.
Kleiner: I told you, Barney. I intend to solicit Dr. Mossman’s advice. I doubt she’ll approve of sending him into the wilderness as much as I agree he would be safer outside the city.
Barney: Look Doc. I don’t tell you how to run your experiments, so don’t tell me how to run my operation.
Kleiner: Ordinarily, I would agree, but Gordon is a special case. We can’t just send him into the wilderness with a sharpened stick and our best wishes. He needs to go somewhere his education can be put to good use. Now let’s proceed, shall we? This way Gordon.
Barney (with a huff): Fine.
Kleiner and Barney both lead Barney across the lab and down a hall that leads to the portal room. Once inside, Kleiner approaches a set of computers and starts interacting with them.
Barney: Mossman’s only gonna tell you what I’ve been saying: Get him to Eli’s place. Then Eli can take it from there.
Mossman (from the Computer): Kleiner, is that you?
Kleiner: Yes, good morning Helena.
Mossman: Did you call to chat, or is there some point to this. I’m running a critical sequence right now.
Kleiner: I think you’ll agree this is critical as well. I’m standing here with my old protégé, Gordon Freeman.
Mossman: Are you kidding me? Freeman? What’s he doing there?
Kleiner: Well, it’s a bit of a mystery actually.
Mossman: You’re telling me he’s in City 17? That’s the worst place he could be!
Kleiner: It was a surprise to me as well, I’ll assure you.
Barney: Tell her I’ll smuggle him out to Eli’s place.
Kleiner: Ah, we were wondering if Eli’s place might not be the best place for him right now. As my man here points out, it has the advantage of being much more accessible than Kraken.
Barney nods his head with annoyance.
Mossman: Accessible? You mean vulnerable! They’ll be crawling all over those junk piles if the Combine gets wind of him. No, we need to get him down here, where it’s safe and I can put him to work. Eli’s facilities are too primitive to make use of him. They’re more suited to mechanics than research scientists. No, just port him over. I’ll clear the receiver for the transmission.
Kleiner (nervous): P-port? As in, teleport?
Mossman: Yes. Is something wrong? I’ve run several sequences without a single failure. The initial protocol you developed and then another I devised with the new specs. Don’t tell me of all people, you aren’t functional yet.
Mossman: Since you declined to reconsider your treatment of the boring, old vector bundles, I’ve been operating on the assumption that you’re far ahead of me.
Kleiner: No eh, everything here is in complete order. I uh, I’d like to see your new protocol. Did you make use of my suggestion regarding kalabi yau space?
Mossman (annoyed): Another time Kleiner!
Kleiner: Certainly. Barney, the rotor coils will need your attention… as before.
Barney: You’re not serious!
Kleiner: Gordon, you heard Dr. Mossman. They can make immediate use of your expertise at Kraken base, and this is the swiftest way of getting you there.
Barney: But Doc! The last time you tried this…
Kleiner: I’ve made major strides since then, Barney. Major strides.
Mossman: Is there a problem?
Kleiner: N, no problem.
Barney: I’m telling you, we should be heading for Eli’s.
Kleiner: His teleport is still in pieces. You’ve got no way to get there, except on foot.
Barney: Sometimes the old ways are the best.
Kleiner: Well, Gordon, since it appears Barney would rather call you a taxi cab than trust our area of expertise.
Barney: Alright alright, Doc. But I gotta tell you, I got a bad feeling about this.
Barney walks toward a machine hooked up to the portal and presses a few buttons.
Kleiner: Gordon, if you’ll be so good as to climb up and manipulate the crystal insertion devices.
Gordon goes behind the portal and climbs a ladder to get on top of it.
Kleiner: I’m sure that my lab is ready to take part in the first real scientific enterprise in the last decade, so this ought to be rather nostalgic.
After flipping a switch, Gordon then climbs back down and stands by (or does whatever the player wants to do).
Kleiner: There you are. Fairly simple. One needn’t be a licensed crane operator to manage it. Now go ahead Gordon. Whenever you’re ready.
Now Gordon must enter the portal.
Kleiner’s Portal: The teleporter is spherical in shape, with a frame of metal bars around it. There is a door on the front and pipes and cords running along the floor and from its top; rising to equipment on the ceiling. There is also a ladder behind it for getting on top. The interior has several thin, curved metal plates that spin around the person inside as the portal is activated.
Kleiner: Excellent. All set Barney?
Barney: Yeah, accept for this gnawing certainty of doom.
Kleiner: Now now, there’s nothing to be nervous about. Let’s see. The Massless Field Flux should self limit, and I clamped the Metifal Parameters to the Slide Base and the LG Orbital to Hilber Conclusive. Barney, there’s a little dial with a name plate under it that says yocalla. Can you please read me that number?
Barney: Uh, 9973793.37. Are you writing this down?
Kleiner: That’s not necessary. Just checking for potential module interference in the interstices. Conditions could hardly be more ideal.
Barney: That’s what you said last time, to that poor cat.
Kleiner: Let’s not dwell on mishaps, shall we? Initializing in 3,2,1.
The portal begins to hum as the plates surrounding Gordon start spinning.
Kleiner: Stage two. Barney, please throw the switch.
Barney: I can’t bear to look! A pause – I’ll be damned.
Kleiner: You see? Nothing to be afraid of. We’re ready to project you Dr. Freeman. Have a safe journey and best of luck with your future endeavors.
Barney: I had to turn the cat right side out again, Gordon. To make sure it was a cat.
Gordon’s vision is slightly distorted from the portal energy surrounding him.
Kleiner: Final sequence. I got this one.
Barney: It’s all you Doc.
There’s a crackle of electricity. Then a flash and loud crack. Gordon appears in the Kraken teleporter, facing Dr. Mossman.
Mossman: Well, I’m a bit surprised that actually worked. I guess Kleiner’s farther ahead than I thought.
Then, before Mossman can say anything else, there’s another flash and Gordon’s back at Kleiner’s.
Barney: He’s back!
Kleiner: Oh my… and it was going so well. I’ll see if I can hold him.
Barney shows up in the window of the teleporter’s door.
Barney: I’m getting him outa there.
Kleiner: No! You can’t just wade into the field. It’ll peel you apart!
Mossman (from the computer): I just lost Freeman! What the hell’s going on?
The portal energy around Gordon begins to intensify.
Kleiner: I wish I knew. I’m encountering unexpected interference.
Mossman: Well get him back here!
Kleiner: I’m trying!
Then Gordon disappears and then reappears seconds later.
Barney: Don’t worry Gordon! We’re…
Again, Gordon disappears. This time teleporting to a large room made of dark grey metal with patches of white tiles on top of it. Two Synth Elites see him and point their spears in his direction.
Consul: What? Is that… Gordon Freeman.
Then Gordon’s back in Kleiner’s Lab.
Barney: I see him! Cut the juice!
An explosion sounds from outside and all the lights go out at once. The portal energy disperses from around Gordon and the teleporter shuts down.
Barney: Gordon, you okay?
Barney opens the door and peeks in.
Barney: Jeese, Gordon. You’re completely unscathed.
Kleiner: Thank God. Of course, I can’t say the same for the portal.
Gordon steps from the teleporter. Several of the pipes have fallen from a top and lay sizzling with smoke and electricity on the ground.
Kleiner: It looks as if the whole lab’s lost its power.
Barney: Yeah, well it has. I knew something bad would happen. Now come on Gordon. We gotta get you out of here before the Combine come!
The Citadel’s alarm can be heard in the distance; droning loudly across the city.
Barney: Shit! Let’s go!
Barney runs for the exit.
Barney: Wait here Doc! I’ll be back in a minute. Gordon! Get moving.
Gordon follows Barney the way they came in. Once on the other side of the fake vending machine, Barney picks up a crowbar and pries a manhole open.
Barney: Get in Gordon. Get to the canals and work your way out of the city. Any rebels you come by should help you on the way.
Once Gordon enters the sewers, Barney drops the Crowbar in.
Barney: Here, take this. You might need it.
Then he shuts the manhole, leaving Gordon on his own.
The Sewers: This subterranean area is to be dark and damp, and inhabited by Sewer Hoppers, Archers, Headcrabs + Zombies, Houndeyes, Cremators, Civil Protection patrols and Manhacks; along with Barnacles and a few rebel outposts. Gordon will retrieve the 9mm and MP7 inside this section and the stun baton and grenade in the Manhack Arcade, right after the sewers. He will also get the Immolator just past the Arcade. References for the sewers’ appearance are listed below.
Following several corridors, Gordon eventually encounters two Metrocops. Gordon kills them both and retrieves the 9mm. From then on, Gordon is assaulted by several Metrocops throughout the sewers, along with Headcrabs and archers in the flooded areas. When he enters a large chamber with a catwalk crossing over running water, he sees three Elite Metrocops fighting two Bullsquids. Gordon can receive the MP7 from the Elite CP’s and then fight the Bullsquids. In the same chamber, he’ll need to jump into the water in order to continue. At the end of the rushing water, Gordon encounters several Sewer Hoppers and a pack of Houndeyes. After this, he soon arrives at a small rebel outpost.
Rebel 1: I take it you’re Freeman? Barney said you might come through here.
Rebel 2: Come this way. We’ve got some supplies if you need it.
Rebel 2 points toward a stack of crates as he leads Gordon to a gate guarded by a vortigaunt.
Vortigaunt: The Freeman is here. The Combine’s reckoning has come.
Rebel2 (to the vortigaunt): Let him through.
The Vort opens the gate, letting Gordon continue when he’s ready. Shortly after leaving, a swarm of Manhacks come from a pipe. The rest of the journey through the sewers is filled with Manhack attacks. Eventually, he comes to a citizen fending off some of the Combine drones with a pipe. No matter what Gordon does, the Manhacks kill the man, as there are too many for him to fight off. Instead he is forced to run as they pursue him. Gordon comes to a latter that leads into a pipe filled room in the Manhack Arcade. The Manhacks continue to chase him, and he must lead them into the Arcade room. Upon doing this, the citizens begin to panic and leave their “games”; causing the Manhacks to crash and fall to the ground. Across the room, a group of Metrocops emerge from a door. Some open fire while others charge with their batons. Here Gordon gets the Stun Baton. The door they came through stays open to allow Gordon out of the public area of the Arcade, and into the control room, barracks and Manhack dispensary in the back.
Manhack Dispensary: This mechanism has pipes that transport Manhacks to different parts of the sewer system throughout City 17.
Along with both elite and standard CP’s, Gordon can find a crate of Grenades. He has to use this new addition to his arsenal to sabotage the Manhack Dispensary system. Then he needs to break a window and jump into and alley behind the Manhack Arcade. While following the alleys, he comes across two cremators that attack him on sight. Once he kills them, Gordon is able to add the Immolator to his arsenal. When he comes to a dead end, he is forced to enter a building which leads him to and underground tunnel connected to the nearby canals. Inside, he fights three cremators and a Bullsquid. Near the exit of the tunnel, is a rebel outpost with an airboat waiting for Gordon.
Ch.3 – A Watery Grave
Canals: The New City canals still contain water, and are in better condition than the Old City Canals. The water in the New Canals is being pumped through pipes that run all the way to the ocean. The old canals are old, cracked and often flooded with toxins and filled with junk. This area contains Metrocops (standard and elite) + APC, Cremators, Conscripts + VAB, Bullsquids, Headcrabs + Zombies and Sewer Hoppers. During this part, Gordon will retrieve an Airboat with a mounted machinegun, the Magnum, Molotov, and the AK-47.
Rebel 1: Hey, there he is!
A man approaches Gordon.
Rebel 2: We got a boat for you. Come with me and we’ll go over the best route to Eli’s while our guys gas it up.
The rebel leads Gordon into a room off the side of the tunnel. Inside there’s a map on the far wall and several supply crates. He heads for the map and points to a circle on it.
Rebel 2: This is us, in the New City canals. You’re gonna follow the canals south west, all the way to the wall. Eli’s Colony is in the Scraplands just outside it. Once you reach the wall, you’ll have to find your own way out, but I suggest you try and go under. Going over is likely to get you killed, and same with using the gates.
Another rebel stands in the doorway.
Rebel 3: Boat’s ready.
Rebel 2: Just in time. Get going Freeman.
Gordon then leaves the room and follows Rebel 3 to an airboat on the side of the canal.
Rebel 3: There are a few more outposts in the old canals. They should be perfectly willing to help you out if you need it.
Upon entering the vehicle, the other rebels open the gate before you.
Rebel 2: Good luck!
Gordon then takes off into the canal to his left. The drive through the new canals brings him to several turns and CP ambushes. Eventually, Gordon comes to a barricade and has to leave the canal (with the airboat) and go around it. He then ends up in the old canals. Soon, Gordon comes to a gate and a Conscript outpost. Here he can destroy a VAB with the Airboat’s gun, but then has to leave the vehicle (temporarily) to open the gate.
Conscripts: These soldiers have been forced to fight for the Combine. Quite often they have some family member being held hostage, are accompanied by powerful synths, or are constantly being watched by Combine ready to kill on the first sign of rebellion. Secretly, the Conscripts do deal with the resistance in a friendly manner but still have to fight and kill (or be killed by) them. Conscripts are only equipped with human weapons and are given VAB’s and Bradleys as vehicles.
In the base, Gordon retrieves two weapons: the .357 Magnum and the AK-47. The Freeman fights through the building and into a small yard full of crates and a Bradley. He enters the Bradley and uses its cannon to demolish the gate blocking his path. Then two APC’s show up across the Canal and fire missiles at the tank, destroying it in the process. Gordon then heads back to the Airboat and continues through the canals. Along the way, Gordon fights more Conscripts, Metrocops and wild aliens. After arriving at another barricade, Gordon has to ditch the Airboat. To the right is a large pipe. Upon stacking junk to climb into it, he follows it to part of an underground canal. Inside are several aliens and zombies. Gordon progresses through the dark, toxin flooded canals on foot till he comes to a rebel outpost.
One of the rebels greets him at the gate.
Rebel 4: Freeman, through here.
The man leads Gordon to the back of the base, to a door into a maintenance tunnel. While in the base, Gordon can resupply and add the Molotov to his arsenal.
Rebel 4: The wall’s not much farther, but the Combine are pissed and have the whole area under lockdown. They’re crawling all over the place. You’ll have to keep low and out of sight.
Then he opens the door.
Rebel 4: This tunnel will lead you outside. There’s plenty of junk for you to hide under, but you might have to leave the canal; and I’m not sure how many hiding places you’ll have once you do.
With that Gordon enters the tunnel and makes his way back to the above ground canals.
The Wall: City 17 is completely surrounded by a large concrete wall topped with razor wire and surrounded by electric fences. At this point in Dark Skies, the wall is heavily guarded and requires some sneaking around. This will be done by hiding in crates, old vehicles and underneath scrap metal. If Gordon is caught it is likely he will be overwhelmed and killed very quickly.
As soon as he gets outside, he is forced to hide by a Crab Synth patrolling the street above the canal. Gordon stealthily follows the canal till he comes to a dead end and a staircase leading onto the streets. Next to a building across the canal from the stairs are several stacks of fuel barrels and an APC. If he heads straight up the stairs, he will be seen and shot to death by conscripts, Metrocops, and Crab Synths. If Gordon throws a grenade or Molotov into the barrels, they will explode, causing the building to topple and the APC to blow up and send missiles flying in random directions; killing a lot of enemies and distracting the rest. Now he can run up the stairs, across a street and into an alley way. Gordon follows the alley behind several buildings before crossing another street and jumping into another canal right next to the city wall. In the canal, Gordon must enter another large pipe that leads him into a trench just outside the wall. Above him, he can see electric fences and Autoguns firing at unseen aliens. He then continues through more pipes and ends up in the Scraplands.
Ch. 4 - Lethal Dusk
Scraplands: The area directly outside City 17 is comprised of piles junk and debris, and pools of toxic waste. In this area Gordon will encounter Headcrabs and Zombies, Bullsquids, Wild Skitches, Houndeyes, Mr. Friendlies and Cremators. In several places he can also glimpse a Hydra peeking over a pile.
As Gordon emerges from the pipes, a Wild Skitch jumps at him from behind. After killing it, he follows the trenches between massive junk piles. When he comes to a railroad leading into the city, he has to avoid being seen by an Autogun. Several Houndeyes and wild Skitches rush down the tracks and leap at the fences, only to be shot or fried by electricity. From here, Gordon moves on through the Scraplands, fighting aliens and cremators along the way. As he enters a narrow trench, Gordon finds his path blocked by a couple corpses being devoured by a Mr. Friendly. The alien attacks him aggressively, but Gordon kills it and moves on. Soon he also encounters fast and poison zombies. After a while, Gordon finds a hidden door leading to a staircase in one of the junk piles. Soon after entering, he finds he finds himself in concrete room with metal doors that shut and trap him inside. Then red laser scans him down.
Eli’s Colony: The Colony will consist of caves and parts of underground maintenance tunnels and from the city that used to be above. A lot of the things here are made from the scrap metal, wood and other junk from outside. Throughout the Colony, Gordon can see pipes and power cables running along the walls and floor; connecting equipment and generators. This area has filtered air and has a makeshift garage where rebels prepare vehicles for traveling across the wastelands.
Rebel 1: Well it’s human.
Then a bright light shines through a window near the ceiling.
Rebel 2: Hey it’s Freeman!
Rebel 1: Then let him through!
Then one of the doors open, revealing a dimly lit room full of barrels and crates. A man walks into view, leaning a shotgun against his shoulder.
Rebel 1: Eli’s gonna be happy to see you made it.
The man motions for Gordon to follow and heads toward a door on the right side of the room.
Rebel 1: Follow me and I’ll take you him… and sorry for the scan. Can’t be too careful around here.
The door leads to hallway ending with an elevator. Gordon and the man enter the elevator, heading deeper into the ground.
Rebel 1: So I hear you really pushed some Combine buttons on your way out of the city. I’m sure they’re angry as hell.
The elevator shakes as it reaches its destination. The man steps out into what looks like a makeshift garage, with a fenced off tunnel leading upward. Eli Maxwell stands over a car engine with a vortigaunt. He glances over his shoulder at the sound of the elevator, and then looks at the vortigaunt.
Eli: Excuse me.
Then he turns to Gordon.
Eli: Gordon! I take it you made it here alright. Take that helmet off and let me get a look at you.
Gordon lowers his weapons and removes the helmet of his HEV suit.
Eli: Ten years… Ten years, and you look like you haven’t aged a bit. Come… we have much to catch up on.
The old man turns and leads Gordon through a short tunnel. They come into a tall, narrow cavern with various wooden bridges connecting tunnels above and below them.
Eli speaks as he leads Gordon across a bridge and through another tunnel.
Eli: This is the colony. We take refugees from the city and the wastelands, and give them a place to stay. All we ask is that they help out around the place. We’ve got plenty to do around here and we could use some more people.
Soon they arrive at an intersection in the tunnel. The cave branches in three directions. Eli heads to the left and down a set of stairs, into a small cavern.
Eli’s Den: This is a small part of the colony and consists of a couch, bed, projector, computers and power cables running along the walls and through pipes that lead to other parts of the colony.
Eli: This is my den, as some call it.
Eli makes for the computers and takes a seat.
Eli: How much do you know about the last 10 years? Something tells me the answer’s not much.
He points to the projector sitting on a table in the center of the room; a white sheet hung from the wall in front of it.
Eli: Turn that on, will you?
As soon as the projector is on, the sheet lights up.
Eli: Lucky for you, I’ve been keeping record. Now let’s see… where does this thing start?
Several images of Black Mesa cross over the sheet.
Eli: Black Mesa. Let’s not dwell on that. Nobody’s blaming you. We all have to accept some responsibility… what matters is what we do next. I’ll get that. After the disaster, well… let’s just say, the ripples kept spreading.
Eli goes through several more slides just slow enough for Gordon to observe. In one, Headcrabs leap off of store shelves and onto the heads of shoppers. Then there’s a Bullsquid chasing a family from their home, a Gargantua flipping a tractor as a farmer fleas for his life. Next is an ichthyosaur appearing in a pool, right under a kid who’d just jumped off the high dive. As he flips through the slides, Eli speaks.
Eli: The country side, the suburbs, all those hard-to-patrol places, got pretty much uninhabitable. People started crowding into the cities for protection.
The next slide shows people clustered in front of a fence topped with razor wire; a city rising in the background. Gordon can see soldiers standing in guard towers, weapons ready for use.
Eli: There was an illusion of safety for a time. And then the citadels appeared. It happened in a split second, all over the world. A chunk would disappear from the center of a city, to be replaced an instant later by one of these… headquarters for the Combine. Invasion Central.
Now the projector shows a city with a massive crater in the center. Buildings, sheared clean in half, surround it as a titanic, alien tower rises from inside it.
Eli: Say hello to your new masters.
Striders, crab synths and many other unseen creatures pour from the citadel as Combine ships tear through the sky.
Eli: Oh, we resisted.
Next is a view of tanks and soldiers advancing on the Citadel. Then the same army reduced to ashes and wrecked hunks of metal.
Eli: Earth put up a fight that lasted all of seven hours.
Then the flaming ruins of the Pentagon.
Eli: And then, one man who had seized about all the power a man can seize in a crisis, used that power to arrange our surrender.
Then there’s an image of the Consul, standing in front of a radio tower, wearing a headset with his arms raised to the oncoming ships as he surrenders Earth.
Eli: They call him the Consul now. It worked out fine for him. He speaks for the Combine; shares in their power. As for the rest of us…
The next slide is of City 17, citizens shuffling along. Then the Air Exchange, belching its first fumes. And finally, a drained ocean floor, littered with ships and whale bones.
Eli: Well, you’ve seen the state of things. They’re replacing the air with something unbreathable. They’re draining the ocean. We don’t know if they’re preparing the planet for new residents, or just stripping it of every possible resource. All we do know is that we have to stop them. And that’s where you come in, Mr. Freeman. It’s up to you.
Eli rises, and goes to turn the projector off.
Eli: Some members of the Resistance have been working on this plan for years. We just haven’t been able to agree on it… not until now. During your escape from City 17, we finally agreed to give the mission to you.
Eli turns to look at Gordon.
Eli: Gordon, your mission is to head to the Air Conditioner, as I like to call it. Sabotage its reactor and steal the Combine’s portal codes to stop them from draining the ocean. There will be others to help you on your way and once you get there, but you’ll be on your own for the journey there. This way. I want to give you something to help you on the way. I’ll tell you more as we walk.
Eli passes Gordon and heads up the stairs, then through the middle tunnel in the intersection they passed on the way to his den.
Eli: You’ll have to travel across the wastelands to get there. It’s a long way, so I suggest you hitch a ride at the Combine’s train depot between here and the Air Exchange. Oh and…
Eli stops at the start of some stairs and turns to Gordon.
Eli: If you’ve never been out there before, I have one piece of advice. At the first flicker of green light, you run! First Storm I saw, I made the mistake of stopping to study it. That’s… how I lost my leg. I’ve seen them take out whole squads, reeling in soldiers, tearing gunboats to bits. Some say it’s only an electrical disturbance, but if you ask me… there’s intelligence in there, somewhere. If only we could communicate with them somehow. A force like that on our side… now that would be a powerful ally.
Then he continues up the stairs.
Eli: Any way, you’ll find the depot on the ocean floor. It’ll take a few days to get there, but it’s better than a week’s journey from here to the Air Conditioner.
At the top of the stairs, Eli puts on a gasmask (which is found hanging on a coat rack) then types a code into a keypad and opens a door. As he does this, Gordon puts his helmet back on. Then he leads Gordon into the Scrapyard.
Eli: Here we are.
Scrapyard: This area is surrounded by large piles of junk and scrap metal walls, and contains various objects, such as crates, barrels, old cars, corrugated metal sheets and a big dog house. This is where Gordon will be given the Gravity Gun, as well as meet D0G.
Exiting the tunnels of the Colony, Eli walks toward a concrete wall with glass and metal case suspended on it. Opening the case, he removes its contents and holds it out to Gordon.
Eli: This is the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator or Gravity Gun as we prefer to call it. Here take it.
Gordon takes the tool from his hands.
Eli: With the primary trigger you can zap things and send them flying. With the secondary, you pull and grab objects. Try it out. Grab some barrels.
Gordon has to do what he says in order to continue. Once he has a barrel held by the Gravity Gun, Eli speaks again.
Eli: Now you can pull the primary trigger to launch it.
Once they finish with the Gravity Gun lessons, Eli heads to a metal gate.
Eli: Come on, there’s someone for you to meat.
Through the gate is a larger part of the scrapyard that contains a dog house on its far side. As the two enter, D0G can be seen rushing from the dog house. The robot stops in front of Eli, who pats him on the head.
Eli: Gordon, this is D0G. First model was about yay high.
Eli holds his hand just above his chest to help visualize the height of the first D0G model.
Eli: I’ve built onto him since then. I made him to help guard the Colony when it was in its early stages. Now we have more security, but he still comes in handy at times. Now let’s have some fun. D0G loves to play fetch with the Gravity Gun.
Then he looks D0G.
Eli: D0G, go find something to throw.
With that, the robot runs off, heading for a pile of junk by his house. Once there, he reaches in and pulls out a barrel, then turns and throws it to Gordon. Now the two toss a few objects back and forth for a couple minutes. Eli: Alright D0G. Find something a bit…
An explosion cuts him off. His eyes widen with terror and he turns to Gordon.
Eli: Get inside!
Him, Gordon and D0G all make for the Colony entrance as several Sacktick Canisters crash into the ground behind them.
Sackticks: Sackticks are small, Headcrab sized synths that feed on anything living. These creatures are capable of reproducing very quickly and do so by burrowing in their prey. They are launched in the same rockets that Headcrabs are in HL2, and pose a larger threat the longer they are alive. Sackticks have a weakness to low temperatures, but this will not be revealed till later on.
As soon as the three are inside, Eli shuts the door behind them, and then heads down the stairs.
Eli: Gordon, we need to get you out of here. We did plan on giving you a vehicle, but now that may not be an option.
The Colony shakes as they rush through the tunnels; dust and bits of rock falling from the ceiling. While passing through the intersection from earlier, part of the ceiling falls and separates Gordon and D0G from Eli.Eli (looking through a hole in the rocks): D0G! Take Gordon to one of the emergency exits! Make sure he gets away from here! Gun shots can be heard in the background. Eli pulls away, revealing rebels fighting with Sackticks and Synth Soldiers.
D0G looks at Gordon, then runs off down the tunnel on the right, with Gordon in tow. The robot leads him to another concrete portion of the base, and to a large door. On the way there, Gordon fights several Sackticks and witnesses their quick reproductive capabilities. Upon arriving, D0G lifts up the door and Gordon enters the tunnel on the other side. The door slams shut as D0G runs off. At this point Gordon is left to find his own way through the tunnels and fight Bullsquids, Headcrabs and wild Skitches. Eventually, He finds a ladder leading out of a manhole.
Urban Wastes: This area is comprised of the outer ruins of whatever city C17 used to be. Here buildings are damaged beyond repair - most of them being only foundations and rubble – and streets are cracked and uneven, littered with wreckage and skeletons. While in the Urban Wastes, Gordon will encounter the Panther Eye and Fast Walker, as well as several previously encountered aliens (Houndeye, Wild Skitch, and Mr. Friendly). Gordon will also find the shotgun near a corpse.
As soon as Gordon climbs out of the manhole, he is assaulted by his first panther eye. Killing this, he begins his journey through the urban ruins. As many of the streets are full of rubble or interrupted by large crevasses and craters, Gordon is forced to go through some of the buildings. While passing through the remains of a hotel, he finds a Shotgun lying near a corpse. Also near the corpse are two Fast Walkers fighting over the food with a Mr. Friendly. After this, he makes his way through several streets, buildings and allies while fighting off aliens. As he progresses, the wind picks up (blowing dust through the air) and the city gradually turns into sand and ash as the buildings are buried and Gordon passes the edge of the city. Entering the wilderness, he crosses some sand dunes and then rocky plains.
Wilderness: This region surrounding City 17 is comprised of a ravaged and ashen landscape, picked of resources, and littered with dead trees, bones, Xenian plant lights and Scythe Trees, and the occasional building or highway. Much of the Wilderness is rocky with loose dirt mixed with ash from both the destruction that took place, and the ash storms from the Air Exchange. This harsh environment is also filled with many starving Xenotheric species that eat whatever they can; along with Combine (plus Conscript) and Resistance outposts.
Wilderness 1: This part of the wastelands is made up of sand/ash dunes and rocky plains. Here, Gordon will encounter Stukabats, Wasteland Scanners and several other (previously encountered) aliens (Panther Eye, Fast Walker, Bullsquid, Wild Skitch).
During the trek away from the urban wastes, Gordon encounters various species of aliens and stumbles upon several corpses near small supply caches. While passing through the plains, Stukabats begin circling overhead and attack shortly after. Around this time, he also encounters a lone wasteland scanner and see’s several others in the distance. Soon after this, Gordon stumbles into a small mining town.
Ch. 5 - Dark Labyrinth
Quarry Town: This town is to be heavily infested with Headcrabs, zombies and Gonomes, and is made of buildings in several stages of disrepair. Quarry Town used to be a rebel base that had a Gonarch pod placed in its mines by the Combine. This brought the eventual downfall of the town’s inhabitants. When Gordon arrives, he will see many signs of the town’s previous inhabitants. For instants, the zombies, all the traps on the streets, make shift guard towers, and the supplies stored in the buildings. While here, Gordon will need to use stealth and the environment to his advantage as there will be countless Headcrabs and zombies. He will also have several routes he can take through the town, each having their ups and downs. Gordon can go through 1) the buildings, where there are plenty of supplies but less light and rotting floors that might break under his weight. 2) The streets, where most of the zombies are, but can be faster and has traps to help him out, or 3) the mines, where the Gonarch sack produces large amounts of Headcrabs and the ceilings might collapse; but there is also a lot of light produced by Xen Plant Lights. Quarry Town is also where Gordon will get the Flare Gun.
As Gordon enters the town, he comes to an entrance to the mine, a building missing its side door and an open scrap metal gate leading to the streets. This is where he first chooses the path he will take. Past this point, he will come to many opportunities to change the route first chosen. This is also where he can find the Flare Gun next to a corpse lying in the open. Passing through Quarry Town proves to be extremely hazardous, but not enough to hold Gordon back. The Freeman makes his way through the infested mining town, and encounters poison, fast and standard zombies, as well as Gonomes. Each path Gordon can take will lead him to the salt flats on the West side of the town. Here, Gordon will find a buggy flipped over in a ditch near the edge of Quarry Town. Gordon has to use the Gravity Gun to flip over the vehicle so he can use it to speed up his journey.
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