Part 1 - Half-Life, In The Beginning
It was another normal day in the lab for Gordon Freeman - as normal as work in the government-funded Black Mesa Research Facility might ever get. And he was already half an hour late. Normally he liked the long train ride through the facility, but today was different. It wasn't, in fact, an entirely normal day. It was an important day. That day was the day of the big experiment; Gordon never asked where they got the samples from, and they would never tell him anyway. All he knew was that it took a huge anti-mass spectrometer to analyse them, and a multi-million dollar HEV suit to protect him from the radiation. The HEV only came in orange, but it did at least keep him alive when it all went to [content edited].
For the past few weeks, there had been this weird guy in a business suit walking around. Rumour had it that he was government; but nobody was quite sure. Gordon was a simple physicist; educated at Innsbruck, privileged to be part of the US government's best-kept secret. But that day was the day it all changed. That day, something went wrong. The senior scientists said it was a 'resonance cascade', whatever that was. All he knew was that he pressed the buttons and suddenly, everything was wrong, and everything was breaking down or collapsing or exploding, and just about everyone in the entire base was killed in those first few minutes.
When it was over, there were monsters everywhere. No other word for them - monsters, things from another dimension. There were a few scientists left alive when Gordon got out of the ruined test chamber, and they were all of one accord. The only hope was to reach surface level, and somehow warn the military of the disaster. Gordon with his HEV would try and make it out of the base, while his colleagues waited to be rescued.
So began the trek upwards and outwards, through the ruined labs, the destroyed concrete passages, the darkened and monster-infested underground corridors. It was a labyrinth, and there was hardly a human left alive. Closer to the surface, there were more survivors, and good news: that the military were coming, and it would all be all right soon.
Gordon was never a man for physical activity; he was an outright nerd. He never thought he had it in him to pick up a shotgun, let alone fight his way through a horde of aliens. But fight he did, thinking that once the military arrive, he could leave it to the professionals. But when the helicopters circled overhead and the soldiers came down on black ropes, the lenses of their gas masks glinting, it became apparent that rescue wasn't on the agenda. The soldiers had come to contain the situation. That meant killing every single person who had witnessed the accident - and chief among them, target number one, the man supposedly responsible for this whole mess - Gordon Freeman.
That was the first time Gordon ever killed a man. It certainly wasn't the last. Forced to fight against both the alien monsters and his very own species, Gordon fled back underground. The only place now, it would seem, was the Lambda complex - the dark heart of the facility, on the other side of the base. A scientist let him through and sealed the way behind him. To get to Lambda, Gordon would have to make use of the ancient and long-abandoned railway system that dated back to the 1950s.
It was a long time before he saw daylight again, and it was a long way to the Lambda complex, through the parts of the base that had long since been forgotten. The cold war missile silos, fifties computer rooms and the twisting innards of the old railways were crawling with government troops and aliens, all fighting amongst each other.
All the time there was this man in a suit, watching him. Sometimes he would catch a glimpse out of the corner of his eye; a monochrome stick-figure high up on some distant balcony, holding a briefcase, gone as soon as they eye could focus. But here was there; he was watching.
Gordon had nearly reached the surface once again when he came up against deadly Black Ops assassins, sent to hunt down specific targets - including him. He survived the encounter, but was captured soon after, his weapons stripped, left for dead in a trash compactor. He only just made it out alive - scrambling into an air vent just before the walls closed in. But he had no weapons, and he was forced to make his arduous way through the enormous processing areas of Black Mesa before he finally reached the main laboratories and administration hub of the base.
Here, it seemed that these aliens, whatever strange dimension they had come from, were nothing new: the scientists at these labs had been experimenting on them for years. The US government had long known about the existence of aliens, and of their dimension. Gordon eventually escaped with the help of some resident scientists, but escaped to where? To get to the Lambda complex he would have to somehow get across miles of burning desert, disused industrial complexes and old roadways.
It quickly became apparent that it was open war on the surface: army helicopters and tanks duelling with strange, organic alien gunships and squads of armoured creatures. This wasn't some lab accident anymore; not just animals, instinctively attacking, but a full-scale invasion. And it wasn't going well for the humans. By the time Gordon got to Lambda, the marines were about to pull their forces out and begin the airstrikes. He got under shelter just as the first bombs hit.
The way down to Lambda was treacherous - the tunnels were collapsing under the bombardment and the aliens were desperately trying to breach the complex. When Gordon rode the eerily lonely elevator down to the heart of the facility, he found that the scientists already knew of his coming. They held lots to see who would be left behind, the man said, and he had got the short straw. He told Gordon that they, the rest of the science team, had sealed off every entrance to the complex to contain the invasion - except this one. They were waiting for him, down in the central labs.
Gordon made his way downwards, finding and making use of the experimental teleports that the Lambda team had left open for him. There were more scientists waiting, each one left behind to ensure some vital plan. Gordon would have to flood the reactor to get through to Lambda, and there wasn't much time left, the scientist said. Time left till what, Gordon wondered.
Finally, he reached the Lambda core, and the only people there were a single scientist and a security guard, sealed off inside a near-impregnable armoury of experimental weapons and strange contraptions. Gordon thought he might now be able to rest, but it wasn't to be.
Black Mesa had always known about the existence of the aliens and their dimension, which they called Xen, ever since they had developed their very first experimental teleporter. They had sent many research teams through to the other side to collect samples, and later live creatures, for study - until the teams starting being collected themselves. Now, the scientist told him, the accident had ripped a hole between the two worlds; and the aliens had used it to invade.
Somewhere on the other side of the portal there was a being of immense power, controlling the alien armies. Ridiculous as it sounded to Gordon, they wanted him to go through to this alien world and kill whatever was in charge over there. But if he didn't do it, who would? They gave him as many weapons as he had, weird experimental lasers and gluon guns, before charging up their enormous portal. It took a long time to ready, and while they were waiting more and more of the aliens were teleporting in. Gordon and the security guard managed to hold them off for long enough for the portal to be ready. "Go now, Freeman!" was the scientist's frantic advice, and Gordon wasn't inclined to disobey.
The place on the other side was a nightmare dimension, a dark and twisted hive world that didn't seem to obey the normal laws of physics. Gordon fought his way through this [content edited], through the factory where the aliens grew their warriors on an assembly line, and to the inner sanctum of the Nihilanth, the alien ruler, the big cheese, who, to cut a long story short, he killed.
The Nihilanth's death triggered some kind of explosion, and Gordon found himself suddenly with the man in the suit, the one who had always been watching. Nobody is really sure about the truth, but this is the most likely scenario: the suit was part of some secret part of the US government. Gordon had been so effective in wiping out the alien army that it had allowed the suit's organisation to invade and take control of Xen. Perhaps the accident had never been an accident at all, and had been engineered to start an inter-dimensional war. Gordon was offered a choice - work for the suit and his shadowy 'employers', or die. Considering the events of Half-Life 2, it's likely that Gordon chose to join the suit's organisation. The last thing he heard was the suit's gloating words: "Wisely done, Mr Freeman. I will see you up ahead..."http://www.halflife2.net/page.php?p=hl_mythology