Hi, Ivan, thanks for your story. Except for the flux capacitor, which we cut from the game for legal reasons (we’d be sued by Christopher Lloyd), this is so close to what we were planning that we now have to scrap everything and do something you weren’t expecting. So, there will be a slight delay while we come up with a new tactic. I guess I should be mad at you, but I appreciate the amount of work you must have put into it.
From: Gabe Newell
Sent: Tuesday, August 05, 2008 2:26 AM
To: Marc Laidlaw
Subject: FW: Please forward to Mr. Laidlaw
From: Ivan Jinken [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2008 3:03 AM
To: Gabe Newell
Subject: Please forward to Mr. Laidlaw
Hey Mr. Laidlaw.
I understand that you're a very busy man, but if I could have a few minutes of your time then I would be thrilled.
I wrote this one night while contemplating possible finales for Episode 3. I don't expect you to tell me how close I am to the planned plot, I just ask that you read it and give me your comments.
The old man led Alyx and Gordon into a small cabin, just below the main deck.
"Please, please, sit!" he took a kettle from a small stove and gathered some mugs, "You're just in time!"
"In time for what?" Alyx watched the old man stirring sugar into the mugs, "Who ARE you?"
"I," the old man handed them two steaming mugs, "am Doctor Emmett Brown. I am a time traveller. I've just finished setting up a system that will allow this ship to travel through time, through use of an invention of my own; a Flux Capacitor!"
"You're telling me that this ship, the ship that the Combine are scouring the oceans for, is your latest project?"
"Now, now, me dear, I haven't the faintest clue who these 'Combine' are. You say they're looking for this ship?"
Alyx glanced at Gordon, who seemed deeply fascinated by the teabag floating in his cup, "The Combine, Doctor Brown, have taken over this entire planet. They will kill you if they find you here."
The Doctor hurried over to a chest of drawers, scrabbling around inside the top drawer.
"Ah, here we are!" he took out a dusty book, "My old journal! Let's see..." he flipped through the pages, "Here! About twenty years ago I do recall flashes of light in the distance. The night sky was always a golden-green, like a swirl of cloud, far above us yet covering the sky like a transparent blanket. Would this have anything to do with these Combine?"
"Portal storms." Alyx glared at the unattentive Gordon. He glanced up. "I said, Portal Storms, Gordon." Gordon nodded quickly. Alyx went on; "The Portal Storms, caused by an accident at the Black Mesa Research Facility attracted the Combine to our planet. They took over every civilised area within hours. Don't you date your journal entries?"
"Heavens no!" the Doctor sat back down, "I haven't the time. And it seems that we have even less if we're to get out of here before these Combine arrive!"
"I don't know if you've noticed," Alyx walked over to the cabins' only window, "but this ship is half buried under a wall of ice. Our helicopter will take hours to unfreeze. It wasn't built for Arctic conditions."
"I have it planned out." The Doctor smiled.
The orange glow shone out from the Borealis and into the night. Flames licked up from the edge of the ship, slowly melting the ice.
"Doc! What's going to happen when the ship is free? Won't we sink? The entire port side is crushed!"
"Don't worry! I've got hundreds of floatation devices under there, and a dozen pumps to keep the water out. That should be enough to get us where we need to go."
"Where exactly are we going?" Alyx shouted over the sudden wind.
"You didn't happen to see any empty stretches of ocean on your way over here, did you?" the Doctor shouted back.
"In case you hadn't noticed, it's pitch black out there! We had trouble even finding you!"
An hour later, the last of the ice was gone and the Borealis was afloat. Albeit still leaning to port by a few degrees.
"What now, Doc?" Alyx and Gordon stood beside the Doctor in the usable section of the bridge.
"Well, if my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight knots... you're gonna see some serious shit. Let's get her moving."
The boat creaked as the engine roared to life. They began to move forwards, small chunks of ice falling from the sides of the ship.
"So how does this Flux Capacitor work?" Alyx leaned against the wall.
"Well, there I was, in my bathroom, hanging a clock, when I fell and bumped my head. Needless to say, I was out cold! When I woke up I... great scott! The machine will never work!"
"Woah Doc, I thought you said-"
"I know what I said! But I've made a critical mistake! The Flux Capacitor needs 1.21 Gigawatts of power to run! It's powered by a nuclear reactor, but I'm missing a critical material - Plutonium!"
"Gordon." Alyx stared out of the window, "The gravity gun runs on Plutonium." Gordon nodded as Alyx turned around, "Where is it?"
Gordon walked across the empty deck towards the chopper. The ship was gaining speed, the dark water splashing against the hull.
A metallic cry echoes from the darkness. "Gordon," Alyx's voice called through a loudspeaker, "Gordon! Combine!"
A crab-like creature landed on the deck between Gordon and the helicopter. His eyes darted around for a weapon. Lying beside an empty toolbox sat a crowbar.
The Synthcrab lunged at Gordon. Darting out of the way, he stooped for the crowbar. The Synthcrab turned to lunge again, but Gordon was already running towards the chopper.
He wrenced open the frosty door, leaping inside and slamming it shut. The Synthcrab scrabbled at the door, its metal legs creating deep scratches in steel.
Gordon moved to the back of the chopper, searching for the gravity gun. Reaching for a faint orange glow, his hands closed around the familliar grip.
Now to get out again.
The chopper-door blasted outwards, collecting multiple Synthcrabs. They swarmed as Gordon ran, their legs scuttling over the icy deck. He raised his crowbar and brought it around in a wide sweep. The nearest Crab cried out in pain as it fell.
"Gordon!" Alyx shouted, "RUN!"
Gordon aimed the gravity gun and fired. A Synthcrab went flying into the darkness, collecting dozens more as it slid towards the edge of the deck. He fired again. He was closer to the bridge-door now.
A familliar, animal-like call sounded. A Combine dropship appeared, blue searchlights shining out from the darkness.
Gordon began to pick up the pace. He fired another shot from the gravity gun, sending a crowd of Synthcrabs into the night.
A thump sounded, and his vision blurred. He blinked, and his vision slowly cleared. Only a few yards to the door. Thump. He wrenched it open and hurried inside, slamming it behind him. Thump. He raced up the stairs and onto the bridge, quickly opening the side-hatch of the gun and removing the Plutonium-capsule. Thump. Thump. Thump.
"Gordon, what's wrong?" Alyx turned handed the Doctor the capsule. Thump. "Gordon?" Her voice sounded faint, muffled. "Gordon?"
An Advisor appeared at one of the bridges' windows. Thump. Another Advisor appeared beside it. Thump. Hordes of Synthcrabs scuttled up the sides of the bridge, scratching at the thick iron plates. Thump. More Advisors appeared, gazing in through the thin, glass windows. Thump.
The metal around the windows began to bend.
"My, my," the Doctor turned away from the Flux Capacitor, "These creatures must have some sort of mental power to-"
"DOCTOR!" Alyx shouted, looking away from Gordon.
"Sorry, sorry," the metal creaked as small cracks appeared at the corners of the windows, "It is ready."
"How long until we reach the right speed?"
"Ten minutes exactly. Much less if we didn't have thousands of metal crabs onboard."
THUMP. Gordon looked up into Alyx's worried eyes. He stood from his dazed slumber. Picking up his crowbar, he turned towards the windows.
They shattered inwards and the Advisors began to warp the metal even more, widening the holes.
Dozens of Synthcrabs rushed through the windows. Gordon swung once, twice, three times, but still they came. Alyx fired shots into the swarm, but nothing was slowing them.
The Doctor shouted, "Mr Freeman!". Gordon turned around and caught a shotgun/. He turned it around, fitted his hand into the grip and pulled the trigger.
A blast of shells ripped through the Crabs, carving huge gaps in the crowd. He pulled the trigger again, destroying another dozen.
The window gaps were wide open now, but there were no Advisors in sight. Gordon fired another round into the swarm. The remaining Crabs fled, scuttering out the windows, across the deck and into the cold ocean.
"What were those things?" Alyx panted, holding her side, "and where did they all go?"
Thump. Alyx walked over and gazed out into the night. Thump.
"How long Doc?" Alyx called over her shoulder. Thump.
"About five minutes! Let's pray this works!" Thump.
Gordon strode over to Alyx, pulling her away from the window. Thump.
"Gordon! What's wrong?" Thump.
He pushed her beind him as they backed away from the windows. Thump.
"Gordon. I want you to know that I lo-"
Four Advisors flew into the room, lifting the trio off their feet
"Gordon!" Alyx was pinned against a nearby console. The Doctor was suspended above her, unconsious. Gordon was himself pinned against a wall, the Advisors' metal claw holding him firmly in place. The fourth, larger Advisor floated between them, observing Gordon. The Advisor was darker than the others, his deep green skin glowing.
"Well." A voice spoke, seemingly telepathically to Gordon. It wasn't a single voice, however. It spoke with many voices, old and young, shrill and deep. It spoke with the voices of one million souls. "Saviour of Mankind? Messiah of the Rebellion? Leader of Humanity? But who leads the leader?"
"Gordon, what is he talking about?" Alyx struggled against her captor.
"Where is your master to save you this time, Doctor Freeman? The Vortigaunts try to help you, yes. But do they have the power to save you now? Call for your master. Call for him. He will come."
"Who Gordon? Who is he talking about?"
"Leave Mr. Freeman out of this." a familiar voice spoke, calm and controlled.
"He comes." The Advisor turned away from Gordon. The G-man stepped through the door, stopping to examine himself in a shard of broken glass.
"You know why we are here." The Advisor moved closer to the G-man. "You know what we require of you."
"I do." The G-man straightened his tie as he stared into the Advisors' eye. "You will not have him."
The Advisor recoiled, screaming in pain before the G-man's raised palm. "I am not a mutual friend to you, Arkand. Nor any of your other associates." The Advisor screamed again, falling to the floor, writhing in pain.
"Release them." The G-man spoke to the other Advisors.
They did not move.
"I said release them." The three Advisors spasmed, crying out. They fled out of the windows and into the night. The Doctor dropped to the floor as Alyx rushed over to Gordon. Their warm reunion was interruped by a smart, polished shoe tapping on the metal floor.
"Mr. Freeman. We have work to do." The G-man climbed out of a warped window, beckoning for Gordon to follow.
Alyx followed Gordon to the window. Gordon turned around.
"Gordon, I'm coming with you."
Gordon shook his head. Kissing her on the forehead, he climbed out of the window and up onto the roof.
The G-man stood, looking out into the distance. "You see how the ocean glows, Doctor Freeman. Can you explain that?"
Gordon shook his head.
"No, you cannot. Because you do not truly understand our enemies. To understand what they hunt is one thing. To understand why they hunt this is entirely different." He turned to Gordon. "They can not be allowed to have the technology this ship holds. Both time-travel and single-dimension teleportation are present here. If they capture it, the Earth - the Universe - as we know it, will be gone."
Gordon pointed to the ocean. The glow was slowly growing stronger.
"They come." The G-man gazed at the ocean. "They come at last."
Out of the ocean rose thousands of Advisors, all glowing with the same orange incandescence. The air pulsed with thought, a thousand streams of psychic energy flowing.
"Two minutes," came the Doctors' groggy voice over the loudspeaker.
A mental shockwave blasted from the rear of the ship. Out of the ocean rose a huge Advisor, glowing bright green. Water dripped from its colossal body, running through every wrinkle of its age-old skin. It bore no mechanical or electronic equipment, and seemed to float without support.
"Freeman." A single voice spoke, both beautiful and terrifying to behold. It boomed through the minds of all humanity, making even the boldest quake in their shoes. "It is time."
Gordon walked to the edge of the roof. The Grand Advisor extended a hidden limb. Gordon stepped onto it and was slowly raised up to look into the Advisors' eye.
Alyx struggeled up onto the roof, standing beside the G-man.
"Gordon Freeman." The Advisor gazed at him. "How could so small a creature create such a problem?"
You are aware that there is no way you can win. We have been on this planet for much longer than you. Much longer than your people. I have been here since the dawn of humanity, waiting for my people to contact me."
Is it your right to rule this planet? My planet? Is it your right to fight me, your true master? Is it your right to rebel against me? Is it your right to hide from me what should be mine?"
Gordon looked down at his crowbar. "It is our right to live." He swung the crowbar in a wide arc, plunging it into the Advisors' huge eye.
The Advisor roared in pain. Gordons' vision blurred under the sudden psychic rush. He held on to the Advisors' massive eyelash as the giant shook in pain.
"You have the right to die, Mr. Freeman!"
Gordon jumped. He fell through the sky, wind rushing past him. Below him, Alyx cried out, "Gordon!".
The deck of the Borealis rushed up to meet him. He felt bones break.
[User death imminent.] A computerised voice spoke in his ear.
"Gordon!" Alyx rushed through the door onto the deck. She pulled him into her arms, looking into her eyes. "Gordon..." she whispered.
They kissed. The kiss lasted a lifetime, bringing a shield between the above commotion and themselves.
A voice once again spoke in Gordons' ear. [Lifesigns improving].
The loudspeaker crackled, "Thirty seconds!".
"Gordon, can you walk?" Alyx gently pulled him to his feet.
The pair half walked, half carried each other to the bridge.
The Doctor was looking at his watch. "Five, four, three, two one-"
He stopped, frozen in time. The G-man walked in through the door, brushing dust from his suit. "Well said, Mr. Freeman. I see your friends are planning to return to the past to right the wrongs of the future." He gestured to the console housing the Capacitor. It read June 14th, 2002. "But that journey is not for you."
The surrounding area turned dark, until the G-man and Gordon were standing in empty blackness.
"It is time for you to move along, and right the wrongs of another ti-"
"He will not." a croaky voice spoke in the darkness. A purple vortiguant materialised. He appeared older, more weary than the others Gordon had seen. He was bent over, leaning on a walking-stick. "He has done his job. Let him live."
"It is not your place to say how I use him, Vortigaunt."
"Nor is it yours.."
"Gerthiant is growing in strength, Vortigaunt. He will be needed again."
"Not yet." The Vortigaunt turned to Gordon, "Come. She waits for you."