“Rise and shine, Mr. Freeman. Rise and shine. Not that I wish to imply you have been sleeping on the job. No-one is more deserving of a rest. And all the effort in the world would have gone to waste until... well, let's just say your hour has come again. The right man in the wrong place can make all the difference in the world. So, wake up, Mr. Freeman. Wake up and smell the ashes.”

It is the year 2020 and the Earth is presided over by the Combine, an alien race of extra-dimensional conquerers. They first arrived nearly 20 years ago, after what is now called the "Black Mesa Incident", and succeeded in defeating the combined armies of Earth in the Seven Hour War. They now control nearly everything, and anything not under their domain is probably overrun by various alien life-forms who came to Earth with them. Humanity, or what’s left of it, has been herded into various major metropolitan centers (creatively known as City 1, City 2, and so on) where they go about their drab daily lives, forever at the mercy of abusive Civil Protection security officers and the biologically-augmented transhuman military forces known as Overwatch. Meanwhile, the Combine drains the world’s water, ravages the planet’s resources, and turn anyone who resists into Stalkers—humans modified into nigh-mindless servants.

There is one spark of hope however. Despite the Combine’s best efforts, there is a Resistance. Made up of a rag-tag and motley collection former soldiers, police officers, scientists, and general citizens, they hole-up in out-of-the-way places where they train with captured Civil Protection and Overwatch munitions, research new technologies, and do their best to fight back. But, the greatest threat to the Combine might just be Doctor Gordon Freeman. A graduate of MIT with a degree in theoretical physics, Gordon was an employee at Black Mesa’s highly secure research facility when the aforementioned "Black Mesa Incident" happened.

The "Black Mesa Incident" occurred during a supposedly routine examination of a test sample in the Anomalous Materials sector of the Black Mesa complex. Doctor Freeman, dressed in his Hazardous Environment suit (or HEV suit) placed the test sample in the scanner, then watched as a “Resonance Cascade” ripped open a space-time portal between Earth and the alien world of Xen. This resulted in the destruction of the Black Mesa facility by a American military nuclear strike, but not before the Combine noticed (and exploited) the space-time rift. As for Doctor Freeman, he not only fought his way free of the facility, but entered the world of Xen and defeated several foes there. These actions brought him to the attention of the highly mysterious (and almost certainly not human) G-Man, who offered Dr. Freeman a choice: death at the hands (and claws) of various aliens, or to work for the G-Man as a troubleshooter. Gordon, not wishing to die just yet, agreed.

The G-Man put Dr. Freeman in stasis and kept him there, unaging, for twenty years. He then woke Dr. Freeman and placed him on a train traveling to City 17, the de-facto ‘capital’ of Earth due to it being the residence of Doctor Wallace Breen, the Administrator of Earth. Breen was appointed Administrator after negotiating the surrender of Earth to the Combine after the planet was ravaged by a series of “Portal Storms” (an after effect of the the Resonance Cascade) and the Seven Hour War. Breen truly believes (or seems to believe) that the Combine are here to help humanity transition into the Universal Union and seems to feel the deaths of anyone who doesn’t agree was acceptable losses in the face of humanity’s advancement.

While all of this is going on, the Combine begins to modify the Earth for new residents. As mention, vast amounts of water have been drained away, while any water left is laced with chemicals meant to make the drinker forget the past—all the better to make humanity more compliant and docile. the Combine has also erected Suppression Field which inhibit procreation—meaning the current generation will be the last generation. And finally, the Combine operates a research facility at Nova Prospekt, where they strip human minds of any useful information and knowledge before sending them off to be converted into Stalkers.

Gordon, for his part, not only manages to avoid Breen’s Civil Protection and Overwatch forces, but also shuts down Nova Prospekt, and destroys the City 17 Citadel, the primary Combine base on Earth. But Earth isn’t saved, not by a long shot.

Half Life 2 Weapons List | Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator | Civil Protection | Combine Overwatch | Combine Gunship | Combine Hunter | Combine Strider | Antlion, Soldier | Antlion, Worker | Barnacle | Headcrab | Headcrab Zombie | Fast Headcrab | Fast Headcrab Zombie | Poison Headcrab | Poison Headcrab Zombie

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