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Half Life: The Revolution

Chapter 1 Banner

As I walked down the crumpling sidewalk, I could tell. As I walked by an elderly lady crying over her dead husband, I could tell. The breeze seemed to carry the chill of death within it. As it passed by me once again, I felt a chill that reached my bones. I looked up at the tall, brick apartment building that stood in front of me. The building seemed new, to be sure, but already there were broken windows and bulletholes. The front door was missing entirely. Just more evidence of the Combine Brutality that came almost everyday for us civilians.

I stepped inside the apartment building, trying not to notice the body of a man who had been beaten to death by stun rods. As I rounded the corner that led to the stairs I bumped into a Combine Civil Protection Unit. I froze, staring into his reflective mask. Although they were apparentally "Civil Protection" they were like prison gaurds. They wouldn't let us leave the city, and they often randomly beat us for no reason at all---or, in some cases like this---they commit raids that often end up with the death of innocent lives. Coming back into the current issue, a bead of sweat came down my head. I expected the CP to hit me. His hand moved, and I winced. He pushed me out of his way.
"Citizen, move!" he said in his half humanish, half robotish voice. As he walked out the door into the decaying street I knew I had been lucky. I could have ended up just like the dead man, and for no reason at all. Other than the Combine's contempt for us pitiful humans.

As I reached my floor of the building, I grimaced as I saw that my shared apartment room was missing it's door. We were one of the rooms hit. At least I hadn't been there when it happened. I stood beside the door, afraid to come in and see a dead body.
"Anybody there?" I asks loudly, knocking wall. There was silence for a moment, but then I got my answer.
"Come in, John. All the CPs are gone." came a voice. I breathed a sigh of relief and stepped in. Then I breathed a sigh of frustration. Civil Protection had broken furniture and what little valuable items we had. I looked from the broken poker table to the trashed kitchen, then back to the center table, which remained in one piece. A fellow citizen and room-mate of mine sat on it, staring out through the window onto the balconey. I pulled up one of the few remaining intact chairs and sat beside him. As I glanced at him I realized he wasn't gazing at all---he was lost in thought.
"Jeremy, are you all right?" I asked. My friend did not answer, he merely blinked twice.
"Where's everyone else?" I asked. Jeremy looked at me this time.
"Nobody else was here except Gloria and I. She's---she's in the living room." he answered dully, returning his blank gaze to the balconey window. I got up and headed towards the door to my left, kicking a brocken piece of door out of my way. As I entered the living room, I glanced around as I began speaking.
"Yet another hit, eh Glori-OH MY GOD!" I screamed, wincing at the sight. Gloria was there, all right. But she, too, had been beated to death by Combine Stun Rods. Her face, which had once been perfect, was now covered in blood, frozen in an expression of pure pain. I was certain one eyeball was missing, but I couldn't look again. I just couldn't. I turned around to face Jeremy again.
"You didn't tell me she was dead!" I exclaimed angrily, kicking the broken piece of wood again. It snapped into two smaller halves. Jeremy seemed to snap out of his trance.
"Oh, er---I'm sorry, John. I was just---just thinking. It didn't help that a CP hit me with a stun rod over the back, either." he said. Once again, I sat down beside him.
"You know, Jeremy, we shouldn't have to take this. We shouldn't be beaten by the Combine by-daily, we shouldn't have to get raided at a random time each year." I said, frustrated. Jeremy's eyes seemed to clear up as he looked at me.
"Maybe," he told me, "we won't have to."

---

I was skeptical. I walked over to the fridge and opened it. A quart of milk, some stale cheese, a glass of milk, and some frozen ration-packs. I took the quart of milk and began pouring myself a glass, talking to Jeremy as I did so.
"What d'you mean we won't have to? Everybody has to. Except Dr. Breen, that ***hole." I said, drinking the milk.
"Not if we join the rebels." Jeremy replied. I spurted my milk out of my mouth and onto the wooden floor. dropping the glass of milk, I ran over to Jeremy.
"Lower your voice! If a Combine even HEARS about you saying that, they'll take you in for questioning---and you know what happens there!" I exclaimed. A lot of people were taken away for questioning. Nobody ever came back.
"John, don't you want to change the way of life for everyone? The so called 'Combine Security' here are just slowly killing us all. If we join the rebels, we'll have a chance to fight back and strike against our oppressors!" Jeremy's eyes glinted at the very thought. I was unsure. Rebels who were caught by the combine (which was rare, because most were shot on sight) were publicly tortured, with unfortunate passerby forced to watch.
"I don't know, man---it's...well, things could get better here!" I responded, unwilling to even think about it.
"Do you really think that?" Jeremy asked me. There was the crash of a door from upstairs, followed by several screams of the room's inhabitants.
"This is a raid!" came the yell of a Civil Protection Unit. Noises of breaking furniture and stun rods filled the air. The was the buzz of a stun rod, then the breaking of a window. We both looked in horror as we saw a woman plunge past our window and down five stories onto the pavement below. The sound of her body smacking, no---cracking as it came to a sudden stop in the pavement would haunt me forever. I looked over at Jeremy. He was still staring at me.
"Okay," I said, "Let's show the Combine Security what it feels like to be on the other end of the stick."


Jeremy and I exited the apartment. As we reached the bright outside area, I suddenly stopped and looked back at the building. I looked at it's already-crumbling bricks, to it's rows of windows, and to the area in front of me.
"This is probably the last time I'll see this building." I said. Living in the same environment for ten years, with random beatings and raids, were all that civilians did. That and get captured, sent of to World Relocation Colonies---a civilian's worst nightmare. Who knew what happened once you were teleported to a Combine Planet? I shuddered at the thought. Suddenly I realized I didn't care if I never saw the building again. All it resembled was hatred, pain and agony---and that's all that happened inside it, thanks to the Combine. Jeremy cut off my thoughts.
"Hurry up! My contact said we had to be at the old Falkenburg Bridge by three o'clock!" he exclaimed. As we walked along the sidewalk, and past the horrible body that had fallen from several stories, we began talking about the good old days.
"Remember what life was like before the 7 Hours War, man, without the Combine, There were no Citadel looming over us, or random beatings. That was the life." I said. I had been young when life was like that.
"And we could walk freely around the city, and we had friendly police officers---imagine, friendly CPs..." Jeremy sighed. There was no such thing as a friendly CP anymore, unless you were a Combine.

It was not a long walk to the old Falkenburg Bridge. Soon the crumbling old structure was in sight; it was an old stone bridge built before the Combines came. Chunks of stone were missing from the side, and the only thing that had been repaired was the road surface. I sat down on a bench right on the sidewalk in front of the bridge. There was nobody on the bridge. Jeremy leaned against the rail that stopped people from falling into the dank canals below.
"There you are! Get down here before Civil Protection spots us!" came a voice. A jumped out of my bench and ran to the side, where Jeremy was already climbing over the rail.
"Watch it when you jump down here, there's a lot of sharp stuff underneath the water!" the voice said again. It was coming from underneath the bridge, where I could not see due to the shadows. There was a gentle splash as Jeremy jumped down. I followed him, jumping down into the canal. The water was barely tall enough to raise over my shoe. The person stepped out of the shadows. He was wearing a rebel uniform, mostly greenish-blueish compelete with a Lambda Symbol on the right, to signify their loyalty to the Black Mesa. The person noticed my discomfort.
"You'll get used to the feeling. Sorry I don't have any spare boots for ya. Now come on, before a CP spots us down here!" the rebel turned as he spoke, advancing down the canal. Jeremy followed. Then another figure, a rebel, stepped out of the shadows and walked behind him. I jumped, having not noticed the person. Non-the-less, I followed behind him. The canals stank with the decay of junk that had been thrown down there. Hot, sick garbage bags floated in the water with much other junk, wooden planks and forgotten barrels. I did indeed get used to the watery feeling in my shoes, but everytime we passed near a flotation of junk, I almost passed out from the smell. It seemed to have the same effect on Jeremy.
"Always good to see more civilians joining the cause." the man in the front grumbled, pushing a barrel out of his way. Jeremy would have replied, but the smell of another junk flotation hit him, and he grunted as a responce.
"Yeah, if more people were like you, maybe we'd have a chance against the Combine. Who do they think they are, just coming down here and taking our planet." the man continued, his mood worsening. He walked recklessly ahead, realizing his mistake too late.
"Rebels sighted!" yelled a Combine from up above, outside of the canal.
"Oh sh*t, run!" the rebel in front of me yelled. Shots fired. The leading rebels yelled in agony as three bullets pierced his skin, draining him of his life. He fell, dead. Jeremy stood, stunned, before the combine aimed and fired at him. The remaining rebel dived at Jeremy, knocking him out of the bullet's path. They landed, sputtering, in the canals. Jeremy coughed off some odd coloured water before he was after the rebel and I, who had ran ahead already. Another combine joined the other, although I could not see them behind me. They opened fired. A bullet whizzed by my head. There was an underground section of the canal looming ahead, but it seemed so far---another bullet splashed the water by my foot. The rebel had a pistol and was shooting wildly behind him at an agle upwards. The bullets went nowhere near the combine; but the sounds of retaliation fire caused the combines to flinch.
"Almost there!" yelled the rebel. I smiled, for the first time in a long time. Then a bullet zoomed by me and hit the rebel straight in the back. We were less then 10 feet from the underground canal now. I grabbed the rebel before he fell and dragged him to safety, Jeremy arriving right behind me. The combines stopped firing once we were out of sight. The rebel coughed and sputtered up blood. It dribbled down his uniform.
"Oh man, oh man, you're dying!" Jeremy exclaimed. The rebel nodded, almost too weak to speak.
"Listen," he said, grabbing me by my shirt and pulling me forward, "you two need to head through the canals and meet up with my allies. Take the right passageway, and watch out for deep water. Here, take my pistol..." he said, coughing up blood again.
"We can take you with us! You'll make it! We need a guide!" I exclaimed. His head lolled to one side. He was dead.
"Damnit!" I yelled, punching the concrete wall behind him. A mistake, in retrospect. I yelled as a clenched my bloody fist. A helicopter sounded in the distance.
"Combine! They're gonna chase us, we've gotta get out of here!" I yelled, picking up the dead rebel's pistol. Jeremy grabbed the rebel's ammo pouch and handed me some clips. Then we both ran down the dark, smelly sewer, unaware that in the shadows, things were watching us. Things that knew we were now lost in the canals.

---

After nearly an hour of running exhaustedly down the endless canals, we finally met a split. The large canals seperated into two pipes, one that led left and another that led right. Both looked dark and creepy.
"He said to go right, so let's do it." Jeremy said, taking the lead. I handed him the pistol. The person in the lead would most likely be confronted first. Something was floating in the water ahead of us, but it was not the shape of trash or a barrel. As we loomed closer, I pulled out a small flashlight I had forgotten about in my pocket. In my panic, even when running through darkness, I had not remembered it. I turned it on and aimed it at the object.
"Sweet mother of---awh, that is sick!" I exclaimed. Jeremy took a step away from the digusting object, which was, in fact, a decayed corpse. There was no flesh, or so it appeared---it was all black and red, with fragments of skull showing. It appeared it was missing a leg.
"We have to walk past that thing?" Jeremy asked me, grimacing at the thought.
"Either that or running back to the combine, which are probably following us. Let's go." I replied, shoving him forward. We carefully stepped over the body, trying to ignore the horrible smell of rotting flesh. We both sighed in relief when we were passed the body and its smell.

We continued walking, my flashlight guiding our away as we walked side by side.
"I wonder who the person was." I said, speaking my thoughts out loud.
"I don't know, but all that really matters is that I hope some rebels find us soon. All we know is that we had to take the right path, and watch out for-"

Jeremy plunged into deep water. The pipe had warped a little on the right side, and constant water had made the lump run deeper---making the right side of the pipe very deep. There was an instant thrashing of water, and I grabbed for Jeremy's arm. It was swinging out of the water so quickly that I missed it the first time. Then I grabbed his hand and pulled him out. As he came out, he let out a scream.
"There's something in there, man!" he exclaimed, pointing at his leg. Part of the pants were ripped, and he had a long scratch down one of his legs.
"Maybe it was just something sharp." I suggested. He shook his head frantically.
"No, it was moving, as soon as I went in there I swear it slashed at me!" He told me. I helped him up, and grabbed the pistol he had dropped right on the edge of the deep water. I fired a shot down into the water.
"Let's walk on the left side, and hurry---whatever is down there might be able to travel on land too." I said. Jeremy nodded, walking along with me. Not half a minute later, as we were running along, there was a hellish groan from behind us.
"Oh..." Jeremy started to say, and I finished the sentence for him.
"Crap."

The groan had caused us to panic into a full fledged run. As I ran breathlessly down the curving pipe I prayed that I did not suddenly plunge into deep water. Then, suddenly, the pipe opened up to a small outside area, where the pipe had broken off. We stopped. There was a pile of rocks on each side, preventing us from leaving. Our only choice was to continue through the pipe, which was on the other side of a shallow stream. Light shined in from far above.
"Let's take a break." Jeremy suggested. I nodded.
"Jeremy," I said, "I don't think we're going to make it out of these canals."

Chapter 3 Banner 

As the stream trickled by beside my feet, as the dirty water continued its endless journey, I began to notice things. Things that did not make me feel comfortable. Every now and then, a red trickle of water would flow by. On some of the piled rocks were splattered blood stains. The stains did not seem too old, as the red colour was still a faily deep red. Jeremy seemed not to notice as he sat there; thinking yet again. I didn't believe we were going to escape the canals. The Combine would surely eventually catch up---or they would just leave us to die out here without our guide, to eventually have our corpses devoured by whatever was in the deep water.

"It was a mistake to come here," I said, gesturing with a stick I had found, "we don't know where we're going, or if we're being chased. We don't even know where we are or what's ahead! What the heck are we gonna do, man?" I exclaimed, throwing the stick into the stream. It splashed into one of those small trickles of red water, and it splashed water onto us. Jeremy and I stared at the object the stick had somehow flicked out of the stream. It was a severed finger, cut off where it would have connected with the hand. The finger hadn't started to decay that much; it wasn't even a day old.
"Let's keep moving." Jeremy decided, stepping up and backing away from the finger. I couldn't agree more. We clambered over some rocks and entered the pipe alone. After 20 seconds of walking it was already so dark ahead I had to use my flashmight while Jeremy held the gun. A stepped on something squishy and ignored it for two reasons. One, I was in a hurry just in case we were, in fact, being chased. And two, I was afraid of what it would be. God knows what's down here...

If I had known what was, in fact, down there at that exact moment, I probably would have shat myself.

---Meanwhile, in a Rebel Hideout---

"James and Reynold haven't radioed us yet. There were supposed to do it an hour or so ago. I'm getting worried." the rebel said to another on of her kind. The person who she had just talked to stroked his chin.
"This doesn't sound good at all. I'll check Combine Radio Chatter and see if they spotted him. Perhaps the the radio just did---or they got in some trouble with the sewer dwellers." the man said, walking into the next room to check up on the radio chatter. The rebel, Stacey, sat down on her chair again, checking the radio frequencies. Nervously she turned the knob on the radio slowly. There was nothing but static. The other rebel entered the room again. Stacy turned to look at him, and the expression on his face told him all she needed to know.
"I knew it. I just had a feeling something would happen. I'm going to the sewers. Now." Stacey said, grabbing her supply knapsack.
"Stacey, you can't! We have to go out in pairs, and I'm assigned to radio duty!" the man exclaimed. Stacey ignored him, putting on her coat. It could get pretty cold in the sewers.
"If they're still alive they'll still be down there. I've got to find them, Tony." she said simply, taking an SMG off of the rack and exiting. Tony watched her open the sewer hatched and jump down. After a minute he closed the hatch behind.
"God damnit..." he muttered.

Stacey advanced with causion. The sewers were never a safe place to be. The canals linked right to them, and both places were full of Xen creatures and Combine Manhacks. And, if a pursuit was in progress, Combine Soldiers and Civil Protection would be sweeping random sections with their assault squads. Stacey peeked around a corner. Seeing nothing, she turned around it. She advanced on the right side of a pipe, for she knew there was deep water on the left half. She advanced, firing a few bullets into the deep water to keep the hellish creatures down there from surfacing while she was near. Stacey rounded another corner and kept on moving. Staying in one place in the sewers was never a good idea; it gives your opponents a good opportunity to sneak up behind you. Stacey continued down the sewers in search of her rebel friends, hoping that they were alive. But in the back of her mind, she knew it was too late.

---

Jeremy and I had slowed our travelling pace down to a walk. We were tired and hungry, and the hopes of returning to the surface were quickly diminishing. We stumbled along, mumbling to ourselves about how much a bad idea this was, and how much we missed our crappy lives on the surface with the Combine.
"Greagh".
"What did you say?" I asked Jeremy, stopping and looking at him. He looked at me with a confused expression.
"I thought you said that, whatever it was you said." he told me, scratching his head. I nodded a big no.
"I didn't say anything that loud." I replied. We were both extremely confused now, until another noise came.
"Mleargh." came the sound. We both turned and looked in front of us in horror. Out of a deep water section came a long, bloody claw. It grabbed the floor and began pulling the rest of it out of the deep water. The claws came from a hand that looked as if it had once been human. Ripped pieces of flash hung loosely off of the bony hand, and the arm was full of rotted flesh and enlarged muscles that hung unprotected. I could see it underneath the shirt. Wait, a shirt!?! This thing was wearing human clothes! I recognized what it was from the stories I had been told. As the head surfaced I knew it was true. The head was covered by a headcrab, small little Xen creatures that had a huge mouth on their underbelly. They attached themselves to your head and turned you into a flesh-seaking zombie. You know, like the one that had just lifted itself out of the water.
"Holy ****." Jeremy muttered, in utter shock. The creature moaned a horrible moan from its decaying throat, and started creeping slowly and painfully towards us.
"Use the gun." I said to Jeremy, my eyes wide with freight.
"Ye...yeah, I'm on it." He replied. It was lucky the thing was moving slowly, otherwise we would have been dead already. Jeremy raised the pistol and aimed at the beasts chest. He fired one shot. The loud noise echoed down the hallway. I was blinded for a second or two by the muzzle flash, but when I looked at the zombie it was still creeping towards us, blood pouring from the bullet-wide hole in its chest. Jeremy fired again, and once more. The creature moaned in agony. It was now close.
"Back up!" I exclaimed, pushing Jeremy out of the way just in time. The beast swung one of it's huge, sharp claws, barely missing where Jeremy's throat had been but moments before. Jeremy fired one more, hitting the beast in the head. Having taken enough, it fell, dead.
"Man...that was crazy." Jeremy said, breathing heavy breaths of relief. I sighed.
"Next time, just pump the ****er full of ammo. But I think we were in shock---it almost got us, man." I grimaced at the thought of the sharp claws ripping the flesh to the bone, and the zombie devouring the rest of my flesh by eating it. I shuddered at the thought.

It was not long before more moans came. A lot more. Say, at least twenty constant moaners from behind us.
"Oh sh*t! There's a lot more of those damn things---where the cr*p did they come from!?!" Jeremy exclaimed, getting up and quickly moving ahead. I was not far behind. I didn't feel like waiting to see what twenty hungry zombies would do to me if I waited for them to catch up. The situation was bad. First we were just lost and starving. But now, the Combine were the least of our worries---because we knew there was a lot more than twenty zombies in the canals, and it was only a matter of time until they found us.

Chapter 4 Banner 

Goldensun put down the pitchfork and smiled as his friend Jimmy pulled up in his truck. Goldensun was a farmer hiding on the coastlines of Highway 17. He and his fellow villagers had succesfully established a town hidden from the Combine, which was quite rare. Goldensun himself had fought in the Seven Hours War as a pilot who had taken down many Striders on his five full hours of assigned combat. He was one of the five pilots to make it back out alive from the gigantic mechanized warriors, which pummelled everything to a flaming pulp with their Pulse Cannons. The thoughts of the human defeat in the back of his mind, Goldensun shook Jimmy's hand as the man got out of his beat-up truck.
"Jimmy! It's good to see you. How's your wife doing?" Goldensun asked. Jimmy smiled and said she was fine. Goldensun knew how truly lucky they were. If you stumbled upon a town safe from the Combine, it would be a once-in-a-life-time thing. Those who did stumble upon the small town of Sarem stayed there, eventually leading to the large growth of the town that had begun as a ramshackle hut on the cliffside. Jimmy pointed to the back of his truck.
"I've got some veggies for ya in there, 'got plenty to spare." He explained, walking inside Goldensun's open door to the house. Things were so casual with one's neighbors that they could just enter eachothers' house's even if the person was not home. In the opinions of the grown men, such friendly towns did not exist even in the days before the Combine came down onto Earth.

Back to the present, Jimmy had brought Goldensun news. Apperentally the One Free Man, more known as Gordon Freeman, had been seen in City 17. Gordon was a hero among every human except Breen. He had been in the Black Mesa Research Facility in New Mexico when the Resonance Cascade first took place and had succesfully fought his way out of it by himself, with aid from fellow scientists and security guards. He had then disappeared. Some had feared him dead---but Goldensun had always believed he had just gone into hiding. Whatever happened, Gordon Freeman was back now. No doubt the Combine would be worried about this---Freeman had quite the reputation. Jimmy sat down on Goldensun's old red couch, a beer in one hand. Goldensun sat down on the chair beside the couch.
"Wonder what Freeman'll be doin', ain't much places to hide in City 17, 'specially since that's Breen's Nest!" Jimmy exclaimed, taking a large gulp of his beer. Dr. Breen had settled in City 17 and made it his headquarters, establishing the legendary Citadel Tower. Goldensun thought about it.
"I think he'll prolly hide out with some rebels an' Vortigaunts." he guessed. Having never been in City 17, Goldensun had no idea how fierce the Combine Control was. Jimmy had come from a nearby city, and most cities were the same---a harsh life.
"Wish we had some vortigaunts here---could use some power supply instead of rellying on them crappy gen'rators---they're always crappin' out on us. Can't recharge my damn electro-tractor every time it happens." Jimmy grunted. Goldensun chuckled.
"Folks in the city have a lot bigger worries than that," he said, "so you should count yourself lucky."
Jimmy laughed.
"Haha, yeah. They have to worry 'bout the Combine. And us? Ain't never gonna be no Combine what find's this place." he exclaimed, raising his beer. That was exactly when all hell broke loose; Gunships sounded in the air above us and a town alarm sounded.

"Combine! It can't be!" yelled Jimmy, immediately getting up. Goldensun was in a moment of shock. Jimmy was about to run out to his truck to get his shotgun when a Gunship started opening fire on random houses. Large caliber bullets blasted through the windows, shattering them into thousands of pieces. Three of the bullets hit Jimmy through his torso, ripping large chunks of innards out and killing him instantly. His mangled corpse fell down in an expression of painful surprise.
"Holy ****!" yelled Goldensun, diving off of the seat not a moment to soon. A large bullet hole appeared on the seat where he had been but seconds before.
"Combine Insergeants! They're droppin' them in!" yelled a voice from outside. Goldensun scrambled for Jimmy's truck. He jumped over the back of it and grabbed Jimmy's shotgun, along with a case of shells.
"Combine motherf***ers!" yelled Goldensun, firing a few shots at the Combine Soldiers being lowered on ropes from the Gunships. The shotgun shells did not hit them from such a distance. Goldensun took a moment to glance around the town. Some of the humble houses were now on fire or at least some windows shattered, and were being battered by constant Gunship fire. Citizens and children yelled and screamed, running around in a panic. They did not know what to do; The Combine Soldiers had now landed. They fired their Assault Rifles at the citizens. A Combine Soldier was in close-quarters, he dealt out deadly whacks from the butt of his gun onto little children, killing them instantly. Some family members were hiding inside a well protected house. A Combine Soldier chucked a grenade inside a small hole and blew them into pieces. Goldensun was shocked at the sudden turn of events. He had never seen such brutality in all his life. He suddenly realized that a Combine Soldier was aiming at him from a relatively close distance. Goldensun quickly raised his shotgun and fired. The Combine was hit by most of the shells and fell, his torso ripped and battered by the deadly barrage of bullets. Most of the Combine were down in the main section of time---Goldensun's house was a further away from it, but up on a sandy dune hill. He had a good view of all the death, decay and destruction.

Getting in the truck, he started it with the keys Jimmy had left inside. He backed up swiftly, a vegitable sack falling out of the back of his truck. A bullet smashed through the windshield. Blood poured from some cuts on Goldensun's forehead that the shattering glass had caused. Yelling out a fierce swear, Goldensun swerved down a backroad as fast as the old truck would allow. Turning a sandy corner, Goldensun saw two Combine Soldiers blocking the road ahead of him.
"Engaging!" One yelled as it opened fire. Goldensun ducked low and continued moving forward. The Combines realized too late that he was not dead, and was not going to stop.
"Aaah!" the screamed as they were run over by the heavy treads of the truck's tires. Goldensun heared several cracks and a pop. Then he was speeding away, leaving behind two Combine corpses. Goldensun had no idea where he was going to go. He decided that the Highway was the safest choice, even though it wasn't very safe at all. Rollermines and some small Combine Patrols were dotted around the long, winding highway that was against the cliffs. But it was better than nothing. The Combine, too busy with the slaughter of the innocent humans, did not notice one lone truck slipping through a backroad. Goldensun knew it. He was the only human to make it out of that town alive.

His wife and daughter had been downtown when the Combine had attacked.

 

Arisham walked through the Combine Suppresion Field and put his stun stick down on the cold, silver metallic desk. Walking behind it, he sat down and turned on the supercomputer. Not taking off his skin-tight gloves, Arisham begin typing on the computer. Clicking a few buttons, he ordered a few of the Human Prisoner Packages to be shipped off to the Combine Homeworld. Chuckling as he thought of their fate, he logged of the computer, picked up his stun stick and exited the room.

Arisham was a Combine Civil Protection Officer. He had been on the frontlines since the initial Combine Invasion. Many of the front line Combine Invaders had lived, since the humans were slaughtered by the tall Striders and their Pulse Cannons. Arisham had enjoyed seeing the frightened expressions on his enemies' faces, then blasting the faces off. He was a murderer, and proud of it. Every Combine was. He was walking down one of the large corridors in the Citadel. Turning left into a room, he was confronted by the site of three other Combine Officers talking in a huddle. Approaching them, Arisham's suit beeped so that the others would acknowledge his presence. He was the lowest ranking officer in the room. All of the Combine Officers raised their heads.
"Arisham, what good timing you have." said one of the officers. Arisham nodded his head.
"Why am I so fortunate, D'lektar?" he asked. The Combine left their huddel and stood looking at Arisham as D'lektar briefed the officer.
"Arisham, we have lost contact with one of our small bases down on Highway 17. The last transmission we had was mentioning higher-than-usual headcrab and antlion activity. Command says their radio connection must be faulty, but we all know the truth. Breen himself has ordered us to investigate. We are not going to risk our lives over a small base. Arisham, I am ordering you to investigate. Take two Combine Soldiers with you. We will expect to see you back in two days. Take Gunship A-005-44."

Arisham was thinking hostile thoughts about D'lektar as he rounded up two Combine Soldiers. He knew he was walking into a base that would be overrun with enemies. 3 Soldiers sounded like a small force to deal with a base that had housed one hundred soldiers. Whatever had killed them all would surely be large in numbers. Time seemed to whiz by. Arisham and the two others, Ruski and Yuri, arrived that the shuttle port and got the Gunship Pilot to take them to the base. Time finally seemed to slow down when they were arriving. The three of them were in the ship's bay, ready to be dropped nearby the base. The intercom system fizzed as the pilot prepared to say something.
"Location objective reached. Prepare for deployment." came the monotone voice. Arisham and the others grabbed their repel ropes.
"Deploy." came the order. Arisham slid from the pressurized cabin into the cold night environment ouside, repelling down thirty-five feet from his rope. He landed easily, letting go of the rope and pulling out his SMG right away. Scanning the nearby area, he found no threat. They were on a slim road by the cliffside. On the other side of the road was a steep cliff leading down to the water. On the other, the cliff---but more importantly, the large entrance to a Combine Base sticking out of it. The blue metal, forged on the Combine Homeworld, could endure virtually anything. The doors entering the base, however, were made of regular metal. Noting the strategical flaw, Arisham signalled for his teammates to advance to the door and place a satchel charge. The gunship's rotors sounded off in the distance, finally going away and leaving total silence, except for the odd cricket chirp. Ruski placed a beeping satchel in front of the door whilst Yuri covered behind him.
"Satchel place. Everyone back up before it takes us out with the door." The Combine said, backing up. Arisham backed up with them, not wanting to be killed by something he had ordered to happen. The satchel beeped fast and faster, eventually ending with one long beep before it errupted in a massive explosion. There was a bright flash followed by a gigantic boom, forcing Arisham to look away or go blind. The boom brought instant heat to him, and he thought for a moment that he was still standing too close to the explosion and was about to die. Then the brightness and heat was gone, and he was able to look again. The front door was no more; it resembled nothing more than a few pieces of bent and melted metal along the ground. Flames spurted on the grass in front of the entrance. Arisham looked into the dark corridor ahead of him, thinking of all the enemies it was going to take him to. He sighed.
"It's going to be a looong day for us. Move in, stay sharp and watch your backs. Hostile environment." Arisham said, leading them into the place he least wanted to go.

His SMG raised, Arisham scammed the area as he slowly walked down it. The walls were long and tall, with no doors on either side. The dim lights ahead were barely working, sparking now and then. The darkness was a severe disadvantage. It would bug the headcrabs too, but Antlions can see just as well in the dark as in the day. And that said, they usually relly on vibrations more than sounds anyway. He paused, looking ahead. The corrider led on, but it split into two different hallways going left or right. The ventellation systems ran along the top of the hallway.
"When we get to the split, I'll go forward, Yuri will take right and you will take left." He said to Ruski. Ruski and Yuri beeped in aknowledgement. They advancement. Suddenly, there was a ripping of metal. Turning around, Arisham could only see a blurry object leaping down from the ventalations. He aimed his SMG.
"Yuri, look out!" yelled Ruski, pushing him out of the way. The object landed directly on Ruski, ripping his wrist open with a gnarly claw. Suddenly there were more noises behind Arisham. Firing the SMG on the creature on top of Ruski, he knew he didn't have much time to turn around before the enemies were upon him. Yuri had dropped his gun and was scrambling for it. The creature, dispite being shot by a full clip of Arisham's bullets, raised a claw and struck down on Yuri's head, ripping half the helmet off and digging into his brain. The death was instant. Fumbling with a clip in his ammo pocket, Arisham tried to pull it out. Suddenly something hit him from behind. A stinging pain hit his back as he realized something had stabbed into it. A claw. The creature had hit him so hard that he was knocked into the shadows on the side of the corridor, behind a lone box. As his vision faded, Arisham wondered whether he was just passing out, or dying.
"Too late now. Guess we'll find out." his consience said, as the darkness in his vision overcame him.
"...this can't be the end...not like this..." were his last thoughts. The only thing he heard before he completely faded out were Yuri's agonized screams, and the grunts of two creatures as they devoured him.

...

Visioned returned along with the agonizing pain. Arisham lay there for a moment, waiting for his memory to return. It came back in a horrible flash. He turned his head to the corridor. A creature was gnawing on Yuri, or at least what was left of him. It wasn't much. Arisham reached for his SMG, then realized it was across the corridor. Luckily Arisham always came prepared. He pulled out his stun stick. Silently getting up, he realized that the pain in his back had gotten worse. There was a blood puddle from where he had been laying. Ignoring the tremendous pain and sneaking up on the creature, he glanced both ways. The other creature was nowhere to be seen. Ruski's cadaver wasn't much unlike Yuri's, albeit it was a little less eaten. Arisham returned his vision to the back of the creature. It looked perfectly like a dead corpse, except it had no flesh. The face was almost completely gone, and the claws were extremely large. Arisham recognized it as a Fast Zombie. No doubt it had once been his Combine Brethren; but those days were long gone. Arisham raised his stun stick, ready to strike down upon the creature. As if sensing danger, the creature turned it's horrific head and looked right at it. At least, it seemed to. It didn't hey eyeballs. Not hesitating, Arisham brought the stun stick down right on its head with crushing force. The creature whirled back, screaching in pain. Arisham hit it on the side, then on the leg. A muscle fell out of the leg. Arisham finished the screaming creature off with one more hit to the head. It finally fell for the last time. Arisham sighed as he walked over to his SMG. He leaned down to pick it up, when he heard something from above him. From the vents. The other creature. It was too late to move.

He grabbed the SMG with one hand and chucked the Stun Stick up at the creature that was dropping down on him. The creature connected with the tip of the stun stick just before landing on him. It flinched, and when it hit him the claws did not hit. Arisham dropped the SMG when they fell to the floor. The creature blink it's one eyelid that was visible underneath the headcrab on top of it's head, and raised a gnarly claw. Arisham brought his hand up and grabbed it's arm to stop it from killing him. Using his other free hand, he punched it in the face. Once, twice, three times---then the creature got it's other hand free. He grabbed it in the arm in what became a struggle to stop it from ripping his face off. Arisham was amazed at how much strength the creature had in it's body. Arisham raised his knee and hit the creature in it's stomach, hurting the exposed muscles. The creature winced. He did it twice more, and instinct prevailed in the creature. It reached for it's stomach so that it could protect it from his knee. usign his free hand, he grabbed the SMG and pointed it, point blank, at the headcrab on top of the zombie's head.
"Nighty night." He muttered, shooting the headcrab off. The zombie slumped, finally dead. He pushed it off. Headcrab's controlled everything the zombie did. Without it, the body is dead. Sitting up, he caught his breath. He realized his suit was broken. He could not contact HQ with his radio. He walked towards Yuri's remains and grabbed the dead Combine's knapsack. He pulled out a large bomb. Setting a countdown timer, he threw it down the hall.
"Screw orders," he thought, "I'm just going to destroy the base. HQ can't tell me not to, I can't contact them. It's not my fault."

Twenty minutes later...

Arisham sat outside in the middle of the highway. Only flames and the cliffside were behind him now. It was cold outside. Arisham heard something and figured the Gunship was finally come to pick him. After a minute of listening, he realized the noise was on the road, and that now it was very close. Arisham heard it too late---the Gunship sounded in the distance. Something else was heading straight for him. He raised his SMG and shot at the large, dark object he identified as a vehicle. The vehicle, a truck, sped up and the driver ducked down. Arisham yelled in pain as he forced his back to arch as he jumped out of the way. Goldensun's truck sped by, just barely missing it's target. The gunship landed a minute later. Arisham got in it.
"Follow that target! Civilian resisting arrest!" he yelled to the pilot.
"Orders achknowledged." the pilot replied in his monotone voice. The Gunship raised, turned and chased after the new target.

Chapter 6 Banner 

Goldensun's truck was travelling at full speed. His foot was tired from pressing the gas pedal so much. Non-the-less, the Gunship was catching up at a fast rate. Knowing he had to do something drastic to save himself, he thought of a plan. The Gunship was going to open fire any moment now, it was in range. The highway stretched on for a while, and a turn on the road was too far away---the Gunship would have an easy target. To his right, the cliff. To his left, a long drop into water. Goldensun sighed, realizing his only chance for survival was a slim one. Slamming on the breaks, he spun his truck to the side. Time seemed to freeze for a second as he careened over the edge.

---

Arisham laughed when the truck unexpectedly veered off the road, plunging into the icy water below.
"There is no way the suspect could have survived that," he said to the pilot, "head home."
The pilot said nothing for a moment, then replied.
"We just recieved a message from Sergeant Alloc. We are to meet up with him near the entrance to Sewer GA-51." the monotone voice said. Arisham sat back in his seat. Sergeant Alloc was Arisham's gene-brother, raised in almost the same batch of genetic DNA. A few genetic alterations had resulted in the rank change of a petty officer to a Sergeant.

---

It was not a long trip to Sewer GA-51, which stood for Gate 51. The gunship dropped him out on a repel rope, and Arisham splashed as he landed in half a foot of brownish water. He trudged over to his brother, he was leaning against the large pipe entrance into the sewers.
"Hello, brother." came the voice from underneath the standard Combine helmet. Arisham beeped in responce. His brother stood up, drawing his SMG.
"The are some Civilian Escapees in this section of the sewer. Our orders are to eliminate the targets with due haste under Code 33-B." Alloc said, saluting to his brother. Arisham returned the salute, reloading his SMG.
"I've already been wounded once today. I used a Med-Pack on the Gunship. Let's stay cautious, if the rip on my back is opened again, I would be disabled from combat. You know the code---you'd have to leave me behind. And the sewers are full of Xens, Zombies and now and then a rebel or two." Arisham said, thinking about how little a chance he would have to survive if he was actually left behind. His brother entered the dark, large sewage pipe.
"As long as you cover my back, I'll make sure nothing happens to yours." he said.

---

John and Jeremy were still running through the pipeline, John waving the gun ahead as Jeremy directed the flashlight ahead of them. The beam of the flashlight had gotten so dim it almost didn't help. Jeremy was pointing to the left when it fizzed and went out. Nearly complete darkness surrounded the two.
"Well, this is perfect." John sighed. Jeremy threw the flashlight into the water in frustration.
"No polluting these pipes!" came a voice. John and Jeremy spun around. A light beam hit them in the eyes, and they blinked rapidly. The light searched over them.
"Civies in the pipes? Where's James and Reynold?" asked the female voice. The light shoned on the figure. It was Stacey.
"Dirkam and---oh, the other two rebels. They---they didn't make it." Jeremy said sincerely. Stacey moved the light away from her face. Silence reigned for a few minutes. Suddenly a large object erupted from the water and groaned. Stacey raised her SMG and shot it in the head a couple times. It fell back down.
"You made that look pretty easy." Commented John. Stacey wiped a tear from her face.
"James and Reynold were two great rebels. It's a shame those Combine got to them before I could help---listen, you boys are lost. I'll take you back to the rebel hideout. It's in the direction I came from." she said, passing them each a piece of bread. Since John and Jeremy hadn't eaten for a long time, it seemed they just vanished into their mouths. As Stacey turned around, something splashed in the tunnel far ahead. Stacey crouched and pointed her SMG at the sound. Jeremy raised his pistol. Tony suddenly rushed out at Stacey, breathless.
"Combine! Two of 'em! Heavily armed! We've gotta move!" he yelled, pushing her backwards so that she was facing the other way. The four of them started running in the opposite direction of the Combine.
"How far are they behind us?" Stacey asked Tony as they continued running. Tony glanced behind him.
"Not far! They saw me and fired at me! They'll be turning around the corner in a few seconds---quick, turn left here! It goes into an underground storage facility full of boxes." he said. As the group turned the Combine turned around the corner and fired down the pipe at them. A bullet whirred by Jeremy's head. Suddenly their environment went from a dank, smelly pipeline to a well lit, dry storage facility with plenty of boxes everywhere.

The only problem was that there was no way out, except going back on out to the Combine. Their only choice was to stand and fight. And that wasn't much of a choice at all.

Tony pushed a box in front of the door.
"Everybody, find something behind a box. John, take this pistol. I've got my SMG right here, I'll be fine. Now everyone has a weapon. Take places, quickly." he ordered. He crouched behind a box to the right of the door, his gun at the ready. Stacey, John and Jeremy were all crouching behind boxes, holding their weapons tightly. John could feel his heart pumping. He cocked his gun, pointing it at the door. Seconds ticked by...more seconds...a bead of sweat rolled down his head. Jeremy breathed out heavily.
"Any moment know." muttered Tony. Stacey pinpointed her aim towards the door.

Then there was a flash followed by a huge boom. The door, and the box pushed in front of it, seemed to disintegrate into millions of tiny pieces which flew through the air. Tony yelled as a wood chisel hit his arm. The small explosion at the door threw heat at them; Jeremy covered his eyes from the bright light. Before they had time to recover the two Combine Units were at the door.
"Engaging!" came their near-robotic voice. Tony raised his gun. Stacey fired. The Combines opened fire. The box in front of John was torn in half. He screamed as a bullet hit him in the stomach. He fell over the box and crumpled to the floor. Stacey, Jeremy and Tony opened fire. A bullet pierced through Arisham's armour, he grunted as it entered his left arm, throwing his aim off. The flinch had saved Jeremy's life. Jeremy dived behind another box, firing as he leapt in midair. Stacey ducked back behind her box, reloading. Tony finished off his clip, ducking behind a box. The Combines pushed a box in front of them, crouching behind it. Arisham fired three bullets at the box Stacey was behind. There was a ping from inside the box. Whatever was in the box would be sufficient to protect her from their bullets. Stacey returned fire, firing a few rounds quickly. Arisham ducked back behind the box just in time; a bullet whirred by where his head had been a second before. Tony grunted as he removed the large wood chip from his arm. Alloc fired towards the direction of the noise. A resulting scream told him he had hit his target---Tony had been shot in the back when the bullet pierced through the box.
Jeremy had stood up and aimed while Alloc was looking the other way. He pulled the trigger. A clicking noise came from his gun, but nothing happened. He ducked back as Arisham fired in his direction. Tony grunted as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a pistol clip. He threw it towards Jeremy's box. It fell behind it, and Jeremy reloaded. Stacey fired a full clip at the box, forcing Arisham and Alloc to duck. As they went to retaliate Jeremy fired at them. Arisham got hit again, but his fierce armour took the hit. Tony winced as he heaved himself up against the box. A puddle of blood remained on the floor where he had been sitting. He fired without looking in a three bullet spread as he made a leap towards another box. Alloc fired at him but missed. Stacey had reloaded again; she fired at the box, ripping part of it off. Arisham was now visible even when he crouched. Jeremy fired but ducked when Alloc unleashed a full twenty bullets his way. Tony and Jeremy's boxes were now right beside eachother. Tony fired a bullet over the box without raising his head. It hit the roof. Arisham returned fire, hitting Tony in the arm. Tony yelled in agony.
"I'm a goner. That was it, I'm passing over the edge." he grunted, getting up. He leapt on top of the box and jumped towards the Combine, firing wildly from his SMG. His final run was cut short when Alloc fired while he was leaping. Tony fell, his eyes glazing over as his final breath left his body. His chest heaved, and then he was still. Alloc ducked back behind the box as Jeremy fired at them. Stacey's gun had jammed, it was useless. She did not carry a backup weapon. Jeremy fired again, ducking as Arisham returned fire. Alloc ran to another box whilst he was being covered. He aimed towards the roof and fired. A wooden beam from the roof came crashing down, hitting Jeremy in the head. Jeremy grunted, stood still and then toppled over, knocked out by the trauma to his head. Arisham and Alloc left the cover of their boxes, knowing Stacey wasn't returning fire for a reason. Arisham stepped over John's body and cocked his assault rifle. Alloc followed suit, knowing the noise would cause Stacey discomfort. They knew they had won the fight.

Stacey put her SMG down silently, thinking quickly. She had no guns left. Her allies were either dead or incapable of fighting. The Combine were about to walk around her box and shoot her in the face.
"It can't end like this." she muttered, patting down her suit for anything. She felt something in one of her vest pockets. She pulled out a grenade. She heard John grunt, barely alive. If she threw the grenade, it could take out the Combine---but it would kill John. She held it in her hand, trying to decide. Time was running out. She still hadn't decided. Arisham was close to her box now. This grenade was her last chance. Grimacing, she unpinned the grenade and waited a second. Heaving herself up with the last of her adrenaline, she threw it with all her force directly at the Combine behind Arisham. Raising their assault rifles, both of them didn't realize what had happened until too late. Arisham was diving out of the air. Alloc was staring at the grenade that had rolled to his feet. Then he seemed to be ripped into pieces as the explosion was triggered. John's body disappeared in the bright flashes. There were several large crashes as things were thrown against the wall and other boxes. Stacey ran to the box where Jeremy was slumped on the floor, the wooden beam still on his head. She pushed it off his head and took the pistol.

The grenade had done its job. Neither the Combine or John could be seen. Alloc's arm fell off of a nearby crate and landed with a sickening thud. Stacey ignored it and walked over to her fallen friend Tony. She kneeled, taking some pistol clips from his vest. He shut his open eyelids and stared at him for a second. Then she stood up. But there was nothing to do but wait. Wait for Jeremy, her one remaining ally, to awaken.

 

Jeremy came back to his senses. In this case, his sense were detecting pain all over his body. It felt like a cactus was jabbing all around his head. He moaned loudly, trying to sit up. Failing to do so, he wearily fell back down to ground. Stacey ran over to his side.
"Stay down for a minute. You've been hit in the head by a large wooden beam. I was worried you were braindead for a while there." she said. Jeremy groaned again as he moved his neck.
"Eugh..." was all he managed to say. In a few minutes, he was able to talk.
"Where's John? I saw him go down, but I know he wasn't dead." he said. Stacey looked away for a moment, then their eyes met once again. She turned. avoiding his gaze.
"He's...he's gone now." was all she managed to say. Jeremy's voice raised a notch.
"Gone? What do you mean? Gone to check for more Combine?" he asked. Stacey shook her said, even though she was facing the other way.
"No. Gone to a better place. I...he...well...he...he's dead, Jeremy. I'm sorry."

Jeremy could not believe it. They had been friends since they had met as children. When in City 17 they had moved in together. When one was in trouble, the other would help. After all their hardships together, he was dead. Just like that.
"This is all my fault," Jeremy exclaimed, "I was the one who got him to go with me---it's my fault he ended up down here."
Stacey shook her said.
"It's nobody's---well, it's mine---but---erhm...wait, Combine...we've gotta go, Jeremy. No doubt they'll be looking for us now that the two Combines are dead, and their suits sent the death signal to the Citadel!" she exclaimed. She helped Jeremy off of the floor. Jeremy wiped a tear of off his sore head.
"May I see the body?" he asked. Stacey moved to the door.
"I didn't see it, I think it flew behind some boxes over there. Jeremy, we can't waste any more time! Let's go! It's either move now or end up like Tony and John." she said, waving his SMG frantically. Jeremy nodded, sighed, and reloaded his pistol.
"Let's go." he said, exiting through the door.

Jeremy and Stacey were running through the sewers. Stacey opened up a small electronic device while they were moving. Glancing to his side, Jeremy noticed the small device.
"What's that?" he asked as he jogged beside her. Stacey pressed a button.
"It's a RGPS. Rebel GPS. Undectable to Combine Electronics Detectors. Seems the sewers exit a little up ahead, into a warehouse district. Let's move!" she yelled, running ahead. Jeremy caught up with her, relieved to know that he could finally leave the sewers. The place had been hell, bringing only pain and sorrow to all those who entered---but at least Jeremy was alive. Shaking the sad thoughts of death away, Jeremy turned a corner and gasped. There was light glaring through the ending of the pipe towards him.
"You didn't say the exit was THAT close!" he exclaimed happily. As his eyes adjusted to the light, Jeremy saw what was outside. It was daytime out, the pipe led to a dirt path. It led directly to a large warehouse. Either side of the area was a cliff-face.
"Looks like the warehouse is our only option. No doubt there will be some Combine guards, so follow me and stay silent." Stacey said, running out of the pipe. Jeremy ran out behind her, smiling at the sun. He had forgotten how wonder it was to feel the breeze. To smell clean air. To feel natural heat pounding against your back. His feet, completely soaked by dank sewer water, would soon dry.

More importantly, Stacey and Jeremy arrived at the entrance to the Warehouse. It was a large steel door.
"Dammit, I wasn't expecting it to be locked. If I blow the lock, the Combien will hear us." Stacey said, almost pounding the door in frustration, then realizing that even that would alert a guard. Jeremy winked.
"Here's a trick I learned on the streets of City 17 a long time ago." he said to her. Running back to a chain link fence they had passed earlier, he got Stacey to hand him a knife. he cut out a small piece of the chain link and ran back to the gate. He warped and fiddled with the chain link piece for a few minutes, then there was a click as the tiny piece of fence unlocked the lock. Jeremy opened the door.
"After you!" he said cheerily. Stacey grinned and then put her finger over her mouth, signalling for silence. Jeremy followed her into the dark warehouse...

---

Goldensun awoke. The tide had sent him into some small beach on the cliffside. And it was truly small---barely 5 feet wide. He coughed up water, rolling over. He glanced up the narrow beach. It led into the cliff---it was a cave. Goldensun closed his eyes. He felt tired---so tired. His muscles did not feel like doing anything, and neither did he. He coughed up more water. He was alive. He was amazed that he had lived through the ordeal. His truck had plunged into the water, and he was going to open the door and swim to the surface. Except he did not know that the laws of physics effected things. As soon as any vehicle door is underwater, it can not be opened unless extreme force is used. Extreme force not found in a single person. Goldensun's truck was full of water. He could not get out. He was trapped. Bubbles of air escaped from his mouth as he screamed. He kicked the windshield. Nothing happened. He kicked it again, then again, then again. Finally, a crack appeared. The truck was sinking even further now. He kicked it once more. The windshield cracked and a small hole opened. One more kick was all it needed. The truck hit the bottom of the lake. He kicked the windshield, finally breaking it. He swam out. He was out of air. He swam towards the surface that was so, so far away. Darkness reached the corners of his eyes. His arms seemed to give up. His eyes widened for one moment before darkness had enveloped him entirely.

Reflecting upon this, he was amazed that he had lived through such an ordeal. He tried to sit up, but his body was not yet ready. He coughed up some water.
"Looks like you tried to drink the entire sea there, human! There you go, give some of that water back!" came a deep voice from the darkness of the cave. Goldensun could only watch hopelessly, unable to move, as the figure moved towards him.

---

Stacey and Jeremy stopped behind a large pile of boxes. The warehouse had prooved to very large and very confusing. Stacey estimated that they were somewhere in the middle. It was dark inside, with the only lighting come from lighposts inside, There was no windows to provide light from outside. Stacey and Jeremy were about to start moving again when there was some kind of noise from far to the right. Stacey and Jeremy ducked low.
"Stay here." said Stacey, moving ahead. Jeremy sat back against the box, his pistol at the ready, in case a guard came along.

There were two more muffled noises. Jeremy held the pistol up. Then there was silence. Jeremy stayed still for a few seconds, then glanced behind him. There was nobody there. He returned his gaze to where Stacey had left. He waited a minute. Then, unable to wait any longer, he got up and crept towards where the noises had come from. He moved behind a box. There was a small clearing ahead of him, where there were no boxes. Stacey was there. With two Combines standing over he fallen body. The Combine had pistols, but they had used stun sticks to subdue their opponent. Stacey had been knocked out. Jeremy blinked a bead of sweat out of his eye. One of the Combine Guards moved his head up, looking at the other guard.
"This intruder is a notified rebel; I'll call Headquarters and prep for the executional order. You make sure she doesn't wake up." the Combine said. The other Combine hit her with the stun stick. For a second the air was full of a large stinging noise.
"This rebel won't be waking up for a while now." chuckled the Combine. Behind him, Jeremy took aim of his pistol, his hand shaking. The Combine's head appeared in his pistol's sight. Then it was out of it. Jeremy flinched and the pistol whipped too far to the right again. He moved it to the left, but it was too high. He lowered his gun, trying not to breath heavily. The Combine did not notice him, but he had to make his move soon. The second Combine called out from further away, out of view.
"Command recognize. Permission to execute has been granted. Orders are to be done with extreme haste." the voice said. The Combine near Stacey chuckled, putting his stun stick away. He was reaching for the pistol in his utility belt. Jeremy raised his pistol, attempting to aim. The Combine heard him, turning in his direction. The Combine had his pistol out. Jeremy fired, closing his eyes. There was a large, odd sound and then another shot fired, from the Combine.

...

Jeremy opened his eyes. The Combine was dead, shot in the heart. The other Combine was slumped on the floor, bleeding heavily and not moving. Jeremy advanced, wondering how this happened. Sudden realization came to him as he examined the seen. Jeremy had shot the other Combine while he was raising his gun. The Combine must have accidentally fired, and it had hit the other guard. Jeremy fired another shot, killing the second Combine.

Ten minutes later, Stacey was once again ready to advance, although she had a headache. And so, they advanced further into the warehouse.

Or was it a warehouse?

Chapter 9 Banner 

"Wake up, my human brethren, for the time of vengeance is upon us!" the deep voice kept saying. Goldensun's head was whirring. But at least he was still alive. His head pounded, the last thing he wanted to do was open his eyes.
"I know you are consience, human. Answer to your call." the voice said. Goldensun opened his eyes, gasped, and quickly shut them. It appeared as though some kind of strange alien, with a big red eye, was staring at him. A voice from his right chuckled.
"It doesn't look like he's seen a Vortigaunt before, eh Trunnas?" the voice said, with a hint of humour behind his voice. Goldensun could tell that the voice came from a human. Opening his eyes and staring at the alien standing over him, he spoke to it.
"If you're gonna kill me, get it over with." he said. Both the vortigaunt and the human chuckled.
"Your time is not now and when you die it shall not be because of me, human. We are none but your friends and allies for the journey ahead of us, the vortiguant race and the humans." the alien said, standing to its full height, which was quite a lot. It's long arms stretched, and the vortigaunt turned to the other human, who was in a rebel uniform.
"I have to charge the karts, you brief the human, Carl." it said, walking out of the room, which was, in fact, part of a cave lit up by lights from the roof. Goldensun stood up and leaned against the rock, shocked and exhausted.
"Those...those things, the vortigaunts, are on our side?" he asked in disbelief. Carl chuckled, tossing Goldensun a pistol and quite a few clips.
"Yes, the vortigaunts were once against us, being mind-controlled for us of the Combines. However, the link is broken with the Nihilanth has been broken for some time now, thanks to Mr. Freeman. You have arrived at quite a unique time, sorry I could only get you a pistol, but we are about to embark upon a large battle with the Combine, Mr...?" Carlos said, gesturing towards Goldensun.
"Just call me Goldensun. And if it's a fight against the Combine, it's a fight I want to be in. Lead me to it." Goldensun said, cocking his gun. Carlos chuckled again, leading to the one exit of that small cave room.
"No problem, Goldensun. Follow me up this flight upstairs to the outside section." he said as he climbed the stairs. Goldensun could not hold a gasp of amazement as he took a step outside. They had entered onto the top of a long, long stone wall, with hundreds of rebels on top of it, ready to charge. They were all checking their equipment, checking the radar, talking or scanning the horizon for threats. The vortigaunt Trunnas had returned from charging the karts. Goldensun could not help but comment to him, "When I look at you I feel both afraid and safe at the same time". The vortigaunt turned to him.
"Far distant eyes look out through yours, my friend. Let us hope your eyes are not closed forever in the upcoming fight."

"Danger, Combine attack ship imminent. Threat level 5, enemies closing in. RPGs at the ready!" came the yell from the commander. All the rebels ducked low, and many with RPGs took aim. Goldensun crouched.
"We're just sitting here, waiting for the Combine to attack?" he asked, nudging Carl. Carl winked.
"The Combine have a strong urge to kill humans quickly. We're a trap. We've got rebels hidden all along the cliffsides around us, and a few hidden in boats down by the water, just in case. After we're done here, we're off to the city, Goldensun. You see, for once, we're not just making a stand. For the first time in seven years, we're pushing back."

"Fire, now!" yelled the commander. The Combine dropships were close now, their cargo all clutching their weapons at the door, ready to be dropped out. The RPG Rebels fired, some dropping their RPGs from the kickback. Their was a deafening boom as some of the grenades hit their targets, sending the dropships crashing to the ground in a blur of smoke and fire. Screams were released into the air. Some of the dropships were missed, however, and the Combine soldiers landed, firing their assault rifles. More screams ripped through the air as the Combine Elites found their targets. An assault beam whirred by Goldensun's head. The rebels were shooting down from the wall at the charging Combines below. Screams came from both sides as the wounded quickly became the dead. Suddenly, the RPGs from the cliffside had reloaded and sent thier messengers of death rocketing towards the Combine. The grenades exploded at the feet of the combines, and debris killed some others. The combine were beginning to realize that they were losing, something they were not used to. They renewed their onslaught despite their losses. One combine fired two shots and killed a rebel five feet away from Goldensun, who was pumping bullet after bullet out of his pistol.

Then it was over.

The last Combine toppled over, dead, onto the body of his comrade. It had been a slaughter. The Combine Elites white uniforms littered the destroyed ground, with crashed dropships and RPG craters around.
"Bag and tag the dead, then we're moving off to City 17!" Carl yelled out. Goldensun turned to Trunnas.
"Are we really going to the big city? To fight Breen himself?" he asked in disbelief. Trunnas turned to him again.
"Of course, my brother. This is The Revolution."