Nov. 12th, 2012

acts_of_gord: (bloodletting)
It's gone, all of it. All of them. Greenbrier, Rowlesburg, all of it, as gone as White Forest. They fought their way through the Overworld and they all died but for Gordon, and all for nothing, it's all gone-

A sudden CRACK! of pain so intense it seared his optic nerves blew Gordon's thoughts apart. When he caught his breath next he realized it had been a distinctly physical pain. That it still was- his head was throbbing all down the right-hand side, where it'd smashed into the inside of his helmet.

He blinked, and looked up. An incredibly haggard-looking Barney Calhoun was standing to his left, Gordon's own crowbar in his hand.

"What-"

"Those Combine things're way too good at getting inside our heads," Barney said, his voice muffled by his protective gear. He held Gordon's crowbar out to him. "This was the only thing that'd break through whatever mojo they got going."

"... you hit me with my own crowbar, Barney," Gordon felt obliged to point out.

"Wasn't my idea. Professor Nimnul there-" Barney jerked a thumb over his shoulder; Gordon squinted through the smoke and shadow, and caught sight of Floyd Mason's form crouched nearby. "-did the same thing to me. Everyone else's gone- activated their teleporters, far as I can tell."

"Even the-" Gordon gestured, indicating something shorter than adult height.

"Those gray kids? Yeah, them too. And Shephard." Barney's tone was grave. "It's just you, me, and Mason left."

Gordon grimaced. "Help me up," he said. Barney nodded and reached out a hand to pull him to his feet. "What happened to the Adepts?"

"They fell back, Doc," said Floyd, not turning away from his watch for a moment. "Can't say how far, but they didn't look like they were going towards the Overmind. Guess that's a little good news."

"It's something," Gordon admitted. "We should get moving, before they change their minds."

"Give it a second," said Floyd. "No offense, Doc, but Mr. Calhoun here kinda put a dent in your helmet."

"Had to, Gordon," said Barney with a trace of embarrassment. "You weren't coming out of it any other way."

Gordon thought for a moment of the crushing, absolute certainty of failure that'd flooded every atom of his being, and shook himself off like a wet dog. "It's okay," he murmured. "It worked."

"Figured you'd say that."

He held up a finger, looked to Mason. "Question," he said. "You. You hit Barney, he hit me- how'd you break free of them?"

"Uh-"

"Yeah, Floyd," said Barney. "Considering what we're going through, it could be important."

Floyd fidgeted. "It's stupid. It doesn't matter. Let's just-"

"Floyd," said Gordon, and fixed him with a Look.

"Okay! Okay! The Combine things were trying to flood our minds with everything we were afraid of and I tend to try and kill things that scare me, all right? Have you ever tried killing seven thousand identical copies of Sister Mary Katherine? After about the first thirty or forty of them it's just not scary any more, okay?"

"... you're afraid of nuns, Mason?" said Barney incredulously.

"One nun. Just that one. My high school principal." Floyd scowled. "Look, she was really scary, okay?"

Barney snorted, and Gordon rolled his eyes, but it was enough. Without a word the three of them picked up their weapons and kept moving.

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Gordon Freeman

December 2012

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