acts_of_gord: (eyebrows up)
[personal profile] acts_of_gord
There was a knock at the door. Gordon carefully set his soldering iron down- it wouldn't do to mutilate the circuitry Alyx had asked him to work on as part of her attempt at distributed repairs on PIaDOS- and leaned over to flip the locking mechanism off. He didn't recognize the grey-haired, Southeast Asian-looking man peering in at him, but he didn't wear Resistance blues; Australian, then. "Dr. Freeman?" the man said. "Hope I'm not interrupting."

Gordon shook his head. "Nothing that can't wait," he said. "Can I help you?"

"Maybe," said the man. "My name's Trần Quang Binh. One of Beatrice's people?"

He raised his shaggy eyebrows; Gordon shook his head. "I'm sorry," he said. "If I'm supposed to remember you-"

"No, no, it's all right," the man said hastily. "I was afraid someone'd mentioned me, is all."

Afraid? That was new. Gordon gave the man an enquiring look.

"Got into a bit of a card game with your radio man the other day," Trần said. "Mason?"

Oh, hell, Floyd. Gordon winced- there really wasn't any way this could end well- but nodded.

"Right, well-" Trần straightened his shoulders. "Wanted to let somebody know- look, I know I shouldn't be taking up your time, but... someone important needed to know."

"Know what?"

Trần sucked a breath between his teeth. "Weeeeeell.... I won a lot of alcohol off your radio man. Most of it's not drinkable. It's turps, frankly."

That didn't sound like a complaint. Gordon made a 'go on' gesture.

"That's not to say it's not going to good use. See-" Trần offered a small smile. "I'm a chemist. Taught organic chemistry at Australian National University. What your radio man had, like I said, it'd do very bad things to anyone who drank it. If I get it back to Andamooka, though, we can use it."

There were really only so many things you could use undrinkable alcohol for. Gordon had a feeling this man wasn't talking about antiseptics. Which meant-

"We've got some old dune buggies and such. Used to use them all the time, only we ran out of fuel. They look like shit but they'll get you anywhere you can name, long as they've got something to burn," Trần said. "I've got the gear in Andamooka to put your man's turps to use, if Beatrice says all right about the buggies."

... transportation. Maybe not enough to make up for losing PIaDOS' ability to teleport the ship, but they'd at least have transportation. They could get somewhere!

"Dr. Binh," said Gordon, slowly, "that might just be the best news I've heard in weeks."

Trần laughed. "Glad to be of use," he said.

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Gordon Freeman

December 2012

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