HL2 Story in a Nutshell (Authors: Vornag/Amute)

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Paladin Reese

Staff Member
Sep 5, 2020
This guide is meant to as accurately as possible describe the HL2 Story in reliance to the story. Of course, due to the nature of the story being incomplete at this time and our presence in the story basically being retconned, it's safe to take some minor liberties to get the dates right.

Due to extensive research that myself (Amute) and Vornag, we have determined this is more or less the most accurate we can get. There IS a margin of error, but that possibility will be retconned out for the sake of the RP.

The largest plot holes have been smoothed out and the possibility remains of errors, but it is hidden mostly.

But for now, this is the story we're sticking to for the server. If it turns out facts are wrong, we may adjust, but if not possible, we'll keep it as be.

"Back when I was starting with HL2RP, there was a post on HeartBit that summed up the HL2 lore. I was stunned by the absolute brilliance that was the HL2 storyline, and since that, I refused to believe any other theory that contradicted that post. Of course, it had some flaws, and after some (half-assed) research, I updated it, and created a post right here (Created from scratch)

One of them was that all Citizens under the age of 19 were amputated.

When suddenly, BAM, a slap from reality. A refreshing one, might I add. I was proven wrong by Amute's theory. A theory that has heavily changed how I see the HL2 storyline.

So here it is. A post re-written from scratch, summing up the story (And this time, propperly)
Now, might I add, VALVe wanted to make Half-Life very mysterious. The number one obstacle is the year of the Resonance Cascade (The HL handbook says it was set in 200-)

So, lets get started.

Note that this new and improved version requires you to read EVERYTHING, and is reasonably longer." - Vornag

Current Region: Region 08
Current Sector: Sector 08
Current City: City 08
Current District: District 01
Current Precinct: Central
Current Map: City 08 v1
The maps that are set in the Central Precinct, District 01 houses the City's Nexus and main workforce intake hub as well as all central government

City 18 is very close to City 17, and such is considered its sister city. However it's considered to be the lesser city due to the presence of the Administration and Earth Governmental Operations in C17. In addition to that, due to its distance, there is no Citadel in City 18.

The city itself is a moderately sized Post-Soviet city in an unknown part of Russia, near the coastal city of Birkutgrad, which is now known as City 17.

Due to the lack of Citadel in C18, Exogen defence of the city, much like every other non-Citadel based city, is up to a defensive ring surrounding the city. This is known as the Exogen Defence Grid.

The Exogen Defence Grid is a series of sections surrounding the city that cover every entrance and exit. For example, a section may have walls with blocked up metro tunnels, while others may have a series of thumpers.

The Resonance Cascade ( May 16th 2003 )
Why the year 2003 was chosen can be viewed on the bottom of the post.

The Resonance Cascade. Arguably the most important event in the Half-Life storyline, the event that has changed Earth forever. Now, the reason the Cascade began in the first place is Black Mesa's experimentation into portal technology. In the beginning of Half-Life, Gordon pushed the GG-3883, a crystal retrieved from Xen, into the Anti-Mass Spectrometer. This creates a portal to Xen, which also attracts the attention of the Combine. During much of the year, Black Mesa researchers discovered the existence of it by way of teleportation technology.

The Xen Relay/Border World
Most people believe Xen is an entirely separate dimension, due to the laws of gravity not being in full affect. Black Mesa researchers have discovered it via the use of teleportation technology, retrieving certain artefacts from it for research. Now, a common misconception is that most alien creatures originated from Xen. The truth is, Xen was barren up until Nihilanth, and the creatures it has enslaved, fled to it. Nihilanth was fleeing from the Combine, which have been pushing onto their home world, resulting in Xen being the only hope of Nihilanth's survival. Nihilanth sees the Cascade portal as an opportunity to get as far away from the Combine as possible, so it instructs the creatures under it's control to move through the portals. In the end of the first Half-Life, Gordon destroys Nihilanth, and frees the various creatures from it's grasp. Note that in HL1, Gordon encountered no Combine Units, meaning that Nihilanth and the creatures that it controlled have fled, and arrived to Xen first.

The Portal Storms ( May 16th 2003 - Present )
When the Cascade had hit earth, the so-called "Portal Storms" begin. At the time of the Cascade, the Storms are confined to the Black Mesa research facilities. Over time, they expand, until eventually consuming most of the world. Humans were forced to evacuate to unaffected cities, which are under military supervision. The rest of the world is slowly flooded with radiation, creatures from the Xen Relay and other various dangers. Those areas are commonly related to as the Wastelands. The Storms go on for multiple years, and the situation slightly improves. Just as people thought they could return to their everyday, normal lives, tragedy strikes.

The Combine
The Combine, or Universal Union. What are they? The Combine are a technologically advanced conglomerate of species that conquer planets to merge their species with the Universal Union trans-dimensional empire, hence the name "Combine". The Combine re-direct their attention to Earth, due to the Resonance Cascade being of such power and size. The also receive information that the creatures that were under Nihilanth's control have moved to Earth, and see this as an opportunity to capture two races with one fell swoop. The humans are stuck in a bottleneck, while the other species roam around carelessly and without direction. They begin to plan their attack, until the fateful day arrives.

The Combine are unusual in their methods of empire building. Most imperialistic entities use their force to take control, the Combine are different. They absorb species and use their technology, at times improving on it. They utilise their conquered species as a military invading force and prey on planets through portal technology, once taken over, the combine utilise the sentient species on that planet to occupy themselves under the banner of the Universal Union. (For example, Human Overwatch)

The Combine are under the control of a bureaucratic species of worm-like aliens known as the Shu'ulathoi - Or what Humans call "Advisors/The Benefactors". They're an illusive and highly psycho-active species that control the Universal Union as far as Humanity knows.

The Invasion, Occupation and Transition Forces
The Military group that first invaded the Earth during the Seven Hour War was the UUCEP (Universal Union Coalition Expeditionary Forces) who were the initial forces that are an amalgamation of other species conquered by the Combine, Immediately after, when the United Nations with the behest of Doctor Wallace Breen handed the earth over, the CTOF (Combine Transition Occupation Force) was established as a Post-war martial law force comprised of the military forces from the UUCEP, Once enough humans were armed and trained to the satisfaction of the Benefactors the OPOA (Office of the Provisional Overwatch Authority) was established who served as the Handover force to Dr. Breen and human occupiers, as soon as the OCA and its ministries and subsequent departments and bureaus were established the Office of the Combine Overwatch was established as the final and dedicated framework to rule over the earth for as long as the Benefactors wish

The Seven Hour War ( Some time during 2004 )
They sent an invasion force of various alien species with the aid of Synth units (creatures that were genetically modified to be stronger, and more obedient) to assault, and occupy the Earth. The Humans, not expecting the attack as well as being weakens by portal storms, were vulnerable, and didn't put up much of a fight. The war lasted seven hours, until Earth's administrator was chosen after the United Nations handed control over to the Combine. That administrator, was Doctor Wallace Breen, former director of Black Mesa. Upon receiving the status, he surrendered Earth to the Combine, and the war had ended, with the Combine victorious. The suppression field was put up almost immediately, this followed by the mass relocation is attributed to the bind on the reproductive cycle of humanity.

Post-War Earth
The Geography of Earth was changed drastically after the Black Mesa incident. Due to the Human population of earth consolidating in cities for safety from the Portal Storms, it was easier to enforce occupation on Humanity after the Seven Hour War. The outlands of cities are for the most part highly dangerous, although a lot lush outland regions still exist, it's highly unsafe. Much of earth is covered in radiation, decrepit climate due to the combines influence, and an overwhelming population of Xen Creatures.

Post-war to current time ( 2003 - 2016 )
After Earth was taken over, the Combine placed a Suppression field in metropolitan centres. This device disables new infants from being born by rending proteins vital for embryonic development impotent. The thing they did was establish Earth's Overwatch. The Office of the Combine Overwatch is led directly by the Administrator of the current Capitol of Earth, City 17, who is the leader of City 17's Office of the City Administrator. The OCO comprises solely of the Capitol CA, his/her cabinet and the capitols OCA, who act as the worldwide Prime Ministry. The current position is held by Doctor Wallace Breen.

Doctor Gordon Freeman, the "One Free Man" arrives in City 17.
Thank you to Amute for discussing some of the story with me!
How the year 2003 was decided upon
Here, you can see the image of Marc Laidlaw's (VALVe's writer) scrapbook. In this, you can see names for Black Mesa being coined, along with "March 31st 2003", hinting that the Cascade has taken place on that date. (Amute has linked this to me. Again, thank you, Amute.) - Vornag

Surrounding Cities:
City 16: [C16] An industrial and military powerhouse. The city sports massive industry for the combine and works in conjunction to Nova Prospekt's Depot production facility. The city itself is severely polluted and scarcely populated. Most citizens who are transported to C16 are there to work in the factories and industry plants. The climate is hazardous surrounding the city, mostly the contested region which sits below the citadel, the canals.

City 17: [C17] An urban and administrative haven, it hosts the Earth Government, Universal Union Delegates, administration of the Combine Overwatch and oversees the city management. It sports a tall citadel that houses the administrator of Earth, Doctor Wallace Breen. The city focuses entirely on population and urban development, acting as the capitol city of the Overwatch

City 18: [C18] Also working in Urban and population development, C18 piggybacks entirely off City 17, being smaller in every capacity to C17. The city is known as being the "Forgotten" city in the region due to its minimal combine presence. The city is passed up in resources and manpower, while it focuses on the two main cities surrounding it.

Other Cities:
City 02: [C02] Housing the remains of New York City, it serves as the epi-centre of the Seven Hour War. It's the most populated city left on earth next to 17 and has since long been forgotten in the coming years. It still holds the remains of the Combine Occupation Force that took over after the invasion but is now a den of poverty and desolation. The population is massive, and the crime rate is just as bad.

City 45: [C45] City 45 has always been a troubled coastal city, sitting on the coast of the Baltic Sea, the once city of Stockholm, Sweden has had much of its land fallen to Exogens. The Walls that separate the city from the outland has moved inward to better protect it. The city is severely torn up from both infighting and efforts to stave off any further serious exogen breaches.

City 08: [C08] Being highly isolated and one of the few remaining regions on the Japanese Isles, the former city of Tokyo, City 08, now houses some of the largest advancements in Technology. Led by (formerly after death by natural causes) Yousei Kirihara, who many consider to have been the right hand man to Dr. Breen during the occupation, has spearheaded City 08 as being the largest city on the seaboard, a safe haven from the Xenos threat outward. Kirihara was the United Nations Security Council Secretary-General before the war, and assisted Doctor Breen in the formation of a surrender of power to the Universal Union's Expeditionary Forces. City 08 itself is advanced by far from prosperous. Many districts of the city have fallen to Poverty and disaray. Local Civil Protection Teams mostly hole up in their end of the district and ignore the outer reaches of the district. Since the failed uprising not too long ago, the CP and OTA forces in the sector were highly exhausted, emerging victorious but at a great cost. The Battle led them all the way to the gates of the Nexus, where they were held back.
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