Here is a story I have written with the idea of a mod in mind. As with most of my stories I will set the scene and then explain the thinking and planning behind it.
Kurban wakes to the sound that has haunted him for quite a while now. The sound of Civil Protection storming into his building performing another random search, in the hope of finding something connected with the rebels. “Why do they bother?” he thinks. “Nobody here is stupid enough to have anything to do with those anarchists.”
The sounds he hears and their order is so similar it’s almost like a recording. Boots stomping on the stairs, doors being kicked in, women screaming and perhaps the scariest sound of all – silence.
He gets up from his cot in his so called bedroom and walks into the main room and stands facing the slightly ajar front door. He has long since stopped closing it, let alone locking it. There’s no point when it gets kicked in every few days. It’s not as if he has anything to steal either.
The sounds of those boots are getting closer and closer to his door. The sounds themselves are so emotive, it’s the results and consequences of the sounds that really worry him. “What if one of his neighbors are really foolish enough to collaborative with the rebels?” He knows the whole building will be treated the same – interrogation and probable execution or perhaps worse – those rumored work details. How can work details be worse than death? Just hope you never find out.
The adrenaline in his system has started to kick in and his heart is begin to pump faster in anticipation of the questioning and searching. “No direct eye contact, reply quickly and clearly, use Sir at the end of each sentence.” He keeps reciting his personal mantra. Anything to stay alive a little longer.
They are on his floor now, moving systematically through the building like a plague in a city.
“Leave apartment 8A” calls one of the Civil Protection officers.
“Orders from somewhere” replies the same officer from an unheard but easy to guess question.
Now Kurban is really worried. “Why would they leave me alone?” he wonders. “What have I done?” “What exactly does this mean?” It’s almost impossible to count the number of questions that go through his mind in a fraction of a second before he hears a voice from behind him.
“Aaarh” He spins around so quickly that he almost loses his balance. “You must be curiousss” says the man.
Before him stands a man in a nondescript blue suit holding a brief case.
“Who are you?” he asks.
“Perhapssss more importantly than WHO I AM is WHY AM I HERE.” Says the man cryptically. “I have a small,” he pause and adjusts his tie “minor but important task, that I feel you would be” another pause. This time he looks to his left and right as if he were checking if they were being watched, “more than ssssuitable for. The reward is a sssort of freedom.”
“I’m not interested in any “task” you have to offer!” Kurban’s responds with as much indignation in his voice as he can muster. He has to be careful because he has heard of people being tested like this. They say it’s a better way of finding the collaborators.
“It’ssss only a message” says the strange man. “Gordon Freeman is coming.” Another one of those annoying pauses interrupts the flow. “Make sure you are at the train station in City 17 at 3.00PM tomorrow afternoon. In the back entranceee you will find a Metrocop waiting. Sssssimply tell him Gordon Freeman is coming on Sssaturday.”
“And if I refuse?” replies Kurban.
“Unfortunately that is not an option.” This time he smiles. “See you tomorrow,……I hope.”
“8A, I repeat 8A” A Civil Protection officer screams into his radio. “The collaborator is in 8A!” Boots begin pounding on the stairs.
Kurban turns towards the door. “SHIT! Now what?” He turns around again to find himself alone in the room. No where to go except out the window and onto the ledge, around the building and jump into the trashcan to break his fall.
He manages to escape, but only just. He needs to find somebody who can help him. He is not sure who he can trust. The bar that used to be on the corner, near the townhall, is said to be a meeting place for these rebels. So he sneaks into the back and waits in a cupboard until nightfall.
Eventually he hears sounds. People whispering. Two or more people enter the room where he is hiding. His first instinct is to call out and explain the situation but for some reason he waits.
“…shoot him on sight, they say”
“Some guy called Kurban. Here’s his picture.”
“Man! You ask too many questions. Something about him being a double agent. Working for the Combine but pretending to want to work for us.”
“Okay, whatever you say. Shoot on sight”.
He doesn’t hear the rest on the conversation. His mind is looking for answers as well as asking more questions.
“What kind of stupid message is that? Whoever the hell this Freeman guy is, he better be important.”
Unfortunately because his mind is focusing on other things he forgets to pay attention to his movement and shifts his weight from one leg to other. This causes a creak in the floor boards and the two rebels move towards the cupboard. Realizing the situation is about to get difficult he bursts out the cupboard and knocks over the two approaching men. Before they have time to get up and react he is out of the window and already in the river.
And so begins Kurban’s journey from his small town on the outskirts of the city 18 to the train station of city 17.
I’ve always wondered how Barney knew Gordon Freeman was coming. Somebody had to tell him, right? Well, this is my interpretation for that event. The Metro Cop the player is meeting is of course Barney but that is never directly revealed to the player. Gman makes a couple of appearances; once at the very beginning and once at the very end.
The story is quite simple but still open enough for others to suggest facets not mentioned here. It also allows plenty of creativity for levels. At the same time I feel it fits with the main HL2 story. I wanted the player to have to fight against the Combine and the rebels to provide some more interesting scenarios.
The mod starts with the player coming out of the river and being chased by the rebels through some complex warehouse. The first puzzle for the player is how to stop the rebels from following him with no weapons. And also to workout how they are following him. (The answer of course is the water dripping from his clothes!)
One possible ending is that the after the player has passed on the message he is transported away with the screen turning black. The idea here is that the Gman is always setting difficult tasks for people to do so that he can find more people like GF; people to do his bidding. In this case you have proved worthy. Again, this isn’t expressly stated in the mod but simply implied.
13th February 2007
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