Half-Life: Resonance

Wednesday January 15, 2003:

I just had one hell of a scare.

So the other day I agreed to cover a night shift for Lombardi, who’s usually stationed at Sector B. It started at 10pm. I sat in his chair, reading the book Freeman had got me, occasionally glancing at the camera feed of the drainage tunnels.

At around two-thirty I glanced at the cameras and started when I saw someone sitting stooped on his haunches, on the footbridge leading to the elevator to Sector D. Lombardi had told me that nobody ever comes down to the tunnels that late at night, so I was suspicious. I grabbed my walkie, my gun, my nightstick, and my flashlight. Time to actually do some proper guarding for once, I thought.

I was nervous as I approached the guy on the bridge. I thought at first it was a maintenance worker having a cramp. You can imagine my surprise when I found Ivan the space biker, looking like he was in shock.

“Um, Dr Olegivich?” I said, “I don’t think you’re supposed to be here.”

He didn’t seem to hear me. His mouth was slack, jaw unfocused. He just kept holding himself and rocking back and forth, muttering.

“I was the first,” he said, slurring his words. “First of the survey team. First on Xen.”

Some guys just can’t handle their drink.

“Are you lost or somethin?” I asked.

“Seen creatures,” he jabbered. “Impossible things. Zloy rebenok.”

“Yeah, well lots of people go through that after too much vodka.”

I grabbed him and lifted him to his feet. Even without his HEV suit on, he weighed a ton. He leaned on me as I escorted him to the elevator.

“Survey team all gone,” he said, “I am only one left. Only one.”

“Well, why don’t you get some sleep and I’m sure you’ll see them in the morning, okay pal?” I said.

I left him slumped against the handrail, and pushed the button to send him up to Sector D. I didn’t see him when my shift ended, so he must have gotten himself home eventually.

There’s just one thing I’ve just realised that’s now bothering me: I couldn’t smell liquor on his breath.

Published by itshendo

Callum Henderson is a carbon-based life form who graduated with a degree in Journalism and Creative Writing from the University of Strathclyde in 2016.

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