Monday January 27, 2003:
The first day of my new posting wasn’t boring. I showed up at Sector C at 9am, which feels like a whole other timezone compared to my old shift, and got given my new pass and keycard. Anomalous Materials is higher security, but a much easier place to guard: plenty of break rooms and labs and places where you can look busy without doing much.
Plus I get to spy on Freeman and see what he’s actually getting up to. ‘Not much’ is what I’m guessing.
After getting the dull stuff out of the way I moseyed down to Dr Kleiner’s office to thank him for the solid with a box of donuts and a brand-new thermos flask.
“Think nothing of it Barney,” he said when I shook his hand. “A young man of your initiative shouldn’t be languishing in some enervate posting. Anomalous Materials is a far more suitable place for someone of your resourcefulness to thrive in.”
“Aw gee,” I said, “Thanks Doc.”
“However,” he continued, waving a finger under my nose. “I cannot emphasise enough how important it is that you consummate my expectations of you.”
“I have assured the Administrator that you will be capable collaborator. Therefore, I must insist that you refrain from shirking your duties. After all, the work we are doing here is of vital importance.”
“You got it,” I said. “I won’t let you down.”
“Excellent!” he smiled. “Now, first things first, have you seen my glasses anywhere? I seem to have misplaced them.”
“They’re, um, on your head,” I said.
“Ah yes,” said Kleiner. “Silly me.”
I kept watch over him as he pottered about his lab, flipping switches adjusting dials. He showed me a glowing lump of orange crystal in a glass box, which he was shooting laser beams at from all sides. I watched, amazed, as a prism of light poured out the other end.
“This Xenium sample is giving off some intriguing readings,” said Kleiner. “But is inadequate for large-scale testing.”
I stared at the rock for a while, before Kleiner told me it was time for lunch. He fumbled at the door, but it was stuck fast. I gave the doorknob a hard tug, but couldn’t get it to budge an inch.
“Oh fie,” sighed Kleiner. “I appear to have locked us both in.”
Predictably, Kleiner didn’t have his keys on him. So we had to page Gordon and wait for him to come rescue us.
“Many thanks Gordon,” Kleiner said as he unlocked the door. “At least you didn’t have to navigate the vents this time.
We all went to get lunch. On the way Gordon asked me if I could get him a copy of the schematics for Black Mesa’s ventilation layout. I didn’t ask why, but he had the same look in his eye a kid gets when’s he’s about to put vinegar and baking soda together…