Sunday September 15, 2002:
It didn’t take me long to pack my stuff: there wasn’t much of it. I threw my bags into the car and took one last look at the old place … what a dump. Don’t expect I’ll get my deposit back.
The drive to Black Mesa was uneventful, until I took the turn at Santa Rosa, and something strange happened. The sun was just beginning to set, when all of a sudden the air seemed to shimmer: like the wavy heat you see coming off a barbecue grill. There was a rumbling that I was only half-sure wasn’t my engine and then a flash of bright green light that scalded my eyeballs and forced me onto the hard shoulder.
I stepped out of the car, half blinded, and waited for the spots to stop dancing. The road I was driving down was deserted. The air was crackling, as if a storm had just passed. I wondered if it was a bomb, or an earthquake, or if I’d imagined it. I had a horrible thought and checked my watch. No missing time. At least it wasn’t little green men.
Then I remembered where I was driving to, and stopped asking myself questions. Maybe freaky green flashes and mysterious quakes are part of what Ms McDawlin would call a ‘clandestine project.’
Bracing myself for any more weirdness, I drove the rest of the distance, reached the parking lot around 9pm, and hopped on the train to the dormitories. At the reception I gave my name, and they showed me to my new home: a little apartment in a suburban complex.
It was like its own campus, with a basketball court, a gym, a cafe, and even a drive-thru movie theatre. Outside, I could see little chalets for the staff with families.
My room was nothing special; basic and pokey, with a cramped kitchen area and a bathroom just big enough for the shower and can. Only a single bed and the shower takes years to heat up. I thought Black Mesa had cutting edge tech?
There was a letter on my bed from ‘L.M.’ I opened it:
“Dear Mr Calhoun,
I hope you’re getting settled into your new quarters. The Administrator has seen fit to furnish you with an employee’s handbook. Please take some time to read over the enclosed document, and report to Security headquarters at 6.00AM tomorrow morning
for your orientation.
Six?! AM?! I was sorely tempted to drive back. Doesn’t science need a long-lie in sometimes? I’m trying to read the damn handbook right now, but it’s so late. I think I’ll just rest my eyes for a moment…