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This subject is from the Combine era.
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The Pursuit of Gordon Freeman was a failed attempt by the Sector 17 Overwatch arm of the Combine Empire to kill or capture Gordon Freeman, shortly after his reappearance in City 17. Although much of the Underground Railroad was neutralised, Freeman successfully evaded the Overwatch forces, predominately Civil Protection units, and escaped unharmed to Black Mesa East, his intended destination.

These clashes constituted the first skirmishes of The Uprising.

Prelude

The unexpected and unannounced reappearance of Gordon Freeman in City 17 had caused a major stir with the Sector 17 Overwatch. Initially, Civil Protection units attempted to apprehend Freeman after the Overwatch detected a miscount of inhabitants in one of the city's tenement blocks. The Overwatch threatened ration deductions from apartments who failed to prevent Freeman's escape, and promised extra ration rewards to those who aided Civil Protection.

The Civil Protection units very nearly succeeded in capturing Freeman for interrogation, however, he was rescued by Alyx Vance who had been trailing him, and escorted him to the laboratory of Isaac Kleiner, his old Black Mesa mentor. Kleiner intended to use the newly-constructed translocation device to teleport both Alyx and Freeman to Black Mesa East. Previously, refugees had to be smuggled out of the city through the old canal network, a highly dangerous and hazardous route.

While Alyx was successfully teleported, damage to the device caused a harmonic reflux, which resulted in Freeman's rapid teleportation to several locations in quick succession, including the office of Wallace Breen, Earth's Combine client ruler and former Black Mesa Administrator, in the Citadel. Recognising Freeman from his days in Black Mesa, Breen put the Citadel on full alert, a status hitherto unseen by experienced Resistance fighters, such as Barney Calhoun. Thousands of scanners were released from the Citadel, while the Airwatch deployed Hunter-Choppers to search for and kill Freeman.

Pursuit

Civil Protection units initially attempted to contain Freeman within the city to prevent his escape, however, the Combine presence in the old canal network on the city's outskirts was tenuous at best. Attempting to cut off Freeman's escape, the Overwatch conducted surgical strikes on all known Resistance bases along the Underground Railroad, rapidly capturing Stations 12, 9, and 8. With Freeman in the sewer network, Civil Protection flooded them with manhacks to flush out their target, rather than attempt strikes against entrenched rebel outposts, however, this proved unsuccessful, with Freeman escaping and the Resistance scuttling their bases.

From Black Mesa East, Alyx Vance helped to coordinate Resistance efforts to aid Freeman in escaping the city. However, Stations 6 and 7 were shelled with Headcrab canisters, effectively removing them as a threat to Combine control of the area. Freeman acquired the Airboat at Station 6, and proceeded on unhindered. Escaping the city limits, Freeman slipped into the drainage canals that marked the city's outskirts. Pursued by several Hunter-Choppers, Freeman attacked and destroyed all Civil Protection outposts along the canals, two of which were heavily defended and well-supplied[9]. One such Hunter-Chopper was severely damaged at such an encounter, with Freeman utilising the heavy pulse cannons mounted in the outpost's watchtower to force the Chopper into retreat.

Meanwhile, Breen sent out mass-communications to citizens, confirming Freeman's presence and warning them away from aiding him. The Overwatch threatened citizens who aided Freeman, and Civil Protection units who failed or prematurely terminated their assignments, with permanent off-world relocation. Freeman's actions had already earned him messianic monikers, such as "The One Free Man" and "The Opener of the Way".

Freeman navigated his way to an underground Resistance outpost manned by three fighters, whereupon his Airboat was refitted with a heavy pulse cannon, taken from a previously downed Hunter-Chopper. With this weapon, Freeman severely damaged a second Chopper, forcing it to withdraw. Running a gauntlet of Civil Protection checkpoints and APCs, Freeman managed to escape into the dried-up reservoir of the old dam. Here, a third Hunter-Chopper was shot down by Freeman, killing its two occupants, while the Overwatch outpost overlooking the dam was neutralised. With the way cleared, Freeman proceeded on to Black Mesa East, unhindered.

Aftermath

The Combine had succeeded in destroying much of the Underground Railroad, which had previously been used to smuggle refugees out of the city into the comparative freedom of Black Mesa East, the coastal regions, and the Outlands. Nevertheless, they had failed to neutralise their primary objective, Gordon Freeman, and had suffered disproportionately high casualties in exchange.

Acting upon the intelligence provided by double-agent Judith Mossman, the Combine launched a raid on Black Mesa East shortly after Freeman's arrival, which succeeded in destroying the base, capturing Eli Vance and his research on the translocation device, but nevertheless failed once again to capture Freeman, who proceeded on through Ravenholm out to the coast.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ia icon.png Episode One: The story so far on Half-Life 2's official website (Archived)
  2. Counting all civilians and refugees along the underground at rebel outposts, living and dead in total
  3. Assuming every APC the player sees is a unique, distinct unit, following Freeman's flight from Kleiner's lab
  4. Assuming every Chopper the player sees is a unique, distinct unit, following Freeman's flight from Kleiner's lab
  5. Assuming every Dropship the player sees is a unique, distinct unit, following Freeman's flight from Kleiner's lab
  6. Counting all civilians killed in scripted events, corpses at Resistance outposts, and zombies at Resistance outposts. Does not count charred corpses in the undergroud sewers as it is unclear how long they were there for. This figure includes Arlene, who is killed by a fast headcrab if the player returns to Station 6
  7. Assuming the player kills every CP they encounter, including ones which they can double back to at the end of A Red Letter Day in the trainyard. This does not include those whereby the player would be killed by getting out of the Airboat, such as when under rocket fire from APCs
  8. Assuming every APC the player encounters following the addition of the pulse cannon to the Airboat is destroyed
  9. The first one included the APC garage, the second one was where Freeman acquires the Colt Python
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