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Half-Life’s Alyx Vance, explained

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It’s been a tumultuous couple of weeks for residents of Earth. Metropolis 17, previously one in every of our planet’s most interesting remaining city facilities, has been destroyed. A virtually spontaneous rebellion has destabilized the Mix Empire’s two-decade stranglehold on humanity. It’s a time of hazard, but in addition hope, and we owe a lot of it to 1 girl: Alyx Vance.

Vance hasn’t acquired as a lot consideration as her colleague, the theoretical physicist and navy hero Gordon Freeman. However a current chronicle of her early time within the Resistance has sparked renewed curiosity in her background and achievements. The story itself is value listening to in full. When you’ve been restricted to official Mix media for many or your entire life, nonetheless, you may want a refresher on the context. To get everyone on the identical web page, we’re answering some questions you might need about Alyx Vance however are too embarrassed (or busy preventing headcrab zombies and antlions) to ask.

Who’s Alyx Vance?

Alyx Vance is a pacesetter of the human resistance in opposition to the Mix in addition to the daughter of Eli Vance, a former physics researcher at Black Mesa.

Wait, again up lots. What precisely are the Mix?

The Mix are an interdimensional empire that has occupied Earth for roughly the previous 20 years. Their purpose is to completely colonize our planet, strip its sources, pressure its residents into prison-like cities, and successfully exterminate the human race by suppressing our urge to breed. This plan has been extensively condemned by the Resistance in addition to many different residents of Earth.

Sure, clearly. However what are they?

Large brain-eating psychic worms.

It’s extra difficult than that because the Mix Empire has absorbed many alien species. However the worm-like Advisors, as they’re known as, seem to manage the Mix Empire on Earth.

Extra virtually, “Mix” refers back to the complete vary of the Empire’s biomechanical weapons, together with its trans-human navy troops. So when a neighbor warns you a few Mix raid earlier than screaming or abruptly going silent, that’s typically what they imply.

Why did the Mix invade? And what’s Black Mesa?

I’m glad you requested these questions collectively. The Black Mesa Analysis Facility was a top-secret laboratory positioned within the former American state of New Mexico. As its identify suggests, it was the positioning of the Black Mesa Incident, which not directly led to the Mix invasion.

Within the early 2000s, a staff of Black Mesa researchers found an alternate dimension known as the Xen Borderworld. An expedition recovered a crystal from Xen, and the analysis staff examined it with an Anti-Mass Spectrometer, an especially giant machine designed to check unique supplies.

For unclear causes, nonetheless, the take a look at produced what’s often known as a “resonance cascade” — primarily an unstable response that opened a rift between Earth and Xen. This allowed an invasion by a number of hostile species, together with ones that we nonetheless see at present, just like the Vortigaunts.

Hostile? Aren’t the Vortigaunts our allies?

Undoubtedly! Vortigaunts are an important a part of the Resistance — they will shoot electrical energy, heal wounds, commune via a collective hive thoughts, and (form of) see into the longer term. They’ve taken an more and more central position in preventing the Mix.

Again then, although, Vortigaunts had been enslaved by a superpowerful and apparently hostile being known as the Nihilanth.

Who’s the Nihilanth once more?

A large floating psychic fetus who dominated the Xen Borderworld.

And the Nihilanth labored for the Mix?

Really, the alternative. The Nihilanth was a refugee from a unique Mix invasion. It took up residence in Xen, then both disappeared or died throughout the Black Mesa Incident. We’re a little bit imprecise on that time — all of our accounts come from the Vortigaunts themselves, and human language doesn’t appear complicated sufficient to seize the nuance of their explanations. However both method, you don’t actually have to consider it an excessive amount of.

Then how did the Mix get right here?

By way of a sequence of “portal storms”: hurricane-like excessive climate occasions that create interdimensional openings. Portal storms are unusual now, though they’ve elevated sharply in current days. However a wave of them hit Earth shortly after the Black Mesa Incident. Whereas they’re presumably associated to the resonance cascade, it’s troublesome to make sure, since Black Mesa was destroyed by a focused nuclear assault and plenty of data had been misplaced throughout the Seven Hour Battle.

Did the Mix actually conquer Earth in seven hours? Couldn’t we have now held out longer?

In all probability. However most specialists say the Mix had a decisive benefit over human navy forces. So the actual query is: ought to Earth have held out longer?

It’s onerous to say. The short give up organized by Wallace Breen — who was Black Mesa’s administrator earlier than being appointed planetary administrator — could have saved numerous lives. Nevertheless, because the Mix’s obvious purpose is human extinction preceded by unspeakable atrocities and mass internment, the last word efficacy of this alternative is questionable at greatest.

However the Resistance has began racking up victories in opposition to the Mix recently. What modified?

Gordon Freeman, principally.

I at all times thought he was a fable.

That’s cheap! Few folks survived the Black Mesa Incident, and a few tales about Freeman are in all probability exaggerated. It appears unlikely, for instance, that anybody might neutralize a whole lot of hostile aliens with a crowbar. And he did disappear with out a hint for 20 years.

However eyewitness studies point out that Freeman debarked a practice in Metropolis 17 roughly two weeks in the past. Since then, the Mix’s Earth headquarters (in any other case often known as the Citadel) has been neutralized — albeit not with out large collateral harm because it seems to have induced an explosion that leveled Metropolis 17 as properly. He additionally apparently helped Resistance fighters shut a “superportal” that may have allowed Mix reinforcements to reach.

Does that imply Gordon Freeman single-handedly saved the world?

Not by an extended shot. Freeman was an important catalyst, and the Resistance can be nearly actually doomed with out him. However his biggest enemies and allies are likely to oversimplify his achievements. Breen’s current declare that “a few of the worst excesses of the Black Mesa Incident have been laid immediately at his toes,” as an example, is doubtful.

Based mostly on interviews with Metropolis 17 refugees, Freeman has performed a principally frontline position within the current battle, leaving large-scale logistics and strategic planning to Resistance management. Regardless of his scientific background, he’s uninvolved in Resistance analysis and growth packages. Some studies have said that Freeman merely doesn’t speak in any respect. Once more, that could be an exaggeration or a joke, however it speaks to the significance of his allies. Which brings us again to Alyx Vance.

Proper. So significantly, inform me about Alyx Vance.

Alyx Vance can be a survivor of the Black Mesa Incident, though she was a younger youngster on the time, and the precise circumstances of her escape are unclear. Her father, Eli, has helped run the Resistance since then. Consequently, she’s principally grown up contained in the motion, receiving in depth coaching in fight, mechanical engineering, and laptop hacking. She’s additionally one of many Resistance’s most charismatic figures, sustaining a tone of hopeful pragmatism that’s rallied residents to its trigger. And in a motion dominated by first-generation Black Mesa researchers, she offers some much-needed new blood.

Vance has reportedly accompanied Gordon for big elements of his journey prior to now couple of weeks, offering backup firepower and serving to him infiltrate Mix amenities. Current accounts have supplied way more element about Vance’s earlier life — and the Resistance’s historical past — earlier than the current rebellion. However as we stated, they’re value testing on their very own.

The place is she now?

We’re undecided. It’s rumored that she and Freeman try to find an Arctic analysis vessel known as the Borealis, which was created earlier than the invasion by a Black Mesa rival known as Aperture Science. However we’re undecided what they need with this ship, and we’ve gotten nearly no new info because the closure of the superportal. Hopefully, we won’t be waiting too long for an replace.

Wait, one last item. There’s a thin man with a suit and briefcase sneaking round my neighborhood. However each time I attempt to catch him, it’s like he magically disappeared. Does this man work for the Mix? Is he really human? Ought to I be petrified of him?

We do not know.

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