Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Out of the frying pan...

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    Barney Calhoun
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    Out of the frying pan...

    Post by Barney Calhoun on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:38 pm

    Date: 4/1/2012
    Time: 8:00 PM


    The Citadel exploded. The civilian's train was well away, at that point, but Barney still had a great view. He couldn't help but smirk, watching the towering symbol of the Combine's power go up like a firework. But, his smirk was short lived. The Citadel, and City 17, begame the epicenter of a brilliant, white light, that expanded out, chasing down the train and swallowing up the countryside. He could feel the train start to rattle underfoot. "Crap," he observed, grimly.

    His hand grabbed the door handle, and, as the white light reached the train, Barney wrenched the door into the caboose open, barrelling through it. If the light hadn't been blinding him, he might have noticed the odd blue glow that had been around the doorway, itself. As it was, Barney was already through the door before he had an inkling that something was up.

    The words "Everyone, hang on!" died on his lips. Dimly, he realized the door he'd just gone through had slammed shut behind him. After the over-bright light, his eyes were still attempting to adjust to the sudden twilight. But there was one thing that Barney was certain of.

    He was no longer on a train.

    There was a sudden chorus of screams from overhead, and a rattling, rushing noise sped by at lightning speed. Barney choked on an curse, and spun one heel, fumbling for his gun, as his brain helpfully rummaged around in some rather rusty vocabulary, and produced: Roller coaster. There was a roller coaster. Not directly above him, but he could have thrown a stone and hit it. Right in front of him, between him and the fenced off area around the coaster, there was a shed. The door said "Employees Only."

    This was beyond weird. Feeling as though someone had sucker punched him, Barney found himself turning in place, just... staring. Over there was a ferris wheel. And there, a carosel. There were lights, and the smell of fried, sugary foods, and laughter. Crowds of people, families with kids, teenagers, couples, just... relaxing. Laughing. Playing.

    "What," Barney said, aloud, to no one in particular, "the hell?"

    ---

    Of course, it must be noted that, had Barney laid eyes on the Amusement park only a few days ago, he would have noticed a striking difference. What were crowds of people to him, who had come from a scarcely populated, post-apocalyptic world, were in truth barely half of the usual attendance of the park. If Barney hadn't been so stunned by his abrupt arrival, he would have noticed that the laughter had a forced edge to it, that there was an undercurrent of worry and fear, as people tried to go about their lives as though everything was fine. If he hadn't just stepped out of a portal from another dimension, Barney might have noticed that some of the rides were out of order, that the lights were dimmer, that the smells were somehow... diluted. Bland. Stale.

    For the moment, however, he was blissfully unaware that he'd left one world in peril, only to end up in another.




    Last edited by Barney Calhoun on Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Barney Calhoun
    Gigabyte

    Gigabyte

    Posts : 162
    Join date : 2012-03-03
    Age : 48
    Location : Not in Black Mesa anymore...
    Level : 40

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    45/45  (45/45)
    Health Bar:
    450/450  (450/450)
    Stamina Bar:
    80/80  (80/80)

    Re: Out of the frying pan...

    Post by Barney Calhoun on Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:53 am

    And, no one answered. Which was fine by Barney, really. It had been something of a rhetorical question, after all. The former security guard wasn't a complete stranger to teleportation. Which was the only reason why he wasn't immediately assuming that he'd fallen and hit his head, and actually just lying on the floor of the train, all unconscious and delirious. There was a chance, a slim chance, that he was actually here.

    It'd be real nice to have somebody like Doctor Kleiner on hand, to ask the obvious questions to: Where are we, how did we get here, can we get back? The scientist would surely know the answers, or be able to figure them out. Or at least theorize, or hypothe...size... or something.

    Barney had been to an alternate dimension, the alien borderworld called Xen. But, that had been planned, and there were lots of machinery involved, and glowing green teleportation sphere... things. All he'd done was walk through the door in a train.

    Could the Citadel exploding have something to do with it? Did everyone else end up in another world, or just him? Damn it, he had to get back...

    It couldn't be that easy, could it? He turned, and tried the doorknob, on the shed he'd apparently just come out of. But, it was locked. Barney could not honestly say he was surprised. Angry? Yes. Irritated, frustrated, pissed off? Yes, yes, and oh, hell, yes. But surprised?

    Okay, maybe just a little. I mean, c'mon. The carnival thing was definitely not what he'd have expected. With his track record, he would have assumed there'd be more things trying to eat him.

    Oh well. The day was young. (Actually, no, no it wasn't. Not here, or where he'd just come from. Damn it all.)

    Trying to ignore the strange looks he was starting to attract, Barney Calhoun stalked away from the unhelpful shed, and scanned around for the nearest exit. He was tired, hungry and thirsty, sweat and blood caked, pissed off, and looking for answers. He doubted he'd find them on the carousel.


    ---

    ((Me, talking to myself? Maybe. >.> A little bit. Yes.))
    avatar
    Barney Calhoun
    Gigabyte

    Gigabyte

    Posts : 162
    Join date : 2012-03-03
    Age : 48
    Location : Not in Black Mesa anymore...
    Level : 40

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    45/45  (45/45)
    Health Bar:
    450/450  (450/450)
    Stamina Bar:
    80/80  (80/80)

    Re: Out of the frying pan...

    Post by Barney Calhoun on Sun Sep 23, 2012 5:10 pm

    He didn't even get as far as the front gate when he was stopped by a pair of rent-a-cops. The first caught his attention with a polite, if extremely cautious, "Sir?"

    Oh, he really didn't have time for this. They'd stop him and ask questions he couldn't answer or explain without sounding crazy, and then they'd detain him and he'd be that much farther from finding his way home. He knew how this worked, and he didn't have time. He had to get out of here, he had to get home. Tensing, Barney turned to face them, sizing them up before he made his move. They were what you'd expect from a couple of carnival security guards: The older guy looked like he might have been a force to contend with once, but now he was well past his prime, his hair slate grey and his movements just a bit stiff. His partner, conversely, was in his late teens, and needed to put on a few more pounds and a lot more muscle before he could be considered a force, much less one to contend with. Barney could take 'em. They didn't even have guns.

    But, these weren't Overwatch soldiers. Heck, they weren't even Civil Protection goons. They were just regular, real, normal people with mundane, normal jobs, who weren't rebels, traitors, or caught in between, and this knowledge, this sudden realization, hit him like a ton of bricks. What the hell am I doing? He'd been planning on beating up a couple of security guards at an amusement park. He was at an amusement park. There were people here. There were families. There were kids. And... and... wow, that was just too big to deal with all at once. Focus, instead, on what was directly in front of him. The two normal guys eyeing him like he might explode in their faces. Justifiably so. Barney tried to force himself to relax, at least a little. "Yeah?"

    It was the second guard, the kid, who answered. There was just a bit of excitement along with his caution. I'm the most exciting thing he's seen all day. "You're... Did you just arrive?"

    Not the question he'd been expecting. There were quite a few ways he could have answered that. What his mouth decided, without consulting his brain (which was grinding its gears anyway and didn't have anything useful to input) was, "How do I get back?"

    The pair exchanged a glance, which was never a good sign. Then the older of the two said, "You look like you could use a cold drink. Wouldja mind coming with us, sir?"

    "In other words, I'm not gonna like the answer," Barney observed, bluntly.

    "Probably not."

    "I think I'll stay right here, thanks." This was the paranoia talking, he knew. The conglomeration of of too much conspiracy theory crap as a kid and real serious people trying very hard to kill him as an adult, sprinkled with a dash of uneasy familiarity with how the Metrocops operated. This was not the rational response to being offered a drink and some place to sit down. He knew this perfectly well, and didn't care.

    The older guard looked exasperated. "What in the world do you think-" he began, then stopped and shook his head. "Never mind. Mister, you look dead on your feet, and you're going to want to sit down to hear this, so let us bring you over to the break room and get you a Coke. Alright?"

    There was a very brief scowling contest, while the younger guard looked on. If he was going to get bad news, he wanted it now. And, to be honest, if he sat down, Barney wasn't sure he'd get back up again for at least a week. But, in the end, exhaustion and thirst won out. "Yeah, alright. Fine."

    They led him over to another building, past another Employees Only sign. The older guard kept his eyes front, but the younger kept sneaking glances back at him. Barney got the sense that the kid was a dam about to burst. With just a teensy bit of encouragement, he'd be flooded with chatter. Could be useful.

    "What's your name, kid?"

    This was definitely the coolest thing that happened to the guy, not just all day, but probably his whole time working here. "Ross." Cracks appeared in the damn. "That's Mark. What's yours? What world are you from?"

    "Ross."
    And here came the other guard, Mark, to shore up the supports.

    Barney, meanwhile, was the guy with the jackhammer. A little more subtle than the C4 and the back hoe, but not exactly hiding his intentions, either. "Name's Barney. From... Earth, I guess."

    Ross rolled his eyes, "Yeah, but which-"

    "Ross."
    That was the sound of the reservoir being drained, and the empty pit paved over. Ross hung his head and shut his trap. And then they were in the break room. It looked like any other break room: A couple of tables and chairs, a vending machine, and a counter with a microwave.

    Mark waved him at a chair. "We'll get you a-"

    "I got it!"
    Ross leapt over to the vending machine, fumbling in his pockets for change.

    Barney was beginning to feel like some kind of celebrity. The older guard encouraged this further by giving him a resigned look and a dry warning, "He's going to want your autograph."

    "I'm guessing this has happened before?"

    "All the time!" Ross cut in, excitedly. "Just not to us."

    Barney took a seat----oh dear sweet mother of god, padded seats. He hadn't realized just how much he'd been aching until he'd stopped---and accepted his can of cold soda. Before he could ask the obvious questions, Mark explained, "Usually newcomers run into one of the veterans right out of the portal. I don't know why, it just sort of happens that way. Its like they've got an official welcoming committee set up."

    "Oh, yeah! Isn't there some guy named Ste-"


    Mark cut him off. "We're getting ahead of ourselves. Let me back up: This is Gamma X. Portal Breach. And none of that means anything to you, I know. The imprtant thing, the thing you're sitting down for is this: You're here because you've been rescued. Your world's gone. You can't go back. There's nothing to go back to."

    "Sorry,"
    said Ross, sounding awkward and a little guilty.

    His first reaction was sheer disbelief. How could it be gone. He was just... the Citadel explosion couldn't have... No. No way. It couldn't be possible. It oculdn't be true. Just... just no. "Bullshit."

    Marks' expression remained grim. "You don't have to believe me, but its the truth. You're not the only one. All the other worlds, the whole... multiverse or however you want to call it, all of 'em were destroyed, a long time ago. People are still getting... pulled outta the wreckage, so to speak."

    "Which means-"
    Ross burst in, helpfully, "-that other people from your world could still be rescued. Or maybe already have been."

    Barney digested this. He wanted to deny it, he really did. His home had been right there and now, apparently, it was gone. Completely destroyed, with everyone on it. Oh, sure, they said people were getting rescued, but it sounded like just individual people. A mere handful, rescued from the void. Not the whole population. He'd spent the last twenty years of his life trying to save what was left of the human race, and in a heart beat, they'd been wiped out. All of them. The feeling that welled up from his deepest core began as anguish. By the time it made it to the surface, it was pure, undiluted, seething rage.

    Very, very calmly, Barney said, "So, now what?"

    Mark was watching him, warily. "What do you mean?"

    "You said other people turn up here. What happens to them?"

    This was not the reaction the other man had been expecting, obviously. "They.. settle in, usually. There's an Inn that offers free room and board. And a lot of them gather at this place called the Sanctuary. I can give you directions to either of them."

    "That'd be great. Thanks."

    ---

    And so, Barney found his way to the Sanctuary, got wrapped up in a fight with the Father of All Gods, and slept on park benches for a month like a hobo. But that's a tale for another thread.

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