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Black Mesa East

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This article is about the Resistance location. For the Half-Life 2 chapter, see Black Mesa East (chapter).

For other uses, see Black Mesa (disambiguation).

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HalfLife2 BME Eli's lab.jpg
Black Mesa East
General information

Unknown, refurbished after the Seven Hour War


partially or completely, during the uprising


Wasteland, between the Canals and Ravenholm


Combine occupation



Game information
  • d1_trainstation_05
  • d1_eli_01
  • d1_eli_02
"Welcome to the lab anyway. It's not Black Mesa, but it's served us well enough."
Eli Vance[src]

Black Mesa East is a Resistance base located at the Wasteland end of the Canals, outside of City 17. It is nestled inside the hydroelectric plant of a nearby dam and its reservoir, and right next to the abandoned mining town of Ravenholm. Black Mesa East is where Doctor Eli Vance, Doctor Judith Mossman, Alyx Vance, and many other Resistance members, including several Vortigaunts, used to live before its destruction. It was named after the Black Mesa Research Facility. (see below)


The generating station which conceals Black Mesa East.

Black Mesa East is set several stories underground and includes many facilities that make it self-sufficient, such as its own power generators recharged by Vortigaunts, kitchens where Vortigaunts can be seen cooking Headcrabs, recreational areas, and most importantly, Eli Vance's lab, where he is constantly refining the teleportation technology salvaged from the Black Mesa Research Facility, from which Black Mesa East took its name. Eli works with Isaac Kleiner, who also has his own lab, hidden in downtown City 17. They eventually established a working teleportation system between their labs that would have reduced any journeys on foot from City 17 to Black Mesa East and finally eliminated the need for the Citizen-operated Underground Railroad, but Alyx Vance was the only person to be successfully teleported to Black Mesa East before it was invaded by the Combine.

The Vortigaunts at Black Mesa East appear to do a lot of the work around the place, such as preparing food or powering generators with their natural ability to generate electricity. They also help Eli around the lab, by manning computers or installing or powering parts for various machines. Another area briefly seen is the dormitories/barracks for members of the Resistance, which is shared by both Vortigaunts and humans. In this area, Rebels rest and pass their free time.

All entry points to Black Mesa East are under constant surveillance by CCTV cameras, and contain decontamination chambers with heavy blast doors and turrets to hold anyone or anything that is not meant to enter. Black Mesa East is directly connected to Ravenholm via a tunnel that has been barricaded off since the shelling of Ravenholm took place, to prevent Zombies and Headcrabs from entering the facility.


Half-Life 2[edit]

Black Mesa East's Calabi-Yau model teleport.

At the end of his journey through the canals, Gordon Freeman arrives at Black Mesa East for a short visit. He is greeted by Judith Mossman in one of the decontamination chambers, and she brings him up to speed on the scientific breakthroughs that have taken place in the last few months. She soon after takes him down to Eli's lab, where Eli and Alyx talk to him, and show him that much of the research begun at the original Black Mesa is continuing at this new facility.

Newspaper clips revealing some details about the story setting.

In Eli's lab, Gordon also learns about events such as the Seven Hour War and the Portal Storms by reading newspaper clippings found in the lab: "Earth surrenders" on a cover of The Times with a picture of the damaged United Nations Headquarters in New York City under it, "Wallace Breen Declared Interim Administrator", "Black Mesa Admin Charged with Human Affairs Bureau", "Portal Storm Continues", "7 Hour War Ends in Combine Victory" and other unreadable newspaper clips. Other interesting things such as a Cremator's head in formaldehyde can be seen, as well as a machine, called the Rotato,[4] simulating a small Resonance Cascade, and containing a Xen crystal similar to the one used in the original experiment. Several books can also be seen (see below). Eli will make comments on various other things around the place, such as an old family photo containing him, Alyx, and his deceased wife, Azian Vance. The photo has been salvaged somehow from the Black Mesa East destruction and can be seen in White Forest.

Soon after Gordon arrives in Eli's lab, Alyx takes him to an outdoor scrapyard and gives him training with the Zero-Point Energy Field Manipulator (or Gravity Gun) Eli built. Originally designed for heavy lifting and the handling of hazardous materials, Gordon finds a much better use for it - turning it into a weapon that will serve him well throughout the rest of his mission. Alyx also introduces Gordon to Dog, the robot built by Eli to protect her while she was young. Gordon and Dog play a game of fetch using a Combine Rollermine which has had its ability to electrocute people disabled and use the Gravity Gun on various other objects such as crates, found in the scrapyard. Alyx also introduces the limitations of the weapon, ordering Dog to throw something bigger and stopping him upon choosing a dumpster the regular Gravity Gun cannot hold.

Black Mesa East is eventually raided by the Combine. They launch a massive attack using Scanners, Headcrab Shells, Hunter-Choppers in the air and Combine Soldiers in the facility. The Vortigaunts present attempt to fight off the internal attack, but are overpowered and Eli Vance ends up being captured and taken to Nova Prospekt. The raid was actually made possible by Judith, as it was revealed while watching a conversation she has with Doctor Breen over a screen at Nova Prospekt that she had provided him the information on Black Mesa East's location, during which her secret alliance with the Combine is revealed.

During the course of the raid, Black Mesa East is heavily damaged, and much of its personnel are presumed to either have escaped or been killed. Due to hallways being blocked off by rubble and collapsed ceilings, Gordon Freeman is forced to go through Ravenholm on his way to the Coast, as it is the only remaining exit from the facility. After this, Black Mesa East is not seen again for the rest of the game.

Related Achievements[edit]

Half-Life 2
Hl2 get gravitygun.png Zero-Point Energy (5G)
Get the Gravity Gun in Black Mesa East.
Hl2 find hevfaceplate.png Blast from the Past (10G)
Find the HEV Suit charger faceplate in Eli's scrapyard.
Hl2 makeabasket.png Two Points (2G)
Use Dog's ball to make a basket in the scrapyard.
Hl2 kill enemy withtoilet.png Flushed (5G)
Kill an enemy with a toilet.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Concept art for Eli Maxwell's lab.
  • The Half-Life 2 leak features a more recent prototype ("orange") map of Black Mesa East, named eli_lab. Similar to the final version, it features early/expanded dialogue also recorded by the final actors, and Vortigaunts in slave outfit. Of note is a mention by Alyx of Antlion activity outside or that the Gravity Gun is based on a Combine weapon. The Combine also discovers the base before Gordon can test the Gravity Gun.[5]

The original teleportation sequence[edit]

  • As heard in the dialogue files found in the Half-Life 2 leak sound files, the teleportation sequence at the start of Half-Life 2 was originally to be much different and much longer.[5]
  • Kleiner and Barney, located at Kleiner's Lab with Gordon, and Elena Mossman, located at Kraken Base, were to discuss the best place to send Gordon, in a dialogue much longer than in the retail version (where several sentences survived, even though they were rerecorded), and not including Alyx.
  • After the team agrees that Eli's facilities are too primitive to make use of Gordon, being, according to Mossman, more suited to mechanics than research scientists, and that its teleport is in pieces, therefore not working, and that the only way to reach the place would be to go on foot through the dangerous Canals, Mossman suggests to send Gordon to Kraken Base instead, and by teleportation. Kleiner seems hesitant about it, while Barney expresses even more doubts in very pessimist remarks. While Kleiner pretends to be sure about the reliability of his equipment, Mossman is very determined, since she says to have run seven sequences without a single failure.
  • While the teleportation is being prepared, Gordon must do his part to set things up. Then the teleportation begins, and Barney thinks it is the best time to mention the issues about the cat they used for the previous test, saying that he had to turn the animal right side out again to make sure it was a cat (kept in the retail version for Alyx's teleportation, but minus the explanation), thus providing the information missing from the retail version. The teleportation then succeeds, and Mossman is able to introduce herself to Gordon and compliment him when he is still in the teleport instead of releasing him right away. At Kleiner's Lab, Lamarr jumps into the teleport like in the retail version, disrupting the connection between the two teleports and bringing back Gordon behind a window near Kleiner's Lab (like in the retail version) and damaging both teleports.
  • It is also suggested by Barney's sentences that something happens to Kleiner, dying or being hurt and left unconscious, since he ceases to talk after he approaches the teleport, worried by Lamarr's fate. The failure having blown their cover and the lab's roof about to cave in, Gordon finds himself forced to journey to Eli's lab on foot. Barney leads him to the Canals, where the next chapter begins, and leaves at some point, like in the retail version.[5]
  • Arrived at Black Mesa East after the Canals and the Ravenholm chapters, Gordon discovers a very basic, primitive underground lab installed in some kind of scrapyard cave, indeed more suited to mechanics than research scientists, since it looks more like a garage than a real lab. Prototype maps of this original lab, "Eli's den", can be found in the WC map pack under the names proto_eliden003 (August 2001) and proto_eliden (January 2002). It does not contain any hint of a lab, but rather some sort of garage with a damaged school bus and several damaged cars, mirroring Mossman's sentence about the facility being more suited to mechanics than research scientists.
  • Gordon meets there Eli Maxwell, at this time unrelated to Alyx, and Dog. Maxwell demonstrates the abilities of the original physics manipulator and shows Gordon a slideshow of what happened during the last 10 years (which was later said to be 20 years[6]), including the Air Exchange and the loss of his leg to a Particle Storm[5] (changed to a Bullsquid in the final version).[7] It is possible that, being in the Wasteland, the lab was to be surrounded with many junked vehicles and machines, relics of the Seven Hour War, and inspired by the scrapyards near Chernobyl where rust irradiated vehicles, and where from Eli's team would have probably collected parts.
  • Eli's lab was finally transformed into a real underground building, the scrapyard being kept only for playing fetch with Dog and the Gravity Gun (although a small scrapyard must be crossed to deactivate the Autogun in Episode Two). Then Eli Maxwell was merged with Captain Vance to become the Eli Vance of the final version. Kraken Base being cut from the storyline, the choice of the destination was simplified, and thus the dialogue.


  • Some players have been confused about Black Mesa East is the "east" section or wing of the Black Mesa Research Facility, the research facility where the majority of Half-Life takes place. However, this is not the case - they are actually two separate places. The Black Mesa "Research Facility" was located in Black Mesa, New Mexico, USA, while Black Mesa "East" is situated outside of City 17, which is located in Eastern Europe, hence Black Mesa "East". A possible reason why "Black Mesa" is in the base's name is that it may have well been founded by Eli Vance, who originally worked at the Black Mesa Research Facility, and might have wanted the name to live on. The only things the two facilities share in common are the name, and that it is self-sufficient on its own level somewhat like Black Mesa. It is, however, doing similar research. Eli Vance explicitly states, "It's not Black Mesa, but it's served us well enough."
Eli's books.
  • In Eli's lab, several books can be found on the shelf located left of the teleport (they are also featured in the Half-Life 2: Deathmatch map Steam Lab). They include:
  • Lost Socks (a reference to Hal Robins' The Meaning of Lost and Mismatched Socks[8])
  • Calabi-Yau Space
  • Book apparently written in Chinese
  • To the 8th Dimension and Back Again
  • From Here to There in Under a Second by Isaac Kleiner (likely about teleportation)
  • Aeronautical Robotics by William C. Wood
  • The Extreme Aggrotato by Marc Laidlaw
  • Strings, Quarks and Me
  • Applied Dynamics
  • Advanced Modular Theory and Speculation
  • The Big Book of Big Text by Dayyan Eng (Eng is the brother Dhabih Eng, who designed Black Mesa East and produced one of Dayyan's short films)
  • The Half-Life 2: Deathmatch map Steam Lab draws some inspiration from both Kleiner's Lab and Black Mesa East, and includes a teleport as well.
  • The model consisting of a desk with on it a shelf with monitors found in the main lab of Kleiner's Lab (map d1_trainstation_05) and the surveillance room at Black Mesa East (map d1_eli_01) features the reversed version of a 1907 photo of Mark Twain can be seen on the desk with the monitors shelf on it. The same model is used in both areas, with texture-based views of City 17 on the small monitors and a real-time view on the center monitor using the point_camera entity in a separate area and func_monitor for the monitor (Inside the City 17 Trainstation for Kleiner's Lab and the kitchen for Black Mesa East).




List of appearances[edit]

Main games[edit]


See also[edit]


Preceded by
Gate 5
Half-Life 2 story arc journey Succeeded by