This subject is related to the Combine era.

Half-Life: Alyx storyline

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This subject is related to the Combine era.

A view of City 17's landscape from Alyx Vance's hideout balcony.

This article describes the Half-Life: Alyx storyline, chapter by chapter.


Main article: Half-Life storyline

The original Half-Life took place at the Black Mesa Research Facility in 200-. During an experiment, researchers at the Black Mesa Research Facility accidentally caused a Resonance Cascade which ripped open a portal to Xen, a borderworld in a parallel universe. Creatures from Xen flooded into the facility via the portal and started killing everyone in sight. The player takes on the role of Dr. Gordon Freeman, one of the scientists who has been involved in the accident, and who now must escape the facility. At the end of the game, a mysterious figure referred to as the G-Man extracts Gordon from Xen, where he defeated the leader of the Xen forces, the Nihilanth, and "offers" a job to him. Forced to agree, Gordon is subsequently put into stasis for approximately twenty years.

In the wake of the Black Mesa Incident, Portal Storms erupt over the Earth, teleporting Xen flora and fauna worldwide. The Combine invade and take control of the planet during the Seven Hour War, leading Dr. Breen to negotiate humanity's surrender and become Earth's administrator. The survivors of Black Mesa, Eli Vance, his daughter Alyx Vance, and his colleagues Dr. Kleiner and Barney Calhoun, are relocated to City 17 in Eastern Europe. Alyx grows up in a world dominated by the Combine and becomes part of the growing Resistance movement alongside her father.

Chapter 1: Entanglement[edit]

A Combine Ordinal interrogates Eli Vance while being restrained by a Combine Charger.
"I spotted the Combine moving supplies into the Quarantine Zone. That place has been deserted for years."
― Alyx Vance[src]

Half-Life: Alyx begins five years prior to Gordon Freeman's arrival, the subsequent destruction of the Citadel, and Eli Vance's death. 19-year-old Alyx Vance was reconnoitering on the Citadel's construction process when she receives a call from her father and the Resistance member Russell, who were stealing a mini-reactor from the Combine.

She reports to Eli that everything is normal, albeit she notices troops moving supplies into the Quarantine Zone. Just then, Eli catches sight of a strange floating structure, which later triggers a massive manhunt that results in the capture of both Alyx and Eli. Russell manages to rescue Alyx and take her to his lab with the help of his drone and warns her that the Combine will likely transport Eli to Nova Prospekt, a feared Combine high security prison, for interrogation. He formulates a plan for Alyx to intercept the train carrying Eli at Fairview Junction. Alyx is given a gun and a pair of Gravity Gloves, and she then embarks on a journey to save her father.


  • This chapter is eponymous with chapter 9a of Half-Life 2, Entanglement.
  • Like many other main games of the Half-Life series, the opening chapter includes a train ride that takes the protagonist to a vital destination, albeit in Alyx this ride is put at the end of the chapter rather than the beginning.

Chapter 2: The Quarantine Zone[edit]

Entrance to the Quarantine Zone within City 17.
"Just outside there's a second train that also leads out of City 17, through the Quarantine Zone."
― Russell[src]

The train Alyx gets on eventually stops outside the cordoned off Quarantine Zone, and she is forced to venture further on foot to reach Fairview Junction, combating vicious Xen wildlife along the way. In a concealed abode, she meets an eccentric Vortigaunt living in solitude named Gary, who explains that the Combine performed a procedure on his brain that severed him from the Vortessence, and as a consequence he is “alone in his head”. He makes vague allusions about Eli Vance suffering an untimely death in the future, and alleged that Alyx cannot change this fate by herself. He asks her to help free his imprisoned kin, who are being used as biological batteries to keep the vault structure afloat, and also instructs her to "look to the Northern Star". Despite not understanding his admonishments, Alyx thanks Gary and bids him farewell.

Chapter 3: Is Or Will Be[edit]

Gary telling Alyx that he will accompany Eli back to Russell's Lab.
"I will help the Alyx Vance! Look to the Northern Star."
― Gary[src]

After making her way through the Drainage Tunnels, Alyx finally arrives at Fairview Junction. She battles the Combine forces there and manages to derail the Razor Train carrying her father, killing at least three Combine Advisors inside. She enters the train wrecks to discover Eli hanging over an abyss, and Gary arrives just in time to rescue him from a fatal fall. Eli warns Alyx that, while in custody, he learned that the Combine is apparently storing a "superweapon" in the floating Vault, and prompts her to find and infiltrate the Vault and steal the weapon before it could be relocated. Gary repeatedly instructs Alyx to “look to the Northern Star”. While she initially believes that his words are simply another example of Vortigaunts speaking in riddles, it is later proven that he was talking in a literal sense in this case.

Chapter 4: Superweapon[edit]

Terminal Gardens metro entrance to the trains.

Gary promises to escort Eli back safely, and Alyx continues to navigate through The Terminal Gardens Metro Station. In an office building above the station, she sees the Vault for the first time and realizes that multiple substations linked to it via cables need to be subdued in order to bring it down. On her way, a Combine squad tracks her down and tries to impede her mission, identifying her as "seismic activity". After defeating the Combine troops, she emerges from the underground station and discovers that the Northern Star is actually a real hotel located across a plaza, and is the place where one of the generator substations supporting the Vault is located.


This chapter was added in the game to introduce the player to the Vault for the first time, before they arrive at the Northern Star Hotel.[1] If the player avoids looking out the window in the office, Russell describes the Vault to them.

Chapter 5: The Northern Star[edit]

The exterior of the Northern Star hotel with a Combine substation attached to it.
"No… the Vortigaunt will extract ourselves and exact our own vengeance. YOU must go to the weapon."
― The liberated Vortigaunt[src]

Alyx enters the Northern Star hotel and makes her way to its rooftop, navigating through overgrown rooms full of Xen flora as she moves towards the substation. In the hotel, she discovers "lightning dogs", a Headcrab-like creature that can generate electricity and possess host bodies. She has an obstructed journey in the hotel, and needs to venture down to its basements and traverse through its stories before getting to the substation.

Eventually, Alyx manages to destroy the cables connected to the Vault and disable this substation. She discovers that each substation contains an enslaved Vortigaunt which is forced to channel its electrical energy to the Vault to power it. Grateful for its freedom, the liberated Vortigaunt promises Alyx to rally its peers to take down the remaining substations. Although Russell voices his disbelief for the Vortigaunts' abilities, Alyx trusts them as their only allies. She then leaves the hotel and proceeds towards the Vault, fighting more Combine troops who are now actively pursuing her.

Chapter 6: Arms Race[edit]

Vortigaunts successfully taking down another substation.
"If this weapon is so powerful, why keep it locked up in a dump like this?"
― Alyx Vance[src]

Alyx enters the Holden Company Processing Plant and makes her way through its Zombie-infested rooms. On the way, Russell and she witnesses the Vortigaunts taking down another substation, much to their delight. In the facility, she makes her first encounter with Combine Suppressors and successfully gets past a room filled with tripmines and explosives, blocking the entry to an abandoned vodka distillery. She fights more intercepting Combine soldiers before finally entering the Distillery, hoping to find a route to get across to the Vault indirectly.

Chapter 7: Jeff[edit]

The long since abandoned Golden Lion Distillery.
Jeff, a monstrously mutated Combine Hazmat Worker, roaming the distillery.
"I'm taking off. But good luck in there. And don't underestimate our boy Jeff. He, uh, he doesn't have much patience."
Larry warning Alyx about Jeff[src]

Inside the distillery, she meets a human survivor, Larry, who appears to be stranded with a monstrously mutated Combine Hazmat Worker nicknamed Jeff. Jeff appears to be deformed due to sustained exposure to infectious spores, which turned him into a bizarre and violent creature that is blind but extremely sensitive to sound. Alyx finds a Combine seal that needs to be lifted in order to proceed, and she carefully maneuvers her way around the distillery looking for three batteries to power the seal while avoiding Jeff, ultimately tricking him into a trash compactor where he is either compressed to death or confined, depending on the player's choice. After opening the seal, she then heads down into the tunnel underneath, discovering evidence of dangerous Antlions present in the area.


This chapter was once named "Silent Partner", and according to Valve programmer Charles Brown, took the longest time to develop, spanning across three of the near four years of development.[2]

Chapter 8: Captivity[edit]

The shattered aquatic exhibits at the Central Zoo.
"The way I see it, whatever's in there doesn't like the Combine very much. So we've got THAT in common."
Eli Vance commenting on the Vault's occupant[src]

Alyx finds herself in an abandoned zoo filled with Antlions. While she fights her way through the Antlion swarms and the Combine soldiers, Eli gets into contact with her and warns her that the Vault isn't storing a weapon, but is in fact a prison containing something or someone that even the Combine fears. The Vault itself appears to have been constructed around an entire apartment building torn from the ground in order to contain whatever or whoever is inside it, and was then made to levitate in the sky in the Quarantine Zone as an extreme containment measure. Alyx continues, reasoning with her father that whatever or whoever is inside the Vault dislikes the Combine too, and can help them fight against it, so she makes up her mind to retrieve it.


The title is both a reference to the Zoo setting, where animals are kept in captivity, as well as the discovery that the Vault is a prison to keep an unknown entity captive.

Chapter 9: Revelations[edit]

The Vault and the backup Combine substation.
The silhouette of the Scientist speaking to a Combine Advisor.
"Look, this guy we've got there survived Black Mesa. He raised holy hell and then just disappeared. We finally caught him and you're going to let him go again?"
The Scientist[src]

After the deactivation of the last Combine substation, the entire Vault structure begins to crash into the ground. However, a backup device mounted on a water tower is triggered to emit a field that raises the Vault and prevents it from falling. Alyx immediately begins to head toward the backup device. After battling through a swarm of Antlions and Overwatch soldiers, she notices a mysterious silhouette through the window of a building. Upon entering, Alyx overhears the unidentified woman, known as "The Scientist", expressing her frustration at a Combine Advisor on a screen for not being able to keep the Vault sufficiently guarded, and urging the Advisor to move the Vault away as quickly as possible before Alyx can get to it. During the conversation, Alyx hears the woman mentioning that the Vault contains a survivor of the Black Mesa Incident who wreaked havoc and "then disappeared". Eli deduces that the woman must be referring to Gordon Freeman, and tells Alyx it is of utmost importance that he is freed.

Chapter 10: Breaking and Entering[edit]

A Combine Strider and a Combine Mounted Gun.
"Alyx! Don't go in the V —"
Eli Vance[src]

Alyx fights her way through the Combine enemies and finally arrives at the backup station. She tries to dock the Vault to the station, but cannot find the correct lever combination to do so, in the end accidentally causing the Vault to come crashing down. Alyx awakens in debris caused by the Vault's collapse and ventures down into a destroyed parking garage. In the garage, she finds numerous shocked Combine Grunts reporting damage status to the Overwatch Voice and a few incapacitated Striders lying about. After Alyx deals with the soldiers and restores power to a nearby elevator, the formerly deactivated Strider regains consciousness and begins firing at her, forcing Alyx to flee through the debris of various destroyed buildings while simultaneously battling reinforcing squads of soldiers. Eventually, Alyx finds a Combine Mounted Gun installed on a Combine Prisoner Transport and uses it to defeat the Strider.

After finally disposing of all enemies, Alyx leaps into a green beam that appears to be pulling objects into the Vault. Russell wishes Alyx good luck as she ascends into the Vault just before Eli interjects with a warning that is cut-off by radio interference, leaving Alyx alone floating into the mysterious Vault with her weapons lost.

Chapter 11: Point Extraction[edit]

The exterior of the icosahedral cell containing The G-Man.
"Some believe the fate of our worlds is inflexible. My employers disagree. They authorize me to… nudge things in a particular direction from time to time."
The G-Man[src]

Boarding the Vault, Alyx finds herself in the abandoned apartment complex which the Vault was built around, suspended in a highly surreal state: bedrooms, kitchens, and living rooms are superimposed on top of one another and people living within the complex are seemingly trapped in a certain point in time, constantly fading into and out of existence. Indescribable physical phenomena permeate the entire building, apparently under the influence of some powerful spacetime disturbance, rendering its environment bizarre and unpredictable.

Alyx navigates through the paranormal contents of the Vault, battling the last bastion of Combine Overwatch soldiers stationed there using the Vortigaunt energy her gloves absorbed. After defeating the soldiers, she crosses a narrow energy bridge to discover a strange icosahedral prison cell in the center of the Vault which she then breaks open. However, instead of finding Gordon Freeman, she releases the G-Man, a mysterious humanoid being who possesses an incredible level of power over the fabric of space and time.

Dog stands behind Eli Vance who's handing a crowbar to Gordon Freeman.

The G-Man explains that his "employers" authorize him to occasionally "nudge" the course of fate, and to show gratitude to Alyx for freeing him, he offers to "nudge" something of her choice for her. Alyx asks for the removal of the Combine from Earth, but the G-Man replies that such a request is too much and contradicts his "employers'" interests, and instead offers Alyx the chance to save Eli, showing her the future event where Eli is killed by a Combine Advisor at the end of Episode Two. Alyx uses her Gravity Gloves to kill the Advisor, saving Eli from his fate. However, the G-Man then points out that Alyx has proved herself capable of replacing Gordon Freeman, whom the G-Man has grown dissatisfied with due to him being unable or unwilling to carry out his given mission. The G-Man then leaves, having trapped Alyx in stasis.

In a post-credits scene, Gordon regains consciousness in the Resistance's White Forest base at the end of Half-Life 2: Episode Two and finds Eli alive but Alyx missing. Eli becomes furious when he realizes that the G-Man must have taken her and promises to "kill that son of a bitch". Unbeknownst to Eli, the G-Man can be seen watching from the far end of the warehouse, before walking away and fading out of existence. Alyx's giant robotic guardian, Dog, arrives with Gordon's crowbar, which Eli takes and hands back to him, telling him that they "have work to do."


  • The title of this chapter corresponds with Point Insertion, Half-Life 2' s opening chapter.
  • In this chapter, Gordon Freeman is depicted in third-person for the first time since Half-Life: Decay.