• Published 23rd Aug 2020
  • 1,895 Views, 344 Comments

Half-Life: Pastel Paradise - I aint no damn brownie



Equestria is in danger. It’s up to the crowbar-wielding physicist, Gordon Freeman, to save the day.

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Assignment Chosen

That’s why I’m here, Mr. Freeman. I have recommended your services to my employers, and they have authorized me to offer you a job. They agree with me that you have limitless potential. You’ve proved yourself a decisive man, so I don’t expect you’ll have any trouble deciding what to do. If you’re interested, just step into the portal and I will take that as a yes. Otherwise...well...I can offer you a battle you have no chance of winning. Rather an anticlimax, after what you’ve just survived.” The mysterious man said.

I weighed my options. Work for this person I don’t know that clearly has some sort of magical power... or die.

I think.. I think I’m going to choose the former. Dying isn’t on my agenda.

I stepped over to the portal.

Wisely done, Mr. Freeman. I will see you up ahead.” He said.

“Wait.” I said. I turned around towards him.

“What is my job?” I asked.

I had a feeling you would.. ask. Well, Mr. Freeman, your job is simple. The resonance cascade did not only affect our world, you know.. Others were damaged. Some who didn’t have the means to defend themselves. I’m going to be sending you to one of these worlds, exactly two weeks.. before the disaster. That should give you.. give you enough time to prepare. You are to save this world and its inhabitants.. from certain death.” The man explained.

“Wait, what?” I asked. Why me? Why not somebody else? There was probably someone more fit to save this world, why choose me?

I chewed the inside of my cheek. “Why do you care about this world?” I asked.

“Well.. let’s just say that-their destruction is.. going against the grain. Unplanned.. if you will. I do not wish for anypony to-be caught in.. the crossfire.” He explained.

Wait, does that mean-

Well, go along then, Mr. Freeman.” He said.

I felt compelled to walk inside the portal. The reason why, I didn’t know. As soon as I stepped inside, my vision went black.

My vision stayed black for a few seconds, until it went bright white. I blinked my eyes a few times. My vision cleared, and I saw the sky. The beautiful, blue sky.. it’s gorgeous. It’s.. been so long since I’ve last seen it. I felt like I was in that alien world for the longest time.

But I am also aware of my current predicament. I’m falling to the ground. I don’t know when I’m going to-

WHAM

That solves that mystery.

Pain rippled throughout my entire body as I lay in the grass, trying to catch my breath. My suit spoke up.

Minor fracture detected.

Gee, thanks.

I slowly tried to regulate my breathing. The wind had been knocked out of me. Always loved experiencing that.

I was gaining some breath back when something slammed hard into my stomach, knocking the wind out of me AGAIN. I really hope this doesn’t become a habit.

I looked at what the offending object/person was, but it was just my crowbar. It seems to have fallen out of the sky. How, and where it came from? That I don’t know. Most likely, the suited man gave it to me.

I grabbed the crowbar and held it tight. This thing has saved my life plenty of times before, what’s a couple more times?

Now.. the only question is.. did he give me my other weapons back?

I took a deep breath, and slowly sat up. I looked up.

Nothing.

“Are you okay?” I froze.

Who said that?

I turned around, and noticed a magenta-colored equine. It had a two-toned mane, the first tone being split in half by the second. The first tone was pink, while the second one was a lighter pink. Its eyes were large, and very green.

So.. that’s why he said anypony..

I thought it was a slip of the tongue.

“Hello?” It asked again. The voice was high. They were clearly a female.

But that wasn’t really the issue.

“Did you just speak?” I asked calmly.

“Uh... yeah, I did.” She nodded her head, clearly confused by my question.

Okay, cool. A talking equine. Sadly, not the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. God, what happened to my life?

“So.. uh, to reiterate: are you okay, Sir?” She asked again, concern present in her tone.

“Huh? Oh, yeah. I’m fine. Just fell.” I said, standing up. I put my crowbar on the hook on my back so I didn’t scare anybody.

“That’s good! So... what are you?”

It was inevitable.

“I’m a human. My name is Dr. Gordon Freeman, Ph.D. Nice to meet you, Ma’am.” I said, holding out my hand. She shook it.

...how did she grip my hand?

“My name is Cheerilee. Nice to meet you, Dr. Freeman.”

I raised my hand in protest, “Just Gordon is okay. Calling me Dr. Freeman makes me sound old.” We shared a chuckle at that.

“Hm, well.. I can’t say I’ve ever met a human before. I can’t say I’ve ever even HEARD of one before. But you learn something new every day, right?” Cheerilee said optimistically. Yeah, she’s right. Wait..

“Really? Do you not have humans here? Wait, dumb question. It’s just.. hm. We have ponies in my world, so I assumed.. huh. I don’t know how to say it.” I pondered for a second.

“I think I get what you mean. You thought that I at least knew what a human was, right? Because we coexist in your world?” She questioned, but then her eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. “Wait, are you from an another world??”

Coexist.. sure.

“I guess so, yeah.” I said in response to her second question.

“Wow..” she whispered. “Do you know how to get home?” She asked.

I do not. But.. I don’t think I want to go home until I deal with the resonance cascade issue over here.

“I don’t know how to get home.” I said, simply. I shouldn’t let her know about the resonance cascade yet. She would panic, and that’s not helpful.

“Hm... well, Princess Twilight might be able to help! She’s the Element of Magic, after all.”

The what?

“Come again? The Element of what-now? Princess?” I asked.

“Yeah, Princess Twilight Sparkle. She knows all there is to know about magic, so maybe she can send you home. Come on, let’s head to her castle.” Cheerilee explained. She started walking away, and I followed.

“Magic..?” I asked.

“Wait.. do you not have magic in your world!?” She asked incredulously.

“Not really, no. Parlor tricks and stuff, but that’s not really magic.” I explained.

“But.. but how do.. how are you alive?! How did you adapt?! How do you build things?!” She asked.

I cleared my throat, “Technology, my fair Maiden! Humans are pretty well-versed in the art of ‘Try crap until it works’, and well.. it worked! We’ve got some pretty impressive stuff, and it’s all because of our ingenuity.” I said all of that in a mock ‘Victorian’ accent.

Cheerilee whispered a quiet ‘Incredible..’ I chuckled. Her cheeks turned a brighter shade of magenta, a blush I presume. Weird how it shows through her fur though.

Wait. That’s really weird.

Her fur.. it’s longer. Almost like that of a cat, or a dog. She seems like she would be way softer than a normal horse. That’s so peculiar.

But I mean, her legs are coated all the way to her hooves with it. She doesn’t really have a separation between her hooves and legs, and said legs are pretty thick compared to the average horse’s legs. She was.. definitely an odd-looking equine.

No offense intended, of course. Wait, it’s not like she can hear this. Why did I say that?

Gordon, you’re rambling. Wait, no, I’m not. I’m in my head.

I’m going crazy.

“So, Princess Twilight’s castle isn’t too far from here. I was actually nearby when I saw you.” Cheerilee said, knocking me out of my stupor.

“Neat. Lemme guess, it’s that giant crystal thing?” I asked, pointing at the castle.

Cheerilee nodded. “Yep, that’s it.”

“Thought so.”

We continued our walk in relative silence. There wasn’t much to talk about, really. Actually, there was a ton to talk about; I just didn’t know how to initiate the conversation.

Plenty to talk about, so little time, I guess.

We arrived at the castle, and Cheerilee knocked on the door. I looked at her, eyebrow raised.

“Uh.. will that work?” I asked. This thing was huge, I doubt you could just knock on the door.

But, little by little, the sound of footsteps was increasing. Good lord.. it worked, didn’t it?

“Coming!” Someone yelled from inside.

It worked.

The footsteps stopped, and the door opened. A.. giant.. lizard, stood at the door. He was purple, with green spikes. We stood at eye level to each-other.

“A.. giant lizard?” I muttered. Oh, shit.

“Hey, I’m not a lizard! I’m a dragon!” He said. Oops, looks like I struck a nerve.

“Sorry, sorry! Didn’t know.” I said, raising my hands in defense.

“It’s no problem. Now- woah, wait! You’re a human! What are you doing here? I don’t think the mirror is open, or even allowed to be used.” The dragon said, putting a claw to his chin.

“What? You know what I am? And what’s this about a mirror?” I asked. What the hell did this guy just say?

“You.. don’t know..? Huh. Anyway, that’s off-topic, what can I do for you?” He asked, looking at me and Cheerilee.

“We need to see the Princess. He doesn’t know how to get home, and we’re hoping she can help out.” Cheerilee explained.

The dragon pulled out a clipboard, and looked at it.

“It’s two days until she’s open for visitors.” He said, putting the clipboard away.

“What? Seriously?” I asked, a little miffed.

“Yeah. Sorry dude.”

“No, look. We have to see the Princess. This is a lot more important than just ‘I wanna go home.’” I said, trying to push past. He quickly stopped me.

“Hey, back off! I can get you incarcerated for trespassing! I don’t want to do that, but you cannot pass this doorway without my explicit permission.” The dragon said, forcing me out with a claw.

I grabbed my head and tried to calm down. God, why was I so angry? I usually had a lot more patience.

I took a deep breath.

“I apologize. We will come back in two days. Please reserve some time for us.” I spoke calmly.

The dragon nodded. “‘Course! Come by at 2:30, two days from now. Have a good day...”

“Gordon Freeman.” I said, holding out my hand. I shouldn’t use the ‘Dr’ thing, it’ll just confuse people.

“Spike.” Spike said, grabbing my hand and shaking. “See you later, Gordon. Cheerilee.”

He closed the door.

I sighed. “God damn it.”

“Hey, it’s okay! We can talk to Twilight in two days. It’s not that long of a wait.” Cheerilee said, trying to comfort me.

“Yeah, well, I don’t have a place to go. Or money. I have the clothes on my back and a crowbar.” I muttered, swinging around said object. “Gonna be a long two days. Well, thanks for your help Cheerilee. I’ll be out of your hair. It was nice to meet you.” I smiled, and started to walk away.

Okay.. so what should I do now?

First order of business.. I should probably get a job, right? Seems like the most logical step to take.

But who would-

“Gordon, wait!”

I turned back around. Cheerilee?

“You.. you can live with me, if you want. I have an extra bedroom.. and Celestia knows I need the company.” She said, batting a hoof at the dirt.

“Cheerilee.. you don’t have to do that. I can go find somewhere-” I started to explain, but she cut me off.

“No.. I insist. You’re a nice stallion, and I want to help you out.” She said, avoiding my eyes.

I smiled. Christ, was everyone in this town kindness incarnate or what? Hell, I practically tried to break into Spike’s home and I left with a plate of cookies and a glass of milk.

“Well, alright. If you really want me to stick around.” I said, folding quickly.

She giggled. “Come on, my house is this way.” She lead me down the road, towards the town.

This is gonna be an interesting two weeks.


“I’m gonna get started on dinner. Feel free to go get your room set up. It’s the second door on the left, just down that hallway.” Cheerilee pointed a hoof in the direction of.. a hallway. Surprising.

“You want some help with dinner?” I asked. I could settle in later.

“Oh, thank you! Such a gentlecolt. But I’m not making anything super complicated tonight, so there shouldn’t be too much you need to help with.” Cheerilee said.

I looked around. Ah, that’s a good start.

I grabbed the trash can and pulled out the bag.

“Oh, I’m sorry! I didn’t get a chance to take that out last night. You don’t have to-“ I interrupted her.

“Nonsense, it’s fine. I got it.” I said.
I opened the door and closed it behind me. I walked outside, and into the.. sunlight? Shouldn’t the sun be setting? How odd.

But it’s nothing to dwell on, really. Different world, different rules.

The dumpster was at the end of this street.

Okay.. so..

What do I do?

The invasion is in two weeks. Obviously, I need to get as much cavalry as I can. These ponies have magic. That’s a big advantage.

But, I don’t have my guns. I have the crowbar, and while it IS incredibly useful, it’s a melee weapon. That requires me getting super close, which is not preferred.

So, I need to tell the Princess. I shouldn’t tell Cheerilee just yet, I don’t want her to panic. Panic never helped anybody.

But, would the Princess believe me?

Hey, I’m a random alien! Your world is in danger btw.’

Yeah, this is gonna be harder than I thought. How would I convince her? A lie-detector spell?

No, I don’t think that’s how those work. I don’t think you can use them for fact-checks. A lie is what you believe, so saying something like ‘Aliens exist’ won’t be a lie, because the person saying it doesn’t know.

But wait. I do know.

That might work, actually.

But do they have lie-detector spells?

I sure hope so.

I tossed the bag into the dumpster and walked back to the house. They all looked the same, but each mailbox was colored differently, so I knew which one her house was. Cheerilee’s was the shade of her coat.

I opened the door, and stepped inside. I replaced the bag in the trash and looked at what Cheerilee was doing.

“Dinner is ready!” She said, turning off the stove.

“Wow, that was fast.” I muttered.

“Well, I’ve had the soup in the pot for a while. I turned it on and then left the house. That’s when I stumbled upon you. Call me irresponsible, but it’s perfectly safe. I had it on a low temperature.” Cheerilee switched to a slightly defensive tone.

“That’s irresponsible.” I replied.

“Hush, you.” She chuckled.

She grabbed two bowls from the cupboard and set them down. She filled them both up.

She was about to grab the bowls with her mouth, but I stopped her. I grabbed the bowls and took them to the table. I don’t really want her mouth to, uh, touch my bowl. That’s a little gross.

“Thank you.” She said.

She grabbed two plates and put some sandwiches on them. She balanced them on her back, and walked to the table.

Impressive.

“Okay, simple dinner. Just some grilled cheese and tomato soup. Hopefully it’s to your liking.” She said, and slid me the sandwich.

I took a bite.

..

Wow... that’s.. AMAZING!

I haven’t eaten anything since.. I don’t actually know. But it’s been a while! And what a good meal to start with!

“Is it good?” She asked.

I swallowed, “Better than good. This is amazing! Thank you for cooking dinner.” I said, and I grabbed my spoon.

“Of course! Don’t want a guest to go hungry, after all- Gordon?” She asked.

I was looking at my soup. Is it soup?

I think it’s.. blood.

The blood of those military personnel. The blood of the scientists.

All innocent people. The marines were just doing their job. They had orders. The scientists were innocent too.

I didn’t kill a scientist. But I killed so many marines..

They all had families. Families to go back home to. What will they think when they hear ‘Daddy isn’t coming home.’?

What did I have? Nothing. I had a degree on my wall and some instant noodles in the pantry. I didn’t have a wife, or kids.

‘Gordon!’

I was alone. I had nobody.

But I took the life of those people. These poor people that just wanted to serve their country, forced into an early grave by-

Someone slapped me across the face.

“oOWW! What was that?” I asked, rubbing my cheek.

“Oh, thank goodness! Gordon, you were scaring me!” Cheerilee said, placing a hoof over her heart. “What was that all about?”

I killed hundreds of innocent people.

“Nothing.. just spaced out.” I said, putting the spoon in the bowl.

“Are you sure?”

I nodded.


I sat in bed, rubbing the goosebumps that littered my body. It felt weird to be without the suit. I felt so.. naked.. without it.

Knock, knock.

“Come in.” I said. The door opened, revealing Cheerilee. She walked up to my bedside.

“Gordon, about what happened at dinner. I know something’s wrong. I understand if you aren’t comfortable with sharing, but if you ever need to talk, I’m here. Remember that.” She spoke softly.

“..and I’m sorry for hitting you.”

I nodded. “Okay. And don’t worry about the slap, I understand why you did what you did.”

She smiled. “Good. Remember my words.”

She turned to leave.

“Wait.” I said. She stopped.

“Thank you. For everything. I’m just.. this random guy that came out of nowhere, and you.. you took me in. I didn’t have anywhere to go, I didn’t have anything period. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It means so much to me.”

Cheerilee blushed, but I was none the wiser.

“Of course, Gordon. I was just doing what anypony would’ve done.”

“Well, you aren’t anypony. You’re Cheerilee. And that means a lot to me.”

Cheerilee smiled, and walked to the door.

“Goodnight, Gordon.” She said, and closed the door.

“Goodnight, Cheerilee.”

Sweet dreams.

Author's Note:

Haha! A new story. I finally got the motivation to finish my outline for it. Did I mention that the outline is over 3,400 words? And before you say ‘That’s not impressive!’

My outlines look like this:

gordon arrives

Falling from sky

Hits ground

Yeah. It took me a while.

But hopefully, you all enjoy this story! I would hope so. I’ve got big plans for it.

Fun fact: Cheerilee was originally planned to be Derpy. But then I realized how stupid and unoriginal that was, so I used my favorite background(?) pony instead. Does she count as a background pony? I guess not. But who cares.

Leave feedback, as always!

Thanks for reading!

09/10/20: updated chapter. Now more polished, Gordon is now more in character.