What is everyone doing on Xen?

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    • What is everyone doing on Xen?

      One thing that I never quite understood about the back story of Half-Life, and which is unfortunately never explored in the later games, is everything that came before the events of the first game.

      It appears that the folks at Black Mesa have been going in and out of Xen for quite some time. To stress this point: Humans have been 1) aware of the existence of aliens, 2) developed teleportation technology, and 3) visited and looted the world of Xen, and all this for quite possibly a considerable amount of time.

      Now, there's no indication that "normal" people in the world of the game are aware of any of these facts. To put it in realistic terms, any single of those items would come to a real person of the early 2000s (as well as to us in 2012) as a profoundly shocking piece of news, comparable to the actual discovery of Atlantis, or perhaps even the actual return of the Christian messiah. It would be hard to imagine something more astonishing.

      Yet somehow, a pretty sizable number of people must be in on all this. How does that work? How come nothing of this leaks out?

      Now a more important point: The HECU military seems to have been going in and out of Xen as well, as we can tell from all the leftover military equipment on Xen (e.g. the tank seen during the end sequence). But that can only mean that the HECU and the Black Mesa scientists have been collaborating for quite some time, too! Does that mean that a permanent HECU detachment has been installed at Black Mesa all this time? That would explain why there are several garage-type buildings in place that seem to be designed to service tanks.

      That would also explain why the military was so quick to arrive on the scene. On the other hand, it would be quite at odds with the initial airlift sequence of Opposing Force (although Adrien Sheperd could have been part of the reinforcements coming from further afield), but also with the callous willingness on part of the soldiers to slaughter civilians. If they'd been living and working with the scientists for a long time, would they not have some reservations against shooting scientists at point-blank and dumping the bodies into the sewers? Don't marines have some sort of code of honour?

      Anyway, in short, my question is how much everyone had been in on the whole alien invasion thing before the resonance cascade even happened. Also, I suppose, when Gordon re-emerged in HL2, why didn't he stop and ask any one of all the ex-BM people what had happened, and how long people had know how to teleport around, and what else they were keeping from him?
    • The tank seen during the end sequence was intended to be on earth; it only looked like it was on Xen because the Goldsrc engine lacks to ability to change the skybox.

      The HECU never went to Xen. (except Adrian Shepard, of course)

      Ramirezoid wrote:

      You're why people murder nerds in the night and snap copies of shitty 90s games in half
    • Pyro wrote:

      The tank seen during the end sequence was intended to be on earth; it only looked like it was on Xen because the Goldsrc engine lacks to ability to change the skybox.

      The HECU never went to Xen. (except Adrian Shepard, of course)


      I always interpreted that as the way the Gman is able to make Gordon see things. They're on Xen, but the Gman can project images or sceneries, such as the destroyed tanks to show him what's going on on earth.

      It's cool how weird things can always be explained by the gman's special powers ;)
    • "I'm not even sure I want to go to the surface. What if the world finds out what we've been doing down here?"

      Considering Black Mesa has dorms and it's a government funded research facility, most likely everyone involved in the whole Xen research is trustworthy and of very high status. They'd known about Xen and it's inhabitants for a while and have been studying them. As noted before, I think the HECU weren't actually on Xen, and was either the G-Man demonstrating shit hitting the fan or was actually a scene on Earth but with an incorrect skybox. They government probably had at least some intel on this beforehand, but it's just as likely that they didn't but as soon as they heard "Aliens are everywhere and killing everybody" they knew they had to lock shit down.
      And so ends another post of pointless speculation.

      "120% sorry!"
    • Hezus wrote:

      I always interpreted that as the way the Gman is able to make Gordon see things. They're on Xen, but the Gman can project images or sceneries, such as the destroyed tanks to show him what's going on on earth.

      It's cool how weird things can always be explained by the gman's special powers ;)


      Yeah I'd go with either of these theories. It's either the G-man showing earth from Xen, or showing Xen from earth. Probably the former.

      As for the tanks, it is confirmed that Black Mesa does have a certain military presence on base ( I even remember a mod that died where you played as these, a shame. ) as evidence by apache helicopters moving around the base before the resonance cascade. How extensive these forces are and whether they were part of the clean up crew, or instead the clean up process is anyones guess. I personally don't imagine it to be a very substantial force at all, more as heavy base security.

      In regards to the people 'in on' the experiment, I'd say a few. Not the military presence or very many of the security team, but a section of the science team ( although by no means the majority ). Level 5 clearance seems to be needed for knowledge of Xen, and even this could be leveled of itself on a need to know basis. For instance they don't necessarily tell the biodome scientists, probably biologists, where the specimens come from.

      In regards to leaks, the US government has had quite the practice. Los Alamos where the atom bomb was built had its leaks, quite major ones, but if we were to compare fictional and non fictional military facilities, Black Mesa seems much more secure and in a much more modern setting would perhaps keep better tabs on staff.
      Again with comparisons, Area 51 on the one hand has had no leaks that I know of, at least publicly. Although this is by all official accounts a place to test experimental air designs and nothing more, not particularly comparable by size.

      We also can't really tell how often the science team with clearance on Xen actually go off site. If they were to you could expect extreme security to the point of never being out of site of security teams.
    • Oh wow, all this time I thought that the military had actually been fighting its way through Xen! I never realized that that was just a limitation of the graphics engine. Doesn't the GMan say something like "the borderworld is ours"? I thought that he meant that he had managed to get the Earth's military to help him (on behalf of his clients, of course) to subdue the borderworld, and that Gordon was just the final piece in that plan.

      So what was the effect of the resonance cascade? Was it only that Xen inhabitants could teleport to Earth spontaneously, whereas before the teleport could only be activated from Earth? How does this relate to the Combine? The BM researchers never seem to have come in contact with the Combine on Xen, and in fact it's said in HL2 that the combine cannot go to Xen...
    • Regarding the HECU and why they were so fast at Black Mesa see this Link --> half-life.wikia.com/wiki/Black_Mesa_Personnel (military personnel)

      The dead HECU forces on Xen were either a projection by G-Man as mentioned above or are simply Parts of Earth that got teleported to Xen. During the resonance cascade, whole "parts" of Xen also got to Earth, remember the bouncing pads or the organic matter in Forget about Freeman, I think in OpForce there were already the typical Xen Plants growing on the inhabitated facility soil (well if you consider all that canon), so would it be unlikely if the teleport got vice versa, so things from earth came through the rift to Xen ?

      As for the Clearance, i think Mented has a pretty reasonable Interpretation
      "Adora quod incendisti, incende quod adorasti!"

    • yrr wrote:


      The dead HECU forces on Xen were either a projection by G-Man as mentioned above or are simply Parts of Earth that got teleported to Xen. During the resonance cascade, whole "parts" of Xen also got to Earth, remember the bouncing pads or the organic matter in Forget about Freeman, I think in OpForce there were already the typical Xen Plants growing on the inhabitated facility soil (well if you consider all that canon), so would it be unlikely if the teleport got vice versa, so things from earth came through the rift to Xen ?


      It's a reasonable conclusion, especially as it's been stated that no lifeforms in Xen are native to it. I'd assume then during cataclysmic events like cascades large sections of the surrounding area are transported as well as creatures.

      I wanted to add this into a mod I was thinking about, with areas of Black Mesa being teleported to Xen, and it being a shock when the player actually found this out when walking through a corridor after a seemingly failed teleportation and discovering an entire abyss in front of them.

      slack41 wrote:

      Oh wow, all this time I thought that the military had actually been fighting its way through Xen! I never realized that that was just a limitation of the graphics engine. Doesn't the GMan say something like "the borderworld is ours"? I thought that he meant that he had managed to get the Earth's military to help him (on behalf of his clients, of course) to subdue the borderworld, and that Gordon was just the final piece in that plan.


      Well it's still speculation on whether or not it is Xen, but with the way the story has gone it's a safe bet, at least imo. As for the Gman and what he says, I wouldn't take it at face value. I have my own theories on him that'd take a page to read.


      So what was the effect of the resonance cascade? Was it only that Xen inhabitants could teleport to Earth spontaneously, whereas before the teleport could only be activated from Earth?


      It's stated in Half-Life and Decay that the Nihilanth is holding the rift caused by the resonance cascade open. Whilst the resonance cascade itself causes Xen wildlife and such to teleport to earth spontaneously, it is implied the Nihilanth can also teleport creatures and its own forces to earth where it wishes.
    • slack41 wrote:

      How does this relate to the Combine? The BM researchers never seem to have come in contact with the Combine on Xen, and in fact it's said in HL2 that the combine cannot go to Xen...


      The Combine come from another universe that bears a similar relationship to Xen as to ours, and as far as we know no human knew of their existence until the Seven Hour War. They couldn't go to Xen originally, since the Nihilanth kept them out, but after its death they bored through it into our universe, having been alerted to our presence by the Resonance Cascade and the aftermath of the Nihilanth's death.
    • The only people who knew about the aliens were those in the Lambda complex and the Questionable Ethics lab. Gordon, Eli, and everyone else in the facility didn't know about the aliens, or where the crystals were even from (or were probably told a fake origin, like, it was from a cave off the coast of Chile) and didn't know they were being used in experiments involving aliens and what-not. The US government also didn't know until the RC occurred, to which the government found out and, because they didn't want news getting out, they decided to do a cover-up operation, so the public wouldn't know. Like everyone else said, the Xen sky with the dead grunts and tank is probably just the engine.
    • Pyro wrote:

      The tank seen during the end sequence was intended to be on earth; it only looked like it was on Xen because the Goldsrc engine lacks to ability to change the skybox.
      Is there any source of confirmation on that? If that's the case, than I don't see why they couldn't they just put a solid black or dark blue box around the scene so it would seem like night.
    • I always thought the soldiers and the whole area got teleported to Xen from bad luck, and it was their last stand against the xen creatures, I kinda like this then just a bunch of dead soldiers somewhere on earth.
      [COLOR="Orange"]λ[/COLOR] [COLOR="Lime"](UTC+08:00) Friday 10:47 PM 14 September 2012[/COLOR] [COLOR="Orange"]λ[/COLOR]
    • amazingcomedy wrote:

      The only people who knew about the aliens were those in the Lambda complex and the Questionable Ethics lab. Gordon, Eli, and everyone else in the facility didn't know about the aliens, or where the crystals were even from (or were probably told a fake origin, like, it was from a cave off the coast of Chile) and didn't know they were being used in experiments involving aliens and what-not. The US government also didn't know until the RC occurred, to which the government found out and, because they didn't want news getting out, they decided to do a cover-up operation, so the public wouldn't know. Like everyone else said, the Xen sky with the dead grunts and tank is probably just the engine.


      I would assume along with you that people working an anomalous materials were kept in the dark about the materials that they studied. However, I think that the US Govt. knew most if not the entire time.

      My reasoning is that they've been in on it the whole time, which is why such world-changing knowledge hasn't seen the light of day outside of high clearance areas. I'm pretty sure the government would have enough power in this situation to keep tabs on all those involved and a close eye on where they go and who they talk to.

      But, when the resonance cascade occurred, they sent in the HECU to avoid anyone involved from getting word out and causing mass panic or what have you. It's easy to keep tabs on people when they're just chilling in the labs/dorms and nothing catastrophic is happening. But once the shit hits the fan it seems like people who'd normally be cool with not telling a soul would be more inclined to run to the hills screaming.
    • Dias wrote:

      [The tank seen during the end sequence was intended to be on earth; it only looked like it was on Xen because the Goldsrc engine lacks to ability to change the skybox.]
      Is there any source of confirmation on that? If that's the case, than I don't see why they couldn't they just put a solid black or dark blue box around the scene so it would seem like night.


      Agreed, or set that scene in a cave or a bunker; somewhere without a skybox. At the end of the day, that scene is portrayed as taking place on Xen, and they did have a choice in the matter. I've always interpreted that particular scene as implying that the HECU force used the teleportation event to their advantage, and invaded Xen. It might even explain why they pulled out of their initial occupation of the facility - seeing an opportunity to strike back at the aliens, and pooling their forces to the new objective.

      The main reason for this assumption is that the tank is shown on Xen at exactly the time G-man says "The borderworld is now under our control, for the time being". Obviously we never know who his employers are, but this is the only time we see evidence for any kind of military action on Xen, aside from that of Gordon himself. If he's not talking about Earth's military, it's a line with no narrative substance behind it. At all.
    • Vertigo wrote:

      I've always interpreted that particular scene as implying that the HECU force used the teleportation event to their advantage, and invaded Xen.
      Eh, I really don't see that. I can understand Black Mesa having a teleporter to Xen, because they invented it & went there to study it. In order for what you said to make sense, the military would have to have their own version of the Lambda Core.
    • Dias wrote:

      Eh, I really don't see that. I can understand Black Mesa having a teleporter to Xen, because they invented it & went there to study it. In order for what you said to make sense, the military would have to have their own version of the Lambda Core.


      "First rule in government spending: why build one when you can have two at twice the price?"

      Ramirezoid wrote:

      You're why people murder nerds in the night and snap copies of shitty 90s games in half
    • Second rule: Why have one good thing for small amount when you can have one bad thing for twenty times the price?

      Wait, we're talking Black Mesa here. I doubt HECU ever were to Xen, except for Shephard. Skyboxes can be a mess... or was it the G-Man... We shall never know...
      If original depicted that with a Xen skybox, maybe it WAS on Xen, as mentioned before, the same way parts of Xen being teleported to BMRF, it got to Xen that very way.

      When G-Man talks about "under our control", he means his "employers", IMHO.
    • Nothing about Xen leaks because the government kills everyone who tries to leak information. That's what they made in Black Mesa(or at least tried). It's as simple as that.


      There are military facilities in the surface area of Black Mesa because there is a military base there. It's like Area 51. We know there is a military base there, but we don't know what else is underground. Like a cover.