Briefing Room, Farpoint Base
When Casie and the others entered the room, all they could see was a single chair with its back towards them. Slowly, it began to turn to face them.
"Greetings. I am so glad you could make it." The chair completed its revolution to reveal its occupant, a single humanoid female, garbed in black with pale skin and long, dull black hair. "I am Director Belfrey. I'm sure you all are wondering why you are here. A strange group, a pilot, a researcher, an engineer and a Starship Captain. Indeed a very strange group."
"Actually, Director, we are more wondering why you are here. Civilians aren't exactly allowed on base." Captain Sinclair replied, speaking for the group.
"I think you'll find we are kindred spirits Captain, so you might wish to be a bit more polite. I came here to make you an offer you can't refuse."
"And if we refuse?"
"My dear Captain, I assure you this is an offer you won't refuse."
For the next hour, Director Belfrey outlined her offer, and in the end, the four of them accepted the offer.
"Excellent. Welcome to the Black Mesa Research Team. Captain Sinclair will be working with Colonel Devonshire of Security. Lieutenant Devaro will be working with Doctor Green in Chemical ReDev. Flight Officer Brain will be working with Mister Mustard in the Quartermasters' Office. Senior Crewman..., uh, Casie, do you even have a last name?"
"No." Casie informed the woman. "Squib do not have last names. However, if it is more comfortable for you, you may call me 'Paddfoote'."
"Thank you. Senior Crewman Paddfoote will be working with Miss Scarlet in maintenance. Any Q and C's?"
"None" The four Rogues said in unison."
"Good. Pack your bags, we leave in two standard hours."
Surface, Black Mesa Research Facility, one week later
Casie had to admit, in terms of transportation, Earth was behind in technology, but not lacking in comfort. They had gone through the Gate to an old Tau'ri facility that seemed to be in a general state of disrepair. From there, they had taken what Director Belfrey had called a "limo" to something called an "airport" where they had boarded a "Dodo". That had taken them out to a smaller "airstrip" that had been built during a period of Tau'ri history called "World War Two". From there, they had flown in something called a "Whirly Byrd" out to their actual destination, Black Mesa. Unfortunately, none of them had gotten a good look at the surface, as they had all been hustled into an elevator by Security, and that had descended rapidly to an underground station where they had been hustled onto a waiting lift car. As soon as they were onboard, the car lurched into motion and they entered into a long, dark, sloping tunnel. They progressed in silence for a long time, until they suddenly stopped.
"Mr. Brain, this is your stop. Mr. Mustard is waiting on the dock for you."
With a silent nod, Cooper disembarked from the car and followed Mr. Mustard through a doorway and out of sight. Then, they continued on for a while, passing a security guard pounding on a doorway. At the next stop, Captain Sinclair left, following his escort. Five stations later, Mayina and Director Belfrey both left, the latter telling Casie that "This tram will take you all the way to your destination. Someone will be waiting for you with further instructions." What she hadn't mentioned was that stop was almost three hours down the line.
Black Mesa Research Facility, Level Four Hundred Twenty-Two
Casie had finally managed to find her way to her post. Unfortunately, neither her guide nor her new boss had been very helpful in locating it. Her post happened to be monitoring a drilling rig on the very bottom level, almost two and a half kilometers below the surface. She had been at her post for almost two hours when she hit something that definitely wasn't rock. She called it in, and when the team got down there, the leader told her that she had been relieved and was to head up to ReDev to answer a call for a glitching light. She reboarded the tram and headed up for this fabled ReDev.
Black Mesa Research Facility, Level Three Hundred Forty-One
Casie was still twenty levels away from her goal when the power cut out and the tram stopped. At first, she waited for the power to some back on, but when it didn't, she made up her mind to continue on foot. First, however, she broke the glass on the case marked "Emergency Supplies" and removed a flashlight, med kit, and crowbar.
Black Mesa Research Facility, Level Three Hundred Twenty-One
It took Casie forever to arrive at the correct level. Unfortunately, she arrived on a scene of carnage. Laying everywhere were the corpses of dead researchers. Casie gripped her crowbar tighter and began searching for Mayina. Rather surprisingly, Mayina thought that Casie was the one who had killed everyone else and had swung around the corner, leveling a shotgun right at Casie's head. Both women froze for a moment, and then realized their mistake at thinking the other was the enemy. After a few minutes, both decided that they'd be better off trying to find Coop and Davie.
Black Mesa Research Facility, Level One Hundred
Casie and Mayina had fought their way towards the surface, battling both the zombies that had somehow been released on the facility, and the very facility itself. To both women's surprise, they quite literally stumbled over Cooper, who lay on the floor bleeding from a head wound. Both froze, fearing the worst until Davie swung around the corner, pointing his weapon at them.
"Oh, it's you. I think I found a way out of here." Davie told them. "Coop, get up. Ladies, you're in for a climb." Davie pointed up. "We go up through the ventilation shaft one hundred levels, and we're at the surface station. Up a flight of stairs, and we're home free."
"Great. Just kriffing great. Why is it always ventilation shafts?" Casie complained. "Somehow, I always end up in a ventilation shaft."
"You have a better suggestion, crewman?"
"Then get climbing."
Black Mesa Research Facility, Level One
They had been climbing for what seemed like hours when the shaft abruptly ended at a grate. Casie knocked it out and climbed out - right into a hoard of zombies. The three others spilled out behind her, and they all began to fight for their very lives. The Zombies pressed in unceasingly, driving them to the center of the room. Suddenly, the grate above them dropped down, and a strike team led by Andy descended like gods from the heavens. The strike team held off the Zombies while Andy secured Casie, Mayina, Cooper, and Davie to lift harnesses for the final ride out of the Facility.
"Final Boarding call for Rogue Express. Rogue Express is now departing on track one." Andy quipped.
With a sudden jerk, all five of them were pulled up through the shaft and out onto the surface, followed by the strike team.
"Andy, if I wasn't so tired, I'd kiss you."
"Casie, sorry, but furries are not my thing."
"Sod off Andy."
Briefing Room, Farpoint Base, one week later
"...But what I don't understand is what happened to cause the outbreak of Zombies." Mayina said.
"We may never know." Davie replied. "Does anyone know what happened to Director Belfrey or any of the department heads?"
"Don't know, don't care." Casie said irritably. All this talk about the nightmarish experience angered her.
"Casie, cheer up. It's Halloween." Andy reminded her.
"Yes, in fact I suggest we all go get ready for the ball tonight." Davie said.
"Good idea." Mayina and Cooper both spoke up at once.
The four humans departed to get ready for the ball, leaving Casie alone to think.
"...to sleep, perchance to dream."