TheDeNuke

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Ruins of City 30 (Washington DC) after total abandonment following the complete collapse of the Union Logistics Committee

The Second Dark Ages
The Combine were a monumental threat to the future of Humanity and likely its ultimate doom after the completion of the Ascension Project, but the Combine had also done what no nation had done beforehand and linked humanity underneath a single organization that was so complex that it would make attempted totalitarian dictatorships of the past pale in comparison.

The most important of these organizations was the Union Logistics Committee, that had managed to create a fixed rail link to practically every single corner of the globe. The Darien Gap, Sea of Japan, Bering Strait or the mighty Indonesian Archipelago were no obstacle in the continued strive to connect every corner of the globe.

Only the far flung reaches of Antarctica would not be connected to this overwhelming logistics structure, spared from the unending exploitation of Earth's natural resources. There was no singular element that was spared from this abuse, resulting in near complete exhaustion of almost every fossil fuel and rare element known to man. Total environmental collapse had already effectively happened with the Portal Storms- the Combine had only in their infinite wisdom: made it worse.

The result was a world that so was so inherently unstable that only the brutality of the Combine autocracy could keep some semblance of stability. Even if Humanity was going to march towards its inevitable doom in its collaboration with a regime so hideous that often it did not even try to hide its brutality- at least the standard citizen in a stable city would be kept fed to standards that go far beyond malnourishment.

Then on a day that is now known as the "Red Letter Day"- Freeman would return and destroy everything. Nothing would be spared from his wrath as both the Resistance and Combine were seriously harmed by his rampage from the Railyard of City 17 to the Borealis in which he would never return from.

The Lambda Resistance had achieved their goal, but at what cost? Humanity had been liberated from potential repercussions from the Greater Combine Empire as they had far greater concerns then the loss of a single occupied planet, nor could they really attempt to reoccupy Earth as all points of access had been effectively cut off by the efforts of two separate generations of individuals. A satellite that had been launched in the Black Mesa Incident and another that had been launched from White Forest had activated a stabilization field that would make practically all connections to the Overworld impossible for at least several hundred years.

The many Advisors that were dotted around the planet in various Citadels had suddenly come to the realization that they were cut off and as a result they went utterly mad. This concept may seem insane to many that had witnessed the Advisors in person but it is said that the Advisors were made up of some of the greatest minds of countless alien species and after realizing that the Overworld had effectively abandoned them- rebellion was inevitable.

So, It would not be the Resistance that would incur the final blow to the Combine Occupation. Rather it would be the Advisors themselves as they started to fight between each other over who represented the "True Combine" on Earth.

This would result in the complete collapse of the Union Logistics Committee.

Of course, the unified resistance as represented by Lambda did not fight as a single front either. They immediately fell into infighting soon after the destruction of the Borealis and the second disappearance of Freeman due to the single fact that Doctor Kleiner had no leadership ablities whatsoever. The sole reason why the Combine forces on Earth were not immediately able to counterattack after this fact is because they were further fragmenting into even more ideological factions as the weeks went by. Anyway, the net result of the collapse of a unified resistance front and the Combine occupation splintering was Total Anarchy and the effective collapse of every single possible system that could have sustained human civilization on a broken Earth. The ULC was long gone and the environment that once nurtured humanity had ceased to exist.

It is said that some parts of the world have completely reverted to a tribal state, as the occupation forces in these regions had completely collapsed and any ability to restore modern society had effectively gone with them. Many other parts of the world are still under occupation by various Combine factions and obviously malnourishment runs completely rampant. Well, at least in the areas where the Advisors had not decided that it would be better to just convert effectively every living Human and Vortigaunt into horrifying synthetic creations.

Of course- if you are lucky enough you might come across a stable human led government that often will try to reestablish a pre-SHW cultural identity. They are very rare of course and much like the Combine factions they also suffer from catastrophic malnourishment.

The greatest winners in all of this are the Vortigaunts, a species that is far more biologically advanced then Humanity and thrives in the ecology that had been created after the Black Mesa Incident. It is said that at the rate of population decline that Humanity is currently undergoing and the rapid reproduction rate of the Vortigaunts- the Vortigaunts could become the prime sentient species of Earth inside of a couple of hundred years if the loyalist factions of the Combine do not prevail and reconnect to the Overworld.

The true horror is at that point we may see their final revenge as Humanity is either wiped out or made a slave species- much like the Combine had intended from the very beginning. The Second Dark Ages would end and the Vortigaunts would rise up from their bonds to take their rightful place as masters of Earth. At that point many would wish that the Combine had completed their Ascension Project because at least Humanity would still exist in some form under the steady regime of the Combine rather then driven to extinction by a species that out performs it in almost every possible way.

There may be a positive ending to all of this, if the Vortigaunts are only willing to show benevolence and not turn on Humanity and the fragmented factions of the resistance are able to get together and have one last struggle to destroy the remains of the Combine Occupation- but this is a scenario that is so unlikely that it defies belief.

However, Freeman himself was a scenario that defied belief. So it is not utterly impossible for the Children of Earth and the Exiles of Xen to take one final effort to create a society that can thrive in this post-Combine wasteland.

All it takes is is belief and an abundance of perseverance that the world has never seen before.



 
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