The Adventures of Hercule CubbageChapter Six: “It’s Safer Here.”

At an apartment block in City Seventeen, the familiar voice of Doctor Wallace Breen can be heard coming from a television set, saying: I'd like to address certain questions that have been brought to my attention of late, concerning recent rumors misconstrued by some as truth. Inside an apartment, someone is watching Doctor Breen's broadcast on their TV while they hold a can of water from Doctor Breen's Private Reserve. Doctor Breen says: Let me begin by denying reports of our activities outside the city limits being in any way disrupted. However, it is a fact that there was a fruitless attempt by a pair of dissidents, one being the very same who recently wreaked havoc within City Seventeen, the individual referred to as "the One Free Man". Thankfully, our peacekeeping forces quelled these instigators before any real damage could be caused... The person watching the TV is a relatively young man, with a stern look on his face. He suddenly overhears a knock at the door. He leaves the can behind as he walks towards the door. The man opens the door and looks shocked and almost angry at the person knocking. He asks: What the -- who are you people? Whoever is at his door replies: I'm sorry to disturb you, citizen...
The man at the door is Hercule Cubbage, wearing rebel gear and holding his crossbow. Behind him can be seen Lucy and a couple of other rebels making the rounds in the corridor. Hercule smiles at the man and says: ... but we're here to help. We are the Resistance. Chapter title: "It's Safer Here." Narration: Well now, I do believe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's wind back the clock a few hours... End narration. A few hours earlier, underground, a fast zombie shrieks as it leaps at someone.
A crossbow bolt hits the fast zombie in the headcrab, killing it instantly. Hercule Cubbage, flanked by Lucy, George, Odessa and a squadron of rebels, reloads his crossbow as he checks his kill. He says: All clear. Narration: As preparations for the Resistance's uprising began, the troops of New Little Odessa - after some initial trepidation from my father - made their way towards City Seventeen to do their part. End narration. Hercule, Lucy, Odessa and George carefully make their way through the sewers. Narration: We traversed the outskirts alongside Leon's Shorepoint forces and separated once we reached the old, infested sewers underneath the city. End narration. Hercule and company cross a bridge above murky waters, while George holds Odessa to make sure he doesn't fall over. Narration: Finally after quite a journey, we were about to reach the streets and begin the fight. End narration. Hercule and Lucy look over a railing. Narration: We had only one stop to make first... End narration. Hercule says: Well, here we are.
Hercule, Lucy and the rest make their way towards the stairs. Beneath them are a crowd of refugees and rebels, some preparing for the uprising while others stare at them. Narration: Our meeting place with the last surviving refugees of the Underground Railroad and Black Mesa East that we'd managed to contact, and who would be joining our forces. Granted, they were mostly untrained and inexperienced, but who better than Odessa Cubbage himself to turn them into proper rebels? End narration. Colonel Cubbage leads his son and his troops down the stairs. Narration: That was the official reasoning, anyway. End narration. Odessa tells Hercule: Well then, let's go tell whoever's in charge that Colonel Cubbage is here. As they make their way down, Hercule and Lucy look to the side as someone calls out to her: Lucy?! A man with a short beard in rebel gear, casually holding his submachine gun over his shoulder, approaches Lucy with an open arm, saying: Holy shit, it is you! Lucy recognizes him, calling him: Kyle!
Lucy looks shocked, while Hercule just looks confused, as Kyle talks to her. He says: You up and vanished after we broke camp. I thought you'd been eaten by a barnacle or somethin'. You're looking good! I like the whole nurse thing you got going on. Suddenly, Lucy slaps Kyle. Kyle holds his chin with a wicked smile on his face, commenting: Heh. I guess I had that coming. So, who's your friend? Hercule stutters in disbelief while Lucy angrily cuts him off. Uh, well... I am Herc-- This is Hercule Cubbage, Kyle.
Kyle points at Hercule with a doubtful and mocking look on his face. He tells Hercule: You're the bigshot from the Coast I've been hearing about?! No way! Hercule replies: No, you see, that's my father. I doubt you've heard of me, since I -- Kyle cuts Hercule off and starts walking away, giving Lucy a thumbs-up. He says: You got that right. Alright, I'm gonna run up ahead. Good to see ya, Lucy! Oh, and nice to meetcha, Junior. Hercule, still confused, looks at Lucy, who's still staring in shock. He asks: Would you care to tell me what that was about? Lucy replies: It's... complicated. Kyle and I, we used to be... intimate. Hercule looks towards Kyle and simply replies: Oh. Hercule then looks slightly confused as he thinks it through. Hercule then suddenly looks back at Lucy and exclaims in realization: Ooooh! Lucy looks upset at him.
Later, both the rebels from New Little Odessa and the refugees from the Underground Railroad are gathered together as Colonel Cubbage, flanked by Hercule and George, explains to them the plan. Narration: Soon after, my father went on to explain the plan that the Science Team had come up with, as well as to rally the troops... End narration. Odessa explains: My plan is ingenious in both its simplicity and strategic acumen, if I do say so myself. Each rebel cell will simultaneously occupy separate locations within the city's periphery, stretching Civil Protection thin as they scramble to mobilize to all points of attack. By the time Overwatch is dispatched, which won't be anytime soon thanks to the strike on Nova Prospekt, we'll already have taken the outer city and will be able to attack the centre from any direction. Odessa holds his fist up dramatically as his speech flares up in intensity. I cannot stress enough how monumental this day is for the Resistance! Today, we finally take up arms and bring the fight to the Combine! Today, soldiers, not some blasted boffins, will step up and show how a proper rebellion is done! And it's Colonel Cubbage's proud men and women that will lead the way and prove themselves the heroes of Humanity! Lucy looks triumphant and satisfied as she listens to this. Nearby, Kyle is no longer paying attention to the speech, but is instead staring at Lucy with intensity.
Odessa pushes Hercule forward, surprising him, as he declares: My son, Captain Hercule Cubbage, will lead the charge. I believe he'd like to say a few words. Hercule mumbles: Wait, what? Hercule finds himself being stared at by dozens of rebels and refugees. He tries to find the words: Uh... Hercule looks like a deer caught in the headlights under all that attention. He says: Erm... any questions? From the side, Odessa holds his face while George grimaces. Someone then asks: Yeah, I've got a few, "Captain."
Kyle addresses Hercule directly with an angry look, while rebels all around him stare. Lucy looks upset at him for his words. He says: Why should we follow you? Hell, you're not even from the city! What have you ever done for the Resistance that gives you the right to lead any of us into war? Lucy protests: Kyle...! Someone else then speaks up, saying: I'll tell you. A nearby black woman starts talking as she looks at Hercule, while everyone looks at her. She declares: I saw him before. He was with Alyx Vance when she left for Nova Prospekt. He went with her. This uprising is happening because she got there, and he helped make that happen. That is what gives him the right. That is why I will follow him. Kyle looks over to her and asks: You're... one of the Black Mesa East survivors, right? What's your name again? We finally see the woman from the front. She has a deep scar on her cheek that looks like a claw mark. She is holding a shotgun and staring intensely at Kyle as she replies. Edna. And I have survived far worse.
Kyle looks intimidated at Edna's reply. Hercule seems more confident after that, saying: Thank you, Edna. I appreciate your vote of confidence. Hercule gathers his courage to make a speech while everyone watches with full attention. He says: Look, I'm not quite the public speaker the Colonel is, so forgive me if I seem somewhat... crass. All I can say is, for me, this is hardly about who takes charge. We are all in this together now, and that is the only way we can ever hope to beat the Combine in their own turf. Now, I'm well prepared to put my life on the line for our freedom. I can't ask you to do the same. But toda'ys your first chance ever to make a real difference. So, if you want liberty, I suggest we go ahead and fight for it. Odessa, looking pleased, approaches Hercule and lifts a finger as he addresses the crowd: I couldn't have said it better myself! Come on then, let's show these Combine bastards what's what!
As the rebels make their way out of the sewers, Lucy and Hercule chat. She tells him: Nice speech. He replies: You think so? She adds: But I didn't know you were a captain. He smiles and tells her: That makes two of us! Later, Hercule makes his way out of the sewer system and into the outside, covering his eyes from the sun as he does. Narration: After that, we made our way up to the streets of City Seventen... End narration. Hercule stares up at the apartment building, with the Citadel looming in the distance behind it. Narration: ... where we soon found the perfect high-rise to take over. End narration. Back in the present, Hercule is talking to the citizen from the apartment. Narration: And that gets us right back where we were... End narration. Hercule tells the man: My name's Hercule. What's yours? The man pauses for a moment, then replies: ... Emil. Hercule tells Emil: Nice to meet you, Emil. I strongly urge you to stay in your flat for the time being. We expect the Combine won't be too welcoming. Things might get messy. Hercule starts to walk away but looks back at Emil and gives him a thumbs-up, saying: Thank you for your cooperation.
Hercule approaches Kyle, Edna and Lucy, who are on the same floor as him. He asks: Lucy, what's the status of the building? Lucy replies while Edna watches her: This floor's clear. Just a few citizens friendly to our cause. We still need to check upstairs, but so far everything seems safe. As Kyle watches, Hercule gives the team their orders. Good. Let's secure the place and avoid catching the eye of any passing scanner. As soon as we're sure it's clear, I'll bring the Colonel and the rest of the troops. We -- Hercule is cut off by an announcement from Overwatch echoing through the building. The Overwatch announcer declares: Attention, ground units: anticitizens reported in this community. Code: lock, cauterize, stabilize. Kyle deadpans: Well, there goes the element of surprise. Hercule looks around at Lucy, Kyle and Edna and says: How the bloody hell did they -- oh, never mind. Civil Protection is going to be here soon. You all know the drill. Kyle, you head upstairs and hold the upper floor. Everyone get in position and wait for the signal. Let's move!
Civil Protection officers head for the stairs while their radio communicates a message. Protection teams, be advised: accomplices operating in area. While some officers run upstairs, one prepares to open a door while another covers him. They open the door and find the floor seemingly empty. One of the metro cops declares: Clear. No 647, no 10-107. The other tells him: Check for miscount. The officers start to knock on doors and grab citizens.
One Civil Protection officer kicks a door open. He suddenly sees something inside that makes him say: Shi-- Suddenly, he's knocked back by the force of a gunshot. Edna stands at the door, holding her shotgun up. Edna shoots another officer making his way in. Hiding in a nearby bathroom, Lucy and Hercule overhear this. Lucy asks: Is... that the signal? Hercule replies: It is now. Let's go! Upstairs, Civil Protection officers have also heard the shots from below. One declares: Shots fired, hostile malignants here.
One of the officers suddenly overhears a sound on the ground. He looks down and sees a grenade rolling towards them, lit up to explode. The officer screams. Grenade! The grenade blows up while, from nearby cover, Kyle smiles. Meanwhile, Edna is shooting metro cops as Hercule and Lucy make their way towards the corridor. Hercule finds three metro cops fast approaching and shoots the one in front in the chest. Hercule drops to one knee as he reloads to make way for Lucy, who kills the other two. Upstairs,Kyle is shooting at metro cops with a gleeful look, saying to himself: This is the best day of my life. Two female citizens are peeking from an apartment nearby as they hear sounds of struggle. Keep pushing them back! Hold your ground! Ugh! I'm reloading!
One of the citizens overhears a sound coming from the side. Two manhacks crash in from the windows and approach them. The women scream in terror as the manhacks close in. Blood splatters as the manhacks attack. The two manhacks then leave the apartment and are spotted by Lucy. Lucy starts firing as she screams: Manhacks! Meanwhile, in Emil's apartment, he overhears something and looks toward the windows. He spots two manhacks approaching his windows.
The manhacks crash in through the windows in Emil's apartment. He raises his hands in shock and terror as the manhacks approach, saying: No. Please, not like this... Suddenly, someone shoots one of the manhacks, blowing it up. The other manhack approaches Emil rapidly, who falls to the ground, but someone shoots it right before it reaches Emil. Emil stares in shock while Hercule Cubbage stands at his doorstep, holding his crossbow over his shoulder while his left hand holds a pistol. Hercule asks Emil: Are you all right? Emil looks at Hercule and stutters as he replies. Y-yeah. Thanks. Hercule smiles at him and replies. Don't mention it. Upstairs, Kyle curses to himself as a metro cop fires in his direction and a manhack approaches. The cop declares: 10-0, viscerator is hunting. Kyle mumbles: Ah, crap.
Someone passes Kyle and tells him: Move. He asks: Huh? It's Edna, who walks out of cover and shoots both the manhack and the metro cop. The manhack explodes upon being hit. The Civil Protection officer flies back from the gunshot to his chest. Kyle looks at Edna and complains. Hey, I had that! Edna simply stares him down. Kyle relents and tells Edna: ... Fine, thanks. C'mon, let's go help them clean up downstairs. At the floor below, Hercule and Lucy are standing back to back. Hercule fires a crossbow bolt while Lucy shoots a manhack. Hercule's bolt hits one metro cop in the chest while another fires at Hercule and Lucy. Kyle and Edna run in. Kyle spots the metro cop and declares: There! Only one guy left!
Panicking, the Civil Protection officer steps back into Emil's apartment as he fires at the rebels. He tells the radio: CP is overrun, we have no containment! Hercule reloads his crossbow. He aims with the scope. The crossbow bolt hits the metro cop in the eye. The metro cop falls dead on the ground, the bolt still stuck to his face, as Emil looks on. Emil mutters to himself: My God. Hercule raises his crossbow as he relaxes. Kyle smiles as he and Edna approach. Kyle comments: Not bad, Junior! Not bad at all! Guess we should start preparing for round two, though. I'm sure we'll have a Hunter-Chopper knocking on our door soon. Hercule replies. Doubtful. By now, the rest of the Uprising will have started. The Combine will be too busy to bother with us for a bit. And when they eventually come...
We see the building from the outside, now seemingly under the control of Colonel Odessa Cubbage's rebels. Hercule Cubbage finishes his thought: ... We'll be ready. End of chapter five.

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