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Aren't you going to speak up for me, Gordon?
~ Alyx Vance

Alyx Vance is a character from Half-Life series of first-person shooter video games by Valve Corporation, first appeared as the deuteragonist of Half-Life 2 and its Episodes. She is the daughter of former Black Mesa scientist named Eli Vance, a woman in her mid-twenties, and a prominent figure in the Resistance opposing the Combine oppression.

Appearance

Alyx has brown, short hair with red streaks, a headband and green eyes. She wears worn-out clothes, a brown leather jacket with the right sleeve attached to the rest with duct tape, jeans and brown work boots, with a grey hooded sweater bearing the Black Mesa logo, with the words "Black Mesa" under it. She has black fingerless rappelling gloves and a tensor bandage around her right hand. She also wears a green belt where her gun and EMP Tool are attached; purple underwear can also be seen from behind. Around her neck is a little box-like jewel, made out of wood or metal, which apparently belonged to her mother, according to the Vance family picture. A nevus can also be seen at the stem of her neck. At the beginning of Episode One, she gains a small scar above her right eyebrow, presumably inflicted at the end of Half-Life 2 and having been dug "out of the rubble". During Episode Two, her jacket is damaged when the Hunter wounds her, also staining her undershirt with blood.

Personality and skills

Alyx is a skilled cracker: she is able to operate and manipulate Combine-based objects such as turrets with the help of her gear, and also wields an EMP Tool used to perform a variety of tasks.

She also "put together" the Shorepoint Scout Car with her father Eli, and helped Kleiner "resurrect" his teleport.

She is also very proficient with a pistol, and hand-to-hand combat, as she single-handedly defeats six Civil Protection officers who almost capture Gordon during his escape from the tenement block at the start of Half-Life 2, and helps fight alongside Gordon briefly during the chapters Entanglement and Anticitizen One in Half-Life 2. In Episode One, Alyx accompanies Gordon for most of the game and demonstrates additional fighting skills previously unseen, using a shotgun and kicking and kneeing off Zombies when they get too close. she is also fairly skilled with the use of Sniper Rifles as seen during episodes 1 and 2, where she provides cover for Gordon using Overwatch Sniper Rifles.

Despite Alyx's friendly nature, she shows some hostility towards Dr. Mossman because of Mossman's somewhat patronizing attitude towards her, as well as Mossman's interest in her father. At the end of Half-Life 2, this hostility has seemingly vanished, when Dr. Mossman helps to free Alyx and her father from the clutches of Dr. Breen.

Alyx is also a rather cheerful, optimistic person, showing some sense of humour. This is evidenced by the jokes she makes about various events. For instance, she playfully mocks Gordon's silence at the start of Half-Life 2, telling him "Man of few words, aren't you?" Another example can be experienced in the chapter Lowlife of Episode One, where she and Gordon navigate a series of Zombie-infested tunnels. During lulls in combat she imitates a Zombie growl to scare the player, then will laugh and say "Gotcha!" when they find out it is her. She also attempts another "joke" shortly after when entering a Combine troop train. She spots a dead Overwatch Soldier with a Headcrab over its head and tries to lighten the situation, by naming it a "Zombine."

Alyx is also a very sensitive person, giving some heart and realism to the series. She does not believe her eyes when she sees the state of the Citadel inside, is affected by the Stalkers' fate and behavior at the start of the Episode One chapter Lowlife, and cries over the loss of her father at the end of Episode Two.

History

Childhood

As a young child, Alyx lived in the dormitories within the confines of the Black Mesa Research Facility along with her father Eli and her mother Azian, while Eli was working at the Sector C Test Labs. When the Black Mesa Incident occurred, Eli managed to escape along with Alyx and a family picture, while Azian was killed in the incident. During the course of the incident, the G-Man was instrumental in rescuing Alyx, despite the objections of unnamed naysayers. Alyx was apparently too young to remember this, and although Eli witnessed it, he never shared the story with her.

Alyx was raised by Eli in the world controlled by the Combine, likely at Black Mesa East much of the time. During this time, Alyx was also on good terms with Isaac Kleiner, referring to him as "Uncle Kleiner" in an affectionate portrait she once offered him. During Alyx's childhood, Eli used scrap metal to create Dog, a sentient robot designed to protect her, making him physically powerful, intelligent and with an in-built sixth sense so that he could always know Alyx's whereabouts. Although the initial model was a mere meter high, Alyx added new parts to Dog over time, making him a towering 2.5 meters high at the time of Half-Life 2.

As Alyx reached adulthood, she began working with the Resistance, as one of the core members of the City 17 branch, most notably assisting Kleiner and Barney Calhoun in helping citizens escape the city to Black Mesa East through the old Canals, as well as helping Kleiner, her father and Judith Mossman establish a teleport connection between Black Mesa East and Kleiner's Lab. She is working with this at the time of Half-Life 2.

Later Years

Alyx is arguably the most important character in Half-Life 2, as she helps Gordon Freeman more frequently and directly than any other character. Her first appearance is in the first chapter of the game, Point Insertion, in a scene where Gordon has been intercepted by Civil Protection units while he is still an unarmed civilian, due to a miscount detection. Alyx rushes in the room and takes down the CPs by herself (although this is not explicitly shown on-screen). Subsequently, she escorts Gordon to Kleiner's Lab, there they meet up with Barney and Kleiner. After Gordon puts on his HEV suit, they enter the teleport room to be teleported to Eli Vance's lab in Black Mesa East. However, the two unintentionally part ways after Kleiner's teleportation device malfunctions, forcing Gordon to continue through City 17 on his own.

When Gordon finally arrives in Black Mesa East, he is welcomed by Alyx and her father. Later, she gives Gordon the Gravity Gun and demonstrates its use. Alyx is also shown having a heated argument with Dr. Judith Mossman, a hostility that appears justified as Mossman is revealed a traitor in the chapter Entanglement, where Gordon helps Alyx search Nova Prospekt for her captured father.

In the chapter Anticitizen One, she fights alongside Gordon through a section of City 17 during the armed uprising but they are again separated when Alyx is kidnapped by Overwatch Soldiers while scouting an escape route from a rooftop vantage point. They are reunited later in the chapter Dark Energy, when Gordon reaches Breen's office in the Citadel. There she provides indirect assistance to Gordon during the final confrontation with Dr. Breen in the Citadel's dark fusion reactor. Alyx also seems to have made peace with Dr. Mossman after seeing her turn on Dr. Breen and release Gordon Freeman, Eli and Alyx herself from their imprisonment.

In the ending scene of Half-Life 2, Alyx is with Gordon at the time of the Dark Energy explosion. While the G-Man saves Gordon from the enormous blast, Alyx is apparently left behind, frozen in time with one arm shielding her eyes.

Alyx manages to survive, being rescued by Vortigaunts, who also free Gordon from the influence of his "employer", the G-Man; after being teleported away at the foot of the Citadel and briefly revisiting it to postpone the destruction of the Citadel Core, Alyx and Gordon stick together for most of Episode One, finally getting to the exit from City 17 and jumping on the last Resistance train wagon heading out of the City just as the Citadel explodes.

Alyx appears in Episode Two throughout the game, and is almost always with Gordon. She once again rescues Gordon at the beginning of the game by using the Gravity Gun to free him from the remains of their crashed train, which fell off a bridge that was destroyed because of the Citadel explosion at the end of Episode One.

After making a first communication with White Forest, a large Resistance base, she is severely injured by a Hunter, but Gordon and a Vortigaunt manage to steal Antlion extract and use it to save her. During the process of reviving her, the G-Man reappears and informs Gordon that the reason Alyx remained alive during the events of Half-Life 2 and its expansions is because he "plucked" her from Black Mesa before the Resonance Cascade destroyed the facility, ignoring the orders from his superiors - that she was a mere child and of no practical use. He tells Gordon to escort her to White Forest safely, telling Alyx to relay the words "prepare for unforeseen consequences" to her father. She then accompanies Gordon on their journey to get to White Forest. Throughout the journey, she helps Gordon at many points, by providing sniping support for him using a mounted Combine sniper rifle as he makes his way through a Zombie-infested industrial complex to get to the Muscle Car or by using her gun on enemies while he is driving.

At the end of the game, her father Eli is killed by an Advisor before she and Gordon get into a chopper to go looking for Dr. Mossman. While she and Gordon watch, helpless, pinned down onto the walls by the Advisors' psionic powers, Dog jumps through the roof and attacks the Advisor before it can do the same thing to Alyx and Gordon, severely injuring it causing both Advisors to flee. Alyx cries over Eli's body as Gordon passes out and the credits roll. Her full reaction to that loss and its influence on the subsequent events is yet to be revealed.

Trivia

  • Unlike other games that feature extremely vulnerable mission-critical characters, Half-Life 2 gives Alyx the ability to absorb a large amount of damage before death (due to the fact that her health regenerates extremely rapidly). It is still possible for her to die during combat however, and at several points the player is required to protect her from taking damage. Her death will result in a black screen fade and failure message, then the game will reload. It takes five simultaneous Overwatch Sniper Rifle shots to kill her, indicating that she can absorb an extremely high amount of damage. Alyx can often successfully defeat several enemies at once without the player's assistance, but she is vulnerable to multiple enemies mobbing her at close range, or to individual Combine Soldiers equipped with shotguns.
  • Just before Alyx and Gordon meet with Barney, a rebel asks Alyx if she is Kleiner's daughter and she sarcastically claims that she is the daughter of Odessa Cubbage, mirroring somehow the early stages of Half-Life 2 's production when she was to be the daughter of another military man, Captain Vance.
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