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Now... about that beer I owed ya!
~ Barney Calhoun

Barney Calhoun is one of the heroes appeared in Half-Life series of first person shooter video games. First he was formerly a security guard at Black Mesa complex and now a key leader of the Resistance for combating the Combine Empire. From his debut in Half-Life: Blue Shift, an expansion set for the original Half-Life game and the follow-up of Half-Life: Opposing Force, he turns from the original generic security guard into a standalone character with a last name and an expanded role.

Barney is voiced by Michael Shapiro.


Barney Calhoun, an undecided major after two years at Martinson College, is employed as a mid-level security officer at the Black Mesa Research Facility, with Level 3 security clearance and is accommodated in the Area 8 Topside Dormitories.He is friends with Gordon Freeman and Isaac Kleiner, who are also employees of Black Mesa.

As a Black Mesa security guard, he is tasked with duties including guarding assigned sections, performing general maintenance, and assisting the science team when required. His "Disaster Response Priority" is to protect the Black Mesa facility and its equipment in the event of an emergency, with secondary priority to safeguard members of the science team whilst his own personal safety is of relatively low importance.

On May 9, 200-, Barney receives a letter from L.M. about his May 15 reassignment to Blue Shift.

Before May 12, 200-, Barney is performing a retinal scan and has his salary increased. His two-day Security Guard Training is scheduled.

On May 12 (the Blue Shift Hazard Course) and May 13, at 08:00, Barney undergoes a two-day Security Guard Training under the Miller-based holographic instructor.

On May 15, Barney is assigned to a 09:00 - 22:00 Blue Shift assignment and reports to Area 3 Medium Security Facilities in Sector C, at 09:00. His shift is to last until August 15.

The sentence "Buy flowers for Lauren", suggesting that Calhoun has a wife or girlfriend.



Barney is seen at the very start of Gordon Freeman's tram ride to Sector C, knocking on the Area 3 Security Facilities door. He is not seen for the remainder of the game.

Although not seen, Calhoun is also present when Gordon is knocked unconscious by HECU soldiers during the Apprehension chapter.

Half-Life: Blue Shift

On May 16, 200-, at 8:42, Barney starts his tram ride from the Area 8 Topside Dormitories at Black Mesa, to start his second Blue Shift day at Area 3 Medium Security Facilities in Sector C. He arrives there some time before 9:00.

After the Resonance Cascade occurs (at around 9:00), Barney becomes determined to escape from the Black Mesa facility. He locates and frees Dr. Rosenberg, who had been captured by the HECU troops. Rosenberg reveals to Barney his plan of escaping by using an old teleport model. Calhoun helps Rosenberg to prepare everything for successful teleportation. He first travels to the homeworld Xen, where he activates a device needed for teleport's correct work. Barney then locates, charges and delivers a spare power battery to Doctor Rosenberg. At the end of the game Barney, along with Rosenberg and his two colleagues, Simmons and Walter, manages to escape from the Black Mesa Research Facility, and he is described as being "out of range" by the textual summary, as compared to Gordon Freeman, listed as "hired," and Adrian Shephard, listed as "detained".

Half-Life: Decay

In the ending sequence of Half-Life: Decay, two heroes, Gina Cross and Colette Green, are caught in a harmonic reflex. During that time, they hear Dr. Rosenberg saying "Calhoun, you must hurry! We can't keep the portal open much longer!". In the next frame, what appears to be Barney is briefly seen jumping into the portal teleporting him from the alien homeworld Xen, as seen in the Blue Shift chapter Focal Point.

Half-Life 2

After the Portal Storms, the Seven Hour War, and the subsequent Combine takeover, Barney was presumably relocated to City 17 where he signed up for Civil Protection. This would have been valuable to gain inside information and distribute warnings about upcoming raids or provide misleading intelligence to the Combine though it was likely quite risky to his own safety. At some point before or after his relocation, he also came back into contact with Isaac Kleiner and Eli Vance who had also apparently been relocated to City 17 prior to Half-Life 2 and participated in their Resistance movement.

On one memorable occasion, Barney was assisting with Kleiner's teleport experiments where Kleiner attempted to transport a cat as a test experiment and something traumatizing happened to it. Barney claims to have persistent nightmares about the cat and even mistakes a distant Strider roar as a meow late.

By a twist of fate, probably orchestrated by the G-Man, Gordon Freeman is released from stasis into the City 17 Train Station where Barney happens to be having his shift of Civil Protection duty. A security camera rejects Gordon's identity and Barney is able to 'take him away for questioning', saving him from boarding the train to Nova Prospekt and meeting a horrible fate in the depths of the complex. He then contacts Isaac Kleiner, they have a brief chat about how Gordon could get to his lab safely, then Barney lets Gordon escape through a back way.

Sometime later, Barney and Gordon meet up at Kleiner's Lab. After another teleporter mishap that teleports Gordon to several different locations, Barney meets Gordon outside the lab and provides him with a crowbar, and directions to escape on foot to Eli's lab, via the Underground Railroad. Barney then goes back inside Kleiner's Lab, having to look after Kleiner.

Later on, when Gordon and Alyx arrive at Kleiner's Lab from Nova Prospekt, they receive a video transmission from Barney, who needs help fighting the Combine in the streets of City 17.

During the uprising, Barney comes to be the impromptu "field commander" of the Resistance forces and leads the push towards the Citadel in order to rescue Eli Vance. At some point, he is pinned down by Overwatch Snipers that Gordon, finally reaching him, takes down. Together they lead a team of Rebels into the Overwatch Nexus to disable the Suppression Device. Barney uses his Civil Protection status to unlock several barriers Gordon would normally not be able to pass. After Gordon sets off towards the Citadel again, Barney continues to oversee the later stages of the assault on the Overwatch Nexus, until encountering Dog and following him to Gordon's location. Barney is last seen at the foot of the Citadel, telling Gordon "And if you see Dr. Breen, tell him I said, FUCK YOU!". The swear can be heard completely in the audio file, but is covered in-game by sound effects (the subtitle is censored as well).

Half-Life 2: Episode One

Barney is encountered late in the game, where he is seen organizing a Resistance push on a train station to escape City 17 before the Citadel self-destructs. His actions have taken its toll on him as he seems very tired, appears to not have shaved, his face being also quite dirty.

He, again, provides Gordon with a crowbar before setting off to round up Citizens in that sector of the city. He then waits for Gordon and Alyx in the parking lot between the train station and the hospital. When the duo arrives, Gordon and Alyx help Barney escort several groups of Citizens through significant Combine resistance into the escape trains. He is last seen leaving on a train saying, "See ya when I see ya!", as Gordon and Alyx decide to take the next one to give him and the Citizens time to escape.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Barney is presumed to have safely escaped, though he does not physically appear, nor is he mentioned.



           Halflifenavbox.png/ Portalnavbox.png Heroes

Gordon Freeman | Alyx Vance | Eli Vance | Isaac Kleiner | Judith Mossman | Barney Calhoun

Dog | Chell | Adventure Core | Space Core | Fact Core | ATLAS and P-body