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Themes and concepts
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The '''Combine''' or '''Universal Union''', a multiverse-spanning, highly advanced technological civilization, are the main antagonists of the series.  Led by 'advisors' (large grublike aliens wholly dependent on their technology for physical tasks), the Combine subjugates other species using [[synthetic biology]] and overwhelming military might transported through inter-universe portals.
 
The '''Combine''' or '''Universal Union''', a multiverse-spanning, highly advanced technological civilization, are the main antagonists of the series.  Led by 'advisors' (large grublike aliens wholly dependent on their technology for physical tasks), the Combine subjugates other species using [[synthetic biology]] and overwhelming military might transported through inter-universe portals.
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== Futurist themes and concepts ==
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=== Advanced Engineering ===
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The Black Mesa Research facility depicts an organization capable of extremely advanced feats using roughly 1990s-era technology, and encompasses a hydroelectric dam, nuclear reactors, rocket engine testing facilities, massive terrariums for studying captured Xen specimens, and multiple advanced particle accelerator systems.  The complex is also shown to be capable of trans-orbital rocket launches and maintaining a satellite constellation.
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Combine forces are based in and coordinated from "Citadels" - massive structures containing all the facilities they would need to manufacture, maintain, and support their forces locally, and establish portals for communication and transport with other Combine worlds.  Citadels are manufactured off-world and installed in-place through portals - displacing multiple city blocks at their base.
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=== Combine Transhumanism ===
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==== External Propaganda ====
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After invading Earth, the occupying Combine forces use incentives to recruit for their human 'Civil Protection' forces.  Humanity's collective future as planned by the Combine, as well as higher ranks of the Combine forces, are propagandized in vague transhumanist language, with the general public promised transcendence and immortality as their population dwindles and the planet is stripped of natural resources and rendered an inhospitable wasteland.
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==== Internal Messages ====
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Internal Combine messaging aimed at Civil Protection members cites memory replacement indoctrination as "the first step towards promotion," a process later depicted in passing with a limp CP officer attached to a face-covering machine.  Further modifications are heavily implied, with elite soldiers wearing helmets dominated by large, red, cyclopean lenses and communicating with heavily distorted speech from implanted [[speech synthesis|vocoders]].  At one point in a later level, a group of their soldiers are directly addressed as "the transhuman arm of the Combine Overwatch" and threatened with "permanent off-world assignment" if unsuccessful in their mission.
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Regardless of rank, CP and Overwatch members are directed in their duties by a female-voiced artificial dispatcher that can be heard throughout the city, issuing orders couched in medical euphemisms: "innoculating" the general public against dissent while "amputating" and "cauterizing" those who resist and their influence.
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==== Stalkers ====
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<blockquote>"This is what happens to you if you resist...or if you're just in the wrong place at the wrong time." ― Alyx Vance on stalkers in <i>Half Life 2: Episode 1</i></blockquote>
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Some less fortunate humans are enslaved and turned into 'stalkers,' stripped of their extremities, identifying characteristics, and 'unnecessary' organs.  Stalkers are not depicted as capable of speech, and walk and work using crude prosthetics - with reminders that their "limb privileges" can be revoked.
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While they are not shown outside the Combine Citadel, chatter among resistance fighters in-game show they are aware of stalkers and their risk of becoming one for their actions.
    
== Future ==
 
== Future ==
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* <i>Half Life: Blue Shift</i> (Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
 
* <i>Half Life: Blue Shift</i> (Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
 
* <i>Half Life: Decay</i> (Sony PlayStation 2), 2001
 
* <i>Half Life: Decay</i> (Sony PlayStation 2), 2001
* <i>Half Life: Raising The Bar</i> (Art Book)
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* <i>Half Life 2: Raising The Bar</i> (Art Book)
 
* <i>Half Life 2</i> (Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
 
* <i>Half Life 2</i> (Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
 
* <i>Half Life 2: Lost Coast</i> (Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
 
* <i>Half Life 2: Lost Coast</i> (Microsoft Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
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== External links ==
 
== External links ==
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* {{wikipedia|Half-Life (series)}}
 
* {{wikipedia|Half-Life (series)}}
 
* {{wikipedia|Portal (series)}}
 
* {{wikipedia|Portal (series)}}
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