Dr. Wallace Breen
The former Administrator at Black Mesa, Breen is now the ruler of Earth, as well as Earth's representative to the Combine. Breen reports to the Combine and acts subservient to them. Breen only appears as a character in Half-Life 2, and is only mentioned in the Episodes.
Welcome. Welcome to City 17. You have chosen, or been chosen, to relocate to one of our finest remaining urban centers.
I thought so much of City 17 that I elected to establish my Administration here in the Citadel so thoughtfully provided by our benefactors. I have been proud to call City 17 my home. And so, whether you are here to stay, or passing through on your way to parts unknown, welcome to City 17. It's safer here.
Let me read a letter I recently received. 'Dear Dr. Breen. Why has the... Combine seen fit to suppress our reproductive cycle? Sincerely, A Concerned Citizen.' Thank you for writing, Concerned. Of course your question touches on one of the basic biological impulses, with all its associated hopes and fears for the future of the species. I also detect some unspoken questions. Do our benefactors really know what's best for us? What gives them the right to make this kind of decision for mankind? Will they ever deactivate the suppression field and let us breed again? Allow me to address the anxieties underlying your concerns, rather than try to answer every possible question you might have left unvoiced.
First, let us consider the fact that for the first time, ever, as a species, immortality is in our reach. This simple fact has far-reaching implications. It requires radical rethinking and revision of our genetic imperatives. It also requires planning and forethought that run in direct opposition to our neural pre-sets.
I find it helpful at times like these to remind myself that our true enemy is instinct. Instinct was our mother when we were an infant species. Instinct coddled us and kept us safe in those hardscrabble years when we hardened our sticks and cooked our first meals above a meager fire, and started at the shadows that leapt upon the cavern's walls.
But inseparable from instinct is its dark twin, superstition. Instinct is inextricably bound to unreasoning impulses, and today we clearly see its true nature. Instinct has just become aware of its irrelevance, and like a cornered beast, it will not go down without a bloody fight.
Instinct would inflict a fatal injury on our species. Instinct creates its own oppressors, and bids us rise up against them. Instinct tells us that the unknown is a threat, rather than an opportunity. Instinct slyly and covertly compels us away from change and progress. Instinct, therefore, must be expunged. It must be fought tooth and nail, beginning with the basest of human urges: the urge to reproduce.
We should thank our benefactors for giving us respite from this overpowering force. They have thrown a switch and exorcised our demons in a single stroke. They have given us the strength we never could have summoned to overcome this compulsion. They have given us purpose. They have turned our eyes toward the stars.
Let me assure you that the suppressing field will be shut off on the day that we have mastered ourselves. The day we can prove that we no longer need it. And that day of transformation, I have it on good authority, is close at hand.
We now have direct confirmation of a disruptor in our midst, one who has acquired an almost messianic reputation in the minds of certain citizens. His figure is synonymous with the darkest urges of instinct, ignorance and decay. Some of the worst excesses of the Black Mesa Incident have been laid directly at his feet, and yet unsophisticated minds continue to imbue him with romantic power, giving him such dangerous poetic labels as the One Free Man, the Opener of the Way.
Let me remind all citizens of the dangers of magical thinking. We have scarcely begun to climb from the dark pit of our species' evolution. Let us not slide backward into oblivion, just as we have finally begun to see the light.
If you see this so-called Free Man, report him. Civic deeds do not go unrewarded, and contrariwise, complicity with his cause will not go unpunished. Be wise. Be safe. Be aware.
I have been asked to say a few words to the transhuman arm of Sector Seventeen Overwatch, concerning recent successes in containing members of the resistance science team. Let me say up front that I regret having to temper my heartfelt congratulations with a strong measure of disappointment, but I wouldn't be doing my duty as your Administrator if I didn't pass along the message I have received from our Benefactors.
The capture of Eli Vance is an event of major significance, make no mistake. And while it's true that conceivably we could have taken him at almost any time in the last several years, the manner of his capture may prove to have unexpected benefits. It cannot have gone unnoticed by all resistance members that Doctor Vance's capture coincided with the act of giving shelter to Gordon Freeman. This might cause other resistance members to think twice before harboring Doctor Freeman. It might cause them to question his allegiance; even prompt some to turn him out, or turn him over to our cause. However, we cannot count on such developments. Doctor Freeman's reputation is such that other desperate renegades are likely to grant him a great deal of license in the spirit of spreading general chaos and terror.
This brings me to the one note of disappointment I must echo from our Benefactors. Obviously I am not on the ground to closely command or second-guess the dedicated forces of the Overwatch, but this does not mean I can shirk responsibility for recent lapses and even outright failures on their part. I have been severely questioned about these shortcomings, and now must put the question to you: How could one man have slipped through your force's fingers, time and time again? How is it possible? This is not some agent provocateur, or highly trained assassin we are discussing. Gordon Freeman is a theoretical physicist who had hardly earned the distinction of his Ph.D. at the time of the Black Mesa Incident. I have good reason to believe that in the intervening years, he was in a state that precluded further development of covert skills. The man you have consistently failed to slow, let alone capture, is by all standards simply that, an ordinary man. How can you have failed to apprehend him?
Well... I will leave the upbraiding for another time, to the extent it proves necessary. Now is the moment to redeem yourselves. If the transhuman forces are to prove themselves an indispensable augmentation to the Combine Overwatch, they will have to earn the privilege. I'm sure I don't have to remind you that the alternative, if you can call it that, is total extinction - in union with all the other unworthy branches of the species.
Let's not allow it to come to that. I have done my best to convince our Benefactors that you are the finest the species has to offer. So far they have accepted my argument, but without concrete evidence to back it up, my words sound increasingly hollow even to me. The burden of proof is on you. As is the consequence of failure. I'll just leave it at that.
It has come to my attention that some have lately called me a collaborator, as if such a term were shameful. I ask you, what greater endeavor exists than that of collaboration? In our current unparalleled enterprise, refusal to collaborate is simply a refusal to grow; an insistence on suicide, if you will.
Did the lungfish refuse to breathe air? It did not. It crept forth boldly while its brethren remained in the blackest ocean abyss, with lidless eyes forever staring at the dark, ignorant and doomed despite their eternal vigilance. Would we model ourselves on the trilobite? Are all the accomplishments of humanity fated to be nothing more than a layer of broken plastic shards thinly strewn across a fossil bed, sandwiched between the burgess shale and an eon's worth of mud?
In order to be true to our nature, and our destiny, we must aspire to greater things. We have outgrown our cradle. It is futile to cry for mother's milk, when our true sustenance awaits us among the stars, and only the universal union that small minds call 'The Combine' can carry us there.
Therefore I say, yes, I am a collaborator. We must all collaborate, willingly, eagerly, if we expect to reap the benefits of unification. And reap we shall.
I'd like to take a moment to address you directly, Dr. Freeman. Yes, I'm talking to you, the so-called One Free Man. I have a question for you.
How could you have thrown it all away? It staggers the mind. A man of science, with the ability to sway reactionary and fearful minds toward the truth, choosing instead to embark on a path of ignorance and decay. Make no mistake, Dr. Freeman. This is not a scientific revolution you have sparked, this is death and finality. You have plunged humanity into freefall. Even if you offered your surrender now, I cannot guarantee that our benefactors would accept it.
At the moment, I fear they have begun to look upon even me with suspicion. So much for serving as humanity's representative. Help me win back their trust, Dr. Freeman. Surrender while you still can. Help ensure that humanity's trust in you is not misguided. Do what is right, Dr. Freeman. Serve mankind.
- "Having both of you in my keeping ensures I can dictate the terms of any deal I care to make with The Combine."
- "...only the universal union that small minds call 'The Combine' ..."
- "You have destroyed so much. What exactly is it that you've created?"
- "A host body? You must be joking, I can't possibly... oh alright, dammit, if that's what it takes."
- "Think man, for the people below!"