"So, Freeman right?" Asked Rochelle to Freeman, who was lying on a couch back at the safehouse. It was three hours after the incident. All of them had agreed that it was much safer there than outside.

"What exactly were you doing out there wandering all by yourself?" continued Coach, standing behind Rochelle. He was cooking up supper for the others with some canned goods they found in a grocery store two blocks away. Mostly Tuna and Beans, but it would have to do. "Don't you know that it not safe to be all alone out there? You could have been pounced out there."

Freeman gave no response. He was still lying on his side on the sofa but his eyes were tuned to Coach and Rochelle, meaning he was listening.

"You don t talk much, do you?" asked Rochelle heading into the kitchen to prepare the table. Freeman grunted and turned and had his back against the others in a gesture of annoyance. Ellis came down the stairs and headed directly in the kitchen. "What's for dinner Coach?" asked Ellis hungrily. "Oh the usual, Beans and fish. At least we still have a decent meal." replied Coach.

"Man, I gotta say Coach, I miss suppertime at my house. We'd have Fried chicken sometimes, coupled with mashed 'taters, gravy and beans. Sometimes Keith would come along for dinner. He sure stirred up trouble. He'd devour every morsel on the table. My ma' would be blushing whenever Keith would compliment her cooking. Man, that was some good times..."

Rochelle intervened. "Well at least we got the beans part right. Pork and beans fresh off the stove! Come get it while it's hot."

Nick appeared at the foot of the stairs. His hair was ruffled up and his suit was wrinkled and covered in blood. Well, zombie blood anyway. Coach called everyone to the table. They had been fairly lucky to have found a safe house that was a particularly decent house. All the lights were working and so was the electric stove. The downside was, the TV was wrecked and was lying in the corner of the room. It was no use anyway, since the people who had the job to operate the stations were already dead or dead-ish. Everyone sat down on the table except Freeman. Coach entered the living room and nudged Freeman out of his stupor. "Freeman, time to eat. Gotta stay energized boy. Let's go!" Freeman hauled himself of the couch (Which, a few short hours ago, Ellis had done the same thing) and trudged towards the kitchen. He took a vacant seat at the opposite end of the table facing Coach. He quietly filled up his plate and began to eat. "Here have more of these beans. Ro' doesn't want anymore anyway." Ellis said to Freeman, passing a plate of beans towards him.

"No Thank You." Replied Freeman.

Everyone was still for a second. Everyone stopped eating and no one uttered a thing. Nick broke the silence.

"Huh. So you can talk huh? It's about time." Nick said in his usual deadpan manner.

A few moments of awkward silence followed before Freeman spoke up.

That thing outside. The one I just killed. What was that thing?

You re kidding right? Rochelle asked.

Freeman shook his head.

I can t believe this. Nick said. What, you ve been hiding under a rock when the infection hit?

Shut up Nick. Ellis retaliated. That there, was a Tank. Ugly, ugly brutes. Picks up cars just to pancake you.

Yeah, I know.

So lemme get this straight; you know nothing about the Green Flu and the friggin infected? Nick shot back. Wow.

Encountered the infected yet? Rochelle curiously inquired.

Freeman returned a confused look.

You know Bloodshot eyes, Missing limbs and appendages, Unstoppable rage, a thirst for human flesh

The zombies, man. Ellis clarified.

Oh. Yes. A few of them ganged up on me, but I managed to fend them off with my crowbar. He tapped the metal rod sheathed in his belt. I must admit, they were much faster than any headcrab zombies I have ever encountered; Well, apart from the fast ones. And the behemoth you call a Tank was a tad easier to dispatch than an Antlion Guardian. A car took care of it.

What are you talking about Freeman? Coach spoke up.

Freeman dropped the plastic spoon and fork in his hands and looked at the others. "It's Gordon actually. Gordon Freeman. I think I owe you people my thanks for helping me outside and for sheltering me; and I feel that I need some further explanation to explain my situation to you.

Sounds about right. Nick remarked.

I was separated with two of my friends a few hours ago before you saw me. We managed to establish that we were supposed to head to an abandoned warehouse up north to meet up. Surely, once I reach them, we can continue-" Gordon cut himself off. Well, I m not really at liberty to say. Let s just assume I need to head up north as soon as possible. Gordon continued his meal.

"We're heading up north ourselves. Why don't we come with you?" Coach asked, ignoring Nick.

"No. It's too risky." replied Freeman.

Rochelle placed a hand on Gordon's shoulder and said: "It's hell up there, no one can make it all on his own. You stray off to far and go lone wolf, and you re dead. You re going to need all the help you can get."

Before Gordon could reply, Nick interrupted him and said, "It's settled then. We're heading up north to help reunite this shifty looking guy whom we met only a few hours ago with his buddies who may or may not be already dead just for kicks. Right?"

"Yup." Replied Rochelle "Exactly." Added Coach "That's just about right." said Ellis.

"Okay then. Looks like I have no other choice. Gordon, We're leaving tonight." said Nick chomping on a spoonful of beans.