[29th]WarriorPoet Aug 24, 2013 @ 7:58am
What is on the Borealis? (Half-Life 2/Portal 2 discussion)
Half Life (Portal) Theory #2: What Is On The Borealis
A short while ago, I wrote a theory on who I thought Chell was. Now, I’m back with another one of my theories (well, TECHNICALLY they aren’t mine. What’s important is they’re theories.) And this time I’m covering something else: the Borealis, and its connections to the G-man.

(Note: this might be a bit long, as there's a lot to cover.)
Alright, we all know about the Borealis, the Aperture Science research vessel sought by the Resistance (and the Combine) in Half-Life 2. It is said to be carrying top-secret cargo for government review. But what’s on it? That remains to be seen, but here are my/Half-Life fan theories on what it is carrying.

It’s clear that the Borealis is carrying something that the Combine want, and that is the base of most theories. The Combine are a multiversal (don’t know if that’s a word) imperial power, with high tech technology. They would only seek out the ship if it had something that they truly wanted. In the concept art for Episode 3, there are Advisors floating through the canyon. While this is certainly not a final-release-image, there would be NO reason for the Combine to send Advisors, leading members of their government on Earth, to guard one ship. But WHAT exactly is on it?

First, let’s look at the way characters treat the Borealis. Yes, the Resistance do not know what is really on it, but they have the great minds of Eli Vance and Isaac Kleiner on their side. And it certainly seems that Eli Vance has an idea of what’s on it-and a pretty clear one. When Alyx relays the words “Prepare for unforeseen consequences”, he is physically shocked, almost falling down. He also remarks this (not the EXACT quote) “I can’t let another Black Mesa happen…”. As he speaks to Gordon Freeman directly afterwards, he is remembering the BMI in a negative way, thinking about his bad decisions. He seems to be about to tell Gordon something else, profound, but Alyx interrupts them. However, during this discussion Eli tells Gordon about their “mutual friend”, most likely the G-man. Eli CLEARLY knows about the G-man, as he was given the Resonance Cascade sample by him. Anyway, at the end of Episode 2, he is killed by Advisors.

Now here’s where I am a bit suspicious. Eli is remarking to Gordon right before he is killed that Gordon must destroy “that damned ship”, clearly the Borealis. But why is he killed by a pair of Advisors? They are, after all, “Advisors”, and they SHOULD be “advising” the remaining Combine on Earth, if not taking control completely. They aren’t assassins. It’s clear that Eli wants the Borealis destroyed, from early on. What if the G-man didn’t want Eli to be able to tell Gordon all he knew?

We know that the G-man can control great things. After all, he can teleport around, freeze people in stasis, and, to the point of view of the player, stop time. But, if indeed he did subconsciously tell the Advisors to go and kill Eli, why would he? My only answer is that the G-man didn’t want Eli to be able to tell Gordon Freeman too much information: either on the G-man, or, more likely, the Borealis.

But again, what’s on the Borealis? Now, let’s look at our information on Aperture’s involvement in the matter.

The time of the disappearance of the Borealis is up to debate. While the ship’s drydock is built in the 1970s section of the facility, the blueprints for it show the “modern” Aperture logo and even GLaDOS’s signature, although this might just be a joke. So let’s look at Aperture research at this time. We know they had they had the portalgun by the 90s, . They also had repulsion, propulsion, cleansing, and conversion gel. But this is not all that’s going on. When you walk down the hall to the Borealis drydock and examine one of the vitrified doors, Cave Johnson will speak. He mentions that Aperture is working on a teleportation device, and warns that those involved’s skin may not go with them. There are no skins in the drydock. But what if, if the Borealis was teleported, its lifepreservers, (a bit like a skin, lying on the outside of the ship) didn’t teleport with it? No one tosses lifepreservers off a ship, so this provides a reason for the ones scattered around the dock.

Now, here are some theories on what’s actually ON the Borealis. For a while I harbored the idea that there might be a 4th (or 5th, if you consider cleansing gel/water to be a gel) gel on it. We know that Valve had intentionally intended to add in “adhesion gel”, but didn’t due to playtesters getting motion sickness using it. However, this doesn’t mean that Aperture didn’t have another gel we weren’t seen. Perhaps a gel that made whatever it came into contact with teleport? Or break that surface into particles which would travel to a predetermined location? However, interesting as this may be, there is no real evidence that this is the case. The other theory (not mine) that I thought was likely was the idea that there was some sort of portal device on the Borealis. However, I don’t think that the ASHPD (Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device) was on it. It is said that the ship was carrying new technology for government review. It’s clear that Aperture had been using the Quantum Tunneling Device for quite a while. But what if it wasn’t the HANDHELD portal device? What about a much larger device that could create much larger, possibly even multidimensional portals? And what if that went haywire and caused the disappearance? Or, perhaps more sinister, Black Mesa
But how does this tie in with Black Mesa, the G-man, and the Combine?

Here’s my theory, tied in with some others’. Black Mesa somehow knew about what was on the Borealis and knew that if Aperture managed to release it to the government they’d be doomed. So they broke in, stole PARTIAL plans for the superportal device, and sabotaged the ship so that it would teleport into places unknown. They then used this technology to make their portals to Xen, but due to the incompleteness of the superportal device plans, they were unable to make perfect ones. And how does this affect the Combine and the G-man? The Combine Overworld is their capital planet. They amass their armies there. They rule from there. If that falls, so does their empire. If the Resistance was to use the superportal device to teleport to the Overworld, then they could effectively destroy the Combine. But there’s a catch. Remember when Eli had a shock attack in Episode Two, remarking “I can’t let this happen…not another Black Mesa.”? What happened at Black Mesa (most of you know this, I’m just showing some parallels) was that the scientists were conducting a resonance test, using a crystal sample, when they accidentally opened a portal to Xen, causing the BMI and, eventually the Combine invasion of Earth. Beforehand, the G-man told Eli Vance to “prepare for unforeseen consequences”. In Episode Two, he relays the same message. What if, in opening a superportal to the Overworld, the Resistance just open a large portal for the Combine to come through? Also, should the G-man prove hostile, then it could be used to teleport to his realm. In any circumstance, Gordon Freeman will have to tread carefully.

(Note: Why do I think Black Mesa STOLE the Borealis? Well, if you listen to Doug Rattmann, you will probably hear (and most translations support this) the phrase “It’s gone, sir! The ship is stolen!” Well, there’s only one ship he could be talking about: the Borealis.
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Kess Nov 19, 2013 @ 8:33pm 
Very interesting indeed. This is the first extensive work of peculation I have seen on the subject of the Borealis.
Lx Nov 20, 2013 @ 6:13am 
I think Borealis contains technology to create portals, very unpredictable technology (that is why it disappeared) More likely the questions what is inside the Borealis is the question why it looks like ship? What do you think?
Ex Cathedra Jan 5, 2014 @ 9:14am 
Maybe the super-teleporter IS THE Borealis, and it is a ship because the the Combine Overworld is mostly made of water, if not, why dont make an airplane or a truck?
Last edited by Ex Cathedra; Jan 5, 2014 @ 9:14am
[29th]WarriorPoet Jan 5, 2014 @ 10:45am 
Originally posted by josespacial:
Maybe the super-teleporter IS THE Borealis, and it is a ship because the the Combine Overworld is mostly made of water, if not, why dont make an airplane or a truck?
Hmm...

Jaycool Jan 5, 2014 @ 12:45pm 
I think Gman killing Eli is a common misperception. Gman was not relevant at the time. Instead the shutdown of the portal was, which enraged the advisors into doing a cheap shot because one of their final chances failed.

Most of it looks good though. Where does Mossman fit in? Why is she the only one who knows the location of "the project"?
[29th]WarriorPoet Jan 5, 2014 @ 1:00pm 
Originally posted by Jaycool:
I think Gman killing Eli is a common misperception. Gman was not relevant at the time. Instead the shutdown of the portal was, which enraged the advisors into doing a cheap shot because one of their final chances failed.

Most of it looks good though. Where does Mossman fit in? Why is she the only one who knows the location of "the project"?
I'd have to disagree with you over G-man. Doesn't t seem a little suspicious that as soon as Eli mentions him to Gordon Freeman and is about to say more, Alyx interrupts, and then the next time they can talk, Eli is killed?

To be truthful, I haven't thought about Mossman much. I'll get back to you on that.
Jaycool Jan 5, 2014 @ 9:11pm 
Originally posted by RC-01/138:
Originally posted by Jaycool:
I think Gman killing Eli is a common misperception. Gman was not relevant at the time. Instead the shutdown of the portal was, which enraged the advisors into doing a cheap shot because one of their final chances failed.

Most of it looks good though. Where does Mossman fit in? Why is she the only one who knows the location of "the project"?
I'd have to disagree with you over G-man. Doesn't t seem a little suspicious that as soon as Eli mentions him to Gordon Freeman and is about to say more, Alyx interrupts, and then the next time they can talk, Eli is killed?

To be truthful, I haven't thought about Mossman much. I'll get back to you on that.

I understand where your coming from and see what you mean. However I believe it was solely a tease of plot information from the developers, so we couldn't really recieve all that information from Eli or there would be no fun mystery. They took the best route, teasing at much more while cutting us off from it. Alyx was clearly no longer controlled to interrupt on purpose either.

It was all about Gman manipulating Eli's mind. He entered the scene right as Eli was deeply troubled about the Ship.

I don't think Eli would have given us all the details in the hanger because of the urgency. To back that up Eli mentioned after the launch of the rocket that he wished they didn't have to head off so soon and would talk about a lot once Gordon got back (thought he may be referring to Alyx on this one because he winked).

From what was shown Eli didn't seem to percieve his own death from what Gman said, only being concerned of the Ship destruction/Mossman safety. They obviously wouldn't want to hint or foreshadow towards that end scene. They switched out the #7 chapter pic in development because it showed spoilers of it.

Right after the portal is sealed, Alyx "I bet the combine aren't too happy right now", Eli "you've got that right sweetheart". It was anger that was relevant going into the hanger scene not Gman.

Besides Gman would have likely regained Gordon in the end of the old EP3 either way and would thus be kept from Eli's knowledge, so it would be completely unecessary for Gman to kill Eli. Gman could have influenced his death but I don't think he did.

Looking forward to see what you come up with for Mossman.
Last edited by Jaycool; Jan 5, 2014 @ 9:15pm
[29th]WarriorPoet Jan 6, 2014 @ 2:07pm 
So here's what I've been thinking of.
So, obviously, Mossman is a turncoat. She switches sides multiple times during Half-Life 2. Now, note how the Borealis is located just as Gordon Freeman starts becoming a problem to the Combine.
Is it possible that the Borealis is a trap for Gordon Freeman? Now, from the little info on Ep3 we've gotten from Valve, we know the Borealis will most likely be occupied by Combine forces. Perhaps the Combine knew about the Borealis before Gordon Freeman arrived, and, as a spy, Judith knew of this information too?
Now, this means that the information about the Borealis was passed on intentionally. It was MEANT to be learned by the Resistance. In this scenario, either Judith is still weaving a trap for Gordon, or, alternatively, she has fully converted to the Resistance. She attempted to warn Gordon about the Borealis, but the Combine caught wind of it and attacked her. Maybe they...extracted Resistance communications codes from Mossman and used it to send an altered message to Gordon, telling him about the Borealis but not, possibly, what the problem is on it. Perhaps Judith is bait for Gordon to follow. Or, maybe Eli was supposed to go after her because he needed to die. A lot of speculation, I guess.
thomj.ander65 Jan 7, 2014 @ 6:49pm 
o.o
Jaycool Jan 11, 2014 @ 8:04pm 
Originally posted by RC-01/138:
So here's what I've been thinking of.
So, obviously, Mossman is a turncoat. She switches sides multiple times during Half-Life 2. Now, note how the Borealis is located just as Gordon Freeman starts becoming a problem to the Combine.
Is it possible that the Borealis is a trap for Gordon Freeman? Now, from the little info on Ep3 we've gotten from Valve, we know the Borealis will most likely be occupied by Combine forces. Perhaps the Combine knew about the Borealis before Gordon Freeman arrived, and, as a spy, Judith knew of this information too?
Now, this means that the information about the Borealis was passed on intentionally. It was MEANT to be learned by the Resistance. In this scenario, either Judith is still weaving a trap for Gordon, or, alternatively, she has fully converted to the Resistance. She attempted to warn Gordon about the Borealis, but the Combine caught wind of it and attacked her. Maybe they...extracted Resistance communications codes from Mossman and used it to send an altered message to Gordon, telling him about the Borealis but not, possibly, what the problem is on it. Perhaps Judith is bait for Gordon to follow. Or, maybe Eli was supposed to go after her because he needed to die. A lot of speculation, I guess.

I do like the idea of an altered feed & a trap by the combine but I don't think it is the case.

Mossman is locked on our side because she betrayed the combine at the end of HL2 and is being hunted down in the video feed EP1/EP2. White Forest was fully unaware about Moss' msg that never arrived.

Mossman sent the msg to the Resistance who never recieved it in EP1 because the Citadel picked it up instead. The combine then tried to prevent the resistance from learning about it ( trying to destroy the Citadel, although not a sole purpose in that). Chasing Alyx and Gordon ever since, because of all the contents that we copied.

If the combine wanted it seen then im confused because they could have sent an altered version directly to WF base.

The combine became aware of Borealis because of Moss. All they need now is Mossman's knowledge and it looks like she will be getting captured, tortured, found by us in a very less than ideal state.

(Likely case) She worked for Aperture and obtained knowledge of the ship via yet to be revealed info.

Moss will likely contact us again on the trip with more video feed.
EP2 Alyx: "We'll keep the hailing frequency open on the radio incase Judith tries to reach us again". Eli "Well thats good, she may well make another attempt."

Im guessing Moss will be shown getting captured but gets tortured after, we will find her in a less than ideal state. To find her may be our first priority.
EP2 Eli: "That must mean she is still alive up there, but if the Combine catch her they'll tear out everything she knows. There will be nothing left of her."

The question is again how does Moss have a general idea for the location of the ship. It indicated something, maybe she seen it appear or was even onboard it. I like the idea of a lone survivor, perhaps even one known and one unknown, but I don't think Moss was on it.
Last edited by Jaycool; Jan 11, 2014 @ 8:06pm
xkey Jan 12, 2014 @ 2:48am 
We need the HL3!!!! Or im going to be crazy
[29th]WarriorPoet Jan 12, 2014 @ 10:07am 
Originally posted by Jaycool:
Originally posted by RC-01/138:
So here's what I've been thinking of.
So, obviously, Mossman is a turncoat. She switches sides multiple times during Half-Life 2. Now, note how the Borealis is located just as Gordon Freeman starts becoming a problem to the Combine.
Is it possible that the Borealis is a trap for Gordon Freeman? Now, from the little info on Ep3 we've gotten from Valve, we know the Borealis will most likely be occupied by Combine forces. Perhaps the Combine knew about the Borealis before Gordon Freeman arrived, and, as a spy, Judith knew of this information too?
Now, this means that the information about the Borealis was passed on intentionally. It was MEANT to be learned by the Resistance. In this scenario, either Judith is still weaving a trap for Gordon, or, alternatively, she has fully converted to the Resistance. She attempted to warn Gordon about the Borealis, but the Combine caught wind of it and attacked her. Maybe they...extracted Resistance communications codes from Mossman and used it to send an altered message to Gordon, telling him about the Borealis but not, possibly, what the problem is on it. Perhaps Judith is bait for Gordon to follow. Or, maybe Eli was supposed to go after her because he needed to die. A lot of speculation, I guess.

I do like the idea of an altered feed & a trap by the combine but I don't think it is the case.

Mossman is locked on our side because she betrayed the combine at the end of HL2 and is being hunted down in the video feed EP1/EP2. White Forest was fully unaware about Moss' msg that never arrived.

Mossman sent the msg to the Resistance who never recieved it in EP1 because the Citadel picked it up instead. The combine then tried to prevent the resistance from learning about it ( trying to destroy the Citadel, although not a sole purpose in that). Chasing Alyx and Gordon ever since, because of all the contents that we copied.

If the combine wanted it seen then im confused because they could have sent an altered version directly to WF base.

The combine became aware of Borealis because of Moss. All they need now is Mossman's knowledge and it looks like she will be getting captured, tortured, found by us in a very less than ideal state.

(Likely case) She worked for Aperture and obtained knowledge of the ship via yet to be revealed info.

Moss will likely contact us again on the trip with more video feed.
EP2 Alyx: "We'll keep the hailing frequency open on the radio incase Judith tries to reach us again". Eli "Well thats good, she may well make another attempt."

Im guessing Moss will be shown getting captured but gets tortured after, we will find her in a less than ideal state. To find her may be our first priority.
EP2 Eli: "That must mean she is still alive up there, but if the Combine catch her they'll tear out everything she knows. There will be nothing left of her."

The question is again how does Moss have a general idea for the location of the ship. It indicated something, maybe she seen it appear or was even onboard it. I like the idea of a lone survivor, perhaps even one known and one unknown, but I don't think Moss was on it.

I agree that Mossman may be captured and tortured, and when writing the comment I felt that her being on the permanent side of the Resistance was more likely.
MakTavish Jan 27, 2014 @ 2:49pm 
I found out this little tiny thing.At the end of the gameplay of the Half-Life 2 Episode 2 i realized (when watching like 20 times) that Eli clearly knows what is on "Borealis" but at the THAT DAMN END Advisor kills Eli but he clearly takes out his brain.Maybe combine now knows what "Borealis" contains.
MakTavish Jan 27, 2014 @ 2:55pm 
And also ive seen other comments and its so clear that GMAN DIDNT send those 2 advisors cuz trough the whole game he helps gordon freeman not combine
[29th]WarriorPoet Jan 27, 2014 @ 5:19pm 
Originally posted by The_Huntsman:
I found out this little tiny thing.At the end of the gameplay of the Half-Life 2 Episode 2 i realized (when watching like 20 times) that Eli clearly knows what is on "Borealis" but at the THAT DAMN END Advisor kills Eli but he clearly takes out his brain.Maybe combine now knows what "Borealis" contains.


Originally posted by The_Huntsman:
And also ive seen other comments and its so clear that GMAN DIDNT send those 2 advisors cuz trough the whole game he helps gordon freeman not combine

He doesn't "clearly" take out Eli's brain. He hits the spine and the neck and sucks out brain fluid, which kills Eli.

Yes, the G-man is helping Gordon throughout the game. But his plans are less than clear.
Let's say that the US has a sniper that takes out terrorist targets. His leader gives him specific targets that are sometimes confusing, but the sniper kills them anyway. Then he finds out that his leader was working for the terrorists, and the targets he took out were actually US spies operating in the terrorist ring.

The fact that the G-man is helping Gordon means nothing, sir. Obviously the G-man has his own agenda. Had you actually read my discussion, you might have realized that I don't think the G-man killed Eli for the Combine. What I think is that the G-man had Eli killed because he knew too much. You're missing the forest for the trees.

Also, have you actually PLAYED Episode 2? No offense, but watching it online doesn't count.
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