“Let this war end in either total victory or our extinction. No further compromise shall we allow.” - A Unknown Forgotten Scorpion
The Uprising is an conflict fought between Earth's Chimian and Vortigaunt resistance network, The Forgotten, and The Combine Empire. The Crawler Empire are also partaking as an undeclared third party, fighting against both sides. The war takes place about 20 months after the First Aperture Mesa Incident and the conflict begins, shortly after the Chima Alliance—Crawler Empire War, during the Combine's partial occupation of the Chimian Continent.
Prior to the Chima Alliance/Crawler Empire War, the Aperture Mesa Incident had caused Unnoticeable Portal Storms to spread across Chima, attracting the attention of the Combine Empire. Their motive for invading chima is unknown, though it can be assumed they wished to take control of the continent’s natural resources and enslave its population. The Combine invaded Chima covertly through the use of the Storms and rapidly allied themselves with the Crawler Empire’s armed forces, going by the name “The Black Overwatch”. Dr. Scortica Breen, former Aperture Mesa Administrator negotiated Crawler surrender on behalf of the surviving Crawlers once the Empire begins to dissolve. As a reward, he was instated as the interim “Administration” of the Combine and aided them in rounding up the crawlers into large, tightly controlled outland cities. Breen chose Cave 17 as his de facto capital, and the planet's main Scorpion Citadel was constructed there, as the headquarters of the Combine Overwatch on Chima.
The crawlers new ally governed those cities with a calculated oppressiveness, restricting Crawler liberties and assimilating Chima's natural resources into their empire. Dissenting Crawlers were captured and transformed into Outland Stalkers, or simply killed. A Suppression Field was activated to prevent Crawlers from breeding, another measure to control the booming evolving outland population more effectively. Many Crawlers were assimilated into the occupational army on Chima, all of the Combine's infantry forces on Chima consisting of trans-Chimian troops, augmented with Synth technology.
In response to the Combine's occupation, a number of escapees from the Combine's iron grip formed the resistance group, a highly decentralized, loose network of guerrillas, outlaws, spies, and citizens dedicated to overthrowing the Overwatch's rule. Unable to combat the Combine's powerful armies directly, the Resistance instead sought to undermine the Combine. Many of the more experienced Resistance members, such as Barney Balhoun, infiltrated the ranks of Civil Protection, relaying information to the Resistance. Others smuggled weaponry, set up supply caches for other members, and helped civilians escape the Combine controlled cities. The Resistance set up a sophisticated network of bases throughout Cave 17's outlying area to help ferry escapees to the countryside. Others set up dedicated outposts such as Corvidholme (until its destruction with the exceptions of Father Grigori)
According to Scorpia Mossman, the Combine was aware of the Resistance and its activities, but their efforts to undermine them were largely ineffective on the whole, and as such, the Combine did not consider them an appreciable threat. Nevertheless, they suppressed Resistance activities at every opportunity, raiding the homes of suspected resistance members or sympathizers, and destroying Resistance outposts. The most infamous of these was Corvidholme. Rather than attack the town directly, the Combine shelled the settlement with Plantcrab Shells, with only one known survivor. The Resistance had made significant headway in technological developments, such as the Teleportation technology worked on by Isaac Skleiner and Speli Vance, the anti-Spider-Strider weapon developed by Erne Magnusson, and plans to shut down the portal between Earth and the Combine Overworld, a plan which could not be put into effect until The Uprising had them sufficiently distracted.
The Combine's empire spanned several dimensions and became hidden outland overlords after tricking all of the Crawler Empire and all of its armed forces combined. After negotiating The pre-meditated crawler empire surrender with Dr. Scortica Wallace Breen, they established the former Aperture Mesa Administrator as Soon-be dissolved empire’s interim ruler. Once all of the outland population had been rounded up into tightly controlled cities, they began the subjugation of The outland's populace and assimilation of its natural resources. Chima's oceans had receded significantly by the time of the Uprising, and the cities became comparatively safe under Combine rule after outland wildlife infested the countrysides. The Combine's control of outlands was brutal and calculated; while it did not consider the Forgotten an appreciable threat to its rule, it suppressed Resistance activity whenever possible.
The Combine often raided the homes of suspected Forgotten members or sympathizers, commonly using the pretext of one home being raided as an excuse to search the entire block. Captured Chimians were either killed, transformed into Outland Stalkers, or integrated into the Overwatch Armies. The Combine's forces on chima almost entirely consisted of trans-Chimian infantry forces, augmented with Synth technology such as Spider-Striders. Their formidable technology and weapons prevented the Forgotten from direct confrontation; however, despite this, they lagged behind the Resistance in some areas. The Combine utilized dark energy cosmic strings infused with chi to form their portals, which required an enormous amount of energy to sustain, and could not tunnel to another location on the same planet. The Forgotten, on the other hand, utilized the Mt. Cavoran Xen relay Energies, allowing them to transport to another location on the same world. The Resistance also possessed the technology to shut down portals using the old Xenian resonators as well.
The Course of the War
"We're almost to the Citadel wall, Doc. I don't know how the hell we're going to breach it, but you've made it this far. I'm sure you'll think of something." - a Forgotten Grunt telling Freeman they are close to reaching the Citadel.
Prior to the destruction of the Crawler Empire, the Uprising had been limited to Combine raids on the Underground Railroad and Resistance bases along the coast. Civil Protection units had also been raiding the homes of suspected resistance sympathizers. The destruction of the Combine's only teleporter, and the hated symbol that was Nova Prospekt, the Resistance mobilized and armed against the Sector 17 Overwatch. For a full week, the Combine's attacks drove the majority of the population into the arms of the Resistance, while both sides became embattled in a bitter deadlock. Civil Protection found it nearly impossible to hold back the Resistance's guerilla attacks, and Overwatch reinforcements were sent in. At the time of Freeman and Spalyx's return, along with Scorponok and Scorpius, the Resistance largely controlled the suburban districts, while the Combine held the strategic areas in and around the city center. Despite the Combine's vastly superior technology, they found urban combat against a determined guerilla army difficult to counter.
Freeman, Spalyx and co. joined up with Barney Balhoun, whose Resistance cell launched attacks against the Combine's generators within the city center. However, Spalyx Vance was captured shortly thereafter by the Combine after raiding a sheild generation station, and taken to the Citadel. Proceeding deeper into the city, Freeman and Calhoun's cells found the Combine's field headquarters; the Overwatch Nexus. Infiltrating the building, they disabled the building's suppression device, allowing reinforcements to flood into the central areas of the city. A determined Overwatch counterattack, replete with Combine Gunships and Spider Striders was eventually beaten back by the Resistance, impairing the Combine's counter-offensives into the city. With the Resistance closing in on the Citadel, the Combine turned loose the Striders and Gunships. Despite inflicting severe casualties on the resistance, they could not prevent the elusive rebels from reaching the base of the Citadel. Freeman, Scorpius, and Scorponok managed to infiltrate the Citadel by traversing an old sewer network that ran under the city, thanks to being revealed by Spalyx's pet robot, "C.R.A.W.L.R.".
Once inside, Freeman and co. went along a massive internal transportation system inside the massive tower, where soon after a long bout of fighting up the tower, Freeman allowed himself and co. to be captured and taken to Breen's office. Once there, there is some exposition on how Dr. Breen wanted the Outlanders, nay, all of Chima to be united with the Combine, thinking the "Universal Union" would carry the future of all of Chima. Soon, Scorpia Mossman, in a bout of guilt, freed Scoponok, Scorpius, Spalyx, and Freeman, after learning of Breen's plans to kill them all, but Scorpius soon filed Breen trying to send them through a combine portal. Soon after, Breen fled to the Citadel's reactor, intending to teleport to the Overworld.
Leaving the three up on the Reactor's control deck, Freeman managed to overload the teleporter's reactor via dark energy orbs into the core, causing it to explode violently. suddenly, time comes to a standstill, and The Chi-Man prevented Freeman's and Spalyx's deaths; however, the Phoenix intervened with his plans, burying Alyx in the rubble at the base of the Citadel, and sending Freeman, possibly to a purgatorial St. Olga, where he meets the elusive Fisherman. The explosion of the teleporter's reactor blew the top of the Citadel away, and overloaded the building's power grid, causing a fatal meltdown of the Citadel's Dark Energy reactor core. As a result, the city's force fields and thumpers shut down, allowing Outland wildlife to invade the city. The destruction of the main Citadel in Cave 17 also damaged the Combine's worldwide network, isolating Combine forces on Earth.
The overload of the Citadel's reactor had caused the formation of what was later known as Crystal Crater when the legendary Forgotten hero, Solrac placed impressive amounts of explosives to remove the rubble the bears had left behind. Which the Combine wished to transmit a message, requesting for reinforcements to destroy the rebellion. Spalyx and Solrac managed to stabilize the Citadel's unstable reactor, giving the Resistance additional time to evacuate more citizens. Meanwhile, the Combine withdrew the bulk of its forces from City 17, leaving behind only a handful of rearguard units in a desperate bid to stall the Resistance's escape. When the final trains of refugees left the city, the Combine sent their transmission packet, at the same time, Solrac detonated his explosives, overloading the Citadel's primary reactor. The shock to its power grid caused the Citadel to explode in a Dark Energy flare, destroying the remains of the City and most of the surrounding cave area, making the Crystal Crater today.