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|Anthem: "Combine Harvester"|
|Official languages||Unknown; English?|
The Combine, also referred to as the Universal Union, is a fictional multidimensional empire, which serves as the primary antagonistic force in the Half-Life video game series, and have provided the archetypal villain for CivGeneral since their introduction in DRAW Your Own Story 10. The Combine comprises various species and machines; the most commonly encountered enemies throughout Half-Life 2 and its expansions are the transhuman Overwatch and human Civil Protection, along with a variety of combat machines and synths.
The Combine emergence in DRAW Your Own Story 10 is sketchy, with the only concrete reference being that kulade allied with them in the hope of rescuing the New Avatar Order in the eleventh hour. Thorvald's doppelgängers facilitated the establishment of a command citadel in Moscow; the armed forces of the Eastern Union, weary after the Second Napoleonic War, did not resist.
Having bested all his rebellious avatars, CivGeneral led Thorvald of Lym on a salient to reclaim the Union and finally quash the Avatar Uprising. This led to a combined-arms assault on Moscow by allies of opportunity, during which the majority of Union military personnel were deployed overseas, forcing the Combine to focus all their manpower in defence of the headquarters. CivGeneral and Co. ultimately succeeded, rescuing Thunderfall and banishing kulade to the Land of Hiatus.
With the loss of the citadel, the Combine were without a formal headquarters and were forced to adopt guerrilla tactics in the face of a better-footed foe. The combine hired former Coruscanti officer-turned-mercenary General Grievous to salvage the situation. Grievous learned that a man named Mr. Toyoda had provided the protagonists with "Thunderfall's cure", restoring to the sysadmin the powers kulade had hoped to harness for himself. A race between Grievous and CivGeneral ensued, ultimately resulting in Grievous' capture of Toyoda mere seconds before CivGeneral was able to learn the answer to the "all-important question".
Grievous retreated to Fort Schmerzen and attempted to debrief Toyoda, but even after numerous rounds of torture his captive remained non-compliant. Dr. Wallace Breen, leader of the Combine, became increasingly impatient with what he saw as Grievous' incompetence, prompting more desperate tactics and less regard for Toyoda's health and safety. Grievous was ultimately unable to extract the necessary information, and following the Battle of Fort Schmerzen, the Combine ceased involvement in Toyoda's affairs.
Routed from Earth, the Combine sought salvation one last time by claiming the Gem. Although kulade had tasked lord_joakim with its recovery prior to the Combine Insurgency, he had not provided the Combine any information pertaining to it. As such, they were forced to piggyback off CivGeneral's mission until they gained the coordinates of the planet Arrakis. In a manner similar to kulade and Thunderfall, the Combine kidnapped a Coruscanti corporal, J.C. Reitan, who was the sole survivor of a pioneer squadron tasked with the Gem's recovery. As with Toyoda they were unable to gain a coherent picture, although this was due to mental instability rather than outright defiance by their interrogatee.
Dr. Breen's guardsmen encountered CivGeneral and Co. in the Gem chamber, sparking the Battle of Arrakis. The Combine managed to overpower the protagonists, but when one officer laid hands on the Gem, a wave of energy swept the cave, incinerating most of the Combine personnel and leaving Breen at the mercy of CivGeneral.
Following their disgrace on Arrakis, the Combine signed a cease-fire agreement and suspended hostilities against the Republic of Coruscant. However, they were still dogged by Imperial House Corrino, who sought revenge for the damage inflicted on Arrakis as a result of the race for the Gem. Still eager to maintain pressure against the Coruscantis, the Combine allied with the Greater German Space Reich. Dr. Breen was dismissed from his post as leader and replaced by Nikita Brezhnev. Breen remained in political limbo for roughly a month before being appointed the leader of the Enclave; a second, Earth-based proxy.
Reduced to control of Nar Kreeta following the Third Nazi War, the Combine abandoned their dream of universal hegemony and began research into a way to return the Combine Advisors to their home dimension. The DYOS rules made this task difficult for the scientists to achieve, however, and the Advisors would have to weather the rest of their lives stranded in a foreign universe.
Once the Advisors had died off (either through natural causes or internal strife), the humans in the upper levels of the surviving administration began the transition from an alien autocracy to a more human government. By the start of DRAW Your Own Story 11, the Combine were in the process of being annexed into the Republic of Coruscant along with moving the advisors back to there home world. By the time the Battle of Nar Kreeta happened, All the remaining combine advisors left our universe back into there home universe. Along with the destruction of Kulade's former base on the planet signaled the end of the Combine presence in our universe...
...though for how long?
- Post Third Nazi War, the Combine High Council became the defacto head of state