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Machinima / Civil Protection

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Ross Scott, the maker of Freeman's Mind, with the help of his friend Craig, created a machinima from the Half-Life 2 Universe that focuses on the life of two Civil Protection agents, Mike, who has a passion for dealing out justice, specifically the Combine brand of justice and his oddball partner, Dave, who is quite prone to reckless or weird behavior.

Find the whole series here.


  • Accentuate the Negative: Mike is extremely cynical and never misses an opportunity to show it. Example:
    Dave: (After telling Mike to sing) I've been working on the railroad,
    Mike: Every pointless day.
    Dave: I've been working on the railroad,
    Mike: While my life gets pissed away.
    Dave: Can't you hear the whistle blowing?
    Mike: Shatter my dreams in the morn!
    Dave: Can't you hear the captain shouting?
    Mike: Wish I was never born.
    • This is a Shout-Out to Daria, of all things.
    • He also has a disdain of the rebels, considering them hopeless idealists who have absolutely no chance at success. He considers working with the Combine to be the only really viable option.
  • Amusing Injuries: Mike and Dave fall victim to this at the end of nearly every episode.
  • Apocalyptic Log: The journal in The Tunnel.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted;
    Mike: (After witnessing Dave get hit by a car and get back up) Wow. I guess you're getting your money's worth out of that body armor, huh?
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  • And Some Other Stuff: Downplayed with the Halloween Safety episode. Dave gives recipes for napalm and a bomb so that people will know to avoid mixing those substances accidentally. According to commenters this side of the fourth wall, his recipies would indeed result in actual bombs and napalm, albeit very poor ones.
  • Big Brother Is Employing You: The protagonists are Punch-Clock Villains for a Dystopian police force ruled by transdimensional alien invaders.
  • Buddy Cop Show
  • Bullying a Dragon: In the animated Double Feature episode, Mike mentions that the Combine didn't care to suppress global communications but merely demanded cooperation. The telecom companies not only refused, they demanded money from them. The Combine subsequently killed everyone involved.
  • The Cameo: In Oil's Well one of the dead people on the conveyor belt is the Postal Dude.
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  • Casts No Shadow: In episode 3 Mike and Dave encounter a man who happens not to have a shadow. They theorize on why that might be, going from "he's a vampire!" to "bad light." When they try to trump up a charge to bring him in on, he suddenly has a shadow again. Mike doesn't care, ending up chasing him down the street so he can arrest the guy for jaywalking. The lack of shadow never actually gets explained.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Dave strays into this territory at times.
  • Crappy Homemade Gift: Mike recommends giving people a Christmas Brick, which is a brick with the the recipient's name chiseled in, wrapped in old newspapers, maybe with some shoelaces as ribbons. It's made from materials which are common and free After the End, the effort you put in means they can't get too mad, and it should lower their expectations for next year.
  • Crossover: In “The Tunnel” Mike and Dave mention fellow Civil Protection members Barney and Eddie, heavily implied to be Barney Calhoun from Half-Life: Blue Shift and Half-Life 2 and Freeman's oft-mentioned Friend in the Black Market from Freeman's Mind.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Illustrated quite specifically in "Aliens".
    Mike: Isn't that what they call the invasion now? The Seven Hour War? Do you wanna know why?
    Dave: Because it lasted se-
    Mike: (interrupting) Because it lasted seven hours, that's why! Most people are at work longer than that! That means that in less time than it takes Joe Average to clock in and clock out at the office, aliens have conquered the whole Earth, and all Joe did was make some spreadsheets.
    Dave: Well that's just because they caught us off guard.
    Mike: Okay, let's say we were ready for them. Then what? We'd call it the Ten Hour War?
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Lampshaded in "What is Machinima?"
    Dave: [Talking about a type of illegal drug] You'll smoke yourself retarded with one of those!
    Mike: Yup. So... uhh... don't do that!
    • Also done in the Halloween Special, in which Mike is warning kids to stay safe while enjoying Halloween, and Dave tells them not to make homemade bombs and napalm while listing some of the ingredients needed on recording. Mike is less than pleased.
    Mike: Man, what are you doing?!
    Dave: What?
    Mike: You just told them how to make napalm! I didn't know how to do that.
  • Enemy Chatter: In this case, the whole point of the series.
  • The Faceless: Mike and Dave never take off their masks.
  • Fluffy Tamer: Dave is somehow capable of befriending a strider synth as well as a houndeye.
    Dave, talking to the strider: I shall call you Simba!
  • Funny Background Event: In Morning Patrol, one of the cars hits a civilian and continues driving.
    • In "Aliens" you can see a Vortigaunt apparently selling drugs to some guy in the background.
    • When Dave rides the train, Mike has to wait for him at the bridge where he jumped on. G-Man then walks by.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Mike and Dave are both one of these of these.
  • The Ghost: The Sarge.
  • Green Aesop: Combined with Spoof Aesop when Mike and Dave discuss the oil crisis and how the Combine invasion solved all energy and social problems, in significant part because most of the population of Earth is dead now.
  • Genius Ditz: Dave may be an idiot sometimes, but apparently he speaks Bulgarian and is an expert on birds.
  • Head Bob: Their heads bob whenever they speak.
  • Hypocritical Humor: They planned to arrest The Guy with No Shadow for jay walking yet Dave gets run over while jay walking.
  • Jump Scare: Done twice in The Tunnel.
  • Kill It with Fire: In the environmental episode, Dave seems a little too into this idea.
  • Made of Iron: Mike and Dave tend to avert this most of the time, but they do recover spectacularly quickly from injures that should break their limbs or even kill them. The worst example is probably the end of the Halloween Safety episode where they get overwhelmed by a ton of zombies and apparently die. They are perfectly OK in the next episode.
    • Morning Patrol ends with the duo encountering a houndeye. Dave lands on a roof, and Mike gets smashed across the street and bounces off a telephone pole, before getting hit with another shockwave. They're fine next episode, of course.
    • And in The Tunnel, Dave gets hit by a car and goes flying 20 feet in the air. He gets up a few minutes later like nothing happened. He lampshades it saying that his armor is just that good.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: Dave provides some in "A Shadow of a Doubt".
    Shadowless Man: "I have a train to catch."
    Dave: "Hey, we've all got a train to catch."
    Shadowless Man: "... what?"
  • Mind Screw: Dave wishes he could mind control everyone.
  • Minimalist Cast: The only characters in most episodes are Mike and Dave. The Man With No Shadow and the drug-dealing Vortigaunt are the only recurring minor characters, and their appearances tend to be very brief.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Tunnel episode, for people expecting more of the screwball comedy of previous episodes.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Dave; "Aliens" demonstrates this repeatedly, what with his response while dumpster-diving ("This better not be a dead cat." "Better!") and then trying to befriend a Strider.
    • A bit of Fridge Logic , this might actually be why Dave is adapting so well to the post invasion world. While Mike seems sorta depressed or cynical most of the time Dave is not only happy but seems to be having a pretty good time in the apocalypse.
  • Odd Couple: Mike and Dave.
  • Oh, Crap!: Mike's reaction to pretty much any alien. Dave is often the exact opposite.
    • A combinednote  one, after they've both been talking to a citizen for a few moments, Mike and Dave both suddenly realize something peculiar about him...
      Dave: Look at him! He doesn't have a shadow!
      Mike: Oh, it must be the angle. We're probably not casting shadows eit- [looks down]... What the-[looks up at the sun]... holy crap, you're right!
    • When Dave finds a discarded gravity gun in the dumpster, he naturally tries to use it on the objects around him. Finding out that the battery is drained, Mike hooks the gun up to their APC's battery. Dave tries to use it to tear some gutters off of an apartment building, but ends up lifting the whole thing off of its foundations, then launching the building across the city after trying to put it back down.
    Apartment resident: HOLY SHIT!
    Mike: ... Not good, Dave.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: Mike uses this line at the end of the "Morning Patrol" episode.
    • Technically doesn't count, though, since it's in response to the Houndeye coming after him again, which only happened a minute or so ago.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Conversed. Mike insists that the guy with no shadow is a vampire.
  • Radio Voice: The voices of the main characters are filtered through the vocoders in their masks, much like Civil Protection officers in the game.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Apparently, whenever Dave blows the faces out of his paper shooting range targets, he draws smiley faces in the gaps and uses them to decorate his apartment.
  • Poke the Poodle: In the "Christmas Community Outreach" episode, it's revealed that some Metrocops from Mike and Dave's department stole a civilian's Christmas tree and set it up in the department.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Mike and Dave, as described above, are just in it because they don't have any qualifications for another job, and rarely ever abuse their power like the CP's you see in Half-life 2. In fact, it is even debatable whether they count as villains in the first place, as, judging by the new episode, they go out of their way to help someone when they think they are trapped in a cave with something attacking them. And in the first episode, Mike asks Dave to stop bothering the citizens, because they're "Just on their way to work". They also are happy to give The Guy with No Shadow directions to the train station until they notice his lack of shadow; afterwards, Mike threatens him and shoves him roughly to prove he isn't a hologram, and makes up an excuse to arrest him so he can show his shadowlessness to their coworkers, but still doesn't seem interested in beating him up the way many Metrocops would. Aside from him, the only other person they even talk to face-to-face is a Vortigaunt, and despite his suspicious behavior, all they want is to ask him if "Combine" is a stupid name for an alien race. Hell, Dave talks about joining the rebellion at one point until he is convinced by Mike that they have no chance of succeeding.
  • Psycho for Hire: Dave is an extremely minor version, as he is not actually very violent or psychopathic. He is mostly just a happy and cheerful Cloud Cuckoolander but, as described above, he apparently has a few mental problems.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Mike and Dave's most common form of conversation.
  • Shared Universe: With Freeman's Mind, as indicated by a cameo by Mike and Dave in episode 5 of Freeman's Mind 2 and Eddie being mentioned to be a member of Civil Protection. Possibly with Ross Scott's Source shorts Galaxy Gulp and A Stranger In Need as well, given the appearance of the shady Vortigaunt drug dealer from Aliens and On A Rail (complete with the same voice and model) at the end of the former, as well as the fact that the crazy "where is the road" guy in the latter has the EXACT same voice and model as the crazy cave-dweller in The Tunnel.
  • Shout-Out: The Miskatonic Tunnel
  • Shown Their Work: In one episode where the duo meet a man with no shadow, the hypothesis that he's a vampire comes up, with Mike claiming that Count Dracula could walk in the sun, it's just that Dracula lost his powers. This is 100% accurate to the original novel.
  • Slasher Smile: The man who lives in the tunnel.
  • Something Completely Different: "The Tunnel" shifts the mood from comedy to a Lovecraftian horror story.
  • Straight Man: Mike, contrasting Dave's Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Unperson: At one point it's revealed that Mike and Dave's Captain sometimes stares angrily at underlings, and that sometimes said underlings disappear a day or two later.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Mike's opinion of the Combine invasion during "Oil's Well."
    "I'll give you that. Killing off five billion people did wonders for most of our social problems."
  • Villain Protagonist: Well...they are working for the Combine, after all.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: The whole point of the series is to give a bit of humanity to the otherwise forgettable and uniformly evil Civil Protection officers from Half-Life 2.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Dave is asked this by Mike when he starts acting like a ninja and making Funny Bruce Lee Noises in "Friday" which is called back in The Tunnel.
  • Wreaking Havok: Most noticeable at the end of Halloween Safety when the fast zombies rampage about the room, knocking over the many chairs inside.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Mike in The Tunnel. He continues to treat events as though he's still in a police comedy and details such as Dave disappearing, a dead body stripped of flesh and being trapped in the tunnels by a crazed man as irritants. He's actually in a horror story.


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