I work at a large biotechnology firm in San Diego. This in itself was pretty cool to me when I first got the job, but as with all things, familiarity at least breeds complacency if not actual contempt. In other words, working here is no longer a big deal.
Except, that is, on the rare occasions when my work requires me to actually leave my desk and walk to another part of the building. Because in order to do that, I have to take out my security badge, swipe it past a sensor, and enter a series of sealed corridors that look exactly like those found in the Black Mesa research facility from Sierra's first-person shooter game Half Life.
My path takes me past windows looking in on laboratories bearing large signs warning of RADIATION and BIOHAZARD, populated by white-coated scientists peering into eerily lit test chambers. Wooden packing crates are artfully placed along the walls of the silent, empty hallways, just waiting for someone to dive behind them for cover or smash them open to get weapons or supplies.
If my errand takes me to the warehouse, a huge metal door slides up at my approach to reveal a vast, echoing space the size of an airplane hangar where workers on foot and in whirring forklifts wend their way through towering canyons of stacked boxes and metal fences with padlocked gates.
So sue me if I can't help imagining that one day when I'm off in search of toner cartidges or something equally innocuous, one of the labs will suddenly fill with otherworldly light and hideous monsters will come pouring out of one of those test chambers and run amok along these corridors.
All I'm saying is, it had better happen on one of the days I'm working. I don't know if any my co-workers have even heard of Half Life, much less played it. So who will stop the aliens then? Only my hours spent gaming will stand between our world and total destruction on that day.
Did I mention the giant sliding metal door? Dude.