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Portal - Cake 2

Portal: Still Alive - Chapter 2 - Chell

Posted on 2008.01.02 at 23:32
Current Music:: Nightwish - Nemo
Tags: , ,
Title: Portal: Still Alive
Chapter: 2/9
Word Count: 2,030
Synopsis: Red and Chell look for a way to shut down GLaDOS once and for all.

For previous or later chapters please consult the preface.

Portal: Still Alive
Chapter 2: Chell

It was the same room, with the same smashed frosted glass window. There was a desk going around the room, overlooking the test chamber. On which were a cup of coffee that looked like it had been stood there a very long time, a small speaker and a swathe of papers, half of which had ended up on the floor with the folder they appeared to be from. There was a pair of chairs, one with a lab-coat draped over the back of it. Chell had sat down on the chair with the lab coat, while Red had contented herself leaning against the wall.
“I woke up a while ago in one of those cells, like the one you were in.” said Chell. “I say a while, I don’t know how long it’s been. There’s no real way of keeping track of time in here. I had to go through all these tests, it wasn’t so bad at first but as I went through I got more and more uneasy. Eventually I reached the end of the tests and instead of the cake I’d been promised I found that GLaDOS was going to let me die, that the cake was a lie.” A smile passed across Chell’s lips as she said that. “So I escaped. I used the Portal Gun to get out and eventually I made my way to where GLaDOS was and destroyed her. I don’t understand how it happened but I was outside then. I was going to go out into the outside world, leave this place behind me but I thought of everyone that still might be trapped in here. Granted GLaDOS wouldn’t be able to kill them in her insane experiments, but I just couldn’t leave them here. So I found a way back in, and I found out that GLaDOS was still alive. She must have a back-up system somewhere. I was on my way to try and find it and shut it down when I saw you waking up.”
“And you smashed the window?” asked Red. “How exactly?”
“There’s a rocket turret down the hall. Security measure I guess. Portal here, portal there and you’ve got one smashed window.” said Chell. “What did GLaDOS want you for? You look a lot better equipped than I was.”
“She claims there’s some race out there called the Combine, trying to break their way in here.” said Red. “She wants me to fight them.”
“You can’t trust a word that she says.” said Chell.
“Are you certain?” asked Red. “She doesn’t seem that bad. It might be she’s just trying to survive. There was cake you know. It was nice.”
“You got cake?” Chell exclaimed. “You’ve not been up and awake five minutes and you’ve had cake? GLaDOS must really want you to destroy those Combine.”
“It seems so.” said Red. “Have you tried reading any of this?” she indicated the pile of papers. “To find out what happened here?”
“GLaDOS flooded the facility with a deadly neurotoxin.” said Chell. “She told me herself. I’m rather surprised she’s not trying to do the same to me to be honest. There must be something stopping her from just releasing the neurotoxin back into the facility.”
“She told you this?” asked Red. “A second ago you were telling me not to trust a single word she says.”
“Well…” Chell hesitated. “I can’t imagine she’d lie to make herself look bad. She was doing her best to kill me at that point.”
“So, lets find this backup system and shut her down then?” asked Red. “Before she’s able to kill anyone else in her ‘insane experiments’?”
“Yeah.” said Chell. “You wouldn’t happen to have any idea where it is. I don’t really remember anything from before I woke up in that room.”
“Nope.” said Red. “I was going to follow you. You’ve got more of an idea what’s going on that I have.”
“I was mainly following markings that had been left by some former escapee.” said Chell.
“Someone else who escaped?” asked Red. “And the markings led directly to GLaDOS?” Chell nodded slowly. “Then why didn’t the person who put them there destroy GLaDOS?” There was a thoughtful pause.
“I don’t know.” said Chell eventually. “Perhaps she gave him some cake or something and he decided to forgive her.” Chell paused again. “Anyway, lets get out there and shut GLaDOS down for good.” Chell stood up, and picked up her Portal Device and walked out of the room, Red following behind her.
“Think of what we could do with four portals!” said Chell cheerfully.
“Don’t expect me to be doing any ridiculously complicated portal manoeuvres.” said Red. “I’ve been through a portal twice already today and it wasn’t pleasant.” Chell shot Red a glance, shook her head and carried on walking.

They were heading down a corridor. It was as blank and bland as anywhere else, except here there were no wall-mounted cameras turning to watch them pass, and it was less clean than the test chambers. Chell tried every door that they passed but they all seemed to be locked along this corridor. Red could feel the keys in her pocket but kept quiet. Eventually they found a door that was unlocked. It opened into what looked like a utility room. It was dark inside and lit only by a single bulb hanging in the centre of the room. The floor was scuffed and at the other side of the room there was a couple of lockers, one of which was hanging open. Chell looked cursorily around the room for another exit and finding none went to close the door.
“Wait.” said Red. She opened the door back up again and walked inside slowly. She seemed to be walking with an exaggerated care, as though the room would break if she went in to fast, or as if her concentration would break if she did.
“What-” Chell started, but Red gestured towards her with an open palm, as if telling her to stop.
“This room is familiar.” said Red slowly. “I’ve been in here before.” She stalked to the far end of the room to the opened locker. It was full of electrical parts and an empty shell of some kind. “I remember a sense of panic. There were a few of us in here. And…” Red turned slowly to look straight at Chell. “You were here?”
“Me?” asked Chell, uncertainly, despite that there wasn’t anyone else that Red could be referring to.
“You were here.” said Red, gesturing to a spot just past where she was. “Doing something to one of these.” she picked up the empty shell from the locker and threw it to Chell.
“This was what GLaDOS was made of.” said Chell. “Three or four of these in this machinery. Are you sure? I don’t even really know what these things are, never mind how to ‘do something’ to them.” Red sighed deeply.
“I don’t know.” she said. “I can’t really remember anything solid. All I have is a sense of panic, the idea that this room looks familiar and a picture of you stood right next to me doing something to that sphere.” She slammed the locker door shut. “This isn’t getting us anywhere. Vague feelings and déjà vu never helped anyone.” Red walked back to the door, opened it and walked out.
“Unfortunately vague feelings and déjà vu may be all we have at the moment.” said Chell, following her. “You fancy leading the way?”
“If you want.” said Red. “It isn’t that hard. We just walk down here trying every door we come across right?”
“Essentially yes.” said Chell.

After another minute or two they came to another door that opened. It opened up onto a rusted and dirty stairwell.
“Up or down?” asked Red.
“If you were a backup system of a supercomputer where would you be?” asked Chell. Red leaned over the railing and looked down. The stairs went down a few floors before disappearing underneath a tide of toxic looking sludge.
“Definitely up.” she said. They climbed up the stairs eventually finding another door that was unlocked. This door led out into another corridor.
“This place is huge isn’t it?” asked Red, as they worked their way along the corridor looking for another open door. “It’s a miracle you ever found me. Unless we know where we’re going we’re never going to find GLaDOS’s backup.”
“I’m open to suggestions.” said Chell.
“Well, maybe that room we were in was important.” said Red. “Maybe we should go back. Perhaps if I start remembering things I can get a handle on where to go.”
“I wasn’t the one who rushed out.” said Chell.
“Chell.” said Red. “I think you’d best know…” As Red said this she tried another door, and it swung open revealing another observation room overlooking a test chamber. It was tidier than the last observation room they’d been in. The papers on the desk were all stacked in neat piles, and a clipboard lay central on the desk with a blank sheet of paper and a pen clipped onto it, it was lacking the ancient cup of coffee that the other observation room had had, but not the pair of speakers. Red and Chell walked up to the desk and looked through the window into the room beyond. There was a man and a woman both in black jumpsuits moving pieces of machinery. They appeared to be walking from an opening in the wall below them to a doorway at the other end of the room. Chell reached for the speakers, and flicked a button on them turning them on. There was a faint whispering that was too low to make out. Chell turned up the speakers.
“Shut up Sebastian.” the woman whispered harshly.
“I’m just saying we shouldn’t be helping her.” the man whispered. “You know what happened last time. Someone needs to stop her.”
“Seriously, Seb.” hissed the woman. “Do you want to die?”
“It’s going to be more than just us that die.” murmured Sebastian.
“Well I don’t want to die.” the woman whispered back. “So just do as you’re told.” Chell reached over to the speakers and turned them off.
“Chell.” said Red. “I-” she turned to look at Chell who was pointing a pistol point blank at Red’s face. Red felt at her belt holster, it was empty.
“I’m not stupid Rebecca.” said Chell calmly. “GLaDOS sent you to kill me. I heard it all.” She gestured over to the speaker.
“Ah.” said Red, raising her hands into the air.
“Hand over the keys and the key card.” said Chell. “And don’t try anything clever.” Red reached into her pocket, carefully pulled out the keys and the key card and passed them over to Chell.
“Chell.” said Red, gripping onto Chell’s shoulder and forcing eye contact, as if trying to make Chell physically see her point of view. “I was about to tell you. I needed to know whether I could trust you.” Chell rolled her eyes.
“Wrong answer.” she said angrily and pulled the trigger. Red however hadn’t expected any less of her and pulled her shoulder at that moment, knocking Chell off balance and sending the shot flying into the ceiling. Chell lashed out at Red, hitting her in the face with the butt of the pistol, and then as Red stumbled back Chell opened the door and stepped outside. She closed the door and then there was the noise of a key being tried in the lock. Red leapt forward trying to force the door open. At first it opened a crack with her initial spring, but then Chell forced it closed again and tried another key. Nothing. Red forced hard against the door but it was a thick heavy metal door and with Chell forcing it from the other side it wouldn’t budge. Red could hear Chell trying another key, this one clicked shut.
“I may not know the way to GLaDOS.” Chell shouted, “But these keys open every lock in this place. I’m bound to find her eventually.”

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