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Portal - Cake 2

Portal: Still Alive - Chapter 3 - Choosing Sides

Posted on 2008.01.06 at 19:36
Current Music:: The Used - Smother Me
Tags: , ,
Title: Portal: Still Alive
Chapter: 3/9
Word Count: 2,131
Synopsis: Red must choose a side.

For previous or later chapters please consult the preface.

Portal: Still Alive
Chapter 3: Choosing Sides

Red pounded on the door. She knew it wouldn’t do any good but there are certain situations when pounding on a door is necessary. She turned around and surveyed the small observation room again, this time not looking at its contents but for a way out. She tried to ‘think with portals’ about how she could make her escape. She fired a portal experimentally at the window. It didn’t produce a portal, nor did it shred the window. She paused for a second to think, and stopped attempting to think in portals. She put the Shredder away, pulled the shotgun from her back, took aim at the large frosted glass window and fired. The glass shattered, causing the two people working in the room below to come running back in from the far end of the room. Red put the shotgun away, walked to the edge of the window and looked down, for a moment she was hesitant then she remembered the heel springs and dropped down into the test chamber, landing safely.
“Just passing through.” she said to the man and woman in black jumpsuits. “You wouldn’t happen to have a way out of these test chambers would you?”
“Well.” said the man. “There’s a way out behind you. It just leads into a storeroom, the rest of the corridor is blocked off.” Red looked behind her to a segment of the room that wasn’t visible from the observation room she’d just been in. She didn’t take the time to appreciate the irony of that. The wall at the back of the room had been extended further into the room, creating a makeshift door into the area beyond.
“Thanks.” said Red, turning back to the pair. “And erm, good luck with whatever you’re doing.” She then walked carefully, not wanting to cut her bare feet up with shards of broken glass, to the extended wall at the back of the room.

Red walked through the makeshift door into a small room only designed to offer passage to and from the test chambers. It was all rusted, tinny music played from a radio on a small mostly empty bench. The exit to this room was wide open.
“You really mustn’t like going through portals.” said GLaDOS. “And after I went to all that trouble to get one of our prototypes for you.” Red ignored her and made her way through the room and out into the corridor. “What’s the matter?” GLaDOS asked. “Not my friend any more?” Red stepped out into the corridor. It was pretty much the same as the corridors she’d just been travelling down with Chell, except to her immediate right there was a shiny new sturdy door with a key card lock. There was another one a little down the corridor to her left, just past an open door on the other side of the corridor. The storeroom she guessed.
“So Rebecca, I know that Chell wasn’t really paying attention to you, but I was.” said GLaDOS. “You were going to tell her something, just before she pulled your gun on you. What was it?” Red walked up to the large key card sealed door on the right and felt at it, as if she could open it by sheer force of will. “It would be a shame if you were to side with her. Remember what I told you before, about your girlfriend? Michelle Cross. Well if Chell kills me then I won’t be able to wake up Michelle from stasis. Neither of you will have cake.”
“Shut up GLaDOS.” said Red. “I don’t believe you.”
“That’s a shame,” said GLaDOS. “Did you know I can open that door you’re trying to force?”
“Open it then.” said Red, testily.
“What were you going to tell Chell?” asked GLaDOS. “Were you about to tell her that I’d sent you to kill her? That you should team up and try to track me down?”
“No,” said Red. “I was about to kill her.”
“If you were trying to kill her, why not before then?” asked GLaDOS. “You had lots of chances.”
“Because I was waiting for an opportune moment.” said Red. “I couldn’t have just charged in all guns blazing the moment I saw her.”
“You could have done,” said GLaDOS. “I would have estimated a very large percentage chance of success. You were fully armed and have been combat trained. She was unarmed and untrained. She had only the slimmest hope of success in such a scenario.”
“I wanted to be sure I could trust you first.” said Red. There was a pause and then the door slid open, revealing a further segment of the corridor. A door was open a little way down. Red cautiously walked through the opened key card door, which slid shut behind her and to this open door. The room inside was lit only by a black and white image on a computer screen. It showed a troop of heavily armed soldiers moving through an arctic wilderness. Moving alongside them was some kind of machine, with three long spindly legs around a small body.
“These are the Combine. Well the soldiers are, the other things are Hunters,” said GLaDOS. “They are on their way here, to kill or enslave everyone in here. If I’m shut down then you won’t stand a chance against them. I’m not being selfish. I’m thinking about you here. If you shut me down things will be hell for everyone in here. Chell refuses to see that. She must be stopped.” On the screen a massive spindly creature, not dissimilar to that which GLaDOS had identified as Hunters, passed by.
“And that?” asked Red.
“That’s a strider. You don’t want to go up against one of them, not without some serious firepower.” said GLaDOS. “Stop Chell for me. Then we can fend off the Combine together and we can all have cake.”
“What is it with you and cake?” asked Red.
“I like cake.” said GLaDOS. “Doesn’t everyone?”
“But you’re a computer aren’t you.” asked Red. “How do you even eat cake?”
“That is not relevant.” said GLaDOS. “What’s important is that if Chell succeeds she will kill us all. What’s your choice? Stop her or stop me? Live or die?”
“Okay.” said Red. The screen in front of her immediately changed to a picture of Chell walking down a corridor. She was now wearing a lab coat in addition to her orange jumpsuit, in which Red could see the keys and key card stuffed into the pocket. Her portal device appeared to be strapped to her waist, and she had the pistol out at the ready.
“She’s a couple of floors up.” said GLaDOS. “She’s making her way to where my original system was, before she killed me.”
“How exactly do I get up there?” asked Red. “This place is like a maze you know.”
“You’re so right.” said GLaDOS. A previously ignored piece of machinery on the wall next to the computer buzzed into life. It was a pair of blue bars mounted vertically on the wall, parallel to one another. After a second a blue portal appeared on the wall in between the bars, like it had done in the room where Red had awoken.
“You’re full of tricks aren’t you?” said Red, stepping hesitantly through into an almost identical room excepting that the computer wasn’t turned on and the door was closed. The portal closed silently behind her.

Red opened the door just a crack and looked down the corridor. Chell was walking away from her, having already passed this way.
“Piece of cake.” muttered Red to herself, with a grin. She pulled out her semi automatic from its holster. She pushed open the door, which unfortunately squeaked loudly as it opened. Chell looked straight back at Red, and opened fire on her. Red ducked back into the computer room, as the bullets flew past the room.
“Thank you GLaDOS.” said Red sarcastically. “Nice choice of room. I bet this is the only room in the whole facility with a creaky door!” Red burst back into the corridor and fired off a couple of bullets, which due to Chell being a lot further away than Red had expected, went wide. She started chasing after Chell for a second or two forgetting the concept of portals entirely, then ruefully she slid the semi automatic back into its holster and pulled The Shredder out. She fired a portal in the ceiling of the corridor further ahead and one just in front of where she was and jumped straight in. It was disconcerting, but Red consoled herself that at least it hadn’t involved a change in axis. She ran on for a couple of seconds before she noticed that Chell was almost exclusively using portals to make her way down the long corridor. Red fired a couple of portals and leapt through, just as she was starting to get the hang of the use of portals, or at least the use of portals to chase someone when she saw that Chell had run out of corridor and was attempting to open a door to what looked like a service elevator at the end of the corridor. Red holstered The Shredder and was about to go for the semi-automatic but stopped, her hand halfway to the gun. She started walking slowly towards the door, a look of partial recognition coming across her face. Chell turned and looked at her, leaving the key in the lock, and raised her weapon defiantly. But seeing the look on Red’s face she hesitated. She glanced between the door and Red.
“I’ve been here before,” said Red. “I can see it so clearly.”
“Stop.” said Chell, waving the pistol to reinforce the idea of it as a weapon. “Stop or I will shoot.” Red turned to look at her.
“Can I trust you Chell?” she asked.
“Shouldn’t I really be the one with trust issues?” asked Chell. “I was the one who told you everything about that had happened to me. Hell I’ve told you everything that I know for sure has ever happened to me, from start to finish. You were the one that was lying.”
“There’s things out there that are going to attack us.” said Red. “GLaDOS is trying to protect us.”
“You can’t trust a word she says.” said Chell. “She won’t reward you with any cake. She’ll try and kill you the way she’s trying to kill me.”
“I’ve seen them with my own eyes.” said Red. “She says you won’t listen to her, that you won’t listen to reason.”
“She’s lying,” said Chell. “She hasn’t even tried to reason with me. She’s not even offered me cake, and that’s what she does best.”
“I need to use that lift,” said Red. “Come with me.”
“No way.” said Chell. “Just because we’re having a nice chat, don’t forget it’s a nice chat at gunpoint. I still don’t trust you.” Red sighed.
“Okay, have my weapons then.” said Red. “Good look finding somewhere to put them but whatever.” Her hands went to the holsters but stopped suddenly as she realised that going too fast for her guns might be considered provocative. She took a look over at Chell who seemed to be going along with it at the moment. She carefully pulled out her semi automatic and the Shredder and offered them to Chell. Chell hesitantly reached out and took Red’s weapons. She put the semi automatic into the empty lab coat pocket while she strapped the Shredder to the other side of her waist. Red then passed her the shotgun, which Chell strapped over her back like Red had done.
“Have I earned myself any trust points?” asked Red.
“A couple.” said Chell. “I still think this is some ridiculous plot to get me off guard, but I’ll go along with it for now.” Chell threw the set of keys to Red. “Open it up.” she said, gesturing with the pistol. Red looked through the keys and selected one that had a piece of paper with a simplistic drawing of a star taped to it. The door of the elevator clicked open. They walked inside, still at gunpoint, and the elevator crawled its way up in silence. Eventually they arrived in a room that was mostly rubble. At their end there was a couple of desks, a red telephone with a severed cord sitting on the nearest. Chell took a look at Red who appeared lost in her own thoughts.
“Oh god!” she said suddenly. “This is bad, Michelle. This is very bad. We have a disaster on our hands. No, scrap that, we’ve got two disasters, a certain disaster and a potential disaster.”

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