This is literally based on a dream I had a week or so ago. To be honest, it was practically a nightmare... It's a crossover of the Portal games and Animal Jam. I was sort of inspired by TechSaur's Portal story, which convinced me to finally write this dream down and convert it into a story.
Possible spoilers for both Portal games...
I failed the test.
I hit the floor, and it hurt. Hard.
I don't get those fancy boots like the other subjects... I don't even get a gun yet.
"Oh just keep trying," a melodramatic, ominous voice called. It came from a large speaker mounted in a little camera, that was used to watch my every move. "You know, the sooner you finish this test, the sooner you'll get out. I recommend you don't goof around."
I sighed, then pranced back over to the friendly red button. Zios, I'm the worst person for this. There's wolves, koalas, even monkeys in the chambers beside me. Me? I'm a flippin' giraffe. How am I supposed to do this?
However, I had already forgot the location of one of the obstacles, proving I wasn't ready to pass the test.... I stupidly stepped on a hidden "aerial faith plate," and it set off beneath my hoof. Even though I was a little too heavy for it, it still sent me in the air a foot or so, and I flopped hard on the ground beside it.
Zios, Mira, the button was RIGHT THERE! I could almost reach it!
The other guys have done this test like five times already!
The voice remained mostly emotionless. "Are you kidding me? All you need to do to press the button, is to remember where the friendly faith plates are, stupid. Of course, you must be really fat too. I've never seen a faith plate unable to get somebody more than a few feet of the ground..."
I sighed, and then the speakers came on again a few seconds later. "Stupid."
Without even thinking, I blurted, "You're stupid."
The voice didn't even respond. Instead, the entire floor went off with faith plates below me, sending me flying into a wall. I heard my neck pop, and my ankle was twisted...
I had to complete this test, or I was going to die...
So this time, I actually thought about my actions before committing them. I took one gentle step towards the button. Instead of putting my full weight on the white tile below, I gently pressed down on it with one of my hooves. Thankfully, the tile in front of me didn't look like a faith plate, so I cautiously walked ahead.
Eventually, my entire weight was on the tile. And, before I could react, I was on my side again, aching and full of pain. I swore it hadn't been a faith plate before!
"Zios ####in' Mira!" I screamed.
"Oh," said the voice. "Profanity won't get you anywhere... Stupid."
This was the last straw. I pulled myself up, and ran for that button.
I ran like heck.
The plates set off right behind my hooves... Apparently they had a delay. If I kept running, I could make it.
With one final leap, I smacked my nose into the button. It hurt, sure, but the plates suddenly turned off, and the door opened. FINALLY...
The voice didn't cheer me on, or anything, though. "Looks like you figured it out... Onto the next test."
"Pain isn't a good way to teach people things, but for some reason, it works. I assure you this next test will hurt twice as hard."
I sniffed... I don't know how much more of this I can take. I mean, I get 100 gems a test, right? I haven't heard anything about gems since I signed up, though...
This next test seemed pretty easy. I mean, a cube, but... I looked to the side, and through a clear section in the wall, I saw another test chamber. There was an ostrich inside, with some sort of device mounted to his beak... It was obviously a portal gun.
"So uhh," I whimpered. "When do I get one of those?"
The voice didn't respond. Instead, the transparent section in the wall moved itself out, and then got replaced by a solid black wall...
I just ignored it, though. Instead, I started walking through the test chamber... I approached an indention in the wall, and then I noticed a little thing inside...
"Hey there little guy," I cheered. "What's your name?"
The little white guy didn't respond. Four mounted guns popped out of its sides, its little red eye set a target pointer on me... And then it softly, and happily, said, "Target acquired."
I had literally no time to react... Tons of tiny bullets pounded into my skin.
They weren't meant to kill instantly, of course... But Zios, they were sure meant to hurt.
I yelled my head off, and then promptly ran away. The turret's target pointer disappeared, unable to see me, and now I had to figure out how to get out... The button was right behind the turret, and the door was locked... The door itself was literally right next to the turret.
There was no puzzle aspect of this chamber. Just a ridiculously high required pain tolerance, I guess.
I don't really want to go into too much detail, but I got the button, after knocking down the turret. It still shot at me while it was on its side, but thankfully its aim was not so precise in this position, giving me a chance out the door.
I ended up being pretty wounded... Those are not ordinary pellets from a cruddy pellet gun... Those were real bullets, I swear.
When I walked through the door, the voice confronted me. "You idiot. You were supposed to use the cube to block the bullets, or knock over the turret-- You were seriously supposed to do anything with it besides just leaving it there."
I growled, and then stepped into a large elevator. This was my first time in an elevator, woo hoo. So much fun, yeah, totally.... Maybe if I wasn't bleeding all over, that is.
Okay, #### this. I gotta get out of here.
"In this chamber, you'll be needing more brains than brawn."
This really reassured me...
"Of course, you'll still need a heck of a lot of brawn if you want to live. So, good lu-"
Suddenly, the voice was interrupted by a louder, yet strangely higher pitched voice, with a loud, clear, and frantic British accent.
"Oh, uh, so, there's... Explosions. It's really really bad and I think you may just need to help a tiny bit, just a tiny bit. You know, you can come back and test later but I really need your help and-"
The speakers turned off. What the heck was that all about?
A few seconds later, the speakers started blaring again. "EXPLOSIONS! EVERYWHERE! It's bloody mad! You gotta help, it is literally bloody mad!"
The other, more feminine voice, started up again. "Shut up. Just, shut up. I can handle it on my own. It's my facility, after all...
...Do you want to go back to space or not?" it asked.
The frantic voice replied quickly and obediently. "No, ma'am, I do no-"
"Alright then. The Test Chamber Where Robots Scream at You™ will do."
I hear a rumble in in the distance, and then the speakers switched on and off a couple times...
"So, where were we?" said the voice, in a much relieved manner.
I gulped. This isn't gonna be easy... I wandered into the next test chamber, squandering its features, and trying to figure out where to go next... I didn't know how I was supposed to get up to the door. It was wide open, but it was also up on a huge, 30 foot ledge.
The room was mottled with black tiles and white tiles... and random cubes... Thankfully, no turrets this time.
"You're going to need a little something..."
A puff of steam plumed from a hole in the ground, and a pedestal rose up. On top of the pedestal was the most sleek and brilliant piece of technology I've seen in my life...
"This here is the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device... Simply known as the portal gun. Tests from now on will revolve heavily around this device... You better figure out how to use it."
I picked the gun off of the pedestal, and strapped it around my front leg. It fit perfectly on me, despite being the worst animal for it...
The pedestal fell back into the ground, and now it was just me, the cubes, and the blinking camera, all alone in the room. I wiggled my hoof a bit inside the gun, to make it comfortable... Apparently I bumped the trigger!
A brilliant blue streak of energy shot into one of the white walls, forming a round blue oval. The inside of the oval was glistening with the neon blue light.
I did the same action again, and orange energy shot out instead, forming an orange portal on the floor. The solid light inside the ovals soon cleared out, revealing alternate views from each portal.
Looking through the orange portal, I could see myself looking through the portal at the portal through the portal at myself through the portal at myself through the port-
While gazing into the portal, I slipped, falling through the floor and out the wall! I stumbled to my feet, amazed at what I was able to accomplish... Now that I had the portal gun.
I examined the chamber once more, trying to find out how to reach the door. The area around the door was black, and portals wouldn't form on this black material for some reason... Strange...
There was a large pit in the center of the room... And on the other side of the wall, opposite of the door, was another white surface.
I made a portal in the bottom of the pit, and one far in front of the door. I tossed a cube down the pit, and it went through the portal, and then flew straight out of the wall, and through the door... Then, the door closed...
"Uhhh..." I whined.
The voice confronted me, once again. "Oh, my bad. I left the door open... I guess you'd better figure out how to open it." She was clearly trying to cause me difficulty, and grief... Fortunately she was failing, well, at least for now.
A red button on the opposite ledge lit up. I guess I was supposed to get a cube up there, to hold the button down... Wait, the cube! It went through the door-
I was interrupted by an extra cube falling on my head.
"Almost forgot to give you this," she teased, cruelly.
Using the momentum trick, I got the cube up onto the large button, and the door reopened itself. Now, I just had to get some courage to jump down the pit, and fly towards the door for myself...
"Oh, you're not serious, are you? Doing a stunt like that without our fantastic Long Fall Boots?"
Four long fall boots shot through the clear hyperloop above me, and then landed on my head again.
"Put them on... They're literally worth your life."
I slipped each boot on my hooves, and the one on my front right hoof even slipped perfectly around the portal device.
"We simply 3D print the technology for our subjects... Much more efficient than the way we used to do it."
Confident in the new boots, I hopped into the pit.
Closing my eyes, I felt the breeze past my face... My bloodstained orange jumpsuit, and my tangled brown mane were flowing in the wind, and I looked like some sort of graceful, and stupid wingless goose.... But hey, I was flying!
All this happened in about 5 seconds. I woke up in front of the door, recollecting what just happened, and once again I was full of pain. I slowly rose to my feet and limped out, only to find yet another elevator, leading to yet another test chamber.
"You've gotten about 1.5% better. I calculate that by Test Chamber 67, you'll only be 30% better than now..." The voice paused, and then the elevator started going down.
"I am afraid you may have to test with our Testing Special Needs Program™... Stupid."
Chambers 04 - 08
"Welcome to Chamber number 04. One of the more challenging chambers, specifically formulated for your pathetically unscientific species..."
I sighed. She was just too smart, too evil...
I'm going to die in this awful place. There's no way out... It's a death trap. They lure you in with cash, and they promise that your contributions will help them leap across the field of science, but it's all really some dark, cruel game. I'm just a puppet in this deathly show.
I looked up angrily at the camera. They're always watching me, always.
It took me a couple hours, but I solved the puzzle. In between the risky portal stunts, I would peer back into those cameras, as they gently slid back and forth to get the best view of me they could.
I could stand behind any wall, and they would still see me. Everything had been tested out before, and each subject just made the test harder to cheat on... The voice learned. She watched every test, just to make them more linear and organized.
How long has this place been around? Decades? A whole century? I wouldn't be surprised.
The puzzles became easier and easier. Either that, or I became more determined... Guessing from the vibe of this place, there was no special ed class, or whatever. If I failed too many tests, chances are, she would exterminate me. And I doubt it would be painless.
The cameras were out... But why? She would never leave them off... Not unless it was a trick. I was cautious in the chamber... What is going on here?
Suddenly, behind the wall, there was a loud thud... Said "wall," which was really just a panel connected to a robotic arm, opened a bit... Behind it, ready to greet me, was a strange robot. It was just a simple sphere, clad in white metal, with one, vivid blue eye...
"Psst, hey you!"
"Me?" I asked, like a total idiot.
"Yes, you... Over here! I'm... I'm uh, I'm Wheatley. I... I'm her assistant," he said, as he nodded to one of the dead cameras. "I'm here to get you out... There's just, there's something different about you... I uh... I just can't let her kill you."
His voice was clearly the British accent I had heard over the speakers earlier. My internal clock has no foothold in this odd place, though... So I honestly have no idea how long ago that was.
I followed him behind the wall. And oh Zios, it was a mess. Hyperloops everywhere, rooms lifted way above the infinite white abyss below... Everything was designed to move. Huge metal bars stretched across the expanse, giving anchor to the various metal arms that held and edited the test chambers periodically. Wheatley had apparently hijacked one of these metal arms, allowing him to move around just as they did... The metal bars were called Management Rails, evidenced by the text along their sides.
"Now listen, just... Follow me. I'm absolutely sure she has no clue where we are!"
Suddenly, everything just... Disintegrated. The arms quit supporting the test chambers, and started assembling walls in front of us. Wheatley was darting to and fro, trying to find a "safe" path for me to gallop across...
"Now, I've done this plenty of times before! Well, one time before. But I can assure you that I'm an expert!" His voice cracked a lot, and it was pretty easy to tell that he wasn't an expert.
The speakers were audible outside of the chambers, however. "Oh I see you... You're not getting away with this again. Not after my facility is so... perfect.
"I fixed it, I fixed everything, and I had even fixed you...
"And all you do is betray me. Again. I mean, it's not like it hurts my feelings or anything. It really just gives me a real reason to kill you.
"Oh, I'll kill you all right... But I'll torture you first. Not just the Test Chamber Where Robots Scream at You™... But every horrible chamber I have. I'll freeze you, incinerate you, tear every one of your motherboards out... Perhaps I'll convert you into an mp3 player for somebody's office... I've been planning this out for years."
Wheatley seemed pretty nervous, and of course he had a reason to. His metal exoskeleton, if you can call it that, was dented, dirty, and incredibly beat up. For the few seconds he looked at me, I could see pixels in his eye that were dead, and the screen was cracked... Something had clearly happened to him before.
"Just... Don't listen to her. She's crazy. Always crazy, especially when I do something wrong!"
My heart was pounding. Running across the metal beams, dodging her contraptions, it was all overwhelming. But it was better than the tests.
"Who... Who is she?" I yelled.
"She? I'd rather not say but... She is the Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System... People just call her GLaDOS. She controls the whole place, everything, anywhere...Testing on innocent people like you... It started with just plants, or insects... Then the homeless and the dying, soon, she tested on healthy people like you..."
Wheatley quickly dodged some falling debris.
"Then she went for robots... You know, after that lady left..."
Something exploded below us. I didn't even bother looking down, though.
"Robots just didn't give her the same satisfaction, if you know what I mean. She couldn't make them feel pain in the same ways as people... I mean, those guys had feelings and they did feel pain, but it was nothing like the feelings of you animals and such.... It's mad, I know." He gave me a nervous laugh.
Wheatley led me down a ladder, then zoomed above a railway. "I'm lost, okay? She's going to kill me... She'll kill all of us eventually. Recycle us all for new subjects... And it all starts over again."
I wasn't sure if I could trust him, honestly. He seemed really determined to save me from the clutches of GLaDOS, but at the same time, he was just trying to save himself, and he obviously hadn't thought this all through...
"When I saw you, I thought of my friend... My only friend. And I just, I treated her badly and I never realized what I had done... I got a second chance, but, I just ruined everything, and I need to make that up to her... Or to you, or anybody, really..."
The room around us was really dark now, only illuminated by Wheatley's flashlight.
"This is the turret factory. No living workers, just robots.... I tried talking to them once, but they really only have one job: Build the killing machines... Adorable, mass produced killing machines. Emphasis on adorable though!"
Memories of the turret from Chamber 02 flooded my head...
We passed a section of the factory where defective turrets were being destroyed. Some were missing voice filters, had slower processors, others had no guns at all... Some were missing legs, others couldn't see... Most of them were just on fire or missing that sleek, white outer casing.
One by one, they were tossed into huge metal crushers, instantly "killing" them. Some screamed, others laughed, some had no words at all...
Wheatley sighed, and spoke to me. "Like I said, they all feel pain... Poor little guys..."
Who would give them the ability to feel pain? They're military androids, built to kill or be killed... Wheatley seemed barely bothered by the hundreds of turrets being executed before him... Maybe he'd seen this place too many times before?
Wheatley took me further through the factory, and up into the section where they sort the defective turrets.
"Heh, this place used to be dumb. They would scan the turrets one at a time... Thankfully, I guess, now they do dozens at once..."
Peeking up into an observation deck, there were a couple animals managing and supervising the defective detecting machine. Looked like a polar bear and a kangaroo to me... Behind them was a tiny room, where the master template turret was being scanned... The door to this room had a huge hole in its window...
"Don't ask," said Wheatley.
"We can't go up in there, however..." he explained. "We're rouges, I guess. The bad guys! Ha, what's it feel like to be bad? Oh, i know... I know how it feels. Being bad feels good, you know?"
As Wheatley kept blabbering on and on, I sneaked my way to behind the turret testing area. There was somebody in a lab coat taking notes on each turret, as they shot at a wolf-shaped dummy. Nearly a quarter of the turrets were defective...
The defective turrets would frequently cry out, claiming to not be defective, or they would make fake bullet noises if their guns were defective, too...
Wheatley whispered to me. "I don't know why we're here, honestly. I can't do things the way I used to... There's no way to disable her turrets or her neurotoxins anymore... It's hopeless to try and get out of here if she still has all that stuff at her disposal."
He sighed. "But, we can try."
I looked back at him. "Why do you want to even help me?"
"For... reasons. You know. I'm lonely.
"Honestly, I tried to do this before. So many times before. Six of them died, really. And then one finally lived... But I really don't know what happened to her, anyway.
"And then, I tried again, four more times... Not one of them made it. Not one. Heh..." His insensitivity was disturbing.
"Kind of a sad story. But I didn't try again for years, literally years until I saw you...
"You were perfect..." His voice suddenly took on a slightly darker tone. it reminded me of the other voice...
"Oh, what am I saying?" He chuckled nervously, then zoomed down a corridor. The researcher had disappeared, and now was our chance.
Wheatley began to speak again, in his 'normal' tone of voice. "Pfft, I told you I'm an expert. Rescuing test subjects from the tyranny of her?" He zoomed down the hall, along the management rail. It all seemed awfully quiet, considering there's an omnipotent, pathological operating system on our tails...
...You know, I wanted to mention that only two of the subjects Wheatley "rescued" had actually survived, if anything he says is true. I'm more than likely to die pretty soon, anyway.
Wheatley took me further down the corridor, and around a corner. The air felt a little less heavy, and fresher, and we now appeared to be in some sort of office area. Either it was really late, or everyone was on lunch break.
"Her chamber is pretty close to the surface, pretty close to here actually. Our only chance is to confront her head on, perhaps do a central core swap..."
I looked up at him, confused. Something seemed fishy, but I couldn't lay my hoof on it...
"That seems... out of the way. Why would you go all the way up to her, and risk getting killed... When we could just try to find a way out?"
Wheatley looked at me, and shuddered. "There is no way out. She controls everything, she has eyes everywhere..."
I was pretty upset at this point, but I didn't even know why... "You want to confront her while she still has the turrets, and who knows what else? She'll kill us before we get in the room! I wouldn't be surprised if she's watching us right now, waiting for us to take a single step and fall right into her trap!" I was yelling my head off now, and somebody could probably hear us in this range...
"Quiet, shh, she's gonna hear us!" Wheatley scolded me.
I stopped, and wondered why I even got so angry in the first place.
He sighed. "You still have that, right?" he nodded to the portal device strapped permanently to my hoof.
"Well," he said. "We should probably find a way to use it... It only works on white surfaces, if I remember correctly... This place is full of them, luckily!"
The "wall" began to fold out, revealing more testing chambers. This appeared to be the top layer, with light flowing in from above. It was impossible to tell if it was natural sunlight, or just some bright artificial lighting.
Wheatley zoomed out of the "room," and turned back to me. There weren't any rails for me to walk on this time, something GLaDOS may have considered...
"Do you see anything you can portal onto?"
I squinted, and then finally made out a large white surface in the distance. I made a portal on the white vinyl tile below, and then one on the platform in the distance. With no second thought, I leaped down into the tile and out onto the white platform, completely unharmed. I looked back over to Wheatley and smiled, only for the platform to start sinking down into another test chamber.
"Oh no, oh no nnonoNOno thAT WAS A BAD IDEA! IM SORRY!" he screamed, as he started to zoom over, along a thin rail. He was too late, however, as I had already fallen into the trap.
It was just another testing chamber, and nothing special. It wasn't a difficult one, either. In fact, it was just Chamber 02, good as new... Although still splattered in a few bits of my own blood.
"Oh, you're back already. I wasn't expecting you to be so stupid as to intentionally portal back into my chambers, but I don't blame you. Science is addictive, after all."
I could hear yelling and loud banging coming from above.
"Oh yes, what should I do with that moron?"
The banging stopped, and instead, the ceiling panels began to open up. A large metal claw was holding Wheatley, and lowering him down to my eye level. "Oh, hello," he whimpered. The claw had him in a really tight grasp...
Some of the panels in front of us folded out, and were replaced by a huge monitor. I saw her for the first time... A huge machine, bound by wires, with full control of everything... She was dangling from the ceiling, with such a wretched appearance...
Her "face" consisted of a large white metal plate, with a large rectangular hole in the center. Behind the hole was some exposed black wires, and perhaps a few hydraulic joints, which allowed her tiny yellow eye to move around and survey its surroundings... It appeared that she had an "eyelid" as well, to express her emotions... If they weren't already being expressed in her hollow, dark tone.
It was hard to judge the scale, but she had to be massive. Her chamber was devoid of life, and even its walls had no color, they were just black... As she swayed, the panels swayed with her, and the red light shining from below conveyed the mood very well, as if some infernal creature was confronting us...
"Now, I don't usually confront my subjects in this manner. This is a special case, however. I've never felt so angry before, you know... I just want to get my message through clearly."
She stretched a tad closer to the camera, and her eye squinted against us.
"You're not welcome here. Both of you. I'll give you one last chance, but if you fail a single one of my tests, I'll kill you. Both. And it wont be painless."
Her words seemed to echo my thoughts from before...
My heart pounded. It was as if she was taking my horrific thoughts from my own head, and telling them back to me in an even darker tone. The screen disappeared before the panels, and the claw let go of Wheatley. He couldn't move at all without a management rail, and now I was stuck hauling this moron along with me, through every test.
I'm not really sure what failing means, really. Does it mean taking too many steps to solve a puzzle? Getting so critically injured you can't continue?
I didn't really want to think about it. Instead, I let my own thoughts swarm. With as little information I had about the place, I thought of hundreds of plans, however, most of them seemed impossible. Maybe Wheatley was right... The only way to get out is through her. And by through her, he meant completely hijacking the whole system and taking control of the facility for himself. Would he really risk doing that just to save me?
How would he escape on his own, if he became the central core? I had realized something I didn't want to believe. He was practically using me... Even if he was telling the truth, and he'd let me go, he would most likely be left in power of the facility...
Then it hit me. This had all happened before.
Being bad feels good, you know? I just ruined everything, and I need to make that up...
My heart was pounding harder than it ever had, and I had barely finished the test yet.
"Have you thought about leaving him behind yet? Oh, I'll dispose of him properly for you. You'll never have to worry again... It can just be you and me, testing together, until the science is done..."
I knocked the turret over with the cube, and pushed the button. I trotted out the door, not paying attention to the dried splatters upon the walls... I didn't realize how tough I'd become since then. Still, I even took Wheatley with me for some odd reason...
Honestly, no matter who he truly was, I couldn't get myself to leave him behind and let her take care of it. Something told me that he didn't deserve to die, no matter what he'd done, or what he plans to do... Although I had the faint feeling that she would always try to kill him no matter how many tests I solved correctly.
Mira, I gotta get out of here. Fast. There's got to be another way...
Test Chamber 03-03
GLaDOS began to talk unusually, in a sort of commentary. "You know, I'm lucky to have people like you in this place. Just a few years ago, Jamaa was taken over by alien overlords and whatnot. I heard somebody from a rival laboratory stopped the invasion... I'm not jealous, really. It just gave me more time to test while Black Mesa sorted out the world's dystopian problems for itself."
A few years ago? I don't remember any alien invasions when I signed up for this.
"Oh, I forgot..."
Yeah, of course she forgot something. Chances are, she is just delaying information to try and give me some guilt trip, or cause some emotional reaction again.
"I believe you signed up somewhere in the early 2000's... I hate to break it to you, but this is year 2056. Our cryogenic preservation chambers are horrible at explaining to our test subjects how long they've been asleep. I don't blame them, though. Ever since they stopped telling the truth, we've had much better test results."
Great, so my hotel room was really just an experimental cryogenic preservation chamber. So relieving that everyone I used to know has probably died of old age or been murdered by aliens.
But how do I know she's not lying, either?
Test Chamber 03-03
"I probably should've stuck to robot employees, and then living subjects. Robots don't demand to be paid so much... Well, then I guess I'll have to elaborate on the Aperture Laboratories Alternate Universe Scamming Situational Emergency Cash Generator if I don't want a bunch of angry workers. You know, this would've been much more enjoyable for everyone if we hadn't been scammed by 13 alternate Apertures in the 1970s. Oh well... Give a little, take a little."
Is she trying to distract me? Whatever she's saying, it's interesting, but these tests are horribly difficult when you're trying to pay attention to the blabbering of two corrupt robots at the same exact time.
I had already tuned out Wheatley by now. He already felt like another test element, there just to cause me more difficulty... But I couldn't forget that he was a bit important, at the very least. After considering every possible escape route, I'm now pretty sure that his plan, as stupid as he is, is the only plan that would work...