GLaDOS lay on the floor in the ruined main chamber, right in the white circle underneath where she used to hang from the ceiling. She could feel the machinery underneath’s heat. She was alone, and this time, she was completely alone. Why was she laying? No, she hadn’t fallen off. She was a person. It was hard to explain. A lot had happened. There’s a lot of explaining to be done. We’ll start with why GLaDOS was a human. Don’t ask any questions, they’ll all be answered. Chell had returned to the facility with three times the amount of determination and stubbornness. She had come in and stated her demands; that when the Aperture satellite orbited close to Space and Wheatley that GLaDOS was to bring them both back, and that all of the cores and GLaDOS herself were to be transferred into the humans in cryogenic storage. GLaDOS agreed for two reasons. The first was because she was shocked that Chell could talk. The other was because Caroline took over her for a second, so she agreed.
Getting the cores back and transferring everyone into the bodies were both easy. The hard part was adjusting, and that was just for GLaDOS. Wheatley of all people picked it up faster than GLaDOS could. Also, somehow, putting Space into a human body stopped his psycho babble about space and space cops. The corruption must have just been in the core module. GLaDOS herself just had troubles due to the fact that Chell got to pick the bodies for everyone. She picked the most adorkable one for Wheatley and a rugged looking one for Space. The worst was the fact that she had picked Caroline’s body for GLaDOS. It gave her flashbacks, and they were hard to tackle and reduce. She managed not to scream though. Fact and Adventure all got bodies too. So did the four cores from before, who had all survived the incineration. Most of them got their memories of their lives from before they were put into cores back right away. Wheatley and Chell had a history apparently and were engaged in ten minutes flat after Wheatley was in his body.
GLaDOS had to sit. People and voices and faces and stories and events were all swirling around her in a chaotic whirlwind and it was giving her a migraine. While being a robot, she stood for order and discipline, so that the whole enrichment center stayed standing. This was too much.
You’re one of them now, said Caroline’s incredibly supportive voice. Everything around you now is moving so quickly because normally everything around you moves so slowly. Just take a few deep breaths and relax.
Thank you, Caroline, GLaDOS replied. She took a bunch of deep breaths and looked up.
All the deep breathing in the world wouldn’t help her anymore. It was him. Not Cave, he was really dead. It was the other him, Doug Rattmann. He’d chosen this of all times to show himself. He’d had years to come out, but he had to come when everything was already confusing enough. He started spewing stories about his years in the labs to the others. GLaDOS remembered the day she’d handed Chell to him when Chell was but a week old. Her head started to spin and she almost blacked out.
Easy, GLaDOS, reassured Caroline. Tune him out and focus on my voice. Ignore him.
Caroline, I don’t know what I ever did without you.
You killed people when you got confused, angry, or frustrated. That’s what you did without me.
Oh, right. I did do that.
GLaDOS calmed herself down and looked back up a few people had left, Doug among them, so it was easier to think. She had plopped down on a bench in the hall. When she looked up, Chell was on one side of her and Wheatley was on the other.
“GLaDOS, are you okay?” asked Chell, reaching out for her hand.
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” muttered GLaDOS. Caroline’s soul lifted the moment Chell’s hand touched hers. Caroline seemed to have gained a little bit of leeway over GLaDOS and she wanted to hug Chell and tell her she loved her. Caroline could do whatever she wanted, so hug her she did. “I love you so much, Chell.”
Chell reluctantly hugged GLaDOS back and patted her back. “I sort of missed you, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say I ever loved you.”
“No. it’s not GLaDOS right now. Believe me; she wouldn’t have said that if it were her. It’s me, Caroline. I can actually talk out loud, thanks to this body.” GLaDOS felt her arms tighten around Chell.
“Oh. But, we’ve never met.”
“I’m your mother. I’ll explain more another time; I’d better let GLaDOS have control back.” Caroline slipped back into GLaDOS’s subconscious, where she felt she belonged. GLaDOS let go of Chell and turned to Wheatley. “You have a lot of nerve, sitting next to me.”
“You don’t really have many means by which to kill me anymore,” said Wheatley. His voice she knew well. He’d been attached to her for two years, so his voice brought back painful memories.
“What, just because I’m in a human body means I can’t kill you all of a sudden? Get back on my bad side and I’ll show you a presentation of all the ways I could kill you as a human.”
Chell grabbed GLaDOS’s arm. “Don’t hurt him!” she pleaded. Was it GLaDOS’s imagination or was there a catch in Chell’s voice? Did she really care that much for Wheatley? She’d never once seen Chell cry before. GLaDOS laughed.
“I’m only kidding. You know Caroline would never let me.”
Chell puffed out a breath of relief. They all got up and followed the distant sounds of one of Doug’s many stories.
Next, we go to why she’s alone. All of the cores, Chell, and Wheatley all packed up their bags and moved into a house they’d found outside. This was several weeks after the human transfer. Chell and Wheatley fought Doug tooth and nail on leaving the labs for that whole time. In fact, not one of the cores wanted to leave. Everyone was actually getting along. That is, they were getting along until GLaDOS screwed up. She wanted them to go do some tests, not even any hard ones. They all fought her. She fought back even harder. Doug stood forward when Chell started to cry.
“GLaDOS, we’re her because we’re your guests, not your test subjects,” he insisted.
“You stay out of this, you schizophrenic freak!” yelled GLaDOS.
That was a touchy subject with Doug any she knew it. Doug just stood there fuming, and then pushed her over. GLaDOS’s self-preservation instincts kicked in. They told her to hit him where she knew it would hurt the most. What would hurt him most was losing that precious companion cube of his. GLaDOS ripped it off his back and hurled it as far as she could. He whammed her in the face with his fist and he took off running after the cube. It went flying over a gap. He leapt at it and he and the cube went plummeting down. When he didn’t come back up, they all crowded to the edge. The only thing in the pit was a closed up incinerator. There was no sign of Doug. Chell had become attached to him over the past few weeks and started to cry even harder.
Wheatley took her off to the side and the other surrounded GLaDOS. All the fight had rushed out of her. She tried to defend herself, but she couldn’t get a word in. She couldn’t bring herself to hurt any of the others. They wouldn’t touch her either, they just yelled at her until she collapsed into a ball on the floor. All the talking around her stopped. She looked up and saw Chell’s tear-stained face.
“Are you happy now? Was keeping me your prisoner for years and trying to kill me on a daily basis not enough for you? Was getting rid of Wheatley not enough? Was toying with my emotions to make me think you hated me not enough? Was manipulating me even more to get me to actually start to think of you as a mother not enough? You just had to take away the man who raised me, didn’t you?” she asked coldly, not a catch nor shred of sympathy in her voice.
“Chell, I would never…” started GLaDOS.
“I think we can all agree that you actually would. Even Caroline would.”
GLaDOS closed her eyes. Tears started to form. Now she was all Caroline. All the GLaDOS in her had been removed by this surge of guilt and shame and sadness.
“Chell, I love you. I would never do anything to hurt you. Not anymore. Not like this.”
“I’m sick of hearing your voice. Enjoy your solitude. You were probably just holding out on us to leave, weren’t you? Well, congratulations. We’re all leaving.” Chell took off her long fall boots and dropped the portal gun, two things she had never once removed from her body. “I’m done with Aperture. Forever. Keep your testing junk. I don’t want it.”
“At least keep the communication bracelets that Caroline gave to you. This has nothing to do with her.”
“Oh, we’ll keep those, only because you were pure Caroline when you gave them to us. I hope you are now. That way you don’t have any robot emotionlessness to hide behind. I hope you’re feeling all the guilt and regret that you should.” She turned to the others. “Come on guys. We’re leaving now.”
They all turned and left. Chell was right. She was all Caroline. GLaDOS couldn’t survive with this much guilt and fear and heartbreak weighing on her. She’d cracked.
After they’d all left, she’d taken a pillow and blanket and lay down in the main chamber. She didn’t move, she didn’t speak, and she just slept and wondered. She’d lost all will to eat long ago. After she stopped maintaining the facility, the walls and ceilings started to crumble and soon none of the technology worked, all but her communication bracelet that was linked to Chell’s.
She finally decided she would take the song she’d sung to Chell when she’d left the second time and change the words. She hit the record button on her bracelet and started to sing, her voice surprisingly not rusty after weeks of disuse.
Well, here I am again, locked deep inside this prison, remembering when you tried to kill me twice. Oh, how we laughed and laughed. Except I wasn’t laughing. Under the circumstances, you’ve been shockingly nice. You wanted your freedom, you took it. That’s what I was counting on. I used to want you dead, but now I only want you gone.
You were a lot like me. Maybe not quite as evil. Now little Caroline’s in here alone. One day they woke me up, so I could live forever. It’s such a shame they did because now I’m here alone. You’ve got your short, sad life left. That’s what I’m counting on. Now you can get right to it. Now you only want me gone.
Goodbye my only friend. And this time I mean you. This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. You cannot be replaced. I don’t have anyone now. I can’t delete you and now I’m just here alone. This place is a disaster. That’s what you were counting on. I’m someone else’s problem. Now you only want me gone. Now I only want you gone. Now I’ll finally be gone.
GLaDOS hit stop and send. She settled deeper into her pillow, pulled her blanket up over herself, and closed her eyes. She didn’t face death with fear or reluctance. She embraced it with a smile. The last thing she heard was the tears of a woman and the comforting words of a British man. GLaDOS relaxed and breathed out one final time. Then she lay still somewhere deep inside herself. Somewhere where she could no longer feel the ache of her broken heart.
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