Evening, folks. This is Max, and Welcome to Shame and Nostalgia: An Overview of Portal Time, a complete synopsis of the long-lost Portal-Time "saga".
For the uninitiated, I wrote two Portal/Adventure Time fan-fictions in the tail end of my middle school career, meaning to top it off with a final sequel and an eventual crossover trilogy with the Half-Life universe. Before long, high school reaped my soul, and I inevitably quit halfway through the sequel. Three years and a hard-drive wipe later, and here we are: I have returned as a college freshman with a frightful concoction of, you guessed it, Shame and Nostalgia driving me to end this stygian terror once and for all.
Yeah, I'm fully aware of how fucking awful these were. I've made "efforts" to make this sound as decent as possible, but let's be honest: you can't polish a turd. In the end, I'm writing this to get it off of my chest, and if I do it right, you and I can laugh at this junk-heap together.
Fair warning, I'm only super-familiar with the first of the series, Cooperative Testing, because that was only one I finished. But for the sequels, I'll try and give a general plot overview, with extra narrative tidbits here and there. Keep in mind that I thought this shit was gonna' blow up like the Last Human or Pray for the Preacher's Daughter or something. I had this whole thing planned like the MCU, but it came crashing down like the DCEU...
So sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight. Trust me folks, this's gonna' get lumpy...
...I'm not sorry.
So Portal Time: Cooperative Testing kicks off in the Candy Kingdom, as all these stories do. Princess Bubblegum has proceeded to tear up the forest and surrounding fields of the Candy Kingdom in search of relics from before the Great Mushroom War. For the sake of getting our plot started, Bubblegum and her team discover the Aperture Science Facility buried beneath the Kingdom. When she tries to investigate, she doesn't return.
In a fit of panic, the Kingdom calls on our resident heroes and Marceline (because she needs to be in this story, right?) to investigate. As they plunge into the ancient facility, they're recruited for the Cooperative Testing Initiative by a fully-operational GLaDOS, who seems to be completely unaware that over a THOUSAND YEARS HAVE PASSED, let alone the hundreds of other things wrong with this picture. None the less, the trio and the rediscovered Bubblegum split into two obligatory teams, PB and Marcy on one, Finn and Jake on another, and proceed to begin their off-screen trials in the Aperture testing system.
Eventually, GLaDOS, like an idiot, tells Finn and Jake to bypass a maintenance sector to reach the next set of tests. They practically sidestep a railing to escape, and make their way down to the Old Aperture section, discovering a helicopter crash-site with an active hyper-sleep pod inside, containing Chell. Because...um...I'll have to get back to you on that...
When they wake her up, she panics and tries to escape, leading to a convoluted action-scene on a collapsing test-chamber. To be honest, from what I remember, this scene was a lot of fun to write, and could've been made into a pretty cool chase if the right person wrote it. That being said, middle-school me was probably getting bored and decided to throw an action scene here. And from what I remember, it really came off that way.
When all's said and done, Finn and Jake calm Chell down and get her to spill the beans about her backstory, breaking the golden-rule of silent protagonists: keep their traps shut. In the first of many scenes meant to establish other stories, she explains her ''backstory''.
She says she was let go by GLaDOS after their adventures, but she was eventually recaptured by some kind of military insurrection in a nearby town. She claims this was the last thing she remembered, assuming that the crashed helicopter stranded her here…somehow. In reality, I needed some means to Chell and the Combine into the mix, because "biggerer is betterer". After that, Chell and the guys decide to team up and search for the others.
Meanwhile, PB and Marcy end up in the same situation as Finn and Jake: ditched in a maintenance sector by a negligent GLaDOS. Instead of breaking out like their smarter counterparts, they return after stealing the facility schematics and an override code for the test-track from one of GLaDOS' old computer cores. When they do use it a few tests down the line, they make it a few meters out before being recaptured, this time with a critically-wounded Bubblegum left in the aftermath.
When the new team eventually locates PB and Marcy, they perform an emergency operation with a first-aid-kit to save Bubblegum from several gunshot wounds and a minute-long bath in test-chamber goo. Looking back, I remember seeing Prometheus a few weeks before writing this chapter, so I vaguely remember thinking 'yeah, that's a good idea to put a violent surgery sequence in this light-hearted romp with Portal characters'. That being said, this wasn't the only time some edgy bullshit made its way into this thing. And don't you worry: it wasn't the last.
Using the magic of video-game med-kits to get PB up to speed, Finn vows revenge and drags the others to GLaDOS' main chamber. After a clunky boss fight meant to emulate the equally clunky boss-fight at the end of Portal 2, the group celebrates when they think they've defeated GLaDOS once and for all. But to their shock, it's revealed that an "evacuation protocol" has been initiated. Apparently, this kind of evacuation protocol calls for the entire facility to go up in flames Austin Powers style. So the team escapes in the nick of time, shattering all tension as they breach the surface in record time.
But when they get there, they discover that the evacuation protocol wasn't meant for escaping employees: it was for an escaping GLaDOS. In a gaping hole just outside the Candy Kingdom, an enormous rocket containing GLaDOS' core functions prepares for take-off, leaving a trail of rubble in its wake. When the group tries to sprint through the ruins back to the Kingdom, Finn is trapped in a piece of the rocket's landing gear. Before he can escape, his arm is damaged beyond repair, just before the rocket launches and take him with it. All the others can do is watch as GLaDOS and Finn disappear into the atmosphere. And that was where I ended it.
Yeah, there was a little stinger at the end, hinting at the Combine trying to manipulate the Lich into joining their cause after their attempts at hacking GLaDOS failed. But this is pretty much it. Now I've gotta' be honest again: I actually kinda' like this twist. True, it's edgy as fuck, especially with the way I had Finn lose his arm. And my insistence on trying to get this story to spin off into a "saga" of sorts was amateur at best and fucking embarrassing at worst. But in the end, I think it stirred up enough interest in the series. Well, all ten or so followers I had were interested, at least. But things go from bad to worse in the next story...
The sequel, Forbidden Testing, kicks off just like the first: with a fun, light-hearted...funeral. Great start, I know.
The Candy Kingdom and the newly-welcomed Chell commemorate the "loss" of Finn, joining to set the tone for what was supposed to be the Empire Strikes Back of the Portal-Time saga, while it ended up being Attack of the Clones.
The story then jumps two years into the future, aboard the Aperture Science Orbital Research Facility (let's just say I played a lot of Q.U.B.E. around the time I wrote this). The new and improved Finn the Human has grown into an edgy anti-hero, boasting a plethora of scars and a "badass" mechanical arm. Hardened by years of taunting by GLaDOS, he embodies the standard fanfiction protagonist. Even today I see thousands of these scattered throughout the hallowed halls of this very site. But to honest, none of them rattle my bones with embarrassment like this fucker does.
Back on the surface, the Kingdom reels from the loss of Finn, with an overworked Bubblegum struggling to keep the Kingdoms in line as the crime rate soars to unimaginable heights. As if to rub salt in the wound, a possessed Ice-King kidnaps Bubblegum, preparing to violently murder her in his home. Just in time, Marceline arrives at Ice King's lair and knocks him out, escorting the traumatized princess back home.
Never mind the fact that Marceline decided to show up now of all times, this was meant to do a few things: reinforce the existence of the Combine from the last story (why I didn't just have an assassin show up instead of ruining Ice-King, I'll never know), reinforce the darker plot (or make myself look even stupider), and establish a blossoming relationship between Bubblegum and Marceline (because at the time, EVERYONE was doing it). Before I implode due to critical exposure to embarrassing garbage, let's move on.
This was around the time I quit writing this story. For the rest of it, I planned to have a dual narrative: one with Finn aboard the space-station, and the other with the ladies back on Earth. I betcha' this was one of the reasons I jumped ship: even I knew I couldn't write romantic dialogue, let alone a personal story anyway. It was probably for the best, too: especially considering that on top of the other plot, I wanted Finn to fall in love with an android aboard the station. But for completion's sake, here's the rub:
As PB and Marcy bond over their time in Aperture and the dreary world around them, Finn meets a female android that he confuses for a human. When he starts falling for her, he realizes that he wants to escape the station with her and return to his ordinary life. But when she inevitably dies in their escape attempt, the android consoles in Finn, telling him to go and live his life, because if you wanted "deep" dialogue from me in middle-school, this's all you got.
The end of the story would have Finn escape the station Gravity style, crashing an escape-pod somewhere in the province. When he wakes up in the hospital, all of Ooo commemorates his survival, but Finn realizes that things aren't as good back home when he sees that Bubblegum is in love with Marceline. And guess what? THIS love-triangle bullshit is the catalyst for the third story. Even now, this makes me shutter. I don't remember having a stinger planned in the second story, but this was most likely me dreaming up "cool" action-scenes for the fourth and fifth stories. What else is new, right?
The third story in this EPIC trilogy, UNTITLED Testing (yeah, I don't even remembering having a "clever" subtitle for this thing), was going to follow a guilt-ridden Finn returning to Aperture upon realizing that his purpose to creep on Princess Bubblegum doesn't exist anymore...I wish I was kidding, but yeah, that's how it starts. I think Fire Princess showed up around the time I was putting this together, because I was going to have her volunteer for the rescue mission to save his life. The rest of the story would revolve around the building of their relationship, the restoration of Finn's hope for Ooo, and the destruction of GLaDOS once and for all. I didn't have ANY plot-points fleshed out when I was throwing this shit together, but I did have the stinger:
When Finn and Fire Princess destroy GLaDOS and the orbital research center, they return to a blasted landscape. The Candy Kingdom is up in flames, with all of its citizens gone. When the pair try to investigate, a detachment of Combine Elites capture them and load them into a transport ship, due for an unknown location. And that'd be the end of it, setting up a brand new trilogy set in the Half-Life universe. Even if I managed to finish this shit-show, to think that I expected people to stomach enough of this shit to do it all again really unsettles me.
I'd give you an even briefer synopsis of the second "saga", but I swear to you, I don't remember it. It was so over my head, that almost all of it was lost when I ditched this series in the first place. All I knew was that even more people would die, and the angst levels would reach astronomical heights, quite literally, as I had several space battles in mind...
And that's that. The entire Portal-Time saga, lost to the sands of time. Looking back, as I wrap this up, even I don't necessarily miss this series. But no matter how much I try to deny it, I can't say that I'm not proud of it. The fact that I even tried to do this is commendable in my book. But then again, I think it's even more commendable that I quit before things got REALLY bad. It's a piece of history now, officially memorialized by what you see before you. And in the end, I'm kinda' glad there's something I can remember it by.
Rest in peace, Portal Time...even if nobody else remembers you, at least one guy does...
I admit that this was written for me more than anyone, but if you made it this far, I tip my hat to you.
Reviews are always appreciated.
Thanks again: this is Max, signing off.