Author's note: Thank you for reading this. This is a "novelization" of sorts, based on the story I originally envisioned for my Portal 2 mod of the same name as this story. The final mod ended up with no main story in the end, but the ideas I had were too good to go to waste, so I am writing this fic as a means to make the original story a reality in some form. Enjoy!


==Ch1: The Plan

Time.

That word's entire meaning seemed oddly irrelevant to Kate.

Kate had barely survived on Aperture Science Standard Emergency Food Rations Packages for just over a couple of months, but it had felt like a year. Things had changed so quickly, leaving no time for preparation. Using the stasis pods proved to help the limited rations to last longer, but Kate had known it wasn't going to last forever.

It seemed not so long ago when she was helping test and oversee some of Aperture's smaller miscellaneous experiments. As the supervising lab technician of this section of the facility back then, she could almost call this place her own little part of Aperture, even before an unexpected event caused it to become her new apartment effectively.

Just as she had been finishing some left-over work from her colleagues one day (as they were all busy with a company-wide celebratory event of some kind), the lab's only exit suddenly slammed shut, trapping Kate.

The aptly named "Misc. Science Laboratory" section of the facility; wasn't much more than a glorified office space with a few limited-capacity data servers and an abundance of wooden crates and cardboard boxes containing miscellaneous spare parts.

With some random microscopes and desktop computers also available, One visiting this part of the facility from the outside world would be forgiven for thinking it resembled a scientific do-it-yourself community hackerspace if not for the prototype "relaxation center" directly adjacent to it- a massive room with a seemingly bottomless pit beneath; with a couple of dozen cylindrical prototype stasis pods hanging precariously above the void from steel rails.

As kate shook off the artificial drowsiness of the prototype stasis pod she had been sleeping in, an electronic buzzer caught her attention from the opposite end of the pod bay, sounding once every couple of seconds or so. The buzzer wasn't overly loud. It was usually an indicator of a minor system error at worst, and it didn't need to be too intrusive, but the sound was just loud enough that she knew she wasn't going back to sleep again any time soon. Moreover, she didn't feel the same as in her previous sleep sessions. Although she was sleeping for week-long sessions until now, Kate had the feeling this had been a much shorter session, as her drowsiness wore off quickly. So if the system had retrieved her pod early, the buzzer could only mean one thing.

This is it... I'm out of time... I need to get out of here, Kate thought.

The pod noisily opened, and after kate got out of it and stood up, the pod loudly re-sealed itself with a metallic clang and the whirr of a large motor; then slid into a slot in the floor to be sent back into the cavernous space beside the pod bay.

Kate walked over to the system's control desk to see what the problem was, somewhat fearful that her suspicions would soon be confirmed. When she took a look at the computer monitor on top of the control desk, she was greeted by near-comically-large white text on a black background that simply read, "Danger: Cryosleep Fluid Empty."

No sooner did she sigh in exasperation than the relaxation center's lights began to power off one-by-one; to conserve energy.

The door leading into the misc science laboratory automatically opened, and Kate walked through to review her notes on a whiteboard.

When she was first trapped, she immediately took inventory of her supplies when she realized what was happening. According to her notes on the glossy pale surface, the emergency food supplies and remaining cryosleep chemicals, collectively, would have originally lasted only a few months at best; and she had to find a way out once her supply was exhausted if she hadn't been rescued by then.

She had a plan to escape, but it was risky- She would have to go through the condemned section near the misc. Labs, and then find a way to get back into the main facility- assuming there was a way.

Kate didn't know enough about the historical layout of the facility to be sure. Still, if one thing remained nearly constant about Aperture, it was that there was rarely a dead-end anywhere. If needed, one could always find an alternate route through the labyrinthian hallways and overlapping workspaces of the facility. Even if it might occasionally require you to crawl through a couple of ventilation ducts or borrow an Aperture Science Hand-Held Portal Device from the enrichment center staff, there was always a way to get wherever you needed to go.

As it so happened, Kate had done just that. Kate owned her own personal modified version of the ASHPD, which she always kept in her desk drawer for times like this.

After reviewing the plan, Kate took the device out of her desk drawer and proceeded through another door. As she walked past another whiteboard in the next room, she couldn't help but shake her head with a slight smile- She had previously noted the risk of a hardware malfunction in one of the older data servers and wrote a warning on the whiteboard for her colleagues to keep server #62-02 offline. Still, they hadn't taken the note seriously, which resulted in the server blowing out several of its most critical components and losing all the data they had gathered that week. Despite the loss, she and her fellow researchers had a good laugh at the mistake and decided to keep the whiteboard as it was, as a memento.

Even though she had to escape now, She savored the memory- it was one of few pleasant memories she could recall about working here.

Proceeding past the locked-down entrance of the misc lab and through a different door, kate now stood on a steel walkway spanning a long concrete tunnel on the other side. To her left, the tunnel stretched on into the hazy darkness further than she could see, with storage tanks connected to pipes leading through the tunnel's walls. One such pipe- a glass tube roughly 8 feet in diameter near the tunnel roof- served as a small part of Aperture's facility-wide Vital Apparatus Delivery System. She could clearly see a weighted storage cube float through the tube every so often, indicating that the system was active. She turned to face the other end of the tunnel, which was within a stone's throw of the walkway she stood on- or, in this case, a well-aimed shot with the Portal device in her hands.

Aside from grease stains and dust, the wall's main defining feature was a large metal door situated mid-way up, with another walkway connected to it, which ended abruptly several feet short of where kate was standing. The door had been sealed shut over 10 years ago- and there was a large stenciled sign painted over it, warning of the condemned testing area within. There was an override lever fastened to the wall next to the door, but kate would need to get over there to access it. So, after carefully aiming the device, Kate fired her portal gun at a blank part of the concrete wall, opening a shimmering orange hole.

Kate then fired at another wall- this one within easy reach of the walkway she stood on- and a similar hole opened; this one Blue.

Although none of the scientists had ever fully understood the plasma-like glow of the intra-dimensional gateways, they had developed the device to the point where it had been deemed safe to use to travel long distances.

Some portal devices were even equipped with an apparatus that could change the portal's color. However, it was an optional adjustment unneeded for most of the enrichment center's single-subject tests. The natural colors of the openings were perfectly suitable for the majority of the test subjects to differentiate clearly when they needed to, even if they suffered from colorblindness.

Kate casually hopped through the blue portal and found herself next to the sealed door; beside the orange portal.

After taking a deep breath, she wrapped her hand around the override switch and pulled it.

The old steel door strained while an alarm sounded nearby, then slowly slid open like the maw of a terrible ancient beast that had just been disturbed from a decade-long slumber.

Kate had to be ready for whatever forgotten experiments lay dormant in this section. The only way out was through there-

The proto-enrichment-center tests of the 1990s...the last remnant of an era that Aperture collectively tried to forget.

Kate walked inside, and the door shut behind her, leaving her in total darkness.