Disclaimer: we do not own portal.
Breaking the loop
By: Tora Marikama and TheCrazyArtist
Soon enough, the elevator stopped, and when the doors opened, I all but exploded out of there, desperate to escape Dustin's fumes.
He also quickly ran out of there, either because he'd finally smelled is own product or because he was excite for the next chamber, I didn't know.
I quickly looked on the board, and was glad to see nothing indicating turrets.
However, along with an acid pit sign, there were some new icons. one was a stick figure walking on a bridge. so there was a bridge?
There was also a line with spikes on the bottom crushing a stick figure.
GlaDoS came online. Just when I was starting to get used to her silence..."you are doing quite well together. We are very proud of your success. Very, very proud. In this chammm-cham-am-am-mmmmmmm..." The computer suddenly cut off, along with all of the lights, even the board.
I expected them to come back on, but the room remained dark. this...couldn't be good.
GlaDoS returned, anounceing,"We apologize for the inconvenience but there has been an emergency and all tests must be temporarily terminated. If the problem is not resolved within the next 30 minutes, an emergency retrieval unit will be sent out to return you to your relaxation vaults until the issue has been resolved. Please remain calm and wait for further announcements. We once again apologize for this inconvenience and we thank you for your cooperation while the situation is being resolved."
Well, isn't this just dandy? At least we're not in the chamber.
Dustin sat down against the wall, trying to peer into the test chamber. It was no use, though, as all the lights were off.
I followed his lead, leaning my back against the wall. we were both silent for a time. I can't speak for dustin, but suddenly I was thinking of the previous chamber. I could have died...
Half without realizing I was speaking aloud, I suddenly began to talk. "When I started out here, I was a janitor."
I glared in his direction, "It's not funny!"
Dustin was chuckling now. "Yeah it is. I didn't think someone smart like you would be working a low paying job like that."
"First of all, no matter how smart you are, a bad reputation won't get you far in life; second, the pay was actually pretty good. more then what most companies pay to get a few toilets cleaned." That shut him up.
Satisfied that he was done, I continued. "I've been in the foster system most of my life. Sometimes you get lucky and end up with a good family, but they never last. Either they get fed up with you or they don't get the papers signed fast enough and you get shipped off again. Then there are the rotten families that give a care and either ignore you or set you up."
"Why are you mentioning this?" He asked with a mixture of confusion and annoyance.
"That's where my bad reputation comes from. Have a nasty record of shoplifting, got banned from five different stores, ended up in Juvie and arrested once."
"Arrested?" I could see his shadowy form scoot closer, and I had to remind myself that it's just Dustin, I don't have to scoot away.
I yanked my pony tail out and ran my fingers through my hair, trying to distract myself."Yeah. When I was seventeen, grocery store caught on fire and they blamed it on me, made up a load of shit about me being destructive. My foster agent had to bail me out. Set me up with a nice family and told me to hang on til my eighteenth birthday. I didn't see much of the father. He worked at this top-notch military contracting company... I think it's called Black Hill... no, it started with an M, but was some kind of hill."
Mesa?" Dustin suggested.
I paused for a moment to look in his general direction. "Yeah! that's it, Black Mesa. Anyway, It's down in Arizona or somewhere like that, and I figured that if I was going to make it on my own next year I needed to get a job fast and that seemed like a good place to start."
"It didn't work?" Dustin shifted again, probably trying to get more computable.
I scoffed. "What do you think? When I looked up Black Mesa, and I saw that they had a few business rivals, and decided to try those next. Aperture was the only one willing to give me a chance and they gave me the position of janitor. First three years were just fine. I minded my business, kept my smart mouth shut, and got free boarding…"
Pleased that I managed to get a few knots out, I leaned forward so I could gather my hair up and slip it through the band. "Everyone was nice and pitied my poor soul, sometimes I'd even take on another job to earn some extra cash, like when the pipes busted really badly and they didn't want a plumber to come in. Then one day I wake up in the glass box."
And then the idiot tried to hug me again! I jumped up and whacked his hand with the portal gun. "Just because we talked doesn't mean we're friends all of the sudden!" I yelled.
It quiet for a bit, then I asked, "So what's your story?"
He shrugged, "Oh, it's not as interesting as yours. I got a college sponsorship from them and an offer to tour the facility. I thought they were trying to secure future employees then...glass box."
It was my turn to snort. "How exactly did you get a sponsorship?"
I could hear the smile in his voice when he spoke. "I passed with an A in advanced placement chemistry and physic courses."
I stared at him.
"Give me an equation and I'll have no problems. Put me in a real world situation though, and...eh." Dustin shrugged again.
"Eh" described the Beefcake all too well.
After a few more moments of silence, the lights and board came on again, and Dustin stood up. "That was quicker than I expected..."
GLaDOS spoke again. "Now that the brea- er... problem has been terminated, the test chambers are now back online. For the next test, you AH AH AH AH ER ER EE EEEE..." The lights went out again, but the board stayed lit this time, brightly illuminating our tiny section of hallway.
Dustin sat down again. "Never mind, then."
A fear started to grow, that we would be collected and returned to the little cubicles. "Dustin, how long has it been?"
He scrunched his face in thought. "I don't know. You don't think..."
He was cut off by the sound of the elevator door opening.
A robotic figure stepped out into the light of the sign, but the elevator remained open. "Please assume the party escort submission position." it said in a vaguely French-sounding accent, but still with that unmistakable synthesized buzz on the edge of its voice.
It looked like someone had taken a turret, gutted out the insides, replaced the machine guns with arms, and added legs.
I stood up, angry and scared, the familiar, addictive rush of adrenaline coming back. "There is no way in hell we're going back!" I shot a portal under it, only to realize that it's wide spread thin legs stretched over the length of the oval hole. Not good! "AWW SHI- you got to be kidding me!"
Something very peculiar about this place, about running around with a portal gun, causes you to start to develop an artificial set of instincts. Or at least that's what I'm calling them. The natural instincts to run, fight or hide have been thrown out the window, so portal instincts have kicked in. Instinct one says "Shoot it with the gun, you dipstick!" Well, that's been scratched out. Instinct two is screaming, "Then use it on something else!"
I scan the hall in a hurry, but its empty, and that thing will be on us in minuets-he sure is taking his sweet time, is he that confidant in catching us? No, no, get your head strait, it's a robot, it probably can't walk any faster than that.
It's just me, it, and...
I quickly shot a blue portal at the ceiling and was in the process of aiming at Dustin's feet when GLaDOS spoke again. "Please assume the party escort submission position. The test chamber has been shut down momentarily, and you will be returned to the test chamber once it is running again."
I ignored her and shot an orange portal under Dustin. However, the robot somehow knew what I was doing and stepped back, and Dustin landed right in front of it. The robot reached forward, and with unexpected speed, had twisted his arms behind his back.
The machine started backing up to the elevator- there wasn't enough room for it to turn around, and poor Dustin was screaming and thrashing.
"This is an emergency sequence procedure. Please remain calm. Lay face down with your hands to your side and the party escort associate will return you to your relaxation vault. We again apologize for this inconvenience."
"Like hell I will!" I shot a portal at a camera in the nearest corner, and GlaDoS shouted in protest, "Do not destroy vital testing apparatus!" I grabbed the camera by the base and started beating the hell out of that over grown tin can. I doubt it was doing any damage, but it seemed very distracted between the two of us.
Suddenly its chest opened up and blue gas leaked from it. I gasped in surprise and moved back, covering my mouth with the neck of my shirt. Dustin wasn't so lucky and got a face full of the stuff. He slumped over unconscious. The robot released him and he collapsed onto the floor unceremoniously. A part of me preyed that would have been enough to wake him back up, but Dustin remained knocked out cold.
The robot stepped over him with ease. "Please assume the Party escort submission position."
The robot grabbed my wrists; wrenching away my portal gun and trying to get me to let go of my collar. It quickly became a game of tug-o-war, with the robot trying to force me to breathe the sleep gas and me resisting.
However, the robot ended it just as quickly; setting down the portal gun and then using that free hand to push back my head. It hurt like hell, but I tried to resist.
But it was to no avail; the hallway was noticeably darkening; and not because the board running out of power. After a minute of struggling, it was over. The last thing I felt was the robot unceremoniously slinging me over its shoulder...