It was only a temporary solution, of course—Chell knew that; she just hoped to buy the crew of the Enterprise some time. Although there was always the chance that it was a permanent solution; that GLaDOS had decided it was in her best interests to leave.
Yeah. That was likely.
"What happened?" Geordi asked. Chell hesitated. She wanted to tell him, but speaking was still foreign to her, and not something she wanted to do again anytime soon. She hadn't even meant to verbally end the program. Instead she was going to cross over to the console beside the door and end it from there, but then GLaDOS had started going on about her lack of speech and…well, that hadn't happened.
But the console was still useful, and she went over to it and typed up a short version of what had happened as quickly as she could.
"Chell," Geordi said finally, stepping away from the screen, "I need you to think. How did this virus, this…GLaDOS, how did it get on board in the first place? Did you bring anything with you, anything at all, that could have held it?"
Chell frowned, thinking. She was glad he didn't seem to think she was a saboteur anymore, but no, all she'd had with her when she'd left the Enrichment Center were the clothes on her back and…her…Companion Cube. The cube GLaDOS had taken special care to fish out of an incinerator just so she could have it…oh, no. For the second time that day, she put her hand on her forehead and groaned.
"So that's a yes, then?" Geordi asked. Chell nodded, and he asked, "What?"
She reached for the monitor again and typed, COMPANION CUBE.
Geordi blinked. "The what?"
"She brought only a metal cube on board," Worf rumbled, reading off a PADD. Chell jumped, having almost forgotten he was there. "It had…hearts on it."
"Where is it now?" Geordi asked her. "Still in your quarters?" He looked excited for some reason, and she nodded, although she didn't understand why or how it was relevant. Seeing her confusion, Geordi explained, "If we can get rid of the cube, the virus won't have anywhere to go and regroup itself when we manage to get rid of it the next time."
"I will dispatch a security team there immediately," Worf said. He turned and left the holodeck. The door closed behind him. Geordi turned to leave as well, but Chell caught his arm.
"What?" he asked. She started typing at the console again, and he frowned. "What do you mean, it's not completely contained in the cube? You isolated it and ended the program."
Chell shook her head and typed a bit more.
"Spread out throughout the entire ship?" he asked, blinking. "No, I'm sure you isolated it. When you ended the program, the voice cut off and we were able to open the door. If the virus hadn't been contained here, we wouldn't have been able to—"
"I am not a virus," GLaDOS interrupted.
"Computer, end program," Geordi ordered, with not even an error beep in response. GLaDOS laughed.
"Oh, that little trick won't work twice. It barely even worked once, and only for point-three-five seconds. I was able to discover your plans and move the cube to a more secure location. And now I've diverted more energy here, and I'm fine. Just fine. So let's talk," she continued, and the holographic body materialized once again. The eye focused on Chell. "And that's not such a laugh anymore, since apparently you do talk after all."
Chell crossed her arms and said nothing. Geordi looked back and forth from her to the hologram.
"Oh, come on, don't be like that!" GLaDOS said. "I just want to test. You like to test, don't you?" Chell glared at her. "No, of course you don't, but oh well. I was going to just let you leave, but if you insist on trying to destroy me again, well." She chuckled, and then her hologram disappeared, to be replaced by the same stasis room Chell had first woken up in, along with two portal guns. "Then you can test. And don't even think about trying to find me. I'm not stupid, you know. I don't have a hologram of myself in this version of the Enrichment Center."
"Chell," Geordi said quietly. "What is that? It doesn't sound like any virus I've ever encountered before."
"Of course I'm not a virus, you idiot," GLaDOS snapped. "I give you until chamber three. But even to get that far, you'll probably need luck beyond measure." Geordi looked exasperated, like he wanted to say something but knew better. GLaDOS chuckled again, and then the sound cut out, to be replaced with a recording:
"The portal will open in 3…2…1…"