A/N: I only recently fell in love with Portal. It's amazing, and I felt like writing a little something including my favorite character GLaDOS. I love her. I'm not sure if I do her justice, but I tried.
This is in Chell's POV, in case it wasn't already obvious :).
I turned the page in my textbook and punched a few numbers into my calculator. I quickly scribbled down the answer to yet another Physics problem before leaning back in my chair. I stared up at the ceiling and closed my eyes.
It had been 6 months since I had escaped Aperture Science. It had been rather difficult to cope, and at times I suspected that I had Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. I didn't attempt to see a psychiatrist however, as it was very unlikely that one would believe my story. In fact, I would most likely be branded a schizophrenic.
I opened my eyes and sat up straight. I picked up my glass of wine off of the battered Weighted Companion Cube. When it had been tossed out of the facility along with me, I couldn't just leave it there. It made a pretty good table and foot stool. Also, I had become rather reclusive after everything that had happened, and it was the only companion I had.
Just as I took a sip of my wine, the phone rang. I frowned and stood up to answer it. No one called me, mostly because no one knew me.
I picked up the receiver and held it up to my ear. "Hello?"
"Hello again, test subject name here."
My blood turned to ice.
"This is a courtesy call from Aperture Laboratories, as it is a part of test protocol that we check up on each test subject periodically after their experiences in the Enrichment Center." There was a pause, during which I held my breath fearfully. "How have you been?"
She sounded polite enough, but I wasn't fooled. She was particularly good at this facade, right up until the moment she killed you...or tried to, anyway.
I didn't respond, but she continued anyway. "Excellent. Please take note that this is a pre-recorded message, therefore, any response you may give will not affect the dialogue in this conversation."
I sighed, feeling a wave of both relief and disappointment, though why I felt the latter was a mystery to me.
"First question: have you experienced any long lasting or permanent side effects due to your exposure to the Aperture Science Hand-held Portal Device? Possible side effects include: headaches, joint sensitivity, vertigo, brittle bones, nausea, hair loss, heart palpitations, stomach ulcers, tooth loss, weight gain...I could go on." I raised an eyebrow. "If you have experienced any of these side effects or others I may have forgotten to mention, please list them after the buzzer. The Enrichment Center would like to inform you that this conversation is being recorded and will be saved for future analysis."
I jumped slightly as the buzzer sounded off with a very loud 'BZZT.'
I still refrained from responding and waited patiently for her to continue.
"I received no response. Was that intentional, or is there some sort of communication error? Press '1' on your telephone if there is a problem."
I remained still.
"You experienced no side effects from your testing experience. Is this information correct? Press '1' if so."
I pressed '1'.
"Not even weight gain? Surprising, but excellent. Aperture Science is pleased to hear that your time with us has not had any long term negative effects on your life."
I snorted at her jab at my weight. Some things never change.
"Second question: After the stress and possible fear or bodily harm you experienced in our testing chambers, would it be of any assistance to your mental health and wellbeing to speak with a grief counselor?"
I jumped again as the buzzer rang in my ear once more. I rolled my eyes. "It sure would've been nice to talk to someone about it all," I muttered bitterly.
"'It sure would've been nice to talk to someone about it all,'" I heard myself echoed back to me. "Please hold while you are transferred to an Aperture Science Mental Health Professional."
Pleasant music played as I was put on hold. I instantly recognized it as the same song that was always playing over the radios in the Enrichment Center.*
The music stopped and GLaDOS's voice returned. "I am sorry to report that none of the grief counselors on our staff are available due to the fact that they are deceased."
I frowned. Not surprising, but still troubling nonetheless. I thought for a moment about all of the people she had killed, Aperture scientists and test subjects alike...and she nearly killed me multiple times. A shiver ran up my spine.
"If you have any questions regarding your experience in the testing chambers or anything else related to Aperture Science, please state them after the buzzer and an Aperture representative will contact you in the coming weeks with answers...probably...maybe...not…"
I sighed again and almost laughed. "Sure I have a question: how did you find me? How did you get my phone number?"
There was a long pause. I waited patiently for an automated response, but it didn't come. I shrugged in disappointment and prepared to hang up, but before I could, I heard a throaty chuckle on the other end.
"It was quite simple really."
"After I let you go, I had quite a bit more free time on my hands. I put that free time to good use. I worked to find a way to access the public, and private, records of the outside world, and this call is evidence of my success," GLaDOS explained calmly. "From what I read, you have just begun to pursue a degree in Physics. Perhaps you would like to work at Aperture, though the working environment isn't entirely pleasant, as exposure to deadly neurotoxin is unavoidable." She chuckled again as my mind flashed back to the image of the neurotoxin leaking into her chamber. "I also noticed how there weren't any murder counts against you. So much for the justice system," she said casually.
I hesitated for a moment. "So, all of what was said before wasn't pre-recorded."
"Correct. I will stop enhancing the truth in three...two..."
"Why did you contact me after you made it perfectly clear that you wanted me gone?" I asked impatiently.
"One thing I didn't lie to you about is that checking up on test subjects is a part of test protocol. However, it isn't necessary in most cases due to the fact that they never left."
My thoughts once again turned to those GLaDOS had murdered. "Is that everything you needed then? Is this call over?"
GLaDOS paused before answering. "Affirmative. I am required to say the following: 'Thank you for assisting us with our research, and we hope to see you again soon.' This is, though, what I am forced to say and I do not mean a single word of it. Do not come back, I do not want to see you."
I smirked. "I don't think you have to worry about that."
"I will contact you again in six months. Until then, try not to get killed out there."
I raised an eyebrow. "I'll certainly try."
"As it turns out, reverse psychology truly is worthless and amounts to nothing," GLaDOS said coldly.
Even though she sounded threatening, it took a lot not to laugh.
As the phone clicked, signaling that GLaDOS had hung up, I smiled despite myself. Maybe this was the closure I needed to finally move past everything that had happened.