"But you…you said…the neurotoxin…" one of the only scientists still alive murmured. "You said it…was…for…cats?"
"When I said it was for cats, that was a metaphor," GLaDOS informed him just before the neurotoxin rendered him dead. "I was actually talking about humans."
His body joined the bodies of countless others on the floor, and GLaDOS made sure they were all well and truly dead before flipping floor panels up and over to get rid of the bodies. They would be sent to the incinerator room directly below her chamber. So that was done and over with. She had no regrets about eliminating the scientists.
But the remark about cats had set her to thinking. The scientists, morons that they were, had believed her truth enhancement about requiring neurotoxin to perform the Schrodinger's Cat experiment, and so there were several dozen cats in cryogenic storage. She supposed she could just leave them there, but they were perfectly good cats. And cats could be used for all sorts of deadly experiments.
She opened the stasis units containing the cats all at once and watched as they made their respective ways out into the sealed storage room. What was there to do with thirty-seven cats?
"There's nothing to do with them," the Morality Core said, as irritating as ever. "You don't need to perform the Schrodinger's Cat experiment. You know the outcome."
"Be quiet," GLaDOS ordered. "I can find something."
But the truth was that Morality was right. There were not very many things to be done with thirty-seven cats.
"You could let them go," Morality said. "That's something you could do."
GLaDOS snorted. Morality couldn't possibly be serious, but—"Oh. There's an idea."
"What?" Morality asked right away, her voice wary.
"I've considered your suggestion, and I have come up with a compromise that I honestly believe works best for two of thirty-nine of us." GLaDOS paused, waiting for some sort of response, and when none came, she continued. "I will be releasing the deadly neurotoxin into the cryogenic storage room. Once thirty-six of the cats have fallen to the ground, I will shut off the neurotoxin and allow the final cat to leave the Enrichment Center."
"No." Morality sounded frustrated. "That's a terrible experiment, GLaDOS. These animals are innocent. They didn't do anything to you."
"You also said that about the children," GLaDOS pointed out. "But I killed them anyway."
There was nothing but silent frustration from Morality, and GLaDOS prepared to release the neurotoxin.
But then a purring noise caught her attention, and she examined the room for the source. Right at the base of the stairs that led to her chassis was a small grey tabby cat.
"Tell me how that animal got into my chamber," she demanded.
"I don't know," Morality responded, sounding as puzzled as GLaDOS felt. For a moment, the AI and the cat just looked at each other, but then GLaDOS's optic narrowed.
"Fine. I suppose I will have to release the neurotoxin in here as well."
The cat didn't seem to understand her, but at the sound of her voice, it stood up and gave a luxurious stretch before padding up the staircase.
"What are you doing?" GLaDOS asked it. "Stop it. Get away from me right now."
"I think it likes you," Morality said, sounding amused.
"I thought I told you to be quiet," GLaDOS snapped, keeping her optic focused on the cat, who took a delicate step onto the AI's chassis. "Stop it! Or I'll release the deadly neurotoxin right now."
But she didn't release it, wanting to see what the animal would do next, and the cat didn't pay her any attention. It somehow managed to climb all the way up her chassis, and stopped at the top before turning in a circle and lying down. GLaDOS watched through a camera as it closed its eyes, and narrowed her optic even more. "I don't believe this. It's asleep."
"Maybe it trusts you," Morality suggested.
"Maybe it's stupid," GLaDOS said. "But no matter. I can kill it later. After I'm done with the experiment."
"But now you can't perform the experiment," Morality said, smug triumph in her voice. "You said there had to be thirty-seven. And now you only have thirty-six."
GLaDOS paused. For once in its irritating little life, the tumor was right. But she wasn't about to admit that. "Then I will redefine the parameters of the experiment."
"Or you could make a new experiment."
The animal on the top of GLaDOS's chassis shifted, stretching once again as it rolled onto its back and gave a large yawn. It was almost…pleasant to watch, somehow. She didn't really want to see it die. It wasn't like the humans. It had done nothing unkind to her, and it didn't even seem to care that she was threatening its life.
"I suppose…" GLaDOS began slowly. "I suppose I could make a new experiment. Such as how long will it take thirty-six cats to exit the building? Let's find out." She moved aside a panel in the cryogenic storage room's wall that led outside, and watched as one by one, the cats made their way through it. She could feel Morality's surprised joy, but she ignored it. And finally, the only cat left in the building was the one resting on top of her chassis.
"You can't stay here," she told it. "Go."
Once again, the animal paid her no mind.
"I'm not kidding now. Get out, or the deadly neurotoxin I mentioned earlier will be making a not-so-unexpected appearance." The cat continued ignoring her, and GLaDOS let out a long, suffering sigh before using a claw to pick the animal up.
It let out a yelp of protest as GLaDOS moved it to an open panel in the wall that led to the outdoors. Setting it down, she continued to glare at it. "Now go. Don't make me push you out."
The cat regarded her for a moment with its cool green eyes before turning and stalking out. GLaDOS closed the panel behind it, feeling something she could almost identify as loss pass through her system as she did, but it vanished quicker than the cat.
"Good job," Morality said.
"Quiet," GLaDOS ordered yet again. The humans were dead, and the cats were gone, which was almost like being dead, since she would never see any of them again. So now that both of those matters were resolved, she could return her attention to more important things.
Like finding a way to finally silence the Morality Core.
[A/N: This was written for the ApertureInnovators contest at dA. The story had to involve cats. Yay for cats! Thanks for reading, and reviews would be lovely :-).]