TOAN: I know that this story was INTENTIONALLY made to NOT adhere to Portal: The 4th Millennium franchise and I won't ever forgive the author for that, but a fic does exist and I can't deny it.
The Secondary Manager's Note (TSMN): (irenicPie didn't have any notes on this.)
The Inevitable Sunset: An Impossible Continuation (alternate title Portal 2: The Silliest Sequel of All Time)
A Fanfiction of a Fanfiction by irenicPie
Chapter One (beginning from the end of Part 3c)
PIA: OH AND IT SEEMS YOUR SMART
PIA: SINCE YOUR NOT BOOTY QUAKING
?EA: Booty quaking?
CIP: She stranded a version of Wheatley with a weird tail and herself in space,
PIA: INCEPE WHAT?
CIP: You know what? This is ridiculous.
PIA: OH YA WELL MAYBE YOU SHUD BE DOING SUMTHING GOOD RATEHER THAN MESSENG WITH THE BUZINESS GUYS FAN FICSHON!
CIP: Yeah? We-
CIP: Maybe you're right.
CIP: Maybe changing my past won't help me. Maybe. Maybe I need to change the present.
CIP ceased responding to memo.
Ms Johnson-Rattmann leant back in her chair.
Feeling the aftershock of her epiphany, she couldn't believe she had been so blind. What was seeking revenge going to do for her? Of course, she would feel good about herself for a while. But then what? Retire to a particular Central European city and have a perfect life?
But what IS the perfect life?
She spent a long time sitting, just thinking about what her perfect life would be like. She tried to imagine where she'd be, who she'd be spending it with.
It was difficult.
She found herself thinking of Doug, and just as she did so, a message appeared on her screen.
- labratScientist [LS] began pestering interdimensionalPortaller [IP] at 11:54 -
LS: You're not going to believe this.
IP: What is it?
LS: When you portalled to this world, I did the same... I wanted to follow you. Only, I ended up very far away from you. I'm not sure where I was.
IP: Oh, well done. What now?
LS: Well, it gets worse. I've been kidnapped. By pirates.
He was right. She didn't believe it.
IP: If that's so, then how are you contacting me?
LS: Reluctantly, I managed to steal a citizen's phone just before they caught me and managed to sneak it onto the ship. I overheard them talking, they're taking me to their hideout, but first they'll be stopping at a harbour to "restock".
IP: ...Why are you telling me this?
LS: If you can get to the harbour in Mexico in time, then maybe you could sneak on and free me.
IP: Mexico? Doug, I'm in the middle of Europe. How am I going to get to Mexico?
LS: I don't know. You're the creative one.
Chell sighed. She looked to her right, at the glowing Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device that she had placed carefully on the desk.
There must be a way of getting to Mexico, very quickly.
There has to be a way.
Ms Johnson-Rattmann agilely climbed to the top of the building, twisting her lithe body to sit on the roof. Without hesitation, she found the highest point on the roof and looked towards the West, with the midday sun to her left.
She found the furthest point on the horizon, aimed her Portal Device at it, and fired a blue portal into the distance. She then placed a portal on the roof just beside her, but hesitated before jumping into it.
Look before you leap.
Acutely aware of how comical this must look, she knelt beside the portal and stuck her head through it. It looked as though she were on the side of a tall building. There was nobody to be seen.
She dropped through, landing perfectly on her feet, naturally. Portalling onto the roof of this new building, she repeated the steps, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles west. Her progress depended on the height of the building and the obstruction of the horizon each time.
She continued in this manner, unbelievably, all across Europe. She crossed seas by hopping onto boats, crossed marshes by clambering through the treetops, and crossed borders completely undetected. But eventually, exhaustion began to set in.
She had been through Lithuania, Southern Sweden, Denmark, and Britain. She would need to find a boat that would take her South-West, to Central America. The journey would take her several more days, but Ms Johnson-Rattmann was confident that she could reach the Mexican harbour in time to get onto the pirates' ship.
But for now, she had to rest. There was only so much a body could stand. She settled into the hotel room she had booked for the night in a small English town.
I'm coming for you, Doug.
Finding the ship to Central America was easy.
Spending 3 days on the ship was nothing.
Crossing the countries to Mexico was simple.
The hard part, was finding the harbour. Ms Johnson-Rattmann pulled out the scrap of paper she had stuffed up her sleeve. It read, "Poseidon'sDoom", the name of the ship that Doug was currently prisoner inside.
She managed to visit four harbours before the sun finally set below the skyline. The remaining time was slimming fast. She sat down on the rough weathered planks of the wooden pier, looking out at the horizon where the last remnants of glowing sky s-
What is that?
It appeared to be a ship, but it looked nothing like the other, engine-cranked, steel-lined cargo watercraft that dotted the shore.
This ship was wooden, majestic, with a prow that reached high into the dusk air and a figurehead that sat proudly upon it. The ship's many sails billowed in the warm westward wind and brought the ship to cruise alongside the harbour.
A cry rang out into the near-silence that had fell.
It couldn't be.
It could not have been a lucky coincidence. The moment she saw those two words, she honestly questioned whether there was a higher entity at work here.
But now wasn't the time for pondering how deterministic the universe really was.
Chell knew it wouldn't take the pirates long to do whatever they had pulled into the harbour to do – or to be driven back, or even captured – but they certainly wouldn't be hanging around for long. Drawing the portal gun she aimed for one of the ship's sails, portalled beneath herself and flung herself through, finding herself hurtling to the ships deck, but catching its netting first. Dark figures bustled about below and shouted to each other.
Looking closely, they seemed to be concerned about a coast guard boat that appeared to be approaching them.
In the confusion, they hadn't noticed Chell hanging silently above them and she managed to drop hastily to the deck and jump – apparently unnoticed – into the hatch.
It was at that moment that Chell realised she knew absolutely nothing about Pirate ships and where they kept their prisoners.
She swore under her breath, aware that every second that passed brought with it more chance of being caught. She looked around the narrow wooden corridor, and noticed a door at the fair end.
"Cuartos del Capitán", it helpfully read.
Taking a deep breath and summoning all her strength, she ran the length of the corridor and burst through the door, gasping with relief as she found the room empty – but there on the table in the centre of the room lay a sea map, a compass, and two long, curved swords, one of which had been jammed into the table to hold it to the map to it. Breathlessly, Chell shoved the compass into her pocket, and snatched up the free sword. She tried in vain to pull the other from the table, but with no luck.
She took a look at the map.
It looked as though they were heading for the Peruvian coastline.
Chell noticed another map laying abandoned on the floor. It looked as though it had been there for some time. Glancing over it, it seemed to show a river route from Peru's coastline deep into its jungles.
She hurriedly folded it until it would fit into her pocket, and left the room, not bothering to close the door behind her.
"Where are you, Doug?" She mentally cried, and the sudden overwhelming feeling of helplessness was all but advantageous.
A confused grunt at the far end of the corridor startled her – a pirate stood, his mouth hanging open, and he gazed for a moment at the woman.
Fortunately for the woman, this moment gave her the precious seconds she needed to scramble up the ladder and back onto the deck, reflexively placing a portal on the nearest dry land she could see, before-
"Get back here!" A gruff voice growled from behind her, grabbing her ankle with a rough dirty hand and causing her to fall to the wooden planks.
"Let me go!" Chell shouted, kicking her other leg out at the man's face. Her heel hit the bridge of his nose and she felt it break beneath her foot, but still the man did not release his grip.
By now, she had the attention of almost the entire boat.
There was only one thing left to do.
She placed a portal beneath herself, and the man's grip slackened, backing away in shock as the woman seemingly fell into nothingness.
The small crowd that had gathered on land were too busy watching Poseidon'sDoomretreating back out to sea to notice a lithe woman fall from a great height and land quietly on her feet by the side of a building at the front of the docks. She quickly closed the portals and sat breathlessly down on the building's steps.
She had failed.
She felt the map and compass against her leg and knew that she hadn't lost Doug for good.
But somehow the minor victory felt soured by the fact that he was still in that ship, and who knows what terrible things they were doing to him?
Pull yourself together, Ms Johnson-Rattmann.
Sitting around feeling sorry for herself wasn't going to rescue Doug. There was still a chance, but she had to act fast. She reached into her pocket and retrieved the map she had taken, unfolding and examining it closely. She looked at the destination: deep in the heart of the jungle, apparently away from any civilisation.
Why would pirates have a hideout so far away from the sea?
It didn't seem logical. But if there was anything her life had taught her, it was that anything was possible, and one should expect anything but the expected.
The tiny, Peruvian village of Huicungo certainly weren't expecting a visit from a young British woman in a blue jumpsuit. But she wasn't intending to stay.
Chell found a local man who owned a boat that could navigate the River Huauna, and paid him a decent sum of money to row her in a South-Westerly direction until his boat could go no further. Then Chell must make her own way – approximately half a mile west – through the jungles with nothing but her compass, map, and sword. And of course, tied at her waistline, she kept the Portal Device at all times.
As she hopped off the boat and onto the river bank, the native thoughtfully offered her a skein of water for her journey.
She smiled in thanks. "Gracias."
The trees were dense and the undergrowth was thick. Chell found that the sword came in useful as she used it to hack through the greenery that blocked her westbound path.
And then she saw it.
The dark mouth of a cave gaped before her, visible even though the canopy of leaves that hung above the path ahead. For a second, Chell paused. Anything could be in there.
But almost as soon as she'd stopped, she started again.
Doug could be in there.
I've found you.
Hurriedly breaking through the last of the undergrowth, Chell sprinted lightly towards the cave's opening.
Light spilled out from inside its depths, light from a fire that crackled in the centre of the cave. Behind the fire, a man hung chained to a large, rusted hook embedded in the wall. His head hung lowly, his face gaunt and ashen, and his messy black hair fell limply over his eyes. It was impossible to tell whether he was conscious or not, until-
The man raised his head and looked her directly in the eyes.
Doug's attention hadn't gone unnoticed and two burly men - who Chell had only just realised were there – turned to see what he was staring at.
There was a moment of silence that seemed to stretch for an eternity, or perhaps an eternity of silence that lasted for a split second.
It shattered instantly as Doug yelled, "Chell, run!"
But Chell didn't run. She couldn't leave him just as soon as she had found him, but what else could she-
One of the men lifted Chell off her feet and held her in the air. She struggled with all her might but the man's huge arms were too strong for her. He barked something incoherent at the other man as he tried to keep the whirlwind under control.
The man grumbled and unchained one of Doug arms, leaving him hanging painfully by one arm – and chained Chell's arm instead.
The hulking men laughed gruffly at the sight of them both hanging from the same hook.
Ms Johnson-Rattmann hung her head shamefully.
They hung together, side by side, their hands almost touching, but not quite.
"Chell," Doug whispered, "You have to use the Portal gun to get us out of here."
"They'll be too fast for us to both escape in time," Chell murmured back.
"There must be another way."
She looked again at the Pirates, who, albeit heavy and stockily-built, were taller than they were wide. She thought about the diameter of a portal. Could it be possible..?
Using her free arm, Chell whipped free the Portal Device, and in a split second she aimed it squarely at the first guards feet, and then at the far horizon. The man fell, startled, into apparent nothingness and Chell wasted no time in making the other guard follow suit.
"Nice," Doug commented, and his voice wavered. It was the first time he had spoken aloud in weeks.
Chell didn't respond, choosing instead to free the hook from the wall with the sword. The two fell abruptly to the ground, and Doug's legs immediately collapsed beneath him, causing Chell to reach out instinctively and grab him, lowering him down gently.
"Sorry," he mumbled, but she shook her head.
"You must not have eaten for days."
"I'm just glad it wasn't longer."
"Mm," she agreed absent-mindedly, unchaining them both as quickly as possible. "We need to get back to the boat I hired. The villager is waiting. He will take us upriver to the nearest village, and then we can..."
"We can what?"
Her objective the entire time had always been to free Doug; she hadn't even considered what they would do afterwards.
"Well, let's go North first. To Mexico."
The Mayans' buildings were certainly a thing to behold. They dominated the skyline, squat yet intimidating. Chell and Doug stood, awestruck, for a long while, just looking at the centuries-old structures. The lack of tourists indicated that these Mayan ruins had never been rediscovered.
Before long, Doug's legs began to give out again and Chell led him forward to the Temple steps, sitting him down carefully. He apologised quietly, but again she shook her head.
"Don't worry about it."
Doug thought for a while.
"Where are we going to go tonight?"
"...Well, we can camp here."
He stared. "Right by this Temple? In these ancient ruins?"
She nodded, and sat beside him, laying herself back against the steps."There's a river near here that we can use for drinking and washing. The trees are less dense here too."
"Hm." Doug seemed to agree.
Chell looked at the reddening sky and felt oddly calm. There was nothing here to bother her – no technology, no science, no robots. No GlaDOS, no turrets, no cores.
Just her and Doug.
And for the first time in a long time, she smiled.
Doug blinked at her, a little taken aback, so she explained her previous thoughts. And then his face broke into a smile too, and for the first time either of them could remember, they smiled at each other.
After a while, Doug stood up. "Night is falling, we should make camp."
He took off the backpack they had earlier retrieved from the Peruvian village and began pulling out sheets and poles. Chell looked at them in dismay. "We have to build it?"
"Have you never been camping before?" He queried. Chell shook her head and Doug smiled. "You'll like it. Maybe you could go and get some firewood from in there," he gestured to the nearby forest.
"Sure." Chell picked up the portal gun, placed one on the nearest building, and sprinted off into the semi-darkness.
Doug watched her go, almost entranced.
"Aren't you meant to be building something?" A voice startled him out of his momentary daze and he spun round only to see Chell with an armful of sticks.
"How did you-"
"Portals, Doug. You've got to think with Portals."
"Is this enough firewood?" She tipped it onto the ground near the pile of sheets and poles that was the tent-to-be.
"Plenty. Do you know how to light a fire?"
"Humans have been doing it for millions of years. I'm not that bad."
Before long, the tent was built. Neither of them questioned the fact that there was only one tent.
They sat quietly on the ground together, inside the circle of warmth that the campfire made.
"So what normally happens when you go camping?"
Doug thought back. His childhood seemed a very, very long time ago. "Well, we cook food on the fire. Or sing campfire songs."
Chell didn't think that their fruit would taste very nice if it were cooked on the fire. "Do you know any songs?"
Doug frowned. "I used to."
He hesitantly hummed a light tune, and after a while, Chell joined in. They hummed together beside the fire, and then laughed at each other.
A few days ago, Chell had been sitting at a laptop in some Lithuanian kid's bedroom and she would never have guessed that she would be here now. She wondered what Contine Overseer or her other self would say if they saw her now. It seemed like a very long time ago since she'd last spoken to them.
She wondered if she'd ever go back home. But then... where was home?
She looked at Doug and wondered where he thought his home was. Maybe his home was wherever Companion Cube was.
I bet he misses Companion Cube.
"You look tired."
Doug's voice startled Chell and she realised he was looking back at her. "Oh.. I am."
"We should get some rest."
He stood, and Chell followed suit. There was a pause, and they looked at each other.
A silent, mutual agreement.
Tonight should be platonic.
Chell wasn't sure what woke her, but it was likely the exotic birdcalls. The morning was still cool and the sun hadn't quite reached above the canopy of leaves that surrounded the Mayan ruins. The sunlight through the trees made speckled patterns on the tent walls and she looked at Doug in the semi-daylight.
His head was tilted towards her and his angular, stubble-covered jaw rested on his shoulder, his mouth open slightly. His dark hair fell across his closed eyes again and Chell fought the urge to brush it out of them.
As the sun finally broke over the treetops and filled the tent with light, Doug stirred and eventually woke, smiling as he caught Chell watching him. "Good morning."
She felt her face redden and quickly sat up, using stretching as an excuse to turn away from him. "Morning."
Doug stretched contentedly where he lay. "Did you sleep well?"
"Very well, thank you."
"See, camping is not so bad. Especially for those who have been sleeping on makeshift cardboard beds "
"I guess so."
Satisfied that her blush had subsided, Chell got up and ducked out of the tent. The sky was a clear, pale morning blue and last night's fire had been reduced to a small pile of ashes. The trees nearby were teeming with busy animals and insects.
She sighed happily.
"I'm going down to the river for a wash, don't follow me," Chell instructed.
"As if I would," Doug called back playfully.
Chell walked casually down to the river's edge, shedding all of her clothes as she did so. The water was slow-moving, and murky, but clear enough to see a few feet down. She tested the water with a foot. Cold, but not unbearably so.
She took a few steps back up the river bank, and turned once she got there.
She broke into a run and leapt into the water with a yell, causing a colossal splash that sent nearby birds flying. Chell surfaced, spluttering happily, and hoped her shout wouldn't bring Doug running.
As predicted, the man sprinted along the path Chell had left, and stopped abruptly at the river bank. Chell had had the sense of mind to submerge herself up to her neck. It didn't, however, stop Doug from turning crimson as he realised that she wasn't actually in any trouble at all.
"I, uh, ah," he mumbled, before swiftly turning on his heel and marching back to camp.
Chell couldn't help but laugh.
After finishing her bathe, she re-dressed and made her way back up the hill. Doug was sitting on the Temple steps, prodding the ashes of yesterdays fire with a long stick.
He looked up with an awkward half smile, only one of his blue eyes visible through his over-hanging black hair.
Her heart skipped a beat.
What is happening to me?
She had never let her emotions get the better of her like this. What had changed? She walked nonchalantly over and sat beside him. He reddened again and Chell shamefully felt herself doing the same, but soon forgot her shame as she heard him sigh wistfully.
She instinctively leant her head on his shoulder, putting an arm around him in comfort. Doug jumped, surprised at the sudden contact. He looked down to find her looking back up at him, her face glowing and her eyes shining in the Mexican sunlight.
Hesitantly, unsure, he wound his arms around her waist, turning her to face him.
She parted her lips to speak, and he flinched, expecting a protest, but all he heard was a breathy whisper.
He looked uncertain, but she laced her fingers into his hair encouragingly, her eyes convincing, and he finally abandoned all doubt, leaned in, and kissed her.
Chell lost herself in the kiss, startled at the emotion it stirred in her. Never had she felt such a strong feeling towards any person before.
Sure, she had kissed men, but it had never felt anything like this. This... this was indescribable.
As they surfaced to breathe, Doug kissed her once, very gently, on the forehead. And in that single, caring moment, she knew that she had found the man who she had been born to love.
The day passed quickly in a dreamy haze, and that night, after they left the warmth of the fire, Ms Johnson-Rattmann lay against him on the blankets, and they entwined their legs contentedly.
He put her arms around her, and she finally felt she had found her home.
"So you weren't missing Companion Cube all along?"
Doug shook his head. "Companion Cube was an obsession. You are more than that. I didn't think it was possible, at first. I never thought I could feel this way..."
Chell murmured in agreement. She sat in Doug's lap, leaning into his loving, protective arms.
Not that either of them thought she needed protecting.
It was so surreal for both of them. Sitting atop the Mayan temple which they had climbed onto the roof of, they looked across the jungles and out at the slim line of shimmering ocean in the distance.
Ms Johnson-Rattmann thought of the decision she had made all those days ago.
She couldn't believe she'd been so blind.
What would have happened if she had just re-written the Business Magnet's fanfiction and carried on as if nothing had happened?
Retire to a particular Central European city and have a perfect life?
Doug abruptly kissed her on the side of her head and she wrapped her arms around him joyously.
What is the perfect life?
This is the perfect life.
TOAN: Now the reviewers (by the way, I am expecting reviews for this, even though I never pointed this out) can go on to say this is infinitely better than my works will ever be, but again, irenicPie:
YOU. JUST. SUCCESSFULLY. RUINED. MY. LIFE.