AN: You know I have to remember some of the rules of grammar. One being never to start a sentence with the word And…. I did that 3 times…. The other was periods in speech. Periods signify the end of a sentence…. Sadder deal, I chewed out Kit for the same stuff. XD She'll attack me later with zombies, I'm sure.
Thank you Lunapeachie for letting be borrow your characters Angie and Lillian. I have written permission. I changed their last name to Fiore as a tribute to the book store name in "Reconstructing humanity" Go read it, and go read "Sarcasm Still Valid" both are great stories and funny as hell!
The sun was high and shone brightly over the large junkyard at the far reaches of Relic. The place had long been abandoned by the rest of the world, but the junkyard provided an endless array of old treasures for the three treasure seekers that went about it.
A man was at the top of one of the junk heaps shuffling through a handful of things. "Broken watch, broken coffee filter, broken calculator, oh hey! A gameboy! Oh. No wait, that's broken too" and he dropped the rest of the stuff to the ground and brushed his gloved hands off. He was a sort of tall fellow with short auburn hair, a lean face.
He adjusted his black cap and knelt down to start sorting through the junk again. He sighed this time "you know, I can't help but get this feeling that everything we are going to find will either be crappy, broken, junk, or crappy broken junk" he said and smirked, looking over at his two female cohorts. One was laughing and the other, Chell, was shaking her head but a smile still worked its way to her face.
"Gord, knock it off," the other girl, Christyn, laughing told him, "you know why we're here. We have to find parts and items we can use, and I prefer to get back before that little devil gets herself into trouble."
"Yeah I know, I just didn't exactly like looking through a garbage heap to find computer components and such," Gord muttered, "though it's not like ordering them over the internet is an option either." The man, dressed in a messy t-shirt and torn jeans, moved some of stuff he dropped off to the side and continued looking for anything useful.
The girl that had responded was Christyn, Gord's partner in crime and certainly the better half of the pair. The young woman was of italian decent, her dark brown hair held back with a head band, and her clothes fit her personality to a tee. She considered herself a bit of a crafter and was always making strange pieces of furniture or fixing up old stuff. She and Gord were really only a handful of people that came up this far from the city to collect things. The 'little Devil' that Christyn had mentioned was their young ward, Angela, who was waiting for them patiently back at Chell's.
Chell had known them ever since she had first arrived at Relic City. They had even been there to help Chell, the former Aperture Science Test Subject, get on her feet and she was grateful to them, and just when it seemed like there was no one around too. They took her in and she was quickly educated about Relic. They took her to the people that she needed to know, and showed her what to avoid, mainly the City Police. They never questioned her about Aperture or her past. It wasn't important to them and Chell was always reluctant to talk about it. Chell figured they thought she was from another city.
Once Chell had found her feet, the two would take her along their travels to the junkyards, showing her and helping her understand the ins and outs of what they did and how it could help her.
When Chell tried her hand at crafting like Christyn, she hadn't been all that great at it, but when Gord had asked for her help with repairing the car engine she had discovered a talent, and a familiar feeling of deja vu. It was a talent in making and repairing machines and vehicles. It was fun, it was practical, and it made her useful to everyone. Since her memories were foggy at best, she wasn't sure if and where she had learned it from, but she could repair things to her hearts content.
Skip a few years later and here she was. Her life had fallen into routine.
Even though so much had changed for her in the past years, every so often she'd have a nightmare about her days in Aperture but she kept those to herself. It was no ones business but her own and they were few and far between. Sometimes something would even set her off into a panic attack I it reminded her to much of Aperture. Thankfully she had the sense of mind to move away and have it where she couldn't be seen. She wouldn't bring anyone down into the world with her, instead she'd rather just forget it. Right now though, she was enjoying her outing with her friends, the junkyard being a candy store to both her and Christyn. While Chell's original plan was to look for a replacement chip for the bike, she was finding a treasure trove of things she could use and fix up. Holding up an old tattered bear, she examined it carefully. It was filthy but surely a quick patch job and a bath could fix it up. She already had someone in mind that she could give it to. She walked over a trailer the group had hooked up to a car and put her new treasures inside. She examined what they had found so far. There were two computers, a printer, a small generator, steel bars and plates, nails, screws, an old chair, and some random tools. It was going to be a good haul.
Chell turned her attention to a large pile of junk that she had not yet been to scavenge through and walked over to it. She faintly noted that it was out of the sight of her friends and gave them a whistle and a wave. Both looked over towards her and Christyn waved back "I'll join you as soon as I get this old box spring," and Chris turned to her partner, "Gord, come over here and help me with this, would ya?" the woman asked.
Chell heard him mumble a 'Yeah, yeah, hold on' sort of answer as she turned to go back to the heap of scrap metal and plastic. She was only at it a few moments when something hard jabbed her hand and she drew it back. A sharp piece of stainless steel was sticking out from the hole she was making. Thinking it could be useful somehow, she started clearing things out of the way until she saw another metal stripe just like it. With any luck she figured she could probably be able to pull it out. Grasping both steel rods in her hands, she gave a tug but it didn't budge. She tried again but still it wouldn't come free. In a final ditch effort, she placed her foot against the junk pile to give herself extra pull power then on a count of three, she braced herself and pulled as hard as she could. She felt it start to give way, then jiggle a bit before it came lose in a dramatic spill of garbage sending Chell ass over teakettle to the ground.
"Chell? You okay?" she heard Gord call out to her.
Was she okay? Well she could still wiggle her fingers and toes, she didn't feel any blood, at most she just seemed to have the wind knocked out of her, and a sore backside from the tumble.
"Yeah" the woman said softly, mostly to herself, and she rubbed her eyes trying to regain her senses.
She looked down into her lap where the little treasure had planted itself. Suddenly a very familiar red light blinked to life followed by a small familiar voice.
"Hello?" It sent Chell's mind into a panicked frenzy and she sent it flying immediately from her lap, it landing several feet away. The woman jumped, rolled to the side and, in the blink of an eye, she had brandished a small handgun and pointed at the thing. The turret, an Aperture Science Turret of all things, was lying one the ground on it's side, it's laser blinking and pointing at Chell's gun.
"Don't shoot!" it pleaded. Chell looked at it with a raised eyebrow but kept her gun trained on it as she slowly got up and walked around it, giving the little turret a wide birth. Chell's mind raced with all the things she could do to it, revenge would come swift for all the pain its counterparts caused her. That's when it said something that caught the woman off guard.
"Don't go! Please" it pleaded. Chell paused. "I'm so lonely."
Standing off to the side, she had a quick look over of the small gunner. It had surely seen better days by far. The front legs, from which Chell had pulled it free, where warped while the back one was snapped nearly in half. It's once brilliant white metal casing was now stained, scratched, and cracked almost beyond recognition. It looked like someone had spilled paint water, coffee, and tar all over it creating a blotched coloured casing of yellows, browns and black, and it's little antenna was all curled around and torn.
"Promise you won't shoot me?" Chell asked softly.
"I promise" the turret replied. Still airing on the side of caution, Chell walked over to it and picked it up. Putting it under her arm and facing it away from her, she walked a little further from the others so she could have a little heart to heart with this thing. Chell had questions and she was going to get answers. "Hey!" it squeaked in distress. After getting a bit of distance between her and her friends she finally set the little turret down and, taking a deep breath, sat down in front of it. The AI let it's little blinking laser scan over Chell's body and her face. When it got to close to Chell's eyes she held up her hand to cover them and the turret gave a small apology before turning it's laser off.
"Why did we move?" it asked but Chell didn't answer as she sized it up.
Finally she wasted no more time. "What is an Aperture Science turret doing out here?" Her voice quiet from years of disuse but still stern.
"I was a consumer bought turret" it answered honestly. Chell wanted to face palm. Consumer turrets? Really? She knew of Aperture's tendency to put the lives of their test subjects at risk, but the general public? Though, as she thought about it, she remembered turrets being packed up into consumer boxes.
Way to go Aperture… Clap. Clap.
Shaking her head slightly in disbelief, Chell sighed. "Ok, so you were bought."
"Gifted actually, but yes. We weren't exactly the most popular thing to hit the market" the turret explained.
'I can't imagine why' Chell rolled her eyes and thought to herself.
"I was tossed away after my boy left me," it finished, "no one came back. Please, take me with you. I've been so alone for so long," it pleaded to Chell, "I can protect you."
"Chell?" Christyn called, soon followed by Gord calling out for her as well. Chell stood up and looked off in the direction of her friends.
"Please?" the turret begged again. Chell looked down at the turret. There wasn't much she could do with it and who was to say it wouldn't turn on her. It was from Aperture after all. She was about to walk away when the turret made one final plea to the former test subject. "I've been here forever without a soul to talk to. I'm old and lonely. All I want is a friend and a place to call home. Are you that cold?"
Chell wanted to grind her teeth. Why was she such a soft hearted sucker at times? Sighing softly, Chell crouched back down in front of it, looking over it again. Beat up and broken, buried in the rubble of the forgotten past, wanting nothing more than companionship. In some strange way she could see her own story in this thing. Beat up, buried deep beneath the rot of earth, and then set free and wanting nothing more than companionship. It may not have been her story exactly but it was pretty damn close. Chell felt her expression soften and the feeling of wanting to shred the little thing ebbed away. She crouched before it and offered it a hint of a smile.
"Okay" she murmured.
"Thank you" it said in a tone of deep relief and gratefulness as Chell picked it up, this time with far more care. To help her out, the little turret started to draw in its legs but when the two heard the sound of a small snap, the back leg fell out and swung uselessly on it's hinge. At this the little turret gave a disappointed cry. Chell couldn't help but feel bad for it now.
The woman headed towards her two companions and Christyn was the first to notice "Hey! There you are! We were looking for you, lets head ba-" she paused and blinked at the turret Chell was carrying with her. "What's that?" she asked, having never seen an Aperture brand turret.
"A turret" Chell answered softly.
Then without missing a beat "Hello, Friend" the turret answered. Christyn just stood there, blinking and utterly dumbfounded.
Gord was just as shocked but was the first to speak. "Did that turret just talk?" Chell could only chuckle and nod. "I've never seen a turret like this one, where's it's gun?" he asked. To his question, the turret started to open it's sides but was instead meet with nothing more than a shower of sparks from it's side doors and eye.
Chell held it out until the sparking had stopped. The sparks had singed it a little, and caused the lens of it's eye to crack.
"I don't feel so good" the turret moaned pathetically.
"Aww, the poor little guy" Christyn said feeling sorry for it, "we'll take you back and get you all fixed up. You're in good hands with Chell here."
"Chell… that's a nice name" it said before going quiet, and it stayed that way for the rest of the drive back.
As the car drove through Relic, the trio were mostly quiet. Chell was taken to falling asleep in the back seat, half hugging the turret as she dozed lightly. Gord suddenly hit a large pot hole in the neglected road which cause Chell to hit her head and wake up.
"Sorry" Gord mumbled as he drove. Chell just gave him a look then directed her gaze to the turret in her lap.
"I don't feel so good" the turret groaned again.
"You have got to be kidding me, a turret that gets car sick?" Gord questioned and looked in the rear view mirror at Chell.
Chris shook her head, "It's broken, of course it's not feeling well." She turned to look back at the little machine, "Don't you worry, you'll be feeling better in no time" she smiled. The turret didn't answer back and Chell assumed in went into sleep mode.
However, that was far from it. The turret was thinking to herself. How long had it been since she had had human contact? So many questions ran through her processors, like why wasn't she off line? Why had't she been destroyed yet? She let herself be held in simple silence. She didn't feel much like talking, actually she didn't feel much up to anything, she wasn't even sure if she could uphold her word to the woman that had rescued her. It seemed like every part of her felt gross and disgusting, broken down and rusted. She wasn't even sure if she wanted to be online any more. She knew she looked bad enough, maybe the woman could use her casings as a planter for pretty flowers. She gave an inner sigh, knowing she wasn't thinking straight. For now, she'd let this human take her home and see what her new life might bring.
It wasn't long before Gord pulled up to Chell's place. Placing the turret on the seat, Chell got out and opened the garage door for Gord to park the trailer inside. No sooner had Chell done so when a young voice cried out.
"You're home!" With very little warning, Chell was tackled and send stumbling back. The young woman looked down and smiled to see a young twelve year old girl latched onto her waist, hugging her tightly. Chell simply returned the gesture by placing a hand on her shoulder and stroked the girl's jet black hair. The child wore an old denim jumper and a purple shirt underneath that was to far to big for her. Her hair was set back in a low ponytail and her sneakers were covered in mud.
"And where's my hug?" Christyn asked. The little girl in question looked over at the woman and playfully stuck her tongue out at her.
"Wait your turn! I'm trying to suck up here!" was her answer, causing the adults to laugh. The child then looked up at Chell with large brown eyes that twinkled with excitement. "Did you bring me back something?"
Chell smirked down at her, "Maybe, but down you think you should give your Aunt a hug?"
"But I hug her every day!" The girl complained. Chell just continued to give the girl an all knowing look before she gave in and went to Christyn and embraced her. Chell used the moment to go to the trailer and reach in for the bear. She was just starting to turn around when low and behold, the girl was standing there, watching and waiting.
"Angie" Christyn sighed, but Chell just smiled and held the treasure behind her back out of young Angela's sight.
"I found him today. He's a bit beat up" Chell started.
"That's okay!" Angie stated.
"He's going to need a good long bath before you can play with him."
"Not a problem!" Angie nearly shouted as she practically jumped on her toes.
"You promise to take care of him and love him?"
Angie's eyes couldn't go any larger "Yes!" At that Chell knelt down and finally revealed the tattered little bear.
"Your aunt will have to sew it up a bit for you, but he's still good" Chell said in her soft voice. Had it been another other child from Chell's time, they might have felt let down but Angie wasn't like other children. Like most children within Relic she greatly appreciated the gift. There was no such thing as 'new' here.
"Aww, he just needs a little love" Angie smiled and threw her arms around Chell's neck. "Thank you, I love him!"
"I wish I could do more" Chell whispered.
"You can take her off my hands" Christyn suggested but Chell just shook her head and grinned. The child, Angie Fiore, was the ward of Gord and Christyn after the young girl's family had mysteriously vanished. Chell stood as Christyn walked towards her, and Angie took off back inside Chell's shop to clean up her new toy.
"I swear, that girl," Chris sighed and looked at her friend, "she loves you like a sister, maybe more."
"She's practically thinks of me as one" Chell said in a manner of fact, and crossed her arms.
"Timing, and you know it" Christyn said. Chell also knew it to be the truth. The day the young woman had stepped foot into Relic was only two days after Angie had lost her older sister, Lillian, who had taken off during the night and left Angie behind. The couple had taken her in after learning the news. When they took Chell in that was the first time she would meet the little girl. Poor Angie, only eight at the time, was an emotional wreck and latched onto the first person she could and, for what ever reason, it had been Chell. From there on out the child had adopted Chell as her new older sister. Chell didn't mind but she knew the young one was just trying to burry the pain of being left behind. Her parents had vanished only three years prior with no warning and Chell knew that Angie was trying to replace Lillian with herself, but Chell wasn't even going to go there. While she did a soft spot for Angie and didn't mind playing the big sister, she was not going to replace Angie's family. She wasn't even going to try. It wasn't her place to do so.
Picking up the turret from within the car, Chell started back inside her place. Now it was time to see what was actually salvageable. In the back of her mind, Chell was hoping she'd find some replacement bits for the chip she needed for her bike.
The hours passed and while Gord and Christyn sorted through the things the group had collected, Angie watched as Chell worked on fixing the poor little turret. The older woman had managed to hook it up to her laptop and put it into a sleep mode, a way to make it avoid feeling pain, as she quickly discovered it had the ability to when she tried to take it apart. Chell had carefully taken the casing off and had been assessing the damage, finding broken bolts, screws, and a lot of grime, dirt, and rust. She set to work almost immediately and some time later she had drastically fixed and cleaned it up. Finally having deemed herself done, unable to do any more, she looked over her handiwork. The outside casing was really the only lost cause, the staining and cracking to great to fix, even with Christyn's talents. Those were just going to have to be replaced, or have new ones made somehow.
Finally, with Christyn and Gord joining her, they woke the little turret up. It's red optic flickered back to life.
"How do you feel?" young Angie asked as the group watched in anticipation. There was no answer, then the little thing gave the sound of a yawn and opened its sides slowly as though it were stretching.
"Okay, I was amazed at the technology, but that is just to cute!" Gord laughed.
'Cute until they're firing at you' Chell thought to herself. The turret in question moved it's guns from side to side, up and down, and made standard little sentry sounds before closing up again and settling into silence. They figured it was still running a full systems check.
Finally the turret spoke. "Much better, thank you!"
The girls favored themselves with pleased looks, and Chris, who was sitting almost directly in front of it said, "It was a pleasure little guy."
"I'm a girl," the turret corrected, "and sorry I didn't quiet catch your name" she replied.
"Oh, I'm Christyn, and this are my husband Gord."
"And I'm Angie!" the smaller said.
"Christyn, Gord, Angie, and Chell….Pleased to meet you, Friends" and it stuck out it's right gun and tipped the bottom corner towards Chris. The girl got the gesture right off the bat, took the corner of it's casing and they shook 'hands.'
"Are you kidding me?" Gord asked, "A smart turret? I thought they were all mindless guns!"
"Aperture has higher standards than Black Mesa and other military organizations" the little turret answered.
"You now what?" Gord said, "It's right, it's different and smarter than those other guns on a stick."
"I think it needs a name" Angie suggested.
'A name?' the Turret thought. Wasn't her name Tommy's turret? No, that really wasn't a name. It was a classification. In all her past memories, she had never really been given one. She was normally just called by pet name like Sweety, ol' girl, and even 'hey you' but she never really had a true name. Suddenly the prospect of having one excited her. The little turret let off a high pitch beep in excitement. "A name, a name!" she repeated.
Gord threw out his suggestions. "How about Killer, or Tornado or something cool for when it heads out to gun down the Pigs."
"No, and I'm not going anywhere. I promised to protect Chell" the turret replied.
"Well, it is Chell's turret. Maybe Chell should name it?" Chris suggested and the three looked over to the girl.
Chell was cleaning off her hands on a rag when she looked back at them. They all had looks of expectation. She sighed, she really didn't want to name it, why name a turret? but then again she didn't want to seem like a spoil sport and the turret seemed to like the prospect. Thankfully her wits were on her side.
"C.T" she answered simply.
"C.T?" the three questioned with looks of confusion.
Chell smirked and opened her mouth to answer when the turret chimed in "Chell's Turret. C.T! I like it" and Chell just nodded in agreement.
The turret herself knew it wasn't much of a variation of what she used to know herself as, but this somehow seemed a bit different. Certainly they were just two letters, initials really, but inside she was thrilled. C.T, it was something solid she could be called by, and even though it simply meant Chell's Turret (and was no different from being known as Tommy's Turret) she didn't care. She was C.T and now wanted herself to be addressed as such by others.
"Well, as fun as this has been, I'm starving and we all had a long day" Christyn said.
"Right!" Gord agreed and rubbed his hands together, "Time to get some grub!" and picked Angie up. The little one gave a squeal in protest as he threw her over his shoulder and made a beeline to the door.
"I better catch up with him before he decides to cook her," Chris chuckled, "see you later?" she asked and Chell nodded and saw her out.
"Finally" Chell sighed and went about making herself some food. It was nice and quiet for the most part as Chell cooked something on a small gas burner and C.T simply just sat there on the work bench observing her. Occasionally Chell would eye it suspiciously for a moment then pass a small smile off to it. C.T just observed her new friend's odd behavior. The turret looked around the shop from her vantage point.
"So this is where you live?" C.T asked.
"Home sweet home" Chell answered, "It's not fancy bu-"
"I think it's great" C.T replied in satisfaction. Yes, it was no mansion or fancy college dorm, but it was light years better than under the junk pile, and best of all, it came with a new friend.
Chell nodded, replying in a soft "thanks" and went about her meal quietly.
"Hey, Chell?" C.T spoke after a moment. The woman looked over at the gunner in question with some noodles hanging from her lips. "Tonight could you take me out to see the stars? I've all but forgotten what they look like and it's been part of my dream." Chell blinked to this odd request but with a small smile, she nodded. "Thanks," C.T said, "the first part of my dream was to have a friend, and you just made that come true."
Nearly two weeks had past without incident.
Chell was her usual quiet self, working on various little projects, Angie was over almost every day to watch, while C.T who was now next to the bike with a view to the outside, had kept to herself mulling over the current state of the world, at least Chell's world. She wondered how such a resilient woman could live a life like this, and she wondered how she could help.
"So, I was thinking" C.T finally spoke up.
"Is that so?" Chell muttered as most of her attention was on taking apart an old hard drive, working the screw driver with the utmost precision.
"My old owner was looking for a new home for me, I'm sure if I talk to him, he'd be grateful and help you out a bit." At this, Chell put down what she was doing and looked at C.T with a raised eyebrow. C.T went on despite the questioning look "all we need to do is call him up and-"
"C.T?" Chell interrupted.
Chell didn't know how to put this easily to the turret, but she would try. "When were you last with your old master? What year?"
"Oh, well, lets see," C.T thought for a moment, "he started college in 1989, I'm sure he's graduated by now though" she said somewhat proudly.
"I thought as much" the human muttered under her breath but C.T still heard it.
Chell turned on her stool and leaned against the table with one hand. "It's now 22XX, and with all that happened before-" she paused, "just far to much time has passed, I'm sorry."
The news had struck C.T like a bullet through her heart. Had over two-hundred years really gone by? Was her old master really dead? What had Chell meant by 'with all that's happened'?
"I-I'm sorry, I should never have-well, I'm sorry. Never mind" the little turret said quietly and went silent.
Now Chell was the one that felt bad. All C.T had wanted to do was help her out of a rotten situation and see her old master once more if she had to guess. She was reminded of how awful she felt when she learned about the passage of time and that her family was no more.
"Tell me about him?" Chell asked suddenly.
"Huh?" C.T looked at her friend. She was wearing a small smile on her face.
"You're old master. Your life back then. You sounded really proud when you spoke of him just now. I'd like to hear about him, if you don't mind" Chell said and turned back to her work, but kept partial attention on C.T. It was a shot in the dark but she figured it might cheer the turret up.
"You want to… hear about Tommy?" C.T asked, and Chell nodded. Well if the turret could have physically made herself look tall and proud, she would have, but the pride was all in her voice. "Well, let me tell you," she started, "he was more of a friend and kind of like a son to me than anything" she began and started launching into her whole life with her previous family. Chell simply smiled to herself as she got back to work and listened.
Chell set down her work and rubbed her eyes, "I can't believe you told off thee Cave Johnson. I would've love to have seen that. I have a few choice words for him myself. "
"Caroline wouldn't let him back into the office for a week and made him sleep on the couch for twice as long!" C.T laughed.
Chell nodded with a tired smile "I'm surprised she didn't divorce him"
"I honestly don't even think they were married" C.T said, "I think it was one of those relationships where they are together but didn't bother signing the paper. Common law."
"He would've saved on his taxes" Chell noted.
"He was to cheap to pay for the paper, let alone a wedding. Gah!" the little turret made a sound of disgust at the thought. "It's a wonder she was never bitter about it. To his credit he was utterly devoted to her. That's about as much I knew about them."
"He gave Aperture to her when he died" Chell said simply.
"Yeah, I know. Never heard from the woman since his funeral. Talia was crushed but Caroline was a wreak."
'Oh there's a reason to that one' Chell thought to herself, briefly remembering GLaDOS and felt a small shiver run through her. Bad memories. "Anyway, sounds like you had a good life."
"It was, and I know my life with you will be a good one too. Do me a favor though?" C.T asked. Chell looked at the turret questioningly. C.T went on "don't think you have to go out of your way for me or anything like that. I know it sounds conceded but some humans are like that, and they get jealous and stuff. I don't want you to treat me any different from what you already have. Just your company has lifted my spirits and I couldn't ask for anyone better."
Chell raised her eyebrow and grinned "Trust me, I'm not one of those kinds of people."
"I'm surprised. Most test subjects-"
"Wait!" Chell said in a voice loud enough to startle even herself and shot up from her seat, sending the stool to the floor. The look of shock was evident on her face. "How did you know-"
"Know that you were a test subject?" C.T finished and chuckled gently. "I saw the signs and simply put two and two together." She turned on her tracking laser and pointed it the companion cube. "Clue number one: Aperture brand weighted Companion cube, used for testing," she then directed it onto Chell's left upper arm. "Big clue number two, your markings there. That symbol and numbers. Only test subjects got those branded onto them." Chell instinctively covered the scar with her other hand and looked away in displeasure. "Finally that orange jumpsuit you use when you work with anything dirty, and then your reaction when we first met. Chell I'm not stupid, I know how they used us at Aperture, and I know only test subjects ever interacted with us."
Chell sighed in defeat. C.T had figured it out and it unnerved her. A look of hard displeasure came over her face.
"Chell, I'm sorry. I crossed a line-" but the human cut her off by waving her hand.
"Just forget about it" Chell whispered and returned to her work. C.T remained silent.
Later that evening C.T saw Chell with Christyn, Gord and several other woman watching the races in Superior on an old television while a radio did the announcing. This seemed to be a common ritual of every other night. Chell and several neighbors would come over and watch the late night racing and, if time permitted, they'd play cards after. C.T always watched them with great interest. That night Gord had even thrown a beer hat onto the little turret. Chell was sitting on an old bean bag chair occasionally making sudden movements followed by a soft 'Yeah, get 'em!' or 'No, no, behind you' or other remarks. The others were far more loud and animated, threatening to wake up young Angie that slept up in Chell's loft this particular night. When it was over, most of the guests got up to grab a few drinks that C.T recognized as liquor. Chell just relaxed back into her seat and smiled to herself as the winner was interviewed on the fuzzy, flickering, black and white screen.
"Well you saw it here folks. Our own home town hero, Stefan Hunter, has taken first again on the strip at Superior City. So, Hunter how do you feel about todays' race, were any of the opposing cars a real threat?"
The man, Stefan Hunter, just grinned at the camera. "Not a chance," he said sounding out of breath, "I mean, I have such a great team behind me with the best technology and my winning streak is proof of that."
"Oh honey, you can come and ride my car anytime" one of the woman said and most of them cracked up in giggles, minus Chell who favored the comment with a smile instead.
"Or his brother Colin, Mmm, good stuff!" came another comment.
"Both are damn nice on the eyes, that's for sure" Chris said. She leaned back in her seat to look at her husband, "Sweety? Why can't you make yourself that good looking?"
Gord looked up from his beer. "I'll be sure to note that in my second life."
"Well if you're done with him Chrissy, I'll take him" one of the others offered but Christyn shook her head.
"Nah, I still need him. Besides, he's a good cook" she retorted.
"Well now I know the true reason why you keep me" Gord scoffed.
Christyn had her beer to her lips and smirked "oh honey, that's not the reason I keep you around." It took a moment of silence as her sentence sunk in and the other girls, again minus Chell, squealed in laughter. Gord smirked.
"Bow-chika wow!" the other women laughed.
"What?" Christyn asked, looking perfectly innocent, "I meant that he cleans to. I don't know what was going through your minds!" she chuckled.
"Oh god, he cooks and cleans. Forget about any love life, he's perfect!" came a random comment from the pack of women as they shared another laugh. All the while, the interview with on the television was still going on and Chell and C.T were a little more focused on that.
"He may not sound like it,' C.T muttered to Chell, "but I bet he's utterly full of himself."
"Probably" Chell replied and turned the television off, "but he's got fourteen straight wins so I guess he's got the right to boast." Chell got up to make herself some decaf.
"You like racing?" the turret asked, "I notice you watch it almost every night." Chell nodded to this as the other women chatted on. "Is that what that bike is for? I've never seen you on it but you are always working on it in your free time."
Christyn's attention was caught and answered for her quiet friend "She sure does. That's been her pet project for over two years now if I'm not mistaken," she directed her gaze towards Chell who was mixing her drink, "Hey hun, you still aren't determined to go out there are you?" The whole of the downstairs went quiet.
Up in the loft, little Angie hadn't been able to sleep, the adults laughter having kept her awake most of the night, but at hearing her Aunt's question she felt her heart jump, and sat up and listened to the conversation. Was Chell going to leave her too?
Chell paused in her actions for a moment before continuing to make her drink. "I don't know anymore."
"What do you mean?" C.T asked curiously.
"I can't get it to work. One part keeps breaking and its crucial to getting the bike to work properly. There's also just so much I'd like to improve on it" Chell explained and she brought the drink to her lips.
"What part?" Gord asked.
Chell walked over to one table and picked up a black cased computer card. She twirled it in her hands. "This. It's a Z-Fi TC unit. It controls the Quick shift, traction control, power output, and fuel intake among other things. In other words, this stops the engine from going boom while improving performance. It seems to run fine till I hit eighty then it just gives out." She tossed the chip back onto the table with a small sigh of defeat.
"Can't you get a new one?" C.T asked.
Chell shook her head. "Relic City isn't like the cities of the past or like Superior. There aren't any shops here where you can buy new technology. The people here only trade and barter. The factories we work at don't give us money either. They pay us with food rations. Besides, even if I did have the money, it's not like I can go waltzing into the city anyway."
Now the turret was perplexed. "Why not?" Chell looked to the others to explain for her, but they simply gave her a look that said 'she's yours, you tell her.' Chell looked at her coffee and let herself have a good long drink first.
"Well it's something you should be familiar with. Caste. Status. Basically the wealthy are in Superior while the rest of us are out here in Relic. It's forbidden to step foot in Superior without a pass. Those are impossible to get unless issued by the government or someone within the city itself, and it's not like you can just cross a bridge to get there. There's a massive wall the size of the Hoover Dam surrounding it so it's protected like a fortress. There's only one way in and one way out and that's through the gates near the harbour. Those are guarded to the point of being ridiculous. Out here we're treated as a slave labour. All the trash from Superior City is dumped here while the factories we're forced to work at make new things for them. In the end it just ends up back here as crap" Chell explained fully.
"That's not right! Why not rebel? Take a stand! Don't make lemonade!" C.T shouted and Chell blinked oddly at the statement.
"Try as we might, the City police make it near impossible" Christyn said with great distaste.
"Damn Pigs" Gord muttered.
"That's a bit offensive" C.T scolded.
"It's so bad but that's what we call them" Chell said in her soft voice as she looked down at her drink in her hands. "They patrol Relic and abuse their authority. If you don't follow their rules or they just don't like your face then they'll beat you-"
"Arrest you-" Gord added.
"Or rob you blind-" one woman said.
"Or even all three, then toss you into the facility" Christyn nearly spat.
"Facility?" asked C.T.
"It's like a correctional facility," Chell explained, "from there who knows what happens, all I know is that no one ever comes back from there."
"What happens to them?"
Chell shrugged as she went to sit back down with her drink. "I don't now myself but I've heard rumors, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were at all true. One is they deport you to another city, another is they kill you, you're locked up forever, or sold as a slave."
"From what you've told me thus far, I'm almost keen to believe it too" C.T sighed. "God this new world sucks." Chell and the others could only nod and make sounds in agreement. Then, as if on cue, all of them took a drink. Upstairs, Angie threw the covers over herself as unwanted thoughts entertained her mind about her family and the possibility of them being in such a place.
The rest of the evening progressed with shots at Gord's male pride, and giggling tipsy girls till late into the night.
Gord checked his watch "I'll go get Angie" he muttered.
"Gord," Chell stopped him, "just leave her. Let her sleep here for tonight."
"You don't mind?" Christyn asked as she grabbed her things, but Chell shook her head.
"It's fine" she replied softly. Finally, when all of Chell's company had left, she went back to sitting quietly with her drink.
"So," C.T broke the silence, "your bike, you need a new piece?"
"The chips aren't even made anymore" Chell answered flatly. "Haven't been for centuries. I really want to make a better engine for it anyway. It's a beast when it comes to fuel consumption." Chell looking down into her mug as if wondering would it would look like with liquid in it prompting her to get up a make another.
"You really seem to now a lot about this stuff, were you a racer before Aperture?" C.T chirped.
"I don't know," Chell answered honestly. "It's been so long and my memories are foggy at best, but in my dreams, and sometimes when I'm awake, I get flashes and sensations," she smiled to herself, "I'm on a bike, the wind is rushing past, there's a crowd cheering and the rush is just…" she paused. "It all feels familiar to me. When I first helped fix an engine, I couldn't remember the names of things but I felt like I knew what I was doing as though it were a second nature, and just working on that bike felt so natural. I must've been a mechanic or something while dreaming of racing. Maybe I was a racer."
"You're extra chatty tonight, that's not like you and that's only decaf so-"
Chell grinned devilishly at being caught, "blame it on the whiskey."
"You made Irish coffee? I didn't even know you drink."
"I normally don't for various reasons. I get chatty, obnoxious and stupid, but I do have a personal weakness for the stuff."
"So why today?"
"It's my birthday and the anniversary of the day I was released" Chell muttered and went back to nursing her drink. "Call it a tradition ever since Aperture."
"Happy birthday. How old?"
"Two-hundred and twenty nine" Chell replied without missing a beat.
"WHA?" C.T said in shock.
"When your Tommy went to college, I was just a child. Fast forward twenty somewhat years later, Aperture puts me in Cryo-sleep and I wake four years ago and escape."
"Knowing that sorta makes me feel a little closer to you since we used to live in the same era. Sorry, just a sentimental moment there… oh god now I feel old." Chell just chuckled. C.T sighed, "So you wanted to fix the engine, any ideas?"
"Why are you so concerned?" Chell asked.
"Maybe I can help. I may be a turret by I'm a computer too. Maybe I can figure out something to help you. Think of it as my birthday present to you."
"You gave me a present already. You're company."
C.T felt flattered at the comment, and if she could blush she would have. "Thanks, but really. Let me help somehow. I don't know much about racing and all, but if you have any books on it I can read, maybe I can take some notes and-"
"I have all that," Chell said, "notes included but if you really want to take a look, I won't stop you."
"Just plug me into your laptop and set me up. I used to help Tommy all the time. It'll be nice feeling useful again" C.T said merrily. Chell got up from her seat and grabbed C.T to bring her over to her laptop. "Don't drop me you drunk" the turret teased. Chell pretended to let go, allowing the turret to fall and inch or two, and smirked. "Oh ha ha."
Chell chuckled and put the turret on a stool, stacked the books in front of her and plugged her into a usb cable. Chell looked at the setup but wondered out loud "how are you going to read-" but her question was answered before she could finish. C.T extended her sides, turned them and, catching the tips of the dogeared cover, she moved her guns to the other side and caused the book to open. Chell could only blink in surprise as C.T did this for each consecutive page turn and her laser scanned over the words.
"I'll read your notes and make my own on your computer. Go pass out on your bed, booze hound."
Chell just stood there blinking. Now she had seen every thing. Did all turrets know how to read? Vaguely she remembered the announcer in Aperture saying they could but she hadn't believed it at the time. Casually she headed upstairs to her loft to go to bed and looked at the small visitor seemingly fast asleep in there. Turning down the lights, she sat on the side of the bed and kicked off her shoes. She turned the covers and climbed into the bed then wrapped her arms around the child, pulling her close. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she relaxed into the pillow. She tried to let sleep take over but it was hard when the one next to her was awake.
"Why aren't you asleep?" she asked tiredly. Having been caught, Angie opened her eyes and looked up at Chell, they were puffy and red as though she had been crying. Chell looked down at her in concern. "Angie, what's wrong?"
"Do you think they were caught?" the little one asked, her voice cracking in the effort of trying not the to cry and stay quit at the same time. "The Facility I mean. You don't think they're in there, do you?"
Chell now understood and let of a tired sigh. Angie had overheard the adults and that had placed the thought into the young girl's mind. Chell shook her head. "No, I don't. I think they are out there trying their hardest for you. You don't need to worry. I'm sure you'll see them again."
"Are you really leaving too?" Angie's question caught Chell off guard. Instinctively she pulled the little one into her and hugged her, one hand massaging the back of child's neck comfortingly.
"You heard that, did you?" and she felt Angie nod against the crook her neck. Chell let out a heavy breath through her nose. She wasn't sure how to answer the question in a way that wouldn't cause some sort of heart break to the girl, but Angie spoke up before Chell could.
"When you're out there, if you happen to see them, can you tell them to come back for me? I don't care about the conditions I just want them back."
Chell felt tiny hands grip at her shirt and Angie burry her face further into Chell's shoulder. The woman merely responding by tightening her hug. "I promise you, cross my heart" she whispered, "so go to sleep and just dream of that day." Chell continued to comfort her by keeping her close and rubbing her back in soothing circles. Finally the young girl's breaths even out and Chell closed her eyes and let the smells and sounds of the night invade her senses. It was occasionally interrupted by the sound of turning pages.
Chell woke up the next morning with a slight groan and rolled over, her arm coming to rest over her face to cover her eyes. The morning light just to damn bright. 'Damn you Mr. Sun.'
"Are you finally awake?" She heard C.T call out her.
Chell groaned miserably and rolled onto her back, her arm still draped over her eyes. "Define awake" she mumbled.
"Not sleeping and preferably still alive, ya drunk" came the familiar voice of Christyn.
"Smart ass" Chell muttered under her breath. She sighed and finally heaved herself out of bed, noticing Angie was already awake and downstairs. She didn't get far though as she walked down the steps and paused at the sight before her. Still on the stool she had placed her on, and standing next to her, was C.T, Angie, and Christyn all wearing tinfoil hats.
"The aliens are invading" C.T chirped, while Christyn was just doing a piss poor job of trying to hide the snicker on her face.
Chell blinked once, then twice at the utterly random sight of her friends and her now tin foil turret then, with a shake of her head, she turned on her heels and started back up the stairs back to bed. "I'm not awake enough to deal with you lot" was her only reply to their laughter.
Chell had caught a few more hours of sleep before she woke up again, this time the world wasn't as bright. She rolled over and craned her neck to have a look at the clock on her nightstand. It was well after three.
"Guess I better drag my sorry ass out of bed" she groaned, and heaved herself to her feet.
"Good afternoon sleepy head" C.T said merrily, still wearing her tinfoil hat.
"Morning" Chell mumbled as she made her way down the stairs. She paused in front of the turret and looked around. "Where's Christyn?"
"She went home with Angie a long time ago. She only came over to pick her up and to see how you faired last night."
"I wasn't that drunk" Chell retorted, briefly remembering some pass misadventures where they had to peel her off the walls. She shook her head and went to get herself a bottle of water.
"Oh I know, but I told her you got absolutely sloshed last night!" Chell could almost hear the brilliant devilish smile behind C.T's voice. "I told her you sang white trash karaoke, climbed a telephone pole, made out heavily with your neighbor, then stripped down to your birthday suit and pole danced! Funny thing is, I think she believed me."
At this Chell chocked on her drink and spit out her water. She looked at C.T in wide eyed disbelief, but the turret merely laughed. "Tell me you didn't" Chell pleaded.
"I didn't. I'm not that kind of turret." Chell favored her with a distasteful look. "Oh come on, have a sense of humor."
Chell shook her head again and made quick work of the water. When she was done she looked at C.T "What's with the tin foil hat anyway?"
"Oh! Christyn put it on me when she came over. She thought that maybe I could convince you that you put it on me last night but we both know you weren't that sloshed." Chell went over to take it off by C.T let off a series of sentry sounds in protest. "No no, leave it on! I think it's funny!"
"It looks ridiculous" Chell grinned.
"You should talk Miss Cowlick" C.T chuckled. Chell blinked and made a beeline to the washroom. The next thing C.T heard was an outburst of laughter from the woman.
When Chell had gotten a look at herself she couldn't help it. The left side of her hair was sticking almost straight up. "Whoa" was all she could say.
"What did you do? Get into a fight with your pillows?" the turret asked.
Chell emerged from the bathroom after combing her hair. "You'd think so" she answered, then went to make her breakfast.
"So I finished the books and looked over your notes. I have to say, your ideas are big but not impossible. You want to create a hydrogen engine, right?" and Chell nodded at her. "Right, well it's not impossible but you lack a lot of resources. This could take us months to a year to build at least, and that's if things go our way. I did however find a solution to your chip problem, but I think we should focus on this engine first, and upgrade a few things, like making the helmet more functional!"
Chell raised an eyebrow "what are you talking about?"
"I came up with a few ideas myself while you were asleep. Come take a look!" C.T sounded excited.
Chell walked over, grabbing a stool, and plopped down to look at the screen of her laptop. C.T had managed to open up a 3D program and word processor through the cable connection and made notes and designs so detailed that Chell could only dream of doing it herself. She was never that advanced with computer 3D software. Chell was, to say in the least, shocked. "Why-…" she found herself at a loss for words, "Why did you do all this?" she finally managed.
"Because you're my friend and you helped make my dream come true. I wanted friendship again and you came along and gave me that. Even though you were a test subject and had every right to destroy me, you went and looked beyond that and even fixed me up and accepted me for who I was. So did your friends. That's why. You just can't really repay that sort of thing, so I want to help make your dream come true. Christyn told me about your bike and that you want to compete. I want to help you see it through so lets start by fixing up that bike so you can ride. We'll work on getting you into the city after."
Chell didn't know what to say. She could never repay the little turret for this sort of thing. No one had ever been this kind to her or even gone out of their way for her. Not her friends, her family (as far as she remembered), Wheatley, or even GLaDOS. For as long as she could remember, she had to fend for herself. Now, in the most unlikely of places, and in the most unlikely of things, she had found someone willing to stand next to her with no questions asked wanting to help. Chell was really was at a lose for words so she smiled, and gently leaned her forehead on the old cracked casing of this wonderful little turret. "Thanks" she muttered softly.
"You're welcome" C.T replied in and equally soft tone. "This isn't going to be easy, you know that right?"
"I've never taken the easy route" Chell replied.
"This could take us a long time to finish."
"I've already spent two years on it, what's a few more?" Chell answered.
"I can only provide you with a list of supplies and direction, the rest will be up to you."
"That's all I'll need" Chell finished then looked at her friend with a soft smile.
If C.T could smile back she would have at the sight of seeing her human happy. "Then lets do this."