Chell was there on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, when GLaDOS flooded the enrichment center with neurotoxin. So child!Chell trying to escape the facility, with a scary voice trying to tempt her back to the AI main chamber. Bonus points for GLaDOS trying to sound motherly, before reverting to plain nastiness and cruel jokes. Make little Chell afraid of her.
Too bad she wasn't normal.
It was all she could think of as she rolled her eyes and waited for her teacher's tirade to end.
"Chell, you can't just go and punch Meg in the face! What is wrong with you? She was only teasing you; its what normal children do when they play! But then you just decide that its alright to attack her? No! Its not! There are rules and regulations here to follow and the Aperture Science Child Gladiator Tournaments were outlawed by the DCF last month! Ugh, now her mother is going to be pissed when they go to take pictures. You just had to do this today didn't you? On the damn Bring Your Daughter to Work Day... Are you even listening?"
Chell scowled and uncrossed her arms with one sharp movement, jamming them down at her sides as she snapped at her instructor.
"She wasn't teasing me! She was making fun of me! Calling me chubby cheeks...saying I was adopted by accident...that isn't funny. That isn't something you say when you want to play. She only did it to impress Alex and the twins! Acting like she's all cool when really she's just a big baby!"
Her teacher's face flushed red. Uh-oh.
"Chell! I can't believe you just- ugh! Why must you be so difficult?"
Chell winced at the sudden raise in volume, but still felt no remorse. She was only standing up for herself...why couldn't Mrs. Sanders understand?
"Her mother is a high ranking official here! Her kid's my only chance at getting noticed and out of this two-bit waste of time and into the big leagues of the working world! I could have been making hundreds of thousands, but no! Instead I have to work on gauging children for practical applications! Maybe when your dad is something better than a lazy researcher, then I could just- UGH!"
She watched as her teacher threw her hands up to the skies, asking the Heavens for a patience that she was not gifted with and heaved a sigh. There she goes again...off on a nonsensical tirade again.
Looks like it was time yet again to be re-acquainted with the Delinquency Room.
"Chell you're going to stay in detention in the Delinquency Room until you finally figure out what it means to be civilized."
"But before that, I want you to apologize to Meg for what you did to her."
Did she really?
"Meg, sweetie, come on in! Chell has something to say to you!" Mrs. Sanders called, while glaring white hot fire at Chell. The door to the office swung open to reveal a teary-eyed girl with little blonde ringlets of hair cascading down her shoulders. Her face was red with the exception of her left cheek, which was a nasty shade of black and blue, and was, to Chell's guilty pleasure, swelling up nicely, giving her face a lopsided look to it. A lone crocodile tear slid down her face as she looked at her teacher and purposefully made her lower lip quiver.
Hah. Chubby cheeks indeed.
"Chell, I believe you have something to say to Meg..."
She could only grit her teeth at the expectant look that her bully sneered down her nose at her.
A smirk slowly spread out across Meg's bruised face, just begging for a matching set on the other side.
Mrs. Sanders's eyes crinkled with cautious joy at how well the reconciliation was going.
"...Sorry at how you think that I have anything to feel ashamed of! I love my daddy, even if I was adopted! And you know what else? I love my cheeks! They might be chubby, but you know what? At least both of mine are the same size and don't look like a giant rotten blueberry!"
She definitely outdid herself this time. Judging by the way that both Meg and Mrs. Sanders mouths were gaping open at her outburst , they had thought so too.
She was almost proud of herself; would've been actually, if it wasn't for that little voice in the back of her head whispering at how this was A Bad Idea. Maybe if she were normal she would have listened.
As it was, she would just have to settle with watching a fresh round of tears gush from her enemy's face while Mrs. Sanders performed miracles, such as not bursting that blood vessel which was pulsing rather hard against her neck.
Chell's arm was snatched rather harshly from her side as her instructor bade the sobbing pansy to go play with her friends. She watched with no small amount of envy as the curly haired girl bounded out of the office and into the playroom.
"Come with me!"
She was jerked off to the side as Mrs. Sanders dragged her off to a small side door that was marked by peeling white paint. On it, red letters that spelled out 'Chemical Supply Closet' were hastily crossed out and were replaced with ' Delinquency Room' over top of it.
Her teacher all but hurled the door open and thrust Chell into the darkness of the room. She grunted as she landed hard on her butt.
"You're staying here until your father comes! And don't think that you're getting off easy! He might be coming early today, but you still have to come back tomorrow!" she snarled, before slamming the door shut and plunging Chell into darkness.
"Wait! The light bulb's broken in here!"
She heard a muffled growl before the woman bellowed back, "Well, I guess that's your problem isn't it?"
She waited for her to open the door but instead heard a clickas the door locked, trapping her inside. She heard the soft ticks of heels striking metal flooring as they walked away and caught the soft mutterings of her angry mentor.
"God, I swear I don't know what your father sees that's so good in you. Making classroom disruptions, destroying property-"
"Hey! That microscope was an accident!" she cried.
Chell snorted and leaned until her back thudded against the cold metal of the wall panel. She listened as the sound of footsteps faded and were replaced by the muted rumble of cool air spilling out from the ventilation shaft.
Stupid Meg. Stupid Mrs. Sanders. Stupid everyone.
Why couldn't they just understand?
She never strove to be in the limelight. She never wanted to try and outdo everyone just for the sake of it. She never pretended to be anyone else but herself...
So why was it that she was looked down on by everyone else? She knew she wasn't the fastest or the smartest person in her class. But she knew that her father loved her all the same. That had to mean something, right?
Chell tilted her head up until it thunk-ed against the wall. She closed her eyes and focused on unclenching her fists. It wasn't worth working herself up over. Unlike a certain someone, she knew when enough was enough.
Shaking her head, she heaved a heavy sigh.
Being normal is overrated.
Time passed. How much, she couldn't say. After all, it is a challenge to keep time when the only things you have for company are a broken light bulb and a rattling air vent.
The relaxing white noise of the constant rush of air had worn off into a dull annoyance. Her hurt was still there, but instead of a heavy pressure weighing on her heart, it had ground itself down into a muted acknowledgment. Instead, above all, what she was feeling was best described as a crushing sense of boredom.
Bring Your Daughter to Work Day could not start soon enough.
So, it was because of these sentiments, that she really could not have been to blame for what she did when she heard the echoes of a conversation bounce off of the shaft of the ventilation system.
And of course it was understandable when her curiosity had demanded that she go and find out where exactly those noises were coming from.
Technically, one could blame the rise of violent television dramas, where spies would go sneaking about in air ducts in search of their target. After all, it was where she herself, had gotten the idea from as she crawled on her hands and knees, following the voices until she reached a well lit grill that stared down into a white antechamber.
"Give me the results of the report."
Chell wriggled closer until she was able to peer through the slots and into bone-white room. Directly below her, a scientist in a starchy white lab coat was holding a clipboard and pencil.
Was he...talking to himself?
He had to have been...no one else was there with him.
"Mmmm...I'm not quite done with it yet. You see I'm still calculating the results of this current test that I am working on."
Chell's widened as what she had previously thought was a giant machine, reared up to give a bland look at the scientist's demand.
"Previous test? GLaDOS, I never gave you authorization to perform any other tests."
The scientist eyed a red phone that was sitting on a desk. He flinched at the sharp laugh that spilled from speakers. A gold lit camera focused in on the man's face with a mockery of a smile.
"Of course you didn't. I did."
"I assigned myself a test, Doctor Grey. This test discovers what happens when a human with a lower IQ is assigned a position for which he is unqualified for. This test has been going on for quite sometime. Around nine years so far. And -Oh! ...Oh my... Well, would you look at that. What a coincidence. That's how long you've been working as Director of the Mechanical Department."
She heard the pencil snap in two as the doctor's face twisted into a fierce snarl.
"You know, its actually quite funny if you think about it. Well, that might be a little bit hard for you, but if you ne- ARRGHHH!"
Chell flinched as the man slammed his fist down on a red button labeled 'Euphoria Protocols' and threw the massive computer into a fit of shrieks.
It felt like forever until the doctor finally let up and released the button, much to Chell's relief. The sound of harsh simulated breaths huffed out of the speakers.
The scientist sneered at the limp construct.
"I've had enough of your crap. I want those results by the end of today and I mean it. You can't be pulling little stunts like this not now, not when you're going to be on exhibition today. You're not going to cost me my job."
The machine hefted its head up just enough to shoot a cold stare at the doctor. Unable to handle the intensity of the glare, he turned and headed off to the double doors of the chamber, tossing a few words over his shoulder.
"I'm glad that we could reach this agreement. It's about time you started to act like a normal construct. Oh, and terminate that nine-year test of yours. We only do real science here."
The machine gave a withering stare that amazingly enough did not bore a hole into the man's back as they both watched him take his leave. Intrigued, Chell moved forward until she was fully on top of the grate, trying desperately to get a better view of the robot. The way she was positioned, she was almost over its head, giving her a good view of its form. She noticed four small spheres that were locked onto its body.
What the heck was this thing...?
She watched as the machine, GLaDOS as the man had called it, stretched it's 'neck' and with a robotic sigh, flexed the wall panels in a cascade of movement. The ripple started from the center of the floor and moved out in a long wave, gliding across the floor and slithering up the walls.
It was quite mesmerizing to see. That is until it reached up into the ceiling and shuddered against the fragile vent. It was just enough.
The vent jerked with a horrific grating sound before giving out all together. There was a lurch in her stomach as she suddenly dropped into a free fall from thirty feet in the air.
I'mgoingtodie! Chell thought panic-stricken, closing her eyes in fear, when as soon as the free fall as had started, she had just as suddenly jerked to a halt.
"What is that?"
Her wrist was caught in a cold, impossibly strong grip. She gasped and cracked open an eye only to find her face mere inches away from a bright, golden optic and four other, smaller, orbs that were all currently inspecting their catch.
"Ewww! Why is it so small?"
"-pieces. Shaped like fish."
She stared as the lens on the main optic refocused itself on her face. Her heart was beating so hard, it was surely going to burst out of her chest any minute now. She was so close, she was sure that if she let out a breath, it would fog up the glass on that 'eye'...
Suddenly, the 'eye' squinted in a manner that could only be described as irritated, as Chell, who was still dangling from her ensnared wrist (which was being held by a giant claw she now noticed) was pulled a sharp distance away with indignation.
"Unauthorized personnel are not permitted here. This is a level ten security room. Vacate the premises at once and return to your approved station. Immediately," a commanding voice boomed from all around her.
It was all she could do, to gawk at this massive being, born of white steel and blackened metal. The four small spheres that were spouting gibberish gawked right back.
The large golden eye of the mainframe's head narrowed in frustration.
"Are you even listening to me?"
Chell stared wide-eyed, still taking in the fact that she was now in the room with a giant machine that had actually just spared her a nasty landing.
"-Tch," the voice scoffed.
The claw opened. And Chell once again landed square on her butt. ...Ok, she was definitely going to have a bruise there tomorrow.
"Leave. Now. The door is directly behind you. Use your feeble human legs and carry your feeble human body to the exit."
Chell slowly stood up, absentmindedly brushing herself off while never breaking eye contact with the construct.
The ruby eyed sphere snarled viciously at her, glowing fiercely, looking for all the world that it would come down and snap at her if it had the faculties to do so.
"Are you deaf? Or just dumb? Get out...or I'll make you wish you complie-"
"H-Hi!" she stuttered out, hating how scared she sounded.
The machine looked anything but impressed. It fixed Chell with a bland look of silent distaste. Even the previously noisy orbs that were mounted on top of it tracked her face in silence as she nervously bounced from one foot to the other. She looked shyly down at her sneakers. Anything was better than looking straight into the unblinking gaze of an irritated robot.
An awkward silence stretched out for what seemed like an eternity, before it was broken by a cheery,
Both Chell and the machine jerked in surprise at the sudden answer. On top of the massive chassis, the yellow eyed orb seemed to beam down at Chell.
However, the other golden eyed component of the machine did not offer such cheer. Instead, it looked downright venomous. The violet eyed orb seemed to glow briefly, but no words for Chell spilled from the speakers. Instead, the sharp glare melted down into a look of mild frustration aimed at her face. The construct heaved a long weary sigh, spattered by bouts of static crackled through the air and shook its head.
The action was painfully familiar.
"You aren't normal," she whispered. For a moment she was afraid that the constant droning of the blue sphere had drowned her out, but she still received an answer from the voice that seemed to be everywhere at once.
"How astute of you. Tell me, when did they start teaching preschoolers advanced mechanical engineering?"
"No, no...I mean...You're like me...You aren't normal."
The machine stared at her before letting out a series of harsh, cutting laughter. She flinched at the volume.
"You must be joking! To compare me, with a child? That notion is so..." It trailed off noting the serious look that Chell wore.
"Grrrrgggghhh..." The red orb growled a deep low threat.
"Great. Of all the humans in the facility, I get stuck with the one that is a self-admitted oddity."
The robot narrowed it golden gaze and moved to loom over Chell, not stopping until the shadow it casted had completely swallowed her up in its darkness.
"Are you afraid of me?" The yellow sphere asked her.
"And on who's authority, am I the abnormal one? Talk. Tell me. ...Or are you just a scared little urchin?"
Hearing the smug challenge in its voice made her instinctively straighten her back.
"That doctor. I heard him. He said you needed to act norm-"
"Oh. Him. Yes. I know what you are talking about." The main robot casually went on, unconcerned by the sudden roar that had erupted from the red sphere.
"I don't like him," Chell admitted.
"-ntry called 'How to Kill Someone with Your Bare Hands'" the blue globe spouted out morbidly.
"Ha. Neither do I. So I guess that's two things we have in common now; more than enough for your lifetime. Mine included. So, if you will just turn around and go out that do-"
"He was mean to you. And you didn't deserve it."
The robot eyed her with an optic wide with what Chell could only guess was shock.
Suddenly shy again, she looked off at the corner of the hub, "I didn't like him because of that. The adults, they're...They say mean things to me too. Abnormal means that you are different. …But don't forget. Being different means that you are special too...And I like to think that being special is a good thing..."
She glanced back at the machine, a small smile on her face.
"You are a good thing. Don't forget that."
Once again, the massive construct seemed surprised, shocked into a contemplative silence. All five lens were focused completely on Chell.
Ok...this was starting to get past the line of disturbing and into the realm of nightmares. Unable to suppress a shudder, she took the silence as her cue to turn and head for the anterior exit. She took a step towards the steel, double grid lock doors and-
"He was mean. As well as foolish and is a long-standing practitioner of terrible hygiene."
Whipping her head back around, she caught the robot staring off to the side in the most disinterested glare that it could muster. So dramatic. That thing was a terrible actress.
Then again, so was she.
Grinning, Chell let out a short laugh of relief.
"Ok, so... GLaDOS, right?"
"What is it that they make you do around here? I mean, the Smelly Mean Man was yelling about some papers or something wasn't he?" she asked, rocking back on her heels as she sat on the cold floor of what the robot liked to call 'The Enrichment Center'.
"Oh, wait! Let me guess! Are you a printer?"
Ouch. Another acrid glare was sent her way. This one looked like it could have melted down the desk off in that corner over there. Then again, with the amount of angry looks that GLaDOS gave out, half of the facility would have been a smoldering mess by the time she finished doling out her anger.
"Grrrr..." The red eyed orb still growled at her, but it was nothing close to the previous snarls that she had been hearing just an hour ago. In fact, most of the other cores with the exception of the odd lavender sphere were softy mumbling to themselves; a sharp contrast from the loud outbursts that she had heard when she first fell into the room.
"A printer. That was really the best you could come up with?"
"I-I mean...I don't know..."
"Yes. You seem to be saying that a lot lately. You will make a wonderful janitor someday. Or maybe if you are lucky, an opening for a sanitation worker would pop up somewhere on your resume."
Ignoring the barb, she pressed on, "Well, what do you do then?"
Chell pressed her lips together in frustration.
"What do you test?"
Judging by the squint of pleasure in the machine's optic, the notes of frustration that had crept into her voice hadn't gone unnoticed.
"Uni-dimensional transportation. Genetic molecule generation. Sub-atomic engineering. Portals."
"Portals? What are those?"
"Hmm...How do I put this in a child's terms..."
Somewhere in the same place that GLaDOS's voice came from, another voice called out, this time in a man's tone.
"Simple-Minded English Dictionary: Loaded. Parsing..."
"Ah! Here we go...To put this in layman's terms: You can use it to travel. Anywhere. At anytime. In a single second."
"Oh! So you mean that I can use it to go home from school?"
"Yes. Also for weapons deployment as well as intergalactic exploration and subjugation."
Uhhh... "Does that mean that we are friends with aliens?" she asked, only half following the conversation's flow.
"You're too naive. It seems I must educate you on discerning potential threats to your life before you leave," the construct sighed, absentmindedly shaking its head.
"I'm not naive! You're wrong! Maybe you're just not thinking positively enough! There's nothing wrong with having friends!"
Derisive snickers spilled from the speakers above. "Oh really? And would you be able to be friends with everyone? Not all of us are as simple as you are. What would you do if the aliens had an ulterior motive for being friends with you? What would you do if they only acted nice to you so that you would do their bidding? And if you questioned it, they would hurt you? What then, child? What would you do?" Chell was suddenly faced with five furiously glowing eyes and a quickly wavering confidence. Luckily for her, she had a stubborn streak that knew no bounds. Unfortunately, it also translated into words that she just couldn't prevent from falling out of her mouth.
"I'm not a child! I'm Chell and its fine to have friends! What you were describing had nothing to do with friendships, at all! There's nothing wrong with people, it's just the bad ones that make it seem terrible!"
With a sudden clarity that she hadn't realized before, she pieced together why exactly GLaDOS was so hell-bent on hating people. And once again, she just couldn't prevent from them falling out of her mouth. One of these days, she was really going to have to do something about that. It really only landed her in hot water.
"The scientists here suck! You can't use them as a measuring stick for real people. You have to look for your own way to get to know the right ones."
GLaDOS studied her face for a moment before leaning back, away from her. Anger apparently shelved away for the time being.
"Hmph. Be that as it may, I don't have time for entertaining nine year old brats that can't possibly understand the magnitude of my work nor have the capacity to understand humanity's severe God complex."
"...What did you say?"
Chell shivered at the venom in the tone, and took a shaky breath to steel herself.
"You're wrong...I'm ten years old."
For a while, the robot just stared at her, its yellow light fixated on her face and gleaming with what had to have been pent up frustration before finally its massive body began to rock agitatedly.
"You said your name is Chell, correct?"
The false sweetness in the voice made the hairs on the back of her neck rise.
"Well, Chell; Chell who from the ages of 6 months to 7 years old was an orphan of Aperture Science Orphanage. Chell who was adopted, which is terrible by the way, by a level 5 R&D scientist until present. Chell who has entered into the Aperture Science: Science Fair exactly 4 years and has received no achievements or peer recognition in the field for exactly 4 years. Chell who has been reprimanded by her educators for 'not following the rules' and for various acts of disobedience and vandalism-"
"Hey! I didn't mean to drop that microscope! It was an acci-"
"Vandalism and has received average testing scores on average elementary tests. Chell who has been disgracing the Earth for nine years, six months, eleven days, fifteen hours and twenty-two minutes. Let me assure you...child, that when I tell you something, I am never wrong about it."
She knew that she should have felt anxious. After all, when being faced with a being that apparently knows everything about you and was spitting vitriolic poison at you, one tended to be afraid. The average person would have been in tears at this point. The normal person would have ran away by now.
Too bad she wasn't normal.
Gritting her teeth, Chell leaned forward, "But people are able to be good! Not everyone is out only for themselves!" She wasn't going to let GLaDOS prove her wrong on this one. Not when her father had been the one single piece of hard evidence that she had. One that even a stubborn supercomputer couldn't deny. And she found that she couldn't just let go of this fight. Not when she had finally found someone who had felt the way Chell had felt before her adoption. That feeling...to be so alone in Aperture's Orphanage...it was a dark place. And it was one that she could not bear to leave another in. She fought on.
"Of course they are. Why else do you think that I am here if I am not their attempt at playing God?"
"I-I dont understand..."
"Look, you may be an anomaly, but I am only meant to do one thing: science. I was built to be autonomous and as such, I don't need interference from others," GLaDOS sniffed in reply, haughtily raising her head up high.
"But how can you do science all by yourself?"
"As I said before, testing. Testing various things that you would never understand."
"Why don't you ask the people to help you test? Maybe, I don't know...volunteers? It has to be easier than just doing everything by yourself..."
This time, she got a reply in the form of silence. Was it actually thinking about her suggestion? It was giving her that odd, calculated look again...
The massive machine gave out a short bitter laugh. "Oh, I have something along those lines planned out. But later...As for now I must ask: Why are you still here? Tell me why you are still plaguing me."
The smaller yellow eyed core looked questioningly at Chell.
"Do you want to play together?"
She raised her eyebrows in surprise at the question, but found that GLaDOS herself was ignoring it. "I guess- I just...were the same I mean...I don't know..." Damn. Where did all of her bravado go?
The AI leaned forward and asked in frustrated desperation, "Why aren't you afraid of me?"
"-ne cup of granulated sugar," the blue eyed sphere recited balefully.
"...I guess...what I'm asking is-"
The red eyed core growled slightly.
"I neither know nor do I care what your asking!" GLaDOS suddenly snapped. It seemed that she changed her mind about wanting to know her answers.
Chell eyed GLaDOS who returned her stare with a baleful glare of her own locking them into a stalemate.
"...Do you want to be friends?" the yellowed eyed core softly whispered.
There was a dead silence in the air. The same kind of silence that occurred before the full wrath of the storm hit.
The yellow optic of the main AI widened at the small core's betrayal. Chell watched in horror as the entirety of panels that made up the Enrichment Center's hub quivered, before flipping up on their joints to reveal a wall of glowing red optics.
All pointed at her.
Well...Chell liked to think that for all of her ten years on this earth, that she had had a pretty good run of it. She froze and waited for the inevitable.
It was at that moment when Fate decided that she had enough torture for the moment and decided to open the door for Doctor Grey.
"Wh-what in God's name?"
Chell and GLaDOS broke off their staring contest simultaneously at Grey's intrusion.
"One injector needle gun..." the blue core spat viciously.
"What the hell is going on here? You! Little girl! How did you ever get in here?" Grey all but shouted.
"I-I-" she sputtered before having her arm roughly snatched up by the panicking doctor.
"GRRRRAAUUGHH!" the red core roared at Chell's sudden departure.
"Let's go. Now. I hope for both our sakes that you didn't mess anything up in here."
"Where are you going?" the small yellow eyed core cried out in confusion.
She sent a final glance to GLaDOS as Grey moved to haul her out of the room and found that she was being observed in turn. It wasn't until Grey paused at the main doors that the AI broke her gaze.
"This had better not be your fault. I don't want you looking for any distractions."
A short laugh fell flat on the speakers.
"Of course not," GLaDOS drawled. Then, as she focused back on Chell, "My only desire is to test."
Chell shuddered at the cold superior tone.
"Why is he taking her? Is she coming bac-" was all she heard of the yellow core's questioning before it was cut off when the door snapped shut.
Beside her, Dr. Grey shuddered in revulsion.
"Damn robot. That thing is an abomination. The worst thing that the robotics and engineering group has ever thrown out of development."
He turned an eye on Chell and squinted at her.
"Stay away from her. It'll be better for your health."
"Chell! Oh thank God, Henry! Chell, you are in so much trouble, missy!"
Ugh...just who I wanted to see...
She felt her face pull into a sharp grimace as Mrs. Sanders marched down the hall. Judging by the angry look painted on the harpy's face, she was definitely going to be in for more than just a simple timeout.
"Oh Henry, thank you so much for getting her back! I was so nervous when I looked for her and she wasn't ther-"
"Yes, yes! Well, keep a better eye on her next time! She almost interfered with The Project." Grey barked, cutting off the onslaught of adulation.
Suddenly the venomous looks that she had been getting before from her teacher seemed downright pleasant compared to the frosty scowl she was currently receiving. That look stayed fixed on her all the way back to her classroom where she sat right in front of an arms-crossed, red-faced, furious woman.
"Well since I can't trust you to do what you're told I guess we're both just going to have to sit here until you learn your lesson."
Chell in response, neatly clasped her hands together in front of herself.
"When is Daddy coming to get me?"
Mrs. Sanders snorted. "If he were smart? Never. ...He should be back soon though. Hopefully."
Chell dropped her head into her folded arms before squinting up at the ceiling. ...Was it her, or was that light panel getting brighter than the others?
A high pitched whine pierced the air and an electrical arc jumped as the light bulb shattered into hundreds of shards. The rest of the lights suddenly flickered before completely shutting down, drowning both of them in absolute darkness.
Mrs. Sanders gasped in shock as blinking red emergency lights kicked on. Somewhere above their heads, an alarm klaxon began screaming viciously loud seconds before dying off on an eerie note.
"What was that?" her guardian whispered, fear evident in her voice.
"I don't know," Chell shakily answered.
"...Chell wait here. I'm going to get the other girls. And I mean it. Don't move," Mrs. Sanders ordered. Chell nodded back at her and watched as she sprinted out the door and into the facility.
It was deathly still. The room fluctuated between a claustrophobic darkness to an unsettling crimson red as the warning lights still flickered through their cycle.
Chell sat and waited. She waited until she ached from having to sit in the hard wooden seat for so long. Before she gave in to the urge to move, the regular lighting fixtures finally kicked back on. As if nothing had happened. She let out a cautious sigh of relief.
Shortly after that thought, she heard the distinct electronic crackle of the P.A. system activating. "Hello, staff and/or guests of Aperture Science. Currently the facility is undergoing the Testing Phase for our most current projects and developments. Please note that there is a severe shortage of resources available for the duration of this phase. According to Non-Standard Standard Procedures, the Enrichment Center will instate Mandatory Voluntary Testing. Please assume the Party Escort Submission Position and await further instructions. We would also like to say, thank you, for your contributions to Science."
It was her! GLaDOS!
Chell panicked and immediately ran to the door. Cracking it open slightly, she peered outside...and found no one. No Mrs. Sanders, no Dr. Grey...nothing.
She turned and looked across to the closet that she had escaped from. A sickly looking green vapor was whispering out from the vent that she had broken open and began to seep down into the floor.
A sick feeling welled up in her gut. Taking a deep breath, she broke her promise to her teacher, and ran from the empty room, eyes darting everywhere, looking for her father. As she ran down the abandoned halls, she heard faint shrieks and screams echo around corners and bounce down ventilation shafts. Poor souls that were only a level above or below Chell herself.
Turning a corner, she found herself stuck at a dead end. A door sat inconspicuously in front of her, impeding her fear-fueled momentum. She was about to turn around before hearing a muffled -thump- knock against the door. Hesitantly, she reached up to touch the button to open the door...and jumped back as it opened of its own accord, something that had been slumped against it, lurching outwards.
Chell turned and threw up. That something had been her teacher, and by the looks of it, she had found her classmates too. That noxious green gas was fogging up the room, now slowly spilling out into the hallway that Chell was in.
She sobbed, tears beginning to burn her eyes as much as the gas itself was. She wiped her face off with the back of her hand.
Even Meg didn't deserve this...
Somewhere in the green fog, a red light focused on Chell. She looked up balefully at it as a cheerful voice rang out.
"Oh...its you. The only one left. You know, that makes you a special person, right? The last survivor..."
Somewhere, vents clicked, reversing the flow of the toxic vapors and clearing out the air. Baring her teeth, she darted into the room, grabbing the nearest thing and threw it at the camera, cracking the lens. The file dossier clattered hard to the ground.
The voice laughed. A loud melodic laugh that echoed all around the air. It kept laughing, even when the door behind her snapped shut and a white smoke began to filter in, leaving a bitter after-taste in her mouth.
"I like you. You aren't normal. It makes things interesting. So you're going to do a favor for me. ...I wonder...What would happen if I tested with an unapproved test subject? Where would the results fall? What new data would I encounter? We both know that you will be an outlier... But I can't help but wonder, just how different are you? What is it that makes you abnormal?"
Chell shivered even as her eyelids drooped under the chemically induced languor. An unsettling deadness settled into her limbs and forced her to relax, breathing in slower deeper breaths of that white gas.
"Ha-ha, I guess we will find out, won't we friend?"
She fell into the embrace of darkness before her body even struck the ground.
It really was too bad that she wasn't normal.