A Portal Carol

"Alright, this is just getting annoying. Why, with the exception of Mr. Johnson, are all of these 'spirits' people who are not dead?" Chell only shrugged at GLaDOS' question, then grabbed the AI by the joint between her head and chassis and pulled her forward. The two stepped, or GLaDOS' case sort of floated, through panels and debris as if they were intangible until they came upon a pile of broken turrets, panels and storage cubes crudely arranged into the shapes of two thrones.

Atop the misshapen thrones sat ATLAS and P-Body, their central cores rolled back as they beeped in a resemblance to maniacal laughter. ATLAS pulled a moldy bottle from his garbage throne and poured the contents over his optic in an attempt to 'drink' from it. All this did was cause him to spark and violently contort. The testing bot then laughed and 'drank' some more. P-Body meanwhile took a red hot piece of metal and stuck it below her optic, which caused the metal there and in her hand to melt, which elicited much laughter from the two.

"Blue, Orange; what's happened to you?" Sure they occasionally got sidetracked and would dance or murder each other instead of testing, but GLaDOS has always trusted the co-op bots. To see them reduced to malfunctioning substance-abusers was even more disquieting than her previous view of Chell in the present. Chell grabbed hold of GLaDOS again, this time pulling her up through the ceiling and to the surface. They flew past fields of wheat, now shriveled and brown, towards a familiar clearing.

GLaDOS saw the remains of a fire, little more than some charred twigs, and the weighted companion cube, it's present still unopened. Chell then pointed to the far side of the cube, and GLaDOS hovered over to investigate. To her horror she saw, futilely huddled against the companion cube for warmth, was a skeleton wearing very familiar long fall boots and Aperture Science official test subject attire.

"No. I'm the only one who's allowed to kill her!" GLaDOS yelled in a mixture of horror and rage. "How did this happen? I wouldn't have just let her die by someone or something else's doing!" Chell dragged the AI down through the soil and lead her to a chamber that was in even worse condition than what she had seen previously. It was her lair.

The roof had a large hole in it, from which moonlight streamed in, surrounding the destroyed chassis of GLaDOS herself. In the middle of her chassis was a hole, GLaDOS peaked inside and saw the means of her destruction. Barely more than a blob of molten metal and fused wires, Wheatley sat in a crater of his own making.

"T-that... wa-was... for... Spa...ace Cor-cor-co..." Wheatley's optic dimmed for the last time and the room became silent. GLaDOS was vibrating in horror, her circuits threatening to overload from the bursts of raw terror she felt.

"Spirit, are these visions of what will be? Or what may be?" She asked to Chell. "You wouldn't show me this if there was nothing I could do to avert it?" GLaDOS was beginning to understand now what these visitations had been about. "Please spirit, I'll change! I'll be nicer to Blue and Orange, I'll help Chell find civilization, I'll put the Space Core in a black hole, just tell me this can be changed!" Chell remained silent, while the dead future GLaDOS began to spasm and lurch. It reared up, sparks flying to and fro, as wires slithered from cracks in its carapace. The wires began to coil around GLaDOS, the first time one of these 'visions' had physically made contact with her, and began to tighten their grip.

GLaDOS' chassis began to crack from the pressure, and her optic felt like it would burst. With no other option, she began to scream at the top of her non-existent lungs. But as soon as the it felt that GLaDOS would finally shut down from the abuse, the pain stopped. GLaDOS looked around, she was no longer in the depilated future Aperture, and the "Chell of Christmas Yet to Come" was gone as well.

Excitedly, GLaDOS checked her internal clocks. December 25th, four A.M. they read. "They did it; and in only one night! Well of course, they're spirits they can do whatever they want." GLaDOS muttered, overcome with joy and mirth. "Blue! Orange!" She cried out to her co-op bots.

ATLAS and P-Body climbed out of their recharging bays, rubbing their optics and beeping in annoyance at having been so suddenly removed from sleep mode. They glared at the wall camera which GLaDOS was likely watching them from and buzzed indignantly.

"Listen, I know I've been hard on you two lately. But earlier I was visited by three spirits who showed me the error of my ways. They taught me the true meaning of Christmas, of being nice to your fellow androids, that companionship is the greatest gift of all!" ATLAS and P-Body cheered at GLaDOS' speech, then hi-fived each other.

"And best of all..." The co-op bots waited with baited breath. What could GLaDOS be about to say? Would they get days off to play around with the gels? A dance party? "It turns out all that really was a glitch, and I fixed it. Continue testing." ATLAS and P-Body burst into a shower of scrap metal, while their consciousnesses were downloaded into new bodies at the test chamber GLaDOS' had picked for them. "And merry Christmas."

Chell had been glaring at the companion cube for hours now, and still it refused to open its present. She ignored the rumbling in her stomach and put the most "I am disappointed in you, cube" look possible on her face. Sure, she hadn't eaten anything besides some wheat stalks in days, but she wasn't going anywhere until a certain ungrateful cube opened its present. So focused on the cube was Chell that she didn't notice the flaming meteor heading towards her until it landed several feet away in a massive explosion.

The former test subject dropped to the ground and waited for the shower of rocks from the explosion to cease. Once it did, she carefully got up and went to inspect the crater. Inside was Christmas present, miraculously unscathed by its powerful collision with the ground. A small tag was attached to the top with the writing "To: Chell, From: SaNTA". Chell puzzled at the odd spelling of Santa, but figured that maybe if she opened this present it would give the cube the right idea.

She pulled open the box and looked inside, at the sight of the present's contents her jaw nearly hit the floor. Inside was a black forest cake, and inscribed on its top frosting was:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Aperture Science Computer Aided Enrichment Center

And a Happy Explosion Day too!