Author's Notes:I'd like to apologise for this crack fic in advance. It just came to me as I was making a cup of tea and thinking about how "real tea" is supposed to be made. I'd also looked up various ways to make a perfect cup of coffee a few weeks earlier and the thought lingered. So instead of finishing off another chapter of The Garter, I wrote this pile of crack instead.
Also, I DARE someone to draw coffee pot GLaDOS in her little apron and hat. Go on. I DOUBLE DARE you.
Everyone had to start somewhere.
Sure, she'd been made for science, but she needed experience first. They couldn't expect her to just leap right into the deep end and start testing humans. She didn't even know anything about them. She was only young. Fresh off the manufacturing line and eager for a slice of the world, as it were.
The ideas that had been thrown around for what she could possibly do around the labs were nothing short of idiotic, as GLaDOS had quickly come to expect of the scientists who had built her. First, they'd stuffed some secretary into her head in hopes that she'd work as a filing cabinet and do all their paperwork for them. They'd even suggested that they stick a combine harvester on her rear end and rent her out to a wheat farmer.
That idea had been quickly taken off the board when she'd given them a good old squirt with some neurotoxin. It had unfortunately resulted in the ones that were still alive hanging some talking Christmas baubles off her, but it wasn't anything she couldn't deal with. If anything, they were festive – even if they were a little annoying.
It seemed like all was lost.
The so-called men of science were fresh out of new ways to suggest bad things and somehow make them sound convincing enough for the giant computer hanging in their basement to want to try. Many were even starting to wonder whether GLaDOS was simply just a welfare cheat in disguise. She didn't want to work, but they could hardly give her food stamps. She couldn't even eat, after all.
So the bored AI had hung around collecting dust and generally making a nuisance of herself while her affectionately named Nerd Patrol worked around her, doing this and that and living their lives. And their boring little existences were made so much better by her incredibly witty running commentary on their lives. Dangly bits included.
One had to amuse oneself, after all.
In between her astute observations on the state of their individual gravitational pulls, GLaDOS found that her control over the facility allowed her to pull bits and pieces from various rooms and switch them around to make for one frustratingly confused laboratory staff. Mischief could have been her middle name, had her middle name not been 'And'. But when they had discovered who had put the mantis man in the women's locker room with the Repulsion Gel, they'd all had a bit of a laugh.
One scientist in particular had picked up on all the possibilities that this entailed, and put GLaDOS to work fetching him a cup of coffee from the staff room every now and again, just so she'd start concentrating and leave them alone to work for a few minutes. It became somewhat of a trend with all of the lab rats scurrying around to request it of the AI, as the staff room had been set so far away from the actual staff to discourage them from actually stopping to have a break, and thusly, stopping science.
Dearly departed CEO Cave Johnson's idea, of course.
"One venti frappuccino; one iced latte with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon; two espressos; one black coffee with such a large amount of artificial sweetener that it will cause your sperm to melt and your future children to be deformed; one espresso macchiato and a moccaccino. The Enrichment Center would like to remind you that you have exactly twelve seconds to claim your beverages before they will be poured on small mammals to determine the perfect temperature to get the most out of their hideous screams." GLaDOS hissed.
"Is it just me, or is she getting creepier by the day?" one man queried warily after scooping up his latte and scuttling as far away from the hulking metal form as he could.
"I don't know, but she's bloody good at making coffee. Perfect every time. We stuck a human in her. Can't we do it the other way around and stick her into my wife? Even Sally can't make my coffee the way I like it." The other joked.
"STARBUCKS!" Doug Rattmann yelled loudly, bringing the room to a halt at the programmer's screeching call.
"Don't swear!" Admonished the supercomputer, aghast at the language he was using.
"Send her to Starbucks! Away from here! She'll just kill us all otherwise. I'm not drinking that hot mess!" he twitched, scratching at his beard furiously.
"You need to take some more of your meds, mate. But actually, that's kind of a good idea. She does make good coffee, and she'll get plenty of experience working with people. Plus, everyone is already addicted to that sludge, so it won't even matter if she puts hammers in it like she did with Ron's birthday pie."
The other men ummed and ahhed over it for some time before they came to an agreement.
GLaDOS would be sent to work at Starbucks.
But getting a several ton monstrosity of a computer into an actual Starbucks coffee house was far more of a problem than they had thought. They had to put their heads together and do some downsizing, but a plan soon came to fruition. At the opening of the newest store (which was incidentally just two doors down from the old one) they unveiled their masterpiece with a flourish of fabric that had been covering the box sitting on the counter in replacement of a server.
The crowd clapped and cheered at seeing the most technologically advanced coffee machine that had ever existed.
GLaDOS's yellow eye swirled wildly as she took in the crowd, the water sloshing around inside it and making it very difficult to tell what the water level actually was. She panicked for a moment when she realized she couldn't move, but soon realized that although her body was now a stationary block, she had an extended neck that could swirl around and peer at whatever the smelly humans pointed at on the board or in the glass cabinet if they wanted to fatten themselves up even further. And the claws that dangled from the ceiling would allow her to grab the items and serve it up to them, even though she wanted nothing more than to just shove it in their face. Working with pimple-faced teens was hardly befitting for a marvel of science, but she'd put up with it for now.
With a green apron tied around the block of an espresso machine that made up her body and a visor cap perched jauntily at an angle on her slightly rectangular head, the supercomputer watched as the city's mayor stepped up to be the first in line to taste the wonders of a coffee made by an artificially intelligent computer with the brain of a professional coffee-fetcher...er...secretary, that was.
"Uh, hello...GLaDOS." he squinted at the name on the badge pinned to her apron. "I think I'll have the special today, if you don't mind."
"I do mind. One Espresso GLaDiatto, coming right up, Sir Fattsalot!"
"I said; coming right up, sir. Thanks a lot."
"Oh. Carry on then."
GLaDOS gleefully grabbed one of the cups and shoved it into the hollow in her back where the spouts were. This was great! So many new people to insult, and so little time. It would be a challenge to see how many high brow, low brow and unibrow jokes she could get in for each person while making their orders. With a few beeps and whirr, a rush of steam escaped and she deposited the white cup on the counter in front of him.
"I am required by company policy to thank you for your patronage and wish you a good day."
"Oh, and I might just have the lemon chees-"
The mayor looked taken aback. "Excuse me?"
"I said get out, fatty. No cheesecake for you." She hissed again, raising herself up to glare right in his face as more steam escaped in a shrill wail.
Somewhat stunned, he cautiously picked up his beverage and inched away, eyeing the supercomputer-turned-coffee machine as he went.
"Next please!" she cheerfully exclaimed.
And that was how it went for many a week, with some customers getting quite the laugh out of her behaviour, while others were appalled and rang the company to complain. Mostly little old ladies, who didn't take kindly to their skin being compared to their handbags. Nothing was done about it, though. Especially since Aperture Science had agreed to pay a substantial amount of money into their coffee coffers in return for keeping her on there for a while. In the end though, it really didn't matter whether they paid for it or not.
Starbucks didn't care. Starbucks didn't give a shit.
"Just like a honey badger."
GLaDOS helpfully informed her customers, who were more confused than ever about why a talking coffee machine was speaking about badgers when all they wanted was a little creamer in their coffee.
If they had asked, she would have informed them of the importance of such knowledge. She also would have told them that she needed things to speak about to lift her spirits in her dismally boring job, as putting spirits in the drinks was frowned upon. Especially after what was now referred to as the Drunk Baby Incident. Of course, working day in and day out at the one location allowed her to pick out the regular customers from the drifters and with a memory like hers, she easily remembered their favourite orders.
In particular she remembered one woman who always came in with her young daughter on their way to drop her off at kindergarten. Vanilla latte, loaded with teeth rotting sugar. The woman always went to peruse the newspaper on the nearby stand while waiting for her drink, while the little black-haired girl dallied around the feet of the customers in line or smeared her snotty little nose and sweaty handprints against the glass as she peered in at the various sweet treats they had on offer. She always begged her mother for something from the cabinet, but she never got anything for her.
She was probably adopted and her mother didn't love her, GLaDOS concluded.
They didn't even look that much alike.
The two came in again on one particularly quiet morning, and once again the mother wandered over to the newspapers while the girl went to slap her face against the glass and fog it up with her breathing.
She was a tubby little fucker; that was for sure.
The AI didn't say it aloud of course, as swearing was a no-no. They'd installed an automatic shut down on her as a time out punishment the last time she'd called someone an ass-hat.
GLaDOS watched her for a moment before extending her neck down to the back of the cabinet and peered at her with a single yellow eye amongst the cakes. The girl jumped back away from the cabinet with a startled gasp until she realized what it was that was looking at her.
"What's your name?" GLaDOS inquired sweetly, scrunching her optic up in the best impression of a smile that she could make for a machine that didn't really have a face.
"..." the girl just stared at her, and refused to answer the talking coffee maker.
"That's a terrible name. No wonder your parents called you that. I have a better one for you. Do you like cake, [Patron Name Here]? It's so delicious and moist."
The girl's eyes lit up and she jumped in excitement, hoping that GLaDOS was going to secretly sneak her a piece of the amazing looking black forest cake with the cherries on top. It looked rich and sinful and everything that a cake should look like to a five year old with dumpy little lips and a pair of googly eyes that were too big for her stomach.
"Maybe you should marry that cake since you love it so much. Do you want to taste it? WELL I WON'T LET YOU! How does that feel?" GLaDOS chortled at the distraught look on the girl's face.
But it quickly morphed into a harsh glare at the AI as the girl's mother came to take her hand and pick up her coffee. When the child refused to move from her staring competition, the woman rummaged around in her bag and pulled out a toy. Handing the Rubik's cube to her daughter who held it tightly in one tiny little hand, she missed the throat slitting motion the girl made at GLaDOS as she was ushered out the door.
What a nasty little beast!
GLaDOS stared with a widened optic at the back of the retreating child who had given her a death threat. That was more than a little disturbing. She'd looked entirely serious about it too. The supercomputer was more than a little glad she was heading back to Aperture to take over testing for the first time tomorrow morning.
She'd never have to see her again.
Thank god for that!