Hello! It is I!
I haz stories for you!
Disclaimer: In a stunning turn of events, the VALVe Company has been unceremoniously dumped into the hands of a fifteen-year-old High Schooler. I wish,
"What is that?"
Chell was holding a cardboard box filled with a wooden chessboard and several tiny pieces. "It's a chessboard," she said simply, setting the board on the floor and arranging the pieces into their proper positions.
"I know it is a chessboard," the A.I. said, leaning in to examine the checkered board. "What I meant was something along the lines of 'why did you bring it here and why are you setting it up?'"
Chell placed the kings and queens on their respective squares and glanced up at GLaDOS. "To play, of course. Why else would I bring one?"
GLaDOS's optic focused on her former test subject's face. "You aren't expecting me to play, are you? You do realize I am a supercomputer with a data processor that puts the human brain to shame, correct?"
Chell nodded, adjusting the pieces so they rested in the center of their colored squares. She sat back, a small grin on her face, and watched GLaDOS swivel around. "Care to play?"
"You have GOT to be kidding me," said the computer. Chell shook her head. GLaDOS lowered her head so the two were face-to-face. "Once again, you understand that I know every single combination of possible moves, from first to endgame, and yet you still wish to face me?"
Chell nodded. "Don't see why not."
The A.I. gave a small sigh, and with a shake of her metallic head, examined the chessboard. "Very well. But you are only setting yourself up for defeat."
Chell smiled. "White or Black?"
If GLaDOS had eyes, she would have rolled them, "You may make the first move, [Subject Name Here]."
Chell pursed her lips and surveyed the board. She moved her queen's pawn forward one square.
"Pawn to f3," the computer said.
Chell cocked her head. "Excuse me?"
GLaDOS sighed. "Algebraic notation is a method for recording and describing the moves in a game of chess. It is the standard method among all chess organizations. Or at least, it was," she added as an afterthought.
Chell rolled her eyes. "You could have just said, 'it's a way to record games.' Now, are you going to play, or not? It took me a good hour or so to find this board and all the pieces."
"Very well," said the A.I. "Pawn to e5," she lowered her claw and moved the pawn protecting her king two spaces forward.
Chell eyed the pawn. "Umm…" She picked up a pawn and rolling it between her fingers.
GLaDOS would have grinned if she could have. "You have touched one of your pieces," she said. "You are now obligated to move that piece if there is a legal move available to it. So move your pawn."
Chell raised an eyebrow. "You made that up."
GLaDOS snorted. "I most certainly did not. Didn't I tell you I would stop enhancing the truth?"
"Yes. Yes you did. Along with the 'fact' that I would be served cake after testing. I still haven't gotten any."
"Touché," said the computer, "but it is a rule."
Chell huffed. "Fine," she said, moving the piece up two squares.
"Pawn to g4." She started to laugh. "Congratulations," she said as Chell took a sip of water. "You have single-handedly discovered the absolute worst move you could possibly make." GLaDOS grabbed her queen and moved it diagonally to the end of the board. "Queen to h4. Checkmate."
The former subject coughed, splattering water over the pieces. She eyed the now-slightly-wet board. "What? How did you..?"
GLaDOS laughed harder. "You seem have fallen for the Two-Move Checkmate, better known as the Fool's Mate. Well done, Chell. Well done."
Chell rubbed her temple. "Amazing. I mean, I knew I would most likely lose, but in two moves? That took us what, a minute? You've got to be kidding."
"One minute and fifty-four seconds since first move, to be precise," GLaDOS chuckled. "But don't feel bad. You held your own against a supercomputer for almost two minutes. The world record for longest chess game ever held is twenty hours and fifteen minutes. Of course, that game was held between two chess masters, whereas this one was between you and me."
"I demand a rematch," Chell said evenly.
The computer's only reply was to reset the pawns and queen and motion for Chell to begin again. She moved her knight this time, not wanting to make the same mistake.
"Knight to f3, Pawn to b6," said the computer. "Pawn to a4, Bishop to b7. Rook to a3, Bishop to f3, Knight captured."
"Ha!" Said Chell, capturing GLaDOS's bishop.
"Pawn to f3, Bishop captured. Pawn to b5. Pawn to b5, Pawn captured. Knight to a6. Rook to a6, Knight captured. Pawn to h5. Pawn to b6, Pawn to b6, Pawn captured. Pawn to h4, Pawn to a5, Rook captured en passant. Before you object, yes, it is a real move. You can look it up on your own time. Your move."
Chell frowned. "Hmm…" She scratched her head. She shrugged and moved a pawn.
"Pawn to c4, Rook to c8. Pawn to c5, Rook to h6. Knight to a3, Rook to c6. Knight to c4, Rook to c5. Knight to a5, Pawn captured. Rook to c1, Bishop captured. Checkmate."
Chell pinched the bridge of her nose. "Good lord… Already?"
GLaDOS laughed again. "Already. However, this game lasted six minutes and four seconds. That's four minutes and ten seconds longer than last time. So you are improving. Who knows? After a year or so, you may be able to hold your own against the Intelligence Dampening Sphere."
Chell glared at the computer. "That was uncalled for." She took a long drink of her water. "Now I'm going to feel really dumb the rest of the day.
GLaDOS would have grinned if she had a mouth. "Tell you what, [Subject Name Here]. I'll make you a deal. Say we play one more game. If you win, I will serve you some Aperture Science Victory Black Forest Cake."
Chell perked up. "I'm listening."
"But if I win, you must agree to a day of vigorous testing. What do you say?"
The corner of Chell's mouth twitched. She really would like some cake. Just the thought of the chocolate concoction made her salivate. She had been looking forward to cake ever since beginning testing so long ago.
But for cake, she would have to beat GLaDOS in a game of chess. Chess, of all things. The one game where every single move could be calculated and predicted. And if she lost – which was more than likely, considering the past eight minutes – she would be subject to an entire day of testing. She wouldn't even be allowed a break. Knowing the A.I., she would fill the chambers full of adrenal vapor and have Chell testing literally every second of the day. And the tests would be vigorous. Coming from GLaDOS, that meant all sorts of horrors involving Repulsion and Propulsion Gel (Which Chell was still not used to) and Excursion Funnels and things Chell didn't even want to think about.
Chell's stomach rumbled. She knew what she had to do.
Wordlessly, Chell reset the board, much to the surprise of the supercomputer.
"Well, well, well, well, well. You agree to my terms?"
"That's a pretty deep well, GLaDOS. And yes. I do." Chell moved her queen's pawn, remembering a move she had played on her father years before. "Pawn to e4."
GLaDOS tilted her head ever so slightly. "Pawn to e5."
"Queen to h5."
"Knight to c6."
"Bishop to c4."
GLaDOS regarded her former test subject. There was an evil glint in her eye. It unsettled the supercomputer, and her claw twitched and tapped her knight.
Chell grinned evilly. "You touched one of your pieces. You are now obligated to move that piece if there is a legal move available to it. So move your knight."
GLaDOS flinched at the almost uncanny reproduction of her robotic voice. She gazed at the board. She sighed. "Knight to f6."
"Queen to f7, Pawn captured!" Chell shouted. "Checkmate!"
GLaDOS inspected the board. Chell had indeed trapped her king. It was a perfect rendition of the Scholar's Mate. GLaDOS had been a fool not to see it.
The computer gave a heavy sigh. "Well done, [Subject Name Here]. You have beaten me. Your Aperture Science Victory Black Forest Cake will be served shortly."
Chell laughed. "Say that again, please?"
"Your Aperture Science Victory – "
"No, before that."
"Well done, [Subject –"
"You know what I mean, GLaDOS."
"Fine. You have beaten me. You won. Happy now?"
Two panels split open, and a cake, complete with lit candles, rose dramatically from the floor in front of Chell.
The subject eyed the cake. A smile played on her lips. With shaking hands, she cut a slice from the cake. A moan escaped her as the first bite entered her mouth.
GLaDOS performed a quick perimeter check as Chell enjoyed her cake. The computer hummed softly to herself.
Definitely worth it, she thought.
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