Wheezing, Gasping, Coughing, a slight pain with each breath, Chell's labored breathing could be heard all the way down the halls of the hospital. It didn't take long for her health to deteriorate. After only a few months after settling into a small town symptoms began to appear.

The toxic environment of Aperture science was beginning to take its toll. After hearing Cave Johnson's deranged rants, Chell was careful to avoid making contact with the conversion gel, but when Wheatley had her trapped on a panel with a dozen crusher plates surrounding her, she was left with few options. She popped a few portals to splatter the dripping conversion gel all over the panel, getting soaked with the goo in the process. However she managed to escape with her life, so overall it was a good decision, although at the moment it did not feel like to best decision; now she is being shaken awake by her own violent coughing. Her lungs ached, her head throbbed, and she desperately wanted to go back to being unconscious, but the pain wouldn't end any time soon. She still would be in treatment for a long time before she would be in any condition to leave. Soon the doctors would come to pick her up for treatment session, something similar to dialysis plus a few medication injections and some breathing exercises, not a pleasant experience but without it she would probably be dead already. It is amazing how just a few years could affect medicine, if Cave Johnson's incident happened a little later, he might have lived instead just taking pain pills until he just passed away. While Chell did not know just how many years – decades, maybe…centuries? – she was in stasis, but it was enough to give her a chance to survive toxic gel poisoning. She knew she was going to survive, if she could survive being put through tests with acid floors, bullet filled turrets, and deadly lasers by an insane AI (on three different occasions no less) she could tough out a few uncomfortable treatments.

Coughing and intense pain where the first symptoms, they didn't seem to be getting worse but new symptoms began to emerge; rage and mental instability where apparently not just affects Cave Johnson's normal personality lashing out in an dismal situation. Chell who was normally calm, quiet, and whose current situation was much less futile, was finding her cursing aperture, wanting to destroy it, to bring it crashing down for the second time. She remembered the last words GLaDOS spoke to her, and how she gave a slight chuckle as the elevator slid up the tube taking GLaDOS out of view. She seemed quite pleased even though previously she would have done everything in her power to end Chell's life right then and there. She could have use crusher panels, turrets, neurotoxin, acid floors, and bombs, she could have killed Chell and it would have been so easy for her too, Chell nearly had a heart attack when she saw the turrets were waiting for her, no escape and she still let Chell go, like she knew that the toxic gel would start tearing away at her health, giving her a taste of freedom before quickly dying of sickness. It was like GLaDOS had it all planned and it infuriated her. Sometimes she would succumb to violent outbursts and start screaming, which was the only reason the doctors didn't think she was mute. She swore that next piece of Aperture Science equipment she would smash into a wall, a seemingly pointless thought seeing as she was miles from the facility with no intent of returning, yet it was almost immediately fulfilled as an acquaintance of hers walked into her room holding a large metal block. As soon as it was handed to her she threw companion cube against the wall, leaving a sizable dent in the plaster.

"Hey, I thought you liked that thing." said Jonathan, the man who narrowly missed death-by-cube. He was neighbor from Chell's apartment, tall lean with short brown hair. He had only brought the companion cube to cheer her up.

Although she kept the cube she was not particularly attached to it. When GLaDOS had her dump it into the incinerator she mentioned how she gave it up much quicker than any other test subject. It was a cube. Just a cube. She was not entirely sure why other test subjects became so attached to it, although she did find it useful. While she did not expect to find any oversized buttons needing to be pushed, or high energy pellets to be deflected, she took it just in case, and it did prove to be quite useful too. While wandering around looking for civilization she was attacked by a four-legged crab thing that was adamant about attaching itself to her head, and she promptly used the cube to beat it to death after that she decided to keep it with her wherever she may go, for she would probably see many unforeseeable tasks ahead, and it is not like keeping it would hurt her.

"The Aperture Science weighted companion cube will never threaten to stab you, and in fact, cannot speak." GLaDOS stated many times in the chamber where she first received the cube. It would never hurt her; it wouldn't stab her, try to crush her with "mashy-spike-plates", trap her in a room with (defective) turrets, fill the room with neurotoxin, place a "spinny-blade-wall" in front of her, throw bombs at her, or set up a booby trap in the stalemate resolution annex. It could not do any of those things. It was a cube. Just a cube. Chell hoisted the cube off the floor and on to her hospital bed thinking maybe that was a reason to get attached; In Aperture Science there where not a lot of things that were not trying to end the test subject's life. She rested her head on the cube, listening to the faint music playing inside, hoping to calm down and regain her sanity, and drifted off.

Recovery can be a very slow process, making the moment when the doctors say that you are healthy enough to go home feel like a long awaited gift. Although she never really had time to settle down in her apartment, she was glad to be back. There was very little furnishing, she had not been working long enough to afford much furniture, and her hospital bill was definitely going to postpone a trip to get more. She walked into her bedroom and flopped down on the bed, (the only piece of furniture in the room besides using companion cube as a bedside table.) the room had a single window covered with blinds. The walls where a faded shade of grey, the worn carpet was of a similar color. The room was completely empty accept for the bed. It reminded her too much of Aperture; the testing room's wide white paneled walls, sometimes having nothing but a button and a cube inside. She needed some color – anything besides white, orange, or blue. Especially not blue, she would rather not be reminded of the doctors barely being able to save her when the effects of the repulsion gel began sucking the calcium from her bones.

"We haven't quite pinpointed what element it is yet, but whatever it is, it does not like the human skeleton." The words of caution Cave Johnson's pre-recorded messages gave as Chell navigated the sealed-off test spheres of Aperture Science, but she didn't care anymore. She was out of Aperture, out of the hospital, and nothing was going to bring her down now.

She got up to open the blinds, and light spilled into the room, bathing the walls with the pale red glow of the setting sun. On the horizon she could see a few figures backlit by the intense glow of the disappearing sun's rays. She walked down to the edge of the wheat field to see that the figures were Jonathan and a telescope.

"Hi there." Jonathan said, noting her walking up to him, "Your out of the hospital, are you feeling better? Or did you run away after crushing your doctor with the cube?" he asked jokingly, and, as expected, received no response. "D'you want to join me? I am going to examine the lunar eclipse." He said while adjusting his telescope. Chell looked up into the sky, it was getting darker, and the moon was starting to come into sight. Although she thought he could get a pretty good view of the lunar eclipse without a telescope, she helped him adjust the lens. Through the glass she could see the surface of the moon very clearly, and remembered a recent experience that allowed her a much, much, closer look at the moon. She shuddered and jerked back quickly, knocking the telescope out of position. She then quickly began re-adjusting the telescope, having ruined the view before Jonathan could take a look. She looked through the lens and whipped around the telescope until she found the moon's surface. Or what she thought was the moon's surface, a white blurry circle was in view. She began to adjust the focus of the telescope, gradually the blurred lines of the image became more defined, now clearly not the moon. The edges of the image were now sharp and clear. Chell could see every detail of the slowly rotating core. The gyroscope frame visible from the holes on its side, the tiny Aperture Science logo printed on the side of its shell, the handle bars flexing back and forth. As it rotated its large green optic came into sight.

Chell stepped back, slightly surprised. She did not notice that Rick had been sucked into space as well. She definitely was not expecting to find him, when she saw the aperture logo she thought she had been looking at the corrupted core obsessed with space or an intelligence dampening sphere that had gone mad with power, but made little difference really. She was never going to see them again, without a telescope anyway.

To be perfectly honest Chell felt rather apathetic towards Wheatley's situation; maybe she would feel more sympathetic for his situation if it were not for – well, obvious reasons, and Chell did not feel much in the ways of forgiveness towards Wheatley, she did not think she could blame the entire situation on the programming for the central core, although he had never tried to kill her, Wheatley didn't seem too fond of humans even before he was loaded into GLaDOS'es chassis, and yet she could not say that she wanted him to suffer; Chell was not one for vengeance she just wanted to survive, but all together it just one more event she would rather forget.

Author's notes

Hi, this is my first fanfiction, and I am not a very experienced writer, so I would like reviews very much.