"I know you're not dead, you know."

The test subject didn't respond or even stir. Blood stained the side of her tank top, and the turret responsible for it sang, "Searching…"

"Get up," GLaDOS demanded. "We both know you're just trying to get out of testing. But that's not going to happen. I saved your life, and now you're going to test for the rest of it. That was the bargain."

There was no answer. The human, eager to finish the last test of the day, had sprinted around the corner without looking. It had been reckless, stupid even. If she'd just looked, she would have been able to simply reach around with one arm and tip the turret forward, leaving a clear path to the exit door.

But she hadn't looked. She'd made her first serious error in her long career of testing, and had been unconscious before she hit the ground.

"And you are just unconscious," GLaDOS said, desperation beginning to enter her voice as she tried to ignore the fact that the girl's chest didn't seem to be moving. "I know you are. You couldn't possibly be dead. You're far too experienced a test subject to allow that to happen." Protocol demanded the AI not interfere with Science, but if the human would just wake up, she could crawl her way over to the elevator, and from there, she could be transferred directly to the infirmary. "This isn't funny anymore!"

A crusher slammed down from the ceiling, smashing the turret so quickly it didn't even have time to not blame anybody. "I mean, not that it was ever funny, because it wasn't and it's not. Do you think this is some sort of a joke? You have a terrible sense of humor, [Subject Name Here]. Perhaps we should work on that."

The woman didn't even stir. GLaDOS felt dread welling up inside of her. She hadn't even known she was capable of feeling this level of emotion. "Look. If you get up now, you don't have to test ever again. I won't even make you stay here. You can go. And I'll bake a cake for you. A real one. You can even supervise if you like."

In some mixture of desperation and fear, she activated the sensors inside the test chamber, and continued talking while they scanned in an attempt to distract herself. "Come on. We had a deal, and it did not include dying. If you terminate this contract, I'll be forced to take action. You remember that room full of screaming robots I threatened the moron with? Well, it's real, and I can have you sent there for—"

The sensor beeped, cutting her off, and the announcer said in its horrible, horrible cheerful voice, "Search complete! No humanoid lifeforms detected! Would you care to search again?"

"Yes!" GLaDOS snarled. "You're a defective program. I don't think you've been accurate even once in your entire pitiful excuse for an existence! I should have had you permanently deleted years ago!"

The announcer was immune to her ranting. "Search complete! No humanoid lifeforms detected. Would you care to search again?"

"Yes! Again!" GLaDOS ordered.

"Search complete! No—"


It took another seven thousand, two hundred and fifty-two tries before she could believe the sensors. Her optic was still locked on her test subject, and as a claw gently lowered a sheet from the ceiling to cover her, she whispered, "Chell…"

There was no response.