"Space! Ah! Augh!"

That really worked? she thought, stunned. A portal on the moon? It'd been a longshot, to be sure – hell, more than a long shot. More like utter insanity.

"Let go! We're in space!"

Still in a daze, she focused on the turquoise optic before her, which had shrunk to a pinpoint and was looking every which way, frantic, panicking –

"Space?" The yellow identity core came into sight and then whizzed past, amongst the stars at last and shouting as he flew, "SPACE! SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE…!"

Nice to know one member of their little party was happy with this most recent turn of events.

Squinting against the debris flying towards her, she doggedly turned her attention back to the task at hand and began weighing her options – all two of them: Letting go, or hanging on.

Not surprisingly, her compatriot favored the latter.

"Let go! Let go!" he was begging, apparently oblivious – or not caring – that he was requesting she trade her life for his. "I'm still connected! I can pull myself in! I can still fix this!"

"I already fixed it!" snapped another voice. "And you are not coming back!"

His optic flared, blinking wildly as the red-and-black robotic arm came into his line of vision, creeping closer, reaching...

"Oh no," he cried. "Change of plans – hold on to me – tighter! Ah! Grab me, grab me –"


The arm struck, somehow managing to simultaneously knock the core out of her hands and clamp its pincers around her right wrist. The core rushed past in a blur, headed for the stars; without thinking, she flung her opposite hand out, just in time to hook one finger around the handle of its battered chassis.

"— grab me, grab me, grab me – Oh! You did!"

"Yes, she did," snapped that same venomous voice. "But rest assured that I'm going to make you wish she hadn't."

Something was drawing them through the portal, out of the vacuum of space and back into the facility – both equally fatal scenarios as far as she was concerned. Problem was, she felt too tired to care.

Down, down they went, until they tumbled to the floor, victim once again to the Earth's gravitational pull. Unconsciousness beckoned, but she made herself close her other three fingers and thumb around the core's handle before shutting her eyes.

"Congratulations. You spared the moon from having a moron in permanent orbit. Now let the little idiot go."

"No! Do not let the little idiot go! Please! Please wake up! I can hack our way out of here! We can still escape!"

"You're dumber than I thought if you entrust your life to a tumor. Let him go."

"Ooh, or, alternate plan here, always nice to have options – you could…Wake up! And escape! With me!"

He fell silent, waiting hopefully for some sort of response, but she couldn't muster so much as a grimace.

Undeterred, he launched into a second round of dogged encouragement, saying, "C'mon, crack open an eye; just need the one, two's superfluous, really; then get the legs moving – but, just so we're clear, you'll need both legs, unlike the eye. Won't get too far on just one leg -"

"You should try groveling next. Whining doesn't seem to be working."

"Oi-oi! C'mon, partners again, right? Just like the old days?"

"Ah. Yes. The old days. When you were trying to murder her. Here, I'll put you on, just in case she's already forgotten –"

His voice again, recorded now, saying, "'Holmes versus Moriarty…Aristotle versus MASHY SPIKE PLATES!'"

"I-I…I didn't mean that! I didn't!"

"Oh, but you did. And when she wakes up, I'll be sure to tell you just how much you meant it."

"Don't listen to her! She's lying, she's –"

Another pause, and then another recording: "I loathe you. You arrogant, smugly quiet, awful jump-suited monster of a woman."

"Shall I continue? You've provided a multitude of evidence. Very convincing."

"N-no, you – you don't understand! I meant it then, I don't mean it now – oh, just wake up, please –"

She heard the hum of the robotic arm, felt the slight vibration as the clamps came around the core's other handle. He began protesting, pleading – all on his own behalf, of course – and then there was an experimental tug.

What to do? Keep hanging on, or let the little blue bastard kick the bucket and get a much-deserved taste of Android Hell?

"He's not worth saving. He's not even worth incinerating. But if he means that much to you, I'll tell him about the time I saw a deer – before I kill him."

She didn't loosen her grip, allowing herself to be dragged several feet across the floor.

"HA!" he shouted, triumphant. "That's loyalty for you! That's friendship!"

"Or rigor mortis. Funny how quickly it sets in."

"What?!" His handle twitched, and he started pleading in earnest all over again, saying, "Don't be dead! Can you hear me? She'll kill us both! Dead! Gone! Dos muerte – "

"Un muerto," the voice corrected. "I'm not going to kill her. Just you."

At this declaration, she scrounged up her last ounce of remaining energy and put her long-dormant vocal cords to use. The result was little more than a croak, but intelligible enough to get her point across.


This utterance was met with stunned silence, broken after a few seconds by an astonished, "Did you – and my auditory processors are doing some pretty mad things at the moment, won't deny that, but – did you just talk? As in, verbalize a statement? Open your mouth and put forth words? Well, one word, but still quite tremendous…"

Chell fainted.