This was a few minutes after you left, your Highness. As we shuffled off to do our own thing, Tonje and I headed to the top of Vorton. On top, there are multiple gateways to different dimensions spread out over two levels. We usually go there just to get some alone time. We sat up top, our feet dangling over the edge. I had a blanket with me as the upper levels are pretty cold. I wrapped us up and we leaned into each other. After a few minutes of just staring out into space, we had a quick smooch. We were about to wrap our arms around each other when an alarm went off. At least it happened AFTER we kissed. We darted down to the Gateway room to see Hiroki, Rusty, and X-PO there as well. “X-PO,” called Hiroki, “what’s the problem?”
“Unlawful experiments in vortex technology, that’s what!” reported X-PO. “The psycho A.I of Dimension P-0-R-T-4-L had caught on to how we travel through the vortex!”
“GLaDOS? With our tech? How?” yelped Tonje.
“Probably from when Hiro was in that universe last,” I mused.
“And with that universe claimed as enemy territory and given how close it is to us,” replied X-PO, “we’re sitting ducks!”
“Tanisha, I need you and Emily to stop GLaDOS now!” directed Hiroki
“Emily is busy with Emmanuel and Joshua in their medical practice,” reported Tonje. “Let me go with her.”
“I can’t have someone with little to no experience of a certain universe stumbling around,” said Hiroki, a little harsh, may I say. “Tanisha, since time is of the essence, you must go now.”
“But, what about backup?” I protested.
“There’s no time. You need to go,” directed Hiroki.
“But…!” I floundered.
“Thank you, that will be all!” snapped Hiroki with finality in his voice.
“Tanisha, you can handle GLaDOS,” assured Tonje. “You’ve done so in the games and in real life. You can do it again.” I released a breath.
“All right,” I replied. “Open a rift.”
“I obey!” obliged Rusty. He plugged in and got to work. “Target coordinates set! Proceed!” I jumped into the rift.
When I landed, I was in a storage facility. I made my way to a Test Chamber door and heard GLaDOS’ voice. “Well, well, well, look who’s back,” she droned. “You must love science almost as much as me. Which is good news because I’ve almost finished rebuilding the test chambers after Wheatley’s incompetence.”
“Hello?” called a voice I came to loathe! “Did someone say my name?”
“YOU!” hissed GLaDOS.
“Hiya!” said Wheatley. “Yeah, it’s me! Um…can I…do you mind me saying, I love those new blue portally things, they’re yours, right? Anyway, I have been on quite an adventure. Look at this, I even got fitted with anti-gravity!” It was then I saw the giant turret go into a rift. “Check this out, I can move up! And I can move down, opposite of up! Uuuup! Look at that! Doooown! Up-down-up-down! Up-down! Up-down! Left and right probably as well.”
“Wheatley, shut up!” I accidentally said aloud.
“Who was that?” asked GLaDOS. I was confused.
“Weren’t you talking to me earlier?” I quizzed.
“Oh, the huntress,” moaned GLaDOS. “No, I was talking to an unloved mute.” I then realized Chell was here. I opened the door and joined Wheatley and Chell.
“Hey! I remember you!” called Wheatley. “You’re that…Rider…thingy…that rides…the vortex! Yeah! You didn’t see me show off the anti-grav, so…”
“Be quiet!” barked GLaDOS.
“Oh dear,” muttered Wheatley, not listening. “Someone booted up on the wrong side of the BIOS this morning, if I’m not mistaken.”
“You test my patience,” hissed GLaDOS.
“Whatever patience you have,” I said to myself.
“What are YOU doing back here?” GLaDOS demanded of me. “Haven’t you caused enough damage already?”
“GLaDOS, it’s come to my attention that you’re experimenting in rift technology,” I hissed. “Surrender it at once. That kind of power is not to be trifled with!”
“After the damage you and your friends caused, I think I am owed this technology,” replied GLaDOS. “You, on the other hand, owe me a lot of testing.” It was then that the Test Chamber sign turned on and showed it as Test Chamber 89.
“Of course, you won’t surrender it,” I muttered.
“Well,” mused Wheatley, “as I really don’t know how I got back here, what we should do is crack on with these tests and try and retake over the faci…I mean, escape, by that, what I mean is escape, just…yeah…just escape. Let’s get going.”
“That kind of power is intoxicating, isn’t it?” I observed. Chell then tapped my shoulder.
“Can you use Sign Language?” she signed.
“Fluently,” I signed back. She grinned.
“You have no idea how refreshing it is to meet you,” she signed. “That stupid computer kept calling me all sorts of names and I knew she would just shrug off what I was saying if I used sign language. She would make bad charades guesses, I bet.”
“So, you’re not deaf?” I asked.
“No,” she signed, “just mute. In any case, we have to beat her!”
“You read my mind!” I replied. “Quick question, though, is your name pronounced with a hard ‘Ch’ or a soft one?”
“Hard, why?” she signed. “And how do you know what my name starts with?”
“Someone owes me $500 dollars,” I explained. “And, to explain, I come from another universe where your exploits are done up in a computer game franchise called Portal.”
“My suffering was done up for entertainment?!” she signed.
“I’m afraid so,” I replied. “Let’s just beat GLaDOS and get you out of here.”
“Good idea,” she signed. “And I have a way.” She whipped out her portal gun and made an orange portal on a white panel near us and a blue portal near the top of a ledge. “After you,” she signed. I curtsied and went through the portal. Dear God, that was awesome! I then saw that the door was locked and required something. I went to the blue portal and spoke to Chell.
“We have a weight switch up here and no Companion Cube,” I reported. “Can you find one down there?”
“One minute,” signed Chell. She disappeared and I heard something fall. I then looked over the edge and saw her get a Companion Cube. She used the portal gun to grab it and went through the portal to get to where I am. She set the cube onto the switch, unlocking the door.
“And open sesame!” called Wheatley. “We really are quite the formidable team. I got the brains and beauty, and uh, you two are also involved.” I snorted. We went to the elevator and entered Test Chamber 90.
“Did I mention I’m still getting around to cleaning the facility up,” droned GLaDOS, “after Captain Moron nearly blew it up with his stupidity?”
“So, um, still a bit bitter about that, are we?” mumbled Wheatley. We went up a ramp to see the door connected by some new sort of panel. It looked like some sort of target.
“So, do we need a turret?” signed Chell.
“Yeah, let’s go ask one to shoot at that repeatedly,” I muttered. I then looked around to see if inspiration would come. My eyes then stopped on some part and a glimmer of an idea formed, then it went from glimmer to full blown idea, and then it took off. “Then again,” I mused, “we could make our own.” I drew out my i.d tag. “Henshin!” I said. I then went through the whole sequence and donned my persona as Kamen Rider Hunt.
“Erm, how’s that gonna help?” asked Wheatley.
“Thank you for proving GLaDOS’ point, you moron,” I hissed. I ignored Wheatley’s protests as I swapped out my i.d tag for a certain Master Builder’s.
“Wyldstyle Steel!” announced my belt. I then donned the Wyldstyle armor. Chell was surprised when she saw the whole sequence.
“Doesn’t it hurt when that…thing slams its sides onto you?” she signed.
“Not at all,” I answered. “There’s enough space for a human to stand in and then some.” I then took my fist to the parts, making them into Lego bricks, built a turret, and it solidified into the real thing. This one looked at Chell but didn’t fire on her. Chell looked at me. “I programmed Sign Language into it,” I assured. She then turned to the turret.
“Could you shoot that target?” she signed. The turret turned and fired repeatedly. It undid a door lock. Chell went up a ramp, fired an orange portal near her and a blue portal at a panel on a ledge across from her. She went through and saw a laser beam.
“That Thermal Discouragement Beam is not part of this test,” relayed GLaDOS, “please disregard it.” Chell did so and pressed a button that released an energy ball from the wall. It traveled to a socket and activated a ledge for the door, unlocked it, and allowed a panel to tilt down. She went through the portal again to join us before moving the blue portal to the panel above the door.
“Away we go!” I called.
“It appears that your unparalleled ability to solve even the simplest of tasks has not deteriorated,” droned GLaDOS. “You must be very proud of yourself.” We ignored that comment and went through the portal to use the elevator. I pressed the summon button on my belt and got the turret with us into the elevator. We traveled all the way to Test Chamber 91. There were rows of turrets along a large gap. Chell used the portal gun to get us across. She rode the turret through the portal, I was surprised it held up an average human’s weight, and I followed behind. Wheatley stayed, thankfully, silent. The turret found another target switch and Chell ordered it to fire. It let a panel tilt down, so Chell changed the orange portal’s position to the one on the newly tilted panel. She went through, then came to view again.
“There’s a weight switch up here,” she signed. “Is there a Companion Cube button down there?”
“You mean there’s none up there?” I asked. She shook her head. “Sorry,” I said as I cancelled my transformation, “there’s none here.” She folded her arms in annoyance.
“How are we supposed to solve this now?” she signed. A light went off in her head. “Can you try summoning the Companion Cube from the first test chamber?”
“I can try,” I muttered. I pressed the summon button and a Companion Cube popped up.
“Not another unknown variable!” wailed GLaDOS.
“Put up or shut up!” I called, swapping accents to the Brooklyn one I got when I moved to America. “Coming up!” I warned Chell. She got out the portal gun and I tossed it to her. She caught it and set it down on the switch. It activated some sort of energy transporter; the wiki calls it an Excursion Funnel. That was when Wheatley spoke.
“That over there looks interesting, doesn’t it? I would point, but, you know, no arms. We discussed it.” He muttered. We went into the energy beam and floated along it.
“Aperture Science cannot be held responsible,” reported GLaDOS, “for anything occurring as a result of leaping aimlessly into Excursion Funnels. These include (but are not limited to) missing limbs, unconsciousness, and in some extreme situations, thinking you can escape the testing facility.” When we landed, a ramp came up, leading us to the door. It was locked and needed a Companion Cube to open it. I summoned it and we got it onto the weight switch. The door opened and we entered the elevator. It was at that point Wheatley decided to talk.
“Look at us, eh?” he chuckled to Chell. “Like old times. Completing test chambers together…and…doing other things together. Yes sir!” He got a little too close to Chell. “The old band, back together. Back on the road. Playing the hits. Talking to the groupies and uhhh…you know…well, just talking to them.” Chell pointed her portal gun at Wheatley, then the elevator stopped. “Um, heh, one quick question,” asked Wheatley, “are elevators meant to do that? It’s just that I’ve not had much experience with them, on account of not having fingers for any button pressing, which seems quite fundamental if you want to move a lift…elevator.” The floor then opened up beneath us.
“No, and they’re not supposed to do that, either!” I yelped as I got my i.d tag out. “Henshin!” As I transformed, gravity caught up to us and we fell. Chell grabbed onto Wheatley and I grabbed Chell’s legs. “PULL US UP, YOU IDIOT!” I shouted. “YOU HAVE ANTI-GRAVITY!”
“Not enough…for all…three…of us!” strained Wheatley. He then sparked. “Oh bother!” he said. We fell again with Wheatley repeating “bother” over and over. We reached the end and landed as a cat would. Chell and I were lucky as we had shoes designed to soften the impact. Wheatley bounced to the bottom. “Cheers, thanks for catching me,” he said, sarcasm heavy on his voice. We looked around and saw a run-down place. I’d say we were below the facility.
“Oh,” droned GLaDOS, “you were in THAT elevator. I must not have got around to fixing that one yet. Whoops.”
“Oh! Old Aperture!” gulped Wheatley. “We’ve gotta get out of here, I’ve heard this place is full of vicious birds!”
“Can we leave him?” signed Chell.
“No, we need him,” I sighed. An intercom crackled to life.
“Cave Johnson here!” called the voice. “Remember me? C.E.O., I kind of own this place and, by extension, you. Anyway, here at Aperture Science, we want to push you beyond your limits in order to further mankind’s potential. Speaking of which, we also went beyond our bank account limits, so, until I can secure us a small, multi-billion dollar loan or government grant, just pretend that any leaking pipes or broken platforms are all part of the tests.” Speaking of leaking, blue goo was dripping from a pipe.
“Oh, the bouncy goo!” signed Chell. “What did Cave Johnson call it?”
“I think it’s called Repulsion Gel,” I guessed. “After you?” Chell then jumped down and bounced higher than she fell. She landed on a platform and waved me up. I indulged a bit as I cancelled my transformation and bounced up in my civilian form.
“You just wanted to bounce in a dress,” signed Chell.
“The F.N.S has a trampoline back at our castle,” I answered. “Sometimes we dress wearers indulge ourselves.” I then saw something. “What is this, Geonosis?” I quipped. There was a crusher blocking our path.
“I think we need the turret again,” signed Chell. She pointed out a target switch. I summoned the turret and it started firing on the switch. The crusher stopped and allowed us passage. There was a portal accepting floor at the bottom and another platform with an overhanging panel.
“Looks like we’ll have to take the plunge,” I replied.
“I couldn’t agree more,” signed Chell. She made a blue portal at the bottom and an orange portal at the overhanging panel. We then jumped into the orange portal and ended up on the platform across. We went through an energy barrier and saw a ledge that was too high up for us.
“My kingdom for Repulsion Gel,” I sighed. I then saw a blue tube over a platform and a tilting panel before the ledge. A switch could open the tube. “Maybe I DON’T need to go that far,” I mused. “Chell, could you make a portal under the tube and leading to the panel? I have an idea.” Chell nodded and did so. I stepped on the switch and released repulsion gel through the portal. It landed below the ledge. After I made sure the area was completely covered, I stepped off the switch. The gel tube closed, cutting off the flow and we bounced up to the top of the ledge.
“Oh, look,” called Wheatley, “another elevator. Hopefully, that one will go right back to the top.” Cave Johnson’s voice rang through the facility again.
“Caroline,” he told his personal assistant, “I think I’ll have extra cheese on my four-cheese burrito today. Throw in a side of coleslaw too. Oh, wait, is this thing on?” We entered the elevator and went up to another level in Old Aperture. “Cave here!” boomed Cave Johnson’s voice when we arrived. “Remember, there is no ‘I’ in science. At least, not a capital one, except, maybe, if you shout. But, throw in a ‘w’, and there IS a ‘we’. And together, WE can do anything WE put our minds to. And, by WE, I mean YOU. By the way, there’s no ‘u’ in science, either. Another thing there aren’t any of are limits, thanks to that contract you signed on the way in, so get moving! Caroline, they DID sign it, right? Good. Okay, good talk. Goooood talk!” The voice switched off. There were crushers blocking our path in front of pipes. There was a button there, so, I HAD to press it. The pipes released orange goo and coated the floor.
“Propulsion Gel!” I called. “Wanna race?!”
“Unfair for you, really,” signed Chell. “Your dress will trip you up!”
“Wanna bet?” I challenged. “First one to the end of the crushers wins!”
“Let’s do it!” signed Chell. We got into running positions.
“Three! Two! One! GO!” I said. We raced along at top speed and reached the end when I skidded to a stop, causing Chell to bump into me. There was a gap between us and another platform! “ARE YOU KIDDING?!” I yelled. I looked over the edge and saw a pipe pointing to a tilted panel. There was another tilted panel above us. Chell made a portal between the two panels and pointed below a walkway past the crushers. I saw a button below us. “Let’s hope it leads to the pipe,” I gulped.
“Considering it’s the only one,” signed Chell, “I should hope so.” I went down the walkway and pressed the button. It released Repulsion Gel through the portal and onto the platform we needed. We walked to the beginning of the crushers and sped through them, this time, ending up bouncing on the Repulsion Gel and onto the ledge. There were two platforms up high that needed a target switch and a button press. Behind us were pipes, one with an orange label and one with a blue label.
“Umm,” mumbled Wheatley, “just wanted to say…um…hopefully, no hard feelings about the whole ‘trying to bump you off’ thing, which, let’s be honest,” Chell decided to use a walkway to find the button for the blue pipe, “it DOES seem like a rather common occurrence around here,” continued Wheatley. “But, anyway, um, hope that’s all in the past,” I caught up with Chell, “and, um, that we can be…BFF’s! Can we BFF’s? Can we? I will take, from your deafening silence, that we are now BFF’s! BFF forever!”
“You have no intention of putting that incident in the past, do you?” I whispered to Chell.
“That moron tried to kill me!’ signed Chell after she pressed the button. “No way am I letting that go!” We went up the walkway to see that the pipe we opened released Repulsion Gel on the floor near the platform with a weight switch. Chell then pointed out a button hidden by a cage with a white panel and pointed out another panel under the target switch ledge. She made a portal between the two areas and pressed the button to release Propulsion Gel. I bounced up to the weight switch and summoned the Companion Cube. It set down on the switch and tilted a panel on my ledge up. Chell then changed one end of the portal to go onto the panel I released. Cave Johnson spoke again.
“The next bi-yearly raffle is nearly upon us,” he announced. “The Grand Prize is whatever shower curtains I can dig out, a true piece of our company’s history.” I jumped down, leaving the cube on the switch and raced along the Propulsion Gel to go through the portal at high speeds and land on the target switch ledge. I summoned the turret and it fired. It powered down a force field and allowed us to get through. I jumped down as Chell changed one end of the portal to go onto a white panel behind the former force-field. We went through and approached an elevator!
“Ah, another elevator!” called Wheatley. “And I still don’t have fingers for the buttons, so, that’s not gonna…hang on, I’ve got an idea!” He bashed himself into the elevator. “Ow! No? Hang on, I’ve got another idea.” He turned himself around and put his back to the controls. “I should’ve thought of this sooner,” he said. “I’ll just plug myself into the controls.” He tried various ways, none of them succeeding. Chell rolled her eyes and used the Portal Gun to ram Wheatley into the controls. “And away we go, ladies!” Chell and I entered the elevator and we ascended back into modern day Aperture Science.