They had waited a few more days for Chell to continue to heal before either one of them had brought up the idea of the job contract.
However as Chell was now able to move around without much pain and the bandages on her arms had been removed, GLaDOS had decided it was time to get it over with. Step one of this test after all, was the idea that they could even agree on anything for it to work.
So she showed up in the office that Chell had been using as her room for the time being and sat down at the table with papers.
Chell was stretching her arms when she had come in and was continuing as GLaDOS sat down.
“What are you doing?”
“Stretching.” Chell replied simply as she stood on one leg holding the other behind her.
“How do you know to do that if you don’t remember anything?"
Chell shrugged. “Don’t know. I remember some things. I know what things are, just don’t remember much about my past.”
“I see. Well, will you sit down? We need to get this over with.”
Chell watched her carefully but took a minute to stretch her other leg before walking over and sitting across from the woman.
“Well since this is a rather....unorthodox hiring process I suppose we’ll have to skip the normal registration.” GLaDOS flipped through the pages the company normally had people fill out. She’d brought them as a reference to work off of. She paused for a moment. “Oh wait, ignore those, they’re for test subjects.”
“Can I see them?”
“I suppose. Though I don’t see why. As I recall you still refuse to test.”
Chell shrugged and GLaDOS rolled her eyes but passed them over. She watched carefully as Chell flipped through them.
“Anything familiar?” She found herself asking. Chell looked them over then shook her head.
“Not really. I might have seen it before but I can’t remember.” She kept the pages next to her though. “What are we doing?”
“Discussing what you will be doing here and getting it in writing.”
GLaDOS sighed and wrote that down on the top. “There look, first point. No testing.”
Chell watched her write it out and then nodded.
“And I can quit if I want.”
GLaDOS paused. “I thought the entire idea for this was you staying here. You can’t just leave a job whenever you want you know you know.”
“Three days advanced notice.”
She still didn’t want to write that down. And it irritated her. “You didn’t answer my first question.”
“It’s not a job if I can’t leave, it’s just being trapped again.”
GLaDOS fell silent, Chell was still watching her as she thought it over. She didn’t like it but....this was Chell. The woman was dangerous when she felt she was trapped. Chell when trapped, was single minded and lethal.
“Very well. But it will be five days advance notice.”
That seemed acceptable to the woman who just nodded and continued. “I’d like to be able to go outside sometimes too.”
“Yes, you already said you were going to go and see if there were people. I don’t see what that has to do with this.”
The woman shook her head. “Not to explore or go places, just sit outside. I don’t want you to think I’m running off if I go outside for an hour.”
That....made a bit of sense.
“I suppose humans do need fresh air. Supposedly. Though our recycled oxygen has worked fine for years.”
She still wrote down the part about going outside.
As they wrote and debated, Chell had taken a pencil and was doodling on the official registration forms. GLaDOS couldn’t see from here what she was drawing, or writing but the woman was paying enough attention to the talks that she couldn’t complain. Not that Chell was making it easy.
“I said no testing.”
“I don’t see how assisting the robots in the testing if they get stuck is the same as-”
“I don’t trust you that much yet.”
There was a pause after that and GLaDOS wondered if she’d meant to say that last word. Chell however still had her emotionless mask on.
“Fine, we’ll put it as possible future goals.” And to her surprise Chell nodded but remained silent.
“Now about lower Aperture...”
The terms were long and complicated, however eventually they had come to a conclusion.
“Very well. Now I suppose we’ll have to come up with a job title.”
She watched the woman’s lips go thin. She could only guess some of the things the woman was expecting her to suggest. Well perhaps it was time to go against expectations.
“You are my assistant.”
And it was worth it because there was that look of surprise that crossed the woman’s face before she could hide it. GLaDOS added it to her tally. Besides, the important word was in that sentence, even if Chell didn’t realize it. Even if she didn’t really understand herself why the word felt important. ...it just was.
“You will follow my directions, unless they violate our contract. You will be provided with a room of your own, I will assist you in obtaining what you need to survive if I am able to and neither of us will attempt to kill the other unless an attempt has been made by the other party first.”
There was a lot more in what they had written down but Chell nodded.
“I’ll stay here as temporary room then and explore a bit. Might be some salvage things in the non test section. After that I’ll go outside for a few days.”
And there was the thing she didn’t like to think about.
“Yes, of course.”
She didn’t act like it bothered her, because of course it didn’t.
“Can you leave the facility?”
GLaDOS paused, taken by surprise at the random question and then frowned. “Why would I want to?”
Chell shrugged. “To see what the outside is like? Your body is portable now. What would happen if you walked outside?”
That’s not what GLaDOS would call it; mobile maybe. However....
“I’m not sure....I would have to work on keeping a connection to my main servers in Aperture itself...” She thought this over. “Maybe in the future.”
Chell just nodded. Putting down her pencil she passed the sheets over to GLaDOS. “That’s it then?”
“That’s it. I suppose we can always make future changes if needed.” GLaDOS had taken the papers back without thinking and glanced down at them. She paused then looked over at Chell. The woman had drawn a test chamber....it actually wasn’t that bad. Neither was the drawing.
“Well it turns out you might have one thing you’re not terrible at.”
“Not dying?” Chell glanced over.
“No, draw....wait.” GLaDOS had flipped the page over to look at the doodles underneath the question ‘would anyone notice if you went missing?’ ...these weren’t doodles.
“This is binary.” She looked over at the woman who frowned slightly.
“Let me see.”
GLaDOS passed the page over and Chell studied it and then nodded. “I remember writing that way and I can read it.”
“How do you know binary?”
“I don’t know.”
“Of course not.” GLaDOS sighed. “Well we’ll have to keep an eye out for any other ‘talents’ you might have and not remember.
Chell simply nodded at that.
“Until then let’s get the rest of your things in order. You start as soon as you get back from your outside....exploration.”
Getting up Chell went over to start gathering the few things in the room she’d acquired since staying in the facility.
However GLaDOS was a bit more preoccupied as she’d looked at the back of one of the sheets and realized that there were more drawings. A turret, that damned cube with hearts on it the woman seemed to love so much and.....well her. There were two drawings, one was clearly from memory of her normal chassis and the other was one of her in her new body. Well just the head and shoulders. It wasn’t actually that bad. There was also an attempted self portrait but the woman apparently wasn’t happy with it as it was scratched over a few times making it hard to see.
She was going to say something but then decided to just take the papers with her. A talent in drawing could come in handing in designing test chambers and for her plans on getting more records of the abandoned areas of Aperture.
This was a skill she could use, that was why she was keeping it. As evidence. No other reason.
She got up and put her papers in the folder and walked over to where Chell was sorting through a box of things.
“I suppose I’ll ....see you later.”
Chell just nodded. She hadn’t asked for the papers back so she must not care that GLaDOS saw the drawings, which was good.
Later as GLaDOS was putting away all the papers, after making a digital copy of their agreement, she found herself looking at the written binary again. She hadn’t had a chance to read it before passing it back over to Chell but now she did. It had been written while they were debating so it must have been half unconscious, like the doodling.
Which would explain why it was just a jumbled bunch of words strung together.
‘Chell test testing chell outside freedom voice’
There were a few more random lines before they dropped off and were replaced by the actual doodling again.
None of it made any sense. Though she had to admit she spent a little time looking over it to see if it was a code of sorts. However it seemed to be just what it looked like, random words thrown together while half paying attention.
The real question was if the woman knew binary, what else did she know?
Plugging herself back into the main controls of the facility, GLaDOS went back to the testing records of the woman. She’d have to create an employee record as well, the new information could be added there.
With a final look at the testing file, she marked it as “Testing Completed. Test Subject Status: Alive.” Before filing it away with the rest of her finished testing records. Now she just had to figure out how to write an employee record for the most thrown together job Aperture probably ever had.
Oh well, it was something to think about rather then dwelling on that woman.