Chapter 1: Welcome to the Enrichment Center
“Why… the hell… does Spy hate me so much?” Scout asked himself, running as fast as he could away from the base. There were a good many answers to that question, but the most recent was the fact that he’d placed a bucket on the top of a door, ready and waiting for Spy to walk in the room and tip it over. He’d gotten original, and instead of water, had filled it with a combination of chili powder and orange juice.
After the man had gone to his room and calmly changed out of his suit and balaclava, he’d walked straight up to Scout (who was still rolling on the floor laughing) and pointed his blade at him.
“You have three seconds,” he’d said.
Scout didn’t know what the three seconds was for, but he ran, making sure to steer himself into a field with no roads anywhere nearby― though he was a fast runner, the Spy had a sweet (if slightly keyed) sports car.
“Ahhh, crap,” he said as he realized he couldn’t see the base anymore. “Aww, crap, crap, crap .”
Scout didn’t know how long he wandered around, trying to find anything besides tall, yellow, swaying grass.
“Oh, thank god,” Scout mumbled to himself as he saw a building at the edge of his vision. It couldn’t have been much larger than a port-a-potty, but it was something. Even if it was just an outhouse, Scout really needed to pee, and didn’t trust the grass to not be hiding some sort of biting insect.
Scout really should have tuned out Sniper’s stories of the ferocity and diversity of Australian wildlife.
He saw the sign that said No Trespassing , and the other that said Shock Warning: Electric Shed .
Still, he reached for the door.
“What the hell’s an electric shed, anyway?” was his last thought before everything went black.
He woke up in a room with an old, saggy bed in it.
“Hello, and welcome to the Aperture Science Enrichment and Testing Center.” A rather automated-sounding woman’s voice spoke. You are now ready to begin testing.”
The voice changed. It was still mechanical, still robotic, but now it flowed as though she― it ― whatever― was actually talking. “I thought I’d stopped using human test subjects. But you , you dropped in here, waiting to be taken as a test subject. And, there is one thing that I need, the only thing that humans are good at: being unpredictable .”
Scout gaped all throughout this lady’s (he was sure it was a lady) speech. Then, he took a deep breath.
“Wait-wait-wait-wait-hold- up! So I’m your frickin lab rat? For what ? Am I gettin’ paid? Wait, didja kidnap me? That means I’m not gettin’ paid, right? Where the hell am I anyway?”
A long silence followed Scout’s loud, frenzied rant. Then:
“Congratulations. You are the first test subject to have spoken. I applaud you for being the first one to have language capacity surpassing that of a fetus. Now that you have demonstrated that you can talk, please do not do so anymore.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean? And ya didn’t answer any of my questions! Where am I , ya crazy lady?”
There was another prolonged pause, then the voice changed back to the prerecorded message. “Hello, and welcome to the Aperture Science Enrichment and Testing Center. You are now ready to begin testing.”
“You said that already!”
“Please proceed to the door. It is in the far right corner of the Restoration Room you are currently in.” the recording continued.
“Oh, hey, ” Scout noticed for the first time that there was, in fact, an exit. He opened the door, to a long hallway, with a podium at the end.
“Now, please make your way down to the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, located at the stand at the end of the hall you are currently in.” the prerecorded instructions sounded like they were made for morons.
When Scout got to the podium, he looked carefully at the device on there. It was an odd looking thing, white and shiny, with claw-like attachments on the end surrounding a tube. That was glowing. A glowing tube.
“Pick up the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device.” said the recording, “And proceed to the testing chamber.”
“No, nuh-uh. I ain’t pickin’ that freaky-deaky thing up. How do I get outta here?”
“Pick up the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, and pro―” the recording was cut off by the robotic lady again. “Moron. Can’t you see that if you don’t pick up that gun and use it , you’ll be stuck standing there like an idiot for the rest of your natural lifespan?”
“This doesn’t look like a gun to me.” Scout said, peering into the glowing barrel. “If it’s a gun, then what does it fire?”
“Oh, for― I made these recordings for morons like yourself. The world has sabotaged my idiot-proofing by creating you, a better idiot. It’s a portal gun, in case you didn’t hear it the last two times . You shoot it, and it creates a portal. You shoot with the other trigger, and it creates a different portal. Pass through one portal to get to the other one. There . If you have understood this, I can delete seventeen megabytes’ worth of useless directions. If you have not, I’ll incinerate your body and use the resulting heat energy to lower the electricity bill by a marginal two percent, judging by how scrawny you are.”
Scout carefully picked up the gun. “So I use this to shoot one portal, then the other, then I get to teleport between them?”
A loud screeching sound resembling nails on a chalkboard came from the speakers, making Scout jump.
“You deserved that. The first testing chamber is open,” the voice said, as a hidden door to his right revealed itself. “Good luck.”
Chapter 2: A Beginner's Guide to Testing
“At least you’re not fat,” said the voice, as the door closed behind him. “Then again, maybe it would be better if you were. You look so gangly that I worry you’ll fracture all of your limbs even while wearing the Long-Fall Boots.”
“Huh?” Never mind the lady’s insults for now, Scout was confused.
“Over there, right in front of you .”
She seemed to be directing him to a pair of shiny white knee-high boots, with what looked like a…
“Oh, hell no! I’m not wearing high-heels! Ew! Get someone else to cross-dress for you, freak-show!” Scout exclaimed, looking at the sleek, crowbar-shaped curve of black metal that angled the boots up and would lift him on his toes if he put them on.
“You have to put them on. Otherwise, you’ll die.” Her voice echoed through the room. “And I don’t mean you would snap your neck as soon as you slipped up on the first, most basic test. I mean that I’ll make you stay here, in this sealed-off room. With every breath, the air will slowly be depleted of oxygen and replaced with your own stale breath, carbon dioxide poisoning your body slowly. You’ll feel like the world is spinning, and your vision will go fuzzy, and you will die. All because you wouldn’t put on the boots.”
Scout could feel chills run through his spine with every vivid word she said. “Okay, okay, I’ll put on the boots! Just… Just… Okay? ”
“Good.” She chuckled.
Scout frowned as he shucked off his cleats and wormed his legs into the boots. He stood up in them, the white plastic snug against his calves. He stood up in them, expecting to be wobbling like he was when he was a little kid, trying on his mother’s heels―he was six , okay, what was he supposed to do, he was bored!
He found himself standing straight up, all of the muscles in his runner’s legs now ready for action. He felt spring-loaded. And―
“Wow!” Scout said, jumping up and down. “Holy crap! This is nuts! How am I even doing this?” he asked as he sprung up six feet in the air, then went back down. “I gotta show Engie this!”
He stopped, rocking slightly on the balls of his feet. “When do I get to go home?”
It took a few seconds for the woman to click back on. “Hmm? Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening. Your squirrelly voice was making me dumber, I swear. And the last time that happened…” If the voice had a body, it would have shuddered.
“So, when do I get to go home?” Scout asked, remembering to be nervous again.
“Let me pretend to think about that.” the voice said. “In the meantime, press the button and the door will open to the first testing chamber.”
“Nuh-uh,” Scout said, unconsciously starting to hop up and down again. “Answer me.”
“This room is still airtight, you know. And you’re talking and… bouncing… so much, it’s a wonder there’s still enough oxygen for you to whine like that.”
Scout would have snapped back at the lady, but he felt a pressure in his chest and the air started to become stuffy― it was all in his mind, but he pressed the button anyway.
“I find it funny that you could have pressed the button whenever you wanted to. You would have died by breaking your neck if you tried to do the test without the boots, but at least you would have thought you had your dignity.” said the lady.
“Oh, just shut up!” Scout said. She kept on trying to pull a fast one over him, but it was not gonna work… Again…
The door in front of him slid open to reveal a large space with white and gray panels, and strange devices on the floor and walls, oversized buttons and bright lights.
At the opposite side of the room, there was a door.
“Solve the test. It’s that simple.” she said.
“Uhh… okay.” He walked across the room. It was a decent-sized space, but he made it to the door fairly quickly.
“The door’s not opening, lady,” he said.
“Oh― Not that simple. Just― I’m not supposed to say anything. Figure it out.” her words, clipped, echoed through the space.
“Figure what out? I’m here! ”
“The button! The button, you moron! ”
“I already pressed the button!” Scout protested. “C’mon, lady, look around! If… you’ve got… eyes… you know what I mean…” he trailed off.
She decided to let him stew in his own awkwardness for a minute before responding. “There are cube dispensers. And buttons on the ground. And in case you haven’t figured it out, you’re going to need to use that portal gun.”
“Ohh…” Scout said. He’d forgotten he was holding it.
“Ready… aim… fire!” He thought, and a blue circle appeared on the wall. “Fire again! But with the other trigger!” And an orange one appeared right next to it.
He peeked through the orange portal. He poked a hand through it and watched his hand come out the other side.
“Oh holy crap! Ha! Yes! I figured this out! By myself! That lady can go―” Scout paused. “I’m sayin’ this out loud, aren’t I…”
“Very much so, yes. And just so we’re clear, you are the slowest person on record to figure out how the portal gun works.” she responded.
“Bleh, bleh, bleh,” Scout muttered quietly under his breath, even though that lady had to have cameras and microphones all over the place. Where was she, anyway? In some hidden room somewhere? Yeah that had to be it, she was probably in some room in some area far away from where he was, kinda like the announcer voice back at the base―
“Are you going to test or stand there like an ugly piece of garbage?”
“Yeah, got it, okay,” Scout said, already looking around the room and thinking out loud. “So that cube is there, and it probably has to go on that button over there, which means I’ll have to jump over there, aaaand…”
Scout fired the gun again. He really liked the satisfying fwoosh that came out of the operating end. And the shoes were so springy .
“Whoo! Oh yeah! ” Scout cried out, sailing through the air with a cube in his possession. He somersaulted in midair, landing on the ground with his free hand up like a gymnast. He plunked the cube on the button and watched as the the door slid open while the lights around it changed from blue to orange.
“Mmm-hmm, I did it, Scout is the best, yes!” Scout was dancing in front of the open entryway, seeming to have again completely forgotten that he was in a strange place he knew nothing about, with no obvious way to get back home.
“You are the biggest moron I’ve ever met.” the lady said as Scout made his way to the elevator. “No, wait… second biggest. It’s a close call, but you’re the second biggest moron. But do not take that as a compliment.”
Scout didn’t take that as a compliment, but he did have a smug grin on his face as he got onto the clear glass elevator.
The tests were getting harder, and a fair bit more dangerous. Scout had been fine with the moving floor panels, and the “light bridge” thing, and even the weird orange slippy-gel thing, but then…
“What the hell are those?” he asked, looking at some sort of strange sleek white oval thing standing up, that seemed to be looking straight at him with a glowing red eye. What was it with this place and shiny white spheres anyway?
“That would be a turret,” said the lady. By now, she had a constantly exasperated tone, but Scout couldn't picture her saying anything cheerful anyway.
“Sentry Turret.” she clarified.
“Wait… ‘sentry’ as in they’re gonna try and shoot me?”
“Very much so, yes,” this was the closest the lady ever came to sounding happy― a smirk in her voice. “But don't worry, they use a spring-loaded mechanism to fire the whole bullet, so instead of having shells rip through you at hundreds of miles per hour, you'll instead be pelted by round upon round of lead at only dozens of miles per hour. They will kill you, though, if you stand there too long; the impacts can cause a good amount of internal organ trauma.”
“Oh, come on. Please, lady, you're kidding me.”
“Keep complaining and I'll fix them so they fire bullets properly.”
Scout sighed, head hung down. “… Fine .”
He was careful, solving the first part of the test with ease, then tentatively approaching the turrets’ searching eyes with trepidation as he tried to plan out his next move. His eyes darted across the room― he probably had to put a portal behind them or some― when his eyes landed a poster.
“Know… Your… Paradoxes… ” he read aloud the bold words from the tattered sign. “ This… statement… is… ”
“Stop! What are you doing? Get back to testing!”
Scout ignored her. “‘This statement is false’, what’s that mean?”
“Quiet! Quiet!” The lady sounded almost scared.
“But like, if it's true, then it's a lie, but if it's a lie, then it can't be true…”
“Hush! Shhh! Don't let it bother you!”
“Well, it's bugging me!” Scout said. “Is it true or false?!”
The lady was full-out panicking now. “ La― There ―la-la-la― is ―la― no answer ―la-la-la― it's a PARADOX ― LA-LA-LA-LA― now stop talking about it!”
“But which is it?!” asked Scout again.
“JUST STOP! It's a PARADOX!”
“Just because it's a ‘paradox’, doesn't mean it can't bug me,” Scout protested.
The lady wasn’t listening anymore; she’d clicked off the microphone.
Scout talked aloud anyway. “So if it's true, it's false, but if it's false, it's true...that don't make any sense. Okay, so…”
The turrets he’d stopped paying attention to suddenly fritzed out, sending bright blue sparks into the air and twitching before collapsing in a smoking heap.
Scout blinked. He turned back to the poster. Know your paradoxes… in the event of a rogue AI, it read.
“Huh.” Scout said to himself. He’d have thought more about if his stomach hadn't suddenly growled. He walked away from the wall and tossed a turret onto the button, passing the test. When would he get dinner?
Engie had looked at Spy with frank eyes. “You knew you were gonna have to get the kid sooner or later. It's gettin’ close to dinner, you picked later, now go get ‘im.”
Spy huffed through his nose at the guilt trip, but he was right, if only that someone had to retrieve Scout and Spy was the best at finding him. Spy was often tempted to let the brat camp out outside of the base, but, sadly, with battles nearly every day, it just wasn't an option.
He snatched his car keys and walked out the base door. Getting to the car, he brushed a hand across the long marks in the paint and toyed with the idea of driving in the opposite direction of wherever Scout’s footprints led.
He needed a cigarette. As he reached into his pocket, sitting down, he heard a yelp that nearly made him jump out of his skin. “Oy!”
He hit his head on the car roof from the surprise. “Merde! What the…?”
“Oy! Over here! Did I startle you? Sorry ‘bout that, mate!” The accent wasn't Sniper’s Australian, however awkwardly bumpkin it sounded. It was British, West Country English if Spy was right― and he always was, when it came to these things. And it was… coming from his pocket.
He reached back into his suit as though he expected its contents to be those of an expired yogurt container.
“Hey―hey― hello, mate! Whew, daylight, haven't seen it in forever. Well then again, this isn't really daylight, ‘cause we’re in a garage…”
“Oh, it's you.” Spy might have preferred expired yogurt to the defective sapper he held between two fingers.
“Yeah! Your best buddy Wheatley! Man, I've been in your suit forever― you know, it feels good that you care enough to keep me out of the action whenever possible. Those bullets and such, not used to it, don't like it. Did I tell you about where I used to work before this? Well, not the falling from space, but the part before that.”
“I am sorely tempted to drop you and let you smash to bits,” said Spy.
“You wouldn't do that, mate, would you?”
He would, but he couldn't. As annoying as that sapper was, he needed it whenever Dell was fixing his usual sappers when they got damaged in the heat of battle. God, this thing, who would even make it?
He looked around. No good place to put it. The garage had few shelves, and they were all occupied with parts of equipment being worked on. If he left the idiot sapper there, he might actually damage some of it.
He chose to fling him― it― as hard as he could onto the faux leather of the passenger seat.
“Woah! We’re going on a road trip! Shotgun, best spot in the car! I knew you were a good friend!”
Spy lit his cigarette, which he needed more than ever, as he backed out of the garage.
Posted on the 25th, so holiday update! Merry Christmas and/or Merry Smissmas, everyone! By the way, I love comments, so don't hesitate to leave one. They make my day.
Chapter 4: The Moron They Built (To Make Him an Idiot)
Spy pulled over as he saw the trail of trampled grass leading away from the road. Dammit.
“What are we doing? Are we stopping? Gas station, yes. Beef jerky and bathroom break and all that.” That sapper was still going.
Spy got out of the car, slamming the door perhaps a little harder than necessary. Then he heard:
“Okay, while you're gone, I'll keep the engine running. Yes, I'll keep the place ship-shape. Hey, mind if I turn on the radio? I'll listen to Beethoven, or Wolfgang― one of the classics . I'm sure I can figure out how to work this…” the sapper was trying to attach itself to the radio.
Spy did not want to take the idiot. No, no, absolutely not.
The car’s blinkers started to flash. “Oh, oh, that’s not it!” The sapper― Wheatley― said.
Spy ripped him from the console and tossed him in his jacket pocket.
“Adventure in the gas station it is, then!” Wheatley said, and Spy groaned.
“Acid pits?!” Scout stood stock still, facing the next test, which had green seething liquid bubbling all around him.
“Don't worry about it. If you died, it'd be rather fast. Well, not that fast. But I wouldn't be able to hear you screech, and that counts for something, now doesn't it?”
“No! No it doesn't!” Scout was bruised on one side from where he missed a turret, had a huge blister from where he accidentally touched the light bridge, and a welt from where a cube landed on his face. He wanted to go home , and eat , and then just go to bed . “Screw this, lady, lemme outta here! I'm done!”
“No you're not. I've got plenty more tests for you to complete, and after all, we’re doing such good science.” she sounded… smirky .
“No we ain't! You're just torturing me!” Scout was done . “You're just like, portal here, portal there, portal here, portal there, ” he said, punctuating each phrase with a random shot of the gun into nowhere. “Now tell me how to portal on outta here!” He stamped his feet on the ground like a child, the boots giving him a bit of lift. It might have been funny, if he hadn't accidentally pulled the trigger and created a portal right below him.
“Aaaaugh! God, no, not acid, not like this! Not… like… oh.” The burning Scout felt was from falling sideways and skidding on a grated catwalk. He looked around at yellow insulation and exposed lights. A crack in a wall, showing the blue portal in the testing room he was in, tiny and far away.
“ No! ” the lady said.
“ Yes! ” Scout countered, and started running.
“And that’s how I fell from space. Man, I kinda miss that space core. He was a jolly fellow. But he was annoying. Have you ever had that? Where you're stuck with someone that rambles on and on and on and won't shut up?” Wheatley’s voice was not muffled in the slightest by the Italian fabric of Spy’s coat pocket.
Spy was nearly out of his mind. And cigarettes. He was nearly out of those as well.
Then, the sapper stopped. Wheatley stopped talking, and Spy could have dropped to his knees out of relief, if it weren't for the dirt.
“Hold up,” whispered the sapper in a voice that set the Spy on edge. He sounded serious. He sounded scared.
“I have a GPS, and either it's faulty, or… take me out of the pocket.” his voice practically quavered.
“What?” Spy arched an eyebrow.
“Just do it, mate, it's important!” Wheatley protested.
There was no point in refusing, Spy thought, and took the gadget out.
“Oh God, it's just as I thought… we’re right by her lair. You can see the entrance from here,” Wheatley said. His voice turned accusatory. “ Why aren't we in a gas station? ”
“Oh, for the love of―” Spy moved to put the sapper back when he was interrupted.
“Wait! Wait! I'm sorry! Listen, just lemme stay out of the pocket. And whatever you do, don’t go into that building over there.”
Spy looked where the robotic eye was pointed, and sure enough, a metal shed was stationed not too far from where he was standing. The trampled grass led right to it.
“I said don't go in that direction!” the robot protested as Spy picked up a brisk pace. “It's a bad idea!”
“How come?” Spy asked.
“That crazy lady I was telling you about― well, not the brain-damaged one, the other one, the brain-damaged one was actually really nice― she lives there.”
“Were you not listening at all to what I was saying earlier?”
Spy was saved from having to respond by reaching the door. Electric Shed. His gloves had no holes in them, so no issue there.
“Okay, listen to me. I have no limbs, and no way to prevent us from going down there. But once we are down there, we are going to be in a lot of trouble, so you ought to listen to me, alright?”
“Of course not,” Spy snapped.
“Well, I suppose you also don't believe that there are turrets ready to fire at you as soon as the lift goes down, do you?”
“What?” Spy was just confused as he opened the door. He stepped on a platform, but he didn't question why it was there, or why Scout wasn't there, as he was too busy facing off with the box of metal he held in his hand. “You really do need to be quiet, you―”
“ Turrets! ” Wheatley shrieked as the platform lowered and the first white spheres came into sight. Spy might not have known what he was talking about, but he was all too familiar with the red dot of a laser sight against his torso.
“Tube! To your right! Hurry!” Wheatley yelled, and Spy shoved himself bodily into a tunnel not much wider than a beach ball.
Spy swore as he heard pellets of some sort hit the tunnel. His shoulders and spine were fiercely jammed against the tunnel walls, and he heard Wheatley say:
“So, are you going to listen to me now, mate? It's for the good of both of us.”
Spy sighed and hung his head.
As the turrets ran out of bullets, Wheatley said, “I’ll take that as a yes . Now crawl forward, we’ll be able to find a danger-free zone, soon, I think.”
Guess who's on a writing streak!
George R.R. Martin. Always.
But also me, so expect the next chapter up soon!
Chapter 5: Reunions
Spy fell through a jagged hole in the tunnel and landed on a catwalk.
Scout was running on that catwalk and crashed into Spy.
“Ow! What the― ”
“Spy, thank God! ” Scout wrapped him in a fierce hug for about half a second. “Oh, yuck,” he said, realizing he was hugging him and pushing him away. “What the hell are you doin’ here?”
Spy had been forced to crawl on his hands and knees through tunnels, listening to an screwy robot, for what felt like hours (though it was minutes). “I had to come here to find you, you little―”
“Oh, you're here to help me,” Scout cut him off. “Oh, jeez , thanks. I mean, not that I need any help, but, well,” he suddenly grabbed Spy by the shoulders, shaking him. “Please help me get outta here, man! It stopped being fun like an hour ago!”
Spy patted Scout on the shoulder uncomfortably. “Please, let go of me.”
“Right, right, sorry.” Scout stepped back.
“So who’s that, then?” Wheatley called out. He’d clipped himself to Spy’s lapel like the world’s worst boutonniere.
“Augh! Yo, what the hell is that, Spy?”
“I have a name. It's Wheatley. And I’ll be the one leading you both out of here, thank-you-very-much.”
“It talks!” Scout gaped. “Is he for real?”
“Unfortunately, yes. Where are we, anyway?” Spy directed the question to the sapper still attached to his chest, but Scout answered.
“We’re somewhere in the backstage of all these ‘tests’ this crazy lady runs. I swear, Spy, it's nuts. Now, how do we get out of here?”
“That way! Follow those overhanging lights. That way is the safe way.” Wheatley said, his blue eye looking at a large, brightly lit room.
“No, it ain't!” Scout protested. “Lights mean cameras mean walls that try to squish you, and floors falling out from under you, and those stupid turrets―”
“You know about those ‘turret’ things?” Spy asked.
“You were a test subject?” Wheatley asked at the same time.
“Uh-huh, and now I want out.” Scout eyed the robot.
“Well, I know this place backwards and forwards, and I can guarantee you that going right over there will lead us to the exit, or failing that, somewhere close to it.” Wheatley said.
Spy glanced at the robot at his lapel, then at Scout.
“Spy, what even is that thing?”
Spy sighed as he thought the situation over. “It's something that’s known a fair bit about this place.”
“So you're sayin’ we should listen to him?” Scout asked.
“Yes,” Spy said.
“Okay…” Scout wasn't convinced, but he fired a portal into the wall next to him anyway. As he rocked on his heels, aiming the gun towards the room, Spy took the time to ask him a pressing question.
“What, exactly, are you wearing on your feet?”
Scout turned around and frowned at him as he pulled the trigger. “They’re real good for jumpin’ and stuff, okay? Let's go.”
Spy was rattled when Scout moved through the portal, which he hadn't bothered to examine closely. Scout paused, one foot in the room thirty feet from Spy, the other half planted on the ground next to him. “C’mon!”
“Well― ” Spy suddenly had his doubts not only about the plan, but about the reality of the whole situation. He tried to recall any incidents of Medic giving him an injection, but was ripped from his thinking by a surprisingly strong arm pulling him through the portal and into the room.
The sudden brightness made everyone blink, even the robot.
“See!” Wheatley said. “Now that we’re here, in this brightly lit, sectioned off, oddly well-kept room, we will be safe and find a way out.”
As he finished his sentence, two ceiling panels slid open to reveal a huge― huge! ― robot, with an orange glowing eye that looked right at him.
It was hanging from the ceiling, and it moved as the lady’s voice spoke. “Oh, I’ve found you. And you've brought some friends.”
“Wait, lady, you're in a robot? ” Scout asked, going up and peering directly in the orange bulb. That was damn cool.
“No, she is the robot, imbecile.” Spy had met this “lady” half a second ago, and he already knew more about her than Scout did.
“Yeah!” Wheatley cried. “No human could run this place!”
Three heads turned to face the blue-eyed metal box.
Then, the “robot lady” spoke in a voice she didn't even know she was able to synthesize. “OH, HELL NO! ” It shook the room, bits of plaster falling from between ceiling panels.
“What’s going on?” It may have been the head injury, but Scout just couldn't keep up.
“It appears that these two animatronics know each other,” Spy said, as he took the sapper off of his lapel and chucked it to the ground. With the way the larger robot was reacting, he did not want to have it on his bodily person.
“I am not an animatronic,” the lady said coldly. Then she turned to Wheatley, lying on the ground. “I got rid of you once, and you came back and took over my body. I got rid of you again, and you fell from space, and I had to sell you to stop you from pulling any more stunts. But somehow, you came back again! WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET RID OF YOU? ”
She was swinging wildly from side to side, and the room, once pristine, had chunks of plaster and metal falling from all directions. “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU FOR REAL THIS TIME! ” Then, she paused, as though she was taking a breather through robot lungs. “And that means all of you. If there’s one correlation I've noticed, it's that survivors are connected with more trouble later on.”
Everyone's eyes were darting around the room, but only Scout noticed the spiked panel through the exposed hole in the ceiling.
“RUN! ” Scout shouted.
It turned out Scout had actually learned a thing or two from the tests, because he didn't have to think before shooting a portal right below him. Falling is quickest, and he dropped straight back onto the catwalk they were on before, with Spy falling alongside him and landing with a less-than-graceful thud compared to Scout’s easy bounce.
Scout wanted to rub it in Spy’s face that, yes, these shoes were good for jumping, and that's why Scout was the one who landed on his feet― well, that and his natural athletic ability. But he didn't have time for it.
“Move it or lose it, ski mask!” he said, starting to take off, only to trip with his first step.
“Oy, careful, mate!” Wheatley said, underneath Scout’s boot.
Spy looked up as he was getting to his feet and nearly snarled. “Get away! This is your fault, imbecile!” Standing up, he kicked it off of the catwalk.
Or at least, he tried to. Wheatley wasn’t limited to the movements of a core anymore, and he used the wire attachments of the sapper body he was in to wrap himself around Scout’s boot. “I’m not going anywhere! I’m too young to die!”
“How old are you?” Scout asked, looking at the robot clinging to his boot.
“Well, the concept of―” Wheatley was interrupted from his diatribe by the loud rumble of the catwalk falling apart not more than twenty feet behind them.
This time, it was Spy who said, “Run, you fools!”
“He can’t run!” Scout said, as he took off. “I’m doin’ the running for him!”
Spy was running behind him, quick enough to cuff Scout on the ear. “No time for semantics!”
Everything was falling apart all around them, except for one clearly well-defined path.
“It’s clearly a trap,” Spy panted as they stopped at an intersection. Going to the right would likely lead them straight to whatever that trap was.
The walkway to their left started shaking and caving in.
“Only option,” Scout and Spy said in unison, and exchanged a quick glance. Both of them “jinxing” each other would likely be remembered in better detail than anything else about this incident.
They ran, and the path they were on led straight to another room, even bigger, even more well lit, with pipes and pumps and armaments in excess. The lady was suspended from the ceiling again; they climbed at least three flights of stairs, and they must have been directly above the room where they met her.
“Neurotoxin for the human gentlemen, then when they’re gone, I’ll disable you with the automated memory-purging robots. No funny business this time.” she said to Wheatley.
A green fog started to fill the room.
“C’mon, there’s still a chance!” Wheatley said to Scout and Spy, both of whom were starting to blink hard and cough. “There’s the… What if…”
“We’re gonna die,” Scout said. “I don’t wanna die!” In an act Spy would smirk at for the rest of his life, Scout grabbed his shoulder, starting to tear up, and said, “I’m sorry, Spy! I’m sorry our lives had to end like this! It’s not fair!”
Spy nearly laughed as Scout fell to the ground in tears. Poor boy. He had to get moving, though, because the green fog was starting to make him light-headed. He grabbed the sapper off of Scout’s boot. It was a robot, but he seemed to be crying, too― or trying to cry, blue eye dimming and brightening as it made sniffling noises.
“What― what are you doing, mate?” he said, sounding as if he was choking.
“You aren’t affected by the neurotoxin,” Spy chided, ignoring him.
He walked closer to the woman, the robot, the enemy with the orange eye. She swung, suddenly, towards him.
“There’s nothing you can do,” she said coolly. “If you had family in this room… I’d suggest taking your last few minutes alive to spend with them.”
Spy’s breath hitched in his throat. He turned around to face Scout, still lying on the floor, an incoherent mess, babbling for his ma.
He turned back to the robot. “It’s quite a shame I don’t,” he said to her.
Then, he took Wheatley, still in his hand. He would remember the label on the metal, “GLaDOS”, and would try to find more information later.
He placed Wheatley straight on the metal, right over the acronym. His vision was starting to blur, but that was okay. Automatically, the sapper wires shot out and connected themselves to the exposed cables of the larger robot.
His stomach dropped. Nothing was happening. His legs were growing heavy and it was getting extremely hard to breathe. He looked back to Scout. He took a step towards him.
Then, he heard a sound that was reminiscent of putting a fork in a blender.
“WHAT THE HELL?!” she― “GLaDOS”― screeched. Blue sparks were shooting in the air. “ How?! How?! ”
“ Oy! Oy! This is weird! ” the eternally oblivious Wheatley added to the shouting.
The blue sparks were slowing, and somehow, her mechanical voice sounded like a death rattle. “I know you exactly who you are… I have your information on file… things you didn’t know… and now… you never will .”
The glow of her orange eye sputtered out, as did the flow of neurotoxin, and smoke started to fill the room as her metal body hit the floor with a clunk .
“How… how’d you do that, Spy?” Scout looked up from his fetal position on the floor. He went from shaken to huffy in half a second. “How’d you do that? Tell me!” He sprang from the ground. “Why’d you wait so long?”
“It’s a sapper ,” Spy jabbed a finger towards Wheatley, still attached to the“GLaDOS” marking. “His only job is to disable robots.”
“Oh, wait, so I did it? Yes! Yes!” Wheatley laughed. “I did it, I saved us all. I told you I would take care of this!”
Spy frowned at the sapper.
“Now,” Wheatley said, “to take over this giant robot body that she’s been hogging― hey! ”
Spy slipped him back into his pocket. Then, he took Scout by the elbow, uncharacteristically gently.
“I think I can find the elevator from here,” Spy said.
“I can find it!” Wheatley said.
“We ain’t listenin’ to you!” Scout yelled towards Spy’s pocket.
“We missed dinner,” Scout said, looking at the empty table. “And it looks like they left us with dish duty.”
Spy sighed. “You take some food and go retire. I’ll handle this.”
Scout looked up at him. “You serious, man?”
“Don’t worry, I’m keeping a tally of how much you owe me. This… incident… added a great amount to that total.” Spy smirked.
“You have an odd way of being nice,” Wheatley, who had been silent for a record-setting time, had decided to start speaking again.
“You can start repaying me right now,” Spy said. “Take this thing. Keep it quiet. Or entertain it. Teach it to read― if you know how to read in the first place, that is. Don’t destroy it, though.” He tossed the sapper in Scout’s direction. “Oh, and please, keep wearing those boots.”
“Because they’re super useful, just like I said, right? Told ya so.” Scout smirked in Spy’s direction.
“No, because you look rather ludicrous, and I find that funny.” Spy replied, rolling up his sleeves and grabbing a dish. “Goodnight, Scout.”
“G’night, Spy.” Scout said, before walking out with Wheatley, who was silent once more, in his hand.
(The end is never the end is never the end is....)
This particular story is over, but there IS a part two. There is also GORGEOUS art of Aperture Science Scout (and Scout in general) at northern-raven's tumblr.