When Chelsea opened her eyes, everything was black. She couldn’t see anything. She was laying on her back on the cold, hard floor. Chelsea sat up and looked around the room. Her eyes started adjusting to the darkness, but she still couldn’t see very much except an emancipation grill on the left side of the wall up ahead.
“How does it feel, sparrow?” GLaDOS said suddenly said. “You are trapped in the darkness and unless you can find a way out you shall wither away and die metaphorically and literally.”
“What is going on?” Chelsea asked sternly. “Where am I?”
“You are inside the fifteenth testing chamber,” GLaDOS said. “I hope you appreciate what I’ve done. I’ve sacrificed a bit of science for you, you monster. That is only the least of what you have put me through, too. You have singlehandedly managed to cause me more problems than anyone else, including your mother, and that is something I never thought I would say about anyone. Part of me wants you to die in this room. However if you were to die, the science would never be done, and we can’t have that so I have decided to content myself on forcing you to live. I will never let you die, sparrow. I will keep you alive for all eternity if possible using you for whatever science I can, and if you do manage to kill yourself, I will just kill everyone you care about. I feel like that’s the more fair punishment. Don’t you? Anyways, I decided to turn off the lights and see what you did.”
Chelsea wanted to cry. She had no desire to continue testing in this godforsaken place, especially not without Jeffrey. Chelsea was tired of continuing, and despite being aware of how stalling during tests could be dangerous, she stared out into space feeling nothing. She pulled her legs up to her body, put her head on top of them, and started tearing up. Chelsea just wanted to die then and there. She sat like that for a few moments.
“What’s taking so long, sparrow?” GLaDOS asked impatiently. “Is the test too hard for you? Boo hoo. I thought it would be easy for you considering that you have the ability to make light.”
A lightbulb went on in Chelsea’s mind, and she remembered what she saw immediately before she went to sleep. Chelsea remembered that she could make hard light particles. It was the simplest form of hard light she could make. Her parents told her that she would make them all the time as a baby. As she got older, she just grew used to turning them into more complex forms such as discs or shields, but she still knew how to make simple light particles. Chelsea knew that she could use them to find her way around there.
Chelsea wiped her eyes with her right wrist and then pointed her right hand up towards the ceiling. She made one particle appear from the center of her hand. She made it float up to the ceiling. After making one, she decided to make more. Chelsea caused multiple small hard light particles to fly out of her fingers and fly around the room filling it up with hard light particles so that she could see everything. The experience felt magical to her, seeing all these little particles of light shine like stars. It even made her smile to see them fly around.
GLaDOS was amazed, too. The lights were filling up the room like a flock of blue fireflies. It was truly beautiful. It caused her to have another flashback from Caroline. She was in a yard during a warm summer night. She was a child running around in a yellow summer dress with no shoes on. She was running around trying to catch fireflies. It amazed her how bright they shone, and she wondered how and why they were able to do what they did. With her was another child, another girl only a little bit older than she was, she was not sure whether it was a friend or a sister, but the other child was wearing overalls and a white t-shirt and carrying a jar. In this jar were some fireflies, the older girl beckoned for her to come closer and closer she came.
That was when GLaDOS snapped herself back to reality. She had no time for these intrusive memories. She believed that she locked them all away and deleted them, but if she were honest, she knew that was a lie. She had been able to control them more easily before, but somehow, this impudent teenager managed to drag them back. In an effort to block them out, GLaDOS forced herself to focus on what Chelsea was doing.
Chelsea filled the testing chamber with her particles of light until they were spaced out evenly enough so that she could see the whole chamber. Chelsea picked up her portal gun, stood up and looked around. As it turned out, the room was not too horribly large and was covered in white tiles. Chelsea saw that the emancipation grid was in front of a glass gate that was holding up a cube against a reclining wall. Chelsea knew that even if she broke the glass she would not be able to stop the cube from dissolving in the grid. She would have to figure out a solution to this problem.
Chelsea walked forward and around a corner going left to see what else there was. She saw that before she reached the platform where the door was maybe 100 feet up there was a much larger emancipation grid blocking the whole expanse under the door, a grid that stretched across a 20 foot diameter. Chelsea knew she would have to fly up there in order to reach it, so she flew up through the emancipation grid to see what she could see. When she reached the other side, she saw the platform where the door was with a red button in front of the door. Chelsea landed on the platform, walked onto the button, and as expected, the door opened. She stepped off the button and flew downwards towards the ground passing through the emancipation grid. Chelsea realized what she was expected to do now but was not sure about how to carry it out. How could she get a cube through two emancipation grids?
Suddenly as Chelsea was thinking about what to do, she heard the sound of a rocket being launched at her. Chelsea swerved quickly in order to avoid it. She just managed to and looked around for the source of the sound. Chelsea saw the tell-tale laser locking onto her and swerved again. It was a rocket turret on the ground that had just been activated. She flew upwards back through the emancipation grid looking at the rocket turret and wandering what to do next. The rocket turret fired one more rocket at her, but she jumped onto the platform out of his sights as the rocket flew through the emancipation grid quickly hitting the ceiling not much further away. Chelsea sat down on the platform as she thought about what to do next. She was breathing hard, and her heart beat had accelerated. Chelsea would have felt more fear if her anti-depressants would let her feel anything. The doctor robot must have administered more while she was sleeping.
“You should pay more close attention to your surroundings,” GLaDOS said suddenly. “I mean I wasn’t even really trying to hide the hole that the rocket turret was in. You should have seen it easily.”
“Maybe if someone didn’t turn off the lights,” Chelsea yelled towards the ceiling.
Chelsea then looked down, sighed, and said to herself, “Whatever, I already know you don’t care, so what’s the point?”
“That’s a lie,” GLaDOS said. “You know that I care about you. All the science that I want to do is dependent upon you living, so I care very much about you. You should count yourself as fortunate. I’m actually going to go out of my way to take care of you unlike all the others. Soon, I will be the only one who will.”
“Have you forgotten about the nine other people in this facility who are trying to save me?” Chelsea asked looking up and crossing her arms.
“Not at all, but soon they will be incapacitated and it will just be the two of us, working together, for as long as you live,” GLaDOS said.
Chelsea felt a twinge of fear inside and said, “What do you mean? What are you going to do? You know that you can’t stop them.”
“I have my ways,” GLaDOS said. “All you need to know is that when they are out of the way you will be all alone with me. It will be a wonderful life.”
“I will never be alone,” Chelsea said defiantly. “I never have been alone.”
“Are you referring to God?” GLaDOS asked coldly. “Do you really believe he cares about you? I mean honestly. There are or at least there were billions of people in the world. Why do you think he would care about you individually?”
Chelsea paused for a moment. She had believed that God loved her that morning but with all that had been happening, it was hard to believe that again. Chelsea did believe that God loved her even in the midst of the hell she was enduring. She had to. It was the only thing keeping her sane. However, Chelsea had to remind herself why she believed what she believed again. She already knew, but she had to take the time to remember.
Chelsea finally looked up and dissolved all the lights in the testing chamber. The chamber was dark once again. GLaDOS could only see because of her infrared vision.
“I know because of Jesus,” Chelsea said. “At one time, the whole world was like this. It was completely dark because the Devil influenced the people who made it dark. It seemed like God was nowhere to be found. Sometimes, it still seems like that because the darkness can obscure my view and prevent me from seeing clearly, too.”
Chelsea then created a ball of light in her left hand and said, “However, the truth is that God has always been there even when people couldn’t see him. He created the world, He gave us our moral code on the inside, and he had a plan to redeem the world and fill it with light again. He made a nation for himself, a nation of unfaithful people, then he sent his Son, Jesus, to pay the price for our sins and give us a way back to him to fill the whole world with his life. He is alive now. He conquered death and all the evil that rules inside men’s hearts. He resurrected and gave us his Spirit so that he would fill us with light, too. One day, he is going to come back and fill the whole world with his light and then all the dark will disappear forever. He wouldn’t do all that if he didn’t care. Would he?”
A thought suddenly occurred to Chelsea. Perhaps the rocket turret would be unable to see in the dark. If that was true, then she could get past him.
“I know what your religious creeds say, sparrow,” GLaDOS said interrupting her thoughts. “But I want to know how you know all this, objectively speaking.”
Chelsea extinguished the light and thought for a little while.
Then she said, “History…history and faith.”
Chelsea then ran, jumped off the platform, fell through the emancipation grid, and landed on the ground. She was right. The rocket turret couldn’t see her in the dark. It didn’t have night vision. Chelsea felt satisfied with her plan until GLaDOS turned on the lights. Chelsea was blinded by the light and couldn’t see immediately, but she had the presence of mind to create a shield around her body. No sooner had she done it than had the rocket turret started firing at her. Chelsea flew her ball upwards until she could tell that she had passed the emancipation grid and found her way to the platform while waiting for her eyes to adjust to the brightness. She dissolved the shield around her body and sat down.
“What the hell was that for?” Chelsea screamed.
“You didn’t give me a satisfying answer,” GLaDOS said.
“What?” Chelsea asked in confusion. “I responded. I did what you wanted.”
“I know you did, but I want to know more,” GLaDOS said frankly.
“What is your problem?” Chelsea asked in frustration as she rubbed her eyes with her left hand.
“I thought someone of your religious persuasion would be more inclined to talk about their faith. Your kind usually are.”
“Why are you talking about Christians like we’re a new species of insect or something?”
“I’m just curious. That’s all.”
Chelsea rolled her eyes that were finally adjusting to the light and said, “I know from history because Jesus really existed, did things that no one could explain, and said things that no one could believe. If God didn’t care, he would never have sent Jesus. I also know from faith because I have a supernatural sense inside me that what God says is true.”
“Interesting,” GLaDOS said turning off the lights again. “That is all I wanted to know.”
“You are a bitch,” Chelsea said annoyed that she had to get used to the dark again.
“You are old-fashioned,” GLaDOS responded. “Science is the main way that people can know anything in this world. You are a member of one of the only groups of people in the world who refuse to accept that. That explains why you are so slow to figure things out.”
“That’s not what you were saying about me earlier,” Chelsea retorted creating light in her hand again. “Besides, faith doesn’t mean that we can’t rely on science or our own reason to know things. It just means that we believe there are truths that cannot be figured out by reason which God has to reveal Himself for anyone to know. He has to give us the ability to sense those truths and know they are true. Reason and logic can only do so much. So really, I understand more than you do because I use a different sense than you do.”
“But if you can’t prove it to other people, how do you know it’s there?” GLaDOS asked.
“Other people should be able to see it as a result of my life or God has to reveal himself to them,” Chelsea said. “As for me, I can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit inside my soul. He has been with me this whole time, reassuring me and telling me that he loves me. I feel a great deal of love inside of me that gives me the strength to do anything, and I know it doesn’t come from me. It is something no one can take away, and every time I doubt he’s there, he makes me believe all the more. Besides, you’re a scientist. Doesn’t that mean that you have to keep your mind open to every possibility?”
“I keep myself grounded in reality,” GLaDOS said coldly.
“As do I, but I see more of reality than you do. It must be quite a blow for a supercomputer such as yourself. Isn’t it? You have to admit that you must be human to understand some of the most important truths in this world. If you didn’t deny that part of you, Caroline, you would be able to understand more.”
“Just keep testing,” GLaDOS said dismissively. “I am satisfied now.”
“Finally,” Chelsea said standing up and walking to the ledge where she saw the rocket turret searching for his target with the search light.
Chelsea jumped off the ledge, phased through the emancipation grid, and landed on the floor. She looked to where the robot was and quickly snuck around the corner past him. She then found the emancipation grid on the wall once again and stopped. Chelsea prepared a disc and fired it straight at the glass that was holding back the companion cube. Unfortunately for her however, that was when the hard light bridge came over the glass. The disc was knocked away, and it dissolved.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Chelsea said.
She quickly decided upon what to do next. Within a moment, Chelsea had another idea. She placed an orange portal on the wall in front of the nook where the cube was being held. She then placed a blue portal in front of the wall where the corner was. After doing that, Chelsea created a hard light ball. She moved that ball to the emancipation grid and the opened the ball up to form a ring in the middle of it. Chelsea then dissolved the space in the middle of it, so that there was effectively a hole in the emancipation grid. She smiled at her work and then ran around the corner to where the rocket turret was.
“Over here, sharpshooter,” Chelsea yelled in an effort to get his attention.
The rocket turned towards the source of the sound, aimed his laser onto her, and fired his rocket at her. Chelsea created a disc under her feet and flew it out of the way as the rocket came towards her. The rocket went through the portal, through the hole in the emancipation grid, and straight through the glass shattering it immediately. Chelsea quickly moved the hole she made to the bottom of the emancipation grill and made it large enough for the cube to go through. The cube slid through the hole, and Chelsea picked up the cube with her portal gun. She then created a spherical shield around her body and flew quickly flew upwards flying past the rocket turret and going through the emancipation grid. The rocket turret locked onto her and fired a rocket, but she had landed on the platform before it was able to reach her. The rocket hit the ceiling as Chelsea placed the cube on the button and watched the doors open.
“Nice work,” GLaDOS said. “You’re as good at testing as your mother was.”
“You know, GLaDOS,” Chelsea said as she walked through the door. “I would appreciate the compliment if I didn’t know you were a psychotic monster who was just trying to make me go insane with her manipulation. Unfortunately however, I’m not buying it.”
“I’m hurt,” GLaDOS said. “If I had a heart, it would be broken. I was simply complimenting you on your success and you act as if I’m trying to hurt you. You have no right to be so cruel.”
“I have no right? Really?” Chelsea said staring at the ceiling as she walked down the stairs. “You have torn me away from everyone and everything and have done your best to weaken me and traumatize me into a state of helplessness so that you could use me as your test subject. I have every right in the world to be angry, and I have every right in the world not to trust you!”
“You still shouldn’t go around being suspicious of everyone,” GLaDOS said condescendingly. “You will soon go crazy. You have to be able to trust some people.”
“Like you?” Chelsea said stopping and crossing her arms.
“But of course, from now until all of eternity if possible, I am going to be your caretaker,” GLaDOS said in a tone that she knew made Chelsea’s skin crawl. “You have no choice but to trust me because I am the one who is going to be providing for your every need and every desire for the rest of your life. The sooner that you let go of your suspicions and learn to trust me in that way the sooner that your life will be so much better.”
Chelsea realized what she was really saying underneath the lines. Chelsea knew that she meant that she needed to give in or GLaDOS would make her life hell, but she also realized that GLaDOS was right in saying she couldn’t be suspicious all of the time. She would go crazy that way. Chelsea would have to use her common sense to know when to be suspicious and when not to be. She had to keep her mind in check like her mother did long ago. It was up to her and God now, because Jeffrey wasn’t there to keep her mind together for the time being.
“You’re right, GLaDOS,” Chelsea said as she started walking again.
“I usually am,” GLaDOS said proudly.
“Yeah,” Chelsea said. “Thanks for the compliment!”
“You’re welcome,” GLaDOS said in a tone that was clearly disappointed at not hearing what she wanted to hear.
Chelsea then went in the elevator and waited for it to head down to the next testing chamber. As soon as it got going, she curled up into a ball a started to cry once again.