Meanwhile somewhere in the facility, Kayla was telekinetically carrying Sylvie and the robots down the center of a flight of stairs while Albina was riding down the railings on her feet which she had frozen into blocks of ice and while being propelled by her winds. Sylvie was calmly watching the walls go by to find the floor that they were looking for. P-Body and Alpha were doing twirls and flips in the air clearly having the time of their lives while Atlas was curled up in a ball and shivering. He was afraid of what would happen if Kayla let go. He hated it when he could not see where he was falling.
“I still don’t get it,” Kayla said. “Chelsea wants us to find the anesthetic gas room, but she doesn’t want us to turn off the gas right away?”
“Yes,” Sylvie said. “Chelsea’s plan is to trick GLaDOS into opening the exit. There’s obviously a way for her to get things into and out of the room, but she doesn’t want Chelsea to be able to escape through that way. So in the event that something happens when she has to open the exit, she won’t do so unless she thinks that she can knock out Chelsea first. That is why the gas has to be able to turn on.”
“But, when GLaDOS turns on the gas, what is going to stop Chelsea from passing out?” Kayla asked.
“Jeffrey is,” Albina said. “He can shapeshift into anything. Remember?”
“Oh,” Kayla said. “I understand now. But why can’t we just go where she is? We could just go to Caroline’s room and break her out ourselves.”
“I wish we could,” Sylvie said. “But I did not see anything on the computer database about where Caroline’s secret room was.”
“Nothing at all?” Kayla asked.
“Nothing,” Sylvie said. “Most information that existed about Caroline appeared to have been deleted. It doesn’t mention her at all. It seems that they were in a rush to cover up the fact that she existed.”
“That doesn’t surprise me,” Albina said. “They did not want anyone to know what they had done to her.”
“How could they do that to someone then just pretend that person didn’t exist anymore?” Kayla asked. “That is so cruel.”
“This place was home to some very evil people, Kayla,” Albina said sadly.
“It’s just hard to believe that anyone could be that cruel,” Kayla said.
“You have no idea how bad people can be,” Albina said darkly looking down.
Alpha looked at Albina in concern.
“Oh, well,” Kayla said. “At least, we can take comfort in the fact that the people who caused suffering here got what they deserved then and are still being punished for it now. We just have to defeat the last perpetrator. Then we’re going to get out of here, and Sylvie will write that book.”
“Speaking of which,” Albina said. “How close are we to finding that room?”
“Stop right here,” Sylvie said.
Kayla telekinetically stopped the group in mid-air while Albina dissolved the ice on her feet, jumped off the railing, and flew in place. They were stopped in front of a door next to a sign which labeled it the 68th floor.
“We have to go in there,” Sylvie said as she pointed to the door. “The anesthetic gas room is down that hallway.”
“Alright,” Kayla said.
She set Sylvie and the other robots down in front of the door. Albina landed behind them. Sylvie placed her hands on the wall and telepathically made sure that the cameras were still shut off. She smiled because they were. GLADOS hadn’t been able to repair them yet.
“The cameras are off,” Sylvie said as she opened the door. “We should be good to go.”
“Awesome,” Kayla said as she flew through the doorway.
P-Body walked through next. He had to drag Atlas behind him because he was stiff with fear from the flight. Alpha followed after them, Sylvie followed after him, and Albina came in behind her and shut the door.
“Follow me,” Sylvie said walking in front of everyone.
Sylvie hid it well, but she was nervous. She did not know how she was going to get to a place where she could turn off the gas. Sylvie could not deactivate the neurotoxin when GLaDOS was awake, so she was afraid that the anesthetic gas would be the same. It would probably be better being close by, but all the same, she knew that the place was probably put under heavy security. Sylvie could manipulate the robots. GLaDOS knew that, so she probably had something else set up. Nonetheless, Sylvie knew that she had to do it. If she didn’t, GLaDOS could just keep catching them. She said a prayer for peace and strength and pushed on.
Meanwhile in the back after taking a few steps, Alpha froze in place and did not take another step. Albina crouched next to him.
“What are you doing?” Albina asked.
“Can we really do this?” Alpha asked frantically. “Can we really win?”
“Yes, God is on our side.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“Are you afraid, Alpha?”
“Well, I’m not afraid of the robots killing me. I can shoot them, but what about when we face her? I was never really alive until I met you guys. Now that I’m really alive, I’m afraid of dying or being sent to android hell. I don’t want to die here. I don’t want to be trapped here either. I want you to take me outside again. I want to keep looking at the sky. It was so beautiful last night. I’m afraid I’ll never see it again.”
Albina wrapped her arms around him. She remembered her mother and the rest of her family. Albina wanted to protect her new friend in the way that she wasn’t able to protect them. She would not fail anyone else.
Albina stroked his head and said, “Alpha, you will see the outside again. I will not let you die here. I will not let anyone else die either. God is with us. Our endeavor is righteous, so we will succeed.”
“Okay,” Alpha said finding comfort in her words. “I’ll do it. I’ll make sure that no one dies under my watch either.”
“Will you be alright?”
“I think so.”
Albina let go of him and pat him on the head.
“Are you ready to go?” Albina asked.
“Yes,” Alpha replied.
As Albina started to get up, Alpha spoke up again.
“Oh, I forgot to tell you that outside God made a star move really fast last night,” he said. “It was beautiful. Does he do that a lot?”
“You must be talking about shooting star,” Albina said. “That was not really star. It was rock from outer space being burned up by earth’s atmosphere.”
“Oh,” Alpha said sounding slightly disappointed. “Oh, well! It was still beautiful. Does God make a lot of those?”
“They happen fairly often,” Albina said getting up. “You just have to watch for them.”
“Hey,” Alpha said walking in front of her. “When this is over, can we go outside and watch the stars again? Can we fly back up there?”
“Yes,” Albina said smiling. “We will go outside and watch the stars. Chelsea will come with us, too. She loves looking at stars and photographing them.”
“Okay,” Alpha said.
Just then, Kayla flew back and saw Albina with Alpha.
“Are you two alright?” Kayla asked. “Sylvie sent me back to look for you.”
“I just had to offer him some emotional support,” Albina said as she started walking down the hall. “He was a little bit scared.”
“I’m alright now though,” Alpha said. “I’ll be okay.”
“That’s good to hear,” Kayla said. “Because Sylvie found the room.”
“She did?” Albina asked.
“Yeah,” Kayla said. “Follow me.”
Kayla took off flying in the other direction.
Albina bent down to pick up Alpha.
“Thank you,” Alpha said.
“No problem,” Albina said as she picked him up.
She then flew after Kayla. The two girls continued flying down the hallway until they reached Sylvie, Atlas, and P-Body standing on the right side of a large window. When the trio arrived, Sylvie placed a finger over her mouth and motioned for them to look through the window. Albina and Sylvie looked through the window into a large factory-like room with a large machine labeled “xenon gas.” It looked exactly like the neurotoxin generator with tubes connecting into the wall. On the left side of the window they were looking into was a door leading to some stairs that went into the main room and a walkway going all around. There was a main entrance on the ground floor for the robots to enter in and out of. All on the floor were robots looking at the machine and all of its monitors to make sure that it was working. There were security cameras in there as well. The trio stepped to the right of the window and sat down. They needed a plan.
“So, what do we do now?” Kayla asked.
“We should just take them out all at once,” Albina said.
“I can help,” Alpha said pulling out his guns.
“No,” Sylvie said. “The camera in there is on. If GLaDOS sees us, Chelsea’s plan is ruined. She will tighten the security on her and she will not be able to get out when we do turn off the gas. We need to think of something else.”
Suddenly, Atlas had an idea. He pulled Sylvie’s arm and started chirping.
“No, she’s not paying attention right now,” Sylvie said. “She’s busy watching Chelsea.”
Atlas chirped for a while and used many hand gestures explaining his plan. Sylvie smiled and understood every word. P-Body gave a nod as well.
“That just might work,” Sylvie said. “Let’s do it.”
Atlas ran on ahead with P-Body running close behind him. Sylvie after putting her hand on the wall for a second ran on ahead and gestured for the others to follow her. Confused, Kayla flew ahead while Albina did the same.
“What was that?” Kayla asked. “What did he say?”
“You’ll see,” Sylvie said smiling.
“It is not like you to keep us in the dark like this,” Albina said.
“Trust me,” Sylvie said. “He has a good plan.”
P-Body opened a door leading to some stairs. He held it open until Sylvie came. After she came, he and Atlas went ahead and ran down the stairs. The others followed them down the stairs and towards where the main doors to enter the room were. Atlas and P-Body exited the stairs and gestured for their friends to stay in the stairway for the time being. Sylvie smiled and nodded.
“What exactly are they planning on doing?” Kayla asked.
“Just watch and see,” Sylvie said.
Atlas and P-Body walked towards the doors. There were currently no robots coming in or out, so the room was empty. It was just the two of them about to take on a challenge, the way it had always been. Except now, they now knew they were finally doing something good. They were nervous, but God-willing, they would succeed or at least die trying. Atlas placed his hand on P-Body’s shoulder and stared at him to ask him if he was ready. P-Body nodded and did the same thing to Atlas. They both gave quiet chirps of approval and looked forward as the ladies watched from the stairwell. The robots threw open the doors so that they hit the wall. Thankfully, GLaDOS was still not paying attention. The camera that was on the right corner of the room so that it could see everything was disabled temporarily by Sylvie. It was perfect. The robots in the room turned around quickly to see Atlas and P-Body. The two jumped up and down while making loud chirping noises.
“Isn’t that Orange and Blue?” one of the robots asked.
“What are they doing here?” another one of the robots asked.
“That doesn’t matter,” another one of the robots said. “The boss demanded for them to be exterminated, so we have to stop them now.”
The robots made teasing gestures and shut the doors. They ran back quickly making chirping noises to signal to everyone else to get ready.
“I get it now,” Kayla said smiling as she rushed out of the stairwell with everyone else following behind her.
Albina quickly dropped Alpha on the floor and stood ready to attack. All the other robots ran out of the room in a group rushing straight towards Atlas and P-Body. However, they were quickly broadsided by Albina, Kayla, and Alpha. Albina froze the floor and created instant icicles freezing one-third of the robots in their place. Kayla tore another third of them apart telekinetically while Alpha shot any of the survivors that remained. The trio was satisfied with their work. However, Sylvie now understanding the sentience of the robots found their pain hard to bear. She shut most of them off telepathically so that they would not have to suffer any more. Sylvie only left one alive to tell them how the machine worked. She did not expect to feel this much empathy for them. She didn’t know why she only felt this way now and not before when Atlas was explaining the plan. She didn’t expect to feel so much for them. Sylvie stared at the ground in sadness as she walked over to the one robot shivering in ice that was still alive. She kneeled down and placed her hand on top of its cold head in order to read its mind. After getting the information that she needed, Sylvie placed her hand on its head and shut him down in sympathy. As she turned away, a tear rolled down her cheek and she wondered if there was a better way that this could have been done.
Kayla noticed the tear and asked, “Is something wrong, Sylvie?”
Albina looked at Sylvie and wanted to know what was happening.
“What is the matter?” Albina asked.
“I shouldn’t have gone along with this plan,” Sylvie said. “They are not just things you know. They are sentient beings like me and you. I could hear their thoughts and feel their pain as they died. I don’t know why I didn’t feel this way before.”
“We didn’t do anything wrong, Sylvie,” Albina said. “They would have turned us in. We were simply acting in self-defense.”
“They were just bad robots,” Alpha said innocently as Atlas and P-Body nodded.
“So were all three of you,” Sylvie snapped at them. “At one time, you three were on her side, too. What makes you any different than them?”
P-Body and Atlas were taken aback and backed up. Alpha was shaken up too, but he had the courage to respond.
“We decided to be good,” Alpha said sounding like he was about to cry. “We aren’t bad robots anymore.”
“They could have chosen to do the same thing,” Sylvie said sadly.
“But they didn’t,” Albina said.
“I could have just changed their minds,” Sylvie said. “Like Alpha.”
“Then they would just be brainwashed slaves,” Albina said. “Is that what you would want?”
“I’m not brainwashed,” Alpha said defensively. “I did what you said because I was told to at first but now I want to be good. I do it because I want to not because I’m brainwashed!”
“Exactly, I could have taken over their minds for now and let them make up their own minds later,” Sylvie said.
“We didn’t have the time for that,” Albina said as she walked around the pile of dead robots to the door. “We don’t have time for it now either. We have to make sure that we can turn off the xenon gas machine so GLaDOS can’t put us to sleep anymore.”
Albina held open the door for Atlas, P-Body, and Alpha to walk through.
Then she said, “You’re way too hard on yourself, Sylvie. We did what we could do at the moment, and we acted in self-defense. It wasn’t wrong. They were just monsters who needed to be defeated. You need to let it go. It may sound harsh to say, but it’s the truth. You will need to remember that if you are going to be killing aliens.”
Then, Albina let it swing shut behind her. Only Kayla lingered over the dead robots as Sylvie stood there in her conflicted grief.
“You know,” Kayla said. “You could always fix the robots later and let them decide then. You have the ability to heal them. Don’t you?”
“I can’t,” Sylvie said. “When I shut them down, it’s permanent. We have all sent them to hell’s judgment.”
“Oh,” Kayla said. “Well, Albina’s right. They were evil. We had no other choice. God understands that. You don’t have to feel bad. I don’t.”
“I sympathize with God now. He said that he felt sorrow over the suffering of his people even if they were evil.”
“The Bible also says that he rejoices in the punishment of the wicked.”
“I wonder which one he feels more.”
“I guess it’s a mix of both.”
Kayla flew over to the doors.
“We had better get in there before Albina and the others get impatient,” Kayla said. “You’re the only one who knows how to turn off this machine. Come on!”
“Okay,” Sylvie said walking to the doors.
Meanwhile, Chelsea was still in the room sitting on the couch reading The Inferno. The book was even better than her Dad had described it to be. She would have to take it with her when she left. Even after the bath and shower however, Chelsea felt cold, so she stood up, walked over to the closet, and pulled out a long trench coat to put on. After putting it on, she walked back to the couch and sat down to read some more. Chelsea was cold, but she also figured that she needed to use it for when she went outside. She would have put on shoes as well, but she was afraid that GLaDOS would start to get suspicious.
“If you were cold, you could have said something,” GLaDOS said. “I’ll turn up the heat in there. Freezing humans is not required for your experiment after all.”
“Thanks,” Chelsea muttered without thinking.
GLaDOS was taken aback.
“I think that is the first time that you have actually thanked me for something,” GLaDOS said. “Our relationship appears to be improving.”
Chelsea said nothing but rolled her eyes. GLaDOS did not give up trying to communicate. She just wanted Chelsea to talk back.
“Since that is the case,” GLaDOS continued. “I must repay you with some advice. You look good in the dress, but you should probably put on make-up if you want your mate to like you.”
“Why bother?” Chelsea asked. “We’re not going to really see each other, so what’s the point?”
“Well, I’ve been thinking about that. It is wrong for me to deprive you of the most pleasure that a human can ever have, so if the first child reproduced from artificial insemination turns out to be mutated, I may let you attempt to reproduce the others naturally as a reward.”
Chelsea delivered a glare to GLaDOS in disgust. She could not believe what she was saying.
“In order for the mating to commence, the mates have to find each other attractive at least,” GLaDOS said. “I suggest that you make yourself look as beautiful as possible.”
Chelsea tried to stay calm. She would not have sex. She would get out. She just had to stay calm and wait.
“That is not happening,” Chelsea said as she picked up the book and continued to read. “I refuse.”
“I must insist,” GLaDOS said. “Though the process is ridiculous, most humans find it quite enjoyable. It may be your only opportunity after all if the world is as bad as you say it is.”
Chelsea was silently absorbed in her book and not listening.
“Alright,” GLaDOS said. “I’ll drop it for now. I’ll ask you again after the birth of your first child.”
Chelsea was at the section where Dante and Virgil were in the place where people who deliberately sinned were being judged. A snake-like creature called Minos would wrap his tail around his body and the number of times it coiled around the body determined the circle of hell that the soul would be sent to. Out of morbid curiosity, Chelsea was curious to see which circle of hell that GLaDOS would be sent to, so she skipped ahead a bit. The seventh circle of hell was where she would go. She would have been on the outer ring because her sin was violence against humans. In this circle, sinners were immersed in Phlegethon, a river of boiling blood and fire, to a level that matched their sins. The river was guarded by centaurs who would shoot with arrows whoever tried to get more of their body out of the water than they were allowed.
“GLaDOS would be in over her head,” Chelsea thought to herself. “She has killed so many people. She would be drowning in all the boiling blood and fire that she would be in.”
Chelsea chuckled silently to herself in morbid and sadistic joy as she flipped back to the page she was at in the book. GLaDOS noticed.
“What are you laughing about?” said GLaDOS. “The book you are reading is not meant to be funny.”
“I can’t tell you,” Chelsea said. “It’s not very nice.”
“Oh,” GLaDOS said unemotionally. “Are you still trying to be kind to me?”
“You might say that.”
“Well, I know all about that book. In the book as you probably already know, there are different levels or circles of hell. In each circle, sinners are categorized by their sin and endure different punishments that fit their crimes from life. As the travelers go deeper into hell, each circle of sinners is more evil than the last. You want to know something interesting? In the eighth circle of hell below the circle of the violent was the circle of the fraudulent. You know who was among those punished in that circle? Thieves.”
Chelsea looked up at GLaDOS. She would not have guessed that thieves would be considered worse than murderers on the one hand. But on the other hand, she knew what GLaDOS was implying.
“In hell, thieves were punished by being pursued and bitten by snakes and lizards,” GLaDOS continued. “The snake’s venom would make them go through various transformations. The punishment was just. Just as they had stolen the substances of other people in life, their identities were stolen from them there. Stealing from another person was considered such a terrible thing. Thieves were considered to be more evil than even murderers.”
Chelsea scowled at GLaDOS. She then relaxed her face to appear more at peace and unemotional so that GLaDOS would not continue to have the pleasure of knowing how she felt. Chelsea wished then that she could be more like her mother in that regard. Her mother could hide her feelings and be strong effortlessly. Chelsea had to make an effort.
Chelsea looked back at the book and said calmly, “It’s good news that I’m not a thief then.”
“Really?” GLaDOS continued. “What would you call a person who breaks into places and takes what does not belong to them then?”
Chelsea looked up. GLaDOS was just baiting her and trying to make her angry. Nonetheless, she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to respond to a question like this one. It would honor God after all. After thinking for a moment, she responded.
“That all depends on the context of the situation,” she said. “If that person lived in a normal civilization where there was an established way to work and earn what they wanted and needed but stole because they did not want to work, that person would be called a thief. However if that person lived in a world without any established civilizations or ways to work and earn what they wanted and needed, they would have no choice but to go out and take whatever they could find wherever they could find it. That person would be called a scavenger.”
“That was a very smart response, Chelsea,” Jeffrey whispered into her ear.
GLaDOS thought to herself that that response was smart too, but she did not let onto it. She decided to push her some more.
“Interesting,” GLaDOS said. “Couldn’t murder also be justified depending on the context?”
“Yes,” Chelsea replied. “Killing to defend yourself or to stop someone from doing terrible is not considered murder.”
Then she added, “However, killing for one’s own selfish mission is murder.”
GLaDOS was silent, so Chelsea felt satisfied. The room was starting to get warmer so Chelsea removed the trench coat and laid it over her legs like a blanket.
“I still cannot believe that you were going to go outside in the freezing cold weather wearing nothing but a sweater and boxer shorts,” GLaDOS said. “You would have frozen to death. You’re lucky that I stopped you.”
“I wouldn’t have cared,” Chelsea said while reading. “I have lived in Michigan for my whole life. I know how to deal with a little cold. Besides, I would have been free.”
“But you would have been cold,” GLaDOS said.
GLaDOS sat in silence for a while to try to think of something else to say to the human in order to probe her psyche. This was supposed to be her psychological treatment, but Chelsea was seemingly very calm and unconcerned about it. She had to do something else. GLaDOS decided that it might be best to mock her ideals once again.
She was silent for a minute before she went on.
“Humans like you are stupid,” GLaDOS said.
“Really,” Chelsea said not appearing to care. “How so?”
“You would sacrifice something good for something worthless like an ideal?” GLaDOS asked. “Why would a human rather live free with no assurance of survival than live in a place where they had all their needs provided instead? Your decisions make no sense from a logical point of view. You could have anything you needed and be safe or you could be free and risk death on a daily basis. Humans like you will end up dying in the cold while those who are willing to compromise live on.”
“Ideals are more valuable than anything else,” Chelsea said obviously peeved.
Before she could continue, she stopped herself. Chelsea realized that the robot was just baiting her and that she did not need to give her the satisfaction of an answer. However, she found it incredibly hard to do so.
GLaDOS continued, “You follow the ideals of an old book. I know that I will get nowhere in telling you the stupidity of this decision since the religious cannot be persuaded to think rationally. People like you just refuse to see the validity in any way of thinking but your own. That makes you stupid. That is why your kind have been mocked for centuries. Christians have refused to compromise while every other belief system in the world has been able to at least allow other possibilities for looking at reality. Christians are all so narrow-minded. Don’t you think that is ridiculous? How do you feel about it? They say that silence is the same thing is consent. Does your silence mean you agree with me and are admitting that I’m right?”
Chelsea was really stressed because of GLaDOS. She was trying so hard not to respond and just not to care, but she was making it incredibly difficult. Just then though, she heard her father’s voice.
“Chelsea,” Zaki said telepathically. “They have found the anesthetic room and are ready to turn off the xenon gas whenever you tell them, too. We only have about ten more people to get out too, so we need you to distract her with this as long as possible.”
“You can count on me, Dad,” Chelsea said in her mind.
Meanwhile GLaDOS was just waiting in silence wondering what her subject was going to say. Chelsea stood up, put on the trench coat, folded down the page of the book she was reading, carried it under her right arm, and walked to the center of the room.
“Sticking to one’s beliefs even in the face of opposition is not a bad thing, GLaDOS,” said Chelsea. “Not agreeing with the majority does not make you wrong. Criticize me however you want. I’m not going to let go of my beliefs or my freedom just because you pressure me to even if you were to brand me a thousand more times. I will keep fighting for freedom. In fact, I propose that I can escape whenever I want to. I know the way out.”
“Really?” GLaDOS said feigning cold control but feeling slightly alarmed inside. “Where is the exit then?”
“It’s right there,” Chelsea said pointing to the television.
She looked on the shelf below the TV and noticed that the videocassette and the remote were missing. That only confirmed her suspicions.
“I may not know much about Caroline,” Chelsea said. “However, I’m pretty sure that she was a workaholic, so why would she have a television in here?”
“I can answer that,” GLaDOS said. “Meetings were often taped on videocassettes and she would use the television to go over old meetings and remember what was said.”
“That was the only reason.”
Chelsea thought for a second, then she said, “Videocassettes were invented in 1980’s, and she became you in the 1990’s. She would not have had much time to use it for that reason if that was the only reason that it was there. She had to have put it up for another reason.”
“It also used to be connected to cable,” GLaDOS said.
“Look, I know Aperture was a messed up place, but I seriously doubt that the facility paid for Caroline to have cable,” Chelsea said. “Furthermore, the videocassette and the remote were there before. They are gone now. They have been removed because they are the keys to leaving the room. Aren’t they?”
“Where are you going with this?” GLaDOS asked. “What does it matter if you’re right? The door is still locked and you can’t escape. If you try, I will put you to sleep.”
“I have a proposition for you then, GLaDOS,” Chelsea said. “Give me a minute. Shut off your camera, do not turn on the gas, do not call your robots, and let me try to break out of here. If I can do it, you have to give me my clothes back.”
“Why would you think that I would agree to something so ridiculous?” GLaDOS said turning to another monitor to look over Chelsea’s medical exam results again. “Sit back down and wait for the robots to come out. They’re almost done.”
“If I can’t do it, I will tell you what my family is up to,” Chelsea said.
GLaDOS quickly focused in on the girl. She was now interested.
“What did you just say?” GLaDOS asked.
“I said that if I lose I will tell you anything you want to know about what my family is right now doing in this facility,” Chelsea said. “I will even tell you where they are. I’m sure that you would want to know if they were doing something bad. I won’t go back on my word either. You can brand me again if I do.”
GLaDOS had figured that Chelsea had known their plans all along since she could talk to her father telepathically, but she never thought that she would be willing to tell her. The girl was acting out of desperation. GLaDOS could sense it.
“You are really serious about this,” GLaDOS said. “Are you really willing to risk something like that? If I allow you to do this, would you be willing to tell me anything I wanted to know in return? Would you help me by betraying your own family?”
“Only if I can’t escape,” Chelsea said.
“You do know that the odds of you succeeding are absolutely miniscule even with your discs,” GLaDOS said condescendingly. “You can’t cut open a door like the exit door in only a minute with light beam discs. Your discs are sharp, but they can’t break through in that short amount of time.”
“Don’t you worry,” Chelsea said smiling and crossing her arms. “I have my ways.”
“As ridiculous as this challenge sounds, I think it sounds amusing. I’ll give you a chance. Tell me one more time so that I understand. What are my rules?”
“You have to turn off your camera for one minute to let me have a chance to escape. During that time, you can’t do anything to interfere.”
“However when the minute is up, you can turn on the gas and let me have time to fall asleep. Then you can turn your camera on and let the robots come in here.”
“Why can’t I watch you fall asleep?”
“I don’t want you to. You abide by my rules or the deal is off and you never find out a thing from me.”
“Okay, fine! I’ll abide by your rules for now. Are you ready to begin, princess?”
“No! There is one thing I have to do first.”
Chelsea walked over to the wardrobe and started looking through shoes. She rummaged through the bottom until she finally found a pair of flat rain boots. After that, Chelsea searched the drawers underneath finding socks. She quickly slipped both of them on. The shoes unfortunately though were too tight for her feet, so she threw them both off. None of the other shoes were running shoes so Chelsea would have to go barefoot.
“That was a disappointment,” Chelsea said. “Oh, well!”
“Now, are you ready?” GLaDOS asked.
“Yes,” Chelsea replied. “I’m ready.”
“Okay,” GLaDOS said. “The countdown starts…now.”
Chelsea saw the camera quickly turn off and hang limp. She knew that she was now alone.
“Jeffrey, human, now,” Chelsea said quickly.
Jeffrey jumped off her shoulder and shapeshifted into a human. Chelsea handed him her book.
“Stuff this into your backpack,” Chelsea said. “Now!”
“What?” Jeffrey said. “Okay!”
Jeffrey quickly took off his backpack and stuffed the book into it. Then he put it back on. Meanwhile, Chelsea was trying to move the wardrobe by putting her disc under it to lift it up.
“Help me, Jeff!” Chelsea yelled. “We need to put this in front of the bathroom.”
“To keep out the robots?” Jeffrey said as he shapeshifted into a forklift picking up the wardrobe.
“Exactly!” Chelsea said.
Jeffrey put down the wardrobe and shapeshifted into a human again.
“Now, what?” Jeffrey asked.
“We carry on the plan as before,” Chelsea said. “Let’s break down the door.”
Chelsea pulled out her discs and started cutting off pieces of the television and cabinet. Jeffrey shapeshifted into an elephant and started using his tusks and trunk to pull the cabinet away. Chelsea had been right. There were wires connecting into the wall. Unfortunately for them however, they still had a thick iron door to break open. There wasn’t enough time.
“Time’s up,” GLaDOS announced over the PA system. “I’m turning on the gas.”
Chelsea and Jeffrey looked at each other.
“You ready for part two?” Chelsea asked.
“You bet,” Jeffrey said.
GLaDOS waited for the two minutes required in order for the gas to take effect. She could tell from her sensors that the door had not been opened. She did not understand why this human had taken up the challenge to begin with. Humans were known to crazy things in desperation, but this plan was just insane. Surely, the test subject knew that it was impossible. She was just wasting her time and betraying her family in the process. The latter was more perplexing because that was a behavior she had proven time and again she would never do. The psychological treatment must have already been having an effect. It was making her more desperate to save her own life and less caring towards her own family. Her psyche was more fragile than GLaDOS imagined it would be. When the human awoke, she would have to confess everything she knew. Then GLaDOS would have them all. She finally turned on the camera and saw the human lying on the ground unconscious. Her back was facing the camera and her face was facing where the television used to be. The television and cabinet that were holding it were completely destroyed. That was both a surprise and a disappointment. It was surprising that the test subject was strong enough to destroy something that big in such a short amount of time. However, it was disappointing because somebody had to clean that up. GLaDOS opened the bathroom door but upon looking at the door she realized that Chelsea had shut the robots in with a wardrobe probably in order to buy herself some more time. GLaDOS sighed. She would have to call upon more robots to move the body and get everything else all fixed up. GLaDOS called upon other robots and waited. She then talked to the robots trapped in the bathroom.
“Our subject bargained with me to let her attempt to escape,” GLaDOS said to the robots. “She failed of course, but she managed to shut you in and make a huge mess. Now, just wait. Other robots are coming to help.”
As GLaDOS waited, she looked down upon her unconscious test subject. If she had been capable of feeling empathy anymore, she would have felt sorry for her. The test subject was powerful, smart, convicted, and capable. She was fighting so hard but none of it was enough. She was outsmarted every single time. Now after losing her last desperate gamble, the test subject would have to betray the people she cared about the most including her traumatized mother. Further down the road, she would probably lose the will to do anything anymore as a result. She would stop believing in her God, and she would become the complacent subject that GLaDOS was trying to turn her into. GLaDOS thought that it was a shame. She liked her spirit and did not like seeing it go. However for the sake of progress, it had to be done. In return, GLaDOS would just do her best to make her comfortable. The test subject was going to be a mother after all. If GLaDOS felt anything, it was a sense of peace. The subject was going to stop causing trouble if her family members were at stake. She would do anything to protect them, so she would not cause trouble anymore. GLaDOS could look forward to many peaceful years of cooperation. She would go back to having a predictable routine. Dealing with a superpowered test subject made her life interesting for a while, but it also made everything difficult. She had not been prepared to deal with a new breed of human like them. They could actually fight back. GLaDOS had to constantly be on her guard. However, that was all going to be taken care of and she would not have to worry anymore. It relieved GLaDOS to think of it. Finally, the robots arrived.
“We’re here,” the leader doctor robot said. “We’re about to come in. What’s the damage?”
“The subject completely destroyed the television and cabinet so it’s now impossible to unlock the door from the inside,” GLaDOS said. “She also locked the other robots into the bathroom so you will have to let them out. She made a real mess of the place so a clean-up job is required. The subject herself is lying unconscious on the floor. It will now be necessary to move her to a new location until the door is repaired and updated. For now, we will have to keep the subject asleep in the new room I’ve been working on. I will need two of you to move her to that new location. I will need the rest of you to get the other robots out and start the reparations on the room. Is that understood?”
“Yes, ma’am,” the main robot said.
“Good,” GLaDOS said. “Also, be careful when you’re coming in. She is lying right in front of the door.”
“Understood,” the lead doctor robot said.
The lead doctor robot punched a code in on a small security access box on the wall that was disguised as a thermostat. The box beeped in response to receiving the correct code, and the outline to the false wall appeared. The wall swung open to the outside making surprisingly very little noise. When the door opened, the robots could see wires from the television hanging off of it. The subject had clearly done a great deal of damage, but it was nothing they could not fix. The lead robot looked over the damage on the inside of the door, and then looked down at the test subject. The whole group of them stepped backwards in surprise. Chelsea was lying on the ground with a gas mask over her face.
Suddenly, Chelsea stood up and leaped up off the ground onto a disc starting to attack. She threw a disc behind her cutting the video camera off the ceiling before GLaDOS had time to react and flew on her disc past the robots cutting them as she quickly flew by.
“Dad,” Chelsea yelled telepathically. “Tell Sylvie to turn off the gas now!”
“Alright,” Zaki said.
Sylvie turned off the gas, and Chelsea flew around the hallways like a bat out of hell destroying every camera and robot in sight.
“What now?” Jeff said.
He was the gas mask attached to her face. He was holding onto her with a strap that around her head under her hair.
“We have to find an exit now and get outside,” Chelsea said. “I really wish I had a better plan, but I couldn’t really think this far ahead. It should be alright though. I’m sure there is an exit and/or a window somewhere.”
“It’s okay,” Jeffrey said. “You thought this one out pretty well.”
“Don’t be so modest. You helped, too.”
“You are really good at that you know. You could help us. We could come up with a plan to take down the Combines together.”
Jeffrey continued to hesitate as he heard Chelsea say that. He was really frightened of the idea of going after aliens.
“Maybe,” he said.
Chelsea just rolled her eyes. She loved Jeff, but his most annoying trait was definitely his indecisiveness. Jeffrey could not make his mind up when it came to major decisions in his life. Jeffrey was content to not force himself to decide. That trait drove Chelsea crazy. It was the main reason that she decided to break up with him.
“Whatever,” Chelsea said not wanting to push the matter right then and there.
Chelsea flew around the hallways with the shields up around her. She received confirmation from her Dad that the gas had been turned off, but she decided to leave the mask on in order to not make GLaDOS suspicious. It was also safer for Jeffrey because he was hiding in plain sight. Chelsea flew around in silence not only because she was annoyed at Jeffrey for his reluctance to fight but also because she did not want to alert GLaDOS. As she flew around, she was still destroying the video cameras so that she was not seen. Chelsea wondered the halls looking for a window to fly out of, but the facility continued to prove that it was bigger than she realized. As she wondered in silence, she felt more and more that she was lost in a maze. All of the hallways looked the same, and she never felt that she was making progress towards the outside. Chelsea would have asked Sylvie for help but without any identifying features such as a hall directory to identify the purpose of the floor Sylvie had no way of telling where Chelsea and Jeffrey were. The two were on their own for now.
Chelsea had flown around like this for about an hour when she suddenly stopped. She suddenly noticed how quiet the place was. GLaDOS had not said a word or made any moves at all. There were no robots or turrets put in her path to try to stop her anymore. They had stopped appearing. There was something wrong. GLaDOS was up to something.
“What’s the matter?” Jeffrey asked.
“It has been too quiet, Jeff,” Chelsea whispered. “I don’t like it. I have also been making no progress at all whatsoever. I haven’t even been able to find some stairs. God, I hate this place so much.”
“Don’t give up. Pray and keep going. We will find a way out.”
“I believe you. Don’t worry. I don’t plan on giving up anytime soon.”
Chelsea wondered around for a while longer. She was starting to get really frustrated. The place was so big. She was surely bound to find a window eventually so why hadn’t she found one yet? Chelsea felt like slamming her head against the wall. She kept wandering around. She flew down yet another hallway she didn’t recognize when she saw a miracle. There was a window! Chelsea couldn’t believe it. There was sunlight pouring in through the window. She flew straight to it and threw a disc through the glass. Chelsea then flew through the window. Right after that, she noticed the light beams. They were forming a box over her head, below her feet, and all around her in what looked like an open space within the facility. Chelsea quickly bolted towards the window, but it was already too late. A wall had closed in over the false window and false wall.
“Crap,” Chelsea said in fear. “This can’t be happening.”
The box started moving forward. Chelsea knowing exactly where it was going started using her discs to try to cut the walls, but it didn’t work. The walls were made of the exact same substance as her discs so they were almost completely indestructible. GLaDOS uncharacteristically didn’t say anything as she watched the box move forward. Chelsea felt like she was about to lose her mind.
“Stand back, Chelsea,” Jeffrey said. “I’m going to get us out of here.”
“No, Jeff,” Chelsea said. “She can see us. She would see you. You can’t break it anyway. They’re light beams.”
“What do we do then?” Jeffrey asked.
“I wish I knew,” Chelsea said.
She had worked so hard to break free, but now, she was getting dragged back down into hell. Chelsea feverishly used her discs to cut the walls to no avail in desperation. She kept going, flying from one wall to another very quickly. Chelsea could not believe what God was allowing to happen. She did not stop to question Him though. She had to get out of there. Chelsea kept flying around to cut down the walls. She was so caught up in her own desperate frenzy that she did not even notice when the box came to a stop within GLaDOS’s chamber. GLaDOS did not say a word but allowed the subject to wear herself out and come to the realization on her own.
Chelsea eventually did stop to catch her breath. That was when she noticed that the box had stopped moving. She looked straight at GLaDOS. The room was unnaturally quiet for a moment. Then GLaDOS spoke.
“Were you really naïve enough to think that I would let you have a chance to escape without having a plan to catch you again if you did?” GLaDOS asked.