Chelsea was in the elevator when she heard the good news about Terry. She was happy for his freedom. She really was, but at the moment, her mind was occupied. She felt conflicted about GLaDOS. After listening to what her father had to say, Chelsea sat down at the elevator and continued to think.
“So she sympathized with Maleficent?” Jeffrey said as an ice pack breaking the silence. “That’s weird.”
“Actually, it’s not altogether surprising,” Chelsea said. “You remember what she said about her, right?”
“Yeah, that she was getting what she felt she deserved,” Jeffrey said.
“Yeah,” Chelsea said. “That must have been her own emotions seeping out. GLaDOS or Caroline or whoever she considers herself to be must have felt that she had been wronged her whole life, and that by acting the way she did, she was only getting what she really had earned. She must have felt so bitter about all that happened to her. I thought she was just an evil bitch.”
“I hate to play devil’s advocate here, but who’s to say that she isn’t,” Jeffrey said. “We both know that what happened to her was unfair, but that doesn’t excuse her being evil.”
“No, it doesn’t, Jeffrey,” Chelsea said. “But I think that it may go a great deal towards explaining why she is the way she is. That’s all. Her life must have been awful. I hate to say it, but I am beginning to understand why my mother started to sympathize with her. She is despicable and she did many horrible things, but she was a real person. It may just be the drugs talking, Jeff, but I’m beginning to feel less angry with her.”
The elevator stopped, Chelsea stood up, and Jeffrey returned to his perch on the back of her neck. She stepped out of the elevator and started walking towards the stairs.
“Please excuse what happened at the end of the last chamber,” GLaDOS said. “I appear to have been malfunctioning.”
Chelsea stopped in her tracks, raised an eyebrow, crossed her arms, and said, “Look, we both know that that is not what really happened. Why can’t you tell me the truth?”
“You’re being obstinate as usual,” GLaDOS said. “Maybe I should inject you with more anti-depressants to put you in a better mood.”
Chelsea unfolded her arms, created a disc with her left hand, and said, “Try to inject me again and see what happens.”
“Calm down,” GLaDOS said. “I was only joking. Anyways, I have deducted that it is your incessant singing that is causing my malfunctions.”
“Really,” Chelsea said skeptically as she dissolved her disc. “How did you figure that one out?”
“I am not required to share that information with you,” GLaDOS said coldly.
“Sure,” Chelsea said sarcastically while rolling her eyes.
“Anyhow, since I cannot gag you or remove your vocal chords, I have decided to play music for you,” GLaDOS said.
“What kind of music?” Chelsea asked in curiosity.
“You’ll see,” GLaDOS said.
Chelsea rolled her eyes and walked up the stairs to take her tenth test.
“You know if you keep rolling your eyes like that they will get stuck that way,” GLaDOS said.
“That’s just an old wives’ tale,” Chelsea retorted.
“You seem to believe in them,” GLaDOS said harshly.
Chelsea resisted the temptation to respond to her blasphemy and kept going. She entered the room and walked past the sign that let her know she was taking her tenth test. Chelsea listened as GLaDOS began playing music. It was Debussy’s first arabesque. Chelsea loved listening to the Impressionist’s music. It always gave her inspiration whenever she was trying to focus on something artistic or anything really. The music itself was an invitation for the senses to dream. Chelsea recognized it right away, because of all the impressionists, she played Debussy’s music the most.
“Arabesque number one by Debussy,” Chelsea said out loud.
“Yes,” GLaDOS said in surprise. “How did you know?”
“I love impressionist music,” Chelsea said. “I’m also a big musicphile.”
“That’s not even a word,” GLaDOS said.
“Well, it should be,” Chelsea said in a snarky attitude.
Chelsea looked around and contemplated how she should solve her test while GLaDOS watched slightly impressed that Chelsea recognized this music. It was not like Debussy was an obscure composer, but this work of his was not as popular as “Clair de Lune” so she had to know his work in order to recognize it. That was a sign that the girl was more cultured than GLaDOS realized she was.
In the testing chamber was a large black tiled room with an emancipation grid dividing one side from the other. On the side of the emancipation grid that Chelsea was on was a pipe leaking the orange gel onto a white panel with another white panel on the wall behind her. She looked ahead and saw that beyond the emancipation grid were two mashing spike plates hitting each other horizontally at regular intervals. Chelsea flew upwards and on the other side of plates was the exit and a button. If there was a button, there had to be a cube to hold it down. Chelsea looked down from her disc and found the cube right by the ramp. She landed her disc and looked up. The only problem would be getting the disc pass the emancipation grid, but it didn’t take long for Chelsea to think of a solution. It was actually pretty simple.
As the music continued to play, Chelsea fired an orange portal onto the panel that the orange gel was leaking onto. Then she fired a blue portal onto the panel that was on the wall behind her. The gel instantly went all over the ramp, covering it completely. Chelsea then picked up the cube with her portal gun and stood on the right side of the ramp.
The calming music of Debussy was actually not disguising how she really felt. Because of the anti-depressants, she felt peaceful inside. But if she could feel her emotions, Chelsea would have felt scared. Nonetheless, she breathed in and out and mentally prepared herself to go.
Chelsea pulled the force field up around her body and flew it to where the ramp began. After waiting for the mashing plates to come together a few times, she decided that it was time to go. Chelsea let the plates come together one more time, and then she ran on the ramp. She moved quickly over it, flying through the emancipation grid that did not dissolve her cube because of her protective shield, and landed on the platform in front of the door. After breathing in and out a few times, Chelsea placed the cube upon the button causing the door to open.
Chelsea lingered at the open door however so that she could hear the song finish.
“What are you doing?” GLaDOS said.
“What do you think?” Chelsea retorted. “I’m listening to the music.”
GLaDOS said nothing, but continued to watch her test subject in fascination. It wasn’t many people who could appreciate something beautiful in the middle of danger. It was actually kind of amazing. The song finished, and Chelsea walked through the door.
“Nice work,” GLaDOS said as Chelsea stepped through the door. “Aren’t you glad I made you take those anti-depressants?”
Chelsea only glared at her over her shoulder once as she continued to walk to the elevator.
“Now that your emotions have been neutralized, you can focus your mind on what is important,” GLaDOS said. “That will be important as you go on, because the tests can only get harder from here.”
“That kind of help is unauthorized,” Chelsea said turning around right before she reached the elevator to go down. “Isn’t it? You’re not supposed to be helping me like this. Are you?”
“To be honest, if the scientists were alive, I would probably not be able to do most of what I have done with you,” GLaDOS said. “However the last time I checked, they were all dead, and I was running the facility. Therefore, I can do whatever I want as long as it suits the needs of science of course.”
“How do you even determine that?” Chelsea asked skeptically. “Is it just what will satisfy you or satisfy the needs of mankind or…?”
“Yes,” GLaDOS said sarcastically and then with a false twinge of kindness. “Now, get into your cage, my good little sparrow.”
Chelsea glared at her and got into the elevator. The doors shut, and the elevator started to go down. Jeffrey shapeshifted into an ice pack and resumed his perch on Chelsea’s shoulder while she slumped down to the floor once again.
“I don’t feel that scared anymore, Jeff, and that’s not a good thing,” Chelsea said.
“Why not?” Jeffrey asked in confusion. “It’s good to have the peace of God inside your heart.”
“Jeffrey,” Chelsea said. “I know the difference between a drug-induced peace and a God-induced peace. This is definitely the former.”
“How can you tell?” Jeffrey asked. “I’m kind of curious.”
“I can tell because I don’t feel good about it,” Chelsea responded. “When God gives me peace, I feel joyful because I know he is there with me. When these drugs try to give me peace, I feel like I’m being numbed against my will. I can’t feel the emotion that I want to feel because it won’t let me. That’s not good because I’m afraid that it will numb my reaction time.”
“You don’t have to worry about that. You were able to fight back when you had anesthesia running through your veins. Remember? If you can do that, then this shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I guess not but there’s something else that is worrying me, Jeffrey.”
“In spite of all that she is doing to me, I feel like I don’t have the ability to be mad anymore, but it’s not completely because of the drugs.”
“Then why is it?”
“I think it might be because I don’t want to be mad at her anymore. I can’t hate her. It’s like God is making me forgive her.”
The two went silent for a moment. Before Jeffrey could respond, the elevator stopped, and Jeffrey had to return to his post once again. The elevator doors opened, and Chelsea exited the elevator.
“Feel free to turn your brain off for this one,” GLaDOS said. “It’s not going to be hard, or at least, it won’t be if you do what you’re supposed to.”
“Doesn’t that contradict what you told me before I left the last testing chamber?” Chelsea asked.
“Maybe,” GLaDOS said sarcastically.
Chelsea surprisingly couldn’t even work up the emotion required to roll her eyes, so she simply sighed and walked up the stairs to take her eleventh test.
“You seem to be calming down a bit,” GLaDOS said pouring salt in the wound that she was sure Chelsea was carrying inside. “It seems that the drugs are helping you more and more the longer time they have to take effect, and you were upset about taking them.”
Chelsea delivered GLaDOS a glare to let her know that she was still not giving up, and she entered the room.
GLaDOS, out of curiosity, decided to play another song simply to see if Chelsea would recognize it.
Chelsea stopped in her tracks and again recognized the music, “This is by Satie…It’s the first Gymnopedie.”
“Nice job,” GLaDOS said. “I’ll give you a bonus if you can tell me who composed this version of the song.”
“Debussy,” Chelsea said without hesitation.
“Impressive,” GLaDOS said. “Perhaps, you aren’t as devoid of culture from living as a squatter as I thought you were. How do you know about all this music?”
“It’s absolutely amazing what you can find when you raid the storehouses of internet delivery services and any music store in general,” Chelsea said crossing her arms.
“I retract my last statement,” GLaDOS said sarcastically.
“I’m also just a big music nerd in general,” Chelsea said as she uncrossed her arms and continued walking. “I’ve even been learning how to play ‘Clair de Lune’ on the piano.”
“You really are quite smart,” GLaDOS said. “The question is why you invest your mind in art instead of something more practical, like science.”
Chelsea frowned and said, “Art is something that shapes the minds of mankind. You and I both know that like science its influence on the world is endless.”
“Science is more useful.”
“I’d say it’s just as valuable when done right.”
“Are you going to argue or are you going to test?”
Chelsea rolled her eyes and looked around the room at her testing chamber. GLaDOS as she watched had to admit that she was impressed. The girl was more intelligent and more cultured than anyone would expect someone of her background to be. She was also very passionate, someone who could potentially change the world, someone like Caroline was. GLaDOS couldn’t believe that she was feeling this way, but she had to admit to herself that she was feeling more conflicted about Chelsea. She knew what she had to do for science, but her admiration for her was only growing. GLaDOS was beginning to feel more emotional about the matter, and for her, that was never a good thing.
Chelsea looked around and saw a long path of laser gates in front of her that she guessed that she would be expected to fly through. Chelsea pulled a shield around herself and flew forward. She flew through each laser gate with ease, with her shields blocking the lasers. Chelsea reached the last of laser gates and landed on the platform at the end.
Chelsea then flew through the door as it opened automatically on the other side. To her dismay, she found herself a room with not only more laser gates but more testing elements. On the left end of the small landing she was standing on inside a nook, there was a laser that was hitting a white wall. Chelsea wasn’t sure what to make of it, so as Satie’s second Gymnopedie started, she flew through the laser gates to see what was on the other side.
Chelsea flew through the laser gates one after the other until she reached the other side. On this other side, she found a nook on the left side of the platform that contained a generator with the white wall aimed straight at it. It was then that Chelsea realized what she had to do. She had to connect the laser into this room using the portals, meaning that she had to fly back to the other side of the room in order to do it. Chelsea breathed a deep sigh and fired an orange portal onto the wall opposite of the generator. Then, she flew back through the laser gates and fired a blue portal onto the wall opposite of the laser. The laser gates immediately dissolved, and she flew back to find that the door had also opened. In satisfaction, she flew out of the door and towards the elevator.
“Nice job,” GLaDOS said. “For your bonus, you can choose the composer who will play in the next test chamber.”
“Okay,” Chelsea said looking up in curiosity. “How about the Beatles?”
“No,” GLaDOS said humorlessly.
“Okay, then,” Chelsea said. “Louis Armstrong?”
“I don’t even know who that is.”
“Then what can I choose?”
“I only have selections of classical composers, sparrow. You can choose one of them.”
“Alright, then! You should have said that in the first place. I choose Camille Saint-Saens.”
“Okay, that I can do.”
“Good,” Chelsea said with an actual smile. “Thank you very much!”
GLaDOS was surprised at her reaction, and when Chelsea realized how she had responded, she quickly ran to the elevator. As the doors shut behind her, she sat down and held her hands over her head.
“What’s the matter?” Jeffrey asked flying in front of her as a dragonfly.
“I smiled at her,” Chelsea said.
“So?” Jeffrey replied in confusion. “What’s so bad about that?”
“I meant it,” Chelsea said in dismay. “I really am losing my hatred for her. I’m going to like her before long.”
“That’s not a bad thing,” Jeffrey said. “You are forgiving her because God is making you. Isn’t that what you wanted?”
Chelsea laid her arms at her side, and with a heavy sigh said, “No, I guess it isn’t. I asked him to because I thought it was what I should do, but I never really wanted to feel anything positive towards her.”
“Why not?” Jeffrey responded.
Chelsea looked at him in shock and said, “She ruined my mother’s life! She’s put me through hell, too! Not to mention the fact that she’s a murderer! I don’t want to love her. She’s done nothing to deserve it.”
“Neither have you, technically,” Jeffrey said.
“What?” Chelsea responded looking at him in confusion.
“You have done nothing to deserve love, God’s love, that is,” Jeffrey said calmly. “Nothing anyone does can make them worthy of God’s love because all humans are sinners whose actions have hurt God. Yet God loves them and saves them when they return to him, because they are all his. That’s why he loves you, that’s why he loves me, and that’s why he loves her. That’s why you have to forgive her too, because she is our sister. Besides, you can’t be forgiven of the evils in your heart and refuse to forgive someone else for theirs. That’s hypocritical. We are all in the same boat spiritually and no one is any better before God than anyone else, even if she is in your words an evil bitch.”
Chelsea looked down at the ground in shame. She realized that Jeffrey was right. Even if GLaDOS was a psychotic, murderous bitch who had ruined many lives, God still loved her as a human, so Chelsea needed to do the same and accept the kind impulses that he was sending to her heart. She silently said a prayer of forgiveness and looked back at Jeffrey.
“You’re right, Jeff,” Chelsea said. “She was a person made by God, and even if she is a bitch, that’s still true. I have to be willing to love her as our sister as much as saying that hurts my pride inside. I will let go of this hate.”
“Good,” Jeffrey said.
“I wish I could be logical like you all the time,” Chelsea said smiling. “Not functioning like a normal human with emotions must be nice. You can think more clearly because they aren’t clouding your mind.”
Jeffrey, understanding what she meant, was not offended by the comment.
Instead, he responded, “It’s not as easy as it looks. It can be hard to deal with people who are very emotional. They tend to think that you don’t care.”
“That’s what you get for being friends with women,” Chelsea said smiling.
The elevator stopped, Jeffrey returned to his post, and Chelsea walked out.
“Do you recognize this song?” GLaDOS asked as she immediately began playing the song.
Chelsea recognized it pretty quickly because it was one of her favorite songs.
“This is Danse Macabre,” Chelsea said as she continued to walk up the stairs. “It’s perfect for Halloween.”
“Do you know what the song was originally about?” GLaDOS asked.
“Yeah, my Dad told me that it was music to tell the story of a legend about how the dead would come back to life and dance outside of their graves when the violin player came at midnight on Halloween,” Chelsea said as she continued walking.
Then she continued impulsively, “It’s a good thing that the violin player doesn’t come here or you would have a lot of dancing corpses who you couldn’t kill with neurotoxin. I bet you wouldn’t enjoy dealing with that.”
“No, I wouldn’t,” GLaDOS said, much to Chelsea’s surprise.
Chelsea stopped at the top of the stairs and looked around at the testing chamber. It was a large room. There were two pellet launchers that launched pellets from the ceiling onto the floor and generators that caught the high energy pellets on the ceiling and floor respectively. There were two other pellet catchers, one on a slanted panel located in a nook on her left side and another one in a nook on the right side of the wall located next to a pellet launcher that launched pellets towards a slanted panel aimed towards the wall. Chelsea realized that she needed to deal with each one individually, but unfortunately for her, the wall was also mostly covered in black tiles. There were only three white panels that she could place portals on.
“There is a poem that goes to this song,” GLaDOS said. “Do you know it?”
“I can’t say I do,” Chelsea said then looking forward so that she could look like she was concentrating on what she was doing.
Chelsea could see that GLaDOS was trying to be kind to her in her own way, but this time, she seemed like she was really genuine about it. It made Chelsea uncomfortable, and though she was called to love her back, she was not sure how to respond.
“Zig, zig, zig, Death in cadence, striking a tomb with his heel, Death at midnight plays a dance-tune ,zig, zig, zag, on his violin,” GLaDOS said.
Chelsea placed an orange portal under the first pellet that was being fired from the ceiling and looked around for a generator to aim it towards.
“The winter wind blows, and the night is dark; Moans are heard in the linden trees,” GLaDOS said. “White skeletons pass through the gloom, running and leaping in their shrouds.”
Chelsea saw the generator on the slanted wall. There was a white slanted panel that was right in front of it aiming towards the ceiling, so she knew what to do.
“Zig, zig, zig, each one is frisking. You can hear the cracking of the bones of the dancers,” GLaDOS said.
Chelsea flew her disc over to the slanted wall and fired a blue portal onto it. All she had to do now was wait.
“A lustful couple sits on the moss so as to taste long lost delights,” GLaDOS said as the high energy pellet went through the portal, hit the ceiling, and went straight into the generator. “Zig zig, zig, Death continues the unending scraping on his instrument.”
Chelsea smiled in satisfaction and looked around as she figured out what to do next. She looked at the other side of the room and saw the door with one check on it meaning that it was unlocked.
“A veil has fallen!” GLaDOS said. “The dancer is naked. Her partner grasps her amorously. The lady, it's said, is a marchioness or baroness and her green gallant, a poor cartwright. Horror! Look how she gives herself to him, like the rustic was a baron.”
Chelsea landed on the floor and looked onto the wall to the nook on the right of her and saw the other pellet generator with the pellet catcher right next to it. She watched as the pellet fired, flew forward, hit a panel that was tilted toward the wall at an angle, hit the wall, and then went back towards the generator where it promptly died. Chelsea recognized this type of test from one her mother had told her about from the first time GLaDOS tested her. On the other side of the tilted panel however was not another tilted panel. Chelsea was not sure of what she was supposed to do or how she was supposed to solve it since she did not have any more panels to work with, so she stopped to think for a minute.
“Zig, zig, zig,” GLaDOS said. “What a saraband! They all hold hands and dance in circles.”
It suddenly occurred to Chelsea what she had to do. She shook in terror because she knew that it could potentially kill her if she did not do it right. Chelsea dropped her portal gun onto the floor, created a disc that she flew into the air next to the generator, and waited. When the high energy pellet was fired, she created a shield around it so that she could control it. The pellet bounced around chaotically, as Chelsea flew it to the pellet catcher next to it, got the shield very close to the catcher, and opened up the side of it that was closest to the generator. The pellet immediately went into the generator as Chelsea finally breathed a sigh of relief and joy. She could not believe that that had actually worked.
“Zig, zig, zag. You can see in the crowd the king dancing among the peasants,” was all GLaDOS said as a response.
Chelsea caught the other two pellets one at a time in their own respective shield balls and took each of them to a pellet catcher thus completing the test. The door opened, Chelsea went to the ground and picked up her portal gun once again, and walked to the door as the music was coming to a close.
“But hist!” GLaDOS said. “All of a sudden, they leave the dance, they push forward, they fly; the cock has crowed. Oh what a beautiful night for the poor world! Long live death and equality!”
Chelsea walked through the door as the music finished.
“Well,” GLaDOS said. “What did you think?”
“That test was highly dangerous,” Chelsea said. “Forcing me to interact with those pellets like that could have killed me.”
“I was not talking about that,” GLaDOS said. “I was talking about the poem.”
Chelsea looked at the camera suspiciously and, “Since when do you care about knowing my opinion on anything?”
“You seem to have an opinion on everything,” GLaDOS said. “I was just wondering what you thought about the poem.”
Chelsea thought for a moment and then said, “In a way, the poem is correct about its message. People are equal in death. After someone dies, whatever happens in the world doesn’t have any influence on them anymore. They can be free to do whatever they want. That must have appeared attractive to people in a society as restricted as back then. However unfortunately, it is only half true.”
“In what way?” GLaDOS asked.
Chelsea continued to walk towards the elevator and said, “When people die, the world doesn’t have any influence on them anymore. In that way, they are free, but they are never free from the influence of God. They’re still responsible for whatever they did in their lives good or bad and for who they ultimately gave their souls to. The soul leaves the body after all, so their deeds determine where they go.”
Chelsea turned around right before going in and continued, “If people gave themselves to Christ, they will be able to enjoy that freedom and get to be at his side as he remakes the world and forever more. However if they gave themselves to anybody else, they will suffer for the evil they brought into the world for all eternity.”
“That’s an interesting way of looking at it,” GLaDOS said.
“It’s like I said before, GLaDOS,” Chelsea said. “Everyone is owned by something, but you can decide who your owner is going to be. You may think that you don’t, but everyone has a choice.”
“Why would anyone decide to be owned by a religion, I mean, relationship like that?” GLaDOS asked.
“How badly do you want to be free?” Chelsea said as she turned back around. “Thanks for the song by the way. I really enjoyed it.”
The elevator doors shut, and it went down to the next chamber. As GLaDOS watched, she realized that there was a deep truth behind everything Chelsea was saying. She was intelligent in more ways than one. It was hard to explain but she had something true and something very much alive inside her mind that was something GLaDOS was experiencing for the first time. She saw it every time she talked and every time she did anything. The girl was interesting. Furthermore, GLaDOS hated admitting it to herself, but she enjoyed making this girl happy. It satisfied something inside her to know that she did something kind for her that was not done for the purpose of furthering science. Knowing this would only make the next test that much harder. GLaDOS knew what she had to do, but she actually wasn’t looking forward to it.
“The next test may actually hurt me more than it hurts you,” GLaDOS said to herself almost sadly. “However for science, it has to be done. It is what owns me, sparrow, and it is what must own you, too.”