Disclaimer: I do not own Portal 1 & 2 or any of its characters.
"I swear I know him." GLaDOS stated, the light on the potato battery flickering in the pattern of her voice.
With that said, the elevator came to a halt and Chell rushed out, appearing yet into another test chamber.
"Caroline are we ready to begin testing?" Cave Johnson, the voice of the old recording, inquired as Chell already began the puzzle of the said room.
"Yes sir, Mr. Johnson." GLaDOS and the female audio responded at the same instant.
"What the - Wait a minute. That voice sounds familiar. Wha - Oh my gosh." It dawned on her, the realization hitting her hard as her circuitry started to fizzle out and an unknown presence clouded the electronic guidelines. "Continue the test, I...I have to think about the something…" The potato stuttered to the busy Chell who was already almost halfway through the puzzle.
That was when an odd vision - a memory she believed - has surfaced into her electronic membrane, the circuitry unable to hold back the old consciousness making its appearance once again in a long time - in which her absent body has always secluded - in this being's mind.
"Mr. Johnson…" Caroline whispered as she held back her tears, her throat growing tighter and her mouth getting dry.
The man she spoke to, his back facing her as he leaned against his desk in distraught, yet understanding, stood up straight but had no nerve to turn around and face the disheartened, loving person behind him. Without glancing back at the shocked woman, he told her that he knew and that she didn't have to utter another word. Caroline no longer had the strength to hold back her tears as she collapsed to the floor, her hand gently rubbing her stomach in a circular pattern, realization still trying to access her unstabilized mind.
The vision warped, the area changing that into a deserted room, filled with nothing but vacant chairs and a coffin at the end. The casket was closed and only three people were in the room - no, three people who were alive were in the room. Caroline, unable to even approach the coffin, stayed at the far end of the room, staring at the two people who stood in front of the wooden box with the name of the dead person being hidden from sight.
A girl, who looked no older than 8, stood right next to a scientist who still wore his white lab coat, completely ignoring the tendency to wear black at a funeral like all mourning the loss of someone's life would.
"Daddy," the girl questioned the man next to her, "will Mr. Johnson be okay?"
The man knelt down next to her and placed his hands on her shoulders, "I'm afraid he has gone to a better place. Where exactly, I don't know." He answered honestly. Caroline's lips quivered, holding back the urge to run over to that confused little girl and give her a loving hug. She wanted to hug her, show her love, embrace her, wanting to give love and be loved back once more.
...she wants to hug the only family she had left…
"Let's go Michelle, it's time to say goodbye." The man said in a melancholic tone. He grabbed the little girl's hand and directed her away from the coffin and towards the exit. As they passed the weeping Coraline, a sense of electricity clashed between them in a telekinetic way, transferring each other's emotions. Coraline's heart was filled with guilt and the scientist merely could not get Michelle out of his mind.
"No! I'm not going to do this!" Coraline declared, glaring down at the girl's adoptive father.
"He knew you would act like this, but please don't take this the wrong way-"
"How can I uphold this place? I built this place with Mr. Johnson, I helped Mr. Johnson run this place, but I am certainly not an experienced scientist like you!" Coraline blurted out, stomping her heel down in defiance.
It was just the two of them in a secluded, dark conference room. After a full week from the day the funeral was held, Coraline was called in to have a mandatory meeting. But she did not expect this…
...one scientist telling her, in an ominous room, that she will become the running AI system of the facility.
"You don't have to know about anything scientific, we can easily program it into to the software-"
"I won't let you implant or program anything into me!" She continued to cut off the man in pure, horrendous rage.
"Coraline listen to me." The man pleaded in a calm fashion.
"No! I won't let you turn me into a machine! I can do things fine in my physique! I'm capable!" She countered.
"But would you really deny Mr. Johnson's last request?" The scientist inquired in an annoyed, impatient tone.
Coraline froze, her rage disintegrating as those words were embedded into her mind. "His last request?" She repeated in confusion.
The scientist pulled a remote control out of his pocket and clicked the red button. Immediately afterwards, an audio tape began to play from the boombox behind him. He pressed the fast forward button for a couple of seconds before he hit play, preparing it for the right moment of truth.
"...pfffft...if we can store store music on a compact disc, why can't we store a man's intelligence and personality on one?"
Coraline recognized this voice. It was Cave Johnson, doing one of his audio recordings, but she didn't recognize this tape though. It wasn't in any of the records in the files. Was this scientist keeping this from her this whole time?
The man pressed the fast forward button again and waited a few seconds, making Coraline feel uncomfortable from the sudden pause and change of hearing her dear friend's lost recorded message.
"...we should have been working on this 30 years ago. Now I will say this - and I'm going to say this on tape so everybody here hears it a hundred times a day - if I die before you people could pour me into a computer, I want Caroline to run this place."
"Mr Johnson…" Caroline whispered to herself, tears streaking down her powdered cheeks.
"Now she'll argue, she'll say she can't. She's modest like that." Then his voice changed, sounding more confident and daring. "But you make her! You make her!"
For the last time, the scientist hit the fast forward button and waited a couple of seconds before hitting the play button once more, all the while, Caroline clinged to every word Cave had said.
"...She...is a gem."
"Oh...Mr. Johnson…" Caroline whimpered as her shoulders sulked.
The scientist hit the power button and placed the remote back in his lab coat. "He told me to keep that, and to play it when the right time comes." He stated in a depressed tone.
"Why?" She murmured.
"Because he believes in you. What else is there to say?" The scientist said simplistically, a small smile tugging at his cheeks, even though his eyes remained hazy and melancholic.
Coraline stared at him, his words being taken on a new perspective. It's true, Cave did want Coraline to run things if he died before she did, but this plan was on a completely different scale.
She hesitated but she knew what she wanted now, the only hard part was uttering those words that would change her life forever.
"Hm? What did you say?" The scientist asked, leaning in closer to hear better.
"I'll do it." She stated, raising her head in confidence.
"Neurotoxin has reached critical levels." The voice on the intercom stated.
People panicked as they rushed into cryogenic chambers while others were trying to find the exit. In the middle of this chaos was Michelle, crying as she was scared, lost, helpless, and her father was nowhere in sight.
"Daddy! Daddy!" She cried, tears running down her red cheeks.
Coming from behind at a fast velocity, a scientist unfamiliar to the girl scooped her up and began charging into one of the testing subject's rooms.
"Don't worry, everything will be alright!" The stranger said in a raspy, exhausted tone, trying to cheer the little girl up.
"Where's my daddy?" Michelle inquired in a hoarse tone.
"He's...he's fine." The stranger stuttered, not giving the girl any eye contact.
The girl saw this as a bad sign but had no time to react as the scientist entered the room and slid to a halt. At an incredibly fast pace, he ripped the girl's clothes off and grabbed an orange jumpsuit from his lab coat.
"Agh!" Michelle screamed in alarm from the sudden action. "What're you doing?!"
The man looked up as he gave the girl the jumpsuit, "Saving your life."
Michelle stared at him questionably as he rushed over to the see-through wall cube that had an odd looking bed and a single chair, table and radio. He unlocked the hidden lock right below one of the walls and lifted it until it was high above his head.
"Get in and put that jumpsuit on!" He commanded, as his muscles strained from holding the wall up.
Without hesitation, Michelle did what she was told and ran into the cube, trusting in the man's words. She immediately pulled the jumpsuit on and zipped herself up as the man slowly and a carefully lowered the wall.
"Now, climb into the bed. Everything will be alright afterwards." He stated, gesturing towards the bed.
"Are you sure?" She questioned him.
He nodded, giving the girl a small smile. Confident in his answer, she climbed into the bed and pulled the glass overhead. Immediately afterwards, the light grew brighter and brighter….and brighter…
….until it engulfed her sense of consciousness.
"It's been fun," GLaDOS stated in a sarcastic way as the elevator hoisted the confused young adult up, all the way to the highest level, the surface, "don't come back."
When the elevator left and Chell was out of earshot, computer in command sighed in a depressing, yet grateful way. "Goodbye, my dear Michelle. My first creation…"
As the elevator continued its ascent, GLaDOS radioed all the turrets on the upper levels to sing the song that she believed came from the now lost remnants of Coraline.
Cara bel, cara mia bella.
Dear beautiful, my beautiful darling.
Mia bambina, a tra che la stima che la stima.
My children, between the estimate and the estimate.
A cara mia, Addio!
To my dear, Farewell!
Mia bambina cara, perche non passi lontana si lontana da Scienza?
My dear girl, why do you not walk far away from Science?
Cara cara mia bambina. A mia bel. A mira cara. A mira cara.
My dear dear girl. To my lovely. To my dear. To my dear.A mia bambina. A cara, cari a mi!
To my child. A dear, dear to me!
...go make some new disaster…