April 29, 2011
By , Boynton Beach, FL
We are the perfect team. Our timing is right, down to the last millisecond. The reassembly machine is rarely used anymore, as accidents no longer happen between us. I can be launched meters into the air, hurtling towards a danger of some kind: spikes, pools of acid, a giant grinder that would turn me into a pile of gears- and no worries will wiggle their way into my robotic mind, because I know that my teammate will do his part. Another test is completed.
Granted, we used to be horrible, both individually and as a team.
I remember when I was merely a prototype-- my first prototype, even. I had a single arm equipped with a cooking pan, no legs, and I was placed on a metal table. It was my first test, too. Cameras were pointed towards me. Pens and pencils were ready to write down my every move. My partner, who was in the same physical state as me-- one arm, a pan, no legs-- blinked his one orange eye. I blinked my one blue eye. Everyone was waiting for my brilliant move.
You know what I did? I raised the pan and I bonked it across my face again and again. I even ended knocking myself off of the table. My AI wasn’t that great back then. (In all honesty, I don’t understand what the scientists were testing for. I’m supposed to be a robotic test subject for Aperture Science. What were they trying to do, teach me to flip pancakes?)
The scientists who made the first prototypes were fired, of course. My partner and I were remodeled- new arms, added legs, new AI and even names. I was named Atlas (Presumably because my body is round), and my teammate was named P-Body. (Perhaps because he’s tall?)
I don’t remember much between being remodeled and being thrown into tests. I know we waited some time before the testing began, but I don’t know why. Rumors of GLaDOs, the AI in charge, circulated the facility. Never less, we were awakened at the same time.
GlaDOs explained to us what we needed to do with a touch of bitterness. We were to act as a team, and get through various test chambers by using portals. I was given blue and purple portals; my partner was given orange and red portals. The first couple of tests were easy enough- push a button, open a door, and walk through. But as we got farther and farther into the tests, there were more and more dangers. Our first danger was a pool of acid sludge, a horrible mix of green and brown. We had to launch each other off of a platform to get to the door, by placing each other gain momentum, and then, at the apex of momentum, place a portal off of the angled platform.
… I died multiple times on that one.
We were introduced to these odd gels, colored blue and orange. With the gels, we could jump to impossible heights, or run at breakneck speed. We had to jump off of higher platforms, run off of ramps suspended over acid, and avoid turrets that were blasting bullets at us. Often times, we’d die at least ten times, each. We were losing what little trust we had in each other.
Our breakthrough happened during one of the more intense tests, when we were practically thrown into a room full of turrets. With only our robotic minds, the running gel, and our portals to spare, we both doubted if we could even figure this one out, let alone go through it.
Surprisingly enough, neither of us died. I launched myself off of a ramp and in the time I was flying, I placed a portal where I would land and where I should launch off to. I was flung to a platform set high up in the test chamber, and my P-Body followed me. The only way for us to go was either to fall five stories into the sludge, or to go through the door. We choose the door- and were greeted with the sound of turrets.

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