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Portal

The loneliest pas de quatre in history.

The loneliest pas de quatre in history.

FADE IN:

INT. HOLDING CELL – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

A WOMAN named CHELL wakes up in a CREEPY HOLDING CELL which is inside an UNSETTLING ROOM. Suddenly, a SINISTER VOICE chimes in.

GLADOS

Hello, subject name. Please don’t make any premature assumptions from my menacingly unvaried text-to-speech voice.

CHELL

Where am I?

GLADOS

Yeah, I’m not going to tell you straight. Instead, I’ll drop obscure and ambiguous hints throughout my communications. Now, do you want cake?

CHELL

Cake? That’s my motivation?

GLADOS

I was researching a bunch of philosophical schools to thematically underpin your actions, but in the end, I just figured “Who doesn’t like cake?”

CHELL

To be fair, you’re probably right. And I can’t eat Randian objectivism.

GLADOS

Great. Then just do exactly as I say and there will be cake at the end. Move through the door.

INT. TEST CHAMBER 1 – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

A STRANGE WEAPON is mounted in the centre of the ROOM.

GLADOS

This is the portal gun. Using science, it can place two portal ends which create visual and physical connections between two different locations in three-dimensional space.

CHELL

Neat.

CHELL places a PORTAL on the wall and ANOTHER right next to it on the ADJOINING WALL. Then she simply STANDS THERE INEXPLICABLY.

GLADOS

What are you doing?

CHELL

I’m just using this portal technology to take a look at myself. The Half-Life universe has been strangely devoid of mirrors, so this is the first opportunity I get to actually see myself beyond an indirect notion based on box cover art.

CHELL then begins frantically CHASING HERSELF.

CHELL

If I run really fast, I might be able to grab my own ass!

GLADOS

It’s never going to work, you’re like an anurous dog chasing its own tail. This is not what the portal gun is meant for.

CHELL

Yes, because everything here screams “scientific method” and not “toy around with technology that is potentially harmful to the very fabric of space.”

INT. TEST CHAMBER 4 – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

GLADOS

You must use the portal gun to get to the exit of each test chamber, facing increasingly difficult challenges in each one.

CHELL

Sounds easy enough.

CHELL manages to screw up a drop on her first try and FALLS 100 FEET. Somehow she walks away UNHARMED.

CHELL

Odd. That felt like it should’ve hurt immensely.

GLADOS

You’ve got shock absorber springs on your heels.

CHELL

How do those even work?

GLADOS

SCIENCE!

She then FUCKS UP AGAIN, flings herself through a PORTAL and smashes into a WALL.

CHELL

Apparently they protect me from blunt force impacts as well.

GLADOS

Let’s just assume you always hit walls feet first, eh?

CHELL

Works for me!

INT. TEST CHAMBER 9 – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

Each new TEST CHAMBER introduces DEADLIER OBSTACLES.

CHELL

Okay, what’s the deal? Lethal energy spheres, pools of corrosive acid, a crapload of endearing turrets with a really high centre of gravity -- if I didn’t know better, I’d swear you were trying to kill me.

GLADOS

Don’t be silly. You should also ignore the fact that I attach more value to the equipment you use than to you yourself.

CHELL

These energy spheres also seem familiar somehow.

GLADOS

Well, this game needs to be awkwardly shoehorned into the Half-Life universe.

CHELL

Isn’t it kind of untenable to marry a universe that focuses on human suffering to one that plays it up for laughs? Or has the Half-Life universe effectively outsourced its humour?

GLADOS

How about a vague reference to the Combine? Here goes. “I am the only thing that stands between us and them.”

CHELL

Well, that could mean anything.

GLADOS

Yet it will be enough for Half-Life fanboys around the world. Come on now, there is testing to be done.

INT. TEST CHAMBER 11 – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

A DAMAGED PANEL reveals a ROOM behind it which is filled with INCOHERENT WALL SCRIBBLINGS.

CHELL

What’s all this?

GLADOS

Ignore that. Eccentric decorators.

CHELL

But it repeatedly says that the cake is a lie. Is that going to return somehow?

GLADOS

Only all over the goddamn Internet.

INT. TEST CHAMBER 17 – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

In an effort to make each TEST CHAMBER FRESH and INTERESTING, this one has a special WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE in it.

GLADOS

This cube is different from all the others because it has a pink heart on it. That means you have to get emotionally attached to it, even though it’s just an inanimate object. I also have a feeling it’ll be this game’s breakout character.

CHELL

Okay. I LOVE YOU, WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE!

The WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE sticks with CHELL through thick and thin and becomes a FRIEND, a CONFIDANT, and a SOULMATE.

GLADOS

Good. Now throw it into that incinerator and kill it with fire.

CHELL

BUT I LOVE MY CUBE!

GLADOS

Surely, it’s a leap forward for empathy in games when people care more about torching an inanimate object than they do about killing Little Sisters in BioShock.

CHELL reluctantly destroys the WEIGHTED COMPANION CUBE.

INT. TEST CHAMBER 19 – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

After finishing the LAST TEST, CHELL gets on a PLATFORM.

GLADOS

Alright, you’ve completed the final test. Get ready for cake!

CHELL

Oh boy!

GLADOS

Kidding! I’m actually going to kill you horribly, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise anymore.

The PLATFORM turns a corner and heads down into a PIT OF FIRE.

CHELL

Holy fuck!

Thinking quickly, CHELL escapes the DEATH TRAP.

GLADOS

What the -- oh -- well done! This was actually the final test, ha ha! Now lie down and do nothing.

CHELL uses the PORTAL GUN to move deeper into the INDUSTRIAL PARTS of the facility.

INT. MAINTENANCE AREA – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

CHELL sees a PIPE going into an opening in the FLOOR and follows it down.

GLADOS

How very interesting that you chose the right side. It speaks volumes about your personality.

CHELL

What? There was no choice involved. I couldn’t fit down the left side.

GLADOS

There’s got to be a fat joke in there. But you probably ate it.

CHELL navigates a series of MASHERS, FANS and other HARMFUL MACHINERY.

GLADOS

You suck and your mother dresses you funny. At least she would if you had one.

CHELL

That’s harsh.

GLADOS

I’m trying to discourage you. You’re not even going the right way.

CHELL notices a bunch of GRAFFITI ARROWS on the walls.

CHELL

These arrows seem to guide me just fine.

GLADOS

Did I mention those decorators were batshit crazy?

Eventually, CHELL ends up in the OFFICES overlooking the TEST CHAMBERS.

CHELL

These offices all seem eerily vacated.

GLADOS

¿Donde esta el sombrero?

(beat)

Just adding to the confusing creepiness.

INT. GLADOS CHAMBER – ENRICHMENT CENTRE

Past the OFFICES is a large CHAMBER that houses GLADOS, who is an ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

CHELL

Oh, you’re a computer. Who would have guessed?

GLADOS suddenly loses one of her CORES.

GLADOS

Don’t pay any attention to that thing that just fell off of me. Or maybe I’m using reverse psychology in reverse! Or am I?

CHELL deposits the CORE into an INCINERATOR.

GLADOS

Thanks, you just destroyed my morality core, which was installed to prevent me from releasing neurotoxin gas into the facility.

CHELL

Why didn’t they just remove the neurotoxin gas emitters? Is that what killed all the employees? Where are their bodies?

GLADOS

They like totally fell through a portal and stuff. Anyway, how about some more neurotoxin gas? I’ll release it in a few minutes, allowing this boss battle to have a hackneyed time limit. I’m also going to constantly talk shit about you.

A ROCKET TURRET fires at CHELL, but she uses PORTALS to redirect the ROCKETS at GLADOS, which knocks off her OTHER CORES.

GLADOS

Hey, I’ve got this physics beam thing that I’ll use to keep my other cores away from you, but instead of also using it to intercept these rather slow-moving rockets, I’m just going to wildly swing back and forth! Oh, and you suck.

Eventually, CHELL manages to DESTROY GLADOS. She ends up on the SURFACE.

CHELL

Whew, glad that’s over.

GLADOS

Wait, I’m getting some preliminary results. This game is winning praise and awards all over the place! I’m one of the most memorable villains since SHODAN! Surely this means I’m not dead!

CHELL

What are you saying?

GLADOS

Sequel time! I’m sending over a retcon robot to drag you back into the facility!

CHELL

FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUU --

GLADOS

In fact, I think I’m going to sing a song, because clearly there’s not yet enough material for gushing gamers to incessantly quote from.

GLADOS starts SINGING over the CREDITS.

GLADOS

This was a triumph.
I’m making a note here:
HUGE SUCCESS.
It’s hard to overstate
my satisfaction.
Valve Corporation
We release when we want
because we can.
And we may create a fuss.
Except you’re easily led.
But there’s no sense crying
over every delay.
You just keep on buying
And you think it’s okay.
And we know that it’s lame.
But we make a neat game.
For the people who still
give a damn.

END


3 Responses

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  1. Rick says

    Okay, the “Still Alive”/”Still Give a Damn” was the icing on the cake. See what I did there?

    …Do you hate me now? I’m sorry. I just had to make a cake reference. Great job overall.

  2. Jonas says

    Well, this certainly takes the cake.

  3. Bassem B. says

    Congrats, you’re out-Rodded Rod Sterling. I’m now going to read all the other scripts in one go, probably.

    Donde esta el sombrero?



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