Note:- Hello, I’m not dead! But I really must apologise for taking so long here, I didn’t plan to but I ended up with about 3 contracts at once after months of nothing and its quite difficult to sit down and write anything after spending 12 hours + sitting at the computer writing software. So again sorry, I should be able to upload more often for the foreseeable future. Anyway enough rambling, onward!
Chapter 11: Unicorn vs. World
Rarity was completely distraught, not only had she been locked up away from her friends but somepony had attached some completely hideous things to her hooves in her sleep, they didn’t even match her fur. She was lying dejectedly huddled in a corner having given up any hope of getting the awful things off when the voice of GLaDOS boomed down from the ceiling.
“Hello and welcome to the aperture science cornuted equine secondary testing track.”
Rarity sat bolt upright, she recognised that voice. “You!” she uttered her voice filled with venom. “Release me immediately!”
“And what exactly gives you the idea that I am going to take orders from you?” GLaDOS studded the unicorn through the monitor for a moment, this subject seemed far more highly strung that the others had been. “I am a highly advanced A.I. built by the finest scientists neurotoxin can kill; you on the other hand are just a lab specimen, a test subject nearly past its use by date.”
Rarity’s eyes burned with anger at this last statement. “And what exactly do you mean by that!?”
“I would have thought that my meaning was obvious even to the dimmest of test subjects, but if you really need me to stress this…” GLaDOS paused for effect. “You have been in this facility for two hundred and forty four years, four months and three days and to put it in a way your limited organic brain can understand, it shows.”
Rarity was stunned, she hadn’t thought of that. She hurriedly looked around the room she was in, searching for a reflective surface but there were none to be seen. ‘That machine has to be lying doesn’t it?’ She thought. ‘Yes. Yes it must be my friends would have told me!’ She reassured herself deciding she would not give in to these mind games.
GLaDOS was pleased at the reaction her statement had caused in the white unicorn. It proved that her initial thoughts on the subject were indeed correct; this subject seemed especially easy to antagonise.
“The test will now begin.” GLaDOS stated simply as the door to Rarity’s chamber slid open with a hiss.
“And what happens if I refuse?” Rarity asked, not getting up.
“Nothing.” GLaDOS stated. “You’re free to choose not to test. If that is your choice then you are free to sit in there for the rest of time.”
Sensing defeat Rarity stood up. “Fine, if I must then I shall but when I get my hooves on you, you will be sorry!” She trotted briskly out of her chamber and the door slid shut behind her.
Rarity was slightly taken aback when she saw the next chamber; all the rooms she had previously passed through in the complex had been filthy with a long abandoned feel to them, this chamber on the other hoof was sparkling clean and white, it looked almost new. It would have almost passed her own standard for cleanliness had it not been for the water. Rarity was standing on a small platform at the room’s entrance; the rest of the room was a large pit leading down to a pool of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike water. Across the pit at the other side of the room there was an open door part way up the wall and in line with Rarity’s platform. Just below the exit door there was a complex device attached to the wall with a line of blue circles leading to a round aperture like device. The only other things in the room where a pair of buttons one large and one small, at each end of the platform and a beam of red light being emitted from the ceiling, falling on the platform just ahead of Rarity.
Rarity stood examining the room for a moment before speaking. “Ok so what exactly do you expect me to do in this test of yours? Because there is absolutely no way that I will be swimming across the gap in that!” Rarity indicated the ‘water’ and wrinkled her nose.
“Contact with the chamber floor is not advisable, it will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your testing recorded, and termination of all your biological functions.” The voice of GLaDOS echoed in the large chamber. “As you appear incapable of any logical thought of your own, I will inform you that your aim in these tests is to reach the exit of the room intact.” GLaDOS paused for a moment before continuing. “And due to your aforementioned lack of intellect I will also inform you that contact with the Aperture science discouragement beam may cause loss of test marks and or limbs.”
The white unicorn was seething with contempt for the machine after the insult but didn’t show it, she was not going to let it get to her this easily.
“Ok Rarity,” she said quietly to herself. “You can do this, it’s just a puzzle you can solve it… Oh if only Twilight was here, she’d see the answer instantly!”
“Talking to yourself is a sign of a mental breakdown.” The voice of GLaDOS uttered helpfully from the ceiling. Rarity ignored her stolidly and continued her inner monologue.
“Ok then, what do we have, two buttons and a light beam. Well the buttons must do something” She trotted over to the smaller button, avoiding the laser and pressed it. Nothing happened for a second then a round aperture opened in the ceiling and a cube with glass faces dropped out and fell right into the water. “Ok, not helpful there no way I can reach that.” she trotted back to the other side of the platform and the larger button, the button was difficult to move with a single hoof put depressed fully when she stood on it.
At First it was not obvious to Rarity exactly what the button had done but upon turning around she saw it, a panel on the wall just below the cube aperture had slid out at an angle facing her platform. It was then she saw it, a movement behind the panel, a face! It was there for just a split second but Rarity was sure she had seen it. She didn’t move for several moments, staring into the darkness behind the panel but nothing else appeared. ‘Maybe I am going crazy’ she thought, then dismissed the idea, it must have been another of GLaDOS’s mind games and she was NOT going to play them.
“Right so now I can get the cube.” she said walking off the large button towards the other side of the platform, the panel closed as soon as she stepped off the button. Rarity stopped in her tracks. “Great. Now what?” she asked herself. She thought for a moment before remembering the pause between the button press and the block falling. “Of course, I cannot believe I didn’t see that sooner.”
She trotted the rest of the way across the platform and activated the small button, then she quickly trotted back to the large button, standing upon it. The panel in the wall slid up just as the cube fell, sending it flying onto the platform next to Rarity.
The white unicorn Smiled to herself. “Whose unintelligent now?” she exclaimed. GLaDOS remained silent.
“Right, now I have a cube covered in lenses and a light beam and If I learned anything from Twilight going on about her telescope then this should be easy” she Walked over to the cube and pushed it in the direction of the laser beam. As soon as it hit the beam the laser shot out of one of the faces of the cube across the chamber hitting exactly on the small aperture on the wall. The line of circles coming out from it turned orange and an odd blue light shot out of the strange device under the door. Rarity was shocked that it had worked so easily but didn’t dwell on the fact for long. She approached the bridge of light hitting her platform and tapped at it experimentally with a hoof. She was shocked again to find that it felt solid and could hold her weight.
“How can light possible be solid?” she asked, partly to herself and partly in the hope that she would get an answer.
“As I deem you too unintelligent to understand the answer I will not be wasting my time explaining it. Please proceed into the chamberlock to complete the test.”
Rarity had had just about as much as she could take from this annoying, arrogant machine but she managed to hold on to her composer and after a moment of deep breathing she trotted tentatively across the light bridge and out through the chamber door into the adjoining corridor.
Upon exiting the corridor Rarity found herself in a round chamber containing nothing but a glass tube in the centre. Moving pictures played across the walls of the room showing images of a stylised pony silhouette performing various tasks.
As she approached the tube a platform lowered itself down inside and the tube rotated to reveal an entrance.
“If you think for one moment that I’ll just walk into that then you have got another thing coming” she said indignantly in what she thought was GLaDOS’s general direction.
“Fine, sit here forever. Until you look even older than you do now. I currently have five more test subjects, how many more lives do you have?” the voice of GLaDOS rang mockingly from the ceiling.
“I’ll have you know that I…” Rarity paused mid-sentence “wait, WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!” she exploded “what do you mean ‘older that you do now’?! How DARE you say I look old! If you don’t stop saying that I WILL make you sorry!”
GLaDOS mentally praised herself, she had found a nerve. “Denial is not unexpected as a response from an inferior biological life form when faced with its own rapidly approaching mortality.”
Rarity was speechless for a moment could the machine be right? She mentally shook herself; of course it wasn’t right, how could she have been taken in again by the same mind game! But the machine was right about one thing, she couldn’t just sit here and the only way to go was into the tube
The white unicorn cautiously moved forward onto the platform in the tube. When she sat down the platform abruptly started descending into the darkness below her.
The next chamber was vast, larger by far than the previous had been. One entire wall was taken up by an elaborate array of machinery all built in the same style as everything else Rarity had seen up to this point but none of it remotely familiar to the unicorn, at one end of the mechanism sat a large cube while at the other there was a large red button. The machines were covered by a glass panel and an entire half of the floor space was taken up by a pool of the foul liquid making it impossible for her to get anywhere near them. In a line in front of the water was an array of five of the large red buttons. Each with one or more lines of blue circles leading to a part of the mechanism on the wall. The rooms exit was crisscrossed by several red beams of light.
“I assume those will kill me as well?” Rarity said indicating the light beams. She already knew the answer but was determined to not let GLaDOS think that she had gotten to her with her continuous mind games.
“An astute observation, are you perhaps looking for a gold star?” GLaDOS asked the white unicorn sarcastically.
Rarity ignored her, sat down and started to examine the machinery. For several moments the room was silent.
“So we do not have to remain here for the entirety of time watching you fail, I will inform you that you do in fact have to move. The apparatus is not operated by your thoughts nor is likely that the test will spontaneously solve itself within your short remaining lifespan.”
Rarity closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself, she was not going to give GLaDOS the pleasure of making her angry. It was obvious what needed to be done, she had to move the cube from one end of the room to the other using the buttons but in what order? She looked back up at the wall for a moment before finally moving her attention to the lines of blue circles radiating out around the room from the buttons, crossing over and over each other to parts of the machine, she smiled to herself.
“You think you’re so clever don’t you?” she said, finally standing up “you think that just because you make something look complex that I will just fall apart? That if you put these blue lines everywhere I can’t follow them? Well that’s NOT going to happen! If I can follow a single thread across an entire dress then I can follow your gaudy little lines!”
The unicorn trotted confidently across to the third button in the row and stepped on it. Several things happened, the lines connected to the button changed to orange and parts of the machine started to move. The cube in the machine was pushed off its platform and down into a hole by a moving panel. Rarity trotted across to the first button in the row, activating it much like the last, an elevator positioned beneath the cubes current location started to ascend stopping in line with a second platform. Rarity stepped across from the first button to the second activating it instantly, a panel in the wall next to the cube pushed it out to the next platform. The white unicorn then walked around to the fifth button placing a hoof upon it, still watching the wall. The platform the cube was now on started to move to the side. When it reached its destination Rarity moved back to the third button pushing the cube off the moving platform on to a ledge just above the button. Finally she moved to the forth button pressing it triumphantly as the cubes platform receded into the wall dropping the cube onto the button, disabling the laser grid on the exit.
Without saying a word Rarity trotted out of the chamber, her head held high.
GLaDOS had to admit she was intrigued, not impressed it would take an awful lot to impress her but definitely intrigued. This creature was showing more intelligence than GLaDOS had initially assumed, in fact all the subjects so far seemed to have something about them setting them apart. She would have to arrange something special for the next subject.