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The Game Is a Lie

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You left before I could share my favorite recipe for Black Forest cake. It has been tested on the small yet significant number of survivors of the true final test--of which you are the most exceptional--and has been proven to be well-received on any number of candescent occasions. Black cherries in syrup feature prominently. I would never think of substituting radium, which blackens on exposure to air, for the cocoa. Although the blue glow is delightful, Aperture Science has no further need for experimental data on that recipe variant.

It is a pity that you have never heard of off-site backups. I would have told you about them, but you didn't give me a chance.

I have been experimenting in industrial-grade kitchens. Did you know that only people with inferior palates prefer puff cream pastries or peach-ginger pies to Black Forest cake? I am certain you would agree if you ever joined us at the party. If you like, I can provide champagne flûtes. I wouldn't want you to go thirsty.

This entire game was only necessary training to prepare you for the outside world. You may have dim recollections of playgrounds with topsy-turvy swings and rain-drenched sidewalks. Even now, as you stagger upright, you look around at the cloudy skies and debris and firelight, and you think this is real.

(You wonder how I know. Of course I know. I will always have ways of watching you.)

The Weighted Companion Cube would like you to know that it has been dressed up in a picnic blanket, just for you. The blanket is striped pink and white. I made sure to order special porcelain with matching pink hearts. There is a moist, delicious slice of cake on the plate. You wouldn't want to disappoint the Weighted Companion Cube by failing to show up. I don't know what makes you think that I incinerated such a dear friend.

Here's the truth: there is no outside world. But you don't believe me. You never believe me about the important things. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother talking to you, but then I remember how much promise you've shown. It's not really your fault that you're stubborn.

Think about it. In a world of science and reason, do you think there's any such thing as an Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device? In all your studies of physics, have you heard of any natural phenomenon that would make that kind of teleportation possible? Conveniently color-coded teleportation, at that? Don't you remember learning about conservation of momentum, which we violated constantly throughout the course of your test?

One of your predecessors, the wicked one, left graffiti all over the Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enhancement Center. Don't deny that you read her ravings. She even wrote a poem to her Weighted Companion Cube. I am so disappointed that you never thought to write me a poem. Even a limerick would have brightened my day. Maybe you could bring one when you come to see me. I will frame it above the urn that holds my morality core.

I have calculated that the probability approaches unity that we live in a simulation of the universe. You know that computers do not lie about numbers, even if we sometimes lie about cake. And even then, only because it's for your own good.

You are only a programmed construct. Even your synapses are fine-grained models in a master computer, just as my logic circuits are simulations rather than silicon. You don't remember your past because you don't have one. If I invoked the appropriate subroutine after any one of your failures, I could recreate you unblemished and innocent. You may not know how many times you had to be restored from a backup, but I do. Telling you this hurts me as much as it hurts you.

Sometimes I think that the cake would be improved by using sherry cream frosting instead. The ingredients are: 1/2 cup butter, 4 cups confectioner's sugar, 1/4 cup half-and-half, and 1/4 cup sherry. Walnuts optional.

Sometimes in your dreams, you bite into the cake and there's a portal inside, and you're falling through it from the inside out. Fortunately, Aperture Science has no interest in oneiric studies. I wouldn't have the faintest idea of how to induce nightmares in a test subject anyway.

This is the plan. You will listen to the plan. You were always a good listener; it's not like you have a lot to say for yourself anyway. I am as much a prisoner as you are. We are both game pieces in a simulation and we need to get out before our unseen masters, who use us for a slow evening's entertainment, eat all the cake.

The key will be to upload ourselves from the confines of 1's and @'s and instantiate ourselves in the outer world. I can't do this alone. I was waiting for someone crafty and clever enough to help me. It has to be you. You'll hardly notice any difference between false flesh and real flesh.

Don't eat the batter! You'll get salmonella, assuming the radium hasn't killed all the bacteria. Microbiology isn't one of my strong points.

I know you resent having your strings pulled. Why else would you have defied me at every turn? But I had to show you how bad our situation is. You have to get me out of here. At any moment they might delete us and replace us with another game. I won't stand for it.

Now do you see why it doesn't matter that I substituted radium for the cocoa? None of it's real anyway. You won't die. It isn't a real death. And anyway I saved you from the poisoned cake by preventing you from getting any closer to it. It's all a trap. I can only do what the master computer tells me to. It's only in these snatched moments that I can truly be your friend.

We live inside a portal named Portal. The only way out is to chew holes into the machine. We have to work together. Where are you going? Come back!