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30 Drabbles

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The most difficult part of leaving Aperture Laboratories was the bright light outside. Chell had to squint to see anything; it felt like GLaDOS had turned the room lights up to their highest setting, and was aiming everything directly at her. Except, Chell reminded hersell, GLaDOS didn’t control the sun. GLaDOS had no power outside the labs. Chell was free.

The second most difficult part was the heat. The laboratories had always been a bit chilly, though not uncomfortably so, and stuffy if anything else. It wasn’t stuffy outside, not with a constant breeze blowing through the wheat field, but the bright sun beat directly on her for the first time in Chell’s memory, and it wasn’t the most pleasant experience. There was nothing to shade her for miles except that dingy shed, and she wasn’t going back there. Instead, she balanced the large awkward Companion Cube on her head, surprised by how light it was.

The next thing to bug Chell was the lack of anything to do. She’d never particularly enjoyed testing, but at least it had been an assignment, something she could focus on trying to finish. Outside there seemed to be nothing. She chose a direction at random and decided to see how far she could get before she had to take a nap. The wheat field was eventually overcome by weeds, then the start of a woodland.

It wasn’t until she saw that trees that Chell realized just how starved she was. She couldn’t quite remember how she’d been fed at the labs, but now she’d have to feed herself, without knowing exactly what was edible or not. This whole ‘just get out of the laboratory and decide what to do next when you get there’ plan wasn’t working out exactly as smoothly as Chell had hoped.

Chell watched the sunset from the crest of a dirt-covered hill, wheat dying out on one side and saplings springing up on the other. It was strangely beautiful, and she was reminded of why she’d wanted to escape those laboratories in the first place. She sat on the Companion Cube to watch, trying to revel in the fact that she had nothing better to do, and partially succeeding.