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before the

of the


on the

May 1 - 3, 1968



May 1, 1968


MR. JOHNSON: Gentlemen, I’m a busy man, so I’ll make this quick. You boys are busy, as well, doing whatever it is you do. Voting what kind of curly fries to serve in the cafeteria, I don’t know. Anyway, I’m Cave Johnson, Founder and CEO of Aperture Science.

THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Johnson, who is sitting next to you?

MR. JOHNSON: This is my assistant Caroline. She put together all that paperwork you subpoenaed from us. Damn near wrapped it all up in bows for you, thank you.

CAROLINE: Gentlemen, good morning.

MR. JOHNSON: Now, if we’re done acting like a sewing circle, let’s move on.

THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Johnson, between 1953 and 1966 --

MR. JOHNSON: Hey there, that’s enough. We’re just here about the supposed astronauts who supposedly disappeared while volunteering their time -- quite generously -- to take part in some very advanced and exciting endeavours at Aperture Science. Endeavours you boys were all too happy to pay for, I might add.

THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Johnson, if I may continue --

MR. JOHNSON: Anyway, all I’m going to say about that is this.

Mr. Johnson mimes wiping off his hands.

THE CHAIRMAN: Very well. Moving on.


“Your coffee, Mr. Johnson.”

“Caroline, you’re a doll.” Cave took a sip while looking around at the suited men milling about the Senate building hallway.

Caroline handed him a neat manila folder. “And I anticipated some of the questions they may ask this afternoon and prepared answers for you.”

“No need, Caroline. I’m sure I can just wing it. It’s only a couple of congressmen, what can they do?”

“There’s a chance we could lose our defense contracts.”

Cave waved his hand dismissively. “The whole thing’s overblown. They’re acting like they’ve never lost a couple of space boys themselves. And it’s not like they’re difficult to replace. Those guys are practically tripping out of flight school. Hell, it’s not like all of them will get to the Moon, anyway...”

“Still, sir.”

“You seem nervous. What are you nervous about?”

Caroline gave him a faint smile. “I’m only thinking about science’s future, sir.” She shook her head. “They’re about to begin again. We should go back in.”



May 2, 1968

MR. JOHNSON: You never know what might happen, that’s why you keep spares around! It’s like with tires. Or children.

THE CHAIRMAN: Unintelligible noise.

MR. JOHNSON: Hey, every single person who goes into our testing chambers, comes back out. In some way. Eventually. I’ll definitely let you know when they do. Hell, they might even come out better than when they came in! Mantis-men astronauts will certainly make the Russians shake in their red skivvies.


THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you for your time today. We will reconvene tomorrow morning for final statements.


“Caroline, could you get in here?”

“Yes, sir?” Caroline asked, stepping over the tangle of phone cords that covered the floor.

Cave’s hotel room had been turned into a makeshift office. He'd even removed the bed. Cave was at the bureau, which was mostly taken up by his dictation machine, the microphone of which was parked in front of his mouth. He may have been over 700 miles away from the labs and under federal investigation, but that didn’t mean that science -- or the creation of pre-recorded messages -- had to stop.

“I just had an idea for that light-based sonic detonation device the boys are working on,” Cave explained excitedly. “You know, for the third round of testing. I thought we could add some variables to spice it up a bit. Might also give us an idea of how it’ll operate with red light or blue light. Hell, a whole spectrum! Make it light the sky on fire!”

“Shall I write up a schedule for the team, sir?” Caroline asked.

“The usual,” Cave replied, smiling at her. “You know, how about dinner tomorrow? There’s that place downstairs where they shape the butter pats into little chickens. You, me, we could talk about the test over a couple of rare steaks.”

“Mr. Johnson...”

“Think about it?” Cave asked.

Caroline brushed back a loose strand of dark hair. “I will, Mr. Johnson. And I’ll have the first draft of the schedule for you tomorrow morning.”



May 3, 1968

MR. JOHNSON: Oh, I see what this is all about. Yeah. There’s no place for “runners-up” in the Defense Department is there?

THE CHAIRMAN: Mr. Johnson, if you would --

MR. JOHNSON: You just wanna give it all [to] Black Mesa, huh? No more contracts for Aperture, and, by the way, we’ll try to toss you in jail. You know, just for laughs.


THE CHAIRMAN: Sir, Black Mesa’s contracts are not the subject of inquiry right now. If we could just finish up --

MR. JOHNSON: Prolonged laughter. You’re serious? Fine! Whatever! Science can go on without your stupid little charity contracts. I’ll have you know, too, that half of those ideas at Black Mesa are mine. Mine! The thieving bastards.

THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Johnson, for your time and cooperation during this hearing. You are dismissed.

MR. JOHNSON: We’re done here. Come on, Caroline. I have a steak dinner waiting for me.


December 16, 1968

Senate Releases Report on Investigation of Aperture Science

WASHINGTON, D.C. After an exhaustive investigation, United States Senate has released their first report on its investigation of the facilities at Aperture Science. The 600-page report details what the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations is calling “crimes against ethics, nature and the very laws of physics.”

Allegations of abuse of test subjects, including several NASA astronauts who went missing at the laboratory’s Michigan Enrichment Center facility, sparked the investigation in April. The report also presents evidence of Aperture knowingly covering up these incidents and hindering the efforts of federal investigators.

At a Senate hearing in May, Aperture’s founder and CEO Cave Johnson denied all allegations, and accused the federal government of setting him up to end his company’s federal research and development contracts in favor of awarding them to Black Mesa, Aperture’s main competitor. Each year since 1949, Black Mesa has been awarded the Department of Defense's Contractor of the Year, with Aperture the runner-up. Aperture filed for bankruptcy in August 1967, following a string of failed, expensive research and testing initiatives.

The Senate stated that they will be continuing their investigation, starting with the closure of Aperture’s secondary facility in Ohio. Aperture’s contracts with the Department of Defense have also been suspended.

When asked for comment on the latest developments, Cave Johnson replied--

“--Bullshit!” Cave threw the newspaper down onto the damp floor of the tram, interrupting the quiet of its trip as it drove further through the salt mine. He sunk back into his seat with a huff.

“Do you think this is it, Caroline?” he asked, glancing up at her, seated across from him.

Caroline smiled at him, and shook her head. “As long as there is science to do, sir, we’ll be here.”

“You could get a job anywhere you wanted, you know.”

“Mr. Johnson...”

“I’m serious.”

“Of course.” The tram stopped. Caroline gathered up her envelope of carefully typed, photocopied and collated notes for the detonation device test team, and stood to open the door for him. “Let’s get to work, sir.”