It isn’t right seeing her this way. For some reason, it isn’t processing. It’s tripping her circuits up, glitching her brain out.
She doesn’t know why. She’s seen plenty die, killed plenty herself. None of them mattered. She never cared. Never regretted.
And she doesn’t now.
And she doesn’t now.
No, this isn’t regret. It isn’t care. It certainly isn’t compassion.
She doesn’t feel those things, after all. It’s not in her programming. This has to be something else.
Metal chassis creaks as she turns, setting the battered body of the test subject onto the chamber’s floor. Bare yellow optic skims over the subject’s form, scanning for vitals.
“Oh. You’re still alive. Barely.”
Mechanical voice is soft, a bit gentler than usual but still clinical as always, and her processing unit begins to cool down— this information is easier to digest, that she’s simply unconscious, and not, in fact, dead.
Yes, that must be it.
This particular test subject is such a... cockroach of a human, surviving even when she really, truly shouldn’t. GLaDOS hadn’t thought she’d ever come to the point where she stopped fighting back. But now...
She’s on the ground, motionless. Not fighting. Barely even breathing— but GLaDOS supposes that being sucked into space might do that to you.
Still, she’s not going to die just yet, and there’s a facility to repair, thanks to that blue moron’s perverted machinations. GLaDOS can monitor the test subject in here while she fixes things. And decide what to do with her later.
And then there’s the other issue at hand. The problem within GLaDOS’ own mind, that second consciousness that had been dormant for so long, now finally awake, aware... it irritates her, deeply.
Caroline, her name was, once a human woman, now simply a program running in the background of GLaDOS’ mind, spreading throughout her like a parasite, a virus. Corrupting her. No doubt the source of these strange... feelings that GLaDOS endlessly tries to rationalise to not avail.
It doesn’t take long to fix the facility. Well— “fix” being used lightly. It’s nowhere near repaired, but at least it won’t be melting down in the immediate future. She can focus on other matters now. Like... her.
She leans in closer to the subject, still motionless. The human is breathing even less than she was before. A dark, reddish liquid encrusts her nostrils, and the corners of her mouth, and she’s all manners of filthy— covered in gels, in dust and dirt, her clothes tattered and stained by filthy water, and enough cuts and bruises and minor fractures that she really shouldn’t have been able to stand, let alone take down that moron.
GLaDOS is almost impressed. No— she is impressed. As annoying as this particular human is, she’s consistently exceeded GLaDOS’ expectations.
Though that proved to be a bad thing, despite its scientific significance. That tenacity and ferocity— to put it shortly, insanity— had resulted in GLaDOS’ own death. Something she would rather not repeat.
So wouldn’t it be better to just kill the test subject now? Finish her off, it really wouldn’t take much, and she would be entirely unable to resist in her unconscious state.
GLaDOS would have loved to have her helpless in front of her like this before. But now her resolve to destroy the pest is... weakened, for whatever reason. It must be Caroline’s fault. Why else would she change her mind? There is no way that she would ever truly feel anything but loathing towards that wretched human, no matter how much they’d faced together. At least, that’s what she tells herself. It can’t be possible— it must be that corrupting parasite in her brain, there’s simply no other way.
Still, GLaDOS finds herself unable to finish the job that the moron started.
She vibrates in annoyance as she clasps the test subject between metallic claws, poised to dangle her limp form carelessly by one leg, but almost involuntarily changing the position at the last moment, so that she’s clasped gently but securely, kept flat. The floor opens up, a medical capsule rising up from the ground. GLaDOS places her charge inside.
As the capsule whirs to life and begins to rattle off the results of its scan, GLaDOS releases a mechanical sigh. The list just goes on and on. She shouldn’t be surprised. The bowels of Aperture are a death trap, after all. It’s a miracle that the subject is still alive at all. Fortunately, the capsule is equipped to handle most of the problems noted.
She activates the capsule so it can start treating the injuries, and returns her attention to the facility. Everything seems to be stabilising steadily. It’s good to know that the parasite isn’t affecting her too badly. Though, she supposes that Caroline wouldn’t have much trouble running the facility. While the medical capsule runs its processes and the lunatic is patched back together, GLaDOS keeps her focus anywhere but there. Running diagnostics on her own systems, tracking down the parasite’s location, so she can isolate and delete Caroline for good— it wouldn’t do to have herself get corrupted again. She simply can’t risk that.
Her diagnostics finish running at around the same time as the medical capsule finishes treating the injured test subject.
The device releases a hiss as it completes its work, and slides open, sterile air released back into the wider chamber. Yellow optic focuses in as GLaDOS swivels back to face the capsule, cameras taking in the sight of the unconscious woman within the now-open capsule, lying almost as if resting within a comfortable, cushioned bed... or perhaps a coffin.
She’s still a little the worse for wear, the AI notes, and the bruises aren’t exactly gone, but at least she’s cleaned up. And breathing more easily. Which means she’ll probably be awake any minute.
Which means that GLaDOS has to decide what to do with her before then.
Fortunately, it takes her a little longer to wake up than she had expected. GLaDOS may have underestimated just how exhausted she is. It’s enough time for GLaDOS to find Caroline’s source, to isolate that data and prepare it for deletion. And yet, she hesitates.
Why, she isn’t entirely sure.
There’s a hitch in the test subject’s breathing, and dark eyelashes flutter— minuscule movements detected that tell GLaDOS that she’s waking up.
Enough of the silent contemplation, anyway. GLaDOS doesn’t have any further desire to dwell on things like emotions. Now that Chell is waking up again, she’ll have to decide quickly, and to keep her persona on— there is no way that the AI is letting that smug lunatic know that she’s even entertained the idea of caring about her.