*A Portal 2/Leviathan crossover*
Alek woke. His eyes simply blinked open. He was not aware of what room he was in, but he quickly realized he was in a cot. Glancing around, he saw four other people in similar cots. They were all sound asleep. One was a woman with long, somewhat curly brown hair and angular features. Another was a tall-looking, lean man with a rather impressive graying handlebar mustache. One was a girl about his age of eighteen with unusually short sandy hair and a smidgen of freckles across her cheeks. The last was another man; a stronger and slightly shorter build then the man with the mustache, dark brown hair flopping onto his brow.
Alek stood up slowly, looking at the room carefully. It looked a bit a hotel room. There was a painting of a beach on one side of the wall, a painted picture of mountains by the woman with brown hair on the far end, and a closet closest to him. But he knew it wasn't a hotel. He didn't know what this place was. If he had known once, if at all, he had forgotten. The boy jumped when a voice sounded over the speakers.
"Good morning. You have been in compliance for fifty days," said a male voice in a cheerful monotone, sounding tinny through the speakers, "In compliance with province and federal regulations, you and the other Aperture science subjects must be revived periodically for a mandatory physical and mental wellness exercise." Alek glanced around. The voice was loud but the others did not wake.
"When you hear the buzzer, look down."
There was a loud, annoying, buzzer and Alek obeyed, looking down at the floor.
"Now, when you hear the buzzer, look up."
Again, the pervasive sound came and, once again, Alek obeyed.
"Good, this completes the gymnastic portion of your physical and mental wellness excercise."
Very repetitive; how dull.
"Now, please go stand in front of the painting on the wall."
Alek strode down the center aisle of cots to stand beside the woman and gaze at the painting.
"This is art. You will hear a buzzer. When you hear the buzzer, stare at the art."
There went the buzzer God's wounds, how childish.
"You should now feel mentally reinvigorated. If staring at art has not required the intellectual sustenance, reflect briefly on this classical music."
Over the speakers, music began to play. Harpsichords, violins, and woodwinds combining to make an annoying combination of sound. Abruptly, there was a sharp buzzer.
"Good. Now, please return to your cot."
Shrugging, Alek obeyed. As soon as he settled under the sheets, he fell sound asleep.
The next time Alek woke, he was being shakenquite roughly. The grip was tight on his arm and a man growled his name.
"Aleksandar, get up! Alek!"
A cheerful voice sounded over the speakers:
"Good morning, you've been in suspension for," the broke and stuttered, "nine; nine; nine; nine; nine; nine; nine"
Then there was a knock at the door.
"Hello?" called a voice in a thick accent, "Is anyone in there?"
"Damn, what now? For Christ's sake, GET UP, boy!"
"He's dead," said a quivering voice, that may have once been strong and cheerful, "He is, isn't he?"
"Of course not," sniffed a woman's voice in a posh English accent. Alek forced his eyes open and blinked groggily up at the man with a mustache.
"May I help you, sir?" he mumbled. The man almost immediately pulled him to his feet.
"See? Alive!" he snapped, directed toward the dark haired young man. He man seemed hardly older then Alek, brown eyes wide and his frame twitching with anxiousness. The blonde girl was beside him, one are on his shoulder in a gesture to calm down. Her azure eyes watched him and she wore a happy grin.
"Helloooooo?" called the voice through the door again, "Can you open the door? At any time?"
"Glad to see your alright, Alek," said the woman, "We just woke up in the same room. It's in quite the state, isn't it?"
Alek didn't reply, gazing around at the room. It had indeed fallen in the state if disrepair. Things were thrown everywhere, wallpaper peeling off the walls, and even the closet door were torn off.
All the while, the voice outside the door still talked.
"Can youno? Look, I really need one of you to open the door. It's rather urgent. Just open the door! No, too agressive. Friends, please open the door. Nah, too friendly. Well, they could be Spanish... Hola, amigo! Abre la puerta! Donde estano. Um..."
Still, no one answered the voice. The man still gripping his arm had his eyes narrowed at the door and the woman was still studying the room. The girl was trying to calm down the man still. He was heaving for breath as though he was claustrophobic, babbling, and his eyes flicking around suspicsiously.
The voice continued, dripping with sarcasm.
"Fine! No, absolutely fine. It's not like I don't have, you know, ten thousand other test subjects begging me to help them escape. You know, it's not like this place is about to EXPLODE."
There was a groan and then a heavy sigh.
"Alright, look, okay, I'll be honest. You're the LAST test subjects left. And if you DON'T help me, we're all going to die. Alright? I didn't want to say it, you all dragged it out of me. Alright? Dead. Dos Muerte."
This caused everyone to looked up in alarm. What in God's name was that supposed to mean? Or did the voice mean exactly what is had said?
"So PLEASE open the door!"
Alek pulled himself out of the older man's grip and started toward the door. He ignored the man's warnings, still saying nothing. He gripped the doorknob ("Aha! I knew there was at least one person alive in there!") and pulled open the door. To his surprise, there was not a human there. Rather, there was a small, circular robotic... Thing. It was hanging on a rail over Alek's head, its eyeball-like optic watching him and what actually seemed to be making expressions. There was no mouth to speak of though there did seem to be some speakers somewhere.
The little robot let out a cry of what seemed like horror.
"My God!" it spluttered, "You look terri um, good. You look good, actually."
Alek could only blink. The robot traveled on the maintenance into the room. The boy kicked the door shut and followed. The man with the mustache had his arms crossed over his chest and the woman beside him watched the robot. The girl looked curious and the man looked positively terrified of the little thing. Alek noticed the twitch in his right eye and the way his eyes swiveled around the room jerkily. Paranoia, the boy figured.
"You all look, um, good. But are you all okay?"
The older man opened his mouth to speak but was cut off.
"Well, don't answer that. I'm absolutely sure you're all fine. There's plenty of time for you to recover. Just take it slow."
The man glowered and muttered something darkly to which the woman cocked her head curiously, as though she couldn't hear him.
"Nothing, Nora," he said, shaking his head.
"No, speak up. I can't hear you very well."
The man looked at her sharply in alarm.
"What do you mean, you can't hear well?"
"Well, maybe you're NOT alright," the orb interrupted, "but that's no big deal. You see, most test subjects do experience some cognitive deterioration after a few months in suspension. Now you've been under for... quite a lot longer, and it's not out of the question that you might have a VERY minor case of serious brain damage."
"Gott in Himmel," moaned the young man, clutching his hands over his ears as his trembling grew violent. The blonde beside struggled to make a gentle "shh"-ing sound and patted his shoulder reassuringly.
"Did he say brain damage?" asked the British woman, looking up at the man beside her.
"Yes, it did," he sighed wearily.
"Don't be alarmed, alright? Although, if you do feel alarm, try to hold onto that feeling because that is the proper reaction to being told you have brain damage," continued the robot then snapped, "And 'it' has a name, you know! The name's Wheatley, and I am a personality core! I've had to take care of you bloody humans for a long time now! You should be greatful! You could all be vegetables if it wasn't for me!"
The man rolled his eyes, scoffing rudely. "Wheatley" seemed to glare at the man. Abruptly, a tremor went through the room, shaking things free if they were still properly in place.
"Oh, right!" Wheatley said as if just remembering what what it had come to be, "You all mi"
"nine; nine; nine; nine; nine; nine; nine" the system's cheery but broken voice crackled over the speakers but promptly broke again.
"As I was saying," Wheatley continued more urgently, "you all might want to hold onto something, because I have go to get you all of here. But, it's just a word of advice. Up to you, though.
"I'm in REALLY hot water, if I forgot to say so earlier." It continued along the maintenance rail and a panel lifted in the ceiling. Wheatley disappeared behind it, the panel replacing itself, but Alek could still here the core's voice as it muttered to itself.
There was another tremor and whole chunks of the wall fell down around them. The paranoid man let out a cry of terror and lunged toward them. He took the personality core's advice. He clung to the girl he had accidentally dragged along with him.
"Get ahold of yourself, man!" snapped the other man. The man whimpered in response. Alek felt a lifting sensation and he staggered backward as the floor jerked out from under him.
"Sorry, sorry!" called Wheatley, "It's so hard to steer this thing! Just hold on! Ooh! This is a tricky bit!"
There was a shriek of metal-on-metal as the walls of the room scraped the side of steel beams. Alek could see the skeleton of this "Aperture Science". It was desolate and overgrown. Then, Wheatley began to rant.
"And of course nobody tells ME anything. Noooo. Why should they tell me anything? Why should I be kept informed about the life functions of the ten thousand bloody test subjects I'm supposed to be in charge of!"
Then Alek heard it muttering to itself.
"Oh, another tight squeeze. Have I got enough space?"
Apparently, there was enough room and Wheatley resumed ranting.
"And whose fault do you think it's going to be when the management comes down here and finds ten thousand flipping vegetables?"
There was a sharp BANG! and the woman would've fallen if it had not been for the man with the mustache. She let out a sharp yelp and the young man clutched at the girl tighter. She looked quite uncomfortable. As a gentleman, Alek felt he should approach the man about it but then decided, now wasn't the best time.
"Oh, I hit that one. Sorry, I didn't mean to."
It sounded like it was clearing its throatif it had one. It spoke loudly, so even the partially deaf woman could hear.
"Okay, listen guys; we should get our stories straight, alright? If anyone asksand no one's gonna ask, don't worrybut if anyone asks, tell them as far as you know, the last time you checked, everyone looked pretty much alive. Alright? Not dead."
"That does not sound reassuring," growled the older man. Alek shook his head, grimacing. The younger man was trying in vain to calm himself and the girl was trying to help him but the boy noticed her eyes kept flickering back to him for some odd reason.
"Okay, almost there," Wheatley said, "On the other side of that wall is one of the old testing tracks. There's a piece of equipment in there we're gonna need to get out of here. I think this is a docking station. Get ready..."
There was a crash and they were sent sprawling to the ground amongest the rubble. They latched on to one another, eager to not fall down the large hole that awaited them if they should fall. Alek scrabbled for a hold on something, finally grabbing the short metal leg of a cot. The metal dug into his flesh painfully, but he resolved not to let go. The core's voice came again, sounding as though it were struggling.
"Good news: that is NOT a docking station. So there's one mystery solved. I'm going to attempt a manual override on this wall. Could get a bit technical! Hold on!" Again, there was another crash and more chunks of well fell around them. Luckily, the opposite wall was breaking down as well.
"It'll kill us," groaned the woman, gripping the older man in one hand and helping him keep them up with the other.
"Well, at least I'm doing something! Stupid human."
"Forgive ME, if I cannot control a whole room!"
Third time was the charm. They broke through the wall, sending Alek tumbling to the floor and cracking his head against a piece of a steel beam. Flashes of color and pictures flooded his mind for a moment before he felt someone take his hand, intertwining their fingers. He looked up sharply and saw the blonde girl was the one holding his hand. His brow furrowed and he pulled his hand out of hers. She looked at him with a frown, brow furrowing. Alek promptly ignored her.
"Alright, all of you," Wheatley said, bringing the room to a halt above wild foliage and a glass box, "I'm pretty sure you won't know how to get out of here, right?"
"Yes," the woman said.
"We're all going to die here," groaned the delusional man, wringing his hands.
"Quiet, Bauer," growled the other man, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Right, well," continued the robot, "you're looking for a gun that makes holes. Not bullet holes, but well, you'll figure it out. I'm sure you remember your last use of portal guns?"
'Last use of portal guns'? What? Alek had never even heard of such objects. When he pondered the words, he only got flashes of blue and orange.
He saw the girl hesitantly step to the edge of a hole in the wall, ready to jump. She studied the ground and looked around, searching for an easy way down probably. Alek saw her look back at them and shrug. The man with the handlebar mustache slowly joined her, followed by the other two. Alek joined them, unsure what else to do. He had no other choice. He didn't know these people but he had no reason not to go with them.
There was a glass box below, cracked and in disarray, with a single concrete slab on the side. There were several objects inside that looked like a toilet, a radio, and a small desk. What you could possible want all those objects in a glass box was beyond Alek.
"As a great man once said..." the woman sighed and took the older man's hand before jumping, and shouting, "ALLONS-Y!"
The man let out a cry as they broke through the cracked glass pane. The girl grabbed the other man's sleeve and jumped as down. As they hit the ground, they rolled. The woman had ended up with her head on the man's chest, hands still entwined. The girl was laying across the young man's middle, convulsing with silent laughter.
Alek's brow furrowed as he watched them.
"You're mad," groaned the man, sitting up slowly. The woman shook out her long hair, freeing pieces of glass in the tangles. She shrugged, taking a deep breath and standing up. They helped up the girl and her companion. The man was shivering as though he were in the middle of winter without a coat. He said nothing but his eyes gave away a look of utter terror.
"Off you go!" urged Wheatley behind him, "You've got absolutely nothing to lose. Well, actuallyah, never you mind."
"Aleksandar!" called the tall man, "Come down!" But Alek did not obey right away. He glanced around, reluctant, but he eventually worked up the courage to leap. To feel the air rushing through his hair was absolutely invigorating. He felt like he could fly.
But within seconds, he touched the ground. His odd, tall, black and white boots absorbed the shock but he didn't lose his footing. He stumbled and landed on the balls on his feet.
"Good luck!" called Wheatley, "The portal guns are scatter throughout the building! Blue first! I'll see you later! Assuming you're not dead, anyway!"
"How cheery," muttered the woman as the personality core disappeared into the panel in the ceiling again.
"Hello," said the cheerful tinny voice that had broken, "and, again, welcome to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. We are currently experiencing technical difficulties torque to some circumstances of potentially apocalyptic significance beyond our control."
Alek's eyes shot up and he eyed the area around them carefully. He noticed the others doing the same, especially the paranoid man.
"But thanks to Emergency Testing Protocols, we can continue. With these prerecorded messages, we will give you motivational support so that science may be done even in the event of social, economic, or structural collapse. The portal will open and Emergency Testing will begin in three... Two... One."
The was a short whooshing sound and an ovular orange portal, he supposed, appeared on the concrete slab in the glass box. Oddly enough, Alek seemed to be the only one who was wary of it. Even the twitchy man seemed comfortable with it. The boy didn't know what is was, but he didn't like it.
The girl stepped through first. As soon as she did, Alek stared in shock. She wasn't directly in front, like a door, but rather, he was off to the side of the box, coming through a blue portal. Orange and blue...
"Alek," the older man said, snapping him out of his reverie, "Go on through."
Alek blinked rapidly for a moment and gazed at the head that was in the portal. The rest of the man's body was by the blue portal. It was downright scary. Alek nodded and stiffly approached the slab when the man's head disappeared.
He looked at his left hand, biting his lower lip, before hesitantly sticking it through. He stared at the blue portal. There was his hand. He waved his arm and saw his hand move.
"Christ's sake, Aleksandar!"
A large callused hand snatched his wrist and hauled the boy through roughly. Alek yelped and flailed against the strange man. Was anyone else watching this?
"What is wrong with you?" he sputtered, shoving himself away, and staggering into another man. The man let out a cry of surprise and swung his fist around, catching Alek in the jaw. The boy snarled and went to lunge at him, but stopped. The man was struggling to breathe evenly again, his shaking coming back again.
"What's wrong with ME?" the other man spat archly, "You haven't said six words to us!"
"Why should I?"
"Why SHOULDN'T you?"
"I don't even know you!"
The silence that followed was deafening.