written by gru and lars - updates every friday

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March 31, 2017 10:45pm

Oh, god damn it.

Underestimating jumps like this can cost her life, yet she still takes the risk of doing so. A bit too much of the greasy, oily orange, and a bit too little of the elastic, thick blue. Her grip on the paint gun slips, leaving it ricocheting off a panel and landing just out of reach. Her chest slams hard into a platform hanging over a certain and highly corrosive death, leaving her out of breath with a wheezy “oof” sound.

No. Oh, oh no, no no no no.

She can’t get a hold on the panel, frantically clawing at the surface, smearing it with paint as she continues slipping down towards the edge until her hands, slick from gel, are the only things keeping her away from her fate.

Perhaps returning to that dreaded testing track to humor a certain core was a mistake, after all. She’s stuck in this facility, though, might as well make the most of it. The rush of dancing dangerously close to the line between life and death can be addictive for some. The thrill of the rush, it got her blood pumping, her heart racing. Besides– something about the orange-colored asshole in charge of the entire testing appeals to her.. to a degree. A very small one.

Wait. Oh. Right. Her name. What’s her name? You tell her, honestly you would be more likely to know it than her. All she knows is the number the system used to identify her by, plastered on the shirt she wears and outside the relaxation stasis chamber she had awoken in long ago; 18.

Back to reality.

“Hhh, ughh.. Nigel– NIGEL. H-help me out, I uh… I’m slipping. And I might, you know, FALL. To my death.” Subject 18 wheezes, frantically swinging her legs in an attempt to gain momentum to get back up onto the panel, lean an arm on it, SOMETHING– but to no avail.

The orange-accented android wielding a clipboard and dress shirt shrugs, visible on a screen on a nearby wall, depicting his somewhat organized workspace. “That’s unfortunate.”

“You piece of–!”

“Eh. I’ll come, can’t lose my only subject.” Nigel goes off-screen, hooking himself up to the management rail to swiftly reach where the subject is struggling. He pops back off, standing a few feet away with an apathetic frown, leaning down a little with his lips pressed into a flat line.

“Enjoying the view?” She asks him, her voice anxiously raising in pitch as she fails to remain calm. Nigel is (as nicely and tenderly as one can describe) a dick. A decent to look at dick with major empathy problems.

The core gives a huff of breath and a nonchalant “eh”, kneeling down and resting his cheek in an open palm, supported by an elbow propped on his knee. His eyes narrow ever so slightly, his free hand moving to press a button on the side of his earpiece. A translucent visor made of hard light, colored like his orange accents, moves out to cover the upper half of his face. “You’re really having a hard time down there, eh?”

“Psshh, n-no. I enjoy hanging-” Her snark gets abruptly cut off as she loses some of her hold on the edge. She has to look down, even if she’d told herself how bad it is. Luckily, she isn’t afraid of heights (unlike SOME idiots out there, am I right?) however, she’s afraid of dying. The corrosive goo hisses and gurgles dangerously near, heating up the bottom of her boots, practically begging her to release her grip on the panel.

“Yesyesyesyes– okay, yes, I AM having a bit of.. hhggh– trouble.”

Nigel’s thick eyebrows furrow, an indescribable look full of conflict and (guilt?) other muddled emotions forming on his face. One hand twitches, clenching into a fist, as if he’s been irritated. What the hell is this he’s feeling? He’s not supposed to feel. His programming doesn’t dictate any wiggle room for emotion. “…alright. I’ll help. Only because I need the statistics on that paint gun; I’d just grab it and leave you for dead, honestly, but you’re my only subject.”

“I love you too, sunshine.” With an annoyingly singsong voice, 18 gives him a forced and obviously fake smile. Her breathing is heavy, sweat beading on her forehead and dripping down her temples. The fingers on her remaining hand start to lose grip fast, slipping one by one. After what feels like hours of the worst kind of anticipation, there’s nothing keeping her from dropping.

“NIGEL.” Wow. Her last words and they’re his name.

The sight of the other’s hands slipping and leading to a potentially deadly fall makes time almost stop for Nigel. What the hell is he doing? She’s just some human. He quickly lunges forward, practically throwing himself after her as he grabs for one of her hands with both of his. With the subject’s paint-covered hand firmly in his own glove-covered hands, he takes a deep breath, tapping wirelessly into controls for the current chamber and manipulating the panel to tilt upwards; just enough to get a stable footing and pull 18 upwards.

Afterwards, he unceremoniously throws her backwards towards a more stable area and the paint gun. “You’re welcome,” the core grumbles almost inaudibly.

18 wheezes, the sudden rush of the last few seconds all catching up to her. Now, yes, he clearly isn’t a knight in shining armor, but even for him throwing her is a bit too rough. She skids on her side a few feet, scraping her elbows as she practically slides to her trusty tool. She rolls onto her back, gasping and out of breath. For a second, there, she really believed he was going to let her fall. But then.. THAT happened.

“Never, ever, EVER wait till the last second again, okay? Dick move. Even for you.” She wheezes, hugging her paint gun and petting like someone making sure their child’s okay after a scare.

“It didn’t occur to me that the unkillable test subject would end up getting done in by a bunch of.. Whatever makes up the goo down there. Be thankful you’re not dead, will you?” Nigel walks forward and past 18, looking ahead. “You were almost at the end. Imagine– dying seconds before you reach the end. Humiliating, I bet.”

18 lifts her head, watching him walk past as he gives a rather “uplifting” speech about dying.

“Wow. And here I thought you didn’t care. You really know how to charm a gal.” She’d rather just keep laying down– her elbows are burning from the scraping, her heart is pounding too fast and too loud from adrenaline. With a groan, she slowly eases back to her feet, knowing full well that Mr. Walking-Citranium-Advertisement is focused on testing. He had forced her to test before, and she would rather not get hit by a weighted storage cube as “persuasion”… again.

“C’mon,” Nigel gestures for the subject to follow, tucking his hands into his pants pockets and walking close enough to the door at the end of the corridor to make it open.

Nobody told him about the second core in the track at the moment. “..there you are. I was looking for you.” With amber accents aglow and scandinavian accent prominent, the Maintenance Core pushes off of the wall he had just been leaning on to approach the duo.

18, about to give Nigel a certain hand gesture (involving a certain finger), that, in her opinion was rightfully deserved, is stopped in her tracks by the foreign voice. Both literally and concerning that accent. One would think these androids are human enough, but they definitely aren’t. Unless humans started coming out in bright, oversaturated colors like freaking crayons while the subject was in stasis.

18 hates them. Nigel’s the proof she has that they’re all soulless, empty testing machines. And her only interaction with core androids until now. Just because this one has a different accent and a relatively welcoming disposition doesn’t mean squat. She immediately becomes guarded, distrust filling her face as she warily brandishes her paint gun. She wishes she has an actual gun, at the very least it’d be easier to disable larger mechanical things with it.

This android is in for it if he DARES to “test” her– more like, “let’s see if this person can live through a highly dangerous, deadly obstacle course with nothing but a paint ball gun”.

“Nigel,” the stranger, Virgil, begins, an irritated frown on his face, “I need you to come with me to the repair wing.”

“Why’s that?”

“You need your old programming back.” The shorter core, the Maintenance Core, steps forward, an assertive tone in his voice. “You’re not yourself anymore, trust me on that.”

The other tenses up, his shoulders raising as his accents shift to a warmer, slightly darker shade of orange to reflect his shift in mood. “I… I don’t need to be reprogrammed. I’ve-I’ve been doing well enough with testing, right? Besides, you’re– you’re not my boss. You don’t dictate that or not.” An almost uncharacteristic attitude for him. Defensive. Afraid, in a way.

“Nigel– you’ve.. you’ve been doing well enough. We just need to get your old self back, okay?” Man, 18 must be confused.

“Hi, hello, smelly human here.” 18 moves forward, taking an almost protective stride towards Nigel. “Yeah, hi, look, tin man, you are NOT taking him. I kinda need him to watch me risk my life for stupid tests.” Nigel’s reaction, among other things, deepens the confusion rooting in her mind. Reprogramming Nigel, it could either change him for worse or for the better, and she’s only just warming up to him. More or less.

She points the paint gun at Virgil’s face, a serious expression melding together on her own.

Virgil raises his hands in front of himself, eyes locking on the barrel of the gun. Looks a lot like a portal gun– isn’t looking into the operational end of these things dangerous? “You can accompany me, if you want. I just need Nigel to cooperate.”

“And you’re not going to get the satisfaction of that. No way in android hell am I going to get reprogrammed again.” His lip curls, showing some teeth as his fists ball up at his sides, his stance shifting to be a tad wider. “As far as I know, I’ve done nothing deserving of that kind of punishment.”

“It’s not a punishment! It’s going to help, I swear it.”

“No! You can’t make m–”

Virgil activates his visor, the glow masking his features beneath as he focuses on it. Being “fully Wi-Fi capable” allows him to wirelessly hack things. Such as remotely deactivating another android, like the robotic version of anaesthesia for a surgery.

After a few tense moments, Nigel’s eyes and accents fade to black as he slumps over. Grumbling Norwegian profanities under his breath, Virgil proceeds to walk over and pull at one of the limp core’s arms.

That’s when 18 decides to take a swing at Virgil with the paint gun– the only weapon she has on hand.

“What the HELL are you doing?! You killed him!” She swings at his head, trying to keep him away from Nigel.

“I didn’t kill him– I deactivated him so it’s easier to get him to the repair wing!” Virgil narrowly ducks, eyes wide. “If– if you help me carry him there, I’ll leave him alone as soon as I’m done, okay?!”

“And why should I expect you to keep your word? Give me ONE reason, a good reason, to trust you tin man.” She readies her gun for another swing. Androids are “truth enhancers”, judging from what she’s experienced with Nigel. They either want you dead or testing.

“I won’t hurt him, I’ll let you be in there while I’m fixing him up!” His voice cracks, sounding more like a faint glitch due to his voice being artificial. He takes a step back, looking from Nigel to the subject. “He– he’ll be better. I promise.”

Yeah you better be scared, 18 thinks to herself. The subject would have beaten him, but this android is… not Nigel. That’s a solid fact from the three minutes she’s interacted with him. She lowers her gun with a cold threat, “You mess with me, I will make sure they find bits and pieces of you all throughout this hellhole.”

“Help me carry him. Please. I… it’s to help an old friend. You might have known him.” Who’s he talking about? He sighs, cautiously pacing back over to the deactivated android.

“Probably not,“ her voice wavers warily as she moves over to Nigel, “I’ll get his arms.”

“..thank you.” Virgil awkwardly hoists the core’s legs in his arms. “Let me call an elevator to the repair wing.” Like before, he focuses on his visor, a bit of a shift causing the surroundings to rumble for a second. Straightening out the piping so an elevator can come. “Alright,” he murmurs, an elevator arriving in the center of the room, “let’s go.”
Call me Lars!
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<Sparkleaf> Technically, you are the fifth RP generation.
April 12, 2017 6:55am

The elevator slows to a stop, opening just outside the doors to the repair wing. The Maintenance Core eases out, gesturing for the subject to follow, an unconscious Nigel still stiffly hoisted in his arms. “...ugh, he’s heavy, isn’t he?” Virgil comments, feeling almost worn out, despite not really needing stamina, given he’s not human.

“It's mainly his freaking ego,” she wheezes out, totally not struggling with carrying a body. Unlike Virgil, she’s beginning to break a sweat-- not that Virgil’s capable of doing so.

“Hah… yeah, I guess so. Must be pretty big, with who he’s become, nowadays,” Virgil sighs. The core’s reply is despondent, edging near sorrowful nostalgia in tone. He silently reflects on things from the past, before shaking his head, as if to physically clear his mind. “Here, let’s set him down; I need to access the door mainframe. I don’t need to hack it, I just upped the security after previous incidents. Mainly one with the actual security system.” He slowly moves down to a crouch, setting the deactivated android’s legs on the floor.

18 drops him like a bag of bricks. Clearly not the most gentle of subjects. She keeps her eyes trained on her new “friend”. Obviously, he isn't like Mr. Tangerine here, he has… a likable personality. He actually cares, or is REALLY good at acting. If he wasn't white and yellow, he’d easily be mistaken for a real human, surely. However, 18 keeps her guard up; she doesn't want to be blindsided by another hunk of metal.

After approaching a keypad (clearly recently installed - much more clean and sleek than the surrounding metal walls) with a hand hovering over it, Virgil glowers over his shoulder at the subject. “...are you TRYING to end up having to spend more time in here than necessary? I thought you wanted nothing to do with Nigel getting fixed.”

“What? It was an accident.”

“Sure it was.” Rolling his eyes and grimacing at the wall (instead of directly at 18), Virgil quickly enters some passcode into the keypad. It’s longer than the usual password. Extra security. With a soft beep of confirmation, the doors shift and slide open, leading to a bit of an odd sight, considering where they are in the facility. The triad are down in older Aperture, yet the repair wing is constructed of mainly modern equipment and paneling on the inside.

That’s why he has so much security on it -- so whatever is in the chassis (or in control of a lot of the facility, in the case of AEGIS) can’t hack into it and sabotage his work.

Without a word, the Maintenance Core strolls back over to Nigel, wrapping his arms around the core’s waist and awkwardly hoisting him over to an elevated, flat surface.

“I still don't understand why you want to fix him. He's not, how should I put it… prize-winning. He lies, he’s manipulative, (kinda nice to look at), but, overall, he’d sell you over to his boss in seconds,” the subject scoffs, crosses her arms. She brings forth a question, her posture stiff. “So why him?”

“Nigel was one of my best friends, at one point in time, next to… ah, I’d rather not say more than necessary. He was changed the most after this incident a long, long time ago. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get the old Nigel back, and since GLaDOS doesn’t seem to be very overbearing - almost silent, actually - lately, I figured this is my chance. She won’t notice if one of her associates isn’t testing anymore if we keep him down here in the older parts for a while, I’m sure. Well.. not figure out his location, I mean.”

“Huh…” She paces behind him, peering over his shoulder. She’d never heard the name “GLaDOS” before. From the context given, she must be the big boss of this place. As 18 pays attention to what Virgil has to say, (not) surprisingly, she doesn’t believe what he’s describing. However it isn’t as far-fetched as other things in Aperture.

“So, tin man, do you need help?”

“Not at the moment.” Virgil tries to focus on his visor, but finds that there’s just too much to work with to not have any outside help. He sits back, arms folded across his chest, hesitating before a small screen comes out from the panels nearby. It turns on, displaying lines of code-- before becoming surprisingly organized, like looking in the documents of a computer. “I may be quiet for a few. I need to focus.”

18 glances over to the screen. Oh, that's code. That's something more interesting than watching the android meditate over nothing for who knows how long. She steps closer to the screen, skimming the content of the data. Nothing really popping, until it seems like Virgil is finally starting to do something. Bypassing protocols- oh that’s neat. He’s rewriting some codes, revising others-- a little slow, but still impressive.

A small intrusive thought gnaws at her -- she wants to step in and help, for some reason. Part of her thinks she can handle it.

“...where are the memories in here? I know they didn’t get deleted. Just.. pushed away. That’s the important part,” Virgil murmurs, deeply immersed in his work, practically fixated on the screen acting as his workspace. “...ah. Here they are.” With a small grin coming onto his face, he accesses files containing currently-repressed memories belonging to Nigel.

Now to figure out which ones are which. There’s not too many, though. Most pre-android memories are vague, and he didn’t go long before getting completely reprogrammed.

There’s plenty of things to poke around in; oh, imagine getting some ammo on Nigel. It could make her life a bit more easier if she manages to find out something herself.

Virgil glances over his shoulder. “Can you quit hovering?”

“I'm bored. There's no magazines around,” she stands back, “I can help, you know, I know how things… work.” 18 huffs, not really knowing how to explain it. She actually does know how machines work, it tended to help when she was trying to avoid dying. All she had to do was use a faith plate, some gel, and good timing.

“..I’m trying to work,” he grumbles, glancing through some of the files. Some of them come up like videos, both from before and after the reprogramming. After a few, he retracts his visor, stepping away. “I need to go find something that’ll make this easier.”

“An override?” A little suggestion from her, “there’s a crapton of behavior codes on this thing… even more useless stuff, looks like it. --wait, that's a recipe for.. cake?” What's with cake and Aperture? It’s on the markers for chambers in test tracks, on the labels of those large canisters of Citranium, everywhere.

“His system looks like it’s severely clogged up. There has to be a plug of some kind,” she adds, glancing at Virgil.

“Maybe. But I’m going to step out for a couple minutes, try to think without all this other stuff getting in the way. Being able to wirelessly connect to anything has its downsides.” At that, Virgil exits the room. Hopefully not for long.

--he pops his head back in, firmly pointing at the subject. “Don’t. Touch. ANYTHING.” And he’s gone again.

Immediately, she touches something. It’s mainly to defy Virgil’s wishes, like come ON.

Messing with the screen and looking through the data herself, 18 sees that there’s plenty of numbers, files, videos, the likes. Most of these “memories” are probably of her failing tests from time to time. But, now, it’s HER turn to mess with him. Karma’s a bitch, Nigel.

Using the panel, she clicks one of the files. Most of it appears to be encrypted and locked up, but some of it is still visible. And from what she CAN see…

...he was… human.
Call me Lars!
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<Sparkleaf> Technically, you are the fifth RP generation.
April 14, 2017 5:47pm

Nigel sits back in a break room, leaning his face against an open palm while occasionally glancing back down at some papers. “...you know what this chamber needs?”

An unfamiliar voice replies with a sigh. “Not gel, Nigel. You try putting it in every chamber we make. It’s gonna get old fast when people actually use these.”

“But it’s fun. And new. C’mon, Wheats, it’ll make Mr. Johnson happy, won’t it?”

“It’d also make him happy if people also tested the other new products. Like… I don’t know, anything other than more gel.” Nigel looks over to the other- a tall, skinny man with a head of messy, curly, ginger hair. “You should also cut back on drinking that,” ‘Wheats’ gestures at a drink Nigel is holding, an orange can, “it’s not even real soda. It’s chemi--”

Someone bursts through the door, making both men startled. ‘Wheats’ immediately looks over, but Nigel chooses to side-eye whoever just came in for a split second and look back at the can in his hand. “It tastes good, at least..”

A familiar, feminine voice approaches. “Nigel Smith, I swear to god if this was because of you again-”

The memory cuts off, leaving 18 flabbergasted at what she had just seen. That was only a small clip, yet it… oh, she needs to sit down.

Human, he had been human... SOMETHING was familiar, something hit her, but she just can't put her finger on it. Maybe she should see if there’s more…

“...I thought I said not to touch anything.” Virgil comes back in, going from being relatively passive to somewhat disappointed in the other. He buries his hands in his pockets, chewing his lip. “You didn’t mess any of the codes up, right? Be honest.”

18 almost jumps out of her skin, startled by the core returning. It takes her a moment to collect herself before responding.

“Oh, pshhhh-- no, I didn't mess with anything! Just, y’know, skimming through.”

Virgil silently eyes the subject with suspicion before nudging her aside, moving back to the monitor and getting back to work. He checks every bit of code over, making sure she really hadn’t done anything -- nope, the only thing that was done was that one file containing a memory has been recently viewed. “What were you doing with the files?”

“I just... took a look…” She fold her arms across her chest, trying to look casual about having digged into a guy’s head.

The core blankly stares at 18 in silence, then goes back to focusing. He lets his visor back out, allowing him to be a bit more efficient. In almost no time at all, he’s done.

“There. Hopefully I-- we’ll have-- nn, the old Nigel will be back.” Virgil trips over his words, furrowing his brows and internally scolding himself for the slip-up. He puts away the monitor, then rolls Nigel over so he’s face-down. With the press of a button located with all the ports on his back, Nigel is easily reactivated.

Leading to him temporarily panicking and falling onto the floor. Whoops.

“What-- what’d I do wrong..?? I-- I did the testing right! What’d you get rid of this time?! I--”

“Nigel. Nigel, you’re fine, I didn’t get rid of anything.” Virgil tries to reassure the other core.

“Is he supposed to be like that?” 18 leans on Virgil’s shoulder, looking legitimately concerned for the Nigel.

Virgil looks from the other core to 18, clarifying. “GLaDOS would keep having him reprogrammed as punishment after an.. incident from a long time ago. He’s pretty much developed a fear of it. But, Nigel,” the Maintenance Core looks up at Nigel after the latter gets to his feet, “I fixed what She originally did to you. You did nothing wrong.”

“Except being an asshole.”

Virgil glares at 18. “...nothing. Wrong.”

18 raises her hands, moving away from Virgil. She’s curious about what Virgil “fixed”. To her, Nigel looks the same. Seems the same. He’s scared, but the same, as far as she can tell. With a sigh, she attempts to help with reassuring the panicky core. “Just take it easy, okay, tangerine?”

“Are you s-- tangerine?” The sudden nickname snaps Nigel out of his panic. A confused grimace takes over his features. “The hell kind of nickname is that? It doesn’t even roll off the tongue that well.”

Virgil scoffs, “what, not even a thank you for fixing you? Just criticism of some harmless word someone called you?”

“I don’t even know what you FIXED, Virgil.”

“Ah. You remembered my name. It worked.” With a friendly smirk, Virgil almost goes to high five himself, but that’d definitely rub it in too much.

“I don't see a difference. Still sounds like a dick to me.” 18 interrupts the spat between the cores. She regards the Maintenance Core with a question, “will he change? Or is this how he actually is?”

He shrugs. “Eh. He was always a bit of a prick.”

“You two really enjoy insulting me, don’t you?” Nigel grumbles, leaning back against the nearest wall. “Are you planning on dragging me into anything else, “Virgil”, or are we done here?” He puts the other core’s name into air quotes, as if he doesn’t completely trust the changes made to his code as being real memories resurfacing. He doesn’t. Not an ‘as if’.

“Great. We’re going back to testing! Thank you, tin man,” her voice dripping with sarcasm, 18 annoyedly hits Virgil upside the head. Here she thought Nigel wouldn't drag her back into life-endangering situations for the sake of “science”, or something, but WOOP DE DOO. Here we go again.

“Actually,” Virgil moves to stand facing both of the others, holding his hands up in front of himself, “I have a better idea.”

“Like what?”

“Getting rid of GLaDOS. Not like murder. Not that. She’d hate that. What if we got her deactivated again? The facility is actually pretty good off without anyone in charge-- we’d have some peace back in our lives.”

Nigel stares at the other core. “...you’re kidding me.”

“Hi, test subject here, what exactly do you mean? Are you talking about, dare I say, leaving?” 18 cuts in, annoyed at being left out.

“If you want to leave, I could get you an elevator out once we get GLaDOS out of the picture. Wouldn’t be my first success at getting someone out.” Virgil grins, proudly putting his hands on his hips.

Nigel rolls his eyes. “The last time somebody tried to mess with Her and that chassis, it ended up with a lot of attempted murder and explosions. Definitely a good idea.”

“What, do you have a better idea? Is your plan to put gel in it? Wouldn’t be the first time.”

“I didn’t even imply I had a ‘better idea’. I don’t even support the idea of overthrowing Her again.” Wow, these two bicker easily, don’t they?

“Boys, boys, you're both pretty.” 18 places herself between them, hands raised. “I have no idea about taking over, but... I don't like the idea of being stuck down here. If,” she sighs, “Virgil… thinks he can get us out, well… I… ugh, I trust him.”

“Not taking over! Deactivating.” Virgil corrects the subject, jerking an index finger in her direction for a moment. He’s tense.

“Fine, deactivating. Happy?”

“Yes. Anyways! What do you say?”

“I'm in. If-- if Nigel is in.” She huffs, crossing her arms, scrunching up her nose.

Nigel glares at the subject. “Why me? Assuming whatever Virgil “fixed” got rid of my loyalty to GLaDOS? You don’t know if I’ll help or just sabotage you.” He narrows his eyes, leaning forward and glaring downwards to the shorter woman.

“I know a bit more than you think. You won't turn us in, because, even if you help… WHATEVER her name is, she will reprogram you. Probably” She steps forward and jabs Nigel’s chest. “You don't want that, now, would you?”

At the prospect of getting reprogrammed-- punished by GLaDOS --again, he freezes up. “...no. I-- I don’t. Are you trying to guilt trip me or something?”

“No, she’s just playing on your fear of GLaDOS. Petty. But it seems to be working.”

“I wasn’t asking you, Virgil,” Nigel snaps.

“It's working. So, tangerine, here are your choices. Either be a dick and get reprogrammed, or help us leave this hellhole with your programming intact.”

Virgil sighs. “Not. Leaving. You can leave, yeah, but we’re-- I’m, I’m just trying to get her out of the way as a threat.”

“We get it. Deactivating. Not taking over. Not all leaving. We get it.” Nigel rubs his temples, grumbling under his breath.

“Are we in this together, then? Or are we gonna just keep yapping about DEACTIVATING ?”

The taller core looks from Virgil, to 18, to the ceiling, then rolls his eyes. “I’m in. I guess.”

Virgil eagerly clasps his hands together, walking towards the doorway out of the repair wing. “Alright! Great. Let’s go.”

“...we’re really doing this.” Nigel exhales, his voice monotone.

“Don't worry, I'll protect ya.” 18 nudges him with her elbow, winking up at him. She follows Virgil to the doorway. Hooboy, she’s actually teaming up with a couple robots. Well, technically… not really robots. She glances back at Nigel.

“Let's go, Romeo.”

“...Romeo? There is NOTHING between us.”

“Yeah… I probably should just stick to tangerine.”

Call me Lars!
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<Sparkleaf> Technically, you are the fifth RP generation.
April 17, 2017 12:36pm
Possible hiatus from now until mid-May. We'll be trying to get the weekly updates out if possible. If not, hiatus!
Call me Lars!
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<Sparkleaf> Technically, you are the fifth RP generation.
April 29, 2017 1:18pm

Virgil quickly walks ahead, a spring in his step. “Back to the elevator. We’ll head up to the modern area of the facility- a detour through some other test track is going to have to happen, but no testing will be necessary. Just passing through. I can hack any locked doors in the way.”

Nigel follows, grumbling, “you gonna keep talking or what?”

“Is there a problem with that?” The Maintenance Core retorts, deadpan.

“Tangerine doesn’t like chatty people. Or talking… in general. Believe me, he gets cranky.” 18 walks slightly beside Virgil. Honestly, she wishes the robot would keep talking. That accent is so fun to listen to; it has to be European, or… Swedish? Heck if she knows, it’s just a delight to have someone who is willing to talk to her, who isn’t cheap enough to have her use vacuum tubes as transportation.

“Ah. Heh,” he chuckles, looking ahead. The accent’s Norwegian, actually. Virgil comes to a stop right before a room containing a proper elevator, not a tube he has to summon one to. “Here we are.”

“So, are we all getting on it conscious or am I getting deactivated first?” Nigel sarcastically side-eyes Virgil, bitterly folding his arms.

“Nobody but GLaDOS is being deactivated.”

“Pity.” 18 looks over her shoulder at Nigel, letting out a dramatic sigh. “It was actually pleasant when you were out. No testing, no lasers, no distasteful music.”

Nigel scoffs, “I have a good taste in music. Virgil does testing, too, you know. Nearly ended up killing some Olym-”

“I freed her, unlike you faking this subject out!”

Oh, that’s a sore topic to mention for the subject. Just a bit, you know? With Nigel setting up this grand finale, then it literally crumbling apart. 18 stiffens at the memory; she still wants to sock him in the face and dangle him over a fire pit.

“Out of curiosity… how many humans have made it out of here?”

Virgil looks nostalgic. The sad kind of nostalgic. “…two. Just two. Number 01, some… Chell lady, I think. Took down GLaDOS once. And… a friend. But- also number… number… I don’t know her number, but Mel was an Olympic track runner that was trapped in here. I miss her, but she’s better off out of here.”

“How do you know? The world could be overrun with a plague. Or the undead, or aliens.”

“As far as I know, all humans are dangerous and violent, so it’d be overrun either way by something, ” Nigel adds. “Smelly things.”

“Oh, so I’m dangerous and violent? I thought I was good natured and gentle due to the constant, life-threatening testing that involves toxic goo that can melt diamonds.”

Virgil runs a hand down his face. “Get in the damn elevator.”

“He started it! ” 18 points a finger at the orange core. Still, she listens to Virgil, going into the elevator.

“How old ARE you?” Nigel exhales, following the subject.

The test subject sticks her tongue out in response, parking herself as far as she can get from Nigel.

Virgil rolls his eyes and taps his earpiece, getting his visor to come out. He focuses, then leans back with a grin as the cramped elevator begins to move. Seriously, can’t these things be made to occupy more than one person at a time?

“We should be where we need to be in a couple minutes,” he murmurs, shrinking away from the other two after his temporary ego boost fades. Too little breathing room.

The cramped silence is deafening. Three people… okay, one person and two androids inside an elevator, and there isn’t any conversation. There isn’t even any annoying elevator music that you end up humming to, getting stuck in your head, and keeping you up at night. So 18 improvises, humming a little tune, looking around at the walls of the elevator.

After what feels like hours, the elevator slows to a stop, opening in the entryway to a chamber. Virgil is first to leave, taking a deep breath as if he needs oxygen and was getting suffocated in there.

“You okay there tin man?” The subject asked as she came out after him, “Need a paper bag or?”

“I’m fine, just… starting to feel a bit claustrophobic. I’m alright, now.”

“You better be, I’d hate to have you flake on us so we can’t go through with your dumb plan.” Man, Nigel is sarcastic as hell, today. Reaaaaal bitter. “Buck up, will you?”

“You were friends with him right? I think we need to talk about your choice of friends.” She ignoring Nigel as she gave the shorter core a soft pat on the back. Nigel hadn’t changed from whatever Virgil did to him…it was disappointing and she was trying to see if there was any of this human..maybe he was just a dick. Great.

“I have a lot of choices in friends I’ve come to regret. Anyways-” Virgil rolls his shoulders uncomfortably and ascends the small staircase leading to a corridor to the chamber. He seems nervous. Something is definitely off.

18 follows behind him, sticking close to the one android that hasn’t tried to kill her. She isn’t familiar with the area; it seems very…white. White panels, white floors, white ceiling. Boring as hell.

“Could use some gel,” she remarks.

“Only if necessary. I told you how expensive this crap is to clean up.” Nigel responds, hands in his pockets. “…seems a bit dark in here, even though the lights are all working.”

Virgil squints at a wall, focusing on a couple of panels. They’re twitching, malfunctioning– some loose wiring is even sticking out of one’s mechanism. “…GLaDOS never lets anything like this slide. Maybe this track got shut down..?”

“Maybe…” The subject puts her two cents in, not really knowing anything about the facility. She lets out a yip at a surprise shock from a loose wire, taken off-guard by it.

“Ow… geez.” She glares at the wires, rubbing her arm. “Need some electrical tape.”

“Or repairs. I could do those, but we need to focus on the task at hand. Judging by signals I’m getting, we’re only a couple chambers away from the central one at the most.” Virgil muses, nodding in the direction of a door.

“…this is..too easy…” 18 mutters to Nigel, “when has Aperture made things easy?”

“A lot, actually.”

“I’m not talking about looking at you. This is..simple…straight forward. No complicated hoops to jump through.”

“It’s a possibly deactivated test track.”

“That’s what is throwing me off…”

Virgil approaches the door, finding himself surprised when it opens on its own. “…guess I won’t need to hack it, then.”

“Another convenient thing… I don’t trust this.” 18 wrinkles her nose. If she could remember, this might have reminded her of a horror movie. The dim lights, the shadows, the sparks. She does not trust this easy route, and nothing Nigel is saying is helping.

“Maybe we should… yeah, let’s keep going. Nigel, you go through the door first.”

Nigel shrugs and walks through.

18 watches him go, tilting her head slightly. “Least Aperture made something…” Then, she remembers Virgil is there. “Heh, um… hey.” She forces a smile, but then, something pops into her head. Something had been bugging her, mostly out of curiosity.

“He mentioned before someone had tried to take over? They went crazy?”

“He was.. A friend. That went crazy, yes. Got shoved into “Android Hell” for punishment.”

“Why didn’t you help him?”

“He hates me, after.. things.”

“That shouldn’t stop you from helping. Friends don’t give up on each other. Hate is just temporary. He probably would have gotten over it. I may not know what happened but I do know emotion. It’s one of my smelly human talents.”

“With what happened, I doubt he will. It’s… it’s bad. Let’s go.” Virgil avoids the topic, picking up his pace as he walks through the door.

“Oh, this isn’t over.” 18 smirks deviously for a moment before following after. Hate, doubt, et cetera. She doesn’t need to dig in his head to know that he might have been human as well. Maybe… maybe she will ask about it later. Before she leaves. The thought is pushed away from her head. It’s… a terrifying thought for her. Yeah, she plays it cool in front of the cores, but that’s because she has an image to keep up. When the time comes, she will just have to deal.

“Alright, next test chamber.” She clasps her hands together.

The next one is almost identical. Way too simple. Off-putting.

To think of it, GLaDOS is never this silent.

“What the hell is going on?” Virgil mutters. “There’s cameras watching us. She can see us. Why so quiet..?”

“Maybe she’s sleeping? Or trying to throw us off?”

“Either way, I’m sure following through with Virgil’s dumb plan is going to be a mistake.” Nigel adds, under his breath.

“It isn’t dumb. It’ll work. Trust me. I’ve taken down bigger threats from this facility.” Virgil doesn’t add the fact AEGIS wasn’t as self-aware or had as much control over Aperture.

By the time the two get done bickering, 18 finishes the test. She leans coolly on the wall by the exit, waiting on them. It was easy. Way too easy. However, it was much more fun than listening to those two.

“…er, subject… whatever your name is. The test wasn’t even necessary to finish.” Virgil awkwardly comments.

“Must be instinct or something, right? You miss our track, don’t you.”

“Shut up,” she points at Nigel, then points at Virgil, “I’m test subject 18, buddy boy. I got bored with listening to you two. I don’t miss the track, Nigel. At all.”

Virgil nods, “right. Is just 18 good?” He approaches the door. There’s a shift big enough to set him off-balance. “…uh.”

“Yes, that will- woah, you okay there?”

“Did you feel that?” He straightens his posture, leaning on a wall. “I think the entire chamber just tilted a little to the right. It’s… crooked, now.”

It is. The lights are flickering and a bit dimmer. Some panels are more loose than before.

“An earthquake? I know when I was testing with Nigel, the chambers would tremble. Guess I’m used to it.”

“Let’s.. Let’s go ahead.”

“Virgil, you’re gonna get us killed!” Nigel snaps.

“She might be trying to take the track down with us in it. Maybe she’s onto us. Let’s go, okay?” Virgil steps through the door. That.. isn’t an elevator room.

The usual corridor leads to a catwalk draped across a dark chasm. However, on the other end… the central chamber. GLaDOS’s chamber.

Is it a trap?


“Oh hell no. Nope. Too easy. No.” 18 turning around hands raised, “I rather not have another robot try to kill me.”

“No, no, we can do this. We can do this. If… we run across, anything that happens to the track shouldn’t catch up till we’re across, right?”

“Virgil, this is insane. I’m out.”

“No, you’re not. We have to do this, Nigel.”

“Virgil. That is a long catwalk. That can EASILY be crashed. We need a different way. See that way is the obvious way. “

“And the only one, clearly!” After making a large gesture at the catwalk, Virgil defiantly puts out his visor and runs ahead without waiting for the other two.

Groaning, Nigel runs after. “Damn it, Virgil!”

“UGHHHH.” 18 screams after the two, going full sprint. This was SUCH a TRAP, VIRGIL! What kind of MORON blindly runs into one?! Apparently, all three of them.

Virgil skids to a stop, eyes wide. “Maybe you two were right.” A couple panels fall down from above, taking out a chunk of catwalk ahead. The metal platform buckles downwards. Panicked, Virgil looks around, then gets an idea. “There’s– there’s a management rail right above us that that missed. We could–”

“Turn back? Yes, Virgil, great idea!” Nigel yells, fists clenched. “You’re going to get us KILLED.”

“–we could get across the rest of the way with that. Just-just hurry, we clearly don’t have much time. It’s angled downwards, a bit, so, er, 18– if you, if you have something you could use to glide on that, or, uh–”

Nigel snaps. “That sounds… really stupid.”

Virgil snaps back. “It could work!”

18 interrupts. “STOP BICKERING AND DO IT!”

Virgil runs back a few feet and jumps up to the rail, frantically attaching to it. Nigel begrudgingly follows. “Come on, 18, the entire catwalk’s about to collapse-”

The catwalk groans under the subject’s feet. She isn’t like them! She doesn’t have an attachment to get on the rail; all she has is her paint gun, her boots, her jumpsuit and her (useless) apron. The apron! Shoving the gun in her jumpsuit, running as the catwalk falls, she mutters to herself, “robots suck.”

She tears the apron off and leaps up into the air. Time slows down. She slings her apron over the rail, squeezing her eyes shut. Her heartbeat is the only thing she can hear focus on.

In a matter of moments, the trio crash through a handful of panels, tumbling onto the floor of the central chamber.

This.. isn’t right.

Where’s GLaDOS?

It’s dark. The only source of light are red lights coming from beneath the panels making up the chamber.

18 groans, rolling onto her side. Oh. She’s alive? Woo! Still alive… and in pain. She scraped her elbows pretty bad on the landing, but at least it isn’t any worse. It was pure luck that she made it onto the management rail without getting shocked. Coughing and spitting on the floor, the test subject begin to chuckle.

Virgil wearily speaks up, pushing up onto his knees. “We made it, but..”

“Perfect timing. It was getting lonely without having anyone hooked up to this thing.” That voice is new. It doesn’t sound human, but it doesn’t sound entirely artificial, either. The voice seems to be.. coming from the chassis itself.

What the hell is that? What’s going on?

“That is… not a woman. GLaDOS is a woman, right? That doesn’t even sound human. Kind of refreshing, actually.” 18 sits up.

“So, hi! Sorry about dropping in. We were just leaving, honestly, you know? So busy, and there’s science to do.” The test subject responds to the voice. Nervous habit.

Something stirs. Wires. A lot of wires. “I heard your chatter. GLaDOS isn’t here to be deactivated. I took her down myself. She deserved it, she’s part of why I’m like this.”

“Who are you, exactly?” Nigel huffs. “Why you’re like WHAT?”

“Too much chatter. I haven’t figured out how to directly control this place myself, yet, despite being here longer than SHE was. So one of you is going to have to volunteer.”

“Volunteer?” Virgil steps back. “For.. for what?”

“It’s like myths where a god uses a human as a vessel. Come on. I’m impatient.”

The Maintenance Core immediately turns around. “Hell. No. Come on, hurry, we have to get out of–!!” He stops cold, tensing up with a yelp. His accents dim and flicker out of panic.

“VIRGIL!” 18 springs to her feet, stumbling. Looks like whatever sick program this is, it just got a volunteer. What is this, some kind of raffle?

Virgil breathes heavily, clawing at his back. “The– my– my port, something’s in my port–” Every plug on his port has some sort of wire jammed into it. That must feel unpleasant. “I didn’t want this, I shouldn’t have dragged you two al–hhHG–” Sounds like it hurts.

“Nigel, come on! Help me get it out!” She runs over to Virgil, grabbing onto a cord. Probably not the smartest thing she should have done, but she isn’t going to stand there and let Virgil get hurt.

“Let go, don’t– don’t… d…” Virgil’s head droops for a moment as his accents completely flicker off. Nigel grips one of the wires and gives it a hefty tug, grimacing at the effort needed. It won’t even budge.

“Damn it, Virgil, look where your stupid plan got us!”

“Yelling at him isn’t working! Can’t you hack!?” 18 shouts, knuckles white from her hopeless grip on a wire. They’re lodged in the ports like plant roots.

“Hacking,” Virgil straightens up, his accents coming back on, “isn’t going to help you.” His tone of voice is… wrong. It’s smoother and kind of off-putting. Plus, his accents– they’re supposed to be amber, not RED. They’re RED. “The two of you are going to be a problem, aren’t you?”

Nigel takes a step back, then lunges at a smaller cord, hints of desperation breaking through his gruff disposition. “Get out of there, Virgil! Ghh– whoever you are, get the hell away from him!”

“Your programming shouldn’t be letting you empathize, Nigel. You’re malfunctioning. You don’t want to be reprogrammed, do you?” Upon hearing the threat, the taller android shivers and lets go of the wire, pacing backwards and away from Virgil.

The subject goes for the wire that Nigel had been pulling, gritting her teeth and trying to at least loosen it up. Did this thing coat the tips in super glue? “I’m the ONLY one who can threaten him like that, you stupid piece of malware!” She yanks harder.

“Let go.” The corrupted android cooly demands, almost eerily calm.

“Or what?!”

“You won’t enjoy the consequences if you don’t.”

“I don’t enjoy what’s happening right now!”

“I warned you.” Some panels shift, causing 18 to stumble backwards a few feet. A claw comes down from above, grabbing for the subject.

Without thinking, Nigel breaks into a sprint, shoving her out of the way with a lunge.


The claw grabs him by the waist.

And slams him incredibly hard into the wall, causing him to deactivate on impact.
Call me Lars!
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August 11, 2017 4:54pm



Nigel crumples to the floor, landing face-down after the face-first impact with a wall. His accents flicker and dim into black. That claw-- it threw Nigel hard enough to leave a dent in the panels, some of them even showing cracks and signs of damage.

So… if that’s what happened to just the wall…

...what about him?

And who the hell is Clara?

Time seems to have slowed down during those moments, at least, for 18-- so much adrenaline. So much happening. She finds herself shoved to the floor, bearing witness to Nigel hitting the wall with a sickening crack.

18 freezes up, seeing the orange android on the ground. Her pulse is loud in her ears, and she’s unable to process what just happened. Who the hell is Clara, and why did he…

The shock slowly turns into anger. She pushes herself off the ground, grunting at dull pain in various parts of her body. First thing's first-- get Nigel, then get out. Not the best plan, but... Virgil, or, whatever he is, now, is in control of the entire facility… and absolutely pissed at her, specifically, for some reason.

“Virgil” snarls, the corruption in his programming now so overbearing it warps his voice, “There. Now you let go. Are you going to leave, yourself, or am I going to have to aim for an opening the next time I throw you across the room? Nigel can’t get in the way this time.” The claw that had made Nigel essentially a battering ram recoils back, like a snake about to strike.

“You bastard,” 18 hisses, her voice cold, harsh, and laced with enough venom to kill a rhino. She scrambles over to Nigel and grabs him, turning him over-- being up close to him like this is... oh boy. Glowing, orange ooze covers his face and some of his clothes, now getting in his hair after pooling on the floor. The source of the artificial, neon blood is the shattered remains of what was once his left eye and earpiece, cracks sourcing from there and spread outwards like a spider’s web. Shards of orange-tinted hard light remain scattered on the floor, from his visor being smashed, before flickering away, seemingly out of existence.

Nigel is completely motionless -- it’d be easy to mistake him for some kind of corpse, but he’s not so badly damaged that he can’t be turned back on, at least. He’ll need some help, some repairs, and fast. But… are there any other ways to fix him without Virgil’s help?

Another claw whips out, snapping at the duo, trying to grab one or both of them. It latches onto Nigel-- the upper right part of his torso, specifically, due to the awkward angle the claw is coming from. It begins to tug on him. Very hard.

18 tightens her grip on Nigel, her breath hitching. Oh, no, she is NOT going to lose. Not again. Her features form a snarl, sweat forming on her brow as she shoots a sharp glare at “Virgil”.

But.. it’s not good enough. She isn't going to win, she knows this. She’s already tired and worn. “...I need to think of something…”

Desperate and impulsive as ever, she decides to take a huge risk.

She grabs her paint gun and aims a glob of repulsion gel at the corrupted android’s face. The blue gel is a good choice for blinding someone, though-- adhesive and rubbery, likely hard to clean off surfaces, judging by occasional reprimands in the past about how expensive it is.

It lands, splattering all over his cherry red visor. “Virgil” recoils, taken off-guard for a moment-- an opening for the test subject.

Taking a deep breath, she gets up and adjusts her hold on Nigel, trying to yank him free from the claw. There’s some kind of popping noise, alongside tearing, but she chooses to ignore it. She’s pumped with enough adrenaline to give a horse a heart attack, and not anywhere near willing to give up just yet. “Let go of him, or... I’ll shoot you again! I’ll get your-- your port gummed up!”

“Mm. Go on, try that. I dare you.” The chassis-bound android taps a button on his earpiece, drawing the gel-coated visor away from his face.

The claw latched onto Nigel abruptly pulls back.


18 feels sick to her stomach as Nigel’s arm gets ripped clean off, leaving frayed wires and torn cloth behind. More of that luminescent orange liquid comes pouring out, leaving the test subject panicked, reaching down for-- her apron. Her eyes lock onto the article of clothing lying several feet away on the floor. “...dammit.”

Can she pull this off?


Her chances of aiming right a second time are probably very, very slim.

She aims the gun, once again, at “Virgil’s” face, then quickly lunges for the--

The shot misses, and a claw clamps down around her torso. She squirms, unable to move much with her arms pinned to her sides, as she’s forced to be face-to-face with the corrupt android. To make sure she doesn’t escape, a few loose cords join the claw in holding her.

“You know what you are?”

18 half-heartedly chuckles, trying to laugh in the face of fear. It’s hard, and not really working out. “A wonderful human being and a delight to be around?”

“Nothing. You’re nothing.” The words being hissed, plus them coming out in the voice of a core who had previously been.. Relatively okay towards her, turns the test subject’s blood into ice. “You’re just a number on a piece of paper. No, not even that!”

For a moment, 18’s hardened expression breaks. He hit a soft spot, causing her to stop struggling for a moment. Only a moment. No. NO! He's messing with her head, trying to break her. She's not going to let that corrupt android have the satisfaction. The test subject wrinkles her nose and spits right in the corrupted android’s face, then tries slamming her head into the bridge of his nose with a battle cry.

“I'm made of metal and synthetics, dear, you're the only one that's going to be reeling from that.” “Virgil” sarcastically remarks, barely even flinching.

“Wanna know a thing about metal and synthetics?” He, or… whatever he is anymore... he’s right. Her head is killing her, that mistake is probably going to leave a nice cut or bruise on her head. “They suck. And guess what?”


“Your mission is not to accept the mission.”

“Paradoxes don’t hurt m--m----” As if to spite the fact he had just said that, he freezes up, his accents flickering. The claw and cords release their vice grip on the test subject with a spasm.

With a yelp and a lot of stumbling, 18 lands on the panels. “Holy crap... that actually worked.” She’d have to pat herself on the back later. Right now, she needs to grab Nigel and book it. With the unknown amount of time given by the simple paradox, she has to make use of it, and quick. Dashing over to Nigel-- wait, where's the apron? She forgot to grab it! She dashes and snatches the “lucky” piece of clothing from the floor in one smooth motion on her way over to the android.

Grunting, she lugs the one-armed core up onto her back, like trying to give a corpse a piggyback ride. He keeps slipping from her grip-- no thanks to that glowy orange crap (What is it? Oily glow stick fluid?) getting on her hands. She needs to get him out of here, but… THERE! 18 spots a slim opening in the wall; some panels must have been moved by the way the trio had previously entered, or maybe they’ve been jolted by “Virgil” getting badly affected by the paradox. Hopefully, she can fit Nigel through it, ego and all.

The clock is ticking.

The test subject drags the android to the opening, beginning to wheeze from the rush and strain she’s been through in the past hour or two. She keeps looking over her shoulder at the spasming, murderous robot, as she shoves Nigel through to the other side.

Aaand he gets stuck.

“Gah… sorry, idiot.” She kicks him a few times, having to force him through the opening. Now, it’s her turn, going in feet first-- she glances back at Virgil and gives him the finger-- and swiftly slides through, cutting her arm on a panel on the way.

18 reaches back and pulls on one of the panels, trying to get her escape route closed off before the window of opportunity closes. It’ll likely be soon. Whether that paradox has just been causing Virgil to freak out for a long time, or time is just going slower thanks to a burst of adrenaline, it’s still been going on too long to afford making any more mistakes.

Thankfully, it isn’t too hard to wrench it just close enough to her to not seem like a suspiciously large gap; not big enough for a human and an android to slip through anymore.


“...nn….” Nigel groans and shifts a little, his accents dimly flickering. His shoulder is still losing a good amount of good old glowy android blood. That should probably get looked at.

“Oh, thank God, you're alive...ish.”

“...C...Cl…” He’s not currently able to really form words just yet. Probably almost delirious, if androids are capable of that, really.

The test subject slowly lowers him properly to the ground after dragging his metal butt who knows how long through a dimly lit catwalk. After sitting him up against the railing, only then does 18 realize she’s shaking. The glow stick blood is all over her hands and shirt, and Nigel is still losing more. Hopefully blood loss isn’t too fatal for androids, considering how much he’s losing...

“Don't talk, okay? I'm going to stop the bleeding, Tangerine. You... do hear me, right? Give me a sign that you can hear me.”

Nigel’s good eye flutters open, half-lidded and dim. He looks up at 18, softly murmuring some attempt at a confirmation that he can, in fact, hear her.

“Good enough for me.” Her voice is an octave higher than normal, raised by anxiety and stress. Oh, the damage is-- she glances away, audibly gulping-- the damage is hard to look at, but she has to stop him from losing any more ‘blood’. Obviously, he needs the glow stick juice to live, and she needs Nigel to get out of here.

“If there's any pain, then, sorry, my bad. I don't... exactly know what I'm doing...” She begins to twist the loose wires, tucking them into gaps so they don’t get caught on anything. Oddly, she actually kind of knows what she’s doing. The test subject figures out how to disconnect sensors, hopefully dampening whatever pain the poor core must be feeling. The leaking, though… she can’t just twist that away. She needs to clog it up, or stop it entirely.

“...I'm… I'm sorry, Nigel.”

“...hh… hhhhhey…” The android moves his arm, trying to lift it. He sounds tired, but almost intelligible.

“Don't. It's my fault-- ah--!” She hisses under her breath; she just shocked herself. Maybe she should take a step back for a moment. The events of the past few moments slowly catch up to her as the adrenaline in her veins ebbs away, dying. Almost like Nigel nearly did... “I tried… I tried, and look at what happened. God...” She runs a gel and ‘blood’-covered hand through her hair. “Just… just hold still...”

“Hey, hey--” Nigel slowly raises his arm, resting his good hand on the test subject’s face. “...it’s… okay, C… Clll…” He’s shaky, but he’s alive.

“It's not! It is NOT okay! You were right! Look what I did--” 18 cuts herself off, registering the touch to her face. “What are you doing..?”


“Who? Who is Clara? Gah-- no, I need to stop the bleeding, you're getting worse!”

“....I thought… I thought you were Clara.”

“...I'm… I’m nobody, remember?” 18 pulls away, looking around. How to clog the... Apron! Her apron! Duh, she grabbed it just to try and patch up his arm-- she quickly pulls it out and shoves it over the wound, wadding it up and making an attempt to tie a knot to secure it.

“There... okay! That should stop the bleeding… for now, at least. You're going to be fine. You BETTER be fine! Or… or... I'll do... something...”

“...nnh… s-sure thing.”
Call me Lars!
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