Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Instert Fantastically Snarky Computer Here

Today, Aster and Chrys had the job of proctoring the test for the new rookies. They'd traded it with Harriet whom had wanted dusting duty very badly for some reason. (They suspected it had something to do with the fact Dave was also on dusting duty, and that there had been an incident involving Dave, a newt, and Harriet's tea last week.)

Well, yeah.

Aster and Chrys now had the job of scaring away the members not fit to join the Society…

A very bedraggled Akai Minami walked in. She didn't look happy – this was the fifty-seventh time she was taking the test. Fifty-seventh. Now, with any normal test a normal person would not under any circumstances fail after that many times, but Akai had a problem – the Society mind-wiped her after every test to make sure she didn't remember what the test was on (since the Society test writers were too lazy to rewrite the test). Thus, it was likely that Akai had been studying the wrong material fifty-seven times.

"You'll do it this time!" said Chrys encouragingly.

"Nah. I feel like a failure." Akai collapsed on the desk in a manner akin to Tamura Hiyori whenever she feels especially put down. "This isn't fair… This isn't fair at all…"

The jun-akuma circled around her head, making it look like a cartoon in which Akai had gotten knocked out (and she certainly looked like it).

The last few piled in and Aster cleared her throat. Akai sighed. She'd heard similar things to this fifty-six times. The Society could have at least wiped those.

"You are now about to join a very desperately horrific Society, kyaa," said Aster. "Even if you pass this test, which involves mental, physical, and genetic endurance, you'll have to go through the initiation, which involves a man-eating crocodile. There's always that archangel demanding a pint of blood every time you enter any fandom, so I wouldn't recommend an anemic joining. Also, please be aware of the gigantic leech we feed with the ones who misbehave."

Chrys fainted.

"…And that happens too," said Aster. "Well, if you're having second thoughts, I suggest you leave now. The electroshock chains will bind you to the chair in thirty seconds."

Half the people left. Akai snickered.

"…well, the chains don't seem to be working. You're in luck kyaa. Well, begin the test."


"I failed, again…"

Akai was ushered into the room where the mind-wipe gas was going to wipe all of the rookies.

"How does this stuff work, anyway, wiping minds so specifically?" said Akai.

"Phlebotinum, kyaa~" shrugged off Aster.

Phlebotinum, huh? Akai pondered this for a bit. Maybe I can cheat phlebotinum.

She pulled off a copy of Sue Theory for Dummies from the nearest pile and turned to a page, showing it to the jun-akuma.

"Signal me next time I get to this page," she said.

The jun-akuma just stood there – it didn't talk or know how to make any body language, so it was difficult to tell whether it understood anything.

Akai realized something with a shock – this might be the fifty-seventh time she'd tried this…


One week later…

"Good luck!" said Aster, waving to Akai as she went to take the test for the fifty-eighth time. Tash approached Chrys and Aster.

"Mission. Do you know this fandom? It's an American game."

Aster inspected the title.

"Isn't this the one that had the ending song played at the Symphony of Games?"

"Yeah. Remember? We played it. Took only five hours. Remember, it had the snarky computer?"

"Oh yeah…"

"The snarky computer that scared me."

"Well," said Tash, "we'll send you in. The Sue's Tato, if you haven't already guessed. And here are some portal guns to help you. Be careful that you don't confuse the portal gun here with the portal gun that leads you to the Library…"

"All right!" said Chrys, and looked at the portal gun.

Already Aster could see what kind of fun Chrys was planning with the gun alone, and sweatdropped.


Akai was at a loss. She hadn't been able to send herself any signal, and she was probably screwed for the test – This is probably the fifty-eighth time I'm thinking this.

She wondered if she'd ever pass; maybe she was destined to be left out while Chrys and Aster had all of the fun. This is probably the fifty-eighth time I'm thinking this, too.

And it probably wasn't possible to pass the test until they changed it – oh God this is probably the fifty-eighth time I'm thinking this! I'm thinking like Kyon from Endless Eight!

…And then she realized something.

It's probably the fifty-eighth time I thought that, too.


When Aster and Chrys reached the fandom, they could tell that GlaDOS was shocked by their arrival. Why wouldn't she be? With two girls appearing out of nowhere, with the portal guns she thought only she had – there was audible stuttering of the sentient computer.

I see we have company. Welcome to the Aperture Science Center. The Aperture Science Center would like to welcome you. The Aperture Science Center also wishes to inform you that there is nothing dangerous going on here, particularly not a girl ridiculously evading my attempts to murder her.

"Well, I'm not quite convinced," said Aster.

It breaks my heart that you don't trust me.

"Everything seems to break your heart," said Chrys.

Maybe all humans seem to be this way.

"You're a computer," said Aster. "A computer, kyaa. Don't expect us to understand you. Now, where's the Sue?"

How sad. You don't seem to care about me, just the girl that's going to be dead by the end of the day. Do you have no respect for the ones who really care?

"Let's just drop the act," said Aster. "Where's the Sue?"

I could tell you, but there's no reason for me to tell you. I mean, we've already established ourselves as people who hate each other. That is, if I can even consider people like you…as people.

"C-can't we make a deal?" said Chrys, feeling slightly intimidated by the sentient computer.

"I'll put it this way," said Aster. "We take care of the Sue, and then you'll have an easier time murdering her kyaa. How about that?"

Chrys was clutching herself. Murdering a Sue like this didn't seem like the best thing here.

And why do I have any reason to trust you? We can probably most likely confirm that at least one of us is lying.

"Well, if you don't, you could just watch while we do it anyway."

Fair enough.

Aster and Chrys pulled out their portal guns and fired them across the large lava pit GlaDOS had slowly been opening while keeping them distracted with the conversation.

You seem to be more perceptive than I thought. This will probably be advantageous, although considering at least one of us will be dead by the end of the day, there's no reason to be celebrating.

"Do we get cake if we murder the Sue?" said Chrys, still trying to recover.

Why not.

"Oh, I know why," said Aster.


Akai tensed as she worked on the next problem, which was no easier than the last. Akai had a strange feeling that the test was specifically rigged against her. Maybe she'd thought that fifty-eight times…

Frustrated, Akai skipped the problem and went on to the next problem. This one was no easier than the last one. Crud.


"Falling spikes are really scary…"

"Then you're supposed to jump in the portal when I tell you to, not when you think that maybe possibly you can wait another second!"

"But I might end up falling out the wrong way and plopping on the ground!"

"Which would you rather want happening, the spikes squashing you into a spot of blood or falling?"

If it were my choice, I'd go for the cake.

"Yeah," said Aster, "if there is cake, kyaa."

It was that girl's fault there's no cake. She destroyed my morality core.

"Well, let's not reference Chell," said Aster.

I'm surprised you even know her name. Her lips were sealed like hot glue.

"Bwaaaaaaaaaah!" yelled Chrys, falling over through a portal, then falling into a portal right under her feet, in a constant flood of falling from the ceiling into a floor into the portal in the ceiling into the portal on the floor into…

"…Please disregard her," said Aster.


"Well, you found me," said Tato. "Was it worth it?"

Oh, dear, you seem to have stolen my lines. I suppose you're a master of plagiarism.

"Hey, GlaDOS," said Aster, "anything you know about what happens when you fire a portal into someone?"

No. But I suppose she won't have any fun if you try.

Chrys tried, and nothing happened.

Tato opened a portal and lashed her whip into it, which landed expertly through the portal, from the ceiling, and finally landed on Chrys.

"Ow!" she flailed.

Aster in turned opened a portal above Tato's head and nearby, and held something round and white.

"You think a bomb will stop me?" said Tato.

"It's not a bomb," said Aster.

"What is it then, huh? Something poisonous and deadly?"

Aster threw it, which fell and splatted onto Tato's head, revealing something yellow.

"Egg," said Aster.

There was a long bout of silence.

You threw an Aperture Science Egg at the girl an Aperture Science computer is trying to murder. That has got to be the stupidest thing I've ever heard of.

"So uncreative, GlaDOS," said Tato, "and I expected you to be a more formidable enemy. But even though you've allied yourself with the Society Agents, there's nothing you can do to me."

In response, GlaDOS let fly a ton of firing turrets embedded in the wall, which fired every which way. Chrys ducked and Aster flew up a few feet off the ground. Both of them realized that GlaDOS didn't care if the two lived or died.

Aster opened a portal underneath her and one over Tato's head and tried to rush at Tato, but Tato was too quick; she opened a portal beneath her feet and put the other one elsewhere. Aster fell into the new portal Tato had made, and an interesting chase scene occurred, the two relying on momentum speed more than physical endurance.

"Get her while she's flying!" said Aster.

But Chrys was a little preoccupied. Trying to dodge a turret, she had ended up opening another portal by accident, and was falling once again into an infinite loop from the ceiling to the floor to the ceiling to the floor…

GlaDOS fired turrets from the wall, making it worse. Aster swerved to dodge one and instead of landing through the portal Tato had made, she fell onto the floor. The amount of momentum that she had collected while falling didn't kill her (she had ankle springs like Chell's), but it hurt.

You're all being very uncooperative, said GlaDOS.


Akai turned in her test – thirty minutes early – and sighed. Another mind-wipe for her. Half of the answers were blank.

She looked at the jun-akuma, which was floating in the air behind her, and said, "Gimme a plate of cookies and a glass of milk, will ya?"

The jun-akuma held out its stick-like hand – if one could call it a hand – and on it materialized a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. (The way the thing balanced on that tiny stick thingy didn't make sense, but Aster and Chrys had figured out that being around that thing required a little bit of suspension of physics belief.)

As Akai munched on the cookies sadly, the jun-akuma pulled out a miniature violin and began playing.

"Okay, we don't need that," said Akai.


A turret fired at Aster. Aster took out her portal gun and redirected the fire towards Tato. Tato took the portal gun and redirected it towards Chrys. Chrys flailed, making Aster redirect the fire for her. The fire headed back towards Tato, but Tato took the portal gun and redirected it towards Aster, who took the portal gun and redirected it towards Tato…

The battle got nowhere for about an hour.

Tato finally realized she was really bored, and that nothing really big was going to happen. She decided to opt out.

"Well, then," said Tato, "I think I'll see you and Chrysie in a fandom where I can rip you guys to pieces and actually enjoy it. See you!"

She opened a plothole and vanished.

Tracking location, said GlaDOS. Cannot find location of target. Target assumed to have vanished off the face of the planet. How unfortunate. I will have to choose a new target.

Aster and Chrys only had three seconds to process that they were the next target.

Chrys pulled out her plothole generator…

…and then suddenly GlaDOS fired a shot at her.

It was impossible to gear up the generator with GlaDOS firing. They had to dodge turrets left and right; Chrys didn't even have time to rant about how cute they sounded. Things got worse when GlaDOS started injecting neurotoxin into the room while firing.

"Chrys-chan!" Aster exclaimed. "Don't try to set it to the Library! Pick a random fandom!"

"But we never got the cake! And if we don't, we'll have to use the Library portal guns to – "

"Just do it!"

Chrys in panic opened up the plothole generator and the two escaped. GlaDOS fired a shot through the plothole, but it only grazed Aster's sleeve, ripping the cloth but not touching her skin. (She needed a new outfit anyway.)

They were in a white fandom, standing in the middle of nowhere.

"Okay," said Aster. "Just open up the portal to the Library, since we have to use the Library portal gun kyaa."

Chrys fired and the two stepped in.

They used the wrong portal gun.


Akai walked into the mind-wipe chamber clutching her copy of Sue Theory for Dummies, wondering what she had missed. There had to be something particular she had to study! It wasn't possible for her to fail this many times! What was it? What was it? What was it?

And the epiphany hit her, and with the rage of an impulsive Kyon on the 14,598th loop of Endless Eight…

…she found the relevant page in Sue Theory for Dummies and folded it.


"Two weeks."

Tash glared at Aster and Chrys. "Okay, ten days. But still. If it wasn't for the fact Mizuho had informed us what had happened to you, we'd have been worried."

"Well," said Aster, "we tried to use the portal gun to get back to the Library, but Chrys accidentally used the normal one. And it's supposed to make a rip in the space-time continuum. I guess when you use it in places outside Portal… it rips time, too…"

"Well, you're back." Tash sighed. "Be more careful next time. Oh, and I have news for you too. Your friend Akai has joined the Society."


Chrys perked up, excited. Aster grinned.

"Did she pass her test?"

"Yes, both practical and physical," said Tash. "Although how on earth she managed to score a 100 on the practical when she usually got lower than 50 before eludes me…"

"Well, she did good, and that's what matters!" said Chrys. "Where is she now? How are the other Society members taking well to her?"

"Well…" said Tash. "That's a problem. See, it's only been three days since she joined, and…"

She pointed.

Akai was playing a video game on her DS. She seemed rather unnerved, although she occasionally cursed at the game characters. The jun-akuma was floating next to her shoulder. Huddled on the other side of the room against the wall were the rest of the Society members. They were shivering, and they all looked practically petrified.

"Yeah, that tends to happen," said Aster, as Chrys noticed her desu sparkles fading away. "You'll get used to her. And if you don't, well, we'll figure it out… somehow… I hope…"

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