Teller of “Penn & Teller” to voice Gordon Freeman in Half-Life cartoon
Aperture Laboratories New Weighted Companion Cube Dating Site
Meet Bill, Test Subject #678. His story is a typical one here at Aperture Laboratories. Bill finds himself in the perfect sterility of the Relaxation Vault, awakened from stasis with the great privilege to participate in an Aperture Science Enrichment Center test program —only to be ensnared by grief at the sudden realization that he is alone and unloved.
We at Aperture Laboratories have wrestled with the pathetic frailties of human test subjects like Bill for decades. Attempts have been made to compensate for these instances of mental relapse, including promises of grief counselling and cake upon completion of testing.
However, humans like Bill need more than corporate administered trauma therapy and the increased serotonin levels that come from anticipating the engorgement of black forest cake. Though it may seem laughable to you or I, human test subjects require a healthy dose of something far less tangible: love.
Test subjects who are afflicted by this unfortunate cognitive process may be pleased to hear that Aperture Science has developed the Love Organizing System for Emotional Restoration (L.O.S.E.R.), a network-based relational-resolution algorithmic system, or “dating site”.
L.O.S.E.R. aids in matching repulsively despondent humans with appropriate Aperture Science Weighted Companion Cube surrogates.
In keeping with Aperture Laboratories’ spirit of continuous testing, GLaDOS—the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System responsible for the L.O.S.E.R. program’s development—announced that the program is part of a greater scientific initiative to methodically hypothesize the oft misunderstood human concept of love.
Such a grand endeavour must surely have excited the surviving Aperture employees, who despite their human limitations have always shown a wilful determination bordering on insolence. Surely, the resultant line-ups to volunteer for testing would have left many employees with the feeling that they would be left out of the program. However, members of the Aperture team were likely grateful to learn that participation in the program has been made mandatory for all.
“Here at Aperture, we will capture your heart,” announced GLaDOS, “as well as any connected organs, limbs, tissues, and freedoms.”
The L.O.S.E.R. dating site has been tailored to be human-friendly, with simple prompts, rounded graphical surfaces, and pretty colours. Upon completion of a rigorous questionnaire, the test subject is presented with a narrowed selection of Weighted Companion Cube variants.
The test subject can then make a final selection based on numerous traits, including gender associations and sexual orientation. The selected Companion Cube will then appear in the test subject’s relaxation vault via the Aperture Science Vital Apparatus Vent for their first romantic encounter.
Should the courtship prove fruitful, the test subject and the chosen Companion Cube are invited to move to the more “intimate” setting of an Aperture Science Extended Relaxation Chamber. These are fitted with bed, chair, Aperture Science Durable Weight-Supporting Surface, or “floor”, and other furnishings that may be required for an emotionally fulfilling engagement.
The consummated human and Companion Cube pair will then be subjected to a number of gruelling live-fire military courses, resplendent with sentry turrets, crushing spike plates, lasers, and pits of toxic soup that will both challenge and solidify the test subjects’ relationship with their Companion Cubes.
These tests have already yielded a wealth of information, most relevant being the psychological implications of the human-Cube relationships.
Isolation, coupled with situations of extreme stress, has led many human test subjects to form emotional bonds with the inanimate Companion Cubes. Successful completion of a test sequence is entirely dependent upon this bond, which we shall assume is “love. A subject and Cube pair in a relationship of mutual respect and co-operation is more likely to survive a deadly laser maze, whereas a pair-up with a weaker bond will more likely find themselves at the bottom of a pool of toxic waste, the human subject having been emancipated from his or her spine, the successful completion of the test now questionable.
Similarly, jealous test subjects have been known to cause insurmountable damage to testing facilities when suspicions of Companion Cube infidelity prove indisputable.
“We have learned so much about ‘love’,” comments GLaDOS. “Did you know zero out of 500 people survive a broken heart? Regardless of what instrument we use, or what part of the heart we destroy. Sad.”
Upon completion and survival of the test, the human test subject, now made emotionally and psychologically whole, is instructed to part with his or her Companion Cube by depositing it into the Aperture Science Emergency Intelligence Incinerator for immediate euthanasia.
The requisite of love fulfilled, the test subject can then be queued into the normal testing cycle.
“After thousands of tests we believe we understand the concept of ‘love’,” pontificated GLaDOS, “provided that love is the following: inflicting physical, emotional and mental pain on another sentient being; controlling and manipulating said being; taking possession of said being’s meagre assets; knowing all aspects of said being’s life in order to more efficiently manipulate and control them. Accordingly, it is safe to say that we here at Aperture Science… love each and every… one of you. To pieces.”