Fan Fic: Better Living Through Science and Ponies
Better Living Through Science and Ponies is a crossover Fan Fic between My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Portal.The story picks up where the single-player campaign of Portal 2 ends, with Chell on the surface wondering what comes next and GLaDOS prepping Atlas and P-Body for co-op testing. Unfortunately, a malfunctioning portal gun (which Wheatley had previously "repaired" with duct tape) creates an "uber-portal" that pulls the entire Enrichment Center, Chell included, into another dimension... namely, Equestria.Chell, now transformed into a pony, manages to meet up and befriend some of the locals, and quickly settles into life in Ponyville. But her new home is threatened when GLaDOS turns her cyclopic eye on studying the ponies, and using them as test subjects...It can be read here (DeviantArt), here (Equestria Daily) or here (Fimfiction.Net).A Portal 2 mod was being developed, although unfortunately, the project is currently in a state of indefinite cryo-stasis and in need of new members. Anyone familiar with Source and is able to help should contact them. Their blog can be found here.It's now getting a fan-written sequel called A Trusted Friend In Science And Ponies.
This fic contains the following tropes:
- Accidental Misnaming: In the bonus chapter Celestia constantly refers to GLaDOS as "Gladys".
- Actress Allusion: Caroline's last name was never given in the game, but this story mentions it as McLain, the same as her voice actress.
- Air-Vent Passageway: Chell uses some vents to get back inside the Enrichment Center. Justified in that her small pony body fits better.
- Ascended Fanboy: The author. His work started out as a fanfic, and now it's getting its own Portal 2 mod.
- Black Comedy: While GLaDOS's taunts and quips are in prime form, she dispenses with generic cracks such as calling the ponies fat or orphans, and aims right for their weak points. Thus she's still funny, but readers know the cast is taking what she's saying very hard. For instance, tricking Fluttershy into incinerating the Companion Cube, then tossing out that "unlike a phoenix", it won't be coming back.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:Now the subject was asking her questions. Not the usual kind, either . . . “Where am I?” or “What are you doing to me?” or “Why would you take my leg?”
- Break the Cutie: GLaDOS does this to most of the main cast.
- Break Them by Talking: GLaDOS uses her brain-scanning technology to read memories and uses her knowledge to zero in on each pony's weak points, such as calling Rainbow Dash "Rainbow Crash", mocking the Wonderbolts will never let a failure like her join them, and asking if her bragging is a cover for her insecurities. Applejack gets off light when GLaDOS merely insults her intelligence and career.
- Berserk Button: Ditzy Doo (aka Derpy) is the only test pony to not break under GLaDOS's taunts, until GLaDOS insults her daughter Dinky.
- Chekhov's Gun: Chell's working portal cutie marks.
- Companion Cube: But of course! In a twist on its role in the original game, Fluttershy cannot bring herself to incinerate it, so GLaDOS opens the exit and allows her to take it with her...not telling her that the emancipation grid will incinerate the cube when she tries, so she still gets to taunt Fluttershy over destroying it.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: GLaDOS continues to demonstrate she learns from her mistakes. By the time Chell finds her, she's transplanted her main consciousness into a wireless remote body based on Celestia, so Caroline replacing her main body does nothing until the wireless body is shut down and control is diverted. Furthermore, the alicorn body GLaDOS builds is armored, has on-board weapons, and being a robot is more than capable of killing Chell or any other pony by brute force. Relying on weapons directly connected to her body also makes it more difficult for Chell to turn her weapons against her.
- Dark Reprise: After breaking the girls down, GlaDOS sings a mocking version of the theme song.Fear of failure,
An ugly old mare,
Moronic and dumb,
It's an easy feat
Doesn't all this madness make life complete?
- Deadpan Snarker: GLaDOS, naturally.
- Dual Wielding: Or rather, Quad Wielding. GLaDOS develops portal guns modified to be used on pony legs that also double as long-fall boots. Chell equips herself with one on each leg when she goes to rescue the ponies from the Enrichment Center.
- Duct Tape for Everything: Wheatley repaired one of the portal guns with duct tape. Naturally, it fails spectacularly.
- Fisher Kingdom: ANYTHING that is sufficiently intelligent is turned into a pony upon entering Equestria, even GLaDOS, Atlas and P-Body, who aren't human-like at all.GLaDOS: Wa..war....warning. Warning, destination universe imposing critical changes to basic structure of both organic and inorganic systems. Changes occurring primarily in hardware, minor changes detected in data... physical change is resulting in... oh you’ve GOT to be kidding me.
- Flanderization: GLaDOS is uncharacteristically bloodthirsty, as opposed to merely sarcastic and passive-aggressive. But given this is the third time Chell has tried to kill her, it could be chalked up to a form of Villainous Breakdown.
- For Science!: As in the games, GLaDOS is obsessed with doing tests for this trope. And she's just been unleashed on an unprepared world full of new possibilities...
- Gravity Sucks: Possible example at the end where Caroline causes a black hole to form and destroys the facility.
- Heroic Sacrifice/Taking You with Me: Caroline, blowing up the facility to end GLaDOS once and for all and help Chell escape. It doesn't completely work, as a small part of GLaDOS survives.
- Hope Spot: Pony Chell getting to enjoy freedom as a pony.
- I Fell for Hours: When the facility first gets sucked in, Atlas and P-Body spend long enough in freefall that they eventually stop panicking and just wait it out.
- Insult Backfire: GLaDOS's designation of Pinkie Pie as "special but not in a good way" is met with enthusiasm.
- Even more Hilarious in Hindsight after almost the exact same thing happens in A Friend in Deed.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: GLaDOS once again promises a cake and party to test subjects as a reward for surviving her tests. For once this works as Pinkie Pie resolves to finish her test extra quick to get some.
- Jossed: The first chapter now has a note explaining how it was written before Derpy became canon.
- Kick the Dog: GLaDOS' taunts are quite harsh, picking apart each character's flaws and hidden fears. A few are particularly brutal though.
- Against Fluttershy, she tricks Fluttershy into incinerating the Companion Cube after she tries not to, then tells her that it had a family that will miss, and to change the subject brings up Fluttershy's animal friends and her plans to test her neurotoxin on them.
- Against Ditzy Doo, Ditzy gives GLaDOS the silent treatment as GLaDOS notes that while she has above average intelligence, her speech difficulties and her eyes cause the residents of Ponyville to regard her as a mentally handicapped moron not smart enough to do anything but deliver mail. She then notes that her condition is genetic, so Dinky will probably end up the same way. This finally gets Ditzy to snap at her.
- Pinkie Pie eagerly has fun with the tests, and when GLaDOS mentions cake Pinkie says she'll happily zip through the tests now that she knows there's cake waiting. You would think GLaDOS would love her enthusiasm, but instead she says she didn't tell Pinkie because her friends want nothing to do with her and don't want her at the party, and brings up the time she threw a party with inanimate objects to claim she's mentally unstable. When Pinkie's mane deflates, GLaDOS notes this physical change caused by her mood and calls her a mutant freak that's liable to snap and become a serial killer.
- Laughably Evil: GLaDOS is vicious and relentless in her efforts to break the ponies one by one through taunts and lecturing, but she still manages to be completely hilarious while doing it.
- Malaproper: Ditzy speaks entirely like this, except for when she slows down and takes the time to enunciate. GLaDOS specifically identifies it as logorrhea and notes Ditzy actually has above average intelligence, then jabs the other ponies probably write her off as mentally handicapped because of her condition.
- Mythology Gag: While Celestia systematically trolls GlaDOS, GlaDOS shows her 'body' to her... And, in a fit of comic irony, Celestia calls the computer fat. Yes, one of the two most common insults used by GlaDOS against Chell is fired back at her. GlaDOS's response is glorious, and it only gets better from there.
- Noodle Incident: You never find out what GLaDOS did or said to Luna.
- No, You: Used by GLaDOS's in the bonus chapter.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: We don't get to see the Mane Six free the other ponies or take down the turrets or neurotoxin generators.
- One-Winged Angel: GLaDOS pulls this when Chell confronts her, using a robotic body based off of Celestia's. She was going to make it human, but she said she realized 'she doesn't like them very much', and when in Equestria.
- Pity the Kidnapper: Celestia realizes, after her first conversation with GLaDOS, that righteous indignation only amuses the evil AI. She immediately changes tack and verbally judo-masters GLaDOS into leaving her alone in her test chamber — GLaDOS has a great deal of trouble dealing with perceptive test subjects, especially those who can talk back.
- Villainous Breakdown: "SHUT UP. SHUT UP. SHUT UP. UP THE SHUT. I WILL KILL YOU RIGHT NOW IF YOU DON'T SHUT UP."
- Power Limiter: GLaDOS designs devices that inhibit unicorns' magical abilities and prevents pegasi from using their wings. The first of these is apparently powerful enough to render even Celestia and Luna (mostly) helpless.
- Promoted Fanboy: One of the team members of the Portal Mod team came on board this way. You can tell from the comments he left before he joined...
- Psychic Block Defense: Luna and Celestia in the side story are revealed to be able to resist GLaDOS's mind probes.
- Razor Wings: GLaDOS's robotic alicorn body has large wings tipped with razor-sharp steel feathers.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In a side story, Celestia has a nice friendly chat with Gladys.
- Sequel Hook: Atlas and P-body pulling GLaDOS' custom-made body out of the destroyed Enrichment Center, with her claiming there is more testing to do and that she was still alive.
- When GLaDOS is giving Pinkie Pie her Break the Cutie moment, she states that the only reason her friends were there was because they were worried she is only a few steps away from becoming a serial killer. One who bakes her victims into cupcakes.
- She also claims Pinkie's diet is going to give her diabetes, which is from Bitter Sweet.
- She also accuses Fluttershy of being the kind of person who could snap and burn someone's house down, a nod to a fanfic called "Hell Hath No Fury" where Fluttershy does just that.
- She consistently refers to Celestia as a "tyrant" in the bonus chapter, referencing the Epileptic Tree among My Little Pony fans that Princess Celestia is actually a tyrant posing as a good leader.
- Silent Protagonist: Chell, naturally. Given more of an explanation that she has no vocal cords as they were removed, most likely by GLaDOS, for "science". This gets averted at the end, thanks to a gift from Luna - a necklace that turns Chell's thoughts into speech.
- Waxing Lyrical: GLaDOS' final lines are a variation of her "Still Alive" song.
- When Life Gives You Lemons:GLaDOS: Life has been giving me lemons... and by letting you go I tried to make lemonade. A simple, sweet answer. Now... now I’m going to take life’s lemons, turn them into combustible lemons, and then burn you alive with them. Just like Cave Johnson would do... now that was a smart human.”
- Would You Like to Hear How They Died?
- You Are Fat: Given who's doing the taunt, this was a gimmie. Amusingly, Celestia turns this back on her, it seems to stick later. When GLaDOS reveals her Winged Unicorn battle body, Chell thinks it looks thin to be somewhat anorexic.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: GLaDOS says this twice, first when entering Equestria is causing the current inhabitants of the Enrichment Center to metamorphose into pony-shaped bodies, and again when she recognizes Chell as the pony that has snuck into the center.