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"Subject is abnormally stubborn. She never gives up. Ever. DO NOT TEST."
Aperture Personnel File

Modeled after Alésia Glidewell, voiced by Mary Kae Irvinnote 

The Silent Protagonist Player Character of both games, Chell is an incredibly determined woman wearing an orange jumpsuit. Her exploits begin when GLaDOS awakens her from stasis to run a series of tests in the Aperture Science Enrichment Center for mysterious reasons.

  • Action Girl: To survive Aperture, it's a requirement.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Her face and body model had a Brazilian father and a Japanese mother, but the character Chell's ethnic background, like almost everything about her, is unknown.
  • Audience Surrogate: By virtue of being the player character. The developers have stated that it was particularly important the player be able to experience the story as though it were happening to them (which is part of why Chell doesn't speak).
  • Combat Stilettos: An interesting version used as a tool rather than a weapon: Her Long Fall Boots, which resemble high heels, allow her to survive a fall from any height.
  • Determinator: Pathologically so. According to her personnel file (in the Lab Rat comic), she's way ahead of the bell curve for tenacity. As it turns out, when you're dealing with GLaDOS, cleverness and athleticism are ultimately less important than sheer stubborn refusal to give up.
    Proctor's note: Test subject is abnormally stubborn. She never gives up. Ever. Do NOT Test.

    GLaDOS: Killing you is HARD.
  • Elective Mute: She can speak, she just doesn't want to give her tester the satisfaction.
  • Guile Hero: This is a puzzle game, after all.
  • Heroic Mime:
    • GLaDOS even complains about her lack of response in the final chamber.
      GLaDOS: Are you even listening to me?
    • In the sequel, Wheatley seems to think that overexposure to the stasis process left her unable to talk; when he asks her to, she just jumps. GLaDOS even calls her a "mute lunatic," and her file shows that she refused to answer one of the questions asked to her. Of course, it's possible she specifically chooses not to reply to Aperture's overseers, because they're dicks and she doesn't want to give them the satisfaction.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: To Wheatley in the second game. GLaDOS too, in the end.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: There really was a cake. She never did get it, though.
  • Late to the Tragedy: In the first game, she goes through dozens of tests before she finds out what's happened. In the second game, this time, she's really late.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Aside from falling, which is explicitly handwaved by her foot protection, Chell can survive things no human should be able to, but that's largely due to Gameplay and Story Segregation (the story probably assumes Chell is strong enough not to ever get shot, for example). However, one specific example of this being played straight is when she survives Wheatley blowing up the stalemate button. Even he's shocked. And then she spends several seconds in vacuum. On the other hand, Chell spends at least twelve hours unconscious afterwards, so even she has limits.
    • With the turrets, at least, this is possibly justified: Aperture Turrets "fire the whole bullet" via a spring launcher, which is most likely less damaging then being shot by a normal bullet. But then again, getting shot does leave blood splatters on the walls behind her.
  • Mysterious Past: We never do find out exactly who Chell is. GLaDOS likes to claim she's an orphan—which, by the second game at least, is true given how long she's been frozen. In the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day experiment section in Portal 2, one of the potato experiments was done by a little girl named Chell whose father worked at Aperture. It's the one with the potato that's grown through the ceiling—it's clearly as determined as Chell herself.
  • Naïve Newcomer: While it's unclear exactly how much of a past she has with Aperture, she certainly seems to be this in the beginning of the first game, where GLaDOS introduces her (us) to the testing environment.
  • Only One Name: We can see her personnel file in the Lab Rat comic, but it just gives her name as "Chell [redacted]."
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Chell can take tons of turret shots, and leaves large blood smears on walls when hit in the first game. 5 seconds, and you're okay again, ready to lose another three pints. On the other hand, the video displaying the turrets' inner workings offers another explanation in classic Aperture Science style: while the turrets are filled to the brim with real bullets, the turrets don't fire them—they fling the whole thing at the target using springs! They probably still hurt a bit, mind.
  • Parental Abandonment: One of GLaDOS's favourite barbs is to claim Chell was abandoned by her birth parents and later adopted.
    • At one point GLaDOS also claims that she's found two other humans on the registry that share Chell's last name, but maintains that they're people she "hasn't seen in a really long time."
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Hoo, boy...GLaDOS really should have thought more on giving her that portal gun.
  • Plot Armor: Guess what? Ground-up moon rocks are pure poison! They don't seem to affect Chell, though, so don't sweat it. (Though this may be due to the fact that she is only exposed to the gel imbued with moon dust, and not the stuff itself, than any Plot Armor she may have.)
  • Progressively Prettier: In the first game, she was disheveled, had visible gray in her hair and dead skin on her face and lips, and looked rather worn out.The Lab Rat interquel comic portrays her as much more conventionally attractive, with neater hair and smoother features; this change carries over to Portal 2, where she looks like this.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Although Chell's origins are unknown, her name on one of the science fair projects seems to indicate that she was most likely born sometime in the 1980s and was probably in her 20s during the events of the first Portal. Following the explosion which killed GLaDOS, Chell is placed in a stasis chamber with an indefinite wake-up time. The backstory for Portal 2 would suggest the game takes place in another epoch, perhaps as much as 50,000 years later.
  • Required Secondary Powers:
    • Chell wears a pair of ankle-springs in order to ensure her legs aren't shattered when she comes flying out of a portal. The commentary bubbles indicate early on that the reason was that playtesters complained that Chell could survive falls that would kill Gordon Freeman. Despite the fact that the Advanced Knee Replacements are patently insufficient to protect her, they stopped the complaints, so mission accomplished!
    • In Portal 2, these have been updated to full shoes called the Aperture Science Long Fall Boot, a "foot-based suit of armor" that's implied to have some kind of balance system forcing the wearer to land on their feet no matter what. This makes their ability to protect her slightly more justifiable.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Wheatley tells you to do yourself a favor and commit suicide because once you reach his lair he'll definitely kill you, you can set up a portal network that throws a mine at his monitor.
    Wheatley: I'll take that as a "no," then.
    • She can smash monitors in almost all the test chambers, and can even get an achievement for doing it eleven times.
  • Stock Footage: The reason the Heroic Mime character has a voice credit here is because her grunts of pain from the first game are recycled from the female Citizens in Half-Life 2.
  • Troll: There are a couple of passive-aggressive things she does to get a reaction out of the people responsible for her unfortunate situation.
    • She refuses to speak simply to annoy the robots, because she doesn't want to give them the satisfaction of a response. Her decision to jump instead of vocally responding to Wheatley's commands at the beginning of Portal 2 seems to suggest this.
    • According to Lab Rat, on her application form for Aperture Science, instead of responding to a question, she decided to scribble "The Cake is a Lie" in binary.
    • If the player chooses to and has the ingenuity to do so, they can have Chell manipulate the various mechanics in Test Chambers to smash the Ominous Multiple Screens set up by Wheatley, which doesn't accomplish any progress for the test itself, but definitely starts bothering him.
  • The Voiceless: Never makes a peep.
  • Walking Disaster Area: GLaDOS and Wheatley view her as this, despite each of the catastrophes resulting from their own attempts to control her. The former even composes a song about it.
    Wheatley: I didn't order in loads of spare monitors thinking some crazy woman was going to go around smashing them all. Sorry if that's my fault! Sorry if I didn't have the forethought to think, "oh, she might go crazy one day instead of just getting on with things"! Sorry I didn't think of that!
  • Worthy Opponent: GLaDOS, for all of her sniping, admits that Wheatley's plan could not have worked at all without Chell's help.

    Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GLaDOS)
Voiced by: Ellen McLain (English), Elena Kharitonova (Russian)

The artificial intelligence that seems to run Aperture Science. GLaDOS portrays herself as a helpful friend to Chell, but soon unveils a oddly sociopathic side to the testing protocols and a cruel side to her personality. As the game goes on, she becomes more and more sadistic, culminating in a violent confrontation as Chell attempts to escape the testing center. Chell apparently destroys GLaDOS, but at the end of the game she is revealed to have a backup memory and Chell is dragged back to Aperture Science. Years later, Chell and Wheatley unintentionally reboot her. Needless to say, she has a bone to pick with her murderer.

Oh, and she has her own page now, Just For Fun.

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Done by having Ellen McLain imitate a text-to-speech program's inflections.
  • Activation Sequence: One of the most iconic examples in video game history.
  • Adoption Diss: Brings up the player character (allegedly) being adopted as an insult repeatedly. In the second game she continues to do this. On one occasion she actually defends Chell when Wheatly insults her with this, only to give her another diss later.
    For the record, you ARE adopted, and that's terrible.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The whole "Killing everyone with neurotoxin" thing is a pretty big tip-off.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Did she delete Caroline or was she lying? There's evidence for both theories.
  • And I Must Scream: According to her, she was forced to spend the hundreds of years in between the two games watching/reliving a recording of the two minutes leading up to her destruction over and over and over again, due to her blackbox feature. Of course, it's according to her, a pathological liar.
  • Anthropomorphic Shift: An interesting example. Although she's always been based on the human form (on Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus," in fact), the original game's GLaDOS is far less relatable: her head is a grey semi-ellipsoid with a fixed yellow eye, and she doesn't have any body language to speak of. In the sequel she has a lot more emoting to do, so she was given a white, squared-off head (suggesting a certain sternness of jaw) with a much more expressive eye and vastly more human-like body language.
  • Anti-Hero: In Portal 2. She's still evil, but this time, she's on Chell's side.
  • Ax-Crazy: If slaughtering the majority of Aperture Science on bring-your-daughter-to-work-day within less than a picosecond of activation is any indication.
  • Bad Boss: GLaDOS treats her custom robots the same way she treats everyone:
    "Don't disappoint me. Or I'll make you wish you could die."
  • Bad Liar: GLaDOS is very surprised you successfully completed the test, and it shows.
  • Back from the Dead: In Portal 2.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Wheatley downloads her into a potato battery.
    "So, how are you holding up? Because I'm a potato."
  • Big Bad: The A.I. controlling the entire facility and responsible for all of the tests that Chell is forced to go through. She loses this position to Wheatly halfway through the second game after he is plugged into the mainframe, which is revealed to have a corrupting influence.
  • Better the Devil You Know: While GLaDOS is generally well-known to be an unhinged caretaker of Aperture, she genuinely acts with a real purpose, unlike Wheatley, which makes things SOOOO much worse than when GLaDOS was in charge of Aperture.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The omnipresent security cam. Doug Rattman clearly fears them, as his graffiti includes pictures of the cameras with a warning to Chell not to be spotted.
  • Big "OMG!": Multiple times:
    • "Oh. My. God. It's the bird! Run! I have no plan for this! Abort! Forget your training! RUN!"
    • Upon realizing she might be Caroline.
  • Black Comedy: GLaDOS's sense of humor.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: She's responsible for the Trope Namer; in the original game Chell is promised cake as a result of completing all the tests, but GLaDOS actual plan was to roast her alive. There actually was a cake made, though.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The rockets and neurotoxin are deployed with great fanfare, though she laments she hasn't found a way to get it into Chell's body faster.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Zig-zagged. In the original Portal, GLaDOS has already exhausted her supply of test subjects, namely Aperture employees, by subjecting them to dangerous tests. By the time Chell is volunteered for testing, GLaDOS is realizing her error and is investigating ways of resurrecting Chell as a digital ghost, or so she claims. In Portal 2, GLaDOS has ample opportunity to kill Chell when she pulls herself together, but instead re-deposits her into the test chambers "for science" (Wheatley is crushed and tossed aside, which shows his role in the Aperture facility to be worthless). Later, she admits Aperture programmed her with "an itch" to keep testing in perpetuity, and interruptions in the process cause a drop in "solution euphoria" which causes great stress to GLaDOS' circuits. She eventually develops a workaround by building two new robots, Atlas and P-body, to perform tests without fear of permanent death.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: She's always gushing over the fun to be had with "revenge" and "killing machines" and the like. Also well-versed in Machiavelli, no surprise there.
  • Cores-and-Turrets Boss: Her weapons and weak points are even called Personality Cores and Rocket Turrets.
  • Creepy Monotone: Or at least very passive-aggressive. And then when you destroy the Morality Sphere and GLaDOS switches from robotic monotone to an emotive, almost seductive voice, the contrast is actually creepier than the robotic monotone that you've been listening to all game. By the second game she has achieved a happy medium between the two, sounding very close to a human with some slight robotic affectation.
  • Curious as a Monkey: Her curiosity sphere.
    "Ooh, what's that? What's that? What is that? Ooh, that thing has numbers on it! Hey, you're the lady from the test! Is that a gun? What's wrong with your legs? Do you smell something burning? *SCREAM*"
  • Cute Machines: Her spheres, especially the Curiosity Sphere.
  • Cyber Cyclops: Just like every other piece of Aperture tech, her "eye" is a single light on her "head".
  • Deadpan Snarker: In the first game GLaDOS loved to take dry pot-shots at Chell, but mostly held back until the end game when her intentions were revealed. In the second game GLaDOS is uninhibited and snarks at Chell constantly.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Ingredients in her cake recipe include multiple items shaped like fish and several different forms of rhubarb.
  • Dying Vocal Change: Already suffering from the occasional Electronic Speech Impediment, destroying her personality cores causes her to slip into Helium Speech, leaving her chattering like a chipmunk for the next few seconds before exploding.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: In the first game she uses one to cover up her lies, including conveniently glitching out when saying that Chell "will be baked, and then there will be cake." Happens in the sequel as well, occasionally.
  • Enemy Mine: With Chell after Wheatley takes over the mainframe in Portal 2.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In the Peer Review DLC, when GLaDOS searches for insults to hurl at Atlas and P-body, she comes across a Your Mom joke. Before she is able to finish it, she declares that "That's just disgusting. Keep testing instead".
  • Evil Is Petty: Piss her off and she'll start ranting about how you're ugly, not very smart, and nobody ever liked you anyway.
    • Lampshaded by GLaDOS herself as soon as Wheatley starts trying to copy her insults.
  • Exact Words: "We will stop enhancing the truth in three... two...[cut off by static]"
  • Expy: GLaDOS has a weird relationship with SHODAN of System Shock that falls somewhere between this and Foil. Both are murderous artificial intelligences with a fascination with science, a distinct Verbal Tic, and a female identity. But the differences? Well...
    • SHODAN is passionate, bluntly spoken and openly contemptuous of humanity, whilst GLaDOS is more emotionally reserved and expresses her disdain through passive-aggressive commentary.
    • SHODAN has a god complex and uses her scientific brilliance to carry out experiments in bio-engineering and cybernetics to remake the universe in her own image to fuel her ego. GLaDOS, by contrast, is forcibly compelled by Cave Johnson's programming to perform meaningless, nonsensical testing that completely fails to achieve any scientific goals beyond being "sciencey".
    • GLaDOS's interactions with Chell over the two games is roughly similar to SHODAN's arc with the Soldier in System Shock 2; both initially present themselves as allies to the player and work with them, but ultimately turn on the player and have to be battled. But SHODAN initially disguises herself as someone else, then works with the Soldier openly, and then turns on him as the Final Boss in an act that surprises nobody due to her in-game history. By comparison GLaDOS never disguises her true nature as an artificial intelligence, her reveal as a threat comes out of nowhere, and Chell first has to battle her at the end of the first game, then team up with her to take down the greater threat in the 2nd game.
    • Of course the biggest difference between the two is that GLaDOS is often portrayed as a comedic character- Black Comedy more often than not, but still funny. SHODAN is never funny in the slightest.
    • In both games, though it’s more evident in the second than the first, she has a noticeable similarity to AM as well. Both are seemingly omnipresent A.I.s who force the protagonists to run through different tests and situations and openly despise them. The main difference is that AM is a genuine Reality Warper, while G La DOS is simply the Master Computer of the entire facility.
  • False Reassurance: GLaDOS is quite fond of these, such as her promises that Chell will get cake at the end of the test. On a more petty note, she's fond of this during her insults, such as after repeatedly implying Chell was fat.
    You look great by the way. Very healthy.
  • Faux Affably Evil: A borderline parody of this trope; she's always speaking in a soft voice, but her words are almost always peppered with passive-aggressive sarcasm as she sends Chell off to her doom. Portal 2 takes it even further, with her voice having a bit more of a "bounce" to it, making her sound much more cheerful and energetic as well as more snide when she makes her trademark sarcasm...and this persists even while she's threatening to murder Chell.
  • Final Boss: In the first game, the final stage is destroying all of her cores and "killing" her.
  • For Science!: Her primary motivation for continuing to do cruel and deadly tests. Allegedly. She has an odd understanding of what science is. Justified because she's been programmed by Cave Johnson, a man who wanted to be a great scientist but who had all the common sense of a comatose kumquat.
  • Freudian Excuse: For all of her insanity and cruelty, Portal 2 implies the mainframe she's plugged into is designed to make her somewhat crazy. The personality cores attached to her also influence her behavior in odd ways, and she begins to show signs of being slightly nicer when freed of them. Not to mention the process of Caroline having her mind uploaded (against her will no less) was implied to be pretty traumatic, and thus may have been a trigger for GLaDOS attempting to kill the scientists 1/16 of a picosecond after being activated.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: In a meta sort of way. At the start of the game, there's no indication that her voice is anything but slightly glitchy prerecorded messages. Flash forward to the end of the game, and that same voice is the final boss. Also, depending on how much of Caroline you consider to be part of GLaDOS, she goes from being a subservient secretary to a tightly monitored mainframe computer/testing program to the unchallenged queen of a vast underground (albeit mostly empty) empire.
  • Geeky Turn-On: She gets particularly... excited at the end of the co-op campaign when you and your partner find a cache of human test subjects locked in stasis.
  • Genius Loci: The entirety of the Enrichment Center is essentially an extension of her body, since she controls and maintains everything.
  • Guest Host: In Poker Night 2. Played with in that while she's involved in the game and not playing alongside the others, she's the dealer for that game, not the host.
  • Haunted Technology: Haunted by the woman whose mind was forcibly shoved into her.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Arguably in the second half of Portal 2 as soon as Wheatley betrays Chell, takes over GLaDOS, and puts her core into a potato. She and Chell reluctantly team up, and once the facility is restored, she saves Chell's life and lets her go along with the original Companion Cube - although she claims it's just because killing Chell is too much trouble.
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard: The boss fight in Portal 1. "Huh. That core may have had some ancillary responsibilities. I can't shut off the turret defenses. Oh well. If you want my advice, you should just lie down in front of a rocket..." *BOOM*
    • In the sequel, her taunting Wheatley after he becomes the central sphere enrages him so much that he puts her into a potato, barely able to function without using up the tiny amount of power it generates. She gets better.
  • Humans Are Special: Sort of acknowledged in a cut line from Portal 2:
    Humans must have some purpose other than a place to store your neurotoxin — something I failed to notice before; an intangible quality that makes their test results significant.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Wheatley, in an effort to emulate GLaDOS, goes back to the well again (specifically, Portal 1) and cooks up a few schoolyard taunts about Chell's weight and parentage. GLaDOS, of all people, jumps in to defend Chell and call Wheatley out on his prejudice, to the point that he deflates and starts sputtering about "Some of My Best Friends" to try and save face. And then...
    GLaDOS: (By the way, you ARE adopted and that's terrible. But work with me here.)
  • Ignored Epiphany: From Portal 2' ending:
    GLaDOS: You know, being Caroline taught me a valuable lesson. I thought you were my greatest enemy. When all along you were my best friend. The surge of emotion that shot through me when I saved your life taught me an even more valuable lesson: where Caroline lives in my brain.
    Announcer: CAROLINE DELETED.
    GLaDOS: Goodbye, Caroline. You know, deleting Caroline just now taught me a valuable lesson. The best solution to a problem is usually the easiest one. And I'll be honest. Killing you? Is hard. You know what my days used to be like? I just tested. Nobody murdered me. Or put me into a potato. Or fed me to birds. I had a pretty good life. And then you showed up. You dangerous, mute lunatic. So you know what? You win. Just go. [laughs gently] It's been fun. Don't come back.
  • Implied Death Threat: She's a huge fan of these, even before her real intentions towards Chell are revealed.
    GLaDOS: As part of a previously mentioned required test protocol, we can no longer lie to you. When the testing is over, you will be... missed.
  • In Love with Your Carnage: Gets especially excited at Cave's maniacal When Life Gives You Lemons... rant, particularly when he talks of burning houses down.
    GLaDOS: Burning people! He says what we're all thinking!
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: When trying to boost the self-confidence of P-body and Atlas, GLaDOS informs them that she was born with a crippling imperfection — too much sympathy toward human suffering. She proudly informs them that she overcame that weakness.
  • Irony: While GLaDOS calls out Chell with a You Monster! line, she proceeds squeezing Wheatley to near-death and throws his seeming carcass out of Chell's sight like her regular days with her test subjects.
  • Karma Houdini: At the end of it all, GLaDOS is still around, and has deliberately ignored any lessons she might have learned from the fiasco, save for finally abandoning her obsession with testing Chell. The co-op mode even shows that she has an endless supply of humans and robots to test, now.
  • Killer Game Master: GLaDOS acts similar to this, throwing difficult scenarios at you, lying in order to confuse and torment you, and putting live-ammo courses in place of the original courses. When you go Off the Rails, she tries to lasso you back in with lies before resorting to overkill methods.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Eventually decides killing Chell is more trouble than it's worth and just lets her go free.
  • Lack of Empathy: Her interactions with Chell in Portal 2 help her start to build empathy... which she deletes at the end of the game. At least she doesn't want Chell dead anymore.
  • Laughably Evil: Quite possibly the most passive-aggressive killer AI ever. Especially in the second game, where she doesn't even bother with the pretense and constantly throws thinly-veiled death threats, sarcastic jabs, and fat jokes at Chell.
    "This next test involves turrets. You remember them, right? They're the pale, spherical things that are full of bullets. Oh wait, that's you in five seconds."
  • Lean and Mean: About as much as a robot can be, anyway. Her design in Portal 2 in particular is gracefully sleek.
  • Lethal Chef: The core with the Cake Recipe suggests multiple garnishes including fish-shaped solid waste, sediment-shaped sediment, two needle injectors, three tablespoons of rhubarb on fire, and a blog entry entitled "How to Kill Someone With Your Bare Hands". On a chocolate cake.
  • Literal Transformative Experience: Transformed into a potato battery when Wheatley takes over the Enrichment Center halfway through the game. Following a long Humiliation Conga featuring bird attacks, electrical malfunctions, and being forced to team up with Chell, it looks as though the ex-Big Bad is actually becoming a better person, especially once her past is revealed and confronted. And then it's subverted all to hell once GLaDOS reclaims her position as an all-powerful supercomputer: having worked out where her compassion resides in her brain, she deletes it and goes right back to being the snarky, heartless psychopath she's always been... or so it seems.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: Expresses this in both her songs. For instance, "When you're dead, I'll be still alive." However, there may be a note of discomfort and unhappiness in both instances, since she is notoriously dishonest.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: She says she has no idea what's going on outside, only that she's the only thing keeping herself and Chell safe from "them" (presumably the Combine from Half-Life 2). Once you destroy the last personality core, her mechanism goes into meltdown and blows you and bits of GLaDOS out of the building. The fact that GlaDOS has to continuously maintain the facility is made explicit in Portal 2, where the facility's nuclear power generator goes critical because Wheatley is too stupid to stay on top of its upkeep.
  • Long List:
    • One of her personality cores in the first game has the sole function of reciting a long, bizarre cake recipe.
    • When going over the files of the test subjects that Atlas and P-body found, she lists off many, many, MANY personality flaws, all of which pertain to one particular subject.
  • Loss of Identity: Implied to be a side effect of Caroline's Brain Uploading and/or the constant babble of the personality cores.
  • Mind Hive: Portal 2 reveals that she experiences those personality cores as maddening, constantly babbling voices in her mind. After The Reveal, she becomes aware of Caroline's persona within her as "the voice of a conscience [...] my voice." She finds that even more disturbing.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Even beyond the Mind Hive effects of the personality cores, GLaDOS's body, as discussed in Portal 2, is outright designed to have this effect on the AIs that inhabit it. Unfortunately for the people who made it, it tends to make them psychopathic, narcissistic, murderous tyrants.
  • Misery Builds Character: Most of her Character Development is undergone while in the helpless form of a potato skewered onto Chell's portal gun.
  • Mission Control: She plays this role while Chell is testing, usually. Though it's won't be long before you doubt she has your interests at heart. And then "mission" becomes "be incinerated"...
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: She runs Apeture Science, and yeah, she's batshit insane. Insane enough to be suffering 80% core corruption, making the mainframe declare her unfit to run the facility.
  • Moral Myopia: It's okay when she tries to kill you, but when you kill her, it's murder.
    "The difference between us is that I can feel pain."
  • Not Quite Dead: As if the ending song didn't give it away, GLaDOS is revived in the sequel and ready to conduct several new tests on the player.
  • Obviously Evil: In Portal 2, as opposed to Portal where she was hiding her intentions until the end.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Not only is she a psychotic murderous AI, she's also incredibly passive aggressive. Most of her dialogue in Portal 2 (or at least the first half) is her insisting how she's actually surprisingly unbothered that you murdered her while simultaneously reiterating the fact that you murdered her over and over again, just in case you missed the fact that you murdered her, while also casually letting you know all the horrible things that are in store for you over the next sixty or more years of being trapped as a test subject for her as a consequence of murdering her. And that's when she's not otherwise directing barely-veiled snide jabs about your weight and being adopted at you. You murderer.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • For all she claims to only be acting out of self-interest and laziness, she didn't have to save Chell's life at the end of Portal 2. She also gives her a scorched companion cube after letting her go.
    • In the Art Therapy downloadable content, she winds up adopting some baby birds that were abandoned by their mother... although it's so she can turn them into killing machines.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: At the end of Portal 2, she says that she's learned the correct solution is usually the easiest. Since Chell has proven too dificult to kill, she decides to just let her leave since ultimately, it's the path of least resistance and what Chell wanted in the first place.
  • Pretender Diss: Most of her exchanges with Wheatley.
    Alright, he's not even trying to be subtle anymore. Or maybe he still is, in which case, wow, that's kind of sad.
  • Psychopathic Womanchild: She has a tendency to fling passive-aggressive, childish insults at people when she's angered badly enough.
    Maybe you should marry that thing since you love it so much. Do you want to marry it? WELL I WON'T LET YOU! How does that feel?
  • Puny Earthlings: Deciding that Atlas and P-body are moving too clumsily for her tastes, GLaDOS throws a fit and suggests that they drop everything and start acting like humans.
    Boy, do I love sweating. Let's convert beef and leaves into energy and excrete them later and go shopping.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Compared the energetic and later very hammy Wheatley's Red oni in the sequel, GLaDOS is the robotic sounding and Soft-Spoken Sadist Blue oni. Funnily enough, her "eye" is orange, a color commonly associated with energetic people.
  • Restraining Bolt:
    • The various Cores attached to her body were designed to control and modify her behavior with certain personality traits like logic and curiosity. The main one being her Morality Core, which acted as a conscience (scientists being forced to create this after GLaDOS repeatedly tried to murder everyone every time she was activated). Noticeably, while the Cores do influence and inform her behavior, they don't really enforce "rules" but just alter her personality and consciousness. Even with the Morality Core constantly telling her that killing people is wrong, she was still able to murder the entire Science staff of Aperture. It's just that when you take the Core off, she suddenly becomes a lot more dangerous.
    • The chassis she's built into has a number of different stimuli designed to keep her on point for running experiments. Running tests releases pleasurable feelings into her Core and any attempt to tell test subjects the solution to problems causes an intense shock. With GLaDOS's personality though, these are pretty superfluous; she's long since built up an immunity to whatever pleasure-device is used on her and runs tests purely for her own enjoyment, and has no problem watching test subjects starve to death trying to solve her puzzles.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: It's possible her behavior was a result of this. Caroline, the woman whose consciousness was uploaded into her, really didn't want to be uploaded. As soon as she was turned on, GLaDOS proved completely uncontrollable for the Aperture scientists and had them all killed or placed in suspended animation.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: GLaDOS has an entire processor devoted solely to this, or so she claims.
  • Saying Too Much: Throughout the tests of Portal 1, there's nothing to indicate that she's anything more than a series of pre-recorded messages on an intercom computer. Even the more obviously dangerous tests and the funny lines that go with them could simply be brushed off as something recorded by Aperture's amoral scientists rather than spoken in real-time by an AI. When you escape the incinerator at the end of Test Chamber 19, she could've stayed silent and likely avoided drawing attention, or better yet just repeated earlier lines to seal the illusion. Her mistake of addressing the escape attempt and trying to convince the player out of it unveils the fact that she's alive, present, and murderous, and should probably be taken out before she makes another attempt on your life.
  • Shaped Like Itself: Her Logic/Intelligence/Knowledge Core, when describing cake garnishes:
    "Sediment-shaped sediment."
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sinister Surveillance: She has cameras trained on you in every chamber, and can still sense you without being able to see you after your escape.
  • Softspoken Sadist: After the morality core is destroyed, her voice stays slightly robotic but becomes smooth and rather seductive. The switch is an immediate indicator that she's done screwing around.
  • Stab the Salad: The ending to Portal 2. She appears to go back on her promises of freedom, depositing an unarmed Chell in an elevator with four primed turrets—but the turrets simply start to sing.
  • Stealth Insult: Her favorite technique for gradually destroying a test subject's self-esteem.
  • Taught by Experience: In the sequel, she's learned that trying to actually fight Chell doesn't work. She thus tricks Chell into a sealed container that is transported to GLaDOS' lair. She then drops turrets around the chamber, then drops a pipe in to pump in neurotoxin. The only reason it fails is because Chell and Wheatley are even better at this trope than her and have pre-emptively cut off her supply of turrets and neurotoxin.
  • Time-Limit Boss: GLaDOS pumps the room with neurotoxin during your fight with her.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: GLaDOS is understandably mad about being killed in the first game, and thus her commentary in the second is a lot more passive-aggressive and snarky towards Chell, including mocking her over being adopted.
  • Tranquil Fury: When she awakes in the second game, she just says "Oh, it's you." Her delivery is calm, but leaves zero doubt that she is pissed. Contrast her... enthusiasm when she hears Cave Johnson's rant about combustible lemons.
    It's been a long time. How have you been? I've been really busy being dead. You know, after you MURDERED ME.
  • Troll: She spends a great deal of time saying things designed to anger or demoralize Chell, out of spite. She starts picking on Wheatley in much the same way after he takes over the facility.
  • Tsundere: A really, really, really extreme version — oh, she hates Chell, but there are definite hints that her emotions toward her are considerably more complicated than just hatred. Many players see it as a case of Stalker with a Crush or My Beloved Smother, depending on how you interpret her personality and the hints about her background. Erik Johnson, the game's program manager, compares her to "a jealous ex-girlfriend."
  • The Unintelligible: The Anger Core. In fact, it sounds creepily like a rabid dog.
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Caroline had her mind uploaded into GLaDOS, and it's implied (confirmed by cut audio logs) that she really didn't want to.
  • Villain Has a Point: In the first game: Ax-Crazy murder machine she may be, but she's completely right that the outside world is far from any better than the kind of place she's made Aperture Laboratories into.
  • Villainous Breakdown: As you tear her cores out, her personality breaks down. When all that's left is her anger module, she starts ranting furiously;
    GLaDOS: Stop squirming and die like an adult or I'm going to delete your backup! STOP! Okay enough, I deleted it. No matter what happens now, you're dead. You're still shuffling around a little but believe me you're dead. The part of you that could have survived indefinitely is gone. I just struck you from the permanent record. Your entire life has been a mathematical error. A mathematical error I'M ABOUT TO CORRECT.
  • Villainous Rescue: At the end of Portal 2, GLaDOS pulls you back out of the Moon portal.
  • Visual Pun:
    • As the effects of GLaDOS's morality core begin to wear off, her monitors display a small pile of screws. She does have quite a few screws loose by this point. On top of that, she's about to screw you, and not in the fun way.
    • When she says " Despite your vio-lent behavior..." the screen displays a violin with a knife stabbed through it.
  • Was Once a Man: She was created to fulfill Cave Johnson's wish to leave Caroline eternally in control of the facility. This did not go well.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: GLaDOS as a potato quickly develops a massive fear of birds.
    • Makes a return in the Peer Review DLC for co-op mode. The facility is being "controlled" by the same bird that antagonized Wheatley and GLaDOS previously.
  • Women Are Wiser: Probably not coincidentally, each of the corrupted cores have a male voice—or androgynous, in the case of the Curiosity Core—and none of them offer any insights worth hearing. GLaDOS also worries that Wheatley lacks the mental discipline to do without "solution euphoria" for more than a few minutes (as painful a process as denying drugs to an addict), which turns out to be the case. GLaDOS also has it together better than her creator, wannabe inventor and shower curtain tycoon Cave Johnson. Though she, too, ends up killing most of Aperture's staff, at least she does it intentionally.
  • Worth It: Says this about tricking Wheatley into trying to give a hint about a test chamber, giving him a painful shock.
  • Would Hurt a Child: She had no qualms about flooding the Enrichment Center with neurotoxin on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: GLaDOS is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of employees, but her backstory as Caroline is quite tragic.
  • You Are Fat: A good amount of her insults towards Chell in the sequel are about her weight. She helpfully informs ATLAS and P-body that humans are very sensitive about weight variances.
    GLaDOS: Did you know humans frown on weight variances? If you want to upset a human, just say their weight variance is above or below the norm.
  • Your Mom: In the Peer Review DLC, GLaDOS attempts one of these to turn the robots into killing machines. However, she stops mid-sentence because she finds it too disgusting.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: Subverted in Lab Rat. It seems that when she asks for Neurotoxin from the scientists, it is because the Morality Core only lets her utilize the facility's equipment For Science! and she intends to kill them by conducting Schrödinger's Cat with the entire facility as the "Box". In truth, the Core never worked well enough to stop Her.

    The Weighted Companion Cube
Voiced by no one as it, in fact, cannot speak.

A large, (apparently) inanimate cube with hearts printed on each face. That's it. GLaDOS tries to get Chell to form an emotional attachment to it, then forces her to incinerate it.

  • Brick Joke: Shows up in the last few seconds of Portal 2 looking burnt and charred, despite only being vaguely alluded to since the first game, which calls back to the ability for Aperature Science creations having a high resistance to extreme heat.
  • Companion Cube: The Trope Namer, it's a literal cube with hearts meant to provide comfort to the tester.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The games' creators speculate that maybe the Companion Cube, instead of being given to Chell by GLaDOS, was having its own adventures this entire time offscreen. It just managed to escape at exactly the same time as she did. "... in which case it's probably pissed."
  • Heart Symbol: To distinguish it from normal boxes.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: According to some of Rattmann's writings, the cube is violent, dangerous, and also his best friend.
  • Murder by Cremation: Alas, poor Cube... Nah. It's okay. Just burnt really badly.
  • Not Quite Dead: It was never alive to begin with but it is seen near the cake at the end of the original, suggesting it survived its cremation.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Among other things, beta testers caused the creation of the Companion Cube. Carrying it was necessary to complete the level, but beta testers didn't realise this until late on, and were annoyed to have to go back and get it. Over-emphasizing its importance to you fixed that problem.
    • Because the players needed to know how incinerators worked for the boss fight, it was decided that the Cube would be incinerated once it was done. They hadn't realised how popular the Cube would be with the players, and a tragic story of failing to save a friend was created.
  • Talking Appliance Sidekick: To Doug Rattmann, at least. GLaDOS claims the cubes are actually sentient in the sequel, but she's probably not being serious.
    GLaDOS: The Enrichment Center reminds you that the Weighted Companion Cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.
    • In Portal 2, it can be heard playing Cara Mia Addio! (aka "Turret Opera") when it's nearby.
    • In LEGO Dimensions (which is probably non-canon) they're full of bones! They were alive at SOME point.

    Doug Rattmann, a.k.a. "The Rat Man"

A mysterious person who left clues for Chell to find scrawled along the course of the testing center. His identity is never really touched upon in-game, but the promotional Alternate Reality Game to promote Portal 2, as well as the new comic to bridge the gap between the two games, gives us more about him.

  • All There in the Manual: Or rather, A Little More There In The ARG and Comic: He was a programmer at Aperture Science who managed to survive GLaDOS's release of the neurotoxin on account of suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, which allowed him to correctly deduce that yes, an evil computer was trying to kill everyone (while the other scientists were aware that GLaDOS was violent and unstable, they failed to take the threat seriously enough until it was too late). After being made a test subject, his knowledge and clearances allowed him to manipulate the test chambers and make dens for himself, living in these nooks and plotting his escape.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: The Bizarro Universe Doug Rattman became CEO of Aperture Science.
  • Badass Labcoat: Almost never seen without that white coat.
  • Big Good: The closest example to be found, though he rarely appears in the flesh.
  • Companion Cube: He takes one with him wherever he goes. He's so crazy that it talks to him, and is surprisingly very helpful.
  • Crazy Survivalist: He's clinically insane, so he lived.
  • Deadpan Snarker: When he's on his medication, he's a match for GLaDOS.
    GLaDOS: Have you refilled your prescription lately?
    Doug: Bite me.
  • Disability Superpower: When Rattmann is on his schizophrenia meds, his Companion Cube stops speaking. Without its advice, he seems to be a lot less effective, eventually causing him to get wounded by a turret.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Instead of fleeing from Aperture when he had the chance, he chose to save Chell, despite knowing his chances of escape after that were slim to none.
  • The Ghost: Never appears in either game and likely dead by the time of Portal 2, all the player sees of him is the drawings he leaves behind in various lairs scattered throughout the Enrichment Centre.
    • The music on the Portal 2 soundtrack for one of his dens is called "Ghost of Rattman".
  • Got Volunteered: He knew that he didn't have what it took to defeat GLaDOS, but he could look through the test subjects' psych profiles and find someone who did.
  • Le Parkour: He improvises.
  • Mad Artist: Responsible for all those insane scribblings in the facility.
  • Madness Mantra: The Cake Is a Lie
    • In Portal 2, if the player stands directly in front of one of his murals, you'll hear this. To date, all attempts to fully and accurately transcribe this rambling have met with failure. Word of God says that it's scrambled scientific documents, rambled wildly.
  • Mismatched Eyes: In the comic, Doug's pupils are almost consistently of uneven size, and when there is a noticeable difference, his right pupil is always the larger of the two. It is not known if this is a purely stylistic choice (perhaps meant to artistically emphasize Doug's psychosis), or if the artist intended him to have anisocoria (pupils of unequal sizes).
  • Never Found the Body: At the end of the Lab Rat comic, he places himself into the same stasis bed that Chell awakes from at the beginning of Portal. However, when you return to the stasis vault at the beginning of Portal 2, everything is exactly the same as before, except for the bed, which is nowhere to be found. Its mysterious absence, along with Rattman's fate, is never explained.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Powder blue — so light they almost look white sometimes.
  • Must Make Amends: Willingly went back into the facility after he'd gained his freedom, unable to live with knowing he'd used Chell to defeat GLaDOS and then let her be killed when he might have saved her.
  • Only Sane Man: Despite being a paranoid schizophrenic (though to be fair, he's on meds at the time), he's the only one at Aperture to realize that when a computer consistently tries to murder you within 1/16th of a picosecond every time you turn her on, she's probably going to kill you the first chance she gets.
  • Power Born of Madness: He imagines the Companion Cube is talking to him and its advice was tremendously useful at surviving the Death Courses throughout the lab.
  • Properly Paranoid: It's implied that his paranoid schizophrenia was the key to evading GLaDOS long after all the other employees had been captured. Sane people tend to dismiss thoughts like "What if an insane computer is trying to take over the facility and kill us all?" as crazy, which is something of a survival disadvantage when that's actually what's happening. However, considering GLaDOS had consistently attempted to kill them all within one tenth of a picosecond of being switched on (up from one sixteenth of a picosecond when she was first activated), he might have just been the only one who wasn't Too Dumb to Live.
  • Prophetic Name: A name so convenient, you'd expect him to be a Spider-Man villain.
  • Punny Name: He survives by looting food and hiding behind loose panels.
  • Room Full of Crazy: "I <3 Companion Cube." His dens are full of poetry adapted to mention the cube, pictures of things in the center (mostly the cube, of course) and other scrawlings.
    the cake is a lie
    the cake is a lie
    the cake is a lie
    the cake is a lie
    • In Portal 2, it would seem his obsession changed to being centered around Chell, with vivid detailed murals of her sprawled across walls.
  • Sanity Slippage: Due to being stuck in the lab after GLaDOS goes berserk, he can't refill his medication. Hence, he appears quite sane during the past segments of the Lab Rat Comic. Compare that to his scribblings in the first game, and his basic appearance in the present comic segments.
  • Skewed Priorities: "The Cake Is a Lie" is supposed to be a darkly humourous warning that GLaDOs is not to be trusted. The humour in part comes from Rattmann worrying more about GLaDOs witholding cake from Chell than the AI trying to murder her. The darkness comes from his warning about GLaDOs being absolutely correct, as well as his skewed priorities being due to Sanity Slippage from being trapped in the Aperture Laboratory for so long.
  • Uncertain Doom: The last we see of him is in the Lab Rat comic, where he "rests" in Chell's relaxation vault after being recently shot by a turret; when Chell visits that place in the sequel, both him and the bed he slept in are missing. It could have possibly killed him, but as any amount of playtime would suggest, turrets are super ineffective at actually wounding with their shots.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Chell didn't even know who he was, let alone that he used her to escape from the facility. If he'd just run away instead of saving her life, she never would've known. He saved her anyway, because he knew it was the right thing to do.

    Sentry Turrets

Voiced by: Ellen McLain (English), Elena Kharitonova (Russian)

Small white machines sold for home defense to "Resolve Crises", placed throughout Test Chambers as a lethal hazard.Though they sound like they're speaking pre-recorded messages most of the time, they're just as alive as the rest of Aperture's robots.

  • Adorable Evil Minions: Hello? Can I help you?
  • Affably Evil: They seem quite affable for a bunch of bullet-spewing death machines. In some ways, it only makes them scarier.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: They're really just guns that can talk. Until Portal 2.
  • Apologetic Attacker: I don't blame you. I don't hate you. No hard feelings.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Justified in this trailer, where Cave shows you how they cram all those bullets in.
  • Cartridges in Flight: As pointed out and Lampshaded in this trailer. That the bullets are launched by springs instead of their much stronger propellant may help to explain why Chell can take so many bullets from them and keep on going.
    Cave Johnson: We fire the whole bullet! That's 65% more bullet per bullet!
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: Are you still there?
  • Cute Machines: Well, until they pepper you full of lead.
  • Enemy Mine: A mild version in 2, afterWheatley takes over the facility, the turrets seem just as eager to shoot at him (or at least his monitors) as they are at Chell.
  • Grotesque Cute: Namely due to their voices, not to mention how polite and apologetic they are while they open fire on you And they ''sing''
  • Insistent Terminology: "Dispensing product", not More Dakka.
  • King Mook: The Animal King turret, a massive, leopard-patterned turret with a crown used to illustrate what to do in one of many apocalypse scenarios Aperture anticipated. It also plays bass, just because.
  • Laser Sight: A beam of light comes straight from their eye, and follows you if they spot you, but it also lets you know how to block them and where they're looking.
  • Morality Chip: According to a diagram in the Portal 2 promo trailer above, the turrets contain an "empathy generator" and an "empathy suppressor" to counter it out.
  • More Dakka: They never run out of ammo. Ever.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The Oracle Turret from Portal 2.
  • Pet the Dog: Portal 2 has an achievement for rescuing the Oracle Turret from a conveyor belt. It has some strange things to say in response.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: In a manner of speaking. Picking up a turret (if you can get past its gunfire or sneak up on it) will automatically orient it away from you and prevent it from firing. Add the responses to such actions including "Hey!" and "Put me down!" (which of course use cutesy female voices).
  • The Unfought: Chell never engages the Animal King turret seen in the early elevator videos, or even encounters it except in the Turret Opera at the end.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The turrets make such a lovely choir.

    Party Escort Bot

The Party Escort Bot, alternatively known as the Party Associate, is a robot appearing in the retconned PC version of Portal, as of the March 3, 2010 patch. Its only role in the game is to drag Chell back into the facility after she defeats GLaDOS, so that she can have new adventures in the sequel.

  • Chekhov's Gunman: When GLaDOS first mentions him, it appears as if he does not exist at all. Then there is no mention of him for a long time, until he suddenly turns up as a Diabolus ex Machina in the ending.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: After Chell has survived hours of deadly testing, GLaDOS' deathtrap, navigated the facilities, and then confronted GLaDOS in her room and defeated her, she ends up semi-conscious on a parking lot, and this robot drags her back into the facility.
  • The Ghost: Was this before the March 3rd update.
  • Palette Swap: The robot is seen on one panel in the Lab Rat comic, and it is apparently merely a purple version of Atlas, or possibly a personality core with arms (which Wheatley was planned to have, per the commentary, but were cut because they could not believably retract).
  • Robo Speak: In the one line it has in the game, it probably has the most severe case of Robo Speak in the entire series.
  • Wham Line!: "Thank you for assuming the party escort submission position."
  • The Voice: Although it is obviously very close to Chell in the ending, it is actually never seen as it drags her back in-game. No-clipping reveals merely a placeholder box with the model texture for a can of beans on one of its faces. Ironically, in the Lab Rat comic, the robot becomes The Voiceless, as it is revealed for the first time, but has no dialogue.

Portal 2

Click here to see him after GLaDOS wakes up 

Voiced by: Stephen Merchant (English), Konstantin Karasik (Russian)

An artificially intelligent "personality core" reassigned to ensure the wellbeing of the test subjects. Practically a polar opposite to GLaDOS, Wheatley appears friendly and slightly scatterbrained. He helps Chell in her second run through Aperture Laboratories, but accidentally revives GLaDOS.

He has his own page.

  • Affably Evil: For a power-mad AI trying to murder you, he sure is likable.
  • And I Must Scream: Wheatley is launched into orbit at the end of the game, left drifting in the depths of space for an unknown amount of time, and regretting every bit of harm he caused.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Oddly enough, an intentional in-universe example. His sole reason of existing is to consistently give GLaDOS stupid ideas and make bad decisions. However, it's Played With, as despite literally being designed to be an idiot, he's a surprisingly competent and intelligent villain when actually trying to kill Chell.
  • The Atoner: Becomes this in the final scene of Portal 2. He's a little too late for that.
  • Bad Samaritan: Basically, he's just using Chell to seize control for himself and bring the other robots to their knees. This was not his original goal, but his slide into megalomania occurs alarmingly quickly.
  • Berserk Button:
    • "I am NOT! A! MORON!"
      • Interestingly, he doesn't take to idiot as much as moron before you plug him into the core transfer replacement transfer receptacle. Either he wasn't listening, ignoring that one comment or GLaDOS's body made him sensitive to those comments.
    GLaDOS: "Do not plug that idiot into the mainframe!"
    Wheatley: "Yes, you should plug that idiot into the mainframe!"
  • Beware the Silly Ones: A cute little core and literally designed to be an idiot...but he also is able to successfully come up with a fairly brilliant plan to defeat GlaDOS that had it not been for him getting Drunk with Power would've permanently taken her out of the picture...then goes on to come closer to kill Chell than GlaDOS ever did.
  • Big Bad Slippage: Technically the main villain the second game, he actually starts out legitimately helping Chell. It's only when he's plugged into the mainframe that he turns against her.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Wheatley pulls every cliché in the book, from an attempt at maniacal laughter which leaves him out of breath(!), to referring to his "lair" and booming that Chell is "FOOLISH" for daring to defy him. Behind the bravado, Wheatley is a big marshmallow who still wants people to like him.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: When he tries to imitate GLaDOS's style of insults, the best he can do is "fatty fatty no-parents."
  • Bilingual Bonus: After he gets planted in [GLaDOS]'s body, he starts reveling in how smart he is, including his newfound ability to speak Spanish.
    Wheatley: I'm a bloody genius now! Check this out! Estás usando este software de traducción de forma incorrecta. Por favor, consulta el manual. I don't even know what I just said, but I can find out!note 
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Initially, he tries to help Chell escape the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Then he usurps GLaDOS' position as the main AI of the facility, attempting to kill both Chell and GLaDOS.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: After he springs his trap, he could have easily dropped you into the bottomless pit, for example, by not putting those other faith plates there, or not switching on the tractor beam. Instead, he navigates you to that platform where you can escape. With this, he also gets you closer to his lair. This is somewhat justified, though: he already tried knocking you into a bottomless pit, and thanks to your Long-Fall Boots it didn't stick.
  • Boss Remix: "Bombs For Throwing At You is a high-paced techno jam, very similar to GLaDOS' "You Can't Escape, You Know". It uses elements from the Old Aperture Science theme, as well.
  • Briar Patching: He almost gets the upper hand during the final boss battle, when he implores Chell not to approach the unguarded Stalemate Button, which he actually rigged several explosives to, and he doesn't reveal the bombs until you try and press it. You can actually hear him chuckling to himself when GLaDOS directs you to go press it.
  • Breakout Character: His popularity with playtesters during the demo caused Valve to considerably increase his screen time than originally planned in the finishing game.
  • Buffy Speak: The creatively-named "spinny-blade wall" and "mashy-spike-plate." He also refers to Chell as "Little Miss Smashy-Smash" if she continues trashing his wall screens.
  • Butt-Monkey: You have to feel for the guy, an over-ambitious core who is eternally out of his depth.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Acquires this habit when he takes over GLaDOS' body, announcing his (usually botched) attacks with the glee of somebody retracting the rope ladder to his treehouse. It becomes less silly when he deploys his five four part plan.
  • Captain Obvious: Wheatley is a genius computer hacker. He can differentiate between the tower and the monitor, for instance.
  • Clint Squint: His eye slit gets narrower and narrower the more his ego is bruised.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: He's obviously not the sanest individual in Aperture and boy, does it show by the end of the game.
  • Collapsing Lair: Albeit caused by his own sheer incompetence, and not by his opponents. In the final battle with him, the walls of his headquarters are being eaten away by flames.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: "I shouldn't laugh; they do feel pain. Of a sort."
  • Compensating for Something: At some point, to prove he's not stupid, he'll talk about reading a book, even having the sound effect of him turning the page. He'll keep insisting the fact he's reading means he's not stupid.
  • Confusion Fu: His unpredictable idiocy and poker face regarding death traps surprises even GLaDOS. This makes Wheatley more dangerous when in control of the the Aperture Science mainframe than GLaDOS ever was. He's incapable of controlling such a massive system, he can't be deterred by consequences he's too dumb to foresee, he's Too Dumb to Fool with clever tricks, and when he manages to stumble upon a genuinely cunning idea by sheer chance, it usually takes you by surprise. This leads to him wrecking much of the complex before Chell and GLaDOS even return from the old labs, and it all goes downhill from there.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: He ends up stuck out in space along with the Space Sphere, having to stand his squeeing over being in space for the rest of his existence.
  • Cowardly Lion: He appears to be afraid of his own body and thinks several actions he can take, such as disengaging from his rail or turning on his flashlight, will kill him (although he does actually try both those things). Also, he's afraid of heights. And birds.
  • Creative Sterility: Played With: When it comes to designing testing chambers, he's incapable of doing anymore than making simple ones or stealing ones GlaDOS already made...however, when it comes to actually trying to kill Chell, he's far more creative and competent than GlaDOS ever was given GlaDOS's go to solution to that problem is 'turrets and deadly neurotoxin.' He even explicitly watched Chell's fight with her and went out of his way to come up with a solution to everything Chell did against her that never seemed to occur to his predecessor. If it hadn't been for the pipe of gel, which Wheatley didn't even seem to know what it was, Wheatley would've been effectively unbeatable.
  • Cute Machines: Yes, he is adorable, like the turrets. Not so much once he takes over the Enrichment Center.
  • Cyber Cyclops: He's only got one eye; his body is just a mechanical orb.
  • Determinator: A rare case of this being an entirely negative trait. Much like Chell, Wheatley just does not give up or admit error (except after the credits). But refusal to quit in the face of difficult odds is one thing, refusal to quit in the face of your own colossal rank incompetence is another, and as a result, Wheatley ends up in too deep many times over. And in his case, it's less because he recognizes the difficult situation and powers through it, and more because he's too proud and too stupid to acknowledge he's in too deep in the first place, and insists on trying to bumble his way forward because he thinks it can't be that hard.
  • Disney Death: Shortly after GLaDOS is reactivated, she crushes Wheatley between her ceiling-suspended claws. He gets better about three test chambers later.
  • Disney Villain Death: Inverted. Chell shoots one portal underneath him, and the other on the moon, sucking him out into space.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: His reaction to watching Chell and GLaDOS get through the tests is a bit enthusiastic.
    • Also, his Villainous Breakdown in the final fight is very reminiscent of a jilted lover who's breaking up with his girlfriend.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: GLaDOS doesn't quite grasp the subtleties of trash-talking a human, and Wheatley is even worse. You can almost see GLaDOS pulling her hair out at his half-baked taunts, if she had hair.
  • Drunk with Power: And then he starts suffering withdrawal symptoms.
  • Evil Brit: After his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Evil Laugh: Twice. Slightly hampered when it leaves him feeling winded.
  • Exact Words: Valve said that the voice of Wheatley would be provided by, in their words, "Some guy from the office". Originally it really was: the placeholder voice was provided by Valve animator Richard Lord. Then they chose Stephen Merchant, most well known for co-writing and appearing in the UK sitcom The Office.
  • Face–Heel Turn: It's even referred to as this in the game sound files. It's unclear how much of it was the mainframe's decision though.
  • Faceless Eye: Just like other cores.
  • Feigning Intelligence: After being called a moron by GLaDOS repeatedly, he starts playing classical music and pretending to read Machiavelli, apologizing for the distracting noise of rifling pages.
    • Wheatley is holding all the cards, and they're all full houses. (He doesn't actually play Poker, mind; he's been meaning to learn.) Ace of Fours!
  • Final Boss: For the second game.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He started out as an intelligence-inhibitor. Then he gets plugged into GLaDOS's mainframe, and becomes even more unstable and destructive than she ever was.
  • Genius Ditz: Even GlaDOS is forced to admit it at one point as he's bringing Chell and GLaDOS to the "surprise".
    • A closer look at the game shows Wheatley is a moron when it comes to foresight, but not hindsight; He is stupid enough to make terrible mistakes, but he never seems to make the same mistake twice. By the end of the game, he starts to foresee himself making mistakes and prepares auxiliary plans in case the others fail.
      GLaDOS: For a little idiot built specifically to come up with stupid, unworkable plans, that was a pretty well laid trap.
    • This is particularly notable in his Final Boss battle - whilst Chell still outwits him, he's learnt from GLaDOS's defeat, makes sure not to repeat any of her mistakes, and plans for almost every eventuality. He's only defeated because he failed to account for a hole in the ceiling.
      Wheatley: Part FIVE! Booby-trap the stalemate button!
  • A God Am I: Becomes an egomaniac after being plugged into GLaDOS's mainframe. That thing is apparently quite the power high.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: After Wheatley is removed from GLaDOS's body, he feels genuinely sorry. Too bad he's stranded in space now.
  • Humans Are Smelly: Wheatley's open in his lack of regard for the "smelly humans" trapped in the relaxation chambers. However, this probably stems more from Wheatley's resentment at being passed over for promotion, rather than animus toward people. (Realizing his mistake, he mumbles an apology to Chell.)
  • I Meant to Do That: Wheatley is a chess grandmaster on par with Deep Blue, or so he would have you think.
    You know what I have too many of around here, monitors. I was just thinking earlier today I wish I had fewer monitors that were working. So you're actually helping me, by smashin' them.
  • Idiot Ball: As a personality core, he's spherical and he was built to make GLaDOS dumber. He also grabs onto one after going insane; he informs you that he won't make the mistakes GLaDOS did, having made all surfaces in his lair unsuitable for applying portals. He has also rerouted three gel tubes into his room, including one that supplies Conversion Gel allowing you to apply portals in his room. This alone wouldn't be so bad, but he also doesn't bother to wait for the neurotoxin to kill you — he throws bombs too, breaking the tube and providing you access to the Gels.
    • What's more, he rerouted the Conversion Gel pipe through the room even though he had previously seen you use it right in front of him to escape from his anti-portal trap at the beginning of the chapter. If you wait long enough at said trap, GLaDOS even tells Wheatley to his face exactly what the Conversion Gel does!
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: He's a pretty textbook example - he's so sheltered, so stupid, and so bloody-mindedly determined that the thought of being wrong just doesn't cross his mind, even when it's staring him in the face.
  • Implausible Deniability: "Was. The facility was self-destructing. Already fixed. *offscreen explosion* Just programmed in one last tremor, for old time's sake. *series of explosions* Two. One or two more tremors in there."
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: After his Face–Heel Turn. Competent plans, utter lack of proofreading. The final insult comes when the sprinkler system washes away the portal conductors that allowed Chell to beat him.
    "Ah. That just cleans right off, does it? Well, that would have been good to know. A little earlier."
    • That said, his incompetence and recklessness actually make him even MORE dangerous in some ways, so he's not ineffectual in that sense — he remains sympathetic largely because he's as much a danger to himself as to anyone else.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover:
    • A flattened, but still talkative, version of himself appears in Team Fortress 2 as a weapon for the Spy.
    • Via a mod collaboration between Valve and Bethesda, ends up orbiting Nirn an indeterminate length of time after the ending.
  • Kick the Dog: During the final battle, he taunts Chell that he expected her to die obtaining the portal gun, and that she wasn't the first person he had sent after it; she was just the one who survived the longest.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: One of the dumbest beings in existence, but convinced he's brilliant. Not played up too much during the first half, but gets much worse when he's plugged into GLaDOS's mainframe. He seems to be over-compensating for the knowledge that he was specifically designed to be a moron. More understandably, he is unaware of GLaDOS and Chell's history while forming his escape plans.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Wheatley resents being labeled "a moron" by GLaDOS, who put up with his inanity for years (possibly a decade or more). He winds up tethered to an even more talkative and idiotic A.I., the Space Sphere, presumably for eternity as they drift aimlessly through space.
  • Leitmotif: There is a specific nameless tune associated with Wheatley that appears in several tracks throughout the game. It plays during Reconstructing More Science, the moment when he betrays you, and in his boss battle.
  • Mechanical Monster: Downplayed. During the boss fight against him, he is equipped with a ring of ten spidery robot arms ending in panels used as shields against his own bombs. These, combined with the imposing size of the mainframe, make him look pretty monstrous.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: GLaDOS's body, as he discovers when you put him into it, is outright designed to have this effect on the AIs that inhabit it. Unfortunately for Chell and GLaDOS, it made him a psychopathic, narcissistic, murderous tyrant.
  • Motive Decay: His initial goal is, like Chell, to leave the facility. He forgets this as time goes on.
  • Motor Mouth: His utter inability to shut up is one of the highlights of this game. So much so that even if you just sit there for a few minutes, he'll still keep talking.
  • The Napoleon: After surfing into the Central Core's body, he spends the remainder of the game flapping his panels about, as though trying to make himself seem even larger.
  • Never My Fault: At one point, while using an excursion funnel to get to the next test chamber, you are threatened by another chamber that's about to fall in your way. He decides to turn the funnel off, which almost kills you. In the next chamber, he claims you told him to do it.
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: When he turns on you, he avoids screwing around with winnable "experiments" and sets you up with no portal surfaces, an immediate neurotoxin attack, and throwing bombs at you. This trope doesn't prevent him from still being an idiot about killing you, though, as the bombs accidentally break a tube and give you access to Conversion Gel.
  • Non-Player Companion: He takes this role near the start and middle of the game.
  • No-Sell: Logic Bombs don't work on him because he's too stupid to understand the paradoxes.
  • Ominous Multiple Screens: Wheatley tries his hand at the whole Blofeld-supervillainy thing by projecting his face on oversized monitors through the arena. Like everything else, it backfires when Chell smashes them to bits.
    "Starting, now (if I'm honest), to wonder if you're doing all this screen-breaking on purpose. Beginning to take it personally. You know what I mean?"
  • The Paranoiac: After attaching Rick and should the phase drag on, Wheatley's Sanity Slippage will start to accelerate to the point where he becomes this, believing Chell has been conspiring against him from the start.
    Wheatley: And another thing! You never caught me. I told you I could die falling off that rail. And you didn't catch me. You didn't even try. Oh, it's all becoming clear to me now. Find some dupe to break you out of cryosleep. Give him some sob story about escaping to the surface. Squeeze him for information on where to find a portal gun. Then, when he's no more use to you, he has a little accident. Doesn't he? "Falls" off his management rail. Doesn't he? You're in this together, aren't you? You've been playing me the whole time! Both of you! First you make me think you're brain damaged! Then you convince me you're sworn enemies with your best friend over here! Then, then, when I reluctantly assume the responsibility of running the place, you conveniently decide to run off together. Just when I need you the most.
    • It even extends to him coming to the incorrect assumption that there's nothing wrong with Aperture.
      Wheatley: I'll bet there isn't even a problem with the facility, is there? I'll bet there's no such thing as a "reactor core". I'll bet that's not even fire coming out of the walls, is it? It's just cleverly placed lights and papier mache, I'll bet that's all it is.
  • Poke the Poodle: Pretty much any of his attempts to puff himself up and be intimidating, like GLaDOS, are doomed to failure. He can't even pull off her boss banter without apologizing.
  • The Pollyanna: His manner is remarkably blase, considering the apocalypse going on outside and the fact that the Aperture Science is devoid of life. He also assumes the best of GLaDOS in their first encounter. She responds by hoisting him up and hurling him across the facility with great force.
    GLaDOS: Oh, it's you.
    Wheatley: You know her?
    GLaDOS: It's been a long time. How have you been?
    Wheatley: (I think she likes you!)
    GLaDOS: I've been really busy being dead. You know, after you murdered me?
    Wheatley: You did WHAT!?
  • Psychopathic Manchild: When he starts ranting at GLaDOS and Chell he sounds distinctly like a child throwing a tantrum at an elder.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Compared to GLaDOS, whose robotic voice and Soft-Spoken Sadist demeanor make a Blue oni, Wheatley is the energetic then hammy Red oni. Ironically, he's the one associated with blue.
  • Sanity Slippage: After being hooked up to the Central Core, Wheatley's mental state degrades almost instantly.
  • Self-Serving Memory: After his Face–Heel Turn, he'll constantly go on tangents about Chell's selfishness for putting him at risk when they were working together against GLaDOS, conveniently forgetting the many times Chell saved Wheatley's life because of his own stupid mistakes putting them in danger.
  • Shoot the Television: Unlike GLaDOS, Wheatley insists on projecting his face throughout the test chambers. This leads to some passive-aggressive comedy when Chell hurls cubes/bullets/lasers at his flatscreens, cracking them beyond recognition. At first, Wheatley reacts with smugness ("Aw. Bless your little primate brain. I'm not actually in the room with you, am I?"), then condescension, then guilt-trips Chell about starving African orphans not being able to afford flatscreens for their test chambers, then grumbles about the cost of unbolting and replacing all of these smashed monitors.
  • Smarter Than They Look: For as dumb as Wheatley is, ensuring Chell couldn’t push the Stalemate Button by rigging bombs to it was actually a pretty smart move and a rare example of him thinking ahead. Too bad Chell found another way to stop him straight after.
  • Spear Counterpart & Meet the New Boss: Halfway through the game, Wheatley manages to detach GLaDOS' head from her body (with your help) and take over the facility for himself. But he's still prone to the same foibles and tricks.
  • Straw Fan: Wheatley cannot design a test to save his life. He only manages to create one unique test of his own design and all it involves is pushing a button to drop a box onto a button then portaling to the other side...which he then makes you do again for lack of wanting to make another test himself. After this he simply finds test chambers originally designed by GLaDOS and throws them your way (adding some text on the wall to make them "his"). He'll also take pieces of test chambers made by GLaDOS and slam them together in a horrible mish-mash of clashing wall textures and elements ("Seamless!"). Word of God says the "Wheatley Laboratories" were inspired by actual game mods — a bit of biting the hand humor considering Valve later released a legit puzzle maker.
  • Stupidity-Inducing Attack: Built to be one against GLaDOS.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Due to Chell and Wheatley sabotaging the manufacture of turrets earlier in the story, the turrets that Wheatley sics on her towards the end of the game end up nonfunctional, similar to the turrets that GLaDOS tried to use against Chell when she had her trapped in the glass cube. That is, unless they've discovered a way to garrote Chell, which would explain the lack of screaming. Yeah, that's the ticket.
  • Taught by Experience: As he directly addresses, he recognizes the mistakes GLaDOS made and doesn't re-make them. He's only defeated because he had the misfortune to make his lair around pipes of the colored gels.
    "I took the liberty of watching the tapes of you killing her, and I'm not going to make the same mistakes. Four part plan is this. One: No portal surfaces. Two: Start the neurotoxin immediately. Three: Bomb-proof shields for me. Leading directly into number Four: Bombs. For throwing at you."
  • Tempting Fate: If you wait long enough, Wheatley practically hands Chell the keys to defeating him, shouting that her "precious human moon" can't save her now. Whoops.
    • And just before that, he gets annoyed at the Space Sphere and says, "Nobody's going to space, mate!" Wrong!
  • This Is Gonna Suck: His reaction upon awakening GLaDOS, only compounded when GLaDOS says to Chell "...After you murdered me?"
  • Too Dumb to Fool: AI brains as simple as those of the Frankenturrets short out in response to hearing a simple logical paradox. Wheatley's idiocy prevents him from even noticing it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Once he's in charge of Aperture Laboratories, he doesn't have GLaDOS's wherewithal to actually maintain the facility. Whenever he gets a warning that there is a critical error he must attend to or some dire repercussion will be likely, he just shouts it down or mutes it, thinking that fixes the problem. By the end the whole place is minutes to the brink of destruction but he still does nothing to actually allay the situation.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Subverted; Wheatley is all thumbs when it comes to robotics, and his tests leave a lot to be desired. The Aperture logo on the loading screens is replaced with a shoddy makeover, with a crooked-looking "Wheatley" logo flickering to life.
  • The Unreveal: Wheatley explains how he survived GLaDOS crushing him, but doesn't think to stop talking when the Aerial Faith Plate bouncing you up to him stops working and thus you can't hear him anymore.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Wheatley really starts to panic after Chell escapes his "surprise". He also gets continually more aggressive and paranoid-delusional during the final battle.
  • Walking Spoiler: Notice the amount of blanked text for this entry compared to other characters?
  • When All You Have is a Hammer…: Employs a more direct approach to hacking doors, such as when he attempts a "manual override" of a "docking gate" by slamming Chell's relaxation chamber into it. It's also his sole method of creating an "exit" in an otherwise inescapable test chamber.
    • Frankly, a great many of his "devilish" traps just involve attaching spikes to ordinary wall panels and smashing them together.
      "Holmes versus Moriarty. Aristole versus MASHY-SPIKE-PLATE!"
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: His original plan seems to have been simply to escape from the deteriorating facility, but once he takes over GLaDOS's role as master of Aperture, he almost immediately becomes paranoid, vengeful, and obsessed with running experiments.

    Cave Johnson

"You're not part of the control group, by the way. You get the gel. Last poor son of a gun got blue paint. Ha ha ha! All joking aside, that did happen. Broke every bone in his legs. Tragic, but informative! Or, so I'm told."
Voiced by: J. K. Simmons (English), Mikhail Georgiou (Russian)

The founder of Aperture Science, originally a shower curtain manufacturer before he succumbed to mercury and/or moon rock poisoning. The company's more esoteric inventions came about following Johnson's descent into madness.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: He wanted to make diet pudding; he made repulsion gel instead. He wanted to make a fuel injection system de-icer; he got a psychotic AI instead. Even the name of his company—a synonym for "Portal"—refers to his original line of shower curtains.
  • Affably Evil: He's a cheerful, pleasant, likable guy, but still puts his employees and test subjects in mortal danger for the sake of science and thinks little of it. However, this status is debatable thanks to Hanlon's Razor; it's tricky to tell if Cave is actively malicious or just passively ignorant, and which one is the best explanation of why he treats people like he does.
  • All There in the Manual: Johnson and Aperture Science's history are mentioned only in supplemental material until Portal 2, though said supplementary material has been made non-canon for the most part due to the major Retcon.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The lunar poisoning he got from moon rocks? It's both very real and very lethal.
  • Always Second Best: Cave Johnson's trophy case contains a number of trophies, certificates, etc. which always show Aperture falling just shy of Black Mesa, with the exception of Potato Sciences. Oh, and he was a great shower curtain salesman. The best, in fact.
  • And Another Thing...: The pre-recorded messages are full of these. Apparently the test chambers aren't quite deadly enough. Cave casually mentions to each "control group" that he's been covertly experimenting on their bodies since before the tour began: such as injecting their coffee with radium, or implanting a crude computer chip in their forehead which may overheat and explode.
    "If you meet yourself on the testing track, don't make eye contact. Lab boys tell me that'll wipe out time. Entirely. Forward and backward! So do both of yourselves a favor and just let that handsome devil go about his business."
  • The Artifact: Was slated to be a combination of Wheatley's role in going power mad and Caroline's role of having been forced into GLaDOS' body, and the main villain of Portal 2. As part of the rewrites that wrote out most of the personality cores and upgraded Wheatley's status, Cave was also rewritten to be simply a recorded voice. However, his original role did end up being used as the basis for CaveDOS in the Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC.
  • Bad News in a Good Way: "The average human male is about sixty percent water. Far as we're concerned, that's a little extravagant."
    • Some of the control groups of the 1950s fared better than others. The athletes who did not rush to volunteer for injection with praying mantis DNA have an easier assignment to complete: a shooting gallery vs. dozens of gnarly Praying Mantis-Men. "Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line. You'll know when the test starts."
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: Pretty much any time Cave warns the test subjects that the next room "might" make them bleed gasoline, defecate coal, or teleport every part of their bodies besides their skin. On the plus side, if Aperture can extract some commercial spin-offs from their deaths, "they're gonna have to invent a new type of Nobel Prize to give us", so take heart, astronaut/war hero/Olympian/hobo.
  • Brain Uploading: Prior to his death, he had his scientists working on this. The jury's out on whether he managed to live that long, but his assistant Caroline certainly got the treatment.
    • Perpetual Testing features a Cave who did indeed upload himself into a computer. He takes slightly longer to go murderously insane than GLaDOS, although we never learn what exactly he did to Greg and the boys.
  • Bungling Inventor: Nothing his company invented fulfilled the purpose it was intended for, and some of the leaps of logic between what the inventions were supposed to do and what they actually do are achievements all by themselves. Most of them have obvious practical applications that would be incredibly useful, but Aperture would always insist on marketing them for some other purpose for which they were completely unsuited. It seems he would order his scientists to invent a thing and then they'd do it, even if it took bending the laws of space and time into a pretzel.
  • Canned Orders over Loudspeaker: Aperture scientists never get a moment's peace. In fact, the reason there are so many Cave Johnson pre-recorded messages is because his workers pleaded with him to stop barking at them over the intercom all day. Cave responded by recording even more.
  • Catchphrase: [Beginning of video] "Cave Johnson here..."
    • "Good job, [x]."
    • "We're not just banging rocks together!"
    • "Cave Johnson, we're done here." [Video ends.]
    • "Chariots chariots."note 
  • Cloudcuckoolander: His understanding of science is a little off, and the Conversion Gel poisoning certainly didn't help.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: It's said that a corporate culture is shaped by its leader. If that leader is completely out of his tree, then you get Aperture Science.
  • Commander Contrarian: Rather ironic for somebody who devoted his vast fortune to science, he has little patience for "eggheads" and their mortality rate charts. Cave never misses an opportunity to mock them over the loudspeaker, claiming they wouldn't know adventure if it "snapped their little pink bras", then ends up re-wording what they just said so it becomes his idea.
  • Complexity Addiction: $70,000,000 for moon rocks. 70 million he could have saved by, say, firing a portal gun at the moon and sending that group of astronauts to go mine some. This isn't a plot hole; this is entirely in-character for Cave.
  • Composite Character: He's a mixture of GLaDOS (devoted to SCIENCE!) and Wheatley (clueless imbecile), which is why the Chell/Wheatley alliance reminds GLaDOS of happier times.
  • Crossover: According to Poker Night 2, he worked with Dr. Jonas Venture at some point.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The portal gun is just one of numerous inventions Aperture Science made that could revolutionize human civilization. A pity that Cave (and seemingly most of his scientists) were more interested in keeping those inventions to themselves and using them to research further scientific breakthroughs, or were so detached from reality they didn't realize the potential of what they had created.
  • Dare to Be Badass: The following speech has followed in the footsteps of "The Cake Is a Lie" to Memetic Mutationdom:
    "When life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade. Make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?! Demand to see life's manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! WITH THE LEMONS! I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!"
  • Death by Irony: Much like GLaDOS, Cave found himself at a loose end after running out of test subjects and had to improvise. Unlike GLaDOS, he was not impervious to poison, and probably succumbed to respiratory and renal failure from inhaling too much moon dust. His death isn't confirmed, though.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Holds fast to a "shoot from the hip", All-American philosophy which takes him far...but breaks down when he attempts to apply it to science.
  • Dirty Coward: A line from a Dummied Out conversation with Cave claims that the actual reason for turning Caroline into GLaDOS was because he thought it was too dangerous for the first trial to be done on himself. This is coming from a man who fired someone for asking why everything was dangerous.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: While dying of lunar radiation poisoning, Cave gives his last directive: invent brain-mapping and artificial intelligence in a last-ditch effort to prolong his own life. A somber Cave ruminates that Aperture should have been focusing its energies on A.I. way back in the fifties.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He's not so much "evil" as "thinks ethics are for wimps", but Greg's daughter creeps him right the hell out.
    "I'm sorry, Greg, but there is something wrong with that kid!"
  • Evil Sounds Deep: A given considering he's voiced by J. K. Simmons.
  • For Science!: As he puts it, "Science isn't about why; it's about why not?!"
  • Good Ol' Boy: A parody of the modern-day American industrialist, with a distinctive midwest twang.
  • Hanlon's Razor: Based upon Cave Johnson's reasoning for his treatment of other humans it's difficult to tell if he's amoral, immoral or just nuts. Embracing willful ignorance like he does in the belief that all scientific discovery occurs by accident, which would be hindered by competence, is clearly not the reasoning of a healthy mind, but does his deliberate stupidity make him more evil or does such a belief make him more stupid? We may never know for sure.
    Johnson: Good enough for science...but not Aperture Science!
  • Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee: Specifically in 1968, to account for what happened to the astronauts that went "missing" after volunteering to test for him. Cave's legal bills for defending himself eventually drive the company nearly bankrupt by the mid-seventies. Black Mesa capitalizes on the situation and their own sterling reputation to pirate Cave's goods (or so he claims).
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: 70's Cave had thinning hair, but an impressive set of mutton chops to go with his 'stache.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Placed greater value on positive thinking than on "bean counters" and their jars of red ink.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Implied to have succumbed to this. The only thing ever said about his condition (by his own admission) was that moon dust, despite being a great portal conductor, is incredibly poisonous, and that Cave was "deathly ill" as a result of tampering with Conversion Gel.
  • Kill the Poor: He is plainly resentful of having to equip homeless bums with bleeding-edge technology, but alas: budget cuts. Aperture also promises to "scoop out" any cancerous growths that sprout on their internal organs free of charge—further antagonizing poor Cave, who grumbles that the winos ought to be paying him.
  • Large Ham: See his "Lemons" speech for proof.
  • Lethal Chef: Aperture's first attempt at diet pudding foodstuffs was a mixture of fiberglass insulation(!), which in itself was mostly non-toxic, except that it coated the intestines and forced still-intact food to erupt from the customer's digestive tract. For obvious reasons, this product was pulled from the shelves and re-branded as Propulsion Gel. The company's second attempt resulted in Repulsion Gel, a pudding which caused food to bounce off the dieter's stomach lining. Astonishingly, even after bathing himself in lethal moon dust, Cave still proposes mixing it into an gel to counteract the poison. Hair of the dog?
  • Mad Scientist: He conceived the portal gun after before being stricken with dementia from lunar dust poisoning. He had previously been developing shower curtains for the military. He also created the Heimlich Counter-Maneuever and the Take-A-Wish foundation, which are as pleasant as they sound. Not to mention his complete and blatant disregard for the health and safety of the subjects for the test programs.
    • Some of the fluff material from Portal 1 claims that Johnson figured out portal technology but was so insane by that point he ignored it because it wouldn't be very useful for military-grade shower curtains. Although it's evident by Portal 2 that that has been retconned, as the portal technology turns out to be very prominent as seen when being thrown down into Old Aperture.
  • Mean Boss: His attitude toward anyone except Greg and Caroline can be most charitably described as "insensitive", to the point that just sitting on a chair in Aperture's lobby will give you testicular cancer. Good news, though, the test chambers are built entirely out of asbestos, to keep out the rats.
    "The bean counters said I couldn't fire a man just for being in a wheelchair. Did it anyway. Ramps are expensive!"
  • Missing Steps Plan: To the end, Cave kept throwing nonexistent money at increasingly-harebrained projects guaranteed to dig his company out of the hole. It's hard not to root for someone whose buying habits make Nicolas Cage look like Ebeneezer Scrooge and who advocates mixing together moon rocks to see what happens when his company was already broke. Unfortunately for Cave, moon rocks are poisonous. Ever the optimist, he hopes to somehow reverse-engineer Aperture's astronomically expensive moon paste to see if it can leech cosmic radiation from one's bones. (Nope.)
  • Never My Fault: What ultimately destroyed Aperture was Johnson's refusal to accept how his own insane decisions were ruining things. As memetastic as his "Lemons speech" is, it's ultimately the ranting of a man who still refuses to accept that all that's happening to him is the fallout of his own terrible ideas and insanity. Granted, he is insane, so he may genuinely be too crazy and/or stupid to realise his own fault in the matter.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He does genuinely like and appreciate his secretary, Caroline.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In the casting call for him, he was described as being based on two redneck billionaires, Ted Turner and Ross Perot. As presented in the game, he bears more than a passing resemblance to Walt Disney, particularly regarding his recorded announcements (reminiscent of those Disney contributed to the 1964 World's Fair) and his wish to cheat death by being scanned into a computer — much as Walt Disney was rumored to have tried to cheat death by being posthumously cryogenically frozen. As an eccentric mid-twentieth-century tycoon who was Hauled Before A Senate Subcommittee about one of his projects and suffered a mental and physical breakdown late in life, he also resembles Howard Hughes.
  • Obliviously Evil: Given his sincere respect and affection for Caroline, it seems likely that it genuinely just didn't occur to him that forcing involuntary Brain Uploading on someone is a horrible thing to do to them. The moon rock poisoning may have had something to do with it.
  • Our Founder: We see a time-lapse progression of his illness in the corporate portraits.
  • Pet the Dog: He may be a Comedic Sociopath who has sent countless people to their deaths through irresponsible use of his inventions and inhumane testing procedures, but he treats his secretary with profound respect. Even his decision to upload her mind into a robot against her will seems to have been motivated by the sincere conviction that she deserved to be in charge of Aperture forever, combined with total obliviousness to what she actually wanted.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: His leadership style, complete with total disregard for the safety and well-being of his subordinates, fits the trope like a glove.
  • [Popular Saying], But...: His lemon rant.
  • Posthumous Character: Via prerecorded messages.
  • Power Born of Madness: How else can you create a device which holds a miniature black hole, and can warp all laws of space-time (at least enough to create two portals)?
  • Professor Guinea Pig: He announces his intention to "pour" his brain into a newfangled artificial intelligence, though he predicts that he will die before the prototype shell is completed. Probably inevitable as he spent most of the 50's burning through professional test subjects like elite military members and Olympic athletes, then spent most of the 70's luring vagrants off the streets by promising them $60 for their troubles, to finally in the 90's sacrificing his own employees by making test participation mandatory.
  • Read the Fine Print: The Aperture Science signed release form is, by his own admission, "a phonebook" which nobody entirely reads.
  • Retcon: The "official" timeline of Aperture Science on the website when the first game was released doesn't quite jive with Cave's speeches.
    • Among other things, his illness wasn't apparently due to mercury poisoning, but lunar dust poisoning (probably silicosis). He appears to have lived at least until early 1980's. The Portal Gun appears to have been one of Cave's first inventions at Aperture (since all of his Enrichment Spheres require its use, and a poster in the 50s era test chambers depicts a test subject with an enormous early version of the portal gun), rather than an idea he imparted while on his deathbed... although since he was, according to the 'old' timeline, convinced time was going backwards, it could be both.
    • Another possibility courtesy of the Perpetual Testing Initiative—we were originally looking at the backstory of another universe's Cave.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense: Deconstructed. He only barely listened to his own scientists and flagrantly disregarded advice from his own accountants on what he could and could not afford to spend money on. Not too surprisingly, his company fell on hard times the further this went on.
  • Riches to Rags: Listening to his prerecorded messages in order, you can hear his voice getting steadily more frustrated and disenchanted with his work over the decades.
  • Undying Loyalty: His employees followed his every word, no matter how crazy. Anyone else acting like this would have been thrown in jail, possibly murdered. Even Caroline seems to have some of this — even after he inflicted involuntary Brain Uploading on her, she still seems to hold some affection for him, if GLaDOS's response to his final prerecorded message is anything to go by.
    GLaDOS: (sadly) Goodbye, sir.
  • Unperson: Since most of his patents were appropriated by Black Mesa (due to corporate espionage and poor management on Cave's part), the company's biggest claim to fame is their "participation" in the 1968 Senate Hearings on missing astronauts.
  • Villainous Legacy: He's the presumably long-deceased madman who, more or less, created everything connected to Aperture, including GLaDOS.
  • When Life Gives You Lemons...: His famous, memetic rant is listed above.
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: One of Cave's messages admits that, in his zeal, the scientific control for the Repulsion Gel was blue paint, meaning he was flinging some of his volunteers down an empty shaft.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are!: His attitude toward Caroline, whom he considered too modest to fully appreciate her own abilities. In context this is less heartwarming than it sounds.

    Atlas and P-body
Both voiced by Dee Bradley Baker

Two robots — one adapted from a personality sphere (Atlas), the other from a turret (P-body) — created by GLaDOS to run tests in the Enrichment Center. Atlas is assumed to be of masculine personality, and P-body to be feminine. See them in action here.

  • Bash Brothers: Or perhaps Battle Couple depending on how one views them in terms of gender. They can also choose to hug each other.
  • Brain Uploading: It's implied that their personalities are recorded for easier reinsertion into new robotic bodies whenever they "die".
  • Cute Machines: Again, like the turrets and Wheatley, they are cute and silly. One launch TV ad shows them playing around with the portal gun and giggling like children before GLaDOS shows up and puts them to work testing.
  • Death Is Cheap: The two robots are uploaded into a new body whenever they die, as illustrated by the trailer. P-body dismisses its destruction (and Atlas's role in it) with a wave of its hand. Then gets him back later. In fact, they are transported to other test chambers by being disassembled and later reassembled.
    GLaDOS: Don't disappoint me — or I'll make you wish you could die.
    • The Portal 2 team say this is a major reason for using robots as the co-op mode characters. They wanted your (many) deaths at the hands of badly-planned maneuvers, incompetent or jerky co-players, and just larking about, to be funny and more consequence-free than showing humans being crushed, shot, or falling in acid and so forth.
    • As the tests go on, GLaDOS actually starts getting disappointed with this, as watching her lab rats ultimately make a mistake and die is the only satisfaction she gets out of the job.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: Although their general dialogue is mostly unintelligible, if you listen hard enough you can make out specific word-analogues, such as them saying "Hello" to each other in the intro cinematic.
  • Fat and Skinny: Atlas is short, round and bulky. P-body is tall and lean.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: When Atlas yanks P-body's turret body out of its frame for a giggle, P-body picks it up and gives him a solid crack upside the head with it.
  • Gone Horribly Right: GLaDOS created the pair to be the ideal test subjects. They are... and so she subsequently gets bored with them when their immortality means that she can't derive any pleasure from their lethal failures.
  • Not So Stoic: Atlas tends to be the more reserved one in everything he does - except for when either initiates a hug.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Illustrated during the introductory cutscene where the two are assembled for the first time. P-body is happy enough to let the robotic arms weld it together, while Atlas is shown anxiously trying to dodge them and escape from the construction area.
    P-body: [cheerfully waving to Atlas] Hi!
    Atlas: [nervous] ...Hello?
    • Depending on how you view their personalities in gender terms, it can also be an example of either Tomboy and Girly Girl or Sensitive Guy and Manly Man. The fact still stands that P-Body is far more feminine-looking than Atlas, while the trailer mentioned above puts their personalities in a far different manner.
  • True Companions: GLaDOS learns that as much as she tries, she cannot drive them apart and pit them against each other.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: You kind of get this impression from them when you are capable of killing your friend with the pop of a portal, as well as using the gesture feature to both laugh at them and engage in slapstick.

    Defective Turrets
Voiced by: Nolan North and Ellen McLain (English), Sergey Bekasov and Elena Kharitonova (Russian)

Aperture Science's turret assembly lines are less than 100% efficient. These little guys have a few minor faults. Like having been assembled sideways. Or having been loaded with ammo still in the box. Or being completely insane.

  • And I Must Scream: Downplayed—they're all aware of the fact that they're defective, but powerless to do anything about it, so they know they're doomed for destruction. It doesn't seem to bother them all that much, though, so just how much agony they're in is unknown.
  • Body Horror: Well, look at it from their point of view. Some of them have no casing. Some of them were put together sideways.
    • They're fairly upbeat about it though.
      "Oh no, I'm one of the bad ones aren't I?"
      "Shootin' blanks, every time, all the time."
      "Well, I tried."
  • Evil Laugh: Whichever defective turret you designate as the new template for quality control will indulge in this whenever one of its brethren passes or when one of the functional turrets gets thrown out.
  • Foreshadowing: There's a slightly-less defective turret on the Turret Redemption Line early on, whose main defect seems to be babbling a mix of cryptic Foreshadowing and complete nonsense.
    Oracle Turret: Her name is Caroline. Get mad, don't make lemonade. The answer is beneath us. It won't be enough. Prometheus was punished by the gods for giving the gift of knowledge to man. He was cast into the bowels of the earth and pecked by birds.
  • Harmless Villains: They're so enthusiastic... if only they could actually attack.
    "Hey lady, do me a favor. Tell 'em I killed you."
  • It Works Better with Bullets: As GlaDOS and later Wheatley eventually learn.
  • Oh, Crap!: They say this every now and again.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The Turret Redemption Line, as a literal example.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: On the test-firing range, defective turrets may say "Clackity-clack-clack!" instead of firing (or attempting to fire).
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: One of their many, many design flaws.
  • Weak Turret Gun: "So... we're all supposed to be blind, then, right? It's not just me?"


A hybrid of two turrets and a Weighted Storage Cube.

  • And I Must Scream: They are unable to move, save for having to attempt to hop forward, they are permanently stuck together, and they can't even so much as fire at you anymore. It really makes Wheatley appear to be even worse when you think about the fact that he made these things himself.
  • Body Horror: Yes, even purely mechanical robots can apply for this; the merging is crude, and the Frankenturrets' pitiful chirping and terrified reactions when picked up make their miserable state clear. The commentary notes their withdrawing into a cube was initially just to make them be cubical when picked up, but it was so cute they added shaking animations and wide-eyed reactions to the turret to make the player sympathize with their plight.
  • Cute Machines: They're hastily put-together hybrids that exist primarily to satisfy Wheatley's addiction to testing...but they're so darn adorable!
  • Driven to Suicide: They're not really capable of steering, but if they're pointed at an Emancipation Grill, bottomless pit or anything else that would kill them if they approached it, they'll lurch their way right to their own deaths.
  • Logic Bomb: Several of them are fried when a paradox is spoken in their presence. They probably welcomed it. Note that this implies that they're not only sentient but actually smarter than Wheatley, although that isn't saying much.
  • Mercy Kill: The poor things look like they are just telling you "Throw us into the incinerator, PLEASE." See Logic Bomb above.

    Space Sphere
Voiced by: Nolan North (English), Sergey Bekasov (Russian)

He likes space. His favorite thing about space is space. He's gonna go to space. He's the best at space. He has his own SPAAAAAACE!

    Rick the Adventure Sphere
Voiced by: Nolan North (English), Mikhail Georgiou (Russian)

Stand back, pretty lady. The Adventure Sphere is here to do the job.

  • The Ace: At the very least, in his own mind. According to the Fact Sphere, he's a blowhard and a coward — so there must be something to him.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Yeah, he's a black belt. In pretty much everything. Karate. Jarate. Jiu Jitsu. Kick punching. Belt making. Taekwondo. Bedroom. Not to mention he thinks the view is great from where you're carrying him.
  • Clint Squint: Humorously suggested by his eye slit.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: "Gotta say the view's mighty nice from right here." [while he's being carried facing Chell]
  • Fast-Roping: When Rick first appears on the scene, he's swinging from side to side on a wire, in a manner not unlike a swashbuckling hero come to the rescue.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Being spherical and limbless doesn't stand in the way of ADVENTURE!
  • Guttural Growler: Nolan North donned his best Solid Snake voice for the adventuresome core.
  • Handsome Lech: Well, he sounds handsome, and he can't get enough of Chell.
  • I Love the Dead: "All right, your funeral. Your beautiful lady-corpse open casket funeral."
  • Interspecies Romance: He immediately takes a liking to Chell.
  • Jumped at the Call: "Quick! What's the situation!?"

    Fact Sphere
Voiced by: Nolan North (English), Vitaly Petrov (Russian)

The Fact Sphere is the most intelligent and well-mannered of all of the 497,356 personality spheres in Aperture Science Industries. As a result, the Fact Sphere is well-respected by 99.99999% of the population and has many friends. The Fact Sphere would never lie to you.

  • Blatant Lies: He believes Abraham Lincoln did everything important while he was sleepwalking, and Schrodinger just wanted a reason to kill cats.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Keeps spewing history, whether it is accurate, or just plain off.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Some of his ramblings are indeed true.
  • Determinator: Not himself, but he seems to think Edmund Hillary was:
    "Edmund Hillary, the first person to climb Mount Everest, did so accidentally, while chasing a bird."
  • Foreshadowing: One of the false facts is about where one of the spheres will end up.
  • Good News, Bad News: "Cellular phones will not give you cancer, only hepatitis."
  • I Fight for the Strongest Side!:
    Whoever wins this battle is clearly superior, and will earn the allegiance of the Fact Sphere.
  • Insufferable Genius: Not the nicest of Cores, to say the least, because it is so smug about its facts and intelligence. Paradoxically, it just might be the dumbest.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All
    "The Fact Sphere is not defective. Its facts are wholly accurate and very interesting."
  • Little Known Facts: Most of his repertoire of trivia includes things like "Humans can survive underwater, but not for very long," and "The square root of rope is string."
  • Long List: He says "12" and "Pens" multiple times before launching into a list of random fruits and vegetables.
    • This is a Brick Joke to the Co-Op mode. After completing tests in co-op, GLaDOS will occasionally congratulate one player while telling the other player to memorize a random list. This is one of those lists.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Sees himself as the most intelligent and handsome sphere.
  • Talkative Loon: Just like the Cake and Curiosity Cores from the original game, this Sphere incessantly babbles random — and bizarre — facts.
  • Third-Person Person: Everytime he praises himself, he refers to himself as The Fact Sphere
  • You Are Fat: One of his lines to Chell is, "You could stand to lose a few pounds."

    The Announcer 
Voiced by: Joe Michaels (English), Vitaly Petrov (Russian)

An overly cheerful AI Construct that regulates the Aperture Science facility and conducts testing in the abscence of GLaDOS. Unlike GLaDOS or the personality cores, he does not appear to be sentient, meaning his lines are pre-recorded and automatically stitched together, like a computerised phone operator.

  • Crazy-Prepared: Aperture Science gave him recordings and responses for every eventuality. And we do mean every.
    You have trapped yourself. Congratulations. The exit door is now open.
  • Dissonant Serenity: He always talks in a chippery, cheerful tone.
  • False Reassurance
    " This next test applies the principles of momentum to movement through portals. If the laws of physics no longer apply in the future, God help you."
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1":
    If you have questions or concerns regarding this policy, or require a Spanish version of this message, feel free to take a complimentary piece of stationary, and write us a letter.
  • For Science!: Utterly dedicated to making sure science gets done, even in the face of "potentially apocalyptic circumstances".
  • Mission Control: For the first part of the game. He's still around when GLaDOS gets reactivated and also when Wheatley takes over, but not nearly as much as before.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: His response to state and federal regulations regarding potentially lethal tests is smooth jazz.
  • Robo Speak: Just a hint of it, more than Wheatley, less than GLaDOS.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Subverted. It understands GLaDOS' sarcasm:
    *beep* Sarcasm Self Test Complete. *beep*
    • But never Wheatley's:
    Interpreting vague answer as "yes".
  • Say Your Prayers:
    If the laws of physics no longer apply in the future, God help you.

Voiced by: Ellen McLain (English), Elena Kharitonova (Russian)

Cave Johnson's personal assistant, described as the backbone of Aperture Science.

  • Beleaguered Assistant: She was Cave Johnson's personal assistant and responsible for keeping both him and Aperture on track, which was easier said that done. Unlike most examples of this trope, though, she seemed to genuinely enjoy the job.
  • Brain Uploading: Uploaded into GLaDOS against her will, on Cave's orders as he was dying of moon dust poisoning.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder: When Cave gets hot-headed (which is often), Caroline puts him back on task.
  • Deader Than Dead: Deleted by GLaDOS. Maybe.
  • Fate Worse than Death: She did not want to be uploaded into an A.I. from the start. And now she's not only stuck in there, she's — in a sense — immortal. At least until the end of the game, when she gets deleted by GLaDOS.
  • For Science!: Well, Cave at least said she was passionate about science, and GLaDOS's attitude seems to support the idea that he was right.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: The plan was to upload Caroline into GLaDOS so that she could run the facility forever. The resulting A.I. personality was considerably less pleasant than human Caroline.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Cave thought Caroline suffered from this, which is why he felt justified in having her mind forcibly uploaded against her will — obviously she was only refusing because she didn't realize how good she'd be at running Aperture forever.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Cave, at least, believed she was fully capable of doing his job, but she seemed to be perfectly happy as a secretary, which he attributed to extreme modesty.
  • Married to the Job: According to Cave Johnson.
    Johnson: "Sorry fellas, she's married... to science!"
  • Minor Role Major Impact: Caroline has very little presence in the game—she speaks far less than Cave and is generally there to either respond to his jokes or chide him when he goes off on tangents. That said, it's heavily implied that it was her skill as Cave's personal assistant that kept Aperture running smoothly for decades, meaning she's indirectly responsible for the horrors of the place. And then there's the tiny fact that she is GLaDOS...
  • Morality Pet: Cave is generally pleasant to her and holds her in very high esteem, which helps balance the attitude of Comedic Sociopathy he tends to display otherwise. In a well-intentioned yet horrifically misplaced show of his appreciation, he orders his scientists to upload her consciousness into an immortal A.I. against her will so that she can take over Aperture after his death.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Since GLaDOS experiences her persona as a sort of conscience, she presumably wasn't a complete sociopath, but she didn't seem to object to the constant stream of blatant ethical violations that characterized Cave's policies for running Aperture.
    • On the other hand, if GLaDOS's reaction to Cave's lemon rant is anything to go by, Cave's aggressiveness and willingness to openly express it may have been something she actively liked about him. Of course, it's impossible to tell whether that's just GLaDOS's insanity talking.
  • No Name Given: Her last name is unknown.
  • Not So Above It All: Given that GLaDOS is at her most Caroline when listening to Cave Johnson, the fact that she was cheering at burning people during Cave Johnson's lemons rant suggests she was into all the horrible things Cave was doing.
  • Number Two: Cave Johnson's right hand woman.
  • Origin Story: GLaDOS's origin — she was created in an attempt to achieve immortality through Brain Uploading for Cave Johnson, but when he died before the project was ready, Caroline was uploaded in his place so that she could run Aperture forever. This did not work out well.
  • Perky Female Minion: Yes, Sir! Though tellingly, she sounds more concerned than perky by the '70s.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Originally Cave's assistant was going to be a put-upon Yes-Man named Greg. But they didn't have time to get a new voice actor, so it was decided Ellen McLain would do the voice. Once that casting choice was made, the creators wondered why Caroline and GLaDOS had the same voice...
  • Repeat After Me: Invoked with Cave and Caroline's homage to a The Burns and Allen Show routine.
    Johnson: Say goodbye, Caroline.
    Caroline: Goodbye, Caroline.
  • Satellite Character: As Cave Johnson's right hand woman she is there to play off of him. As GLaDOS's original persona she provides her Origin Story.
  • Shout-Out: It's unintentional — she's actually named after the mother of one of the writers — but the name Caroline means "free man."
  • Undying Loyalty: Her devotion to Cave Johnson shines even through GLaDOS.
  • Virtual Ghost: Some remnant of Caroline's personality still exists within GLaDOS. While GLaDOS claims to delete her, there are some hints that she's still around. It is thus also common in fanfics to have her serve as a Spirit Advisor for GLaDOS.
  • Yes-Man: She tends to agree with everything Cave says and goes along with what he does with the exception of being put into GLaDOS. This is lampshaded in Portal 2: The (Unauthorized) Musical when Cave asked her if she was yes-manning him.

    The Bird 
A bird that has made a home for itself in the halls of Aperture's Enrichment Center.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Strictly speaking, yes. The bird is a secondary antagonist in the main campaign, though obviously GLaDOS and Wheatley are bigger threats.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The antagonist taking over the facility in the Peer Review, causing chaos and ruffling GLaDOS's cool is... the bird, inadvertently building her nest on a crucial keyboard.
  • Feathered Fiend: At least from GLaDOS's perspective. The time she spent in a potato pecked by this very bird definitely had some after-effect on her psyche.
  • Interface Screw: Turns the lights off at one point, requiring Atlas and P-body to use night vision. Immediately turns the lights back on, blinding them.
  • Mama Bear: As to be expected of a bird, threatening her nest or eggs causes her to attack.
  • Obliviously Evil: Building a nest on top of a keyboard that happens to be an old version of GLaDOS's body, and thus has a degree of control over Aperture, causes chaos. Then it starts to peck away at the keys...
  • Parental Abandonment: After Atlas and P-body shoo her away, she leaves her eggs behind in her nest, which are later taken in and hatched in an incubation chamber by GLaDOS.
  • The Unfought: After the final puzzle in Peer Review, the bots drive it away in a cutscene.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: GLaDOS is so terrified of it that the mere thought of its presence causes her to have a panic attack.

"Hold on. [unintelligible muttering] Alright, my assistant Greg tells me none of that's true. Got excited.
Cave Johnson, on Greg

Greg is Cave Johnson's put-upon assistant, introduced in The Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC. He never directly appears or speaks, but most of the new test chamber dialogue involves Cave being corrected by Greg about various logical fallacies Cave believes in (such as confusing alternate universes with time travel). According to Cave, Greg was responsible for coming up with the idea for the Perpetual Testing Initiative.

  • Beleaguered Assistant: Well, he has to put up with Cave.
  • Creepy Child: Greg's creepy daughter enjoys saying weird things to test subjects when she sneaks into Cave's office. Even Cave is creeped out by her.
  • Distaff Counterpart: He's a male version of Caroline, plus the special affection Cave Johnson holds for an assistant of the same gender.
  • Only One Name: Just Greg.
  • Only Sane Employee: He seems to be the only employee with the rank and the wherewithal to talk sense into Cave. This keeps him more on track.
  • Oracular Urchin: Greg has a daughter who likes to sneak into Cave's office and talk to the test subjects. Cave is especially unnerved by the way she talks:
    Greg's Creepy Kid: "We're gonna test forever and ever and ever..."
  • The Voiceless: Sort of. Greg speaks with Cave multiple times in the DLC, but besides some muffled mumbling the player can only hear Cave's side of the conversation.

    Alternate Cave Johnsons 
Introduced in the Perpetual Testing Initiative, there are alternate universe versions of Cave Johnson who will talk to you, which forces the "real" Cave Johnson to use a Catchphrase ("Chariots," later "chariots, chariots") to differentiate from the others.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Cheerfully deconstructed by Prison Warden Cave, who points out to test prisoners attempting to escape through the air ducts that air ducts are for ventilation, not crawling through; all of them mostly go to the air-conditioning unit, and it's very dusty up there which is bad news for asthmatics who will probably die up there. In short, they're better off staying on the ground and getting back to work.
  • Alternate Universe Reed Richards Is Awesome: One alternate Cave sells Aperture Science's inventions to the public, which leads the company to be so successful that he buys out their main competitor Black Mesa and renames it Blappature Mesa. When he hears about the anomalous materials experimentation that would cause the resonance cascade, he has shut down, preventing the events of the Half-Life series from ever occurring.
    Cave Johnson: A resonance cascade... you're supposed to be scientists! Use some common sense!
  • Always Someone Better: Dark Cave's portal guns work on any smooth surface, not just moon rock gel covered ones. This serves to make his test subjects much more difficult to deal with.
    • Also applies to his test subjects, since their improved portal guns lets them test much faster than the player. One of them not only finds an universe made of money, but two, which the Caves decide to split, since having double infinite money is kind of redundant.
  • Ancient Tradition: Cave of Aperture Rituals is presiding over one of these in order to prevent the end of the world. It involves hiring astronauts, war heroes and olympians to make love to a giant bird.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: One Cave and the inhabitants of his universe have transformed into beings of pure light, go team. While he's pleased, they'd originally hoped to transform into pillars of pure salt.
  • Benevolent Boss: Nice!Cave, who gives bonuses to his testers and heaps praise upon them while randomly saying "chariots".
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies:
    • Mantis!Cave, who informs test subjects that they're postponing injections with Homo Sapien DNA.
    • In one universe, the Mantis Men take over the enrichment center, with Cave frantically urging everyone to get out before they break through his barricade.
    • There's also an attack by killer ants attempting to commander the nations's sugar supplies at Fort Sugar Knox in Kentucky, leading to a huge firefight. Though it turns out to just be a movie Cave Prime was watching.
  • Bizarre Human Biology:
    • In one universe, people seem to breathe peanut dust and can suffer from an allergy to air.
    • In Dark Cave's universe, people seem to breathe methane.
  • Brain Uploading: CaveDOS, something he eventually comes to regret.
  • Call-Back: Many of the Caves give their own version of the introduction given in the main game when Chell uncovers the old testing labs.
  • Demonic Possession: Magic!Cave of Aperture Paranormal is host to a tiny but powerful demon that lives in a secret place in his mouth.
  • Evil Is Petty: Dark Cave finds the time to prank Cave Prime while simultaneously thwarting his plans.
  • Evil Twin: Cave Prime regards a Cave Johnson who argued with him as this, referring to him as Dark Cave.
  • Extranormal Institute: Aperture Paranormal, an institute dedicated to studying and harnessing magical phenomena.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: One Cave reveals that the test chamber you're in is a tiny structure floating around inside in his bloodstream. He asks you to find his partially shrunken car keys, otherwise he's gonna have to call AAA.
  • Genius Loci: Planet!Cave.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Robot-a-cop? Blapeture Mesa? Even across universes, Cave isn't great with names.
  • Good Counterpart: Most of the parallel Caves are as evil as the regular one, but there is a Nice Cave who offers you a bonus.
  • Hobos: "Michigan Slim" Cave Johnson, the Hobo King.
  • Ill Boy: One of the parallel Caves is a little boy with a terminal illness who seemingly watches test subjects overcome their own obstacles as a way of motivating himself to recover. He doesn't make it.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Creepy!Cave wants to eat your hairs and feet.
    • In one universe, Soylent Green is eaten regularly and everyone knows what's in it. That universe's Cave opts to stop serving it because it's getting too expensive, to the point it would be cheaper to serve lobster every day, so the cafeteria is ordered to go back to fishsticks.
  • Insectoid Aliens: One Cave is a humanoid Mantis, who spliced some of his test subjects with human DNA turning them into Man-Mantises. His new test is for other Mantises to fight the Man-Mantises.
  • Jerkass: Dark Cave and his test subjects come across as this.
    Cave Johnson: They're not even really testing anymore. They just all portaled in, made a human pyramid, ate my lunch and portaled out.
  • Lady Land: Cavina Johnson's world is dominated by women, to the point the very male Cave and Greg of that world have to pose as women to survive.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • The Cave Johnson who is a pencil-pusher working for Aperture Chief Rattmann.
    • The Cave Johnson in charge of Blapeture Mesa, who is appalled by the reckless experiments and cancels the project that would result in the Resonance Cascade.
    • Warden!Cave had to tell his prisoners that the air ducts were not an escape route, but how they ventilate the facility. When he's shived after a power outage shut off the forcefield doors, he laments how actual doors would have been much better.
    • Space!Cave has to constantly remind his test subjects that the tests are being conducted in a space station, and that there's no air outside the facility. Few of them listen.
      Cave: I am sincerely regretting my decision not to install windows on this thing.
    • Cave Prime has a moment of this, when he listens to Greg and cancels the GLaDOS project after CaveDOS goes insane.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Subverted with Matriarch Cave; he still has a male-sounding voice and is clearly just pretending to be female.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: One Cave Johnson serves Soylent Green in his Aperture's cafeteria, but the player hears him opting to stop after receiving a memo from the president... that it's doubling in price.
    Soylent Green Cave: Now, listen up: I don't care how good people tastes. This stuff is costing me more than lobster, so we're going back to fishsticks.
  • Properly Paranoid: There's one Cave Johnson who was monitoring multiverse activity and wanted to build defenses in case of an invasion. Unfortunately for him, the staff didn't listen, probably because he wanted to use their wages to build the defenses and more monitoring equipment. Turns out he was right, and he gloats about it.
  • Psychic Powers: At least one universe has test subjects receiving these. Unfortunately, they're Jerkasses who use their powers to blow people's heads up. The Cave of that world gets back at them by taping their payment cheques to the head of someone they're then baited into asploding.
  • Punny Name: Dark Cave. Think about it...
  • Send in the Clones: Because of the multiverse, there are infinite Caves out there.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Part of the reason why CaveDOS goes crazy.
  • Space Police: Chief Warden Cave.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Cave Prime manages to find a universe made of money and cancels the GLaDOS initiative, ensuring that Prime!Aperture will live on for a long time.
  • Wham Line!: After the CaveDOS arc, who we were led to believe was Cave Prime says the following:
    Cave: Whoa! Chariots chariots. For some reason, some of the audio was bleeding through in this universe. Don't know if you were catching the subtext there, but that computer Cave is crazy. So: Greg was right. As of now, we are cancelling the genetic lifeform disk operating system initiative. Man, that could have backfired.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: CaveDOS simply finds his immortality boring, especially since he can read every book ever written in just a few seconds. Even altering them all to be about the Ghostbusters gets dull after a while.
  • Verbal Tic: Nice!Cave randomly says "Chariots," briefly upsetting Cave Prime's attempt to use it as a code word. From then on, he says it twice.

    Cut Characters 
Mel was originally supposed to be the main character of Portal 2, then the co-op player 2 character alongside Chell. She was discarded when the creators decided robots would suit the chaotic, often death-filled nature of co-op mode better.

Betty or the Gyroscopic Liability Absolver and Disk Operating System, was a personality core who would appear at the beginning of each test chamber in the original Portal 2, which took place in the past, to rattle off legal jargon in regards to the dangers of testing. Her role was mostly replaced by that of the Announcer.

  • Palette Swap: Mel's character model is a recolored (blonde with a blue suit) Chell from the first game.
  • Punny Name: Betty's title: the Gyroscopic Liability Absolver and Disk Operating System. Look at the first letter of each word. It's GLAaDOS.
  • Theme Naming: Chell 'n' Mel.

Alternative Title(s): Portal 2


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