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Characters introduced in the second game of the Portal series.

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Click here to see him after GLaDOS wakes up

"Okay, listen, we should get our stories straight, alright? If anyone asks — and no one's gonna ask, don't worry — but if anyone asks, tell them as far as you know, the last time you checked, everyone looked pretty much alive. Alright? Not dead."
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: He tries to be a Card-Carrying Villain with a Faux Affably Evil personality once he's trying to kill you, but the little guy is so inept at even that that he can't help but be at least a little polite and amicable, so as long as he isn't being aggravated by GLaDOS or further corrupted by faulty personality cores.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Unlike GLaDOS, Wheatley isn't shown as evil from the beginning, or at least, not openly evil. Once he takes control of the Enrichment Center, however, his programming turns him completely evil.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Despite betraying us, its hard to hate Wheatley knowing that all that he really wanted was to prove everyone that he was smarter than he looks and that he can overcome his programming of making everything dumber.
  • 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. With Space Core near him and yapping about space, his situation is not very nice to be.
  • 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, in particular planning ahead several times when Chell comes to fight him. Because it's the stupidest thing he could possibly do, on account of how the place is about to go critical and only GLaDOS can stop it.
  • 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 who is 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 killing Chell than GlaDOS ever did.
  • Big Bad Slippage: Technically the main villain of 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.
  • 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. Except that, if you manage to escape it and decide to come back, he tries to convince you to jump into the pit.
  • 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. Granted, even if it did work, he almost certainly would have been done in by his own inability to fix the facility, so...
  • 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.
  • The Cameo: He appears in Team Fortress 2 as a reskin of the Spy's Sapper, called the Ap-Sap.
  • Captain Obvious: Wheatley is a genius computer hacker. He can differentiate between the tower and the monitor, for instance.
  • Character Catchphrase: He is really fond of the word "bloody".
  • 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 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.
  • Crazy-Prepared: As Chell and GLaDOS are coming closer, Wheatley becomes this to a scary level. After many violent (but easily escapable) traps, he prepares for the final battle by watching the latter's failure and settle a room where Chell wouldn't have any oppportunity to use the portal gun. Obviously, it fails, and after three corrupted cores are inserted into the mainframe, she gains access to the stalemate button... which he booby-trapped before the battle so it would explode before she can press it. Even if he's angry to see Chell alive, he effectively succeeds at staying in the mainframe before the explosion, and if it wasn't for the decaying ceiling, the facility would have exploded, killing everyone in the process.
  • 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, including ensuring that Chell could not use the Stalemate Resolution Button. 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.
  • Despotism Justifies the Means: He pulls a stupid version of this trope when he couldn't care less about the Aperture Science facility falling apart under his control. All that matters to him at that point is killing Chell.
  • 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: Taking control of the entirety of Aperture turns him into a mad despot, and torments both Chell and GLaDOS during the rest of the game, once they return from the old Aperture Science facilities.
  • Early Personality Signs: In his introductory scene, he attempts to move Chell's cryochamber throughout the facility to the testing area, and hits about every obstacle on his way, before forcing the chamber through a wall. His idea of "hacking" a door is also to break the glass. So of course, he's not going to be very delicate with the facility once he's in charge.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: He pulls this one on Chell after he takes control of all of Aperture.
  • Evil Brit: Has a British accent (courtesy of bristolian Stephen Merchant), and at the end of the first third of the game, after taking control of GLaDOS's mechanisms, pulls off a Drunk with Power-fueled Heel–Face Turn on Chell, remaining an enemy even after being placed on outer space in the endgame.
  • 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: Wheatley is repeatedly referred to as a moron, and he has terrible foresight and often makes disastrous mistakes. However, he is very good at learning from those mistakes, and learning from the mistakes of others, and takes effective steps to make sure he doesn't repeat them. This makes for an unpredictable combination of idiocy and brilliance where he'll miss something blindly obvious but has a cunning plan in place no one saw coming. A prime example is his boss battle — he watches videos of Chell's original battle with GlaDOS and undoes the flaws in her strategy, including having no portal surfaces in his chamber and starting the neurotoxin emitters immediately. He also learned from their second battle too and has booby-trapped the stalemate button if you try to perform a core transfer. Even GlaDOS is forced to admit this trope eventually.
    GLaDOS: For a little idiot built specifically to come up with stupid, unworkable plans, that was a pretty well laid trap.
  • 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. Or ability to smell. He realizes his mistake, and mumbles an apology to Chell.
  • Idiot Ball: As a personality core, he's spherical and he was built to make GLaDOS dumber. That's right; he is a literal Idiot Ball. 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.
  • I Meant to Do That: Tries to justify his stupidity this way too many times to count, and never shuts up about it, but a special case is when he justifies making the mistake of being tricked into releasing portal gel through a pipe leading into his lair in the Final Battle, claiming it was part of his plan or alternatively when breaking his monitors.
    "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."
  • 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.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: While never directly stated, his intense and emotional reactions to being called a moron, intense surge of self-pride over finally being given some command and body language when GLaDOS is reminding him how he was built to make her dumber indicates that he has some serious resentment over being intentionally programmed to be stupid and clumsy, and he tries to compensate for his programming with an intense ego and confidence once he's in power.
  • Informed Flaw: GLaDOS refers to him as "the product of the greatest minds of a generation working together with the express purpose of building the dumbest moron who ever lived." While Wheatley is certainly questionable in the brains department, his actual batting average in terms of good ideas is hardly zero, and even GLaDOS grudgingly compliments him for occasionally coming up with surprisingly clever plans. So he’s clearly got a fair amount of cunning. His actual issues are more to do with personality flaws, such as his egotism, impulsiveness, and refusal to give up or quit while he’s ahead (which could technically be considered intelligence, but usually aren't). Then again, the same people who designed Wheatley to be a moron also designed GLaDOS to not flood the facility with deadly neurotoxin...
  • 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.
  • Inventional Wisdom: He's a personality core that was deliberately designed to give Glados bad ideas.
  • 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.
  • Lethally Stupid: Not so much when he's still on your side, but when he becomes corrupted by the mainframe his idiocy and clumsiness makes him incredibly dangerous to be anywhere near. Contrasting GLaDOS who tried to keep most of the facility intact when trying to kill Chell, Wheatley truly does not notice or care all the havoc he's causing on purpose or on accident, smashing entire rooms together, taking down catwalks and vital support beams both on purpose and on accident and worst of all, intentionally ignoring all nuclear reactor saftey protocols thinking it's no big deal, putting himself and everyone else at risk of dying in a massive explosion. Its his complete lack of regard for preservation and cunning in favor of brute force that brings him closer to killing Chell than GLaDOS ever did.
  • 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.
    • In the final battle, listening to his dialogue long enough leads him to somehow conclude that Chell is some sort of Femme Fatale Chessmaster silently manipulating him into releasing her, reactivating GLaDOS, destroying the facility, revealing all his plans and weaknesses and destroying all his schemes, up to the point where he's even yelling at you for preventing him from fixing the facility by convincing him to waste all his time trying to murder you instead. It probably goes without saying that all of this is actually due to his own incompetence, lack of forethought, actively terrible planning and inability to stop talking when he probably should.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Reveling in the New Form: After Chell helps plug Wheatley into GLaDOS's vacant body, he can't help but marvel at both his massive size and all the control he now has over the facility. Unfortunately, it quickly goes to his head, resulting in him becoming a new villain in a matter of minutes.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: He tries to appear like a Nice Guy when first meeting him, but when he usurps control of the Enrichment Center, he immediately turns into an apathetic Jerkass who is very much focused on killing Chell by any means.
  • 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.
  • Villain Wants Mercy: Before he is sucked into the cold vacuum of space, he pleads to Chell to grab him and don’t let him go. It doesn’t works.
  • 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

"Welcome, gentlemen, to Aperture Science. Astronauts, war heroes, Olympians... you're here because we want the best, and you are it. So! Who is ready to make some science?"
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.
  • 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."
  • And I Must Scream: Aperture Desk Job reveals that this is his ultimate fate: uploaded into a giant robotic replica of his own head, with no body and no connection to the facility, completely incapable of moving or dying. When you meet him, he begs you for help dying.
  • 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 Boss:
    • He was incredibly dismissive of anyone who tried impose any type of limits on his dangerous and expensive style of research. He mocked scientists who showed concern over the test subjects and fired them whenever they complained about the unsafe nature of the company. He also insulted his accountants as "bean counters" when they tried to point out his experiments were running the company into the ground.
    • He had sociopathic levels of unconcern towards the test subjects he placed in life threatening situations and experimented on without their knowledge or consent. Similarly, when they had to start cheaply hiring poor and homeless people after the company nearly went bankrupt, he was nothing but hateful and condescending towards them. He later tried to make testing mandatory for all employees resulting in most of his workforce leaving en masse.
    • In Aperture Desk Job, he speaks glowingly towards new scientists joining the company in his welcome recordings but towards the regular rank and file he's bluntly uncaring and threatens to fire them on their first mistake.
  • 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.
    • Aperture Desk Job confirms that he successfully uploaded his brain into a computer — one that's the size of a room and shaped like his head.
  • 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.
  • 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: invoked 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 Cannot Self-Terminate: In Aperture Desk Job, he asks the player for help dying.
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: His pre-recorded messages during the 1950's make very clear that he is aware of the potential dangers surrounding the Repulsion Gel, but exposes it to test subjects anyway. He later becomes terminally ill after exposing himself to moon rocks in the process of making Conversion Gel.
  • 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?
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: The toilet tester simply has to shoot his giant clay head. Simple, right? Turns out the clay is layered over bulletproof metal. Okay, he's plugged into a wall socket. Just unplug him. Except it turns out he has backup power, and survives that too. Then the floor caves in under his giant metal head, sending him hurtling far down into the deeper parts of Aperture... while being infinitely powered by a generator the Mantis people made. Now there's even less chance someone finds him and puts him out of his misery.
  • 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 realize 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.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: It's no surprise that the rich mogul has nothing but contempt towards the poor, performing inhumane experiments on the homeless and poor people and voicing his hatred towards them as he did so. What is surprising for a science mogul is his anti-intellectualism, accusing his own scientists of being namby-pamby losers who's safety concerns are dismissed, if not grounds for unlawful termination.
  • [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.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Not so much by the time Chell comes in what's likely a couple ten-to-hundred years later, but at the time, Cave prepared a lot of pre-recorded messages over the intercom that account for any questions or concerns test subjects would have, like if they were to cheat their way into a test chamber to save travel time, haven't noticed that they now have testicular cancer when offered an opportunity to experiment with tumors, cut themselves and noticed that they're bleeding gasoline, or happened to be taking too long walking between testing areas.
  • Undying Loyalty: His employees followed his every word, no matter how crazy or dangerous the inventions were. 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.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: He asks for Grady and the toilet tester to kill him by shooting his giant head with their toilet. No matter what they try, though, he survives, falling into the same position as before the two came in once he becomes powered by the Mantis peoples' energy generator.
  • 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.

  • Ambiguous Gender: Considering they're robots, they more than likely don't have any, but where Atlas is considered male by most, P-body is feminine and has a Turret body as its base, all Turrets being feminine (bar Defectives), but people are still divided on if it has a female personality or just a feminine but still male one. Not helping matters is that GLaDOS doesn't refer to either by third-person pronouns, referring to them as "You," "Blue" or "Orange."
  • 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. This is also how they "leave" the old Aperture facilities due to them lacking an exit like the modern ones, so GLaDOS blows them up once their jobs down there are done.
    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.
    • The devs specifically made the two to turn an outright emnity into this, as deaths (intentional or not) would be less disturbing with a pair of robots than a pair of humans, being more of an explosive slap on the wrist that can easily be recouperated from.

    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 a chuckle 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, some of them lack any ammo.
  • Oh, Crap!: Defective turrets occasionally let out a resigned "Crap" after failing the voice response test.
  • One-Gender Race: Downplayed; unlike the regular turrets, most of the defective turrets speak in masculine voices. The Oracle Turret, which is physically sound but expresses pacifistic behaviour and prophetic ramblings, speaks in a normal Turret voice.
  • 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).
    "Uhhhh... Blam! Blam blam blam! I'm not defective!"
  • Spontaneous Human Combustion: One of their many, many design flaws is that they tend to explode.
  • 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." This ends up happening to them via a Logic Bomb.

    Space Sphere

"Better buy a telescope. Wanna see me? Buy a telescope. Gonna be in space."
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

"I don't wanna scare ya, but I'm an Adventure Sphere. Designed for danger. So, why don't you go ahead and have yourself a little lady break, and I'll just take it from here."
Voiced by: Nolan North (English), Mikhail Georgiou (Russian)

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

    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."
  • Distinction Without a Difference: "89% of magic tricks are not magic. Technically, they are sorcery."
  • 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 Imbecile: 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.
  • Jerkass: One of his "facts" is that space does not exist, seemingly to spite the Space Core.
  • 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 

"Hello, and again, welcome to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. We are currently experiencing technical difficulties due to circumstances of potentially apocalyptic significance beyond our control. However, thanks to Emergency Testing Protocols, testing can continue. These pre-recorded messages will provide instructional and motivational support, so that science can still be done, even in the event of environmental, social, economic, or structural collapse."
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.


"Yes sir, Mister Johnson!"
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 than 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.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's 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!: Cave at least thinks so. GLaDOS's attitude to testing supports this.
  • 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.
    Cave: Sorry fellas, she's married... to science!
  • 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.
    Cave: Say goodbye, Caroline.
    Caroline: Goodbye, Caroline.
    Cave: She is a gem.
  • 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."
  • Small Role, Big 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...
  • 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.
  • Butt-Monkey: He doesn't exactly get a lot of respect from any iteration of Cave or the world his other self is in, CaveDOS implies he murdered him the moment he suggested he could go mad with power, is called a 'sad little man' in the Robot-A-Cop universe, is implied to be Disguised in Drag just to survive in a world where tyrannical women run everything, and Cave Prime offers to trade him over to Dark Cave as an offering, on top of him ignoring his critical advice, insulting his teeth and getting chewed out for having a creepy daughter.
  • 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.
  • Ignored Expert: Cave stopped caring to listen to him much past the part of the plan that involves opening a way to the multiverse. When Cave Prime suggests killing alternate Cave Johnsons, he ignores Greg's plea that this could wipe out the entire multiverse, and later he shuts Greg up from trying to correct him when he does a bold calculation in his head about the chances of finding a universe made of money is 100%.
  • 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..."
  • Reused Character Design: His appearance in The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game is essentially modified from a screenshot of Dr. Magnusson from Half-Life 2: Episode Two.
  • 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 Blaperture Mesa. When he hears about the anomalous materials experimentation that would cause the resonance cascade, he has those experiments 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 can place portals on any smooth surface, including ones your's can't. 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.
  • Artistic License – Economics: Cave Prime doesn't realize that finding a universe made of money would devalue its currency to literally nothing.
  • 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.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: Birthday!Cave reads off a list of everyone at Aperture who's over the maximum age, a la Logan's Run. The only person who qualifies is a 93-year old woman.
  • 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 Sapiens 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:
    • Discussed by Cave Prime, who remarks that if the player finds a universe where people's heads are inside-out, that's probably normal for them, but the player is probably in trouble and should get out as soon as possible.
    • 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 and eat nothing but asparagus.
  • 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.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: CaveDOS quickly tires of being a computer, especially since he has no sense of touch anymore and can read every book ever written in a second. Even rewriting them all to be about ghostbusting got dull before long. Inevitably, he decides to kill everyone working at Aperture in the belief it will be his equivalent to the Labours of Hercules.
  • Demonic Possession: Magic!Cave of Aperture Paranormal is host to a tiny but powerful demon that lives in a secret place in his mouth.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Cave Prime is disturbed by Greg's creepy daughter.
    Cave Prime: No, I'm sorry, Greg, but there's something wrong with that kid! "We'll test forever, and ever..." Why's she whisper all the time?
  • 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.
  • Gender-Bent Alternate Universe: Subverted with "Cavina" Johnson; he still has a male-sounding voice and is clearly just pretending to be female to hide from the Matriarchy ruling his universe's Earth, as is his assistant "Sally Sue Greg".
  • Genius Loci: Planet!Cave is a sentient planet with test chambers built all over him. He doesn't want the player to spoil the surprise to the other test subjects.
    Planet!Cave: Also, don't pollute.
  • Giver of Lame Names: Robot-a-Cop? Blaperture Mesa? Even across universes, Cave isn't great with names.
  • Good Counterpart: Most of the parallel Caves are as psychotic as the regular one, but there is a Nice Cave who offers you a bonus.
  • Hobos: "Michigan Slim" Cave Johnson, the Hobo King.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Blaperture Mesa Cave chides the Black Mesa scientists for meddling with Xen and risking a Resonance Cascade as he shuts the anomalous materials research down, telling them to use common sense, despite his own grasp on good ideas being tense at best. That said, this Cave was at least sensible enough to sell Aperture's tech and eventually got rich enough to buy Black Mesa.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Creepy!Cave wants to eat your hair 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.
  • Motor Mouth: A shared trait across every Cave, according to Greg, is that there is a zero percent chance of running into a universe where Cave Johnson isn't always talking to his test subjects.
  • 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 Blaperture Mesa, who is appalled by the reckless experiments and cancels the project that would result in the Resonance Cascade.
    • Warden!Cave has to tell his prisoners that crawling through the air ducts is not a viable escape attempt because air ducts are for ventilating the facility, not escaping. 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.
  • 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.
  • Space Police: Chief Warden Cave.
  • Spot the Imposter: Cave Prime and Dark Cave.
    Cave Prime: Cave Johnson here. I need you to-
    Dark Cave: Do not listen to this man. He's the other Cave Johnson. He's an impostor!
    Cave Prime: You're the impostor, impostor! Chariots chariots!
    Dark Cave: Oh, yeah? Chariots chariots chariots!
  • 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.
  • Tomato Surprise: The player would assume that Cave Prime is the same as the Cave from the main game's story, before he started succumbing to lunar poisoning, but after seeing CaveDOS in action he reveals that he's most certainly not as he cancels GLaDOS.
  • Urine Trouble: Dark Cave sends Cave Prime a block of frozen urine as one of his pranks.
  • 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.
  • 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 and Disk Operating System initiative. Boy, that could have backfired!
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The "Robot-a-Cop" universe is a Shout-Out to RoboCop (1987), with that universe's Cave purchasing the bodies of a bunch of dead police officers and rebuilding them as Cyborgs. He even remarks that they may receive tragic flashbacks of their former lives, before remarking that this is actually a live feed of his assistant Greg's life and telling them to ignore it.

    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.