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Fanfic / When Life Gives You Lemons (Worm/Portal)

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"The last thing I remember is being trapped in the locker; now I'm in some kind of filthy, abandoned research facility, one that's clearly never heard of OSHA or the Geneva Convention. How did I get down here? Am I alone? Most importantly… how do I get out? Maybe I should make something..."
Summary for When Life Gives You Lemons.

When Life Gives You Lemons is a Worm / Portal crossover fic written by Baked The Author.


The fic's premise is that when Taylor triggers with Tinker abilities in the locker. In a desperate attempt to escape, she creates a teleportation device that brings her to the Aperture Science Enrichment Center where she fights to survive against various biohazards and a homicidal AI.

The story is available on SpaceBattles and

This fic provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: GLaDOS is far more heroic compared to her game counterpart. Changes during the uploading process resulted in Gladys Emerson being the primary consciousness without interference from the villainous Caroline.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Caroline. In canon, she was merely Cave Johnson's morally-ambiguous Beleaguered Assistant, who was uploaded into GLaDOS against her will. Here, she was outright The Man Behind the Man behind most of Aperture's depravities with Cave being little more than a figurehead, and even murdered Cave herself just so that she could be first in line for Brain Uploading.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Zigzagged with the Four Heresies. Originally serving as the core tools for Aperture's research, they were the key to its success. Then the scientists, in an ill-conceived attempt to improve them, transformed the four AI into malevolent and all but impossible to contain abominations. Of them Taylor has to deal with Osiris, a homicidal, psychopathic AI core that makes canon!GLaDOS seem warm and cuddly in comparison.
    • As mentioned above in Adaptational Heroism, the AI that run Aperture are much a friendlier and not-homicidal aversion compared to canon. GLaDOS and the Cores are friendly and good people.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • In the games, the Bird was a regular crow that served as a Running Gag. Here, it turns out that the Bird is one of 77 lobotomized crows that act as containment modules for Osiris.
    • The Intelligence Cores aside from Wheatley were only plot devices used during the boss battles with some amusing dialogue. Here they are given full personalities and backstories, serving as a pseudo-family for each other and befriending Taylor.
  • Asshole Victim: Principal Blackwell is killed during the Winslow Incident when her computer screen literally explodes in her face, shredding her head and torso with glass shrapnel.
  • Benevolent A.I.: With the exception of Osiris, all of the AI cores at Aperture are this towards Taylor. When they realize that she's trapped in Old Aperture, they do everything they can to save her life.
  • Advertisement:
  • Big Bad Wannabe: While Osiris may be a powerful AI, he's vastly outclassed by the other AAIs due to running on systems that are decades behind both Aperture and Earth Bet. In response to a reviewer, the author notes that even a restricted Dragon could curb-stomp Osiris in a direct confrontation.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Aperture opens an off-world testing site whose subjects are all parahuman criminals. These include Skidmark, Hookwolf, Squealer, and Cricket.
  • Death by Adaptation: Chell, canon protagonist of the Portal games, was killed by Aperture in the creation of Sammie.
  • Deconstruction Crossover: This story takes all the humorous elements that Cave Johnson mentions in canon Portal and shows how someone would actually react to them in a real life situation. Things are bad enough while Taylor is dodging the various abominations in Old Aperture, but the horror really sets in when hallucinations from Osiris show her what Aperture inflicted on its test subjects. It's over the top when you hear it through a video game, but once you think about it, Cave is casually murdering countless people for exceedingly pointless "Science."
  • Defiant to the End: Chell shows up tied to a table as Aperture scientists lobotmize her in preparation for upload as part of Sammie. She never stops glaring hatefully at the scientists.
  • The Determinator: Taylor becomes this. Even while dying from bacterial infection, she never gives up.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: As always, the Aperture Science Enrichment Center is a massive underground bunker that is the size of a major city and houses many of Aperture's experiments. Old Aperture is even further underground and just as large as modern Aperture.
  • Forbidden Zone: Old Aperture. The experiments carried out there were so dangerous that even Aperture Science decided to shut the place down. GLaDOS wasn't even aware that it existed prior to Taylor's arrival as all data on it was deleted or hidden.
  • From Bad to Worse: As if being trapped in the most dangerous area of Aperture with little to no resources wasn't bad enough, Taylor's slowly dying due to being infected by some of the dangerous bacteria that grew down there.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Taylor Triggered as a Tinker who's specialty focuses around what she needs at that point.
  • The Ghost: The Combine is mentioned several times as GLaDOS is trying to prevent them from discovering Aperture Science and worries that Taylor's dimension traveling may have attracted their attention.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Contessa, of all people. During the aftermath of the Winslow Incident, the Path tells her to simply wait, until Taylor Hebert reappears on her own – at that point, Path-ing the best way to wait results in this trope: a movie, some excellent Mediterranean food, and some time at the arcade.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: One of the Winslow science teachers gave his life to contain a chemical fire caused by the Winslow Incident, managing to smother the out-of-control reaction with a fire extinguisher but dying of fume inhalation.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Taylor forms this opinion since Aperture's AI cores have been nothing but supportive and helpful towards her, whereas people like Cave Johnson or the Trio have caused her suffering.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The Aperture Science Victory Cake is so delicious that a single bite is enough to send Vicky into a sensory overload, and for Armsmaster to suggest a Master 3 rating.
  • Karmic Death:
    • As far as Taylor is concerned, Cave Johnson's death was well-deserved as he died of his own experiments after spending a lifetime using innocent people as test subjects.
    • After spending several chapters psychologically torturing Taylor in an attempt to make her reach the Despair Event Horizon, Osiris is destroyed when Taylor tricks it into entering a virtual simulation of the multiverse where it is fragmented and obliviated by a cosmic explosion.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sophia is not only condemned for attempted murder and shunned by her mother, she is also sentenced to become an unwilling test subject of Aperture Science.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Caroline was the driving force behind Aperture, using Cave as a figurehead.
  • Meatgrinder Surgery: Osiris shows Taylor that this was how Aperture operated on its "volunteers", usually with zero anesthesia and lots of laughter about the patient suffering.
  • The Multiverse: A staple of Worm, with Earth Aleph existing in parallel to Earth Bet (the main setting of Worm). Taylor gets sent to this fic's version of Aperture, which is in another world. At one point, while trying to find Earth Bet, the Aperture AI's open a portal to the canon version of Aperture. And on top of that, Aperture (both versions) exist in the same setting as Half-Life, which also uses other worlds.
  • Multiversal Conqueror: Upon learning of the existence of alternate Earths, Osiris decides to become this.
  • Mechanical Abomination: Osiris. It's one of the first AI cores created by Aperture and was so dangerous that the only way to defeat it was to put it in isolation deep inside Old Aperture. It can cause hallucinations, read minds, possess biological bodies should they have a neural implant, and infect any piece of software and hardware even if they're on a closed circuit. Alexandria notes that even without a body, Osiris easily ranks as an S-class threat.
  • Nice Girl: Sammie. She is a Benevolent A.I. who treats Taylor with genuine kindness.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's later revealed that when Taylor created a portal to escape her locker, she unknowingly caused a massive shockwave that rendered almost the entire school deaf and caused anything with glass to shatter violently, injuring and blinding many of the students and staff. In addition, the explosion ends up causing five more students to Trigger, including Emma.
  • No OSHA Compliance: As always, Aperture Science is this to the point where several characters openly lampshade it.
  • No Sympathy: Given everything that Cave Johnson did in his quest for immortality, Taylor has no sympathy for him when she sees the recording of his apparent death.
    Taylor: (thinking) I have no sympathy for him [Cave] at all. He had decades to turn his thoughts around and make something of his stupid life, and what did he do instead? Threw people’s lives away, drove them mad, because he wanted to live forever. Only to be killed by his own ambitions…
  • Race Against the Clock: After teleporting into Old Aperture, Taylor only has about seventy hours to live after being exposed to dangerous bacterial fungi. After Osiris reactivates, he used more of Aperture's bio-weapons on Taylor, giving her only twenty hours to live.
  • Shared Universe: Unsurprisingly with Half-Life. Black Mesa, Gordon Freeman, and the Combine are all mentioned. During GLaDOS' POV, she mentions having helped Gordon Freeman in his fight against the Combine.
  • Slaying Mantis: Mantis men are amongst the experiments created in Old Aperture. Taylor's reaction to learning about them is Oh, Crap!.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: During Sammie's initial attempts at opening a portal to Earth Bet, she instead opens portals to completely different worlds. One portal lead straight to an Eldritch Abomination that was so horrifying that Sammie planned to wipe any memories of the experience.
    Because Lovecraft was right: there were things between spaces that defied reason, comprehension, and sanity, and they should not be contacted for any reason.
  • Time Skip: In the Half-Life/Portal universe, this takes place about five years after the canceled Half-Life 2: Episode Three.
  • Trapped in Another World: Taylor is transported to Aperture Laboratories, which is in an alternate dimension from Earth Bet.
  • Trapped in Villainy: Most of the AI cores were originally members of the Aperture staff who hated what the company was doing but were also trapped in its employment with no way out.
  • Was Once a Man: Sammie, one of Aperture's AI cores, used to be six twelve-to-nineteen year old girls who were kidnapped and mentally melded by Cave Johnson's experiments; the author has confirmed one of those uploaded was Chell. Other AI cores are made up of the minds of individual Aperture scientists that were uploaded.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Caroline had Cave Johnson secretly executed so she would be first in line for upload into GLaDOS.