Why didn’t GlaDOS tell lies?


Where did your life go so wrong?
Why was that test not surveilled?
Why not preserve your cube long?

Who wants a slice of this cake?
Why should enriching tests end?
Why must you go the wrong way?

What is that useless eyed head?
Why kill a harmless AI?
Why don’t you have any friends?

How are they all still alive?

I haven’t been feeling inspired enough to sculpt many poems from scratch, but with enough constraints, all I have to do is inject word goo into the mould and make sure it gets into all the corners. So the other day I looked up the last three optional prompts on the NaPoWriMo blog, and followed them all: ten lines of lies, all questions, in terza rima. The mould was a little too narrow to get goo through in places, so I relaxed the last constraint to some pretty loose terza assonanza.

Of course, the first thing I thought of when I saw the lying prompt was GlaDOS (and the promised cake) from the game Portal. Most of these questions are based on things GlaDOS said during the original Portal game, approximately in order. If you haven’t played Portal, or at least heard the song ‘Still Alive‘ which Jonathan Coulton wrote for the end credits (which, by the way, my old Mac once covered), it might not make a lot of sense. Show it to a friend who has played and see how they react to it.

An alternate ending, which doesn’t end with the phrase ‘still alive’, is:

What is that useless eyed head?
Why would you kill harmless me?
Why don’t you have any friends?

What will you do now you’re free?

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