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*WARNING: SPOILER HEAVY!*
GLaDOS is Aperture Science's Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operation System. Construction started in 1986, upon Aperture CEO Cave Johnson's death wish, in which his secretary Caroline's conscious be put inside a computer. GLaDOS has since become corrupted, and locked down the facility and flooded it with neurotoxin.
The earliest known appearance of the name "GLaDOS" is in the Perpetual Testing Initiative, where Cave Johnson mentions the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System in a quote, saying he will shut down the project due to hinted homicidal tendencies by an alternate Cave already downloaded to a computer.
It is believed that the GLaDOS project was resumed in 1982, where version 1.07, and later 1.07a and 1.09, operated Aperture Science's Enrichment Center Test Subject Application Process. The precise relation between this version of GLaDOS and the one appearing in Portal was originally v1.10, but this was later retconned into v3.11. Aperture also started using a bulletin board system in 1973, which was later managed by GLaDOS as late as 1997.
Cave caroline 70s
Portrait of Aperture CEO Cave Johnson with Caroline at his side.
In 1986, construction of the first iteration of GLaDOS began in the Enrichment Center with the aim of accelerating the Portal project, and beating their rival company, Black Mesa. A prototype chassis for GLaDOS was constructed in 1989, but was subsequently abandoned. In 1996, after a decade spent bringing the Disk Operating System parts to a state of more or less basic functionality, work began on the Genetic Lifeform component.
Aperture originally intended for CEO Cave Johnson to be the computer's Genetic Lifeform component. While Johnson ultimately died before his consciousness could be uploaded, he left instructions that his assistant Caroline should be fitted as the Genetic Lifeform component so that she would be able to run Aperture in perpetuity after his death. However it remains unknown whether Caroline agreed to be uploaded into the Genetic Lifeform component or if she was forced by technicians.
As a fail-safe once construction was nearing completion, the Aperture Science Red Phone plan was implemented in case she appeared to become sentient and dangerous, requiring an employee to sit by a red phone on a desk in the entrance hall of the Central AI Chamber. In 1997, GLaDOS' version was 3.11.
In 1998, GLaDOS was activated several times by Aperture technicians, but was rapidly turned off again, having attempted to kill them within "one sixteenth of a picosecond" after activation. Undaunted, the scientists began attempts to alter GLaDOS' personality and curb her murderous tendencies by adding various Personality Cores to her system. Several of these cores were deactivated and placed in storage at some point; one of these cores was Wheatley, Portal 2's false protagonist, who was later re-purposed to the task of tending to humans in the Extended Relaxation Center.
Some time later that year, GLaDOS was activated on Aperture Science's first annual bring-your-daughter to work day, which ends in an unspecified disaster. Shortly after this disaster, GLaDOS was fitted with a morality core.
Eventually, GLaDOS claimed to have "lost all interest in killing", now only craving science and wanting to study and experiment with consciousness. She announced that she wanted to perform an experiment on the company's "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" using cats and boxes. She claimed she would have all the necessary materials; all she still needed was "a little neurotoxin". The scientists acquiesced, figuring it would be fine "as long as it [was] for science."
Finally in May 200-, GLaDOS was activated as one of the planned activities on Aperture's "Bring Your Daughter to Work" day. GLaDOS became hostile once more, and within two picoseconds she had locked down the entire facility, trapping all inside and flooding the facility with neurotoxin.
GLaDOS then began a permanent testing cycle using the captive Aperture employees, aiming to beat Black Mesa in the race for the portal technology. She effectively lost this race when the Black Mesa Incident occurred, which in turn diverted all attention from rescuing the trapped Aperture employees.
Meanwhile, the number of Aperture employees dwindled through the ensuing weeks of testing. The last surviving employee, a schizophrenic programmer named Doug Rattmann, managed to avoid captivity as a result of his paranoia. Evading GLaDOS' constant attempts to capture him, he managed to gain access to her Test Subject personnel files and research the psychological profiles of rejected candidates, discovering a woman named Chell who was rejected for testing due to extraordinary tenacity. Hoping Chell's stubborn determination might allow her to defeat GLaDOS, Rattmann tampered with the Test Subject roster, rearranging the order so that Chell's name was at the top. This seemed to go unnoticed by GLaDOS. From this point on, Rattmann hid in unused portions of the facility, where GLaDOS was unable to monitor him. She then resumed mandatory testing.ï»¿ After an obscene amount of time (Around 10,000+ years), Chell awakens in the destroyed facility, until she accidentally awakens GLaDOS (Wheatley actually did this). Chell finally is reunited with Wheatley and the two sabotage GLaDOS's weapons. They then proceed to initiate a core transfer, where Wheatley becomes corrupt with all the power he inherited. GLaDOS is then put into a potato, and, with Chell, is thrown down into the depths of the old Aperture. After climbing back into the modern facility, GLaDOS and Chell defeat Wheatley and banish him to Space. GLaDOS then releases Chell, telling her to never return. After successfully defeating Kabra, she finds herself to be banned from the community.