|“||Aperture Science: We do what we must because we can.||„|
|~ Company tagline and lyric to "Still Alive".|
Aperture Science Incorporated, formerly known as Aperture Fixtures and Aperture Science Innovators, are an antagonistic organization from the Portal and Half-Life franchises. Their headquarters, the Aperture Science Enrichment Center, is the lone setting for both of the Portal games.
Aperture was founded by Cave Johnson sometime in the early 1940s. However, then it was known as "Aperture Fixtures", and was a shower curtain manufacturing company. Johnson ended up renaming the company to "Aperture Science Innovators" in an attempt to make their products seem more hygienic and appealing to the consumers. In 1947, Cave Johnson purchased an abandoned salt mine that ran over 4,200 meters underground in order to create the facility for Aperture Science, where they would expand their inventive and innovative pursuit beyond shower curtains.
9 years later in 1956, Aperture signed a contract with the government to receive funding for their projects and to make and deliver shower curtains to branches of the United States military. Around that time, work began on the Aperture Science Portable Quantum Tunneling Device, which was intended to serve as a interdimensional portal-creating device (that would eventually become the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device). Other inventions began to make way, but not always as expected. Experimental diet supplements failed, but were later turned into the Repulsion and Propulsion Gels. Turrets were developed for home security, but were later discovered to be so lethal that they became used as test chamber obstacles. Experimentation on a teleporting boat called the Borealis was also put into effect to try and beat out the competition from bitter business rival Black Mesa, but it suddenly vanished one day.
Aperture Science Innovators continued its string of inventing and testing, but their tests could often be questionable or even corrupt, resulting in many tester deaths, including replacing human blood with gasoline, replacing human blood with peanut juice, implanting postcard-sized chips into people's heads, making humans excrete coal, pumping Fluorescent Calcium into Test Subjects' blood, creating tumors, a teleportation system that accidentally removed subjects' skin, and splicing human DNA with praying mantis to accidentally create vicious "mantis men". Originally, Aperture used the brightest and best of society for testing, including astronauts, Olympians, war heroes and soldiers, etc.) However, after a string of astronaut disappearances was investigated and tied back to Aperture in 1968, Cave Johnson decided on a different approach.
16 years later in 1972, Aperture shifted its focus into employing homeless people for testing, so if they died or disappeared, no one would notice. However, Aperture was running out of money, and possible industrial espionage from Black Mesa nearly caused the company to go bankrupt.
9 years later in 1981, during work on Conversion Gel made of moon rocks, Cave Johnson contracted a fatal illness from the rocks. He began to rush an artificial intelligence program to store his mind in should his physical body die. However, he did not survive long enough for the project to be completed, and left his assistant Caroline in charge of the company.
1 year later in 1982, the Aperture Science Enrichment Center in Upper Michigan is made public, and puts into effect the Enrichment Center Test Subject Application Process, a 50-question questionnaire destined for applying Test Subjects. During this same year, scientists begin work on a prototype AI core referred to as the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System, or GLaDOS.
3 years later in 1985, the Aperture Image Format is created and maintained by Doug Rattmann.
1 year later in 1986, after hearing that Black Mesa is beginning its own portal device experimentation, scientists begin further developing GLaDOS.
10 years later in 1996, the basic computing and disk operating components of GLaDOS are brought online, but no AI is integrated yet.
2 years later in 1998, Aperture releases a long line of brand new inventions, such as the Excursion Funnel, the Thermal Discouragement Beam, the Weighted Pivot Cube, the Aerial Faith Plate, and the Pneumatic Diversity Vent. That same year, on the company's first annual Take Your Daughter to Work Day, the first version of the untested AI for GLaDOS, mapped from the now deceased Caroline's mind, is put into effect. She immediately becomes self-aware and floods the entire facility with a deadly neurotoxin that kills the majority of people inside. She is fitted with a Morality Core, stopping her attack, but not until everyone had already been poisoned and soon died. GLaDOS began a quick, endless cycle of testing in her programmed goal of beating Black Mesa. However, the Black Mesa incident that released The Combine caused Black Mesa to cease being a threat. However, GLaDOS manages to finish development on the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device beforehand.
Sometime in the early 2000s, the Seven Hour War is waged, leading to the Combine's takeover of Earth.
Chell is the next test subject to be awakened, and performs tests for GLaDOS. However, when GLaDOS attempts to dispose of her, Chell retaliates and fights back, eventually fighting GLaDOS and destroying her before being pulled back into the facility and put back into stasis by the Party Escort Bot. However, she is given priority wake up in case of an emergency by the still alive Doug Rattman.
Portal 2 takes place an unknown amount of time after the events of the first game. Though some sources claim that it takes place 50,000 years after the first game, Doug Rattman is speculated to still be alive, so this is unlikely. Other theories state that the signs of Rattman may be his ghost, as suggested by the track on the Portal 2: Songs to Test By soundtrack, "Ghost of Rattman".
In Portal 2, Chell is awakened by Wheatley after the reserve power runs out. They travel through the decrepit facility until they accidentally revive GLaDOS, who forced Chell to test. However, Chell switches GLaDOS and Wheatley out as the main core, but Wheatley goes mad and throws Chell and GLaDOS (now trapped in a potato battery) down underneath the Enrichment Center and into the abandoned old Aperture beneath. The two reconcile their differences, GLaDOS remembers her past life as Caroline, and the two defeat Wheatley. GLaDOS redeems herself and lets Chell go.
- Cave Johnson: the founder of Aperture Fixtures and the first one to expand the company's coverage into science and innovative inventions. Also was the boss of the company and orchestrated the majority of tests, including the illegal and/or deadly ones.
- Caroline: Johnson's assistant Caroline helped him run the company, and the two were very close (some even speculate that they were lovers). When Johnson died, he left the company in Caroline's hands, and she used her mind as the map for GLaDOS' AI.
- GLaDOS: Advanced computing mixed with AI mapped from the late Caroline's mind, GLaDOS became the inherent leader of Aperture once she killed all of the personnel and usurped the company and its locations.
- Wheatley: Wheatley, originally created as an Intelligence Dampening Core for GLaDOS to make her dumber, helped Chell defeat GLaDOS, but took over the facilities and company himself, and forced the two to team up and defeat him before putting GLaDOS back in charge.
- Doug Rattmann: a computer technician that survived GLaDOS' attack, and helped Chell behind the scenes.
- Henry: an engineer that worked on GLaDOS.
- Bob: an engineer.
- Chell: one of the many test subjects and the main protagonist of both Portal games. She was supposedly one of the children taken to the Take Your Daughter to Work day, and was the child of one of the Aperture employees.
- Other subjects: thousands of other test subjects' names are seen in the Portal 2: Lab Rat comic. They include:
- S.J. Nye
- Lazarus Grey
- Leve Rage
- Robert C. Knoll
- Test Subject #042 (Name Unknown)
- Test Subject #234 (Name Unknown)
- Charles Cardoze
- Phil Konig
- Christopher M. Pham
- Arsenio Navarro
- William D. Kent
- Al Anderson
- Emily Naransky
- David C. Self
- Doug Hopper
- Marc Meaux
- Brenda Bogenschutz
- James Murray
All are presumed deceased due to the power failure prior to Portal 2, where only Chell received reserve power for her life support.
- Cores: Personality Cores are designed to be individual AIs, but also can serve as part of a larger AI's consciousness. Known ones include:
- Wheatley (Intelligence Dampening Core)
- Rick (Adventure Core)
- Morality Core
- Curiosity Core
- Intelligence Core
- Anger Core
- Space Core
- Fact Core
- Jerry: Jerry is the Enrichment Center's voice, and is an automated testing and facility associate.
- Turrets: Turrets serve as robotic weaponized sentries, and are often used for security or as obstacles. Types include:
- Sentry Turrets/Defective Turrets
- Rocket Turrets
- Prima Donna Turrets
- The Animal King Turret
- Party Escort Bot: a robot that picks up and handles dead and unconscious test subjects.
- Atlas and P-Body: a pair of robotic testers designed to replace live test subjects, as they are easily rebuilt and follow orders.
The Aperture Science Enrichment Center appears once again as the setting for the Portal pack for Lego Dimensions, with Chell, GLaDOS, Wheatley, Cave Johnson, Turrets, and the Space Core all making appearances.
- Aperture literally means "narrow gap or hole"; the company's logo reflects this, as it takes the shape of an iris-like aperture.
- An Orange Box Achievement named "Aperture Science" requires to earn gold medals on all Portal challenges.
- Portal series writers Chet Faliszek and Erik Wolpaw see the rivalry between Aperture Science and Black Mesa as "snobs versus slobs", Black Mesa being the snobs and Aperture Science "the slobs, the lovable goofballs".