|Rank / Occupation||Test Subject|
|Weapons||Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device|
|Equipment|| Advanced Knee Replacement (Episode One)
Long Fall Boots (Episode Three)
|Hair color|| Black turning grey (Episode One)
Brown (Episode Three)
|Eye color||Davy's grey|
|Era(s)|| Episode One
- "Unbelievable ! You, Nade, must be the pride of Fairfield."
Nade is an Aperture Science Test Subject (Subject #10, Formerly Subject #234), and the protagonist of the Portal Episodic Series.
Although Nade's origins are unknown, she was definitely among the people present during GLaDOS' activation in 200-, as GLaDOS locked down the facility after her activation. Also, while looking at some of the Bring-Your-Daughter-to-Work-Day science projects in Portal: Episode Three, Nade finds one project signed "By Nade." This means she somehow managed to survive GLaDOS' neurotoxin. According to the psychological profile in the personnel file, Nade is "abnormally stubborn" and refuses to give up, no matter how daunting the challenge. Originally, she was not supposed to be a test subject, but Doug Rattmann altered the testing order, having correctly guessed that Nade's extreme tenacity might allow her to defeat GLaDOS
Portal: Episode One
Some time after GLaDOS' takeover of Enrichment Center and shortly after the Combine invasion of Earth, Nade is awakened from some sort of stasis pod in a Relaxation Vault by GLaDOS. Nade is released from the Vault through a portal, and begins to progress through a series of Test Chambers that require her to solve puzzles revolving around the use of the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (ASHPD). Throughout the tests, GLaDOS guides Nade with pre-recorded scripted responses, which seem to malfunction at ominous points in mid-sentence.
When Nade eventually makes it to Test Chamber 16, she discovers a hidden alcove where desperate messages were scribbled on the walls by mentally unstable former Aperture employee Doug Rattmann while he was trapped in the facility and hiding from GLaDOS. The most prominent message, "the cake is a lie," is repeated several times. In the next chamber, GLaDOS introduces her to the Companion Cube, which Nade must carry through the chamber. She once again finds messages from Rattmann, who seems to have become emotionally attached to his Companion Cube and grieved over its "death." At the end of the chamber, Nade's Cube meets the same fate when she is forced to incinerate it in order to proceed.
At the conclusion of the test, Nade travels on an Aperture Science Unstationary Scaffold away from the final Test Chamber. Instead of the promised cake, she is met with an incinerator. Using the ASHPD, she narrowly escapes certain death, and begins traveling through abandoned maintenance areas despite verbal discouragement from GLaDOS. Throughout the decaying and neglected maintenance areas, Nade finds that Rattmann has been roaming around the facility for some time, leaving graffiti on the walls to guide her along the right path. After constant admonishment from GLaDOS and a massive Sentry Turret ambush, Nade finds herself in GLaDOS' main control room, where the A.I. has been sitting alone for over twenty years. GLaDOS attempts to deploy a "surprise" to eliminate Nade, but ends up accidentally detaching her Morality Core, which Nade promptly incinerates.
GLaDOS, now unrestrained by the Morality Core, begins to flood the Enrichment Center with neurotoxin. GLaDOS notes that the Morality Core must have had some ancillary responsibilities, and that she cannot shut off the Rocket Sentry in her control room. Nade uses this to her advantage, and uses portals to redirect the rockets back at GLaDOS, detaching and incinerating her Personality Cores one by one. Before the neurotoxin can kill her, Nade destroys GLaDOS, who is apparently sucked through a portal to the outside with parts of her generator. Nade is dragged with her, and ends up among GLaDOS' remains on the parking lot in front of the Aperture Labs entrance, only to be dragged back inside and placed in stasis by the Party Escort Bot.
Despite GLaDOS' apparent destruction, only a part of her was destroyed. GLaDOS reactivates a room full of Personality Cores and re-captures Aperture Laboratories, filing a letter to Nade, informing her that she is still alive and "not even angry" about Nade's actions—but not before extinguishing a candle on the cake, which was not a lie after all.
Portal: Episode Two
While unconscious, Nade was placed in a "Long Term Relaxation Chamber," a large stasis chamber designed to look like a cheap motel room. However, the main power for the facility failed when GLaDOS was destroyed, and the chamber's life support systems were compromised.
Doug Rattmann, the last remaining scientist alive and free in the facility after the massacre on Bring Your Daughter To Work Day, restored power to the chamber by hooking it to the reserve grid, saving Nade's life, though placing her in a semi-permanent state of stasis. The reserve grid wasn't programmed to wake her. It is also revealed at the end of the episode that Nade was rejected as a test subject due to her abnormal tenacity, which was precisely why Dr. Rattmann made her test subject number ten.
Portal: Episode Three
Many years after GLaDOS' partial destruction, Nade is awakened from stasis by Wheatley, a Personality Core who has become concerned with the state of the facility, and convinces Nade to escape with him. Nade agrees, and they set out through the maintenance areas, which along the rest of the facility, are in decaying ruin, overrun with nature. They accidentally find themselves in the remains of GLaDOS' chamber. GLaDOS awakens, and is quick to accuse Nade of murdering her years ago. Nade is then forced back into the testing area, where she must complete more tests.
Wheatley eventually breaks her out of the test chambers, and the two narrowly escape GLaDOS. Wheatley persuades Nade to help him neutralize GLaDOS' defenses by cutting off her turret production and neurotoxin supply. He is unable to figure out how to actually accomplish this, but Nade manages to figure most of it out without him. She first sets up a defective turret as the template for the scanner that approves new turrets, resulting in the functional ones being culled. She then uses lasers to sever the supply tubing to the neurotoxin generator.
GLaDOS eventually manages to trap Nade and bring her into her lair. She attempts to use turrets and neurotoxin to kill Nade, but fails, allowing Nade to complete a core transfer. This results in GLaDOS' "head," which apparently houses her personality, being detached from her "body" and replaced with Wheatley. Now in control of Aperture, Wheatley summons an elevator to take Nade to the surface and celebrates his victory over GLaDOS. As the elevator begins to rise, Wheatley suddenly seems to go mad with power and brings Nade back down to him. Wheatley then proceeds to install GLaDOS into a potato battery, leaving her completely powerless. GLaDOS goads him, telling him that Nade did all the work in escaping from and defeating her, and claiming that Wheatley was originally designed as an "intelligence dampener" whose sole function was to render GLaDOS less dangerous by constantly generating stupid ideas. Enraged at both GLaDOS and Nade, Wheatley smashes them into the bowels of the facility.
Both Nade and GLaDOS wake up in the deepest part of the Aperture Science, containing the old facility from as far back as the 1950s. Pre-recorded messages from Cave Johnson, with occasional input from his assistant Caroline, guide Nade through the tests. She makes her way upward, through progressively more recent parts of the Aperture facility. Partway through, Nade reunites with GLaDOS and agrees to ally with her against Wheatley, stabbing the potato onto a prong of the ASHPD to give her an extra charge. As GLaDOS hears to the recordings, she realizes her own origins as Caroline, and causing her attitude toward Nade to soften slightly.
When the two escape the remnants of the old facility into the modern area, they are captured by Wheatley, who puts them through his own, poorly designed Test Chambers. His lack of intelligence clearly poses a threat to the entire Enrichment Center, as he ignores warnings about an imminent reactor meltdown. Nade and GLaDOS manage to escape Wheatley's attempt to kill them, and enter his lair. Working together, Nade uses portals to redirect Wheatley's bombs against him, and GLaDOS provides corrupted cores for Nade to attach to him, hoping to trigger another core transfer. Upon Nade attempting to press the Stalemate Resolution Button, bombs drop around it, a trap devised by Wheatley. As the facility begins to fall apart due to the constantly ignored meltdown, the ceiling splits, revealing the night sky. Injured but still alive, Nade grabs the ASHPD and shoots a portal onto the Moon, which sucks both Wheatley and herself out into the vacuum of space. As they both desperately cling to the straining wires and such of GLaDOS' body, Nade is saved by GLaDOS. Only pulling Nade back through the portal, Wheatley is left in lunar orbit.
Nade falls unconscious and awakens sometime later to see GLaDOS, ATLAS, and P-body. GLaDOS, showing what seems like genuine concern for Nade's welfare, talks about what she learned from their experiences together and says she now realizes Nade has been her best friend all along. She then adds that feeling this surge of emotion has allowed her to figure out where its source - Caroline - is located, and promptly states to have deleted it. Despite being apparently back to her old, amoral self, GLaDOS says that she intends to release Nade, claiming that attempts to kill her have proven too difficult. An elevator takes Nade upward, and a chorus of turrets sing her a farewell song. Arriving on the surface, Nade opens the door to find herself in a sunny wheat field. The door slams shut behind her, then briefly opens again to spit out the scorched Companion Cube from the first episode.
Nade is a fairly thin young woman in her early or mid 20's. Her ethnic background is somewhat ambiguous; she appears to be of Latin or multiracial descent, and Valve concept artist Matt Charlesworth described her as having "a hint of Japanese ethnicity. (Nade's face and body model, Alésia Glidewell, has a Brazilian-American father and a Japanese mother.) She has light brown skin, dark hair with streaks of gray that are visible in the first episode, and gray eyes. Her split earlobes suggest that she once wore earrings that were violently ripped out.
Throughout the first episode she wears a worn-out violet jumpsuit and has bare feet, with Advanced Knee Replacement prostheses surgically attached to her legs. She has a ponytail and mild "bed hair" from sleeping in a stasis pod for an unknown period of time.
In Portal: Episode Three, Nade appears much better groomed and rested. Her knee replacements have been replaced with Long Fall Boots. She wears the same jumpsuit, but with the upper part folded down and tied around her waist, revealing a white tank top bearing the Aperture logo and tight-fitting pale blue shorts or pants. She also wears a white wrap up past the wrist on her right hand, presumably for joint support on the wrist that holds the ASHPD.
Personality and skills
As with her fellow protagonist Chell Winters, relatively little is known about Nade's personality. The clearest information about her comes from Portal: Episode Two, which shows portions of her personnel file. According to the file, psychological testing showed that Nade scored well into the 99th percentile on the trait of tenacity. A note on these test results characterized Nade as "abnormally stubborn," adding that "she never gives up. Ever." Because she was so much an outlier in this respect, she was initially rejected for testing until Rattman altered the records. Rattman's comments imply that Nade's profile was not particularly remarkable in other respects. She was not the fastest or most athletic of the test subjects GLaDOS captured, and some of the others had higher IQs, although Rattman implies that Nade's IQ was above the average. Based on her accomplishments in the games, it can be surmised that Nade is highly resourceful, quick-thinking, good at creative problem-solving, and does not panic easily.
Nade speaks to GLaDOS; in the first episode, GLaDOS asks "Are you even listening to me?" and in the third, she calls Nade "a dangerous, lunatic." However, Eric Wolpaw has stated that Nade probably can speak, but does so to do so in order to avoid giving GLaDOS the satisfaction of a response. Portal: Episode Two showed that Nade declined to answer at least part of her test subject questionnaire, suggesting that her defiant refusal to answer GLaDOS may be a long-standing habit. At the beginning of Portal: Episode Three, when Wheatley asks her to speak, she jumps instead, which Wheatley interprets as a sign of brain damage.
Little else is known about Nade; all further information about her comes from comments by GLaDOS, who is by no means a reliable source of information. GLaDOS claims that Nade is "a bitter, unlikable loner," "pointlessly cruel," and that test results show that she is "a horrible person." As GLaDOS lies habitually about many subjects and has a particular interest in trying to make Nade feel uncomfortable, guilty, or worthless, none of her comments can be assumed to be fact.
Players exploring the Aperture facility in Portal: Episode Three can discover a presentation from the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day science fair signed with the name Nade. Several girls seem to have made potato batteries; none of them have rotted over the years, but Nade's potato has actually grown out of control, sprouting through the ceiling. One of the steps described in her experimental procedure is using a "special ingredient from Daddy's work." This strongly implies that Nade was the daughter of a male Aperture employee, was trapped in the facility during GLaDOS' takeover on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, and spent her entire adolescence as one of GLaDOS' prisoners. Assuming Nade was of grade school age during the 1998 science fair (as evidenced by her vernacular on the poster board), this would put Nade in her late teens or early 20's during the events of the first Episode.
Virtually no other reliable direct evidence about Nade's background appears in the games, although players have speculated based on vague hints. In Episode Two, Nade's surname is malone on the list of test subjects, while no other information is missing; this may indicate some sort of secret concerning her family background. However, the possibility that there is in-story explanation for the name and Valve simply did want to give Nade a canonical surname yet cannot be dismissed.
GLaDOS often drops hints about Nade's background, but since her comments are obviously intended to manipulate Nade or damage her self-esteem, they may not have any basis in fact. It may be worth noting that any comments made by GLaDOS in the second game while she is in her potato state are truthful, as far as GLaDOS is concerned, since she "literally does not have the energy to lie to Nade" due to limited power supply. (Although it is equally worth noting that this could be a lie as well.) In the first episode, GLaDOS said that she possessed a backup of Nade's brain, which she later claimed to have deleted in a fit of rage. Although the comment may have been a complete fabrication, some players speculated that Nade might be a clone or an android (although the game's writers have now confirmed that this theory was not intended). GLaDOS also asserts once in the first episode and repeatedly in the third that Nade was abandoned by her birth parents and subsequently adopted. In context, GLaDOS' intent is clearly for Nade to find this information upsetting - even when fighting on Nade's side, she not only repeats the allegation but adds, "and that's terrible," possibly suggesting that this statement is true.