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These androids were originally meant for studying the effectiveness of the Sentry Turrets, and other defense mechanisms developed by Aperture Science as their names would suggest.
During her series of tests, Chell is told by GLaDOS that the appropriate Test Chamber 16 is currently unavailable due to mandatory scheduled maintenance and that it has been replaced with "a live-fire course designed for military androids". While the chamber is highly dangerous and improper for human test subjects, GLaDOS merely apologizes "for the inconvenience" and wishes Chell "the best of luck". In the chamber, Chell is first confronted by the Aperture Science Sentry Turrets and must defeat them with Weighted Storage Cubes sent through portals she creates with her portal gun. After the test is over, GLaDOS' message seems to be automatic, as she addresses Chell as if she was an android herself while she congratulates her for succeeding.
GLaDOS also reminds that the Enrichment Center's "android hell", where androids are sent "at the first sign of defiance", "is a real place". Assuming it was not a lie, as GLaDOS is prone to do, this may be an area where androids are punished, tortured, partially (or fully) destroyed, or merely a frightening term for the trash compactor / furnace where unused objects are thrown, and known as the "Diversity Furnace" if not the Incinerator Room connected to Pneumatic Diversity Vents. It could also be the area near the neurotoxin generator where defective turrets are disposed of from the Redemption Line and tossed into a pair of grinders to explode.
As GLaDOS' message is rather menacing, androids most likely do feel pain or fear for the message and the so-called "android hell" to have a purpose. In Portal 2, android hell may be related to the "chamber [GLaDOS] built where all the robots scream at you" mentioned. This is supported by the fact that GLaDOS mentions sending Wheatley to this chamber as a punishment.
They are mentioned again in the ruins of Test Chamber 03 in Portal 2, where the Announcer states their involvement at the end of the test. He assures Chell that they have been taught to read and given a copy of The Laws of Robotics to share. He also urges Test Subjects to report if the androids begin to disregard human rights.
- The track "Android Hell" in the Portal soundtrack is a reference to the Military Android and its "hell".
- If the announcer's statement is true, military androids can read and possibly have sympathy.
- "Android Hell" is probably an homage to the "Silicon Hell" from the sci-fi TV series Red Dwarf, the final resting place of all disobedient androids and "all the photocopiers". It is also a possible "Futurama" reference, due to the fact that robots go to "Robot Hell", and they are tortured by the "Robot Devil" with horrible music for such acts as smoking and looking at smutty material among others.
- The Three Laws of Robotics, including the "Zeroth law" written by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov are:
- 0. (The Zeroth) A robot may only harm a human if by not doing so will bring more humans to risk.
- A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
- A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
- A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
List of appearances
- Portal (Mentioned only) (First appearance)
- Portal: Still Alive (Mentioned only) (Non-canonical appearance)
- Portal 2 (Mentioned only)