Better Living Through Science and Ponies
Ready to Fire by Paranormal-one

cover image on Equestria Daily

Writer(s) Pen Stroke
Date published May 10, 2011
Words 39,979
Status Complete
Type/genre Crossover
Featuring Derpy Hooves
Based on Portal
Story link(s)
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Better Living Through Science and Ponies is a fan fiction written by Pen Stroke, with editing assistance by Batty Gloom. It is a cross-over with the Portal games, wherein Chell, GLaDOS, and the Aperture Science facility are transported to Equestria.


"Better Living" features a third-person omniscient narrator, past tense. A separate font is used for GlaDOS's lines.


After sending Chell to the surface, GlaDOS calls in Atlas and P-Body to begin a new round of co-operative testing. Unfortunately, one of the portal guns she provides P-Body turns out to have a crack in the black hole containment covered only with duct tape. The gun destabilizes and unleashes a portal that transports the operational upper portions of the Aperture facility, along with Chell, who had just been getting her bearings on the surface, to Equestria. The trans-location turns Chell into a pony and the co-op bots in equine shapes. GlaDOS remains unaffected in any significant way.

Fluttershy witnesses the virtual mountain that is the Enrichment Center and its encasing rock fall from the sky and land in a nearby lake. She goes to investigate and finds Chell on the top. After completing introductions and determining that Chell cannot speak, Fluttershy takes her to Ponyville. Meanwhile, GlaDOS devotes her energies to studying Equestria and planning new tests around pony physiology and abilities.

Chell is welcomed to Ponyville with open arms, so to speak, and after a time she begins to feel that her life has finally begun for real. She lives and works with Derpy Hooves and Dinky and rarely even thinks about GlaDOS and the Enrichment Center. Her peace is shattered when GlaDOS sends out an army of flying turrets armed with portal guns on a mission to collect a wide variety of ponies, based on breed and coloring. Derpy is captured before Dinky's eyes, and she barely makes it to the school house in time to rescue The Cutie Mark Crusaders from a similar fate. After destroying enough turrets to equip each leg with a portal gun/long-fall boot, Chell heads to the Enrichment Center to save her friends and, once again, take down GlaDOS.



Transformed into a dull orange earth pony with a pair of working Aperture Science portals for cutie marks (yes, she basically has a hole through her body) when she is transported to Equestria. Her muteness is explained as being due to a lack of vocal chords, the one voice-stealing condition unicorn magic cannot repair. She settles in Ponyville and gets a job as a postal worker, sorting the mail and manning the counter while Derpy is on her rounds.


She hasn't changed at all. As soon as she's taken stock of her new surroundings, GlaDOS dispatches mobile turrets armed with portal guns to collect new test subjects from Ponyville and Canterlot. She revels in subjecting ponies to psychological attacks alongside the normal testing.

Derivative works

A 5,350-word side-chapter, taking place between chapters 4 and 5, was written by Joe England and endorsed by Pen Stroke. It is a humorous account of a battle of wits between GlaDOS and a captive Princess Celestia, in which the AI finds herself royally out-classed.

The story has also spawned a sequel, A Trusted Friend in Science and Ponies, written by Rethkir. Picking up where the original left off, it is a longer and more in-depth tale that chronicles GLaDOS's plan to rebuild Aperture Science and the emotional turmoil it causes for Chell and her friends in Ponyville.

According to the creator of MLP in Thinking With Portals, he did not read the fic until after completing part six of his series, but has said that part seven will have some elements inspired by this fic.[1]


The story was posted by Sethisto on Equestria Daily before he had read it or consulted his pre-readers. However the story was extremely well received and holds a 6-star rating on the site as of June 8, 2012.


  1. Yudhaikeledai. Comment on "Trailer / Preview: Breaking into Aperture Science; MLP Thinking with Portals No.7: Intolerance". YouTube. Retrieved on 2012 August 11. “I discovered "Better Living with Science and Ponies" right after number 6: Home Alone.
    So in a way I went on an independent path compared to the fic, but the final one in the making will have a few aspects inspired by the fic :)” Archived locally