The many engineers at Aperture Science were always in competition—sometimes friendly, sometimes not—with each other. They were constantly trying to one-up each other as they worked on updating already-existing technology and creating new devices. Even after the GLaDOS project began, the competition continued—in fact, it was encouraged. But instead of working on just anything, most of the company’s engineers were working on cores.
GLaDOS needed to be tamed, and so the various engineering teams churned out cores in an attempt to curb her murderous tendencies. If a failed core was still functioning, it was reassigned to some other job so more employees could be working on developing even more cores. But they weren’t making the cores just to save their skin—they wanted recognition. They wanted to be the team to develop the core that finally tied a leash around that mad AI. The competition ensured that they kept working.
But it wasn’t always a good thing. Sometimes two teams would get the same idea, and each group would race to finish the development before the other one. The result was a pair of cores that were a bit too similar.
That was the case when two teams came up with the same idea to develop a core that would relay stories to GLaDOS in order to calm her. Though the idea was the same, the cores came out differently: one was the Storyteller Core, and the other was the Fiction Core.
The Storyteller Core was at first programmed to have a set number of stories to tell—fairy tales, classics, and so on—but the engineers quickly realized that if she was to keep GLaDOS distracted for a decent length of time, she would have to be able to tell more stories. So they changed her programming to tell not only tell classic tales, but also to craft her own stories to tell. Oftentimes she would get ideas for these stories by listening in on conversations around the labs.
The Fiction Core worked similarly, but instead of telling the stories verbally, he was to feed them to GLaDOS in the form of data. Originally he was to send already-written stories, but the engineers developing him learned of the mistake the other team made. They fitted him with similar programming, giving him the ability to write his own stories.
The Storyteller Core was finished first and immediately fitted onto GLaDOS. Happily she began to tell the AI a number of stories, which GLaDOS tolerated for a little while. But eventually the Storyteller Core hit upon a tale—one she had come up with after listening in on a conversation between some of the higher-ups in Aperture—that struck a nerve in the AI. Enraged, GLaDOS ripped the core off of her body and flung it across the room, slamming her into a wall and inflicting a nasty dent in her hull. The AI then managed to kill a couple scientists before they finally shut her down.
Not wanting to risk the same thing happening again, the engineers decided to skip over the Fiction Core. Instead of attaching him to GLaDOS, they sent him off to work elsewhere, like a core that had failed its original function. The Storyteller Core was also sent off to work, but she was not repaired—she could work just find with a dent in her hull, and they needed to get back to work on developing more cores.
Story was rather upset over her failure, but she was even more upset for another reason: the dent in her hull gave her a perpetual headache, which made it impossible for her to focus to come up with any more stories. She could work a job just fine, yes, but she could not perform her original function, which quickly drove her into bitterness. She took out this bitterness on the other constructs in the facility, usually by spreading hateful gossip about them.
Fic, meanwhile, did not understand why he had never been attached to GLaDOS—why he had somehow failed without ever actually trying anything. This didn’t help his self-confidence any, but it didn’t prevent him from trying to carry out his function. Instead of writing out things in his processor, however, he managed to get one of the employees to tie a pen to his handle, and stole a notepad from elsewhere. Though he was supposed to be working, he would sneak away whenever possible to write stories in his notebook.
Eh, I wanted to write out the backstory of my two stupid fan-cores. So here’s a crappy picture with some crappy writing to go with it. :P