Wheatley looked away from the computer monitor. He said nothing, which was uncharacteristic of his personality. P-body and Atlas glanced at each other awkwardly. Should they say something?
P-body was about to pipe up when they heard Wheatley.
"This is amazing! We can go to the outside world!"
Atlas jumped in GLaDOS's body and P-body nearly fell out of hers. Each wondered what the change in attitude was.
"Well, We know where Chell is now," Wheatley said brightly. "All it is will be a matter of us getting there, walking up to her, saying a few words, and then WHAMMO! Forgiveness. And then we can get her out of the loony bin!" Wheatley nodded his optic up and down, signifying how pleased he was at himself.
Atlas let out a growl of impatience. Were they leaving then? He wanted to get out of the body.
"Ah. Right. Ok. Well," Wheatley glanced back at the elevator. "Hm… how to get you out of that and into that…"
P-body and Wheatley glanced at Atlas, who had activated his old body and was now dislodging his core out of GLaDOS's. He signaled that they had about 3 seconds before the lift would activate without them on it. Without a second thought, both bots rushed towards the elevator, with P-body carrying Wheatley.
The elevator's doors slammed shut and they began to move.
"Finally we're leaving, Chell…" Wheatley murmured quietly to himself. 'I may have thought you had brain damage once and truly belonged there, but after what we both have been through and what amazing things I've seen you do, there's no way you should have ever been put there...'
Atlas and P-body glanced at him and then each other; surreptitiously the turret grasped the other's hand. Free at last.
It was not five minutes later when the three emerged from the lift, completely shaken and almost battle-scarred from their perilous ascent.
"I…I was not expecting that…. What…I don't…" Wheatley gasped, clearly in a state of alarm and confusion.
Atlas and P-body looked just as rattled as he did, each covered in scratches that came from the gratuitous amounts of bullets that were launched at them.
"I mean, who puts bloody TURRETS facing the elevator doors? It's pointless! MAD!" Wheatley screeched incredulously.
P-body took that moment to sit down, clearly haunted from the ordeal. Atlas joined her, leaning on her side, wishing to never repeat such an awful near-"death" experience like that ever again. P-body's optic narrowed at Atlas. This was his fault.
They had stepped on the elevator, drunk off the feeling of sweet victory, and had ascended in exuberance. Without warning, the elevator had stopped briefly, revealing four lone turrets who were about to open fire. As the three cringed in desperation, each fearing the end, the turrets relaxed, and a beautiful melody spilled forth. It had lured them into such a state of bliss and relaxation, even as the elevator ascended and more turrets appeared. Not a one was terrified at the sight.
However, at that time, Atlas had been drumming his finger on the trigger of the portal gun, merely bobbing to the beat of the music (he had never heard such a wonderful sound!), when he tapped a little too hard, and launched his portals across the room.
One thing led to another, and there was chaos of turrets flying randomly through the air, bullets filling the air like confetti (dangerous explode-y gunpowder confetti), and screams. Oh the screams they heard. Without warning, rockets came exploding forth, launched by the animal king turret, which had been knocked off guard by the smaller ones. The lift they were in became Swiss cheese in seconds. Somehow each rider had managed to dodge most of the bullets, and had beat on the gears to turn faster so they would not share the same cheesy fate as their steed.
Even as they continued to rise, the sounds of tiny screams and bullets could be heard from the dark depths. Any good feelings from before were now completely dissolved into a sense of realism and 'holy shit we almost died just then.'
Back in the present, P-body smacked Atlas's stupid head, sending his core flying into a wall. He nearly got them killed because of a slip of a finger! She beeped angrily at him, furious with their situation.
Atlas in turned slapped at her; his core controlled the movements of his body from afar. It wasn't his fault, he was caught off guard! They continued their antics loudly, neither one submitting to the other.
Wheatley sighed to himself. "We really should be going. What if She comes back online?"
The cooperative robots glanced at each other. He had a point. Atlas's body went to go retrieve its core and P-body looked to Wheatley for any guidance, knowing how strange that phrase was when it was said out loud. "Say, um…Blue…no…" Wheatley fumbled around for a bit. "You know what; I don't actually know either of your names… I'm sorry…oh, this is rather awkward…" He added quickly, realizing he should have asked a long time ago.
Both beeped simultaneously, giving their names statically; P-body hiding a sense of hurt, Atlas hiding the desire to punch him.
"Well, um, Atlas," Wheatley began nervously, sensing the aggression of the other personality sphere. "Do you remember the location of Chell's?" Atlas nodded, rolling his core in its socket to make sure all was right. "About how far away is it?" Wheatley continued.
Atlas looked thoughtful for a moment, clearly organizing his thoughts. He turned around and pointed at the wall opposite everyone, letting out a series of low pitched noises to signify how far away.
Wheatley looked crestfallen. "But that will take…five, is it five?" Atlas and P-body nodded, already having done the simple math needed to calculate the amount of time required to travel to their destination. "Err, right. Five days, then. There has to be some way to get there quicker!" Wheatley looked wildly around, not finding anything to fit his particular need.
P-body and Atlas followed suit and looked around the inside of the little room they were in. Funny, was this the outside? It was a lot smaller than either thought it would have been. There sure was a lot of hype about how awesome it would be out there…
"Well, nothing in here, let's go out that door!" Wheatley concluded and motioned to the door in front of them.
Oh. There's a door. Right.
Atlas rolled his optic. Of course there was more than just the tiny room. The outside world was beyond the door in front of them. P-body glanced at him; her hands were full, she wasn't going to be able to open the door.
Atlas let out an oddly human-like sigh (Wheatley noticed this. For machines, they sure acted more human than not…) and strode over to the exit and opened it. All three stepped out and froze.
A ray of sunshine and gentle wind greeted them. Blue sky and fluffy white clouds blanketed their upwards vision. At their feet, a patch of brown dirt and a field of flowing wheat.
For three bots that had never ventured outside, this was incredible. As the sun shone down, they could feel the subtle warmth invade their cores and the breeze waft them in a state of sensation.
Absolutely compelled to celebrate their newfound freedom, P-body thrust a very startled Wheatley into Atlas's equally startled arms and jumped into the wheat. Laughing like a freak, she rolled and buzzed excitedly, feeling the warm sun, the cool breeze, and the strange feel of the plants against her metal hull.
Atlas and Wheatley watched on, neither speaking but thinking the same thing. Women…
P-body sat up abruptly. She was done now. (though maybe she would do something like this again later when no one was watching. Usually when she did strange things she was greeted by either a cutting comment from GLaDOS or an awkward stare from Atlas) She glanced sheepishly over to Wheatley and Atlas. What now?
"I'm not sure. But we should definitely start to-! Hey!" Wheatley was interrupted by Atlas, who had spotted something and wheeled around suddenly. Wheatley followed his gaze. "Is that a….?"
A piece of something stuck out from behind the shack they were in front of. Cautiously, Atlas walked towards it. P-body jumped up and followed, curious to see what had her companion so transfixed on.
Atlas stopped when he had full view of the mysterious thing. He tilted his head, perplexed by the strange mechanical thing in front of him. What exactly was it?
Wheatley began searching his memory banks for any reference as to what exactly the strange four-wheeled machine was.
P-body stood there, puzzled by it, but soon felt annoyed. Why did this piece of appliance capture the rapt attention of her companion? It looked ridiculous! An L-shaped body that sat on four wheels with a door that led into a small compartment—stupid, absolutely stupid. She crossed her arms impatiently. Shouldn't they be leaving already?
Atlas ignored her, handing Wheatley, who was still searching, to her and inspected the strange device up close. It was far larger than he was, black, though a bit dirty, but appeared sleek and impressive underneath the filth. Atlas ran a metallic hand down its length. The sensation sent tingles through his body. He peeked into the window on its side. There were two seats, a strange console that sat in front and middle to them, and the seat on the left had a strange circle jutting out in front of it. Though he had no Idea what it was, he knew he wanted it.
"Ah! It's an automobile! Livid! I never thought I'd get to see one like this!" Wheatley, done sifting through his vast references, suddenly called out, drawing Atlas's attention away. "This certain automobile is referred to as a 'truck' by humans. Hmm…judging by the looks, I'd say it's been in much use, but has been unused for some while…"
A truck was it? Atlas liked the word. It had a certain ring to it, though he did not know why.
P-body gave a dissatisfied huff. What a stupid thing for humans to create. What were they even supposed to use it for? Or were they just supposed to stand around and ogle it like idiots all day?
Atlas shot her a look. Whatever. He liked it. Looking down, he noticed a small handle and opened the door.
"Ah! I know! We can use it! Humans 'drive' these things and they go fast, even covering great distances in only minutes! We can see Chell even sooner!" Wheatley looked positively ecstatic, and P-body would have shared the sentiment, if she didn't decidedly hate the damned thing so much.
She wasn't even sure why she had so much hostility towards it. By all means, it was a perfectly useful apparatus—it made traveling so much quicker and easier, she could see why humans liked them. But just the way Atlas touched it, it made her reeling with…she couldn't place the emotion, but she knew it made her want to blow the cursed machine up into little tiny bits so Atlas would stop his ocular obsession with it.
Atlas climbed into the front seat and sat there, unsure of what to do. He motioned over to P-body and Wheatley, urging her to bring him over.
"Well, come on then…" Wheatley nudged after P-body didn't react. Grudgingly she strode over and stood to the side. "There should be another door on the other side…" Wheatley noted, and with some prodding from Atlas, she reluctantly traveled to the other side, where Atlas had opened the passenger side door for her.
P-body got in, and though the seat on the truck was rather comfortable, she refused to like it. Atlas put his hands on the steering wheel. He felt pleasant sensations flow through him. He knew he was supposed to do something with it, but what? Glancing downwards, he noticed strange protrusions from the floor of the machine right where his feet hung. He turned to Wheatley, expecting some way to make it start.
"Well," Wheatley began, strenuous researching on his part evident, "I think keys are needed to turn a piece by the steering wheel."
Atlas looked, and P-body decided she had had enough. She got out of the truck and walked away, in a huff. Men…
Atlas was about to start after her, wondering why she was so angry when they had the perfect means of transportation given to them, when Wheatley chuckled next to him.
"This is so amazing!" he gushed. "We'll find Chell in a snap!" he giggled to himself, and Atlas prodded him gently, forgetting about P-body. Where were they to find the "keys"?
Wheatley looked around in stunned silence. He wasn't sure. Usually a human had them—oh. "I don't know." Wheatley admitted, looking down, rather crestfallen. "If they aren't in the-" processing! "-Ignition, then someone will most likely have them. A human, I mean."
Atlas turned to face him. So that was it. They had the perfect (P-body scoffed rather loudly) means of traveling, but without the keys, they couldn't use the damn thing. Atlas looked positively crushed. He wouldn't be able the drive the wondrous contraption. P-body smirked to herself. That was that. Now Atlas could stop touching it and they could be on their way, never to see it again.
"Well, maybe if I just hack it…" Wheatley muttered, unsure of how to even do such a thing.
"What the fuck do you kids think you're doing!"
A sudden voice made all three bots jump. What was that?
Atlas glanced through the window on his side and stared. A strange fleshy pink thing dressed in a blue material was running towards them. He looked very angry and the personality core turned to Wheatley, not sure how to handle the situation. Wheatley looked just as confused as he did, and P-body leaned back into the truck to get a better look.
"Get the hell out of my truck, or I'll blast your fucking heads off!" The human screamed at them.
Atlas and P-body looked horrified. This deranged, smelly, dirty, angry creature was a human? He appeared to be holding a metal stick of some sort, pointed threateningly at them. From his appearance, Wheatley ascertained that he was a farmer who had been checking on his plants. That would explain the truck's present location...
"This is not good…" Wheatley cowered in his seat. "Ok! Just act natural! No sudden movement; humans hate that!" he cautioned them. "We just, let's just step out of the truck. And then maybe he won't kill us."
Atlas and P-body did so and stood before the human, P-body holding Wheatley as he shook furiously.
The man let out a gasp of terror. "What the hell-?" He fired his metal stick, and the explosive bullets managed to miss both robots and crash into the ground, up heaving a mound of dirt into the air. "What the hell are you things!" The man was clearly panicked at that point, and began to fire randomly.
The bullets hit Atlas in the arms and legs, but did nothing. The turrets back at the facility did far more than the human and his tiny little stick.
Wheatley, sensing his distress, tried his best to calm him down. "N-now, good huma-sir, please, if you'll just bear with us, we won't-" He never got to finish. The man suddenly fell over backwards onto the ground.
P-body let out a gasp of terror. What happened to him?
"I…don't…" Wheatley was at a loss for words. "Maybe he's dead? Either way, it's a good thing he's down. He won't hurt us now. He was the owner of the truck!" Wheatley began to shake with excitement. "That means he has the keys! We can drive his truck out of here! We just need to find his keys!"
P-body rolled her eyes in exasperation. This again? They couldn't even drive the truck, not one of them knew how, and even if Wheatley did, he had no limbs to use to drive.
While she was ranting, Atlas had already stridden over to the man, gazing at him intently. He was hairy all over, and looked wrinkled. He noted how thin and frail he looked and thought back to what GLaDOS had talked about being killed by a human. Atlas couldn't fathom it. The creature in front of him barely registered as a threat anymore, and not even while awake. But as Atlas continued observing the fallen man, he noticed a small shiny object attached to the material on his midsection. He detached it and looked at it curiously. What was it? It had a metallic tint to it, and had a strange and jagged edge. He glanced back over the Wheatley and was not at all surprised to hear P-body still ranting. He held it up so they could see.
"Oh! Brilliant! That's the key! Now come on before he wakes up (if he's not already dead) and let's go!" Wheatley twitched with anticipation. Finally… finally… all their problems were solved; they had means of quick transportation, two robots who could probably figure out how to drive, and soon they would get to Chell, who would forgive him now with ease since he had managed to come back and save her.. Now he just needed to figure out how to spring Chell out of the nuthouse without being spotted by any other humans.
Atlas climbed back into the truck and found the slot for the key. He inserted and turned it; suddenly the truck sprung to life and began rumbling in a low steady beat. Atlas was beside himself in ecstasy. What an amazing contraption. Now he just needed to make it move. P-body climbed in and continued to sulk over Atlas's intense fondness for the stupid thing.
"From what I've seen, you need to-" Wheatley began, but Atlas held up a hand for silence. He wanted to figure out how to drive it. How hard could it be?
Hundreds of miles away, a certain science research facility dedicated for the sole purpose of science things, was examining a strange box seemingly built for the sole purpose of companionship. The workers had obtained the cube after many periods of bribing, under-the-table dealings, murders, and other various dark things, and had decidedly come to the conclusion it was from their old rival of 230 years ago, Aperture Science. Each scientist had been working day and night ever since their first possession of the cube to scout the point of origin, which would hopefully lead to the present location of that facility. They had been very unsuccessful. Even though they had each been promised a very pleasant share of wealth, and the matter of obtaining said wealth relied heavily on success.
One of the brighter ones had suggested finding out how the cube had come into the hands of the feds. He further figured that since the cube had no clear way of transporting itself, something or someone must have brought it with them upon entrance of the city. All they had to do was find the person or thing who brought it, make them retrace their steps to where they first got it, and there they would find Aperture, or at least another link to it.
He was promptly fired for being a smartass. This is Black Mesa, dammit, not a comedy ring.
After the asshole was finished cleaning out his office, the rest of the scientists stopped jeering at him long enough to get back to work before they too met the same fate.
Many days later, they had ascertained the origin of the first sighting of the cube. Apparently it had been brought in by a woman of questionable sanity and questionable taste. The woman had been convicted of attempting to poison the town's water supply (something that had been attempted before by various criminals) with a strange foreign cube-shaped device adorned with hearts. Her court-appointed sentence led her into an insane asylum where she was scheduled to be lobotomized in five days' time.
Which would be very soon.
Panic broke out among the scientists. They needed to find this person before five days was over. Otherwise, none of them would get their bonus and would more than likely lose their jobs due to failure for compliance with science. Immediately they called upon some of Black Mesa's nameless agents to track the woman down and bring her to them. For science.
"A-aren't we going a tad fast, Atlas?" Wheatley screamed from his seat on P-body's lap.
The truck gave a lurch as Atlas swerved to avoid a grazing cow, oblivious to the imminent danger present. Charging through more wheat plants, Atlas narrowed an optic and merely pressed on the gas pedal with a greater force.
P-body let out a dissatisfied huff. Maybe she should be behind the wheel and drive for a while as Atlas clearly had no idea what he was doing.
Atlas spun the wheel once more to avoid another ill-placed bovine, and kindly asked her to just shut up and let him drive, woman.
P-body let out another irritated noise and told him that he didn't even know where he was going anymore. They should stop and get directions before they get any more lost, or waste any more gasoline, for that matter.
Atlas was about to respond when he took his optic off the front to glare at her; his simple mistake caused the truck to veer wildly for a moment, and then aim straight for a nearby tree.
"DEAR G-" Wheatley attempted to scream out just before impact. Atlas and P-body quit glaring at each other long enough to see the impending doom, but not react to it.
BAM! The front of the truck smashed into the tree, crumpling like tissue paper and causing the airbags to deploy, albeit rather weakly. All three robots sat among the echo of the smash and the gunpowder from the airbags awkwardly before attempting to move.
Thankfully, all riders were wearing their seatbelts when the automobile careened into the botanic stalk, so none were too badly injured. Wheatley, however, was rather shaken from the experience, and could only sputter terrified noises while Atlas and P-body climbed out of the truck to inspect the damage caused. Suddenly the truck decided it had had enough misuse and promptly burst into flames.
Atlas and P-body jumped with shock, Wheatley managed to recover from the crash long enough to scream "Oh my—RUN!"
So they did. Which definitely was a good thing indeed; the truck then exploded, showering the field with bits of flaming metal and other various pieces of truck.
It was another moment before anyone said anything.
"Well, there went that idea." Wheatley said sullenly.
P-body whacked Atlas across his core with her portal gun ("Careful! Those aren't toys!" Wheatley cried.) and chided him for being stupid with their only method of quick transportation. Atlas, mourning the loss of such a beautiful device, was unresponsive to the sudden impact of the gun. He merely stooped down to pick up a piece of remaining unscorched truck and hold it sadly in his hand. P-body immediately felt a sense of pity and pat him on the core. It would be alright. They could just walk the rest of the way.
Atlas looked up at P-body, her orange optic looking down lovingly at him. He never realized how pretty it was, especially in the light of the outside. P-body looked down at him, satisfied he was looking at her with the same look he had been giving the truck. Slowly she reached for his hand…
"Um, hello! Not to interrupt your moment or anything, but we really need to be going now…" Wheatley piped up; clearly intent on moving along, since the sun was now starting to set below the horizon.
The two cooperative units gave a start. Right. They should be going now. With that, the three bots started out to Chell's location.
-Night of the 1st day; 108 hours remain-
A/N: So, after a lot of complications, I present to you, chapter 5 of this thing.
I'm not sure if including Black Mesa was a good Idea, but I'm just gonna roll with it. Also, no, I'm not going to introduce any HL characters, and if I can help it, no OCs will be introduced either. I dislike OCs greatly, so I do not wish to include them.
Also! I feel the need to include some shout-outs to my greatest Portal inspirations:
X_Mostly Harmless_X (Her story "Wheatley's Second Chance is amazing, and you should definitely check it out. She's also got another story in the works, or so it looks like, that seems really good.)
Sorida (Forgiveness is AMAZING and you simply must read it, or you're not a human being.)
Witchy Bee (I love both of her portal stories, all she needs to do is update more :D)
CrystalLotus98 (Any of her portal stories. :3)
Ok, I'm done. Thank you for reading! I appreciate it so much! Much more than you can imagine! Feel free to leave a comment or a critique for me. I do so enjoy reading them~
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go write the next chapter of Wanting More…