A/N: This is my first fanfiction, guys. Don't let that scare you off, though! I promise, it's worth a read. Spoilers ahead for those of you who haven't finished Portal 2. And, that being said, if you haven't, go finish it! Now!
Wheatley slowly cracked open his blue optic, hoping, as always, that he would see anything around him but the vast emptiness of—
"SPACE! So much…space everywhere…it never ends!" the rabidly excited voice of the space core chimed, completing Wheatley's thought quite nicely. Not that it had been a particularly nice thought to begin with. Wheatley let out a groan of pure frustration. Even the optimism and good cheer that was hard-wired into his system was beginning to wear thin. His time floating out there in space, being orbited by a personality core so corrupted it was a surprise-scratch that, a miracle-that it could even function, was clocking in around fourteen months. Give or take.
Who was he kidding? He knew the exact amount of time had passed since he slipped out of (read: was knocked out of) Chell's grip and into the vast, cold emptiness. It didn't help that his internal clock was constantly ticking away the moments. Fourteen months, twelve days, three hours twenty-seven minutes and fifteen…sixteen…seventeen…
Wheatley snapped out of his semi-hypnosis, stopping himself from counting the seemingly endless seconds before he went mad. He always got that way after sleeping for a while. Getting sucked into the pointless timekeeping and whatnot. Well, he didn't really sleep, he just slipped into a kind of idle mode. But, just as if he was sleeping, he had dreams, of a sort. More like old memories that just played over in his mind, and it always seemed to be the memories he most wanted to forget. As if being stranded out here wasn't enough of a punishment.
It was hard to keep himself entertained out in space. Once he tried to count all the stars, but lost count after seven thousand, which is actually pretty impressive in a way, for someone whose brain is a computer. So that was the way he lived: either being slowly driven out of his mind by the chattering of the space core or being driven just as quickly to insanity by his own thoughts. Six one way, half a dozen the other. he thought. Sometimes he wished that the other core would just float away, but he was caught in Wheatley's personal gravity field, as the blue-eyed bot was slightly larger than the insane one. Not that Wheatley thought it would really help any if he was alone. He doubted that the absolute, dead silence of space would be preferable to—
"Oh, oh, there's space to the left, look at it, look at it…wait, wait, don't want to miss the space to the right…SPACE! IT'S LEFT AND RIGHT!" the space core rattled. Wheatley spun around to look at him. "It's all around!"
"Oh, for goodness sakes, can't I have just one moment to think, mate?" he demanded. The other core fell silent for a moment, looking down guiltily. "Thank you!" Wheatley sighed, still frustrated despite catching a break for once. He let his lids slide closed once more, not shutting himself down this time. It didn't help him to escape the guilt, in fact, nothing he did ever helped, because of course his thoughts always slipped back to Chell.
"I was a grade A jerk to her, you know that, Space Core?" he said. "She was the only friend I've ever had. Chell treated me like a person. You believe that, a human treating a robot like a person?" Wheatley shook his optic disbelievingly.
"Space." The other core replied sagely, which was just as much as Wheatley had expected.
"I betrayed her, and it was stupid of me. I was, you know, mad with power, as they say, but that's really no excuse. And you know the worst part?" Wheatley asked, pausing for a moment to let the other core answer. At least he could pretend it was a real conversation.
"A satellite!" he cried spastically. Wheatley continued, not glancing over to the space core.
"Nope, not a satellite, mate. Swing and a miss. No, the worst part is she tried to save me in the end, and I never even got to apologize to her. And now she'll always remember me as an-" he broke off, distracted, as the space core was still chanting the word 'Satellite!' over and over again. Wheatley tried again, wanting to finish the thought. "as a-an- oh, my GOD mate, can you just shut your gob for one more second so I can…" Wheatley whipped his optic back around to the other core. "Oh…" he murmured, his blue eye as wide as it had ever been.
A massive satellite was hurtling toward them at top speed. Wheatley panicked in his fervor to get out of the way, wishing for the hundredth, thousandth, millionth time that he had some method of propelling himself. Sure, being trapped in space was torturous, but it was still preferable to dying a horrible fiery death from being dashed against a satellite and exploding into a million...
Okay, Wheatley, message received, he scolded himself. He'd never been able to control his thoughts. The space core seemed oblivious to the distress, too excited about seeing some new 'space stuff' up close. He'd never been the most perceptive bot, bless him. Wheatley, understandably still in a lather, looked frantically around for something, anything that might help. Of course, nothing. After a few minutes of hopeless searching, the bot squeezed shut his eye, not wanting to meet this fate head on.
Well, this is it. I guess when it comes down to it, She was right about me. I am…a world. Class. Moron. Wheatley thought bitterly. A moment passed. So, am I dead now? he asked himself. It doesn't feel very different from being alive. Another moment later, he couldn't take it anymore and opened his eye a slit.
"Ahh!" Wheatley screamed, optic all the way open now, his outer panels popping out from the shock. The satellite was passing by him maybe two feet away. Just as he thought he was off the hook, to his surprise, he felt something tugging him toward the massive object. "Uaaagh! -!" Wheatley yelped. Then it hit him-not the satellite, of course, the answer to his own terrified question. He was being pulled in to orbit around the satellite. Then the space core hit him. "OW!" he shouted, knocked to the side and spiraling a little closer to the satellite.
"Coming through! Space to see!" the core responded. Wheatley wasn't far behind it, praying that he wouldn't careen into the satellite rather than float around it. It wasn't too long before he was, indeed, safely in orbit around the satellite.
"I didn't realize we had floated back this close to Earth…" he murmured. It was hard to get a good perspective on things when you're floating aimlessly through the infinite stretch of space. It didn't do him any good, of course, because it wasn't like he could actually get to Earth, unless this satellite crashed down on some innocent humans below. And Wheatley wouldn't wish that on anyone, even if it meant apologizing to Chell.
At least this was a sight more entertaining than just staring at the stars and inky blackness. Wheatley read the word inscribed on the satellite. It was the name of a cell phone company. So that was interesting. After a few moments he was bored again. Guess I might as well wait until I float on over to the other side of it. Maybe there's something better there… he thought.
A buzzing, hissing noise filled Wheatley's ears. He looked, puzzled, to the space core, but he was too far away to be making that loud of a noise. Wheatley shook his head, trying to clear it. Was he finally malfunctioning after so long being exposed to tiny meteorites and other manners of space rocks? Even before being hurtled into space, his functions had become a little more erratic. At times his optics would go out or he'd lose his voice for a little while, but he never had anything like this happen. It was like there was something in his head. It put him in mind of the Itch…
Wheatley shuddered at the mere memory and refocused on solving the mystery of this noise in his head. It sounded like…Wheatley narrowed his eye in thought. It sounded like static.
"Oh, of course! The satellite! Oh, that'll do it. I must be picking up a signal…" he announced to no one in particular. "Oho, that's brilliant!" he cried, letting out a laugh for the first time in over fourteen months, twelve days, four hours, ten minutes and seven seconds. The sound didn't seem to be any kind of coherent message, but that wasn't what Wheatley was celebrating. If he could pick up on a signal from the satellite, he could certainly bounce one off of it!
Wheatley looked back toward where the space core was still floating. He looked like he was enjoying himself. Wheatley doubted that he would want to take part in…well, he didn't exactly have a plan, but it involved not being in space anymore. Nonetheless, Wheatley would ask if he was in. Being stranded in space really wasn't fun, even with company, so all alone? Who could tell, though, the space core might be fine.
"Oi, back there!" Wheatley called to him. "Can you hear me? I'm working on a plan to get back to Earth…do you want to come with me?" he waited for a response.
"Gotta see all the space! Gotta see it ALL!" the space core faintly replied.
"Right. I'm going to assume that you are, in fact, staying. Good luck to you, then, mate!" Wheatley jocularly bellowed. He looked back at the satellite. He wished he could get a little closer, make the signal stronger. As Wheatley mulled it over, doing his best to formulate a plan, the static got stronger. It was rather distracting. "Now then…who do I even call? I don't know anyone who owns a phone…" he said quietly. The static was now at it's strongest volume, it was actually becoming quite unbearable. Wheatley scanned over the surface of the satellite, looking for whatever was causing the signal. There. A crooked little dish. Wheatley knew he'd better come up with a plan soon, or he'd miss his window of opportunity and have to wait until he came full circle. Which really wasn't such a long time to wait, all things considered.
The personality core could barely think with the intensity of the static in his mind. It was both a blessing and a curse when the sound started to fade. The upside was that he could think again, but the downside: he was drifting too far from the dish to get a signal for another-Wheatley examined the satellite-sixty hours or so. Bad luck, that. At least that gives me plenty of time to come up with an airtight plan. He mused with a self-assuring nod.
Fifty-nine hours later and he was scrapping yet another worthless plan. Who am I kidding? Wheatley thought. I know exactly who I have to call. There was no point beating around the bush any longer.
He already had the number programmed into him, anyway.
A/N: So there it is. Ooh, cliffhanger, who's he gonna call? I just love writing Wheatley. I don't think there's been any other time I've used the adverb 'jocularly' in my writing. Oh, dearest Wheatley. You make me use fancy words. How do you guys think I'm doing so far? Please let me know. R&R, please! Next chapter is going to be from Wheatley's perspective, and someone else's…who could it be? I should have it up tonight, so I won't keep you waiting too long!