So excited. Things are actually going to happen this chapter! ...Probably. I feel bad for having Wheatley say "innit" From my limited understanding of British culture, it's chav speak. But, that could just be some old bat's opinion. I just can't picture Wheatley being able to pronounce "isn't it" with the "s" sound. I don't think he's consciously using it, it's just how he sounds (In retrospect, I expect he pronounces it "e'nnit" But I'm probably just crazy.). I'm really sorry if I'm butchering your dialect, Britain! D:
SO Sorry for another late update, blame the same friend who recommended I read The Giver. She continued her quest to sabotage my free time by recommending I read Homestuck (longest webcomic ever) I'm not even halfway done and I've been reading for days.
GLaDOS closed the hole that made getting back up to the catwalk possible, so that was no longer an option. "C-Chell? Are you here to haunt me? I- I-" Wheatley sputtered, his face pale. He could find no words, at this point. Chell had a mixed expression on her face. "I... you're alive?"
Chell's every memory of her last experience at Aperture swirled around in her head. Mostly, she thought of how he'd set the stalemate button to explode, and how he'd said something similar when she got up. She walked over to him, and stood there in silence for a moment. She raised her hand back, and smacked him in the face. All was silent, except for the echo resonating in the test chamber.
"Definitely alive. I... I deserved that, didn't I? " Wheatley said as he rubbed his cheek. He looked down, like a kid who'd gotten into the cookie jar. "I'm sorry Chell. I know that doesn't mean anything, sorry doesn't cut it. But I needed to-" Wheatley was still rambling when Chell dropped her portal gun to the floor. She embraced him quickly, and backed away.
"Errmmm... I'm picking up some mixed signals here, Chell. And it's... for lack of better words, bloody terrifying. So if you could, um... maybe clear that up for me..." Wheatley stopped for a moment. "You're still dumb, err, mute, aren't you?" Wheatley quickly changed his terminology to a more pleasant one.
"I can talk. It took a year of speech therapy, though. To clear things up, the slap was for trying to kill me on multiple occasions and all in all making a complete ass of yourself. The hug was for not being dead yet. For the record, I'm still angry at you. I came here to ask a few questions. I didn't expect getting stuck in here. This was supposed to be a 'get in, get out' kind of thing."
"This reunion is touching, really, but the next test chamber is waiting. You're looking especially round, by the way." GLaDOS said, directing the insult at Chell.
"Oh, thanks, I blame all the cake I've been free to eat in the outside world." Chell retorted. "We'll talk later Wheatley." Chell picked up her portal device, pressed the button to open the door, and they were on their way to the next test chamber. Wheatley followed reluctantly. He could only trust that she wouldn't kill him, and that they would find a way out... and that she wouldn't kill him after they found a way out. He couldn't exactly blame her for wanting to, as it stood.
"For someone who used to be so quiet, you talk an awful lot now." GLaDOS noted. "Nice hit back there, by the way. The echo really emphasized the room's acoustics."
"It could have been harder. I went easy on the moron." Chell said with no particular malice in her voice as the two walked into the next test chamber. In fact, she'd almost sounded like it was a compliment.
"But I'm NOT a-"
"Now, why on Earth would you finish that sentence?" Chell raised an eyebrow as she waited for a response. This test looked especially fatal. It seemed GLaDOS really wanted to make them suffer.
Wheatley bit his lip, thinking it best not to aggravate her. "Sorry." Chell was silent, she seemed lost in thought, just like old times.
It was then Wheatley actually noticed the test chamber. Wide eyed, he stopped immediately. The room consisted of a square acid pit, dead center in the middle of the room. On the sides of it were two spike plates. The door was on the other end of the room, though elevated on a platform. Blocking it was another spike plate, sideways this time. Conveniently, there were stairs leading up to the platform. To the side of the two was a slanted portal surface on the wall, a small hole with a portal surface on the bottom, a button, and a cube dispenser.
"Chell? I hope you have a plan."
"Shh! I'm thinking." Chell held up her hand, motioning for silence.
"Well, I suppose we could just run before the spike plate goes down again..." Wheatley obviously wasn't getting the hint. Chell turned around to see Wheatley standing by the spike plate.
"Get away from there! You'll get yourself killed." Chell stomped over to Wheatley, grabbed his arm and promptly pulled him away from the death trap. "The stairs and spike plates there literally have nothing to do with the puzzle. It's meant to look like the first obvious choice, but really, the spike plates are moving too fast. Neither of us are fast enough to make it out of that alive. Now could you focus on not getting yourself killed?" Chell felt exasperated. Wheatley was no problem as a machine, stuck to a rail, but as a human, in a testing facility, he had the potential to do a lot of damage to himself, and probably Chell too. She felt like his babysitter.
"Sure. Okay, focus on not dying. Sounds like a pretty solid thing to focus on." Wheatley was rambling while Chell was looking over the button... last time she pressed one, it didn't exactly go so well. "So, about that plan that I can't help with because I'm busy not dying..."
"Wheatley, please." Chell said as she rubbed the temples of her forehead in frustration. "Okay, for starters, how about you press that button... quietly, while I go stand over there."
Wheatley cocked his head to the side. "...You can't press the-"
"No. No, I can't press the button."
"I believe she's saying your attempted murder with the exploding button gave her a deep rooted fear of pressing buttons. Also that you're a horrible person." GLaDOS chimed in. They both jumped a bit, at their conversation being interrupted.
"Thanks GLaDOS, what would we ever do without your amazing psychoanalysis?" Wheatley was looking at the ground. Chell glanced over at him and sighed. "That's not it at all. I'll press the damned button." Chell hesitated slightly, then pressed the button. The second she did, an explosion sound could be heard ringing through the test chamber. Chell yelped and jumped back, tripping over the cube that fell behind her.
"Chell!" Wheatley quickly walked over to Chell and extended his hand to help her up. Chell refused the help and stood by herself, brushing off the dust on her pants. Wheatley lowered his hand and sighed. "I'm sorry, I should have pressed the button. I... are you okay? I really should've asked that first, huh?"
Wheatley hadn't intended it, but he managed to brighten Chell's mood a bit, she was smiling, though it was a bit of a sad smile. He hadn't changed. Though that could be a bad thing, depending what way you looked at it.
"Sorry, just testing out the acoustics again." GLaDOS said, no doubt if she were human she would be grinning.
Chell's mood deflated again as she picked up the cube with her portal device. "Wheatley, put a portal in that hole, and one on that slanted surface." Chell ordered. Wheatley nodded, not wanting to cause another incident. He placed the portals, and Chell dropped the cube into the hole. It went flying, and bounced off the spike plate, into the acid pit. Chell sighed. She went over to the button, almost defiantly, to press it.
Wheatley intervened "I'll press the button this time." He smiled as he pressed the button to call for another cube.
Chell still seemed a bit shaken up. Her pride was thrown temporarily out the window, so she didn't think to argue, even though she'd wanted to prove she wasn't afraid of the button.
Chell picked up the cube again, and this time she timed it so she would drop it the moment the spike plate collided with the wall. This turned out successful, the cube flew to the ledge seconds after the plate moved back from the wall, giving it plenty of time.
"I got it." Chell waited for the plate to hit the wall again, "Well, in you go." Chell pushed Wheatley into the hole and watched as he was thrown to the ledge.
"What was that for? I could've been killed!" Wheatley yelled from across the room. Chell timed her jump and was soon on the ledge along with Wheatley.
"Sorry, but to be honest, I trust my sense of timing more than yours. If I'd left it up to you, you would've hesitated, and then your guts would be all over that wall over there... so you're welcome."
"I suppose you have a point." Wheatley had placed the cube on the button, and they were about to advance. "Didn't you say we were going to talk later? Because quite honestly, I'm still utterly confused. And since you said that earlier, I figured it's later now."
They both walked into the elevator. "Later." Chell said in the most final voice she could.
"Got it, later." Silence. "It wouldn't happen to be later now would it?" This earned Wheatley a glare. "Okay, shutting up now."
Wheatley watched the metal pass him by as they went down the elevator, somewhere down the line he drifted into the same dreamy haze as earlier. He was suddenly... still in an elevator. But Chell wasn't there, and the elevator seemed to be an older model. He was still seeing the world through his own eyes, but he had no control over what happened. He felt like an outside viewer.
The elevator door opened, and he was in a revived, bustling aperture. He walked purposefully down the hall, to check on their latest project, the Genetic Lifeform and Disc Operating System, GLaDOS for short. He was a chemist, but he was put on this job as an engineer. When he'd asked Cave about this decision, he got some vague answers. Saying it was for the man's own good and for science. As (current) Wheatley was watching the scene, he couldn't quite place why, but this confrontation unsettled him. Cave seemed almost hostile.
He didn't know why, he had no proof that he was this man at one time, but he got this feeling of déjà vu.
Not being one to want to appear stupid, Wheatley looked up all that he could about engineering when he was assigned the job. This led to many sleepless nights in the library. The beginning of the job was slow going. He tried his best to stay out of the engineer's way as he learned from them, and from his books. Cave expected him to make a fool of himself, therefore, he would do his best to be a key asset to the engineering team.
He opened the door to the engineering room, eager to start today's work. The engineers were stumped in the designing process. They weren't sure how to fit all the knowledge GLaDOS was expected to have into the machine. They could make her bigger, but then, she'd be too big to even move herself, and much too difficult to reasonably construct and take care of. They were on a pretty tight budget, they couldn't exactly afford to build the Colossus.
Wheatley had been doing some research, and found an article of an engineer who was working on a special processor. He boasted it to have twenty times the processing power of a normal processor, and just a bit bigger than the average processor. There was still a weight problem, however. GLaDOS was meant to hang from the ceiling, but her size alone would be enough to break the ceiling. However, he spent some time in the lab earlier, and was on his way to figure out how to make metal lighter. He was having little to no luck, being the only one working on it, but he felt it was possible. Though he alone was no super genius, he would need to get a team to work on it.
"Hey Wheatley!" Cole greeted as he walked in. ("So, I am this guy, or, this guy is me, I don't know!")
"'Ello!" Wheatley smiled. "How are things over here?"
Cole frowned as he looked at the group of engineers arguing. "Terrible, as usual. No one can agree, and it's getting us nowhere."
"Well, I think I have a solution to at least one of our problems." Wheatley showed Cole the file of his research, and Cole grinned. "This could work. Good job! But, now here comes the fun part, convincing those fine people over there that you're right. Good luck."
At that moment he phased back into reality to here Chell speaking.
"Come on, wake up. I really can't have you falling asleep constantly like this." Chell waved a hand across his face, to get his attention.
"Wha? Oh right." Wheatley put a hand over his forehead. He stood, and looked around. The elevator was open, and Chell was staring at him with an unreadable expression.
"Why do you keep blanking out like that?" Of course, Wheatley didn't know Chell had seen his first blank out, but he didn't think much of it.
"We'll talk later." Was all Wheatley said as he walked towards the next test chamber, Wheatley had a lot to think about. Confused, Chell followed.
Oh my Jesus I'm terrible. I've been so lazy, every time I think about making a new test chamber, I go "screw this" and go do something else. But, I have a solution, a cheap solution, but a solution, none the less. If I get stuck, I'll just take ones from the co-op campaign. Chell hasn't seen any of them yet, and it's perfect since Wheatley is there.
GLaDOS is giving delicious cake to those who review. :P