DERP. REVIEWS ARE NICE. THANK YOU.
A young woman clad only in a thin, orange jumpsuit stood silently in a tiny cubicle, back pressed up against the translucent wall in an effort to steady herself. Maybe it was the long rest that had tired her so, or perhaps her dizziness came from getting used to the odd spring-contraptions now inexplicably attached to her legs.
Suddenly aging a couple of years was a bit unsettling, too.
A slight fizzle of white noise hissed from an unseen speaker, then gave way to what sounded like a computer-generated message. She listened to the instructions without question, eyes closed and body tense with a strange combination of excitement and fear, foreboding and breathless anticipation. No words, no signs, no people were around to tell her what was going on, what the future held, but a few past experiences gave Chell the resolve to stay blank and incorrigible. If survival was her goal, she could not afford to cry, regret, or wonder. She could think, and nothing more.
And most importantly, she could never, ever speak.
"The portal will open in three, two, one…"
When first looking down into the expansive area where the Relaxation Chambers resided, one might see only the rows upon rows of neatly ordered boxes, all suspended from an unseen ceiling like a collection of dull-colored ornaments. On closer inspection, however, it was possible to make out a foggy floor lurking in the murky depths, and an exceptionally sharp-eyed person (or robot) might be able to see a grey mass of air slowing making its way across the terrain in absolute silence. To be frank, there was no way Edd or Eddy could have broken the quiet; their ratty shirts were pulled up over their mouths and eyes, serving as only somewhat effective barriers against the dust devil enveloping them.
Ed, meanwhile, was unimpaired by the sediment storm, as he was the one generating it.
It was impossible to see any of them from above; even Mr. Catalyst himself was virtually invisible, the flash of dark green that was his coat only vaguely noticeable as it circled the disturbance repeatedly. Wheatley had seen something similar to it once before, though that first time had been inside an employee breakroom. Well, inside a washing machine inside an employee breakroom. A red mitten had somehow gotten mixed in with the white load, its vivid stain slowly seeping into the snowy cloth as it whisked round and round about the washer. He had watched its progress for at least a minute or two, eye following the bright dot with pinpoint accuracy until a horrified human shooed him away while attempting to fix the damage done to the laundry. It was unfortunately too late to save most of the towels, though the washwoman managed to get away scot-free. Wheatley, who had neither the arms nor the know-how required to load the thing in the first place, was somehow blamed instead.
He let out an angry huff; once or twice back then wasn't so bad, but this was probably the thirtieth time he had gotten in trouble for nothing. Honestly, why did She send him down here? It was all dark and empty; nothing but cages as far as the eye could see. And the noises! The sphere shivered slightly as he heard another mysterious clang, a sharp note that echoed out over the distance for quite some time, distorting and morphing until it became the cry of some dying beast bound to the wall with rusting, rustling chains. The whole mess would have been completely and unbearably boring if it hadn't been for that puzzling little cloud of grime circling beneath his rail; Wheatley followed its progression as intently as he had followed that of the mitten's, praying that it wouldn't die out and leave him all alone. When it came to a halt not far from the room's corner, those hopes died and he turned back to his 'work' with a heavy heart, lamenting the loss of his erstwhile entertainment.
That was when the tornado exploded.
"IF YOU RUN AROUND ME ONE MORE TIME, ONE MORE TIME, ED, I'M GONNA BEAT YOU TO DEATH! YA GOT THAT?!"
"ED'S GOT IT, EDDY!"
"Yelling is hardly necessary, gentlemen; inside voices, please."
Wheatley's blue optic was a pinprick now, his entire hull shaking as the demon-things' roars rippled up from down below. What were they? How, why, and what, what, what?
A sudden stroke of inspiration struck him, his eye widening as a window of opportunity appeared. GLaDOS was mad at him now, right? But what if…what if he caught the intruders? Beat them up, took them prisoner, the whole nine yards? She'd have to reassign him, she'd just have to!
"Uh, permission to access lower-level railway? Please?"
[Permission granted. Please standby for automatic transportation.]
"Good, yes, that's very-"
Pupil shrinking once more, Wheatley finally remembered something very important about himself; he had no arms. No legs, either. And absolutely no weapons of any kind. But from the sounds of it, the mysterious interlopers had all three…well, at least the first two.
"Phew, very glad I caught that before going down there, that would've been an absolute catastro-"
[ID Sphere, are you ready for transportation?]
"Huh? Oh sure, sure…wait, what?"
[Aperture Science recommends that all ports and external outputs are kept withdrawn from the open air during the descent. Have a nice trip.]
"Wait, no! Stop! Argh, where's the bloody off switch?"
Panicking and certain of his impending doom, Wheatley could only scream as a jolt of electricity sparked over the management rail, shooting him down into depths with lightning speed. He was virtually falling, stuck in motion as the rail twisted and turned around the many chambers in a rollercoaster-like style. Mere seconds later, Wheatley was right on top of the (trio?), zooming across their heads with a blur of blue light. The short and tall (humans?) were barely nicked by his hull, yells of surprise reduced almost immediately to complaints and head rubbings.
The scrawny one, however, was not so lucky.
"ACK! SOME ASSISTANCE, PLEASE!"
"Geez, what happened to inside voices, Sockhead?"
Grumbling and already more than ready for a nice nap, Eddy chased after his friend as he and the weird ball-thing raced through the air, Ed following close behind. Though it was difficult to see anything through all the dust they were kicking up, it appeared that Edd's hat was, once again, caught on something. That something was currently towing him away at high speeds, travelling faster and faster and faster until suddenly, when Eddy was certain that he wouldn't make it another foot without passing out, the rails carrying the sphere came to an abrupt end.
Whoever had designed that thing's breaking system was a genius; despite all the built-up speed the ball was carrying, it stopped flawlessly, barely rocking as Edd finally got untangled from its plating and was pitched forward face-first into the dusty ground.
"Oh for heaven's sake, not this again!" he moaned, hurriedly brushing the offending grime off of his clothes.
"You alright, Sockhead?"
"These stains will never come out!"
"Yeah, yeah, I know…HEY, WHERE DO YA THINK YER GOIN'?!"
But the mysterious thing was already zipping away on another rail path, shrieking in terror as it went.
And Lothar the Great was on the hunt once again.
"AND AWAY WE GOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo...uh, Eddy?"
"Nope. Not movin'."
"Yes, Eddy, we absolutely must endeavor to retrieve that construct; who knows what useful information it holds within? We might not get another chance like this, you know!"
"Nope to infinity".
Sigh. "Ed, if you would…"
"HEY, NO FAIR!"
In Wheatley's mind, he was losing a race with the horsemen of the apocalypse.
"HAHA, I AM THE HORSE!"
"WAIT FOR ME, FELLAS!"
The trio's unusual style of horse-man-horsemanship was almost as terrifying as their and his encroachment on the entrance of the maintenance hallways, a place where robot and man alike were forbidden to intrude. If they got inside…he shuddered in his hull. She would kill him. So at the last second, he carried out a rather daring and intellectually complexicated plan; he swerved. It was so simple, yet so brilliant! Too bad he forgot to account for his own momentum…
With a yelp and loud crash, Wheatley accidently-on-purpose flung himself at and through the boarded doors and onto the hard floor of the pathways hidden within…much to the confusion of his pursuers.
"No really, I insist!"
"Ed is scared".
"Yer both wimps; c'mon!"
And so they stepped into the gloom of the maintenance hallways.
"I spy with my little eye…something wiry!"
"Lemme guess, Ed…is it a wire?"
"Wow, you're a genius, Eddy!"
"Heh, I know".
The three Eds had been making their way through the jungle of wires and old equipment for a while now, impatiently awaiting their new companion's return to "consciousness"…if it ever were to occur, that is. So far, all they had seen the ball do was spark weakly and sputter out some nonsense about demonic horsies. Ed was still perpetually hopeful that it would recover, however, and had contrived to keep it warm amidst the folds of his noxious coat. Unfortunately, this meant that the newly-activated glow of Wheatley's optic went unnoticed, leaving the core to nervously eavesdrop on the odd trio as they stumbled onward.
"I'm afraid I haven't a clue, Eddy. Ed?"
"I miss Rolf's chickens, guys".
"That's neither here nor there, Ed. What we need is a plan…"
"Oh, that's Eddy's job!"
"You expect me to think when I'm this hungry? Okay, how's this for a plan: find some grub".
"Works for me!"
"NEXT STOP: AISLE 9: POTATOS AND ROCK N' ROLL!"
"Floor 9, actually…I mean, uh, SYSTEMS INOPERABLE, HAVE A NICE DAY".
"Hey, did you hear something?"
"No, not a peep".
Both Wheatley and his captors looked up towards the ceiling in bewilderment, though only the former had any clue as to what had made the noise…or, rather, who. It was almost assuredly the aptly named Space Core, a sphere that was due for the dumpster in a week or two. While Wheatley had only conversed with the poor core for a brief and very confusing three minutes, it had been enough for him to later take pity on and temporarily save his fellow robot from the jaws of Android Hell. I mean, he was going to die anyways, right? Might as well let him wander for a bit, y'know, reflect on the fleeting joys of life and whatnot…
And now that very same core might save HIM.
But as abruptly as it had started, Space Core's racket began to fade. He hadn't noticed them.
"Aw, I think he wants to fly with his people…"
Edd and Eddy turned around just in time to see Ed placing the mysterious orb back onto the tracks above them.
"…okay, I'm lost. So, you think he is…"
"…uh, not flying".
"Trapped, you mean! Like a bird in a cage, bound by the bars barring him from sweet freedom".
"Uh-huh! Can we let him free, Eddy? Ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpl ease…"
"Yeah, I guess…it's not like it's doin' anything anyways…"
Almost immediately after Eddy had finished talking, however, the machine suddenly sprung back to life and began to zoom away, ignoring their surprise completely as he quickly disappeared into the mist behind them.
"…okay…now back to food-searching, I'm starved!"
"And the PLOT MOVES ON!"
"If ya say so, numbskull…"
Ed smiled brightly. Perhaps that wasn't the best decision he had made all day, but in the end, he couldn't feel happier. Seeing the sphere's escape was uplifting, somehow...it was just something about seeing it fly away like a bird through the night…
A graceful bird…
Yup, he really couldn't feel happier.
HEY, NOTHING REALLY HAPPENED BUT PLOT DEVELOPMENT! WHeEeeEeeEEeeEeEeeeEEeeE...
Now remember, children, to beat me up for grammar and spelling errors!