Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

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    Wheatley
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    Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:59 am

    Date: 3/27/2012
    Time: 9:30am

    Wheatley had discovered the Library. If asked, the little Personality Sphere wouldn't have been able to give a good answer for why he stopped outside the door, and paused to look up at the massive building. He had been exploring. He hadn't actually finished exploring this street, and, up until this point, Wheatley hadn't stopped his sight seeing tour to actually go inside any of the places he'd breezed by. Not while out exploring, at least.

    The morning was different. He had glanced up and down the street, and then shoved up against the front doors, managing (with great difficulty) to persuade them to open. The silence inside engulfed him. It was a different sort of silence than the silence you got at Aperture. That silence was filled with little noises. It was the silence you tried to fill up, because you were afraid to listen to it for very long. This silence wasn't the kind of silence you tried to fill up. Wheatley got the sense that the silence would laugh at his feeble attempts, if he'd tried.

    There had been a librarian there to ask him if he needed help with anything, but, feeling irrationally flustered, the floating Personality Core had quickly declined and hurried off to the shelves. At first, he'd just sort of wandered around, looking idly at the covers of books and the writing along their spines without actually taking anything in. It wasn't until he stumbled his way, quite by accident, into the Philosophy section that the Sphere finally stopped and stared at a book.

    The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli

    He hadn't honestly come here for that, had he? So what if he'd lied about reading all the books that there were, it wasn't as if his intelligence was being called into question. Anymore, at least. Not lately. To his face.

    He was not a moron. And he'd prove it. Really, seriously this time.

    Wheatley stared at the book again, for several long minutes, as he tried to work out how to go about reading something that wasn't digital. Bit more tricky, for starters. Didn't help that he didn't have hands. But, such trivial details had never stopped him before. Glancing up and down the aisle, to make sure no one was watching him, Wheatley floated up a bit and tried to hook his handle over the top corner of the book. It took him several tries, but finally, he managed it. From there, it was simple enough to tip the book (and, accidentally, the ones next to it) off of the shelf and onto the floor.

    The resulting clatter made him freeze, but the noise seemed swallowed up in the enormity of the silence of the building. After a few worried seconds of listening for shouting and angry voices, Wheatley glided down to the books on the ground. One of the books had landed on its back, and lay open to somewhere in the middle. Another had landed pages down, in a matter that was probably not very good for it. He tried to nudge it onto its side, with limited success, before turning his attention to his real goal. The Prince was closed---it had landed on its side on the ground. Wheatley again hooked the edge of his handle under one edge of the hard cover (if it had been paperback, he'd never have managed) and, after several tries, managed to get it open. Pages fluttered for a moment, and then the book lay open, to somewhere in the middle.

    He squinted at it.

    Chapter VIII --- CONCERNING THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED A PRINCIPALITY BY WICKEDNESS

    Although a prince may rise from a private station in two ways, neither of which can be entirely attributed to fortune or genius, yet it is manifest to me that I must not be silent on them...


    It wasn't long before the words were blurring in front of his eye, but the Personality Core slogged on through blinding ignorance. It was just as well, honestly, that he couldn't turn the pages, because he was definitely going to need a few more tries at these two. If he'd had a jaw, he would have set it in determination. As it was, Wheatley went back to the top of the page, and read it again...
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Livewire on Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:44 am

    Unlike a certain floating sphere, Livewire had discovered the library long ago. She had seen it a few times when she first came here and explored, but the first time she went there it was completely useless to her. For at that time, the young cybertronian did not even know how to read, and as such could not even comprehend what a library WAS.

    Those days had passed. Now, Livewire frequented the library almost every other day, every day if she had time to do so. She would check out some three or four books at a time, ranging everything from science to fairytales. The romance novels did not appeal to her that much, so that section was one of the only ones she typically avoided.

    The young femme was sitting at a small reading table, propped up in a chair and quickly flipping through the pages of yet another textbook explaining the wiles of chemical bonds. A small pile had built up beside her, almost 10 books tall, in the last hour. Now, what would she be doing awake so early, here of all places? To know the answer one only had to look at what form she was currently occupying. Livewire, in breaking the trend, was actually her original species of cybertronian at the moment.

    Livewire's habit of staying as a troll 24/7 was not as permanent as she led most to think. The species gun's effects only worked for about 3 or so days before she was reverted back into her original form. The danger that the transformations between species posed cautioned Livewire to wait a while before initiating the change again, so she had a period of time in which to take advantage of the original form she had taken to avoiding. The library was the perfect place to do this, as her advanced processor could make quick work of any full-length novel or study. So, Livewire came here while waiting, reading as many books on as many topics she could. When the wait was up, Livewire would turn herself back into a troll and check out the books she was unable to get to during her time to read later.

    And so, with her reasons for being there now catalogued, Livewire was able to study the pages of chemistry before she heard the tell-tale thump of books falling upon the floor. Glancing up, the young femme looked around and spotted the corner of one of the assaulted texts as well as the shadow of a...floating sphere? Oh! Wheatley! She had seen him in the Sanctuary a few times, but had never gotten around to speaking with the construct. Blue optics watched Wheatley as he, well...stared. He was just looking at a page that the book had fallen open to. Tilting her head to the side slightly in her expression of confusion and concern, Livewire put a rainbow-colored bookmark in her page and set the text aside so that she could stand and go over to the rather intensely concentrating Wheatley. She kneeled beside where he was and picked up the other books that had fallen when he retrieved one. Ordering them, Livewire looked up to where they had fallen from just in case Wheatley did not have any intention to read them and she needed to put them back. This in mind, Livewire smiled brightly at her fellow library-goer and spoke in a quiet tone.

    "Hi Wheatley! Sorry to bother you, but do you need help with somethin'? You look kinda stuck."
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:59 pm

    The Sphere jumped, rather guiltily, at the voice, rather like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He hadn't even heard Livewire approach, though it was hard to say that he'd been caught up in the book. He'd technically read that last paragraph three times, now, and still couldn't honestly tell you what it had said.

    "No, no, I, uh..." Wheatley cleared his nonexistent throat, trying to regain his composure. "I was just... reading. Books. Well, this book. Or, well, these pages. Honestly, I don't know why anyone bothers, the digital versions are much easier to manage, but. Um. Well, I saw the Library, and, uh, I thought to myself: Books! Could be, uh, could be fun to read some of those. More of them. Because I've read loads before, you understand..."

    The line of thought finally finished unspooling, and Wheatley looked up at the other robot. She'd known his name, and, come to think of it, she looked very familiar. Sounded even more familiar... He'd seen her in the Sanctuary, hadn't he? "Uh... Livewire, isn't it?"
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Livewire on Fri Mar 30, 2012 2:58 pm

    Livewire's head tilted minutely to the side as she listened to Wheatley and pondered over his guilty expression. What was he feeling guilty about? It wasn't like he'd done anything wrong, he had just dropped some books! Livewire had done that on one of her earlier visits here, she had just picked up every book that looked interesting until she had more than she could carry! Cue book avalanche.

    The cybertronian could sense something off about Wheatley's explanation, or, well, she was just confused why he was so flustered. Smiling reassuringly during his word-vomit session, she waited until he cut himself off before commenting.

    "Yup! My name's Livewire! An' I get what you're sayin' about the digital versions. They are a LOT easier to read an' stuff, but, I just think it's not as fun!" Livewire stood and reshelved the books that the robot has knocked out of place, tucking them securely back into their spots. Philosophy was a bit difficult for the femme to grasp, though she did like picking out a few books that the two were standing in every now and then.

    That done, Livewire turned back to her companion and continued her explanation. "It's like...anyone with a processor an' an uplink can download a book and know the information. It's easy! But, I think that if you take the time to actually look at the physical version, flipping the pages and everythin', then it just...means more. Then the information is a part of you or somethin', instead of you just havin' a copy of it in your head."

    Stretching her hands above her head, the femme let out a small puff of air out of her vents in an imitation of a sigh. She really didn't need the stretching, not like an organic would, but she had gotten so used to seeing others do it as well as doing it herself that it just came naturally now. She refocused her optics back on Wheatley and paused, thinking for a moment, before a happy, slightly hopeful smile stretched across her face.

    "Hey...do you wanna read together? That way I can get your books for ya an' help with the pages if you're havin' trouble turnin' them. It could be fun!"
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:50 am

    At this, Wheatley gave Livewire the most pathetically grateful look a floating, robotic eyeball had ever given anyone, ever. He hadn't even wanted to admit to himself that he could use some help with this new, vague read all the books plan that was slowly forming, but even if he had, the Sphere could hardly say he'd expected help to be offered, out of the blue. Yes. Yesyesyesyes.

    The Personality Sphere managed to get a reign on his eagerness before actually opening his mouth (so to speak), though. Hurriedly regaining his composure, Wheatley tried to act nonchalant. "Sure, sure. Sounds a bit easier than managing on my own. O'course I don't need help, um, its just... its just better with company, isn't it? Good ol' pals, reading books together! And, and so forth. Loads better than sitting all on one's lonesome."

    Even as he spoke, her previous words were starting to sink in. Suggesting that manually downloading information, via one's visual sensors, was a more meaningful way of processing data was a novel idea. Logically, it made more sense to simply download the whole file, but... it didn't technically mean you'd read it, then, did it? True, it was more efficient, and you could look up the data any time, but did you really know something, then? Whereas, if you committed the book to memory, taking it into your processor word by word... Well, it'd be yours then, wouldn't it?

    It surprised him to realize he'd been on the right track without even knowing it. Just, y'know, goes to show: Totally not a moron.
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Livewire on Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:24 pm

    Livewire grinned happily when Wheatley seemed to go speechless at her tentative offer. The good kind of speechless, not the bad! The good kind of speechless was always welcomed with Livewire. Oh, Wheatley, you did not even understand how Livewire's charity worked, did you? This femme would gladly help anyone who even LOOKED like they needed help, no matter who they were. You didn't even have to ask!

    "Readin' is a lot better when you have someone to read with! An' I know you don't NEED help, I just thought it would make things a bit easier if you had some." Silly Wheatley, Livewire saw right through you. It was much harder to lie to the femme than some people believed, but Livewire only chose to show just how sharp she was when she thought that one of her family was in trouble or feeling bad. Other than that, she trusted them to tell her the truth about the important things, which as far as she knew was a good investment of trust!

    Bending down, Livewire picked up the book that he was reading and kept it open to the page it had fallen on. "Do you wanna keep readin' this one, or do you wanna go get some more to look at?"
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:37 pm

    "Uh. Hmm." Let's be honest, trying to read Machiavelli was a bit like trying to push over a brick wall with his face: Apt to give him a headache; unlikely to show much progress for all his efforts. Maybe he could sort of... work his way up to The Prince. You know, save it for last. After he'd read all the other books. Ever. "Uhmm. Save it for later, maybe? Might come back to it, uh, after a bit. What were you reading? If, uh, that is... assuming you were reading. Its, well... Library, and all."

    It was just as well that Livewire could see right through the funny little AI sphere. Honestly, it was probably just what he needed. After all, half the time even Wheatley didn't know what he was doing, much less why.
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Livewire on Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:25 pm

    Livewire nodded happily and put the book back. She could understand EXACTLY what Wheatley was talking about with the pushing your head against a wall feeling regarding the philosophy book. Most of the time, those books were just one person giving a monologue about the condition of the minds of certain groups, saying their opinion on life, or telling a story that would combine the first to in order to promote some greater meaning. Hard for the femme to understand, much less stay interested in. If she wanted to learn about life she'd have to live it for herself!

    "Oh! 'm readin' a book on how to make different materials by manipulatin' their chemical structure an' stuff! It's really interestin'!" Livewire started walking back to where she was sitting, motioning for Wheatley to follow.

    They arrived at the chair and small table she was occupying before, where a small indent could be seen in the chair. Usually Livewire would wander the shelves and sit down in front of whatever shelf she got the book off of to read it, but this time she had just gathered what she wanted to read that day and curled up in that chair. Around the chair were a few books, topics including chemistry, two on physics, cooking, medicine, unicorns, and a four-part series that seemed to be about the adventures of two baby pandas. She loved those pandas.

    "I got some more books here if you wanna read 'em, but if you dun' see any you like we can go look for some!"
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:13 am

    "Oh, science!" The relief in his voice was palpable. That was a nice, familiar place to start. After all, if there as one thing Wheatley knew anything about, then it... Uh, was probably, almost definitely science. More or less. Somewhat less. Not the point, moving on. "Or, to be specific, chemistry. By the sound of it. Or, uh, possibly alchemy. Though, uh, strictly speaking, thats more, um, wishful thinking than, well, proper science. With lasers. And neurotoxin. Nasty stuff, mind you. I've been told. Immune to it, myself. But! Um. Very science-y, is my point. Unlike alchemy, which is... Well. Basically just rubbish, honestly."

    Wheatley floated after her, as he chattered happily. Coming across her little island of books and coziness, the Sphere stopped babbling on, and took a closer look at the selection of tomes Livewire had collected. "Pandas?" The question sounded genuinely surprised and curious, rather than derisive. Wheatley wouldn't have thought a book about pandas would be particularly interesting, but with four of them, there had to be something to them, right?
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Livewire on Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:16 pm

    Livewire giggled at Wheatley's enthusiasm and relief. It made her question what he THOUGHT she was reading if he was so happy to hear it was about science. "Yup! I like science, Garden introduced it to me an' now I just can't stop readin' every book about science that I can find!" The femme did still have to go to the plant collective to get some things clarified in her reading, but other than that she had been able to piece most of the information together. It was so interesting to her!

    "I read some about alchemy once, but I didn't really get it. Some of it made sense, but the rest of it didn't really fit. Well, I couldn't figure it out, anyway." She'd have to ask Garden about that later on.

    She followed Wheatley with her optics as he examined her little book collection for the day. She smiled when he popped out the question about pandas, sounding surprised. She loved those books! She could tell him about them just fine! "Yup! Pandas! It's this book about someone who went out in the wild an' found a group of pandas, an' spent YEARS studyin' them. He lived with 'em, watched the babies grow up, an' all this other stuff! I read the first one already, so if you wanna start it you're free to!"
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:24 pm

    That was sort of like science. Honestly, it sounded a bit like what he'd done back in Aperture Science. With the "watching them grow up" part, of course, what with them being in cryostasis and all. Um. And, uh, he may have sort of stopped paying attention there for awhile, and not noticed when all the power went out and most of them subsequently died or went into comas.

    Probably not at all like these panda researchers, in fact.

    "Uhmm. Not that that, uh, doesn't sound absolutely fascinating... But, uh, let's stick with the chemistry, for now. Yes? Since, uh, since you've already read the first, um, panda book. Wouldn't want to distract you from science after all, that's very important." In all honestly, Wheatley probably would have rather enjoyed the panda book, if he'd been willing to give it a chance. At the very least, it would have been easier on his poor, moronic processor that Machiavelli.
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Livewire on Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:12 pm

    Yes, Livewire doubted that the researchers usually let the their subjects die because they forgot to feed them, or look at them, or, well, do anything else that might have helped keep them alive. Yeah...moving on.

    "Okay! Chemistry it is!" Livewire, grinning happily, carefully sat down in the chair and picked up the chemistry textbook before opening it. Lucky for Wheatley, she had just started a new chapter on thermodynamics, and thus would not have to re-read anything. Not that she would have minded, but this way they were both learning new information.

    Livewire arranged herself so that if Wheatley decided to lay himself down on the arm of the chair that she left open, he would be able to clearly see every word on the page that she opened to. "Just tell me when you need me to flip the page, okay?" She really did live having a reading partner. She and Jana read together sometimes and the femme was always SO EXCITED to sit down with her sister and talk about what they were reading. It was so much fun!

    Livewire's optics scanned across the page, taking in each word individually and forming meaning from it to store in her processor. This process took about five seconds per page, so it was all up to Wheatley as to what pace they went at.
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:20 pm

    It took Wheatley more than five seconds per page, mostly because he was taking the time to read each page twice. Unlike The Prince, he actually wasn't having any difficulty understanding the chemistry itself---he was a science AI, after all---partially because some of what the book was saying were things he already knew. More or less.

    If someone had compared the data after it had been processed by Livewire, with the data after it had been processed by Wheatley, there would have been a noticable difference. Somewhere along the line, between visual sensor and computer processor, between short term memory storage and long term, bits and pieces of the data became corrupted, or simply lost.

    Of course, this didn't stop him from determinedly ingesting information.

    The Personality Core started out hovering over the shoulder of her chair, but, gradually, as he became more engrossed in the subject of the book, Wheatley floated down to come to rest on the arm of the chair. It didn't take much concentration to float, but it took enough.

    He read both pages a third time, just to be safe, and then said, "Right. Uh, go ahead and flip."
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Livewire on Mon Apr 02, 2012 3:49 pm

    Livewire watched Wheatley as he processed the information. She tracked his optic as it scanned across the page multiple times. She tilted her head curiously to the side and watched him. She also had a habit of reading a page a few times, but that was usually to make sure she did not miss information, and it was before she got her processor rewired and reprogrammed.

    Livewire shifted to the side to allow the sphere plenty of room and adjusted herself again so that he would not have to move around to see the pages clearly. When instructed, she turned the page for him to move on to the next section. Livewire didn't mind waiting for Wheatley to process it, in fact she almost enjoyed it. It meant that they may spend more time together, and reading with someone was always an enjoyable activity for the femme.
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    Re: Be a minute, just going to read all of the books...

    Post by Wheatley on Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:17 pm

    Especially in comparison to the excruciating two minutes in which he'd tried to read Machiavelli, Wheatley found that he really, really was enjoying himself. And, it wasn't just the reading. He hadn't been expecting to find companionship in the Library, and he wasn't conscious that he'd been missing it, before, but... This was really, very nice. Very... cozy, almost.

    It took him a few more pages before it actually dawned on him. When it did, Wheatley found himself voicing the thought---as he often did, when a thought popped into his brain. "This is... actually pretty fun, isn't it? D'you... d'you do this often?" And, the unspoken question: Can we do this again?

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