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


    Aftereffects

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    Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:00 am

    Time: 6:52 PM
    Date: March 4th, 2013

    God. What a day.

    Chell wasn't even sure of the time anymore. Everything felt like a blur--from the morning she'd heard of the rampage, to their subsequent takedown of Ra Moon, everything had sort of melded into one big, jumbled mess. It had been, for all intents and purposes, the first real calamity she had experienced first-hand on the Breach, and although she was proud of her team and what they had accomplished... frankly, she was exhausted. Once the TARDIS had cleared the asteroid's self destruct and all had been relatively calm, the former test subject had taken a hint from Sheik and Kev earlier and simply conked out, everything that had happened this particular day finally catching up to her. It hadn't exactly been a conscious choice, as succumbing to her body's needs was not something she normally accepted in life-or-death situations, but it had been a necessary one... and with her friends there to watch over her, she didn't see the harm. So she had slept, curled away in an inconspicuous spot on the ship, letting that final, accomplished feeling of quiet lull her into security.

    Upon landing, the woman was soon roused from her sleep, returned her space suit, and said her goodbyes to the other members of their party. If there was one thing she could say in regards to everything that had happened, and only one, it was that on top of forming stronger bonds with her allies, she was somewhat thankful to have gotten the opportunity to work with some newer people too--however brief it may have been. Though she had come a long way from her earliest days as a citizen of the Breach, she still had a tendency to stick to herself, more out of habit and personal comfort than anything else. All the same, it had been enlightening to meet even a handful of the people she was now sharing this world with. Whether or not she spent more time with any of them in the future--and there were definitely a couple she wouldn't object to--it was something of a comfort to know that people here were capable of working together. Chell was far from used to not working alone, but if what happened today had anything to say about it, it was that living what was for her a life of luxury for nearly a year had done little to change how quickly she could think on her feet. That, more than anything, had been a huge load off her shoulders.

    Of course, she did have a little help...

    Her thoughts coming back to the present, the former test subject glanced down at Wheatley as she made her way down the corridor of the Inn that led back to her room. Of all the people who had helped her today... he was the one who had surprised her the most. There were others who had impressed her, and loyalty from people like Sheik was a given--the sort of given that made her feel warm and fond, but a given none the less--and yet it had been the tiny, virtually defenseless sphere that had stuck out to her. She had sorely wanted him to stay by her side, to be brave when things got terrifying... but she hadn't really expected him to. Deep down, she had been preparing for him to abandon her again. Deep down, there had been a part of her that still instinctively rebelled against the idea of trusting him again. She may have given him a second chance, but it took a lot more than time and a few visits here and there to trust someone who once tried to murder you, regardless of how sincere their attempts to make it up appeared. Today... today had shifted things. In just a few short hours, he had been both her opponent and her partner, and although she didn't really blame him for anything he may have done while corrupted--not after she knew the reasons behind it, not really--they still had a lot to talk about. She had a lot to think about.

    Which was why she had decided to take the little sphere along with her. Well, that and because whatever it was that kept him floating decided to stop working almost as soon as they'd hit the ground. Chell wasn't sure what kind of mechanism granted him that ability, or who had installed it, but she decided they could work it out once they got back to her place. At some point along the way, she had opted for holding him tightly under one arm, his body snug in the curve of her side as she walked, quiet and with one ear on whatever he may have had to say.

    They had reached the door to her room in short order, and after fumbling awkwardly around in her rucksack for the room key, she rather unceremoniously pushed the door open and threw on the light switch for her living room. That nap had done her good, but it didn't quite change the fact that her muscles were now aching like hell. Meandering her way over to the couch, the former test subject carefully set Wheatley down before nigh-on collapsing against the cushion beside him, letting her head fall back and her rucksack slide over her shoulders to the ground. What. A. Day. Heaving out a sigh, she leaned over and began the process of peeling off her long fall boots, rubbing her fingers across the scars and indentations left behind by the straps once both legs had been freed. Her body was still tired, that was for sure, but despite her own discomfort, her thoughts were more with him now... after all, if she was being fair about it, he had suffered far more than she had. Brows furrowing a little, she turned her attention back to the core, wondering how he was faring after all of this.
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Wheatley on Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:28 pm

    She had slept and... Wheatley hadn't. Couldn't, really, but even if he'd been capable, the Sphere wouldn't have been able to quiet the thoughts that were running in circles inside his processor. It was over, and really, honestly, he should be relieved, shouldn't he? They'd did it! They'd won! They'd escaped, and no one had been shot into space, and everything was fine. Except. Except... Well, obviously, no one could blame him for the things he'd said or done while that Ra Moon fellow was influencing them all. He'd been mind controlled, just like the others! Obviously, it wasn't their fault, any of them. He wasn't to blame at all for what he'd said or done... Not, not at all...

    It wasn't as though the Sphere was just built to go bad, that... that wasn't it. Obviously! Alright, so, this made three times that he'd turned on his friends and tried to at least assist in their murders, but... that was just circumstances! You couldn't blame him for that! Surely, surely she couldn't, though if she did then she had more reason than anybody, except maybe Kefka, oh god Kefka what if his friend never forgave him...

    No, no, obviously Kefka would, because, because it hadn't been Wheatley's fault that, that they'd gotten into that argument. It had been the crazy AI messing with his head, that was all, so, so obviously...

    He. He... It wasn't his fault.

    It wasn't his fault. It wasn't, it wasn't, it wasn't.

    And, while she'd slept, on the way back down to the planet, Wheatley had tried hard to make himself believe that.

    He'd more than half decided to just sneak away once they were back on the planet, but that had led to thoughts of where he'd sneak off to, and inevitably it wound its way to where he might find Kefka---or possibly keep avoiding Kefka. Which in turn led to the sudden shocking realization that he hadn't seen the clown in days. The 'Float' spell that Kefka always put on him supposedly lasted only four hours (though, quite unbeknownst to the Sphere, it had been lasting rather longer lately). As they had emerged from the TARDIS into the morning sun, Wheatley had stopped up short, looked wide-eyed down at the ground, and, as the thought How am I still flying?! passed through his head, suddenly dropped like a stone to the ground with a clang and a grunt of impact.

    Sneaking away had been out of the question, at that point.

    On the one (nonexistent) hand, Wheatley was rather surprised that she'd picked him up and brought him along. In the months that they'd both been here together, they sort of politely avoided each other's company---though it was probably more that they were both not terribly social creatures, him because he spent most of his time buzzing around the wilderness, sight seeing, and her... well. Um. Sort of... obvious reasons. Not, not that she wasn't perfectly nice! Just. Um. Bit.... on the quiet side. Yes.

    ...right.

    Back to the point. On the other (metaphorical) hand, deep down, he really wasn't that surprised at all. He couldn't really put words to the thought, but it. She would take him along, wouldn't she? She, she didn't have any reason to, to want to, really, but... Honestly, she had every reason to just leave him by the side of the road, but she wouldn't. He couldn't say why, not with any certainty, because half the time he thought it was because she didn't trust him or hated him and had some justifiable revenge in store for him, and the other half of the time, he fancied it was for the same reasons he wanted to stay near her. What those reasons were, specifically, Wheatley couldn't begin to explain, though they seemed to largely be shared victory in the face of mutual terror and danger but maybe... maybe it was... she'd surprised him. Their partnership hadn't been perfect, even before he'd tried to murder her, but even if there had been a lot of shouting and anxiety and running and fear, it... it had worked, like nothing ever had before.

    Even Wheatley wasn't really listening to himself babble, absently commenting on everything that passed before his eyes as she carried him along. He wasn't sure what would happen when they got where they were going, but he was sure that he wasn't going to like it. And, not necessarily because she intended to do something nasty to him. No... They would have to talk. About what had happened. The nearer they got to their destination, the quieter he became. Until, at last, as they entered her flat and she set him down on the couch cushions, the Sphere dropped into complete silence. Part of him tried to prod his vocalizer back into life, to try and latch onto a subject to talk about to ward away the inevitable, but this part was out voted by the rest of him.

    At least, until he could feel her looking at him again. Eyeing the fabric of the couch cushion he was lying on as if it was terribly interesting, Wheatley cleared his 'throat.' "So... That was exciting, wasn't it?"

    Ohhhh, stupid stupid stupid...
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:09 am

    To be quite frank, Chell wasn't entirely sure why she had been so quick to bring him along. And it had nothing to do with their obvious trust issues, because despite everything that had happened between them in the past 24 hours or so, he had come through for her in the end. Even if he'd had nothing more to lend than his ever-present voice and cheer, it had been helpful, and he had stuck with her, even when it would have been so easy for him not to--that, to her, mattered a hell of a lot. And... well, really, she couldn't have just left him there by the side of the road. She wasn't a monster, no matter what She might have said.

    No, what got to her was just how... inevitable it all seemed. When she'd noticed him on the ground, her actions had been automatic, scooping him up without a second thought and tucking him into her side like that was the way it had always been. It had not been unlike her decision to save him at the beginning of all this, or her acceptance of his partnership once it was over, or even her choice to simply listen to him down in the depths of Aperture in what felt like so long ago. Each decision had been made on a very subconscious level, and when she thought about it, up until that nasty period where he'd decided to turn on her, it had always been that way with him. He had been the exception to so many rules, and when you got right down to it, there was so little that made sense about him, or the wonky, precarious structure that made up their relationship, but somehow, she had never really thought to question any of it. He simply was, they were, and no matter what happened, everything between them always seemed to come back to this. Maybe the sooner she accepted that, the closer she'd get to understanding it.

    Plus, she had to admit, there was a definitely element of... concern there. His float mechanism seemed unreliable even at the best of times, but after everything that had happened, the thought that Ra Moon may have implanted him with some nasty sort of virus before it self-destructed just wouldn't leave her head. It was unlikely, and he seemed fine otherwise, but... better safe than sorry.

    In any case, the core's take on the whole situation earned nothing but a blank stare from her for a moment, although it was soon followed up by a tiny-yet-obvious snort of laughter. It wasn't something you'd hear out of her often, and it stopped almost as quickly as it began, but she couldn't really help herself. It just came across as so anti-climatic, although if the way he was avoiding her gaze had anything to say about it, it was clear he was feeling at least a little uncomfortable. Never the less, the smile stayed on her face even as she pressed her lips together in an effort to force it away and leaned over to retrieve her notepad once more. "'Exciting' is an understatement." She eventually penned, tapping her finger against the surface of the page to get his attention once it was finished. "I won't be able to look at the moon again for a while."

    It was only after presenting that to him that she realized her statement might have been... a poor choice of words, considering their previous experiences with the place. There was nothing she could do about it now, though. Biting the corner of her lip, she quickly wrote him another message, hoping to change the subject. "How are you feeling?"
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Wheatley on Wed Apr 24, 2013 12:39 pm

    If Wheatley had possessed hands, he would have latched onto the subject change with both of them. Yes let's not talk about the moon. He was never, ever, ever everevereverever going to space. Ever. Ever. Again. At least this time hadn't been anything like the last, but different didn't, in this case, mean better.

    Unfortunately, the subject she'd chosen to divert them from the one uncomfortable subject wasn't actually any more preferable than the first. But, it was too late, he'd already latched on with both metaphorical hands, and the inner momentum had built up. Nothing to do but plunge on ahead in a sheer rush of frentic cheer. "Fine!" Not at all like he wanted to murder humans, nope! Or do tests. Not at all. "Wonderful, really! Just, just... well, a bit exhausted, to be honest, but, um, um, perfectly normal and totally, totally fine! Yes sirree...."

    Wheatley found himself running out of avoidance steam a lot faster than he'd expected. Trailing off for a moment, he fumbled for more things to say before finally stumbling across the right ones by complete accident, "How, uh, how are you?"
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:46 am

    Well, someone was certainly jumpy all of the sudden. Wheatley's automatic, slightly frantic response to her question caused Chell's eyes to widen and her body to tense ever so slightly, although she made no move aside from that. It had been obvious enough that the core had been feeling uncomfortable ever since they touched back down on to the planet, but just how uncomfortable he was had apparently alluded her. It was to be expected, though. She should have expected it. They hadn't exactly had time to... discuss what had happened once they'd reunited and subsequently buddied up, and she had to imagine it was something that was still weighing heavily on his mind. There was undoubtedly some guilt there--at least, she hoped there was--or, was he simply afraid of her? Did he really think she'd hurt him after all that she went through to get to him? Whatever it was, she decided she didn't quite like the tone he had taken on... it felt too much like the conversation they'd had the day after the blackout.

    Still, she she made an effort to respond to his own question for her, frowning and making a sort of seesaw motion with her palm before reaching for her notepad again."Tired. Sore too, but mostly tired." Honestly, she wouldn't have had the energy to try and exact revenge even if she had been mad at him. Idly, she wondered if Wheatley himself ever needed sleep, but it seemed like an odd question to ask, at this point. "Naps can only do so much."

    Swinging an arm over her head, the former test subject resumed chewing on the inside of her lip, eyes darting this way and that as she tried to sort out what to say next. The big, pink elephant in the room needed to be addressed, that much was for sure, but how could she do that without scaring him? Trying to talk about important issues with Wheatley was a bit like trying to rein in a hyperactive dog on speed--you just kept being dragged in circles until you either passed out from exhaustion, or pinned him down long enough to make him even consider listening to you. To be fair though, she did... sort of have a habit of immediately trying to solve the problem that was most apparent to her, rather than considering his own feelings and calming him down before he gave himself an anxiety attack. It wasn't how she liked to work--after all, you didn't try to talk a turret down before chucking it across the room with your gun--but Wheatley wasn't a test. Hell, if she was brutally honest with herself, nobody was. People were far too complicated for that.

    Either way? It was time to step out of her comfort zone and nip this in the bud. Choosing her words as carefully as possible, she quickly penned him another message, hoping against hope that this didn't cause another meltdown. "Look, what happened back there... I don't blame you for it. Not really." Once finished, she placed the note down in front of him, making sure to really look at him this time. "What I did on that battlefield... I was trying to help. I'm not going to hurt you now."
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Wheatley on Mon May 13, 2013 3:52 am

    Getting Wheatley to focus on a serious issue was not always as difficult as it sounded. Getting him to focus on a serious issue that involved her... now, that was the tricky part. there had never been anyone else in his life that had gotten so close and he'd hurt so badly. Never before had something illustrated his own failing to him, in bright neon flashing lights, than his stint at the helm of Aperture Science. He'd always cheerfully denied---or been oblivious to---them before, and even at the time he'd been so desperate to prove them all wrong. That calling him a moron was just another of Her lies. It wasn't until he'd been cooling his metaphorical heels in the solitude of space, with the benefit of hindsight, that he saw the truth. He'd been wrong. Monstrous. Just... perfectly beastly to her. And they'd been right all along. He really was a moron.

    but it had all felt so right at the time. He'd had unlimited power at his disposal! And the first thing he'd done with it was capture her again and throw her down a pit. How... how did he not hurt her, now? How was it not inevitable? He'd blunder along and screw it all up and then she'd hate him and he didn't know how not to do it! He had thought he'd known, before! He'd thought he'd had it figured it out, and then this...

    His brain coped the only way it new how. Deny, deny, deny. Everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is fine everything is ruined forever is fine...

    But it was too late. Deep down, Wheatley wasn't buying it anymore. Deep down, he didn't believe himself, anymore. Didn't trust himself. While his processor babbled with nervous distraction, that tiny part tried to crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after itself.

    Until she put the note in front of him. "I-I..." Of course it wasn't his fault (yesitwasyesitwasYESITWAS) it had been that other AI's fault (all his fault) he and the other robots were entirely blameless.

    "What I did on that battlefield... I was trying to help. I'm not going to hurt you now."

    "I-I..." He couldn't get the words out, largely because his processor couldn't agree on what they should be. The blitheringly cheerful idiot function was being overridden by pure, unadulterated guilt. "...I know."

    But what if I hurt you?!
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Tue May 14, 2013 9:26 am

    Chell watched him for a while. With Wheatley, it was kind of hard not to. He was so easy to read, such an open book, that even her somewhat limited understanding of human interaction could usually cut it as far as he was involved. Maybe that was why she had chosen to follow him down in Aperture Labs so long ago--for her, it had been the first friendly face (as it was) that she'd seen in ages, decades even, and it sounded absurd, because he was a tiny robotic ball and most certainly not human, but it was true. She hadn't trusted him from the get-go, at least not 100%, but... against all logic, she had wanted to believe. She wanted to believe that there was someone on her side for once, a companion that stuck with her even when things seemed at their most bleak--possibly even a friend. There had been too much focus on escaping on her part for it to really sink in then, and especially not after he'd betrayed her, but it had been there. She hadn't wanted it to be, but it was the truth. There was something there, some sort of connection between the two of them that she couldn't even begin to sort out, but the point of the matter was at this point, he was easier for her to read than even he possibly suspected. She had known him long enough for that.

    And right now, she could tell it wasn't exactly her he was afraid of now.

    Drawing her notepad back to her chest, the woman finally looked away from him, brows furrowing together in puzzlement. He was so confusing sometimes, different in every way she'd expected him to be. After she had escaped... thinking back on his takeover, it had been easy to pin cruelty just being in his nature. She hadn't ever known any AI produced by Aperture to be capable of much more, that was for sure, and on lonely nights when she thought back on everything, she would tell herself it had been inevitable. That she had done the right thing. And she still felt that way, undoubtedly, never once did she regret a thing--in her mind, everything she'd ever done had been perfectly justified.

    And yet... something kept it from being that simple with him. This was even more apparent to her now that they were here, free of the labs and anything that might have tried to keep them tied down. Perhaps it was the fact that he did seem genuinely guilty. Perhaps it was some stupid fascination, or, god, even a liking to him on her part that she just couldn't quash no matter how hard she tried. Or maybe... maybe it was that part of him she saw while clinging on to his handles in the battlefield just hours ago, or even what happened after--the fact that he'd stayed. Nobody had asked him to, definitely not her, but he'd come anyway. And not only had he returned for them, but he had followed her, into space, and fought by her side against the very thing that had corrupted him, and as much as that surprised her... in a way, it hadn't. Oh, sure, it had subverted her expectations, but it hadn't been the first time he'd come through for her in a pinch. No, the first time was ages ago, right after he'd been crushed by Her. She though she'd lost him for sure, but even then... he had still come back, despite it all.

    Okay, so maybe it hadn't been for any sort of sentiment. It could have been he was simply desperate to get out and she was his only option. Or perhaps it was something in his programming--making bad decisions was something he had apparently been designed for after all, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that hadn't exactly spelled good things for his own well being. And hell, maybe it really had been a genuine, real part of him backstabbing her, or fighting her during the most recent mess, but maybe... maybe there was something else, too. Maybe he...

    "After the battle... you didn't leave." She was writing again, slowly, picking out each word very carefully. "You came back, even though nobody asked you to. Why?"
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Wheatley on Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:11 am

    He didn't know, and almost said as much.  Funny, that... how she'd phrased it.  Wheatley hadn't thought of it that way.  Hadn't been surprised that no one had asked him for help.  Well, after all, why would they, after everything that had just happened?  He and the other robots had been all bamboozled by the enemy, and even if it hadn't been their fault... No one would have begrudged them all just staying put and out of the way where they couldn't hurt anyone else anymore.  

    He could have done that, and it would have been the smart thing to do.  Especially if he'd been worried about hurting her, or anyone else, again.  It would have been the wise and prudent thing to do:  After all, what could he do to help, really?  Chatter helpful suggestions?  He should have stayed behind, where it was safe, and where he wouldn't risk hurting someone, and where he would never ever find out if he would have hurt her again and never prove to her that, that he wanted, really desperately, to help...

    Wheatley hadn't expected to be asked.  But, that was sort of the point, wasn't it?  Why would anyone in their right mind ask him for help?  He was an annoying, chattering, armless, harmless, oblivious, cowardly, moronic screw up, with a disturbing habit of turning on his friends and allies when the chips were down.  No one expected him to help...

    And... And so he'd come along, desperate to prove to someone, anyone, even just himself, that he could.  That all of those uncomfortable adjectives were just slander and untrue and that he was not a moron.

    And there was no possible way that he was going to be able to convey any of that to her without his mouth running away with him on some other tangent.  

    Wheatley fidgeted, gaze flickering around as the gears in his processor ground along.  It seemed he, too, was picking his words carefully.  For once.  "It... seemed like the thing to do at the time."  Gaining confidence in this line of thought, he picked up speed again. "After, after all!  You lot had just gone to all that trouble to, um, well stop us.  And then you were all off again.  Going into space."  The Sphere shivered. "Couldn't let you face that alone!  Um.  Big scary robot planet, and all..."  The uncertainty faded from his voice, replaced by a light, amused tone, that suggested he was not really actually remotely serious (but kind of a little) about the next words out of his 'mouth.' "Anyway, you'd be lost without me.  Someone had to come along and keep you out of trouble."
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Fri Jun 28, 2013 11:10 am

    Chell had to admit, there was a certain fascination in watching Wheatley actually take his time choosing his own words, and her head tilted almost imperceptibly as she waited to hear what he had to say. It was so unusual to see him not throwing himself headlong into chatter for once, and she couldn't help but feel a small flare of inner victory that her wording had apparently paid off--because that was what she wanted, really. No more miscommunications, no more awkward silences and inner grudges holding either of them back. As ludicrous as it may have sounded, especially with the look of undeniable, open curiosity she was regarding him with now, she felt like she was somehow seeing a part of him for the first time. Like they were, for once, slowly inching their way towards being on the same level. It wasn't something she could even begin to explain, either to him or herself, but it was enough for her to reach out and hold on to now, tightly, with the slightest flicker of hope. Alarm bells were already going off in her head, warning her that she was overstepping some personal boundary she had set for herself long ago, but for the first time, she found herself willfully ignoring them.

    As such, there was definite tension in the air as she listened to his answer, although it gave away almost immediately when she found herself huffing out a laugh at his last sentence. It was an unexpected thing to hear out of her even on the best of days, despite being almost entirely silent, but she strangely didn't feel all that inclined to hide it once she'd started. He would tell himself that, wouldn't he? Shaking her head even as the smile continued to play about on her lips, she gave him something of an innocent shrug, the combination of all three looking borderline mischievous for Chell. She wasn't a playful person by nature, but something about this situation just seemed to call for it, if only to diffuse the previous tension she'd let set in. (And, if she was being honest with herself, it was hard to be completely reserved all of the time when three of your closest friends for nearly a year now were children.)

    "You'd be the first, then." she wrote, gradually letting herself relax into the couch from where she had been staring at him so intensely just a few moments ago as she mulled over his answer in her mind. It was true--he honestly had been the first conscious entity to willingly tag along with her, and she wondered how much his thought processes back then would have aligned with how he seemed to feel now. Had it been entirely for self preservation? There was no doubt in her mind that a lot of it had been, especially at first, but towards the end... she wondered if he genuinely did want to help her. Even if it was backed by selfish motivations, even if the end result would have benefited in giving him what he wanted as well, it wasn't hard to see that simply staying put and letting her escape entirely on her own would have been much safer in the long run--and his ignoring of that hadn't been unlike what had just happened at that meeting not 24 hours ago. 

    And maybe it hadn't been for her. Maybe it had been for himself, or for Portal Breach as a whole, or maybe it was even simply some aspect of his programming kicking in, but Chell couldn't deny that it had meant something to her. She doubted she would ever truly figure out how his mind worked, but if there was even a sliver of a chance that there was something there--something decent, better than the ugliness he had shown her--she couldn't find it within herself to deny him. In fact, the possibility outright fascinated her.

    Clicking her tongue against the roof of her mouth in thought, the former test subject decided that taking advantage of the more casual air that surrounded them now would probably be best while she had the chance. Maybe she could make him see exactly what she meant without saying it outright... all she really needed to do was play her cards right. Drawing her notepad back in towards herself, she wrote down another note, placing it before Wheatley and trying to ignore how vulnerable she suddenly felt. "It was brave, though. Very brave."
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Wheatley on Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:02 pm

    He couldn't help it. Wheatley found himself staring in surprise, as she bent to scribble in that little notebook of hers. She'd laughed. He'd... probably heard it before, honestly, but... had he ever made her do that? Recently, at least? Since... you know. He'd stabbed her in the back and punched her into a hole and tried to kill her. Wheatley couldn't remember. Curse his useless scatterbrained long term memory circuits! She looked happy.

    This was not the reaction he'd expected he'd provoke, at the beginning of this little chat. (Not to mention, she mostly looked unreadable and blank, or frustrated and potentially murderous, in the other little heart-to-heart discussions they'd had thus far.)

    All this flashed through his processor in the time it took for her to write down her reply---by the time she looked up, Wheatley's expression had flickered back to its chipper, cheerful expression, buoyed by just a smidge more confidence. Which was only further encouraged by her next words.

    "You'd be the first, then."

    He was? Well, he was, wasn't he? Probably! Quite probably! "That's me! Helpin' out when its needed. And, let's be honest, you do get into quite a lot of trouble. I have never met anyone who's gotten into as much trouble as you. Though, hm, there's probably a few close seconds here, come to think of it... But, um, my point as it were... you need someone to keep an eye on you." He blinked up at her, widening his lens, and looking at her expectantly. "And who better than me? Because... you get it? I'm practically all 'eye'? Well, optic, really, but... Nevermind, you understand."

    Chatter chatter chatter. At least she wouldn't have to worry that his mouth had suddenly stopped working. Or, at least, this was the case until she showed him the notebook once more. "It was brave, though. Very brave."

    Wheatley's metaphorical jaw snapped shut, effectively cutting off the avalanche of chipper babble. It... It was? He didn't feel brave. He'd felt terrified. Absolutely mind-numbingly frightened. And he was still scared, underneath the thick layer of relief that a little smile and a soft huff of a laugh had evoked. He would do it again, he knew he would, because it... kept happening. And he'd hurt her, and she'd hate him.

    But, he'd made her laugh. And now she thought he was brave? "You.... you think so?"
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:00 pm

    Oddly enough? She was happy. And really, why shouldn't she be? Sure, their little adventure had been exhausting both mentally and physically, and more than a little dire at times, but... they'd won. They'd won, and her allies were safe, Portal Breach was safe (At least, for now), and she'd even managed to save Wheatley with a little bit of help. Even better, he had, in turn, decided to help her when all was said and done, and now they were having a conversation like actual people, instead of the awkward, sort-of-friends that had been doing their best to avoid each other up until now. It was refreshing, and the way he had perked up after her first comment only helped her increasingly good mood.

    She wasn't going to go so far as to call it progress... not just yet, but she definitely felt like they might be getting there.

    His little attempt at a joke hadn't passed her by, and she felt the corner of her lip quirk upwards once again despite herself, bobbing her head in wry agreement. As silly as it was, sometimes, it really did strike her that she had such a history and relationship with a being that basically amounted to nothing more than a giant metal eyeball, and, especially at times like these, it was easy to forget. He was somehow so much more than that though, in ways she couldn't even begin to understand. At least the chattering most likely meant that he was starting to relax a little.

    Or so she thought. Once she presented her last bit of text to him, the endless wittering coming from Wheatley's direction seemed to immediately silence, causing her to look up and carefully examine his form again. He looked a little stunned, in a way that might have caused her to laugh again if the topic of discussion hadn't been so weighted--nevermind the prickling sensation of nerves she was trying to fend off right now. She felt like she was holding her breath, like she was standing on the edge of some seemingly bottomless pit about to jump, not sure where it would take her, or how much the landing would hurt if she made even one move out of line. It was ridiculous, and completely illogical, but no relationship she'd ever had seemed to carry as much weight as this one, although she couldn't say any one of her friendships had started off easy. If that was what this would turn into. Luckily, she seemed to be on the right track.

    Wheatley wrote: "You.... you think so?"

    Chell found herself nodding almost immediately, although the solemnity of it betrayed the relief she felt inside--because good, this was good, they were finally getting somewhere. Leaning over her notepad, she chose her next words with just as much consideration as she did before, only this time with an all too familiar glint of determination in her features. "You helped me--helped us--even though you were afraid. If that's not bravery, I don't know what is."

    And then, after it was presented, she drew the notepad back to herself, looking thoughtful. There was a part of her that felt... more than a little awkward about imparting advice, honestly, especially considering her most significant past decisions could have easily been considered an example of sheer lunacy at best, but she wondered if he truly understood what she was trying to say here. Whether it was by luck , or just sheer coincidence, they actually had stumbled on to a topic she felt like she could rightly comment on, and she didn't want it to pass her by. Adding on another line of text below the previous one, she pushed the pad of paper to him, eyes looking oddly calm. "Being brave isn't about not being scared, you know."
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Wheatley on Wed Aug 28, 2013 12:45 pm

    Wheatley's initial reaction to these words was not very encouraging.  The Sphere gave her a very dubious, highly skeptical look, and said, in the sort of tone one uses when speaking to a person who has just suggested that the sky is a lovely shade of green, "Nnnno... It sort of, well, is, really.  About not being scared, that is.  Practically the definition, isn't it?  Not being afraid.  The, uh, the very opposite of afraid.  Sort of the whole point, really."

    As for her other words, that he was brave for helping... Wheatley had to dismiss them.  He didn't feel brave, not at all.  If he was being honest with himself (and he so rarely was), it wasn't bravery that had motivated him, it was guilt.  He'd been so, so afraid, but he'd owed her for what he'd done and, and he'd had to make it up, somehow.  It had had nothing to do with bravery, and everything to do with shame...

    Not that it wouldn't be nice to be brave.

    "Me?" He scoffed, a little, his tone light and self deprecating. "Brave?  Uh, not to say that I'm afraid, of course.  Definitely wouldn't say that.  Just, couldn't say I'm particularly brave either.  Sort of... middling.  Um.  On the fear scale.  I'd say.  Average, uh, really.  Normal, um, reaction.  Intelligent, sort of, response to, uh, to the, the general circumstances...  But, um, not brave really, I wouldn't say."  

    But the look that he gave her, a sort of sidelong glance, seemed to suggest that he wouldn't find it such a terrible thing to be proven wrong.
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Tue Sep 10, 2013 10:46 am

    If Chell had been in the mood to eyeroll, she probably would have. Not bad naturedly, since she didn't expect him to understand exactly what she was talking about, but still an eyeroll none the less. In a way, he was right--bravery could be about the absence of fear, but it could also be about the opposite too, the state of being terrified but still willing yourself to do something despite it all. Sometimes, that was all you had on, the sheer, unrelenting desire to act even in the face of immeasurable odds. For her, it had been about survival, plain and simple. She'd had no heroic notions of saving anyone else who might have been trapped within the facility along with her, she hadn't been trying to make a statement with her multiple takedowns of Aperture's ever present overseer, she had just been trying to get out. What happened afterwards hadn't been important at the time, the possible state of the world and her disturbingly clouded memories were not something she had allowed herself to think about. Not hard, at least. They had been obstacles, nagging sensations in the back of her mind that only got in the way of her real goal, her only goal. 

    And maybe that had been stupid. She'd had no idea of what kind of fate awaited her once she was free, no real concept of foresight, but she had kept moving forward anyway. Maybe it was desperation, or sheer stubbornness, or hell, even fear that propelled her onward, but at the time, it was really all she had. Something had been taken from her, someone had encased her in a death trap and expected her to perform, and she was having none of it. Maybe that wasn't bravery, but she definitely wouldn't listen to anyone who called it cowardice either. Anyone in their right minds would have done the same if given the chance, she'd hoped. It didn't make her special, nor did it make her particularly admirable, it just made her someone who knew how to get what she wanted.

    Maybe Wheatley was the same way. Chell didn't know what had motivated him to help her, but obviously something had. He hadn't been particularly grandiose about the whole ordeal, but he had at least been there, by her side, even if his way of helping was simply spouting out pep talk. It had worked, oddly enough, and now she found herself more than a little glad that he'd decided to show up at all. His scoffing earned him a raised eyebrow, and when he insisted he had only been kind-of-sort-of scared, the woman really did roll her eyes this time, deciding to let him just continue on believing that if it made him feel better. In that same vein, he didn't really seem to be listening to her either, although she hadn't missed the glance he'd given her that seemed to indicate he'd like to hear more. Chell was torn on whether to feel happy that he was still willing to hear her out, or irritated that he might possibly be fishing for compliments, but either way, she huffed out a sigh and got back to work on her notepad. 

    "It's not just about not being afraid." she wrote, pointed and gradually becoming more sure of herself. "It's about getting up and doing something even if you are. You think none of us were nervous up there?" And it was here she presented the note to him, cocking her head to the side in a not-so-subtle challenge. "Death might not necessarily mean much here, but that doesn't mean we didn't have anything to lose."

    Sitting back, she glanced at him again, gauging his reaction, before moving to add on another line. "Look. I'm not sure why you did what you did, but I do know that it would have been easier to forget about it. For you. I just know what I saw, and it looked brave enough to me." Pausing, she added on one more line before shoving the paper his way, looking just a little teasing. "Even if it was done with an average on the fear scale."
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Wheatley on Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:50 am

    If we're being honest, here, it must be admitted that, if Wheatley really understood half of what he was saying (or listening to) at any given moment he wouldn't really be.... Wheatley.  Tricky ideas and abstract concepts were things that he needed more than a running start to tackle---anything but a really determined effort of running into the same mental wall over and over ever really resulted in a break through.  Most of the time he simply didn't have the attention span, desire, or mental fortitude to even bother when it was just so easy to just rationalize it all away.  It didn't help matters that his bloody brain just wouldn't stop thinking all the time, of bloody stupid ideas, all of them, honestly, just rubbish.  

    And, well, if we're being extra especially honest, it was more than half the time, really.  On a given day, Wheatley could have counted the number of conversations he had that he 100%, totally followed without ever losing his train of thought or missing the point or getting confused and perplexed on one, totally nonexistent hand, and not even need to borrow someone else's fingers.  

    But, this... He'd been working on this, sort of.  Wearing away at it, gradually, in his mind.  Not the bravery thing, exactly, but the... the...  well, the her thing.  The just... general her thing.  He really honestly wasn't sure what that thing was, just... everything generally relating to how he was massively incapable of... of... not screwing everything up, except when she helped him.  Sort of.  

    Look, it was tricky, alright?

    "Didn't look nervous," he said, with some uncertainty.  Because, come to think of it, probably some of them had, only he'd been too terrified himself to really notice at the time.  Everyone else just seemed so... capable.  With, you know, limbs and arms and, and great big bodies that could smash things.  "I mean, you, you lot, you're... bloody capable and clever, aren't you?  For humans.  No offense!"  It was amazing how often he stuck his  foot in his mouth, when he didn't even have either.  "I mean, what I'm trying to say... You didn't really need my help, did you?  You lot had it all sorted, um, more or less.  With all the space ships, and giant lizards, and.... and things."  And the understanding what was happening stuff, that especially.  Wheatley hadn't had any of that.  "You were big, and brave, and smart, and strong---Are, I mean, honestly, just... And I'm... not.  Um.  As much, I mean.  Well, at least the, uh, big and brave and strong bits.  Bit of an advantage with the, uh, the smart, of course, but... still very admirable, you, uh, you lot."  

    He cleared his nonexistent throat, not entirely certain where he was even going with this.  (Which was not unusual in any way, shape, or form.)  "Anyway, I suppose... I suppose you'd know what bravery looked like, so, I'll just have to take your word for it, then.  Um.  Skeptically take your word for it.  With a grain of salt."  

    He fidgeted, and then the last teasing line sank in, and the Sphere gave her a sidelong look, and what served him as a 'sheepish grin.'  "Probably a bit higher than average on the fear scale, um, if I'm being honest... Err, or would it be lower?  Bloody useless statistics, honestly..."
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    Re: Aftereffects

    Post by Chell on Wed Oct 09, 2013 6:21 am

    Why Wheatley, was that a compliment she'd heard? Cocking a surprised and somewhat wry eyebrow, Chell found herself staring at him again, all the while attempting to smother the flare of amusement she felt. 'Bloody capable and clever for humans' was pretty good coming from him, although she couldn't resist hitching her brow just a bit higher as he stuck his proverbial foot in his (also) proverbial mouth. She really couldn't speak for the others, but she had to assume that anyone in their right minds had to have been at least a little nervous up there, whether it was their first Portal Breach catastrophe or not. Granted, she more than anyone presumably had quite a multitude of reasons for not wanting to be up there, but it wasn't like it was something they did every day--even of some of them were more experienced than others. 

    Looking away, her amusement ebbed he went on to say that he didn't think they'd needed his help, because... even though it was a fairly logical assumption to make, she didn't think it was entirely true. Sure, they'd had it sorted. They'd had a plan, a team, and all sorts of weapons and capable bodies that Wheatley decidedly... lacked. (Though she couldn't resist a snort at the 'smarts' line.) There had definitely been a tactical advantage there. But this... this wasn't really about that, in her mind. As far as she was concerned, anyone who had simply showed up did their part to protect the world below them, even if it was as straight forward as shouting encouragement from the sidelines. She had certainly felt better with somebody who had faith in her by her side. Handling things alone was something she was very much accustomed too; having someone to fight beside her, even if that someone shared a rocky history with her, was practically a treat.

    "Some people are good at hiding it. Believe me. And anyway, I wouldn't try to downplay yourself." She wrote, lifting a shoulder in a kind of shrug. "Help is help, no matter where it comes from. Everyone played a part there, and that's why the thing was successful at all in the end. The sooner you accept that, the better." Now she looked away, fidgeting slightly in discomfort. "Besides... it was kind of nice to have the company."

    The discomfort didn't last long, thankfully, as Wheatley finally deciding to accept her word caused her to deflate slightly in relief. Someone taking her word with a grain of salt was better than them not taking it at all, and she was pleased he seemed to grasp what she was saying even a little. Maybe over time, it would sink in more, once whatever unease he was feeling had dulled--that or he just forgot about it. Giving him a satisfied nod, she allowed herself to look just a little bit smug, although her look softened when the full weight of what he had said sunk in. On the one hand, she didn't doubt she was brave by most people's standards, but on the other hand... it was just surprising to hear him say something like that. After all they had been, though? She'd take it.

    Finally, once he'd caught on to her teasing, the woman shrugged again, turning her attention back to her notepad. "I wouldn't know," she wrote, not exactly eager to admit that she hadn't been entirely stoic in the face of danger either. At least, not inwardly. It had been far worse during the battle on the Breach, however. "I've never given much thought to statistics."  Pausing, she looked thoughtful for a moment before pulling the notepad back again, adding on one more, careful line. "Thank you, by the way."

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    Re: Aftereffects

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