drinky bird

[ Lady of Demolition ]

An intense burst of pressure raced across the lower depths of Aperture, billowing out in a ring from its epicenter like a stone lobbed into a still pond. It left the sensation of electrical discharge in its wake, as though half-a-dozen floors wedged and cluttered full of abandoned scientific discoveries had just been rudely rubbed with the side of a rubber balloon until all the data stood on edge like strands of frazzled hair.

Another multiverse portal had opened.

Wheatley had been migrating busily between the levels, en route for nothing in particular yet driven regularly to wander about regardless, when the short pop of electric current hit. His brakes squeakily gripped the rail, shuddering him to a stop somewhere on a maintenance platform ‘tween the levels, and gave his entire hull a good shiver as though to flake off the itchiness.

Something heavy and metal shrieked, stilling him into a bewildered pause until it happened again. Then again. Closer, louder, echoing– “Hello? Is anybody there?” He called out despite the better judgment to be silent, rotating on the connector that bound him to the rail to search all around him. Only after he clarified there was nothing but transport tubes, leaky pipes, and a few shoddy twinkles of dying spotlights, did he look up.

It was far too deep where Wheatley was to see the portal that started the mess, but he was plenty close to the aftermath now that it had come to meet him. Something had fallen through the portal, rudely planted on a ceiling above the very shaft he occupied. That something had hit a rusted catwalk, caused it to collapse, which caused it to hit another, then another, each breaking the fall until an entire twisted metal meteor was hurling through the darkness straight down on a little metal ball.

Ohgod–” He squeaked, his voice high and thin in terror, before he managed to throttle his motor into action. For a horrifying moment it slurried, grabbing for traction- but it found it and lurched him speedily forward. Just in time. The entire back half of the rail crunched like a bendy straw under the weight of hurdling metal, crashing in a deafening shatter-crash that sounded like a violent car wreck involving a thousand china dishes. Wheatley bobbled on the surviving chunk of rail, wobbling like a drinky bird up-and-down sickeningly as it bounced on the cables.

As the shaking began to pass, and his owlish stare of metaphorically breathless horror began to actually process what he was staring at, he became numbly aware that there was something amongst the rubble. Something not made of metal and rust. Every good instinct told him to belt it out of there- count his blessings, he was nearly crushed to death, and leave.

Instead, after a sputtering clunk as his system struggled with the command, he flicked on his flashlight and illuminated the human figure that was to blame for both the rampant destruction and his near-demise.