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"Meteors, signals, apologies, and that tricky little thing called humanity- four years after the events of Portal II, Wheatley’s been handed a second chance, but it’s not going to be plain sailing…"
—-Waffles, the Story's author, under each chapter's Tumblr post.
Blue Sky is a Portal fanfic by Waffles hosted on both livejournal and Fanfiction.Net. It is a Humanized Wheatley fic, and is widely considered to be the best of its class, running for 15 chapters. It is the longest Portal fanfiction on FFN, clocking in at 176,808 words.
It's been four years since Wheatley and the Space Core were launched into orbit around the moon. Chell has escaped and is living peacefully in a nearby town, GLaDOS is working on the Cooperative Testing Initiative, and all seems to going, if not well, at least fine. Then the Space Core gets blasted to bits by a passing meteor, knocking Wheatley out of orbit and into a collision course with Earth's surface. After he sends up a distress signal almost by accident, GLaDOS takes notice and decides she might have a use for the metal ball.
What follows is an exploration of Wheatley- his pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, talents and flaws. It also provides excellent voices for Chell, GLaDOS, and even ATLAS and P-Body.
It can be read on livejournal here, and Fanfiction.Net here. Head to the first link for some beautiful artwork accompanying each chapter. It is complete, and there is a sort of epilogue in the one-shot titled Kick as well as another one-shot taking place between the story's end and the epilogue titled The Itch.
Check out the Blue Sky image page for lots and lots of fanart. It has two Fanmixes, The Blue Sky Fanmix of Musical Brazillance, and Blue Sky Music Madness. The former was compiled by the author's writing partner, and the latter is made up of fan suggestions. Both are located and available for download here. It also has its own original fan-written song, From the Monster, With Love, [dead link] and a sung version of the in-universe turret song.
Currently, there is a project underway to convert the nearly 180,000 word story into a fan-produced audiobook, fully-cast and unabridged.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, this fic has a very loyal, very creative fanbase.
- Abnormal Ammo: Chell finds a gun early on that has a barrel too large to shoot any normal caliber bullets. It's broken, so we never actually find out what it was for.
- Adorkable: Wheatley is this up to 11, especially when he starts monologuing. Which he does, often.
- Affectionate Nickname: Romy has her nickname for Chell, “Michelle”.
- Wheatley refers to Ellie as 'Wellies'- although it's possible he thinks this is her real name.
- Foxglove refers to Wheatley as "".
- Air Vent Passageway: Not exactly air vents, but climbing in the chaotic crawl spaces of the facility.
- All Just a Dream: A chapter posted for April Fool's claimed that the entire story was this. Thankfully, it's not canon and was taken down after the day was done.
- Bad Dreams: Chell suffers from these. Fortunately, Wheatley is there to help in his own way.
- Bad Future: Averted. The Combine has been defeated, and while the rebuilding process is slow going in rural areas, (they still can’t get good radio signal) things appear to be back to normal.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Exactly What It Says On The Trope. Blue and Orange do not see or understand things like humans do.
- Brain Uploading: Both Wheatley and GLaDOS are the result of a version of this procedure. Wheatley also undergoes the process in reverse at the very end, an example of Neural Implanting.
- Cannot Spit It Out: At no point during the story do the characters or narration mention GLaDOS by name, referring to her largely as "Her", barring a brief mention of her full name. Also, no one uses the word "love" to refer to Chell and Wheatley's relationship, though just about everyone in Eaden already thinks they're dating.
- Chekhov's Gun: A subtle example, but present. When Wheatley is trying to send himself into Aperture Labs, he needs the exact coordinates as a destination. Luckily he had that scrap of Chell's map from her Three-Strikes demonstration on him.
- Cloudcuckoolander: The space core, affectionately named "Kevin." And Wheatley has shades of this, as well.
- Converse with the Unconscious: Wheatley helps Chell through her nightmare of doing Science. Then he talks to her about his confused feelings. Except she woke up after the nightmare.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment At one point GLaDOS makes this her intention for Wheatley and Chell.
“I am going to kill you. I’m going to kill you and I’m going to make her watch. And then I’m going to bring you back, and I’m going to kill her, and I’m going to make you watch. And after that I’m going to get really creative.”
- Cutting the Knot: Chell uses a homemade explosive as a way to “manually override” walls in the facility and rescue Wheatley from GLaDOS.
- Death by Irony: Invoked and executed by Wheatley as he proceeds to give GLaDOS all his “terrible ideas” and switch her off. He points out that if she had never tried to murder all the Aperture employees there would have been no need for him in the first place.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Wheatley has the tendancy to speak like this.
Wheatley: "Whoah, whoah, whoah, hold on, what's the urgency? Is something on fire? Oh, God, n-nothing's on fire, is it? Because if it is, if something is on fire, I understand you probably didn't want to ruin the mood back there- bit of a party-killer, fire- but we should probably tell someone, like, um, the fire... person- the person in charge of fires-"
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life: Wheatley.
- Deuteragonist: Chell.
- Dirty Coward: Wheatley's suggestion to Chell to just leave the population of Eaden trapped with GLaDOS forever. It goes as well as you'd expect.
- Doomed Hometown: GLaDOS kidnaps the entire town of Eaden, Chell’s adopted home, in order to blackmail her into testing.
- Dream Weaver: An odd, non-supernatural example. Wheatley talks Chell out of her night terror, leading her through an imaginary Aperture Labs by describing it to her
- Emergency Transformation: An odd example, since it's from a robot to a different kind of robot. And again, but to a human body.
- Epic Fail: The utterly horrendous bread loaf.
- Wheatley. Shotgun. Even the author agrees Chell had a bad idea bringing the two of them together.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Wheatley isn't quite evil, but Duke still knows he isn't human.
- Evil Twin: Wheatley asks the Hatfield twins which one is the evil one. They both claim the other is.
- Fainting: Due to the combined effects of Chell’s kiss and the revelation of his new body Wheatley checks out.
- Feigning Intelligence: A carryover from the game, Wheatley’s self-consciousness often gets the better of him and he resorts to this, rather unsuccessfully.
- Flashback Nightmare: Wheatley has several of these.
- Foreshadowing: At one point, Wheatley asks the Hatfield twins which one is the evil twin. It later turns out that Foxglove has an "evil twin" in GLaDOS.
- Early on, Chell describes Wheatley's chattering as "listening to a radio constantly tuned to Twit FM." This foreshadows Wheatley hosting his own broadcast later on.
- In the first half of the story characters casually discuss the telepathy of the vortigaunts in what seems like a simple tie in to the Half-Life universe. Later, Wheatley begins to communicate by wireless with Foxglove and transmits himself to Aperture Laboratories.
- Pretty much everything said by the Oracle Turret(s).
- Wheatley at one point says "It is a far, far better thing that I do now, than I have ever done." He misattributes the quote, but later he sacrifices himself for Chell and Eaden, much like Sydney Carton did for Lucie Manette.
- Forgotten First Meeting: As described in the flashbacks, Wheatley and Chell had met many many years before the events of Portal 2 occurred. Neither remembers anything before said events because of their Brain Uploading and Human Popsicle states, respectively.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Garret Rickey.
- Go Out with a Smile: Wheatley’s last moment in his hard-light body.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Wheatley has a bad case of this toward Garret until about mid-way through the story.
- Gilligan Cut: Wheatley confidently insists that he can handle Garret's digital moonshine. The scene then cuts directly to a rambling, drunken monologue.
- Hard Light: The Aperture Science Human Relations Avatar Device. It contains a human bio scan that projects the solid image over the device.
- Helpless Good Side: Subverted. Caroline turns out to be far from helpless, and, while still a saint compared to GLaDOS, perhaps not all that good either.
- Heroic Sacrifice: As of his rescue of Chell, Wheatley became just a bundle of files in a dormant mainframe. It didn't stick.
- Hostage Situation/I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: GLaDOS captures everyone from Eaden and holds them hostage so that Chell will do the tests and cooperate.
- Human Popsicle: Chell is one, carried over from the games. And so, at the end, is Wheatley.
- I Am What I Am: Wheatley decides that he isn't human, isn't a program, he just is in Chapter 14.
- Cynically played with in the case of GLaDOS- because of her inability to accept her humanity as Wheatley eventually does, and her repeated, futile attempts to delete Caroline, it's heavily implied that she is doomed to live a limited half-life for all eternity. An extremely well-done Be Yourself aesop.
Wheatley didn't have much evidence to go on, besides that very bright, very charming, very frightening laugh, but if there was one thing he'd learned about the whole putting-a-human-mind-in-a-computer thing, it was that whatever you tried to do to it afterwards, the human bit sort of stuck. There was no getting rid of it- it clung to all the shiny new programming you put in there like the glue of a particularly stubborn sticker, and unless you were prepared to spend half your time attacking it with the coding equivalent of wire wool, you were lumbered with it for good.
- I Have Your Wife: GLaDOS manages to get the whole town of Eaden imprisoned in Aperture to force Chell back into testing, with the promise that they won't die as long as she behaves.
- I Know You Know I Know: A short instance occurs in Chapter 11.
Wheatley: "She knows, she knows I know, does she know I know she knows?"
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Garret, upon learning Wheatley is a robot and is able to connect to his laptop using his codec. He spends the next few scenes drinking from a bottle without a label with a jam jar.
- Imaginary Friend: Linnell, Ellie Otten’s stuffed vortigaunt and best friend.
- Ink Suit Actor: Some of the physical characteristics of Wheatley’s avatar (ridiculous height and glasses) borrow from Portal 2’s voice actor Stephen Merchant. Wheatley’s first name is Stephen.
- Ironic Echo: Wheatley's first conversation with GLaDOS and his last both involve suggesting she relax and the various way she could do it.
- Law of Inverse Recoil: Let loose with a shotgun, Wheatley takes the full recoil to the face and knocks himself flat on his back.
- Lethal Chef: Wheatley, and his mutated sin against science and nature loaf of bread.
- Love At First Sight: Defied, Played Straight, and Discussed. Human Wheatley doesn’t believe in this trope. Then he sees Chell. Later he realizes he can’t say he loves her if he doesn’t even know her, but he really wants to gather the courage to ask her out for a drink.
- Made of Iron: Chell, in chapter 4. She's shot in the side and bleeding profusely (including Blood From the Mouth,) but after Wheatley spends the whole night carrying her, she's still alive, and after maybe a day in treatment is up and running again.
- Meaningful Name: The town of Eaden, an example of human civilization after the apocalyptic Combine invasion, comes from a half decayed sign that originally read "Dead End."
- Motor Mouth: Wheatley, natch.
- My Eyes Are Leaking: More of a "Your eyes are leaking" when this is Wheatley's response to Chell upon realizing she is tearing up.
- My Greatest Second Chance: Exaggerated. Wheatley has the second chance to be a decent person offered not once, but twice by Chell. Only after he has “struck out” does he set things right.
- Offscreen Crash: The narration is from Chell's Point of View, and Wheatley has just decided its time to stand up for the first time. This is the result.
Wheatley: "Knees and everything! Wow. Okay, well… let's have a bash at it, then. Left… hand. Right. On the floor. Get the old knees involved, there we go, ready… gently does it… aannd… upsy-daisy-"
- Pinch Me: Wheatley asks Chell to touch him when they meet again to ensure she's real and he isn't seeing things.
- Portmanteau: Dale, CA, Intern tells Wheatley that 'Brazil' is short for a cross between 'Brilliant' and 'Resilient', which leads Wheatley to make up the word 'Brazilliant'
- Projected Man: Wheatley's Hard Light body.
- Prophecy Twist: Before the events of Portal II, the Oracle Turret tells Wheatley he will 'rise above us all.'
- Later, this exchange takes place between Wheatley and Caroline
Wheatley: I'm... I'm going to die, aren't I?
- Given what happens next, it's clear that she didn't quite mean it the way he thought.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Wheatley, with his ability to feel pain and emote isn't actually an example of this. He used to be human, and had his mind placed into the core. All the other robots are noticeably inhuman, especially Orange and Blue.
- Robotic Reveal: Due to the flawless appearance of the avatar’s hologram most of the town of Eaden believes Wheatley is human. Garret understandably needs a drink when he sees Wheatley plug a lead into his neck and connect to a laptop.
- Sequel Hook: The monologue at the end shows GLaDOS found something after Wheatley had messed around with the facility again.
- Shirtless Scene: Subverted. Garret makes a comment on Wheatley's gratituitous lack of shirt after he's restored to his human body; however, as the body in question is Wheatley's, has been in stasis for a very long period of time, and is covered in goo, it's likely not an impressive sight.
- Stealth Pun: On a whim, Wheatley dubs the Space Core "Kevin" while trapped in space at the start. If he had a second name, it could well be Kevin Spacey.
- Tarot Motifs: Mentioned in the chapter "The Oracle." The Oracle Turret does a Tarot reading for Wheatley, and it's very clear that Wheatley is The Fool, Chell is Strength, and GLaDOS is The Empress.
- Tarot Troubles: In a flashback, the Oracle Turret gives a Tarot reading for Wheatley when he crosses her path unexpectedly. She dubs him The Fool, and predicts that he will "rise above us all." Her words more or less prompt Wheatley to instigate the events of Portal 2.
- Tempting Fate: Cubicle-drone Wheatley does this in a flashback by stating that he '(doesn't) have anything life-altering planned in the forseeable future.'
- Later, he tells Chell that he never, ever wants to set foot in the facility again- 'not even part of a foot, or even a finger.' He gets his wish... after a fashion.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: GLaDOS to Wheatley, after Wheatley transfers himself back to Aperture.
GLaDOS: "I can see that spending all that time out there with her has had a bad influence on you. You were the dumbest thing in the entire facility before, but this is just embarrassing. What are you trying to do? Save her? Or are you just trying to prove you're human? Please. You're not human. You're not even a functional machine. You're just an experiment that went horribly, horribly wrong. Let's face it, around here, that doesn't exactly make you unique."
- Title Drop: Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky”
- Troubled Fetal Position: Wheatley assumes this position when he finds out that he used to be human.
- Tuckerization: Most of Eaden - for example, Aaron Halifax, Romy Hatfield, Garrett Rickey, and Martin Otten - are real people; their names are in the credits of Portal 2.
- Unexplained Recovery: In Chapter 5 the Hatfield twins tell Chell they'd heard she was dead. She tells them she 'got better.'
- Walking Disaster Area: GLaDOS eventually decides that Chell is one of these- she doesn't even have to try to end up destroying everything she touches.
- Was Once a Man: Wheatley. Also, as in the game, GLaDOS. We get to meet the (wo)man this time, too.
- White Collar Worker: Wheatley, once upon a time.
- Wreathed in Flames: Wheatley the hard-light hologram has the ability to clean himself off by activating the Incalcination cycle, which burns any offending material away at 2000 degrees Kelvin. Surprisingly - especially considering that flour is as explosive as gunpowder - nothing else gets burned aside from Chell's kitchen floor.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: Wheatley says this when he realizes he needs administrative permission for his rockets.
- Your Worst Nightmare: Chell's comes true.