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WHEATLEY ([personal profile] testgasm) wrote2017-04-30 09:43 pm


18+?: Yes!
CONTACT: [plurk.com profile] whitticus or PM this account.

NAME: Wheatley (formal designation “Aperture Science Intelligence Dampening Sphere”; please don’t call him that it’s terrible and embarrassing)
AGE: Unknown, but presumably anywhere from a few decades to a century or two. He’s an ageless robot, though, so he’s more-or-less programmed an adult.
CANON: Portal 2

CANON HISTORY: [Portal] [Portal 2] [Wheatley]
Wheatley is a little high-strung.

Okay, a lot high-strung. He's a nervous, twitchy, easily excitable motormouth, talking almost constantly as if frightened of what might happen should there be complete silence. You know That Guy who never shuts up, no matter what, even in situations where one really should shut up? Wheatley's That Guy.

Bumbling, tactless, absent-minded, anxious and completely lacking in attention span, he has a penchant for rambling and strange anecdotes. He wears his emotions on his (figurative) sleeves, and doesn't feel things in halves—if he is enthusiastic about something, he is very enthusiastic. If he is afraid, he is very afraid. If he panics, he really panics, fixating on the worst possible thing that could happen, and then promptly imagining something even worse. Though he's generally congenial and one might not immediately pinpoint him as an idiot (his vocabulary is rather substantial, after all), it's quite clear that he's incredibly eccentric, possibly crazy, and far from the sharpest knife in the drawer.

GLaDOS, perhaps, puts it best: Wheatley "is not just a regular moron. He's the product of the greatest minds of a generation working together with the express purpose of building the dumbest moron who ever lived".

This is only mostly true.

He's dumb, sure, and designed to generate awful ideas, a quality further exacerbated by a programmed inability to predict or plan for the often disastrous results of his own actions. This does not mean he can't have good ideas—in fact, he does have them. The problem lies in his terrible, overzealous execution and fervent belief that absolutely nothing is ever his fault. He's gullible, slightly vapid, lacks regard for consequence, and would much rather ignore things he doesn't understand than try to understand them. It's the combination of these factors that makes him a walking calamity.

Wheatley is largely defined by a crippling inferiority complex and a burning desire to be taken seriously. Plagued by the nagging feeling that he might not be as smart as he thinks, he overcompensates, trying very hard to appear as though he knows what he's doing. When that doesn't work, he seems content to exist in delusion and blissful ignorance, "manually overriding" walls and doors by slamming into them, and "hacking" computers by engaging them in conversation. However, he's more self-aware than he lets on, as he seems to have been built just smart enough to have a massive complex about being stupid.

Despite his outward amiability, he is still an Aperture Science AI, and as such is completely lacking in morals. He has little concept of empathy (and certainly none of his own), no regard for human life, and harbors anti-human sentiments. Even as he presumably develops a friendship with Chell (albeit an "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" kind of friendship), Wheatley is selfish, self-centered and not above throwing someone under the bus if it means he gets to see another day. Above all else, he is a coward concerned with his own survival. Underneath his quirky brand of geniality is a robot who is very embittered and unhappy with his lot in (artificial) life.

Once plugged into GLaDOS' mainframe, his negative qualities are exaggerated tenfold, revealing a mean streak and an uncontrollable temper. Given any kind of authority, Wheatley quickly takes the opportunity to abuse it, compensating for his previous useless existence by doing whatever he wants, however he wants, flying into a rage any time his intelligence or competence comes into question. He betrays, antagonizes, and attempts to murder Chell, simply because he has the means to do so. Gone is any pretense of friendliness because hey, when you're a giant omnipotent robot, people should do whatever you want. After spending so long as "tiny little Wheatley", insignificant, inept and ignored, he goes insane with power the instant he gets it, proving to be highly unstable and very dangerous as he enacts his revenge.

While it is unclear how much of this villainous episode is thanks to the mainframe, and how much is an amplification of Wheatley's pre-existing issues, his descent into homicidal robot psychosis is, in part, thanks to his own lack of self-control. Simply put, he does not have the processing capacity to maintain the Enrichment Center, and is quickly enslaved by "the Itch", a euphoric response to testing built into GLaDOS' body. A digital drug addict, he obsesses over achieving it, even as the facility threatens to go up in a nuclear fireball. As he builds a resistance to the response and is further consumed by the need to test, he becomes increasingly deluded, frustrated, paranoid, and single-mindedly devoted to murder, lapsing into hysterics when things take a turn for the worse. Through this, he proves incapable of understanding that he is the problem.

When removed from the chassis, Wheatley shows that he is capable of feeling remorse, though hindsight is, after all, twenty-twenty and it's very easy to be sorry when you're stranded in space. It's not that he isn't guilty, but given his inability to foresee consequences, he might have some trouble actually learning from his experiences and the negative repercussions of his actions. He just really, really liked being Robot God, and is a little angry about not being Robot God anymore. Given the opportunity, he would have made the same mistakes all over again.

◎ The astounding power of the really, really bad idea: he is hardwired to make the worst possible choice in any given situation. If plugged into a fellow AI, it’s entirely likely they would find their functions hindered not only because he’s a distraction that never shuts up, but also because he’s programmed to hamper the intelligence and decision-making skills of other computers.

◎ This does, however, involve a bit of a loophole. Wheatley can be extremely cunning in certain situations simply because it would be inadvisable for him to succeed in his endeavors. For example: ignoring the warnings about that reactor core is a bad idea, so his programming allows him to be very good at doing everything but fixing the reactor core, i.e. setting up elaborate death traps, booby trapping his lair, and coming closer to killing Chell than GLaDOS ever did.

◎ As a core, he possesses the ability to interface with computer systems by plugging into them. Once connected, he is capable of simple manipulation of panels or lifts. The degree of control he gains is determined by the system itself--if he's plugged into the controls for an elevator, he is only able to move the elevator. Unplugged from his overhead track, he's limbless and incapable of independent movement, which kind of sucks a little bit.

◎ Did you know that all Aperture Science Personality Constructs can survive temperatures of up to 400 degrees Kelvin and will remain functional in apocalyptic, low power environments of as few as 1.1 volts, which is the exact amount of electricity generated by a potato battery? Now you do!

◎ He has a built-in flashlight!!

◎ Wheatley is IMMUNE TO LOGICAL PARADOXES THAT WOULD FRY OTHER AI SYSTEMS actually though this is less of an ability and more of a shining testament to his sheer lack of intelligence and basic comprehension of logical paradoxes.

AU NAME: Pendleton Wheatley (please don’t call him Pendleton it’s very embarrassing)
AU AGE: 32
Wheatley has been humanized (for reference, here he is as a talking robot eyeball). Appropriate words to describe his physicality would perhaps be "unimpressive", or "insubstantial". Standing at a height well under the acceptable average for a full-grown man, he sports a build that practically begs to be shoved in a locker, given a swirly or, if you happen to have an Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device on you, both at once. He's a skinny little baby-faced pushover with terrible, terrible fashion sense.

The entire existence of Pendleton Wheatley is sort of a thirty two-year exercise in extreme mediocrity.

His is the story of a completely unremarkable only child of completely unremarkable parents growing up in a completely unremarkable English town outside of Bristol. Most people make their way through childhood and adolescence. Wheatley muddled, and staggered, and maybe set a few things on fire, but who's counting? Truthfully, he was something of a lonely kid, his desperation for approval, hyper-anxious personality and general neediness a huge turn off for, you know, potential friends.

So he did as some lonely children do, and cultivated dual interests in science and technology. Somewhere along the way he decided he had a penchant for computers, and started teaching himself the basics of programming. Whether or not this was an actual penchant was (and still is) debatable, but at some point in his teenage years, Wheatley declared that his natural "skills" (????) were destined for greater things than complete unremarkability. When it was time to pursue higher education, he packed his bags and went stateside.

He muddled his way through Generic American East Coast State University as an international student, though he did pick up something of a reputation among fellow computer science majors for sweeping, deceptively competent strings of code that looked amazing at first glance. Classmates and professors alike were astounded by his seemingly natural ability to produce the most backwards, roundabout, ridiculous-yet-functional-against-all-odds programming that no one could possibly hope to duplicate. Truly it was the work of a mad genius—either that, or no one wanted to admit they didn't understand it. Student visas turned into working visas. Working visas turned into a green card. Hooray!

Unfortunately, Wheatley's so-insane-it-had-to-be-good programming style was only cute for as long as it could be passed off as "innovative, out-of-the-box thinking". Soon enough, he arrived in the real world and his projects were no longer inconsequential. Supervisors started picking apart what they thought was organized chaos to find that it was just plain old chaos, and although Wheatley could produce great idea after possibly crazy great idea, said ideas seemed to suffer from disastrous implementation across the board. The writing was on the wall—shape up, reel it in, or fail to hold down a job.

So Wheatley learned to keep his head down, falling in line in the interest of staying employed, but growing increasingly bitter as employers continually FAILED TO RECOGNIZE HIS TALENT. Truly, he was a misunderstood genius that no one could appreciate, but he'd never been the overtly aggressive sort, so he swallowed his dissatisfaction and made a point of flying under the radar. It proved to be the secret for success—or rather, the secret for extreme mediocrity. He didn't have to worry about getting fired if he just put a lid on the BRILLIANT IDEAS and did as he was told, though it did make for an incredibly unsatisfying career.

Opportunities for advancement presented themselves...and were promptly given to more capable co-workers, mostly leaving him with banal tasks that nobody else wanted to do. Excitement to prove himself slowly dwindled as he was shuffled from task to task, being his needy, annoying, generally unlikeable self and ensuring that most of his co-workers did everything they could to keep him off their projects.

Which was terrible, as far as he was concerned, because he had so many good ideas. He just needed his chance.

After toiling away in cubicle land through his twenties, however, he was eventually taken on as a programmer at a tech firm in Recollé. Jumping at the opportunity for a fresh start in a new city with a new company, Wheatley accepted the job offer and the move. Surely it would not be more of the same. Surely he’s destined for greater things than being a simple code monkey. Perhaps this would be the way he proves it.

That was about a year ago. Things haven’t really changed yet, but they’ve got to eventually, right? Right??

This version of Wheatley remains largely the same, personality-wise. Talkative, genial but hapless, a supreme overcompensator—all of this translates more-or-less unchanged, right down to his propensity for throwing other people under the bus. As such, he’ll cleave to his canon personality fairly closely. Good luck.

Still, he has one incredible advantage—he's human. Whereas a robot programmed to make terrible decisions is bound by cold hard code, compelled in every way to make those terrible decisions over and over and over again, a human brain has the distinct ability to learn from mistakes and correct behavior. Though his decision making is still pretty "throw stuff at the wall and see what sticks", he’s an adult who knows that his actions have consequences, and has learned over the course of his career that certain errors are far too disastrous to repeat.

He's also not a sociopath, wow! He's capable of feeling empathy, cares about what happens to other people, and actually has a set of human morals, which is generally not a hallmark of Aperture Science. Show him some sad puppies, and he'll get misty just like the rest of us. Similarly, the only time his robo-self feels guilt is after he's been punished for his atrocious deeds, and though he still errs on the selfish side and pins blame on others like it's no one's business, as a human, he's able to feel and understand guilt and remorse in a more complex way.

Wheatley is much more mentally stable and isn't quite as ruled by the inferiority complex of his counterpart. The knowledge of being programmed expressly to be someone else's mental retardant is a little hard to swallow, but Pendleton doesn't need to worry about any of that! He is his own person, which has done wonders for both his self-esteem and his sanity (nobody wants a homicidal maniac in the workplace). Unfortunately, this may have gone a little too far in the other direction, giving him an over-inflated sense of self-importance—which isn't exactly unwarranted. Without the shackles of intelligence dampening protocols, he's actually pretty smart, though his true intelligence is often masked by his off-the-wall eccentricity, desperation for approval, and general tendency to jump headfirst into things.

As someone who tends to work very intimately with computers, Wheatley likes to think he’s the kind of person who takes steps to prevent things like suspect applications suddenly manifesting themselves on his mobile devices without warning or his consent. The pop-up on his phone, then, has him puzzled, because strange malware isn’t supposed to happen to him. He’s savvy! He knows what to click and what to not click. This is ridiculous!

He’s all set to ignore the promptings to sign up and become a tester (because the last thing he needs is more social media to make him feel badly about himself), but before he can do anything, it’s already downloading.

“No, no, that’s not—I didn’t authorize you to download. Aren’t I supposed to accept terms of service, or something?”

Something he can do to stop this, maybe. Wheatley’s come to a halt in the middle of the sidewalk, frowning at his phone, mashing his fingers against the screen to no avail. If he cares about the fact that he’s currently talking to a mobile device, he most certainly doesn’t show it, all furrowed eyebrows and intense concentration on the screen in front of him (rather than the people passing him on the sidewalk).

“You realize this just screams ‘secret government surveillance’, don’t you? This is—this is a completely uncalled for invasion of privacy, that’s what this is. Oh, and now you’re—that’s a nice fact about bees, isn’t it? Too bad I didn’t ask for facts about bees. Didn’t ask for this at all.”

He makes note of the application, vaguely recalling a company in town that shares its name. Not exactly the immediate solution he wants, but hey, maybe it’s a start.

“Got to be a customer service number somewhere—ah, sorry—“

Of course, one can’t stand in the middle of the sidewalk talking to a phone for as long as Wheatley has, and he’s all at once jostled by a passerby who doesn’t feel like getting out of the way for him. He fumbles, nearly losing his grip on the phone and staggering a few steps forward as he tries to regain his balance. By the time he manages to put eyes back on his screen, the application is fully downloaded and waiting for him.

It is, in fact, going to be one of those days.