A Search for Legs
IA’s sudden display of affection surprised Wheatley, causing his ‘pupil’ to shrink to a pinpoint. He had seen many companion cubes snuggled viciously by socially deprived test subjects, who longed for the touch of another person. However, this was different; IA appeared to be in perfect mental health. Wheatley’s optical dilated, relaxing as he realized that he was not in the arms of a deranged human; he was only the arms of a very affectionate one.
One particular thing that Wheatley noticed about IA was her grip. Unlike others who had held him before, the girl grasped him lightly, squeezing him only if in an embrace. Most who had previously possessed him knew that he was constructed of sturdy materials, and clenched him tightly in their hands. Though Wheatley usually felt anxious when not held firmly enough, there was some sense of security in IA’s delicate clutch.
“I have been called many things, but ‘cute’ is a new one. I do prefer ‘extremely intellectual being’, but cute will do,” he narrowed his shutters, his optic gazing sideways at IA. “But, um, I remember you saying that you were going to hold me by my handles. So, unless you are holding me with your cheek, you might want to hold me differently. Unless, you know, you don’t want water anymore. Which is fine. Up to you, mate.”
IA, too preoccupied with squeezing him affectionately to see his initial panic, didn’t even let up as Wheatley started talking, but nearly dropped him in realization as he brought the water to her attention once again, catching him from her little slip up, this time by his handle.
“Oh! Right, the water!”
Kneeling down, the young singer seated Wheatley carefully on the ground, positioned so that he wouldn’t roll, and began gathering the scattered bottles, picking them up one by one and depositing them under her right arm. As she worked at retrieving them, though, she felt like she should say something to this new robot—her new friend—for his constant rambling was contagious; now she, too, felt the need to fill the silence.
“Do you have a name, Mr. Robot?”