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In addition to the thoroughly entertaining, physics-bending gameplay at its core, Valve’s Portal games have succeeded thanks to top-notch writing and a pair of unforgettable characters. In the original Portal it was GLaDOS, a passive-aggressive artificial intelligence who at first seems to be helping guide silent protagonist Chell through the increasingly deadly testing facility of Aperture Science. With Portal 2, Valve did the nigh-impossible and introduced a new character just as hilarious and memorable as GLaDOS: Wheatley, a nebbishy, scatter-brained A.I. voiced by Stephen Merchant. And while GLaDOS may have the better singing voice, now Wheatley has one-upped her in a major way: he’s hitched a ride to the International Space Station.
Thanks to an anonymous NASA worker/Portal fan, a small portrait of Wheatley was laser-engraved on a panel, complete with the accompanying message, “In spaaaaaaace!” Thanks to the cheeky NASA worker, Wheatley stowed away aboard the Japanese HTV-3 craft, which launched this past Friday to resupply the International Space Station. Here’s what Valve had to say, via a post on the Portal 2 blog:
Though mankind will surely regret giving Wheatley a celestial perch to plot his next move, we here at Valve are mostly just impressed with NASA’s bold, unprecedented resupply craft numbering scheme. And please note that when we mentioned an “anonymous tech at NASA” we weren’t kidding: NASA in no way officially endorses secretly laser-engraving characters from Portal onto their spacecraft. Believe it or not, they don’t even officially endorse Portal 2, despite the fact that it’s a really excellent game.
So there you have it: Wheatley wound up in outer space. For those of you who played Portal 2, you’ll have to agree it’s a strangely appropriate turn of events…