Originally, this was going to be a one-sided "crush" M-O/EVE fic, but it came out as more of a friendship. That's okay. I actually really like it this way anyhow. I messed around with Robospeak in this, because as far as I've seen it's treated as a language that's just like English. I thought it'd make more sense if it was really more formal. This is set before Eve (labelled Probe One in this story, to avoid confusion) goes to Earth.
Wall-E is not mine. Byah.
M-O didn't know much about the EVE probes, but he could tell Probe One was upset. Her eyes were cast downward, slanted into bitter half-circles and her little fist was clenched tightly at her side. She'd once again failed to obtain a specimen and was taking the failure hard. So far, Probe One refused to communicate with any of her peers outside of "yes" and "no"s.
M-O figured he knew her well enough--he'd scrubbed her numerous times and even shared a word or two about her missions--to at least attempt to console her in some way. Plus, she'd be in his care for a while: during her last visit to a terraformed planet, she'd managed to coat herself in a thick layer of mud. Cleaning brush buzzing away, working off the grime and filth, he dared to venture forth and ask in their language, "Bad mission?"
Probe One scarcely lifted her head, grumbling in a low mechanical growl, "Bad mission."
M-O nodded sympathetically, moving to clean her back. As he worked, Probe one released a long sigh,a gesture she had seen the humans perform in times of stress. She found herself, for reasons she didn't really understand herself, trying to communicate her frustrations to M-O. This was difficult, given their language was very precise and didn't allow for much expression, "I'm...depleted."
The cleaning robot regarded her strangely.
"You seem in perfect function to me," he remarked, straining to reach the higher spots on her back. Letting out a small titter at M-O's struggling, Probe One lowered herself to his level, allowing him to clean the troublesome grime away.
"No, no...not 'depleted'...I intended to say..." knowing no word similar to the meaning she meant, she switched to English. "Tired."
"Ti-ud?" M-O imitated her word as well as he could, pausing a moment from his work to try and search his vocabulary for a meaning to the word. "That is a human expression for depletion, usually caused by lack of...uh...sleep, if I am correct. Why would a robot experience this?"
"That was not the meaning I intended either...what I am trying to say is I am...I am..." Probe One let her voice fade, not really sure how to express what she was feeling. It didn't make sense to her, the displeasure she was experiencing more and more. Each time she went out on a mission, she found this feeling would begin to arise within her for no real reason. The only explanation she could come up with was each time she went to a planet, some part of her already knew she would fail.
"I am not happy," she finally said in an unusually quiet voice. M-O's scrubber slowed, then paused completely, her sadness taking him by surprise. Blinking, he slowly resumed his work, not really because he wished to but because his programming simply wouldn't allow him to stop.
"Not...happy? Probe One, what caused this? Did something occur?"
"No...it is everything I do. It is as if all the actions I perform, all the missions I embark on...they are obsolete. Without purpose."
Finishing his work, M-O tapped his scrubber against the ground. He thought carefully on her words, not used to comforting anyone and really unsure of how to cheer her up. Finally, he said, "Probe One...soon you will be returning to Earth. There, you might find the answer. You might find a plant."
Probe One lifted her head slightly, looking over at M-O.
"How did you discover this?" she asked, somewhat defensively. The knowledge of her destinations was considered classified information.
"I clean many EVE probes," M-O replied, surprisingly unphased by the slight leer she gave him. "I find out where they are going after a while."
It made sense to Probe One that he would know where they were scheduled to go. It wasn't as if the rotation of destinations changed. The EVEs always headed to the same planets in the same order. It now occured to her this would be her first rotation onto planet Earth. She was among some of the newer models, so she hadn't had the chance to explore the home planet yet.
Drawing out yet another mechanical sigh, Probe One looked over her shoulder at the small M-O, her eyes indicating faint happiness.
"Thank you for listening."
"You're welcome, Probe One."
"Please...address me as EVE," she adjusted the human idiom into the robots' language as best she could. M-O nodded.
"E-vah," he said in his whirring little voice. She wasn't sure why, but this made her laugh. Perhaps M-O was right. Perhaps the answer, the plant that would give her struggles meaning, would be waiting for her on Earth. Probe One decided right then and there, something that would satisfy her feelings of discontent in her existence had to be waiting down on Earth.
And she would find it.