After a while, EVE noticed that Wall.E would get distracted whenever they visited John and Mary in their home. John and Mary had two nextgen humans now, and Wall.E loved bringing them things from his collection and delighted in their reactions. Shiny things, or ones that bounced, or even ones that sang when he turned a handle. EVE admitted the little ones were very sweet and liked to play, but there had been a few years when they were loud and noisy and didn't do much of anything at all. Wall.E had been fascinated even then, but EVE had been a little bored, preferring instead to work out the algorithms for building a mechanism that could help foster the most appropriate plants for various soil types.
So, she was not prepared at all for Wall.E asking her to consider making their own nextgen one evening. It had been a lovely night. The atmosphere bots had done a good job of clearing away some of the debris surrounding Earth, and the stars shone bright and shimmering through scattered patches of sky. They were together hand in hand on a floating platform a little above Axiomship, enjoying the view when Wall.E turned to her.
"Eee-vah?" Wall.E said. She always loved way he said her name, drawing the sounds out.
"Eee-vah." Wall.E said. He pointed at her and at himself, and made a small space between his hands. She looked at him, confused, and he elaborated. He waved his arms in complicated gestures, pulled out a lot of props from his storage space, and generally made a big production, ending with a final "Ta-da!"
EVE gaped as she realized that Wall.E wanted a little nextgen. She did her best to scowl at him. "Directive," she said, pointing at the structures the humans were building to protect the tender shoots of green they cultivated every day. She didn't understand how he could consider creating a new bot when there was so much still to do. Wall.E didn't say anything, but linked their hands again, and leaned his head on her body. His eyes drooped a little.
Still, EVE could never resist Wall.E for long, and eventually she thought maybe having a small bot would not be such a bad thing. Whenever she contemplated the idea of a tiny version of Wall.E rolling around, it felt a little like her wires were melting. When the flowers bloomed on the fruit trees for the first time, everyone at Axiomship celebrated, and EVE told Wall.E that they should mark the occasion by making a nextgen together. Wall.E threw his arms around her, nearly bowling her over with his delight, and EVE couldn't help giggling as well. A lot of sparks flew that day.
They agreed that Wall.E would be responsible for the body of the new bot, while EVE would engineer the A.I. and various nanoprocessors. After they had decided on a basic shape, Wall.E spent days combing over the scrap heaps, searching for the perfect parts. M-O hovered around, quivering with excitement, and polished every piece that Wall.E deemed worthy to a gleaming finish. Using his laser cutter, Wall.E formed the body, going through several models before deciding on one that was pleasingly round and smooth. He thought the shape would allow easy movement, but he attached little wheels on the sides to improve balance, just in case. He could always take them off later, but it was probably best to have them until the little one proved adept at finding her way around the rocky terrain.
Meanwhile, EVE opened the box of chips that Wall.E had worn out over the years, and re-masked and re-circuited until she formed a brand new chip from the bits and pieces of the old ones. It took a long time, because it was delicate, precise work, but EVE was determined to make it as perfect as possible. She wrote programming based off her own scripts and coding she scanned from Wall.E. Her scanner made him a little ticklish, but he submitted gracefully, and afterward they had spent a day chasing each other over Axiomship, tickling and laughing like malfunctioning bots.
When EVE finished with programming, she mounted the final A.I. interface on the last circuit board Wall.E had used, the one that had almost been completely destroyed. She had reworked that last piece and carefully resurfaced it, but one part, the inactive part, she kept as it was.
They spent months on the new bot, assembling it with care, making sure each part fit perfectly and beautifully with the next. And when EVE finally slid the A.I. components into the new body, and hooked them to the solar power cells Wall.E had installed, they were able to step back and look with pride upon their completed nextgen.
Only one thing remained. Wall.E and EVE looked at each other, and then EVE removed part of her front casing and drew out a plasma optic while Wall.E unhooked one of his connection wires. With their friends watching with excited expectancy (M-O was so agitated that he was close to wearing out the floor from his back-and-forths, and had to be calmed down), they gently touched them to the little bot at the same time. Her power cells jump-started from the resulting spark, and she whirred softly to life, performing a self diagnostic. They watched as her eyes adjusted carefully, and she blinked at them slowly. She scooted forward a little, and then backward, and then forward again. Giving a sort of delighted gurgle, she spun her wheels, testing them. She added some speed, darted forward, and promptly crashed into Wall.E's display of rubber duckies. EVE looked alarmed and rushed over to help disentangle the little one from the cascading mess. A small buzz passed between them as they touched, and EVE blinked in surprised delight.
"Ma-ma!" the little bot chirped at Eve, who immediately got a very self-satisfied look on her face. The little one glided over to Wall.E, and he inspected her closely from top to bottom, gently touching here and there. His eye shutters blinked quickly a few times, and he gave a small, pleased sigh. They spent a few moments connecting and downloading each other's data to their memories. "Dadeeeeeeeeeee," the nextgen hummed, and then zipped off to nuzzle around the various bots gathered in Wall.E's hangar. Wall.E clicked approvingly, spun around once, and then extended his hand to EVE. She took it in hers, linked their fingers together, and they watched their nextgen together as she explored.
They discovered that the little bot particularly liked to record things, both visual and audio, and then play them back for her and others' amusement. She would cruise around Axiomship, and music would spontaneously burst into the air or a hologram of birds flying or nextgen humans running would suddenly pop up. EVE found this to be extremely helpful in her work and eventually took the new bot along as she mapped out the best schedules for crop rotation or created designs for an acid rain purification system. EVE was inclined to be a bit overprotective whenever they went out together, especially since the little bot liked to wander off and play in a pool of water or a pile of newly-overturned dirt, but EVE hadn't designed her capabilities for nothing, and the little one's reflexes were quick and sharp.
The little bot also liked to trail Wall.E on his daily rounds. She figured out that she could curl herself up into a ball, and became so good utilizing that shape that Wall.E removed her stabilizing wheels. Whenever she was not tagging after Wall.E or following EVE, she and the nextgen humans spent hours playing together, rolling, bouncing, and laughing. She had a joyful, infectious laugh that affected everyone around her.
They named her ELL.E, and though she was useful in other ways, she became the first bot in the history of the world to locate and lift elation; the first bot whose purpose was to create and spread delight.