"A robot who encounters a problem, attempts to find the solution, makes it worse, and then continues attempting to fix it until their programmer arrives to find them banging shit together and swearing"
"Th-this is just stage one," murmured Alphys. "A test."
It looked like a brick with buttons and dials and -yes- a big LED readout for a face.
"I-I-I'll be adding f-features, later. Like. L-l-legs..."
Metta slid into the machine, allowing his spirit essence to merge with the circuitry. Ah, it had retractable arms. No. He had retractable arms. He opened his cameras. Eyes.
Alphys was checking her readouts.
Mettaton stood up. Balanced on... a singular wheel. "I think the motion controls might need a little work, gorgeous..." In fact, finding his balance was more than a little awkward. He had to keep oscillating back and forth just to stay upright. "I don't want to hypnotise my audience."
"It's a proof of concept," Alphys was already deep into her note taking. "I'll get onto your glamour body just as soon as I'm done calibrating the tolerances."
Which, Mettaton knew, was going to take absolute hours. If not days. If not weeks. Ugh. He disconnected from the cables and roamed around the lab. Moving around seemed to keep better balance than attempting to stand still. And Alphys had given him extendible noodle arms, giving him the reach to get anything he wanted.
Which wasn't much, in Alphys' lab.
As a ghost, Mettaton could go anywhere he wanted. The solidity of walls was just one amongst a very many new surprises. Like... the fact that he could no longer fly.
Mettaton had never tackled a set of stairs in his life. How to manage them with a single wheel was going to be a problem until his final form was finally ready. No better time to start learning than now.
He could hop, thanks to some pistons and springs. And after a few practice bounces, he leapt up to the first step...
...and instantly crashed back down into the lab floor.
Alphys surfaced from her work with the dim awareness that she hadn't eaten in some hours. The clock confirmed that her last meal was breakfast, and now it was past dinner time. And there was a persistent noise.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!" whump, whump, CRASH! Cursing fit to turn the very air a deep indigo. And then it would begin again.
She looked over her piles of notes to see Mettaton charging at the steps and, because of his one wheel, immediately falling off of them and impacting with the lab floor.
"M-m-mettaton... You'll d-dent yourself..."
"I. Am going. To learn. STAIRS!" His noodle arms flailed around on the floor like a brace of agitated eels. "If it takes me the rest of forever, I will learn how to climb these things!"
"B-but I haven't installed the gyroscopic stabilisers, y-yet..."
An electronic sigh. "Darling, a star needs to be seen. And most importantly, a star needs to be able to do things. Work on a stage. Go up and down..." this time, the word came out as a snarl. "Stairs. It's important."
Alphys picked him up, tweaked a few dials. "I t-t-told you this is a w-work in progress. B-b-baby steps, Mettaton."
"I can't do baby steps, Sweetie. I have a wheel."
This was going to be a long and rough process. Alphys could tell. But it was worth it to make her friend happy.
Except... what would Mettaton do once he had the body he wanted? He'd already gone back on his promises to stay with his cousin, and to help Shyren be a part of his band. He seemed exactly the type to drop people the instant he had what he wanted out of them.
Maybe... maybe if she kept flaws in his glamour body... maybe he'd keep being her friend.