Title: Conflict of Interests

Author: Serendipity

Rating: PG

Word Count: 893

Summary: Donatello longs to return to the happy days of overwork and the complete lack of annoying helper robots.

Author's Note: Just having fun at the expense of the characters again. I kind of like stir-crazy, 'what can I do I need to work now' Don, and I also like weird little robots. This story utilizes BOTH.

Donatello looked at the robot clicking happily away at the assembled machinery at his desk. He decided he was immensely dissatisfied with it.

Behind him, there was a sort of assembly line of odd-looking bots that looked like they were made mainly of a jumble of assorted robotic arms and clicking hand-like structures. A few of them were working with a jumble of exposed wiring on the wall, fixing the security measures around the Lair. Still more were doing various chores such as vacuuming, fixing the busted Nintendo, and performing other such household tasks. A thin, delicate-looking bot with spidery 'fingers' worked very carefully on something at Donatello's work desk. The amount of fine detail it was able to pull off helped speed everything up considerably, since its tiny, wiry fingers were much better for delicate work than Don's own hands.

All things considered, he should have been in ecstasies over the vast amounts of free time he could now use to focus on his pet projects.

That was what those robotic 'helpers' were for, after all. Efficient and skilled labor, programmed to help him in all the tedious, mindless work that had been swarming him for weeks. After all, on top of ninjitsu training and nightly runs, he didn't have all that much free time to maintain their Lair and work on the newest invention his mind tossed at him. And so, robot helpers. Ingenious. Practical.

There was only one problem with all of this. He was now suffering from severe and chronic boredom. This was such a rare occurrence that it actually gave him pause. The last time this had happened, it was because he was recovering from being mutated into an enormous monster, and his brothers had decided to treat him as though he was as delicate as a dried dandelion about to explode into a fibrous puff of seeds. This time, his scientific brain had well and truly damned him to an eternity of excess free time. He was doomed.

Donatello looked at the desk in desperation. No, he'd just finished outlining that. The blueprints were done. He'd finished with that. And the helper bots snatched the work away to do their assigned jobs as soon as he was finished outlining the details. It wasn't as though he hadn't tried to make one of the labor-fetishist drones give him back some of his work. Oh, no. The things had no concept of vacation, that was all. Clearly a flaw he'd have to fix if he could get one of them to hold still. Which, by the look of things, would require a steamroller.

And just as that thought crossed his mind, a bot reached over and casually picked up the circuit board he was looking at. Something inside him snapped. That was it. It was now time to stand up for his rights as a scientist and indeed as a living creature.

"I'd like to solder that myself," he said politely to the robotic arm that snatched his project away and made busy with the soldering gun.

"I am programmed to fulfill this basic task," the thing answered in its annoying, mechanical, somewhat nasal voice. "All such tasks are not important enough to be given to you."

"I like boring, simple tasks," he said with utmost sincerity.

"Nonetheless, I am placed in charge of such tasks, and I must state that if I am interrupted, I will go into standard defense mode one." The little lights on its main control center blinked, taunting him.

It occurred to him that he was actually arguing with a stupid machine over the right to fix his own circuitry.

"Damn it, Solder Drone Seven, I am your creator, do you understand? If I want to use the soldering gun, you are required to give me the soldering gun and go…solder something else! Anything! Fix the toilet!"

"Random and superfluous acts of reparation or renovation are contrary to the necessary harmony of the home environment. I also add that I have not been given proper equipment to repair toilets, plumbing, or any bathroom-"

"I would swear you were being sarcastic with me if I didn't know that you are not equipped with that function."

"Sarcasm is an obstruction to efficient communication."

"Yes, thank you for that. Now give me the circuit board and I won't turn you into a can opener!"

"Registering threat. Am now preparing to enter standard defense mode one. Warning: please step away from the work area and retreat immediately. Counting down…"

"Oh, this is absurd! You can NOT enact defensive measures against me."

"Four, three, two…"

"I mean, for one thing, I programmed those into you, and I swear, if you point that thing at me, I will-"

At that, Solder Drone Seven pointed its nozzles at Donatello and, with all the serenity and impersonality that a robot could manage, (which is quite a lot), it sprayed him down with quick-drying, immobilizing foam.

"Please take this moment to contemplate your actions," the helper bot said primly, and Donatello spent the time, covered in sticky entrapment goo, darkly plotting the untimely demise of his assistants and the glorious return of a helper-free era in which he would bask in the glory of his crowded, exhausting schedule.

"Revenge will be mine," he said grimly.

Solder Drone Seven sprayed him a second time.