A/N: Wrote this like a year ago for an anon prompt for Brainstorm and "The stars or space" and only just realized I never cross-posted it. Oops! I ended up not sticking very close to the prompt because I forgot about it while editing buuut it's there and so it counts, right?
Okay, perhaps barging into the director's office, shoving a datapad at him and saying, "Here– now can I go?" wasn't… tactful, or whatever it was everybody fussed about being. Not his fault! Circumstances had seen Operation: Solar Storm, already on a tight schedule, rushing in the second half. The education program he'd had to sit through, taught by bots who openly considered it a waste of time, had dropped the last couple of lessons, the more advanced social lessons, for the sake of expediency.
Not that the higher-ups had bothered to teach him much about science either. Just enough to not ruin anything on accident when he assisted the so-called "real scientists" and to be able to keep the engines running. Yet he was getting along fine with that on his own. But, well, it wasn't his fault either if science was so much more interesting than manners.
The point was, he hadn't been polite but the evidence of his brilliance was right there under the upturned nose of the director of operations. Boron frowned at the screen, scrolling through the calculations and notes. Notes! Just like everyone claimed was so important to the scientific process even though they mostly just slowed everything down! Showed them what could be learned.
Boron didn't seem especially impressed, however, by the notes or what they told him. He set the datapad down on the desk in front of him, to the side of the stack of paperwork he'd been toiling over, and stared suspiciously from behind his folded fingers.
Genitus might not be very good at manners but he was pretty sure Boron was being pretty impolite. Not a single word of praise? Really?
"Sorry for barging in," Genitus tried. His feet shifted and his fingers tapped on his hips but he made himself stop. He'd been told often enough that it was annoying. "I'm sure you're very busy." With things far less important and undoubtedly very dull but he knew better than to say that. "But anyway, there's my proposal– didn't even try to do it on my own this time, see, I can be taught– so can I go on the expedition?"
Operation: Solar Storm was long done with, after all, a decisive Autobot victory that would've been more decisive if they listened to any of his ideas. Everyone shook their heads when he pointed that second bit out but this could be his chance to prove it. If only he could get off the ground and take this project along for the ride, they'd see. No more maintenance work and playing fetch then, no, sir. He'd have his own lab and someone else would cart off his equipment for cleaning– he'd have equipment! He had a whole list already drawn up, he was so excited.
Boron looked decidedly less excited, even though he'd just gone over Genitus's proposal. He sighed out of what sounded like every vent he had and shook his head and said, "Genitus."
And it wasn't like, Genitus, how did you ever become so brilliant? Or like, Genitus, how did I never realize? It wasn't even like, Genitus, I told you not to touch that, no, stop–! Genitus wasn't really sure what it was like, honestly.
"Whose work is this?" Boron asked.
And, ah, okay. Accusing was what it was like. Maybe disappointed. Annoying, for sure, because what kind of question was that? Who else could have come up with something like this?
"Mine, of course," Genitus huffed. "Why else would I show it to you? I can't take someone else's project on the expedition. As if I'd want to."
Boron shook his head again and stood, walking around the side of the desk. He was a head taller than Genitus and seemed to like to remind him of it. His optics pierced Genitus, pinning him to the spot– metaphorically, not literally, but if that wasn't an interesting idea…
"Is there something wrong with it?" Genitus asked, putting that idea away for further study at a later time. "I checked everything like three times!" Actually only one time, but one was close enough to be like three, right?
"On the contrary, it's incredibly sound, at least on a first look," said Boron. "So you can see why I'm suspicious."
"No, I can't," Genitus said, and he really couldn't. "I did exactly what you all say scientists are supposed to do."
"You're not a scientist, Genitus," said Boron. It wasn't the first, the tenth or even the hundredth time but he never sounded any less offended that he had to say it. Fair enough, since Genitus was never less offended to hear it. "You're a lab assistant. That's what you were built to be."
"For an operation that's over," Genitus reminded him. His fingers twitched against his palms but he didn't clench his fists. People took it bad, MTOs clenching their fists, unless it was to throw a punch at an enemy. At a Decepticon. "So what am I supposed to do now?"
"Exactly what you've been doing," said Boron, pinching the bridge of his nose. "We don't stop needing lab assistants just because a single battle has passed."
"We don't stop needing brilliant scientists and new weapons either," Genitus was quick to point out. "I can–"
"No, you can't," Boron cut him off. "You weren't designed to do the work you're trying to do. Primus knows you've blown up enough stuff to get that by now."
"A few explosions in the name of science–"
"In the name of fooling around with things you don't understand." Boron frowned down at him, plating flared just enough to make a point. "And yet you expect me to believe that you understand a single thing on that datapad you handed me."
"Look, I understand more after blowing stuff up than I did before," said Genitus, getting just a little desperate. This was supposed to be his ticket to the stars. "That's why I understand perfectly the work I've just shown you. I'll even go over the whole thing, if you want."
"I want you to get back to work– your work," said Boron with finality, taking a grip on Genitus's shoulder that was just a little too tight so he could lead him toward the door.
"That is my work!" Genitus insisted, twisting to try to go back for his datapad. Boron held him tighter and marched him faster. "Were you made to be such a–"
He didn't actually know how he was going to finish the sentence. He'd learned a lot of rather fun words since being set out into the world but he couldn't think of a single one that encapsulated Boron, especially not right then. It didn't matter anyway. Boron's grip went tight enough to actually hurt and he spun Genitus to bear his teeth right in his face.
"I wasn't made for anything," he growled, almost lost under the revving of his engine. "You were built for a purpose, one I suggest you go get back to before you're missed."
Genitus actually had the shift off but some people seemed baffled at the idea of MTOs having breaks or needing leisure time. It was best not to say anything about it, though. Boron would only find something for him to do, the worst he could think of. That and Boron was more than a little frightening at the moment. Frightening enough that Genitus didn't fight the rest of the way to the door and didn't even remember to protest until it had been shut in his face. He held himself back from yelling, didn't bother to hold himself back from kicking the door and then turned and took off when he heard Boron's footsteps headed back.
He probably wanted to be a good distance when the datapad self-destructed for lack of the beacon he was carrying anyhow. Not that the explosion would be bad– at least, it shouldn't be– but Boron could be explosive on his own. Genitus hadn't really needed the reminder.
The base was suddenly even more stifling than it had been, and it had been awfully stifling as it was. Genitus took the first exit he came across and stomped over the terrain to find somewhere good and secluded. Somewhere hard to spot but with a clear view of the night sky. He flopped down, stared up and sighed.
A group would be leaving tomorrow, taking a shuttle up to the space station that was blinking somewhere among those stars. Whatever– probably boring– experiments they were running couldn't be completed there at the base where Genitus had lived his entire life. He wanted to go up with them, so badly. They all looked down on him, thought he wasn't as good as they were. He so wanted to prove to them, to everyone, what he knew already– that he was better.
One day, he promised himself again, he would get out of there and do just that.
No matter what he had to do.