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L is for Lubricant
Characters: Gaila
Word Count: 400
Rating: G

The only thing Gaila liked more than taking things apart was putting them back together again. And the only thing she liked better than putting things together was making them better than they were before.

When she joined Starfleet, becoming an engineer was never really a choice, more like a necessity. Nyota rolled her eyes at the spare parts that constantly inhabited Gaila's side of the room and frequently waged extensive campaigns towards hers. But she was appreciative when the comm unit suddenly had a search feature that could work across multiple language dictionaries at once. She was even more appreciative when their small shower unit began giving them unlimited real water.

By the end of her third year, Gaila figured she could take apart and reassemble just about any part of a starship, including the warp core. And do it blindfolded. Classes were more theoretical than practical, now, and her fingers itched for something real to do.

Salvation came in the unlikely form of an offhand comment from Jim Kirk, one evening when they were all out drinking. He knew, it seemed, a guy who ran a shop that restored old 20th and 21st century ground vehicles. After much pleading, and several rounds of persuasive sex, he finally agreed to introduce her.

The moment Gaila entered the garage, she thought she finally understood the meaning of the odd Earth phrase "love at first sight." She lovingly trailed her hands over the engine - a proper internal combustion engine, like the ones she'd read about but had never hoped to actually see, let alone touch - and ached to pick up the tools.

Steve, the guy who owned the shop, was skeptical at first, but after he watched her strip and rebuild the power source for a hovercar in half an hour flat, he unbent enough to allow Gaila to work with him.

She was hip-deep in a 1989 Bentley when the notification came in with the emergency recall of all Starfleet personnel. She swore quietly in Low Orion and looked apologeticly at Steve.

"Take care of my baby for me, will you? And don't use any of that synthetic crap on her! Real lubricant only, Steve. I mean it!"

He just laughed and chased her out, promising her the Bentley would be there for her when she got back.

Gaila certainly hoped so. She had plans for that car.


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