spock: logic is sexy

Fic: Safety in Numbers (Gaila, gen)

Title: Safety in Numbers
Author: igrockspock
Rating: PG-13
Character: Gaila
Summary: Gaila had no idea that people in the Federation could be poor, but it turns out that some of them need her charity.
Notes: for rubynye's request in the alphabet meme - A is for Adventure

Gaila arrived at Starfleet Academy in between the summer and fall terms with special permission from two admirals and the residence hall director. Normally, such early arrivals were prohibited, but the Academy was willing to honor the special circumstances of an indigent Orion cadet forced to design her schedule around the vagaries of long-haul cargo transports on the edge of known space. She had not told Starfleet that she had also designed her schedule around the needs of her very favorite smuggler, who needed some very special engine modifications in exchange for quite a lot of credits, but that was beside the point -- not the least because she intended to use her engineering powers for the forces of good from now on, and that one last job was nothing more than a final favor for an old friend.

Her first task at the Academy would be the acquisition of new, morally upstanding friends who did not smuggle anything more dangerous than hardcore Denebian interactive pornography. This was why she was so disappointed that her new room contained only two beds, each of which was clearly designed to hold a single person. With a heavy sigh, she dropped her suitcase and wandered through empty corridors to the poorly attended reception desk, where she waited nearly twenty minutes for a clerk to arrive.

"There's a problem with my roommate assignment," she said, hoping the clerk would appreciate the urgency of the situation, but he merely slid a padd across the counter, indicating with a lazy flick of his stylus that she was to fill out a form.

"Please indicate which of the following options best describes your conflict," it said.

Gaila frowned. She could tick a box if her roommate's atmospheric requirements were toxic, if their temperature requirements were hazardous to her health, or if they excreted poisonous gases. If her sexual orientation or gender identity had been misidentified by Starfleet, she could request a roommate of her own orientation, a roommate whose gender identity aligned with hers, or she could send an explanation of how sex and gender function in her species in order to avoid future misunderstandings. Beyond that, she could request counseling to help her reconcile religious and cultural differences through "positive dialogue" or mediation to help her arrive at "mutually acceptable living arrangements." But none of those things were a problem.

"Excuse me," she said, nearly shouting to be heard over the Klingon opera blaring from the clerk's headphones. "There's no box to tick if I don't have enough roommates."

At this, the attendant merely rolled his eyes before pulling up a copy of the City of San Francisco Fire Code, which Gaila had to read through several times before she found the limitation on the number of people who could share a room in dormitory accommodation. This was blatantly ridiculous, because six or seven people could help each other escape from a burning dorm room where two injured people might simply suffocate and die, but clearly the issue could not be helped. She was no match for Terran laws. She returned to her room and contemplated the two beds in the fading light.

Never before had she shared a room with so few people. It was not natural. She and her sisters had always lived in a single room, all eight of them. If she wanted to talk, there was always someone to talk to; if she wanted to be quiet, she need not worry that the others would be left without companionship. When the plumbing backed up or the computers went offline, all of them could work together and solve the problem, and when one of them was too tired to complete her chores, it was no trouble for the other seven to pick up the slack. Most important, if someone fell sick or got injured in a rare moment alone, it would not be long before someone returned home and found her. To live with only one another person was dangerous, and it had not occurred to her that Starfleet, an organization that prided itself on preparing for every eventuality, would not consider this.

She spent a night feeling sorry for herself before she realized how selfish she was being. What about the thousands, or perhaps millions or billions, of indigent humans who suffered through life with so little companionship. She had not even met her new roommate, but she pitied her already. What if this Nyota Uhura had also grown up with eight sisters, only to find that she must somehow make a home in a new city with a single roommate? Worse, what if she had spent her whole life as alone as Gaila had been these past two nights?

Gaila had never imagined that anyone in the Federation could need anything, much less something as basic as family and friendship. Her first job had been unloading Federation aid crates at the space docks. When she was younger, she had worn cast-off clothing donated by Federation citizens, devoured Federation fashion magazines, and lived on stale Starfleet ration bars. Most people on her colony believed the same thing she did -- that the Federation was a land of plenty, where everyone had everything. She had never dreamed that they would need her charity, but clearly they did.

It would be difficult, she knew. No matter how much she wanted a quiet moment at the end of her day, she would be Nyota's only housemate, and she would have to be prepared to listen at all times. Perhaps she could arrange her class schedule to match Nyota's, so that her poor roommate would never have to come home to an empty, lonely room. And of course, it would be her sole responsibility to help Nyota find sex partners. She could only hope that her roommate would be willing and able to return the favor; she had been lucky, far luckier than she realized, to have eight sisters to help her locate men and women who matched both her sexual preferences and standards of attractiveness.

In the afternoon, she used a bit of her savings to buy plush cushions to create what a human home decor magazines called a reading nook. She didn't have much information about Nyota, but she imagined that a communications specialist would need a cozy place to study. Later, she bought a nice basket and placed it by the door in case Nyota liked to remove her clothes as soon as she came inside, just like Gaila and her sisters did. Surreptitiously, she photographed the best-looking men and women on campus and arranged them in a sort of catalog, which she left on Nyota's pillow with the promise that she would introduce her to anyone who struck her fancy -- even if that meant sharing a partner or two. She resolved that she would even lend Nyota her sex toys if she needed them.

On the final night before her roommate's long awaited arrival, she placed a soft rug and cushions in the middle of the floor so that Nyota would know she was not limited to her side of the room. She bought candles to make the space inviting, and spent several hours arranging them so that their soft light cast a warm golden glow over the entire room. Finally, she lay back on her bed, humming with satisfaction. This was not precisely the adventure she had expected when she joined Starfleet, but she was certain she was equal to the challenge.
Your Gaila stories always make me laugh, so it's always glee-inducing when I see a new one pop up. :) She's so funny, imagining that Nyota is just like herself and that they'll be the closest of friends immediately. She makes a catalog of available men and women for her unknown roommate! Oh, Gaila! ♥

And of course, it would be her sole responsibility to help Nyota find sex partners.

*giggles* I would like to suggest "S for Sex Partners, the Finding Of; Gaila and Nyota"! Or something similar. *scurries over to Alphabet Meme post*

Also, there's a typo in the title (not the header, but in the entry).
Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

And thanks for letting me know about the typo. *facepalm*
I love how thoughtful and considerate she is, even though I can well imagine the look on Nyota's face when Gaila explains why she did everything she did.
Yes, I imagine Nyota is going to be horrified. I really ought to write the sequel sometime, although I suspect is may be a story I have written before...

I love the idea of these cultural differences, so small and yet so important :) Your Gaila rocks! I might make this part of my personal canon about her.

(Poor Nyota, though, I doubt she's much for that, linguistics and culture back and forth *G* :)
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

(And yeah, I think this is going to be some culture shock for both of them)
*grins* I can just imagine the misunderstandings that will ensue! Your Gaila is always so interesting and unique.
I love how Uhura's such a presence in this, through our knowledge of her and of Terran customs in general, and so each action of Gaila's we're also looking forward and imagining Uhura's reaction. And I love how sweet Gaila is, her nature just shines through.
This is so sweet! I love how sad she feels for all the lonely earthlings. What a big heart she has. :)

I loved all the boxes to check for roommate problems, too. I complained a lot about my college roommates, but now I see that I should have felt lucky that they didn't require a toxic atmosphere or emit noxious gases. :D
I adore Gaila, and this is her at her best. Poor Erth;linf indeed.
I thought I couldn't love Gaila even more, since I already adore her so very much. But now I do EVEN MORE. It's like my heart just grew three sizes.

*hugs you delightedly*
Awww!! I so love this different take on Gaila's perception of Human companionship and family. The way she prepares for Nyota's arrival is so sweet and thoughtful. :)

This is wonderful1 Oh, I love Gaila-- she's so genuine, earnest, and determined. And what a lovely look into her culture and how that would affect life on Earth. I SO want to know how Uhura reacts, because I have a feeling it will be a fabulously awkward and strange introduction! :D Love Gaila!
I love all the cultural details you put into everything - it's funny, in a way that also makes sense within the context. :)
Your Gaila's pov is always so full of surprises! What a wonderful take on her first arrival at the Academy!
::grins:: As an only child, I fully appreciate all the effort Gaila is going to. Your Gaila fics are always outstanding!
Oooh, very enjoyable! I like how effortlessly (it seems) you write these different cultures and their norms and make them seem so real and "logical". :D My mind is now trying to come up with all sorts of delicious scenarios of Uhura's arrival, hehe. Perfect point to end the story. :D