They were some of the finest engineers in the galaxy.
What the hell they were doing on Lunar was a mystery.
Whether Scotty would be able to survive the heckling, even moreso.
The dark, ill-lit, grease-stained deck well matched the dark, ill-lit, grease-stained engineer, and his mood was little better than that. Scotty had a healthy respect for the Tellarites as engineers; they were pragmatic and efficient, often eschewing pomp and pointlessness and always aiming for that perfect balance of simplicity and durability that any good engineer would have to. He thought very well of their designs, and even this ship he was busy working on was mechanically solid, needing only courtesy maintenance rather than repair.
He was also coming to the conclusion that the only reason a Tellarite would bring it to Lunar would be to torment any non-Tellarite tech working, and this time, that was Scotty.
"Wrong size, you pink-skinned son of a Targ!" the Tellarite yelled, as he picked up his spanner.
Scotty tightened his grip on it and could feel his knuckles creak. "It's not the wrong size."
"It is! Next you will be trying to use a grease gun on the coolant port!" the big-bellied Tellarite laughed. Why he was sitting there and not doing something else was beyond Scotty.
He steadfastly kept his mouth shut. Got his spanner on the bolt... and it was the wrong size. He ground his teeth together, and retrieved the right one -- off by a tiny fraction, an off-size because heaven forfend that everyone use the Fed standard like they should.
"Poor eyes, you squishy little fluid-filled sack of hairless flesh."
That was rich, coming from a Tellarite. Scotty tightened down the bolts, and then cast about desperately to see if there was anywhere else he could possibly go to get away from this and still fulfill his duties, but it was proving to be impossible. Harris was waiting -- just waiting -- for him to screw up, and Scotty knew the score on that one, and he was fairly sure the reason he was on this assignment was the continued punishment he'd been enduring since he started here, but he was also a wee bit worried his temper might give before he was done.
Not much more. Refill the coolant lines, grease all bearings, check all hull lighting. He could do this.
"You are too slow, human! A Tellarite could have had this all done an hour ago! Do those squishy little digits fumble too much on the tools? Perhaps you should be returned to your mother's teat, to finish maturing!"
Scotty was moving before he thought about it; spun around and bared his teeth. "If ye'd left me the hell alone, I'd have had it done an hour ago, too!" he snapped back, his spanner in hand, and he was vaguely aware he looked about ready to brain someone with it. "But no, instead I have to listen to some overbearing, overconfident deck jockey commentin' and complainin' instead o' gettin' off his ass an' doin' somethin' with himself. If ye dinna like it, then goddamn do yer own maintenance, ye pig-headed, loud-mouthed snot!"
The Tellarite... laughed, heartily. Which was not what Scotty expected, as he stood there and breathed hard. An hour. An hour of being heckled and now he was being laughed at.
"Mister Scott!" Harris's voice rung out across the deck, as he walked across it with his pristine uniform and that delighted, cold glitter in his eyes.
Scotty dropped his head and he wasn't quite sure in that moment whether he wanted to laugh or cry. Figures.
"Is it your habit to insult our guests?" Harris asked, sharply. "If I remember right, your assignment was to service this vessel, not engage in insults!"
"No, sir," Scotty gritted out, in the most polite manner he could possibly manage. Which wasn't terribly good, but damn, did he try.
"You! The strutting, preening pigeon covered in droppings!" the Tellarite interrupted. "Leave the boy alone, he was doing a fine job."
What?! Scotty thought, but didn't dare say. He knew that Tellarites liked to argue, he knew that, and he knew that they liked to sling insults, but he had been reasonably sure that he was getting it both barrels for an hour straight because the Tellarite really did find his work lacking, even if he wasn't sure why.
Harris opened his mouth to reply, then closed it. His thin lips twitched. "My apologies, Captain Loak."
The look he gave Scotty on his way back out was, decidedly, 'This isn't over.'
Scotty groaned to himself once Harris was out of earshot, and made himself a solemn promise that no, he was not going to brain himself with his spanner just to avoid this whole, awful bloody day. He would do his job, and he would get through this, and that was that.
The Tellarite -- Loak -- heaved himself up and ambled over, heading for the toolkit. "Come on, Squishy, time is wasting."
"Who's fault is that, then?" Scotty griped back, giving up any pretense of human politeness, but he turned back to the ship himself and took the next spanner handed over by Loak.
"Yours, of course, and those fumbling meat sticks you call fingers."
"Maybe if ye didn't keep yer ship like a garbage pit, ye wouldn't need to waste time here; suppose those hooves make cleanin' up hard."
"Much better." Loak gave him a behooved pat on the back, then got to work. "For a barely-sentient sack of gelatin."
"So says Captain Sty-n'-Fly." But despite himself, and the day, and the work, and the inevitable punishment he'd get from Harris later, Scotty cracked a little smile anyway when Loak heaved another laugh.
Chapter Notes: Scotty, working at Lunar, on a particularly foul day.