Chapter 11

Eli slowly opened his eyes and looked around him. Yes, he was still here on the ship. He lifted his hand and looked at the bandage on it. Yes that was real to. Slowly Eli rolled over and looked out at the vastness of space. He still thought about how he got here and how far he had come as a person. But he couldn't lie here all day as much as he wanted to. He didn't have long and he would have to get a move on. He rose slowly and painfully. His hand wasn't too bad and he knew he would have to change the dressing. But while it was settled Eli chose to leave well alone. His stomach grumbled reminding him it was breakfast time.

He got up and went to the mess hall. With a sigh he chose another tin and carefully opened it, picked up his spoon and began to eat, almost automatically. Once the tin was finished he placed it back on the table with his spoon and made his way to the gate room. It wasn't a long journey but it gave him time to contemplate where he was and where he was going. Eli knew that he had to concentrate on the task at hand. No more slip ups now, he didn't have the luxury of starting again. Soon he reached the gate room and let himself in. All the pieces to the giant puzzle he was about to construct, were there, all laid out and ready to be assembled. It looked vast as he looked at the array of objects in front of him and once again he wondered if he had taken too much on.

He turned on his hand held and waited for the next set of instructions. The first were to check his inventory and make sure that pieces were laid in groups. But they were all on the floor and Eli found constantly picking them up made his back ache and his head hurt. He kept dropping things as well. He realised he needed tables or some sort of surface to put things on, something higher. Then he wouldn't have to constantly bend up and down. He knew exactly what he wanted.

Eli made his way back to the mess hall. There were tables a plenty there, folded against the wall. Eli tested the weight of one of them. They weren't too heavy . So slowly picked one up and man handled it to the gate room, were he set it up and then went back for another. He repeated this half a dozen times and each time placed a set of objects upon it. This was better now he could see what he was dealing with. Slowly he rechecked the inventory. Yes he had it all. Now came the hard bit. He took his hand held and looked at the display. Ok so far so good. He was familiar with a lot of these pieces. He knew what they did and how they interacted with other components. He had found himself some goggles and caught his reflection in one of the surfaces. Well he wasn't going to win best dressed man of the year either but at least he wouldn't damage his eyes.

Slowly he began to build a sort of circuit board. It was similar to the one in the pod. There were various components that he didn't have any idea what they did. But he followed the plans and did as it asked him. There were many layers that Eli had to build slowly piece by piece and he had to constantly refer back to the original plans that Destiny had given him. Slowly it began to take shape and it looked like some sort of base. It became heavier in his hands and that was making it difficult because of his injured hand. He found if he grasped too much the skin became taught under the bandages and he had to let go. He decided what he needed was to go and rest for a while, until it stopped throbbing.

He went to the mess first but found he still wasn't comfortable so instead went back to the observation deck. If he was on earth he could have taken two painkillers and be back at work. But he wasn't on earth. He realised how much he had taken things for granted at home. The amount of things he had wasted at home. Eli decided to lay down and cat nap. But try as he might he couldn't sleep. Thoughts were whirling round in his head and after ten minutes he got up. He had to get back to work.

Eli realised this was how it was going to be until his hand was better and then realised that this was seriously slowing him down but he decided to battle on. There was no one else. He couldn't stop now. He battled all morning like this…build and rest…build and rest, until finally it actually looked like something. The structure had become a rounded shape of many straight edges a bit octagonal. This was the base for the whole ZPM. Though not one he recognised but he knew what he had built. It had now become quite heavy and uncomfortable for Eli to lift and his hand was beginning to throb more and more. It was late afternoon and Eli was having more and more problems with his hand. He knew he had to stop and go and sort it out in the med lab.

Reluctantly, he set down the object he was constructing and then made his way to the med lab. Once there he gathered more bandages and more ointment and then sat at one of the examination beds and began to unwind his bandage. To begin with it was easy but as he neared his wound it began to stick.

"Ahhhh" cried Eli as the last bit of bandage came off. Now there was only the dressing to remove. Slowly he peeled it back afraid of what he might find. After much manipulating and slow peeling he finally he tugged it away with a grunt and he inspected his wound. His hand was a pinkish red and there were two huge blisters surrounded by some smaller ones. Eli looked at it fascinated. It hadn't felt that bad, but now he could see he was going to have to take really good care of this. Would he have to burst the blisters he wondered. Then remembered how bad a normal blister was and how much more painful that was when it burst. No he would just take care of it and bind it back up. He found some sterile water and slowly poured it over ." Ooo it stung, really bad" thought Eli. He swabbed it with a clean piece of linen and then put the ointment on. At first it stung but that soon settled and then Eli placed another dressing on and carefully bandaged his hand. He inspected his handy work. That would do until tomorrow Eli thought and he went back to the gate room to complete some more work before bed.

The next thing to complete was the housing. That looked pretty straight forward until he began to build it. He moved to the table were all the pieces were. This was going to be fiddly because he had to hold every individual piece in one hand whilst soldering with the other. He also had to run a wire through each join and leave it sticking out at both ends. It had to be a good seal too and the edges had to meet accurately. More than once, as he completed his task, the housing slipped from his grasp. Eli was sure on one of the drops he was going to break it. But it held together. As before, as he built it, it got heavier and heavier. He found it hard to grasp as it grew in size because his injured hand wouldn't manoeuvre well enough with any deftness. He felt clumsy and inept but he carried on with his task, taking longer than he should, until finally the housing was complete. He looked up and then looked at his hand held and realised how much time had passed, this task had took him all day! He was never going to finish at this rate. He inspected his work. Well it wasn't the best he had ever done but the seals looked sound. The casing would need some finishing but Eli was tired and his hand hurt like hell. He was going to have to stop. He took another look at his work. Yes he decided . He could finish it tomorrow. His whole body ached from being in one position.

. Eli stretched. He was stiff too from bending over his work and he had a headache from concentrating too much. His hand throbbed too. He hoped tomorrow would be easier, though he doubted it. He left the gate room and slowly he made his way to the mess hall and chose another tin. As in the morning, he ate almost automatically. Eli didn't even look to see what it was in the tin. He just dipped his spoon in and ate what was on it, then stopped when he realised there was nothing left on his spoon. He licked his spoon clean and put it on the table. He placed the tin with the others and made straight for his bed. He lay down and pulled the covers over himself. He looked through the observation window at the sight he would never tire of. He pulled the covers further over himself and nestled down. He ached all over. Slowly his eyes began to close and within minutes he was asleep. His body relaxed for the first time that day. His tense muscles loosened and he sagged into his bed.

Through the window to the observation lounge, that was now Eli's room, the odd flash could be seen. Not too bright, just a colouring of the deep darkness that inhabited the ship. After a few minutes it stopped and the ship was once again dark. A shadow passed by his door stopping as it passed the window and then carried on. Eli slept on. Blissfully unaware of the passing of time.

For Eli the morning came far too soon. His eyes flickered open and then he stretched and winced. He was so stiff from yesterday. His whole body still ached from being in one position for most of yesterday. Gingerly he rolled over and slowly got up. He ran his hands through his hair and stretched again. He bent down and retrieved his hand held from his bed and yawned noisily. He looked at it and saw that he had slept for over ten hours! He must have been seriously tired. He yawned again and made his way to the mess hall to see what delights could tempt him today. He entered the mess hall and looked at the pile of tins collecting in one corner and realised there was another job to do before he slept, recycle the tins.

Eli picked up a tin and carefully opened it. What a surprise more fruity things. He sat at the table picked up his spoon and began to eat. While he did this he mentally formed a list in his head of the things he was going to have to do before he slept. Once his meal was finished he put the can with the others and sat down again to type the list out. He was getting forgetful and he didn't want to miss anything that needed doing. Would he have to move his new bedroom back he wondered? He was going to have to go around the Destiny and pick up all the things he had left lying around too. He typed for a good ten minutes, every now and again stopping to think and then typing again into the hand held. After a few more minutes his list was complete and he reviewed it once more before getting up and making his way to the mess hall. He wasn't looking forward to another hard slog but it had to be done.

Eli approached the table were he had left the casing from the day before and stopped. The casing was there but that wasn't how he had left it. The joins instead of being bubbled and marred were perfectly smooth. The sides were clean and free from marks too. Eli picked it up he was sure he hadn't finished it that well. He looked around the room, there was no one else here. Eli knew he was really tired the day before but surely not to the point where he didn't remember doing something. He carefully turned it over in his hands and looked carefully at it. The joins were perfect. He slowly put it down and inspected it again. He must have done more than he thought yesterday. Eli rubbed his hands over his face. The sooner he finished, the better he thought to himself.

He picked up the hand held and looked at the next job in hand. He went over to one of the other tables and checked the inventory. Yes this was going to be more straight forward. He had to build another of those bases. Eli pulled over a chair and began slowly building the circuitry. This one was a little different but basically the same. Time passed as he slowly built the next component. Layer by layer, circuit by circuit. He found it easier than the day before , probably because he was more familiar with what he was building. Within a couple of hours the most of the work was done. Eli was sat there concentrating and beginning to quite enjoy himself. This was one in the eye for Rush, he thought to himself. A couple more hours of work and this next piece of the puzzle was complete. As he worked he hummed to himself. He completed the last section and Eli examined his handy work and then set it down on the table. He sat up and stretched. Boy, he was stiff but at least he had got it done and he hadn't had to rest on account of his hand. It must be getting better. He felt quite proud of himself. He looked at the hand held to see what his next job was.

The next job was to begin assembling his handiwork. He went over to the other tables and brought back what he had built. He had what looked like two octagonal bases and a casing.

He looked his hand held to see what was next. It instructed him to get the glass vial he had pulled out of the wall. Apparently it was to go in the central part of the housing. He went across to the table to fetch it. For something so small it was incredibly heavy. The first job was to join the first base he had made to the housing. This involved putting the wires that stuck out from the housing into the channels that ran along the circuit board. Thankfully the housing was large enough to accommodate his large hands. He bent each of the wires up so the looked like a sort of wire web and placed it on the base. Then with extreme care he had to make sure each wire entered a channel. He did this with a long screwdriver to guide each wire to its place. Once this was complete he had to use the torch device to weld them into place within the channels. It was fiddly and it took Eli over an hour to do this. Once this fiddly bit was complete he had to weld the base to the casing. Now his hand really hurt from rubbing constantly on the sides of the housing. It galled him but Eli knew he had to stop and give his hand time to rest.

He looked at the hand held to see what the next job was on the list. This was going to be so much harder. The base was now in its place and now he had to fit the small glass vial inside the casing. To do this he had to build another housing around the vial and then this was to fit into the outer casing. This meant his work was going to have to be incredibly accurate. There was no time for slip ups or mishaps. Everything had to be right.

Eli looked up and realised that he had worked hard all day and this was a job for tomorrow. He ached to the bone and decided that tonight he would have a shower before bed. He also realised he was going to need some new clothes at some point. Wearily he rose from the table and stretched. He rolled his neck and rubbed his eyes. He really was tired, more than he thought he was and Eli yawned a huge noisy yawn. He began walking to his room and then remembered he was going for a shower and turned the other way.

Once in the shower he felt the tension melt away from his muscles. This felt good. This was what he needed. He turned this way and that and decided the water problem would have to be overcome, as good as a sonic shower was, he missed the feel of water. That was another job to add to his list.

Eventually Eli got out of the shower and in bare feet made his way to his room and collapsed into his bed. He put the hand held on the floor and mind full of the limited time he had he set an alarm to go off. He decided to give himself a good eight hours sleep. That should be enough. Within seconds he was sound asleep. His body needing the rest and sleep it was now getting.