Pilot had been sent home from the hospital with El a few cycles ago and finally had a moment to himself to inspect the Elevator’s repairs. Pilot perched on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom, feeling his whole being spinning. It was worse than he could have imagined. El’s centering mechanism had been further damaged in the clumsy ‘repair’ at the Hospital.
For the first time since landing, Pilot felt Hope expiring. Cold hard tiles under El’s feet pressed upward against its toes and inside Pilot saw the instant replay screens across all his sensors automatically rewinding and replaying the gory mess that had been made of his centering stick.
“It’s over.” he thought. He had a sense of finality.
Elevator was damaged, most likely beyond repair. He would not be able to return home. He was stuck here on this primitive planet, with these strange and deaf-to-understanding beings for who knows how long—probably until Elevator was completely worn out and expired. He was trapped inside a perpetually mangled and damaged Elevator with no exit and no hope of escape.
Carefully, he replaced the bandages and with a heavy heart he stood up. Reaching up to the sink he washed El’s tiny hands as Mother had shown him, rubbing the white bar with I-V-O-R-Y stamped on it, until the bubbles appeared. He replaced the bar by the sink and rinsed the bubbles off El’s hands under the softly flowing water. Towelling them off on the Green and Blue fabric with the little loops, then carefully unlocking the door he went to his bed, slipping silently under the covers. He didn’t bother closing the door. At night, both Sister across the hall and he left their doors open a crack. Fading light from the setting sun cast long morbid shadows across the room, which eventually settled into a foggy thick blackness, frightening in its ambiguity. He knew he must stay there until light returned, under pain of punishment.
Elevator’s eyes remained open, seeing nothing but darkness.
Pilot felt nothing. Only terror.