This night has been a long one so far. I toss and turn on my bed, then finally give up trying to get comfortable and lay on my back, eyes staring unfocused on the ceiling. There will be no more sleep for me tonight, I think. The burning demons that are my muses are wrestling with the problem I found today; the problem in the new equipment I am designing for International Rescue. And as long as they wrestle, as long as possible solutions flit through my mind at lightning speed, I cannot rest.
My eyelids are heavy. My limbs feel like lead. The last thing I want to do is leave my bed. The last place I want to see is my laboratory. I have just put in a long day with my various duties. Engineer, chemist, medic, maintenance worker, walking computer, rescue team member, I wear many hats in this organization. But none more important than designer, designer of the Thunderbirds and all of the auxiliary equipment. And it is this hat that fits so tightly around my head right now. It is this duty that causes my mind to whirl even more than usual as I seek an answer to the problem that I found while working today. I pray fervently that I don’t have to go back to the beginning, back to step one and redesign the whole thing. But if I must, I will. I will not compromise on the quality of my work. I will not endanger my friends, my heart’s family, or those they rescue by cutting corners, by sending them out in something that I know is incomplete or substandard.
The burning in my thoughts intensifies. It’s always been this way. My mind will not rest until the solution is found. It used to be that I let that burning drive my body, too. My physical form would suffer for the sake of my mental exercise. Before I met Jeff Tracy, I would stay up all hours making notes, sketching, putting my ideas on the computer to see where they might lead. Back then, I considered my body as just the housing for my brain, a necessary appendage, but not very important. I would drink lots of coffee and eat whatever was handy, not wanting to leave an idea or my lab to get something nourishing.
The memory of spending three days in the hospital due to food poisoning surfaces. I shake my head and push the memory aside. That would never happen now. Kyrano and Grandma Tracy make sure there is nourishing food for me, even when I’m in the middle of an experiment or a design session. They will come down to the lab and leave a tray with a meal if I am unable to tear myself away. Mrs. Tracy will wag her finger at me and tell me she would be back in thirty minutes and I had better have all the food gone… or else. And yes, I do know what that “or else” consists of: a verbal dressing down from the sharpest tongue this side of Kansas then a hauling off to the dining room to be “properly fed”. I might not taste the food as it goes down when I’m focused on my work, but I will eat it, and occasionally be surprised that I particularly enjoy some of it.
Wait! Some of the puzzle is fitting into place! I sit up, my lethargy and exhaustion gone. I will pay for this surge of adrenaline later, but now I must get this part of the solution down before I lose it among the ideas clamoring for my attention. Getting out of bed, I put on my glasses and hurry to my computer. My computer is always on. It’s been programmed to hibernate when inactive, but the touch of my mouse brings it to life. Pulling up a note pad, I jot down my idea, and as I do, another epiphany strikes, a flash of insight that follows logically on the one before it. Still more ideas scream for recognition and I am able to pluck the ones out that I know will solve my problem. The solution now flows from me like water from an opened sluice gate until at last it sits before me, whole. I read it over once, and again, and nod, and smile to myself, sighing.
My thoughts have stopped whirling. My demon-muses have been appeased. I yawn, blinking my heavy eyelids. I glance at the computer’s clock; it’s three in the morning. Part of me wants to start on this right away, wants to run down to the lab and sit before my computer there, integrating this idea into the design I have been working on so diligently. But my common sense weighs in. Mr. Tracy would not be pleased if I worked myself to the bone. Not that he doesn’t understand; he’s felt that burning, too, in his years of planning for this organization and in his dealings with his conglomerate. But he knows the value of a good night’s sleep and were he to find me in the lab right now, he’d just send me back to bed.
I smile again, save my work, and download it to the lab’s computers. I can hardly wait to show it to Tin-Tin, but it will wait until daybreak, until after I have rested and refueled my body. It feels good to know that there are people who care enough about me to save me from my baser tendencies, yet who understand my driving need to solve problems, to pour out the ideas I have without hindrance. Yawning again, I push back my chair and pad over to my bed, laying my glasses on the nightstand. I climb between the sheets and roll over, symbolically turning my back on my muses until such time as I can face them again. And with my mind at last still and quiet, I fall asleep.