It rained. It rained and rained and rained. It bucketed down, but only in Riddlely, the rest of the country was hot and very sunny. There was a big dark cloud over Riddlely, it was very wet and very hot, and the little brook was now a fast-flowing brown river.
There was no wind, the cloud did not move, there was no limit to the rain water, would the village be washed away?
After a solid wet week the scientists came, they measured and tested the rain water, they took pictures of everything, especially the cloud, with X‑rays and radar and more.
Did they find anything? The rain water was very pure and very heavy, it contained hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium and no minerals – not good to drink. And also there was too much of it. The cloud remained a big, black-green, shower-producing thing suspended over the village. Nothing that the scientists could throw at it came out again – no pictures.
The scientists reported that it was not usual and not good and a bit of a problem. And then they went away.
After two weeks people from the village disappeared one-by-one. One minute Jimmie was there and the next he was gone. But gone where? Amy decided to investigate.
“No minerals in the rain water – that sounds like a sea-water desalination plant. Deuterium and tritium like nuclear fission. What d'you think, Trace?”
“Yeah, Amy” said Trace, who looked like Margaret Thatcher as usual. “An early nitrogen-fission reactor producing hydrogen which is burned to make lots of water and also steam to make electricity. The trouble was that the water was not drinkable and reactor got clogged up after a few days with lithium and exploded.”
“I remember that from school,” said Amy. “Brightstone's angles were used to fix it. But you're probably right, there's a primitive nitrogen-fission reactor in that cloud making lots of water and steam and power to produce the lift to keep it up in the air. I need to get to the bottom of this.”
“You are at the bottom of this – you are being rained on.” But Amy had already gone.
Amy walked through the village and noticed a young man loading things from a house into a car, he wasn't a villager, what was he doing, looting? Amy informed a policeman whom she had found by the town hall. Why were all the villagers entering the town hall?
Amy followed into the town hall into a large darkened room, everybody was watching the screen. She saw Jimmie seated in the front row, the policeman and the looter came in and sat down. She also saw the mind projector at the back of the room – very dangerous – do not touch. She would have to find its power source and disconnect it.
She took one look at the screen – nasty, violent, mind-bending stuff – and entered another room.
The mayor of the village walked towards her, he was angry, he was loud, “Get back in that room and watch the screen!” Amy laughed at him. He did not like that, he pulled out a weapon shaped like a small electric fan and pointed it at Amy. “Get back in there and watch the screen!”
Amy laughed again. The mayor screamed and dropped the ray gun. “You stupid idiot! Don't you know that after twelve seconds a ray gun will overload and soon after explode? Do you want to kill all the villagers in the next room.”
“Do you think I care about the villagers?” sneered the mayor and walked towards Amy to strangle her. Amy stared heavily at the mayor and he collapsed on the ground. “Do you think I care about you?” asked Amy. “You're not going anywhere with your locomotion module destroyed.”
Amy looked around the room – there in the corner was the cloud control unit and a small, portable, nitrogen-fission reactor. Amy pulled the plug on the cable going to the next room, the mind projector made a noise like a dying whale and all the villagers ran out of the town hall.
Amy turned to the cloud control unit and switched off the hydrogen burn and the force shield and the position lock. The rain stopped, the steam stopped, the thing in the sky was revealed and down it came. It crashed into Fire Hill, a small hill outside the village where the Easter fire is celebrated.
The first explosion was loud – the hydrogen. The second was louder and bright silver – the lithium in the cloud's reactor.
Amy shoved a large screwdriver into the small, nitrogen-fission reactor in the room and ran outside. It exploded – bright silver – and the overloaded ray gun – bright purple.
The sun shone, it was hot, the wooden fence around the cottage garden steamed. “It's a lovely day.” said Jimmie.