Friday, 17 May 2013
"Thor-35, this is HQ, come in Thor-35."
"We have just received information that the broken unit is in the north-west corner of the Lewis family farm's wheat field. Are you on your way?"
"Yes sir, I am about 20 minutes away"
"Thats good. But please hurry! You know as well as I do what circus we're in for if the Lewis family crops gets ruined by rain. All sorts of complaints will come through to the SWD, and we're all in for a hard time. These crops have been engineered especially to produce vitamin-D enriched grains, and cost a bloody fortune!"
"No worries boss, I'll sort it out!"
The Scottish Weather Department's own hovercrafts had a bright orange logo on their side - A lightning bolt from a blazing sun. A symbol possibly displaying the diverse effects they could achieve, but probably picked for its memorable colour scheme. It certainly looked cool.
Thor-35 arrived on the Lewis family farm only 15 minutes after the automatic emergency beacon had been activated after the unit had failed, and went straight out towards the wheat field. It hovered carefully along the edge of the field, careful not to let the plenum air cushion get on top of any crops an accidentally snap them, towards the failed unit. The rain was pouring down, and the earth was already flowing away in small rivers of mud in between the furrows of the field. The SWD technician swore to herself as she parked the craft, set it on standby hover to avoid getting mud into the field generator, and ran over to the weather unit. She clutched an umbrella in her right hand whilst she struggled to get the back panel of the two meter high unit to open. Only the SWD carried the ancient umbrellas and the technician wondered if anyone under the age of sixteen would know what it was for if confronted with one.
Of all the places in the world that had adopted the SWITCH Weather Control System a couple of decades back, which included most of Europe, north America and south east Asia as well as the Chinese inventors, it was generally agreed that The British Isles were amongst the places that had benefited the most. And up here in Scotland, the scenery had changed remarkably. The technician remembered her younger days, in a Scotland with grey skies, humid air and rainy days.
Finally the panel snapped open and she could asses the damage. No problem. Just a classic fault in the generator, easy to fix. The SWITCH weather units were self-sufficient in power, and a 200m deep pump let a geothermally heated liquid power a small generator housed in each unit. She had plenty of generators in her bag, and it took her a little more than two minutes to replace the faulty part.
She took a step back before she spoke.
"HQ this is Thor-35. Faulty unit at Lewis farm repaired and standing by for activation."
"Thanks christ for that! Thor-35, stand by for activation in 5 seconds"
She looked up into the rain. The effect was almost instant. As the unit was switched on the electric field it generated merged with the complementary fields from the remaining units, creating an invisible dome over the Lewis farm. The rapidly flexing directions of the fields grabbed hold of the individual electric dipoles of the water molecules, forcing them apart, unable to align and stabilise in the vapour phase and form a water droplet.
The technician left the umbrella opened up as she walked back to the craft. She was ginger after all, and did not want to burn in the blazing sun. Inside the craft she transmitted the data she had taken from the unit to the HQ main computer. They would need to recalculate the rain-time for the Lewis farm. In the city it was easy. A heavy rain fall every other night, and other than that, sun. It kept people happy. It was harder at the various farms where the rain levels had to be adjusted according to the crops. But the unit had only been off line for half an hour at the most, so the Lewis family could breathe a sigh of relief.
As she drove back into town she remembered a word. An ancient word she had known as a young woman, but now nearly forgotten. Driech. She smiled a sad little smile to herself. A driech city she used to love was gone forever.