“You’re looking at genuine blueprints of a Rain Catcher.” He let the words settle in her brain.
Ava’s face turned pale and then flushed red. She’d never been good at hiding her emotions.
Ewan pointed to a drawing of the main water tank. Its bulk was kept afloat by a supporting airship attached two-hundred metres above. The drawing showed multiple venting shafts penetrating the tank’s casing.
“Here.” He pointed near the apex of the tank. “There’s a small maintenance ladder and shelf. If I can get above the fabric sacks with my hang glider and land on top of the tank, then, I simply drop a canister attached on a rope into the collected water. I’ll fill as many canisters as I can carry, and drop them down on parachutes through a joint at the edge of fabric section. All you need to do is follow me on the ground and collect the canisters as they fall to earth. Job done.”
Ava stared at Ewan in blatant disbelief. “Please tell me you’re joking?”
“Why, Ava? Why would I be joking? This water could save my father’s life.”
Ava sat down next to him on the long wooden bench and took both his hands in hers. “If you decided to go ahead with this madness, you could die. Then who will look after your father? And, if you get caught by any of the Catcher’s security drones, you’ll be killed.” Her words were becoming heated. “I want nothing more than for Daniel to get better, but you’re being reckless, Ewan, you need to think about this, seriously. Even if we did manage to pull it off, you could still be arrested and God knows what the machines would do to you for interfering with one of their own… is it really worth the risk?”
Hers was the voice of reason, and the logic was hard to ignore. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Yu Yún has been taking our rain for centuries, and right now, more than ever before, I need to get back what’s mine. What’s ours. What belongs to the people.”
“You know that I feel the same, but it’s just not worth the risk. You should be in prison just for having those damn blueprints.”
Ewan threw his hands up in defence. “All I want is to take back some water. The rain should be free for everyone.”
“There has to be another way, Ewan. Just promise me you’ll think about it, please?”
Ewan felt the wind drop from his sails. Perhaps she was right, and he had to find another way to raise the funds.
Five full days of searching for a new job yielded no results. The few employers that had available work wouldn’t touch him because of the Yu Yún incident. It seemed wherever he went his bad reputation had already paved the way ahead of him.
Full of frustration from another long, unsuccessful day, Ewan took the road back to his village. It was dark and the humming of the Rain Catchers continued unrelenting above him, a constant reminder of his lowly place in the world.
He cycled as hard as he could despite inevitable dehydration. His insides were taut like a thousand tourniquets around his spine. He needed to forget, to somehow vent the anguish.
As if in answer to his growing despair, the horizon exploded with light. Like the hand of some ancient god had reached down and lifted the carpet of darkness, the sun smiled down on the earth once again.
The storm was passing. For nearly a week the land had been plunged in the shadow of the Rain Catchers. With the distant sunset came a renewed feeling of optimism. It reasserted itself instantly in Ewan’s heart, and with it came a rekindled loathing for the machines who stole the sky.