Synopsis: Stormwater runoff can gather pollutants, sediments and garbage that need to be filtered. Application: The BioSTORM® can efficiently and consistently remove oils, solids and other pollutants from stormwater. The early evening light filtering through the window above Aerobe’s desk was darkening quickly, not only from the late hour, but also from the soft rain beginning to fall. She’d had a busy, fulfilling day, preparing a complete stormwater treatment system for shipment. She heard a buzzing from her energy cell pack and noticed the “RECHARGE SOON” message scrolling on her diagnostic screen. “Ok, ok,” she murmured and plugged a cable into the energy pack on her belt. A few minutes remained before she would shut down to full recharge mode—just enough time to input today’s BioSTORM® system info onto the server. As she waited for the data transfer, she gazed out at the rain clouds. She longed to be up in that cool, damp atmosphere, watching the newly formed drops condensing and dropping to the earth below. Every raindrop was precious, a life form worth protecting at all costs. “Better Water, Better World. Better Water, Better World,” she began intoning. Aerobe had discovered that the corporate motto was a soothing mantra to transition to full recharge mode. She closed her eyes. ZZZZZZ-Z-Z-z-z-z-z……… High in the rain clouds, the moisture-heavy atmosphere that Aerobe always found so calming was creating a decidedly different reaction among the cloud’s droplet population. “Nero, stay close!” Agua called in distress to her husband. “Droplets are forming fast. I don’t want to lose you.” Agua and Nero had met at a very young age and married quickly in the cloud. They shared compatibility far beyond the polarity that kept them together. It was truly love at first compression. “I am right here!” Nero reassured her. He moved much closer to Agua and said softly, “I think it’s time. I think we’re finally ready to start that family we’ve been talking about. Condensation is at its peak, so we’ll be able to restore ourselves quickly.” “But what if I lose you or if we lose our little squirt?” Agua worried. “Droplets fall off all the time.” “We will be extra careful,” Nero whispered. The two drops pushed together urgently and formed one bead, mixed, then suddenly separated again into three droplets. “Oh, he is beautiful!” Agua exclaimed happily as she looked down at her new son. “Let’s call him Omi.” In that split second, their son began rapidly rolling backward. Omi cried out as Agua and Nero desperately tried to stop him from moving. The little droplet collected water vapor and quickly became larger and larger until he was too heavy for the cloud to support. As his parents looked on in helpless terror, Omi fell out of the cloud. “Noooooooooo!” Agua and Nero shouted together. Nero declared bravely, “I’m going to go after him! He doesn’t know the ways of the world. He won’t stand a chance out there.” “I need to stay behind and continue the condensation process,” Agua replied. “You’ll have to leave me here, but I’ll see you again soon.” “Yes,” Nero agreed, “the water cycle will bring us together again.” He increased his size and dropped swiftly out of the cloud in pursuit of their little droplet. “Yiiiiiiiii!” Omi screamed as he fell toward the earth at approximately 9.81 meters per second, accelerating in an occasional downdraft. He hit the ground in the middle of a busy city street lined with buildings and shops. Attracting sediment as he sped along its impervious surface, “Yuck!” Omi thought to himself as he rolled toward the side of the street where he collected car oils and grease from an old doughnut, “I’ve been created for less than a minute and I’m already filthy,” he thought. He desperately wished his parents were there to guide him. When he ran into a gum wrapper that stuck to his back, he declared, “This is the last straw!” He pulled himself up onto the curb. “I don’t want to travel in this gross world anymore.” Omi sank down on the curb, lost and upset, longing for his family. He looked up startled as a female form made completely of blue and black plastic descended from the sky and landed beside him on the curb. “Hey there, little guy. My name is Aerobe. I heard your cries for help and came to see what was wrong.” “Oh…hi,” Omi said in a small, nervous voice. “My name is Omi. I fell off of my cloud and now I’m lost. ” “There is no need to be afraid. I can help you. I am a BioMicrobics Onsite Treatment Specialist—that’s a B.O.T.S.— which means that I lend a hand to little droplets like you all of the time.” Aerobe replied comfortingly. “Well, I guess that would be alright,” Omi said, more assured. “I need to find my mom and dad though. And I don’t like being all gross and dirty like this.” Aerobe replied. “I’d bet my positronic brain that we’ll find your parents if we continue through the water cycle. Now, follow me and we’ll get you cleaned up,” Aerobe led Omi into a stream of water that went down the curb toward a gutter. “Once you go inside,” Aerobe instructed to Omi, “I’m going to give you directions from out here, because I can’t fit in there. So listen closely and you won’t get lost again.” “I will,” Omi promised as he slipped into the gutter with the rest of the water droplets. “Whoooo-hoo!” he cried out with delight. “It’s a slide!” “Actually, that’s the force of the stormwater flow pulling you down,” Aerobe explained. “The system you are about to enter allows this natural flow to occur without interference by filtrating out common pollutants such as that trash, sediment, and hydrocarbons that’s stuck to you.” “Sediment? Filtering? Hydrocarbons!” Omi exclaimed, frightened again. “Yikes!” “Don’t worry,” Aerobe said soothingly. “You will be very safe in this BioSTORM® treatment system. It’s designed for stormwater runoff, so it treats little droplets very well.” Omi slid through a blue StormTEE® deflector screen with ease. The gum wrapper that had been attached to him was deflected back into the tank. “That feels much better,” Omi sighed in relief. “How did that happen?” “The slots on the StormTEE® are angled to let you pass through without clogging, but it stops things like the wrapper that was hitchhiking on your back. You are entering a total BioSTORM® treatment system that has two components. Get ready for the next step!” Omi flowed into another unit with pre-engineered media designed to separate water from oils and solids. Millions of tiny droplets danced and flowed between each other. To Omi, it felt like a party. “Wow,” he exclaimed, “this is so much fun!” “It is more than just fun!” Aerobe replied cheerfully. “You are going to be squeaky clean again just like you wanted.” “Oooo, I feel it!” Omi exclaimed, delighted. The sediment shook off and sank while he danced and the oil rose, forming a layer at the top. “What happens to all of that gunk that was on me?” Omi asked Aerobe. “It will be stored for easy removal later. That’s what people are for,” she said with a laugh. Meanwhile Nero landed on the street and began calling for his son, “Omi! Omi! Can you hear me?!” He too became very dirty, but he didn’t worry or stop. He continued to search for Omi as he entered a stream of water that flowed into the gutter. He rolled past Aerobe and she said Omi was in the storm drain. Excited at the prospect of finding his son, Nero went full force through the StormTEE® deflector screen. “Wow, THAT was efficient! This feels great!” Nero exclaimed. He entered the next module and continued to call for his son. “DAD? I hear you!” Omi looked around excitedly. “Son, I found you!” Nero said with relief, as he gave Omi a hug. “Thank goodness you are safe.” “Yeah. I’m fine,” Omi said. “Aerobe, the nice B.O.T.S. girl outside, helped me get clean. This is so much fun, I never want to leave!” “But we must,” Nero replied as they emptied out into a reservoir. “We have to continue the water cycle. And find your mother. But we’ll be back here again soon.” “I hope we end up in a swimming pool next time!” Omi exclaimed. “Kids…” Nero muttered, rolling his eyes and looking up at Aerobe. “Thanks for helping my son, Aerobe,” Nero said gratefully. “My pleasure!” Aerobe replied. Her cell pack began its insistent buzzing. “Oh, I have another mission now. Have a great cycle! Remember: Better Water, Better World!” ZZZZZZ-Z-Z-z-z-z-z……. “Better Water, Better World. Better Water, Better World,” Aerobe repeated. She turned to wave to Omi and Nero, but instead found herself staring into the computer screen on her desk. A buzzing was emitting from her energy cell pack and “FULLY CHARGED” scrolled across its readout screen. She smiled and shook her head slightly. “Romance in the rain! Droplet drama! Aerobe, you’ve got to lay off those steamy bestsellers,” she mused to herself as she unplugged the charging unit and shut down her computer for the night.