Luke and Maria walk along a street, the young boy trying to impress his friend with a new joke he has learned. She is not impressed, and he tries to interrogate her about how humour works, but she is not sure how to explain. They pass the Laser-tag arcade and are approached by greeted by Mr Grantham, one of the proprietors, who offers them cut-price vouchers should they wish to play.
They take the vouchers and wander off; leaving Mr Grantham to enter the building and walk to his office, where his explains to his superior, Mr Kudlak, that publicity for the arcade is well underway. Kudlak tells him simply to fetch more children and finally reveals himself, a grotesque insect-humanoid figure dressed in a smart suit.
Meanwhile, Sarah visits Mrs Metcalf, the mother of Lance, the boy who disappeared at the arcade. The distraught mother begs her visitor to help find her lost son and Sarah comforts her, listening as Mrs Metcalf explains that Lance left the house to meet his friend Brandon but never arrived to greet him.
Back at the attic Sarah sits working as Clyde tries to explain to Luke the use of colloquial expressions in everyday life. Maria offers to take the boys away but Sarah instead asks them what they knew of Lance Metcalf. Clyde explains that he was known as “Lance Corporal”, a name given to him by Luke as an attempt at humour. Sarah doesn’t find it funny and explains that Lance’s father, a soldier, died in Iraq. Luke is visibly shocked by the fact he may of hurt the missing boy and Sarah tries to console him but he runs off, Clyde in hot pursuit. Sarah and Maria discuss Lance’s disappearance, and Maria agrees to introduce her to Lance’s friend Brandon.
They find him in a café playing an arcade game; where he explains that Lance was a wiz at computer games. He then tells them that he and Lance had arranged to meet at the arcade, but he never showed up, presumably because of the storm that hit overhead. Sarah and Maria have no recollection of the freak weather but Brandon recalls it clearly appearing over a nearby hill and then suddenly disappearing, it scared him.
Clyde finds Luke, still upset from the revelation in the attic, sitting in the local park. He tries to comfort his friend and tells him that he is not to blame, he is still learning about humour and social situations.
In the control room of the arcade Kudlak sits in his chair as his mistress calls him, telling him that time is growing short, she needs fresh, strong children. He promises her that her needs will be fulfilled; she will have all the children she needs.
Sarah and Maria return to the attic, and they ask Mr Smith to cross reference the disappearance all children who have disappeared in the last few months with records of freak weather activity. He finds twenty-four matches, each child having disappeared during a torrent of unexpected rain. Why this rain has occurred he doesn’t know, but Sarah decides she will be find out.
Soon she and Maria are at work, constructing something out of pieces of junk. Sarah explains that storms are formed by build-ups of energy and leave large amounts behind after their dispersal, that energy could tell them a lot. Maria aids the construction; carefully handling two metallic cylinders that Sarah warns her could knock her out if she holds both at the same time with her bare hands.
In the park, Luke worries about fitting into social networks, feeling such integration is too complex. Clyde claims he will help Luke with his knowledge of social situations and Luke takes the opportunity to question him as to the purpose of games. Clyde is bemused by the question but listens as Luke explains about he laser-tag arcade he and Maria passed earlier. He agrees to visit it in order for Luke to learn more.
Meanwhile, Kudlak warns Grantham that their progress is not pleasing to his mistress; she is restless and neither of them, her servants, are irreplaceable.
Sarah and Maria take their new machine to the hillside where Brandon got caught in the rain. They turn dials and pull levers until it shoots a stream of golden light into the air, which slowly disperses. They do so three times until finally a reaction takes place showering them in golden particles.
They take the particles back to Mr Smith, who explains that they are entanglement shells, used either terra forming or as a result of devices such as teleports. Sarah ponders why this could be happening and Mr Smith shows her the centre of the metrological activity: the arcade.
Inside the laser-tag arena Luke and Clyde embark on their game, dashing through the dimly-lit battleground with the other children, all the time under the watchful eyes of Kudlak and Grantham who seem impressed with their progress. Once the game is over Grantham goes to find them and asks them to attend ‘Level 2’, a special competition for the more skilled competitors, they agree.
Soon Sarah and Maria are at the arcade, talking a lady working in the ticket office. They discover that Kudlak arrived to set up the arcade not long ago, and has not been seen by any of his employees. Whilst she begins to babble about how stressful her job is, and how it always seems to be raining since the new proprietors arrived, the two friends leave to find Kudlak.
Clyde and Luke prepare for their next game as Mr Grantham explains that they now have a mission to complete within the game; they must make their way to a concealed chamber at the other end of the arena, if they can do that they will be given a place in the world championship of laser-tag games.
Arriving in Mr Grantham’s office Sarah and Maria begin looking around unaware Kudlak is watching them from the control room. He calls to his colleague and tells him to stop them, as Luke and Clyde begin fighting their way through their mission; slowly making their way toward the special chamber.
Grantham interrupts Sarah and Maria and pulls an alien gun on them after Sarah interrogates him about the recent disappearances of children, always in towns and cities where a Combat 3000 arcade is located. She vows that she will find Lance and the other missing children, but Grantham tells her she cannot stop him; children love war games.
Kudlak watches as Clyde and Luke approach the chamber, locking them off from the rest of the arena. Outside it begins to rain and Sarah realises the teleport inside the arena is being powered up. She manages to fight off Grantham using her Sonic Lipstick and she and Maria run off. They arrive in the control room in time to see Luke and Clyde entering the chamber, unaware it is really the teleport. They are transported away before Sarah can stop the machine. Suddenly Kudlak approaches them from the shadows and explains where they have gone:
“Into the shadows…”