In a beautiful and violent world, the narrative is conducted on behalf of the assistant to the machinist Constantine. Alexander Vasilyevich Maltsev is considered the best locomotive driver in the Tolumbee Depot. No one knows him better than a locomotive! There is nothing surprising in that when the first powerful steam locomotive of the “IS” series arrives at the depot, Maltsev is assigned to work on this machine.
Assistant Maltsev, an elderly depot mechanic Fyodor Petrovich Drabanov, soon stands the exam for the machinist and goes to another car, and in his place appointed Constantine. Konstantin is satisfied with his appointment, Maltsev does not care who his assistants are. Alexander Vasilyevich oversees the work of his assistant, but after that he always personally
He does not believe that someone else can learn to feel the machine, the way and everything around him at the same time. Constantine works for Maltsev as an assistant for about a year, and on July 5th, Maltsev’s last trip comes. On this flight they take the train four hours late. The dispatcher asks Maltsev to reduce this gap as far as possible. Trying to fulfill this request, Maltsev in full force drives the car forward. On the way they are caught by a storm cloud, and Maltsev, blinded by a flash of lightning, loses sight, but continues to confidently lead the team to their destination.
Konstantin notes that he manages Maltsev’s composition significantly worse. On the way of the courier train there is another composition. Accidents can be avoided thanks to Constantine. Here Maltsev admits that he sees nothing. The next day, vision returns to him. Alexander Vasilievich is put on trial, the investigation begins. It is almost impossible to prove the innocence of the old machinist. Maltsev is imprisoned, and his assistant continues to work. In winter in the regional city, Constantine visits
Returning home, he ponders his conjecture about the installation of Tesla and writes a letter to the investigator, who was in his time the Maltsev case, asking him to test the prisoner Maltsev, creating an artificial lightning.
If the vulnerability of Maltsev’s psyche or visual organs to the action of sudden and close electrical discharges is proved, his case must be reconsidered. Constantine explains to the investigator where the Tesla installation is located, and how it is necessary to make an experiment on the person. For a long time there is no answer, but then the investigator reports that the regional prosecutor agreed to conduct the proposed examination in the university physics laboratory. The experiment is carried out, Maltsev’s innocence is proved, but he is released. But as a result of the experiment, the old machinist loses sight, and this time it does not recover.
Constantine tries to cheer the blind old man, but it does not work for him. Then he tells Maltsev that he will take him on a voyage. During this trip, vision returns to the blind man, and before Tolumbeev he drives the locomotive himself. After work, Constantine, along with the old machinist, goes to the apartment to Maltsev, where they sit all night. Constantine is afraid to leave him alone as his own son, without protection against the action of the sudden and hostile forces of our beautiful and furious world.