Sample Narrative: Harmony's Passing

A beautifully bad night.


   The level of acoustic waves was so high by 10:32 P.M. at Pickles’ house, that people at NASA were talking worldwide to their counterparts about sharing data. Earth observing satellite sensors where repositioned and the world observed something that radio science had never detected before. The Radio and Plasma Wave Group at the University of Iowa was abuzz with late night queries from points all over the globe. It didn’t take long for the glowing lights in the sky to catch up with the high levels of electronic noise. By 10:49 P.M. Pickles [the cat] could see the illumination from anywhere in the house but the stairs.

   Brighter than any normal full moon, the glow was nearly uniform, but with spectacular curtains and waves dazzling the nighttime side of Earth. Only the poor folks near the equator missed out on the full overhead movement of charged particles. But they could still see it on the edges of their darkened skies. The lights didn’t bother Pickles; she gave them no more attention than passing cars or thunderstorms. But the sound! That was putting her on edge about the same time that the aurora became visible in Taos. She had skulked around the entire house for a while trying to decide where the noise was coming from. It just didn’t have a direction to figure out. It was very low and very soft at first, and never got louder as she inched suspiciously around the edges of every room.

   By midnight the cat had mostly decided the sound was outside somewhere and she wanted it to go away. She felt annoyed like she did when Pam breathed in her ears. Tickly. She didn’t like that and it was the main reason she didn’t sleep under Pam’s chin anymore. Pickles had a run-in with fleas the summer before, and those were about the worst ear hurts she ever had. Bad enough to put her in the mood to just hide all day long. By the middle of the night Pickles was thinking about hiding again and NASA’s SOHO staff was wide awake and waking everyone in solar science that hadn’t already called in from London.

   Instruments worldwide and nearly halfway to the moon were streaming back ion wave measurements of nearly 16 Hz with a recorded strength that came close to the decibel level of a bee. The visible aurora was at its brightest all the way to the Gulf coast and had marginal visibility down into lower Mexico. Scientists at the North Pole observatory were recording near daylight levels of brightness, and a continuity of glow that had never been imaged. There were no waves or fluctuations in the intensity of the light that far north, or in the intensity of the ion waves measured anywhere on the planet.

   Pickles didn’t have any moments of relief either for nearly four hours. The event had build up over about eight hours, but ended in only three seconds. That is what buzzed the globe. That was not even in the realm of theory. Solar events have a buildup, peak and decline and that was proven fact. This event had a stage play ending. The lights went out and the space around earth was silent for everyone listening.