Operating Fifteen – Part I – Streaks

“Do you think they’ll come back?”

Bright streaks of orange and blue flashed South across the afternoon sky illuminating the base camp in deep, contrasted hues. Crackling could be heard as the dry air was torn apart, violently giving way to the objects. Things had drastically quieted down in the past forty minutes as the flashes slowed down from hundreds per minute to only one or two every few seconds.

“I’m not sure, we’ve been unable to identify the source of the, I’m not even sure what to call them, Streaks? We’ve never seen anything like them.”

Concern crept through his voice. For years everyone had turned to him for advice. For answers. And this was the first time in his life that he was unable to solve a problem or even suggest a solution. In the back of his mind he was thrilled to have come across something that he couldn’t explain. The circumstances, however, were not exactly what he had hoped for.

He looked up at the sky and grimaced. Dark black trails hung lazily in the sky, only to be whisped away by the next line that bolted overhead. What was once a bright blue ceiling of innocence had become a dull gray backdrop. No clouds had been seen for weeks and there seemed to no longer be a definite sunrise and sunset. There was just light and dark, with nothing in between.

Then he flinched and jumped back as a sharp pain ripped through his arm. Looking down, a small girl was peering up at him while holding her own arm in agony. Tears welled up in her eyes and she took a single step back, not knowing what would happen next. He clenched his fist and, again, directed his gaze to the North.

“I’m sorry,” the little girl finally surrendered. “I forgot.”

She had done nothing more than tap him on the arm to get his attention when static electricity painfully arced from her body to his. Moisture was but a memory since the Streaks appeared and static electricity regularly danced through the ether like soft smoke billowing from a freshly extinguished campfire.

“What was that?” He was still gazing up at the neutral sky.

“I’m sorry”

“No, before that.”

“Oh, do you think they’ll come back?”

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