The sun set, quickly, and unexpectedly. In a matter of minutes, the main base observed the sky turning dark ochre, the rapid-onset sunset lighting the clouds first one beautiful share of orange then another as the heavens darkened, a rolling chorus of crickets rising with the falling of night.
Reports began to come in of tidal shifts and coastal incursions of slow-moving walls of water, ships at sea reporting their compasses turning suddenly in their cradles.
But soon the situation stabilized, and the bases reported in one after the other. There was no evidence of attack or changes in the environment that would presage the arrival of some force.
Then amid the flurry of communications one of the bases submitted a report, missed at first, but then passed up through the chain of command.
The luminosity of the moon was changing.
Staff meteorologists were called on to model this and quickly reported back that it was, in fact, changing, and developed a graphic that showed the varying degrees to which the luminosity was changing, more at the outer edges of a named circular geographic area, less as the distance to the center decreased. They had no real explanation for this.
Or for evidence that the location of the moon in the sky wasn’t changing either.