Short Stories

Short Story: The United Weather Service

Hello! I am back from fishing. It was such a good thing to take a break and just be. Especially how hard last year was. Let’s hope this new one comes with something beautiful and good. Here is a short story I wrote. I hope you enjoy ❤

“It’s happening again, isn’t it?!” she heard asked behind her.
She could only nod and watch the numbers flickering on the screen. She wasn’t the only one who stared in stunned silence. The last time something similar had happened, everything had gone ape shit. There had been rogue on their system, paid to change the weather for a party, a crop, or something else, causing major disturbances. What had followed was extreme weather patterns worldwide, from hurricanes to floods to droughts, to name a few. People were still paying for that, and they never caught the rogue hacker.

The stunned silence turned into a rush as key-personnel were taking their places to combat the tampered systems to return the normalcy. She just stood there clutching her binder, thinking today’s picnic with her friends would be canceled. Then she caught the horror of her own shallowness. Somewhere there, people would lose more than their outing. They would lose their livelihood, lives, and their loved ones. She swallowed and hoped she could do more than clutch the binder so hard that the edges were starting to cut through her skin. But what could she do? She was an entry-level secretary for the world’s biggest international organization; the United Weather Service. They geoengineered the Earth’s atmosphere to prevent warming and extreme weather patterns.

She had been so proud to get her post. To be part of the group which saved lives and made life on Earth possible. Not to mention providing the service which the entire planet’s economies depended on. She had become part of the good guys, the heroes. And now, once she was here, she had come to understand that it wasn’t that simple. Margaret, Asha, Baz, Kim, Lina, and the other engineers barely hold it together. She had come to realize that the system could go haywire any day and block the sun entirely with the chemicals they sprayed on all the spheres and to the ozone layer to produce desired weather. She was no hero. She was part of the system which rode the uncontrollable, overly grown beast with blindfolds, hoping they wouldn’t do too much damage. And when they did, the PR department was there to spin a tale of how it was necessary or otherwise more lives, crops, or sea levels had been lost.

She shuddered from the thought. The worst was that there were rumors that big companies and influential governments were paying to get their desires met, and loser countries were paying a hefty price for it. Lina had even suggested they had occasionally altered the entire planet’s weather because some influential guy wanted to have sunny weather for his daughter’s wedding or, better yet, for a business meeting. At first, she had thought all of that was lies, that no one would or could do that. Still, a year in and she had lost her hope and saw that the fairytale she was told as a child how the United Weather Service had come in and saved the planet from inevitable destruction wasn’t exactly the whole truth. But Lina said this was all for us to continue our partying, so no other sacrifices had to be made. Maybe she should stop listening to Lina?

But if she didn’t listen to Lina or be friends with her, then she would never get a position as an engineer as she had been trained. She stood there watching the numbers flicker and patterns to change. In a few minutes, if they couldn’t overturn the commands put in, the atmosphere would change. After, all they could do was to combat the after-effects and hope for the best. Before coming to work here, she had known there had been hacking attempts to the United Weather Service’s systems, and there had been international trials for the perpetrators and substantial prison sentences. Still, the public never knew that hacking had actually happened. She kind of understood why. There would be panic and rioting. Yet, she now thought the public had the right to know, or how else they could change the system?

She clutched the binder harder and began making her way through the chaos, past the desk of all the engineers and key personnel, past the colossal monitor complex, which showed the raw data without delays. She headed to her bosses’ office, lowered the binder, and walked out.

Thank you for reading! Have a serene day ❤

© K.A. Ashcomb

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