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We present the Lightning Protocol, a hard real-time, fast, and lightweight protocol to elect the sensor closest to an impulsive sound source. This protocol can serve proximity-based localization or leader election for sensor collaboration. It utilizes the fact that electromagnetic waves propagate much faster than acoustic waves to efficiently reduce the number of contending sensors in the election. With simple RF bursts, most basic comparison operations, no need of clock synchronization, and a memory footprint as small as 5,330 bytes of ROM and 187 bytes of RAM, the protocol incurs O(1) transmissions, irrespective of the sensor density, and guarantees hard real-time (O(1)) localization time cost. Experiment results using UC Berkeley Motes in a common office environment demonstrate that the time delay for the Lightning Protocol is on the order of milliseconds. The simplicity of the protocol reduces memory cost, computation complexity, and programming difficulty, making it desirable for low-end wireless sensors.