Ecologist David Price is about to find out that it may be better to be vilified and wrong, then vilified and right.
The Supreme Leader of The Planets rose from his throne. ‘David Price,’ he said. ‘You have been found guilty of spreading false prophecies. I summon Phantazia to pass sentence.’
Whilst Price recovered from the bogus verdict, a hideous creature shuffled into the marble chamber. She was old, dripping in rags, a crystal ball weighing down her emaciated fingers.
She held the ball to Price’s face. Phantazia was capable of peering deep into the souls of men, excavating their hidden nightmares and using them to pronounce unspeakable punishments. Like the time she sentenced a fish poacher to Benedixia – partial immersion in saltwater whilst tiny fishes tore snippets of his flesh. It took him three weeks to die.
Now his fate lay in that transparent sphere.
After ten minutes of inaction the Supreme Leader grew impatient. Half an hour later he was indignant. Price smiled. If no punishment was indicated he was home free.
‘The one thing he fears is being wrong,’ Phantazia said and shuffled out of the chamber.
‘Your false prophecies on global warming,’ said the Supreme Leader, ‘have caused mass evacuations on Planet Earth. I cannot sentence you formally but I can excommunicate you back to your home planet forever.’
Price was shoved out of the space ship 15,000 feet above the Earth. His parachute bloomed open and floated to a stop in a green field.
The punishment was perverted at best. Price had given the Earth a month before global warming turned the air to thick soup and Earth’s thermostat to unbearable levels – much to the consternation of his peers. If Price was correct then he’d be dead soon. If he was wrong he’d spend the rest of his days on a near-deserted planet. The irony wasn’t lost on him.