Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 154

“The mean level of sun flare radiation has gone up again. It’s been steadily increasing since we started measuring, and now its growth is becoming exponential.” Another Justice spoke this time. “Sun flare radiation goes up and down all the time. It’s high at the moment, yes, but you said yourself that the roof screens could handle it. We just need to wait it out.” She sat back, happy that this had closed the subject. “That’s just it,” Joran tried to apologise with a look, “Um, it’s not going to go down this time. My interpretation of the Institute’s calculations is that the sun’s reached a critical level of activity.” He looked round, willing them all to believe him. “The radiation output is going to keep on increasing until it just burns through the roof screens one day - and it might be sooner than we think. If we wait until we’re sure, it will have overtaken our capacity to act.” The Justices muttered between themselves, unwilling to seriously contemplate what was usually regarded as a theory on the more hysterical fringes of scientific thought. It was impossible to live in the open. The roof screens covering the cities protected the people and their growing crops, If the sun’s level of radiation ever overcame the ability of the roof screens to filter it, the people of Aleameth would be directly threatened. They could face extinction within a few years if the roof screens completely failed. However, not everyone agreed that this would happen. Joran’s presentation had predicted just that, and had not met with a positive reception by the guarded Justices. “Why are you presenting this scenario now, Lecturer Joran? This kind of scaremongering just feeds the fears of the public.” The speaker was not a Justice. The tall, well-built man was dressed in the russet brown of a Higher Will advisor, his voice deep and commanding. “Advisor Puyek.” Joran acknowledged him formally. The Higher Will was an ancient philosophy that advocated accepting the dictates of Aleameth and its environment, whatever that might mean. Followers of the philosophy, believed that should they eventually be poisoned by their own planet, they would be rewarded after death for their humility and acceptance. It had been a mere possibility in previous generations, as Aleameth’s ecology had become more hostile, but the sun’s recent activity had enabled the teachings of the Higher Will to gain unprecedented