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"May the cream be separated from the whey, may the husk of wheat replace the chaff and may justice prevail. The thirty-ninth session of this trial is in session," she read in a monotone.

Judge Quorra Mancini, like two thirds of the humans in the room, was a woman but this reflected the overall gender balance of the world in modern times. She glanced forward but her hands were still placed inside an almost transparent sphere where her fingers moved across invisible keys.

"I have made my ruling on the evidence of the last six sessions." Her eyes rose and focused on Aari. "Doctor Marshall, you presented a very thorough and complicated case in your defence that was itemised into forty-four categories. My ruling is that Category One through to Nine is admissible. However, the following thirty-three categories were classified as unproved hypothesises and are not permissible as evidence. They are thereby struck from this trial’s records."

Aari’s morale plummeted. Without that scientific evidence, everything became a matter of whether the jury believed herself or the state witnesses. If they believed that she could save the planet from the biggest ice age in a millennium and allowed life, as it now was to flourish, she would be found innocent. If, however, they believed that she was scare mongering, she would be found guilty and instantly be dehumanised, a euphemism for being vaporised in the courtroom. Her ashes would be cast to the wind and her family banned from even mentioning her name. It would be as if she never was.

With the vast amount of her evidence being rejected, the possibility of a not guilty verdict was practically zero. She glanced around at the sea of faces but, except for two, they were a blur. Her parents were there as they had been every day during the trial. She raised her hand slightly to greet them before turning her eyes back at the judge.

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