Former postman, Rod Flange, 53, was arrested yesterday in Telford after a five hour stand-off with armed police. “I was just doing my duty as a citizen,” he shouted to the assembled press as he was dragged away by two Special Branch agents and bundled into a car.
According to the police, Flange was apprehended just in time. “If we had arrived a moment later,” said Superintendent Nigel Swathe, “we might have been too late, with calamitous consequences. The planet and all life upon it may well have been imperilled by the injudicious actions of Mr Flange. He was already positioned for take-off in the cockpit of his rocket, Gaia I, when my officers arrived. They quickly proceeded to douse the flames emerging from the base of said vehicle.”
According to a video posted onto Youtube by Mr Flange, he built his rocket, Gaia I, to save the world. “I am fed up with politicians dilly-dallying on climate change. We citizens must take matters into our own hands. We must take action! Now! Tomorrow is too late!”
Mr Flange had calculated that by shifting the Earth’s orbit some 10 million miles further away from the sun, we can compensate for the effects of global warming. He therefore constructed Gaia I in his garden shed. “All the equipment was readily available over the internet,” he insisted. Explaining why he had visited Iraq and Transdniestr, the breakaway region of Moldova, several times in the last year, he referred to his voluntary work with the international Trades Union movement. It was, he stressed, absolutely nothing to do with procuring specialist rocket parts or jet fuel.
“According to my back of the envelope calculations, by launching Gaia I in the direction of the sun with a force of 23 trillion newtons, I will propel the Earth in the opposite direction some 9,981,206 miles, which should reduce the average surface temperature of the planet by some 1.83 degrees, which should compensate for the effect of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
“I have written several times to the Royal Society requesting them to confirm my calculations, but have received no reply. Therefore I will just have to put my trust in God and hope for the best. After all, it is better to have tried and failed than not to have bothered at all.”
Greg Gloom of the Telford Astrological Society denied allegations that his organisation had helped Flange in his endeavours. “I did send Mr Flange a copy of our recently produced Astrological Chart (sponsored by the Golden Elephant Curry House of Telford) but I don’t think that it is accurate enough to support modern space travel.”