THE CASCADE EFFECT… A new SciFi HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence #shortstory #sciencefiction #cascadeeffect @tordotcom


HyperShorts are really taking off now, so here’s a unique one from Sci-Fi writer Ethan Lawrence. Check out his awesome BIO at the end.

“The Cascade Effect” by Ethan Lawrence
At the Evergreen radio telescope installation in Colorado in the Rocky Mountains, an attractive, female, astronomer with dark hair, Dr. Erika Stokes, is talking to a politician, Senator Frasier, and his entourage, all wearing suits and ties of the period, which are all bright colors, have wide lapels, and loud wide ties.  And clearly facial hair on the men is in, with big sideburns, mustaches and beards.  The women have odd, tall, styled hairdos.

“The Earth is entirely enshrouded in satellites, both old and new, space stations, and debris left over from old multi-stage rockets.  No efforts have ever been made to clean up the old space detritus, so it’s just continued to build up and build up.  Satellites of every make and model, from a hundred different countries, some working, some dead, endlessly circle the planet.  Earth is now severely obscured and utterly surrounded.”

Dr. Stokes turns from a 3-D holo representation of Earth, to the Senator and his people.
“What happened to all of the programs to remove and destroy some of it?”
Senator Frasier shrugs.  “The funding never comes through, Dr. Stokes.  It’s far cheaper to keep hiring more astronomers like you than implement any of the programs.”
Dr. Stokes shakes her head.  “Well, you do know what’ll happen if any of this twenty thousand mile an hour space junk starts colliding with each other, right?”
The Senator snorts derisively.  “Yeah, yeah.  The Cascade Effect.  Scientists have been sounding the alarm about that for over fifty years, but it hasn’t happened yet, has it?”
“No, not yet.  But, we, the scientific community, believe the odds are turning against us.”

Senator Frasier walks away and all his people follow along, like ducklings.  Yes, well, I’ll certainly do what I can, you can count on that.”
Dr. Stokes watches the Senator and his people depart, her face reflecting fear and concern.

Some time later, a Boeing 7007 Spaceliner taxies down a tarmac, builds up tremendous speed over the course of a mile-long runway before it has sufficient thrust and lift to take off.  The sleek Spaceliner takes off into the sky just like a big jet, and then begins circling the Earth to build up sufficient speed to leave the planet’s atmosphere.  To achieve this, the ship keeps going higher and higher and faster and faster…

Inside the Spaceliner, Dr. Stokes sits in a seat, strapped in, glances down at her right hand, which is balled-up in a fist in her lap.  She’s shaking badly, hits a button and the holographic head of the Flight Controller, an African-American man in his thirties, appears before her.
“Lisa, I hear Galactic has offered you a free house on Mars’ Red Station, and you’re not taking it.”

“I don’t want to live in Red Station.”

“Those are nice houses up there.  Swimming pools, golf courses, four thousand square feet each, the works.  If they offered it to me, I’d take it.”

Dr. Stokes sighs.  “Honestly, Jim, I’m having trouble thinking about a new home when twelve billion people are about to die.”

“You tried to convince them, Lisa, but they wouldn’t listen.  Now it’s too late.”

The holo head disappears.  Dr. Stokes drops her face into her hands and begins to cry.

As the ship leaves Earth’s atmosphere, with a lot of vibration and a tremendous amount of heat building up on the ship’s heat shields, it glides soundlessly into the black void of space–
–Which, at this distance from Earth, is completely filled with space debris.  The ship steers through the labyrinth of obstacles as the junk comes together unnaturally and begins raining down on the misty blue-green planet like machine gun bullets, the sky turning to blazing fire and becoming too bright to look at…


Screenwriter Ethan Lawrence has served on the writing staffs for the TV series The Pretender, Murder in Small Town X, Fearing Mind, So Weird and SyFy’s acclaimed series Eureka.  He’s also developed web series for Alloy Entertainment’s Full Metal Alchemist, TV pilots to NBC, ABC and The Gold Company and wrote the screenplays Hellraiser 5 for Dimension Films, Nevermore for Propaganda Films, Mortal Velocity for WB Studios, Creepers for Papa Joe Films (based on the David Morrell New York Times bestseller) and the feature film Asylum for MGM/Hyde Park Entertainment.