Paper Chain by Graham Mole

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Firstly, a question. How would you cope without paper?

Firstly, a question.

How would you cope without paper?

FACT ONE – When a new president first gets into office he never knows all the secrets……what his predecessor had really been up to.

FACT TWO – When the Columbia space shuttle was launched it carried a cargo of insects.

In Paper Chain a similar unmanned spacelab, made of two capsules, is racing back to earth. But it’s out of control.  Part of the cargo is secret -- a new laser weapon, put there by the old hardline President. Could this be Trump?

In both capsules is a routine scientific experiment - a can of worms called PWN. They’re tree killers. Each capsule is armed with super concentrated acid - a defence against hostile astronauts.

The Pentagon covers up as the laser capsule lands in Oregon’s forests, the other in Indonesia. The worms and the acid are jettisoned just before impact and in weeks the acid dumped in the stratosphere descends - and strips the trees bare.. The worms then kill the trees. No longer can they soak up carbon – the classic ingredient of climate change.

Soon America is out of paper, no dollar bills, Wall St collapses, the dollar’s in free fall, there’s no way to collect taxes, no question of keeping or even sending troops abroad. And all the while the temperature’s starting to rise…

AMERICA IS SUDDENLY NO LONGER A WORLD POWER.

Domestically, there’s no paper for cigarettes or even toilet rolls.

Wood by-products like cellulose and rayon, run out.

There isn’t even a way to make plastic and now there’s no car industry.

Our hero scientist Dick Walton is the President’s science adviser.

Walton, randy and cool, has a mistress, Grace, a classy White House secretary. But, on a trip to Indonesia, he beds Lestari, daughter of their Vice President. She’s every man’s Eurasian fantasy....

In Washington “Papergate” produces another investigative reporter, Bob Powell of Radio WWXN. He reports Detroit is dead. Drugs that came from trees -- like quinine -- are no more. And no birth pill....  All that nature had to offer is no longer on the agenda.

In Oakland, Hells Angels take wooden doors as payments for debts; in Alabama there’s a death sentence for wood looters. The state takes all but six books per person. A rabbi dies fighting for his parchment scroll.

In the US there’s no gift wrapping. In Indonesia there’s no firewood for cooking. Natives who live in trees vanish.

FACT THREE -- the greenhouse effect is here.

In Paper Chain what rain there is erodes the land, dams silt up. Electricity, TV and Radio are all hit.

People, in mass panic, quit the cities for the plains. Now Grace takes a new lover -- reporter Bob Powell.

In Indonesia, after a naked romp on the beach, Walton finds an island with trees -- and they still have leaves.

As the President offers a $50 million reward Walton gets the answer – and faces a dilemma. He could take the money, win the Nobel Prize, have Grace, or any girl. But America has become less materialistic.... the air is cleaner, people are healthier, more caring.

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