68 Memo

After keeping her eyes closed for takeoff and half the plane ride from Washington to New Jersey, Janet’s head feels clear enough to get some work done the remainder of the flight. When she opens her eyes, she sees Benjamin typing away on his laptop. “What are you working on—a resume?”

“Are you kidding? There is no way I am voluntarily leaving this job after today. This may be the most exciting thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a massive plan being put together by unseen hands. Don’t you just get the feeling all of this is connected in some way?”

“Are you seriously considering another conspiracy theory? I really don’t like that stuff.”

“Janet, all great discoveries begin as theories. One must be discerning for sure, but also open to entertain what other people sense is true—even if it’s based in fear. You ask me from time to time how I know things. This is how: after I’m presented with information that challenges the way I think, I do the research and store my findings with my eidetic memory. I find, in time, the pieces usually come together. Worldwide movements have thousands of working parts.”

Janet stares at him for a minute. “You have an eidetic memory?”

“That’s all you took from that eloquent and compelling speech?”

She laughs. “I’m just teasing. You have certainly proven your value over the years. I will try to remain flexible. I must admit these things do seem to be related: worrisome mandates, international meetings run by a Pope, an unnerved President, natural threats to the planet, BEAST microchips, and the first daughter’s entanglement in international affairs do collectively scream ‘conspiracy.’ What a day, huh? Are you ready to dictate the memo on the mandates?”

“Yes, I’m ready.”

Benjamin opens a file and reads Mandate #6: “All space exploration will be equally owned by the nations of Earth. There’s talk of sharing satellites and equal opportunity to migrate to other planets. What do you want me to say?”

“Once again, we see the U.S. playing the role of ‘sucker.’ For decades, we have been investing more in our space program than all other nations combined. Are we just going to give this away, including the satellites that collect data for our armed forces?”

Benjamin stops typing and looks up from the screen. “Do you want me to play the role of the President and be your devil’s advocate?”

“Sure. Fire away.”

“I think he would say you’re missing the purpose of the Mandates. They are designed to remove the mines and yours between the nations.”

“Okay, point taken. Let me be specific: How do these mandates affect ‘Project 66?’ The Legal Brief that was passed onto me by Ambassador Lee says the security clearance on Project 66 is at Level 3. This means it’s only cleared for the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, U.S. Director of the Joint Chief of Staff, President and Vice-President, Secretary of State, and CIA Director. The Russian scientist—which, let’s be honest, was no scientist, but rather a government spy—tried to put it on the floor today, and was shut down. Only half of the attendees have a U.S. Level 3 security clearance.”

Benjamin pushes the laptop to the side and returns a confused look. “What is Project 66? I haven’t seen this government brief, but I’m afraid I may know something about it.”

“It’s a theory co-presented to the U.N. Security Council in 2028 by General Barton and Space Force. It is part of a patent held by a private U.S. company, Sun Economics. It proposes, by positioning sixty-six satellites around the globe and connecting their energy with lasers, we can form a safety net for repelling small asteroids and space debris. This all makes perfect sense to me and it sounds like a project that can be shared by all nations. Then, there are several pages proposing a shield that can seal Earth’s atmosphere. It suggests the satellites can be used to control air quality as well as the weather.

“The promise to the investors is that air within the sphere of the 66 satellites can be filtered to remove pollutants and optimize the purity of oxygen. It suggests temperatures can be cooled in the planet’s deserts by up to twenty degrees and make them capable of sustaining vegetation. It also suggests extreme weather can be calmed—greatly reducing property loss and human casualties. As beautiful as this seems, I can see how this can be weaponized. Do we share this in our response to Mandate #6?”

Benjamin sits back in his chair. “Oh my, they’re really going forward with this? The last information I received said that weather control and repelling space debris can’t be done with the satellites. In the end, Project 66 was said to be little more than an alert system at best, and that the cost was too high for this one function. Janet, these satellites are already built and stored in an underground hangar in Nevada. I saw this information in a military budget report. I had to read through all the jargon, and stay with it until page 157, but the satellites were built. They were underwritten by unnamed investors—who ultimately own them. They were to be leased to the United States.”

“Then, why is the U.N. Security Council cleared on this?” Janet’s eyes are wide.

“I’m not sure. That’s a good question. Why did Ambassador Lee pass this onto you? What else did it say?”

“He didn’t say. His sits in one of the permanent seats and said I should become familiar with it. There is discussion of building a simulated water vapor shield to surround the planet. They believe one existed naturally centuries ago. They also believe this natural shield can drastically reduce extreme weather, which is a nice thought. Then, there’s mention of a cost for providing purified air to areas of the planet. They claim they can change oxygen mixtures for better health and plant production. The rest was just data to support the feasibility of this project and cost sheets for the nations. I’m not a scientist, so I didn’t know what to make of it. My job is to look for things that pit nations against each other. This one is beginning to seem it could certainly apply.”

“The water vapor is believed to be what ‘fell to Earth’ and caused the great flood mentioned in the Bible, and other historic records.” Benjamin lets out a loud sigh and runs his fingers through his hair. “Well, there you have it: Another conspiracy theory manifesting into reality. Are you ever relieved we live in the most powerful nation on Earth, and don’t have the worry of being excluded from these monstrous secret proposals?”

“No,” says Janet, “I see all of mankind as being on the same team. If any group of people suffers, we all eventually share in the pain—and the expense. I loosely apply Newton’s Third Law of Motion: There is no action without an equal and opposite reaction. My job is to represent our interests, of course, but I keep an eye on the downtrodden and suffering in the rest of the nations. There is so much pain on this planet, and much of it is preventable. Perhaps, all of it would be preventable if we worked together. But we distrust, compete, and fear our differences instead of celebrate our similarities. It’s been a colossal waste of talent and time. That’s what I think about.”

Benjamin smiles at his boss. “That’s beautiful. You were designed to be an ambassador. I hope President Cohen continues his winning record of decision-making, because his first one was perfection.”

“Aw. Thank you, Benny. Now who’s getting misty-eyed? You may want to wipe that steam off your lenses before we move forward.”

“Funny.”

“So, let’s hold off mentioning Project 66 until we are in a face-to-face with the Vice President or President Cohen. But let’s include my question on what specifically we are agreeing to share. What’s next?”

“Mandate #7 states all weapons and troop reserves will be revealed to the U.N. Security Council. There is talk of a Weapon’s Inventory due within sixty days and updated yearly. And, there’s the statement on the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council being exempt from providing this inventory. However, in the emailed details, it states they must share their inventories amongst themselves, if any of the other four ask for it.”

“I’m torn on this one.” Janet bites her lip. “As an American and a member of the U.N. Security Council, I want this data. However, tracking the numbers might make the smaller nations feel vulnerable. What do you think?”

“The devil’s advocate wouldn’t ponder the emotions. He would say—‘come on, we already know this information because we track all nations with our satellites.’ Plus, we export nearly forty percent of the world’s arms and military weapons. We know exactly where they are. The only exceptions would be Russia selling to India, Vietnam, Algeria, and China. China, in turn, is exporting to Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar. Only Russia, China, and possibly India pose any sort of threat. With North Korea unarmed, we are down to three rogue nations—India, Pakistan, and Israel.”

“Why are you leaving Iran off the list?”

“Ha! Now, there you go again, Ambassador. You cannot speculate. If Iran has nuclear weapons, I’m sure the nation will reveal this on its weapon’s inventory.”

“I see your point. This is ridiculous. We won’t learn anything from the inventories.”

“If the devil’s advocate may speak again, he would say this was never the point. The U.N. is the supportive author of this document. It knows everything that can be known about the weapons of the world. Only chemical warfare, biological warfare, and drones can escape detection—and these three are the future of warfare. The intent of this document is to strike fear in the heart of the lesser nations to keep them in line. It also positions the U.N. as the force to be reckoned with.”

“Whoa. I didn’t see that one coming.”

“Janet, you asked me earlier today about the power of the U.N. This is the power it could wield over the world. Information is power. These mandates gather information. That’s all they do. The power is up for grabs.” Benjamin stops short and looks down at his laptop.

“Benjamin, do you think Anna and the Pope are intending to seize some level of power once this information is collected on the citizens of the world?”

“Yes. The real question is who are they collecting data for? You already suspect the intentions of Anna Cohen. The new Pope is probably a bit of a pawn at this point. He’s young and trying to make his mark on the world. You said it yourself: on the surface, these mandates look like a reach for Utopia. Ponder them for a while, and they begin to look like social weapons.”

Janet takes a deep breath and releases it slowly. “I’ll need to sleep on this one. Let’s wrap this mandate. I say we support the requirement for nations to turn in their weapons, and armed forces inventories. We have nothing to lose. If the U.N. does any level of power grab with the information in sixty days, we’ll still be here to address it. What’s next?”

“Mandate #8 requires all private and public businesses to register with, and be approved by, the U.N.”

“I agree we need more accountability for businesses that operate across borders, but I do not support an international governing board having the right to shut down a U.S. business at will. This could be weaponized by shutting down our innovative companies by simply citing probable cause. Legal cases could drag on until a company is forced to fold. It wouldn’t take much of a bribe to find an employee willing to declare they were a victim of racial insensitivity. As we are dealing with both private and publicly traded companies—as well as European and Asian stock markets—this mandate could corner both.”

“And when exactly does your subscription to Right Wing Conspiracies expire?”

“Not funny.”

“Janet, it’s my job to support you. I’m in your corner. And it may be a bad time to point this out, but once these mandates go live, the Press is not going to be in your corner. Just tell me what you are trying to say, and I’ll help with the wording.”

“Okay, smart guy: I want the United States to shelter the smaller companies and smaller nations. This has always been who we are. Creativity and innovation mostly come out of small companies. I fear the large corporations will sniff out innovative products and ideas and have them shut down to await a clearing by the U.N. on some insensitivity issue. In the meantime, they will march on with their legal teams and consume the intellectual property. I see it as a tidal wave about to consume the small streams that are its lifeline.”

“Alright, I understand. I’ll put together some wording for your approval. Are we ready for Mandate #9?”

“That’s the one on open borders, right? Will we ever be ready for this one?”

“We have no choice, Janet.”

“So much progress has already been made with this mandate. Israel has its wall and the United States has its wall. There’s still the Wailing Wall, the Berlin Wall, and the Great Wall of China. We are a world full of walls, expensive walls, all of which are about to be irrelevant. Interesting, isn’t it? Reagan helps to take down the Berlin Wall and Trump puts up the Mexico Wall. And now, neither seems to matter. Most European nations are guarding their borders with technology—including drones, surveillance cameras, and laser beams. Europe and South America have led the way in microchip tracking of anyone changing their nation of residency.

“I see microchips making walls and national borders irrelevant within five years. Chip-tracking satellites will make it possible to keep tabs on people anywhere in the world. Someone with a criminal record might agree to be implanted with a microchip to have years taken off their sentence. A chip can be as effective as a prison. It eliminates the need for probation and parole visits and fees. We could largely relieve the burden on our prison populations by releasing non-violent criminals early and feel confident we can track their location and activities.

“As a humanitarian who has worked all over the world, I am pleased to see illegal immigration become a thing of the past. It’s degrading for law-abiding people to live in fear of being caught living outside of their ‘zone.’ We will still need limits and control of our yearly immigration quotas. We, along with Australia, France, England, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland are facing overwhelming applications for citizenship. We’ll need time to plan for our expansion, and foresight to budget for our growth. This is the only way we can safely offer every new citizen employment, housing, and educational opportunities. I have an unsettling feeling if left unchecked, foreign nations will send full planes of people to our larger cities and have them cleared through security via U.N. authority. If allowed to happen, it could overtax our economy in ways from which we may never recover.”

“It’s worth noting this mandate does not address the status of health or criminal records as part of immigration management. In theory, this could blow up in our faces if the U.N. allows every nation to funnel its citizens with criminal records and severe mental and physical health challenges in without proper vetting. China initially did this very thing to us when they opened their doors for U.S. adoption. The children they were making available for adoption were baby girls with severe physical deformities and developmental challenges. We will need processing centers, interpreters, and attorneys present when the planes touch down to help us steer clear of all these things.

“I was thinking aloud there somewhat, but please record this: microchip trackers need to be implanted prior to immigration. Then, we can simply transfer the tracking rights. Where dictators and terrorists are driving people from their homelands, a financial fee should be paid to the receiving nation. Many of the world’s societies are crumbling because of these corrupt leaders. Until we can remove them from power, we will need to carefully monitor the immigration of nations engaged in civil wars. It’s not advantageous to just keep moving people around. Our focus should be upon on rebuilding societies and allowing people to remain in their homelands.”

She looks to Benjamin for feedback.

“Wow! And, you thought this one had already been beaten to death. It’s perfectly worded and eloquent. It has Janet Jagger written all over it. I’ll prepare it.”

“Great! What’s next?”

“We have marriage, children, education, and healthcare left. Are you ready to address unions of consenting adults in Mandate #10?”

“Tell me, why is marriage a thing to be debated by the United Nations? I cannot believe the amount of energy and resources being expended on a classification.”

“Janet…”

“I know, I know. Okay. Let’s take it step by step. I don’t see a conflict with U.S. law and the first statement in the mandate: ‘If requested, any union of consenting adults would be recognized as a marriage.’ Neither is there a conflict with U.S. law and the second statement: ‘Legally-recognized marriages can be of any race or gender.’ It’s worth noting even though we don’t have a conflict with these positions, much of the world might. Only 33 of the 193 member nations have legalized gay marriage. This certainly doesn’t suggest a majority. China and India, and their combined three billion citizens, are not on the affirmatives side of this one.

“Beyond this, I reject that the United States should conform to an international definition of marriage—mainly because our fifty states make their own laws on these matters. The mandate is asking for the legalization of polygamy and a minimum legal marrying age of fifteen and a half. The Supreme Court would be the only way to strip our states of their rights on these two proposals. This will take time.

“There was a fast path to legalization of gay marriage in the U.S., but it wasn’t in two weeks as is being requested here. The fourteen states that had not legalized gay marriage by June 26, 2015, awoke to find that same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states—a result of a civil rights ruling by the Supreme Court.

“I’m back to my opening question: why is a mandate on marriage being included?” Janet leans back in her seat and rubs her forehead.

“You might have answered your own question—fast path to legalization. The United Nations was given a lot of power in 2027. It’s now arguably the world’s version of our Supreme Court. If the votes are there in the General Assembly, these changes could happen in two weeks for the entire world.”

Janet closes her eyes for a few seconds to allow Benjamin’s statement to sink in. “I’m not going to let my mind wander to possible uprisings within the nations who feel betrayed by this. Okay, let’s talk age. History shows the legal age of marrying adjusts with life expectancy—as it probably should. War also affects the acceptable age of marrying. War creates many young brides, and sadly, many young widows. But, even when factors such as these are stabilized, our fifty states vary greatly on their viewpoint of the appropriate age to marry.

“I want to talk off the record, Benjamin. Can you hear me out for a few minutes?”

“Of course.”

“As recently as 2018, residents of the state of Tennessee could marry at the age of ten. We’re talking fifth graders. Even if these ten-year-old children had mastered cursive writing, they were not old enough to sign a document to get a bank account, a driver’s license, or even body piercings—but they could agree to be the spouse of an adult. Yet, if you traveled 272 miles west that same day, you would find yourself in the state of Mississippi where the legal marrying age is the highest in the nation at twenty-one. And in this state, parental permission can’t get you around the law. It’s solid.

“This example represents the extremes in our unified nation. America has always been an amazingly unified, albeit diverse people. I don’t like the idea of giving non-citizens the right to tell our citizens who to be and how to act. We’ve been on a mission to give states back more of their power for the last twelve years. The United Nations seems to be on a mission to take it back.”

Janet realizes she’s rambling, so she slows the pace. “Let’s not forget that marriage initially belonged to religion.” Benjamin sits back in his chair with a shocked look and pulls his fingers off the keyboard. “Hear me out, Ben. The term ‘marriage’ in the U.S. has come to refer to a civil ceremony (aka legal). It’s about rights and obligations between two people, as well as about the responsibilities of any resulting biological or adopted children the union should produce. It has implications for tax status and rights to make decisions in medical care, end of life, and ownership of assets.

“Yet, you and I have traveled to many nations where marriage is a religious ceremony. There may or may not be a blending of assets, but there are no attorneys involved. No paperwork is filed. The union is recognized by the head of the applicable religion, and that’s it. Marriage has been defined and redefined so many times and in as many cultures that there isn’t really a one size fits all out there on which the U.N. can hang its hat.

“Okay, let’s go back on the record for the memo: For the U.N. to meddle in stipulations of ages, genders, and member limits, is to meddle with religion in many cultures. This brings us back to Mandates #1 and #3 and the obstacle they create when we establish a single God and have religion defer to government. What will this hybrid all-powerful being say on the issue of marriage when it is challenged?

“Marriage has always been a complicated issue. If the nations of the West abolish current boundaries and fail to uphold the rights and traditions of marriage across the world, the smaller and less legally-structured nations will be bullied yet again. We are destroying cultures here, Benjamin…What? What’s with the look? You want to play devil’s advocate again, don’t you?”

“Want to? No. Need to? Yes. Janet, don’t mess with this one. There’s nothing to gain. This conversation could fill volumes of books. I’m surprised no one is pointing out that our Supreme Court is getting its wings clipped with these mandates. This issue is so explosive I’m advising you to drop it. We are but one vote. Given the status of marriage in our nation, and the purpose of the U.N., your hands are tied. Your energies would be better spent fighting for the rights and definition of minors and consenting adults in Mandate #11. Within it, you might be able to correct the marital age issue.”

Janet straightens her back and covers her mouth with her hand. “I think I just saw what you’re seeing. Mandate #10 erases the rights of spouses and Mandate #11 erases the rights of the parents. Wow. What will we become?”

Benjamin spins his pen on the desk again and doesn’t look up. A long silence ensues. Janet takes a deep breath and lets her head fall back on her seat as she closes her eyes.

“I see. Let’s move on to Mandate #11.”

Benjamin resumes his typing stance. “Mandate #11: All Children will be under the protection of the United Nations until the age of eighteen. This protection will include the power to make decisions for minors on education, health care, discipline, and career selection. The U.N. will be open to hear testimonies from children who feel abused or neglected by their parents. The U.N. will have power to act on behalf of the children, which includes removing the right to remove them from their biological parents.

“There’s talk of replicating a program in China that identifies children with exceptional talent and abilities and moving them to a facility where these talents and abilities can be developed and used for the betterment of the world. Here’s the biggie: Biological parents would still be fiscally responsible for their children until the age of eighteen—even if they have been moved to a gymnastics training facility on the other side of the nation.”

“I can appreciate the concern for the children in Mandate #11, but the wording—and possibly its intent—are a very real threat to parents. Let’s begin at the beginning. The definition Mandate #11 is suggesting for the term ‘parent’ is one-hundred percent biological. These statements were in the notes sent from the U.N. legal department. ‘A child will be tested at birth—or in utero—to determine the biological mother and father. This will include children who are conceived through artificial insemination and egg donation. The mother and father will be identified through the world’s DNA data banks within twenty-four hours of its birth, and possibly during the pregnancy.’

“This part is me again: I want to make the fine print of Mandate #11 transparent for every interested American citizen and every nation casting a vote. This is what Mandate #11 is saying about parents: a woman who donates her ova, or a man who donates his sperm—when their donation results in a live birth—is once and forever identified as the fiscally responsible mother or father, even if not in name or rights.

“The donors will be one hundred percent responsible for the child legally, financially, and morally until the age of eighteen—no matter if the child exercises the rights given in Mandate #10 and gets married at age fifteen and a half. Even if donors never see the child, they will be held accountable for his or her actions, decisions, financial care, and other needs should the adoptive parents decide they no longer want the responsibility of the child. This is also true should the adoptive parents become incapable of fulfilling the responsibility of parenting the child. These reasons can include death, incarceration, addiction, mental illness, or any other reason deemed viable by the Parenting Division to be established within the U.N.

“This responsibility extends to a man who is unaware that he fertilized an egg in a casual sexual encounter. When the microchips are inserted, DNA material is gathered. All data is entered into BEAST. Soon, there will be nowhere to hide from identity or responsibility. Bottom line, those who provide germline required to create a child are responsible for that child, period.

“And, listen to this: An adoption will be viewed as a temporary transfer of the parenting responsibility of a child. Should adoptive parents choose to, and be capable of, continuing all parenting responsibilities until a child is classified as an adult at the age of eighteen, then the biological parents can remain detached. They will be free of all responsibility upon the child’s eighteenth birthday. Side issue: If the child marries at age fifteen and a half, the biological parents—not the adoptive ones—are still responsible for the success and financial obligations of the married child.

“Now, moving away from the parental clauses. The courts of the United Nations will take action on behalf of any minors who feel unsafe in their home environments. The courts will also receive testimony regarding abuse or neglect from any minor child through video recording. These recordings can be made at our libraries, our schools, and physician offices around the world.  They can also be recorded on cellular phones. A simple tap of a finger will send an alert to our new Child Advocacy divisions. It will be mandatory that every child be asked in person if they are a victim of abuse or neglect annually. I am going to research this one further. I will have to render an opinion after I hear the testimony on the floor. It could solve a growing problem in our nation and actually protect our children—but at what cost?”

“The last point—of moving advanced and talented children out of their homes into development centers—is too vague. An age isn’t given, but the supportive material referenced three-year-olds as being capable of exhibiting extreme talent, potential, and intelligence. There is no information on who cares for them, parental rights to visit and participate in their lives, or effect on siblings and extended family members after a child is removed from their home. For that matter, there’s no guarantee these children would remain in their birth nation. We will have to prepare and meet this one on the floor.”

Benjamin ends his typing soon after Janet wraps her comments. He shifts forward in his seat. “There are only two to go. Mandate #12: Education will be mandatory. The supportive wording mentions on-line courses, choice of language, free tablets, online tutors, forced acceptance of earned credits to all world universities, and penalties for failure to comply. Where should we take this one?”

Janet smiles. “I say, let’s take it to the bank! I love it! I read the supportive material and I found only one area of concern: An education system set up by a nation could suppress options and places limits on freedom to follow one’s curiosity. Systems choose what the student will learn. This could be cleared up in the wording by making it an ‘open’ education offering.

“Credits earned and transferred to universities must be accepted even if they don’t match a pre-set curriculum. To wrap this one up, I’ll tell you this mandate takes me to a hopeful place for our children. There will be absolutely no barriers of race, age, creed, culture, marital status, or socioeconomic status. The cost is completely within the budgets of the nations. My only question is how soon can we start?”

“Alright, I’m giving it your stamp of approval. So, we are at the end Ms. Jagger—Mandate #13: Universal Health Care for all citizens. The language says all providers must take all types of patients and serve them equally. A pay-for-service system will consider each nation’s economy. Then, there’s the confusing statement, ‘for citizens to retain their free healthcare, they will be required to do their part to remain healthy. This would include following the advice of their assigned physician on matters such as diet, mental health protection, use of prescription medications, drug and alcohol intake, high-risk behavior, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.”

“Before we begin with what you just read, here are some additional things in the supportive material:

Support exists for duplicating a system used by the United Kingdom. It only provides free healthcare and benefits for the first two children born to the same mother. The cost of healthcare for subsequent children is at the expense of the biological parents. This is an attempt by the U.N. to control Earth’s exploding population growth and to reduce the number of children growing up in poverty.

There is strong wording that citizens must visit their assigned physician once a year to retain their free medical coverage. The visits are mandatory and subject to fines and a loss of benefits if a citizen fails to follow through. In addition to practicing preventative medicine, Physicians will be responsible for assessing if the patient is doing their part to be healthy. This includes dietary habits and exercise. To do this, mandatory visits will be treated like random drug testing. You will have twenty-four hours to report to your physician. If you cannot get to your physician for any reason, a traveling nurse will come to you to take blood samples, etc.

These conditions include weight control. If a patient exceeds the recommended weight range set by the physician, he or she will lose their free coverage until they are back in range.

This also goes for the use of prescription drugs, alcohol, and any illegal drugs. If marijuana is legal, but your physician has told you it’s not good for you, you’re held to his or her decision.

High-risk behavior is vaguely tied to mental health. One example given is if you have an affair which ends your marriage, and then you develop depression as a result, you’re off the free healthcare for a set time.”

“This is going to change the world.” Benjamin is smiling.

“Yes, it will. Didn’t you feel yourself wanting to stand and scream ‘about time’ to some of these? Didn’t you feel a sense of relief that you won’t have to pay for the bad decisions of others for just a line or two?”

“I hate to admit it, but yes. Can you imagine the impact on our society? Hello twenty-four-hour gyms on every block, and goodbye twenty-four-hour fast food. The whole world of advertising would change, that’s for sure. Plant-based diets would soar, and the pork belly market could topple. This is akin to insider trading. It could disrupt the drug trade as well. It’s just the wildest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“I agree. At the end of my supportive material it makes an uncompromising statement: It’s time to end ‘lifestyle diseases.’”

“What are you going to do with this one?” Benjamin is sitting straight with his fingers on the keyboard.

“I’m not sure. I have some research to do on the fee-for-service for our providers. They’re the highest-paid in the world, and in many cases for good reason. I also need to have some discussions with dieticians and mental health professionals. I don’t want to miss anything with these specialists. I need to listen on this one. It boggles the mind.”

“Yes, it does. So, are we done with the memo? Are there any additional thoughts before I draft it?”

“No. I guess we’re done.”

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Triple Digit TOC by K.M. Sheridan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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