It was a meeting to which the wealthiest 250 people in the world were invited. Just over 160 showed, undoubtedly because Bill, the richest man in the world, had made the invitation. He was very well known for his benevolence and this was about making the world better. The meeting was pretty low-key, no fancy suits required, just attention and an open mind.
This was an introductory meeting and the fact that the upcoming US election could significantly alter the direction they needed to take was pointed out. There would be another meeting in about six months, after the inauguration. Today’s attendees would be individually notified about the location and topic of that meeting. The general consensus among the people there was that there were problems on this earth that money could fix but usually not if directed through governments. This group, working together, were able to bring together a tremendous amount of power and effective action with the goal of minimizing or eliminating the pain and suffering present throughout the world.
After the election, the remaining participants realized that their project was even more important since the newly elected administration had little regard for individuals and proposed slashing any kind of benevolence regardless of its merit or quality of delivery. The meeting this time was in a rather different venue. It was hosted in the company auditorium of a high-tech firm and was deliberately very low profile.
Because the flight ramp at the company’s airport was not commercially sized, it was suggested that you get a ride on a friend’s corporate jet or else have yours do a drop and leave. Attendees were taken into a highly secured complex and provided comfortable housing. they were abuzz with the topics of the next day’s meeting.
All electronic devices were required to be surrendered at the door and note taking was explicitly prohibited. The building itself was the most electronically secure possible. The attendees who noticed such things looked at each other with a sense of mystery.
When Evan Must, the host, got up to speak, the room was completely quiet. He welcomed the hundred and twenty attendees, “We are taking some extraordinary precautions here because of the extraordinary times. As we reveal what a working group has prepared for you, I know that you will understand why. I’m going to remind you of the nondisclosure agreement you signed to attend and the quarter-billion dollar bond that you put up for compliance. Yes, it’s that serious!”
The planning committee was given the stage and with a minimum of visual support, because if it doesn’t exist it can’t be leaked, they explained their recommendation.
“It is been evident for some time that benevolence in providing support, care, and healing for people injured by evil in the world was losing ground. When we realized that the biggest problem was that we were reactive instead of proactive, and must eliminate the source of the evil in the first place, instead of dealing with its aftermath, our direction was clear. Government attempts at solving this have been plagued by the usual bureaucracy and inefficiency and unwillingness to take significant action. We have none of those constraints and have devised a plan we feel will be quick and effective. While there will be fatalities necessarily incurred, they will be a tiny fraction of those that the evil itself is causing daily.
“We are calling this project Thor, after the Norse god of lightning. He is also the god of strength and of protection of mankind. We intend to use the first to accomplish the second. Now I’m going to turn this over to the head of our technical section.”
An older man took the podium and continued, “Using existing technology within the companys of the people who are represented here, we believe that a stealth satellite can be launched that is highly mobile and nearly impossible to track. We propose that it be fitted with a very high energy laser with very precise capabilities. We know that this exists within the military work that is being done and it would be borrowed for this application. All of the other technical pieces necessary do exist, or are developable in the short term from among you.
“Some of you may remember the World War II Manhattan project, and others may be familiar with the Skunk Works that produced the SR-71 among others. This needs to be a comparable project, highly secret and on a fast timeline. It can be done. Now I will turn it over to our strategist.”
This familiar figure took the podium and began, “Many of us remember being told that if we do something evil God would strike us from the sky. Somewhat playing on this myth, we propose that specific people who are a focus of evil be zapped without notice. Immediately following their demise, messages from Thor would appear on as many media as possible explaining that evil will not be tolerated. With no obvious source or country to retaliate against, we expect little collateral damage. It will take a number of targeted removals around the world to get the point across that evil no longer pays. The benevolent side of our foundations must be ready to move in to pick up the vacuum and start showing that this really is beneficial to people. Our projection is that in three months the major evildoers will be eliminated and and one year the prevalence of suffering on earth will be reduced by 90%.
“We need your 100% support, not just of money but of the resources that are contained in many of your companies. Some of your engineers and other technical people may need to be temporarily reassigned to work in extreme secrecy but it will not be very long-term and we expect the results to be well worth it.”
When it was clear he had finished speaking, as a body the people in attendance stood up and roared their approval with the idea. These were people who got things done and, dammit, they could certainly see this would do it. The festivities for the rest of the meeting and into the evening were crazy and happy. Evan’s key staff spoke with each of them to find out specific resources they could bring to bear and to give them contact information for their designated staff. Like with the Manhattan project, it was stressed that this was always on a “need to know” basis.