Ever and Always
Chapter 12: A Real Black Swan - 2021-22

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

"This is Abi Jackson of WBAL with what may be in the most important story that I will ever report. There has been a breakthrough on aging. Upton Pharmaceuticals announced they have FDA approval of a drug which will prevent aging. The studies have been ongoing for the last ten years."

"It was decided to keep everything as quiet as possible because of the potential for disruption if it failed at the last testing stages. If nothing else the impact and ups and downs of the stock market could have been devastating."

"The study conducted over ages ranging twenty-five to ninety-five stopped aging in its tracks. Whatever physical age the person was when they started the trial they have maintained. They have not aged while taking their daily dose of this medication."

"There is no way to tell how long a person will live with this drug called, 'Live'. Only time will tell, it has been explained that people will still contract disease's, it will not cure any health issues that are present. It just freezes the body, if you will, at its current physical age. Upton has been manufacturing and storing doses for the last year in preparation for the demand."

"'Live, ' works by extending the number of times telomeres' may split. It has been known for some time that aging and deterioration set in when the ends of cells known as telomeres' do not divide off cleanly. It has been compared to the eyelet protecting the end of a shoelace. When the eyelet is worn away the shoelace will fray and fail."

"Tests on earthworms have been able to extend their lives over two hundred percent. Previously when this was performed in mammals, the telomeres' would split so frequently they were working the same as a cancer. The breakthrough that Upton has made is combining the telomere' extension with a small-molecule drug known as TIC10, which activates a gene call TRAIL (tumor-necrosis-factor-related-apoptosis-inducing ligand), and yes, I did practice that before we went on the air."

"This combination extends cells, but then tells the body to kill off the excess cells. It is a delicate balance. Each person's dosage will have to be monitored and adjusted for them. It will be generally based on sex, age, and weight but other factors may appear later. That is why it will be a daily gel capsule with a timed release. Upton predicts with further study they can develop a once in a life time capsule."

"Trading on Upton stock has been halted by the SEC. The SEC announced that it would allow trading to restart in forty-eight hours but will halt it again if the market requires it. Now on to more mundane news..."

Any worries Marsha and Rick may have had about revealing their stories were now put to rest.

They discussed the ramifications of this event. Rick based on his science fiction reading pointed out that the effect on the earth's population could be dramatic. A quick search on the Internet revealed the earth's population had now surpassed seven billion.

If things had stayed the same in the next ten years, it would reach seven and half billion, and UN studies actually predicted population decline, as the economies of third-world countries improved.

However, if people only died in accidents, the world annual death rate of one in one hundred thirteen people would result in nine billion people in ten years. With the sharp increase in population, the economies of the third world would not get ahead of this curve. Starvation and unrest would follow.

Rick realized this simple arithmetic was based on everyone receiving the 'Live' drug. That wouldn't happen but would cause other problems. The wealthy of every country would receive it, but not the poor. In some countries, it would be rejected for religious reasons. It looked like some major problems were fast coming at the world.

What about the people in their own rest home? There were patients already on a regime for the Alzheimer drugs. They were starting to show signs of returning. This still left them in very poor health. Would they be eligible for the life extending drugs? Since they were indigents, they were at the mercy of the government.

Patients in for-pay rest homes would present a dilemma for their loved ones, and lord help those whose heirs were waiting on a fortune. If they had signed a 'no special measures to extend life' form would this prevent them from receiving the medications? The ethical questions were frightening.

He and Marsha realized the sooner they had control of their funds the better off they would be. They didn't know where or how, but their inclination was to find a hole and crawl in it.

Again after days of conversation, they approached Clarisse with the matter. She was all for going after GHI for every dime they could get. This might have been influenced by the potential fees she would receive. Rick and Marsha informed her they had no objection to a large settlement, but they did not want any publicity.

Any settlement had to be out of court with everyone bound by confidentiality agreements. She could not understand this requirement, but after a long conversation, they allowed her to use the threat of going public, but to yield to the inevitable insurance company request for an out-of-court settlement with no publicity.

It was now December of 2021. Rick had been working his corner every weekday for over a year. He had made over thirteen thousand dollars tax free. There was a little over nine thousand dollars in his checking account. They had a lawyer lined up; they had Doctor's examinations in hand. It was now time to petition the court.

The first obstacle that Clarisse ran into when filing was that while there were many forms for declaring someone senior or juvenile; voluntary, or involuntary not competent there was no form for declaring someone who was incompetent now competent.

The Clerk of Court, who she went to, was not trying to be an obstructionist. It just did not fit into any of the boxes she had to work within. She finally told Clarisse, "File the forms that people use for a temporary incompetence. I know that your clients were filed as permanently incompetent but let the judge sort it out. This will at least put your people in front of the judge."

Clarisse went along with this and filed the paperwork. A hearing was scheduled for Friday January 18, 2022. After all their preparations and planning the hearing was anti-climactic. The judge already read the submitted Doctors reports. He commented that he was amazed and pleased at the returnee situation. He told them how depressing these hearings usually were when he knew that he was deciding that people's lives were over. His biggest concern was that new forms would have to be designed.

In the meantime, he ordered the Clerk of Courts to prepare a letter of competency. Mr. Richard King and Mrs. Marsha Wren had been examined by the Court and deemed competent. He also requested a copy to be sent to Burns and Burns their court-appointed trustees with instructions to dissolve the trusts and return the proceeds immediately.

Clarisse set up an appointment the following Friday with Burns and Burns. Again, it was cut and dried. Burns and Burns had been waiting to receive death certificates for Marsha and Rick, so they could turn their trust over to the State of Maryland. While they received a fee for handling the trust, it was not large enough to cause any thoughts of corruption.

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