Interstice Two – Passage One
Davos, that year, was in full-on panic mode. The Virus had spread out of control. No country had been able to successfully fight it and win. We humans were losing. Mother Nature was winning. Actually, “losing” might be putting it too generously. Team Humanity was getting our assess kicked. Most thoroughly, unequivocally, definitively.
By December, millions of people were dying every week. In every country, across every continent, not a single soul was safe and there was no escape. The Virus killed off men, women, and children all in equal force and indiscriminately; old and young; Black, White, Hispanic, Asian.
And to add insult to injury, at some point the Virus even mutated to where it started killing dogs. Humans couldn’t even protect man’s best friend. That’s how completely and utterly powerless we were. Dogs. Seriously.
We may have successfully fended off the first wave in the spring. But we weren’t ready for the mutated form. Virus: Version Two, I guess you could call it. This new strain that’d evolved was a legit, no-holds-barred, human-killing machine. Every vaccine that Merk, Pfizer, Novartis, or Roche put out would be effective for maybe a few weeks. But then Corona-V2 would rapidly adapt, rendering months of development and billions of dollars in R&D worthless, in a blink of any eye, just like that.
In January, things were looking grim. Very, very grim.
So it was under these auspices that humanity decided to wage one final stand. It’d be a meeting of our Biggest Brains, humanity’s very best, gathered around for one last-ditch effort to save the species.
Long the last bastion of the ultra-wealthy and people who consider themselves the “intellectual elite and erudite,” every year at the end of January, an international cadre of 3,000 participants from 110 countries gather in Davos, Switzerland, to discuss the most pressing challenges and issues facing humanity. The full-name of the invitation-only shindig is “The World Economic Forum,” a self-styled “Meeting of the Minds to Improve the State of the World.” (That’s, without irony, literally the forum’s byline on all of its promotional materials each year.) The event was founded by the German management consultant titan, Klaus Schwab, a man whose intellectual prowess ranged so widely that he obtained not one, but two, doctorates– one in Engineering from ETH Zurich; and the second in Economics from the University of Fribourg.1
Well, if Davos represented the best that humanity had to offer, then that January was most definitely not a good look for the human race.
On the first day of the forum, the world’s leaders convened in the canton of Prättigau, descending upon the small village of Landquart. It was a sight to behold. Helicopters swooped in over flocks of sheep across the rolling, idyllic Swiss countryside. Ducks and wild geese scattered in every direction as the thumping of chopper rotors thundered overhead shattering the alpine silence. Makeshift helipads had been specially constructed for Davos this year as all members had reasonably wanted to arrive individually. No one had chartered Learjets as had been the custom in years prior; eight people to a Gulfstream was simply seven persons too many.
- The University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland is so old that its founding dates back to 1580– a year sufficiently ancient that it predates even the Gregorian calendar that we all use today (established by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582). The other neat fact about the university is that is, to date, the only bilingual university in the world that offers its full curricula in both French and German.