Dr. Andrew Turnbull connected his browser to the proxy server and opened an anonymous e-mail account. There were two unread messages, both from Mr. White. The first was routine, a new contact number for White, a number that changed daily. The second was marked “Urgent.”
Turnbull leaned his chair back and pondered the convoluted path he’d been forced to take in order to achieve his destiny. Anonymous e-mails, disposable cell phones, an NSA spook called Mr. White—all part of a grand design to propel him to greatness, to establish himself as one of the supreme thinkers of the ages. By his own measure, he possessed the greatest medical mind of the twentieth century, the young twenty-first century, and perhaps the centuries to follow. And if he accomplished his goal, history would have to agree. As would the Nobel Prize committee. He had no doubt his current trajectory would carry him to medicine’s most prestigious prize and the public adoration that came with it, but first he needed money.
In just under two years, his company—NuLife Corporation—had burned through all of its start-up venture capital, as well as a second round of funding, at an astonishing rate of seventy-five thousand dollars a week. Unfortunately, accepting a third round would cost him control of NuLife, and therein lay the greatest threat to his destiny. Without a significant influx of operating capital, his life’s work would come to an unceremonious halt, and he, as a transplant surgeon, biomedical researcher, and company executive, would be irrelevant. He’d prefer terminal esophageal cancer over irrelevance. He tilted his chair forward and opened the e-mail marked as urgent.
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