A Marine officer must find a way to break the confines of her situation.
Her caramel skin couldn’t save her. Her Master’s Degree in Computer Science couldn’t save her. The rank of major couldn’t have prevented this. The blue and white sheets that stretched just under her chin only served as a modest comfort blanket from the hell that she just went through. Her mind was afire. It was 4 AM. The lights illuminated. She looked down at her bracelet which read her name and blood type. She laid in a Naval hospital and watched as the nurse entered the room to check for vitals. Nurse Vivian stood at about five foot seven inches and walked over to her and spoke. Ophelia feigned sleep.
“Miss Framingham-Putnam. Miss Framingham-Putnam. It is time for you to have your heart rate and temperature checked. Breakfast will be served momentarily. In the meantime, please fill out these forms. You can dress yourself out of that hospital gown and put on your camouflage uniform.” Ophelia did just that. She put on her cammies (no rank insignia) and sneakers (no laces) that came with her bag that her XO and CO had made sure she had taken with her. Ophelia leaned in. She looked at the tablet. How curious, she thought. They all pertained to financial matters.
“I think that there’s some kind of mistake. I’m crazy so I need to be treated for whatever diagnosis that you folks have for me. This digital form is about money.”
Nurse Vivian smiled. “Miss Framingham-Putnam... you have just signed yourself out of the Marine Corps because of a psychological event which…”
“I know all of that. That’s what I’m talking about. These digital forms are talking about my financial future. Where are the notes on how I feel and what my goals are for today?”
Nurse Vivian chuckled a low chuckle. “Now, with your dismissal from the Marines, you will be out of a job. There will only be your degrees for you to use if they are marketable in the civilian world. Computer Science seems promising. We’re here to alleviate any stress and strain while providing you with a solid fiscal foundation. Now, do you understand?”
“I get it.”
“Well, that’s good. We’re going to be doing some exercises and have breakfast in a few moments. After you fill out those forms, be sure to sign and date at the bottom. Most people miss that section somehow. You can just use your index finger.”
Ophelia followed Vivian’s orders. She then dressed and walked out of the room. Ophelia saw fellow service members from the Marines and all other branches reading books and magazines, chatting, playing ping-pong, or just walking casually around the track. She clutched the tablet with the digital forms. Others sat at tables discussing finance.
“I’ll take that tablet,” Vivian said. Once she handed over the form, Ophelia experienced a queasiness mixed with wonder. She looked up and saw financiers wearing white coats chatting with patients from all stripes. She participated in the low-cardio workout until it was time to eat.
She then ventured over to the seats where the meals would be served. Once she heard her name called, she got up and retrieved her victuals. She opened the cover to the plate and found eggs Florentine with truffles. She grinned. After breakfast, Ophelia met with her doctor/financial aid specialist.
“We’ve already determined your financial position as questionable,” Lieutenant Commander Liston said. He had a salt and pepper Caesar haircut which showed off his waves.
“But aren’t you going to diagnose me with something? Anything?”
“What we’ve done is move past those outdated ways of treating psychological cases. We’re more focused on your ability to have enough money to last you for the rest of your days. Now, it may take a few weeks but it looks like you will be completely eligible for Absolute Assurance.”
‘Yes. It entails not only that the government pay you tax free money that you’ve earned, but will provide private financiers who will guide you to make the most of your money. How does that sound?”
“It’s most unusual but I like it.”
“Good. So, we should have you out of here in about two months….”
“Yes. All of the funds for your bank account must clear and we’ll be ready to set you on a dollar path for the rest of your days.”
“There’s a cost somewhere. What is it?”
The doctor frowned. “We’re talking about removing the stigma of mental disorders. In its place, we’re instituting a chance for those who have experienced a psychological disorder to be compensated. Abundantly. No tricks. No catches. We’ll even show you investment tips to allow your money to grow.”
“And all of this is at the expense of the US government?”
“Yes. The American people are more than willing to start you on your path. The rest, as I said, will be from the private sector.”
Ophelia processed all of this quickly.
“Framingham-Putnam,” bellowed a voice from the nurse’s station in the center of the ward.
Ophelia got up and ventured toward the desk.
“You’re going to dental today. You be ready to get in the van by 1400.”
During the trip to the van parked outside, Ophelia walked the halls with her eyes open to everything. She stayed at the end of the line and her right eye caught a green glow coming from a door. She saw the rest of the patients boarding the van. She quickly peeped into the room and saw psych patients with wireless devices hooked up to their brains completing thousands and thousands of lines of code.
“Framingham-Putnam! Let’s go!”
Ophelia popped her head out of the door and proceeded to her appointment. While sitting in the van she tried to square what she just saw with what the financial advisor/doc had told her earlier. It’s a god damn farm, she thought to herself. They arrived at the dental office just down the hill from the hospital.
She opened wide. “You’ve got beautiful teeth,” Commander Sanjay Pillai said with a smirk.
“Thank you,” Ophelia said with a low and solemn tone.
“What’s up? You look like you’ve just participated in an ice bucket challenge. Remember those?”
“Yes. It’s nothing.”
The visit ended with toothbrushes and Ophelia left with what she saw earlier that day fresh in her mind.
The return to the ward afforded Ophelia the opportunity to stay back for enough time to discover that these men and women employed their mental faculties to line the pockets of the other patients. She eased the door open and moved towards the front of the room she entered a code to stop the mind control unit from continuing to be powered by the psych patients.
Lights turned on now. The entire room turned their heads toward the woman running down the aisle to her psych ward. Like everything, the system experienced a complete meltdown. The numbers of financier/docs received error notices on their tablets. The large steel door swung open. Then, Ophelia opened the locker and gathered her gear and ran towards the exit. Bells pealed and sirens blared. But Ophelia kept running and running. The freed patients stood as her blockers to the hospital personnel. She reached the door and once again felt the sweet warmth of the sun. She found in her belongings her phone and hailed a ride sharing service to take her away as she kept running.