Sitting at a desk for hours can make some go dizzy, but not me. First of all, I make an effort to create a paradise within my space. Unlike my fellow scientists, I prefer comfort over convenience. That’s why every room in my townhouse is painted a different color. It makes working from home more enjoyable. As Gold sat back to admire her home office, a bird landed on the tree near her window. Well, at least it looked like a bird. Gold’s attention was diverted for a moment. The sun spilled onto the hanging Arabian-esque lanterns hanging from the opposite wall, creating a rainbow reflection on the turquoise painted walls. 3 bookshelves stand side by side reaching the top of the high ceiling across the room. An ornate ladder sits on the other side to reach the top shelves. Filled with books, files, souvenirs, and gadgets, one could tell quite a lot about the person who owns these shelves. Interests range from jazz to quantum physics. Travel spans the entire globe,10 space stations, and 4 planets. But the files. That’s where the real sauce is. Every mystery and every possible mission and solution behind those mysteries is in every note, sketch, graph, photo, and report within those files. However, not many have appreciated her work. Unbeknownst to Gold, that was about to change.
The bird has flown away and her attention has returned to her desk. I am so close to completing my research on how herbs can prolong the life of robotic body-ware, she thought. This could solve the machine waste problem we are having all over the galaxy. But alas, it is time for a break. It is beautiful outside.
Walking down the purple spiral staircase to her kitchen, her smart house assistant, Nebula, greets her, “Break time already.” Gold smiled as Nebula started playing Bill Withers on the speakers downstairs. As Gold fried her plantains to add to her jollof and curry, since she still enjoyed cooking manually, her dear friend and sidekick, Pepper, comes to the window near the kitchen. “Always right on time,” she told him. He gave her a sly grin and nodded. She served a bowl for both of them. He stepped aside so she could set the table on the veranda.
Pepper and Gold make quite a dynamic duo. Any mystery is no match for their unique skills and witty logic. They can finish each other’s sentences and thoughts. That is because Pepper is a horse. A special horse. When they both were very young, Pepper saved Gold from drowning at her Aunt’s ranch. They became inseparable after that. As they grew up, Gold discovered she could talk to animals through their thoughts. At first they both found this fun. As time passed, it became dangerous. Not all animals could adapt to the rapid climate change and the increase in experiments. Animals were succumbing to diseases never seen before and certain corporations were using more animals for experimental productions. The human population also adapted in different ways. Some use technology and precautions to get by. Others are installing robotic parts to replace their own bodies. As fear and panic increased, animal species were going extinct. Gold saved Pepper from being slaughtered for an experiment. Due to Pepper’s illness and wounds, Gold developed an antidote and herbal treatment to heal him. Even though Pepper was healing, Gold noticed the treatment also made some changes. His cells were no longer aging. Instead, they seemed to be transforming. So, Gold built a robotic suit for Pepper that connects to his brain and heart wireless. It increases his speed and skills as well as protects him from attacks.
Gold and Pepper continued their chat on the veranda while admiring their garden. One of their neighbors, the Minguls, is very happy and grateful for Gold and Pepper for helping them find the identity thief who hacked their family profile and posed as Mr. Mingul in a virtual protest group. Hackers have become very clever and heavily resourced. Scams used to be benial, but now, every citizen has a virtual profile to keep track of every transaction, interaction, and movement. One’s status is validated as citizens are monitored. Being a member of a virtual protest group can cause problems for job placement, society approval, and even lead to mandatory abduction for cleansing. The citizen virtual profile was created to develop effective surveillance and communication to respond to epidemics and outbreaks in any industry. The Minguls approached Gold in a panic when Mr. Mingul was singled out at work for activity in the protest group. It took Gold and Pepper 3 months to track down the hacker and retrieve the information, but they enjoyed the chase.
Gold was about to clear the table when her cell phone rang. It was Professor Dasa, a colleague from 8 University and a fellow member of the afrofuturism book club. They usually share jokes and books, but this call sounded different. “Can we meet this afternoon Gold,” said Professor Dasa. “We need to talk. I don’t have much time.” He sounded concerned, and Gold knew it must be about something serious. Private conversations are tricky to secure. Thankfully, we both have access to the Droid Lounge. Located in the Net Dimension, humans and robots who advocate for individuality hang out there. It is underground in plain sight.
Sitting at a booth on the far left side, Gold and Professor Dasa waited for their drinks to be served before starting their discussion. Professor Dasa seemed anxious and distracted. Gold figured he might be having difficulties with one of his students. He usually asks for guidance on how to effectively connect and educate generations that are younger than both of them. Surprisingly, that was not the case. “There is a move afoot to find the last panthers,” Professor Dasa said desperately. Gold raised an eyebrow as Professor Dasa leaned closer across the table. He continued, “you know about the last panthers, right? The only animals who escaped and continued to evolve. Well, the Corks want to use them. Some new weapon or something.” He sucked his teeth at this and rolled his eyes. Gold remained still, but obviously intrigued. “If they get their hands on the last panthers, the destruction they will cause is indescribable,” Professor Dasa said. “You know the government gets paid and handled by the Corks, right?” Gold nodded, still processing what Professor Dasa was telling her. She is very aware of what the Corks are capable of. They almost took Pepper. They also destroyed her Aunt’s ranch. The question is, why does Professor Dasa know so much? Where did he get this information from? How is he involved? He doesn’t even miss real animals.
Professor Dasa had stopped talking. Finally taking the first sip of his drink. “What does this have to do with me,” Gold asked. He looked around to see if anyone was watching. No one seemed to be paying attention to them as far as he could see. He took out a softdrive from his pocket and handed it to Gold. “You need to find the last panthers before the Corks do.”
The video and photos shown here are of the character Gold. I was the director, photographer, videographer, editor, stylist, MUA, model, and actor for this shoot. Now, I’m not saying that to copy Tyler Perry, I’m just confirming that no social distancing precautions were disregarded for this shoot. It feels so good to express myself with a new twist.
Hat: T J Maxx; Dress: Made in Liberia; Boots: Cuadra at Boot Jack; MakeUp: Fenty Beauty soft matte foundation and primer; Nars concealer; Smashbox highlighter; Fenty Beauty Morrocan Spice eyeshadow pallette; LipBar lipstick; Tarte gifted mascara; Anastasia Beverly Hills brow gel; L’Oreal eyeliner