In the not too distant but too far away future, there is a small country made up of Black and Asian people. While harmony was the plan, there was still a paramount of anti-Blackness within the Asian community, so for safety, the Black people self-segregated to the South and the West. In the middle of the country was the city of Heiwa, where the mixture of Asian and Black cultures thrived.
In this city of 200 square miles, there was a university that housed the Department of Virtual Science, where the students were working with the Department of Virtual Gaming on how to make a game to help paraplegic people regain feeling and control of their limbs. As classes ended for the day, a few of the students headed to the VRcade, as logging into while “lazy” physically yet active mentally gaming earned a few credit hours.
Dana was one of the few black women in the class who participated in taking the extra credit hours. She usually played by herself, however. As she settled into her seat for an enthralling game of Sims 17, someone walked over to her. They were dressed business casual, their button up sleeves rolled up their elbows.
“Hello,” they started, smiling at Dana. “My employer noticed that you’re here almost every single day playing this game. They were wondering if you wanted to… beta test a new game,” they had said, stuffing their hands into their dress pants pockets.
Dana stared at them for a second, before looking at the start screen of her game.
“What’s it about?” she asked, looking back at the person. “And I’m only here everyday to get that good good college credit, so if this employer of yours can email my professor about it,” Dana said.
The person smiled and nodded. They took a card out of their pocket and handed it to Dana.
“Here is their number and email if you would like to get a hold of him,” they said before bowing and leaving her side.
Dana stared at the card, tucked it into her shirt pocket and went on to her game for a few hours.
During the train ride home, Dana watched the tall businesses turn into medium-sized apartments. Dana lived in the South, a little town called Bronx Angeles. The train dinged at her stop. She walked the 6 blocks to the apartment she shared with her aging grandmother. As she walked in the door, she was greeted with the smell of dirty rice, fried catfish and greens, as well as her grandmother yelling at her.
“I know you ain’t walking in this house slamming doors!” she yelled from the kitchen. “Ain’t got no home trainin’, I swear. All you do is go play them damn games.”
Dana rolled her eyes and headed to her room.
“And if it wasn’t for those games, we wouldn’t be living in this apartment right now, but whatever, Georgina.”
She threw off her uniform and stared at herself in the mirror.
She had done the big chop about a year ago and her hair was slowly growing out into a fro; but now it was at that awkward stage, that stage that made her grandmother yell at her why she “didn’t do anything to that nappy head” of her’s. She poked at her pudge on her stomach, her thighs. She sighed.
Her grandmother knocked on the door.
“Dinner’s ready! Not that you need it!”
Dana snarled and picked up her shirt and pulled out the card. She dialed the number on her phone.
“Dr. Dekinai’s office.”
“Hello, my name is Dana Ashford. I was given a card with this number on it. How soon do you need beta testers?”
“Oh, how soon would you like to start?”
“…Is now too soon?”