In Lifespan, we are introduced to our protagonist already in the midst of a world-changing discovery—though she doesn’t know it yet.
It begins innocently enough, a strange result comes back during her routine genetic fertility research and she brings it up to her boss at one of their weekly team meetings. Her boss waves it off as unimportant and not to get distracted by other research that they aren’t there to find. Their corporate investors are expecting results, after all, and getting hung up on anomalies only slows progress and the next big investment.
Unable to keep her mind off of it though, she breaks protocol and saves a copy of the research before it is sent away to her boss who will only delete and destroy it. Unsure of where to go now, she tells her group of friends, and fellow-scientists, what she’d done and they do not want to know anything—lest they become accomplices or have to testify against her. The consensus is, she should destroy what she stole and/or turn herself in to suffer the least consequences. Though she’d probably lose her job now, given the circumstances.
As things reach a boiling point she seeks a way out of the whole mess and meets up with a friend-of-a-friend who ends up being a billionaire feminist who talks her down from the ledge and congratulates her on being courageous enough to do what was right—and what is right isn’t often what is legal. The billionaire coerces our protagonist to hand over the research and reveals she’s going to share it with the world, just like our protagonist wanted. Or did she?
Now Pandora’s Box has been blown wide open and it hits every research facility, news outlet, and government agency in the world. She becomes the face of the scandal and has to rely on the billionaire’s deft ability to insulate her from danger. Because she is definitely in danger now that everyone knows what she did. As the world closes in on the lawyers, advisers, and gravity of what she did, our protagonist just wishes it would all go away. But the worst of the danger is still brewing on the outskirts, and it’s coming for her.
P.S. — originally, this story came to me (and my co-creator/coworker Diana) as: “A feminist sci-fi story told by Ava DuVernay, starring Kamala Harris.” 😉👍