In the year of our lord 2052…
Akua picked up her phone. No notification. Fiifi hadn’t called her yet. She decided to text him.
Where are you?
I’m about to get on the skytrain, I should be there in 10 minutes
The meeting ended like an hour ago!
I can’t wait to hear your excuse🙄
You won’t believe what happened.
The lights went out 🤷♂️
Lights out at South Labadi?
Accra hasn’t experienced lights out in years!
I find it hard to believe you🙄
It’s true, I was also shocked.
It reminded me of my mum’s stories about Dumsor
Dum means off, and sor means on.
Apparently lights out were so frequent they gave it a new name
It was about thirty years ago, only my mum remembers
Wow, that must have been hard.
Now I’m worried
Worried about what?
You’re going onboard an electric skytrain!
What if the lights go out when you’re up in the sky?
Don’t worry, it was an anomaly.
I’m rather worried about you.
How are you feeling though?
Same o, I just took the painkillers
I’ll make things right, I promise
Fiifi put his phone in his pocket and stepped onto the skytrain. What if the lights went out again while he was on the electric skytrain? No one knew what was happening. He didn’t want to entertain such thoughts while he was onboard. He found a seat close to the window and looked over the city. “Accra has become so beautiful.”, he thought to himself. He could see the Achimota Park and other green spaces from where he was sitting on the skytrain. Accra was not always like this. It used to be a concrete jungle.
However, something else was bothering him more. For the past three months, Ghana had not been able to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions. He would be disgraced if people found out he made a mistake installing the carbon capture devices. Fiifi had also tampered with the SCADA systems so that it would not flag any issues. And there was also Akua’s treatment.
Then someone called out to Fiifi on the skytrain.
“Hey, Fiifi!”. He raised his head and looked around. A smartly dressed man was sitting in front of the carriage. He looked familiar.
“I’ve been watching you closely for some time. I was asking myself, isn’t that Fiifi?”
The man got up from his seat. As he got up, his belly trembled. The moment he started walking toward Fiifi, he recognized him instantly.
“Elikem! What a nice surprise!” exclaimed Fiifi. He ignored the ping sound that came from his phone as he rose to embrace Elikem.
“I’m happy to see you too, man.”
“What is the Environmental Agency’s Lead Engineer doing here?” Elikem asked.
“You know, work chale.”
There was another ping on Fiifi’s phone.
“Oh, I can’t wait to tell Akua we just met. Let’s take a selfie.” Fiifi took out his phone and they made the peace sign as he took the photo.
“Tell me how have you been?”
“I’m doing well. It’s funny we met here on the train. I have started working with an environmental agency too,” said Elikem.
“Which one?” asked Fiifi.
“It’s a foreign company, Altaria Technologies. We’re researching new energy sources for interplanetary travel. As you know, Solar Power is not enough.”
“So you are a researcher now. Good for you! But what do you mean Solar Power is not enough?”
“Perhaps, I should not say this but on our last mission to complete terraforming Mars, the rocket stopped in the middle of the journey. This was not made public.”
“You don’t say!” Fiifi exclaimed.
“True facts man. To prevent that from happening again, companies are receiving heavy funding for a more reliable source of energy.”
“Don’t you think that money should be invested into more Solar Power research? Which other sources of energy are they considering?”
Elikem ignored his question. “I have to confess something. I came here specifically to meet you. You’re one of the best engineers and we need your brain to help us solve this problem.”
At that Fiifi winced. Of course, it was too random. Was Elikem stalking him?
“Here I was, thinking we met by chance.”
“I knew you would be on this train. We are also aware that you cannot afford Akua’s treatment. And we also know about what you did at the carbon capture monitoring stations.”
“Elikem! You are threatening me, your old friend.” Fiifi was astonished.
“Not at all. I’m just providing you with a way out. You have one of the best brains.”
“What will I be doing?” asked Fiifi.
“We’ll get back to you.” Elikem said and walked away.
By this time, the skytrain had arrived at Fiifi’s stop.
Fiifi got off the train without looking at Elikem. He took out his phone.
He opened the messenger app and read the first message from Akua.
Fiifi, have you dropped from the sky?
Sorry, I met Elikem on the train.
We had an interesting conversation.
Elikem? Which Elikem?
[Fiifi shared a picture]
Do you remember him?
Wow! He’s changed so much.
Oh! Yeah, I remember him.
The last thing I remember was him getting divorced
Yeah, me too.
I didn’t want to bring it up though.
It would have been too awkward
I just got down, we have something important to discuss
Akua heard a car outside and she rushed to go hug her husband.
“I’m so happy you’re back. Relax while I print your food.” She went over to the 3D food printer.
“I’m famished. Did you download the CAD file for moose meat?”
“I thought you don’t like synthetic meat?”. Akua looked confused.
“A lot of people online keep saying moose meat is the best. I want to try it.”
Akua came back with a plate of synthetic moose meat.
“Please try some.” Fiifi tried coercing Akua to take a bite.
“Please, please. You know I prefer plant-based food. You said we need to discuss something?” At that moment, Fiifi’s mood changed.
“Elikem offered me a job, it could help us afford your treatment.”
“I don’t like him. You remember why Barikisu left him?.” Akua asked.
“But I’m feeling stuck in my current job. It will help me in my career.” Fiifi had not disclosed to Akua that he had made an occupational blunder. The carbon tax on Ghana had been raised because Ghana could not reach Net-zero emissions. As a result, Akua’s cancer treatment had also become expensive.
“Whatever you decide, I will support you. But please be careful.” Akua didn’t look convinced though.
Fiifi picked up his phone.
I think I’ll come on board
Let me know when and where we can meet
I will come get you
The next day, a helicopter hovered above Akua and Fiifi’s residence at Dzorwulu. Akua was bewildered. Why would anyone be moving around in a helicopter when public transport was so efficient? She waved at Elikem reluctantly.
“Please text me ok?”, she kissed Fiifi goodbye.
The helicopter took them over the Gulf of Guinea to an oil rig. Fiifi became enraged.
“You didn’t tell me you’re drilling oil!”
“I know. We just need you to help us streamline the process so we don’t lose too much crude oil. That’s why I came to get you.” Fiifi looked visibly disturbed.
When they got on the rig, Fiifi took out his phone surreptitiously and texted Akua.
Altaria Technologies is drilling for oil!
Oil? But that has been illegal for decades
Please be careful!
Yes, I will.
I’m going to live stream their despicable practice to my online followers.
Share your location with me
[Fiifi shared his current location]
Fiifi made a decision at that moment. The planet was more important than his selfish ego. He needed to come clean because his conscience was torturing him.
He positioned his phone in his pocket and started streaming to his followers. Then he heard Elikem approaching.
“Thanks for coming man. You will never need to work again after this job, trust me.”
“What exactly do you want me to do?” asked Fiifi.
“We are losing too much fossil fuel from the drilling. We are also consuming too much electricity from the national grid. As a result, we need you to optimize our losses with your skill.” Fiifi finally understood why the lights were going off.
“But how are you doing this so far out into the sea? Drilling oil has been illegal for decades!” Fiifi asked.
“Don’t worry about that. We got some help from the politicians. Just help us get the oil.”
As they spoke, they saw speed boats carrying law enforcement approaching the offshore rig.
Elikem looked at Fiifi and said, “Oh no! What did you do?”