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“Very interesting,” Bimpe Oroma said as she scanned the lines of code on the screen in front of her.

Fisayo gazed over at the CEO with a mixture of awe and nerves. She had never been so close to the myth, the legend that was Bimpe Oroma. She was barely two metres away from her hero, the woman whose picture she had ripped out of a magazine and placed on her bedroom wall almost a decade earlier. She was so close that she could see the stitching on Bimpe’s very clearly custom-made suit. Bimpe was hands down the trendiest tech CEO on the scene. She was the only tech CEO who had an open invitation to the front row of every high fashion show. Bimpe’s superior sense of style was only surpassed by her incredible intellect. She was reading Fisayo’s code with the ease that most people scanned the instructions on a microwaveable meal.

“I am impressed,” said Bimpe.

Fisayo’s heart leapt within her. The great Bimpe Oroma was impressed with her code. She had been working at Oroma, the world-renowned avatar technology company, for a little over a year but this was her first time presenting to the CEO. By following a hunch, she had been able to improve the human reference scanning algorithm, improving its performance by 3%, the largest improvement in almost three years. She had looked up to Bimpe Oroma ever since the founder had established the first avatar company in Africa. Fisayo had only been 12 then, but now here she was, working with the woman who had inspired her to study computer science in the first place. Fisayo smiled widely, basking in the three words of praise from the woman she had admired for so long. The long hours and late nights had been worth it.

“I’m going to go ahead and trial your updated algorithm, you head back to your desk,” said Bimpe getting up and motioning for Fisayo to do the same.

Fisayo could barely contain herself. She smiled widely. Even prior to direct contact with the CEO, working at Oroma was a thing of pride. Bimpe Oroma was single-handedly responsible for some of the key advancements in avatar technology over the last decade. Now she had a whole company pushing the boundaries of advanced photogrammetry, 3D image processing as well as machine learning and AI. Not only were Oroma’s avatars photorealistic, they were incredibly responsive and could precisely mirror the movement of their human controllers, whether they were using VR controllers, haptic wear, or simply photo motion capture via a mobile phone. Fisayo was entranced. She watched as Bimpe walked towards a set of doors at the back of her office.

“And this work will definitely be acknowledged in the next bonus round,” Bimpe said as she disappeared through the doors.

Fisayo felt like she was walking on air. As she walked out of Bimpe’s office and proceeded down the long corridor to the senior suite, she felt as if she was in a dream, floating. She had loved working at Oroma the moment she took her seat at orientation, but now she could not imagine working anywhere else. Bimpe Oroma was a visionary. The company was branching out into a range of other products in the online identity and virtual reality space. Fisayo could see a long career ahead of her, innovating with her contemporaries and their inspirational leader. The code Fisayo typed into her laptop would enable billions of people across the world to have richer digital experiences.

The feeling of air rushing past her fingers snapped Fisayo back into reality. Her hands were empty. She had forgotten her laptop in Bimpe’s office. Fisayo turned around and ran back to the office. She knocked, but there was no answer. Remembering that Bimpe had gone into the back room, she opened the door and poked her head in. It was empty. She saw her laptop. She went in, grabbed it and turned to leave again. As she approached the door, she began to hear strange noises behind her. She had her hand on the door handle but then she heard what sounded like a scream. Fisayo looked around. She moved quickly towards the door that Bimpe had exited through only minutes earlier. Tentatively, she turned the handle. She opened the door and walked into the corridor. There were no more screams, but a pulsing mechanical sound, a bit like a washing machine.

Fisayo followed the sound. It led her to one of the doors further down the corridor. Her mind was telling her to go back, but she could not countenance the idea of leaving Bimpe in danger. She grew increasingly nervous as she walked. Her heart beating fast as she arrived at the door, she bent down and peered through the keyhole.

To Fisayo’s relief, she saw Bimpe, safe and unharmed, and a young woman. The young woman was beautiful. Fisayo knew that Oroma sourced models to be scanned for their avatar software. It was how they trained the machine learning models. Even though she was involved in developing software for the company, Fisayo had never actually seen the scanning process in real life. It was a process shrouded in mystery. From what she could gather, even the executive team were not privy to all of the secrets behind the technology. Seeing that Bimpe was safe Fisayo thought about going back, but she was curious to observe the technology she had been working on in action. She remained crouched at the keyhole. She saw Bimpe instruct the woman to lie on a flat area in the midst of the machinery. The woman did so. It was strange. The young woman appeared to be in a daze. She swayed as she climbed onto the table. Fisayo thought she might fall. Eventually, she was lying down as instructed. Fisayo could see Bimpe at a control panel. She saw Bimpe press a button and a blade fell down, decapitating the young woman. Fisayo slapped her hand over her mouth to stifle the scream she could feel emerging from her belly. Bimpe proceeded to lift the decapitated head, impale it on a white spike and placed it inside another machine. It was a scanning machine, and Fisayo watched as the data processing output began to appear on the screen. Bimpe nodded with approval.

“Nice work Fisayo,” she said.

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