Dakota Pennington/The Lady in Waiting
A mini dynamo from the time she could crawl, Dakota Pennington’s life revolved around books, learning and getting on her Momma’s last nerve with her addiction to dismantling appliances-pretty much anything with electricity running through it. The real surprise came when-more often than not-she’d put the machine back together again (and it worked). Her mother-Diana Pennington-a widow and high school educator decided the best thing to do was fight fidgeting with fire; she enrolled the rambunctious six-year-old into the city library’s “Coding for Kids” weekend workshops.
By the fall of that same year, little Dakota had written her first program-a game she developed titled “Find the Pony”.
Rocketing through school (at nine years old she’d already skipped three grades) the future was hers to bend to her will.
Then her momma got shot.
Five bullets fired from a gun lifted by a thirteen-year-old boy from his dad’s gun-safe (he and his partner went on to kill seven other students in that school shooting) didn’t end Diana Pennington, but it got damn close. Thirty-five operations in the last twelve agonizingly painful years of her prescription drug fogged life didn’t matter to Diana-she just wanted to be there for her only child. To see her grow up to be a woman.
Dakota did far more than that.
With two Ph.D.’s (Mechanical/Chemical Engineering) and two Baccalaureates’ (Computer ] Science/Applied Mathematics) by the time she was twenty-two, Dakota seemed to know everything about anything-right up to the time Diana died of cardiac arrest (her fifth one) at the age of forty-three. Adrift in her encapsulated world of private grief, Dakota started three tech firms that made hundreds of billions before she sold her stake in all (for a cool twelve billion) to take the reins as the youngest woman (and first Black person) to head up the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Under her reign, America returned to the Moon and jumped to Mars. And in the background-in a forty-million-dollar laboratory built to her specifications on her gated sixty-acre estate-she made some discoveries of her own. Fifteen years after her mother’s death-after countless, heart-rending failures-she’d finally succeeded in doing the impossible-capturing lightning in a bottle.
Finally, it’s time to put a fatal hurtin’ on some seriously deserving monsters…