Somewhere in an African village. Standing on a low roof, three young teenagers are watching the people on the market below them, particularly a group of armed, white men, one of whom is dangling an expensive camera on his arm.
The boy asks one of the girls, with blue cat-eyes – if she wants the camera, since she is staring a it. She explains that it reminds her of her father, who took pictures. The boy suggests she take it, but she refuses. The men are big, after all. They are lazy, fat Americans, he scoffs. Ororo is getting too comfortable picking locks, he taunts. She earns her keep, she retorts defensively. She’s so American, he replies. She is African, she insists. But she s becoming lazy as the Americans, he states.
Another girl joins them. With a sneer, she claims that Ororo is afraid. She is not one of them. Ororo angrily insists that she picks lock. She does her share, doesn’t she? But can she outrun the white man? the other girl taunts. She can outrun her Ororo states. The other girl orders her to prove it by taking the camera and outrunning the fat, lazy Americans. Ororo refuses. The other girl calls her a chicken, adding that Ororo is not of Mother Africa. Her mother was an African princess! Ororo retorts. What was hers? Undaunted, the girl points out that Ororo was born in New York. She is a black American pretending to be African. Ororo insists she is better than the other girl, but she has to prove it.
Ororo stares at the camera. She remembers better days with her parents. Her decision is made as she climbs down over the boy’s protest. She grabs the camera and begins to run away from the men. The other urchins join her and the boy calls at her to run faster. When he suggests that he take the camera, she refuses. She pulls her own weight, she insists. As she keeps on running, Ororo’s short black wig begins to slip. The girl who taunted Ororo joins them, stating that Ororo is weak. The men should catch her. Maybe they will take her back to her precious America and teach her how to pick cotton. She trips Ororo. As she falls, her wig slips off, revealing her long white braid.
The armed men are now close to her as the locals, afraid of any hostility, draw back. “Ororo’s “victim” draws his rifle intending to give her “the JFK special” as he puts it.
As he aims at the frightened girl, her eyes begin to glow and the sky goes dark. Suddenly, lighting strikes the ground close to them. The next moment, fog surrounds them. One of the men still fires. His friend, who wanted to kill her himself moments ago, tells him that he killed a child worth her weight in gold. He killed a thief, the man replies curtly.
However, when the fog evaporates, there is no body. Only Ororo’s wig is left. The men both saw Ororo’s eyes and how they changed. Also the white strand of hair they find within the wig has a follicle, meaning it is the real thing. She must be one of them. She seemed to control the weather. The weather forecast was clear that day. And Thor is hardly likely to hang around in Africa. She has been gifted with the power of the gods, one of them simply states. She will be worth a lot of money, he decides.
The other man, who tried to shoot, wonders about his friend’s camera. His father had given it to him before he died. And that little witch stole it, the first one agrees. His own fault. The other man had told him not to walk with it in his hand. Several times, the other man agrees smugly. The firs man points his rifle at him. Then, he gives the order that the other men are to find the one with the white hair and kill the rest. But they are children, one of them protests. The first man replies that they are thieves, cowards who steal and run. Again, he gives the orders to kill them and all who oppose him.
How will they find those bastards, the other man, Roland, asks. Ask, the first man, Claude, replies. These are their people. Aren’t they all like cousins? They have no loyalty he adds. Does Roland know the history how America acquired its slaves? From the Africans. They sold their enemies.
Ororo has finally reached their camp and angrily accuses the other girl of tripping her. The other girl tells her she was lucky and reminds Ororo that the slowest zebra becomes the lion’s dinner Ooro throws her a last angry look and then lets the others congratulate her on her success. The first girl glares at her, full of hatred.
Later, the teenagers are celebrating around the fire while Ororo, lost in thoughts, examines the camera.
Elsewhere, the men begin asking around. Doesn’t anybody speak English? Claude asks a native, showing him a Rolex. That could feed his family for a year, the native man replies. Now he speaks English, Claude mocks. He speaks seven languages, the man replies. Claude must be American – he only speaks one language. He explains that the kids hide in the woods high up the hills. Claude thanks him, then shoots him. One of his men just states that he lied to the poor man. Right, this a Timex, not a Rolex, Claude agrees.
At the camp, the boy, Chacha, wants to see Ororo’s prize. But she refuses. He might break it. It’s just a stupid camera, he replies defensively. Bad luck. It steals images and steals the soul. Ororo says it does not. It captures memories. Things they don’t want to forget. Why is she so protective of the camera, he asks. Because, she simply replies and begins to walk away. She is such a mystery, he muses. Does she remember her childhood in America? She sees it in her dreams. Why did her parents leave America? he wonders. Because, she replies again.
Ororo stares at a kissing couple and reflects on the changes in her own maturing body. She desires to touch too, but she is afraid of getting close. Afraid of falling in love and losing that love again.
Chacha asks her to dance with him. Tomorrow, she replies evasively. He won’t have it. Tomorrow never comes. It is always today, he complains. One dance? Ororo looks at a heavily pregnant girl walking past them. ‘Dance with me’ means more than ‘dance with me’, she replies simply. One day she will regret not dancing with him, Chacha warns her. They are not meant to be alone, he calls after her. Sometimes it’s safer that way, she replies, as she disappears into the thicket, where she begins to cry. Staring at the camera, she begins to remember her childhood in New York.
A picnic in Central Park, where her father snapped a picture of toddler Ororo and her mother, N’dare. Later, their being at home. She recalls her parents being happy and in love.
Later, they ran into a protest march – apparently pro-mutant – that quickly turned ugly as anti-mutant protesters attacked the other group.
Later, in the subway, N’dare insisted that it’s not safe here anymore. David countered that it’s not safe anywhere in the world. N’dare insists that they would hate Ororo and come for her. She wants to return hone to Africa. They offered David an excellent job in Cairo. David refuses to go. N’dare refuses to stay. David suggests moving to Connecticut or New Jersey. The hate would follow them, N’dare insists. David muses. He’s been offered good money and conditions in Cairo, but with all the civil unrest it isn’t exactly Club Med there either. N’dare asks him to consider it, reminding thim to consider what coud happen to their child.
Outside the subway, David tries to hail a cab but finds himself ignored by the driver in favor of a white couple. That’s another reasons she wants to leave, N’dare remarks. Over his protests, she continues that, in Africa, she is a queen. Here, she is just a nigger. He’s been called a nigger all his life, David points out. Is she supposed to get used to this treatment? she scoffs. He asks her not to talk like this in front of the child. She needs to hear because this will be her reality as well. Finally, she wins the argument and David agrees to take the Cairo job.
Ororo marvels about he way the weather seems to react to her feelings. Is she blessed by the gods or cursed by the devil? Someone sneaks in behind her unnoticed and touches her shoulder. As she is startled, lightning strikes nearby. It is witnessed by the young thieves, the men looking for them and not to far away by a solitary boy, sitting at a fire and playing the flute.
Ororo addresses the man who startled her as “teacher.” He reminds her that she missed her lesson today. She begins to explain that they went down to the village. He tells her not to give in to peer pressure. When she doesn’t seem convinced he tells her that she has to choose to be a leader or follower. He reminds her that she has to practice every day. She protests that she does practice. She does it while the others sleep. She is good. She must be better than good, then. Before she came there, Achmed el-Gibar taught her well, she states. Achmed is a dear friend, the teacher says, but she lacks what he lacks. She has moderate skills but, like Achmed, she has no discipline. She is good, Ororo protests. Like him she has no patience, he continues undaunted.
As they reach the others, Ororo admits that she was the slowest runner today. That is not her skill, he replies. She chooses to focus on the wrong things. She explains that she was the weakest. She had to use… the wind came. Did they see? the teacher asks worried. Ororo calms him. The others had left before. She doesn’t want to be different. She is different, he stresses. She tells him she was scared. Not only wind came, but lightning and fog. She was terrified. Remarkable, he marvels. She is describing a storm.
Later, the children are practicing picking locks. The teacher leads Ororo to a kind of vault wall with different locks. He points towards three locks, describing them as the most difficult ones. What about the locks next to those? Ororo asks. No one can open those, not even he. He tells her to focus on the first three. Opening them will take time, so she must be patient. It might take a while, but she has to be able to work each one. How long did he need to open those difficult locks, she asks. Three hours for each one, he replies. He tells her he will return at sunrise to check on her progress.
There are a few clicking sounds. As he turns around again, all six locks are open. Can she go now, she asks. She has been practicing, he states. Can she go now, she asks again. He tells her that one day she will make it to level eight. She will unlock the right door and become rich. Her becoming rich will make someone else poor, she states. That’s the way of the world, he replies. Wealth creates poverty.
Tonight, she does not want to become rich, she states with a smile and hands him back the wallet she took. Not bad for a Kenyan with no discipline, she adds. Since she’s honest, she should take this, he replies and hands her back the pendant she wore until moments ago. What kind of thief would allow a thief to thieve him? he asks. One that needs … discipline, she admits. Achmed el-Gibar is good, but she will see why he is better, her teacher tells her. Humbled, she promises to stay and practice. He tells her to go to sleep. The next day will be long.
Not too far away, Claude and the others are attacking a group of the youngsters. Claude demands to know where the white-haired thief is. The girl who dislikes Ororo joins them. They seek the one who has hair like a witch and the blue eyes of the devil. The one born in America and pretending to be of Mother Africa. The one the gods dislike. Who is she, Claude demands. ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ she replies.