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January 15, 2024

A Feast For Cobalt

S1 E3 34 MINS

An asteroid is discovered with enough minerals to transition Earth to green energy completely. When a corporate space company announces it will harvest the minerals, an ecoterrorist group destroys their rocket and demands the minerals be shared with all of humanity. A diverse group must negotiate how.

This episode was written by sci-fi author Deji Bryce Olukotun. The Necessary Tomorrows podcast is from Doha Debates and is presented by Al Jazeera Podcasts. It is produced by Imposter Media and Wolf at the Door Studios.

Full Transcript

Note: We encourage you to listen to the audio if you are able, as it includes emotion not captured by the transcript. Please check the corresponding audio before using any quotes.





Welcome back to Necessary Tomorrows. In this session, we will turn back to fiction. Once again, we will be listening to a story crafted more than 40 years ago. As you listen, please consider yourself invited to negotiate. Speculate a scenario in which you are defending a practice or livelihood you feel passionate about. Now imagine the other characters around the table or locked in a hotel room. Who is arguing against you? And how do you make them real enough for the debate to stretch our understanding? Please enjoy “A Feast for Cobalt” by Deji Bryce Olukotun, a story that is very proximal for me. They say we are all made of stars. But for some of us, that heritage is more recent than for others.







Good morning! We’re live at the Olympus Mons Spaceport in Florida on this historic day. Our founder, Bert Silliman, is overseeing command control, but we have his second-in-command, Ivy Cho-Collins, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel at Olympus Mons. Around here we call her Coco. 



Ivy is fine. 


PEPPER: Tell us about Operation Catalyst.


IVY: We’re all living in the terror of climate change. Rising seas, extreme weather, devastating forest fires, and the horrific loss of biodiversity. We know we need to complete the transition to renewables and clean energy. But we’re running out of the core ingredients and time to get there. Lithium, nickel, cobalt—especially cobalt. But we found it. A bountiful supply of nickel and cobalt that will save our planet many times over. At a place so obvious no one thought to look. No one, that is, but our team at Olympus Mons. 

PEPPER: Where did you find them? 


IVY: We found them at Lagrange point L4. For those of us in the space industry, a Lagrange point may as well be in our backyard. These are points in space that are at equilibrium with the motion of the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun. At L4, we found 40 million tons of pure cobalt and nickel just waiting to be harvested. Operation Catalyst is our first mission to harvest a load of these asteroids. Smash them down to transportable size and return them to Earth. 


PEPPER: That’s extraordinary!


IVY (CHUCKLING): It is. This mission will give us the resources we need for an energy future for generations. 


PEPPER: There you have it. Operation Catalyst. Let’s turn to a live feed of the rocket now. That steam you see on your screen is the supercooling of the main thrusters. The crane is pulling away now. What? What’s that? 




IVY: What is it? What? Where’s my phone? Give me my damn phone. 


PEPPER: We’re getting reports of a swarm of flies on the platform. Trying to confirm that … 


IVY: Wait, is that a seasonal thing? Some kind of migration or something? 




IVY: Cut the feed! Cut it! Cut it!






IVY: My head… How long have I been asleep? No service. All right. [ELECTRONIC PING] Burt, it’s Ivy. Hopefully you get this when I reconnect. I’m not sure where I am. No one from Provisional Climate Action is here. Why would they abduct me and not even be here? These guys are the worst eco-terrorists ever. (CHUCKLES) I’m … in a bedroom? They must have drugged me in the car. At least I’m above ground, not in some creepy basement. God, I feel terrible. OK, there’s a door. 




IVY: What the hell? 



We’re sorry for the inconvenience. There is medicine if you are feeling nauseous from the effects of the tranquilizer. 


IVY: By inconvenience, I assume you mean you’re sorry for drugging me and kidnapping me? 


ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: Follow me, please.






IVY: The micro-drones are here. The same ones that attacked the rocket. We’re walking down the long hallway. Doors off to each side. No sign of anyone here. 


ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: Do you have a question? 


IVY: I want to speak to the leader of Climate Action. PCA, whatever you call it. 






IVY: Who the hell are you? 



In my country, I suppose we’re a little more traditional and say things like, “Pleased to meet you,” but we can adjust. My name is Aneeka Subramanian, director of research at the Indian Space Research Organization. 


IVY: So, you’re not the terrorist?



No, I’m Laure Likanga, vice president of operations at Gécamines-Shenzen Mine, Democratic Republic of Congo. 


I’m Roger Dacosta, fisherman. Pismo Pelagics out of Morro Bay. That’s in, uh…

IVY: California, I know. And you all got invitations?


LAURE LIKANGA: Yes, we did. 


ROGER DACOSTA: My daughter got the invitation, but she’s eight months pregnant. 


ANEEKA SUBRAMANIAN: This is the part where you tell us who you are. 


IVY: Ivy Cho-Collins, chief operating officer and general counsel at Olympus Mons.


ANEEKA: Ah, of course. Operation Catalyst. 


IVY: When is Provisional Climate Action getting here?


LAURE: The invitation didn’t say anything about them participating. 


IVY: Then this is a waste of my time. They drugged us and then didn’t have the guts to show up? It’s extortion. 


LAURE: Extortion? What did your invitation say? 


IVY: I’ve got it here. [SOUND OF PAPER RUSTLING] It says: “You are invited to a multi-stakeholder summit to determine the future of green energy after the recent discovery of abundant mineral resources in space. You must decide on a fair agreement for the use and distribution of these resources.” Blah, blah, blah. “The decision must be by consensus or by majority vote. If no agreement is reached, then we will prevent all efforts to retrieve green minerals from space. Signed, Provisional Climate Action.” In case you’re not tracking, by “prevent all effort,” they mean “blow up your rockets.”


LAURE: We have to vote. There are four of us here, so three of us would have to agree. That would be a majority. 


IVY: This is ridiculous. They should talk to us face-to-face. I came here to negotiate and they stuck me with a fisherman? No offense. 


ROGER: Right. None taken. To be honest, I’m not sure what I’m doing here either.


LAURE: Maybe there’s a reason. What do we have in common? I work for a cobalt mine. That’s a green mineral. Ivy works at Olympus Mons. You want to collect the asteroids. Aneeka, what about you? 


ANEEKA: I was researching the asteroids that Olympus Mons tried to steal. 


IVY: We found them fair and square. 


ANEEKA: Based on spectroscopy data from an international mission led by India, the UAE, and Japan. 


IVY: Those were open-source datasets. Our team connected the dots. That’s the difference between a crusty government agency and a competitive enterprise. 


ANEEKA: Open-source data is about trust. Trust which you violated. We made the data publicly available and you’re supposed to give back what you learn, not just take it.


IVY: We give back by bringing the mineral resources home. That’s a real tangible benefit, not like publishing a load of useless research data. (SCOFFS)


ROGER: Hey, ladies. Let’s all just calm down. 


IVY: Don’t you call me lady. 


ROGER: OK, OK. Apologies. But maybe we should figure out why they chose us to be here. I’m not a miner. I don’t do space. Where’s NASA? Where’s Russia? Where’s China? Where’s … I don’t know. 


LAURE: Nigeria. That’s the biggest African program. 


ROGER: Right, Nigeria. Why aren’t they in the room with us right now? 


IVY: The simplest answer is probably the right one. It’s because Provisional Climate Action is a terrorist organization and they do not think about these things.


LAURE: How do you know they’re the ones who blew up your rocket? 


IVY: Because they told us they did. 


ROGER: I remember hearing something about horseflies?


IVY: They look like horseflies, but they’re micro-drones. The same ones that are flying around this hotel. 


LAURE: I believe it is more of a conference center, actually. I think I recognize this room from an Emirati retreat I attended.


ROGER: I don’t know. Feels like this place has been empty for a while. 


IVY: You were asking me about the rocket. Should I tell you what happened with Provisional Climate Action, or do you want to all talk about the decor? 


ROGER: Go on. Sorry, I … wanna hear it.


ANEEKA: Me too. 


IVY: After the explosion, we recovered some of the micro-drones. They are untraceable. They had almost no data on them. But the way the coding was parsed, the network data, our security team believes Provisional Climate Action is actually an AI program. 


ROGER: Wait, PCA is an eco-terrorist AI? 


IVY: We think it’s been trained on every manifesto and bumper sticker since the 1960s.


LAURE: That makes sense to me, actually. What do the police say? 


IVY: Nothing. Homeland Security, the FBI, they have no credible means.




ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: You may begin. You have until sunset to come to an agreement. 


ANEEKA: What time is sunset?




LAURE: What time is it now? 






LAURE: We should at least offer some proposals. 

ROGER: Maybe they’re listening. PCA, I mean. 


IVY: Of course they’re listening. Why should we play their game? 


LAURE: I agree with you, Ivy. That Provisional Climate Action is a dangerous entity. 


IVY: Thank you.


LAURE: But … that doesn’t mean the topic of this meeting is not worthy of discussion. I’ve traveled a long distance to get here. And I’d like to share our perspective on this. It might shed some light on why we’re here together. All of us. 


ROGER: Might as well. 






LAURE: Gécamines-Shenzen is the fourth largest green mining concern in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We supply about 5,000 tons of nickel and cobalt. Every year, our mine employs thousands of people in Kinsufu, our headquarters. Under my watch as foreman, we have not had a single fatal accident in 18 months. The city benefits from our presence. Frankly speaking, if you flood the market with this cobalt from space, the price will crash. You will destroy all the livelihoods supported by the mine. Our local community and all the schools and educational opportunities will provide. We believe in the green revolution, but we don’t believe all the money should go to one company. It should be shared. The world will be turning its back on us.






ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: We have brought you food. This is course number one. You have six hours left to negotiate. Please enjoy.


ANEEKA: I’m famished. 


IVY: It does smell good. Thank God those filthy little flies are staying outside. 


ROGER: Looks like rice and beans. And couscous.




ROGER: You’ve barely tasted your food, Laure. 


LAURE: It’s cassava. Not couscous. 


ROGER: You eat this in the Congo? 


LAURE: This isn’t what I eat at home. I live well. My cook is … quite good. Yes, I have a cook, Roger. 


ROGER: I didn’t say a thing. 


LAURE: My life is nothing like the children who eat this food. Outside the mine, you see, there are artesian wells. They are not engineered properly. And they collapse. Sometimes mothers die, sometimes the fathers. And the children have nothing left. We do what we can to stop it. We employ as many people as we can locally. Even teach them how to stabilize a mine. But they do not have the time or the tools to do it. Eight hundred orphans eat this food every day, three times a day. I volunteer there once a week. What about you, Aneeka? You’re a researcher. You must have an opinion. 


ANEEKA: I’m sitting here because of how climate change has affected my country. The dry season is getting drier and the wet season wetter. We have limited nickel and cobalt deposits and no local smelters. Meaning that small amount of minerals we can extract, we can’t put into a form that our green industries can actually use. The green energy revolution is not some theoretical construct in my country. We need it, and we need it now. 


IVY: Couldn’t agree more.


ANEEKA: I’m not sure you do. India runs one of the most efficient space programs out of any country. It’s cheap and cost-effective. We launched our space mission to chart what might be possible. We’re the ones who discovered the cobalt, not Olympus Mons. But we didn’t try to extract the minerals. We wanted to study the asteroids properly so as not to damage their scientific value. The Outer Space Treaty does not allow any one country to claim space resources. India never signed the Artemis Accords because asteroids should belong to all of us. If anyone can take those minerals, we’ll only be rewarding greed.






ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: We have brought you food. This is course number two. You have four hours left to negotiate. Please enjoy. 


IVY: Smells delicious. 


LAURE: Yes. That spice, it reminds me of something. 


ANEEKA: It’s cumin. And star anise. 


LAURE: That’s it. My mother used to cook with it. 


ANEEKA: Your mother was Indian? 


LAURE: No, she wasn’t Indian. But many Indians settled in my country during the colonial era. They brought their spices with them. 


ANEEKA: This tastes like the cafeteria at Sriharikota Island. That’s where we launched our rockets. When I was a junior researcher, fresh off my doctorate, I’d often be sitting alone. It was a bloody boys club. 


IVY: I guess it happens everywhere. 


ROGER: It’s a little strange, isn’t it? The food, I mean. 


LAURE: We don’t all eat hamburgers. 


ROGER: No, what I’m saying is, Laure was talking about her mine, and then they brought food from the mine. 


LAURE: True. 


ROGER: Then Aneeka started talking and they brought in food from her cafeteria. 


LAURE: Maybe they’re trying to make us comfortable.


IVY: Who, the terrorists? I think that’s the least of their concerns. 


ROGER: You said that Provisional Climate Action was some kind of AI, right, Ivy? 


IVY: That’s a working theory. 


ROGER: Well, they must have known about Aneeka and Laure. Because they invited them, and I can kind of see why. Laure’s in a mine and Aneeka’s on a space mission. Still not sure what I’m doing here.


ANEEKA: Maybe you should tell us more about yourself, Roger. 


ROGER: OK, but I need you to cut me some slack. I’m not used to negotiating in fancy palaces. And I’m not exactly a climate activist either. 




ROGER: I grew up in Pismo Beach. We fished out of Morro Bay. My grandfather, my dad, my brothers and me. My daughter captains her own ship and is taking over the business, if we can keep the creditors away. Anyway, we fished yellowfin until that ran out. Rockfish, petrale sole, grouper, black cod. When the currents got warmer, our fishing stock changed. The tunicates swept in. They’re like floating sea cucumbers that stink like hell when they wash ashore. We got more southern fish like opah or bluefin. We still have some halibut left, so we can make it work. I’m for conservation, not preservation. There’s a difference. We don’t think the channel should be an aquarium. We live off it. People eat what we put on their plates. We tell our boys—sorry, our crew—to mind their quotas because we want to fish again the next season, and they listen. The MPA works pretty well for us. 




ROGER: Marine protected area. It’s a zone off the coast. There are fishermen, scientists, government. We have a seat at the table. It was my daughter’s idea to join it. Mostly works, but not all the time. Sometimes we get boats from out of the area at night. They don’t measure, they trawl, they drag their nets along the bottom, they drop explosive charges into the channel, and pick up whatever dies. I’ve seen dolphins, orcas, float in on the surface. Sea lions, too. They take and they take, and they leave. The MPA doesn’t mean anything if no one enforces it. I don’t know about all this green mineral stuff. You can’t just say green and expect everything to work. There are people like us who are trying to do the right thing, feeding the world, and we can barely put food on our own table.






ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: We have brought you food. This is course number three. You have two hours left to negotiate. Please enjoy.


LAURE: Smells like seafood. 


IVY: Oh. It’s crab. I love crab. 


ANEEKA: None for me, thanks. 


LAURE: You don’t like crab? 


ANEEKA: My brain tells me differently, but my eyes tell me they’re spiders. Cooking them doesn’t turn them into something less creepy crawly. 


IVY: Can I have yours? 


ANEEKA: Go ahead. 


IVY: Roger, you don’t want some? I thought you just went off about all the sea creatures you like to eat. Don’t tell me you’re afraid of a little crab, too. 


ROGER (CHUCKLING): No, that’s not it. 


ANEEKA: Then what is it? 


ROGER: This is Dungeness crab. I haven’t seen one of these since I was a kid. The Dungeness are gone from Morro Bay. They went with the eelgrass. 


ANEEKA: Ocean temperatures? 


ROGER: No, overfished. I mean, over-crabbed. My grandmother used to cook them when I was a kid. These must be from up north. I hear Vancouver Island still has some. I need a break. 


ANEEKA: They won’t let you outside. 


ROGER: Did you ask? 




ROGER: We’ve been sitting in here for a while. Can we stretch our legs somewhere? 


ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: Follow me, please.


ROGER: Never hurts to be nice. Anyone else want to join me?


ANEEKA: I’m—I’m going to stay put until they’re done.


LAURE: Yes, me too. 


IVY: Roger, hold up, I’m coming.






ROGER: This place is enormous. I mean, look at the marble balconies. Here you go. 


IVY: Thanks. 


ROGER: And the view down there into the meadow? It looks like it may have been a lake. But it’s dried up. 


IVY: You doing alright? You looked shaken up back there. 


ROGER: Oh, the crabs. (CHUCKLES) I’m over it, just jarred me. I figured PCA made a mistake in inviting me here. (SCOFFS) But was I wrong.


IVY: I think I can help you. 


ROGER: That’s fine, I’m fine. 


IVY (CHUCKLING): No, I mean your business. We’re building a new launch platform at Vandenberg for our second-gen rocket. We’re going to be hiring for a number of jobs. 


ROGER: I don’t know anything about rockets. 


IVY: We don’t need you to work on rockets, Roger. When we launch, we have to clear the area of boats, kayakers, fishing vessels for safety. You know, if there’s debris or an explosion. We outsource that to our private security. We could hire your fleet to do it. 


ROGER: And give up fishing? 


IVY: We launch once a month. The rest of the time you fish. 


ROGER: I don’t know, a fishing boat can’t chase down poachers, they’re fast. 


IVY: We’ll upgrade your fleet, new boats, latest tech, whatever you need.


ROGER: Why would you do that for us? 


IVY: Because … it’s unfair that PCA thinks that a failing mine in the Congo and a second-rate space program deserve an equal seat at the table. It’s a classic assault on American innovation. We lead through hard work and determination, and the rest of the world wants to reel us back in. Forgive the pun. I’m not used to talking to fishermen. 


ROGER (CHUCKLING): It rubs off on you. 


IVY: We’ve staked the future of Olympus Mons on getting these asteroids. I’m talking billions of dollars of investments. We need this mission to succeed. We’re faster than government and more innovative. Ten years ago, Olympus Mons didn’t exist. We competed and innovated our way to this position. They like to blame the Artemis Accords as if it were some sort of pact with the devil. The guiding principle in all exploration is first come, first served. 


ROGER: I’m just a fisherman, all right? All this investment stuff is above my pay grade. 


IVY: Then I’ll boil it down. I don’t want consensus. I don’t want a majority vote. This needs to fail. They are terrorists. They drugged us. You vote against this and you get your fleet. We’re talking at least a hundred well-paid jobs with benefits. 


ROGER: Hmm. I’d have to ask my daughter about it. 


ROGER: Sure. Work out the details with her, but my word is good. I’ll record it right here, right now. It can be a term sheet, an oral contract. 




IVY: I, Ivy Cho-Collins, hereby promise for due consideration a new fishing fleet for—what’s your company called? 


ROGER: Pismo Pelagics. 


IVY: For Pismo Pelagics, in return for providing security at the O.M. launch platform at Vandenberg Space Force Base. Roger Dacosta hereby agrees through voice consent. 


ROGER: Who is that


IVY: Roger, this is the part where you agree. 


ROGER: They’re shouting something. 


IVY (GROANS): It’s Space for All. Space extremists. It’s a protest group. We have to deal with these nutjobs all the time. If you could just please agree by saying out loud—


ROGER: How did they find us? 


IVY: Climate Action must have told them. I should have assumed that this meeting would be leaked. They’re trying to box us in. 


ROGER: They sound pissed off. 




ROGER: What was that? Look out! 




IVY: Come on! 






ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: It is 30 minutes before sunset. We will have to move you soon to protect your safety. 


LAURE: Safety? What is it talking about? 


ANEEKA: What happened outside? 


ROGER: Protestors. 


ANEEKA: I thought this was a secret meeting. 


IVY: Secret for us. 


ANEEKA: Very well, the cat’s out of the bag. Will you listen to our proposal? 


IVY: Your proposal? You’re telling me you already have one?


LAURE: We came up with some ideas. 


ROGER: We don’t have much time, so please, go ahead, Laure. 


LAURE: We believe we should send a research mission to collect multiple samples from the asteroids and return them to Earth. After we study the samples, we’ll send an international mission to extract the asteroids. It can include private industry, and it will pay for the costs of any contractor, plus 10 percent if they finish on schedule. They will be paid for their work, but they do not get to keep everything for themselves. 


IVY: Cost plus is always a terrible idea. 


ROGER: What’s cost plus? 


IVY: You get paid for the cost of doing the work, plus a set percentage over the top, like 10 percent. It’s why the space industry stagnated for decades. Ten percent rewards mediocrity, not innovation. It entrenches the military industrial complex. Not enough upside. 


LAURE: I wasn’t quite finished. A portion of the proceeds will be set aside for today’s mineral-producing countries so we can transition our industries to other sectors and support our communities. We have spent decades at our mines. We can serve as advisors. We have a lot of knowledge to spare about cobalt. It’s not as simple as just putting a rocket into space.


IVY: Are you finished? 


LAURE: I believe so. Did I forget anything, Aneeka? 


ANEEKA: Those are the broad strokes, yes. 


IVY: Let’s put it to a vote then. I’ll go first. I vote no. 


LAURE: Well then, how about you Roger? Would you like to add anything to the proposal?




ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: We have brought you food. This is the final course. You have 15 minutes left to negotiate. Please enjoy. 


ROGER: More food? I’m stuffed. 


ANEEKA: I think it’s dessert. Some kind of crisp? 


IVY: I thought we were voting. 


LAURE: The picture on the front looks like ice cream, but it’s not cold. 


IVY: Let me see. Oh my god. It’s astronaut ice cream. 


ANEEKA: Our astronauts don’t eat this. 


IVY: None of them do. It’s freeze-dried ice cream. It’s a novelty. Something they sell to tourists in Houston. This is why I got into engineering. Space. Everything. The flavor is the same. It’s why I became an engineer. 


LAURE: You became an engineer because of ice cream? 


IVY: No, not because of ice cream, but because of what was in that museum. 




IVY: The Apollo capsule. Lunar rocks. My mom took me. I fell in love with everything that space travel stands for. That was the day I vowed I would start my own space company. 


ROGER: You founded Olympus Mons?


IVY: I didn’t. My company was called Escape-V. You know, V for velocity. But I couldn’t raise the capital. We ran out of runway after our second test flight. Did you know only 17 percent of funding goes to female founders? That’s why they say space is hard. You can master the physics, overcome incredible engineering obstacles, and after all that, if you don’t master the money side of the equation, you’re toast. After I cleaned myself up, I was recruited to Olympus Mons.


LAURE: Ivy, do you want to add anything to our proposal? We can incorporate your ideas and vote again. 


IVY: I don’t know. 


LAURE: Suit yourself. What about you, Roger?


ROGER: I think I get why I’m here. Asteroid mining is a lot like fishing. You’re going to collect a natural resource up in space. And I know that allowing anyone to go grab it whenever they want is bad. We’ll run out eventually. Maybe it should be like our marine protected areas. Give more people a say in what happens to it. 


ANEEKA: It is like fishing in other ways too, Roger. We don’t know how often the asteroids fall into the Lagrange point. We don’t know if the asteroids come every year, or every 10,000 years, or every million years. We need to study that. 


LAURE: We could call it a space protected area. 




LAURE: We’ll need enforcement. Somewhere neutral. 


ANEEKA: It sounds like they’re getting closer. Should we bring it to a vote again? 


ROGER: I’m ready. 


LAURE: Me too. 


ANEEKA: I think we know Ivy’s response already. 


IVY: No, wait. Please. 


LAURE: You can’t stop us from voting. 


IVY: No. I’d … like to propose something. 


ROGER: Go ahead, Ivy. But we don’t have much time. 


IVY: What if we … what if we agreed that women deserve a chance to compete? That the contracts can’t just go to men in the space protected area?


LAURE: You mean women-led businesses? 


IVY: Yes. 


ANEEKA: Wasn’t Olympus Mons founded by a man? How would that help you? 


IVY: We could give other people a chance too, people who have been left out of the conversation.


ROGER: That’s a great idea. 


LAURE: I like it, but let’s not pretend Ivy is being purely altruistic here. 


IVY: I do think women leaders deserve a chance. I believe that. I also believe Olympus Mons should win a contract under your proposal because we’re the only ones who can do it, even if we are led by a man. These things can both be true. But you can’t just pay us a set percentage on top of what it costs us to run a mission. You need to give first movers a chance to recoup our investment. I don’t mean winner-take-all, but something that acknowledges we took a risk and that we’re faster. 


LAURE: We pay our miners more when they work deeper in the ground. 


IVY: That might work for some contractors, but not for us. We were first


LAURE: How about a graduated rate of return, then? Since you were first, you get a higher cut of the profits. But over time, it lowers to the same rate as contractors who join later. If it’s a woman-led business, or from a country that has been historically excluded, then the rate stays higher.


ANEEKA: Roger, what do you think? 


ROGER: You think I can look my daughter in the face and tell her I voted against something that would help women business owners? (SCOFFS)


ANEEKA: Let’s move to a vote. 


LAURE: I vote yes. 


ROGER: Yes. 


ANEEKA: Yes. What about you, Ivy? 


IVY: I vote yes.




ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: Please accompany us to the patio.




ROGER: What just happened? 


ANEEKA: Where are the protesters? 


LAURE: I don’t see anyone. 


ANEEKA: Wait. Did you ever actually see them? 


IVY: Of course we did, they were shouting at us. 


ROGER: I mean, I personally didn’t see anyone, but … they were there. 


ANEEKA: Maybe they weren’t. The sound could have been beam-formed. 


ROGER: But they threw a bottle at us. That happened. We both saw it.


LAURE: Did you see who threw the bottle? 




ANEEKA: Where’s the glass? 


IVY: It was here. They must have … cleaned it … up?


ROGER: They tricked us. 


IVY: They fooled us into coming to an agreement! I should have known. 


ROGER: Do you … want to go back on the deal? 


IVY: No. I meant what I said.


ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE: We have accepted the vote of the majority. The proposal of your group will be combined with the other negotiators. 


LAURE: Wait a minute, what other negotiators are you talking about? 




ANEEKA: So, we were just one of many? They were all invited too? 




ROBOTIC WOMAN’S VOICE OVER A LOUDSPEAKER: Distinguished guests, we are pleased that we have accepted the votes of all the negotiators. We’ll combine the fairest proposals. We ask you to celebrate this signature achievement in the transition to green energy. Our planet needs you. Your nations need you. But with this agreement, you no longer need us. This algorithm will cease to exist in (WOMAN’S VOICE TRANSITIONS TO MALE VOICE) five… four … three … two … one. 





“A Feast for Cobalt” was written by Deji Bryce Olukotun, with additional writing by Alex Kemp and Brett Gaylor. Featuring performances by Tess Bartholomew, Paul Hertel, Sara Banerjee, Chiyumba Ossome and Nacia Walsh.

The Necessary Tomorrows podcast is from Doha Debates, a production of Qatar Foundation. It is produced by Imposter Media and Wolf at the Door Studios. Audio engineering by Josh Falcon. Music by David Parfitt. Directed by Alex Kemp. Executive producers for Doha Debates are Amjad Atallah, Katrine Dermody, Jigar Mehta and Japhet Weeks. Executive producer for Imposter Media is Brett Gaylor. Executive producer for Wolf at the Door is Winnie Kemp. Producers are Tess Bartholomew, Chica Barbosa and Toby Lawless. Production coordinator was Drea Schillingburg, and casting by Toby Lawless. Necessary Tomorrows is created by Brett Gaylor.

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