Week Two: Her Long Black Hair / Pandora’s Box

So I first experienced this in Sharon’s Video and Sound class back in the start of my time here at ITP. I also had the luxury of it being a warm September day and not a freezing day in February. So I opted to throw it on and listen while I made dinner. More or less I wrapped about the same time it did. I remembered a bits from my walk in the park, and I think it adds to it in retrospect. But re-listening to it I found a few of the parts as a little too try hard and pretentious. Maybe it’s intention, maybe it’s not, but I couldn’t help but to riff some of those parts to myself ala Mystery Science Theater/Rifftrax as I cooked dinner. I really don’t have much more to say about it.

On to my assignment: Pandora’s Box.

On stained brown parchment paper a sketch in black ink of the planet Pandora and the Helios space station from the Borderlands series.

So as many of you might now, I am in the Borderlands fandom, and figured my narrative would focus on the planet Pandora, which is way different than the Pandora of James Cameron’s imagination.¬† To summarize: Pandora is¬† a planet said to be filled with these fabled “Vaults”– storehouses of ancient alien technologies from the long-gone Eridian race. Cutthroat corporations have sequentially colonized the planet with prison labor and colonists trying to strike it¬† rich (not unlike Earth’s gold rush), as well as all kinds of mercenaries and treasure seekers known as “Vault Hunters”. Paired with dangerous and carnivorous beasts, flash freezes and other anomalous weather, leaving the planet’s civilization (or lack thereof) to be dangerous and unpredictable, chaotic.

It is in this framing I set my story.¬†Following the fall of Hyperion, the latest corporation to control it, an intrepid, if a little eccentric xenostudies expert finds her way to the plane and its moon, Elpis, to collect curiosities and relics for examination and display to the outer galaxies. And¬† thus is the story of Pandora’s box, a mini¬†wunderkammer, or cabinet of wonder set to the theme of the Borderlands universe.On a background of black fabric there is a wooden box with antique brass fixtures. In its center is a vault symbol etched into it.

A wooden box is open on top of a wooden table. The inside is lined with purple velvet. To the left is a light blue bag, to the center a necklace of natural looking turquoise and purple beads. To the right is a glass mason jar filled with grey stone and sand.

On a black background there are eight iridescent rocks shining in colors from grey to blue, purple, and gold.

Contained in the blue satchel¬† is fragments from a Vault Key.¬† As to which Vault, is anyone’s guess. Searching for some form of provenance has been difficult and unreliable. Some say it was fragments of the Destroyer’s key, recovered by Hyperion after taking over the planet from Atlas, others still claim it was from the key of Vault of the Warrior, recovered by some of the planet’s freedom fighters as victory souvenirs commemorating the destruction of Hyperion and their control of the planet. Needless to say even fragments from a relic that could be tens of thousands of years old is worth recovering.¬† The necklace is more modern, created by local craftsmen withing the last five decades.

The silver-forged vault symbol is set in a necklace of moonstone (blue) from Elpis, Pandora’s moon. and inactive eridium mined from the heart of Pandora itself.(purple). Normally such stones would be radioactive and have their tell-tale glow, but the necklace does not glow, nor sets of the Geiger counter outside of average radiation.¬† Very likely this was made as a means of carrying currency discretely as opposed to some souvenir, as in some communities things are traded in eridium and/or moonstones.

The jar contains fragments rumored to be the Vault of the Sentinel, opened on Elpis. Opened sometime during a period when the planet was controlled by the Dahl Corporation, there is little left of the Vault but crumbling ruins, radioactivity, and pervasive ground quakes and instability on the moon. Others still say it is simply just geologic samples from the moon, a worthless jar of space rock.























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