I know I’m late to the party and I only saw Black Panther this week but I imagine that one day Shuri’s at the outreach center and one of the kids goes up to her and tells her all about this one girl in his class whose always making these “science things” and Shuri asks him why he doesn’t bring her to the center because she’d love to meet her. The kid’s a little ashamed and a little scared because the girl’s bullied by some of the more popular kids and they call her names and those kids are just weirded out by her.
Shuri’s determined to invite this girl to the outreach center.
So one afternoon she waits outside the elementary school and then she spots this group of kids yelling something and Shuri can’t quite make it out just yet but as she gets closer the words become clearer: “Moon Girl! Moon Girl! Moon Girl!” And they’re yelling these words at a little black girl with pigtails.
And Shuri sees herself at 9 years old. Too smart for her own good. Teased by some of the boys. And carrying something she made.
And protecting that thing for dear life.
Shuri chases off the boys and immediately asks the little girl about the object in her hands.
“It is not nothing,” Shuri replies. “Because I can see it, observe it. It exists. So you can tell me what it is.”
The girl goes into a detailed explanation of how the thing works and Shuri’s just about on the edge of understanding the tech. It’s a device to send communications through hyperspace. She knows that in theory, it works, but there’s no way to power it. She doesn’t want to run it at home because it would probably shut down Oakland’s power grid.
Shuri has an idea.
They go to the outreach center and Shuri invites the girl behind the “Staff Only” door, into her exclusive development lab. She keeps a tiny stash of vibranium in the lab (for emergencies, she tells Nakia, and then Nakia rolls her eyes and gives a lecture on how much shit would go down if that stash ever got stolen). But Shuri is careful. She has biometric locks on everything and nothing in the lab works without her kimoyo beads.
Shuri asks the girl how much power the device needs and adjusts the vibranium accordingly. Meanwhile the girl’s staring at EVERYTHING. There are gauntlets with panther heads on one table. On another, a computer screen displaying plans for what seem to be nanites.
The device works! But the vibranium overpowers the communicator and it accidentally opens up a portal to a primeval realm, and something huge and scaly and red stomps out.
And that is how Lunella Lafayette gains Shuri as a mentor and also meets the Devil Dinosaur.