Before the Telo, May Ellison lived the life of a gifted science prodigy, spending nearly all her time either at her books or in a lab. Her Chinese mother and American father were dedicated chemists and it was their ambition that May follow in their footsteps. It never entered their heads that she had different ideas for her future and that she longed to be eighteen so she could enroll in art school and tell her parents to go to hell.
The pandemic gave May a freedom she never expected to have at seventeen. After assessing her options, she moved into a vacant downtown building and opened an art studio and jewelry store. Her materials were the detritus of the urban landscape—shattered glass and the plastic shards of broken signs and traffic lights. Her science background stood her in good stead when she could get the chemicals she needed to warp the edges of semaphore lenses into pendants and etch designs into bits of broken mirror.
With gold and gemstones freely available and valueless, May’s plastic necklaces and glass earrings have found a following among girls like Leila Ossarian, who have the security of a group and a high-status boyfriend, allowing time to care about fashion.
For the first time in her life, May is able to live her dreams. Now it’s her science skills instead of her art that she tries to keep secret. The past has a way of catching up with her, though, and she’s less than pleased when people start trying to draw her into the search for a Telo cure. They say they only want her to interpret some lab results, but will it really end there?