Before the Telo, Julilla was a high school basketball all-star. Aggressive enough to play offense, she was usually put on defense because of her talent for rallying her team, no matter what the odds. College scouts had their eye on her and the future looked bright before the pandemic ruined everything.
Julilla didn’t mind the loss of her mother—the drug-addicted black sheep of an upstanding family that had produced teachers, ministers and small business owners for more than a century. As for her father, she was never sure which of her mother’s no-accounts was her particular sperm donor, but given her mother’s taste in men, she was just as glad not to know. It was her aunt Virginia Gail (“Veegee” to family members) who believed in her and made sure she lived up to her potential. Aunt Veegee was a lawyer with the ACLU and Julilla idolized her. That basketball scholarship was going to be Julilla’s ticket out of her mother’s self-made hell and into the world Aunt Veegee promised could be hers.
Then the Telo came.
Julilla was tempted to join the Kevorks and take out her frustration by engaging in wanton killing and destruction. But that wouldn’t have been Aunt Veegee’s way. In a stroke of blind luck, she ran into Alex Reinhardt, the guard commander for the Regents, fighting a rival gang over a case of Pop-Tarts. She helped him fend off his assailants and Alex was so impressed with her natural abilities that he wanted her for his team. He got her a position with the Regents, where she fulfilled every promise he saw in her and more.
Julilla is cynical about human nature, a survival trait that suits her as well in the post-pandemic world as it did in her mother’s chaotic household. If she has any regrets about the future the Telo took from her, she doesn’t share them. Her focus is on how to make the best of the situation in which she finds herself today.
In basketball she learned that you can be a winner even if your team goes down in defeat. If you can count on anything with Julilla, it’s that no matter what the odds, she always plays to win.
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