Chapter 10 Summary
Cinder lies on the exam table, terrified, waiting to feel the effects of the plague. She demands to know when she will receive “the pretend antidote,” but nobody responds to her question. After a while, the voice of Dr. Erland comes through the speaker, asking the med-droid for another blood sample.
The med-droid jabs Cinder’s arm yet again and she winces, thinking that the bruises from all these injections and blood samples will last for several days. Then she remembers that she will almost certainly die before the bruise has time to heal. She is shaking in fear, but she maintains her sarcastic façade. “You’re going to at least try to save my life, right?” she asks.
Instead of answering, Dr. Erland tells the med-droid to take Cinder to exam room 4-D. The android obeys immediately, pushing Cinder through the halls. She asks what is going on, but it does not answer. Hoping to befriend it—and get her hands free—she offers to oil a squeaky wheel on her exam table. The med-droid ignores her.
In exam room 4D, the med-droid releases Cinder from her restraints. When it leaves her alone, she gets up to look around. As far as Cinder can tell, there are no mirrors or cameras in the room. She looks for something heavy to use as a weapon and finds nothing—until she remembers that she has an extra wrench stashed in a hollow compartment in her cybernetic leg. She gets it out and holds it at the ready.
The door opens to admit a short, gaunt old man. His face is lined with old worries, but for now he is smiling. He introduces himself as Dr. Erland and asks her to sit down for a chat. This annoys Cinder, who points out that it is a bit late for people to start offering explanations. She reminds him that she did not volunteer to be a plague research subject, and then she raises her wrench, aiming it at his temple.
Before Cinder can take a swing, something strange happens. Her vision blurs, and her brain fills with “syrupy confusion.” A voice in her mind tells her that she does not want to hurt a friendly old man with pretty blue eyes. The orange light that signifies a lie flickers in a corner of her vision—but this makes no sense because Dr. Erland is not speaking, let alone telling a lie.
Cinder cannot make sense of the way she feels, but she cannot make herself attack Dr. Erland either. She gives up and lets her wrench fall to the floor.