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Chapter 13 Summary

Cinder is busy talking with Dr. Erland. He explains that the surgeons who made her a cyborg must have been the best in the world. Many female cyborgs are infertile because of complications with the operation, but Cinder’s reproductive system is perfect, unscathed. On the other hand, many other parts are altered. Her eyes, for example, lack tear ducts.

Cinder is fully aware that she cannot cry, and she has long been annoyed by this because she wishes she could express emotions more like other people do. She tells Dr. Erland that she is “incapable of blushing” as well. He seems surprised by this, so she explains that her mechanical parts cool her down rapidly whenever she feels any strong emotion. Dr. Erland finds this fascinating. He thinks it must prevent her system from overheating.

While studying the bioscan, Cinder notices the strange device that is fused to her spine. She asks about it, and Dr. Erland says that his assistants asked the same thing. He suggests that it might be for “a glitch.” Cinder scowls, unsettled by the idea that she may have glitches like a machine.

Changing the subject, Cinder asks how long it takes her body to rid itself of letumosis. She is still worried that she is responsible for infecting Peony, and Dr. Erland’s answer does not assuage her fears. He says that Cinder’s body probably gets rid of the letumosis pathogens faster after each exposure. This time, it only took twenty minutes, but in the past it may have taken hours or even days. 

Dr. Erland turns his attention back to Cinder and her immunity. He says that he has a few theories about her, and he promises to explain more to her after he examines her blood samples. In the meantime, he wants to learn more about the strange device on her spine. “Do you mind if I try something?” he asks.

Reluctantly, Cinder allows Dr. Erland to place his fingers on a spot on the back of her neck. She asks what he is planning to do, but he does not explain. He says to speak up if she feels anything out of the ordinary. As it happens, being touched is out of the ordinary for Cinder. She is about to say so when he suddenly presses hard on her neck. Her body is overcome by “fire and pain.” She falls off the examining table and passes out.