Cinder dreams about the night of her surgery; she feels as though she is on fire as surgeons attach her prostheses. But this time, in her dream, she is surrounded by letumosis victims who are all in agony—including Peony. Then, suddenly, she can open her eyes, and in a mirror on the wall, she sees herself without her gloves and boots; she thinks that she is essentially a machine. From behind a wall, Dr. Erland talks to Cinder, asking her to cooperate. Cinder protests that she didn’t sign up for the research.
Cinder’s dream illustrates her selflessness and her desire to help society. Even though she’s not willingly partaking in the research, she’s still haunted by those, like Peony, who are suffering from the disease. Additionally, the mirror on the wall symbolizes Cinder confronting the truth about her identity. As much as she tries to hide her cyborg parts, she understands that they are a reflection of who she truly is.
An android unlatches the back of Cinder’s control panel and inserts two prongs there, scanning her brain. There’s no pain, but she squirms at the invasion inside her head. Next, Dr. Erland tells her that a med-droid is going to inject her with a diluted solution of letumosis, against which they will test the most recent batch of antibodies that they’ve developed. Cinder tries to resist, but she has nowhere to go as they inject her with the antibodies.
Cinder’s resistance to the invasion in her head reinforces how upsetting it can be to be manipulated and controlled. Even though this experiment isn’t physically painful for Cinder, it does violate her privacy and bodily autonomy. And all of this discomfort is happening simply because being a cyborg means she’s seen as expendable—if Cinder were fully human rather than a cyborg, she wouldn’t be used as a test subject.