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If I remember my first readthrough right, this is a Sulla-heavier chapter.

Al’s visiting the city and getting future shock at all the cyberpunk on display.

Oh so the “robot as trans” metaphor is getting developed hard with a discussion of passing - both for robots and for trans girls. Oh gosh. Um. I may need a moment?

Flashbacks:

This is an alternate history if that wasn’t already clear. This AI stuff is taking place in 2002. I’m glad it’s not putting up a pretense at ‘realistic’ science fiction.

We briefly meet a character called Lucille. She’s got extensive prosthetics, much more high-tech than the ones we have IRL.

She’s like “don’t let Al hold you back Brendan” which I’m pretty sure is a red herring. I would be very surprised if it’s Brendan who killed Al.

We also meet another research called Maggie.

Back in the present… Al is encouraging Sulla to socialise and Sulla feeling unable to approach anyone in the way she is… it’s a super #relatable trans/social anxiety feel, gosh.

Al has some really solid reassurance. Thanks Al <3

It’s really cool how there are both so many similarities and so many differences between Sulla and Al.

So a pretty solid depiction of trans shit and I’m glad the author knows what she’s doing with these metaphors here (even if eyeroll at the “trans*” thing - I’m glad that’s finally gone away.)

Flashback to what Al and Brendan created. Basically a non-invasive mind uploading system that takes only a minute to work, and compact simulated brain. This is… ridiculously impossible ahaha. But it’s cool.

Brendan is a very good showman. Also the audience member invited for the demonstration is a lesbian, approval.

Commentators have deduced Al is probably dying of sickness because they both knew he was going to die, and that this display at the show is the first time he considers transhumanist brain uploading as a solution. That makes a lot of sense to me.

Gosh I’m loving Sulla’s struggles with social anxiety here. Fortunately the girl who noticed before is willing to help get her talking. And her friends totally ship them and Sulla gets to show she’s a massive robotics nerd and awwwww

my little gay heart, fuck

These two are just too gay for their own good :>

We learn how Al died. It was a disease. It sounds like neither he nor Brendan knew about it?

Anyway the girl Sulla was getting gay with is called Ty, but she says Sulla can call her Titus. Earlier she thought Sulla’s name might be a classical reference, and her own name definitely is. Maybe she’s trans too? That would be cool. Her friends are Neesha, Ruqiyo and Erika.

The title/quote-end chapter, also referenced in Brendan’s speech, is from Turing.