Imagine a not-so-distant future in which everyone is HIV+ and, sooner or later, ends up in a state-operated hospice dying of AIDS. In a broken socio-economic order, governments have been reduced to a single function: extending the lives of their citizens with anti-retroviral treatment (ART) drugs. Meanwhile, rumours have coalesced into a widespread belief in the existence of a cure for HIV that is also exchanged through bodily fluids. Sex— casual, friendly or indifferent in all its forms—offers a possible cure. Consequently, genders, sexuality and relationships have been altered drastically. Elliott lies in the hospice among the dying, his only remaining purpose: to serve as a subject for sociological and psychological research, research that is conducted via a nano-tech device to which the patient is wired. The device, called a Spade, has a two-fold purpose: to read and manifest Elliott's thoughts, along with bits of cultural detritus, into his room, and to produce a tranquilizing effect on the patient.