Case, protagonist of the the story, used to be one of the best hackers in the business. This went to his head and he reached to high into something he shouldn’t have, resulting in him being crippled.
Drug and substance use is a recurring element through out the story. In the beginning Case uses it cope with being crippled, but even later once he’s healed he turns to substances again. Substance abuse, or any dangerous habit, can sometimes be disguised as beautiful or glamorous. Like a colorful poisonous animal.
Case is a hacker and his final job brings him against a powerful AI. This climactic scene has the most beautiful writing in the story. This final action feels like a wild dragon ride into the mind of Case and of the artificial intelligence.
By the end of the story Case has changed. He’s moved past his old self, self harm, substance abuse, and the deep self loathing in the beginning of the story. Case can live with himself and who he’s become.