Insurgent Ch27-28

Last time as we careened around between universes, author fiat happened to make Tris do something terrible and then terribly stupid.

Today, Tris is being asocial and avoiding the celebratory funeral.

I don’t want to hear the speech Tori will make on Marlene’s behalf or be around for the toasting and the shouting as the Dauntless celebrate her life and her bravery.

Thing is, would people be acting like this? The Dauntless funerals seem to be the way they are because generally you can spin most deaths as brave, even suicide. You can always say that the person’s choice was for a valid reason after the fact. But there was no choice at all here.

That’s really what disappoints me most about the entire zombification thing. In our society, it’d be pretty horrifying and our society isn’t actually built completely around the right of people to choose how they’ll act.

And especially when the closest equivalent to this is murder, which as far as Tris knows didn’t happen. We can assume there were some murders before Erudite’s attempt to cull the divergent from the Dauntless, but we can also assume they were covered up really damn well. People who don’t even have a cultural touchstone for a person dying by regular murder should be particularly thrown by a person’s will being completely removed first.

Any talk of Marlene can’t include what’s probably the most important part of any Dauntless funeral, the last act she took to cause her death. The last act Marlene took was going to sleep.

This morning Lauren reported that we missed some of the cameras in the initiate dormitories, where Christina, Zeke, Lauren, Marlene, Hector, and Kee, the girl with the green hair, were sleeping. That’s how Jeanine figured out who the simulation was controlling. I do not doubt that Jeanine chose young Dauntless because she knew their deaths would affect us more.

There’s only six people to pick from and she took three of them. We don’t even know how many of them were hit by the darts, or if any were divergent. Odds are she took whoever she could get.

This also suggests she can’t control people at all without being able to see them. If you’d just cut the wires to the computer like I said, you’d be safe.

While Tris is hiding away from everyone, Christina comes over to say that suddenly she gets that Tris didn’t kill Will on purpose.

“I’d never seen that kind of simulation before. You know, from the outside. But yesterday …” She shakes her head. “You were right. They couldn’t hear you, couldn’t see you. Just like Will …”

One would think the part where she herself woke up holding a gun about to murder another person without being able to hear or see anything prior to that would make it a lot clearer.

But who knows! Maybe in this version that never happened either.

Tris is glad Christina now feels that way but mostly is furious she thought otherwise before. It’s as if she only just found out Christina felt this way. She tries to be nasty to Christina and makes a good showing before curling up in a ball to sob about her own imminent death, although I don’t think Christina picks up on the latter aspect of it.

All the Dauntless go quiet when I walk into the cafeteria that night. I don’t blame them. As one of the Divergent, I have the power to let Jeanine kill one of them. Most of them probably want me to sacrifice myself. Or they are terrified that I won’t.

I’m pretty sure more than half the Dauntless never even got shot. Also, why are the Dauntless the sort of people not to say this outright? When it came to harassing Tobias they were pretty on the ball, surely someone could step up to hassle Tris now.

Also, I know only Tris’ special brain lets her think like an Erudite on the rare occasions she decides to, but the Dauntless appear to have been smart enough to tell that the people were picked because the Erudite could see them on the cameras. So, no cameras, no simulation suicides.

If this were Abnegation, no Divergent would be sitting here right now.

Dunno, of all of them Abnegation seem most functional. Terrible, but most functional. The selflessness thing would mean they wouldn’t instantly jump to the needs of the many outweigh the few, because the many can’t express their own desires either, and as soon as anyone actually thought about it, it’d be obvious that it wasn’t a practical solution to the problem either, since they have no way of forcing Erudite to keep their word.

I figure it’s about fifty/fifty that either one person does go to see if Erudite will leave the others alone then no one else when it becomes clear the answer is no or that no one goes because they believe it’s better to suffer what Erudite does next than allow Erudite to get what they want.

Especially given they hate science and progress, so we don’t even need to get into the fact that Erudite is presumably going to do something evil for them to object to doing anything on Erudite’s checklist.

Then Lynn shows up.

“Um …” she says. She looks to the left, to the right, anywhere but at my face. “I really … I miss Marlene. I’ve known her for a long time, and I …” She shakes her head. “The point is, don’t think that my saying this means anything about Marlene,” she says, like she’s scolding me, “but … thank you for saving Hec.”

I think the author was aiming for something that’s the complete opposite of what we actually got. I hope it was supposed to be that Lynn is both upset her friend is dead and happy her brother(?) lived. What it actually comes out as is, of course, that Lynn is glad Marlene died instead of Hec.

Marlene was the one in the relationship Marlene was upset about, right? God, I hope this doesn’t resolve with Lynn fucking Marlene’s boyfriend now that Marlene’s boyfriend.

Tris then heads cautiously to the table of her friends, where Marlene’s boyfriend is looking messed up and currently drinking. But apparently not over Marlene:

“But if you’re wondering why they’re all the way over there … Shauna found out I’m Divergent,” says Uriah sluggishly. “And she doesn’t want to catch it.”
“Oh.”
“She got all weird with me, too,” says Zeke, sighing. “‘How do you know your brother isn’t working against us? Have you been watching him?’ What I wouldn’t give to punch whoever poisoned her mind.”

I think we may have wobbled all the way into a coherent storyline! Clearly, this takes place where the Erudite sleeper agents, like Eric, are confirmed divergents, and instead of murdering everyone, Erudite first tried to recruit the divergent and only murdered the few who refused. (Bonus: it’s a hell of a lot easier to secretly murder people when it’s a couple.) Since they’re all clever and shit, maybe they even had this whole clever plan where they exerted subtle pressures to make the factions worse, into tighter and tighter caricatures of themselves, to ensure that divergents would be dissatisfied and more willing to listen to Erudite’s offer.

When all this comes out, the remaining divergents are looked upon with suspicion, and the claims that Erudite killed other divergents seems less plausible and more self-serving – especially if there aren’t any clear records now of who was or wasn’t, so they have only Tobias’ claim the others were divergent.

Anyway, Zeke’s statements are just empty bluster, since Uriah points out that the mom who told her kids this is right there. I’d think Dauntless wouldn’t have much empty bluster – to say something and then not do it makes you a coward, doesn’t it?

Incidentally, Shauna the avoiding them is in a wheelchair because I guess Dauntless do have those, but presumably they’re supposed to be for temporary injuries. Come to think of it, is a broken back even permanent? We know the magic goo being used on Tris’ injury causes cell growth, and the only reason spine injuries are forever is because the spine nerves won’t grow back.

Tris then heads to Tobias, who apparently also is Erudite-qualifying:

“I’m going to ask you not to make any decisions until we’ve talked about it.”

He doesn’t even bother talking to her about if she feels upset, he goes right to the fact she’s obviously about to do something stupid because of that and to please not. Tris, sadly, barely registers this and just informs the reader that she has already decided on being an idiot.

Uriah then jumps in to say the shocking thing that maybe doing exactly what Erudite asks isn’t the best idea and what if they attack instead.

“Yeah,” I say hollowly, “let’s provoke the woman who can force half of this compound to kill themselves. That sounds like a great idea.”

She obviously can’t, though. If she could make half the compound kill themselves, she could make half the compound kill the other half.

Tris then informs them that The best way to ensure that half our faction doesn’t die is to sacrifice one life.” because gosh, Erudite’s been just the trustworthiest!

I don’t know what I expected. Maybe that Uriah, who knows too well what will happen if one of us does not go, would volunteer himself. But he looks down. Unwilling.

So I guess the author’s trying to sell this as Tris’ plan being actual self-sacrifice that just no one else is willing to do as opposed to as pointless as it is insane. I thought is was just the natural final stage of how the book keeps telling us Tris is suicidal and it was meant to be what all the warnings were building toward.

“Tori and Harrison and I decided to increase security. Hopefully if everyone is more aware of these attacks, we will be able to stop them,”

I’m torn.

On the one hand, it seems like it’s pretty easy. Lock the door to the roof so they can’t do dramatic roof jumps. On the other, they all should’ve been totally capable of blowing their own heads off with the guns that presumably cover every inch of Dauntless HQ, so I don’t see what stops Erudite from using any of the other million unsafe aspects of Dauntless for some suiciding.

If they have any locks, though, they should be able to lock stuff up and just tell everyone the code. They can even write the password next to the lock. The Erudite presumably have the floorplans, so if they see anyone they can then direct them wherever, but as long as there’s no camera actually on the lock they can’t give that order.

Tobias says that they’re going to try just keeping better watch and not to do anything before that’s tried, so Tris lies and agrees. Tris is being increasingly terrible, and it’s really not helping by the fact that she’s acting like she’s just being pragmatic here. If there was more self-loathing, she could be thinking that really Tobias will be better off without her and he just doesn’t realize it yet, which is a pretty sympathetic reason for deciding you should lie to your boyfriend about your suicide plans, but instead she’s being smug about how only she knows what’s necessary.

For some reason she walks by the place where she almost got murdered last book by Al and Peter, so she gets upset and goes to Tobias’ apartment to cuddle his blankets, and then he shows up and says he knows she’s really planning to go to Erudite, rightfully identifying her plan as that of an idiot.

You know as well as I do that this is the right thing to do.”
“You choose this moment to act like the Abnegation?”

I guess this is taking place in one of the alternates where Tobias doesn’t spend chapter upon chapter explaining how she’s actually acting Abnegation in her bravery.

His voice fills the room and makes fear prickle in my chest. His anger seems too sudden. Too strange.

Given the reality jumping, yes, I guess it is weird that Tobias acts exactly like he does every other time he gets angry.

“All that time you spent insisting that you were too selfish for them, and now, when your life is on the line, you’ve got to be a hero? What’s wrong with you?”

The obvious?

I mean, come on. First she’s acting more reckless after both her parents die and she kills a friend, and justifies it by saying they’re necessary risks to help others. Now she’s acting completely suicidal after another friend dies and she chooses to save someone else instead, and going on about how necessary it is. This should be the moment Tobias figures out the last bits of what’s going on.

But apparently he’s too busy being self-centered:

“You’re too important to just … die.”

“I’m not important. Everyone will do just fine without me,” I say.
“Who cares about everyone? What about me?”

This is the sort of argument you make when there is no other justification. It’s admitting that yes, this is the right line of action, but you want someone different to do it so it won’t affect your own life so much. He’s even more of an idiot than he accused Tris of being. How hard is it to point out that Tris’ actions are not actually going to save everyone?

Anyway, they kiss and start groping each other, and Tobias pauses midway through to ask her to promise she won’t go. She lies again and this time it seems he doesn’t realize it.

Next chapter, she gets up after he falls asleep. She puts on a sweatshirt of his, which implies she’s otherwise fully dressed and they totally didn’t just have sex, which I find hard to believe especially with her whole fatalism thing. Then she heads over to Christina to tell her something super important:

The timing of the simulation attack wasn’t random. The reason it happened when it did is because the Abnegation were about to do something—I don’t know what it was, but it had to do with some important information, and now Jeanine has that information….”

Huh, that’s actually plot relevant. I mean, assuming we still have a plot in this iteration. Unfortunately, this just raises a different objection, namely, why the fuck has Tris been acting like this is a secret? Why not tell Dauntless?

Instead, she continues whispering all the stuff she currently knows to Christina, while thinking stupid shit like:

I had almost forgotten—she was under the simulation. How many Abnegation did she kill, guided by the simulation? How did she feel when she awoke from that dream a murderer? I have never asked, and I never will.

Maybe this is all supposed to be a point about how technical capability is meaningless because you can always deliberately choose to reject whatever faction virtue you please, and that’s why Tris is absurdly self-centered and actively avoids thinking about things on the rare moments that fails. If Tris was taking the Erudite initiation, she’d flunk out at whatever the equivalent of the Dauntless’ triumphant run down the stairs is, just digging her heels in and refusing to do anything that involved thought or curiosity or awareness of the world around her unless someone explained to her (and in small words) why there was a point to it.

What also strikes me is how this bit reminds me a lot of last book’s statement about Christina and how Tris could never see her again or else she’d learn about Will’s murder.

Anyway, Tris finishes passing on the information and Christina, also being more intelligent than Tris, promptly realizes Tris sounds like she’s going off to die. Tris promptly lies about how she’s only going to visit her brother and, as Christina presumably never was in Candor in whatever reality this story is, it works. Then she leaves.

The cool air prickles in my lungs on the way in, and on the way out unfurls in a cloud of vapor. Winter will be here soon.

WE KNOW WHAT TIME OF YEAR IT IS NOW~!

Also, apparently global warming has been one hell of a thing, since she’s outside in just a sweatshirt at night while saying this.

I wonder if Erudite and Dauntless will still be at a standstill then, waiting for one group to obliterate the other. I’m glad I won’t have to see it.

Confirmation this is a matter of being suicidal.

Tris then hurries along, not wanting anyone to catch her. It doesn’t occur to her that since she never officially leaves for Erudite, Erudite can just say she never showed up and continue trying to fish for any idiot who thinks turning themselves in will actually stop the deaths. Good plan, Tris. You really thought this out.

Soon I reach a part of the city that I recognize. The streets are better kept here, swept clean, with few holes.

sooooooooo does Erudite fix their own roads? Do all factions fix their own roads and Abnegation’s big road-fixing push was specifically for shared roads no one faction had? Or where they fixing everybody’s equally as they reached the next section, but some were also getting repaired by their own faction and had less to fix?

Far away I see the glow of Erudite headquarters, their lights violating our energy conservation laws.

So now we know what’s up with that! I like my outdated laws based on fear of being seen by plane idea better, but hey, worldbuilding. I guess they are resource strapped after all.

Although Erudite has super solar panels, so they really don’t need to conserve energy. They could probably cut themselves off the grid entirely without a problem.

Tremors go through my body now that I am close, making it difficult to walk. Breathing is tricky too; I stop trying to be quiet, and let air wheeze in and out of my lungs. What will they do with me when I get there? What plans do they have for me before I outlive my usefulness, and they kill me?

Tris seems to Just Know that the plan isn’t just to kill whatever people show up. She also doesn’t seem to have gone to the obvious “they’re going to torture me for the names of everybody who’s divergent/untagged” option, despite being there when the Erudite said that was their plan. Also, they’re going to drop you in a deathtrap when they kill you, again.

Inside, crowds of blue-shirted people sit around tables, typing on computers or bent over books or passing sheets of paper back and forth. Some of them are decent people who do not understand what their faction has done, but if their entire building collapsed in on them before my eyes, I might not find it in myself to care.

This isn’t even like, Nazis. They’re a group of a few hundred people, they all know what’s up. You can’t say that some people are running the genocide and the others have no idea why groups of people keep disappearing to the sound of gunshots.

Tris says she wants to go back but the guilt, which thankfully doesn’t include Al’s life this time around so we’ve out of whatever fucked up universe that was at least, demands she go kill herself like an idiot.

For a second after my feet touch the wood floors, and I stand before the giant portrait of Jeanine Matthews hung on the opposite wall, no one notices me, not even the two Dauntless traitor guards milling around near the entry-way. I walk up to the front desk, where a middle-aged man with a bald patch on the crown of his head sits, sorting through a stack of paper. I set my hands on the desk.
“Excuse me,” I say.
“Give me a moment,” he says without looking up.

Tris could’ve shot so many people.

Hell, even a few throwing knives if she still won’t use a gun. The two blue Dauntless, then this guy, then whoever shows up next…She could get a decent set of kills in before they drag her off.

When the guy looks at her, he’s terrified, but it doesn’t seem it’s because he actually recognizes her, and the blue Dauntless don’t recognize her either. Again, this is not a huge community and it’s one that has perfectly good photograph technology, they would have shown what the face of the person who fucked up their plan last time looked like.

Then Peter shows up.

A thousand potential reactions, ranging from launching myself at Peter’s throat to crying to making some kind of joke, rush through my mind at once. I can’t decide on one. So I stand still and watch him.

See how good throwing knives would’ve been? I can’t believe he’s still alive, it’s infuriating.

So they take her to a tiny cell with a camera.

I breathe in, and don’t breathe out. My father once told me it was a cure for hiccups. I asked him if I could die from holding my breath.
“No,” he said. “Your body’s instincts will take over, and force you to breathe.”
A shame, really. I could use a way out.

See, if you weren’t stupid and took knives with you, you would!

I have to make a plan. If I can make a plan, I won’t be so afraid. But there is no plan. No escape from deep in Erudite headquarters, no escape from Jeanine, and no other escape from what I’ve done.

Well if you’re FUCKING PLANNED IN ADVANCE maybe this wouldn’t be such a problem.

Also if ANYONE ELSE KNEW YOU WERE HERE.

I mean, god, this could’ve actually worked! Erudite can hack into Dauntless cameras, if you’d taken the Erudite defectors they could have hacked into Erudite cameras (hell, those probably are behind, like, “password” or something because Erudite assume no one else is clever enough to even try) and be keeping an eye on you and trying to find out what Erudite’s current plan for the divergent is. Most obvious is they’re making yet another stab at controlling everyone because it’ll make their takeover of the factionless easier. Factionless, as largest, most divergent, least centralized and most suspicious, is going to be really difficult to wipe out.

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