Insurgent Ch44-46

Last time, the continued mandatory winnowing of the team.
I see a rectangle in the wall to my left, and another one in the wall to my right. Just two doors.
“We have to split up,” I say. “We don’t have time to try each one together.”

In the time it ends up taking them to discuss this, they probably could’ve poked their heads into both.

Also, Marcus suggests torture would be a good idea when she actually finds Jeanine and Tris doesn’t seem to care.

I hear a calm, feminine voice: “Beatrice Prior, second generation. Faction of origin: Abnegation. Selected faction: Dauntless. Confirmed Divergent.”
How does this room know who I am?
And what does “second generation” mean?

So, seems I was right in my estimation of three generations, but that they start counting at “generations born under the faction system” which would fit well with the fact presumably this was a social experiment and the founders were more setting things up than actually part of it.

Of course, that fits poorly with Tris’ mom’s recounting of how her own mother warned her away from Dauntless because the divergent witchhunt was already on, but expecting one line to build upon the next is clearly not an option by this point.

Anyway, Tris, it knows because facial recognition or because you have a transmitter in you already since if Jeanine mastered permanent ones I see no reason why she’d bother giving you a fresh one each time.

Serum vapor sprays.

I now stand in darkness so complete that when I hold my hand in front of my nose, I can’t even see its silhouette. I should walk forward and search for a door on the other side of the room, but I am afraid to move—who knows what would happen to me here if I did?

Nothing because you’re in a simulation. Dammit, Tris.

Most charitably, she’s scared of what she’ll face in the simulation, but you’re fucking Dauntless, do it anyway.

Speaking of, then she finds herself in the Dauntless gladiatorial arena training room.

I have so many mixed memories of this circle, some triumphant, like beating Molly, and some haunting— Peter punching me until I fell unconscious.

At least we haven’t yet wandered into an alternate universe where Tris feels bad about committing violence. That’s something.

“You have five minutes to reach the blue door before the poison will kick in.”
“What?”
But I know what she said. Poison. Five minutes. I shouldn’t be surprised; this is Jeanine’s work, just as empty of conscience as she is.

What, seriously?

I mean, yes, it’s certainly Jeanine’s work, in that it’s a convoluted death trap. Indeed, perhaps we can now suppose that the fact the drowning tank was relatively inescapable was a sign it was a group affair with the other Erudite and left to her own devices Jeanine would’ve left some bizarre weak point whose only purpose is to allow a sufficiently clever hero to escape.

But why is it particularly evil? It’s a delayed poison for no reason, we don’t even know what it does (“poison” is not actually a synonym for “certain death”), and on top of that, there’s a way to make it not kick in at all.

Between her and the door is another her.

If Jeanine designed this, it is probably a test of intelligence or logic, which means I will have to think clearly

Unless she designed it to keep her fellow Erudite out of her space, in which case a smart person would set up the trap to look like intelligence or logic was the solution. (Remember that potion logic puzzle back in the first Harry Potter? Imagine if Snape had set it so they’re all poison and the correct answer was to pour them on the fire or press the hidden button or something. Anyone who actually needs to get through, you just fucking tell them how to get through. Anyone who tries to get through on their own is screwed.)

Luckily, Tris is clearly not actually intelligent or logical, because if she was she’d remember she’s in a simulation and can just wake up.

Instead, she feels out her opponent and realizes that alt-Tris fights just like real Tris (I would personally guess that it’s having Tris think about how she’d stop someone who did exactly what she did, so she could probably concuss her way to victory here, or if she’s suddenly decided making her brain stop working outright isn’t a good idea, try to be super confident and believe X offensive move is unstoppable.) Therefore, she logics, she must do a thing she would not do.

I sprint toward the edge of the circle, where there is a table. A moment ago, it was empty, but I know the rules of simulations and how to control them.

That is not relevant. Knowing how to break out of them is relevant. Do the relevant thing, Tris.

This makes me think Jeanine did in fact crack the divergent problem, because Tris has completely accepted the scenario and that presumably is the difference between lucid dreaming superpowers and the regular mundane non-divergents.

Both Tris get a gun, but alt-Tris isn’t motivated as much as real-Tris because real-Tris has a goal, except that for them to be proper mirrors you’d expect alt-Tris to act like stopping real-Tris is just as life or death, but anyway real Tris struggles and forces herself to shoot herself.

Honestly, in isolation it’s a pretty good scene. There’s a good fight and a character development resolution.

Then Will is back, his eyes simulation-dead, his hair a yellow halo around his head. Brick buildings loom from each side, but behind him is the door, the door that separates me from my father and brother. No, no, it is the door that separates me from Jeanine and my goal. I have to get through that door. I have to.
I lift the gun, though it hurts my shoulder to do it, and wrap one hand around the other to steady it.
“I …” I choke, and tears smear my cheeks, run into my mouth. I taste salt. “I’m sorry.”
And I do the one thing my double is unable to do, because she is not desperate enough:
I fire.

But there’s absolutely no reason for any of it.

The is a fantasy trope. In fantasy, it absolutely makes sense to have a magic spell in a room that creates a doppelganger, since that’s a great way to counter any conceivable attacker. It makes just as much sense for defeating that doppelganger to mean you get to pass to the next room, because you just killed the only thing stopping you from doing so.

But not only does it make no sense as a counter when, say, Jeanine could’ve stuck her in a simulation of a door with a keypad (thus ensuring you actually have to enter the code and can’t just shoot it with a gun) or, given this isn’t simply Jeanine’s over the top lock but a system that only engaged after identifying it was Tris the intruder, regular deadly poison.

You know what might be interesting? If they don’t have any regular deadly poison. It’s obvious that the transmitters were outside technology designed to fall apart, because transmitters do not naturally do this, so Jeanine was presumably trying to reverse engineer her way to find the trigger and stop it or else had to reinvent the transmitters from scratch. Perhaps, for similarly inscrutable reasons, they were only given access to poison that takes a while to kick in, and the simulation is just there to give it time to kick in.

Which still doesn’t deal with the part where there’s a way out. The only rational answer is that going through the door doesn’t let you out of the simulation. You could even say it’s foreshadowed by Tris’ comment that she has to be logical about this, followed by fighting her double instead of wondering what the point of this is.

Tris returns to reality and promptly fails to see if she can blow stuff up with her mind and actually verify it’s reality. She does find Jeanine’s stalker wall of divergent photographs. Also, she finds Tori in the process of murdering Jeanine. Tris attempts to intervene on the basis that computers are hard and she wants Jeanine to do it (personally, I’d think Jeanine also had a self-destruct password she’d give anyone who demanded access) and does not explain that she’s not intervening in a general sense but in a “kill her but five minutes later, and also I guess our society is a-okay with torture so you can help with that!” sense.

“I can’t explain it right now, but

Let us add this to the list of statements that make the “but” pointless and show you’re just wasting everyone’s time. And like “I’m not an *ist, but…” means you totally are, she totally can explain and is just insisting otherwise to annoy people, primarily the reader.

Strangely, Tori is not convinced by “I can’t explain and also Jeanine is suddenly agreeing and saying she’s unkillable because she knows secrets” and assumes Tris, being a fucking moron, has just been tricked. It does seem the most likely option, especially when Tris has failed to explain she’s not hear because Jeanine said stuff to trick her but because Marcus said stuff (probably to trick her, but Tori wouldn’t know that).

“Nothing is more important than her death.”
“If that’s what you insist upon believing,” I say, “I can’t help you. But I’m also not going to let you kill her.”

Gaze upon Tris continuing to not explain she doesn’t mean keep Jeanine alive forever, just she needs five minutes to find the important data and then you can have all the death you want.

“I am a Dauntless leader,” she says. “You don’t get to decide what I do.”

It’s almost like refusing to be one was a fucking stupid decision, Tris.

Tried of all this un-Dauntless talkytalk, Tori just starts stabbing. Jeanine is dead.

I feel numb.
All the risks I took to get here—conspiring with Marcus, asking the Erudite for help, crawling across a ladder three stories up, shooting myself in a simulation—and all the sacrifices I made—my relationship with Tobias, Fernando’s life, my standing among the Dauntless—were for nothing.
Nothing.

Yeah, all you have is access to the computer with the data on it. Time to give up.

By the way, you only fucked up your relationship with Tobias by going behind his back, as getting the Abnegation data was not, in itself, going against anybody. Even preserving Erudite data shouldn’t have been a big deal, especially when Tobias respects the values of all the factions, or did last book anyway who knows about right now.

Speaking of Tobias, he and Uriah show up and Tori says Tris is a traitor who defended Jeanine.

“I trusted you,” he says, his body shaking with rage. “I trusted you and you abandoned me to work with him?”
“No.” I shake my head. “He told me something, and everything my brother said, everything Jeanine said while I was in Erudite headquarters, fit perfectly with what he told me. And I wanted—I needed to know the truth.”
“The truth.” He snorts. “You think you learned the truth from a liar, a traitor, and a sociopath?”
“The truth?” says Tori. “What are you talking about?”

Time to finally explain!

Haha no she doesn’t.

Tris has plenty of time to speak, but decides she should spend that time on a couple’s fight.

She actually has some good points.

“I think that you are the liar!” I say, my voice quaking. “You tell me you love me, you trust me, you think I’m more perceptive than the average person. And the first second that belief in my perceptiveness, that trust, that love is put to the test, it all falls apart.” I am crying now, but I am not ashamed of the tears shining on my cheeks or the thickness of my voice. “So you must have lied when you told me all those things … you must have, because I can’t believe your love is really that feeble.”

Okay, melodramatic, but not only is she a teen but one who’s never been in any relationship before and then put through several emotional ringers, so she’s actually pretty low-key here. And the point she raises about him saying he values her perception and then consistently ignoring it is a very good one.

She yells a bit more, still without explaining anything to the person who thinks she’s a traitor, until Tori is all “okay so we’re arresting you now”.

For the first time the Dauntless’s disregard for age does not seem like an opportunity. It seems like the thing that will condemn me. They will not say, But she’s young; she must have been confused. They will say, She is an adult, and she made her choice.

This is really annoying. It’s consistent with the constant “little girl” bullshit we never needed, but so fucking stupid in every other way. Sixteen is when you pick what faction you live and breathe the rest of your life. Sixteen is when they judge you worthy to enter it.

(If the book wasn’t a blank white haze where worldbuilding would be, the fact only some of the initiations can be failed could be a good jumping-off point for which factions believe sixteen is adult and which have come to extend the childhood period. Dauntless and Erudite are clearly in the sixteen is an adult camp (Erudite just doesn’t kick you out, you’re still locked into whatever your score was), Abnegation is clearly not, Amity probably isn’t although we know nothing of their initiation so they could have something to try to bait people into violence or just have a very low tolerance for slipups during initiation. Candor, while they don’t have a failable test as far as we know, does demand adhering to a particular behavior and clearly thinks sixteen year olds are able to live up to it, so I’d put them closer to the sixteen-is-adult than not.)

I’m not entirely sure if the “confused” bit is a general statement or Tris thinking the only possible out would be if people believed she was tricked into doing this on false information, which would suggest all the factions are pretty brutal if being tricked isn’t considered a valid excuse if you’re older.

“Give me your gun, Uriah,” says Therese. “Someone needs to be able to shoot potential belligerents, and you can’t do it if you’re keeping her from falling down the stairs.”
Uriah surrenders his gun without question. I frown—Therese already has a gun, so why did it matter for him to give his?

So that’ll be important? May just be that she can tell Uriah appears to be on Tris’ side here and wants to be sure he doesn’t try anything stupid.

Beyond are some traumatized Candor. Uriah says the attackers shot them to get in, so lots are dead now. Bear in mind they could’ve just thrown a rock ahead of them six times and then walked in.

At least some of Christina’s family survived, and Peter and his mom are alive, because he will not fucking die.

Beyond, the army has smashed the computers and burned the books. You’re going to die of dysentery.

Caleb is in the captured Erudite group, as is Christina which is odd because all she was doing was being Dauntless while in Erudite territory. I guess she was wearing Erudite colors for practical reasons and as the bookshelves show they’ve dedicated themselves to being idiots so either they can’t understand that or they view the fact it was a good idea as a sign she’s an Erudite in spirit.

“How’s your leg?”
“Fine. Cara said it’ll be fine; it’s not bleeding too much. One of the Erudite nurses stuffed some pain meds and antiseptic and gauze into her pockets before they took her down here, so it doesn’t hurt too bad either,” she says.

So apparently they’re denying prisoners medical care.

“Where’s Marcus?”
“Dunno,” I say. “We had to split up. He should be down here. Unless they killed him or something.”
“I wouldn’t be that surprised, honestly,” she says.

I’d be flabbergasted. And while we’re long past the point I’d forgive this book, I’d definitely hate it less.

Finally, Tobias shows up and Tris is all fuck, my barely coherent tirade did not convince him of the facts! He’s here to menace Caleb into turning off Jeanine’s security system.

“So that the factionless can access her computer.”
And destroy it, I think

It is interesting that he did not actually say that, and also, the people in the room could easily have destroyed it on their own. It’s a computer. It’s just not that hard to ruin.

“Jeanine activated all the Dauntless transmitters, you know,” Christina says. “One of the factionless groups got ambushed by simulation-controlled Dauntless, coming late from the Abnegation sector about ten minutes ago. I guess the factionless won, though I don’t know how you call shooting a bunch of brain-dead people winning.”

When they’re the people who used to police your sector and presumably abuse your defenseless faction? Then it’s not hard at all.

Also, everyone deserves what they get for not realizing Jeanine would do the most obvious thing she could possibly do. This all could’ve been prevented if only you’d bothered to do anything to protect those people, like locking them up beforehand. Jeanine might have tried ordering them to kill each other out of sheer spite, but even at worst, having all of them kill themselves is better than having them take out a few others before all being killed.

Tris recounts her adventure into high fantasy.

“Wait,” she says. “It was a simulation? Without a transmitter?”
I frown. I hadn’t bothered to wonder about that. Especially not at the time. “If the laboratory recognizes people, maybe it also knows data about everyone, and can present a corresponding simulated environment depending on your faction.”

So it appears the transmitter is solely to tell it how you’re reacting so it knows what to send next.

Also, Tris was injected with the same transmitter everyone else was, and then Jeanine either used that one or injected extra ones in while she was trying to figure out how divergent resistance worked. She has between one and dozens of transmitters.

“Or the poison somehow contains a transmitter.”
I hadn’t thought of that.

Unless this is all trying to lead up to “you were in a simulation ever since Jeanine last injected you while cackling about how this time it’d work” I don’t care and even if you think there’s a point, it’s going to be stupid so again, don’t care.

Also I just reread the scene and there is no distinct poisoning bit, unless maybe the blue mist that was obviously serum given every time anything is colored it’s serum was supposed to be assumed to be poison and this exchange is because they’re confused why a simulation happened after obviously a simulation serum was sprayed into the air.

I know the question of where an editor is comes up a lot, but here is a different sort of thing that you’d expect anyone proofreading to pick up on. Nothing about that scene suggested poison, especially when the first thing that happens after it is the simulation followed by the statement she’s been poisoned followed by eventually the poison slowly kicking in and then disappearing when she gets through, which also sounds more like the poison never existed at all and was just a function of the simulation.

Any halfway competent person reading this should’ve noticed the problem and asked for something out in to clarify, even if it’s just Tris thinking the blue vapor must have been poison.

“But how did Tori get past it? She’s not Divergent.”
I tilt my head. “I don’t know.”

What the hell? Nothing about it required you to be divergent. Tris in particular chose to summon a gun, but that armed her double so it was the phobia, not the divergent room control, that actually did it, or more broadly her insistence that she was simply more motivated. Tori was motivated as fuck. Hell, there’s even the fact the whole doppelganger section establishes defense is better than offense and then Tori stabs right past Tris’ defense.

Instead, this makes Tris decide that Tori probably was divergent given her brother was, so Caleb is maybe? I feel like someone mentioned that.

Then Lynn comes down, badly hurt. Why is she being brought down here at all? Uriah orders one of the Erudite doctors to fix her.

The doctor peels Lynn’s shirt back from her stomach. The bullet wound itself is just a round, red circle in Lynn’s skin, but surrounding it is what looks like a bruise. I have never seen a bruise that dark.

Internal bleeding! Good book remembering that’s an option.

The doctor explains the Erudite hospital floor is too on fire for them to help her, and Lynn will be dead before they can bring her anywhere else. (Wouldn’t a transfusion keep her alive? You’d think all Dauntless would know their blood type by heart, Erudite probably do too, and there must be some uninjured people to leech off.)

“Uri, listen. I loved her too. I did.”
“You loved who?” he says, his voice breaking.
“Marlene,” says Lynn.

LOOK THIS TIME GAY PEOPLE SURVIVED THE SERIES OF UNEXPLAINED DISASTERS!

Only to die tragically after being ignored by their crush but they existed for an instant! A shining instant! A very very very brief shining instant!

“Yeah, we all loved Marlene,” he says.
“No, that’s not what I mean.” She shakes her head. She closes her eyes.

Society at large does not appear to have known of their existence, though, so presumably that’s the last we’ll hear of that. Then again, that means no homophobia to go with the gay person, so I dunno, maybe it’s an okay tradeoff?

But at least the book had a gay person in it. And she had a personality, too!

(Still don’t know what the secret info is.)

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