Tobias watches the video footage of inside the city. He sees Marcus, who did not leave the city as he was supposed to, meeting with Johanna Reyes. He asks Johanna if he can join her in leading the Allegiant, as people will rally behind him. His plan is to take away Evelyn and her factionless army’s weapons, marking what seems like “the beginning of the Allegiant rebellion” (316). In another part of the compound, Tris is summoned to David’s office, where he thanks her for singlehandedly ‘saving’ the compound. He then asks Tris to begin training to become a leader of the Bureau. Tris agrees, knowing that she needs to get closer to her enemies, the people responsible for the death of the Abnegation.
Cara convinces a reluctant Tobias to attend a meeting of GDs and GD sympathizers. Tris is there, as is Matthew, Christina and Caleb. Tris takes charge of the meeting, saying that, even though the last attempt to undermine the Bureau’s authority was ill advised, something still needs to be done. The group agrees to start planning something, to take a stand against the wrongs the Bureau has committed. After the meeting, tension between Tris and Tobias is at an all-time high.
As David promised, Tris goes on a patrol into the fringe with Amar and George. She is given a bulletproof vest and a gun and is told that the purpose of the mission is to set up video surveillance in the fringe in order to prevent future attacks on the compound. The people in the fringe react strongly to the sight of the group, thinking that they are soldiers there to take children back to government orphanages. Some of the fringe-dwellers attack George, destroying his video equipment and taking his gun. Tris only barely saves George, but she, unlike Amar, refuses to believe that “genetic damage is to blame for [all] of these troubles” (353).
Back in the compound, Tobias and a few others watch the Allegiant, led by Marcus and Johanna, raiding a weapons storehouse in the city. It goes unspoken that the city is inching closer and closer to complete rebellion, and with it, chaos and destruction. Tris decides to move past her disagreement with Tobias – realizing that her love for him necessitates forgiveness even when it seems impossible.
Tris then attends her first council meeting with David. David tells the council that an Allegiant uprising is imminent, and that Evelyn is planning to use death serum on the rebels, which would result in widespread death and destruction. In order to stop this uprising and to keep the experiment from being shut down, he is planning a mass reset in Chicago with the memory serum. Tris can’t believe that he will “gladly trade thousands of GD memories—lives—for control of the experiments" (378). Immediately after the meeting, Tris returns to the dormitory to tell Tobias and Cara this news. She engineers a plan that will stop the council from wiping the memories of everyone in the city. They plan to release the memory serum into the compound – resetting the memories of the Bureau workers, instead.
Tris, Cara and Tobias begin to finalize their plan. Cara talks to Matthew about the specific workings of the memory serum. Tris visits Nita to find out the unknown security measure that prevented her from entering the Weapons Lab. She is told that exploding through the doors will release the death serum in aerosol form, something that no one can supposedly live through. Christina tells Tobias and Tris that Uriah’s doctors have declared that he will never wake up. Tobias decides that he will enter the city the next day to inoculate Uriah’s family against the memory serum, bringing them back to the compound to say goodbye. Christina agrees to go with him to save her own family from the possibility of having their memory reset (if Tris fails).
In this section of the story, Tris takes a trip into the fringe, just as Tobias did earlier in the story. Though the trips are repetitive, Tobias and Tris are witness to very different things. Tobias notices the desperation and violence present in the fringe, while Tris takes note of the terrible living conditions and the fear the fringe-dwellers have of outsiders. Notably, Tris talks to a woman named Amy who tells her that the city experiments elevate the belief that GDs are, in fact, damaged and need to be fixed. It seems that Tris is able to make more sense out of her trip into the fringe than Tobias, mostly because she is better informed than he had been.
This section of the story is also critical because it is when David becomes the antagonist beyond any reasonable doubt. He plans to reset the Chicago experiment, wiping all of the subjects’ minds clean so that the experiment can continue to function. Prepared to sacrifice these people’s livelihoods and memories for the sake of his experiments, David is presented as heartless, devoid of compassion, and evil. Despite Nita’s failed attempt to undermine the Bureau’s power, Tris and her friends resolve to try again. They refuse to let their friends and loved ones in the city be reset. The memory serum scares them. Even more, David’s lack of caution and readiness to use it scares them.
An important step is made here in Tris’s and Tobias’s relationship. Previously, Tris had been holding a grudge against Tobias, because he had doubted her and believed in Nita over her. This was one of many seemingly petty arguments in their relationship. But as Tris prepares herself for their plan against the Bureau, she cannot continue to fight with Tobias. She loves him too much to do so, and the gravity of the situation necessitates forgiveness. This is extremely important to the story. If she hadn’t forgiven him, the story would have ended without resolution to their relationship.
Tris’s plan to release memory serum into the compound to reset the memories of the Bureau leaders and officials is almost ironic. She suggests that they do to the Bureau exactly what the Bureau is planning to do to the city experiment. She and her friends decide to fight the evil of the Bureau with a similar evil, but it is only to protect their loved ones. Their plan is the same as Nita’s, only less extreme. Tris knows that wiping a person’s memory might as well be equated to killing them. It’s as if they never lived or met anyone – as if they died and were born again in the same body. This is why Tobias has such trouble accepting the plan, because it doesn’t seem like a just thing to do.