They search for a ladder to place across the gap between the buildings; Fernando the Erudite flirts with Christina a bit, but she is still too scarred by Will's death to respond to that sort of thing. They use the glass-shattering device to break the glass, which makes the simulation-controlled Candor below shoot up at them. Their bullets, however, cannot make it into the windows. Tris goes across the ladder first, and nearly falls, but grabs onto the opposite window sill just in time. On the other side, Tris almost shoots an Erudite woman with her stunner before she remembers that she is dressed like Erudite as well, and she must blend in.
Everyone else crosses, leaving Fernando last. However, his glasses fall, and the Candor below respond only to movement. He gets shot immediately, and they have no choice but to leave him. They head deeper into Erudite, passing through the floor that Tris was held captive on not too long ago. They reach control room A, but as soon as they do, Caleb comes in behind them with a gun and asks what they are doing there.
Tris says they are trying to save the Erudite data that they want to destroy, but apparently Jeanine told Caleb about the more important information that Marcus was seeking. Caleb says the release of this data will ruin everything, but Marcus insists that they were placed here to serve a purpose and it is time for them to do what they were sent here to do. As they argue, Tris gets sick of it and kicks Caleb, disarming him. When they begin to search the computers, he tells them that Jeanine would never have such important information on public computers. Before they leave the room, Marcus knocks Caleb unconscious so he cannot tell anyone they were here, and they leave him with Cara.
They head for Jeanine's laboratory, but on the way, they run into Edward; the factionless are already here, causing mayhem. He refuses to let them pass and shoots Christina, grazing her leg with the bullet. Christina shoots back and the bullet hits him in the side, sending him sprawling on the ground. Injured, Christina decides to stay and make sure Edward does not go after them. Tris and Marcus continue on, and split up once they get into the laboratory looking for a computer.
As soon as Tris goes through a door, it locks behind her and an automated voice sounds in the room identifying her and branding her an intruder. The voice tells her she has five minutes to go through the next door or the poison will kick in. This is easier said than done; some kind of clone of Tris appears and mirrors her movements, making it impossible for her to get past. Tris knows she cannot beat her if they are completely equal, so she has to figure out what is different between them. She realizes the only difference is their motivation, and the real Tris's desperation. Tris knows she is in a simulation so she controls it, and a gun appears on a table nearby. Suddenly her clone becomes Will, and Tris does the one thing that she knows her double is not desperate enough to do and fires.
She makes it to the next room, where the walls are covered in photographs and diagrams of the Divergent. Tris can hear voices ahead of her, and realizes that it is Tori and Jeanine. Tori is questioning Jeanine about the death of her brother. Tris barges through the door and finds Tori with a gun pointed at Jeanine, ready to shoot. Tris knows she cannot find the information on the computer alone; she needs Jeanine to find it for her. She tells Tori not to shoot, but it is too late; she does. It hits Jeanine in the leg. Tris jumps at Tori and disarms her, insisting that she is not a traitor and there is some important information that only Jeanine can find. Tori, however, is blinded by desire for Jeanine's death, and before Tris can do anything, she pulls out a knife and stabs Jeanine in the stomach, killing her.
At that moment Tobias and Uriah storm in; Tori tells them Tris is a traitor. Tobias knows why Tris is here, however, because they encountered Marcus in the room before, fighting a simulation. Tobias feels betrayed; Tris says she just wants to know the truth, and Tobias says that she will never learn the truth from a liar and a sociopath like Marcus. Tris accuses Tobias's love of being too weak to trust and believe in her. Tobias does not respond, and Tori orders Tris to be taken downstairs and tried with the rest of the prisoners. Uriah does this.
Christina finds Tris when she reaches the first floor where everyone else is, and embraces her. Eventually Tobias comes down, goes over to where Caleb is prisoner, and demands that he disarm the security system in Jeanine's laboratory so that they can access the computer. Tris believes that he wants to destroy it. Tris describes what happened in the lab to Christina, who is perplexed by the idea of a simulation without a transmitter. They wonder if the poison had some sort of transmitter in it.
Lynn is brought in on a stretcher, seriously wounded. Uriah demands they fix her, but the doctors say her conditioned is too advanced and the factionless set the hospital floors of the building on fire and burned everything. As Lynn dies, she tells Uriah that she loved Marlene like he did, which seems to suggest a romantic connection between the two of them; this was why she was so opposed to the idea of them in a relationship.
Tori and Harrison, the Dauntless leaders, come down with Jeanine's body. Johanna comes in, too; it is revealed that she and her band of Amity who came into the city stood between the factionless and the Erudite and prevented a number of deaths. Tori tells her coldly that as punishment for Amity's refusal to choose sides, they will not be included in the new political system that is to be introduced. Johanna leaves with a chilling line: "sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like." (pg. 518) Tris realizes that this applies to the factionless, too.
Evelyn comes in, like a queen ascending her throne. She says that the faction system will be disbanded immediately. Tori is appalled, because she did not know this was the plan; in answer, all the factionless hold up guns and the Dauntless realize they have none. As Evelyn is talking about punishing those who resisted them, Tobias comes down the stairs with Caleb and Marcus, and tells Tris that she was right. All the sudden every screen in the lobby clicks on and Tobias says that this is the information that will change everything. Tris is ecstatic that he did it, and embraces and kisses him.
A person named Amanda Ritter comes on the screen and begins to talk. She works with an organization fighting for justice and peace, and says that something needed to be done to combat the destruction and violence that come as a result of human nature itself. She says that the people in the city are meant to be the cure for this, and they formed their society separate from everything else hoping that they would be able to rediscover morals. She says that once the people with flexible minds, the Divergent, become abundant among them, they should unlock the gates forever and end their isolation. Lastly, she reveals that she will be joining the people in the fence, accepting false memories and changing her name. It will be Edith Prior.
Ever since she decided to forgive Tris for shooting Will, Christina's strength as a character and companion to Tris has really come out. Even though neither of them know exactly what this information is, Christina still trusts Tris enough to listen to her and help her in her quest to recover it in the way that even Tobias did not. She consistently provides a voice of reason and comfort for Tris during this period full of trials and tribulations. She is emotionally strong as well, hanging on even though she has lost someone she really loves. The only time it appears that Christina is still struggling with missing Will is when Fernando flirts briefly with her, reminding readers that even the strongest characters can show a little bit of emotional weakness.
In these chapters, Tris consents to leaving a number of people behind in favor of pursuing her desired goal. She leaves Fernando behind as the Candor shoot him, because she knows that attempting to save him would be futile and would prevent her from getting the stolen information. She leaves Christina behind when Edward's bullet grazes her leg, aware that the Erudite building is a dangerous place to be injured and alone but accepting of the fact that she has to continue on. These are decisions that the old Tris would not have made; however, the new Tris has allowed logic, reason, and pursuit of the greater good to take precedence over some of her emotions, and she is even stronger for this. It is one of the many ways in which she has grown over the course of this novel.
Even though by the end Caleb has helped their cause, he still has behaved extremely cowardly throughout the entire novel, demonstrating a key difference between him and Tris as siblings. Caleb's choices also show that he was right to leave Abnegation, because many of them are selfish. He betrayed Tris and his family in the pursuit of his own interests, and in the end it seems he only helped Tobias get into the secured computers and retrieve the information because he was supposed to.
However, Caleb is not entirely at fault for his actions. He fell prey to Jeanine's intense manipulation tactics, just like so many others in Erudite and beyond have. This is what makes Jeanine so dangerous: her ability to control people. She does this literally, through her simulations, but also through her unsettling ability to use words, facts, and fear tactics to lead people to voluntarily submit to her will. Jeanine thrives on her ability to control, and Tris was able to best her because she was able to resist this control. But Jeanine still attempted to control Tris right up to the very end, when she tried to convince Tris she was absolutely necessary for finding this information so that Tris would fight to keep her alive.
But Jeanine is not the only manipulative one in this situation. Though less mal-intentioned, Evelyn also possesses the same ability to use and control people to get what she wants. She even manipulated her own son to further her agenda of demolishing the faction system. Evelyn serves as a wake-up call, both to Tobias and to readers themselves: one doesn't have to be evil to be manipulative. Evelyn did what she thought she had to in order to accomplish what she believes to be right, and it is difficult to truly hate her for that.
Was Evelyn right to want to demolish the faction system? That all depends on perspective. This novel has certainly shown that dividing people up and creating boundaries between groups fosters an "us vs. them" mentality, and results in disastrous, destructive divisions. But as readers learn at the very end of the final chapter, the faction system was meant to accomplish a noble purpose. It was meant to repair the faults of human nature and create people in tune with valuable morals. This war was proof that the faction system was not enough to overcome the defects of human nature, but perhaps in the final book in the trilogy it will become clear that the factions did accomplish what they were meant to do after all.
The novel ends on a cliffhanger, and suddenly the mystery surrounding Tris's family background begins to fit together. There are still plenty of questions left unanswered, and certainly more will arise now that this woman from the past has revealed herself to be Edith Prior. However, this is an important clue that Tris can use to trace back her roots and understand her parents the way she never could when they were alive. It also connects Tris very strongly to the system itself, making her even more invested in its fate.