When she goes to get ready to work in the Amity laundry rooms the next morning, Tris is shocked to see Peter, her enemy, standing next to her bed. He wants to know why Tris is the one who gets to keep track of the hard drive of simulation data. Tris realizes that he has stolen it, after seeing it bulging in his pocket. Tris immediately jumps at him, and as they begin to fight, Amity citizens and Tobias come and pull them apart. Tobias removes the hard drive from Peter's pocket.
Because she violated the terms of the agreement, Tris is escorted to the conflict room. The Amity men make tea and begin to discuss what happened with her. As she begins to get worked up, they inject her with a syringe of something that makes her feel calm and euphoric. All the sudden she is floating on air, and all she wants to do is find Tobias. When she goes out into the orchard and finds him, he asks what they did to her. He takes her to Johanna to figure it out, and she acknowledges that they must have given her too much of the peace serum.
Tobias is angry and begins to accuse Johanna of leaving them at the hands of the Erudite to die by remaining uninvolved. Johanna says that it was not her decision, and that she does not necessarily agree with it. He promises Johanna that he and Tris will be gone in a few days, but they won't take Peter with them. Tris is still out of it because of the serum. Eventually after Tobias shuts her in her room for the rest of the day it wears off. She wonders why, if she is able to fight off all the other serums, she couldn't fight off this one.
Tris skips dinner, and while in the orchard she hears something that sounds like cars. She climbs a tree to investigate, and sees cars with solar panels on top of them—Erudite cars. She runs back to the compound to warn Tobias, and they decide that they need to disguise all the Abnegation members to look like Amity. Tris returns to her room to retrieve the gun from under her bed. It is a difficult decision for her to make, because its surveillance footage is the only image she has left of her dead parents, but Tris eventually smashes the hard drive to bits. She does not want the Erudite to get their hands on the data again.
The Erudite arrive, but by that point Tris, Tobias, Caleb, and their crowd of Abnegation members have blended themselves in with the rest of Amity. Dauntless traitors who are working with Erudite go on a search of the building, but some remain to inspect the people as well. They spot Tobias, who stands too proud to be anything but Dauntless, and begin to question him. When one catches sight of his tattoo he springs into action, and a fight begins. Tobias holds everyone at bay with his gun, and the Abnegation start running. They head out into the cornfield and split up, but eventually the soldiers catch up and start shooting. It appears that only Tris, Tobias, Caleb, and Susan make it out; they cannot find anyone else.
They follow the railroad tracks into the city, and jump onto a train when it comes. In the train car is a group of factionless people. One of them is Edward, the initiate who left Dauntless after Peter attacked him with a butter knife. The factionless are about to kick the group off the train when Tobias tells them his real name. After that, they decide to let them stay on the condition that they come with them once they get to the city, because they know someone who has been looking for Tobias.
They take them to a factionless storehouse, where a community of factionless are. Tris is surprised to see the unity between them, since the whole point of being factionless is not belonging to a community. But a larger surprise awaits; the factionless take them to see a middle-aged woman named Evelyn—Tobias's mother, who Tris and the rest of Abnegation thought was dead. Tobias, however, knew she was here all along, but he is cold towards her because she left him alone with Marcus. A year ago she revealed herself to Tobias and tried to get him to help with the factionless agenda against the factions, but he refused. He tells Tris, though, that right now the factionless are better friends than enemies.
They have dinner with the factionless around a fire, and Edward fills them in on the current state of affairs. Dauntless is split up between the Candor compound and the Erudite compound. What's left of Abnegation is with the factionless. After, Tris falls asleep, but wakes up to Evelyn and Tobias having a discussion. Apparently the factionless have a means of documenting all the Divergent people in the factionless population, meaning they know who would be resistant to a simulation attack; the factionless have a higher percentage of Divergents than any of the factions. Evelyn reveals that the factionless hope to usurp Erudite and create a society without factions. She wants Tobias's help in rallying the rest of the Dauntless to their side.
Susan and Tris share a conversation while washing up the following morning; Susan is going to stay with the Abnegation refugees that are with the factionless. Tris runs into Evelyn, who accidentally reveals that just like her, Tris's own father was Erudite before he transferred to Abnegation. She decides not to tell Caleb; she does not want to give him any reason to return to Erudite. When Caleb tells her that he is going to go with Susan to the Abnegation refugees, Tris turns down his offer to accompany them, telling him she has to go to the Candor compound to find out what is going on. She and Tobias head there immediately.
The Candor compound is in a huge, old building that was once the Merchandise Mart; they now call it "Merciless Mart" because of Candor's merciless honesty. Dauntless soldiers question them when they arrive and take their weapons, and -- to their shock -- one tells them that they have been instructed to arrest them upon arrival.
As factions, Amity and Dauntless could not be more different. Dauntless citizens are trained specifically to be soldiers, to handle conflict, threat, and war. The Amity turn their backs to any sort of conflict whatsoever. This environment based around peace and tranquility is a huge test for Tris and Tobias, whose innate natures make it difficult for them to be comfortable in such a place. Tris fails this test, as evidenced by her fight with Peter, and they both fail yet again when a fight with the Dauntless traitor soldiers erupts.
In these chapters, Amity also shows traces of a darker side that is not apparent on the surface. In their quest to promote peace, they manipulate and bargain in dishonest and questionable ways. Even though the peace serum produces desirable serum, it still forces people to behave against their will, eerily like the serum employed by Erudite to manipulate the Dauntless. This brings to the surface some deep questions that are difficult to answer. What is more desirable: peace, or free will?
In his argument with Johanna, Tobias also questions Amity's willingness to leave Abnegation to die at the hands of Erudite. They remained uninvolved to avoid conflict themselves, but in doing so they condemned nearly an entire faction to death. Johanna briefly expresses disagreement with her faction's decision, but fighting against it publicly would have meant creating conflict. Her Amity nature could not allow her to do that.
This war has brought to the forefront the flaws in all of the factions. Even though they are based on virtues, these virtues can often go hand-in-hand with vices. Intelligence and a thirst for knowledge may bring about destructive ambition, as Erudite has shown. Dauntless's bravery sometimes leads to violence, shown by people like Peter. Selflessness can lead to passivity. Amity may resort to dishonorable actions in order to keep the peace. We have not yet learned much about Candor, but since Tris and Tobias have entered Candor headquarters as of the end of Chapter 10, more can be expected soon.
Tris makes the decision to destroy the hard drive, and this is a symbolic moment in which she finally accepts that her parents are gone. She has not gotten over their death—it is doubtful that will happen for a long while—but she has come to terms with it and recognized that she cannot brood over them if she hopes to save the rest of the people she loves. At the end of Chapter 7, Tris acknowledges that being a Dauntless initiate has taught her an important lesson: how to keep going, to keep doing what needs to be done.
Over the course of the first book and into this one, readers have learned so much about Tris's life and background; Tobias, however, is still in many ways shrouded in mystery. This makes sense, since there are still so many things Tris does not know about him, and we as readers learn everything as Tris does. The encounter with the factionless reveals much about Tobias's past: his mother is not dead, and she is leading the factionless towards overthrowing Erudite and establishing a society without factions.
Tobias is not one to let go of things easily, however; true to his nature, he does not find it in himself to forgive her for leaving him with Marcus. This is yet another example of Tobias constructing an emotional wall around himself. So far, Tris has been the only one able to break through.
There are, however, still some things Tris is learning about her own past. She had no clue her father was originally Erudite, and undoubtedly she will continue to uncover more mysteries about her deceased parents and their lives as time goes on. Her decision not to tell Caleb this information speaks volumes about the evolution—or deterioration—of their brother/sister relationship. At the beginning of Divergent, they were close enough to share secrets like this with each other; now, Tris does not fully trust Caleb and his allegiances. Tobias has since replaced Caleb as her confidant.