It’s 24 hours before the Integral’s planned test run. While at work, D-503 contemplates death, the unknown, and how every hour brings him closer to deciding whether he will help MEPHI or remain loyal to the One State. The Second Builder asks how much fuel the Integral will need. Anticipating MEPHI’s seizure of the Integral, D-503 suggests that the Integral will need 100 tons of fuel. Later, D-503 is outside walking and sees a mass of ciphers exiting an auditorium. They look more like machines or “sort of people-looking tractors” than like people. They are the first batch of ciphers to receive the Operation. Suddenly, the machine-like ciphers move into the crowd outside the auditorium in attempt to lead them in so they can receive the Operation. D-503 flees.
When D-503 contemplates death and the unknown, he demonstrates how much more conscious he has become of his own fears and repressed desires over the course of the book. He now places more value on his thoughts as an individual. When D-503 suggests to the Second Builder that the Integral will need an excessive amount of fuel, he takes a concrete, active step to aid MEPHI, which further signifies that he’s more comfortable acting on his own desires. His description of the post-Operation ciphers as “sort of people-looking tractors” shows how little he relates to them. While the earlier, rational D-503 might have wholeheartedly embraced the Operation, the new, individual D-503 cannot relate to these machine-like people. He doesn’t want to undergo their same transformation and feels alienated from them.
D-503 runs into O-90, who is also hiding from the machine-like ciphers. O-90 is so terrified about the safety of her unborn child that she accepts D-503’s offer to sneak her across the Green Wall—even if such a plot must involve I-330. Suddenly, D-503 sees S behind him and realizes he won’t be able to bring O-90 to I-330 himself with S perpetually on his back. Instead, he writes her a note and tells her she must go alone. O-90 bids D-503 a tearful goodbye and leaves.
O-90’s choice to sneak across the Green Wall reflects her decision to embrace the unknown. D-503 had earlier rationalized impregnating O-90 by taking solace in the fact that she would most likely be punished for her illegal actions. Now, his decision to help her demonstrates that he’s willing to take responsibility for his actions, and that he values her individual safety over upholding the rules of the collective State.
Outside his apartment, D-503 approaches U at her monitor’s desk. She tells him about how a cipher told her he’d seen a naked, hairy person near the Ancient House. She condemns the cipher’s belief as mere “gibberish.” Inwardly, D-503 remarks: “No, fortunately it is not gibberish. No, unfortunately it is not gibberish.”
D-503 finds the cipher’s “gibberish” fortunate because of his new ties to MEPHI, individualism, and personal freedom, but also unfortunate, because the presence of the free people beyond the Green Wall threatens the One State’s power. D-503 might grow more critical of and alienated from the State throughout We, but he never becomes fully invested his altered worldview, choosing instead to remain conflicted about how he wants to feel and how the State has taught him he should feel.