It’s finally the day of the Integral’s first test flight. D-503 opens that morning’s State Gazette and reads an announcement that all ciphers will be required to submit to the Operation tomorrow. In the face of growing anti-State sentiment, ciphers must hand over their imaginations to maintain their happiness. D-503 is so anxious and worried about the decision he must make later that day that he can hardly believe there will be a tomorrow. He leaves for work, “walk[ing] off—into the unknown.”
The One States makes the Operation mandatory because it knows that, left to their own devices, ciphers will continue to act on their repressed urges and rebel against the government. As D-503 anguishes over what decision he will make about the Integral the next day, he acknowledges that he has no way to predict how he will act. By acknowledging that he is “walk[ing] off—into the unknown,” he comes to terms with the fact that he cannot predict the future.