It’s never fun to lose your job. It’s especially not fun to lose your super cool job solving crimes at the FBI where you have access to a magic pill that enhances your brain, only to have to move back into your parents’ house. It especially sucks when a scary British guy whose life you once helped to save has kidnapped your girlfriend and unleashed a deadly drug upon the city of New York, and there’s not a thing you can do to stop it.
This is the situation Brian finds himself in four weeks after the FBI arrests Sands, and it totally sucks. Even though Sands is in jail, he’s got a group of cronies (whom Brian has dubbed “The Legion of Whom”) who still have Piper stashed away somewhere, and now that Brian doesn’t have access to the immunity shots, the FBI won’t let him take NZT. He’s reduced to trying to piece together clues in his dad’s garage in between shifts at a local electronics store. Every now and then, he gets NZT aftershocks, brief moments of clarity that help make him better at selling TVs, but they never last long enough to really help him find Piper. Before his last pill wore off, he wrote down everything he knows about Morra, Sands, and the Legion of Whom, but when he’s not on NZT, it’s mostly just a lot of nonsense.
The FBI isn’t faring much better. Sands is keeping quiet, but even though he’s in jail, the streets have been flooded with a brand new epidemic of NZT. This is a problem because NZT-enhanced people keep doing things like jumping into the lion exhibit in the Bronx Zoo — or dying because of the pill’s side effects. Either way, not good. One of Naz’s old colleagues from the DEA, a guy named Adam Brewster, comes in to help, but they don’t have anything on Sands, Morra, or the source of all this new NZT. The only pattern that Rebecca picks up on is the word “Apocryphon,” which keeps popping up with every new NZT user they talk to. And when Rebecca finds the word scribbled on a piece of paper in Brian’s old notes, she knows it can’t be coincidence.
So, Rebecca finally reaches out to Brian, and he’s thrilled that she’s asking him to get back in the game. But once she realizes that he doesn’t remember what Apocryphon is, she’s unwilling to risk giving him another pill just to help him remember. There’s nothing Brian wants more than to help, but he quickly realizes that the FBI only wants him when he’s on NZT — and that hurts.
Brian: I feel like that guy from that book who gets really smart and gets really dumb again.
Rebecca: You mean Flowers for Algernon?
Brian: I don’t remember what it’s called. That’s the point.
So, Brian does what he always does and takes matters into his own hands. His new co-worker Grover has been bragging about how he can score some NZT — “it’s like Viagra for your brain… It’s a brain boner” — so Brian takes him up on his offer, and they head to the coolest NZT-enhanced party ever to try and track some down. The bar is a giant Rube Goldberg machine, and there is a girl named Alice who uses NZT to come up with an entire theory about how Taylor Swift is going to officially take over the world (as if she hasn’t already). “Taylor Swift was sworn into the 13 bloodlines of the Illuminati by the queen herself: Beyoncé,” Alice explains. Obviously.
NEXT: Taylor Swift, conqueror of the world