Uncaged Summary & Study Guide

John Sandford and Michele Cook
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Uncaged Summary & Study Guide Description

Uncaged Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Uncaged by John Sandford and Michele Cook is the first novel in the Singular Menace series. The reader is immediately thrust into the middle of a high stakes operation where a boy named Odin, along with several other teens, are breaking into a high security facility. They are breaking in to protest animal testing and to take videos to expose the type of experimentation that is being done. Odin, it is clear, is a highly sensitive, incredibly talented hacker, whose expertise has allowed them to gain entry to the labs. His girlfriend, Rachel, and the leader of the group, Ethan, will not allow him to bring any of the animals with him when they take videos, but Odin doesn't listen to them and manages to escape along with the others, as well as a dog and a tortured mouse. Two of their group are wounded in the escape attempt and they are forced to leave them behind.The reader also learns that Ethan, Rachel and the others are part of a social anarchist group called Storm. While they tell Odin that this is what they are, in reality they are up to something much more chaotic. Ethan tells Rachel to keep Odin in line - or else. Rachel shows Ethan that she has managed to take two highly classified USB drives.

Readers are introduced to the director of security, Sync. Sync is ex-military and dedicated to following his orders without question. He cultivates loyalty among his men, and acts quite custodial toward them, even when they fail him. Two of his top right-hand men, Thorne and Harmon, report that the USB drives have been stolen, as well as a dog. If the dog falls into the wrong hands, Sync knows, then the secret human testing that they've been doing will go public and it would spell the end for the facility, named Singular.

Shay is Odin's sister and the reader learns that she has been searching for him for many months. She has always had to look out for him and when he just up and left, she panicked. Finally, he reached out to her to let her know that he was in Hollywood and that he needed her. She immediately gets onto a bus and heads to Hollywood but isn't there even a day before she's in trouble again. The reader learns that Shay has a nose for getting herself into trouble. This time, she's being followed by two men who intend to rob her. She tries to get away from them by disappearing down some side streets but this isn't her town and she ends up going down a blind alley. It doesn't look good and she prepares to fight them when out of the shadows a crippled man and two very large teenagers come to her rescue. After they've beat up the two attackers, the older man introduces himself. He says his name is Twist and he offers her a place to go to get off of the streets. She declines, so he gives her his card and tells her that if she changes her mind, she should reach out.

The reader learns that Shay is no stranger to living on the streets. Her parents died and she was left to raise herself and her brother as best she could. The authorities separated them and Shay ended up in multiple foster homes, which she promptly ran away from each time. While she's camped out on the outskirts of Hollywood, with a nice view of the sign, she meets a member of the police force, a Detective West and his partner, Detective Cherry. They question her about the break-in at the facility, but she has no idea what they're talking about. They see that she has a laptop and they take it to try and discover if she's been involved. Shay is upset that they've taken her computer, but is also confident that they will not be able to find anything incriminating. She and Odin are that good. They ask her about Odin and she lies, telling them that she has no idea who he is.

Back at the Singular facility, Harmon overhears the CEO of the company talking about the break-in. He also overhears the company's owner telling someone on the phone that they should eliminate the people who broke in, meaning he has just given someone the go-ahead to kill the activists. Harmon is conflicted because he isn't sure that this is what he's signed on for. Still, he follows orders.

Meanwhile, Storm has released the first of their videos showing the nature of the animal testing going on at the facility. Singular is able to contain the damage by releasing a statement to the press that the videos were fabricated by the competition.

Shay wakes up in her cardboard house and realizes that she can't live like this indefinitely. She goes to a local Starbucks and ends up falling asleep with her head on a table. A social worker comes into the coffee shop and sees Shay sleeping. She wakes Shay up and tries to get her to go to a shelter. Shay fishes out Twist's card and shows it to the woman. She tells Shay that Twist is just as he says and that he has a hotel where he takes in kids off of the street. Shay decides that she will give Twist and his hotel a chance.

When Shay arrives at Twist's hotel she is welcomed in warmly and given a room to share with a girl named Emily. Emily is a 'picker.' She goes to thrift shops, yard sales, etc.. and finds items that she then resells to antique shops for a profit. Shay observes the police bringing in a boy named, Cade, who has been involved in a tech incident at an Apple store. After the police leave, she sees Twist give Cade grief for pulling a stunt like that especially since they plan to hijack a skyscraper in a few weeks. Shay is worried and wonders what sort of new trouble she's gotten herself in to.

Shay decides to confront Twist point blank and asks him what he's planning to do. Twist explains that he's a social activist and he pulls daring stunts in order to draw attention to their various causes. He asks her if she is personally against breaking and entering and Shay evades the question. He also learns that she is an expert climber, having been involved in rock climbing for many years. Twist tells her she can stay at the hotel if she is willing to work for her keep. Reluctantly, she agrees.

Shay helps to create the banner that they will hang from the top, goes with Emily to purchase the climbing equipment that she needs, and then the next day, goes with the gang to place the banner on the skyscraper. They just barely manage to get it on the top before the cops arrive. Shay is mortified to see that the news cameras were there filming the entire time, and her flaming red hair is the star of the show. Across town Detective West has just watched the same news story and he recognizes Shay immediately.

Shay continues to look for her brother, whose correspondences have become erratic. She researches and locates many of the animal activist groups, but begins to realize that there are already other agents there. They are easy enough to spot because all of them, including Detective West, have prosthetic limbs. Twist asks Shay if they could capitalize on her celebrity and literally make her their poster child. She only agrees when he agrees to give her 10% of the profit from the campaign.

Shay goes to the beach where a pod of whales have beached themselves. She believes that Odin might be near, since she knows he can't resist being a part of such a rescue effort. She isn't wrong and as she is turning to go, he steps out of the shadows. He fills Shay in on what he's been up to, then he gives her the USB flashdrives. They are encrypted and he can't break them. He begs her to help them expose Singular. Before Shay can ask more questions they both spot Detective West. West and several other detectives attempt to apprehend Shay, Odin, and the others, but they get away. Shay goes back when she sees West go down after a taser shot knocks out his prosthetic leg. He tells her that Singular isn't bad and that they help people, that she has it all wrong. Seeing that he will be okay, she takes off, noticing that the dog, which they've named X, is now following her. Odin is gone.

Shay tells Twist about what happened, leaving Odin's name out of it all. She gives the USB drives to Twist and tells him about the dog. X is not doing well. He seems very sick and is having difficulty moving around like a normal dog. Later, when X has a seizure, she runs to Twist to see if he can help.

The reader learns that after the raid at the beach, Odin did not get away, but was apprehended by Sync, who was also there at the time. Sync discusses what they should do with him. Odin isn't talking and Harmon want's to know how far they are supposed to go to get the information. They also know that Odin gave the drives and the dog to Shay. Sync reveals that he knows who both Odin and Shay are because he used to work with their parents for Singular. Odin is dumbfounded and is even further resolved not to say anything.

Meanwhile, Twist has taken X and Shay to a doctor that he knows, who works off of the radar. He examines X and states that all of the cybernetic implants are most likely the problem. The doctor says that it would seem that the dog is dying, but that he can't help. However, when Shay and Twist take X back to the hotel, Shay notices that there is a small USB port in X's head. She opens the port and realizes that it is for charging. She plugs the dog in and he immediately starts recovering.

Shay manages to decode one of the drives. There are videos of the various surgeries that Singular has performed. Shay shows the videos to Twist who becomes enraged. He recognizes one of the people being operated on as an aid worker to Korea that had disappeared a year or more earlier.

Sync's men have figured out where Shay lives, and in the middle of the night they invade the hotel. None of the kids give Shay up, and when the men start to force their way in, the kids stand up to them, effectively driving them off. One of the men, Thorne, manages to slip through and corners Shay. X attacks him and he is forced to retreat with the rest of his men.

Meanwhile, Twist and the inner circle of kids from the hotel debate their next steps. Finally, they all decide that West is someone they should try to turn. Shay believes that he is a good person and doesn't know what is really going on at Singular. She is certain that if she shows him the videos that he will act as their inside man at the facility, and moreover, help her to rescue her brother. They also realize that is is just a matter of time before Singular's agents come back to the hotel, this time better prepared and more heavily armed. They need another place to stay. Twist knows of several safe houses and they leave that night. Shay reaches out to West and tells him that Odin must be released within 24 hours or that they will start leaking the video footage to the press. West has not seen the footage and has no idea that this is going on.

Twist is right about Singular returning. They come back in a few days and hit the hotel surgically, using the FBI as a convincing cover. While inside, however, Harmon finds the USB drives, and switches them with some fakes. That way if the information is 'leaked' then the footage is bogus. It will discredit Twist and his group.

After the raid on the hotel, West realizes that he's on the wrong side and agrees to help Twist and Shay. Twist's plan for getting the information out is to create a secure website, then to post a banner with the website URL across the Hollywood sign. West does some recon and figures out where Singular is holding Odin.

Twist and the crew pose as camera crews setting up for a film to gain access to the Hollywood sign. Shay teaches Cruz how to climb so that they can both get the website address up in record time before the police show up. Singular sends a fake message to Shay stating that they've released Odin. They urge her to turn in the USB drives. West contacts Shay to tell her to disregard that message, and that Singular still has Odin.

Singular has figured out where Twist has been hiding and comes for him and the kids. Twist is able to receive early warning from West and they barely escape. They learn from West that Odin is at a hidden facility in Sacramento so they go to the facility. West meets them there with a layout of the interior and where Odin is being held. Originally, they planned to set a fire using a fuel tank, but then they opted to, instead, capture a supply truck, and impersonate the crew to gain access. This they do fairly well and once inside they find Odin as well as a group of North Koreans that have been there for a very long time, and were part of the human experiments.

They are discovered and gunfire is exchanged. West sends them on out ahead of him, telling them that he will hold them off. He is shot, but assures them that he is fine. They take Odin and the others and get them to safety. Later, Shay and the others learn that West was gunned down.

Shay is devastated. Worse yet, she and the others learn that the videos that have been released are bogus and that they have somehow been altered. Sync and the Singular press corp make a statement that discredits the attacks on the facility as the act of terrorists. The group splits up for safety, and Odin and Shay go to Reno to lay low. Shay decides that her red hair is a liability. She cuts it short and dyes it.

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