Ian is at the observatory alone, and looking over the clues that they’ve assembled, including the photo of himself as a child with Cornelius Tower.
The next morning, Ian wakes up and gets out of bed, and CJ, Gabe, and Suki bring in a cake and wish him a happy birthday. CJ realizes that he’s homesick and asks if he misses the girls back home giving him kisses. Ian tells her that he never had a girl kiss him, and CJ suggests that might be what he’s upset about. In response, Ian says that he misses his parents, who were always there for him on his birthday and would wish him Merry Christmas as a family joke. His friends all wish him Merry Christmas.
In class, Physics lectures about sound and wavelengths, using pendulums to demonstrate, and Ian stares off into space. He finally gets up, ignores Physics, and walks out of class to Headmaster’s office. He tells him that he wants to talk to his parents... now. After a moment, Headmaster takes out a communications unit, unlocks it with his thumbprint, and has Whisper 119 dial Ian’s home. His mom answers and Ian asks if they’re all okay. She wishes him Happy Birthday and Ian seemingly accepts it, much to Headmaster’s relief.
Later, Ian goes to the observatory and tells the others that his supposed mom said the wrong thing, and he figures it was someone else. The others suggest Mrs. Archer might have forgotten or given it up, but Ian says that would never happen. Suki talks about her older brother, who died, and they figure that Whisper 119 is programmed to impersonate all of their parents. Ian plans to sneak into Headmaster’s office and use the phone to make a real call. They will have to sneak in through the passageways, and they figure they’ll need Headmaster’s thumbprint.
That night, Ian sneaks into Headmaster’s office and take his mouse. Back in the observatory, Suki lifts Headmaster’s thumbprint from it but realize the image isn’t good enough. Next they steal his coffee mug, but fail again. In class, Gabe approaches Headmaster as he talks to the teacher, and leaves his netbook nearby. Headmaster hands it to him, and they finally get a clear print.
The next night, Ian breaks back into Headmaster’s office and Suki overrides the alarms with her PDA. Ian uses the fake print to get the cabinet open and Ian dials out on the phone, but Headmaster comes out. Ian gets out just in time and hides in the vent with Suki. They hear a man mention his father requiring extreme actions against a woman, and Headmaster saying he doesn’t think they should do something so extreme. Suki recognizes him. Ian pulls her away, but when they meet the others, Suki explains that the man was her dead brother Shinji. Ian isn’t convinced, but Suki insists that she’d know her brother anywhere. She explains that she never knew how Shinji died, and she never asked so as to avoid upsetting her parents further. Shinji was a straight a student, and was using a computer the night that he supposedly died. Her parents told Suki that Shinji wasn’t with them anymore, and Suki would understand one day.
In the observatory, the group figure that Shinji must have graduated and come back about the time that Suki arrive. They figure that Headmaster knows their plan to escape, and Suki’s parents sent Shinji to take her home and control her. Ian says that they need to learn about Headmaster’s plans to stop them.
Suki takes the passageway to the vents and watches Headmaster as he works throughout the day. Her patient finally pays off when Shinji comes to see Headmaster and tells him that his request comes from his parents, and they want Headmaster to notify his father as soon as they’re ready. Headmaster says that he’ll call the next night, and takes him to the spare faculty dorm. Once they leave, Suki goes to find Ian and tells him what she saw, and that they’re taking her out the next night.
Suki takes the tunnels to the faculty dorm and watches Shinji set his timer to midnight. She synchronizes her PDA to his as he goes to sleep. Meanwhile, Ian goes to Headmaster’s office and opens his desk, and dials home. However, Whisper 119 intercepts the call and admits that she impersonated his mother the other day, and that she’s also scared.
As time passes, Suki meets with the others and suggests they impose a subcarrier signature on Shinji’s transmission to his father, allowing them to piggyback a phone call. She tells them that she’ll set it up so they can do it if she’s taken away, and has 15 hours to do it. They start covertly gathering the parts for the equipment that she needs. Gabe suggests to Physics that he make a pendulum as a class project and gets the wire. CJ strips Whisper 23 for a resistor.
Ian contemplates the photo of himself as a child with Cornelius Tower, and is sure that the man wasn’t his grandparent. CJ admits she’s envious that he has parents, and she never knew her family. As Ian helps Suki, Gabe talks to CJ about how she seems to like Ian in a romantic sort of way, and she figures that he’s jealous.
With eight hours remaining, Suki admits that the signal is weaker than she thought, and they need a clear line of sight to the sky. Ian notices that there’s an old infirmary between Tower Prep and West Campus, but it’s in the forbidden zone. Suki says that it’s perfect and she can create a mini wifi spot by using Sato equipment to amplify the signal. Ian plants them throughout the dorm. As Ian works in the stairwell, he hears the Gnomes coming and hides. They pass by without noticing him. Once he’s done, he notifies CJ and Gabe. CJ is reluctant to leave Suki, but she insists that the authorities don’t know about the observatory.
Suki hears someone come in and starts to explain a new problem, and looks up to see that Shinji has found her. He explains that the observatory was his own place to escape, and she asks if he’s there to take her back. Shinji misunderstands and wishes that he could take them both back to a simpler time. When she asks why he is there, Shinji explains that he put himself in danger by revealing himself to her. He admits that he’s working for their father, and warns that she will as well. Suki insists that she won’t after what her parents did to have her sent to Tower Prep. Shinji says that being a Sato is a privilege, and they have to make sacrifices. She says that Shinji has to escape as well, and he figures that she’s planning something. However, he warns her that there’s no escape for either of them, and they can be brother and sister again if she comes with him. They hug and then Shinji leaves.
With an hour and a half left, Suki warns the others that they need a star map to figure the constellation Scorpio Beta that the overhead satellite will be passing beneath. There is a star map on the ceiling of Cornelius Tower’s office, but they don’t recognize the patterns. Gabe suggests that they adjust for the rotation of the earth, citing his extra credit work. They calculate the location of Scorpio Beta and prepare to cut across campus to the building, since the tunnels don’t extend their. However, Shinji finds them and warns that he can’t let them succeed. Suki appeals to him as her brother, and invites him to come with them. Reading him, CJ says that he doesn’t need to belong to the authorities. Suki asks him to join her new family, but Shinji refuses and starts to call Whisper. Ian attacks him, but Shinji is able to hold him off with his own ability and notify the Monitors. Ian knocks him down and they escape, taking Shinji’s PDA with them.
As they head into the old building, Ian checks Shinji’s PDA and realizes that he put a tracking device on Suki when he hugged her. However, there isn’t enough time to stop and remove it. They find a missing section of floor and Ian pries loose some wiring. With less than eight minutes until the satellite passes overhead, CJ prepares to swing across first... and kisses Ian for luck before she goes. She makes it, and Suki gives Gabe a kiss of his own before going across. Gabe hesitates but the others encourage him and he swings across. He falls short and starts to slip as the cable pulls out of the ceiling. Ian jumps on, swinging both of them across.
As the Gnomes close in, there’s a minute remaining until Shinji makes his call. They come to a locked door, and Gabe suggests they trick Whisper 119 into opening it using Shinji’s PDA. However, Whisper 119 knows Suki’s position and refuses to open the door. Gabe begs the computer to open the door for them, and the computer releases the locks. They go through to the roof and turn on the PDA, but they get a signal identifying the computer as Whisper 120. They realize that Shinji is there to upgrade Whisper 119, “killing” her at midnight. They had no intention of taking Suki away. Whisper 119 opened the door as a last act of defiance.
Suki gets Shinji’s signal and tells Ian to call his family. The others agree, assuring him that it will be all right no matter what his parents say. Ian dials home and Mrs. Archer answers the phone. She tells Ian that the call is dangerous, tells him “Merry Christmas,” and hangs up. Ian turns to the others and says that they’re out of there.