|“||We don't want to hurt you, but we will if we have to.||”|
–Special Circumstances arrest script
Special Circumstances are organizations responsible for keeping cities safe from both internal and external threats.
The scientists that survived the Rusty Crash came up with the Pretty Operation, complete with lesions, to make humanity compliant, non-aggressive, and unlikely to wreck the planet again. But some people needed to remain alert so that they could run the cities and protect the Pretties. These few who kept themselves apart from the masses began to have surgery to make them faster, stronger, and more cruel-looking so that they could command instant respect and obedience. These people soon came to see themselves as Special.
These Specials formed organizations in some cities known as Special Circumstances to deal with all the cruel, unpredictable, or messy realities of life that Pretties aren't capable of facing. The only ones that know of the lesions that come with the Operation, they pursue runaways, guard city borders, and keep a watchful eye on humanity as a whole, making sure that they never come close to repeating Rusty mistakes.
- Main article: Uglies (book)
In Tally's city, Special Circumstances is even more extreme. They hide themselves from the public eye, known only through rumors. When strange things happen, the mysterious Specials are usually blamed, similar to pixies.
Eventually, two doctors in Tally's city discovered the secret of lesions. Special Circumstances soon shut their research down, threatening them to forget about their work. The doctors, Maddy and Az, decided that they couldn't just forget about the lesions and instead chose to escape their city with a handful of uglies and establish the Smoke. Special Circumstances soon noticed that their uglies were disappearing, and began to watch their citizens more closely.
One such citizen was Zane. Interrogating him close to his sixteenth birthday, Special Circumstances found out everything he knew about the Smoke and that a friend of his decided to remain in the city: Shay. Special Circumstances watched the girl closely for any signs that she may attempt to run away, but relaxed when she made a new friend named Tally. When Shay suddenly did escape, Special Circumstances swooped down on Tally and took her to their leader, Dr. Cable. She gave Tally an ultimatum: Follow Shay with a tracking device and lead the agents of Special Circumstances to the Smoke, or never receive the Operation and remain an Ugly for the rest of her life. Horrified at her own Ugly face, Tally agrees to work for Special Circumstances.
It takes months for Tally to activate her tracking device, but when she does (accidentally), the Specials arrive at the Smoke in a matter of hours. They burn down every building, especially the library, and capture or kill every single Smokie except for David and Tally. They decide to rescue the captured Smokies from Special Circumstances Headquarters, knowing that it will take some time to prepare the Smokies for the Operation.
Distracting the Specials with the help of three Uglies named An, Sussy, and Dex, Tally and David break into the building through the roof. Making their way to the holding cells, they almost run straight into brand-new Pretty Shay and Dr. Cable. Seeing Tally surprises the doctor so much, she doesn't have time to react when David hits her over the head. As they rescue Maddy, she informs them that the Specials experimented on her husband's memory in an attempt to make him forget all about the Smoke, but the experiment ended up killing him. Overwhelmed with guilt at his death and Shay's Operation, Tally vows to make things right and turns herself in.
- Main article: Pretties (book)
At a costume party in Valentino Mansion, new-Pretty Tally keeps spotting someone dressed as a Special, seemingly following her. Unable to stand it any longer, she chases after the fake Special and takes his mask off, revealing a Smokie she used to know named Croy. He offers her the experimental cure, but she yells at him to leave her alone. Her cries alert real Specials and they begin climbing up the stairs to them inhumanly fast. Suddenly overcome with fear, Tally flees after Croy.
A month later, after Tally's taken the cure and the Crims destroy the floating ice rink above Nefertiti Stadium, Tally is confronted by Dr. Cable herself. At first she believed Tally had become just another Pretty, but the collapse of the ice rink proved to her that Tally is just as tricky as she ever was. Far from upset that Tally broke a building, Dr. Cable reminds Tally that maintenance is not what Special Circumstances is for. They are far more interested in what the stunt reveals about Tally. Dr. Cable explains that Uglies are allowed to be tricky in order to see who's cleverest, to see who is able to break out of the cage. If those Uglies become Pretties who are able to resist the mind effects of the Operation, they are offered jobs within Special Circumstances. She offers Tally a way to keep her mind as clear as it can be, permanently, by becoming Special. Tally refuses.
When the Crims escape from the city via hot-air balloons and hoverboards, Tally falls into a pre-Rusty reservation kept as a research experiment by her city's scientists. The people there call the Specials "sayshal", terrifying demons in human form who destroy any who challenge the Pretty "gods".
Meanwhile, Dr. Cable contacts Shay and makes her and her group of Cutters the same offer she gave Tally: become part of Special Circumstances in exchange for permanent clear-thinking. They accept and are soon sent on their first mission to help take down the runaway Pretties and the New Smoke. She and her Cutters capture a few Crims, including Tally, and they are all turned into Cutters themselves.
- Main article: Specials (book)
The new Cutters spend a month in a training camp, learning how to use their new Special bodies. Once training is completed, they are soon put to work to stop the cure from spreading.
At the end of Specials, Tally and David declare themselves as the new Special Circumstances, responsible for protecting nature.
- Specials normally wear grey silk uniforms, but medical Specials wear blue silk uniforms.