|“||We don't want to hurt you, but we will if we have to.||”|
–Special Circumstances arrest script
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 gradually 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 known as Special Circumstances in some cities 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.
All Specials, at least in Tally's city, were very tricky as Uglies and managed to resist the effects of the lesions. Only those people who can break out of the cage, who can prove that they are special, are offered jobs at Special Circumstances and undergo the Special operation.
After the Diego War, every city in the world was horrified that war returned to plague the world after two centuries of peace. They determined that they could no longer tolerate Specials' weaponized bodies and minds, and so each city "despecialized" every single one into normal, healthy, average citizens. Although the Cutters were allowed to retain their Special bodies and reflexes due to their services in the War, their minds were cured. Only Tally Youngblood has managed to keep both her Special body and mind, making her the only true Special left in the world.
- Main article: Cutters
As their name implies, the Cutters keep their minds "icy" by cutting their arms. Founded by Shay, the Cutters are a clique of sixteen unusually lesion-resistant Pretties recruited by Dr. Cable into a new division of Special Circumstances, despite them being much younger than normal Specials at only age sixteen.
Turning them into a new version of Specials created only in Tally's city, these special Specials feel that the rules, even the rules of Special Circumstances, don't apply to them. They are an intensely close-knit group, connected together with skintennas and performing missions with each other, separated from regular Specials. Although they report directly to Dr. Cable, they prefer to do things on their own without consulting her or asking her for backup. The biggest demonstration of their anarchy comes when Shay and Tally utterly destroy the city's armory.
Cutters' bodies are specifically designed to live in the wild and some even burn trees and hunt animals for food. They are allowed to have any surge they want even if it's way beyond the Pretty Committee's standards. For example, they are all covered in flash tattoos that highlight their cutting scars.
Ultimately, the Cutters are fiercely loyal only to Shay, not Dr. Cable or Special Circumstances.
Specials go through surgery that gives them inhuman strength and speed, incredibly sharp senses, and lightning-fast reflexes. Their teeth and fingernails are replaced with diamond-hard, razor-sharp materials and their bones are replaced with ultralight, nearly-unbreakable ceramic. They have chips in their hands that can amplify vibrations, allowing them to listen in through walls or sense the locations of people by merely touching a surface. They are given vision so clear, nature's beauty almost hurts them to the point where they will fiercely protect it from human threats. They are given cruelly beautiful faces designed to terrify all who look at them into instant respect and obedience, often described as "wolf-like".
Specials have skintennas implanted into their spinal cords, allowing them to keep in contact with both the city interface and one another. Medical nanos are also stored in their bodies, which can heal them quickly when injured. Their bodies are designed to live in the wild, and consequently need less sleep and air than normal people. Their bodies can also filter out most poisons, demonstrated when it took several large doses of knockout gas to make Tally even drowsy.
As well as physical surgery, Specials are mentally rewired to remove compassion for non-Specials. Certain structures in the higher cortex generate intense feelings of rage and euphoria as well as counter-social impulses and feelings of superiority, allowing them to harm and even kill average, non-Special "Randoms" without regret. If they get too close emotionally to a Random, such as a kiss, their bodies physically rebel with intense feelings of rage and disgust. Tally notices that cured, no-longer-Specials have something "ruthless and sure" sucked out of them.
- It only takes hours for a broken bone to be healed by the nanos stored within Special bodies.
- Specials call Pretties "bubbleheads" and everyone non-Special "Randoms".
- Although Specials can cry tears, it's physically difficult for them to do so.
- Their faces are described as scary and wolf-like.