The NSA runs satellite scans for terrorist Lucas Wade. Their chief analyst, Bob, is coordinating the search.
Psychiatrist Jane Lee, a captain at Camp Blackhourse, Afghanistan, is Skyping with her daughter Samantha, who is with her other mother Beth in the States for the Christmas holiday. Samantha recites Jane's ternary for when she'll be returning for two week's leave. Jane notices the time and goes, and a soldier, Adams, arrives and gives her a Christmas card. He breaks into tears and despite the fact that she's running late for her transport, Jane sits down to talk with him.
Once she's done, Jane heads out and NSA agent Whitney Smith approaches her. She offers to give Jane a lift to the transport, and Jane agrees. As they drive, Jane talks about her daughter. Whitney finally says that she needs Jane to come with her, and assures her that she's not in trouble. Jane points out that she's had 18 months without leave, and she's not going to miss Christmas with her family. Soon, Whitney has Jane on a plane to Blacksite Indigo, and Director Stevens greets them. She takes Jane around and explains that the NSA has too much information. They still need a human brain to process the data, and Stevens explains that Jane is there to provide therapeutic support.
Stevens takes Jane to the central processing area and introduces her to Bob: a gigantic mass of human brain tissue with a camera eye. Bob knows all about Jane and introduces himself as the chief intelligence officer. The tech in charge, Chris, explains that the NSA grew a mass of nutrient enriched meat and placed a mind inside. Bob knows why Jane is there because he knows everything, and insists that he doesn't need a therapist. She insists that Bob talking with Jane will help Bob with his problems and help him find Lucas. When they mention Lucas' name, Bob has trouble processing the name and complains of pain. Jane throws up at the sight of all the meat.
Outside, Stevens tells Jane that it's time to get to work. Chris shows her a video of Lucas blowing up a Christmas tree, and Stevens explains that he's preparing an attack but they don't know where or when. They've found nothing physically wrong with Bob, so they figure the issue is mental. Stevens admits that they can't legally hold Jane, but points out that she's the only Army therapist who has voluntarily extended her tour three times. She figures that Jane can't turn her back on a soldier in pain, and Chris notes that Bob can't go on leave. Stevens tells Jane that Bob is in pain and needs her help, and if Jane can't help Bob then a lot of moms and dads will be dead
Jane reluctantly agrees and skypes Beth and Samantha. Neither are happy that Jane won't be there. Samantha runs off, and Beth tells Jane to be there for her, not them. Beth cuts off and Tom calls on the phone. He apologizes for being rude earlier and Jane cuts him off. Bob calls back and wonders how wasting time with Jane will help him. He comes on the TV screen and Jane complains that he's invading her privacy. She turns off the TV and tells Bob that he needs to leave her alone. A drone flies up to the window and Bob speaks through it, saying that he doesn't want Jane there. Jane points out that he's giving a cry for help, and he "accidentally" turns on the sprinkler in Jane's room and locks the door rather than talk about his issues.
The next day, Jane finally arrives to talk to Bob after drying her clothing. She claims she was trying to sneak a cigarette in her room and set off the sprinklers, and Bob is surprised that she's covering for him. Stevens ushers everyone else out and Jane says that they got off on the wrong foot. Bob wonders if she can help him because she's like an earthworm to him. Jane agrees but says that she'd rather try than not, and asks for two hours. After that, if Bob doesn't want to see her then he won't. He agrees but subtracts the time she was late. Jane agrees and explains how he "sees." It doesn't help Jane.
Next, Jane does word association, and then has Bob describe how Lucas disappeared off of a subway a month ago and he hasn't been able to find him since. Jane asks how it made Bob feel, and Bob unconvincingly describes his "emotions." Bob wants to move on, and Jane asks what he'd wish for. He describes a man, Herb Hillman, who is building something for his wife. Bob wishes that he'd call Herb and asks what he's making. He then interrupts to report that he's spotted a suspect. Stevens has him send in a drone missile to kill it, and Bob notes that three non-combatants were also killed.
Jane finally suggests that Bob is suffering from psychosomatic blindness concerning Lucas. She points out that Bob must be under a lot of stress and is still a person, and Bob nervously tries to cut the conversation short. Jane asks what it felt like to kill the suspect, and Bob says that Jane bothers him. He quickly recovers his temper and brings up video of Samantha and Beth. Bob says that they're getting along fine without Jane, and says that Jane needs to feel needed.
Bob says that he pities Jane, and tells her that her time is up. Jane points out that pity comes from empathy and compassion, and figures that Bob loves people. She asks what it's like to pity 7 billion people, and Bob shows her video of Lucas eating a doughnut on the subway. He then shows Jane video of other people around Lucas, including a girl being told by her sister that Santa Claus doesn't exist. Bob expands the video to show all of the misery throughout the world, and tells Jane that he's been crying since they turned him on.
The footage of Lucas leaving the subway comes up, and Bob tries to track him electronically. The image flickers in and out, and Stevens and Chris run back in. After a moment, Bob tells them that they're too late.
On the subway train, Lucas plants a present with a bomb. A man finds it and asks if anyone left it... and the bomb goes off.
The reports come in to Bob, who mixes in reports of Lucas with information on the people trapped and killed by the explosion. Bob finally loses Lucas entirely and apologizes. Disgusted, Stevens walks out and Jane gets some tea. Stevens comes up and Jane says that they can find Lucas, but Stevens tells her that she's dismissed. Jane asks about Bob, and Stevens says that he's no longer Jane's concern. Stevens finally says that the Joint Chiefs have ordered Bob's deactivation. Jane insists that it's murder, but Stevens says that they'll just grow another one... and another one when that breaks. She tells Jane that it's Christmas Eve and advises her to go home.
Chris initiates Bob's shutdown.
As Jane packs, she turns off a newscast of the mourners for the subway explosion. Chris arrives and says that Bob wants to talk to her, and Jane goes into the processing room. He explains that he can only hear her now, and asks if she's his friend. Crying, Jane tells him that he is. She admits that Bob was right and she needs to feel needed by other people. Now people are dying and Bob are dying, and she wasn't useful to any of them. Bob calls her over and she hugs him, and he assures her that she isn't useless: she's human. Jane says that she'll stay with him, and asks again what his one wish would be. Bob says that he wishes there really was a Santa Claus.
Jane goes to Chris at the base Christmas party and tells him to turn Bob back on. When he points out that he can't, Jane says that she's spent her entire life taking care of dying soldiers and she will do everything in her power to save Bob. She points out that Bob is Chris' soldier and Chris brought her in to help him, and Chris agrees. Jane tells him that they're going to make Santa Claus real.
Chris and Jane go to the processing room as the alarms go off. Bob tells Jane not to do it, warning that it won't save her, but Jane says that point is peace on Eartha and good will towards men. Bob comes back on line and sees Herb telling his wife that he's making a pillar, and she's the pillar in his life. Bob warns Jane and Chris that they'll go to jail and he's going to die, and wonders why they did it. He realizes that he's no longer an employee of the NSA and there's nothing hold him back, and Jane tells Chris that Bob got his wish.
At a shipping warehouse, an order comes in and drones take off with over 400,000 presents. They drop the presents down chimneys across the world, while Bob pays off tens of thousands of loans.
A stocking drops into Lucas' hideout. He finds a piece of coal in it as FBI agents barge in.
Stevens enters the room and demands to know what's going on. Chris warns her that Bob has control of the system, and Bob says that he's spreading $200 billion in Christmas cheer. He assures her that he's fixed the economy and got Stevens something, too: Lucas, delivered to the FBI. Bob insists that Jane and Chris face no repercussions for what happened, and points out that he controls the nuclear arsenal. He then orders lots of eggnog.
Later, everyone comes into the processing room to celebrate. Chris hugs Bob and Jane hugs a reluctant Stevens. Stevens then tells Bob that Jane and Chris got full Presidential pardons. She warns him that the government will shut them down, and asks if was worth it. Bob tells her that for one night, Santa Claus was real.
Later, Whitney takes Jane home and gives her the phone. It's Bob, who says that he told them to take Jane before she could say goodbye so that she wouldn't be late. Jane realizes where she is, and Bob says goodbye. Beth answers the door and finds Jane there. Samantha hugs her and after a moment, Beth and Jane hug.
Written by Gadfly on Apr 20, 2017