"Well that settles that," Booker commented darkly. "They want your scalp just as much as they want mine. If we're gonna get out of here alive we're best off working together."
Jack didn't reply. He looked down at the gun in his hands, the barrel still hot from firing. He looked at the sprawled bodies of the policemen, whom he and Booker had just killed. He didn't want to admit it, but Booker was right. This city was trying to kill them, and it had seen them both together. There was no way out of this, except together.
"Booker de Witt," the other man said, holding out his hand.
"Jack Ryan." Jack shook it awkwardly, not quite able to meet his gazes. There was something in those eyes, something cold and grim. He wasn't sure what it reminded him of, but something in those eyes warned him to be wary.
That said, he had no choice but to trust Booker. It might be his only hope of getting home.
"Let's get out of sight," Booker said. "This way." He pointed towards a large building, just across the short bridge. Jack followed Booker towards it, his eyes falling on the posters hanging on the wings of the building.
The Blue Ribbon Restaurant.
It was a big, impressive-looking building, done up in the same neo-classical style he had seen elsewhere in this strange city. The windows were hung with blue curtains, and the posters showing a portly, yellow-clad chef riding a giant pig. The posters promised 'highest quality', presumably referring to the food. There was a plinth in front of the double doors showing the menu, topped by a statue of a pig; its various parts marked out.
It seemed a respectable enough place; the sort of place he might have considered taking the girls to, had it been some other place, in some other time.
And if he wasn't fighting for his life.
A clink of coin drew his attention to the side. Booker was standing over one of the outdoor tables, sliding coins off the table and into his pocket.
"What are you doing?" It was a stupid question, and Jack was actually surprised by how shocked he was.
"Whaddya mean?" retorted Booker testily. "If people just leave stuff lying around, they can't exactly complain. Besides, we might need it."
Jack rolled his eyes, but decided not to press the matter further. Just what kind of man was this Booker de Witt?
He pushed the door open one-handed, gun at the ready. The corridor beyond was deserted, but Jack's eyes were drawn to a banner on the wall at the very end.
THE RISE OF COLUMBIA
Below it were what looked like three information boards of some kind, set atop tall wooden boxes. His curiosity picqued, Jack stepped towards them, aiming at the one on the far left closest to the wall.
And there it was again, that same oval portrait of that same elderly man.
The word of the Prophet
"A LOOK BACK AT OPENING DAY!"
A Columbia Kinetoscope Company Production.
Coming up to the strange object, Jack saw what looked like an eyepiece set in front of the information board. Below it was a plaque reading FINK MFG.
A kinetoscope? Here? Jack had heard of them of course, but only in history class; that is, the history class that had been implanted in his mind by Frank Fontaine. Just how out of date was this place?
Well, when in Rome…
As Jack looked down into the eyepiece, the show started. A screen appeared, like in an old silent movie, showing what he had already seen on the information board. Cheerful, old-time music played along with it, the recording sounding tinny and insubstantial.
Just like an old movie.
The dream of the Prophet is finally aloft
"1893?" Jack watched in amazement as the scene switched to a view of the city, centred on that huge golden statue from before.
Columbia begins her journey to spread America's vision to the world!
That same statue again, this time from in front, with a flight of those blimps passing overhead in formation.
Jack drew back from the kinetoscope, his mind awhirl. 1893? They had built a flying city in 1893? How was it possible? How could they have the technology?
And why couldn't he remember it?
There was another kinetoscope next to it, identical but for the title.
"THE PROPHET STANDS UP TO FOES: WITHIN AND WITHOUT!"
The Chinese Boxers take hostage American innocents…
Now Jack was on more familiar ground. He didn't know much about the Boxer Rebellion, beyond that it was some kind of huge uprising in China, and that American troops had helped put it down.
The scene changed, showing some kind of diorama. In the centre was an old-time Chinese warrior, clad in armour and wearing one of those big wide hats, his face twisted in animalistic rage. He was in the process of beheading someone, a woman from the looks of it, while another woman clutching a baby shied away, mouth open in terror, hand outstretched to placate her tormentor.
The scene made Jack uncomfortable. It reminded him of those old 'yellow peril' pictures, and those Fu Manchu stories. Well, it was about the right time period.
The Prophet and Columbia stand up for America!
The words were followed an instant later by a blown-up version of that same face from before, with the words Our Prophet underneath, as if the viewer would need reminding.
What thanks does Columbia get?
What followed was an old newspaper, the Minuteman Gazette, with the header; WASHINGTON TO COMSTOCK: STAND DOWN!
We stand behind the Prophet!
Jack drew back, even more confused than before. How had America managed to build a floating city in 1893? More importantly, how come he knew nothing about it? Even if Fontaine had left it out of his imprinting, surely he would have encountered something after he left Rapture? A flying city wasn't something that got filed under minor historical curiosities.
There was one more kinetoscope, entitled "We secede from the so-called union." It was the shortest, recounting simply that Columbia had seceded from the union in 1902, and simply flown off somewhere. That meant it had been just floating around on its own, doing its own thing, for fifty-nine years. No wonder the place looked so old-fashioned. Whoever was in charge doubtless had no intention of allowing contact with the surface, lest the citizens get funny ideas.
"Anything worthwhile?" Booker asked, striding along the corridor behind him.
"It's bizarre," replied Jack. "This city's been up here for nearly sixty years."
"Sixty years?" Booker looked incredulous. "Hold it pal, that doesn't make any sense."
"What do you mean?"
"Pal, if this place was built sixty years ago, it was built before the Civil War, and I'd be showing my papers at the Missouri Compromise line."
Something cold and sick churned in Jack's stomach, as a horrible thought entered his mind.
"Booker...what year is it?"
"Nineteen twelve," Booker replied automatically. "Why'd you…?"
Jack felt his legs give way. He slumped against the wall, deaf to Booker's questioning.
"Hey, listen, Jack!" Booker pleaded. He didn't like the look on the other man's face. He had seen it before, and never boded anything good. "What the hell's up with you?"
"Fifty years," Jack whimpered. "Fifty years…"
Booker felt his heart clench. It had been a long time since he'd felt anything like sympathy. It wasn't that he didn't give a damn about other people; he usually just got angry, like he had with that mustachioed peckerhead back at the raffle. Where others offered tea and sympathy, Booker deWitt offered a well-aimed fist.
But for all that, he knew what Jack was going through. He knew, only too well.
"Listen, Jack." He tried to sound kind and brotherly, and knew he was failing miserably. "Jack...I…"
"Where are they?" Jack murmured. "Where are my little girls?"
"I...I don't know." It was the only honest answer he could give. "Look, don't ask me, I didn't bring you here!"
"Neither did we."
Booker looked up, his eyes scanning around the room until they fell on the bar. There was a man sitting there, passed out drunk on the bartop. A little way along another man was behind the bar, giving it a wipe down.
"You again!" Booker snapped, his anger rising. "Why're you following me?"
"We were already here," replied the woman, stepping around the kitchen door just beyond the bar. Booker noticed that she was carrying a tray with two tall bottles on it.
"Why are you following us?" asked the man in turn.
"You guys again!" snarled Jack, anger driving him to his feet. "Why didn't you tell me?!"
"Wait a minute!" Booker glanced at Jack. "You too?"
"Where are they?!" Jack went on, though a part of him dreaded the answer. "Where are my daughters?!"
"Do you want us to be honest or tactful?" asked the woman. Booker had a horrible feeling he knew what the answer would be.
"What the hell kind of an answer is that?!" demanded Jack. He looked ready to kill, or kill himself maybe.
"The tactful answer," replied the man. "The honest answer is that they don't exist."
Booker felt his heart sink. This would not end well.
"What...do...you...mean?" Jack's eyes were bulging,his face as pale as death, his shoulders hunched. He reminded Booker of a client he'd once had, one who hadn't taken bad news all that well.
"They haven't been born," the man went on, apparently oblivious to Jack's current state. "Ergo, they don't exist."
Jack let out a roar. He snapped up his gun, and before Booker could stop him he fired, spraying bullets at the unsuspecting man. Glasses shattered and wood splintered as the bullets tore into the bar. Booker grabbed the gun, yanking it from Jack's hands. He expected Jack to resist, to turn his rage on him.
But he didn't. It took Booker a few moments to realise why.
"Do you really have time for that?" asked the man, without looking up. Booker felt his mouth drop open as he saw that he was entirely unharmed.
"Wh...wh...what are you?" Jack stammered.
"I am me," replied the man.
"And so am I," added the woman.
"And I also," the man went on.
"Am also I."
"Please," Booker interjected. "Don't start that again."
"We are as we are," the woman continued. "Hence our problem."
"And your problem," added the man, looking straight at Jack.
"And his problem." The woman nodded at Booker, who could only sigh. Those two would very likely drive him insane before this was all over.
"The same problem," said the man.
"The same solution," added the woman.
"What do they mean?" Jack rounded on Booker, his eyes accusing and yet hopeful. Booker tried to reply, then a flash of inspiration made him pull the postcard from his pocket.
"This?" he held it up. "This is the solution?"
"The problem," replied the woman, "and the solution."
"Or the solution and the problem," suggested the man.
"Can the one exist without the other?" the woman mused.
"All right!" Booker snapped. "Let's just go!" He glanced at Jack. Some of the colour had returned to his face. He nodded.
"Before you go," the woman held out her tray. "Aperitif?" Booker and Jack stared at the tall, wide-bottomed bottles, each filled with a semi-translucent yellow liquid.
"You'll find that handy in a pinch," commented the man.
"The difference between life and death," added the woman.
"Hmph, why not?" Booker picked one up and drank it down, Jack doing likewise.
Booker felt a sudden tingle, as if from a static charge. The tingle grew stronger, and stronger, until he felt like he was being electrocuted. A strange golden...tinge covered his vision for a fraction of an instant, and then it was gone.
"What was that?" he croaked.
"Surprising," mused the woman.
"Surprising that it worked?" asked the man.
"Surprising that it didn't kill him."
"But a magnetic repulsive field around one's body can come in handy."
"If it doesn't kill you."
"A fair point."
Booker gave the man and woman a look as they passed them, Jack right behind as they entered a kitchen. Booker saw more Silver Eagles on the counter and snatched, stuffing them in his pocket.
"Jack." He said, trying to bring up a conversation.
"What?" Telling by Jack's mood, he doesn't want to talk right now.
"You met those two before? Back in that bar, you sound like you met them before we met up."
Jack growled, searching through some cabinets. "Yeah, I met'em. They're so god damn confusing on how they talk..it's like their minds are connected and they talk in riddles…"
"Trust me, I know how you feel."
"And now, I find out that not only am I trapped in the past, but everyone is trying to kill me." Jack sighed. "It's like I never left that place…"
"What place?" Booker asked with a raised eye.
"Never mind that. Those two said that the girl is the 'problem and the solution'. What did they mean?"
"Hell if I know, but I need the girl and get out of this place. If this girl is your problem and solution, maybe you can get some answers if you help me."
"And where can we find her?" The two turned out of the kitchen and to a hallway with crates and the windows pouring in light on the right.
"At-" The two stopped at the sound of a Gunship.
""And worse is the insult…because today is the day that mark's our secession from the Sodom Below!" Said a woman's voice, probably coming from the gunship. Booker poked his head outside, seeing it fly by.
"You were saying?" Jack whispered, reloading his pistol.
"Monument Island. That's where we'll find the girl." Jack's eyes rose up.
"That place? I came from there actually. When I first got here, I was outside of some...station of some kind." Booker looked back, the ex-Pinkerton surprised.
"That so? Well, lead the way." Booker stepped aside as Jack stepped past them, seeing several buildings floating around them.
"I hated coming through here, but not like I have a choice now." Jack looked down at the Skyhook on his arm and looked up, seeing the hook and sighed. He had a running start and leapt, somehow reaching all the way to the hook and connecting!
"Whoa!" Booker yelped in surprise. "How did you do that?" He yelled up.
"The hooks are magnetized! Unless we can jack one of those floating boats, which I doubt we can, we can't get to Monument Island, so come on! Just aim your Hook-thingy at those hooks, and it takes care of itself! You better have some arm strength though!" Jack saw the other hook, and swung and leapt, connecting to the other hook.
Booker sighed. "Well then, this is gonna be fun…" He readied his Skyhook and leapt, connecting and he followed Jack from the first building to the second. He would be lying if he said he wasn't nervous and kept an iron-tight grip on his Skyhook as he felt as if his arm was gonna be ripped out by the sudden force.
Jack leapt down onto the misty dock below, grabbing his machine gun and leveling it. Booker leapt down right beside him and his eyes rose up.
Down below, he could see corpses of over a dozen other soldiers, lying dead or burnt, with exploded oil barrels close by. The two walked slowly through the mist.
"I managed to clean up on the way up here. Hopefully we won't-"
"Get down!" Booker tackled Jack to the ground behind crates as gunfire from a gunship waiting in the fog opened up. They heard the sounds of men shouting and yelling.
"They're like ants! Fucking ants! Fucking everywhere!" Jack cursed as he raised his machine gun at the automaton.
"Wait!" Booker yelled, standing up beside him and his hand glowed green, and Jack could have sworn he saw a green ghost fly to the turret, and it no longer had a red light...but a green one?
"Watch." The ex-Pinkerton pointed as they saw the shapes of enemy soldiers up above some steps, and the turret opened fire on them, forcing them to cover and fight back.
Jack looked back at Booker, eyes raised. "Security Bullseye?"
"It's called Possession, now lets go." Booker cocked his pistol. "Lets go clean up this mess, again."
And the two charged out of the crates, guns blazing.
She could hear the gunfire, hear the sound of men dying.
Lieutenant Barbara Young gritted her teeth. Someone was dead, and something told her it wasn't the False Shepherd. Though she would never dare say so aloud, she doubted that Satan's minion would die so easily; not one sent on so important a mission. If the Devil wanted the Lamb for himself, he wasn't going to mess around.
She stared hard at the maintenance gantry, and the three tall smokestacks that blocked her view. If she was right, that meant Sergeant Norton and three of her men were dead, along with the unfortunates she was supposed to be reinforcing. That in itself was strange, for the False Shepherd was still in front of the Blue Ribbon when she arrived. There was no way he could've gotten to those men.
Or was he not the only one?
In spite of herself, Barbara glanced sideways at her white-uniformed counterpart. She had sent her shocktrooper companion around with the others, and he was surely dead by now. Did she even care? What was she thinking under that mask?
She shook her head. No time to worry about things like that. She had at least one armed man coming her way, and False Shepherd or no, he would die like any other man.
Something, some strange impulse, made her turn her head back towards the maintenance gantry, still shrouded in the ever-present mist.
She saw movement. She opened her mouth to yell, but the chatter of gunfire cut her off, along with Private Gray.
"Got one!" yelled Booker, as bullets chattered and clanged around him.
"How many are there?" Jack asked, peering between two of the smokestacks to try and see.
"Not sure, but at least two!"
"Got a plan?"
Booker peered cautiously around the smokestack, looking around for something he could use. He saw light gleaming on what looked like a puddle.
A puddle, gleaming in many colours.
"I'll clear us a path," he said, holding up a flame-wreathed hand to illustrate his point. "When I give the word, get down there and find cover, you get me?"
"Okay," Jack nodded. Booker peered round again, lowering his gun to free up his left hand. The soldier was still there, apparently quite unaware of the danger he was in, or just how horrid a death he faced.
Booker leaned out and thrust his left hand forward, unleashing a burst of bright flame. He watched the fireball fly, heading inexorably for the shimmering puddle. He saw the soldier see him, and bring up his gun to fire.
The puddle exploded, flames leaping from the oil to engulf the soldier. Booker tried not to hear the man's screams, tried not to think about his burning clothes, his frying flesh…
"NOW!" he yelled. Jack darted around him and dashed down the steps. Booker made to follow, and saw another soldier emerging from behind one of a line of brick-lined chimneys.
"Son of a bitch!" the soldier roared, enraged by his comrade's dreadful fate. But Booker was faster, and a quick burst put the soldier on his back. As he reached the bottom of the stairs, he saw Jack fire at yet another soldier off to the right.
More shots came. Booker ran forward, taking cover behind a roof column just in front of the blazing puddle. He tried to ignore the smell of burning meat as he glanced around, trying to work out where the firing was coming from.
The firing stopped, and Booker thought he heard a strange, electric sort of noise. He hissed, remembering that the gun turret on that barge from before had made the same noise. There was another damn barge, just beyond the chimneys.
He looked around for Jack, and was relieved to see that the young man had not been hit. He was crouching against one of the brick-lined chimneys, with what looked like a raised maintenance hatch between him and the next chimneys along.
A good choice, Booker thought; covered from both possible threats.
"Jack!" he called. "Can you get the barge?"
"I'll try!" Jack called back. He edged towards the chimney's corner. Booker drew back as more shots rang out. But these weren't from the barge's machine gun; they were pistol bullets, from behind one of the chimneys. There was someone still out there.
He leaned around the column, and saw a white-clad figure leaning around one of the chimneys. He opened up, and saw the figure fall. He glanced again at Jack, who was doing a reasonable job of keeping the barge occupied. He stepped carefully around the flame, and crept along the line of chimneys.
A craggy, rough-hewn face flashed in front of him, twisted in homicidal fury. Booker leapt back, barely avoiding the baton as it flashed round in a vicious arc. He tried to aim his gun, but the soldier was too fast, knocking the gun from his hands. He swung again, but Booker dodged the baton and drove his left fist into the soldier's face. The soldier staggered back, giving Booker enough time to get his right hand in the Skyhook.
The soldier came at him again. Booker darted left, feeling the wind as the baton flashed past. Seeing his chance, he grabbed the soldier by the throat and brought the Skyhook down hard on his head. The soldier's scream became a wet gurgle as the spinning blades tore into his face, flicking blood and gore as they turned. Booker shoved the dying man away, kicking at him to get the Skyhook free.
"False Shepherd!" Booker turned, and his heart froze as he saw a blonde, hard-faced woman in the same grey uniform standing there, pistol aimed unwaveringly at his heart. He knew he should move, to dodge, or to charge; but it was as if he was mired in treacle. Time seemed to slow down.
A gun cracked, and the woman was flung back, blood spraying from the hole in her chest. Booker stared at her for a moment, then snapped round, wondering who had saved him.
There was Jack, his repeater's barrell smoking, breathing hard like he'd run a race. Booker stared at him, wondering who this seemingly mild-mannered young man really was.
Jack walked up to him. "Don't mention it." He looked back, seeing the gondola fly away with the woman on board. "Well, there goes any ride we need to get to Monument Island. Though I doubt any of us have the license, nor the nohow on how to pilot it if we did commandeer one."
"Regarding that," Booker began walking, Jack by his side. "You said you got here on foot via those Skyhooks." Jack sighed.
"Those rail-lines weren't any fun…" He grumbled. "But alright. Follow me." And they walked through the cloudy roofs as another PA went out.
"Everyone stay calm, and lock your doors if you can," the man over the announcement said. "The Prophet foresaw this day would come, and he is prepared." Jack rolled his eyes.
"Prophet." He scoffed, seeing the image of a Comstock poster to his left. "They literally treat this guy as if he were Jesus or something."
"That's because they see him AS Jesus." Booker added. "I've seen religious people go crazy, but this is literally insane. How can one man have such a control over a city like this?"
"Don't remind me," Jack thought. He knew that the masses could be controlled and driven to madness. He was born in it. He fought in it.
"And the answer is not in panic, but in prayer."
"Praying for things to go away doesn't make them go away." Jack scoffed, his Skyhook ready as he saw another hook in the distance. He got a running start and latched on. He saw a courtyard right up a head and flung himself, landing on the ground and rolled, getting back onto his feet. He heard Booker land right behind him. Jack went to the door.
"I came through here." He said, hand on the door. "I met the couple here on my way through." And he noticed several posters, including a negro man on his knees begging.
"Violence is not the answer!" Said a man in another room within the house. "As much as I support her cause, blood must not be shed!"
"What do you expect those poor negroes to do?" Asked a woman. "How they treat them, it was bound to happen!"
"A cause?" Booker whispered. Jack shrugged.
"This is news to me. They didn't talk about some cause when I passed through." When Jack came from Monument Island, he went through this establishment and came upon the Montgomery couple housing African-American men in beds, cots. It made his stomach turn at the thought of this place, this Columbia, being this backwards and racist. They walked forward, opening and door and seeing the two bickering over by several newspaper machines.
They gasped as they turned, seeing the two men armed and entering, and Jack came forth. "Easy. It's me. From before."
"Jack? What are you doing here?" Asked Mr Montgomery. "And...is that blood!" His face was pale.
"It's a long story, listen, me and my friend are just going to pass on through here. We don't want any trouble." Jack raised his hands to indicate surrender.
"We don't have much time Jack. Comstock's men are looking for us remember?" Booker said in an anxious tone in Jack's ear. Another gasp as the man saw Booker.
"It's you! The one they're after…" He pointed towards the door. "Go. They're looking for you."
"No shit." Booker snipped as he went over and grabbed a bottle of cola and chugged it. "I needed that…"
Jack looked back at Booker. That's right, he never really did eat or drink much on his way here. The adrenaline, shock, and fight-or-flight responses going through his body made him ignore some bodily functions. Besides, this was nothing new to him. He fought through Rapture not even eating or drinking unless he went to those clown vending machines. The idea of eating or drinking something from that rotten hell made his stomach turn.
"We can eat more later. For now, let's-"
"Police!" Said a gruff voice, silencing them all. It was coming outside of the door. "We are in need of your assistance!"
Jack and Booker looked at each other and raised their guns, silently as Mr and Mrs. Montgomery were silent, looking like all the blood within them was gone and the slightest noise would result in their deaths. Jack felt torn. He didn't want to involve this family in any fighting, especially when they are taking up such a great cause in helping blacks. If guns started to go blazing, there was no turning back for them or for the African Americans in the hallway down the right.
But if that door opened, he would shoot. He needed to get back to Monument Island and find that "problem and solution" girl Tweedle-Annoying and Tweedle-Irritating were talking about. His eyes looked at Jack, and he seemed to get the message.
If that door opened, let loose.
"All right, no one's home. Let's move on." Said the voice as footsteps sounded out, leaving the vicinity of the door as Jack sighed.
"We're sorry for intruding." He whispered. "Me and my friend will leave now."
"Okay." Mr. Montgomery said, wiping sweat off of his brow. "Just go."
Jack looked at Booker and gestured. "Let's roll."
The ex-Pinkerton nodded and the two walked towards the door, and Jack looked back at the couple.
"Thank you for helping them. The Blacks." Jack paused. "This world, this time doesn't have a lot of people like you. But it means much to them." He smiled lightly. "Keep on fighting in your own way." He opened the door and the two walked past and into a courtyard.
They saw the same policemen walking away, their backs turned to them. As Booker stepped out, they ran behind cover behind some bushes.
"You good on ammo?" Asked Booker.
"Just fine." Jack reloaded his machine gun and cocked it. "Still, when I first came here, I didn't expect this many people to be on our asses."
"You were just one guy who killed two cops. I'm their equivalent to the Anti-Christ. Do the math." Booker barreled out, hand burning red as Jack aimed and fired.
And hell unleashed once again.
He had succeeded. At long last, he had saved his daughter.
As Subject Delta stomped through the water-logged corridor of Fontaine Futuristics, he felt his bones creak as he remembered all that has occurred over the last several days. Being found and brought back to life, fighting his way through Rapture to reunite with his Little Sister, and meeting individuals who have helped and hindered him.
Grace Halloway, who hindered his progress but still cared for her in his absence. He spared her and in kind she assisted him.
Stanley Poole, who was the man responsible for kidnapping his Little Sister and turning her into one under that monster Sofia Lamb. He rammed his drill with through his chest for his troubles.
Gilbert Alexander, the man behind the creation of Delta, of the Big Daddies. He became a mutated monstrosity due to ADAM. In his logs, Alexander asked for the release of death, but in real time he begged for mercy. Delta ended his life for the regard of his human life, not the life of the monster in the tank.
And after fighting through hundreds of Splicers, his fellow Big Daddies, and the elite Big Sisters, he freed her. He finally found and saved Eleanor. After taking the fight to Sofia Lamb and the Rapture family, Eleanor needed to get stronger somehow.
What he had seen had shocked him to the core. At the nursery, where all the Little Sisters that were not saved or harvested by him, she harvested them all. And her reasoning gave the Big Daddy chills for the first time. He remembered her words outside the nursery...
"Mother was right about one thing. I have been watching you father; studying the way you treated others. And now I know who I am...I survive, no matter the cost. Just as you had. My new sisters trusted you. But you took what you needed, and disposed of them. And I felt every one… It wasn't personal. It was the law of nature. So this; what I am about to do, is perfectly natural."
As Delta turned the corner, with Eleanor in her suit by his side, he remembered the screams of young girls being turned into slugs by a power-mad teenage girl, piercing them with her harpoon-needle and green organic ichor flying through the air.
And it was all his fault. Although he had saved most of the Little Sisters he came across at first, when he was getting closer and closer to saving her, he had no choice but to harvest ADAM from them, to get an edge over Sofia and the Rapture Family.
By harvesting those girls, did he warp her view of the world all together? He felt remorse after harvesting them, shouldn't she?
And it dawned on him. It was because he was inhuman. He did inhuman things to save his Little Sister, no matter what the cost or consequences, and now he is seeing it bear fruit.
He and Eleanor were silent as they stepped through the room, ignoring the floating corpse and the graffiti on the wall behind the dead Splicer. They needed to get to Sofia Lamb, to stop her from repeating something like this again. She went ahead, waiting in the elevator as Delta entered and punched the up button.
As they went up, the elevator shook and vibrated.
"The bombs father!" Eleanor yelled. "They're falling! Run!" And they broke into a sprint, Eleanor dashing ahead over the lumbering Subject Delta. As they turned the corner…
Red boxes of TNT, with machines blinking down a countdown...time seemed to slow down for Delta as he and her stopped, and Eleanor turned her head to him, and glowed purple…
And fire washed over Delta.
There was pain, lots of pain as Delta roared and he slowly regained his vision and saw the escape pod rise. He swam bit by bit, extending his arm to reach the side bar…
And did it, only for the acceleration to kick in, and Delta felt his arm break by the sudden force. He stifled a roar and hung on as the pod began to ascend at breakneck speed. He turned his head as he saw the pod rise faster and faster, passing the skyscrapers of Rapture and Fontaine Futuristics, and he felt the pressure that was on his suit begin to lighten up, but it was too fast. He coughed up blood inside his suit.
But it didn't matter. He and Eleanor were leaving Rapture. For good.
Eleanor looked around, wondering where her frantic teleportation had taken her. She was in a round, low-ceilinged chamber, the circular wall lined with pressure-resistant glass windows.
The escape pod. She had made it. The pod was damaged, filling rapidly with water, but that wasn't a problem, not for the moment anyway.
But where was Delta? Where was her father?
Then she saw him, hanging onto the side bar, outside the window. Eleanor felt a cold knife in her gut as she saw him, and the buildings outside dropping away, faster and faster. He had to hang on. He had to hang on!
Then she saw her.
Sophia Lamb was in the pod also, a few metres away, struggling to keep her head above water.
The cold knife was replaced by a hot brand of burning anger. Why had she survived?! Why was she in the pod, with a chance to survive, while her father, her Big Daddy, was stuck outside?! Why did she get to win in the end, after all that she had done?!
No! No victory! No life! Not for her!
Eleanor grabbed Sophia's flailing ankle, dragging her down even as the water rose. She felt her mother pulling, struggling, arms and legs flailing as she tried to break free, to reach the ever-shrinking pocket of air, of life.
And then she was still.
Eleanor let go of the drowned woman, and swam over to the window. There was her father, silent behind the glass, still hanging on for dear life. Time seemed to slow down, stretching and warping into one, long, cold moment; the moment of knowing that what would be would be, and that there was nothing she could do.
She laid a hand on the window. It was the only way she could connect with him now.
The pod shuddered as it broke the surface, the sunlight streaming in. With a thought, Eleanor was gone from the chamber, and out on the deck. She looked around for Delta, pulling off her helmet to see better.
There he was, still clinging to the handrail, motionless. Eleanor darted over to him, and with frantic effort disentangled his gloved fingers from the handrail. She rolled him onto his back, and searched desperately for any sign of life.
There was none. Only the the mirror-glass of his helmet, her own face staring back at her.
There was only one thing left to do. Delta's body was dying, but she could still save his essence, still preserve him with herself. She drew back her arm, ready to drive the long needle into him, to draw out his true heart.
And then his big hand moved, grabbing her wrist. Eleanor looked oddly at him...
And then it hit her, her eyes widening in horror.
"No," the helmet seemed to say, though no sound came from it. Eleanor's heart ached, but she could not force the needle down, could not save him against his will.
It was already too late.
As the strength faded from his grip, Eleanor stood up. She took his hand, and dragged him across the deck, laying him face down with his helmet over the water. Rapture was dying, and she wanted him to see it die, to know that the nightmare was over.
"And so the Rapture dream dies."
She stared down at him, then at the water. She could see the corpses of the Splicers, bobbing like so much flotsam, which is all they had ever been to her mother.
"You taught me that innocence is chrysalis," she thought, looking down at her father again. "A phase designed to end. Only when we are free from it do we know ourselves."
She glanced back at the chamber, where her mother's body still floated. Sophia Lamb had given her life. Sophia Lamb had trapped her, isolated her, indoctrinated her for her own purposes. Sophia Lamb had destroyed countless other lives, that she might be her weapon.
Delta had destroyed too. He had killed Splicers, harvested Little Sisters, though some he had spared. And in the end he had saved her, freed her from her prison, helped her to escape. Her survival, her joy, was all that mattered. She indulged, and nothing else existed. So it had been for her mother, and so for her father.
They had made a monster of her.
Yet he had saved the others. Why? Didn't he want her to be like him?
Or was that why he had refused her? Did he feel regret at what he had done, at what he had been forced to do to save her? Was death the better choice when faced with such regret? Had he preferred to die, rather than to have her follow him? Was this the price he willingly paid, that she might be free?
Eleanor sat down beside him, looking out at the tower, its statue gleaming gold. Storm clouds were gathering overhead, as if to remind her of its true meaning.
"The Rapture Dream is over," she thought. "And in waking, I am alone."
And she was alone, that much she knew for certain. There was no name for what she was. The world had never seen her like before. But soon it would, and the world would change forever.
She looked at him one last time, and saw that he had managed to turn his head, to look straight at her. She saw her reflection in his visor, and realised that she was crying.
A hand reached up, and brushed away the tears on her cheek, and Eleanor was too quiet to resist him. It would keep coming, but why bother? But she knew why, because he wanted to make her happy, and tears like hers are anything but the happy kind.
He slumped sideways, and Eleanor caught him one last time, laying him down so that he could see the lighthouse, see the statue. It was the only way of telling him how she felt, of showing him what he had given her.
He had given her hope.
Eleanor remained sitting at the pod's edge, and she sniffled, trying to hold back tears at the bittersweetness of it all.
On one hand, her father, who went through hell and high water to save her, is dead. She wanted to face the world above with him, but that won't be possible. And he must have felt regret for what he had done…
Wait, what he had done culminated into shaping her. Then...was he not just ashamed of himself, but ashamed of her as well? Eleanor looked down at her reflection in the water, letting the tears fall and gasped for air as she began to cry.
No, he didn't hate. Rather, he felt bad at what he had done to shape her. Harvesting those few Little Sisters and killing both Poole and Alexander changed her.
On the other hand, he had given her hope and a gift that her mother nor anyone else could have had while within that nightmare of a city:
Eleanor looked up, seeing the rays of the sun breaking through the clouds. She stood up and walked over to where her helmet is. She had to empty out the water within the pod and then use-
Damnit! The radio must have gotten wet too! Now how can she call for surface-world help?
She noticed something right off to the side of the boat, like a whirlpool just suddenly appeared. No, not a whirlpool, the motion of water going down as if there was a hole in the bath-tub.
And the pod was caught in it and began to go down!
Frantically, Eleanor put on her helmet and latched it on before the water rushed over her, and the girl tried to swim away before the rush of water and her father's body pinned her against the pod. She yelled out under her helmet as she felt ribs break under the weight and she turned her head and her eyes widened.
It looked so different underwater, but it looked like some...shimmering gray blotch with something inside. She couldn't tell. As her father's body fell off of her and into the blotch, he disappeared and Eleanor was heading right for it.
She screamed she felt herself go through it, and then...there was light.
She fell onto the ground, hard ground to her surprise and briefly saw stars before her body slowly began to heal itself.
She heard a large noise behind her, and along with the torrent of water, the massive escape pod fell through and landed in a clearing.
Eleanor turned over, rolling onto her back and seeing bright blue skies and the sun through her helmet.
"What on earth…" She muttered as she staggered to her feet and felt the ribs that were once broken heal under her skin. Eleanor stood up, and saw great buildings amongst the clouds...Wait. The clouds she saw were grey and murky. These clouds were snow white.
She heard the sounds of sirens and horns but didn't matter as she took off her helmet to get a better view. The light of sun blinded her eyes, her eyesight not used to such brightness and soon she got adjusted to the sight and sound of this city in the clouds.
"Amazing…" She breathed, in awe of the early 1900s architecture around her. "Where am I?" She asked, looking around. This couldn't be...heaven couldn't it? From what she knew of heaven it was the afterlife and she COULD have died, but isn't heaven a place with angels and bells and wide golden gates and the lord God smiling down on you?
Because that poster with a bearded man and the words Our Prophet Father Comstock written all over it didn't look lordly. He was frowning.
What IS this place?
Suddenly the sirens grew louder as she looked above and saw what made her jaw drop. A flying boat?! How can such a thing be! As she saw the flying boats level off, she saw men and women in unfirom hop out and inspect the watered down area and the pod.
Eleanor gulped a bit as a man with a twirly moustache approached.
"Pardon me miss, but on earth are you wearing? And what happened here anyway?" He asked. He looked to be a man of authority as Eleanor remained silent. What should she do?
"Miss?" He tilted his head as he stared intently at her. "I asked ya a question. It would be wise in your best interest to answer me."
Is he giving her a command? Is he now a threat? Eleanor clenched her lips together and clenched her teeth.
"Hey Captain! There's a dead woman in here! White!" The man before her turned around and looked at the pod where the other men were.
"Sir! I see another, some guy in metal!"
"Don't touch Father!" Eleanor snapped. The idea of these people laying their hands on Father was disgusting. She promised him a burial at sea, but she got whisked away here. Her arm was then grabbed by the man, his eyes hard and cold.
"Well, we got ourselves an Irish harlot eh?" He sneered. "So, you got some fancy-schmancy get up, and two people are dead. That doesn't look good on ya."
"I'm not Irish, and let me go. Now."
She was caught off guard by the back of his hand, slapping her across the cheek. The stinging was felt throughout her body as she looked at the ground.
"You don't tell me what to do bitch, now, you're coming me to the station and-" The words were droned out as Eleanor raised her head slowly to face him.
Her thought process began to churn: Man strikes her. Hostile. Thus he is an enemy.
Men are allies. By proxy, they are also enemies.
'Father...forgive me, but, I am not going to waste away up in this place. Nor died here.'
Eleanor was glaring hard at the man, her arm with her needle harpoon held. She took a deep breath.
And screamed. Loud.
On cue, glass all around shattered and the men fell down to their knees, hands covering their ears as they screamed in pain. The Stache-man let go of her arm and wailed on ground, Eleanor reared back her arm…
And gored his head with the harpoon-needle. She turned towards the other men, who cried out and began pulling weapons.
Her hands glowed with heat, fire erupting from her finger tips as the Lamb of Colombia let out a shrieking battle cry, and charged. And the realization dawned as the following minutes was like a blur. She ripped them apart limb from limb, burned them to a crip, or crushed bone and muscle under her heel. This wasn't heaven. This was a place filled with monsters, just like her.
This was hell.
Sorry for the long update, summer has been the absolute worse in regards to finding time to write. Parents want you to get a social life, to work out, and to actually work. I can't do shit
Anyways, everyone knew this was coming, but here is Eleanor! It's gonna be Mardi Gras up in Rapture, only with guns and blood instead of joints and booze.
Hope ya'll enjoyed!