BIOSHOCKED – Part I: Wrong place at the wrong time
By C. Mage
The best laid plans…it was simple. Create a pawn from your own worst enemy, make him into a tool you can control, get him to do your dirty work, then toss him aside and take control. All you need to do is put him where he'll do what comes naturally: survive.
The problem is, engineering plane crashes you can survive aren't what you'd call an exact science…
I remember fighting my way to the surface, seeing pieces of the plane fall and sink. I didn't know which way was up until I saw the pieces of the plane sink. Good thing, too. My lungs were on fire by the time I broke the surface, and the fire of the downed plane helped me see how bad my situation was. Parts of the plane were still on the surface, and the ocean was aflame.
I thought the whole world was on fire for a few seconds.
A coughing to my right brought me out of it. Another person had survived. I started to swim over when I saw other lights to my right, and I realized that there was some structure, out in the middle of the ocean. I took a closer look.
It was a lighthouse.
My arms and legs were starting to tire as I moved to the other survivor, grabbing his torso under his arms and swimming towards the lighthouse. He didn't fight me, but he was still alive, that much I knew. I found a break in the flames and managed to get to the lighthouse, finding a staircase and lights. As I dragged the other survivor up on the steps, I got a better look at him, discovering two things one right after the other.
First, the survivor was the same sonuvabitch that had caused this whole thing in the first place, taking a gun and shooting the pilot and co-pilot, forcing the plane down here. The second was that there was a large piece of metal in the middle of his torso. He was dying…no, he was already dead. His body just didn't know it yet.
I grabbed his shirt, pulled him up, seawater dripping on his face. "WHY?" I demanded, shaking him. "They're all dead! WHY?!"
He looked up at me and my rage vanished. Drained right out of me like air from a balloon. He didn't say anything, but the look on his face said what his lips couldn't. He looked like a lost kid. Then his eyes closed and his troubles were over.
I checked him over, see if I could find the gun he used. No luck. Found a wallet, some money, picture of the guy with his parents. Nothing I could really use. The only other thing about him that struck me was his wrists. Why would anyone get chain links tattooed on the undersides of their wrists?
I sat down on the steps. It was starting to get colder and I was no closer to getting answers, but I was alive, at the very least. I got to my feet, walking up the steps and hugging my chest.
As I walked up to the large double doors of the lighthouse, I looked up at the light on the top. What was something like this DOING here? Lighthouses are supposed to warn people away from danger. This wasn't a warning. This was more like a beacon. I think this guy, this "Jack" was trying to get here. But why? He wasn't bringing anything here. All he had was that gun and his wallet and his clothes. They have seaplanes, he could've just chartered a plane here.
I looked inside. It was dark, but it was warmer, so I took a few steps into the building to see if I could find a light switch. I heard a creaking sound and turned around just in time to see the door slam shut, plunging me into complete darkness. Great job…out of the frying pan… I thought, then the lights came on, loud, bell-like sounds announcing more lights. I released the breath I was holding, turned around and got the shock of my life.
Somebody was looking down at me with a very stern expression.
I backed up a step as I saw a very LARGE bust of a man's head and shoulder looking down at me like some hanging judge. Underneath the bust was a red banner with gold letters that read "NO GODS. NO KINGS. ONLY MAN." Oh yeah. That didn't look ominous at all.
I caught sight of a metal plate and looked down. As I read it, something occurred to me. This Jack guy was trying to get HERE. And since I don't think he was trying to kill himself, that means that someone built this place for a reason. That means support. That means food and shelter.
I took off my jacket, hanging it on a light fixture to dry, then I considered. Might be a good idea to look around first before I relaxed and warmed up. I saw a set of stairs going down and followed them, hearing my shoes squish as went down the steps. As I went down, I saw that the chamber under the main one was a dock of some kind, but the craft inside was some kind of submarine. Didn't exactly have a whole lot to it, just one switch for controls, upholstered seats, just big enough to hold eight people with baggage, and a strange box marked "Service Radio".
It was weird and strange, but it was a way out.
I let my clothes dry out, half wondering if anyone was going to come through the doors and catch me in my skivvies. Didn't happen, thank God, but my clothes itched when I put them back on after they dried. I steeled myself, prepared myself for the unknown, walked into the sub and pulled the switch.
Well, THAT was something of a letdown.
I checked it over. By all rights, the thing should've worked. I didn't spend all my time in college at toga parties. Although a lot of the mechanics and electronics in the sub were revolutionary, to say the least, I could still make heads or tails of the basic principles. From the look of it, it worked on external signals, and there was some sort of authorization code it needed to work. Pretty complex stuff.
I sat down after spending hours looking over the sub. My watch was the only thing that let me know that time was passing; the lighthouse had no windows and the doors wouldn't open. Ten hours and I'd barely cracked the surface.
If I'd known how scarce food was going to be, I wouldn't have said no to the peanuts on the plane.
I woke up thirsty as hell and determined to figure this mess out.
I got up and stretched inside the sub. The cushioned seats made for great beds, but this place had lousy room service. I took out the quarter I'd been using as a screwdriver and opened up a panel under the switch. There was a way to bypass the lock, but it was a real puzzle. Hmmm…change the alignment there…replace the…
I stopped. It couldn't be THAT simple, could it?
There was a flow of a fluid going through the system that acted as some kind of conductor. I switched the flow around, re-directed it towards a bypass, then stood up and pulled the switch for the fifty-seventh time, crossing my fingers for the thirty-eighth time.
There was a spark from the panel, then the door behind me closed and I felt the sub shift. Then it dropped into the water and I felt my ears popping. I took a deep breath and walked to one of the seats.
As I waited, the lights dimmed and a screen came down in front of me. An image came on the screen of a stylized version of the lighthouse, then a picture of a man lighting a cigarette, but using a flame from his finger, some chipper music playing. What's more, the picture looked like, well…an advertisement. While I was trying to get my mind around that, the scene changed to a picture of a guy behind a desk, with the words "From The Desk Of Andrew Ryan" to the side.
"I am Andrew Ryan," a recorded voice came, making the words sound like the announcement of someone who thought he was really important, "and I have a question…" I continued to listen as he went on. He didn't like governments or religion much, since they apparently kept making him follow rules he didn't like. He went on about finding a place, or making a place where people like him could live without being held back by rules made by lesser beings. I started feeling a chill creep up my spine as he talked about not being held back by morality. I grew up going to church every Sunday, and the idea about somebody who thought the Holy Trinity was Art, Science and Industry struck me as a very bad idea.
Then the screen rose and that's when I really knew I was no longer on the map.
Through the window of the door, I could see what looked like a city, with skyscrapers and all, but UNDERWATER. I probably looked like a rube as I watched a whale, a WHALE, swim between buildings, schools of fish…
That's when I heard other voices on the radio. New voices, talking about the sub, only they called it a "bathysphere", and something about "splicers" coming. As I watched the bathysphere heading for a dock of some kind, I saw it pass through a series of signs that read, Burma Shave style, "All good things of this earth flow into the city", only as the word "city" lit up, the "y" shorted out and fell off the sign.
Real comforting. I was starting to think I was better off locked in a lighthouse by myself.
As the bathysphere rose, I tried to see what was going on, but the room I was rising into was dark. I could barely make out details, but what I was seeing made me glad I couldn't see everything. Some woman with baling hooks in her hands was eviscerating some guy right in front of me. After dropping the poor guy into the water, she turned to me. I backed up, counting my blessings that I was inside a metal sphere. What was she going to do, force her way in with a couple of hooks?
Then she leaped up on top of the bathysphere. I backed up as noises came from all around the craft, horrible clanging and shrieking noises, then I saw tears in the metal and crimps in the plates. How the hell was a single woman with metal hooks able to peel this bathysphere like an orange?
I was getting ready to need some new pants when the noises stopped and that maniac leaped to the dock in front of the sub, then leaped away into the darkness. I realized that I was hyperventilating and forced myself to calm down.
"Would you kindly pick up that service radio?" came one of the new voices. I figured any help was better than none and I grabbed the radio.
"Who is this?"
"I don't know how you survived that plane crash, but I've never been one to question providence. I'm Atlas, and I aim to keep you alive. Now keep on moving ... we're gonna have to get you to higher ground." The door in front of me opened and I suddenly realized how vulnerable I was in this place. "Take a deep breath and step out of the bathysphere. I won't leave you twisting in the wind," Atlas reassured me.
As I stepped out, I got the feeling that whoever this Atlas guy was, he knew I was here and he could probably see me. I thought about calling out, but the more I looked around, the more I figured that calling attention to myself was bad. The chamber I was in now was huge, with other docks and piled-up luggage nearby, as well as protest signs. "RYAN DOESN'T OWN US" caught my eye. Looks like Ryan isn't exactly the godsend he thinks he is.
The area I was in looked like a major terminal. The bathyspheres must have pre-set routes, with conductors running them like trains. However, the scheduling boards all showed the bathysphere travel had been cut off.
The area also showed severe disrepair, crumbling supports and vandalism. This can in no possible way be a good thing…
"We're gonna need to draw her out of hiding. But you're gonna have to trust me," Atlas said carefully. I took a deep breath and walked closer…then a sudden shriek got my attention and I got a better look at the woman who'd torn the bathysphere up.
And when I did, I wish I hadn't. The woman was wearing some sort of striped jumpsuit, but her face was horribly misshapen, the skin bulging on one side. The snarl on her face didn't improve the look any. She took a step forward, then a bright light illuminated her, startling her and giving me a better look at her. There were lesions on her skin and discolored areas. She looked like her body had decided to declare war on itself.
"How do you like that, sister?" Atlas crowed as a helicopter-like contraption came out from behind me, then I dove for cover as I head machinegun fire. I looked up as the machine fired upon the woman, chasing her up into the darkness. "Now, would you kindly find a crowbar or something? Bloody splicers sealed Johnny in before they...goddamn splicers."
So that was a splicer. "Splicer" must be slang for "crazy whacked-out fugitive from a monster flick". Imagine the joy of discovery, compounded by the knowledge that there was more than one of these things around. "Listen, Atlas…I need you to tell me what's going on," I said into the radio as I looked around for something I could use as a weapon.
"Long story, boyo. I'll tell you what I can."
There was something in his voice, something he wasn't telling me. I didn't let slip I guessed that, since even a half-truth was better than nothing at all. I found a wrench and swung it. Oh yes, this would do nicely.
"What's your name?" Atlas asked.
"The name's Mark."
Silence at the end of the line. "Where you from, Mark?"
"California. Just graduated from college a few years back, was on my way back from a job in Europe when some nutjob hijacked the plane and forced it down."
More silence. "What happened to him?" he asked, his voice trying to sound nonchalant.
"Died in the crash. Flipped out halfway, shot the pilot and co-pilot." I shook my head. "Poor bastard."
More silence. As soon as I heard it, I knew that this guy knew about Jack. The whole thing had been planned. However, the "why" was still a mystery. If this guy was willing to kill a planeload of people just to get Jack here, he'd leave me twisting in the wind, despite his reassurances, if he thought for a moment that I was on to him.
And I wanted out of this half-crazed Atlantis.
"Look…Atlas…I have no idea what's going on. I'm gonna trust you, but I need to rely on you. You're the only friend I've got down here," I added, letting some of the fear I was feeling creep into my voice. Not hard to do, considering my situation. I had to control it, though, and I had to convince Atlas that I trusted him without question.
"It's gonna be all right, Mark, but I need you to help me. Listen - I've got a family. I need to get them out of here. But the splicers have cut me off from them. If you can reach them in Neptune's Bounty, then maybe, just maybe ... I know you must feel like the unluckiest man in the world right now, but you're the only hope I'll ever see my wife and child again. Go to Neptune's Bounty ... find my family ... please."
The hook. There it was. "You help me survive down here, I'll do whatever you say," I said quickly, hoping he'd read desperation instead of just garden-variety trust. I looked at the rubble and used the wrench to knock it away so I could crawl through, barely dodging a burning sofa as I went up the stairs.
As I dodged it, I suddenly heard a voice from above: "I didn't mean to hurt anyone!" I looked up and jumped back, nearly losing my footing on the steps as a man with a bandaged head came from around the corner. He moved in on me. I couldn't tell if he was truly angry or not; his face was losing its firmness and was hanging off his head like a latex mask.
I didn't have a choice. God forgive me, it was either him or me. I just swung that wrench as hard as I could. I hit him in the head and I thought he'd fall, but he just shrugged it off and just kept right on coming with that pipe, trying to bury it in my skull. I had to hit him four more times before he'd fall and stop getting up.
I backed away from him, then I turned away and threw up, spitting up stomach acids. Didn't have any food in my stomach to get rid of, and my throat burned. When the nausea passed, I looked at the blood-covered corpse, then moved past him into the next room. A sign in neon read "PLASMIDS" pointing up stairs past a sign showing what looked like a Norman Rockwell painting, except this one showed happy people throwing lighting, lighting fires, moving things with their minds… It was all so surreal. How was any of this possible?
The only other door out was operated by a switch, but it was damaged. Was nothing easy? I sighed and headed up the stairs, curious to know what this was all about.
It was so cute, it's scary. An innocent looking vending machine from the 1940s, two cartoonish girls flanking it, mushrooms and flowers, all made of steel and tin. On it were the words "Gatherer's Garden". One of the doors on it was open, revealing a metal and glass bottle with a glowing red liquid inside, a syringe next to it. "Atlas, I'm trapped in a room with something called a 'Gatherer's Garden' in it. How do I get out?"
"You're going to need to use a plasmid to get through the door."
"Is there a red bottle there you can get to?"
"Use the syringe and inject yourself with it."
And there it was. Either take the plunge and let him think I did trust him, or hesitate…and blow my only advantage, the illusion of control over me. God hates a coward, I thought, and injected myself with the witch's brew. There was a burning sensation as it went in, the red liquid going into my bloodstream as if I was injected sulfuric acid. Then the burning changed and the empty syringe dropped from my hands as arcs of blue energy coursed over my arms. It hurt, dear GOD it hurt, and Atlas was saying something to me about my DNA being rewritten and I must have turned and rushed towards the railing, as if I could run from what was infusing itself painfully into every cell of my body...I hit the railing and over, the floor rushing up to meet me...
I woke up, hearing voices. I tried to move, but nothing would respond. Pinocchio's strings were cut.
"This little fish looks like he just had his cherry popped! Wonder if he's got any ADAM on him?"
I had to get up. I don't know what they wanted, but from the blood caking their clothes, I don't think they were going to be satisfied with going through my pockets. I had to get up, but my body wouldn't work. If my body had been allowed to, I'd be shaking like a leaf in a hurricane.
I heard something else then, a faraway sound like a long groan. I didn't know what made it, but whatever it was, it made one of them spin around as if he'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "You hear that? Let's bug!"
"Weak!" his friend spat. "You're a weak chopper!"
The first man ran off, calling back, "This little fish ain't worth toeing with no Big Daddy!"
"Yellow! Always have been!" He didn't sound so secure, then leaned down to me again. "You'll be no better off with the metal daddy, little fish. See you floating in the briney..." Then he took off after his friend. All I could do was lay there, wondering why he was wearing a cat mask...then I felt something closer, great clanking footsteps. If I could've held my breath, I would have. All I could do was lay there, eyes open, waiting as I saw a giant foot come into view...as well as a huge cone, ridged like a corkscrew and OH MY GOD IT WAS A DRILL...
When my vision cleared the next time, I saw the dress, legs and bare feet of a girl. She couldn't have been older than seven. I tried to turn my head to get a better look, but my body's muscles refused to respond. "Look, Mr. Bubbles," she said, but her voice had this reverberating tone, like she was at the opposite end of a long tunnel. "It's an angel. I can see light coming from his belly..."
I exerted every ounce of control I could gather, and only succeeded in shifting my body an inch or so.
"Wait a minute, he's still breathing."
She saw me. She HEARD me. Thank God! I managed a strangled, "...help...me..."
"It's all right," she said soothingly, then her next words chilled me to my very core. "I know he'll be an angel soon." With that, the two walked off. I managed to turn my head to watch them go. She was SKIPPING.
I closed my eyes again.
I have no idea how long I was out this time, but I found strength returning to my body, and I got to my feet, looking around frantically. "You all right, boyo? First time plasmid's a real kick from a mule. But there's nothing like a fistful of lightning, now, is there?"
I looked at my hands. My right hand looked normal enough, but my left...there was electricity coursing around it like my hands were a Jacob's Ladder. "How do I...use it?"
"Use your left hand, hold it out to whatever you want to shock, then think about pushing the charge out of your palm."
I tried it and it worked TOO well, hitting the floor and licking at my feet, making them tingle. I jumped back, then looked at my hand. I suddenly felt tired, drained. I must have some internal battery that I drew the power from..and I suddenly realized what that meant. This energy was finite. "How do I, uh, recharge?"
"You use EVE. Blue glowing hypos. That'll fill you up right."
"And if I run out of EVE?"
"Then getting out of here alive becomes a lot less likely."
"All right, good survival tip, thanks." Feeling the charge stress-testing the nerve endings in my feet told me that even though I had the means to channel Mjolnir didn't make me immune to the effects of being on the receiving end of such a blast. I also felt the change on another level as well, and I remembered the first splicer I ran into, remembering how he looked, what all these plasmids did to him. I'd taken a first step towards ending up like that. Where was the line between power and madness?
I'd seen one of my dorm-mates turn into a junkie back in college. At some point, he said to me, "I can control it. I'm not going to let it control me. I can stop any time I want." I had become disgusted at what he'd become, felt superior because I told myself, "I'll never be someone like that." Now I was looking at the fresh puncture wound in my arm, which was already healing up. I felt the power in my veins, already looking forward to using it again
All it would cost me is a little bit of my soul. How much of that was I going to have left by the time I got out of here?
"Now, to get out of there, you need to shock the door switch, and that'll let you out of the room." I shook my head as Atlas spoke, remembering the first rule of Rapture: survive now, think later. I fired off a charge at the door nearby, delighted to see it cause the door to open, revealing a tunnel beyond made of metal and glass, or something like it that made it easy to see the ocean around without having to worry about little things like "crush depth". Despite my misgivings about the plasmid, I was beginning to envision useful applications for this. I walked through the door, then felt a shudder as I turned to my left.
It was the tail section of the plane. Freed from the rest of the fuselage, it had sunk to the bottom, coming to rest on an outcropping of rock just overlooking the tunnel I'd just entered. The construction of the transparent walls were well-made. I could see the tail section teetering on the edge of the rock, then slide off and fall, moving like a guided missile directly for the tunnel and SMASH into the side, and the ocean began to rush in to fill the void. I felt the freezing cold of the water, the shock of it nearly causing me to pause, then I realized that he who hesitates is fish food. I ran forward, my teeth chattering as I found myself in the tail section again, looking at the red EXIT sign on the right of the hatch as I waded through the water and out the other side, heading down the tunnel. I heard the cracking of the glass over my head and panic gave strength and speed to my legs as I ran past one overworked pressure door to another one that opened for me at the far end.
I ran inside, collapsing as the door behind me closed and sealed shut. I looked up at the door behind me to see the words "AIRLOCK ACTIVE." I felt the cold threaten to rob me of my strength and I forced myself to get up, seeing frost forming on my legs. I beat the cold off, getting to my feet. I had to stay active, stay warm, or my heart would fail as cold blood rushed into it. As I got up, I heard a scraping sound and someone rushed past my vision.
I was wrong. He who hesitates is not fish food. He who hesitates is FUCKED.
I rested in the elevator. From here, I had a wonderful view of some of the architecture of Rapture, including banners and a large sculpture of something called "The Great Chain". I had just killed two splicers, overloading their nervous systems with the Electro Bolt, then beating them with the wrench. I kept telling myself that it was okay, that if I hadn't killed them, they most certainly would've killed me.
That made it acceptable, but it was a far cry from being "okay".
I listened to Atlas over the radio. He said that he was on the other side in a war between the elite of Rapture versus the overlooked and oppressed poor. He told me about his wife, Moira, and his son, Patrick, how he didn't want to fight the war anymore, he just wanted to leave Rapture with them. I couldn't blame him for that; I've only been in Rapture about an hour and already I wanted nothing more to do with the place. But suspecting what I knew about him and that poor bastard who'd died trying to crash a plane in just the right place...things were not adding up. This was a sob story, made to tug at the ol' heartstrings.
But I couldn't let him think that I'd suspected. "Atlas, I promise, I'll get to Neptune's Bounty. But you've got to help me out here."
"Aye." I could hear it in his voice. I'd sold him on the idea of helping to keep me alive, at least long enough, hopefully, to find out the all-important question: WHY? But I knew that someone willing to kill a whole plane-load of people just to get his confederate from Point A to Point B was not going to trust me much, either, and I knew he figured on throwing me to the wolves as soon as it became clear I was no longer useful.
What's more, he was watching me, somehow. Not surprising; any place capable of creating security contraptions like the one that chased that splicer away obviously had the means to create some sort of security cameras as well. That meant they were using some sort of recognition algorithm, a kind of Identify: Friend or Foe system.
And that meant that I needed to find a way to make this place recognize me as a citizen.
I thought about bringing it up to Atlas, but I changed my mind. Atlas knew this place better than I did, and if he's as smart as I think he is, he's already working on the problem. I needed to let him think he was in control, that he was smarter than me. If I asked him how he would fix things, he might start thinking that I might be smart enough to figure him out, and the deus ex machina he supplied me would be gone faster than you can say, "Sorry, boyo."
The elevator stopped and I walked out, hearing a woman's voice off to my right. I moved closer and saw a shadow of a woman standing over a baby carriage, singing a variation of "Hush, Little Baby" I hadn't heard before, then hearing her begin to sob, confused, talking to her baby as if it wasn't even there and somehow was. I wondered what I'd do to get past a splicer with an actual child until I took a closer look in the carriage.
The woman was dressed in a dress and hat ten years out of style, her face scarred. She looked every bit the grieving mother, except she wasn't touching a child, or even the corpse of a child, as I'd feared. She was caressing a revolver. Her brain was probably more scarred than her face. I shocked her, then hit her from behind, putting her out of her misery. I picked up the gun as I heard Atlas say, "Plasmids changed everything. They destroyed our bodies, our minds...we couldn't handle it. Best friends butchering one another, babies strangled in cribs. The whole city went to hell."
As he talked, I began to go over the things I'd picked up. Scavenging from the dead splicers and the area around me resulted in finding those blue hypos Atlas told me about, as well as white and red tins, first aid kits that came with some sort of gel. The directions instructed me to squeeze the gel on areas of my body that were damaged, and as I applied the gel, I literally saw the burns and bruises I'd suffered fade away to nothing. It was a miracle, pure and simple.
Problem is, it was beginning to look like I was going to need to repeat this miracle on a regular basis.
I injected another hypo of the blue stuff into my veins, feeling whatever reservoir that fueled this plasmid return to full. "What's this stuff called again?" I asked Atlas.
"It's called 'EVE'," he replied. He sounded a bit preoccupied.
"ADAM? EVE? For someone who hates the idea of God, he sure put in a lot of Biblical references when he named this stuff."
"Not his idea. He didn't discover the stuff." There was something in the way he said it. A sense of pride. That meant...well, I didn't know what that meant, at least, not yet.
I made my way through the Kasimir Restaurant, looking around, seeing decorations, party favors, a large sign in neon proclaiming "HAPPY NEW YEAR 1959". I heard a song playing from somewhere, "If I Didn't Care" by...
I thought about it for a few moments, trying to remember the group. Then I suddenly realized I was in hostile territory populated by hostile psychotic superhumans run by a guy who didn't believe in God or government. Somehow, trying to remember a music group seemed like one of those things better considered once I got out of here and made it to SEA LEVEL.
I encountered three more splicers. Two of them were apparently man and wife, fighting over who would get whatever ADAM they had, then decided to take out their aggressions on me as soon as the husband noticed me. That'll teach me to get involved in a domestic dispute. The third was a woman wearing some sort of striped jumpsuit. Only after I'd shocked her and brained her with my wrench did I notice the massive deformation of her head, like some massive cancerous growth had decided to mate with her head. The entire left side of her head was this mass of...fleshy lesions.
I had to stop for a minute. The worst part was, the bigger shock wasn't this poor woman's appearance.
The bigger shock was how much I...ENJOYED using the Electro Blast.
I sat down, holding my head. The plasmid apparently backed off when I used my hands to touch my own body, which gave me a huge sense of relief. The last thing I wanted was to take a piss and find out just how well urine conducted electricity. The more I used this plasmid, the more I wanted to feel its power. With it, I wasn't just a human anymore. I was Thor, I was Zeus, I was...
I was suddenly reminded of a book, Alice In Wonderland. A scene came up when Alice complained, "But I don't want to go among mad people." The Cheshire Cat said, without remorse, "Oh, you can't help that! We're all mad down here."
I mentally shook myself. "I am NOT...going to go...CRAZY," I said to myself in a low whisper. "I'm only going to use what I NEED to survive long enough to get out of here. That's it. That's all."
"Boyo, you all right?" Atlas said.
"No...but I'll manage." I stood up.
"Good, because you need to see what's in the next room. It's important."
I nodded, heading through the hole in the bathroom to an area overlooking what appeared to be a small stage. "Would you kindly lower your weapon for a minute? Now it not the time to be looking hostile." I lowered the wrench and moved over the stage using the framework holding up the stage lights. As I did, I saw another one of those creepy little girls, dressed in a dirty little dress. She was singing and jabbing a corpse with something that looked like an unhealthy melding of a syringe, a gas station nozzle and a baby bottle. Atlas described her as a "Little Sister", a harmless child turned into a monster for the sole purpose of gathering ADAM. As I moved down the stairs nearby, I saw the doors open through the reinforced window and saw another splicer enter the room.
I knew these splicers wanted ADAM, and if this girl-thing was a gatherer...
I went to the window, looking for a means to get in and take that splicer out. He'd rip here into pieces to get the ADAM he wanted. I wanted to scream at her, tell her to run, but as it turned out, I never needed to worry.
She let out a scream and an answering bellow was heard from above. I looked up to see a massive humanoid drop down, dressed in something like a deep diving suit, only this thing was a hulk. It had a bulbous head with small lights all over it, currently blazing red, with a drill for a right arm. The splicer started firing its pistol at the thing, but he might as well have used spitballs to stop a runaway freight train. The creature ignored the bullets, smacking the splicer into the back wall, then ramming the spinning drill through his midsection. As if that wasn't bad enough, it grabbed the splicer's head and slammed it against the reinforced glass, breaking through on the third hit. The splicer's body hung halfway through the glass as the monster turned back to the little girl, reaching out a hand as the Little Sister smiled and took the hand, happily walking away.
"That's the Big Daddy. She gathers the ADAM. He keeps her safe," Atlas answered. "Now, would you kindly find a Pneumo?"
"I've got something here that'll keep you from getting cut down by the first security bot you see."
"Is it something I'm going to need to inject?"
"Yeah. Just find a Pneumo. Once you get there, I'll send it your way."
"What does it do?"
"It's a gene tonic called 'SportBoost'. It'll make you stronger and faster, but most importantly, it contains ADAM from another person. Once it rewrites your genetics, it'll mark you as someone who belongs here. It won't keep you from being attacked by splicers or invisible to Andrew Ryan's eyes and ears, but it will keep you from being casually gunned down."
I nodded, but was instantly suspicious. What if it was more than that? Did he suspect me? Would the plasmid enable him to take control over me, or worse, give him the means to kill me with a word? What could he do with a plasmid or gene tonic? What COULDN'T he do?
I looked around from the inside of the Footlight Theater, wondering if I wouldn't be better off just waiting here. It would be easy. Just wait here for the next splicer to come along and...
I shook my head. NO. NO, NO, NO. Whatever happened, I was NOT going to die like some whimpering animal in the dark. I was not going to curl up and die.
I was getting out of this whacked-out excuse for Atlantis and I was going to leave it behind...or die trying.
TO BE CONTINUED...