I don't own Bioshock, no infringement is intended and no profit is to be made. When you get right down to it I'm not really worth suing anyway unless you want a share of an underpaid civil servants wages and it just wouldn't be worth the hassle trust me.
Approaching Rapture – Atlantic Ocean – December 1968
Jack Ryan had been strangely quiet during their journey down from the surface, Eleanor's impression so far being that he wasn't generally a laconic man. The bathysphere was fairly cramped between the two of them with Eleanor's suit not helping but despite their close proximity it was almost like he wasn't there with her, at least not in spirit.
Eleanor watched Jack as he looked out of the porthole, his expression not changing so much as one iota when the great city finally came into view. The marvels of its appearance seemed to wash over him without effect as if he was as immune to wonder as he was apparently immune to the usual side-effects of excessive ADAM use.
'Fucking place is even bigger than I remembered' Jack said eventually before turning back away from the towers towards Eleanor. 'I hope you know where you're going because I only know my way around a fraction of this place' he told her, fingers subconsciously tightening around the grip of his Thompson SMG.
'Don't worry I've memorised all the maps of the city' Eleanor replied.
'If you mean the official maps I do know that smugglers and rebels added a few extra tunnels and routes around' Jack replied.
'The Family scouted most of those for Mother' Eleanor replied. 'In any case the route I've planned mostly relies upon the regular passageways.'
'They're not flooded are they?' Jack checked.
'No, for one thing the Big Daddies actually repaired a lot of the damage that resulted from your last visit' Eleanor told him. 'One of Mother's priorities was repairs once she managed to obtain control, if you offer splicers a little ADAM as a reward for undertaking a task they're quite hard working really, if undisciplined.'
Jack looked out of the porthole again. 'Will we be going anywhere near Olympus Heights?' he asked.
'We can do, it's only a short diversion off our path because we will be travelling through Apollo Square as the cities main transportation hub' Eleanor replied. 'Mother managed to get a few of the old Metro Lines running again which will save us some time crossing the city' she said. 'Of course we'll have to get to Apollo Square first' she admitted.
'Did she manage to get the trains to run on time too?' Jack asked, amused by his own wit. 'Isn't that the mark of a good dictator?'
'So the cliché goes I believe' Eleanor replied, looking away from him. 'You know she only meant well' she said.
'My father would have likely observed at this point that some of the worst crimes against humanity resulted from an attempt at altruism' Jack replied. 'Or you might say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.'
'You agree with your father?' Eleanor queried in surprise.
'He wasn't always wrong on everything' Jack replied, 'at the other end of the scale your Mother was probably right occasionally too' he said. 'The problem is that real life is so much messier than the ideological purists like to think it is' he opined. 'Libertarians are very much like Marxists in one respect' he continued, 'neither of them let the facts get in the way of a good theory' he told her smiling. 'Incidentally if we make it back to the surface I'm going to love to see how your mother deals with Hippy counter-culture' he added, smile becoming a grin.
'Hippy?' Eleanor queried.
'Sort of a youth-movement' Jack explained, 'lots of free-love, acceptance of recreational drug use and a suspicion of the established order' he said. 'They also protest a lot about the Vietnam War and seem averse to haircuts.'
Eleanor frowned realising that she would have a lot t learn about the surface world when she got there.
'Actually the last few years have been pretty good overall' Jack remarked. 'Mankind has been to space, I guess my father would have been pleased that the first was Russian while pissed-off he was Soviet' he said. 'Civil Rights are improving in the South, living standards are going up, there's some really great music and movies these days and until my daughters started to want to wear them too I thought miniskirts were just fantastic' he told her.
'Miniskirts?' Eleanor asked, intrigued.
Jack appraised her. 'You've got the legs for them' he decided, tall thin girls were the current vogue in fashion. 'They say a good miniskirt is like a good speech, it should be long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting' he joked. 'Nearly there' he noted, checking his sub-machinegun again, shouldering it for a moment to look down the sights.
'You'd better let me go first' Eleanor advised, starting to put on her helmet.
'Like hell sweetheart' Jack responded as the bathysphere finally edged towards its final destination, an airlock opening to allow it entry to the city.
'You haven't been in Rapture for some time' Eleanor argued. 'A few things have changed.'
'I'm the adaptable type and I do well under pressure' Jack replied. 'All kinds of pressure' he added as the airlock closed and the water was pumped out to allow them to finish their sightseeing trip and dock. 'Ah, the city where the artist need not fear the censor but everyone has to fear the deranged artist' he said wryly as they came into dock and he pulled the lever that would open the bathysphere. 'Always regretted not keeping that photograph I took of Cohen's corpse' he said. 'Maybe I should have mounted it on that hideous quadtych monstrosity turning it into a nicely ironic quintych instead' he said to himself regretfully as he climbed out.
The place was almost exactly as Jack remembered, memories flooding back to him as he looked around. 'Fontaine, if your spirit haunts this place then would you kindly kiss my ass' he said, pulling back the cocking handle of his Thompson with a satisfying "click, clack".
'He does sort of' Eleanor announced, following Jack out of the bathysphere and standing beside him.
'Say what?' Jack replied.
'I don't mean as in a real ghost or anything' Eleanor told him. 'All the ADAM and Plasmids he absorbed' she began then paused, 'well some of the splicers recovered it all from his corpse after you left and I assume you know from your own plasmids that sometimes memories stick with them so...'
'There are splicers walking around now getting occasional Fontaine flashbacks' Jack finished for her.
'Yes' Eleanor confirmed.
'Echoes in the deep from a source long faded away' Jack said with a sigh. On the plus side I can't say I object to the idea of the bastard's corpse being torn apart as salvage too much he thought to himself. 'Okay, let's go sidekick' he told Eleanor setting off towards the way out.
Eleanor didn't understand what he meant by that and suspected that would happen a lot. 'Sidekick?' she queried, following.
'I'm the hero that makes you the feisty sidekick' Jack explained, setting a quick pace his boots occasionally splashing in shallow puddles of seawater.
'Why can't I be the hero and you be the sidekick?' Eleanor wanted to know.
'Because as yet I'm not aware of Rapture having an active branch of the Women's Liberation Movement' Jack replied, trying not to laugh. 'Hey, someone tidied up' he remarked as they quickly arrived at the staircase up to the entrance lounge. 'Well a little anyway' he added reaching the top of the stairs.
'Like I told you earlier Big Daddies fixed the passage ahead after removing the wreckage of the plane you arrived in the first time and pumped the water back out' Eleanor told him. 'Keeping the main access route into the city open and preventing flooding spreading was set as a high priority for the computer that controls Rapture' she noted. 'If it wasn't for the Big Daddies fixing leaks and patching things up from outside the whole place would have been full of water years ago.'
'Nice to know they actually use those rivet guns for their intended purpose sometimes' Jack replied, turning around and looking up towards the place where he had injected his first plasmid and then promptly fell off the balcony writhing in agonising pain. 'Oh, there's nothing like a fistful of "loighting" is there boyo' he muttered before putting the memory behind him and activating the still faulty door mechanism ahead the same way as last time.
All the flood damage had ruined the carpets and soft furnishings and they still smelled damp and squelched underfoot because of a few small scale leaks past the patches and repairs but it could have been a lot worse, Jack thought, because he wasn't apparently at imminent risk of drowning and as yet they had yet to encounter any splicers.
'Ladies first' Jack bade Eleanor when they arrived at the elevator which would take them up to the level of the Kashmir restaurant.
Eleanor rolled her eyes at him and looking upwards towards the right floor suddenly vanished in a cloud of purple particles only to reappear on the walkway high above almost instantly. 'I'll wait here for you to catch up shall I?' she called down to Jack. Sidekick my arse she thought to herself smugly.
'Part Houdini splicer, all sass' Jack muttered to himself, getting into the elevator and pushing the button. By the time he arrived at the right floor she was leaning back against a nearby wall checking her oversized syringe nonchalantly.
'Wasting EVE just to show off isn't big or clever' Jack chided her.
'You just needed reminding that I'm not a helpless little girl' Eleanor replied, 'we're more likely to start running into people from now on, perhaps it should be ladies first after all?' she suggested sweetly, sounding suitably superior with her educated, upper-class accent aiding in that.
Jack ignored her and walked past Eleanor towards the restaurant. They all started out so nice but for some reason they hit thirteen or so and started talking back he thought with annoyance. 'Damn kids' he muttered.
Eleanor smirked and followed him. 'Mr Bubbles, Mr Bubbles, are you there? Are you there?' she began to sing. 'Come and give me lollies...'
'Very funny' Jack interrupted her mid-verse, his tone even with his deep voice indicating he thought it was anything but as he arrived at the door to the restaurant and kicked it open. 'If there's anyone in here I suggest you get the hell out of our way because I'm in a mood to wrench someone' he declared loudly.
'You're much louder and more talkative than I expected you to be in real life' Eleanor commented as he stomped into the restaurant.
'I found out from Brigid that when I was very little and had only just learned to talk I babbled so much that I was told "Would you kindly only speak when spoken to" and I didn't fully manage to shake that until a few months after the mental conditioning was removed' Jack explained.
Eleanor nodded her understanding. 'In fact I think I'd describe you as rather loquacious' she told him, looking around for danger but so-far the restaurant seemed quiet too.
'My Big Sister what a big vocabulary you have' Jack replied, smiling as he moved through the restaurant towards the stairs, his SMG shouldered and ready.
'All the better for confusing you with I'm sure' Eleanor responded hoping that didn't make her sound as condescending as Mother tended to before she heard something which caught her attention. 'Company' she whispered.
'Well I have been missing the joys of adult conversation' Jack responded quietly.
'I'm older than you are' Eleanor retorted before vanishing again, teleporting away in a purple haze.
'Grounding her would be very difficult' Jack decided just as a splicer carrying a piece of old pipe as a weapon appeared in front of him, brandishing the improvised, clumsy weapon as if it was Excalibur or something.
'Hello little fish' the splicer greeted Jack, laughing manically
'If you take a closer look you'll see I'm a great big shark with a great big gun' Jack replied, aiming his Thompson at the splicers chest. The habit of these lemming-like idiots to attack a clearly better-armed opponent had never ceased to amaze him.
The splicer looked at Jack intently for a moment seeing the tattoos on his wrists, eyes widening behind his opera mask as he did so. 'No wait you're...' he began before a broadsword-like syringe erupted from his belly having slammed into him from behind. The splicer screamed and struggled against the metal impaling him as he was lifted off his feet and hung there twitching like a gaffed fish.
Eleanor threw her arm around sending the splicer hurtling away to land in a bloody heap some distance away. 'Who's next?' she asked nobody in particular, unfazed by what she had just done.
'You could have at least put the poor bastard out of his misery' Jack complained, aiming at the maimed splicer and firing a short burst into his head. It was a messy but merciful end.
The sound of the shots echoed away. 'They'll hear that' Eleanor told Jack disapprovingly.
'Those screams would have carried pretty far already' Jack replied, turning the dead splicer over with his foot and bending down to rifle though his pockets. 'Only ten bucks' Jack complained, pocketing it himself. 'Ah, an EVE hypo' he added more happily, dropping it into his satchel before standing up again. 'So where now?' he asked.
'We need to head to Neptune's Bounty and from there we can take a bathysphere to Arcadia and then catch the Metro Tram to Apollo Square' Eleanor told him.
Jack feigned to wipe away a tear. 'Sorry' he apologised, 'little touch of nostalgia for the old days' he said.
'Neptune's Bounty and Arcadia are bound to have a lot of splicers there' Eleanor warned. 'Almost all the food in the city comes from those sections so they were never abandoned, even during the worst of times.'
'Everybody has to eat I suppose' Jack reasoned. 'I guess we can't just go around them?' he checked.
'It would add hours to our journey' Eleanor advised him. 'We can if you want' she offered.
Jack considered that. 'I think I'd rather get this over and done with quickly before my sanity returns' he replied eventually, heading off towards Neptune's Bounty.
'That's the spirit as Mother would say' Eleanor replied brightly.
'No, this is' Jack stated, snatching up a bottle of Lacan Scotch with his free hand, pulling out the stopper with his teeth and spitting it out before downing the equivalent of a double in one hit. 'Ah, the ever reliable Booze Hound gene tonic' he said with satisfaction, feeling better already.
'I'd better drive the bathysphere' Eleanor decided as she watched him take a second gulp from the whiskey bottle.
Note from the Author:
Well they've finally got back to Rapture and the adventure begins in earnest. You've probably noticed that as well as Rapture canon I'm trying to work in references to the 1960's US that Jack has been living in, by 1968 it was very far removed from the quasi 1940's stasis of Rapture which I thought would make for a good source of culture-clash. Hope you're enjoying the story so far.
Reviews are always welcome :-)