Water slowly dripped from a leaking pipe, a steady drop of tears.
The man opened his mouth and tilted his head. Silken liquid landed on his diseased tongue. It even tasted salty like tears. Salty tears from the ocean weeping over a man's broken dream buried in the cold waters of the Atlantic.
The man leaned back against the metal pipe that dominated the room. Black clothing comprised of scrounged together dark colored outfits covered him. A black mask wrapped around his face. He liked it in the small workshop he'd claimed as his own. It was dark here, far from others and best of all…there were no mirrors. No shimmering glass to mock his image to remind him of what he was now.
Only now, only in the dark, devoid of any light, did he risk unraveling the mask, to eat, to drink, to feel the sensation of cool wind blowing across…flesh.
He was not unique, most of the city had fallen to the lure of ADAM, and now they scoured the glass corridors and silent halls and bloodied rooms in their never-ending search for the elusive wonder-drug.
Even now, here in the dark, in the comfortable murmur of unseen boilers and dripping of leaky pipes, the siren's call of ADAM still managed to reach him. A soft persistent murmur, a melody trapped in his mutated blood pulsing, pulsing, pulsing with each heartbeat a little more persuasive. Soon it would grow too sweet to ignore…soon.
But for now remnants of free-will ignored it, for now, guilty sorrow smothered the call.
For now the unmasked man stared into the shadows and remembered when he'd truly been a man.
September 11, 1958, Rapture.
Neptune's Bounty district.
Rapture had two faces. One was the gleaming towers and golden halls of the upper class, where beautiful women and handsome men in regal clothing dined and shopped and laughed and partied. Where the lights were always shining and the entertainments always exciting.
Then there was the other face.
Cramped quarters of piping and hissing boilers, the stink of fish or escaping gas from geothermal vents, where the lower class worked and slaved and broke their backs to scrape by another day. Where the lights often needed replacing and it was common sight to see some poor sod lying dead in a shadowy corner. Where the Big Daddies roamed and Little Sisters harvested ADAM from angels only they could see.
Where the smuggler kingpin Fontaine ruled supreme.
When Fontaine had first reared his head, Andrew Ryan had approved, even applauded someone bettering their station through hard work and economic means. Then he learned just how Fontaine had risen to his new status.
The "One Law" that Ryan had made, to cease all contact with the outside world, had been broken. Fontaine's smuggling threatened to alert the Parasites to the location of this hidden paradise.
And Andrew Ryan had not built this man-made dream to have it squashed by some two-bit crook. First he tried it through legalities, economics, undercutting Fontaine on the market, to try to drive him bankrupt. His chief of Security, Sullivan was tasked with cracking the smuggling ring.
Sullivan did this quite well, but no matter how many men he had, how many leads, he was never able to find the head of the snake.
Sitting back in a comfortable chair, Fontaine chuckled to himself as he listened to the radio perched on a small crate. Most times Fontaine was up in Olympic Heights, but every now and then he paid a visit to the cramped, dimly lit caverns of Smuggler's Hideout, just to keep the boys on their toes.
And to listen to the radio.
"Today Ryan announced that Chief of Security Sullivan has arrested yet another group of smugglers. The smugglers, two men and one woman were caught smuggling luxury items from the surface-"
Fontaine pulled out a Cuban cigar, wiped it on his sleeve and lit it with a flick of a finely engraved gold lighter.
"-the smugglers were tried and summarily found guilty of endangering Rapture to the parasites. The three criminals were sent to Persephone Penal Colony earlier today where they may very well serve a life-sentence."
He inhaled with a sigh and pulled a trio of darts out of a battered desk drawer. He swiveled the chair to face a portrait of Andrew Ryan.
"This makes the total number of smugglers to fifty-nine. Security Chief Sullivan expressed confidence that they are close to cracking the smuggling ring-"
A steel tipped missile pierced Ryan's left eye. Ryan's dog, Sullivan came on over the radio.
"Right now my boys have been working around the clock to contain this smuggling operation-"
Andrew Ryan became blind.
"-and even though the smugglers have been incredibly stubborn with keeping their gobs shut, I think we're on the final stretch now. It's only a matter of time before we get our hands on the ringleader."
Fontaine paused in mutilating Ryan's portrait and smiled. "You know what Sullivan," he said to the radio, "I think you're right."
Someone knocked at his door.
"Door's open!" He drawled.
A nervous looking fisherman with greasy dark hair and stained work clothes awkwardly entered the room. Fontaine never turned around, he just kept staring at Ryan's face.
"Cat got your tongue, Benny?"
The fisherman/smuggler winced, "I-it's, I mean, we may 'ave a problem."
"Benny, Benny, you know how I feel about problems." Fontaine chided.
Benny's face leached of any color, "Well it's ah, it's 'bout Wilkins."
"What's 'ol Peachie done now?" Fontaine puffed out a breath of smoke.
"Ee didn' show up fer his shift, and Dan saw him talking tah Sullivan night before, and ah…well
"Benny, if you could tell me before my cigar burns out, that'd be nice."
The fisherman summoned the tattered remnants of his courage and spoke "I think Wilkin's gonna spill the beans on ya, Mr. Fontaine sah." He winced and shut his eyes and waited for Mr. Fontaine to do something horrible to him for bearing bad news.
Fontaine just chuckled though, "Thank you for telling me Benny, that'll be all."
Benny cracked open one eye, "You ain't gonna chop me in 'ta fish guts?"
"Well that depends, Benny, if you're still here when I turn around…" Fontaine slowly started to swivel the chair.
Benny, never one to question providence more than once, beat a hasty retreat out of the room.
Fontaine chuckled to himself. It pleased him to know how terrified the smugglers were of their king. And well they should. Fontaine might act as slick as a used cars salesman, but beneath those gimlet eyes and the fancy clothes and the cheery smile was a calculating mind with an easy penchant for cold cruelty. And right now his mind was telling him that maybe it was time for Ryan to get what he wanted.
"Be seeing you soon Sullivan…be seeing you real soon." Oh this was going to be the best con yet. Ryan would get what he wanted, Fontaine dead, the smugglers crushed, and in the end, Fontaine would get Rapture.
He smiled at that cheery thought and hurled the last dart.
A/N: My first Bioshock fic, I'm trying to keep this in line with the game's timeline. Feel free to read and review and as always, tell me what you think.