A/N: Let the writing of this story commence once again!
In the Name of the Father
"Daddy! Welcome home!" exclaimed a teenage girl who looked to be no older than Eleanor, her dark red hair falling in curls to her shoulders. She was taller than Eleanor by about three inches. Vibrant emerald eyes expressed joy in seeing her father again. It took her a couple of seconds to realize that her father was not alone as her gaze drifted to the brown-haired girl with skin so pale it was evident she had not seen the sun for some time.
"Good to be home, Morgan." He motioned towards his younger companion, who was beginning to receive a curious look from the redhead, "Morgan, this is Eleanor. Eleanor, this is my daughter Morgan."
"Hi," said Eleanor with a small wave. clasping her hands together in front of her, suddenly very nervous.
Morgan gave her a big smile. "Nice to meet you, Eleanor." Turning to her father with a questioning look, she asked, "Is she...?"
He gave her a nod. "Let's talk inside."
She then stepped aside to allow them to walk through, shutting and securing the door once they were in. Eleanor noted there were several locks that secured the door at various places, not merely by the door handle. Resting against a stone wall next to the door was a thick wooden beam that looked like it could go across the door frame. Sure enough, Eleanor saw the metal holders on either side of the door frame on which the beam would rest - an extra security reinforcement for the door in case of emergency.
Eleanor was surprised that the air inside wasn't as damp and musty as she thought it might be considering that this was a cave within a mountain, though she figured Jack was smart enough to make sure there was adequate ventilation and filtration in his self-made cave of a home.
The tunnel twisted again, this time turning towards the center of the mountain. Thick electrical wires ran along the walls, connecting each of the lights anchored to the rock at even intervals. As they rounded the turn, the tunnel opened up into a decently large space that served as their living room. It was furnished with couches, chairs, some side tables, and a big rectangular coffee table in the middle of them all. A nice, soft rug sprawled underneath the furniture in a large circle that filled the center of the room where most of the furniture lay.
Board games lay on the surface of the dark coffee table, playing cards strewn about. Anchored to the rough stone walls and spaced evenly all around the room were industrial white lights of steel and glass, a steel cover making it so that the light shone onto and off of the wall so as not to blind the occupants of the room. A bookshelf sat off to one side, and surprisingly it was full of books, mostly educational ones from what Eleanor could see. She had a feeling the girls were home-schooled.
Jack asked, "Where are your sisters, Morgan?"
Her response was impressively quick, "Eliana is in the kitchen cooking supper; we're having some fresh fish tonight! Well, technically the fishies were the ones you got yesterday, but they're still fresh. Jamie is in her room lost in her books, as per usual. Vivian is taking a nap because she said she had a headache. And Kateri is outside playing with Max, she should be back soon."
Jack frowned, not liking the thought of one of his daughter's being outside at a time like this. Making a quick decision, he said, "Morgan, can you show Eleanor around and introduce her to everybody? I'm going to go get Kateri."
The redhead gave him another questioning look. "I said she'd be back soon, dad. Is there something wrong?"
Jack and Eleanor shared a look as the man sighed, settling his gaze back on his daughter. "I'll explain when I get back, but it's dangerous to be out and about right now. And there's a storm coming. We're going to need to lock down for a while."
This time it was Morgan who frowned as her father walked back to the entrance, his steps quick and purposeful.
"Is Max another sister?" asked Eleanor timidly.
Morgan laughed, shaking her head. "Nope! Max is our pet husky!"
"A what?" Eleanor gave her a quizzical look. "What is a husky exactly?"
"It's a breed of dog, silly," Morgan said with a giggle, "Well, let's go ahead and meet the rest of the family."
Leading Eleanor down another short hallway that branched out into three different directions at an intersection, she began to give her a tour of the place.
Morgan explained where each hallway went, "This one on the left goes to the kitchen, the dining room, and the generator room. If you keep going straight you'll end up at the bedrooms and the bathrooms. To the right is dad's study, a big storage area, and our own little pool."
"You have a pool in here?" Eleanor raised an eyebrow, her blue eyes staring down the rightmost hallway.
"Yeah, dad stumbled on a fresh water vein that goes all the way to a spring outside and he built a small pool area where some of the water can be collected. The water's cold and refreshing, but he can heat it up for you too," she replied, "That's also where we get our drinking water. Not from the pool, of course, 'cause that would be gross! But he has a small water collecting system in place from the spring source that gets some of the water before it gets to the pool and eventually trickles out to the outside."
"That's pretty cool. And your dad. . . he built it all himself right?"
She beamed proudly. "Yep! We offered to help but we were really little back then and it wasn't like we could do much. It took him about two weeks of constant work. He barely slept, mostly because he wanted to get it done so we could move in already since we were staying with the reverend at the church. While it was safe there and he was nice and took care of us well, it was also a rather public place and he didn't want too many people knowing about our presence."
"All this in two weeks? Wow." Eleanor was impressed, looking around again.
"Ha! Not exactly. He finished the basic necessities to get us moved in within two weeks. It of course took him a lot longer than that to make it the cozy little home that we have now." Morgan waved towards to the left hallway. "Come on, I'll introduce you to Eliana. I'm sure you can already smell the fish cooking, because I sure can."
When Morgan pointed it out, Eleanor did finally notice the faint smell in the air. It was starting to make her hungry.
They made their way to the end of that hallway, where it opened up into a sizable space. On the left side of it was a finely-hewn stone table surrounded by old, but sturdy-looking wooden chairs. A big chandelier hung from a large metal hook embedded into the high ceiling over the table, illuminating much of the space. Off to the right was what looked to be the kitchen area, where Eleanor could see a doorway that led to the pantry and supplies room.
A kitchen island had been carved up out of the stone as well, and the kitchen surprisingly had marble counter-tops and a full complement of stainless steel kitchen appliances - how Jack got those in here, Eleanor was curious to know and she made a mental note to ask him about it later. Working in the kitchen was a girl of the same age as them; she had curly shoulder-length brown hair almost the same style as Morgan's and matching amber eyes. She was humming a happy tune to herself as she cooked, unaware for the moment of the two arrivals.
"That smells sooo good, Eliana! How long until supper? I'm getting really hungry." remarked Morgan as they moved into the kitchen area, the redhead taking in a deep breath to savor the smell.
Eleanor thought it smelled even more delicious here right by the source and her stomach grumbled slightly, apparently agreeing with her.
Eliana laughed, not looking away from her cooking. "About ten minutes, I'd say. I'm hungry too!"
"Knowing you, Elly, you've already sneaked in a few pieces of food. I haven't eaten anything since lunch!" replied Morgan with a smirk.
"Hey! It's not my fault that you didn't eat a snack or something earlier. Besides, I'll have you know that it's part of the cooking process for the cook to taste her own food and make sure it's perfect," replied the brunette defensively, turning to her sister and sticking her tongue out. Noticing Eleanor for the first time, she looked surprised for a second and then smiled, "Oh, hello there. I didn't know we were having a guest!" She said the last part as she glanced back to her sister inquisitively.
"Eliana - we call her Elly for short - this is Eleanor. Eleanor, meet my sister Elly." Morgan added, "She's a true whiz in the kitchen. I mean, we can all cook, something our dad made sure we knew how to do, but for some reason her food always tastes better. And I mean always! It's kind of unfair actually."
Eliana laughed again. "I just put a lot more time into practicing and learning to cook than you all did. Anyway, it's nice to meet you, Eleanor. Luckily, I've made enough that we shouldn't have a problem adding one more to the table. I hope you're hungry!"
Eleanor nodded. "Good to meet you too, Elly. And I am a little hungry," she admitted, absently putting a hand to her stomach as it growled again.
"Well, since dinner is almost ready let's just stick around and observe the master chef at work, and I can introduce you to everyone else when they get here," said Morgan as she sat down on a stool on one side of the kitchen island, motioning for Eleanor to take the one next to her.
"Hey, Eleanor. Do you know how to cook?" Eliana asked as she finished preparing supper, her hands never resting for too long in between tasks.
The pale girl frowned. "No, unfortunately not." Cooking in Rapture was not exactly a priority skill, nor was it common. Much of the food there was already ready-made and only needed to be heated up, if at all. She found it suddenly strange to think that she had never in her life so far actually eaten a meal prepared and cooked from raw ingredients.
"Oh, excellent. Then we can teach you!" Morgan exclaimed excitedly, clapping her hands together and making Eleanor jump from the unexpected noise.
Eliana paused for a few seconds to look at them with a grin, "More like I'll be teaching her and you'll be helping every now and then. I am the best chef of the five of us, after all."
"Yeah, whatever you say sis. . ." the redhead huffed in mock annoyance.
Everybody who could wield a weapon was asked to fight and help with the defense - even Oreo and Milk had come out with shotguns and more than a few explosives. Among all them gathered in the Atrium, they seemed to be the most enthusiastic about the whole situation. Given how many hostile splicers were heading towards them, their presence did not come as a surprise. They needed everyone to pitch in if they were going to survive. But Grace's little group only consisted of twenty people, of whom only sixteen could fight, so the odds were definitely stacked against them.
At least they had some security bots to help, and they whirred overhead waiting to fight like everyone else.
They were all finally settled into their defensive positions, with Sarge going around one last time to make sure everybody was ready. He was not one for speeches or pep talks, so the lobby was silent for the most part, the constant background noises of Rapture interrupted every now and then by some murmurings between the people gathered and the whirring of the bots. Otherwise, most people were quiet, no one really being in a talkative mood.
Delta was situated near the center of the formation, and close to the front. Given his size and strength, he was best utilized as a center-point around which they could fight. Some splicers might be cowered by his presence and flee, while some might hesitate just enough that they could be taken out far easier by the defenders. Other splicers would certainly try and focus their attention on him, effectively making him akin to bait.
And he was fine with all that. In fact, he had wanted to be even closer to the front, but the bottleneck at the opening that they had created was more efficiently used if everyone could fire at the opening without worrying over possibly hitting their Big Daddy ally.
Not that it really mattered. The number of splicers they were facing meant that eventually a good number of them would get through the opening and into the main lobby. Delta knew that he had already killed more than fifty splicers in his time in Rapture. Maybe even more than a hundred, not that he was counting of course. But he had never faced this many at one instance, and it was starting to make him feel nervous.
Sarge walked over to him eventually, looking at him with a critical eye. "You ready to kill some splicers, tin can?" he asked as the man adjusted the machine gun he had resting on his shoulder, his right hand holding it up by the handle.
Delta grunted, taking his massive drill and making it spin for a second.
Sarge grinned. "You better not die -"
Suddenly, an explosion from the tunnels shook the building, interrupting Sarge and causing his grin to vanish. That was a warning trap that was triggered - an explosive booby trap they had set further up the tunnel to let them know when the enemy was nearby. He brought his machine gun down across his chest, gripping it with both hands as he jogged to his firing position on the front right flank.
"Here they come!" he yelled. "Everybody lock and load!"
Sure enough, the angry sounds of splicers could be heard coming from just outside the main entrance of the Sinclair Deluxe. It sounded like there were a lot of them indeed.
Tenenbaum wasn't finished just yet, but sitting at the computer terminal was no longer an option as the clanking sounds of multiple footsteps and the scraping of dragging metal drew ever closer. Looking around, she caught sight of a spot in between some large pipes where she wouldn't be seen so easily. Rushing over to it and hunkering down in the shadows of the pipes close to the entrance, she pulled out her pistol and waited. From her hiding place she could see, only barely, the entrance to the maintenance room.
A few seconds later and three splicers walked into the room. Two Thugs, one with a lead pipe and another with a two-by-four, and one Leadhead who was holding a machine gun.
"There's no one here," the Leadhead said with disappointment and irritation, turning to the Thug with the lead pipe. "You said there would be prey here."
"I could've sworn... I could've sworn I saw someone come in here..." said the Thug with the pipe as the trio came to a halt just inside the door to the maintenance room.
"There's no other way out of here. We would have seen someone leaving," said the other Thug, tapping the end of his two-by-four on the steel floor.
The Leadhead growled, "I so wanted to kill someone too... Maybe I'll just kill you instead."
The Thug lifted his pipe. "I'm gonna kill you if you try anything!"
Tenenbaum held her breath, hoping that they would leave, or that they would fight and kill each other. She felt like she could take them on, but it would be difficult and risky at such close quarters with little room to maneuver. Plus there were three of them, and one of them had a machine gun. Not great odds for someone with no armor and only a pistol and some psychic ability.
"Waste of time! What a waste of time. We could've found other prey by now." The Leadhead was angry as he turned around, not going through with his threat.
Tenenbaum was about to sigh with relief when the pipe-wielder noticed that the computer terminal was active.
"Wait!" he yelled and walked over to the terminal, eyes squinting. "Is this supposed to be on like this?"
"Hell if I know," replied the other Thug who had waited behind, swinging the two-by-four in the air absently.
The Leadhead did not return, and as far as Tenenbaum could tell the splicer continued walking away from the maintenance office. That made her feel more confident in escaping the maintenance office alive. She could take on two Thug splicers easily enough, though the Leadhead might come back at the sounds of fighting.
Thankfully though, the Thug who was studying the computer terminal simply shook his head and turned around, oblivious to the woman hiding so close to him. Dragging his pipe behind him, the Thug left with his partner, both of them complaining about their lack of killing.
Jack shivered from a gust of cold wind, noting that the temperature had already dropped several degrees since arriving at his home. His eyes scanned the surrounding mountainside. Given how dark it had become it was difficult to see well, but there was a slim chance that his daughter Kateri and their dog Max were playing within eyesight of their home. She was nowhere to be found.
Where the hell had his daughter gone to? She must have noticed the approaching storm front by now and should be heading back already.
He spent another five minutes trying to scrutinize the landscape, searching for movement among the gray rocks with a growing concern. A flash of lightning illuminated the valley and was accompanied by a booming clap of thunder, echoing with a rumble between the tall mountains.
She couldn't have gone too far. Racking his brain, he tried to remember all the places nearby that she could have gone off to. His feet began to move as the realization dawned on him. There was a cave system about a mile further up the valley with a series of pools and caverns that were safe and secluded enough for the girls to hang out and play in away from home.
The only problem that Jack had discovered was that the caves flooded rather quickly during a major storm, which passed through fairly often this time of year.
The girl should have known better!
Lightning flashed overhead as the clouds threatened to unleash their watery baggage. It took another minute before they finally let loose, a wall of chilling rain coming down hard across the valley as the wind whipped around with increasing ferocity. Within seconds, Jack was completely soaked and already beginning to shiver from the cold. He could barely see, having to constantly wipe his eyes clear of water.
Arriving at the mouth of the cave system in question, there were already torrents of water flooding into the mouth of the cave. Given the strength of the rainfall, Jack estimated that the caves below would be completely flooded within the hour.
"Kateri!" he yelled his daughter's name with worry as he walked a few feet into the entrance of the dark caves to look for her. Maybe she could hear him and call out so that he could find her quicker. He yelled her name again.
Weakly, from deeper within the caves, he heard the echoing of a voice responding and his heart rate doubled in a matter of seconds.
His legs could not move fast enough.