"I guess with any stories about Rapture, the whole thing starts with a little guy called Andrew Ryan," Star explained. "He had a 'vision' of a 'perfect' city unrestrained by the law, by opinions, even by God. So, Rapture was built, under the sea." She got up and began to pace.
"But you can't come from a perfect world," Pippin insisted. "You're too...rough."
"That's right. I don't. Where I've come from, ya'd be on the run for however long ya lived; barring ya weren't killed the second you got there." The Hobbit paled. "Everything was perfect for the first five minutes until a genetic enhancer called ADAM was created, or rather extracted, from a certain type of sea slug. ADAM could make ya younger, give ya superpowers, make ya more attractive, give ya a more interestin' sex life...whatever. Do ya want to see?"
"How can we see that?" Another interruption from Pippin. Star grit her teeth and tried to keep her patience.
"Well, I got ADAM in my system. I can do things others can't." Pulling her left sleeve up, she switched to one of the least lethal of her powers, and picked up a glass with the Telekinesis plasmid. "Like that. I can pick people up and throw them across a room, set them on fire, freeze them and shatter them into pieces of ice; I can even make them turn against each other. Do I need to go on about that? Anyway, think of, say, a table. Strip the varnish away, call the table ADAM. But you want to add varnish to it, make it prettier. The varnish is called a plasmid. That's how I can do all those things. Plasmids spliced my genetic code, made me faster, stronger. Put fire and ice in my blood. That's how Splicers came around."
"How exactly did they 'come around'?" Aragorn asked wryly.
"People wanted to improve themselves more and more. ADAM and plasmids alike mutated them so much that they became addicted. Their bodies wasted away, became deformed. All the ADAM made them go, in the nicest way I can put it, fuckin' nuts. So they started looking for any source they could find. Like Little Sisters. Chloe, would you come here for a minute?" The latter was curled up in Legolas' arms, listening to the whole conversation. In his defense, she was almost impossible to resist and he'd taken a shine to her. Needless to say, Romano wasn't particularly happy about it, but as he could never hate what loved Chloe, he put up with the bond.
"Lassie, down," she commanded. The Elf obeyed, setting her down on the floor.
"Lassie?" Merry snorted, cracking up with laughter as Chloe climbed up into Star's arms.
"I tried teaching her to say Legolas after she got it wrong the first time," Legolas protested. "She decided to shorten it to Lassie." Star rolled her eyes.
"Okay, ladies, handbags down and eyes on Chloe," she sighed. "She's a Little Sister. An ADAM slug was put into her stomach to allow her to drink it, which is why she looks so sick. She was taken, this little kid, into a lab and turned by Andrew fuckin' Ryan into somethin' that other kids think go bump in the night. So were other girls; all ripped from their families and taken away to have slugs put in them. Slugs, for fuck's sakes!" Her voice had lowered into a furious growl at that point. "I wish I could have got my hands on his ass, but his son got there first. Now we got Sofia Lamb runnin' the joint, and she's no fuckin' better. Can't scratch ya own head without Big Sisters clawin' ya ass off now."
"Big Sisters?" Pippin again.
"I was gettin' to that. They're Little Sisters that didn't get killed by Splicers and so forth. They grew up, protected by Big Daddies like Romano. They were trained to be killing machines, to punish people for stealing ADAM. I was amazed I didn't get one on my case for savin' Chloe here and bringing her to Romano. I ended up here instead. Before anyone can ask," she added, "A Big Daddy's job is to protect Little Sisters; make sure no spliced-up fuckers get their hands on 'em. Men, usually men, were taken into labs and grafted into those big suits specifically to guard those little girls. Painful and they were spliced as fuck beforehand, but afterwards they'd no memories of the pain. Wasn't all bad, I guess. Larynx removed, pheromones injected, grafted, and dipped in goo to make sure they're mindless drones. No offense there, big guy. All in all, a Big Daddy. Romano's a Bouncer model, but there's a good few different ones. I met an Alpha Series once. They're nasty fuckers, and mean as hell. Nearly took my head off-and my shoulders too." She paused thoughtfully. "I guess that's it. The basics anyway, ya don't need to know anythin' else. Sweet dreams after all that shit."
Someone cleared his throat as Star finished and sat down with Chloe on her lap. She hadn't really noticed she'd been pacing. "You've given us plenty of information," Gandalf noted, quiet until now, "But you haven't told us anything about yourself, Star. Where is your place in the story? What are you?" Star raised a blonde eyebrow, considering this.
"Whaddaya wanna know?" she asked after a moment's thought.
"Where you come from, whether or not you mean us harm, why exactly you have wings branded into your shoulder and wear those tags around your neck for a start," Boromir suggested, glaring suspiciously. She gave him a look that could have frozen hell before clearing her throat.
"'Kay. To answer all those questions-I can't remember where I really come from, if I wanted to commit grievous bodily harm on any of ya, kill ya or even just rough ya up a little I woulda done it already and done it before ya could blink. The last questions? That's another story long as hell, the reason for the last answer and not one ya want to hear yet. I'll tell ya when I want to; when I trust ya." Her grey eyes darkened slightly, like storm clouds. "That's gonna be a while; and I'm not waitin' till then. I gotta get Chloe someplace safe, someplace she can call home."
"Come with us," Aragorn offered, all of a sudden. "We can take you as far as you need to go, protect you." Star scoffed.
"Please. I'm a big girl-I can take care of myself and Chloe. We'll have Romano with us."
"I do not doubt for a moment that you can defend yourselves, but we know these lands better than you do." She chewed her lip absentmindedly. Chloe, meanwhile, began to wriggle around, uncomfortable with her current position. She ended up around Legolas' neck again, and started snoring softly, worn out.
"Fine. Thanks," Star consented. Aragorn nodded to her plate, but she shook her head. "I'm okay. I don't eat much."