Ultra Rodimus' notes: In this chapter we enter the Den and have our first encounter with "the Nutter" Reed Wahl. And we only make his phobia of Big Daddies worse *evil grin*
Jack shifted and squirmed through the Little sister vent, peeking out honestly to be sure the way was clear. Sniffing, and smelling only the old decaying from of an ADAM rich corpse somewhere nearby, but not a living Splicer. She slid out of the vent, landing in a heap before going over to pull the lever, thus opening the door for Ultimus.
The girl smiled as the door shuddered upwards, "See? I said this would be faster."
Ultimus had transformed briefly to his wolf mode, ears flicking this way and that while he filtered air through his nasal passages, taking in the scents. One portion of his attention was on sifting out any new traces of that other scent, the scent of Jack's family. Padding through the door, he unfolded back to his robot mode, nodding. "It is faster."
Jack smiled, proud of herself of course, and she started off away from service tunnels to the main welcoming hall. She glanced up at hearing an announcement, but shrugged, not interested in it. Ultimus padded after her, carrying his flechette rifle so the barrel rested against his shoulder. Yellow eyes probed the shadows, scanning for the ever-present cameras.
"WELCOME TO THE CIRCUS OF VALUES!"
Jack yelped as she side-jumped away from the vending machine that lit up in the darkness, holding her needle out- paused, blinked, and blushed. "I don't like those things sometimes..."
"They certainly are loud, and obnoxious." Ultimus growled at the thing, a sound that made his own students shiver in their armor.
The girl edged closer, tempted but seeing as there were too many red 'out of...' things on the options she moved away. Only Jack stopped as she started to step on something. She picked up the tape, "A diary."
"Diary?" Ultimus leaned over to look. "So in Rapture diaries are on tape instead of on paper."
Jack held the tape up for him to see, "Well there's old book diaries too, but these can get wet and still play."
Ultimus investigated the tape. "Hmm..."
"It's sometimes fun listening to them," Jack said as she started looking around the dark semi-welcoming hall, not leaving but ended up at the desk with a dormant drone. "Here's another one and," She stood, plopping down a device that seemed a cross of recorder, player and radio all in one.
Ultimus followed her, looking at the thing curiously. "So that thing plays these?"
"Yep!" Jack took the tape she'd nearly stepped on before and inserted it into the player. The girl poked the play button, smiling and then her eyes widened at the voice that spoke.
"The slugs alone could not provide enough ADAM for serious work." A woman's accented voice started, starting annoyed then pleased as she continued. "But combined with the host... now we have something..."
Red eyebrows lifted as the redhead listened. He wondered who this voice belonged to.
"The slug is embedded in the lining of the host's stomach and after the host 'feeds' we induce regurgitation, and then we have twenty, thirty times yield of usable ADAM. The problem now is the shortage of hosts." The woman snorted, somewhere in the back ground a muffled child's voice was heard.
Jack was staring at the recorder, still wide-eyed.
Yellow eyes were starting to glow like molten sulfur as Ultimus listened. This must be the person who had first discovered ADAM, and had first begun taking the young girls, creating the Sisters.
"Fontaine says, 'Patience, Tenenbaum. Soon the first home for Little Sisters will be open, and that problem will be solved...'" She huffed now, and then sighed, only to be interrupted by a girl's voice.
"Momma Tenenbaum! My belly hurts!"
"Da bucket little one! Da bucket!"
The tape clicked off.
Jack fiddled her fingers and spread her hands over her stomach.
Ultimus growled, a deep sound. "I take it that was the person who first started all this?"
"I guess..." Jack said slowly, "I think... I remember her, but I don't know if it was my memory or someone else's."
The big mech growled again, and then picked up the player, stashing it in subspace for later use, when they found more of those recordings.
Jack was quite and still a moment longer before shaking herself, pushing away her memories in a way, "You wanted to see the archives right?"
Ultimus nodded. "Yes." Reaching down, he rubbed her shoulder gently. Jack looked up, a little surprised but smiled before reaching up to grasp his hand (well, two fingers really) and try and pull the mech with her.
Ultimus smiled, allowing himself to be tugged after her. He did make a quick detour to pick up an odd-looking object, detecting an energy charge inside it. Jack slowed once in the main directory chambers of the Den, one massive dome was more like it. Plants were growing on the walls and on decorative pillars as well as the three lone standing 'walls' surrounding a statue of a woman. There was the smell of decaying plants, of fresh water and the glow of bio-luminescent flowers. This part of Rapture was in a night cycle.
"...aaah, over to the left." Jack said after a moment, moving a head of Ultimus to where a sign on the far left of the dome said 'Air-Tight Archives!'
Ultimus raised his head, looking around with interest. Reaching out, he gently touched the petals of a glowing flower. "I know a few people who'd be interested in a plant like this..."
Jack looked back, and then up, "Moon flowers! And slug-likers too!" She said once taking in a few of the different types, coming back over. She looked down and picked up an older, fallen flower like the one Ultimus had touched. She put the handle of her extractor in her mouth and crushed the old flower up, as she did so the plant matter started to glow again. The girl drew a jelly fish on the wall and grinned up at the Autobot.
"They're beautiful." Ultimus carefully probed for the roots of a couple of the out-of-the-way glowing flowers, placing them in subspace. Hopefully they'd transplant well. Grinning at Jack, he dipped a finger in the plant paste and drew a smiley face next to the jellyfish.
The girl giggled, sounding more like her age for the moment as she set the extractor aside and made several handprints, forming a small circle and then drew a stick figure inside with wings. Then she made a hand print on the mech's nearer leg with an impish grin. Ultimus laughed, tapping the very tip of her nose with one finger, leaving a glowing spot. He drew several fish swimming across the wall, then a rough bird and a rainbow.
"What's that?" Jack asked, pausing in making some more of the glowing plant paste, getting it all over her hands, forearms and making little foot prints around.
"It's a rainbow," he answered, projecting a holo-image of a double rainbow arcing across the sky. "Sun shines through raindrops and breaks into colors. They're spectacular to see."
Jack's eyes widened and reflexively latched onto Ultimus' leg at the unexpected colors. Startled but staring in awe, glanced at the glowing colors of the painted rainbow and back up.
"There are even rainbows at night, created by moonlight, but they are paler." Ultimus changed the image to a faint lunar rainbow, an arc of dim colors against the night sky. "They can even be seen as rings around the sun."
"Ooooh lordy." A male voice said from out of sight, on the other side of the wall. A man, mutated but not so extreme was standing staring up at the hologram and holding his hat to his chest.
Ultimus' head snapped around. He padded toward the source of the voice, yellow eyes fixing on the stranger and lips drawing back from wicked fangs. A growl rumbled out of his throat. The partly spliced man didn't seem to notice the Autobot, not at first, staring into the now darkness of the dome. He sighed and put his hat back on, a shotgun was resting on his back and a pistol in a holster. If seen from the front Ultimus would see a tarnished old badge on the front of his jacket.
Jack peeked around the corner, spotted the man, thought better and ducked back to go grab her extractor needle, leaving behind a trail of glowing foot prints.
Ultimus eyed the badge, his growl deepening, claws extending from their sheaths in his fingertips. Yellow optics glowed like sulfur suns in the shadow of his helm's visor. The man jumped at the louder growl, turned to see the Autobot, and the smaller form near his feet and eased back a few steps. "Easy Daddy, ain't gonna get near your lil' one." The man muttered moving away, not making any sudden moves or reaching for his firearms.
"You better not," Ultimus informed the man icily, "Unless you want your guts to be decorating the floors from here to the other side of the city."
Jack gave a giggle from behind Ultimus' leg as the man jumped nearly out of his skin. Fairly sure what he had said was what normal Big Daddies thought when spotting someone too close to their charge.
The redhead leaned down, closer to the man, making sure his wicked fangs were clearly exposed. "Scat."
The once officer did just that, making good distance to a door was on the other side of the dome, leading to 'McClendon Robotics.'
"The Thinker, it's the most helpful machine in Rapture!" the public announcement chirped overhead somewhere as Jack emerged from behind Ultimus and started padding to the archives again, grinning. It was so... nice to feel safe again after so long.
Ultimus let out a roar, making sure the splicer kept running. He padded after Jack, moving with the nearly-silent stride of a predator on the hunt.
"Pretty sure he was going," Jack said as she rubbed her ears.
"Never hurts to make sure they keep running," the big mech pointed out.
"Hurt me'ears." Jack pointed out before spotting the sparking, slightly torn up control panel to the Archives. Making an annoyed sound the girl flexed her fingers of her free hand, mentally summoning her trusty electrobolt plasmid.
Ultimus looked sheepish for a moment. "Sorry about that..." A scrabbling sound in the distance caught his attention, and he glared in its direction.
Jack zapped the shorting panel and the door cycled open, she glanced back up at the mech, "What?"
Gleaming fangs were bared again, "Something's moving around. I can hear it."
The girl listed as well, heard the scuttling, eeped, and scampered off into the way that led to the Archives. By the girl's reaction it was probably a Spider Splicer. Ultimus lifted his rifle, aiming toward the splicer, now well within his scanner range. One quick burst of flechettes sent the splicer's shredded form raining down to the deck.
"Is it gone?" Jack's voice called from the other side of the doorway, partly down the hall and eying the way she'd come.
"It's in several pieces," the big mech replied, eyeing the remains.
Jack emerged from the dark hall, poking her head around the corner and then wavered as she got the full scent of blood and ADAM. She twitched as she struggled to fight off the craving, the want to gather, "Bitty bits."
The redhead waved his rifle. "At least they're less annoying that way."
"Looks almost like what happens when a Bouncer is really mad." Jack edged closer, saw something twitch and skittered back to Ultimus, reaching for his free hand.
"It's just nerve misfire spasms." Ultimus twined his fingers with hers, watching dispassionately as a nearly-severed arm twitched briefly.
"It's scary when dead things move." Jack muttered, tugging on the Autobot's hand to get him away.
"Not like they can do anything, though." Ultimus walked down the corridor, detouring briefly to pick up another of the weird power cells. Jack kept padding along on her bare feet, slowing to peer into a room, hesitating to sniff since she couldn't see in all the way. She wasn't as good as the normal Little Sisters in that just yet. Yellow eyes and the array of sensors built into all Cybertronians probed the shadows. Once or twice Ultimus growled into the shadowy corners, and lurking splicers thought twice about tangling with the big mech.
"Here," Jack patted Ultimus' leg for attention, holding up another audio dairy tape she had found.
Ultimus took it, bringing the player out of subspace. After scanning carefully for any lurkers, he placed the diary in the player.
"Sure you hear it in Rapture. One of the business types asked me, "Why don't you splice white? Get ahead!" Well, that's some idiocy! I told him, "First of all I AM ahead. Second, in Rapture it's your WORK that's supposed to matter, not your skin!" Too bad for some folks you can't splice in common sense."
Jack gave a small giggle at the last few worlds, "You can get memories though." she pointed out, almost completely missing the main part of that audio dairy.
Ultimus rolled his optics. "I will never understand racism... My people come in every color and every combination possible, and we see no problems with it."
"So there's nothing like that where you come from?" Jack tilted her head, walking ahead of the mech again as she started looking for a map.
"No. We come in every color, and at just about any size, from the 7-foot cassettes to the 2,600-foot city-mechs," Ultimus replied. "We're not bothered by color. Some of my people are touchy about their size, but there's no real discrimination."
"Huh..." Jack mulled that over, eyes glowing faintly in the dark, as well as the spots of the bio-luminescence plant matter that were still on her. The girl slowed and stopped, eying the wall to her right and reached up to run her hand over something grime-covered on it, "Map!"
Ultimus blinked, and then followed her over to the wall. "A map?" he echoed.
"There's always one around somewhere," Jack nodded as she tried to reach up and clean the glass so the protected map under was more visible. The big mech pulled out one of the random scraps of fabric he kept in his trailer, using it to wipe away the worst of the grime. He eyed the map, scanning it into his memory.
Jack backed up a bit, eying the map and comparing it to the few memories she had from the den, before it was locked down. "Looks like we need to go somewhere over there," she pointed at a section of the archives, "I think... wow."
That last part was added on as she heard the distinct mournful call, or song, of a Big Daddy. Only this time it seemed a bit louder or deeper than normal, it had Jack looking around as if to spot the Rapture nightmare. Ultimus' head snapped around, the hydraulics in his neck whirring in protest. He glared in the direction the sound had come from, moving to keep himself between the source of the sound and Jack.
"Daddies very rarely will try to take a Sister from another Daddy," Jack pointed out, but it wasn't really a protest as she was half hiding against the mech's leg, and then she gaped as the door some ten feet away that they had been heading to cycled open.
The Big Daddy was like a Rosie in that it was standing upright, only it was taller and with the exception of some barnacles the armor was in near-pristine condition. A cream-ish colored diving suit, silver and copper colored metal that made up armor, helmet and tank. It was taller than its other brethren as well, more than capable of staring Ultimus optic-to-porthole.
"Never hurts to be careful," the Cybertronian responded. Yellow optics flashed as he took in the Big Daddy, "Big bugger."
"Wow," Jack muttered, staring, her eyes glazed over. Her surprise had let what conditioning she had gotten before temporarily take over.
The Lancer Big Daddy was eying Ultimus as it was reloading the odd cannon in its hands, shortening his stride notably but not stopping its march. Though avoiding contact with the Autobot, the Big Daddy took note of Jack, and then as it passed it... crooned?
Ultimus growled back at it, but only watched it pass by, making sure it kept its distance from Jack. He took note of the weapon it carried, his CPU connecting the visible energy crackling in it to the power cells he'd been collecting.
The Big Daddy rumbled as it continued, making a few short 'barks' at Ultimus in return to his growl like he was trying to talk. The Lancer reached up to adjust its tank and before the door closed behind him the Lancer visibly paused to study the glowing paintings Jack and the Autobot had made, mumbling wordlessly.
Ultimus snorted, rumbling in Cybertronian for a moment. He had to smile a bit as he saw the Big Daddy looking at the glowing drawings.
Jack stared at the closed door, oblivious to the world, still in that trance like state. Staring unblinkingly into space without seeing what was around her, at least as how it was, she had a small smile of her own. The big mech looked down at her, tilting his head curiously. Experimentally, he tried out one of the sounds the Big Daddy had been making. Because his voice was so deep already the sounds came out deeper.
Wide yellow eyes turned up to blink at Ultimus, Jacks mouth making a small 'o' of surprised. This time he would be able to see her semi vacant stare, "...Daddy?"
"It's me," the big mech replied carefully, lifting a crimson eyebrow.
Jack blinked a few times, reaching out to put a hand on the wall and blinked again, "...did I fall asleep?" She asked as she came back to herself.
"You went into some kind of trance when you saw that Big Daddy." Ultimus touched her shoulder.
Jack frowned, "I was dreaming." she said slowly, trying to grasp at the warm, safe feeling of the dream.
Ultimus looked at her for a long moment, lifting his eyebrow again. "Dreaming?"
"It was a nice dream," The girl said, "Everything was nicer."
The big redhead shook himself, rattling his armor briefly. "Ah..."
Jack shrugged, not seeing anything wrong from her point of view even if there had been. The girl blinked and looked back up at the map, "Where do you want to go in the archives first?"
Ultimus pondered the map for a moment. "I'd like to know more about Rapture... How it began, and how it fell."
"That would mean finding the section of the city's history section... I think." Jack tilted her head and squinted at the map as she tried to read all that she saw.
"Most likely," Ultimus eyed the map, "Hmm."
"Here?" Jack asked pointing to a large room on the map. "Pub-lic... rrr... records!" Hah! She knew that word!
"Looks like a good place to start." Yellow eyes narrowed as Ultimus looked over the route that led to the indicated area.
Jack nodded, starting off again before pausing and coming back and lifting her arms in a silent plea to be picked up. "Do you think I'm going to have to gather here?"
"That's entirely up to you... I don't need ADAM, so you can gather if you choose to, but I won't make you." Ultimus lifted her, holding her against his chest with one arm. Turning, he headed toward the door.
The girl shifted her harvester needle so not to poke the Autobot or stab herself before Jack settled down against the mech. "I don't think I need anymore... maybe." She frowned, and then sighed since she still had that ADAM craving. Jack knew where it came from, all the ADAM rich blood she had ingested had really 'woken' up the slug in her belly.
The big mech made a soft humming sound as he shifted into a ground-eating trot, moving through the corridors. The speed at which he was moving managed to startle most splicers out of his way, and those who didn't move didn't survive the encounter.
"Look Daddy! Another us!" A little voice said to the side, a Little Sister was pointing at Ultimus from her spot perched on another Lancer's shoulder. Ultimus had to grin at that as he collected another energy cell. Maybe he'd find one of those energy weapons lying around somewhere.
"I bet you could get one of them out of a vent," Jack said, paused to inhale deeply, paused and then added, "Or maybe not, you don't smell right."
"I probably couldn't then," he replied, picking up a slightly different energy cell.
"Unless you got the smelly thing." Jack pointed out, looking at two large portraits on either side of the room they were in, one torn up with green paint scrawling 'TRAITOR' over where the painting had been.
"Smelly thing?" Ultimus blinked. "You mean pheromones?"
The girl concentrated on the word, and then brightened, "Yeah! That's it, a lot of people don't like the Big Daddy's smell, I don't mind. The Little Sisters don't either."
"The scent must be a cue to the Little Sisters," the Cybertronian mused. Yellow eyes brightened as he spotted one of those energy weapons lying abandoned, and he detoured to scoop it up. The inspection of the weapon was interrupted by the sound of footsteps and voices ahead.
"What is it?" Jack asked, peering at the laser cannon, having never seen anything like it. The girl looked up and around as she saw movement of a group of four, one in the lead and muttering to himself. The girl blinked a few times at hearing a new word, "E...quations?"
The lead man looked up as she spoke.
"It's a laser weapon... Fires powerful energy beams. Lasers can burn flesh from bone," Ultimus replied, loading a power cell. Then he turned his attention to the approaching group, narrowing his eyes warily.
The apparent leader, spliced and insane but disturbingly still intelligent eyes were narrowed right back at Ultimus as the man halted. The other splicers going a few steps more before realizing he had stopped, the other man was coming too close while the two women hovered back away as soon as they saw the 'Big Daddy.'
A dangerous growl started somewhere in Ultimus' torso, an audible warning of dire consequences should any of them get too close. The business end of the laser cannon came up to take aim at the group.
The lead man saw the cannon lift and promptly did an about face and full on ran back the way he came, "Fetch me those readings!" he yelled at the other three, and the two women skittering off and away, not bothering to say anything. Ultimus' warning howl chased the group leader down the corridor, before his fiery glare shifted to the fourth member of the group, the one who hadn't fled yet.
Jack gave a hissing sound as the splicer just stood there staring stupidly for a few moments, "...one weird looking Tin Daddy." he muttered, his eyes wide and looking like he hadn't slept in no less than a week.
"And the absolute nastiest one you'll ever come across." Ultimus bared fangs in a savage snarl. "I suggest you run... NOW."
The girl made a face and then couldn't help a little giggle as the Splicer jumped nearly out of his skin at the mech's words, only to yelp as the Splicer yelled something about dogs not barking and lunged at Ultimus.
Okay that was stupid, Jack thought since most everyone knew never to attack a 'normal' Big Daddy unless desperate.
The laser cannon vanished, and Ultimus' arm shot out like a striking snake. Steel fingers clamped shut on the splicer's skull, catching him right out of the air. Without a pause Ultimus tightened his grip, the splicer's skull imploding from the pressure. Grey matter and blood sprayed up the mech's arm, the body twitching wildly once or twice before going totally limp.
Jack kept her eyes closed and pressed her face against Ultimus' chest. She had seen what just happened to the splicer before, under the heavy foot of a very ticked off Rumbler and a fallen rock in Arcadia. The girl didn't like it and curled up more to try and block out the sound and memories.
Ultimus threw the body aside, shaking some of the goop off his arm. His other arm tightened around Jack ever so slightly, and he made a deep crooning sound in his chest, moving away from the splicer's remains.
"Ew." Jack said, it seemed both an understatement and not. She didn't move on her own right now, sorting her mind out to adapt to another nightmare.
"What's this that crawls into Minerva's Den?" A new voice... no the voice of that one lead splicer from a few minutes before came through overhead speakers.
"None of your business," Ultimus shot back, his deep voice echoing slightly down the corridor.
"Is that a two way line?" Jack whispered, finally peeking up, spotting a camera and watching it track them. "Is that the 'nutter?'" she added
"My guess is, yes, that's the nutter," Ultimus replied, making a rather rude gesture in the direction of the nutter's camera.
"What if that's the Thinker?" Jack couldn't help asking, she sniffed and made a face, "You need a bath now."
"If it's the Thinker, then I look forward to meeting it. If that's the nutter, as long as he stays out of the way I won't have to twist him into a pretzel." Ultimus eyed the camera.
Jack nodded after a moment, looking around but staying curled up in the crook of the mech's arm, keeping away from the other. She looked at the walls, trying to read the signs as the Rapture radio crackled to life again. But the voices seemed distant, that could have been Ice Queen's tone or someone else.
Ultimus straightened, shifting Jack slightly so he could grab the grime-stained piece of cloth and wipe the worst of the gore off his arm before it started to smell. Under his helm one audio plate twitched as he listened.
"That sounds like momma Tenenbaum," Jack said suddenly, both perking up and leery since it sounded like an argument.
"Tenenbaum?" Yellow optics flared. The big Cybertronian padded closer to the camera, eyeing it.
"I thought Doctor Gill said she left the city..." Jack was frowning, trying to scrap together what she heard in that last time of being 'caught.' She looked up at the camera as they neared it, noting the exposed wires and mechanical guts on the side, someone had tried hacking it.
"Maybe she came back for something," Ultimus suggested. He eyed the exposed wires. "It seems like hacking is pretty much a staple of Rapture..."
Jack shrugged, "It's useful if you can... if not, bzzzzzzzzzzzzt." she sparked energy over her fingers to farther display what would happen in a failed hack.
"Wonder what the Thinker thinks of that," the redhead mused. "When I hacked that vending machine you said the Thinker might be offended, but it seems like hacking is very common."
"I don't like people trying to harvest me," Jack said, "I don't think it's the same or how much the Thinker feels... but it seemed like it... I think..." The girl paused, having neatly derailed her metal train of thought all by herself.
Ultimus lifted one shoulder in a slight shrug. "Might be something to ask it when we get there." He looked at the camera, tilting his head at the garbled voices. "Unless whoever's talking has something intelligent to say, please stop babbling. It's distracting."
"Isn't that coming from the radio not the camera?" Jack pointed out, leaning forward to locate where it was, "It's probably not set to the right channel, or just picking up another one."
The mech frowned, picking up the radio. He turned the tuning dial slowly, listening to the various channels.
"Maria!" the name came from one channel, startling Jack as the voice had that distinct metallic like tone of a gatherer, though more mature.
"I'm coming Marsha, stall the Family." That sounded like that one Big Sister before.
"They used the radio too?" Jack blinked, but Tenenbaum's voice wasn't there.
"Apparently." Ultimus eyed the thing, then slowly turned the dial again, wondering what else the radio would pick up. Jack listened, paused and blushed as she eeped, putting her hands over her ears to stop listening to the husky voices of splicer lovers that forgot their radio was on.
Ultimus rolled his optics, making a disgusted and rude sound into the radio before again moving the dial.
"Gross." Jack scrunched up her face, and eyed the radio with distrust, but relaxed as a song she knew was the next thing to come on. The redhead made a face, then tilted his head at the music. He resumed walking, heading down the corridor, keeping his sensors open for danger. "Must be the music station?" Jack guessed, setting back into Ultimus' hold as she hummed softly along with the music.
"I'm surprised there's one still working." He hummed softly as he walked, shifting the radio to the other hand and bringing the laser cannon back out of subspace.
"I think that's the place!" Jack pointed, leaning forward again, "If the screens are still working, we can get to all the records."
Ultimus looked in that direction, then headed toward the indicated door. He scanned carefully, then stepped inside. It looked like a cross of office and library back room for sorting. Jack was debating on trying to get down, but decided against it as she pointed at a bookcase, thinking of the barricade they had used back in her family's apartment. Nodding his understanding, Ultimus put his shoulder to the bookcase, shoving it across the door, stepping back, he looked around.
Jack sniffed, and now feeling safe she squirmed to be put down. Promptly getting into the cupboards on one side of the room, generally being nosy and seeing what she could. She came up for air with the Rapture equivalent of a twinky.
Ultimus chuckled as he began browsing through the contents of the shelves. His optics flicked over the files, speed-reading as only a machine could.
Jack looked over from where she was shaking a sealed thermos like bottle, "That computer looks like it'll work." She said, only to be distracted as the girl spotted the plasmid bottle over by the window. Jack eyed it in both interest and distrust, for it was a murky purple/black color.
The redhead nodded, moving toward the computer. Noticing her reaction, he paused, turning to look at the plasmid. Sidling over, he inspected the bottle carefully. "'Gravity Well'?" he read from the side.
"...never heard of..." Jack paused as her memories tugged softly on her mind, "I think..." No wait she did, it was in her ADAM given memories not her own.
"There must be something about it in the system." Ultimus turned back to the computer, looking it up. "Huh. Creates a gravity field, like a tiny black hole."
"Wouldn't it be a purple hole?" Jack pointed out, gently shaking the plasmids container and peering in at the thick fluid inside. It was a dark purple color so it made sense to the 12 year old mind.
"They're called black holes because not even light can get out, so they can't be seen. You can feel the pull but you can't see the source." Ultimus shrugged.
"...a nothing hole." Jack dubbed, putting the plasmid jar back where it was before and came back to see what Ultimus was doing.
"Pretty much," Ultimus replied, paging through the information on the screen. Every now and then he'd look up, scanning for danger. Other than seeing glimpses of splicers beyond the glass observing window, there wasn't much at the moment. Thought not the safest place in the city [and surprisingly there were safe places in Rapture] it would do.
Eventually Jack had parked herself near the far back wall with a small can of paint, or a massive can of white out and was busying herself painting graffiti. However there were soon sounds of something moving behind the wall nearer Ultimus. There was such a high concentration of ADAM that it was either the world's smallest spider splicer, or a gatherer.
Ultimus looked up as the ADAM registered on his sensors, turning to look in the direction from which it came.
"Oof!" The semi word was muffled but came in from a vent that was higher than normal and not as decorated, just framed by bronze 'leaves.' The sound of sniffles and a slight whimper was heard, young enough to clearly hint at who was there. Two glowing eyes were blinking back at him, drawing back at first, startled, and then, "Mr. Bubbles...?"
The redhead blinked, and then got up, straightening to his full height and peering into the vent. "I think you got the wrong vent," he told her, blinking.
"But you're here." The girl said coming closer and poked her head out of the vent. She sniffed the air, the girl herself smelling of ADAM and blood and oddly plant matter. "You smell funny Mr. B."
Ultimus blinked again. "I don't smell anything like a Big Daddy."
"I think that's the point," Jack piped up from behind, at the same time the Little Sister leaned out of her vent to look around and brightened at seeing the other girl.
"Sister!" The younger blond cried and then shifted, planning on half hopping, half sliding out to Ultimus still thinking he was a Big Daddy, and thus knowing that Daddy always caught her.
The mech squawked in surprise, catching her reflexively. The confused Cybertronian looked at Jack, baffled.
Jack was giggling along with the Little Sister, "Thank you Daddy!" The younger girl said throwing her arms around Ultimus' neck and hugging him as best she could.
Ultimus stiffened for a moment, his expression remarkably similar to that of a deer in the headlights. "Uhm..."
"You're forgiven for smelling funny Mr. Bubbles." Jack said between giggling, committing her new guardian's face to memory.
The redhead sighed. "Oh boy..." The Little Sister snuggled against him for a few more moments before starting wiggle in that universal way of children that wanted down. Ultimus slowly set her down, watching the newcomer cautiously.
The Little Sister brushed at her dress, more smoothing it out rather than any hope of getting the massive blood stain off the front. Then wide yellow on yellow eyes turned up to regard Ultimus just like she would have any Big Daddy, with that raw love and admiration and, yes, some awe. Smiling the Little Sister turned and skipped- yes skipped over to glomp onto Jack, oddly she didn't have a gatherer's needle with her.
Seeing that, the big redhead couldn't help laughing. Shaking his head slightly, he sat back down at the computer, keeping an audio on the pair. This wasn't the first time Jack had played with a Little Sister, hell she had pretended to be one when younger so to have the Big Daddy protection. Between the two of them, Jack and Cindy were well on their way to making a random masterpiece of white paintings. After a bit they unearthed colored markers too.
All and all, it was a perfect break from reality for both.
Ultimus watched for a long moment before going back to the computer, going through the files. It seemed he'd be the first "Big Daddy" in Rapture to be carrying two Little Sisters at the same time.
"...I miss my other daddy too sometimes." Cindy's voice said after a bit, "But it's okay, Big Sister takes things to him whenever she goes up-up." The girl motioned upwards with both hands.
Jack frown a moment, "Big Sister go to the surface for you?"
"Uh-huh..." Cindy paused, memories warring with her conditioning.
Hearing that, Ultimus looked up from the monitor, scarlet brows meeting over the bridge of his nose.
"I think... I think..." Cindy paused, twitching a little, "I see stars in my dreams." she finally got out around her conditioning and then sighed, shrugging.
"So she was kidnapped from the surface," the Cybertronian murmured.
Jack glanced over at him and then offered the red marker to the younger girl. Cindy took it happily and started to scribble it over the person-figure that had been drawn on the floor already. "Roses grow tall and sun smells of honey... that's where Angels fall." she muttered, Jack nodded agreement as she understood what the Little Sister's seemingly random words were about.
Ultimus lifted an eyebrow as he tried to puzzle that out. Apparently true Little Sisters saw Rapture differently than everybody else did.
"Daddy look!" Cindy announced after a little while coming right over and trying to climb up into his lap, "An Angel!" she pointed to the drawing she had worked on. It was both childish, and in some ways advanced. And a little disturbing, it was of a body laying down, 'X's in place of eyes to show the dead-ness, as well as a lot of red, but in the supposed blood was sketches of roses, and the white paint had been used to make wings and a halo.
Ultimus blinked at the drawings, studying it. It confirmed his thought that Little Sisters saw Rapture differently; it probably had something to do with the conditioning they went through, "Very pretty."
The Little Sister beamed, pleased to no end at his praise, and not seeming to notice that he was, you know, talking. In truth the bond between a Little Sister and Big Daddy was empathic and sometimes near telepathic depending on the 'generation.' So to hear words wasn't as big a surprise to her, and thus with his apparent approval of her work, Cindy wrapped her arms around him as best as she could.
Awkwardly, Ultimus returned the hug, blinking at her. It was the first time that anyone who'd mistaken him for a Big Daddy hadn't been weirded out by the fact that he could talk. Jack giggled from her spot drawing out a squid, grinning at his look. Cindy was back into another random bout of snuggling up to the mech.
Ultimus looked slightly lost, not used to being clung to so eagerly. Where he came from, even in his human form people avoided him, both for his size and his strangeness. He was used to being looked at askance or avoided, for the most part.
"Always safe with Daddy," Cindy muttered happily, smiling up at him, all trusting child. The mech returned the smile hesitantly, fangs glinting for a moment before he quickly covered them again. The girl stood in his lap, balancing with one of her hands on his chest and reaching up to touch his chin.
Ultimus tilted his head, his optics glowing a warm yellow (looking oddly like Big Daddy helmet portholes and no doubt confusing many a splicer) as he watched her. The girl was half climbing up on him, her fingers brushing over the smooth metal, a slightly confused look coming across her face. But then she seemed to rapidly adapt and tried to hug him again, giggled and moved to hop down. Ultimus chuckled, returning the hug before helping her down to the floor.
"Daddy..." Jack muttered under her breath before being caught up in the energy that Cindy had and soon the two were in something that was like a reversed game of tag, despite that Jack was older. The way they could shut out and ignore the nightmares of Rapture was perhaps a blessing, more so for the Little Sisters.
The redhead glanced at his screen once more, then decided it could wait a bit. Turning the chair away from the desk, he settled back to watch the two playing.
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