Grace was sitting at her desk in the secret room of her apartment, staring morosely at the microphone through which she'd commanded "The Family." Huh, if you could call them that anymore, she thought to herself.
She couldn't think of anything to tell them. What could she say? In what direction should she lead them? She knew what was wrong. She'd lost her resolve, and she knew exactly what had caused it.
That, Delta. That man had forced her to rethink everything Lamb had told her. The one that broke her jaw, the one who had been bonded with little Eleanor, the one who stole her.
No, she reminded herself, no he didn't. A man who spares the life of someone who tries to kill him isn't an Evil man. He would no more steal Eleanor than raise a hand to strike me.
If only she hadn't been so blinded by Lamb's goals, allowing her weakness to become a means of exploitation. She clutched at her stomach, as she always did when thinking about her situation. Thinking about it now, she had confided in Lamb her deepest insecurities, and Lamb had used it against her. Okay Grace, I will give you what you desire, so long as you pledge your allegiance to me.
It was practically blackmail, decorated with the aspect of contributing to a greater cause. Would she have accepted Lamb's offer of her child if she'd known what Lamb was really after?
Well, yes, she probably would have. A weakness is a weakness. Would a bulkhead door hold against an oncoming flood, protecting those beyond its threshold if it knew the water would actually kill them? No, mere knowledge wouldn't have reinforced it; it would have crumpled as she did.
And to sound cliché, she'd felt happy at the time. Thinking on this gave her mixed feelings. On one hand, she felt sick to the stomach at the thought of her happiness later causing so much pain and distress. But on the other, she remembered the amount of times she'd held baby Eleanor tight, feeling the warmth you could only feel when another human being you love reciprocates that love.
She tapped the mic, forcing herself to think of something to say.
"Family," she whispered. She heard herself echoed outside of the building, across the entire of Paupers Drop. She sounded dejected, her voice cracking on a simple word. She cleared her throat, and continued. She didn't have anything in particular to say.
She decided to let her mouth take over, rather than her head.
"Family, I've been thinkin'. I've decided to reinstate the Friday night meetings. I know we haven't hosted them in several months, but at times like this, I think you'll all agree that we need to spend time with other people. We'll meet in The Limbo Room. That is all," she finished, slowly switching off the mic. She sighed, dropping her head.
What I need, is a smoke, Grace thought, temporarily allowing her stress to get to her. She reached for the packet of Nico-Time she kept on her desk and withdrew a single cigarette. She fumbled for the lighter in her pocket, a rare commodity in Rapture. What with all the Splicers using Incinerate! to burn up anything in they could, flammable objects we're hard to find. The lighter was circular in shape, embossed with a graving of Ryan's "Chain" in a fist. Inscribed underneath were the words "Rise, Rapture, Rise!"
She used to be able to light up with a single movement, but time had ravages her joints, leaving her arthritic and sore. Holding the lighter in both hands, she carefully flicked the lid open with her thumb. Flame immediately leapt from the nozzle, an innovative design without the need of a scroll wheel. Holding the cigarette in her mouth, she brought the flame to her lips, igniting the tip.
As the first wisp of smoke danced towards the ceiling, the building suddenly shook as though rocked by an earthquake. Dust cascaded from the roof in thick swathes, the desk bouncing against the floor. Grace was thrown from her seat, the lighter ripped from her hands.
Oh, crap! was all she thought. She lay, curled in a foetal position on the floor as tremors continued to rock the building, gradually loosing energy until the building was still once more. Wasting no time, Grace jumped up as fast as her body would allow her, which wasn't very fast at all. She frantically searched for her lighter, afraid that it had started a fire in the room. She eventually located it underneath the desk; it had snapped shut, presumably after she'd dropped it.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she bent to retrieve it.
Grace straitened up to see Gideon Wyborn in the doorway, his eyes panicked.
"Oh thank Lamb! You're alright!"
"Of course I'm alright Wyborn. I survived a Tin Daddy, I can survive an earthquake. Any idea what it was?"
"Whatever it was, I think it was city wide."
Grace paused for a moment, considering what this would mean.
"I suppose I should try to contact the others. See is there's any trouble. Damaged walkways and all that."
"I'll go and see if everyone here's all right. I heard something fall. Something close," Gideon said, then disappeared.
Grace sighed. Something else to worry about. She grasped the microphone on her desk and strode over to the radio it was plugged into, her posture improving as she donned a more authoritative mindset. She reached for the dial and switched the setting from "Drop" to "Lamb". She hesitated for a second, before flicking on the mic.
"Hello? Doctor Lamb? It's Grace, please respond," she spoke, allowing time for Lamb to reply. Grace tapped the mic impatiently, the static pouring from the speaker in her room worsening the concern she felt in her stomach.
"Sofia, please respond," Grace repeated, hearing the panic rising in her voice. Grace decided to wait. Lamb could be busy, Grace reasoned with herself; perhaps that Tin Daddy done chased her down.
But as the seconds stretched into minutes, Grace knew Lamb wasn't going to reply. The mic suddenly felt heavy in her hand as dread replaced concern. What if something happened? Her wrist went limp, the weight of the mic dragging it downwards.
Well, if Lamb has been compromised, its time to take matters into my own hands.
Lamb had told Grace that if anything happened to her or her hideout (wherever that was), control of the speakers throughout Rapture would be transferred to Grace. Every relay in Rapture had this function: Lamb had assumed control when Ryan and Fontaine had lost it. She reached out to the dial with a shaking had and switched to an option she'd hoped to never use properly, labelled simply as "Rapture."
Once she spoke, she wouldn't know if it would work. Last time she'd tried to use the "Rapture" function, it had only worked in Paupers Drop. Now, if it did work, she would still only hear it in Paupers Drop, but in reality her voice could echo throughout the entire of this god-forsaken city.
She sincerely hoped that only Paupers Drop could hear this, because the alternative was too horrible to consider. With all her flaws, Lamb gave her Eleanor.
She lifted the mic.
"Come in Rapture, Come in Rapture. This is Grace Holloway, leader of Paupers Drop. Repeat, this is Grace Holloway. Rapture, if any of you are alive out there please respond. Come in Rapture!"