Despite having lived there for several years, Grace always had hated the Sinclair Deluxe. Well, perhaps not hated, more…despised. She despised the fact that Sinclair had built it to take advantage of those amongst Rapture who were scraping the bottom of the barrel whilst he had his hands in pockets throughout the city. She despised how poorly it had been built, entire hallways collapsing and walls crumbling through the application of cheap materials and last minute designing.
But what she despised the most, was the fact that it was the only place she belonged.
She slowly made her way across from her apartment to the other side of the floor. Water was still pouring from the crack in the inverted glass dome (or the Ocean-Light, their version of a Sky-Light) whilst butterflies fluttered tirelessly around lights amongst the tangle of power cables. She tutted, recalling how a cable had once detached from the ceiling due to their haphazard construction and electrocuted everyone standing in water in the immediate vicinity, resulting in two deaths. She stopped at the broken elevator and paused. The hallway beyond had been blocked of months ago, cutting off the stairs down. Luckily, a hole in the wall to the right had been created, opening up into a bathroom which lead on into a room whose floor had collapsed and fortunately formed an ersatz staircase. Pressing on, Grace descended the broken floor with the aid of her cane, gripping its bird-shaped handle as she tried to avoid slipping on the damp floor boards.
Stepping back onto level footing, she shuffled into another bathroom, which in turn lead into Gideon Wyborn's old apartment.
Grace glanced around the room. Blue butterflies clung to the walls, all opening and closing their wings in an eerie and silent unison, her presence in the room seemingly unapparent to them.
Of course. The Blue Morpho. The symbol of The Family, the onse hovering around the lights in the foyer. The butterfly that Wyborn had created "paper effigies" of so people could recognize other Family members. Of course, she never wore one herself. Why would she need to? Everyone in the Drop knew the great name of Grace Holloway; she had no trouble of mistaken identity.
She grimaced as she trudged out of the apartment and into water, shaking her shoes free of the clinging droplets before continuing down the corridor. It was perhaps the most damaged corridor in the hotel which hadn't yet caved in. Walls that separated the apartments had been entirely eradicated, making it impossible to tell where one apartment ended and the other began. Belongings were strewn across every surface as their inhabitants had left behind their lives to join the others in the pursuit of power, being in the form of Plasmids or weaponry.
A fire raged off to her left as pipes had been ruptured from some attack, and she could hear the motor of a turret nearby, ready to attack at a moments notice.
She barely made a sound as she progressed towards the exit, breathing though her mouth to avoid the ever present stench of sea-water and blood that hung in the air without the slightest breeze to remove it.
How could this have happened? How could they have let the city get so bad? It wasn't as tough they'd formed The Family after the attack on the Kashmir which began everything, they'd formed it ages ago. They should have been smarter. Heck, she should have been smarter. They should have foreseen the damage that would ensue and try to prevent it somehow. Seriously, how do walls get destroyed? Only with the use of Plasmid or grenades, and why would they destroy walls in their own homes?
If only Plasmids didn't affect the mind, all of this destruction could have been avoided.
Grace descended another flight of steps and shook her head at the shrine created around a vent, a dead body lying across an alter-like table. Such a sacrifice was unnecessary. They all thought that they were contributing to the ADAM cycle, when in truth, there was enough ADAM in the corpses of Rapture to keep the remaining population sane for ten years, and that was if all of the Little Sisters disappeared. Of course, if the Little Sisters did disappear, they'd have no one to extract the ADAM.
One problem after another.
The camera that had overlooked this particular corridor had been destroyed, the blackened casing still smoldering on the floor directly underneath. She'd have to replace it. Actually, maybe she didn't: maybe it wasn't necessary for the constant surveillance. Then again, now that The Thinker had decided to reveal himself, the cameras were the only way he could see around Rapture.
Working her way through the dark and twisting maze of rooms, Grace finally walked down the long, dark corridor that would lead her out of the Sinclair Deluxe and out towards her destination.
After walking through the streets of Paupers Drop, Grace gazed at the building where she used the work. The sign flickered above her head as she entered The Limbo Room. She could hear several voices murmuring amongst each other, hushed discussions as she walked over to the main room.
As soon as she entered, the room fell silent, each face turning towards her as their conversations were forgotten. She made her way over to the stage and rather than standing on it, she sat on the edge, resting her cane on the stage next to her. She reached into her pocket and withdrew another cigarette, lighting it with her lighter and taking a long drag before speaking.
"So. What's happened?" she spoke slowly, allowing the smoke to curl out of her mouth and up towards the ceiling.
She noticed that rubble which had previously covered the floor had been completely cleared away, and the tables had been recently wiped down.
Gideon cleared his throat.
"Well, the train car has been cleared away. We plan on using it to either patch up holes around the Drop, or as temporary housing, though I thing the first idea is most likely. We had Frederick smash the concrete the car originally destroyed into gravel which filled the hole, so there's one problem solved. There are holes throughout the Drop that we could fill with rubble from the damage too, so we have several Brute Splicers on that. Everyone's chipped in and they've done a good job; the fish bowl diner looks pretty neat and someone's even fixed the leak above where the train car was. We're getting there, but it's gonna take time. We're dangerously low on food, but I'm sure something can be done about that. As far as I can tell, we didn't lose any more people this time."
Grace nodded, pleased with this report. She knew that he was referring to Delta rampaging through, killing of more than half the population of the Drop.
They couldn't afford to lose any more.
She took another drag from her cigarette.
"As you were," Grace said, nodding to the assembled group in the room. Several splicers turned back to one another, unsure whether to resume their conversations or remain silent in the presence of Grace Holloway.
Noticing the remaining silence, Grace laughed once, without humor.
"You can talk in front of me you know."
"Just what?" Grace asked, turning towards the man who spoke.
The man shuffled uncomfortably.
"It's just that…with Lamb gone, you're technically in charge, Miss," he replied, his accent British.
Grace shook her head closed her eyes, inhaling heavily.
"What has Lamb done to us?"
The room, already still, froze. Though no one had been moving, it was as though everyone had turned to statues, shocked at what Grace had just said.
"W-what do you mean?" a woman stuttered.
"I mean, what has Lamb done to us? I'm nothing special, and you're all treatin' me as though I'm a queen!" Grace suddenly became angry, "Jeez, I'm just like you! Stop being so…formal. It's like she's brainwashed us all into following a leader blindly."
"With all due respect…"
"There ain't any due respect."
"…you're the only person who we've heard ordering the entire city. You're the one who told us that we should tidy, that you've sorted out the corpse problem. You're the one leading us, Grace. Not Ryan. Not Fontaine. Not Sofia. You. And we haven't been brainwashed by Lamb, we want to follow you," the woman finished, her eyes focused intently on Grace's face. She looked around the room and saw several people nodding in agreement, every eye on her.
I didn't think this entirely through, Grace realized. She hadn't considered being treated differently. Yeah, people had been more respectful to her than others because she was Lamb's right hand partner, but she hadn't expected to be suddenly raised on a dias!
She didn't want to be treated like that. The last thing Rapture needed was another tyrannical leader. For a city without religion, where there were "No Gods Or Kings, Only Man," these people still needed a leader.
Perhaps Ryan had been wrong. Maybe it was impossible to build a city where everyone worked for themselves. The rallies that Ryan and Lamb had participated in had been a fine example of that; people cheering for who they wanted in power. They were practically voting.
Grace finally looked up again.
"Fine then. I'm the one I charge. But that don't mean things have to change. In fact, things won't change. I'm to be treated as I used to, as a friend, not a ruler. Is that clear?"
"Is that an order?"
Grace didn't see who spoke, but their comment stopped her in her tracks. People in charge gave orders. She would be a hypocrite if she commanded them to treat her normally.
"No," she amended, "Please, treat me as you used to. That isn't an order, it's a request from an old woman who's tired of watching leaders fail."
Sander Cohen couldn't believe his eyes.
He was standing on the stage in Fleet Hall, after having scrambled onto it for a better look.
The seating area had been entirely cleared of both rubble and bodies. But that was insane! He'd never asked for that to be done! The entire theatre was a work of art that HE ALONE HAD CREATED!
Who dare defile it?! It was a reflection of Rapture, the bodies encased in plaster representing its citizens whilst the meticulously placed rubble represented devastation.
With a clench of his stomach, Cohen teleported out of the theatre and into the main atrium.
The water feature that he'd created on the stairs as a reminder of Rapture's location had been repaired, the glass blurry where the leak had been as though some one had used a laser to melt the glass back together. All of the glass from the smashed shop windows has been cleared away, and even his beloved Quadtych hadn't escaped the wave of reconstruction; all that remained were a few areas of plaster where each figure had been torn away. Sander sprinted down the steps and screamed with fury.
He teleported to every room in Fort Frolic, checking each and every act of defiling. Some rooms had been entirely cleared of anything those without an artists' eye would perceive as "destroyed," ranging from rubble off the ceilings to the rubbish from bins. The frozen tunnel he'd created as a testament to Andrew Ryan had been entirely thawed, ice water slowly draining away. But that was impossible! The only way someone could do that was hack the climate control system and change it manually, which would require the keys he always kept on him.
The body of the long deceased worker in Eve's Garden had been removed, along with the blood stains around the room and the bed sheets she'd been resting on.
Every room he went, Sir Prize, the Tabacoria, even Rapture Records!
Everything had been altered some how.
Sander teleported back to his room in the Mercury Suits, utterly devastated.
His life's work had been destroyed. It had all been ruined! There had been no one but him who had been in Fort Frolic in eight years, and in one day it seemed as though the entire of Rapture had swept though and..and…tidied everything! What kind of splicer tidied everything?
Rapture was supposed to be a place where the artist need not fear the censor…
Maybe it had been something to do with the radio messages he'd heard earlier. He didn't understand them though; he'd been entirely immersed in bloody sea water in his bath tub at the time, and hadn't heard what had been said.
Well, it was time he got some answers.
Sander once again teleported out of his room and into the projection booth of Fleet hall, where the radio equipment for Fort Frolic was stored.