Character(s): Jack & Fontaine.

Disclaimer: As always, I own nothing. BioShock belongs to 2K Boston / Irrational Games.

Just another fic I found on my hardrive and decided to publish so someone might enjoy it. I could probably improve it, but it's going to be posted as is. This one focuses on Jack's realization that he has been used by Fontaine.

Constructive criticism is welcome. Please, no flames.

The Devil You Know


"Ah," says the voice on the other end of the line. It sounds oddly like Atlas and yet . . . not. Something is different. Something is wrong. "Nice work, boyo," says Atlas slowly, in an accent not his own. Then, he breaks out into low laughter.

Suddenly, there is no Irish lilt. Only an accent that sounds like it's from the Bronx. An oddly familiar voice. "It's time to end this little masquerade," says the voice slowly. "There ain't no Atlas, kid. Never was," he spits derisively. "You see, my work takes on a variety of aliases. Hell, once I was even a Chinaman for six months." More laughter, more derision. "But you've been swell, so I guess I owe you a bit of honesty."

No. Atlas wasn't Atlas. Not anymore. Not ever.

Not-Atlas continues, and his voice is cruel. "I gotta say, I've had a lot of business partners in my life but you, being that you were genetically conditioned to bark when I said 'would you kindly' . . ."

Jack bites his lip and balls up his fists at his sides. He doesn't want to hear this. Not after everything he's just witnessed, killing Ryan . . . All this time, he's been nothing more than a pawn in a titanic struggle for power.

"I'm gonna run Rapture, tits to toes," finishes Not-Atlas. "You've been a pal, but you know what they say: Never mix business with friendship. Thanks for everything, kid. Don't forget to say hi to Ryan for me."

Ah, betrayal. It has a sharp, almost bitter, sting. He had thought he'd had an ally in all of this chaos, one he could look to for guidance, for companionship. Other than that, the shortwave radio was inevitably silent, save for the occasional static it picked up. Empty.

The realization hits Jack with the full force of a charging Bouncer, nearly knocking the wind out of him. He has been used. Used! And for what? All for the ruins of an underwater city?

Sheer, unadulterated horror washes over him. It was all beginning to make sense now. The office he had found—the wall pinned with photos and news-clippings and marked with blood—the bloody phrase 'Would you kindly' standing out in the forefront of his mind, inexplicitly drawing his interest. He'd had no reason for it at the time. Had thought it completely harmless when he approached the wall with his gun lowered; had examined the photos, had cautiously touched the word 'kindly' out of curiosity.

He had been grossly disgusted with the recordings made by Dr. Suchong, disgustingly interested in the recordings that spoke of a child, genetically engineered to grow rapidly and be as docile and tame as physically possible. He had never heard of such a thing, but could only guess it was something that would later involve the Little Sisters or the Big Daddies he occasionally found roaming around Rapture.

Never in his wildest dreams would the realization hit so very close to home. He was this . . . this child, this abomination. It explained the discrepancy in his memories, where he could remember important things in his life but no insignificant things, like the sharp sting of a fall from a bicycle or a splinter from the wooden fence-posts or . . . or something. Anything. Three vague faces floated constantly in his mind: that of his apparent father, his apparent mother, and himself, living on a cozy farm virtually in the middle of nowhere.

Where was the farm? What were his parents' names? Why had he even been on that airplane in the first place?

So many questions, all suddenly cropping up. Was he the product mentioned in that recorded tape, the one he found in Eve's Garden? Was he the little boy, cruelly commanded to snap that puppy's neck? Had he really crashed in the ocean, or had he forced the plane down, as Ryan had said?

Why couldn't he remember?

He couldn't concentrate, couldn't breathe . . . Images flashing before his eyes, familiar faces, familiar situations. Memories were resurfacing. Images he didn't want to see.

Only now did he realize that he was a passenger in his own body, forced to do as commanded by a trigger phrase. A man chooses, a slave obeys . . .

Suddenly, the tattoos around his wrists make sense, where before he had wondered where, or when, he had gotten them, having no recollection of them before. Now, he knows. They are symbolic. They represent Andrew Ryan's 'great chain' that he was fond of talking about, the one everyone was supposed to pull in their own direction. But not only that, they represent the chains of slavery around his wrists.

Andrew Ryan had been right all along. He was no man. He was a slave. And now he was nothing short of expendable.

Please, read and review to let me know what you think. I love random messages. :-)