BioQuest: Reunion

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She returned his second gesture to sneak around their potential attackers and he gave a curt nod, giving his attention to the thugs outside the bathysphere.

“H-he’s not here,” a third, jittery voice muttered, seeming on the edge of screaming, crying, or laughing. “He’s not, he’s not, he’s not.”

Elizabeth ran her hand along the floor of the bathysphere, smooth wooden flooring even underneath the seats.

At least Ryan’s consistently over the top…

Her fingers grazed the box, and she pulled it towards her as Booker wrapped his hand around her arm.

“I can smell him,” the woman breathed, her voice fading as if she’d turned away. A ploy…?

Booker led her out of the bathysphere in a walking crouch, passing them by towards the battered entrance of the Kashmir.

“Elizabeth,” he whispered, shooting her a half-hearted scowl. “When did you start keeping secrets?”

“I’m not, not from you,” she answered, resting her hand on his shoulder. “Jack was here. And so was Fontaine.”

Booker shook his head, but he held his position and simply waited. Seconds passed in stillness and the people waiting for them had wandered off in whatever madness had them…

Although Elizabeth knew. She knew too well exactly what it was.

“Well, they’re not here now and we don’t have much in the way of time,” he advised, taking out a pistol in addition to his shotgun. “We’re going to Fort Frolic, that’s where the Vita Chamber’s hidden.”

He stood and held out the pistol to her. “I am a detective, Elizabeth.”

“Booker.” That was a quiet, steady voice she recognized. “Can we go home?”

She stood and took him in, dried blood set into his suit. A sleeve was ripped at the shoulder and right over his chest, an entry point showed where he’d been shot… But he was here. “Jack, I…”

Booker grabbed them both, pulling them down, and then she heard it. Metal clacking overhead, faint humming, and last, an Irish brogue.

“Boyo,” the man’s voice was clear but far enough that she knew they could evade him. If only barely. “Where are ya now, boyo?”

But to where? The bathysphere, Kashmir, the tunnels? Jack held her hand tightly and met her gaze. She held onto the gift box in her other hand, and in his other hand, he had the pistol from Booker.

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

– – –

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