BioQuest: A Meeting

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Tenenbaum looked at her ammo supplies and made up her mind. They could get to Siren Alley and back with what she had alone, and lucky for both of them, he had supplies too.

“Jack,” she said, breaking him from his thoughts. “You want to see Jasmine, ja?”

“What, I, you,” he started and stopped, bewildered but smiling. “Can you do that?”

Tenenbaum chuckled drily, heading towards the recent red light district of Rapture ahead of him. “I’d never let you go alone,” she admitted. He’d end up– no, she did not want to think about that. “This way.”

He breathed a laugh, following after her with palpable excitement and anxiousness. And all the unnecessary motion that went with that for Jack…Which mercifully came to an end at Siren Alley, where Jack stayed no more than a foot away from her at all times. Wasn’t that lucky too? Even though she and Booker drank more than they or anyone should, Jack had the good mind to be nervous in the bar.

Or was it the barely dressed men and women?

One of the women sauntered over, addressing Tenenbaum with a sultry look.”What c’n I do for you, miss?”

Jack’s eyes were on Tenenbaum, she could tell without even looking. She held out a stack of cigarette packs to the woman. “Take us to Jasmine Jolene.”

Eyeing the stack, the woman hesitated before cracking a smile and taking them. “Jus’ a moment, then.”

The moment passed, and the same woman sauntered as she led them to the quarters of none other than Jasmine Jolene. On the way, they passed a red-faced man who looked thoroughly pleased with his service.

“Nein,” Tenenbaum said to Jack, again sensing his thoughts without even turning. That maternal instinct of hers was proving far more useful than she ever could have believed it would be, when the first Little Sister crawled up onto her lap.

“Tch,” Jack answered, keeping pace with her even if he wasn’t happy about it.

“A pair, Jasmine,” their guide chimed, waving them in and closing the door behind them with a giggle.To her credit, Jolene tried to disguise her sigh as wistful rather than exhausted. “You sure know how to treat a lady, I–” She froze once she saw Tenenbaum and if she even realized Jack was there, she didn’t show it.

“Jolene,” Tenenbaum greeted.

“How… How are you, doctor?” She could see thoughts racing in the woman’s head, wondering if she owed anything, what the return of Tenenbaum could mean at a time of civil war, and more than she could predict at the moment.

“This is not a social call.” With that, she stepped aside since it didn’t seem like Jack was going to step out from behind her.

“Oh,” he responded, glancing from Tenenbaum to Jolene. “I’m… Jack. Jack Jolene.”

She finally looked at him as if she’d never seen anyone before at all. “I, I thought…” Jolene dropped to the bed, eyes locked on her son. “You can’t. You’d be so young.”

“This is Rapture,” Tenenbaum explained. “A city at the bottom of the ocean where men shoot fire from their hands.” And on that note, she took out a cigarette to light it. “Is anything impossible?”

“Suchong engineered me to grow faster, so I’d be an adult sooner.” Instead of his normal far-off look with this subject, Jack watched Jolene intently. Looking for a response, she figured, and puffed on the cigarette to light it with her lighter.

Jolene’s face wrinkled and still, she was beautiful. Curls fell just right on her shoulders and drew the eye to her considerable assets. “Why? Why would anyone do that?”

“Same reasons someone might sell an unborn child, I figure.” His voice was steady, as was his gaze, but Tenenbaum could see his shoulders tense. “Tell me why. Please.”

“I–” She froze when footsteps barreled down the hall, and Jolene was on her feet moments later. “He can’t see you, he’ll– he can’t,” she repeated, ushering Jack towards a warped armoire.

He stepped away, expression unchanged. “Who?”

“Ryan, it’s blasted Andrew Ryan,” Jolene answered.

What do you want to do, Tenenbaum?

Read the next chapter.

– – –

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