BioQuest: Sideways

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Elizabeth didn’t have an exact count on how many people from the Family were with Grace, but she believed Grace wouldn’t let harm come to them. Even if they didn’t agree to the truce, she’d keep the peace. Elizabeth had to believe that.

“I have considered your offer, but I actually come here with one of my own.” She holstered her weapon, hearing Diane doing the very same behind her. If anyone recognized her in connection to Ryan, they didn’t mention it.

“We’ve made a truce with Ryan,” she started frankly, hoping that honesty would earn her some leniency. Elizabeth saw anger come to Grace quickly, spreading to the Family with her like wildfire.

“A truce with that monster! Like he cares what happens to the good people of Rapture,” she scoffed. “Throw your lot in with him if you like, but we–”

“Grace, please hear me out before you decide. I implore you,” Elizabeth begged, trying to pull this back from the brink. She only had this one chance. “This is our opportunity to bring peace to Rapture for everyone.”

Grace shook her head, scowl unwavering. “Peace? That animal doesn’t want any peace.” Muttering agreement rippled through the group beyond her. “How can you tell me about peace with Ryan when he holds Dr. Lamb, the one who really cares about us little people?”

bioshock rapture family

“We’ll talk to him about Dr. Lamb,” Diane interjected, stepping up to stand beside Elizabeth. “It’s the only right thing to do.”

It was a tall order, but they had to try it. And the fact that Diane came forward… Elizabeth couldn’t be happier. Her friend was finding the self-esteem to be brave when she had to be.

“You do that,” Grace bit back, but at least her expression had softened slightly. “But you hear this, and you remember it well: his answer is ours.”

“I understand,” Elizabeth nodded, taking the unspoken command to leave. Diane walked alongside her in silence until they were far enough from the Limbo Room for comfort when the radio she carried crackled to life.

“Zur Hölle fahren,” came the first distant words, and Elizabeth’s heart froze. Gunfire followed while Diane scrambled to get the radio where they could both speak into it.

“Tenenbaum! Can you hear me?” Elizabeth waited for what felt like ages in static.

“Yes, yes, I hear you,” she snapped back. “Scheisse.” More gunfire burst in the background. “Fontaine was watching us. With you both and Booker gone, he attacked.”

atlas fontaine bioshock

“Oh, oh no,” Diane worried, her brows furrowing. “What about the girls?”

“And Jack?” They only just opened up to one another, finally starting to date. She waited for him to ask, why did she do that? What if he was–

“We pushed him back. They’re safe, but not for long.” Static punctuated her sentence and it was all Elizabeth could do not to run off without a word.

“We’ll be there soon,” Elizabeth promised, rushing ahead as Diane hurried to keep up.

– – – Back at the clinic – – –

The first thing she heard was Jack biting back a scream, and Elizabeth couldn’t hold back anymore.

“Lizzie, wait,” Diane tried to shout, breathless, but with no luck in stopping her.

“Jack, where are you? Jack,” she called again, running through the second set of clinic doors to see him breathless, pale, and sweaty, leaning again a counter.

“H-here,” he forced out, wincing.

“Fontaine used a command, one I need Lot 192 to reverse,” Tenenbaum explained from her lab area. “Ryan hasn’t delivered, so we would have to go and get the supplies ourselves. But he can’t go anywhere.”

“I can–” Jack cut off in a horrid gasp, gripping the edge of the counter he was against. “I can go. I’ve had worse.”

“You aren’t convincing anyone, Jack,” Elizabeth said, tempted to be gentler but knowing she had to be honest first.

“I need the dose, or I’ll die waiting here for it. My heart is stopping every–” He cringed, eyes shut tight for a few seconds. “It’s stopping too often. I won’t make it unless I go too.”

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: Meet the Family

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Hearing Booker out about the plan to save McDonough, Elizabeth planted her hands on her hips thoughtfully. “Can you do that on your own?”

And Booker scoffed, wrapping up his work on his gun. “Of course. I take plenty of jobs like this.”

She couldn’t stop a smile at how proud he was of it. A far cry from when they first met and he talked like a ruffian who went about killing people for sport. …Which was not as far from the truth then, Elizabeth supposed, and pushed that thought aside. “Just… Please be careful, Booker.”

booker dewitt bioshock.jpg

“I should say that to you,” he shot back matter-of-factly, holstering his weapon and turning to her. “The Rapture Family was unhinged before Lamb was imprisoned in Persephone. Now?” He shook his head. “They’ll be in a rage the second you even ask about making peace with Ryan.”

“Which is why I’ll strike a deal, and I won’t go alone.” Her smile took on a smug edge, which Booker answered with a sigh. Elizabeth hoped he’d finally come to accept or at least resign himself to the fact that her mind was made up. “I’ll take Diane with me.”

bioshock diane mcclintock.jpg

“Diane?” His skepticism was clear as day, of course, and he evidently wasn’t alone in it. Diane fumbled with what she had been doing, managing to avoid dropping anything– narrowly.

“Me? Oh, Lizzy, I’m flattered, but I don’t know,” she started, worry taking over her expression in a pout. “Jack taught me to shoot and all, but do you really think I’m the right one for this?”

“Yes, I do.” Elizabeth insisted, sure and correcting. “You’re like them, Diane. Ryan promised everyone on the surface that they’d have a better life in Rapture, and now they’re trapped down here. They’ll listen to you because you understand what they’ve been through like no one else can.”

“If you say so, it must be the case,” Booker agreed, his cynical frown softened by a hint of trust.

“Well,” Diane thought out loud. A smile snuck up on her and she drew herself up. “Well, alright then. I’ll just be a second.”

— Outside The Limbo Room —

“It’s closed,” Diane whispered as Elizabeth put her hand against the door. She’d never been to the Limbo Room, but she heard of it from plenty of their patients back at the clinic. It provided a lot of solace in these dark days– and now it had closed its doors.

“Well now,” a woman’s voice cut through the stale air, and Diane stood beside Elizabeth with her hand on her holster. “What’ve we got here, gents?” A few men, sickly with splicing, trailed after her. They either had wrenches or pistols, but all of it was bad news. It was four against two.

“Brunette looks like the pretty one Atlas tol’us about,” one of the men said through a dark laugh. And shortly after, a gunshot took him down.

The reaction was immediate. Atlas’ people went on alert to find out who attacked them, conveniently forgetting about their original targets. Diane shot one and Elizabeth, the other, but the woman escaped in the scuffle.

“She’ll be telling Atlas, no doubt.” Elizabeth turned to the voice to see Grace reloading. “I can’t stand all this violence, but these brutes give us no choice.” She gave Diane a skeptical glance, but in the end, she settled on smiling at Elizabeth. “Have you considered my offer, then?”

Gradually, Elizabeth became aware of people from the Family also standing guard with Grace. They nodded or didn’t acknowledge them at all, but… Elizabeth had received far less friendly invitations.

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

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BioQuest: Offer

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“You’re right,” Elizabeth agreed and looked out to where the bench was – though she couldn’t see it from here, of course. An old habit from the tower that helped her think, that was all. “Why don’t you stay here, and I’ll talk to her?”

At first, his eyebrows raised and a few beats passed in silence. And as the surprise faded, he nodded, looking over the room beyond her.

“Yeah. Yeah, okay. Someone should clean up around here.” He laughed, almost a cough rather than a true laugh… But it was something. “This definitely isn’t to Tenebaum’s cleanliness standards for the girls.”

Jack took a couple steps towards the nearest closet, but her arms found their way around him before he found his way there. His breath stopped for just a moment, and she felt the warm weight of his arms across her back.

And Elizabeth stepped back, reflexively twisting her fingers around the stub of her pinky. “Right, well, I’ll just…”

Jack pointed to the bench and nodded again, a little pink coming to his cheeks even as he looked down.

“Thanks,” Elizabeth added and wove around the turret, out the front clinic door, and strode over to the bench with purpose.

[I]Put up a good front, Elizabeth.

The woman still sat there, not that she looked up at Elizabeth. Her hands rested in her lap over a wrapped package. It crossed her mind that it might be a weapon, but who didn’t have at least one out here?

“Ran into those thugs, didn’you?” She tapped the open seat beside her as the only acknowledgement that Elizabeth was there at all.

Elizabeth remained standing. “They’re dealt with now. And how do you know them, Miss…?”

“Grace Holloway from the Limbo Room. For now, at least,” Grace scoffed, her face twisting to a scowl. “And that gang is talkin’ to everyone, sometimes not just that. Worse’n Ryan and Fontaine together, those damn crooks.”

She leaned forward, setting her eyes on Elizabeth with a pinning intensity. “They’re looking for your man in there, and he’s gon’ need all the help he can get.”

This woman was blunt, but sincere… Elizabeth felt she was truly intending to help – if perhaps being misled by another. She took a seat on the bench and noticed a small smile from Grace. “You’re awfully brave, being out here as a woman by herself.”

“So aren’t you. And I got my family, the Rapture family,” she emphasized reverently. “They can protect you and your family too. Atlas, he don’t really care about the little people, you n’ me.”

Before Elizabeth could even begin an answer, Grace offered a torn pamphlet. Taking the crumpled paper in her hands, Elizabeth turned it around to read a title – Dr. Sophia Lamb’s free counseling sessions on Sundays.

“This woman, she cares.” Grace stood, the package in one hand and her weight on the cane in the other. “You don’t got to answer me now. I’ll be in The Limbo Room singing at night if you wanna join the family. However longer we’re gonna keep the room’s doors open,” she sighed with a heavy smile. “Maybe you can meet the sweet little lamb there.”

And she walked away, steadfast despite her cane and the rubble everywhere. Elizabeth looked over the pamphlet in her hands again and thought on what she’d said.

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

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BioQuest: Scouting

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Elizabeth loaded her gun beside Jack doing the same, unable to resist a smile. This was what Jack wanted, after all – to help them as one of them. To be alongside them like anyone else. She could relate to that… His excitement was contagious and soon, they were grinning at each other.

Although they didn’t say a word between them on their way up to the city itself, there was this energy– Elizabeth called it excitement and attributed it to Jack, but a part of her wasn’t convinced that was it. At least not in full.

“So,” Jack began, pausing to stare into the ocean depths outside as they made their way to Suchong’s old clinic. Their clinic now, she supposed. Fortunately for them, Rapture was more likely than ever to accept an exchange of ownership as gruesome as this. “Um, did you tie your shoes? Before we left?”

“I–” She looked down at the laced up ties on her shoes instinctively, and they were done up properly. “Yes, why?”

“Oh, because I wouldn’t want you falling for s… Something so small,” he finished and shrugged. Elizabeth let some time pass in silence in case there was more – it felt as though there should be – but nothing came.

And perhaps that was for the best. Sullivan’s men had moved on from that area and only turrets and cameras kept this place secure. They were here to secure the clinic for everyone, and it wouldn’t do for them to alert any splicers or Fontaine’s men on the way.

“Seems like the splicers have mostly cleared off,” Jack muttered, almost reading her mind.

“It does make one wonder… Where they are now.” They fell into silence again until they reached the battered, leaking foyer outside of the clinic. A Big Daddy worked on the fracture from the outside and a staunch, black woman waited on a bench between the hallways to the clinic.

A faded and tattered scarf that matched her hat hung loosely around her neck and shoulders, and if not for the wreckage, one could almost believe she was waiting for a good friend to meet her there.

“I don’t know her,” Jack shared, watchful and serious. “We should take the other hallway, it’s not much farther off.”

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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