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The presentation of two doses of Lot 192 from Tenenbaum got more of a reaction from Jack than the message from Atlas did. As pained as he was, he seemed suddenly… Unsure was the closest word Elizabeth had. He stared at the bottles as if they might disappear at any second.
“Drink them both quickly,” she ordered, somberly staring him down. “This will not be pleasant.”
Like a spell was lifted, Jack took both bottles without a moment’s hesitation and downed the first. He almost dropped the bottle once it was empty, a shuddering gasp escaping him the second he was finished drinking.
“Tenenbaum,” Elizabeth warned, reaching out to Jack to– she didn’t know what. How could she help when she didn’t even know what was happening? She could feel the tremors in his body even with a light touch.
“Nein, Jack, the second bottle,” the mother in her kicked in, pushing his other hand up to jolt him out of whatever the effects of the first were. Fire and electricity ran up his forearms and over his hands as he drank the second bottle, his face twisted in pain.
“Jesus, Mary’n Joseph,” McDonough exclaimed, taking a few hearty steps back. “What in blazes?!”
“It’s… It’s over now.” Jack did drop the bottles now, color back in his face even as he trembled– however slightly. “We need to go.”
Elizabeth nodded, knowing this is exactly what she would want in his place. “And we will.” She marched over to him, met with a tired, confused stare as his shoulders slumped. And Elizabeth hugged him gently, feeling his breath steadying and finding a bit of solace in that. “I love you, Jack. Now that I’ve said it, we can go.”
She tried to ignore Booker and Tenenbaum sharing a grin, but her own smile wouldn’t quit.
“I’m… Right behind you!” Jack caught up, walking beside her with a bright-eyed smirk. Whatever Point Prometheus held, she knew they could handle it. Together, they could handle anything.
“W-wait,” a young girl’s voice called after them, and she turned to see Sylvette. She gave Jack the present from the girls at his birthday party, and she was close with Carol, but Elizabeth didn’t know much else about her. “You’ll need help… From a former Little Sister. Fontaine, he… He’s splicing now. I can help you against him. Me and my sisters.”
Without missing a beat, Jack nodded. “Thank you, Sylvette. This means a lot to me.”
Her smile was faint, almost invisible in the dark, and even less obvious as she shrank in shy delight. “Oh… Of course. We’re family.”
— At Point Prometheus —
Leaving the Bathysphere station, everything was calm… Even if it was in shambles.
“Watch your step,” Sylvette advised, flitting over the wreckage like a natural. Her boots helped with that, no doubt, though her floral overalls were well out of place here. Elizabeth figured her dress and Jack’s knit sweater were too, though.
“Oi remember puttin’ you into that sub,” Atlas drawled on overhead speakers, so sincerely hurt. Jack exhaled sharply, but otherwise, his mouth was set in a hard line and he never stopped scanning their surroundings as they pushed ahead.
Atlas had to have his people eating up some story or another, a hint of the truth drowned out by pretty lies. “T’help you escape this awful place. And what’s my thanks? You come right on back, but to save your daddy even after he tried to kill your mum.”
Turrets and splicers broke up his speeches, inaudible underneath her calls out to Jack, Sylvette warning about more splicers, and the general chaos of combat.
“S’ppose there’s no helpin’ it. Blood’s blood, and yours is tainted,” he accused. Even if Jack didn’t feel that, she did. Her grip tightened on her weapon, and Elizabeth got a second wind. Atlas would eat those words.
“You wanna find me, save your wretch of a father?” He chuckled drily, a twinge of… Something else layering his voice now. Something inhuman. “Come to the top o’ the Point. We’ll settle this like men.”
The overhead speakers hissed off, and they came out from their long trek to an atrium of sorts… Filled with vending machines and weapons, and the odd corpse or leak. Had Fontaine been preparing for them here, just like they would now? And where was Ryan?
Sylvette darted over to a Little Sister holding out a needle from the flower tunnel, muttering something to her before running back.
“We… We can’t beat him without this.” She bit her lip, looking down at it before presenting it to Jack. “Drain him of ADAM. It’s the only way.”
He took the needle, pulling her into a one-armed hug. His voice was low, tender, but Elizabeth could just make out the words. “Thanks again. You’re the family I’ve always wanted. All of you.”
With a sniff, she nodded and took off to the tunnel. Soon, she would be too big to use it. Carol was already, and she was so proud of herself for it. For them, they had to win. This was why they came here from Columbia in the first place, and she got so much more than she ever hoped for.
“Elizabeth?” Jack held his open hand out to her, waiting for her on the first few steps to the elevator that would take them to Fontaine. “Are you ready?”
What do you want to do, Elizabeth?
Two chapters remain, potentially one (an epilogue will only happen if I need to tie up any loose ends).
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