They Are Children

She often wondered… What had crossed her mind, saving these children she’d helped to create. Rather, to destroy. Tenenbaum’s life had led her many places, through many trials. Never would she have believed that she might protect these children.

Collect beds and toys, defend their sanctuary from Splicers, and build them a home. Their home to share together.

“Miss Tenenbaum,” one of the girls pleaded, reaching for her from beyond the window of her secluded office. All that she’d done to them, and what little she could manage for them in this corpse of a city… She was all they had, as they were all she had. Still, Tenenbaum struggled to handle their affection.

“Yes, child?” She had developed a softer tone for them over time. Almost maternal. Long ago, or what seemed so long ago, this change might have scared or disgusted her. Just as these girls once had.

“Will you please tell us a story?” Her sisters echoed this request in a chorus of chatter, nearly indistinguishable for their number. So many to watch and care for, and yet so few.

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Fontaine and madness held this city, and it was all she could do to protect these girls. Perhaps, someday, when Fontaine made his next move… The man was ambitious and brilliant, but proud. Too proud. The boy may not act as he anticipated. She knew his progress under Suchong, and he did not want to be the monster they were making.

…But that was not a story these girls needed to know. Tenenbaum twisted her cigarette into the ash tray on her desk, setting her papers to the side.

“Very well.” And she stood, the girls giggling and forming a half circle around the wheelchair she stole for them. “One story for you girls, but then I must work.” For her own intellectual stimulation, yes, but also for the boy.

Whether he was a man or a monster, he would be needed to truly free these girls. She helped them all become what they were, and she would save however many she could of them. But alone, she would not be enough.

She sat in the chair, rusted and creaking beneath her as the children’s eyes glowed with delight rather than genetic manipulation. Freedom would be their story next. All of these children. The dawning of their lives must come before the light dims from her own.

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“They are children, Little Sisters, and yes, they will forget. But you and I won’t… The memories of what we have done fade only with the dimming of all lights.”

– Brigid Tenenbaum


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