BioQuest: Strategize

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She had nothing to say to Sullivan… He made a good point. They’d draw attention to themselves if Ryan saw them here and what they needed was obscurity. Turning on her heel, she started up the staircase and Booker trailed her a few paces back.

It was eerily silent for a moment, just her heels clicking and Booker’s soft footsteps behind her.  The music was gone. And then she heard him, Cohen’s shouting carrying wordlessly after them. She could barely hear Sullivan at all, though she knew he was trying to reign in the artist and his muse speeches.

“Artists,” Booker barbed, and she could picture his scowl without even turning. She stopped, the Bathysphere resting there. They would need to leave before Ryan called it back to bring him to Fort Frolic… “Elizabeth? What is it?”

“I made a deal too,” she explained, fists balled at her sides. Looking to Booker, she set her gaze on his and prepared for his rejection. “And we’re all going to pay if I don’t keep my end of it.”

“That’s not the same, Elizabeth,” he argued and she walked past him and back down the stairs. “Elizabeth!”

“Booker, he is an influential man.” She stopped again, fixing her hair to ease her nerves. “Ryan won’t risk the shame of displacing him. He’ll remain powerful and if I leave now, he’ll have a grudge against me. Against us.”

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He put his hand on her shoulder, firm but not nearly as pushy as his usual. “He’s just a loony artist. C’mon, Elizabeth.”

“No, he’s the artist of Rapture, a city of ideas. We could use the protection and information in his network.” She rested her hand on his, an involuntary smile coming to her face.

His grip and his expression softened, although the furrow in his brow showed he didn’t like either. “You fight, Booker; I strategize. I don’t want to do this, but the alternative…”

He heaved a sigh. Part of her was proud: he trusted her and understood. The rest of her could only wish it wasn’t this way. How quickly she’d been swept up into yet another mess when they could least afford it. “Just… Be careful, Elizabeth. I’m right behind you.”

“I know.” Slipping from under his hand, she finished going back down the stairs to the artist, shouting and flailing wildly at Sullivan.

“…the music, you don’t understand, my muse needs her to sing and she promised me, she promised—”

“Mr. Cohen,” she addressed him and the two men turned.

“Sonuva…” Sullivan mumbled, shaking his head.

But Cohen brightened, splaying his arms out in a grand gesture. “Little songbird! I knew, I knew you were called by the music!”

He stepped forward, grabbing Elizabeth’s hands and letting the radio she was holding fall to the floor. “And what’s this? You brought me a real biscuit,” he murmured, eyeing Booker beyond her.

– – –

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

– – –

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