BioQuest: Escape

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“I’ll come back out later, see if she’s still there.” Elizabeth answered, keeping an eye on the woman as they took the far hallway away from her.

“I’ll be here,” the woman drawled, her voice like a worn bell. “There ain’t no escaping what I gotta say.”

Elizabeth watched Jack’s shoulders tense, but they pushed ahead to the clinic. Jack stood against the wall by the doorframe, pistol drawn, and nodded to Elizabeth. Whatever happened… he was ready. The moment she stepped forward, the door slid open and she spotted the camera broken on the floor.

“Aaah, long live Atlas!” A woman in a mask with a pipe raised rushed at her, and Jack came out, landing two shots– one in the chest, one in the head– and she fell.

Jack went in, leading with his pistol and stepping over the corpse.

“Jack, wait,” Elizabeth hissed only seconds before a turret opened fire to his left. She pulled a crate through a tear, narrowly blocking the bullets. She caught up with him as he launched lightning from his hand, shutting down the turret – for now.

Elizabeth rushed in and kept low to hack the turret back to their side. She felt the rush of wind first, then saw Jack landing on the other side on the turret.

“It’s him, it’s him,” a man shouted. “I’ll show you!” Jack rolled to the left and she barely heard the glass shatter before fire burst where he once stood.

“Got it,” she muttered and the turret chirped to life. It turned and opened fire on the splicer, groaning as he died.

Over that, she heard a voice on an audio log. The Little Sisters. “Papa Suchong, Papa Suchong, Papa Suchong!”

She’d filed enough of his logs know exactly what they were like and it’d stopped bothering her long ago. But to see Jack holding it, his back to her, facing the mangled corpse of Suchong…

“Get away, you filthy little shit!” The slap in the recording seemed loud, even several feet away. Elizabeth walked around the turret and stood next to Jack in the yellow-green light over the broken desk. Their shoulders only grazed one another, but it felt like enough.

The girl cried in the echoing tape, and a Big Daddy lumbered in with a telling groan.

“What?” Suchong pieced together what his fate would be then, but still he tried to change it. How had Elizabeth missed this tape, she wondered… And regretted it. “W-what are you doing? Get back! Get bac–” He screamed, cutting the recording off to a bloody end.

Jack set the recorder down, staring at the body on the desk. Abruptly, he took purposeful strides back the way they came.


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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BioQuest: Growth

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“Endlich,” Tenenbaum agreed, exasperated. “I will collect the girls for travel to the clinic. The older ones will help carry supplies with me.” She nodded to the girls in their preteen years and they smiled to varying degrees, just eager to help.

“And Booker, you talk to Sullivan about ammunition.” Tenenbaum had already begun, grouping like things together for the girls… Although they were packing blocks and bears with clothes and medicine. “We will need that, more than we can smuggle in or steal.”

“Yes ma’am,” he almost joked and they shared a smirk. Elizabeth raised an eyebrow at them, but of course they pretended not to notice. Booker picked up a radio and his shotgun, heading out on his own in less than a minute. Some military habits never left, Elizabeth knew… Or at least tried to understand.

Tenenbaum crossed her arms and looked Diane over. Hopeful, naïve, ready to make a difference… And what was bad about that? They would have to keep an eye on her, that was the worst of it. “Diane, perhaps you would come with me and the girls? It’s too much to set up with just us.”

“Oh! Oh, I–” She looked at the girls, delighted already to meet someone new. “Well, of course I would.”

By the door, Elizabeth picked up a pistol from their weapons cache. She gathered spare ammunition for it as she spoke. “I’ll go ahead to the clinic, make sure it’s clear.”

“Jack,” Tenenbaum called. He turned to her, silent and waiting. “What’s that look? Go with Elizabeth,” she playfully lectured him, waving him towards the weapons cache. “Keep each other safe.”

“Right!” He shouted and the girls laughed at his excitement. “Right,” Jack corrected at a normal volume and picked up the other pistol.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth and Tenenbaum?

Because they are both present, you can choose how they react… BUT you must choose someone to go with as they will be separated.

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BioQuest: Assembly

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Tenenbaum watched as the arguing went on… Booker unable to pick a side, Diane falling to her emotions, Jack fighting for answers, and Elizabeth trying to restore order.

She dropped her cigarette on the floor, crushed it under her shoe. This happened plenty with Fontaine and Suchong, so she’d had practice – and luckily, these people weren’t out for power.

“Blutige hölle,” Tenenbaum muttered, drawing her pistol and aiming for the ceiling. “Listen or I shoot!”

They all turned to her, though only Diane was surprised. The rest knew both that she would not shoot and that this was the fastest method. Why else would she use it?

“For God’s…” Booker came over to her and put his hand on her arm. “Just put that down, we can talk about this.”

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“Now you can.” With that done, Tenenbaum holstered her pistol.

Jack and Diane would not look at one another, so all of them were staring at her and Booker. Elizabeth stood between them both for the second time that hour and raised her hands passively.

“Let’s focus on solutions. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss…” She paused, weighing her words. “The rest. First, Tenenbaum, is there a way to reverse the effects of ADAM in any addicted splicers?”

Tenenbaum frowned, crossing one arm across herself and putting her other hand to her chin. “I hadn’t thought of that. But yes, yes, it could. Painful withdrawal, but quick. Mentally, who knows?”

“You can’t be serious, Elizabeth,” Booker scoffed, shaking his head. “Splicers? We aren’t bringing them down here.”

“They do make up most of Atlas’ numbers. For now,” Jack added. “If we break their addiction, it would at least get them stable. Let them really decide for themselves what they want.”

“Regardless,” Tenenbaum interrupted, “there isn’t enough ADAM in Rapture for both Ryan and… Atlas.” The bitterness in her tone was obvious, but Miss McClintock had enough stress for one day. Telling her now about Fontaine being Atlas would likely prove too much for her. “They will still have withdrawal symptoms, which will absolutely make them insane. We can only win.”

“Precisely,” Elizabeth agreed. “We’re already starting to see it out there. Only a few have lost themselves, but it’s only a matter of time.”

“I will need tools, supplies, chemicals, more staff beyond just Elizabeth in my lab,” Tenenbaum listed, counting them off on her hands. “There’s not enough space here and not enough bullets for us to collect those things to put there.”

Elizabeth ran her fingers over the metal stump of her pinky, thinking. “Suchong’s Clinic is free now, I could step up for that, but the defenses…”

Jack smiled and stood tall, answering, “Booker can help with that! He works with–”

“Jack,” he warned, putting a hand up to silence the boy for what little good it did.

“It’s civil war out there, we can’t be keeping secrets from each other now.”

Tenenbaum couldn’t help but smile. Jack was coming into his own and Booker, well… Anytime he was caught off guard was a reason to smile.

“Yeah, so says the kid who snuck out. Twice.”

“Three times,” Tenenbaum interjected, putting her hand on Booker’s back. “And once with you, no?”

Booker sighed and ran a hand over his head. He knew when he’d lost. “When you asked me to lay low, I took up work with Sullivan. He doesn’t agree with Ryan anymore, not after–”

Booker cut himself off and wouldn’t meet anyone’s gaze. “Doesn’t matter. It’s hitting him hard. We can rely on him a lot better than a splicer, there’s that.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth and Tenenbaum?

Read the next chapter.

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Secret Santa: FFVII Edition

The holidays. A time for ones you love to gather and celebrate their time together. Vincent reached out to the window he sat beside, opening it and letting in the cold with the songs, laughter, and smell of feasts for families large and small.

It was the closest he would come to the festivities.

VVCapture

“Lucrecia,” he broke the silence of his latest retreat. Somehow, Cloud convinced him to move closer to the others after the geostigma was cured. Maybe a sign of the blond’s close call with the disease which lead him to be closer to those he cared for… In theory, that was Vincent too.

But Vincent had a memory to keep safe. Of her. “I’m sorry.” She was the reason he lived at all. If she couldn’t be there, smiling, laughing, accepting a dance… Vincent couldn’t go. The hand-drawn invite from Marlene laid flat on the table next to an empty wine glass.

Hours passed that way, the cold pervading the room. He never felt it that much, not after what he’d become.

“–cent!” He sat up slightly at the woman’s voice, looking just over his cloak’s collar and the sill to a blond bundled up with some sort of gift in her hands. It’s not as though he shoveled a path, so it was a feat in itself that she was even there. “Vincent!”

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He watched, waiting for Elena to leave. She lifted the metal knocker, banging it down a few times.

“I know you’re there, Vincent!” She shifted from foot to foot, presumably for warmth. The wind was probably harsh for her. “Stop brooding long enough to let me in, it’s for–” She looked over the lumpy package in her hands, poorly wrapped even at this distance. “Turk business. You are still a Turk on record, you know.”

He sighed, resigning himself that she wouldn’t give up. It was part of what made her who she was, that much he knew for certain. When he went down and opened the door, she came inside with it– the knocker in hand as she stumbled in.

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“Oh, hey,” she greeted him. Perhaps this was normal for her.

“I’m not accepting guests,” he deadpanned. She may very well accept that command. Outside of helping her and Tseng after Kadaj and his crew tortured and left them, Vincent had limited knowledge of the new Turks… Although she seemed the type to follow orders. As much as a Turk could be expected to.

“But you’re accepting gifts?” She held out the box, or what was probably a box under the uneven wrapping paper. Some of which was different from the rest. “Reno and Rude found out I got you something and… Helped,” she explained.

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He stared at it in silence and blinked. A gift. He wasn’t expecting even one. “Is this what passes for Turk business now?”

“Oh, just take it,” she teased, pushing the box against him and he reflexively held it once she let go. “Should be easy for you to open with that gauntlet hand.”

Vincent glanced up to her scratching gesture that he supposed was a reference the ‘gauntlet hand’. Peeling back the wrapping, he saw the dull outline of several wine bottle corks and he almost smiled.

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“I’ve still got contacts on Wall Market, from my bartending days, so these are the best red wines– you’ve got your smooth, toasty flavors, a bold blackberry and dark apple wine,” she counted out on her fingers, continuing, “A polished spice wine, you name it. There’s a wine here for every sulk.”

Vincent only watched her ramble, her breath still showing even though she was inside now. “So it’s saying something that they got here at all.”

“I’m way too disciplined to even think of sampling a gift!” She stood tall at that, brushing her longer bangs aside for emphasis. “But if you were going to share, I, well, I wouldn’t… It’s not polite to refuse.”

He chuckled drily, turning away and leading upstairs. She only stopped to close the door behind her and followed him up.

…she did bring wine.

New Year’s: Thane x Shepard

They had a rare chance for a break, one night as one year became another, and Thane brought Shepard to a small beachside resort.

Well, not just her. The whole crew came along. In case of emergencies, of course. This would be interesting to explain on their expense report…

But that day, it hardly seemed to matter. Shepard walked through the resort to meet Thane at the shore, passing Miranda and Jacob together by the fire pit, Jack steadfastly getting Joker drunk, Tali laughing as Garrus flirted badly with her. Shepard found herself with a smirk as she reached the worn stairs towards the shore. This is what they all fought for.

Shepard felt the day’s warmth radiating from the sand as she walked the beach, closing in on the lone silhouette at the shore. He wore white, just as he asked her to as well.

“Thane,” she announced herself and he turned with a soft smile.

“Siha.” She would normally have put her hand in his, but tonight, there was a bouquet there.

“Flowers? That’s a first,” she teased. The smell of salty sea air reached them on the breeze, and she reflexively breathed in deeply.

“I confess, they’re not for you,” he answered. Shepard cocked an eyebrow, waiting for details. “I want to share them with you another way.”

“I’m listening,” she prompted.

He knelt, set the flowers in the sand. They were foreign to her, although the faint light from the resort behind them caught the rich blues and purples of its petals and anthers. Standing again, he offered his hand to her.

“First, come with me. Into the water, siha.”

She rested her hand in his, comfortable and familiar. The smooth and scaly areas of his palm mapped in her mind– not with clarity rivaling his, of course, but with a serenity that was hard to find these days. He led her to the water and once it reached her knees, Shepard had to ask.

“What’s this about, Thane?”

“It’s a tradition from the days of Rakhana,” he began and stopped shortly after, water just above her knees and below his. The waves were small, gentle, and the ocean was clear. “Though we didn’t have many oceans there. It’s to bring good luck in the new year ahead.”

She chuckled, stepping over a rock buried in the sand underwater. “We can always use more of that.”

“Then together, we jump over seven waves.” He squeezed her hand, and she nodded.

“Double the luck, then.” She had to admit to a certain worry and watchfulness– he insisted he was capable, that the disease was not that far along, and still she kept an eye on him with every wave they leapt over.

“Siha, the bouquet,” he asked and gestured once they’d finished. Wordlessly, she fetched them and held them out. “No, I… I wish for you to make the offering.”

“For who?”

He held his hands together, trusting she would follow his signal. “To Kalahira, mistress of inscrutable depths, whose waves wear down stone and sand. We offer this and ask for your guidance before you set us on the distant shore of the infinite spirit.”

He paused, took a breath, and Shepard tossed the flowers out to the waves. They watched it float away together, shoulder to shoulder, cool and comforting.

“I will always be with you, siha.”

Shepard took the moment to rest her head on his shoulder and he wrapped his arm around her waist. “Wouldn’t have it any other way.”


Based on a Brazilian tradition described here.