BioQuest: First

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Trigger Warning: Gore


Jack bent down and sawed at the corpse’s shoulder, and Elizabeth took careful steps to join him. The floor was somewhat slick with what blood hadn’t dried yet and her heels weren’t forgiving in that respect.

She picked up a leg and pulled open the incinerator chute, tossing it in quickly. Even in the short time that it was open, a wave of heat and burning flesh odor came into the office. She wrinkled her nose, which was better than her reaction when Suchong first made her use this chute.

She stepped back from the chute to gather herself all the same. It was the heat on her face that did her in most of the time, so she would time it well as she went. They finished all four limbs together when Elizabeth put a hand on his shoulder, giving a gentle squeeze to get his attention.

“Elizabeth?” He stood, wiping his forehead with his sleeve again. It seemed the heat fluctuating was affecting him too.

“Why don’t we take a break?”

“But the girls–”

“Will be fine.” She would hear them when they came in and warn them before they saw anything. “Diane can keep them in the other room until we’re done here.”

He nodded slowly, searching for a place to put the saw aside. Elizabeth took it from him and rested it on the stained desk. “Why don’t you finish the story?”

“The–” Then it registered and Jack looked away. “Oh.”

She waited with him, his shoulder rising and falling slightly with his breathing. It’s amazing how these moments between them, no matter how heavy they should have been, always felt… Peaceful. Right.

“The puppy, she…” He shook his head, sighing. And he tried again. “I didn’t have her long. A couple weeks, maybe. Enough to love her more than anything. She made me happy in a way I didn’t think was possible.”

He looked at his hands, lost in thought, then buried them in his pockets. “It was all for a test. To make sure the mind control would work. Suchong ordered me to…”

Jack lurched, and Elizabeth leaned forward with him. Must have been worse than she thought– somehow. “The first life I ever took. And it wasn’t even my choice.”


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BioQuest: Prepare

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Trigger Warning: Gore


She folded the battered pamphlet gently, tucking it into her pocket to share with the others later. It was a given that Booker and Tenenbaum would think anything called “the Rapture Family” was a cult, and they could be right, but it was something they should all know about regardless.

Seems the family already knew about them, so they were at a disadvantage.

Elizabeth stood from the bench and rounded the corner towards the clinic. Jack wouldn’t be sitting idle, she reminded herself, and she was concerned after what he’d just heard.

Stepping through the front door, Elizabeth made a mental note to ask Booker for a new camera from Sullivan for the clinic.

“Jack?” She called out, hearing a scraping, cutting noise from the other room – Suchong’s old office. “Jack, are you…”

Elizabeth passed the turret and stopped, seeing Jack standing over most of the splicer’s corpse. She turned to the desk, and the only sign of Suchong was the dark stain that sunk into the wood. They would need to replace that… She heard the incinerator churning and looked back to Jack.

Blood stained his shirt, and he held a bone saw in one hand. “The girls, they shouldn’t see this.” He pointed to the body with the saw. “I mean, the ones still in recovery are staying behind with some of the older girls, I know, but I just figured I should clean this up.”

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He paused, wiping his forehead with the back of his sleeves. “But they’re too big for the chute, so…” He lifted the saw to explain.

The splicer was missing both legs and half an arm, his vacant eyes rolled back as his head was angled to where she stood.


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Hellfire: Chapter 1: Setup

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Even the wooden floors of The Hanged Man had to be drunk, soaked in ale as they were. Normally, Hawke and his friends would be too, halfway through a game of Wicked Grace that Fenris would be losing terribly. They were settled around the table in Varric’s room, at least. Most of them, anyway. Fenris wouldn’t be part of breaking into the Gallows to free a mage (who wasn’t Hawke) and Aveline would’ve stopped them if she’d known.

“I can’t understand why you won’t just let me handle this, Brother,” Carver griped, scowling at Hawke across the table with the firelight waving behind him. “I’m a Templar, remember? I can sneak Merrill out and—”

“Knight Commander Meredith will have you beheaded as an example, or worse.” Anders said what Hawke was dreading, nursing an ale in a pitted steel tankard.

“Because we really needed that visual,” Hawke teased behind a smirk. “Besides, this plan is faster. I’ll turn myself in to the Circle, find Merrill, sneak through the tunnel Anders found while you keep the Templars busy, and meet Isabela at the docks. We’ll be done before dinner.”

“It won’t be that easy,” Carver insisted, throwing his hands up. “Not even for you.”

“This is for Kitten,” Isabela purred, leaning forward on the table to emphasize her assets as only she could. “Out of everyone here, you’ve got to want us doing everything we can for her, no matter how… Hard.”

Carver blushed just a little and sputtered to answer, and that was enough to make Isabela chuckle.

“That’s not, there’s no—” Ah, Carver. All eyes rested on him and for a moment, you could almost forget that Merrill was locked up in the Gallows facing Maker-knew-what at the hands of the most corrupt Templars in Thedas.

…And Cullen. Thraske too. There were a couple good eggs in the dozen, but even Hawke wouldn’t take those odds if he had a choice. Then again, wasn’t that the plan? Of course, whatever little relief there was couldn’t last long.

“I, I just don’t think it’s a good idea to send Hawke, it’s his fault she’s there in the first place!” He clanked his armored glove on the scratched, uneven table and their eyes met over the growing distance between them. It’d been hard enough when Carver said he wanted to be a Templar, but Hawke stood up for him against Mother anyway. The Order was bringing out the Gamlen in him yet…

“Well shit,” Varric cut through the tense silence. “Carver, you really don’t know how to change a subject.”

“My little brother,” Hawke mocked Carver, propping his elbows on the table. “Like it or not, we need two men on the inside to get this done. It’s got to be both of us.”

“You mean like the Deep Roads? Oh wait, you went alone and we thought you were dead for weeks.” Carver scowled and Anders rubbed at the back of his neck, trying to catch the gaze of anyone who wasn’t a Hawke. Isabela gave him a shrug, Varric only waved it off, and the conversation ran its course.

“So sorry to disappoint,” Hawke jabbed back, his patience thinning. “But we’ve got a friend to save.”

“That’s not what I meant!” Carver sighed, picking at a groove in the table. “If you hadn’t let her—”

Varric sat forward, doing his best to get between the two brothers. “Look, kid, she wanted to fix that mirror and she would’ve done whatever it took to make that happen. It’s no one’s fault.”

Hawke stood with a sigh. “Drinks, anyone?”

“Oh, yes,” Isabela crooned. “You’re such a sweet thing.”

Anders turned it down with a gesture and Varric raised his tankard, which was message enough as Hawke waved over his shoulder and walked down the stairs. Carver could get his own blasted drink.

“Corff,” he greeted as he approached the bar. He held up two fingers and put down enough coin for four drinks. Corff dealt with drunk Hawke when he was poor, and this seemed a just reward now that he lived in Hightown. Not that he was any less of a rowdy drunk.

“How goes it, Hawke?” He left the rag on the counter to pour two drinks, and at a glance, Hawke was certain that rag just moved dirt around rather than cleaning anything. Part of the charm, really.

“Let’s just say these drinks are just what I need.”

“That bad, huh?” They traded grins and Hawke took the tankards from the bar top. “Nothing you can’t handle after the Deep Roads, I’m sure.”

“There’s never more than I handle, Corff,” Hawke agreed. It worked for him so far, and why would he try humility now? This was his last night as a free man – for the moment – and he intended to wake up hungover from it and uncertain where his trousers were. All he could hope at this point was that Carver would remember they were brothers once he had Garrett in a locked cell in the Circle with restrictions on everything from reading material to bedtime. Or maybe it would be better if he forgot that fact.

Probably better.

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: I’m Not

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Elizabeth followed after Jack, which was easy enough. He was walking quickly, though not even close to jogging. The moment she laid her hand on his shoulder, he stopped.

“Jack,” she broke the silence. “After listening to that…” She took a breath and tried again. “Are you alright?”

He stood still for a minute, maybe more, and she waited. In a way, her tower was… Somehow a mercy compared to what he experienced. There could be no comparison, but Elizabeth was the only one close to his age who would understand. His mental age, she supposed.

“No,” he breathed. It wasn’t hurt or anger in his voice, more of a tiredness… His arms hung limply at his sides while he continued. “I’m not.”

“We all called him Papa Suchong, you know.” He glanced over his shoulder, barely brushing her gaze before looking away again. The faint rumble of the turret’s motor filled in the space between his words, turned to face the door now as if giving them privacy.

“Me and the girls. I don’t even know how it started.” He scoffed, shaking his head, and yet he stayed exactly where he was. “A cruel joke from Fontaine, maybe. I can’t imagine Suchong wanting to be called Papa.”

Jack shifted under her hand and Elizabeth took her hand back to instead stand beside him. He looked distantly at his hands, not her. “He made another recording, one of me during the mind control tests. It’s got to be in the city somewhere.”

She tilted her head and waited, not failing to notice that her heart was beating a bit faster. Something akin to fear and worry mixed together, and Elizabeth couldn’t avoid it as much as put it aside for now.

“I had this puppy. She was little, I could cradle her in my arms, but,” he chuckled and his breath caught. “Her legs dangled because I wasn’t big enough yet. I, I don’t remember how old I… Should’ve been.”

He trailed off, gazing towards the door. “Tenenbaum and Miss Diane will be coming soon. We should see if that woman is still there.” Finally, he looked Elizabeth in the eye. Tears ran down his face, the last of a few, and now his eyes were calm. He’d put the pain aside too.

“I think she knows something about the state of Rapture now. What she said, it’s either an offering or a threat.”


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