BioQuest: Free

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Was she ready? It was a good question even if she didn’t feel any fear at facing Fontaine… There was someone she was afraid of leaving behind. Almost without thinking, Elizabeth reached out for the front of Jack’s sweater, her fingers twisting around plush, worn cabled yarn as she pulled him into a kiss.

Not a chaste one either. The last they might ever share if something went wrong, as this things so often did, and she put all that feeling into it. Jack gasped and she took the opportunity to deepen the kiss, her face flushing at how bold she was being.

But this was it, perhaps the only chance she’d have. Elizabeth had no idea what she doing outside of the romance books from the tower she read time and again.

The hand he’d held out to her found its way to her back and for a moment, she could pretend they were safe and the fight was already over.

Then Jack pulled away, resting his forehead against hers and gently rubbing her back. “It’s time, Elizabeth.” He didn’t have to say any more. “I love you with everything I am, whatever that might be… I’m yours.”

Elizabeth chuckled warmly as tears pricked at her eyes, not quite coming. “You’re whoever you want to be, Jack. And wherever your path takes you, no matter what comes, I will always love you.”

She opened her eyes to see his still closed, and he bit his lip to keep from crying– she assumed. He turned to the stairs, going up and into the elevator and kept his head down.

“Thanks, Elizabeth. For everything you’ve done. I…” His voice wavered for a second and he recovered as she came to join him, holding his hand. “Thanks.”

— Fontaine’s Lair —

“We didn’ know one another long, boyo,” Atlas droned as the elevator rose. At the gates of the last stand, it made sense that she felt Jack’s hand tighten around hers. “But you? You were like a second son t’me.”

The ADAM distorted his voice and she almost couldn’t believe it hadn’t warped his mind so far that he’d drop the Atlas ruse.

“Way I see it, your old man took my family from me. All of it,” he spat. “And that’s why this hurts. Betrayal, boyo… I know life ain’t fair, I know it better than most. But this one’s personal.”

And the elevator stopped, pausing for only a moment before the deco doors slid open to reveal the massive empty room. In its center stood some device, Atlas— no, Fontaine suspended and barely recognizable as human, never mind himself. Ryan was slumped over in a chair beside him, bloodied but still breathing.

“I’ll take care of draining the ADAM,” Jack explained, pulling his hand away as his eyes hardened. “And I’ll fight with everything I’ve got.”

“You won’t be alone in that,” Elizabeth answered curtly, holding her gun at the ready.

The fighting truly began once Jack drained him of ADAM, and Fontaine broke free, backhanding Jack clear across the foyer. It was chaos from then out– a cycle of super-powered plasmids overtaking Fontaine’s body as his ADAM resources became more and more depleted.

He screamed at them from the device, how he was going to cut them to pieces and the girls would be next, all the most horrible things he could think of. Elizabeth wondered if there was another version of him in some reality that might be horrified by this, but somehow, she doubted it.

It was luck that she found the bot shutdown panel before the security bots got too out of hand, and that bought her time to hack them to their side too. The splicers were another story altogether, even with Jack turning them with Enrage…

Every muscle in her body screamed, and there were far too many close calls to count. Jack drove the needle into Fontaine’s chest for the fourth time, hopefully the last. But he didn’t move fast enough to evade another brutal backhand from Atlas that sent him flying.

“Jack!” She started reloading, cursing the exhaustion that fighting this long brought with it.

“I made you,” Fontaine began, stomping towards Jack as he scrambled back. “Showed you what you were, all you were capable of… If you don’call that family, I don’t know what is!”

She finished reloading, aiming for his heart, when the first little girl leapt at him. But it wasn’t until the rest of the girls came from the tunnels of Rapture, stabbing him as their cries mixed with his, that Elizabeth could let herself believe it was over. Well and truly over.

Everyone was free.

She ran to Jack, dropping her weapon uselessly to the ground as she helped him to his feet. “Jack, are you hurt?”

“All over,” he breathed but smiled. “But… I can be free. I can go anywhere, be anyone.” He didn’t seem to believe it himself. One of the little ones ran up to him as Tenenbaum and Booker stepped out of the elevator, going straight for Ryan.

“I think I’d like to be with you. In Paris,” he added, laughing tiredly. “I don’t even know where that is or what it looks like.”

Elizabeth threw her arms around him, pulling him in tightly. “It’s alright. We’ll see it for the first time together.”


An epilogue turned out to not be necessary, so this is the end! Thank you for all your support.

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BioQuest: To the Point

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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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BioQuest: The Fray

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Tenenbaum didn’t say a word, just kept getting her supplies together in preparation to make Lot 192. Looked like she was coming along, at least, but it was up to Elizabeth to decide anything that remained.

With a careful breath as she watched Jack, Elizabeth reached for the radio from Diane. She only hesitated for a second before opening the channel. “Booker, do you read me?”

“Yes,” he answered, curt with the expectation of worse news he always seemed to carry. He wouldn’t be wrong, not this time. “McDonough’s secure.”

“Can you meet us Suchong’s old apartment? We need Lot 192 for Jack now.” As if on cue, Jack hissed and tensed while he was getting his weapons together for braving the city. Try as he might to be subtle about it, Elizabeth couldn’t keep from noticing his every expression and stumble.

“The hell happened?” An echo of McDonough in the background layered with Booker’s response, but they didn’t have time for either. Not yet.

“We’ll tell you when we get there,” Elizabeth explained, picking up extra ammo for her gun.

“Right,” he grumbled and the line went to static.

“Ready to go?” Tenenbaum hadn’t wasted a moment, her pistol and science equipment ready.

“As I’ll ever be,” Jack breathed, pale but determined as he made his way to the exit.

“I’ll stay with the girls and watch the clinic. You be safe out there, you hear me?” Diane squeezed Elizabeth’s hand gently, giving her a worried smile.

“Of course, Diane.” Elizabeth felt a pang of guilt that it couldn’t be a promise, but she would do her best. They all needed to come home.

– – – Outside Suchong’s Old Apartment – – –

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Slowed down by Jack, they arrived to gunfire and shouting already underway. Without a word, everyone reacted like a well-oiled machine. They covered each other’s back and pushed forward to the apartment itself– no sign of Booker or McDonough, unless the dead splicers they passed counted as evidence.

“Elizabeth,” Jack called out, pointing down the hallway to a lit room across from a slumped over, bloody splicer. “The– there. I saw Booker.”

How he caught so much in battle, she would never know. She nodded, leading the way with her gun ready. Tenenbaum shoved past, going directly for the shelves and muttering in German.

“Thank God,” Booker muttered, stepping back to give her space. Science was… Out of his scope, so she couldn’t be surprised.

booker dewitt bioshock.jpg

“Good to see you too,” she teased him, smirking. Everything had been so chaotic from possible treaties to Atlas’ ambitions, this was a shred of normalcy Elizabeth needed.

“Aha!” That was the only alert from Tenenbaum that she was making progress before she cleared off a battered desk and set to work.

“So…” McDonough cleared his throat, thumbing to Jack. He looked older than she thought he’d be, but he had a naturally fatherly air about him that made you want to trust him. “This the kid?”

bill mcdonough bioshock

“Yeah,” Booker answered, studying Jack and his unsteady breathing. “Yeah, that’s the one.”

“Ryan’s kid,” McDonough said through a laugh. “Yer dad’s not a bad man, son, he’s just…” He scratched the back of his head awkwardly, the sentence dying. “I’m Bill McDonough. ‘S great to meet ya.”

“Thanks,” Jack answered, taking Bill’s offered hand. “He… Kind of is.”

“Almost done,” Tenenbaum interrupted, though Elizabeth doubted that she’d known she had. This was Tenenbaum’s area of expertise, after all.

“Hello, boyo,” came the fizzled voice of Atlas through Booker’s radio. “Hope you ‘ad fun cutting down my people,” he spat, a sure sign he wasn’t alone. He only had to put on a show for his people, not one of them mattered to him.

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“‘Cause we’re gonna get even.” Elizabeth raised her eyebrows, distantly impressed with his emotion. For a person who can’t bring himself to genuinely connect, he almost sounded invested. “Hurry now to Point Prometheus, an’ you might just be in time to save yer old man.”

Thankfully, they had Tenenbaum to break up the staticy silence that followed.

“Jack,” she called him over, holding up two bottles. “You’re a free man.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

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BioQuest: Sideways

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Elizabeth didn’t have an exact count on how many people from the Family were with Grace, but she believed Grace wouldn’t let harm come to them. Even if they didn’t agree to the truce, she’d keep the peace. Elizabeth had to believe that.

“I have considered your offer, but I actually come here with one of my own.” She holstered her weapon, hearing Diane doing the very same behind her. If anyone recognized her in connection to Ryan, they didn’t mention it.

“We’ve made a truce with Ryan,” she started frankly, hoping that honesty would earn her some leniency. Elizabeth saw anger come to Grace quickly, spreading to the Family with her like wildfire.

“A truce with that monster! Like he cares what happens to the good people of Rapture,” she scoffed. “Throw your lot in with him if you like, but we–”

“Grace, please hear me out before you decide. I implore you,” Elizabeth begged, trying to pull this back from the brink. She only had this one chance. “This is our opportunity to bring peace to Rapture for everyone.”

Grace shook her head, scowl unwavering. “Peace? That animal doesn’t want any peace.” Muttering agreement rippled through the group beyond her. “How can you tell me about peace with Ryan when he holds Dr. Lamb, the one who really cares about us little people?”

bioshock rapture family

“We’ll talk to him about Dr. Lamb,” Diane interjected, stepping up to stand beside Elizabeth. “It’s the only right thing to do.”

It was a tall order, but they had to try it. And the fact that Diane came forward… Elizabeth couldn’t be happier. Her friend was finding the self-esteem to be brave when she had to be.

“You do that,” Grace bit back, but at least her expression had softened slightly. “But you hear this, and you remember it well: his answer is ours.”

“I understand,” Elizabeth nodded, taking the unspoken command to leave. Diane walked alongside her in silence until they were far enough from the Limbo Room for comfort when the radio she carried crackled to life.

“Zur Hölle fahren,” came the first distant words, and Elizabeth’s heart froze. Gunfire followed while Diane scrambled to get the radio where they could both speak into it.

“Tenenbaum! Can you hear me?” Elizabeth waited for what felt like ages in static.

“Yes, yes, I hear you,” she snapped back. “Scheisse.” More gunfire burst in the background. “Fontaine was watching us. With you both and Booker gone, he attacked.”

atlas fontaine bioshock

“Oh, oh no,” Diane worried, her brows furrowing. “What about the girls?”

“And Jack?” They only just opened up to one another, finally starting to date. She waited for him to ask, why did she do that? What if he was–

“We pushed him back. They’re safe, but not for long.” Static punctuated her sentence and it was all Elizabeth could do not to run off without a word.

“We’ll be there soon,” Elizabeth promised, rushing ahead as Diane hurried to keep up.

– – – Back at the clinic – – –

The first thing she heard was Jack biting back a scream, and Elizabeth couldn’t hold back anymore.

“Lizzie, wait,” Diane tried to shout, breathless, but with no luck in stopping her.

“Jack, where are you? Jack,” she called again, running through the second set of clinic doors to see him breathless, pale, and sweaty, leaning again a counter.

“H-here,” he forced out, wincing.

“Fontaine used a command, one I need Lot 192 to reverse,” Tenenbaum explained from her lab area. “Ryan hasn’t delivered, so we would have to go and get the supplies ourselves. But he can’t go anywhere.”

“I can–” Jack cut off in a horrid gasp, gripping the edge of the counter he was against. “I can go. I’ve had worse.”

“You aren’t convincing anyone, Jack,” Elizabeth said, tempted to be gentler but knowing she had to be honest first.

“I need the dose, or I’ll die waiting here for it. My heart is stopping every–” He cringed, eyes shut tight for a few seconds. “It’s stopping too often. I won’t make it unless I go too.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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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?

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BioQuest: Rebel

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Jack stayed silent with his back to them, unreadable for the moment. Elizabeth, though… Diane’s naivete and honest wish to change Rapture with the rebellion moved her. She saw an innocence in Diane and there was this tightness in her chest– regret? Mourning? Elizabeth smiled, sliding her arm out from Diane’s and resting a hand on her shoulder.

“It does mean something,” she began, her mind already made up about Diane before she’d even spoken to the others. They would just have to understand. “But not to Atlas. I know another group who has done honest good deeds and can do even more for these people, but you have to promise to keep it secret.”

Elizabeth heard Jack turn and felt his eyes on her as real as if he’d reached out to her. She continued only to Diane, her eyes wide and all even hopeful. She simply nodded, the ghost of a smile still on her face.

With the help of Diane, perhaps more would join and then… They could do more than save the girls and Jack. Elizabeth would have to tell them all her hopes, although for now, just having the hope was enough.

“Then come with us. Jack,” Elizabeth offered and held out her other hand. His eyebrows raised, he took her hand and Diane held the other.

They walked together in the shadows, avoiding the firefights and vandalism with surprising ease. It wasn’t often they were that lucky, and Elizabeth chose to believe it was a sign she’d done the right thing.

Once they reached the Bathysphere, however… An announcement overhead repeated that there was an incident at the Kashmir and at least one attempt on Ryan’s life, screaming and clanking echoing in the distant halls. The chaos had driven some of the unarmed citizens away, even as the corpses facedown in puddles proved that not all made it.

Diane stepped closer to Elizabeth, watching as she tried to access the Bathysphere and the radio on the wall dinged. “I apologize, but you do not have access to travel now. Given the emergency, only leaders of Rapture can travel. Thank you.”

“Oh, oh no,” Diane muttered, shaking her head. “What’ll we do now? Ryan, he must’ve found out, he…” Her free hand went to her chest, and her voice caught. “This’s my fault, isn’t it?”

“Let me try,” Jack said, pushing ahead and opening the door instantly. Without so much as a glance to them, he stepped inside and set to directing it to Olympus Heights.

Diane lowered her hand and slowly turned to Elizabeth. “Is he… With Ryan? I never met him, never saw… Elizabeth, what’s going on?”

“I can explain once we’re back.” Elizabeth faced her, holding an arm out to the Bathysphere ahead. “Please, I need you to trust me.”

Moments passed, the gunfire coming closer even in that short time. Diane breathed in and out carefully and went inside without another word. Though she sat at the opposite side from Jack and they traveled in silence, she was there. That was a start.


Elizabeth went first with Diane into the Sanctuary, dank as always, watching her for a reaction. The girls’ giggles floated to them first and Diane reflexively beamed– a weight off Elizabeth’s shoulders.

Then Booker rounded a corner, his button down shirt hanging open as he searched the area. Presumably for the clothes Jack took, but… Diane sighed wistfully, tapping Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Oh, you didn’t say you had such attractive men here.”

“Diane,” Elizabeth introduced her with a gesture that passed back to him. “My father.” Diane gasped, her hand over her mouth before an apology could escape. Elizabeth tried to do the same for her laughter… Mostly succeeding.

“Call me Booker,” he told her, settling his gaze on Jack wearing his clothes. “I expect my clothes back clean, Jack.”

“Right,” he mumbled behind her, shuffling to his bed to change. Or so she assumed, at least.

“Is no one going to ask why Ryan’s toy wife is here?” Tenebaum had collected herself, at least, but Elizabeth put herself between the doctor and Diane at that statement.

“Tenebaum!” It was an accusation, a demand for an apology, whatever Diane wanted.

“She’s, she’s the one!” Diane pointed over Elizabeth’s shoulder. “Ryan said she’s been taking them little girls away.”

“I have and I will continue.” Always the same bluntness with her… Elizabeth frowned, Tenenbaum took out a cigarette to light. “Your husband continues where Fontaine ended, and he will sink the city–”

“I know he will!” Diane marched to stand beside Elizabeth, her brows furrowing once she was there. Jack made his way back to them beyond her, and she looked to Elizabeth for support.

“Go on, Diane. You’re safe here.”

“I’ve seen it,” she started softly, eyes locked on her clasped hands. “The party, and then… People burning, screaming, those hulking monsters killin’ people, and now Bathyspheres are all closed up.”

Silence hung in the room for a moment. Booker was already sold right there, with his soft spot for people in need ever since Columbia, but Tenebaum? She smoked, studying and inscrutable.

Diane kept on, finally looking up. “We got nowhere to go and I… I just wanna help. Elizabeth said your people were better than Atlas, is all.”

Booker scoffed, buttoning up his shirt for what little it mattered now. “Hard not to be.”

“But I’ve got questions, you know?” Diane took another step forward and Elizabeth couldn’t help being proud of her friend. This was so much growth, so fast, and yet she was still holding to her ideals. “I don’t want to be blind to this no more.”

“As do I,” Tenebaum answered. “Elizabeth, what exactly is your plan? You kidnap Ryan’s wife now, and he will notice. Eventually,” she corrected, and at least Diane and Tenenbaum looked equally disgusted in that moment. “His attention is on his mistress and Atlas for now, but–”

“Mistress?!” Diane recoiled, her hands clenching into fists instantly. Before Elizabeth could get a word in, Jack came forward.

“My mother?”

“What?!” Diane snapped, stomping her foot and turning on Jack.

“Hey, hey, would you both stop it!” Booker raised his voice, but soon all the shouting blended together between them.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth and Tenenbaum?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: What it Means

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Elizabeth followed after Jack, who took her silent agreement and reached Diane first. She turned to face him but quickly glossed over Jack for Elizabeth.

“Oh, Elizabeth, you’re safe! Thank G–” Diane caught herself, wringing her hands. “I’m just real glad, that’s all.”

Elizabeth stood at Diane’s side, sliding her arm in her friend’s to offer support. At first, she was met with surprise, then… Diane smiled, even if that didn’t reach her eyes, and she relaxed against Elizabeth. The scarring on her face and neck, going below her neckline, were faint at a distance, but this close…

Jack stayed quiet, keeping an eye on their surroundings instead.

“I’m perfectly fine, Diane. Is there any way my friend and I can help you?” Elizabeth gestured to Jack, who nodded politely and looked away.

Nervous, perhaps… Diane was Ryan’s girlfriend to him and that was reason enough to be distant. She squeezed Diane’s hand reassuringly, drawing her attention back to Elizabeth. “Do you have a safe place to stay?”

“I…” Her breath caught. Diane stared off at the prison, quiet for a few moments. “Ryan won’t even see me no more. He doesn’t care, if he ever did.”

Elizabeth was at a loss at first, thinking of Diane alone on that operating table after the blast. “Diane, I–”

“I wanted to tell these bandits, let them know they’re ruining everything–” She stopped to breathe and Elizabeth realized… Diane held her hand tightly, almost white-knuckled. “But things have changed out here. I watched a woman burn alive walking here, passed bodies in the street. And these words sprayed on the walls…”

“Atlas Lives,” Jack answered flatly, his back to them.

“Yes! Yes, that’s it!” Diane brightened, relieved. It must’ve been lonely for her when she lived with Ryan… Being so eager to be understood as she was. Elizabeth smiled all the same. Such innocence was refreshing here. “I don’t know what it means, but… It’s got to be important to these people.”


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Read the next chapter.

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50th BioQuest: Jack vs. Atlas

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Leading Elizabeth out of the Kashmir Restaurant by the hand, Jack wove around couples dancing, people laughing, and spared only the occasional wary glance to the security posted at the party.

As much as he’d wanted to help Booker get Lot 192… He was grateful that Booker convinced him to go to the party instead. The brief time he was there with Elizabeth and simply talking – even about their plans against Suchong and Fontaine – felt normal for a change.

But when music cut to screaming and gunfire, Jack stopped and a chill overtook him as surely as if the walls had shattered around him. He might’ve preferred the ocean rushing over him, to be honest…

“Fontaine,” he muttered. His hand tightened on Elizabeth’s first and he took in a sharp breath. When he glanced back, it was to Elizabeth—the Kashmir behind her—and her again. She studied him, waiting for his decision. “The labs. Go find him.”

And Jack let go of her hand, running back towards the restaurant and the fight he knew he couldn’t avoid. He skidded to a stop beside a dead security guard, lifting the pistol from his cooling corpse.

Fortunately, he hadn’t gotten many shots in before he’d been taken out. Jack checked for spare ammunition, blood spotting on the sleeves of his white suit jacket in the process…

Booker would know how to get blood out of anything. If not him, Tenenbaum.

He looked back up to Elizabeth watching him and for a second, he cringed in embarrassment. “Go! Please, go.”

She examined the restaurant too, taking a steadying breath. The smoke from grenade launchers and gunfire rolled out of the entrance now and the fight wouldn’t be far behind. She pointed to the doorway of the restaurant, shouting, “There’s, it’s a crossbow! Keep yourself hidden, stay safe.”

“No, you—” It was no use, she took off without another word. “Be safe too.” He stopped to pick up the crossbow, pulling it over his head and one shoulder by the strap to drape across his torso. It would be a useful backup if the worst were to happen.

Stooping low, Jack used the smoke as cover to get behind an overturned table and listened for the movements of Fontaine—Atlas—and his men. Sobbing and disoriented groaning replaced the music and between pained cries, someone kept shouting, “Long live Atlas!”

“Be quiet now,” he ordered in a heavy Irish accent. It sounded so real, he really was… the best. Jack gulped and gripped the pistol closer. He was genetically designed by Suchong, who was paid by Fontaine, to make sure he would be a hell of an opponent. Time to make good on that. “I think we’ve got ourselves a guest.”

Jack set one foot forward, heel first, rolling to his toes to minimize noise. One cautious step at a time led him from the overturned table to the bar counter.

“To hell with ‘em!” One of the thugs screamed, shattering a glass and getting a muffled cry from someone else in hiding. “Oh, who’s this?”

“Would ya shut your gob?” He snapped, footsteps carrying Atlas closer to where Jack hid. An easier target at a closer range. “It ain’t her.”

His voice faded away slightly in the second sentence, but kept its distance. Atlas had turned his back on Jack without even knowing it. A smile came too easily and Jack took his position, elbows on the counter and just barely visible behind the staggered counter of the bar. Only enough visibility to aim.

As he settled Fontaine in his sights, Jack shivered and a tremor nestled in with the cold coursing through him. His finger hovered over the trigger but he couldn’t—He’d be so angry with Jack.

Who knew what else Atlas had on him? Were these trusted men of his, or would he hesitate to use trigger phrases around them? Biting his lip, Jack turned his aim to a woman past Atlas, putting her down in one shot.

“Shite,” he growled, sprinting to a battered table for cover in turn. Jack’s bullets strayed or ricocheted off furniture, never quite hitting home. Jack dropped down behind the counter, reloading and Atlas’ throaty laugh cut through him across the room.

“Real cute, that,” he taunted, continuing to talk to let Jack know exactly where he was moving. He knew it would be worse to know what was coming next.

The rebels with him were dragging their weapons against the walls, the floors, tables, anything to add to the mind games. There had to be four of them left including Atlas and yet it felt like an army. “Tell me, did ya come up with that yourself, boyo?”

Underneath it, he could still hear Fontaine just as plain as if he wasn’t trying at all. Or was that in his head? Jack maneuvered away from the bar towards a fallen pillar, pressing his back against that and straining to hear anything that might give Atlas away.

“Or did ya let the pretty lass do the thinkin’?”

The next few words were lost on Jack, staring at the vacant, clouded gaze of a heavily armed security guard gaping at him. A single grenade hung from a belt over his chest and Jack snatched it off him, dropping back against the pillar and pulling the pin. With all their racket, they didn’t even hear the grenade roll across the ground to their cover—

He hunkered down at the blast, a distant ringing stuck in his ears even as it faded. “—just a dirty lit’le maggot,” Atlas raged, storming behind the bar and Jack hurried out of his sight to the cover where is dead men waited. “Hide like a stinking coward, go on ahead! You won’t last pissing time.”

Jack exhaled and knelt by the blasted remains of a person, keeping his eyes on Atlas.

Fontaine.

Who screamed next, Jack or the man at his feet, he didn’t know. Fingers coiled around his ankle and locked here, the splicer howling and pushing himself forward despite his legs ending in crude stumps.

Where’d the gun gone, when did he drop it? Jack pulled the crossbow over his head, beating the man over the head once, twice, again and again and again—

Breathless, he sat by the destroyed body and caught sight of the shoes at the other end leading up to the sneer on a familiar face. “I oughta kneecap you for that, boyo,” he drawled, gesturing with a gun to the dead man between them. “He was a right fighter, but I guess you figured that out.”

Every plan, every time he’d gone over this moment in his head, it was all gone. Jack backed away without even getting up and even the brief darkness of blinking, never mind looking away, had panic twisting his insides.

“Still an’ all, I’ve got one more experiment for you, Jack,” Atlas almost praised him and came down to his level, squaring the gun against his chest. “See you on the other side, boyo.”

The shot rang out and at first, it was just a tight pressure in his chest and a ragged breath ripped from his throat. After came the fire bursting in his chest not too much unlike the doses, the prodding, and his eyes rolled back.

“Don’t bleed out too quick, now,” Atlas taunted. “I’ll need a head start if I’m to get to the chamber before you. Remember,” his voice warped, pulse pounding in Jack’s ears. “God hates a quitter.”


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BioQuest: Aftermath

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“Booker, wait,” she pleaded, catching up to him and holding him back with a hand on his shoulder. “You need to rest, please… Just let Jack take you home.”

With faint footsteps, Jack came up beside her and nodded once. He seemed lost in thought, but there would be time to talk to him later. First, they had to get Booker to safety. And who knew what state Jack himself may be in? The VitaChamber had never been tested before tonight… She played with the end of her pinky, looking away from Jack.

There will be time.

“I’m fine,” Booker muttered, unconvincing. He took shallow breaths and honestly, she doubted that she was the only thing keeping him from going on ahead.

“It’s alright to not be fine, Booker,” Jack reassured him, keeping his gaze on Booker now. “You remember what you told me? During guitar practice?”

“Yeah,” Booker rushed to answer. “And I’m in no grand hurry to talk about it.”

Jack breathed a laugh and Elizabeth traded places as he put Booker’s arm over his shoulder. “We don’t have to talk. I’ve got you.”

It was an odd picture to be sure, but lucky for them, neither man was on the tall side. She glanced to the gift box in her other hand, running her thumb over the corner. Jack watched her when she looked back up and he smiled.

“We can open it together when you come back.”

gift-2677_1280259527637.jpg

“We will,” she agreed, watching them shuffle ahead for a few moments before taking the fork towards the pavilion. They would be safe, she calmed herself. Both of them knew how to handle a fight.

Pulling herself up from the tunnel exit, Elizabeth came out into a closet with a turret set up inside– once the realization hit that it was off, she exhaled and stepped out into chaos.

Pained screams and groans filled the air, mixed with smoke, sterilizers, and sweat. Some people just waited in corners, legs pulled in tight, and muttered to themselves while they waited for someone to notice they were there. Others cried at the desk, demanding to see someone inside or be seen by a doctor…

Looking down at herself, Elizabeth had enough dirt on herself to pass as a patient and enough decorum to pass as a frazzled scientist. She threw her mask out from the ball and ran to the pavilion.


What do you want to do?

Search the Medical Pavilion labs with Elizabeth?

Help Booker and Jack with Tenenbaum?

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BioQuest: Down One

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“Hm,” Elizabeth stalled and tried to do a quick recount in her mind of their supplies in Olympus. They’d need them for Booker for sure, maybe Jack too depending on where all that blood was from… She closed her eyes and rested a hand against the craggy wall. “What does Tenenbaum have for supplies?”

“Bandages, antiseptic ointment, a small lab of chemicals…” His voice strayed and she opened her eyes as he looked at the tunnel roof. “Footsteps above us,” he dismissed. “They can’t hear.”

“What’s it matter?” Booker interrupted, exhaling sharply. He had to be feeling that injury now, the adrenaline was fading. He shifted to take a knee, continuing. “Anything she needs, you can find easier at your lab.”

As her eyes adjusted to the weak lighting, she saw Booker brace a hand against his head. Elizabeth turned to him so quickly she nearly stumbled on debris by her feet and she hovered a hand near him. “Booker, what is it? Are you–”

“Tell me someone else sees this blue light,” he mumbled, wincing. The tunnel had sparse orange lights burning low, some flickering, and even that was enough to catch the sweat beading on Booker’s face.

“Lot 192,” Jack whispered. He put his hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder, moving past her to Booker. “He got the dose…?”

“Listen, Jack, it– ngh,” Booker grunted and dull blue electricity arced on his forearm, blinking out just as suddenly.

“Down to one.” Jack breathed the sentence, sinking to the floor. “And Booker could die.” He pulled at his tie, ripping the shirt collar open so forcefully that the top button rattled off down the tunnel somewhere.

“I’m not going to die,” Booker forced out the sentence, getting to his feet with the wall as support. He shuffled ahead against the wall… going nowhere fast. “Not here. We’re getting out of here.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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