BioQuest: Anything

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If the math from Fink’s stolen records could be trusted… Jack was a child in time spent alive only. Elizabeth smiled to him, tilting her head. “Jack, I promise to do everything I can for the rest of these girls.”

The tension in her chest surprised her and her smile weakened. For a moment, her and Jack locked eyes… The girls were quiet and the water in the pipes around Olympus Heights whispered to its destination. It could’ve been ages or seconds. “Nothing will stop us.”

In a second, he seemed taller until she realized– instead of hunching over, Jack was standing straight with shoulders drawn back. “I’m coming with you.”

“Nein,” Tenenbaum corrected, “You will stay here and watch the little ones.” She snuffed her cigarette in the ash tray for good, reaching for Jack with her other hand as his shoulders slumped again.

“Dr. Tenenbaum,” Elizabeth began, moving to stand beside the two of them. “What if–”

“He is not yet free of Fontaine,” she confessed and Elizabeth saw his hand tighten to a fist on the yarn at the edge of his sweater.

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“I have only removed the control he had over Jack’s mind. Without two doses of Lot 192…” She sighed, lowering her hand from his shoulder. “Jack. Stay here and watch the little ones.”

His head tilted down first, eyes glued to a section of wall above Tenenbaum… Until finally his gaze hit the floor too. “Alright, Mrs. Tenenbaum.”

“Now,” Tenenbaum continued, picking up her matter-of-fact tone again, “To bed with you both. You will need rest.” Without waiting, she retired to an office towards the back edge of the sanctuary.

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Elizabeth couldn’t even remember seeing it before. And when she turned back to where Jack had stood, he’d already curled up on a bed for the night. Her heels on the tiles were the last noise left, and even that hardly touched the peace of this place.

Stopping at Booker’s bed, she placed a hand on his shoulders and he immediately woke. Quietly, watchfully, but instantly alert… And his eyes softened when they registered her face.

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“Elizabeth?” His voice came out a little raspy, and she gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze.

“I just… Wanted to say thank you.” He looked away from her then, but she knelt to follow his gaze. “Everything you’re doing here, it means so much to me. You are a father like Comstock never was,” she said, trying to express gratitude but twinging it with bitterness.

“Hey, Elizabeth,” he answered, leaning up as she stood. “It’s… I mean, uh… Just…” He struggled and she waited, unable to move… And he got up too, gathering her in a loose hug. Warmth radiated from him, and he placed a kiss on her forehead so light she barely felt it. “Anything for you.”


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BioQuest: Rapture’s Network

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Booker patted Elizabeth’s shoulder as he passed, and she turned her head as he walked towards one of the faded, bare beds.

“What, where are you–?” She could almost feel Tenenbaum waiting outside of her view, but Elizabeth kept her eyes on Booker and frowned softly. He leaned his shotgun on the bedframe closest to him, removing his holsters and draping those across the back of the frame.

“You can handle this on your own. He’s your artist,” he scoffed and dropped himself onto the bed with a drained exhale. He turned his back as she did, and then it was only her and Tenenbaum.

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“An artist? So Cohen found you, and you plan to go to him.” As punctuation, she flicked some ashes from her cigarette into the ashtray on the end table. She raised it again to her lips and smiled… “Perfect.”

Her expression was nothing like the wistful look she gave the Little Sisters. Elizabeth felt an uneasiness creeping in, like her core was covered with pins and needles. She moved a stray piece of hair from her face and cleared her throat, continuing.

“At least you understand,” she answered, glancing at Booker on the bed. “Cohen is unstable, but he knows this city. He can–”

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“If he is not already part of this, he soon will be.” In the ensuing silence between them, the girls settled into creaking beds with small, faraway sighs and scarcely audible good night wishes.

“Ryan talks of his ‘Great Chain’,” she spat, nose wrinkling in disgust, “But he forgets there are other networks in Rapture. Cohen, he connects Ryan to those networks… Mark this,” she said, narrowing her gaze to Elizabeth. “With Fontaine free, Ryan will start up where he finished. More than anything, we need–”

“More kids will be in danger,” Jack said, shuffling up with a delicate smile and his baggy sweater. “And Miss Elizabeth is going to protect them… Right?”


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BioQuest: Teamwork

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“Well…” She starts, popping a hip and smirking at him. In the shadows, she could almost make out a faint smile on his face. “I did say you were my muse.”

“Not that I know what the hell a muse does,” he scoffed, scratching the back of his head absently. “But sounds like you’ve got an idea.”

“You can be there with me, Booker, but simply to watch from a distance. Monitor him.” She folded her arms, the smirk falling. This was business… The family business, as it were. “If he has an association with Ryan and Fontaine, we need to know. For the girls.”

The door opened, casting light on them both. Elizabeth lowered her arms, letting her eyes adjust to see Tenenbaum waiting with a little girl beside her.

“They’re back,” she shouted, feet slapping on the ground and her thin ponytail trailing behind as she ran further into the shelter… Presumedly to tell the other kids.

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Booker walked through, nodding to Tenenbaum as he passed.

“Doctor,” he acknowledged, turning to Elizabeth as she followed after him. Tenenbaum shut the door behind them as he spoke. “Stealth isn’t my strong suit, but…” He stopped, facing her completely and drawing himself up. “Guess you could say I owe you.”

They stood beside a line of dingy beds, all being certainly too small for Booker and Jack to sleep comfortably. But it was something, and they’d both had worse… The hopeful eyes of a teddy bear stared up at them from beneath one of the frames, waiting.

She put a hand on his shoulder, a bittersweet smile never quite reaching her eyes… Even she could tell that without seeing her own face. “You do, Booker. But… I appreciate this.”

“So glad you survived,” Tenenbaum announced herself, striding beyond them to an end table and burying a set of keys into her pocket.

“But you two look like garbage, and let me guess… You’re planning to go out again, yes?” Her accent weighted every syllable, bearing down even harder on consonants. From that same pocket, she drew a cigarette and lighter.

Positioning the cigarette between two fingers on her right hand, she looked at them like specimens under a microscope. “And just when were you planning to tell me about this?”

– – –

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BioQuest: Not Alone

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“Please. We’ve much to do,” Elizabeth agreed with Booker, turning back to the Bathysphere. When she’d first been in a gunfight with Booker, all that death… It chilled her to the core, nausea nesting in her stomach as she ran from him in Columbia.

She stepped over the corpse of a splicer, as Booker referred to them, continuing on the slightly uneven path. Elizabeth had an appointment in the morning and she didn’t dare be unprepared.

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Booker followed her, their footsteps and a distant dripping taking over the silence between them. Neither of them interrupted the quiet until they stood outside the doors to Tenenbaum’s sanctuary in Olympus Heights, and Booker finally spoke.

“You’re not going alone to see that lunatic artist tomorrow,” Booker stated, his face cast in shadow so she couldn’t make out an expression.

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Her eyes were still adjusting. All she could see was a scarcely noticeable droop to his shoulders and a lean to favor his injured leg.

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BioQuest: Return

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A beat passes, Elizabeth bringing her hand to her chin. Another beat. Finally, she releases a breath and shakes her head, trying to clear it. The man was dead. It was over, but… This was not the end.

“Sullivan,” she asked, and he heaved a sigh.

“Still here, miss.” He glowered at the door, arms crossed over his barrel chest as the leaner man continued to fuss with the lock… Sullivan was a cross between fatherly and frightening, she decided. It was no wonder he and Booker got along so swiftly.

Lowering her hand to clasp the other, she took a few steps closer toward the door.

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“What about Booker? Is he…?”

“What, him? Couldn’t be better,” he scoffed a laugh, cracking half a smile. “Once he gets those nosebleeds outta the way, he’s a terror out there. Glad he’s on my side.”

“You too, Sullivan. Now move it, genius,” he ordered, setting his hand on the shoulder of the smaller man at the door.

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“Booker,” she warned, folding her arms. Someday he might be polite if she was there to always remind him…

“I’ve almost got it, sir,” the technician dismissed, shrugging his shoulder out from Booker’s grasp and focusing closer on the lock. With a whisper from the door that almost sounded like relief, it slid open at last.

“Nice one, Milton.” Sullivan patted his shoulder, and this Milton man brightened to a smile. He nodded a tuft of blond hair from his face, the dim light catching in his hazel eyes and the thin scar on his cheek.

“Getting results, not bad.” Booker holstered his gun, heaving a sigh. “You ready to go home, Elizabeth?”

– – –

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