BioQuest: Standoff

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Tenenbaum casually checked her pistol, reloading while Jack stepped back from Jolene and closer to her side.

“Both of you, hide,” she ordered flatly, taking out her radio. Anyone who left the clinic had to carry one– though that was only Jack and Tenenbaum these days. She pressed the button and spoke. “Booker, meet me at Siren Alley.”

The radio crackled for a few moments, then Booker’s voice came through. “What in the hell are you even doing there with Jack–”

She interrupted him there to explain, “Ryan is coming to us on the only path out.”

“I’m on it,” he barely finished speaking before the radio cut out.

Giving her attention back to Jack and Jolene, she sighed at the sight. Now it was Jack trying to get her to hide, but she would not hear him.

“Dr. Tenenbaum can handle it,” he insisted, exasperated, holding his arm out to the armoire. “Please, just listen.”

“No, no! You don’t know him, what he can do,” she spoke half to herself, hands gesturing wildly.

“It isn’t even half of what I will do to protect him,” Tenenbaum answered, pointing to the armoire with her pistol as she went to stand in front of the door. “Now hide.”

With only slight fussing after that, they rushed to hide just before Ryan barged in. Tenenbaum guessed from what she heard that one of them was under the bed and the other was in the armoire.

“Mr. Ryan,” she greeted. “What brings you here?”

“Ms. Tenenbaum?” His rage gave way to surprise, if only for one eyebrow-raising moment, before he got his cool front back. However thin of a facade it was. “I ought to ask you the very same question! What are you doing here?

“Dr. Tenenbaum,” she corrected, smirking. If he even noticed the pistol in her hands, he gave no sign of it. Typical. “Where’s Diane?”

“Diane?” For yet another moment, he seemed to truly not know who she was. “We’re not together, it’s not my responsibility–”

“Ja, it never is,” she talked over him, nodding in false sympathy. “But did you not bring her here? Wasn’t that your choice, not hers?”

“No, she had a choice! She,” he trailed off to a grumble. “You have no right to accuse me of anything! What are you here for? Hm?”

He snapped his jacket collar lightly and tried to circle her to her farther into the room. That’s when the pistol came into play, locking on his grinning expression. “There’s no one here for you to prey on. So what have you done with Jasmine?”

“You speak as if you are not a predator here to cause harm,” Tenenbaum observed, training her pistol steadily on him.

“The difference between us, dear doctor, is that you cannot harm me without harming Rapture.” He crossed his arms in a gentlemanly manner, chuckling from his chest like he told a clever joke.

She scoffed back. “Those in power are always so ready to believe in your own importance.” He relaxed beside the armoire, but there was nothing she could not do that would not betray that as a hiding place for whoever was inside.

“I could shoot you now and you would be just another corpse in the filth,” her accent thickened with the heat of the words. “The people of Rapture would strip you cleaner than any vultures could.”

“This city was brought up by my hands, doctor. And it will be undone by mine just the same if you do not tell me–”

The door slammed inward, and Booker came in after with a shotgun leveled at Ryan’s head. Apparently, he felt that spoke for itself and Booker said nothing. All Tenenbaum could think of was how grateful she was that the Bathyspheres were much faster now that so few could use them.

“What was that again?” Tenenbaum taunted.

“I won’t be scared off by thugs,” Ryan spat, looking at Booker with disgust. “Where is Jasmine? We have business and you will not keep me from her.”

What do you want to do, Tenenbaum?

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BioQuest: Alliance

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Elizabeth stepped forward into the lit area where they argued, and Sullivan reached for his firearm– but Booker put his hand out to stop him.

“She’s my daughter, Sullivan,” Booker explained, still eyeing the security chief skeptically. “You gonna shoot her?”

“No, Jesus Christ, I–” He grumbled, stepping back and holding his hands up for a few seconds to prove it. Or something along those lines, she assumed. “You’re not gonna change my mind, miss.”

“I think I am,” Elizabeth countered, smiling. “We both have something the other one wants.”

Booker stood to the side, folding his arms and watching. It’s amazing, how he accepted when she took charge in moments like these. Much better than he had been in Columbia and sometimes here too– but not as much.

“I’ve worked with Suchong, and I know plenty about what’s affecting these splicers,” she started, laying the bare groundwork for Sullivan to follow her train of thought. “I have a team ready to treat and cure them, so they can be proud citizens of Rapture again.”

Sullivan scoffed, but she pushed on. He couldn’t afford to assume she was lying, not with the city the way it was. Even if she was overselling them for the moment…

“But we can’t do that without protection. They’re violent until they’re done treatment.” She held out her hand, keeping her smile steady. “And yet even they deserve someone looking out for them. Don’t you agree, Mr. Sullivan?”

His jaw hung open, his brow furrowed, but Sullivan shook her hand. “You could talk a dog off a meat cart, I bet,” he mumbled. “But you got a deal. I’ll send extra weapons and ammo with any spare guards and captured splicers to your place. Suchong’s old clinic, yeah?”

“That’s the one,” Booker answered, badly hiding a faint smile in her direction.

“Thank you, Mr. Sullivan. This is an alliance we’ll all be proud of.”

With that, Sullivan just left with a half-wave over his shoulder. She was certain he had half the city at his heels to protect them, and that made what just happened an even more impressive feat. Elizabeth wasn’t even sure he’d agree.

“Hey,” Booker interrupted her, coming closer. “How did everything go? The clinic’s got to be secure if you’re here, but what about the others?”

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

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BioQuest: Caught

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At Jack’s offer to go after Booker, Elizabeth recalled the warning from the woman on the bench, Miss Holloway.

Grace 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.”

“No, I’ll go. We’ll need more defenses here with everyone settling in,” she explained to Jack’s quizzical expression.

Tenenbaum nodded, folding her arms. “Two of us with the turret, that’s what we’ll need to keep everyone safe.”

“Hey, don’t ignore me!” Diane insisted, stepping up with a perfect pout. “I can hold my own.”


“Mmhm,” Tenenbaum dismissed her, exhaling cigarette smoke. “You shoot?”

Diane only wavered slightly, but held her ground. “I, I can. A little.”

Elizabeth was tempted to step in, knowing how Tenenbaum could get– but Jack beat her to it.

“I can teach you,” he said, somewhat uncertain. “If you want.”

Diane studied him for a moment. It was difficult for her to feel comfortable with so many changes, Elizabeth knew, so it was touching when Diane smiled at him. “Well, aren’t you sweet?”


“Since that’s settled,” Elizabeth began her goodbye, picking up a pistol on the way to the door. No weapon really belonged to anyone, exactly, and perhaps that should have been a cause for concern that they had a need for ‘household’ weapons.

“Be careful,” Tenenbaum warned, watching her prepare. “Sullivan is experienced, and he appeared… Upset.” She chose the word carefully, eyeing Diane.

Elizabeth nodded, smiling slightly. When they first started with Tenenbaum, you could have cut the tension with a knife on most days. She did shoot Booker, and they did essentially manifest from another time and place.

But here she was, advising Elizabeth to be safe. It never ceased to amaze Elizabeth how at home and welcomed she felt here.”Thank you, I will. And I’ll make sure Booker is too.”

Tenenbaum scoffed, dismissing that with a wave of her hand, the smoke trailing from her cigarette. “He can take a bullet or two, he’ll be fine.”

“Alright, then,” Elizabeth answered through a chuckle.

As she left the clinic, she realized the state of Rapture just seemed to be getting worse. Old repair models of Big Daddies tried to fix the damage caused in the outbreak of the civil war, plus the pockets of riots that followed, but with everyone pulling their money from the banks–Elizabeth walked the tattered halls that were clean and safe just a few days ago, even if the air was a bit tense. The people down here deserved better than this, and she really hoped that Tenenbaum could help splicers recover so they could have that chance.

There weren’t many now, but there would be more. To protect themselves from those present, others would follow suit. Her thoughts dwelled on that situation as she avoided debris and security cameras in more restricted areas than she’d ever seen before– all to retrace Diane and Tenenbaum’s path to find Booker and Sullivan.

Which took far less time than she thought. The shouting interrupted by the occasional splicer and gunfire was easy enough to track down.

Elizabeth stepped into a small plaza in the city’s pathways, finally seeing the two men standing too tensely with matching incredulous scowls for this to be a civil talk.

“Dammit, Booker, I can’t go handing out ammo to anyone who asks!” Booker went to snap back, but Sullivan cut him off. Even at a distance, Elizabeth felt he’d seen better days… Sullivan put a finger in Booker’s face as he talked over him. “An’ you’re hardly on deck for needing anything for a time like this, I watched you end a man with a broken plank!”


“Not the point, Sullivan, just– would you just listen for a second–”

“I hear you,” Sullivan grumbled, not noticing Elizabeth as she approached from the darker hallway. “I gotcha, I really do. Better than most. But these folks, an’ you didn’t hear this from me, they’re stuck between this Atlas fella and Ryan right now.”

Booker sighed, taking a step back and rubbing his neck absently. A sure sign that he knew Sullivan was right, but he didn’t want him to be right.

“It’s just getting worse out here. No doubt most of ’em will die without help, and they– they deserve someone lookin’ out for ’em.”

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.”

“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: Seeking

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She stood over Suchong’s body, mangled and covered in reddish-brown stains. The sight should have made her nauseous. Instead, she examined his body for a place he’d store the formula for Lot 192.

Nothing so straightforward as a pocket, although… Elizabeth went to the supply cabinet and pulled on a pair of surgical gloves with a delicate snap of the elastic band around her wrist.

She found herself approaching his corpse with calculated steps, not just for the blood pooled on the floor. There was a chance the formula wasn’t here, and then– They would find another way. With a tear or Tenebaum’s help, somehow they would make this work.

Elizabeth peeled open the left-hand coat pocket on the corpse’s jacket, peering inside. “Too dark,” she whispered to herself. Slipping her hand inside, she wrapped her fingers around a small box.

Turning the side not soaked in blood to the light, she made out the phrase ‘NICO-TIME’ and dropped the cigarettes into the trash. “Now for the other pocket.”

Reaching in, the right-hand pocket came up empty. She set both hands on the table, looking over his facedown body. “Suchong… Where would you hide it?”

Nowhere Ryan or Fontaine might come across it and nowhere that he couldn’t readily access it in an emergency. Dr. Suchong needed to be indisposable to any political power to ensure his safety at all times, after all.

Not that it helped him in the end.

Elizabeth crouched to eye level with the desk, looking for any pockets he may have had on the front of the coat. Keeping it on his person made the most sense for him to do, and… “Wait, is that…?”

She reached for an edge of photo paper sticking out from the seam of his shredded lab coat, pulling it out as she tore the corner pinned by the drill. The secret pocket protected it somewhat from the pooling blood, and with the overhead light, Elizabeth could make out the picture.

It was Jack, staggering out of the Vita Chamber after– After the fight. Turning it over, she saw a notation in the center, L192, and a chemical formula she could only partially understand.

But Tenebaum would know exactly what to do and Elizabeth breathed a laugh. Finally, a bit of luck. She tucked the photo into an inner pocket of her coat, peeling the gloves off and tossing them into the trash.

None of the security staff so much as glanced her way as she left and only the small chirp from the camera made it clear she was there at all.

She walked down the short hallway, past two couches, and into the panicked crowd on their way to someplace they hoped would be safe or to arm themselves with plasmids or take their money out from the banks– all contributing to the growing chaos.

Except for one person. He was at the edge of the crowd, calm and certain as to where he wanted to go. His black button down with white cuffs ended at his forearm, baggy and poorly fitted just like his black vest.

Something about him was familiar, but she didn’t recognize the crew cut he had– not until he glanced over his shoulder before ducking down a passage deeper into Apollo Square. And she knew it was Jack, going out again when she asked him to stay. Towards Hestia Chambers, if she remembered correctly…

She looked to Bathysphere waiting the in dock, then down the hall with a flickering light where Jack made his way towards… Whatever he sought.

What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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