BioQuest: Reunion

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She returned his second gesture to sneak around their potential attackers and he gave a curt nod, giving his attention to the thugs outside the bathysphere.

“H-he’s not here,” a third, jittery voice muttered, seeming on the edge of screaming, crying, or laughing. “He’s not, he’s not, he’s not.”

Elizabeth ran her hand along the floor of the bathysphere, smooth wooden flooring even underneath the seats.

At least Ryan’s consistently over the top…

Her fingers grazed the box, and she pulled it towards her as Booker wrapped his hand around her arm.

“I can smell him,” the woman breathed, her voice fading as if she’d turned away. A ploy…?

Booker led her out of the bathysphere in a walking crouch, passing them by towards the battered entrance of the Kashmir.

“Elizabeth,” he whispered, shooting her a half-hearted scowl. “When did you start keeping secrets?”

“I’m not, not from you,” she answered, resting her hand on his shoulder. “Jack was here. And so was Fontaine.”

Booker shook his head, but he held his position and simply waited. Seconds passed in stillness and the people waiting for them had wandered off in whatever madness had them…

Although Elizabeth knew. She knew too well exactly what it was.

“Well, they’re not here now and we don’t have much in the way of time,” he advised, taking out a pistol in addition to his shotgun. “We’re going to Fort Frolic, that’s where the Vita Chamber’s hidden.”

He stood and held out the pistol to her. “I am a detective, Elizabeth.”

“Booker.” That was a quiet, steady voice she recognized. “Can we go home?”

She stood and took him in, dried blood set into his suit. A sleeve was ripped at the shoulder and right over his chest, an entry point showed where he’d been shot… But he was here. “Jack, I…”

Booker grabbed them both, pulling them down, and then she heard it. Metal clacking overhead, faint humming, and last, an Irish brogue.

“Boyo,” the man’s voice was clear but far enough that she knew they could evade him. If only barely. “Where are ya now, boyo?”

But to where? The bathysphere, Kashmir, the tunnels? Jack held her hand tightly and met her gaze. She held onto the gift box in her other hand, and in his other hand, he had the pistol from Booker.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

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BioQuest: Find Him

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Jack was steady, calm. His gaze never left hers as he waited and he even nodded to reassure her. With or without the mask, his face would betray nothing…

Where was Booker? What had Jack sent him to get?

Elizabeth refined an inscrutable expression in her work with Suchong. That was the difference between doctor and subject in the lab. But she felt her shoulders tense and eyes widen, if only somewhat, as she wrapped her arm around his. “Where did he go? If he’s in danger, I have to know.”

“I can’t lie to you.” Jack looked straight ahead, watching the crowd. Perhaps for someone or to avoid looking at her. “He is.”

She tightened her jaw and her grip on his arm. Slowly, gently, he rested his hand on hers and squeezed. The guitar practice formed calluses on his fingertips… Elizabeth opened her eyes without realizing she’d closed them for a few seconds too long.

Of course Booker went wherever Jack asked. How many hours had they spent together over the past few months?

“Take me to him,” she meant to command when it came out imploring.

“I will. You are the only one actually allowed there, after all.” He stopped between an empty table and the dance floor. “I suppose I would be too.”

A flash of a wince, and he looked away to lead her out of the restaurant.

“What? Where are we–”

“You know where,” he reminded her. Not one person moved to stop them, perhaps thinking they were young lovers overcome with alcohol.

A thought like that, now of all times?

Elizabeth scoffed at herself, keeping pace with Jack. The crowd and music faded behind them in the halls of the Welcome Center… Until the music mixed with screaming and gunfire, and he stopped.

“Fontaine.” His voice was somewhere near a breath and a hiss, and his calm air disappeared. Jack took in a sharp breath, looked to Elizabeth, away, and back again. “The labs. Go find him.”

And Jack ran back towards the Kashmir, stopping only to get a gun from one of Sullivan’s men… He was already dead, blood soaking a dark pool on his suit and the plush carpet.

The crossbow was just as she concealed it beside the restaurant entrance, waiting.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

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BioQuest: Be Here

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Diane offered her hand to Elizabeth, smiling even as her eyes hung heavy. There was nothing to fear from Diane and Elizabeth knew how she’d feel about Ryan… and she smiled, taking the lone woman’s hand.

“Good evening, Diane,” she answered. “I’m Anna DeWitt.” With her free hand, Elizabeth pointed to the pair of men she spotted as perhaps being Jack and Booker. “And I have an idea for you… I know that man with the red tie is here alone too.”

Elizabeth led Diane by the hand and she followed, her eyes already brighter in curiosity. She weaved her way through the party crowd, realizing as she did that everyone here was drinking not to celebrate, but to relax. Or make an empty attempt at it.

One of Sullivan’s guards was posted in each of the corners for this room, their guns concealed only asĀ ominous silhouettes. She wasn’t the only one who saw it. “Hello, gentlemen,” she chimed. “Could you spare a dance for two ladies this evening?”

“Well, I’ll be,” the man with the red tie said in a smooth southern accent, turning to look Diane over and grin. “If it ain’t the fine Miss McClintock! I would be honored to have you on my arm tonight, ma’am,” he offered and put his hand out for her.

The man in the white suit angled his head down, but he glanced at Elizabeth through his mask… Yet she knew. There was Jack.

Alone?

“Mr. Sinclair?” Diane slipped her fingers out of Elizabeth’s, a smile coming to her voice. “My God, I had no idea you here! I…” She gulped, looking to Elizabeth and she gave her a small nod. Diane laughed and wrapped her arm around his. “I’d like that.”

Elizabeth watched them blend back into the crowd, waiting for them to get out of earshot. Once that was done, Elizabeth looked back at him and sighed.

“You look nice,” Jack admitted, meeting her gaze at last. “I thought you weren’t coming to the party.”

“I’m here for you and Booker.” Elizabeth watched the bubbles rising in the champagne in her glass… And put it on the table, sliding it away. One alcoholic DeWitt was enough. “Why are you here?”

“For you,” he responded, smiling. “Booker said you’d come looking, that you wouldn’t quit, and I should be here.”

He held his arm out and kept his gaze on hers. “He’s so proud of you, you know. So whatever happens, please don’t be upset with Booker. He went there for me. I asked.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: Opportunity

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Scanning the room, Elizabeth looked for a red sash or necktie on any of themen… Booker loved that red sash around his neck, and she was counting on that. Drumming her fingers of her free hand on the champagne glass, Elizabeth answered the woman.

“Oh, I never had a date,” she chuckled and hoped that would comfort the blonde. After all, alcohol certainly wouldn’t. “Who could stand up such a charming woman as yourself?”

She counted five men so far with red neckties. Two were dancing with women and Elizabeth had never seen Booker so much as flirt with a woman since… Well, likely just before she was born. They weren’t him.

“Andrew Ryan,” the woman said, wistful and tender all at once, and picked up another glass. “Supposedly the man who loves me.”

“I’m sorry,” she caught herself and smiled. “I’m Diane. Diane McClintock.”

Only one of the men she counted stood with a shorter, leaner man at his side, both in suits… One black, one white. But she would have to get closer to see. And yet in front of her stood a valuable contact in Rapture who seriously needed a good friend. Someone she could n trust. Perhaps tell her secrets to.

Diane offered her hand and a sad smile.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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BioQuest: Masked

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The New Year’s party.

Elizabeth smiled, reaching for the bird necklace under her collar. Jack had never seen anything like a party. With all the time he spent with Booker, it’d be a simple undertaking to convince Booker to take him there. But at least it was just a party, where the greatest threat was a bad appetizer and small talk.

Or in this case, political tension… But she didn’t want to dwell on that.

36_Masked_1

Still, she fought the urge to toy with the stub of her pinky. That was easy with Suchong around since he liked to ask what caused it, but here…? Elizabeth kept her eyes ahead and strode through the mostly empty halls towards the Welcome Center to the Kashmir restaurant.

At the front, a guard waited but there was no one else for security in sight. Safety ruined the atmosphere of Ryan’s strength, she guessed.

“Ma’am,” the guard said, adjusting his stance and offering yet another mask. “For the party.”

36_Masked_2

She wrapped her fingers around the edge of the cat mask, nodding. “Thank you.” This was going to complicate it for her, although it explained why it was easy for Booker and Jack. With masks and suits, they’d look like everyone else.

She tied the mask’s strings behind her head and slipped into the crowd. Smooth jazz played on the speakers and streamers hung loosely from support beams overhead. But no Booker or Jack immediately apparent, and she couldn’t very well shout their names.

She stopped by a table of little snacks and drinks, picking up a glass. Elizabeth had to blend in even if she had no intention of drinking tonight.

“Hello,” a hollow voice greeted her, and Elizabeth turned to see a blonde woman in a butterfly mask.

36_Masked_3

“Did your date stand you up too?” She laughed drily, swishing her wine and downing the glass.


What do you want to do, Elizabeth?

Read the next chapter.

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