Thirty minutes away. I was in the middle of the god forsaken Atlantic while a thunder storm has been at it for two days. Worse, I was only thirty minutes away from my destination. It has been nearly a week since I have seen some solid ground or had a proper rest. This storm has been brewing waves larger than my damn house. I cannot even have a proper drink without the boat rocking and causing a mess.
I put on my coat and went outside my cabin to have a talk with the captain. I opened the door; rain accompanied by large gusts of wind started pouring onto my bed before I had a chance to close the door. I went outside and panicked. The view outside of the ship was my version of a horror film. Even films like Frankenstein or Dracula cannot capture the insurmountable amount of fright I was in right now, staring at the barren wilderness. Not only was there a powerful thunder storm complemented by strong winds and rain, but the entire area was covered in a thick fog, allowing me to only see what was thirty feet in front of me. I could notfigure out whether or not there was any land nearby.
I could not go back home. I spent every bit of money I had on this trip. Where ever it led me, it would either end up being my safe haven or a big pile of nothing, in which case I would go back home and lose everything.
Oh life as a musician is grand. A few years back I was making a fine living. I worked in a high end club as a pianist in a jazz band and played original compositions that people would always dance to. Then the Cold War escalated, the younger generation lost interests in things like jazz, paintings, even movies. The club closed and I lost my job. It was only then I realized just how cruel the world was. Bills passed and the government regulated more and more businesses, meaning artists, musicians and creative movie makers were less in demand while nuclear scientists, mathematicians, and analysts were very much needed by those federal bastards. Nowhere was I able to find a joband eventually I started living with my parents. It was only by chance that a stranger I met in the bar told me about this place where finding a job would never be an issue; he then gave me a set of coordinates. I was so enthralled to go that I never even thought that this could be a hoax.
“Damnit John, what were you thinking?” I said to myself
I finally got to the bridge where the captain and a few of his other mates were. They looked at me grimly.
“Storm isn’t cooling down is it”, I said to the crew
“Mr. Buchanan, we’re here”, The Captain said sternly
“What? This can’t be right, I don’t see anything”, I said looking out the window.
There was nothing, nothing out there but fog, rain and ocean. Not even a piece of rock hanging in the distance.
“Check again, come on ,this can’t be right”, I said anxiously
The captain rolled his eyes in frustration gave me a scrap of paper then said, “63° 2’ N, 29° 55’ W, that’s where you told me to go and here we are, you wannatell me you can read this stuff better than me?”
“No it’s just-
“This is the place”, He said
I was in shock, complete and utter shock. I gambled everything I had for this establishment to be real. Now here I am on the floor, about to have an anxiety attack. The captain and his crew tried to calm me down, but there was only so much sympathy they would garner for a fool.
“I mean what did you expect?” The Captain told me.“You just went up to me with six hundred dollars and directions without saying to yourself ‘what is this place? Does it exist’? I told you there was nothing charted there but you just handed me the cash and here we are, done deal”.
The captain went on and on with his lecture but I was so delirious I could not pay attention. Actually I was so delirious that I saw a light in the distance. I laughed a little and the crew grew a little more resentful of me.
I laughed even harder this time and said, “And now I’m seeing lights, I think this means I’m dying”
As I continued to laugh in pain, the crew turned around and to their disbelief there was a light! By seeing their expressions I realized I was not imagining it. There was a powerful beam of light, sixty feet high in the air.
“That’s not possible,” the captain said, setting a course towards it.
As we got closer, the fog started to clear, a tall cylinder like building began to appear, it seemed to be floating on water until I realized it was sitting on a small island that was mostly submerged. But the entirety of the building was still on the surface.
“It’s a lighthouse”, I said surprised and mildly confused
“It seems to be just that”, But why is it all the way out here?” said the captain, “There isn’t land for another hundred miles”.
“Beats me, drop me off over there”, I told the captain
“What?” He said in disbelief “Do you have a death wish?”
“Less so here than back at home, just drop me off there, please” I said insistently
“You’re the boss I suppose”, he said cautiously
As we came closer I noticed that this was not your typical lighthouse, apart from it being in the middle of the Atlantic. The light did not act as a spotlight; there was no concentrated beam in any single particular direction. It acted more like a beacon, maybe for sailors to find. Even the architecture of the building was much different. It was grander, larger than any lighthouse I have ever seen before. It was composed mainly of metal rather than wood. The door was huge, it had a gold relief of a sort of symbol, and I could not make it out from this distance, but it reminded me of the doors you would see in churches, grand in size and design. On the top there was a statue of an angel that was supporting the light; I couldn’t make out the meaning of such a thing.
But something felt wrong. The building gave off an ominous feeling. The black metal exterior of the lighthouse seemed cold and empty. Something about it made me feel isolated, alone, even afraid.
We arrived at the dock, or in this case a staircase. The captain gave me a rope; I climbed down the ship and reached the staircase. Along with that he threw down my luggage which I caught.
“We’ll be heading out now”, the captain screamed, “this place looks pretty fruitless, come back with us, last chance”.
“If it turns out to be fruitless, I’ll dig my own grave and you can come back and bury me”, I said, trying to be amusing. He looked at me in disbelief, shook his head, and left.
The ship started sailing away. It slowly started to disappear into the fog, gradually fading into the distance until nothing. No sign of the ship or any other life. I was alone.
Everything began to change. The raindrops felt heavier and louder with each bang that hit the floor. The thunder increased in both volume and frequency, deafening my ears with each roar that came out of the sky. There was so much confusion, so much noise. Everything began to blur.
I gathered my luggage and walked up the staircase. When I came to the door, I saw that it was already open from one side. I took a peek to see what is inside and to my horror; I could not see a thing. It was completely dark. The rain drops felt less intense, the thunder less frequent. What could be behind those doors?
I stepped into the lighthouse, hoping to see some shard of light but there was nothing, just a gloomy silence. I then heard a noise coming from the door; I look behind me and saw it close itself. No longer can I hear the intense rainfall, or the deafening thunder. Everything was completely silent.
“Hello”, I screamed out in anticipation, my voice echoing throughout the building, hoping for there to be an answer, “It’s John Buchanan, I think you were expecting me?”
Lights suddenly began to turn on, one at a time.
Suddenly everything was visible, and the first thing that caught my eye was a large statue that stood right in front of me. It was a large hanging bust of a man. He had a very pronounced moustache and commanding stature. He wore a suit and it looked like he was in his mid-forties. He was carrying a large banner. It said ‘No God, No King, Just Man’. Then music starts to play from some distant speaker, an instrumental song. It had slow melodic violin strokes along with corky off beat guitar strings that really soothed my nerves, a false sense of relief I suppose.
I looked away from the statue and to my astonishment the entire upper part of the building was empty. No staircase, no rooms, just a grandiose statue of this man.
Fortunately for me there was a staircase downstairs, so I started my dissent into the unknown. As I walked down the stairs more lights started to turn on automatically. It was a thing of wonder and fright. Part of me believed that I was controlling the lights. With every step I took, my omnipotent presence controlled everything around me; from the door closing to the lights turning on. Another part of me felt like these forces controlled me. The door representing that I have no way out, the lights controlling every footstep that I took in its path. It was a frightening idea, the lack of control over your own actions or body. I can hardly imagine a human without an independent mind.
I finally reached the bottom of the staircase. The room was dark, the lights did not turn on automatically, and suddenly I didn’t feel so omnipotent anymore. I took a few footsteps forward.
Everything was clear and became visible. Right in front of me was a red carpet that led me, in my bewilderment, to a submarine. It was a round, small thing. At most it could hold six people. The front opened itself and inside was a circular sitting booth that was completely red and made of leather. In the center of the booth was a lever, probably to activate the sub. Next to it was a sign pointing towards it. It said ‘step inside Bathysphere’.
Christ, there was no turning back, nowhere else to go. It was either this or I start digging my grave. I stepped inside the bathysphere, the door slams itself shut and the latch locked itself. I took a good look at the lever, put my hand on it, and turn the sub on.
With a quick push, the sub started to shake and I grabbed onto a hand rail to keep my balance. I looked out the window and saw that I had already descended underwater, really fast. While going deeper underwater, I saw schools of fish, more than I ever seen in my life. They were swimming in large packs. I only got to see them for a few second as I continued to go under. To my surprise I entered a tunnel, manmade and gracefully designed; the size was perfect for the sub. In it were advertisement posters all around the tunnel. I couldn’t see a single one because the sub was moving too quickly.
Suddenly it stopped. I saw one of the posters and it showed an elegant container carrying a red liquid. The poster read ‘Plasmids, Evolution in a Bottle, By Ryan Industries.’
I was not given enough time to understand what I just saw because the sub quickly turned around, started moving once more and then everything became dark again. I could not see anything from the window. Suddenly a movie projector turned on and a screen appeared right in front of me. Music came on, but it was not like the one in the lighthouse, this was a patriotic sort of music, the sort that you would typically have to stand up for in a classroom. The screen first showed a one dimensional version of a the lighthouse I was just at, then popped up another advertisement, this time of a man holding fire on his fingertip and helping a woman light her cigarette, it said ‘Fire at Your Fingertips, Incinerate, By Ryan Industries’. Then the music stopped and the frame changed again, this time showing a picture of the man that statue tried to portray, sitting in a leather chair wearing a suit and giving me a very stern look.
I am Andrew Ryan, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? No says the man in Washington, it belongs to the poor, no says the man in The Vatican, it belongs to God, No Says the man in Moscow, it belongs to everyone. I rejected those answers, instead I chose something different, I chose the impossible, I chose Rapture.
The projector turned itself off and the screen went up. I looked at the window and saw an opening coming up from the tunnel. It drew closer and closer and finally, was out of the tunnel. My eyes widened in disbelief, I let out a gasp and almost fell to the floor. What I saw hadjust changed my notion on what is possible and what is impossible. God, science, government it all seemed irrelevant right now, I could not fathom this…… a city in the bottom of the ocean.
It was Manhattan underwater, only bigger than Manhattan, the buildings taller than anything in Manhattan. There were skyscrapers everywhere. The sub moved closer to the city and as I went past different buildings, I noticed each was connected to walkways and tunnels that were busy with people moving from one building to another. Neon blue spotlights were scattered throughout the city, along with statues, not of Ryan, but of a strong nude man pulling his arms apart and breaking his chain. Each building had glowing signs or figures that advertised a different business, he was not joking, ‘The Sweat of your Brow’. Andrew Ryan’s audio continued while roaming around Rapture.
A city where the artist would not fear the censor.Where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality.Where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well.
My tour is about to end. Now I was headed into another tunnel that leads into one of the buildings. Bewilderment, fright, desire, happiness; every possible emotion the human body is capable of carrying I am using. What is waiting for me up there? Who is waiting for me up there? What in God’s name is this place?
As I went through the tunnel, words started lighting up. It read
All Good Things
Of This Earth
Into The City