the last one left, no more friends to provide me sancturary and protection. My
pack had died off, leaving me, the head wolf, to fend for myself. There was no
one left, the only other agent left put a bullet through his head. Blood soaked
the walls of his room, his mattress, even his guns. I grabbed his body, put him
down face forward, and then closed his eyes. It was the only act of kindness I
was able to perform on him. There was no ground I could use to bury him, no
wood for a fire, nothing. His body would remain there, to rot. This was wrong,
these men gave their lives for what they believed was right, yet no one will
remember them. To most, he will just be another nameless body in an insane
asylum gone out of hand.
*What a tragedy* said Buchanan
“Come on, I still have a job to do,” I said to John. I began to take all the ammunition Jimmy collected, along with a tommy gun. With this sort of firepower, I would be able to tear through anything that gets in my way, though lying low was still my best option. Along with all the ammo, Jimmy also had a few injectible plasmids lying around. I took a few just in case I might need to use them, but only as a last resort. Behind the plasmids was a map of the entire department store. I picked it up and gave a sigh of relief, even with Jimmy’s directions no doubt I would have still been lost. I put all of this into my pouch, grabbed the tommy gun and headed out.
*Well I’m glad that your type treat your fallen comrades with such dignity and grace*
“Look at where we are, you think this is the sort of place where funerals are held and civilized folk wander about? If I’m going to make it out of here with Elena, I need to play by a whole new set of ground rules.”
*Heh . . . you god damn CIA men.*
“Not going to argue with a ghost,” I said to him. John did not answer back, this was my que to leave. I exited the shaft and made my way to Blue Hill Diner. I hoped this place was a safe haven, I was growing tired of the endless corpses. I entered what used to be a glamourous shopping center. It had the winding walkways and marble columns I would expect from a building in Rapture, only they were covered in soot and bulletholes, turning the glamour into something inhospitable. The one positive thing about this area was a private bathysphere that was on display. Not a hint of damage on it, a reminder that at one point, this was once a fine-looking place.
I was making my way through the center until I suddenly heard a noise. I stopped walking and the sound became clearer, they were footsteps. Someone was coming, I silently jogged to a store and hid behind a counter. I peaked my head out to see who was in here. Five figures came out, they were all holding weapons and were walking in a strange matter. As they got closer, I saw disfigurements on their faces; splicers. I took out my tommy gun and waited for them, though the odds of me being able to hold off five splicers were not in my favor. They were moving ever closer to the store, to a point where I could hear them talk.
“Come . . . out . . . now. I made a promise not to hurt anybody no more, mostly.” Said one of the splicers. The door to the store opened and I immediately ducked. I could hear a multitude of footsteps, all of them were in here and I had to get out.
“Come on Stevey the goods are up their, leave the bastard.” Said a female splicer
“Shut your yap, he’s here, carrying a bag of goodies I’m just aching to get, find him.”
No longer were they together, now they dispersed throughout the shop in search for me. I had to move quickly, I only had a few seconds until one of them checked the counter.
“Damn it,” I stood up, aimed my tommy gun at the nearest splicer I saw, and fired. Bullets punctured its chest and I stopped firing. Somehow it was still standing. Blood was gushing out of his chest and mouth, but the splicer just looked at me and gave me a smile.
“FOUND HIM” The splicer screamed. I aimed my gun at the splicers head and fired once more. This time it fell to the ground.
“Now what’d you do that for? He was my number one pal! I’m gonna make you pay scum.” Said the head splicer. Behind him were three others that were carrying wrenches and metal pipes. They did not look fully spliced, they had some level of sanity left. Nevertheless I was not going to take any chances, they were addicts with weapons, we were far past the stage of reasoning.
“Let me out and I promise you won’t get any bullets to your heads.” I said to them
“You sure you got enough bullets for the lot of us?” said the head splicer. He took out his wrench and started walking closer to me, scratching his wrench on the wall, making an eerie sound as he got closer. “Cuzz if you don’t, I’m gonna bash your skull open.”
That was the last of that, these people can’t be negotiated with. I pointed my tommy gun at him and readied myself to fire.
Something hit the back of my head and I fell to the floor. My tommy gun fell and slid away from me. I tried to grab my pistol, but then something hit my hand. I was forced up by someone who was holding both hands behind my back. In front of me was the leader of this pack. He slowly came up to me, smiling and shaking his head in disappointment.
“How ‘bout now chum, feeling so tough without your precious tommy gun? I’m gonna ask you one time, where are my plasmids?” he said to me, pointing his wrench directly at my forehead.
“I’ll tell you, on one condition. You tell your man to let go of me and once I tell you, I walk free.”
“It’s a done deal!” said the splicer, now putting his wrench away.
“Behind the counter there’s a bag, in it all the plasmids you can ask for. Dig in.” I said
All the splicers eyes widened and they instantly ran towards the counter; including the one holding me. They then scrambled to the bag and fought each other ferousciously for the plasmids, even though there was plenty for them all. They were wild animals who were not able to think properly due to their addiction, which leaves a man such as myself at an intellectual advantage. These fools left the tommy gun on the floor and were all concentrated in one area. I quickly picked it up, pointed it and rained fire on them. Bullet after bullet came out of the barrel, hitting its targets with precision accuracy. After a multitdue of shots hit each splicer, one by one, they began to collapse. It was only when they were all on the floor did I stop firing. Then the room fell into a silence and the splicers did not move a muscle. After my second encounter with these things, I almost got killed and wasted a quarter of my ammunition. I had to reassess how I could take these splicers down more effectively. How did Jimmy manage to stay sane while using plasmids when everyone else turned into a god damn psychopath. Using them would save me a lot of trouble, but I was not going to take the chance until I knew how to use it without turning into a splicer. I went to the bodies and grabbed my bag filled with ammo and plasmids. It was soaked in blood and other such liquids, but I managed.
*You know at one point these things were human beings with wants and needs like the rest of us. Why can’t you just kill them with a little bit of dignity?*
“Christ, you got a thing for dignity don’t you. Since when was there any decency in killing? I do this because I have to, it was either me or them.”
*You could have just grabbed your gun and walked out, instead you gave them a hailstorm of bullets.*
“And leave all that ammo and plasmids to a bunch of murderous addicts? No unlike you I actually think about these things in the long term.”
*Goodness, I still wonder how you manage to do all that while taking care of a fragile child.*
“Enough”, I said infuriated “I don’t need to explain myself to the likes of you, some degenerate rich shit who ain’t even real. Now if you don’t mind I’d li-”
I turned around and to my surprise the head splicer was still alive. Blood continued to come out of him and yet he was moving like nothing happened. “Now you’ve pissed me off, just wait til’-“
A gunshot came from his behind and went right through his head. The head splicer fell to the floor in an instance. Suddenly three men came through the shop door, they were heavily armed with tommy guns and carbines. Worse yet they all pointed their guns right at me. I simply pointed back, not daring to fire just yet.
“Put the gun down.” Said one of the men, he had an Irish accent. Could this be? “We’re not acting the maggot, put the gun down now.”
“You Atlas?” I asked him
He looked at me in disbelief then started laughing heavily. “You some sort of langer? No I’m not bloody Atlas, put your gun down then we talk?”
“My name is Will Sullivan, I’m an operative of the CIA who’s been sent down here to extract a delicate package. I need to know the whereabouts of two people who are in here, and I’m reckoning Atlas knows exactly where they are.” I said, hoping that these men were affiliated with Atlas.
“Listen any sane man here is a friend, we work for Atlas, drop the gun and no harm will be done, after you do that, we’ll send you straight to the boss.” Said the irishman insistently.
It seems like even now, in a place like this, Atlas and his followers are able to maintain some level of civility, something that was not common to me when entering a warzone. I dropped my weapon and put my hands up. One of the men quickly came up to me and began checking me for any weapons I might be carrying. After he was done the irishman came to me, smiled, and put his hand on my shoulder.
“Technically you are a friend to Atlas as of now, nevertheless, you understand the need for precautions, don’t ya’ wanker.”
“I’m sorry wh-“
I felt the back of the gun hit my head and I fell to the floor, slowly losing consciouness until I could see nothing but the availing darkness consume my sight. I was played. How the hell did I let that happen? I should have known better than to trust the likes of strangers, especially in a place like this. Still, I was not dead, and that had to count for something. Wherever I would be sent off next, it would surely be better than this place. I slowly regained consciousness, the first thing I saw was, strangely enough, a junebox, it was playing April in Paris by Ella Fitzgerald. I took a good look at the rest of the room, it was an office, one that was somehow preserved to perfection; the marble was clear, the sleak wooden office table was completely intact, and there were pictures all across the office of a man and his family. I took a deep breath and calmed myself. I was safe, not a single splicer to be found. I tried to get out of the chair but then noticed I was not able to get out. There were harnesses on both my hands that were attached to the chair. Just my luck, I was once again chained up and motionless. Suddenly a door behind me opened and then walked in a tall, fit caucasion man in his mid-30s. He had brown hair and wore simple working clothes, not something you would expect when it came to an office like this.
“Apologize for me’ mens bruteness, hope they didn’t leave too harsh a wound. Trying to maintain some level of civility down here is murder, we’ve all become paranoid dopes.” Said the man. Like the one I met before him, he had a strong Irish accent. This must be Atlas, it would explain the comfortable accomodations and the matter in which he exerts his position. “But onto business, me’ man Shelby says you want something from me, information he says.”
“I’m looking for a small girl by the name of Elena, she was sent down here a few months ago. You know anything about that?” I said, trying to hide the fact that she was my daughter and that I have any emotional ties with her.
“Can’t say I have, most folks down here are political prisoners, assailants of Fontaines Crime Ring, and the splicers he cooked up. Ryan wouldn’t send a babby girl down here, that’s too cruel, even for him.”
I was puzzled by this, everything I was told about Elena led me here, and now this man, this Atlas, tells me otherwise? Something was not right, I got confirmation from numerous sources that she was down here. Either Atlas is truly ignorant on the matter or he’s lying. “I have sources that tell me otherwise.”
“If there was a girl down here, I’d be the first to know. More importantly I’d make sure she’s under the best protection I could give her from those God ridden splicers. I won’t stand having children hurt on my watch. That’s beside the point, is there anything else you need from me or are you simply doddering.”
“ . . . by any chance do you know someone that goes by the name Elizabeth?”
He then looked at me with a stroke of curiousity. “What do you want with that scanger?”
“So you do know her.” I said
“Met a few hours ago, I negotiated terms of employment with her and now this Elizabeth serves my cause.”
“And what is this noble cause you so solemnly serve?”
“I serve the desitutes, the disenfranchised, those who no longer have a say in this miserable tip. I aim to go back to Rapture and give back that which was once everyones. Justice will be served to those who mistreated us. We’re going to finally wake those bourgeoisie bastards out of their slumber.”
“A revolution.” I said to him, the format of what he was saying can only mean that. The destitutes rise up against the affluent, I have seen this before countless times. The underprepared and underarmed citizens rise up and act against their well armed and financed authoritatrian government. The only thing that comes out of that is a wave of bullets and in some cases, a white mist that strectches for miles on the countryside.
“Exactly that boyo. The world is shifting and we have to stay the course, those who stray from it will be left behind with nothing but soot to hold them. Ryan is straying from the path, as have countless others. It’s our responsibility to show them the right one again. I could use a man of your caliber, you being a CIA man and all. We’d make quite the team.”
“Sorry, I got a mission of my own I need to finish. I just need some info on Elizabeth and I’ll be on my way.” I said, about to stand up. Only to remember I was still chained up to his chair. Atlas took out a pack of cigarettes from his drawer and lit one.
“Never liked smoking fags, me’ wife hated them. She was no scrubber, I could tell you that. Myra was something else, a ripe pain in the neck, but a beauty nonetheless. We had it good for a time. . . now its gone to hell, and the only thing I have left living for is to get these poor bastards out of this place. I’m asking you to find it in your heart to help us. Most of these chaps are here because they went against the Ryan ideology, that’s it. The mans a godless heathen who needs to be put down.”
I know I should have just moved on and asked to leave, but what he said pulled a trigger on me. I was not able to help myself and asked. “What happened to your wife?”
“She died here, along with me’ child. I had their bodies cremated and keep their ashes close to me.” He said to me, he then pulled out a large can from one of his drawers and placed it in front of me. “One day, when this mess is done, I’m going back to Ireland to climb the highest peak in the Ring of Kerry and from there, I’ll let them go, knowing they can rest in peace in a place they loved.”
“ . . . I’m sorry for your loss.”
“You have a wife and kids Sullivan?” Atlas said, blowing out smoke from his mouth
“A wife and a little girl.” I said to him. I still did not want to tell him my intent for coming here so I decided to fabricate the story to a certain degree. “Both of them are at the surface, safe from here.”
“That’s a relief.” He said, putting his cigarette in the ashtray. We were sitting down quietly, not saying a word to one another for minutes, we were just staring at an empty desk. He then offered me a cigarette in which I accepted. In places like these it’s hard to find comfort of any sort, so I took it without a seconds hesitation. I drew in my breath and let in the indiscernible smoke. Then I let it out, along with a smatter of certainties. Moral ambiguity was prevalent here, I did not know what my next steps were once again. People herald this Atlas as if he were some liberator that vowed to vanquish the oppressors. All I saw was another idealist who’s trying to make his way. But I could be wrong, he lost his entire family to Ryan’s wrath. In that sense I sympathized with him. No one should have to stay in this hellhole, and if I could do something to change that, should I? This whole notion of fighting for the greater good was one that was either genuine, or full of treachery. I finished smoking the cigarette and put it in the ashtray.
“I’ll help your crusade, but only if you give me Elizabeth’s location.”
He gave a look of surprise, then a smile. “Welcome aboard soldier.”
Atlas stood up and headed out of the office. I was confused by this. I give my services to him and he walks away without telling me what I need? “Hey, HEY. Elizabeth’s location remember?”
“Before I give you that information, there’s a wee thing I need you to do for me. Once that bit of grand business is done, I’ll tell ya’ where your girl is. Deal?” He said, taking out a key from his pocket.
“We did not discuss the specifics of our arrangment, I’m telling you what they are now, I’d expect a bit more gratitude.” He said, unlocking me from my shackles. He was showing off an unusual amount of trust in me by unlocking my shackles, considering that we just met. Still, I have to be cautious in my business with him, his intentions might be noble, but he’s nevertheless a schemer, wanting everything to go on by his hand.
“Atlas I don’t have time, leaving her in a place like this? She won’t last a day!”
“I’ve met the girl, believe me she’s ferocious that one, she can take care of herself. In the meantime concentrate on what’s going on with you. The faster you finish this chore of mine, the quicker you’ll get her location. You understand mucker?”
“ . . . Alright what do you want me to do?”
“It’s a simple matter really, you see in a few days we’re leaving this place, all of us. We’re going back to Rapture, but before that we need you to get a package for us. In the secondary building there’s a warehouse shop, inside the shop there’s a room behind the counter that contains a package. Once you get it, bring it back to me and our arrangement is done, hopefully you’ll continue to help us gimps afterward.”
“If it means getting out of here then I’m on board.” I said to him, pulling out my hand to shake his. He responded and our negotiations officially ended.
“There’s two more thing; One is I’m sending one of me’ men to escort you, make sure you get the job done.” He said to me with a discerning look. “Second, before you head out, you need a makeover.”
“Heh, look, Atlas, I’m what you would call a lone wolf.” I told him “I work alone, it makes my job a hell of a lot easier. Second, I’m working with you, not for you, no makeover is required on my part.”
“Cop on! It’s not an option, I have no doubt you could play the lone wolf. Thing is we really don’t know each other. I can’t tell if you’re a chancer or a noble character, so for now you’re just a wanker to me, and you need to prove otherwise. Second, what the hell are you babbering about, I’m talking about a genetic makeover.”
“ . . . You can’t mean.” I was not able to finish my sentence, the instant he mentioned genetic change, I knew exactly what he wanted from me.
“In truth, no matter how deadly you are at blowing things to hell, you won’t last a day down here without ADAM. We can’t make any sort of arrangement together unless you agree to take it.” Atlas said insistently
“And if I don’t?”
“Then you’re free to go as you will, though I’m not inclined in anyway to tell you the wherabouts of Elizabeth if you do so. If circumstances were different then this would not be the case, but Ryan’s made me a desperate man, and I can’t let go one of the few bargaining chips I have left.”
Well, he most definitely was no fool, holding his bargaining chips like his life depends on it, and from the looks of it, that certainly is the case. It was either this or I search the entire department store for my little girl and Elizabeth. I was not in a position to put my faith in him just yet, but it looks like he could use the help, and to him I am the providence he needs.
“So be it”, I said to him, waiting for the grabbing and bagging that was yet to come. Atlas clicked some sort of button on his desk and suddenly two men came in and grabbed my shoulders. Atlas then put his hands up and they let go.
“Before you head off and leave everything in tatters, I have to know, what does the girl mean to you? Why risk your life for the bird?” Atlas asked
I paused when he asked that question because in truth, I myself did not know why I was adamently going after her. All I knew was that she was the person to go to when it came to saving Elena. I had no concrete evidence nor did I know her enough to know that, but it was a strong gut feeling. I could not tell Atlas that, god knows he would think I was a compulsive stalker or worse yet a liar. No, it had to be something more personal.
“You know, I met a fella by the name of Sander at one point during my stay here. Elizabeth auditioned to be his songbird, so to speak. After the audition ended he told me that at one point this femme fatale, this Elizabeth, was nothing more than a naive little girl. Then men with visions of grandeur and uncontrollable lust came and took away her most precious attribute, innocence. Now she’s trying to give those who were exploited by the vicious nature of man a second chance. I’m going to join her and end this cycle of blood.” I told Atlas. He was startled by my answer, as if he knew exactly what I was talking about.
“. . . The Little Sisters?” Atlas said
“I’m sorry what?”
“Get out,” he said to me, his men grabbed my arms and then came a bag over my head. Everything was pitch black, I was forced up and then dragged out of his office. So the cycle begins once more.