Market Street, 1955

Rapture's Market Street, and the adjoining High Street, was a center of commerce, featuring many small and large businesses and shops. There was a music shop and an art gallery, book shops and DeWitt's private investigation business, as well as restaurants and Sander Cohen's eponymous club. Market Street overlooked the entire underwater city of Rapture, and the district itself was one of Rapture's finest, adorned beautifully and with a modern streamlined decor. Both it and High Street above it were a place where the finest people in the city lived and shopped with style.

The industrialist, magnate and founder - creator! - of Rapture walked among the people. Bustling business, just as he loved it. And all the advertisements peddling this product or that, always looking for an edge over the competitors. That was the spirit of entrepreneurship, and the reason Rapture existed. He'd come with Bill McDonagh who always lent an ear. 'Come along, Bill', he used to say. Right now, they were only for a walk. Ryan had a lot on his mind, but he was in an unusually cheery mood, and felt like a walk.
"Right, guv", Bill said, "I reckon it'll take a week or two before pressure is entirely -"
"Now now, Bill. We'll discuss it later", replied Andrew Ryan, "take a moment, Bill."
Bill nodded. There was a lot that he needed to talk about, but when Ryan didn't want to hear it, he wouldn't hear it. People nodded politely at them and said:
"Good day, Mr. Ryan." And Ryan was in a good mood, despite Fontaine and Lamb - seeing his city working like he intended did help - and he nodded back, smiling the faintest of smiles. In fact, he stopped by some people standing by the bookstore. The men took off their hats and Ryan shook their hands.
"How do you do? He asked politely. He could be chummy when he wanted to.
"Good day, Mr. Ryan. We were just talking about this new book. It's called Moon. They say it's a reflection on Rapture."
"Not a bad one, I hope", Ryan said. He turned to the poster in the shop window. It showed the cover of the book, which was just a stylized picture of a yellow glowing moon, on a deep blue back drop. It said: 'Read the exciting novel by Raptures up and coming young writer: The moon, by Chris Perkins'.
"No, no. They say he's captured the very essence of Rapture", one of the men said. It sounded almost like he was advertising the book.
"Me missus likes it", Bill said, "romantic, she says."
"Well, Bill's wife likes it, so it must be good", joked Ryan, "I'll have to make time to read it."
The men nodded and Ryan wished them all a productive work's day.
"See, Bill", he said as they moved on, "Rapture is doing well, despite all... we'll deal with the parasites, but a good mood shouldn't be wasted on that. The city will forget them. Rapture will endure. There's no place for parasites."

Bill just nodded. Ryan only wanted to think aloud, to ensure himself that everything would be all right. It's in the human nature. Ryan had noticed the word young on the poster, but it slipped his mind just as quick. He took some pride in the book, though - inspiring the like minded. The writer should not fear the censor, but a writer who 'captures the very essence of Rapture' might be one he could endorse, or even employ. He thought a moment of going to Eve's Garden, to see Jasmine. But he shouldn't when Bill was with him. Instead he said:
"Should we go see Sander, Bill? I hear he's working on a new show."
"Uh, sure, guv. Why not." Bill sighed unnoticeably. Didn't like that prat Sander Cohen himself. A marvel really, that Andrew Ryan did, Bill thought. He wanted to go see Elaine and Sophie, but he went with Andrew Ryan instead, even though there were a million things he needed to do.  And probably a million things that Ryan needed to do.

The Rapture Tribune, 1955

There were some murmurs of discontent in Rapture. Some stuff was bubbling. Unions and the like. From what the writer could make out, Andrew Ryan was displeased. Talks of unions in his utopia. He'd take care of it. Ryan was a brilliant man and his city was blooming. Some incidents should be expected. They were unavoidable. In fact, there was alarmingly much of it, especially among the poor parts of the city; plasmid addicts running rampant, random acts of senseless violence, shootings... he'd seen some of it up close, living in Artemis Suites. He was still lucky though, to live in a slightly higher end part of it. A few buildings down there'd be five families to a two roomer and only two people of them drawing a wage.

It was three years now since the writer came to Rapture and his novel had been published about a week ago. He also wrote a column for the Rapture Tribune since about two years. Until then he'd been living sparse on saved money and by publishing his short pulp fiction stories that brought some income. That was where he got some inside information on what went on in the city, even though he didn't take part in investigatory journalism.

Well. Maybe none of that mattered. To him it was usually what was here and now that mattered. What was here and now was the typewriter and his job. He was trying to come up with a witty remark to end this week's column. But he kept getting distracted. By Julia Jensen. She was his boss' daughter's best friend, and she, too, wrote for the Tribune. She was a journalist and a photographer, and from what he'd read, a good one for being so young. She was only twenty-three years old. The writer watched her, typing dutifully on her typewriter. She had auburn red hair, neatly put into a ponytail. Bangs were hanging across her face, but she was so into what she was doing that she didn't notice.

Her face was entirely concentrated. She actually looked rather feminine, with soft round cheeks and big blue eyes. And he noticed her lips, rich and full, and colored red. Her pale complexion made a somewhat large contrast. And Julia had a slender neck and a youthful body. Not that he looked at that. No, she was a co-worker, and there were codes of etiquette to adhere to, after all. She was staring intently at the paper in the typewriter through a pair of glasses. As the writer watched, she suddenly muttered and drew the paper out, made it into a ball and threw it in the bin on the floor next to her.

"Get over it pal. It ain't gonna happen." It was Stanley Poole. He stood by the writer's desk and smiled mockingly. He continued: "a dame like that, it just ain't gonna happen. You ain't her type. And even if you were, she'd be way outta your league, pal."
Poole was acting like he was the king of the world around the writer. A confidence thing. The writer knew that Poole was a bit like himself around others. Poole wasn't a handsome man. His rat like appearance and bent back told the writer that if Julia Jensen was out of anyone's league, it was Poole's. Julia sneezed over at her seat, and blushed. Poole turned to look, and then looked back at the writer.
"Besides", he said, "I have it on good authority that li'l miss Jensen is hot for someone else." The writer looked skeptically at Poole. The man must be twice her age, for pity's sake! When the writer didn't answer, Poole went on: "yep... li'l miss Jensen has the sweets for yours truly."
"Eat your heart out, Poole", the writer said and got up from his seat.

Behind her desk, Julia Jensen sat working. She was thinking hard about how to form the sentence. Mostly she was a photographer for the Tribune, but she also had to write some small articles and notices here and there. It was frustrating, though - she had no patience for penning; she was a photographer. She noticed in the corner of her eye, how her colleague Stanley Poole was talking to the new fellow, who called himself a writer. She even noticed hot they nodded in her direction, but took no further notice of it, concentrated on her work as she was. She mumbled the sentence she'd just written.
"Yesterday afternoon, a few ladies had decided on occupying Market Street by way of protesting in the nude..."
Then, muttering to herself, she yanked the sheet of paper from the typewriter and crumbled it. How would you ever make a small, insignificant demonstration at an art gallery into exciting news? The naked ladies had been politely escorted from the scene - no dramatic shootouts or rogue constables at all! Leaning back, she took a deep breath.

Looking over at them again, the writer seemed angry at Poole, or at least annoyed. She understood him; Stan Poole wasn't the nicest person she knew. A sycophant when he could gain on it, and a rat if he needed a way out. Plus, he actually looked a little bit like a rat. The writer seemed nice enough, though. A shy, introverted person, it seemed. She'd only spoken to him shortly a few times, but she had the feeling he was crushing on her. It was in the way he blushed and avoided looking her in the eyes. Julia noticed herself smiling when she thought about him, too. Well, he seemed an okay sort. Maybe she should ask him out for coffee? No, better let him ask her, if he was interested. Because she might be. Sighing and placing a red bang of hair neatly behind her ear, she returned to her task, mumbling the words as she typed them.
"Naked ladies cause a stir... art gallery exposed."
That could work. Now just the rest of the article left.

Riding the elevator at the Rapture Tribune building was usually silent and comfy, but today it happened that both Poole and Julia Jensen was riding it, too. The writer stood in the back and listened to Poole bragging and coming on to Julia. He probably wouldn't be able to do that if the writer wasn't around. Evidently, he was unsuccessful. After Poole having finished a little speech about his 'extravagant' apartment she finally spoke:
"Why, it sounds simply marvelous, Mr. Poole. But say, won't you feel awfully lonely there tonight?" At that she took a step closer to Poole, looking into his eyes for a moment. Almost as if she was showing of her seductive skills. Then she stepped back.
"Or will your mother be there to keep you company?" Poole's jaw dropped as the elevator door opened. Julia stepped out and turned to them once again. She said:
"Have a nice evening, Mr. Poole. And do say hello to your mother from me." Julia nodded and looked at the writer. Their eyes met and she smiled, slightly. Then she looked at the floor and blushed slightly for an indecisive moment. The writer remained silent, and as luck would have it, so did Poole.

Back at his apartment the place looked big and empty. He'd never had an easy time making friends, and moving to Rapture hadn't changed that. He knew some of the guys from the Tribune, but having Stanley Poole as your best friend was not in the cards. He thought of Julia Jensen. She was a lovely young woman. And he hoped he could muster enough courage to tell her so.

Atlantic Express depot, 1968

"Hello? Who is in there?" White noise blended with the sound of a voice in Mr. Bubbles' ears. White noise crackled and sputtered and the voice seemed lost. Then it returned, the frequency right and the signal strong.
"I see you are awakened", it was a woman, speaking in an eastern European accent, "I do not know your name, und I am sorry. But I do wish to help you." She sounded sad. She continued: "you are a Big Daddy. A bouncer. Und you are powerful. The girl with you, she is a Little Sister und you are her protector. She gathers ADAM for Sofia Lamb, but she is an innocent und I am here to help her. If you bring her to me I will help you to find out who you are. I believe, there is a cure for you, as well."
"Mr. Bubbles!" The girl yelled from the other end of the train car, "come quick! There's an angel here!" She was bending over a corpse, looking happy.
"Quick!" The woman on the radio said, "when she gathers, the splicers will come for her! Do not let them take her! I will explain more, but for now you must protect the little one."

The Little Sister held a large syringe attached to a baby's bottle, which she proceeded to thrust deep into the neck of the corpse. Immediately the bottle started filling up with blood, glowing red with the ADAM contained within it. And from outside the train car, shouting voices could be heard. The splicers were coming.

The first one opened the door of the train and noticed only the Little Sister, and not the drill swinging it back out on to the platform. As the next one got the same treatment, two others came in through the door at the other end of the car. One yelled, getting Mr. Bubbles' attention. He rushed over, the ground shaking under his heavy feet. The first of the two splicers wielded a shotgun and he struck her twice, then finished her off on the floor. Meanwhile, the other one was beating at him with a wrench, metal clanking against metal. Mr. Bubbles lifted the splicer up high with his left hand, high into the air. The splicer yelled in fear. Incomprehensible gibberish. The drill made short work of him.

Lastly, over by the Little Sister, tugging at her arm, was a thin and squeaky one. Its face was wildly deformed due to the excessive plasmid use. In its free hand it held a fish gutting hook. It cackled and laughed. Until Mr. Bubbles lifted his hand and fired a bolt of electricity at it. He felt lightning. The shock incapacitated it briefly, making it dance. It recovered quickly though, and in retaliation flung the curved hook towards Mr. Bubbles. It hit with tremendous speed, slightly piercing the metal skin and getting stuck in the process. The spider splicer came after its blade, kicking Mr. Bubbles with both of its legs. It looked as if it flew through the air. When it landed on solid ground, Mr. Bubbles again made it dance using the power of plasmids. Then the drill carved through its flesh, finally killing it. The air in the train car was oozing with death and the iron smell of blood. It was eerily silent, except for the drill revving down and finally stopping completely. And of course the happy chirping of the Little Sister.
"Mr. Bubbles! I'm ready!" She said, as if nothing was wrong. As if nothing had happened.
"She is safe! Und not a scratch on her", the woman on the radio said, with a sigh of relief, "I am upstairs, in the ticket booth. Please, bring the little one to me."
Mr. Bubbles grunted and picked up the little sister to let her ride on his shoulders.
"As I said, I do not know your name", the woman said, "so for now you are Herr Bubbles. My name, it is Tenenbaum."
All the haunted tears and woes, in the dark at night, they turn so cold.

Sofia Lamb's office, 1955

Giving something away for free went against the spirit of Rapture. Accepting something that was free, was the very spirit of Rapture. Dr. Sofia Lamb held free mental counseling on Sundays, offering people advice. He didn't quite know why, but the writer had come for some reason and was now lying in Lamb's couch feeling like a mental patient. He felt exposed and vulnerable. Not a good feeling. He wasn't about to spill his guts to a complete stranger.
"Tell me, Mr. Perkins, why is it that you came to Rapture?" Lamb asked. She had a British accent, and her voice was formal, and cold. It seemed to go perfectly with her minute clothing style and neat way; nothing seemed to be uncalculated. Everything with her was exactly the way she meant it to be.
"I got the letter of recruitment. Just like everyone else", the writer answered, dodging the question.
"That's a cheap answer, Mr. Perkins. Why would you accept the recruitment? What is it that drove you to come here?"
The writer was silent for a few seconds. Then he said: "To write. Begin something that resembles a new life."
"You aspire to write then? Artistry?"
"Yes. It's going pretty good. That's not really what's frustrating."
"I see", Lamb said. She tapped her pen once, and twice. "But you feel unable to establish yourself, in order to begin anew. You seem a person who would not rush into things without thought. Do you feel as if Ryan fooled you in making you come here, with promises of gold?"

She's trying to put that thought in your head.

The writer didn't answer. Lamb frowned. There wasn't much of a conversation. Lamb asked some questions and he answered as easily as he could, and revealing as little as possible. On her end, Lamb got a bit frustrated. These shut in types did. But she did enjoy the challenge.
"I get the feeling", she said, after he'd shared nothing but silence for a minute, "that you're holding something important back. Why did you come to see me today?"
"Uh, it was free?"
Lamb frowned. "Mr. Perkins", she said sternly.
He sighed, "I wanted to know what's wrong with me."
"Everybody does. What exactly are you referring to?"
"I can't seem to be able to talk. You know, around people."
"This much I construed already. Social anxiety is normal among many people, though it is not often spoke of. People who suffer from social anxiety are often seen as abnormal, a great deal of them see themselves as abnormal. But introversion might well be linked to some traumatic event in your childhood. Tell me, who is it you wish to talk to, more exactly?"
"I, I feel like that's irrelevant", he deflected.
"It's a woman", Lamb said, slightly annoyed. The writer just nodded. This man was not what you might call a winner, Lamb thought. But she saw some use in him, if he could be convinced to join the Rapture Family.
"Mr. Perkins", she said, "in Ryan's Rapture, there is no room for those fall down. The moment one falls from the grid, getting back in is impossible. But in the Rapture Family, we help each other through strength in unity and metamorphosis; we grow as one, though we are many. Unlike Ryan's philosophy, where each man is to fend for himself and take without giving, the Rapture Family strives to evolve through a social conscience, in which everyone has an equal part. I am extending to you a formal invitation to join us, at my artist's retreat in Dionysus Park. It is a place for growth, where we would help you overcome your social anxieties."
"Is that so?" He asked, crossing his arms. She noticed this. He continued: "And what do you want from me?"
"Your loyalty, Mr. Perkins. To me, and to the Rapture Family. I do not demand an answer straight away, I only ask that you think of what I propose."
"Frankly doctor, it sounds like you're trying to convert me", the writer said, "and my old man always taught me to think for myself. I guess he did something right."
Lamb frowned, then said: "As I said, I ask that you think about it. It is a way for you, Mr. Perkins, to not only help yourself, but to help Rapture."
"Fine", the writer said, sighing, "I'll think about it. You were kind enough to see me for free, it's the least I can do, right?"
"Fair enough", Lamb said, smirking in the corner of her eye. Before he left, she presented him with a blue butterfly broche to wear at their next meeting, if he was interested in joining the Rapture Family. On his way home, he threw it in a trash bin, and he never went to see Dr. Lamb again. The woman was a collectivist and cult leader. He didn't have the nerve for it.

Arcadia, 1956

Serene and simple was the green garden of Arcadia in Rapture. The nature there was only simulated, of course, but Julie Langford had done an outstanding job bringing the plants and trees to life in the underwater metropolis. The forests of Arcadia did serve an important role to the city, producing all its oxygen, and the many bees from the bee farm nearby pollinated the plant life. Julia Jensen had come here for some peace of mind and to take some photos of the underwater forest. The thought seemed impossible, yet it was true. The walkway of Rolling Hills was nice and all, maybe romantic, Julia thought, but she walked on the side of it, on the grass, touching the bark on the trees. It was peaceful to come here to avoid thinking. For several years now she'd been on her own, for the most part. She hadn't really dealt with all the pent up emotions of leaving the surface. She could see a shrink of course, but pay from the Rapture Tribune didn't really make her a rich woman. Besides, she felt better and better about living in Rapture. Seeing Arcadia really helped, too. She stopped by a bush to look at a bee gathering nectar in one of its flowers.
"Stay there, little bee", she whispered as she readied her camera. She turned the objective to get a good focus. She was saving up for a new Rapture made camera. When the bee was clear in focus she clicked the shutter button. Of course, that's exactly when the bee flew away and a moping Julia was left with a photo of a boring flower and a blurry bee.

As she continued onward along the path, the trees actually seemed looming and towering above her, blending out the light and creating an odd sense of claustrophobia and a darkness that didn't quite seem real. It felt as if though there was something else there with her. It was odd, like an actual forest, but without the slightest gust of wind. The tree branches were all still and unmoving. She ignored the feeling and went on, a bit faster than before.

But the feeling persisted still, and soon enough, she heard a voice. She stopped to listen, and heard that it was a sweet little voice that spoke as if half singing; a child humming a tune. As she drew closer to the child, or whatever it was, she found that her heart was beating rather fast. Soon she was overcome with a faint but foul odor, that began to manifest itself, as if something had died and begun to decompose. The towering trees seemed all the more unreal as she continued onward, towards the child. Darkness almost completely covered the path, odd though it seemed. Then, finally, she saw her, around the bend and in a clearing where there was a bit more lamplight to shine upon her. A sickly pale little girl, wearing nothing but a ragged little dress, dirty with dust and mud. Dirty, blonde locks held together by a once pretty bow, and glowing yellow eyes. It was a Little Sister.

At first, Julia was petrified. Then her curious side took over and she readied her camera, sneaking closer.
"Where angels fall, the roses grow tall", declared the little girl in a sweet, singing voice.  As Julia came closer, she could see what the Little Sister was doing, and it made her sick. The girl knelt before a body and drew glowing blood from it, using a large, dirty syringe, giggling and humming her childish tune as she worked. Julia approached the girl warily, knowing full well that these girls used to be accompanied by Big Daddies. The girl, humming her solemn tune, did not notice Julia approaching. She got really close, before she knelt down, still on her guard. She held up the camera to snap a photo. The girl simply ignored her and kept drawing blood. The shutter snapped and Julia snuck even closer, heart racing in her chest. All of a sudden, the very air was tainted with a mournful, metallic groan and Julia almost swallowed her heart and fell to the ground.
"Almost done", said the Little Sister in reply to the sound. Julia looked around, terrified, but could not see the originator of the sound. She decided to snap one more photo of the girl before she left. The Little Sister had finished drawing blood and now raised the container, to which a child's bottle was attached, to her mouth. Staring as if petrified, Julia could scarcely believe it. The girl was drinking the blood! It seemed like the girl wasn't human at all, but something decidedly alien inside a girl's body. She took another photo of the blood drinking Little Sister and then stood up.
Just then the Little Sister spoke up: "Mr. Bubbles? Where are you? There's something here! Help!" She began to cower before Julia, as if Julia was a monster who'd come to take her away, making Julia shrug and she decided to leave, quickly. The Little Sister continued shouting and then, seemingly from out of nowhere, her guardian Big Daddy appeared; a large monster of metal, dressed in an oversized diving suit, its porthole glowing yellow. It wielded a great, big mining drill on its right hand, and wore big air tubes on its back. It was ready to defend its Little Sister - and Julia stood between them. The Big Daddy groaned, the sensors in its porthole turning from a neutral yellow into a steaming red as it began to rage. It raised its drill high in the air.

At the last second, Julia realized what was about to happen, and jumped to the side, scraping her knee on the ground. The industrial drill hit the ground and cracked it with a loud crash. Julia, scared out of her senses, hurried to her feet and began to run back from where she came. She heard the cry of the Big Daddy behind her, but didn't stop to look back. She just ran, grasping her camera tight and fighting to hold back the tears. She didn't stop until she got out of the simulated forest. Then she stopped, panted and cried.
"Hey, hey! What's the matter?" Someone said, bringing Julia back to humanity. Julia looked up, seeing a woman, looking confused. It was good to see someone who was not a product of a laboratory somewhere.
"What's the matter?" The woman asked again, touching Julia on the shoulder. Julia panted and sniffled, but took a deep breath and kept it together.
"There was one of those horrible brutes, a Big Daddy", she explained, "and one of the little girls. It, it attacked me, I-"
"Not again", the woman said, "well you're safe now. They're not following you anymore. Come with me, I'll get you a band aid for your knee."
"Oh", Julia said, drying a tear. She hadn't even noticed the scraped knee at all, until the nice lady pointed it out. Then it started to sting. She thanked the woman and went with her to a first aid station. On the way, the woman tried to make her feel better by talking about other things.
"My name's Langford", she said, "Julie Langford. Curator and head scientist here in Arcadia."
"I'm Julia Jensen", Julia said.
"It's nice to meet you Julia", Langford went on, shaking her head, "I'm sorry you had to come across one of those Big Daddies. More and more of them every day now, in Rapture. I wonder what it is that they do. I've heard they gather ADAM, somehow. But you should be safe as long as you let them mind their own business. Why exactly did they attack you?"
"I got between them, I think."
"Ah, that explains it. Those Big Daddies protect the Little Sisters with their lives if they have to. I'm sorry."
Julia didn't mention what she'd seen the Little Sister do. She didn't answer at all. The nice lady Langford followed Julia out of the park and made sure that she was fine before they parted. At least there was some humanity left, Julia thought. She was still all shook up, but she got home keeping a straight face. When she got home, she fell down exhausted in her soft bed. Her legs were shaking and she was still terrified. But she was alive, and she had a few good photos and an experience with no counterpart.




The writer's apartment, 1956

Tyger purred and licked his paws. Then he used them to clean the back of his head; he had some standards. Couldn't run around all dirty. He was lying in a comfortable bed, enjoying life without care, as cats do. Tyger was a perfectly content tabby, for the moment. The writer, whom Tyger had blessed with his presence, was typing away on his typewriter. Typical human behavior; always ignoring the kitty cats. Oh, Tyger had more humans, behind other doors, but only his writer called him Tyger. The lady down the hall called him Max, or Marx, or something, after one of those tedious human philosophers. Then there was that blonde fellow who was a bit too into plasmids - plasmids... turned humans into wizards. Tyger knew not what they did to felines - who had knighted Tyger.

When he felt that he was all nice and clean, and well rested, Tyger stood up on all fours, stretched his slender body and nimble legs. Then he yawned and jumped off the bed and onto the floor.
"Time to wake up, huh?" The human said. Tyger meowed softly in reply, turning on the charm. It was time for food, he thought.
"Food? Not yet. Just one more page. The Hawk and Isabela are about to, uh, you know..." the writer mumbled, blushing. Blushing, even though he was talking to a cat. Tyger meowed dismissively. One page? More like one eternity.
"No? Don't like it? It's not like she's an actual hawk, it's just a code name." Tyger turned around, showing his backside whilst he stretched some more.
"She's a spy, it's perfectly- aw, you're right. This story smells." The human tore the sheet of paper out of the typewriter and crumbled it, muttering to himself. At that, Tyger hurried on his silent paws over to the human's food storage. He knew there was a half eaten tin of tuna in there.
"Right then. Food it is." The human joined the hungry feline and opened the refrigerator. He rummaged through it a bit in search for something edible.
"Tuna? Yuck! That's for you. I better get over to the Farmer's Market, this cupboard is emptier than Andrew Ryan's heart." The writer human served Tyger the tuna he deserved, and then continued talking to himself. Like Tyger was listening. Honestly. Tuna, for crying out loud!

Don's Gymnasium, 1956

For a big man like Lloyd Bonham boxing seemed like it'd be a piece of cake. A real cakewalk. Been a fan of boxing his whole life, but being as how he was poor as a church rat growing up he'd never been able to take proper training. Except for the other boys of course, but they usually went down in the first round; one punch and it was a K.O. And with the Japs he carried a Browning. Not much of a sport.
"You're only striking with your hands", Bonham said, "gotta use your whole body, like I showed ya."
Now Bonham was too old to take up boxing, nearing his fifties. He was already sporting gray hairs. But in his free time he was a boxing trainer at Don's Gymnasium, near where he lived. Mostly, he taught what he'd picked up from an old military buddy named Franklin who used to be a boxer. That is, until a Jap shell blew him to bits. Bonham didn't talk aloud about working at the gym; volunteering was not very Rapture-like.

"I can't do it boss", the kid he was training said. Prangley, his name was. Colored kid.
"You can", Bonham said. He was wearing trainer gloves, standing in front of his student. Real slow, Bonham made a punch in the air, turning his whole body as he punched. "Like so. See how I turn my entire torso by the hip? And how I bend at the knee?"
"Uh huh..." Prangley said, looking a bit confused.
"You did it last week", Bonham recalled, "and the week before that. How come you've forgotten, when you could do it no problem one week and two weeks ago?"
Prangley closed his eyes and took a breath. Then he repeated Bonham's air punch, bending perfectly at the knee and turning his torso to give his right hook the perfect angle.
"See", Bonham said, "now let's go. Try to move with me."

Prangley began to throw some good punches into Bonham's gloves, and even followed when Bonham backed up.
"Uh huh", Prangley was panting, keeping the punching up while watching his steps. "I'm burning gasoline! Think I can beat Mikkelson this Saturday?"
"What?" Bonham lowered his hands. Prangley stood up straight, sweating and panting.
"I'm up against him on Saturday, at the Fighting McDonagh's -"
"We've just gotten started, Prangley", Bonham interrupted, "you won't be ready for months. Besides, Mikkelson's out of your weight class."
"It ain't like he's the champ or anything. Besides, I gots a secret weapon."
Bonham frowned. "What secret weapon?" He crossed his arms and leaned back, skeptical.
"Wait right there, I'll go get it", Prangley said, gleeful as a kid, and rushed off to his pack, just outside the ring. A few moments later he came back with a syringe in his hands. A tonic. The processed ADAM that could give a man super powers. Bonham didn't know quite how to react at seeing his student holding it up in front of him. Following a half minute of silence, he said:
"That's cheating."
"Not if they don't find out. Besides, it's legal for this tournament. C'mon, share it with me boss. You look like you could use a little more muscle. You look sorta soft."
Bonham looked at the serum. It was pale green in color, and have out a sickly glow. It was the kind that improved a man's physical prowess. Like speed, or resilience to incoming blows, or even his strength.
"W-which kind is it?" He asked, heart in his throat.
"Gives ya super strength", Prangley said, "can I try it boss? I swear I can beat Mikkelson."
Bonham didn't answer immediately. He watched the green ooze pulsing in the syringe, wanting out. Wanting to improve. Then he cleared his throat and looked around real quick.
"I'll go first", he said, "see how it feels. Might be it's no good for a sportsman such as yourself." Disappointed, Prangley handed the syringe over to Bonham. The constable hadn't even thought of splicing before. If you hesitate you die! Point, shoot and duck, boys!

Bonham put the needle to his skin, and - don't hesitate - spliced. Every muscle in his body grew with the ADAM pouring in his veins, improving him. He felt himself towering, a usurper in his own body stretching the limits of human physics. His head spun faster and faster and faster. Inside his head he screamed; not of angst, but of ecstasy.  Suddenly, the spinning stopped. Then there he stood, same as before, and he drew the needle out of his skin.
"How's it feel boss?"
"Not bad", Bonham mumbled, shaky voice He handed the syringe back. There was about half left. Prangley took it, but before he could use it, Bonham said, "I'm gonna try it out, see what it does."
Then, without thinking, Bonham struck Prangley straight over the jaw. Didn't even feel the punch in his knuckles. Prangley wen't down like a sack of yesterdays potatoes, and for a moment, Bonham stood looming over him, victorious like.
"Shit kid", he said the moment he realized what he'd done, "I'm sorry." He hurried to help Prangley to his feet.
"It's awight boss", the kid answered, wiping away blood that was pouring from his nose. "Ow! By dose!" He grimaced in pain.
"Is it broken?" Bonham said, worried. Prangley nodded. "Shit", Bonham went on, "just lean back, I'll get ya to a med pavilion."
Bonham guided Prangley out of the boxing ring and helped him out the door. He could still feel his muscles growing and getting stronger.

Farmer's Market, 1956

The Farmer's Market was the best place for food in Rapture. Sure, there were local grocery stores, but here you could get fresh vegetables and bread, and other stuff that almost seemed like a luxury in Rapture. The writer kind of felt like people were looking as he walked around. He'd gotten a little publicity from the book, but he wasn't a recognizable face. People didn't really care. He was looking at a fresh tunafish when he heard Julia Jensen's voice.

"Mr. Perkins?" She said. He looked up, blushing as he saw her. Odd, really, how a woman could be out shopping for good and still be so gracefully beautiful. She was looking at him with a slight smile and big, curious eyes. She wore a dark blue dress with white spots. Fitting her tightly, it showed her forms. The forms of a young woman in good shape. It was cut low in front, showing off her natural bosoms.
"Mr. Perkins. Fancy meeting you here."
"Miss Jensen, I'm sorry, I wasn't expecting, uh, I mean, I didn't see-"
"Oh, Mr. Perkins, no need to make a fuss", she said, and giggled, "I simply noticed you and stopped to say hi. A polite little stop, if you will."
"Well, hi", he said, trying his best to smile naturally. Christ, how was he supposed to know what to say? He had no social skills. Luckily, she went on:
"Oh! Mr. Perkins, have you met Sandy Reid? She's Mr. Reid's daughter, you know?" Next to Julia stood Sandy, daughter of the editor in chief of the Rapture Tribune. A tall young woman, with somewhat feminine features and a harsh way.
"Miss Reid, of course. Pardon me, I didn't see you there", the writer said politely, now even more nervous than before. Talking down the boss's daughter and all.
"Don't sweat it", Sandy Reid said nonchalantly and turned to Julia, "so, Julie. This him?"
Julia's face became instantly red. "Shush, Sandy!" And she gave Sandy a stare that could kill.

Shortly put, the writer had never felt more awkward in his life. But their conversation was interrupted, as the shop clerk demanded:
"So, you want the tuna or not?" In a typically annoyed Brooklyn accent.
"Oh, forgive me", Julia said, "here we are, babbling away while you-"
"You are babbling", Sandy pointed out.
"Anyways, I shall see you at the Tribune. Good day, Mr. Perkins."
"Of course", the writer said, relieved, "miss Jensen. Miss Reid." They walked off and he turned to the salesman, who said:
"Fuckin' finally. It'll be four bucks."
"The tuna, ladies man. You wannit or not?"
"Y-yes, of course." He paid the man and went on his way. Naturally he happened upon Julia Jensen and Sandy Reid again, on the way out of Farmer's Market. Luckily they were heading in the other direction, and so he only took great care to nod politely, while noticing miss Reid's mischievous smile and miss Jensen's blush. How many words had he spoken during that conversation, really? Enough to call it a conversation? It wasn't that he didn't want to talk to them. He just didn't know how. What to say or how to act. He had no idea what people usually talked about these days. Not much weather when you looked up. And still, he felt a tingle when he realized she stopped to talk to him.

He took the long, scenic route home, to watch the city. The art deco facades, the Manhattan like skyline that was showcased through enormous windows and the vast halls decorated with fine statues and beautiful decorations. Impossible to build, but it was real. Those Wales brother truly must be geniuses. The writer stopped by a window overlooking downtown Rapture, just to stare at it. Neon signs displaying company names in bright colors and the ocean worked exceptionally well together against the gloomy city skyline. It was grand. Watching it, he decided that he had to start dare talk to people, and to Julia Jensen, and to find what you really saw when you looked up.

Siren Alley, 1956

The red haired woman looked out of place, and she was. She'd heard stories about Siren Alley that had spiked her curiosity. Maybe that wouldn't be a good enough reason for anyone else, but for her it was. She didn't see many women around that weren't whores. And those didn't exactly follow the dress code she was accustomed to.

Julia Jensen's unusual curiosity and unique lust for exploration had led her into a number of odd situations. Like the time she'd ended up examining a line of fishermen who thought she was a nurse. All she'd done was to go down to Fontaine Fisheries, all curious like, just to watch what went on there. They must have been expecting a nurse or a doctor for some kind of check up, odd as that might sound, because the moment they saw her the one that was obviously the head honcho yelled to his mates to get in a straight line.
"All right, li'l betty's here to check up on stuff for doc Tenenbaum!"
With no way to get out of the situation, she simply played along and acted as if she knew what she was doing as the fishermen stood still, everyone showing her different body parts. Boy, did they smell! And the lumps one of them had on his private area made her steer clear of those parts of Rapture since then. But, finding herself in Siren Alley was something else entirely. Of all the things she'd encountered, this one was all new to her: human sexuality.

She walked slowly, almost hugging the wall. Trying not to stand out, but doing exactly that. As usual, she had her camera with her, hoping to get a few shots. Of what exactly she wasn't sure. The depravity? A spider sitting neatly on the wall, doing no one any harm, made her jump out into the walkway. No one else would have noticed it. But she did. Like every sane person, Julia Jensen was deathly afraid of spiders. That's why she loved Rapture. Spiders to a minimum. Mostly. But she lived in constant fear that they one day infiltrate the city. Like Ryan and his parasites. Only hers was a rational fear. She smashed that bastard dead. Someone gave her a look, but overall, no one seemed to really care. Over by the Pearl the women were more fancily dressed, like they were the better whores around here. The Mermaid Lounge seemed an okay enough place though, almost like it could be a refuge from the rest of the place. A lot of shops were still in business around, too, but the whole place had been turning into more of a red light district as of late, with businesses going down and violence and tensions in the city spiraling up. In one of the dark alleyways stood a smoking woman, barely dressed and leaning against the wall. As Julia passed, the woman said:
"Evenin' sweetie. Twenty bucks for a quick rumble." Julia turned around, startled and looked at the woman who simply blew smoke into her face.
"Excuse me?" Julia said, coughing.
"Look, doll. I'm providing a service here. Either you pay up or get outta the way so someone else can pay up."
"Are you offering-?"
"You got the money or not?"
Julia nervously started to look through her purse. "T-twenty dollars?" She produced a couple of Rapture dollar bills with Andrew Ryan's face on them.
"Yeah, that's right", the woman said, suddenly a lot friendlier, "thirty if you wanna record it with your fancy camera." Thirty dollars was so little money, Julia thought as she handed over the bills. Managing a smile, the whore took Julia by the hand and led her to some shack of a building. Part of Siren Alley was used as a living quarter. She lived here.

Some thirty feet away from where the young, beautiful redhead was standing, two young men were sitting, leaning against the wall. Both had cancerous blotches on their faces, and one was shooting blue liquid up his arm using a large syringe. Leaving half of the EVE he handed the syringe over to his friend. The other one spliced as well, using the same syringe, and they started to quiver and shake slightly, as their rush started and their DNA realigned itself. While the second one shook with the approaching high, the first seemingly realized he'd just handed over half of his hard gotten EVE to someone else.
"Hey Billy!" He shouted, getting up, "ya stealin' my EVE, ya lousy good for nothin'?" The other one contorted and shook for another moment. Then, suddenly, he opened his eyes wide.
"Whaddaya mean, Sam? We're sharing", his voice smooth and slow, as if trying to talk quickly while his body was in slow motion. He looked up and smiled, his eyes dazed.
"You're stealin' my EVE! I oughta burn ya into a crisp!" The splicer named Sam shouted. He took a step backwards, rage and the rush of the high shining in his eyes, and stretched out his hand against where Billy was sitting. For a moment his hands glowed, and then a small flame was ignited in his palm. Within a moment the flame grew to a ball of fire.
"I'll teach ya to steal from me!" Sam screamed and hurled the ball of fire at his friend. Only, Billy wasn't there anymore. Flickering blackness shifted in the air where he'd been just a moment before, and the incinerating flame hit the wall instead. Just then Sam's splicer friend appeared out of thin air, specks of light and darkness swirling in the air, behind Sam. He held a knife in his hand and put it to Sam's throat.
"I ain't stealin' nothing, Sam. We're sharing", Billy said, his eyes open wide and pupils small as dots. Then he cut Sam's throat and watched the blood spurt out at the ground. The whores around stared, appalled. People were watching Sam's teleporting friend. And Billy was watching back, for a moment. Then, again, he simply wasn't there.

The whore put out her cigarette in an ashtray she kept inside the shabby apartment. It had two rooms and was a complete mess. Things lying about, since no one cared about picking them up and dust collecting, since no one cared about cleaning. The ashtray looked like it hadn't been emptied in a long time.
"Well", the woman said, looking at Julia, who looked around nervously, "you don't really look like the type who'd like women." Julia didn't answer, she just tugged her own blouse.
"Don't you worry, I'm gentle and kind", the whore said, "or I can be a hellcat. If that's what you want. You lookin' for a spanking? Been a bad girl?"
"I don't, uh..." Such talk made Julia blush. She had thought of such things, but never delved into it, as she was now on the verge of doing. The whore smiled, genuinely amused.
"Just come here and ol' Rose will give you an all different kinda blush." She stepped close and grabbed the young woman's collar. The shabby living hole wasn't romantic, the entire setting was disturbing if anything. That's where Julia Jensen became a woman. For the cost of thirty Rapture dollars.

Back out in the marketplace Sam's corpse had stopped its death throes and was lying face down in his own blood. The wall he'd shot fire at was smoking, but was not on fire. Siren Alley truly was a wonderful place to lose ones innocence.

On the second floor of one of the dingy apartments in the red painted district known as Siren Alley overlooking the market street below, was Sandy Reid. She was Julia Jensen's best friend , the daughter of the editor in chief of the Rapture Tribune, and one of the working girls under Daniel Wales' employ. Neither her father nor Julia knew of it, and now Sandy watched her best friend down there, speaking to one of the girls. On the bed, putting his socks and shoes on, was her last customer. A man of about fifty, who seemed rather successful, wearing a full suit and tie. He was probably rich. Rich guys had the weirdest kinks. He'd strangled her during the act. Choked her until she almost passed out. As she watched Julia down below, she stroked her still aching neck and throat.
"I know you liked it", the customer said, "and you don't have to pretend you didn't, because you'll get no sympathy from me."
She just gave him a quick glance before turning to look out the window again. Julia was walking off with the whore she'd been talking to. In a way, Sandy wasn't surprised. She knew about Julia's many excursions now and then, but she also knew that Julia didn't have any experience in this.
"Hey? You listening?" Her customer barked. He got up from the bed and stroked the crease in the suit neatly.
"That's my friend down there", Sandy replied, silently and absentminded. The man walked imposingly over to the window and looked out.
"Who?" He demanded.
Sandy crossed her arms, nodded in Julia's direction, and said: "The redhead."
"Nice", the customer said, tying his tie, "next time, she gets to join us."
"Very funny", Sandy said, grinding her teeth.
"You think I'm joking?" The customer said, "I'm going to find out who the hell she is. Bet she's tighter than you." He chuckled and turned to leave, dusting a hair of his collar. That's when Sandy burst.
"Hey!" She blurted out, no longer thinking - he'd insulted her best friend - "don't you talk about her! Don't you even fucking think about her, you hear!"
"What's this?" The man said, amused, but untouched, "a whore who talks back? That can't be good for business."
Sandy walked up to him with determined steps. She'd see this through.
"I mean it", she said, almost screamed. Tears welled up in her eyes.
"Oh, are you going to cry?" He laughed at her, "nobody likes a crying whore."
In anger, Sandy shoved her finger close to his face, to give him her angry reply. But he was faster.
"Get your filthy finger away from me", he snarled, and grabbed her hand, twisting it, and thereby forcing her to turn around. Then he grabbed her throat and pulled. Saying nothing, he strangled her for some time. She could feel his breath on her ear, as she struggled to retain hers. At first, she refused to resist, as she knew it would only make him pull harder, but as asphyxiation drew closer, she began to tear at his hand and his arm.

The terror of feeling life escaping - he pulled harder when she struggled - and the blackening in front of her eyes... she felt dizzy. Fading. A slow gurgle rose in her throat and her eyes began to roll back white. For a moment, dying felt sweet, but when she lost consciousness he let go. A hard lump of human waste, she fell to the floor, hacking and coughing, sucking in air to her lungs whilst drooling. But still alive. Sandy Reid crawled up on all fours, laying in the shadows of her customer, lover and assailant. For a moment, she felt like throwing up, but she resisted the urge, and as air returned to her lungs, the feeling faded.
"You're pathetic", the customer said, leaning down to inspect her. And then he laughed. Before he left, he threw a wad of single dollar bills over her, covering her in the bitter fruit of her labor.
"Ain't life in Rapture grand?" Was the last he said. She heard him laugh as he left and she was still on the floor, trying to breathe. Color returned to her face, and she could start to breathe normally. Inside, she wished he hadn't let go.

Fighting McDonagh's, 1956

Bill McDonagh was an avid boxing fan himself. He'd named his tavern down in Neptune's Bounty after his old man. And that's why he held boxing matches there on Saturdays. This particular night, Lloyd Bonham was there to see his student, Prangley, take on Mikkelson. Bets were placed - mostly to Prangley's disadvantage - and people got plenty amped up for the fight. It was a tournament open to boxers who used plasmids; they weren't illegal, and both Prangley and Mikkelson used them. Bonham stood outside the ring, in Prangley's corner, giving the kid some last minute pointers. Or as he wanted to call them, warnings. Prangley was nervous, and with good reason. Mikkelson had fought in the Danish resistance movement during the war, came to Rapture and started boxing at forty. And he was big as a house. He had at least twenty pounds on Prangley, who had insisted on the fight for a long time before he was heard. Sure enough, Prangley had bulked up using plasmids and a lot of good, hard training, and Bonham, trying to stay optimistic, thought there might be a chance. A slim one. Then, there was Mikkelson, who was probably on all kinds of steroids.

To introduce the combatants, Bill McDonagh, who was Andrew Ryan's right hand and one of the chief engineers in charge of constructing Rapture, took the stage. There was a lot of chatting and drinking going on among the audience who had come to see a great Dane beat up a black kid. McDonagh asked for silence before beginning his introductions.
"Welcome all, to fight night at the Fighting McDonagh's, where tonight we have something never before seen", he began, speaking in his thick Cockney accent, "this is a fight for plasmid users, meaning that both combatants might use plasmids as part of their training. I've been told that both are happy and pleased with Muscle Gro, for sale now by Ryan Industries-" Bonham noticed how McDonagh slightly shook his head "-now, in the red corner is the defender, a man whose name I have long since stopped trying to pronounce; the Beast of Scandinavia, Oivin Mikkelson!"
Most of the people there cheered, and when they simmered down, McDonagh went on: "The challenger, in the blue corner, is a new comer, who has especially requested this fight. One might wonder how he fits his balls in those trunks, eh?" People laughed. Prangley stared sternly at McDonagh, and Bonham couldn't decide if it was scorn or determination. "He trains at Don's Boxing and Wrestling Gymnasium, who has helped sponsor tonight's event. It's the starting place of all future champions!" Bonham noticed how McDonagh yet again shook his head and sighed, ever so slightly. "Introducing, first time in the ring, Albert Prangley!"
The cheer for Prangley was smaller than Mikkelson's, by far. But he had some friends who were there to cheer him on, and Bonham clapped his hands in support. Looking at the big, bulky Mikkelson, Bonham knew that Prangley needed all the support he could get. McDonagh exited the stage. He wasn't comfortable with all the product placement, but he'd sucked it up.

Bonham turned his attention again to Mikkelson. What a mountain! He couldn't help but admire his strongman look, even though he was there as Prangley's trainer. The referee took the stage next and declared the rules. Prangley was really worked up, jumping up and down in place, and punching the air. Mikkelson just stood there with a rock hard expression on his face. It was just impossible for Bonham not to admire the Dane for his strength and his muscle mass. It was what he'd always wanted for himself. But he also admired Prangley. The kid had courage the likes he'd never seen, to go into a bout with Mikkelson. The referee demanded that they both follow his order at all times, and they touched gloves. The referee then backed up and the bell rang, starting the fight. Prangley skipped about, fists raised and looking sternly and concentrated at his adversary. He jumped up to Mikkelson and threw a couple of punches, which the Dane easily dodged. Then came an uppercut that sent Prangley flying. He landed over in his own corner, and Mikkelson won the fight on a knockout.

The Limbo Room, 1956

"Nobody knows you... when you're down and out... in your pocket, not one penny. And as for friends, you don't have any..." Grace Holloway sang with such passion, feeling every note as it touched her tongue. The lighting wasn't optimal and it wasn't really much of a show, but by God, Grace could take tone. She completely blew the writer away. He sat in the audience that night, and swiftly changed his mind about the music in Rapture. Ryan and those fancy pricks could keep Sander Cohen, and even Anna Culpepper. Grace Holloway was one of the people. She sang their songs. Songs about what it was really like to live in Rapture and Pauper's Drop. The writer sure was lucky to inherit his father's money when the man passed away. And living alone, he could stretch out his money and afford the place in Artemis Suites. Without that money, he would never be able to support himself as a mere writer and columnist. He still had some saved, in his mattress. The old fashioned way.

The people in Pauper's Drop weren't as fortunate. On the way here he'd seen beggars on the streets. Beggars in Rapture! People expecting a handout. Some of them had nothing. That's what happened in Rapture, he realized, when people ran out of money. They would have nothing to fall back on. Social security and the likes were forbidden in Ryan's Rapture. Maybe, he thought, this was why he had the job at the Tribune. To try and make a difference. Up till then, his columns were all light news. Simple observations of society, that in a way strengthened Andrew Ryan's beliefs and visions. No, the writer had to get more involved in what went on in the city. He'd always thought that these things didn't matter, but seeing the state of Pauper's Drop and the people living there awakened the rebel within him, and he knew whose side he'd eventually have to take. But to openly speak out against Ryan and his policies wasn't the way to go about it. And he still thought Ryan was right in some principles. It was just a matter of small changes. But any change in Rapture could impossibly be a small one. The seed was sown in his mind.

He clapped as Grace took a bow. Then she came down to meet him. She'd noticed him and she hadn't forgotten his face, even though they hadn't met since arriving in Rapture.
"Chris Perkins", she said, "how come you haven't visited until now?"
"Uh", he blushed, but she smiled.
"I'm only joking", she said, "so tell me what you thought."
"You were great, Grace. I'd have never thought you were that good."
"Wasn't she?" They were joined by a man approaching behind Grace, and bending down to kiss her on the cheek before sitting down.
"James, honey", Grace said, "this is Mr. Chris Perkins. He and I came to Rapture together. Chris, this is my husband, James.
"Chris Perkins?" James said, "oh sure, I know you. You're that writer, saw your poster down by the book store."
"It's my pleasure, Mr. Holloway." They shook hands. Then James turned to his wife:
"You were great tonight, my dear. I'm sorry for being late, I was, uh-"
"I know what you been doing", Grace said sternly, "I told you, I don't want you speaking against Mr. Ryan. What would I do if something happened to you?"
James sighed, remaining silent. The writer said nothing.
"We're trying to get pregnant", Grace went on, "and meanwhile, you're trying to organize against Ryan. I don't like it."
"I know, dear. Me neither."
Feeling the tension, the writer excused himself.
"Do come by some other time", Grace asked, smiling genuinely. She didn't have many friends in Rapture. She didn't fit with these people.
"I promise", the writer said, looking back at them and smiling.

Unpublished column found among Mr. Perkins' belongings. Status: not publishable. Notes: Some words unreadable due to blood on the paper. Subject: Pauper's Drop & the poor. Word count: 196

Today I went to the Limbo Room, to see Mrs. Grace Holloway perform. On my way there I witnessed firsthand the depravity and the hunger of the people who live in the part of the city which is called Pauper's Drop. Such depravation and hunger should not exist in a utopia, or any civilized society for that matter. This much should be clear, even to Andrew Ryan. I am not the right person to even declare the state of Pauper's Drop and its inhabitants. This I leave to the aforementioned Mrs. Holloway, who does so with great passion.

I am, however, skeptical to the manifesto of Dr. Sofia Lamb, which is handed out between songs, as I do not believe this Dr. Lamb to be entirely truthful in her motives. Call me paranoid. It is, lastly, clear to me that something must be done to help the poor people of Rapture, those at the bottom of our society, be it through altruism or taxation or some other means. Some way to give these men, women and children another chance. No civilized human, God fearing or not, could visit Pauper's Drop and not feel as I feel.