Medical Pavilion, 1958

Ah, so the old Jensen bitch was here again. One of his regulars, you could say. There was probably more of Steinman on her than herself by now. On her first visit, she'd told him exactly what she wanted and how she wanted it, a thinner nose, slimmer calves and a slight uplift of her bosoms. He remembered her exact words as she sketched outlines on a black and white photo of herself in the nude:
"This is what my mother used to look like before that, that drunk picked up a knife one day and had his way with her. I want you to make her pretty again. The knife should put her back together."
Those were the words. She'd even shed a tear. Steinman had no sentimentality for that. He'd performed her surgery and added a few more... personal touches. And she'd kept coming back after that. He liked what he'd accomplished with her so far considering what she started out as, but Aphrodite wasn't satisfied. Then again, she didn't have a very good face to begin with, so it was hard to bring out beauty from underneath it. All too plain, really. Now Jensen's daughter, she'd be one to work on. In due time, of course. Aphrodite would have it no other way. She lay on the operating table before him and he was speaking his thoughts into an audio diary.
"Do whatever you want, that's what she said. Just to make her beautiful... if I could take the fat from her cheek and insert it... nurse! How long?"
"Thirty seconds, doctor."
"I shouldn't have to wait for anesthesia to, there's a thought! Surgery with no anesthesia. Make a note of it."
"Yes... without anesthesia I could apply the ADAM directly at cellular level and see the progress in real time without the limp that anesthesia brings..."
He got excited at the thought.

Dr. Steinman took a scalpel from his coat pocket. It was still bloody from his last patient. That bitch had the nerve to die on him. He put the scalpel against Mrs. Jensen's cheek and sliced it open to have a look inside.
"Hmm... if I should just..." he cut and sliced Barbara Jensen's face. "Expose the cheekbone, a bit of cartilage from the nose..."
"Doctor!" The nurse began to yell. In a moment she turned from a helpful assistant into a damn obstacle. Steinman ignored her and kept working. The monitor that Mrs. Jensen was connected to was beeping at an alarming speed as her heart rate went up with the shock of Steinman's treatment. She yelled again.
"Shut up, nurse. Eyelids go-" For a few moments she did shut up. Then the beeping on the monitor rapidly began to drop in intervals.
"Doctor, her heart rate is dropping!"
"Shut- what?"
"We're losing her. Doctor. She's gone." Mrs. Jensen's heart rate turned into a steady beep on the monitor.
"Argh!" Steinman made a fist and struck Barbara Jensen right in the chest. "Amateurs!"
At that, the patient awakened. She opened her mostly lidless eyes and started screaming in absolute horror and shock. Her face was bloody, a pulp of Steinman's mess, ADAM, skin and flesh. When she screamed, she spewed blood.
"Doctor?" The nurse yelled, but Mrs. Jensen soon fell back into Death's dark embrace. There was blood all over her, because Dr. Steinman wouldn't stop stabbing her in the chest with his scalpel in disgust over her nerve to go and die on him like the other bitch.

In her last breaths, Julia Jensen's mother muttered something about being beautiful at last. Then she gurgled the blood in her throat and died. Aphrodite was not pleased. And neither was Dr. Steinman. As for Mrs. Jensen, she didn't care anymore. In his quest to unveil true beauty so many had died on him. It was just so rude! But he knew that if he could get his hand on this bitch's daughter, Julia her name was, he could create perfect beauty. She was good looking to begin with. Nothing compared to what she'd be when he and Aphrodite was done. Then Aphrodite would be pleased. Just had to get her in here.
"Oh well", he said and pressed record on a new audio diary. "Post mortem operations on the Jensen bitch begins."

Persephone, 1958

In her cell in Persephone sat Dr. Sofia Lamb with a blank stare on her face. Even though she was free to roam the facility as she wished, she was still a prisoner. She performed her psychology stunt on the other inmates and the warden, but indoctrinating them into the family was still tiring, and not very giving. Warden Nigel Weir was slowly coming to see how Ryan's visions would ultimately be the indomitable end of the people that he seemed to have forgotten. Simon Wales had just left. He was her biggest connection to the rest of Rapture. It seemed he'd opened up worship services in Siren Alley. He left all teary eyed after she ensured him that the people would rise in the body of the lamb. It was a distant ship, moving on the horizon.

In her thoughts she forgot to listen to Jimmy, the inmate whom she was counseling at the moment. She felt like a fever; his lips moved, but she couldn't hear what he was saying.
"Jimmy... you are only coming through in waves", she said, calm as the ocean, rubbing her temples to make the beginning head ache go away.
"Sorry, doc?" Jimmy said in a nervous voice. He didn't have a confident man's voice.
"It's all right. I just need some rest. Why don't you come back tomorrow, and we'll continue?"
"S-sure, doc." Jimmy got up from Lamb's bunk, a hunched figure, laden with the untimely death of his parents and then the burden of Ryan's Rapture. Jimmy had owned a business - made lamp feet of all things, out of coral - and when some competitor took to ugly tricks, Jimmy wanted new rules. He started a small protest group and handed out fliers. It didn't take long before they took him here. Now, the orphan boy would rot away with all the others who dared raise a voice against Ryan's great chain.
"Jimmy", Dr. Lamb said as he was leaving the cell.
"Yes, doc?" He turned around.
"You trust me, don't you?"
"Yes. Yes I do." Jimmy straightened up and his expression turned to confidence. Pride.
"Good. You see, with the Rapture Family no man is left behind. Rapture is a body, and we are the voice. Before long, Rapture will rise."
"W-what do you mean, doc?"
Dr. Lamb took a deep breath.
"You are not alone, Jimmy. Come back tomorrow."
"Sure thing, doc." He turned, and left her alone.

As Jimmy left, Dr. Lamb took a cigarette and lit it with her thin, bony fingers. She felt the head ache coming on. The inmates were mostly fragile men. Not nearly a hard bunch to convince. There was no challenge to it - and she wasn't even sure that was what she wanted. She remembered that writer, what was his name? Christopher Perkins? Stanley Poole had dropped his name once, called him an inspiration even. He was a columnist for the Rapture Tribune, as she recalled. Lamb had picked up his book, The Moon, and on the pages read his mind. Though colored by Andrew Ryan's beliefs, there was a rebellious boy within, looking up to his father but anxious for purpose; somewhere to belong.

That purpose, she believed, could be the Rapture Family. If only he'd slip up, Ryan would send him to Persephone. She'd asked 'Father' Wales to look up this writer, and see if he might be recruitment material. In any case, he was talented with words - a bit dramatic, perhaps - and that might always be of use. Sofia Lamb laid down for a moment, and thought of Eleanor. Was it really worth it, being locked in here, when it meant she couldn't see her own daughter? Yes. When she got out, Rapture would be a different place indeed. And Dr. Lamb would make it ready for Eleanor. With a sigh, she got up to go see the warden.

The writer's apartment, 1958

His head was throbbing so bad. When he opened his eyes everything was spinning, making him nauseous. Even more nauseous. What in God's name had he done last night? It took all the powers he could muster, but he sat up finding himself in his two seat couch. Everything around him was spinning even faster, and even though he couldn't focus he counted two scotch bottles. Both nearly empty. It felt as if he'd drunk an entire brewery. And the taste in his mouth kind of confirmed that. Notes were scattered all around the room, also spinning around like a Sander Cohen record. He, too, made the writer nauseous.

He managed himself up and hastily drank a glass of water. Two glasses. That should ease the hangover a little bit. Searching for anything edible however, he made a startling discovery. In the pantry lay two syringes. They both contained glowing liquids. One red, the other blue. ADAM and EVE. Had he spliced up last night? He didn't think so. Plasmids were supposed to make you feel special or something, and all he felt was nauseous.

Head still going around and throbbing like insane he sat down in front of his desk, placing the hypos in front of him, by the type writer. There was a mess around him, too, but the plasmids took all his attention. Both syringes seemed full, and his quick, albeit hung over, search yielded no other syringes in his apartment. Still, when he looked at them he wondered.
"Why shouldn't I?" His reflective whisper was a raspy remain of last night's drinking. Immediately after, he coughed. He shook his head, grabbed the red ADAM hypo and looked at it as it glimmered. The liquid in it, alive? It moved, shifted as though it wanted out. He held it in the light of the window, or rather, the luminescent flickering of the ocean and the glow of the neon. His heart pounded in his chest as he put it to his skin.

He hesitated. His hand trembled. And he didn't have any more time to think about it. He was already late for the meeting at the Tribune. He left the syringes at his desk and scrambled to clothe himself in something that did not smell like a rundown back alley, comb his frizzy hair and brush the stink of brewery out of his teeth. One more glass of water, because he sorely needed it. Then he hurried out and toward the Atlantic Express. Run down though it had become as of late.

The Rapture Tribune, 1958

Julia Jensen was increasingly worried each minute that passed and the writer didn't show up. What in God's name had Ryan's men done to him? Her heart skipped a beat every time anyone entered the meeting room, revealing to her the feelings sunk and killed with her own descent and arrival in Rapture. She had left her fiancée on the surface. Even though she wasn't even twenty at the time, she thought it true love. It was her mother who'd been recruited for Rapture. And Julia had to come along, leaving her friends, education and Robert, her fiancée.

Maybe Robert was still looking for her. Maybe he missed her dearly. Or maybe he had forgotten her. Moved on and married someone else. Probably that nitpicky Petunia Broomsfield his parents liked so much. Then again, Julia had certainly forgotten about true love remarkably fast since coming to Rapture. But now those aching feelings and despair over wanting to see someone the back of your head told you that you would never see again bubbled right back up.

Not Robert. No, she didn't even think his name. Didn't remember his face. No. The writer. And it felt wrong that she let her want for companionship define her so much. She knew that her mother and father were right that she should focus on her career and make something of herself; become independent. But no one is truly independent. We all have moments of weakness when we need a confidant and Julia had none. She straightened her back as she sat down and corrected her papers in front of her. Tightening her ponytail she looked around and saw the journalists gathered. They usually started the meeting as soon as Mr. Reid showed up.

Ugh. There came Stanley Poole. She wasn't fond of him. Mainly because he was convinced that she was, and acted accordingly. All right. Put on a happy face. She was the secretary for the meeting after all, since the regular secretary had been fired after splicing up on the job one too many times and unleashed a swarm of bees in the office. Poole sat down and she served him a cup of coffee. And here she thought Rapture would mean the end of gender stereotypes, like it did for her mother.
"Thanks, doll", Poole said, winking.
"Good morning, Mr. Poole", she said, voice stable and with a slight cheer she didn't know how she could muster. It wavered a bit though, as she went on: "Say, Mr. Poole, you haven't seen Mr. Perkins lately, by any chance?"
"Uh, no, I just-"
"Don't you worry doll. Ol' Stanley'll keep ya company." He winked again, just as the editor in chief, Mr. Reid, entered. Juliasat down by the typewriter. She was the secretary after all. Put on a happy face. But the writer didn't show up. And Mr. Reid seemed awfully tired, his eyes blank.

Julia served him a cup of coffee with a spoon of sugar. She added one extra spoon just for him; she knew he'd have wanted it anyway. Mr. Reid always took one spoon and one extra when he was stressed. He gave her a strained smile.
"Mr. Reid", she said, wondering if she should say anything at all.
"Miss Jensen?" He looked into her eyes and she saw concern. Something terrible must have happened to him and she still saw concern in his eyes. Concern for her.
"Sir", she said, "I have not seen Mr. Perkins yet. He is usually on time. I'm afraid something has happened."
There came a small smile across Mr. Reid's face.
"My girl", he said, taking her by the hand and looking reassuringly into her eyes, "I am sure it is nothing. A delay on the Express or some other nonsense. Don't you worry."
Julia nodded and thanked him. He was probably right. She took a deep breath and put on a happy face.

Sitting down in her place again after serving Mr. Reid's coffee, she picked up her pen to make sure she got everything down. She'd be faster with her typewriter, but the clacking of the keys would be too loud in the meeting room.
"Is everyone here?" Mr. Reid began in an almost broken voice. No one said anything as he looked around. His eyes were red as if he'd been crying. Julia thought of saying the writer's name, but didn't.
"Good", Mr. Reid continued, "I'm sure we are all aware that sales are going down and prices up? In the light of that knowledge I am at a loss. We are still doing well, recording profits, especially in the finer parts of the city, but I am certain at length that that will stop."
"That's not our fault is it, sir?" One of his journalists said, "it's them plasmids. People spend all their money on 'em."
Mr. Reid nodded.
"It's true, but not entirely. The increased segregation spreading to the middle class neighborhoods has also proven to be a factor and..."
Julia wrote down all they said as fast as she could, her pen scraping against the paper. She began to drift in her thoughts, yet her fingers still wrote the words. At length, the meeting became proper, leading into the day's chores. None of their jobs were safe.

Pauper's Drop, 1958

Julia didn't like this place. Those splicers were around, and there was garbage most everywhere. The whole place smelled like trash and rotten fish. All over, there were the rusty decay and corrosion on the walls and people; men, women and children, sitting along the walls in rows, huddled over. They all looked at her as she passed by. She definitely didn't fit in and she couldn't wait to leave. In a corner lay one of those Big Daddies, its life snuffed out. And it was just left there. Big Daddies were guardians they said. Protectors. But they were monsters, she thought. What on earth could bring one of those down? She walked around it and almost crashed into a beggar instead. The beggar, a woman, had splotches and thickened red skin on her face and wore ragged clothes, stained with what seemed like blood.
"Spare a dollar, miss?" She pleaded with a squeaky voice.
The word parasite sprung into Julia's mind, but she didn't utter it. It was all the propaganda. And her mother. When they keep reiterating their feverish thoughts, no matter how vile, their agenda, their vocabulary, their thoughts seep into the best of us. She pitied the poor woman. But she couldn't be caught partaking in altruism. So she shook her head.
"Please, miss", the woman cried, "me children are starving and I haven't seen a penny in a fortnight." Julia's heart went out to the woman and she tucked a twenty dollar bill into the palm of her hand. The woman cried and thanked her.
"You are a good one, miss. Me children will go to bed with full stomachs thanks to you." Julia smiled at her, a strained smile, and hurried away.

She wished she didn't have to go this way, but she was going to the writer's apartment and the Atlantic Express was locked down from here, for temporary repairs. And so she had to walk the rest of the way. A welcome sight in all the despair and destruction was the Fishbowl Diner. They were open and she went inside. It didn't seem like there was much business, what with all the residents being poor as church mice, but there were two other fellows in there. Both averted her eyes and stared almost angrily into their cups. It looked like the place hadn't been cleaned in a long time, dust collecting in the corners.

She ordered coffee and sat down in the farthest booth, to look out the window. In all her explorations she'd never seen a place in a state like this. There were advertisement posters all over the walls. Grace Holloway, a colored woman, was apparently putting on shows at the Limbo Room. She'd like to have seen one some time, but it said 'cancelled' in big red letters over some of the posters. Then there were the Atlas posters. They were adorned by a handsome, highly stylized, working man and the words 'WHO IS ATLAS?' She also noticed one poster advertising the writer's new book. 'The follow up to last year's best seller by Rapture's favorite writer! Returning to the Source, by Chris Perkins.' That's what it said. Half of the poster had been torn down, and an Atlas poster put on top of it. Leaving her coffee untouched she left the diner, dead set on finding the writer and returning to the source with him.

The cold air hit her on the cheek hard as she left the diner and the smell of decay filled her nose. She almost wished she'd stayed in the diner, but she had to keep going. Around the corner she saw the beggar woman again. She was standing by the Gatherer's Garden and indulging in a plasmid, glowing and pulsating a sickening red in its syringe. The feeling of despair as to the conditions of Pauper's Drop turned into anger. She wanted her money back, but more importantly, she wanted an explanation. Why would the woman lie like that? She knew the answer of course, but still. She wanted satisfaction. She walked up to the parasite. Getting close, she heard the woman arguing with another splicer.
"I don't like needles, but what are you gonna do?" The woman said.
"Y'know, there's them plasmids you drink, too", the other put in.
"Darling, those are tonics", the woman said in a condescending voice.
"Nah, y'damn degenerate, I mean like 'Old man winter' and such. You drink 'em!" Her not so friendly friend enlightened her.
"Drink? Why, that sounds -" Then the woman saw her coming and swiftly swung her arm up. Directly after, a small metal pipe followed. It flew through the air against Julia, tossed with great agility by the Telekinetic splicer. She swerved at the last second and the pipe flew by, clanking against a wall. Shocked, Julia looked for protection, thinking clearly in the chaos that erupted out of nothing. But she missed the next airborne projectile, which hit her on the arm. She fell down with a scream and held herself where the projectile had hit her. The splicer laughed, the cackling sound of an insane crone.
"Spare change miss!" The splicer yelled, "me children are hungry, they are!" Then she laughed again and lobbed a trash can against Julia using her telekinetic powers. Julia rolled over, and the trash can hit the ground with a metallic clank, and then rolled softly against her back. The splicer still laughed, but was soon interrupted by a man's loud voice:
"There! The telekinesis splicer!" The voice was followed by the sound of gunfire and the splicer going down with a yelp. The splicer fell right next to her and their eyes met. Julia's were wide open and terrified; the splicer's white, cold and empty.
"Just don't tell my children", the splicer muttered drearily as she died.

She was then yanked to her feet and she could see the face of her rescuer. A mustachioed man that she recognized but couldn't quite place. As he spoke he had a thick British accent:
"You all right, miss? You're lucky we were here. We're not even supposed to take this, uh... you're hurt."
"It's nothing, sir. Just a scratch." But her grimace implied that it wasn't.
"Bollocks, it is. Hold on. Karlosky, a hand?" The other man came over and grabbed Julia's aching arm. "Got it?"
"Right. And pull!"
Before Julia could understand what was happening the two men had relocated her arm. It hurt something terrible and she grimaced in pain. But under the circumstances she was rather just happy to be safe and sound.
"You're lucky it wasn't worse", the British man said. But it still hurt like hell. They'd helped her, just out of the blue. She seemed to have a knack for getting trouble lately. And men seemed to have a knack for coming to her aid. She should be more careful.
"I knowthis woman", said the Russian, Karlosky. And she recognized him, too. "She is writer's girlfriend", Karlosky said, "should get home. Drop is bad neighborhood."
"Wait", Julia said, looking intently at Karlosky, "I remember you. From last night. You were the one who brought Chris, uh, Mr. Perkins to see Andrew Ryan. You have to tell me what happened, what did you do to him?"
She looked at him with a pained expression. Karlosky looked back with a confused one, and the Brit, Bill McDonagh, seemed even more confused. And tired.
"We do nothing", Karlosky explained, "we bring him to see Mr. Ryan and then he leave."
"So... you didn't hurt him?" Julia asked. McDonagh looked with an almost pained expression at Karlosky. If Julia could read his mind, she'd be terrified. McDonagh was closer to Ryan than anyone and knew better than anyone what he was capable of. He could probably have had the writer hanged in Apollo Square for less offenses.
"No, he leave Mr. Ryan's office after half hour I don't see him after that", said the Russian, shaking his head, revealing that hehonestly didn't know. As for McDonagh, she wasn't so sure, but he said nothing. Rapture had been shaking a long time, and this probably wasn't the first time McDonagh had seen people parted in Rapture, by events out of their hands.

She walked on hurried steps as she continued, wishing she could have gone the same way as her timely rescuers. But an icy wind drew on her arms as she hurried on, down from the Fish Bowl Diner into a small square, where the King Pawn was located. It seemed to be doing business still, shelves full of anything and everything that could be hocked or sold. A red neon sign glimmered beside it, declaring Luxury Rooms available at hourly rates. She doubted she'd want to see the inside of one of those "luxury" rooms. At the other side of the square was a Fontaine Clinic, one of those small hospital clinics Fontaine had opened before he died and his plasmid business taken over by Ryan Industries. She took care to walk around it, since there was an inhabitant banging on the door and walking restlessly to and fro outside, muttering about "getting to those goods". Probably they kept enough drugs stashed in that place to splice up a rhinoceros. On the second floor of the houses there were walkways, making walking between the houses that much easier. There were sick and old people there, looking blankly at her. The entitled little lady, so far out of her element it basically oozed of her. The drop was a terrible place.

Above the next Securis door was a cardboard sign reading 'Skid row', a pretty little nickname for the next part of the drop. She'd checked a map. Had to come this way. But it wasn't too far to the bathysphere station. She was sure she could hail a taxi, of sorts, and hurried her steps. Skid row looked, if anything, worse than the rest of the drop. Big, open spaces where the metal walls were beginning to corrode and houses clad in corrugated metal and sheets of plywood. Graffiti most everywhere, 'The end of Ryan is the end of the self' and 'Ascension is near' were the most popular, along with 'Imago is coming'. She didn't know what any of it meant, and frankly, she didn't want to.

Just as she tried to hurry by one of those Circus of Values vending machines she felt a hard grasp grabbing her shoulders. She shrieked at the sudden yank.
"Look Freddie", said a harsh voice in a Russian accent, belonging to the man holding her by the shoulders. She was swung around by the strong man and found an assailant, mostly human in his visage and not so far gone into splicing; only the thick, red skin on his forehead and reddened eyeballs. "Found rich whore! Pretty, too!"
"Let go of me, you fiend!" Julia cried, looking around in panic. Several people saw them, but not a one lifted so much as a finger.
"Listen to this", the man said, "a fiend, am I?"
Julia wriggled lose from his grasp and he laughed mockingly. She turned to run, but behind her was Freddie, the Russian assailant's splicer friend. He had the look of a dimwit, like he'd been dropped one too many times as a child, to go with the splicer's welts and outgrowths. He struck her across the cheek and the Russian caught her from behind again.
He dragged her away, kicking and yelling, with some help from Freddie, into a dark maintenance tunnel. There were people in there, too, but none cared what happened to the rich girl trespassing in the drop, spying on the poor people. A bit in, there was a small alcove with a few storage crates and tools. One of those big rivet guns some of the Big Daddies carried was leaning against the wall, its muzzle bent and rendered unusable.
"Hey, Igor", said Freddie as he let go of her legs, "what we gonna do with 'er?"
"Hold her, I tell you", Igor replied. Freddie grabbed Julia, who again began to struggle. But the splicer was strong and she couldn't get loose. She saw the Russian grab his pants and loosen the belt. The pants fell quickly to his knees, revealing pale, scarred legs and the fact that he probably didn't believe in underwear.
"What- what are you going to do?" She cried in horror, watching him struggle his pants completely off and throw them to the dirty ground. The Russian stepped up to her and looked at her, his insane eyes screaming an agonizing song into hers.
"I will rape you. I will have you all for myself while you beg for mercy, and trust me, no one will come for you", he looked hard into her eyes, an orgasmic shudder on his upper lip - he could almost taste her sweet blood already, "I will taint you... then, I will cut you here", he poked her with a finger, just below the stomach, and then drew it slowly up over her torso, even between her breasts, never averting his black eyes from hers but staring intently into hers without even so much as a blink, "and I will show you what inside of rich whore looks like. Just like inside of poor whore. Then... I will kill you."
The last few words he spoke almost in a British accent, revealing another part of him. His eye twitched and for a moment Julia was petrified. Then she remembered all the times she'd been saved from situations close to this, the last one just minutes ago.
"If I had spliced I'd let you see", she screamed, jerking again in Freddie's hard grip.
"Oh, is that so?" Igor asked, his accent turning Russian again, "tell me then, whore, who are you, that you are too rich and too good to fuck Igor Antanov? Tell me, who are you, that you are too rich and too good to even splice, like everyone in city of Rapture?"
Julia's eyes burned with anger. In an instant, she knocked backward with her shoulder, striking Freddie in the chest. He gasped for air, staggering backwards, and let go of the grip of her.
"I'm a god damn reporter", she scowled and made her hand into a fist. The next moment, she'd struck the Russian bastard square over the jaw, knocking him down with a cowardly yelp. While her attackers were knocked, she ran. She ran out through the maintenance tunnel and hurried as fast as she could over to the bathysphere station. She shook with adrenaline, rage and terror, all at once. But she did make it out. Not a second too soon. She would never set foot in Pauper's Drop again, after this. Never again.




Artemis Suites, 1958

The glass encased walkway directly outside the building was lit up nicely to showcase the natural colors of the ocean. Greens and blues and hues of black flirting with fluttering darkness and shade like sea creatures. Then on the building itself neon signs added the gloomy feeling of the modern day Atlantis. It was easy to forget the beautiful marvel that Rapture really was, with all that was happening in the city lately. There weren't many splicers around here, so Julia was completely alone in the tubular walkway leading up to the building where the writer lived. It was eerily silent, the only sound coming from the washing of the ocean and the dripping of a small leak by a girder in the walkway. And to enhance that creeping feeling a small school of fish of almost colorless appearance was following her, directly above her. The walkway was only about twelve meters in length from one building to the other, and there was a fork in it that led a bit to the right and to another entrance. This kind of walkway was supposed to give an airy feeling to Rapture, giving the makeshift appearance of walking outside. But the walkway seemed longer.

She neared the Securis door on the other side and finally heard noises. Thumping. The thumping of very heavy footsteps. And then from behind the Securis door she heard a girl giggling and telling a Mr. Bubbles to hurry up.
"Enough dilly dallying, Mr. Bubbles. Don't make me carry you", the girl said, her voice dampened by the door, but still hearable. The big, metal Securis door swung open before Julia Jensen could reach it. And on the other side he stood. Big Daddy. The machine man was colossal! Its big head was round and dotted with yellow glowing porthole sensors which were of course also the Big Daddy's eyes. It wielded a monstrous mining drill and guarded a small girl. The girl stood in front of her guardian, pale and sickly looking. Her hair was ragged and her little dress tattered. It was exactly what Julia remembered from her nightmare in Arcadia. She looked up at Julia with big eyes, gleaming with innocence.
"What's that, Mr. Bubbles?" She asked dreamily of her guardian. Julia didn't dare move, not wanting to anger the Bouncer. The Big Daddy, of course, didn't answer. What it did, was make a long, mourning noise as if in pain. A dreadful, haunting sound that echoed slightly in the glass walkway. Seeing them and hearing that awful, woeful wail, Julia was petrified in fear. She still had occasional nightmares about that encounter in the forest. She was sweating and breathing heavily, but did not move a muscle. She was completely paralyzed for a long while.
"It's not moving, Mr. Bubbles!"
It seemed that her presence began to anger the metal monster. Cold sweat ran down Julia's forehead and the Big Daddy made an angry grunt. And finally, Julia's brain and her feet worked again and she moved out of the way, pressing herself against the glass wall.

The Little Sister hurried past and the Big Daddy protector followed so slow that the girl again told it to hurry. Julia watched them, holding her breath out of fear and to avoid inhaling the terrible smell, until they passed through the Securis door on the other side of the walkway. Then she let out a sigh of relief. If she never saw a Big Daddy again she'd die a happy woman. And that smell! What could anyone have done to deserve being put in one of those things? Or did they volunteer? And the girl. What was wrong with her? Someone had done something to her, Julia was sure of it. Still breathing heavily she went into the building. What if the writer wasn't home? She started up the stairs of the almost disturbingly normal apartment complex. Could Ryan have made him into a Big Daddy? Three floors left. All the doors seemed the same, dull and brown, matching the wall, running in a dull beige but with some semblance of a decor. What if he was dead? One floor left. She was panting and her steps were hard against the floor. She wished there'd been an elevator. And then finally she reached a door that by all means was the same as all the others, but felt very much different. She stopped before it. She corrected her clothes, closed her eyes and tried not to think of any dark possibilities or of Big Daddies and Little Sisters. This was it. Apartment 313.

The writer's apartment, 1958

Julia knocked on the writer's door. Nothing. She knocked again, and again. Still nothing. She was just about to turn and walk away when she noticed the door wasn't locked. That could impossibly be a good sign. She hesitated for a moment. Was she in her right to just enter? Finally she decided that she was. He might be dead or dying in there, for Heaven's sake! The hinges creaked, just a little, as Julia slowly opened the door into the darkness beyond it.
"Hello? Mr. Perkins?" No answer, of course.
But what a mess! The tiny apartment was littered with papers, documents, manuscripts. The writer's work. But that wasn't what caught her attention. Over by the typewriter, on the desk, lay two syringes. God, was the writer splicing? No, the syringes weren't used. Besides, she told herself, he wasn't the kind who would do that. Most everyone were splicers in Rapture now, but... no, he couldn't be one of them. But where on Earth was he? She looked around for clues. Liquor bottles and papers, the syringes, the typewriter. There was a page in, and only one row of text: 'It always starts with a sentence'.

Didn't make much sense on its own though. She read it a couple of times, trying to get into the writer's way of thinking. But she couldn't make sense of it, but she felt one thing. And that was that she knew instinctively that he was alive. On her way out she tripped and almost fell over something hard, lying beneath some sheets of paper filled with what appeared to be columns that had never been published, lined with hand written notes to tie them into a story. She brushed them aside and found an audio diary. With a trembling finger she pressed play. The canned, drunken voice of Chris Perkins started speaking to her:
"So I was at a meetin' with Andy fuckin' Ryan today and... now Julia definitely hates me. I was too fuckin' scared to even talk to her. Now I'm almost outta booze... but I got an Electro Bolt. Don't know if I wannit. I been writin' the outlines to that story I wus thinkin' 'bout. Gotta remember to write the rest. Notta problem with what this shitty city's turnin' into. I'll just put the papers here on this diary thingy..."

The recording ended. It was fresh. But why did he think she hated him? The anguish welled up in her again. Had that instinct feeling been wrong? Maybe he'd gone to... to do something from which there was no return. He also mentioned the notes she'd found the audio diary under. Julia gathered the pages and rushed out the door, slamming it behind her. In order to avoid Pauper's Drop she had to take the long way around to get home, where she would read the notes. Maybe they contained some clues to where he was. Though she felt bad for just taking them. At least she didn't come across another one of those Big Daddies.

Pauper's Drop, 1958

Grace Holloway's face was empty, devoid of emotion. She didn't say much. She only held her blue butterfly brooch, grasping it tight. She walked the streets all on her own, hardly even noticing the people around her. First James disappeared, shortly after the doctor told her she couldn't have babies. Then Ryan incarcerated her friend and guide, Dr. Lamb, cutting the believers. And now little Eleanor was gone. She turned for a minute and someone took her. For days Grace had been looking, but no one knew a thing. Not a soul had seen it. Walking past the closed pharmacy some beggar came up and asked her for some change. One of those plasmid addicts. Filthy creature. Grace was clean. She never used plasmids. Never would. But she didn't even notice the man. She just grasped the butterfly harder, and her brain blocked out the sound of the beggar's voice. Blocked out the outside world.

She was brought back to it by the heavy footsteps of one of those Big Daddies. They seemed synonymous with Rapture these days. She got out of its way, uneager to get to close to the foul smelling tin beast. Then it appeared around the corner, from where the Limbo Room was, its metallic form silhouetting clearly against the glow of the ocean outside the large window behind it. One of the Alpha series, or whatever they were called. The giant wielded an industrial sized drill, and on its hand was marked a triangle, the Greek letter Delta. And... that girl, by his side. The little sister.

"Eleanor!" Grace called out, clearly recognizing the girl she'd cared for as if she'd been her own. But she looked wrong. Her eyes glowed yellow and she was pale.
"What's that, daddy?" Eleanor asked, her voice feeling almost as pale as her skin. She was looking at Grace.
"Eleanor!" Grace ran up to her, kneeling down by her side, crying out of happiness that she'd found her. She grabbed Eleanor and tried to hold her. But her Big Daddy didn't like it at all. It attacked Grace. The monstrosity grabbed Grace and knocked her down. Hard and raw, emotionless. Grace hit the ground hard, taking the fall with her face. She could feel something cracking and an immense pain taking over. Seeing the woman as no further threat, the Big Daddy instead picked up his Little Sister.

Grace lay there on the cold ground, her jaw broken and hurting bad. It was all she could do to watch the baby snatcher walk away with the innocent little Eleanor Lamb. Before the two vanished out of sight she could hear Eleanor's sweet voice saying:
"More angels daddy. It's this way!"

The writer's apartment, 1958

The hunter had recently eaten. Chased down another life, another prey. But it was not satisfied. In today's Rapture, scraps were everywhere, if ones standards were not too high. Tyger had made his way into the writer's apartment, dark and empty. With a cat's eyes the darkness was no problem, but emptiness was something else all together. The cat had sensed love from the human, when he dwelled here. More so than from any other inhabitant that hid behind a door. The essence of that sensation still lingered here, with the smell of the writer. Smells that only animals can perceive.

The writer had not been here for some time. A woman had. One with red hair. Her smell was still here too, but she'd only stayed briefly and her scent wasn't as strong as the one Tyger assigned meaning to. He meowed softly, gently, as if to be the cute, cuddly kitten he'd sometimes been around the writer, and made his way over the thrown around sheets of paper and into the kitchen. Over to the cupboard where Tyger knew that the writer used to keep tuna. Delicious Tuna from Fontaine fisheries. He parked himself in front of it, useless though it was, and waited for a minute.

He peered at the darkness. It felt almost stinging, depressing in nature. Like the darkness was more than absence of light. It was also the absence of love. Even the cat could feel that. He meowed musingly once again. But the writer didn't show up, just like yesterday. And the day before. Before he left, Tyger stroked himself against the cupboard, so that the writer could smell him if he showed up. Unlikely.

Julia's parent's apartment, 1958

"No, I'm telling you, I haven't seen her all week."
"But she wouldn't just run away, just disappear!" Julia was visiting her father, who was alone since Julia's mother disappeared. He'd sent a message in the Jet Postal telling her to come visit. But he didn't seem too broken up about it. "Well, when did you last see her?"
"She was going off to that, whatsisface... Dr. Steinface. His face, you know", Mr. Jensen said.
"What are you talking about, daddy? You're not making sense", Julia replied in despair
"She was getting her fucking face lifted."
"By Dr. Steinman?"
"Yeah, that's the face!" Peder Jensen was walking back and forth, his hands shaking. Not by anger or rage, but by plasmid withdrawal.

She could guess his obsession with faces, because his did not look like normal. There were a couple of welts and most of his hair had fallen off. One of the plasmid welts had grown and made it almost look like the chin was connected directly to the chest. And one outgrowth had made what looked like a tear right through his face, starting in his mouth and moving up to the hairline, as if he'd been cut with a knife and the wound was healed all wrong. And he was bigger, too. Looked like he'd been living in a gym, but it was all the plasmid's doing. His arms had grown muscular and his torso was bigger than usual. Not to mention the face, which had sterner lines now. His voice, too, had changed. It was more harsh, as if he'd gotten a sudden boost in testosterone. She didn't mention any of it, but she realized he'd gone far too deep into splicing. It made her uncomfortable and she wanted to leave. But this was her daddy. She loved him and would no matter what. And she also wanted to find her mother.

She'd lost her mother, Sandy Reid and the writer. It was awful, a couple of days ago, when Mr. Reid came up to her, all pale and told her that Sandy had been killed by splicers."Daddy, you don't look good. Maybe you should go lie down?"
"Yeah, my head hurts a little, but I'm f-fine. Listen, pumpkin, about why I wanted you to come... you got a couple of bucks? I gotta-"
"No, daddy", she interrupted him, hearing her own voice, it was almost angry, "I don't. It's those plasmids, isn't it? You should really-"
"Bah! You sound just like your mother! I for one am glad the bitch is gone."

Peder stopped in front of Julia and stared into her eyes, mad as hell. He wasn't himself. He needed a fix. That so hard to understand? He curled his hands into fists and gnashed his teeth for a moment. But when he looked into the eyes of his daughter the real him came out for a moment. He felt his heart talking, and not the part of his brain that needed another plasmid.
"Pumpkin, you should g-go, I... I gotta do a thing."
"Okay, daddy. But if you hear anything from mother, you have to tell me."
"Yeah, yeah, I will, pumpkin." He was sweating. The very moment that Julia closed the door behind her, he hurried into the kitchen. He still had some syringes with a little leftovers in the trash. He dug them out quickly, not wanting to spend another moment without feeling the plasmid rush. He then squirted all of the ADAM into a bowl and drew the glowing concoction into one of the syringes.
"Ha!" He squealed as he looked at the half full syringe. Gleeful as a child, he injected it into his veins. The beast in him roared as the room twisted around him, walls vibrating before his vision, and the beast was drawn out, distorting his terrifying visage even further; his muscles grew in an instant, the stem cells of the ADAM replicating quickly within him. His shoulders bulked up and his torso grew monstrously huge. Peder Jensen grew and distorted into a brute of a man, feverishly strong and hellishly formidable.

Julia was just down the hall when she heard screaming and animalistic roaring and crashing from her parent's apartment. As she turned around, the door was burst outwards, hitting the opposite wall. Following it was a huge brute of a splicer. It was coughing and laughing as it stood in the hallway of the fancy apartment complex. Julia looked at it with wide open eyes and a gaping stare. It just looked back. She looked the horrific remnants of her father in the eyes for a moment, and then he roared, crashed both his large hands into the wall, cracking it all the way up to the ceiling and making dust fall down upon him. Then her father rushed off the other way, thrashing all around and smashing in doors. After a couple of moments he was gone. Julia's only father. They were all vanishing. She just stared at the trail of destruction as the brute vanished down the hall. She could hear the destruction for a long while. And she couldn't even cry, she just stared blankly.

The writer's apartment, 1958

The writer opened the door, and with a sigh realized his home was still the mess he left it. In his coat pocket was a bottle of Chechnya Vodka. Strong stuff. He'd only had a couple of sips, but was already feeling it. He avoided stepping on his papers, heading for the typewriter. He had the story fresh in his mind. Though, how couldn't he when the city shoved it into his face. Still it seemed the residents of Rapture didn't read much anymore. Didn't matter. He had to get it out. If only he could remember where he put those notes and old columns the other day. The last couple of days were a little fussy. He couldn't see them anywhere, though it would be odd if could find anything in this mess. His head was everywhere at once. Find the notes. No, will have to do without. Write new ones! No time. Have to get started. Julia Jensen. On the page in the typewriter the words flowed. Hours went by and evening became night. He did nothing but write. Word after word. Page after page. The world could be ending around him. The "story" started to take shape already, using what he had already written, and as always, it started with a sentence. To him all there was, was words on paper, the typewriter, Simon Wales' beard, and his inner image of Julia Jensen's eyes.

Such is the power of creation. It is a force which consumes. Creation comes when inspiration is fed by iron will and heart of steel. When inspiration tastes the red and becomes this creation, this force which consumes. And it continues to consume until its host is drained. As dawn approached, figuratively, that moment had come. The writer, a willing host, was drained. At least for the time being. He needed more, he realized. Needed to find out what went on behind the scenes for the book to work. It would be his masterpiece. If anyone ever read it. He left his desk, words still spinning around Julia's name, and fell asleep.

But the human mind, driven by emotions, is another force entirely. The inspiration to create does not stay as long as a willing host wishes. The human mind is ever changing, never holding onto inspiration overlong. It transforms like an energy, often into anger, one of the most basic of human chemicals. Frustration and temporary blindness, the disability to see or hear anything outside of the peripheral, comes when inspiration turns into anger. When inspiration and the force of creation disappears. And when the writer awoke it was gone. Replaced by anger and a burning desire to know what he'd done to deserve Julia Jensen's hatred. Once he had come to that conclusion the thought lingered. And now it had grown strong. He loved her and she, he was convinced, felt nothing but hate for him.

He thought of their walk in Arcadia. She'd been playing him, he was sure of it. How they'd almost... he was glad it never happened. Why did she hate him? What had he done? While kicking the audio diary on the floor he noticed the syringes on his desk. Why didn't he notice them when he was up all night, writing? He picked one up. Electro Bolt. Eyes wide open he rolled up his sleeve and put the needle against his skin. He grimaced as it entered his vein. In one last flash his heart and his soul burned with rage... Damn it, he needed to eat. Threw the Electro Bolt aside and grabbed a creme-filled cake he had lying about. Tasted awesome.

Unpublished column found among Mr. Perkins' belongings. Notes: Note ends abruptly mid sentence. Some words unreadable due to blood on the paper. Status: not publishable. Subject: Ryan & censorship. Word count: 188

Believe it or not, yours truly was recently called before Mr. Andrew Ryan himself. The subject being my latest book, Returning to the Source. It turns out, much of what Mr. Ryan claims, are outright lies. In my case, it is the matter of censorship. Ryan does not practice it, it is said. Nonetheless, Andrew Ryan courteously told me that my book will no longer be sold in Rapture's bookstores. Official censorship in Rapture's interest. This is indeed comparable to Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union. I shall gladly be the martyr messiah, if it means freedom for Rapture's people.

Still, there are other issues which haunt me. And for what I have done, I hear the river Styx call for me. But I cannot leave yet. There are others I must see before Andrew Ryan, or Atlas, or even Sofia Lamb, drowns this city. Others that must see the truth of Ryan's rule. He will never be inclined to reveal it himself. This is up to the watchdogs of a society. And where the Rapture Tribune has failed, I shall step in to take its place. If only I cou