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The Ace and the Lamb

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(Atlas):"What's this? I-It's just a bunch of gibberish!....... What does this say, you whore? What does it say?"
(Elizabeth):"It says....Would you kindly."
(Atlas):"We've got the activation phrase, now all we've got to do is get that genetic freak of nature on an airplane, and Rapture's ours."

(Elizabeth):"I can see all the doors, and what's behind all the doors. And behind one of them..... incredibly.... I see him."

***********

Jack was exhausted, both physically and mentally. Face dug by fatigue, wet hair, limbs numb, dusty clothes and many traces of dry blood or not. He wandered through the disturbing ruined corridors of Rapture, his vague gaze and holding in his hand the adjustable wrench that accompanied him throughout his nightmare through the underwater city. More than once he had nearly cracked but had held on. He leaned against a wall, catching a few seconds of breath, but he knew he would have to get back on his feet fast. He lost himself a little in his thoughts. How long had he been here? Days? Weeks? He did not know anything about it.
Sitting against a cold wall covered by a dirty torn wallpaper, he was thoughtful, a deep feeling of loneliness invading him. Andrew Ryan and Jasmine Jolene, his real parents he had never known, were both dead, and Fontaine .... That bastard being called Atlas ..... When he arrived in Rapture, he seemed to be a friend for Jack, wanting to help him stay alive, but in the end he turned out to be an unscrupulous manipulator using Jack for his own interests. Jack clenched his teeth, and his hands, anger and sadness mixed in his mouth. He was ashamed of what he is ... a genetic monster, with no past and no future, condemned to loneliness .... For who in this world could grant him that thing that had been forbidden to him: love.
A sharp pain in his hand made him wince and he saw his left hand covered with a thin film of frost. Another random plasmid. With the help of Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum, Jack had been able to escape the mental control of Fontaine, and with the first batch of 192, had narrowly escaped death. His chest still made him suffer and his heart was slowly recovering from this ordeal. Unfortunately, the lot was unstable and orchestrated a rather disabling side effect. Jack had no control over his plasmids, which appeared and changed randomly every thirty seconds. A handicap to fight the Splicers still very numerous in Rapture. Jack had bet on discretion and had reached the Apollo Square. It was there that he would find the second sample of the lot, in Yi Suchong's laboratory.
Having taken some strength, Jack finally found the entrance to the laboratory, after carefully avoiding the light of a security camera, which if it had seen him, would have alerted all the splicers around. Jack pushed the metal door to the side, in an unpleasant squeak, and entered the lab. Everything was in ruins, holes in the walls, collapsed ceilings, piles of business and dirty old paper strewn all over the place. A smell of death reigned in the place, assaulting Jack's nostrils. Arriving in a room, he swallowed. On a partially destroyed desk, was the corpse of an Asian man in a white coat smeared with blood, the empty gaze of all life and a big daddy's drill going right through him, nailing him to the office like a plank of wood. It was surely him ..... Suchong. Jack approached, keeping a good distance. He felt nothing but a deep satisfaction at seeing Suchong so, after what Tenenbaum had said about him.
Next to the dead scientist was an audio diary covered with dried blood but operational. Jack had found several on his journey, and turned on this one. The recording is triggered and a voice, that of Suchong surely, is heard.
(Suchong):"Clinical Trial Protector System Plasmid Lot 255. Dr. Suchong/client Ryan Industries. Very frustrating day. I can't seem to get the damn Big Daddies to imprint on the little brats. The protection bond is just not forming..."
The voice of a little sister is then heard in the background.
(Little Sister):"Papa Suchong!"
Suchong: "Get, get away... maybe if I modify the genetic sequence to..."
(Little Sister): "Papa Suchong!"
(Suchong): "Shush, shoo... sequence to allow for..."
(Little Sister): "Papa Suchong! Papa Suchong! Papa Suchong!"
(Suchong): "Get away, you filthy little shit!"
A violent slap sound is heard in the recording, followed by the crying of the little sister. Suchong had just hit her without mercy. Jack was revolted internally. Suddenly, the recording makes hear recognizable heavy steps, threatening metal grunts and the sound of an activated drill.
(Suchong): "... What? ... What are you doing? Get back ... get back!!! Aaaaaargh!"
The recording stopped with the sound of the drill shredding Suchong's flesh and splashing the room with his blood.
He only got what he deserved, Jack thought. His attention is then drawn to the office a little farther to the back of the room, where there is a black metallic flask, in which floats a thick red liquid. The second batch 192. Without losing a moment, Jack grabbed the vial and drank the contents. The taste was still horrible, but the effect was immediate. He felt an unparalleled freedom in him, and regained control of his plasmids. Now he was on a level playing field with Fontaine, and he was waiting to finally make him pay for everything.
But as Jack was about to leave the place, a strange presentiment came over him, pushing him to turn to another room. A shiver ran through him. He had heard the echo of a sound coming from the depths of the room..... A very low moan ....
He could have chosen to ignore this noise, but curiously, he felt compelled to go see. Always on his guard, knowing only too well the traps of Rapture, Jack stood ready, his electric plasmid in one hand, and his gun in the other. Step by step, he approached and burst into the room. Empty. Jack raised an eyebrow, perplexed, looking meticulously everywhere in the dark, deserted room. To his left was a rift in a wall, revealing the plumbing. Another light sound ..... it came from there. Still cautiously, Jack slipped into the crack, wide enough to allow him to pass, and emerged into a huge dark hallway where piles of rubble and other ruins piled up. The only source of light was that of the blue ocean reflecting against the walls of a huge bay window, giving an overview of the Rapture's buildings, or at least what was left of it.
But what attracted Jack's attention was the slender figure of a person, half lying, leaning against the glass and whose shadow was reflected against a wall. A person. Was it .... The groan heard? Suspicious, Jack advanced very slowly, his finger on the trigger of the pistol, ready to shoot at the slightest sudden movement. When he was close, the person did not react. Darkness being important, Jack snapped his fingers, showing small dancing sparks at the end of his knuckles, their orange light revealing the face of the person lying down. She was a young woman, very beautiful. Long black hair, thin red lips. She was wearing a damaged white shirt, a black skirt down to her knees and damaged heels. On her neck was a small round medallion bearing the symbol of a bird. A large stream of blood slid down her face, appearing from a wound on her head. The blow had been very violent.
"Mmmm ...." the girl moaned again, her eyes closed and barely moving a finger. Her voice was more than weak. She was still alive! Jack did not know what to do .... Was she a normal person, or a trap set by the splicers? ..... No ... This woman seemed really close to death. Delicately, he put a hand on her shoulder.
(Jack): "Hey? .... Can you hear me?"
The only answer was another moan.
Jack could have chosen to leave and leave her there, but he was not like that. He looked in his pocket and found his last treatment kit. It would not be enough to heal her completely, but at least he could stop the bleeding. Kneeling next to the woman, Jack, not being a doctor, opened the kit and began to apply the few care he vaguely knew.

Everything had gone black around Elizabeth. She did not feel anything, not even her own members .... Some pictures were still passing in her dying mind .... Her meeting with Booker in the tower .... Their journey through Columbia .... Songbird ..... The Luteces..... Her arrival at Rapture .... Atlas striking her in the head ..... And ..... Sally, screaming in fear, encircled by the men of Atlas. "Now your adam is mine, little one!" rang out the threatening voice of Atlas.
Suddenly, a sensation came to her. Despite the inability to open her eyes, she vaguely felt ..... Yes ..... A presence near her ..... And .... bandages that were carefully wrapped around her head.....
Elizabeth moaned, her eyes barely opening, the troubled vision. A shadow was leaning over her, busy putting the bandages on. How was that possible? I'm still alive, she thought. The shadow seemed to notice the first signs of consciousness and spoke to her in a comforting voice.
"Miss, can you hear me?"
Elizabeth did not understand what was happening to her, and almost had to use superhuman force to open her eyes a little more. Her head ached horribly and she felt the sensation of the blood that had runned down her face.
(Elizabeth): "What ....." she barely spoke, too weak. The stranger held her gently by the shoulders, urging her to stay leaning against the wall.
(Jack): "Do not move too much ..... you're really harmed."
Elizabeth obeyed, anyway what could she do in her condition? Her vision returned little by little, and the young woman stared softly in front of her. Her limbs were numb, and her head resounded. The bandages had stopped the bleeding, but in no way treated the wound. She recognized the place. This sinister and icy place where she was persuaded to be dead. Her gaze then fell on this unknown man in a sweater, putting what was left of his treatment kit in his pocket. His scruffy clothes and traces of blood suggested that he, too, had gone through hell.
(Elizabeth): "Who ... who are you?" every word she uttered was a test to be overcome. The man turned to her.
(Jack): "Never mind. Stay quiet I tell you."
He approached her, revealing his face better. At first sight he seemed a complete stranger .... But over the seconds ..... Elizabeth's heart jumped into her chest and her eyes lit up with a glimmer of surprise. A tear even ran down her cheek, mixing with her blood. This sweater ..... this hair ..... this face ....
(Elizabeth): "Oh god ...... It's ..... It's you ....." she sighed. She did not know if she was dreaming, or how long it had been, but he was there in front of her. Jack did not understand this reaction very well. It's as if she had seen the messiah appear. Other tears ran down Elizabeth's cheeks, and a faint smile appeared on her lips. Jack knelt down again, perplexed.
(Jack): "Do you know me?"
Elizabeth, smiling, with the little strength she had, came to touch Jack's cheek, as if to make sure of her real physical presence. Jack felt the gentle hand of the young woman against his skin.
(Elizabeth): "I ... saw you ...... in the plane ...... the crash ..... you saved Sally and the other little sisters ..... You put an end to Rapture's nightmare..... "
She seemed almost in a second state, almost delirious. Maybe her injury. Jack did not understand anything, scratching the back of his head. How could she know about the plane? Was she on board too? Jack had no memory of this girl among the passengers.
Elizabeth wanted to try to get up, but could barely move as she fell forward, caught by Jack. With her face leaning against the young man's chest, her body against his, his arms holding her by the shoulders, Elizabeth was breathing hard, dazed.
(Jack): "I told you not to move!" he said, raising his voice, more anxious than angry at her. The suffering face of Elizabeth rose to him.
(Elizabeth): "S .... Sally ..... I have to save her ....."
Sally. A name Jack knew too. He remembered it. One of the first little sisters he saved. In turn, he put his hand on Elizabeth's cheek, with a reassuring look.
(Jack): "Rest assured .... Sally is safe with the other little sisters."
Elizabeth's anxiety faded to give way to relief, other tears of joy appearing. She sighed, a huge weight coming off her shoulders.
(Elizabeth): "Thank you ..... Oh thank you so much ...."
Her eyes rolled and she fell motionless into Jack's arms. At first surprised, the young man saw that she only fainted. She had lost too much blood and this news seemed to have shock her. She knew Sally. Was it her mother?
Without losing a moment, Jack grabbed the small radio hanging from his belt and lit it.
(Jack): "Dr. Brigid?..... Dr. answer me, quickly!"
The radio spat a little, and the voice of a woman with a German accent was heard.
(Tenenbaum): "Jack? Oh, thank you god ..... I was so worried. I've been trying to reach you for over an hour, but Fontaine is scrambling the frequencies ... where are you?"
(Jack): "At Suchong Clinic. I found the Lot 192. But not only ...."
(Tenenbaum): "How so?"
(Jack): "A young woman. She is badly injured and claims to know me and Sally."
There was a brief silence, as if Brigid hesitated, then finally ....
(Tenenbaum): "Okay. Take her back to the refuge, but quickly. Time is running out."
Jack nodded and hung up the radio at his belt, then took Elizabeth in his arms as delicately as possible. He walked out of the clinic, hoping never to return again, carrying Elizabeth in his arms and headed for the nearest exit, still on guard against a possible splicer attack.
As he walked, Jack took a quick look at Elizabeth, hoping she was still breathing. A doubt invades him. For an obscure reason, he was persuaded to know this woman, or at least to have already felt his presence. She was not on the plane ..... Unless .... A sort of vision emerged in Jack's confused mind. A vision, a memory, an impression, he knew nothing about it. He was seeing himself on the plane, when everything was about to go wrong. He, taking the revolver hidden in the so-called gift sent by his imaginary parents. He waved the pistol, threatening the stewardess, and suddenly turned a little his head slightly over his shoulder, as if he felt a presence behind him ..... Was it .... She? But in that case, how could she have appeared so fast almost like a ghost? Jack could not find a tangible answer to the feeling he had.
(Elizabeth) "Elizabeth ..." she suddenly moaned, her face against Jack's chest and opening a tired eye to him. "My name is Elizabeth."
(Jack): "..... Jack ..." he smiled at her. She gave him that smile and huddled against him. Jack continued to walk, but suddenly two men appeared at the corner of a corridor. They wore ragged dirty clothes and were armed with steel tubes. Their faces were disfigured, their eyes mad, and their teeth stripped. One of them was wearing a half-broken carnival rabbit mask. Jack frowned, fear of splicers no longer making any sense. He had killed so much of them....
(Splicer 1): "Look at the pretty little bird he holds in his arms."
(Splicer 2): "A pretty little bird fallen from its cage ..... How cute ..." he hummed with his psychotic voice. Jack gently placed Elizabeth against the wall next to him, and positioned herself in front of her, like a shield, his hand covering with electricity and his dark eyes towards the two illuminated.
(Jack): "You will not touch her!" he threatened them. The two splicers exchanged a sadistic look, the first licking his pustular lips.
(Splicer 1): "Oh yeah? In this case, before eating the pretty little bird, I'll start plucking you!"
And with these words, the first splicer threw himself at Jack, screaming like a degenerate and ready to slaughter his weapon on the skull. Jack clenched his teeth, and threw a handful of lightning at the man, who fell to the ground, shaking with violent convulsions and screaming in pain. Jack put an end to his suffering by shooting him in the head. Elizabeth, leaning against the wall and struggling to stay awake, watched the scene. She was scared, for Jack.
(Splicer): "You bastard!"
Jack did not have time to react as the second man threw himself on him. Jack lost his pistol and was stuck to the wall, his hands busy trying to pull out those of the splicer that were squeezing his throat. The splicer's face hidden behind his half mask approached Jack, his eyes shining with a murderous madness clearly visible. Jack gave him several blows, but the man did not let go.
(Splicer 2) "I'm going to ..."
He did not have time to finish his sentence because after a shot, his temple exploded in a sheaf of blood, splashing a little on Jack's face, and the splicer collapsed to the ground. Jack saw Elizabeth. She had crawled despite exhaustion towards the pistol fell to the ground and fired, the barrel of the weapon still smoking. Rubbing his sore throat, Jack came to her and took her in his arms. She was sweating and breathing with difficulty.
(Jack): "Thank you." he said to her, smiling. She smiled too, but suddenly, her breathing became weaker and weaker and her vision gradually faded away. Jack showed a worried face and his voice was distant, like an echo.
(Jack): "Elizabeth?..... Elizabeth!"
Everything went black and silence came.

Elizabeth was happy, free. The sun was warming her face as she admired the barges sailing peacefully on the Seine. The majestic Eiffel Tower seemed almost gleaming in the light of day. In the neighboring street, some musicians was singing a catchy ballad, making several people dance in joy and good humor. Elizabeth sat at the table of a small restaurant, wearing her big blue dress, and her hair were short. She smiled when she saw Sally, wearing a pretty white dress, playing with a red balloon just in front of the restaurant.
(Sally) "Look mom, look at me." she said happily in dancing with the balloon.
(Elizabeth): "That's fine, Sally." answered Elizabeh, smiling at her.
"Bonjour mademoiselle," said a richly dressed man, raising his hat as he passed in front of her and walking towards the street whistling. Elizabeth's face froze with morbid stupor .... She recognized him ... Booker ..... That was him .....
An icy wind suddenly rose and in two seconds the peaceful blue sky was covered with threatening black clouds, masking the sun. Elizabeth got up, a bad presentiment running through her, but ....
(Elizabeth): "Sally...... Sally?......Sally!"
Sally had disappeared, as if she had never existed, and her balloon was flying away slowly with the wind. The landscape became darker and a light rain fell on the city become sinister and empty of any human presence. Elizabeth, frightened, shouted Sally's name in despair. Grim echoes of children's laughter rang out as an answer. The wind brought at Elizabeth's feet a damaged newspaper. On the page was written in big black letters: "Heads or Tails?". Under the letters was a picture of the Lutece twins, neutral, their eyes turned to Elizabeth, as if the picture was looking at her. A flash of lightning exploded in the sky and the neutral faces of the Luteces changed into a creepy smile.
Afraid, Elizabeth took a few steps back until she hit something. She turned around, and was paralyzed with terror ..... Atlas .... He was standing in front of her, arms folded, his dingy face staring at her with a dirty smile.
(Elizabeth): "No! Stay away from me!" she said, trembling and backing away. Atlas uncrossed his arms, stepping towards her and pointing his finger at her. His eyes and the inside of his mouth began to glow with a disturbing light.
(Atlas): "He will not be able to save you ...... You will die, just like him ...... Rapture is mine!"
His voice had doubled in power and seemed almost inhuman. Elizabeth was ready to flee, but heavy footsteps were heard behind her, coming closer and faster.
A furious Big Daddy popped up behind her, her metallic growl resonating in the air and his drill spinning at full speed ready to shred Elizabeth.
(Elizabeth) "Aaaaaaah" she screamed, placing her hands in front of her as a poor defense and closed her eyes, expecting to be hit by the monster.
When her eyes reopened, she was lying on a bed, in a small dimly lit room, with metal walls and a window overlooking the seabed. The face sweating in heavy drops, breathing heavily, Elizabeth sat up on the bed, completely lost. What a horrible nightmare ..... It seemed so real .... She put her hand to her head, still bandaged. She was still hurting, but less than before.
"Elizabeth?"
She was surprised at first, but reassured herself when she saw Jack coming towards her, apparently reassured to see her awake. She smiled, happy also to see him, and hugged him gently. He hugged her too.
(Jack): "I'm reassured to see you're fine."
(Tenenbaum): "He refused to leave until you were awake."
Elizabeth looked over Jack's shoulder and saw an older woman with graying hair in ponytail, a neutral face, and smoking a cigarette, sitting in front of a small desk.
(Elizabeth): "You are surely Brigid Tenenbaum, right?"
The old woman nodded in reply. She crushed the rest of her cigarette into an old ashtray and got up from his chair.
(Tenenbaum): "You were close to death, but I managed to heal your wound and made some stitches. You've been unconscious for hours, and Jack was at your bedside all long."
Elizabeth smiled at Jack. The young man gave him a friendly nod.
(Elizabeth): "Thank you, doctor, I have a debt to you."
Tenenbaum shook her head limply, dismissing the idea with her hand.
(Tenenbaum): "Not that with me, girl. You do not owe me anything. It's Jack you should thank, because without him, you'd probably be dead right now."
In a way, she was right, and Elizabeth thanked Jack once more, even putting a little kiss on his cheek. The young man blushed, embarrassed, Elizabeth smiled and Tenenbaum rolled her eyes. With Jack's help, Elizabeth got up with difficulty, still a little dizzy. Through a large window, she could see another larger room, looking almost like a garbage dump but with a row of beds. A dozen little girls, all dressed in robes, played innocently with stuffed animals and other toys. Elizabeth's eyes lit up. The little sisters .... They were alive, and cured in addition ..... It was a miracle. Seeing these little girls play and laugh together despite the horrors and dangers that surround them. Elizabeth felt hope reborn in her heart.
(Elizabeth): "How did you do?" she asks still in looking at the girls.
(Tenenbaum): "With a plasmid that I created myself in the greatest secrecy. A plasmid capable of canceling the harmful effects of the sea slug on girls, to make them normal again. Jack rescued and cured them with."
Jack did not boast about it, but proudly smiled at having been able to bring some light back into the darkness of Rapture. Elizabeth looked at him, more than gratefully. He had done it. As she had seen in his vision .... He saved them.
(Elizabeth): "Thanks, Jack." she says.
The door of the room opened, and let in a little girl with blond hair and wearing a black and red dress. When Elizabeth saw her, she cried with joy, falling on her knees.
(Elizabeth): "Sally ....."
(Sally) "Mommy!" the little girl rushed into Elizabeth's arms and both of them hugged each other with love. At first surprised, Tenenbaum and Jack looked at each other simultaneously.
(Tenenbaum): "You .... you are her mother?" she asked. With tears in her eyes, continuing to hug Sally, Elizabeth replied.
(Elizabeth): "Yes, somehow."
Tenenbaum remained neutral but said nothing, and Jack smiled to see them like this, letting them enjoy the reunion. With tears in her face, Elizabeth would not let go of Sally, almost as if she was afraid to see her disappear again.
(Elizabeth): "Forgive me, Sally ..... I will never leave you again, I promise."
The little girl smiled at her innocently and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Tenenbaum stepped forward and put her hand on Sally's shoulder.
(Tenenbaum): "Sally, you should let the miss rest now. Go back and play with the others. You will come see her later, okay?" she spoke to him with a soft voice. Sally obeyed and left the room. Elizabeth was reassured that despite her cold gaze, Brigid was acting like a mother for these little girls. Jack, leaning against the wall, lit a cigarette as Elizabeth returned to sit on the bed.
(Elizabeth): "What will happen now?"
(Jack): "Fontaine provoked me. He's waiting for me somewhere, and I'm determined to answer his invitation." he said, his fist clenched and his gaze determined. Elizabeth frowned.
(Elizabeth): "I thought Frank Fontaine was dead."
Jack shook his head.
(Jack): "No, he happened to be dead, and made himself known by another name: Atlas."
At the mention of that name, Elizabeth opened her big, stupefied eyes and even felt a sharp pain in her head, as if the wound also remembered.
(Elizabeth): "Atlas ..... It's that bastard who left me for dead." she said with hatred in her voice, touching her head. Jack approached her.
(Jack): "Well, believe me, I'm going to make him regret what he did."
(Tenenbaum): "Andrew Ryan is dead, so is Sander Cohen. Fontaine is now the only threat that prevents us from leaving here."
(Elizabeth): "Andrew Ryan is .... dead?" she seemed surprised. She had never met Andrew but had spoken to him through a screen. He had seemed to her to be all-mighty, even despite Fontaine's revolution against him. She remembered what he had told her. That she was a rube, that Atlas was going to betray her and he was right. He had offered her an alternative: to work for him. Sometimes Elizabeth wonders what would happen if she accepted. One part of her whispered to her that she should have accepted the market, but the other was still mistrustful. To betray Atlas while he still held Sally would have signed the death sentence of the little girl, and that Elizabeth could never have conceived it.
Jack nodded, looking gloomy and sitting down.
(Jack): "He forced me to kill him, with his own golf clud."
Images of the scene came back to him. Andrew facing him, looking possessed, ordering him to sit, run, stop, and ordering to kill him. "A man chooses. A slave obeys.... A man chooses. A slave obeys....." Ryan's sentence repeats itself in loop in Jack's tortured mind, like a ghost coming back to haunt him.
(Elizabeth): "How?"
(Jack): "I found out who I really was .... A genetic creation, made here in Rapture, and conditioned to obey at a simple sentence I could not resist ..... Would you kindly."
It was a true shock for Elizabeth. Would you kindly. A sentence she had already seen and heard. She then understood Fontaine's interest in this sentence. It acted like a mental control on Jack's mind, forcing him to obey. Like a slave.
(Jack): "As for this guy, Sander Cohen .... I saw a lot of crazy in Rapture, but this guy beat all the records .... He forced me to kill his old acolytes, one by one, to make art ..... And when he finally agreed to grant me access to the bathysphere, I chose to kill him because I could not leave such a dangerous man alive."
For Elizabeth, it was understandable. She had been a disciple of Cohen and knew how dangerous he was. In addition, Sander had been partly responsible for the abduction of the girls on behalf of Fontaine. She had no remorse that he was dead. She then saw Jack frowning at her, as if he had just had a sudden revelation.
(Jack): "Now that I think about it .... In Cohen's lair .... I saw a poster on a wall .... a poster for a song called You belong to Me, sung by the new songbird of Cohen ..... Elizabeth .... "
She sighed, having hoped that memory would disappear forever in limbo, but after all, she owed the truth to Jack.
(Elizabeth): "I worked for Sander before, in order to find out about his role in the kidnapping of Rapture's little girls. I thought it would allow me to find Sally ...... It would be too long to explain, but when we leave this hell, I'll tell you everything Jack, I promise."
Jack looked confused, but trusted her and nodded his head. For Elizabeth, however, another question came to her.
(Elizabeth): "And how did you escape Fontaine's control?"
(Jack): "Thanks to Dr. Tenenbaum."
Elizabeth was reassured. She felt bad for Jack. Born to be a slave, used to become an instrument of destruction. As she has been, locked in her tower at Columbia, used by Comstock for her powers. Elizabeth compatized with Jack's fate, both having a thing in common. She put an hand on Jack's shoulder, making him understand that he was not alone. Tenenbaum got impatient.
(Tenenbaum): "We must act now, Fontaine is not far away. I heard him uttering his threats through the loudspeakers. He said that after killing Jack, he would come here and kill the girls one by one."
What a monster! Elizabeth constated that Fontaine, or Atlas, whatever, was still the same, even worse. Brigid looked horrified just at the thought of imagining Fontaine slaughtering the little girls, but Jack reassured her.
(Jack): "He will not touch them, as long as I'm here. This asshole manipulated me all along, but it's over."
(Tenenbaum): "Done as we said. You'll find the big daddy armor pieces in the place I told you, so you'll be ready to face Fontaine."
(Elizabeth): "I'm coming with you, Jack."
The two of them turned to see the young woman get up from the bed, but still very weakened by her wound. Tenenbaum stopped her from going further and taking her by the shoulders, forced her to lie down on the bed.
(Tenenbaum): "It's out of the question. You've lost too much blood, you have to rest."
(Elizabeth): "But ..." she was about to insist, but Jack's hand took hers. The young man reassured her.
(Jack): "I'll come back. I give you my word."
Elizabeth wanted to come absolutely, but if he did not come back, she and Brigid would be the last line of defense for the little girls. He was right. Elizabeth lay there, Jack kissing her forehead and left the room, picking up his pistol and guided by a little sister, he disappeared behind a door. Tenenbaum sits down at his office, nervous, lighting a new cigarette and praying for Jack to be victorious. Elizabeth thoughtfully shared this prayer with her. Despite the fear and nervousness, she did not know how, but she finally sank into a light sleep without dreams.

(Tenenbaum): "Jack! .... Jack, answer me!"
Brigid's panicked voice pulled Elizabeth out of her torpor. She ignored how many hours she slept but straightened furtively to see the doctor pacing the room, a radio in his hand and looked very worried. In the radio, loud noises were heard .... The sounds of battle and shoots .... Without waiting, Elizabeth got up and ran to Brigid.
(Elizabeth): "What's going on?"
(Tenenbaum): "It's Jack ..... he engaged the fight against Fontaine ..... but ... it's going bad!"
In the crackling of the radio, the two men's cries of rage were heard, but Jack was also groaning in pain and fatigue. To hear him in this posture was insupportable for Elizabeth. She would not let him die without acting. Determined, and carried by a new force, she caught another radio, left the room, under the dumbfounded eyes of Brigid.
(Tenenbaum): "But ... what are you doing?"
(Elizabeth): "Stay with the girls, I'll go get Jack!"
Brigid did not have time to react that Elizabeth started to run and passed the exit. The doctor sighed heavily and reassured the girls who had awakened by the noise and seemed worried, including Sally.
Elizabeth did not think anymore. She ran as fast as she could through the ruined deserted corridors of Rapture and, guided by Tenenbaum's voice, made her way to where Jack and Fontaine were. Her bandaged head still pounded her a little, and she had to stop and lean against a wall several times, her legs trembling and dizzy. Elizabeth thought she was going to faint each time, but she was strong, driven by this willingness to help Jack. Clenching her teeth, she continued. Hidden behind a wall a little further, she saw a clash in a sort of small living room in ruins. A group of furious splicers attacked a lonely big daddy. One of the splicer lay lifeless on the floor, cut in half. The metal monster roared with anger, under the blows of his attackers. He grabbed one of the splicers by the face and smashed his head violently against a wall, reducing it to a red and viscous porridge. Elizabeth decided to go away, without they notice her.
Luckily, Elizabeth did not meet more splicers or big daddy. After several minutes of running, she finally arrived at a place resembling an arsenal of weapons. Judging by the missing weapons, Jack had to go through there to stock up on ammunition before going into battle. Further on, she found the elevator which fortunately had come down again. Without losing a moment, Elizabeth entered and pressed the button. The elevator rose along the tower, giving Elizabeth time to prepare. Everything was going to be played, everything she was here for. Her heart pounded on her chest. The fear of death, not for her but for Jack. She did not want to lose him.
The elevator stopped and the doors opened. No sooner had Elizabeth stepped out of the elevator than she nearly fell to the ground because of an explosion. The monstrous damage in the huge hall left one guessing the violence of the fight. On the ground, several objects: a little sister's syringe filled to the brim of adam, hundreds of gun's sockets, a submachine gun and a shotgun destroyed, and a big daddy helmet broken in two.
The sounds of gunfire and fighting are heard in the smoke and Elizabeth advances blindly in the hope of finding Jack in the midst of this chaos. And she saw him.
Jack had been knocked to the ground, suffocating, in his damaged big daddy armor and a trickle of blood flowing from his temple.
(Elizabeth) "JACK!"
The young man looked up at her, surprised.
(Jack): "Elizabeth, what are you doing here? Run away, now!"
Heavy steps and a monstrous sneer are heard nearby. Out of the smoke, Fontaine advances, triumphant. Elizabeth was horrified by his appearance. He did not have anything human anymore. Measuring more than two meters, her skin was like volcanic rock saturated with glowing veinlets, and her eyes gleamed in the same light that Elizabeth had seen in her dream. Fontaine also wore some wounds on his body, but seemed less weakened than Jack.
(Fontaine): "Well, well ..... A revenant." he sneers, seeing Elizabeth.
(Elizabeth): "I may be a revenant, but look at you ..... An abomination of nature, that's what you are!"
(Fontaine): "Your little insults do not even reach me ..... The adam has made me stronger. He has made me a perfect being... I am the god of Rapture!"
His madness was matched only by his monstrosity. The young woman stepped back, disarmed, Fontaine coming towards her, but Jack threw himself like a rugby player at Fontaine, knocking him over against a metal container. A fierce fight began between the two, Jack suffering a lot and having trouble retaining the colossal force of Fontaine.
(Jack): "Elizabeth, save yourself!"
A violent blow sent Jack back. Fontaine is recovering, more furious than ever and screaming like a monster, getting ready to throw a fire ball at Jack. Panicked, Elizabeth looks for something that ..... Yes ..... She caught the lost pistol on the floor.
(Elizabeth): "Jack! Catch!"
She threw it with all her might. The gun flew across the room and Jack caught him firmly in his grip, before emptying his last charger into Fontaine's chest. Surprised, the monster recoiled in front of the impacts coming to crack its skin of stone, and panting, fell, one knee on the ground. Jack climbed to his feet, exhausted and wounded, and picking up the little sister's syringe, came and planted it deep in Fontaine's chest, which began to scream in pain as the syringe was still draining the adam from his body.
Unfortunately, Fontaine struggled and slammed Jack, who was pushed several meters back. Horrified, Elizabeth joined Jack to make sure he's fine, while Fontaine pulls the syringe from his chest and crushes it in his hand, smashing it to pieces.
(Fontaine): "You bitch! This time I'm not going to just break your skull ... I'll tear your head off!"
Elizabeth was not paying attention to his threat, too preoccupied with Jack, who was sounded and was struggling to recover. No longer thinking of having anything to lose, Elizabeth stayed at his side, ready to die with him. Fontaine, out of control, began to growl while addressing Jack.
(Fontaine):"I had you built! I sent you topside! I called you back, showed you what you was, what you was capable of! Even that life you thought you had? That was something I dreamed and had tattooed inside your head! Now, if you don't call that family, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS! And now–!"
He did not have time to finish his sentence. Under the stunned eyes of Jack and Elizabeth, the little girls had appeared from the vents, armed with their syringes, and threw themselves on Fontaine, stabbing him repeatedly and all at the same time. Fontaine, having been very weakened by Jack's attacks and previous drainages, could not fight and screaming in pain, collapsed little by little on the ground, stabbed to death by those little girls he had often considered as easy prey. Sally was the one who made the last move, stabbing Fontaine in the heart and ending his life. The light of Fontaine's eyes faded, as did his reign of terror.

It was over ...... Fontaine was dead, finally ..... Elizabeth helped Jack get up and both of them saw their hands join, united. Hand in hand, they joined the girls who abandoned the corpse of Fontaine to join the couple, shouting their victory over the bad guy. Delighted to see the girls finally free, Jack and Elizabeth looked at each other. Their eyes seemed to express at the same moment the same feeling .... The same hesitation .... After a smile, blushing, Elizabeth approached her face first and delicately put her lips on that of Jack. At first surprised, Jack kissed her back, and the couple shared a sweet and sincere kiss, surrounded by the little girls celebrating their victory and their freedom finally found.
(Jack): "We are free." he said after the kiss.
(Elizabeth): "I think we find much more than freedom." she replied, looking at the little girls around them. He agreed with her. They had found something equally important..... A family.
Sally approached and Jack took her in his arms, like a father with his daughter. Elizabeth was looking at them, smiling. She who was like a mother to Sally, saw in Jack the father she needed. As Jack took care of the girls, Elizabeth pulled back a bit, then felt a familiar presence behind her. She turned, and saw Booker, or at least a vision of him. Booker smiled at him with a loving smile and waved goodbye before disappearing. Elizabeth gave him back his farewell, a tear flowing down her cheek.
(Jack) "Elizabeth, are you alright?"
She turned to Jack, who had noticed the tear on his cheek. She wiped it with her hand and smiled.
(Elizabeth): "Now yes."
Another little girl, Masha, very shy and with brown hair, walked slowly towards Jack. She was holding something in the hand he recognized. A flat and gilded object of rectangular shape. The key to Rapture, that she took on the corpse of Fontaine. The object of all lusts, which would ensure control and absolute power over the entire city. Masha handed the key to Jack. The young man gently took the key in his hand, under Elizabeth's gaze. Jack looked at her for a moment, without saying a word, the object of power in his hand .... He smiled, and without a regret, nor even to look at it, made appear flames in his hand, reducing the key into a vulgar heap of ashes. Elizabeth smiles. He had made his choice, and the good one. Masha, too, seemed reassured. In place of the key, Jack took Elizabeth's hand gently in his.
(Jack): "It's time to go home."

Elizabeth and Jack, accompanied by all the little girls, arrived in one of the hangars of Rapture, where Brigid Tenenbaum was waiting for them, who for the first time smiled at seeing them. Behind her, a bathysphere was ready to leave, to take them away forever from this cursed city. Seeing Elizabeth and Jack hold hands, Tenenbaum understood right away and could only rejoice for them. All took their places in the bathysphere, and Tenenbaum put her hand on the metal lever. Jack and Elizabeth stared simultaneously at the statue of Andrew Ryan located about ten meters in front of the bathysphere, that, with its cold and empty look, seemed to be looking at them.
(Tenenbaum): "Farewell, Rapture."
She pulled the lever, and the bathysphere plunged into the water, running along an underwater tunnel, before starting up in the middle of the sea. The little girls came to glue themselves against the window, admiring the ocean water, which was becoming clearer as the surface approached. Their eyes lit up at the sight of a group of whales swimming peacefully about twenty meters in front of them. Far below them, the town of Rapture disappeared gradually into the darkness of the abyss, like a bad nightmare disappearing forever in limbo.
Head resting against Jack's shoulder, Elizabeth closed her eyes, her body finally free of all this. She thought she would die alone in Rapture, but no .... She had found a family. Jack looked thoughtfully at the chain-shaped tattoos on his wrists, and smiled. Having been a slave all his life, he was now free.
The bathysphere finally emerged from the water, in front of the steps of the lighthouse. The sunlight was blinding but so beautiful, warming the bodies and souls of those who had survived the nightmare of Rapture. The glass door opened and Jack went out first, feeling the clean air on his face for the first time in a long time. One by one, he helped the little girls to go out the cabin, then Tenenbaum, and Elizabeth, which he drew against him, his arms around her waist and placed another kiss on her lips. Elizabeth did not try to push him away and kissed him back, wrapping her arms around his neck. After this kiss, they joined Tenenbaum and the girls at the top of the steps, and all together admired the beauty of the ocean whose surface shone a thousand lights under the sunlight.

A cloudless night had fallen and the small lights of the thousand stars roaming the sky reflected on the ink surface of the calm ocean. The small group of survivors had settled inside the lighthouse, waiting for the arrival of the rescuers that would take them away from here. The statue of Andrew Ryan was still standing there, proudly waving that huge red banner "No Gods or Kings, Only man." The empty gaze of the statue pointed at Jack gave him a shudder. This statue was the first thing he saw when he entered the lighthouse after the plane crashed and he could never forget that.
In a corner, the little girls had fallen asleep, lying on small blankets taken out of a bag that Tenenbaum had brought with her before leaving Rapture, as well as some provisions. The doctor also slept deeply alongside the girls. On her cheeks were the dry marks of a few tears. Tenenbaum confessed her sins to the little girls and asked for their forgiveness. The little girls forgave her, much to her astonishment, but also relief.
Jack could not sleep, decided to take a little air and went out the lighthouse door. On leaving, he saw Elizabeth, elbows resting on the rail and silently admiring the stars. She smiled as Jack's arm came gently around her waist, and he stand next to her, looking pensively at the sky as well.
(Elizabeth): "I thought you'd be exhausted after such a day."
(Jack): "Yes, but oddly enough, no." he said with a smile. The two looked at each other without saying a word, then exchanged an amused little laugh, their brows touching each other.
In order to pass the time, and also having promised to Jack, Elizabeth decided to tell him everything .... She and her father Booker Dewitt .... The existence of Columbia .... Her life in the tower ... ..Songbird and her..... Fink and Suchong..... The twins Luteces and their machine..... The arrival at Rapture ..... And especially, the constants and the variables. She told him everything.
For Jack, it was a real shock. He took several minutes to realize. He might have thought a joke, but no, it was far too complex to be one. And he saw it in Elizabeth's eyes. She was more than sincere. And why would she lie for no reason? Blowing a big blow, Jack leaned against the padding.
(Jack): "Well .... I thought that after Rapture nothing could surprise me .... I was damn wrong."
(Elizabeth) "I know ...." she sighed as she came near him.
(Jack): "The constants and variables ...... Almost like, so to speak, the heads or the tails of a coin .... Like both of us ...."
Elizabeth nodded silently.
(Jack): "But, and these tears that you created ..... this sea of doors ..... Do you still see them?"
Elizabeth looked at her hands. Her finger had not disappeared, the visions and voices had finally stopped in her mind. She was now free from her debts and sins.
(Elizabeth): "No, and I do not think I'll ever see them again .... besides, it's better that way." she said softly, turning to Jack, and looking at him with love. "Now, I know where I want to be."
Their lips moved closer and met again for another kiss under the moonlight and stars.

*************

(Tenenbaum):"They offered you the city... And you refused it. And what did you do instead? What I have come to expect of you: You saved them. You gave them the one thing that was stolen from them: A chance. A chance to learn, to find love, to live. And in the end what was your reward? You never said, but I think I know... A family."

A year had passed. Jack and Elizabeth had stayed together and resumed a normal life, gradually forgetting the horrors of Rapture without worrying about the fate of the disastrous underwater city. To celebrate their one year together, Jack had invited Elizabeth to a restaurant in the city center. Sally had stayed at home, under the care of Tenenbaum.
For the occasion, Jack wore a suit and a tie, while Elizabeth had donned a long blue strapless dress and her lips were red as a rose. A beautiful full moon illuminated the city tonight and the couple was dining in good spirits. In her heart, Elizabeth lived it as a third rebirth. Jack looked shy in front of her, which made him even more cute. On the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, a homeless young woman was sitting and playing the guitar, hoping to earn a few silver coins. The song she performed caught Elizabeth's attention.
"Will the circle be unbroken
By and by, by and by?
Is a better home awaiting
In the sky, in the sky?...."
It brought back to Elizabeth some pretty sad memories, but also happy ones. She and Booker, in the cellar of this little Columbia's bar. He, sitting in a chair and playing guitar, thoughtful, and she, standing and singing, dreaming about a better life. Those moments, she wanted to keep them. She had to restrain herself from crying in front of Jack.
(Jack): "Liz ...."
His voice was calm, and his hand gently took hers. To see his face, he was very nervous. Taking a deep breath, and in front of all the other guests in the restaurant, he knelt down. Elizabeth blushed, feeling her heart pounding. With his other hand, Jack took something from his pocket and handed it to the young woman. A beautiful silver ring.
(Jack): "Miss Elizabeth ...... Will you marry me?" he asked, his face glowing. Unable to hold back her tears for joy, Elizabeth had to take a few seconds to realize, then nodded with a smile.
(Elizabeth): "Yes .... Yes!"
Jack's face lit up. The couple hugged and kissed each other with love, to the applause of the other people in the restaurant, pleasantly surprised. Another surprise was waiting for Elizabeth. Arriving with a reserved but happy Tenenbaum for them, Sally ran to the couple, also crying with joy as she heard Jack's marriage proposal. Upon seeing Sally, Elizabeth continued to shed her tears of happiness, taking her foster daughter into her arms for a hug. Elizabeth almost thought herself in a dream. She thought to die alone in the darkness of Rapture. Fate may have decided to finally give her a happy ending. For the first time in a long time, she felt really alive and happy.
Farther on, on the opposite sidewalk, hidden in the shadows, two silhouettes watched the scene. Playing with a coin, the man saw it spinning in the air before closing his hand on it.
(Robert Lutece): "The lamb and the ace are gathered ....."
(Rosalind Lutece): "... for better and for worse."
(Robert Lutece): "The debts have been paid ...."
(Rosalind Lutece): ".... The loop is thus buckled."
With these words, the Luteces twins disappeared into the darkness without leaving a trace, leaving Elizabeth and Jack to their happy life together.

**********

1980 - Laboratory, New-York

(Scientist): "It's ok? Are you filming?"
The man in a white coat and lower face hidden behind a mask asked his colleague, standing behind a camera, and nodded to him in response. The square, medium-sized room, with its blank white walls, was plunged into a semi-darkness and in the middle of the room, a table lit by lamps on the ceiling. Two other men then join the first, gathered around this table, where is a large metal box. The first scientist then speaks to the camera.
(Scientist): "Dr. Jenkins, October 1, 1980. File No. 3. A few months ago, a scuba diving team discovered in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, the ruins of what appeared to be a gigantic city. They claim to have heard strange signals coming from the buildings on their radar, but yet no presence of life has been detected.
The government sent a team of experts there, and they managed to bring back objects from this mysterious sunken city. One of our divers swore he saw moving figures in the ruined buildings, and said that this place was surreal .... disturbing, even."
The box was opened wide, revealing to the camera the objects in question. The scientist takes the first in his hands and shows it prominently on the screen.
A greasy and broken syringe, containing in it a few drops of EVE.
(Scientist): "It looks like a syringe. We have analyzed this blue product inside, but our machines are unable to define this substance.The samples are also too damaged, probably because of the salt of the water."
The second object shown was a small wet and dirty stuffed toy, representing what appeared to be a man in a diving suit and carrying a drill on one hand. The third object is a carnival mask, rabbit-shaped, and partially destroyed. The fourth and last object, more voluminous, attracted more scientists attention.
The painting of Elizabeth and Booker dancing, which was painted by Sander Cohen. Luckily, the painting had not been too damaged by moisture and mold. The chief scientist stepped next to the painting and pointed to it.
(Scientist): "This painting depicts a man and a young woman dancing in what seemed to be a kind of party. The expression of the young woman shows her pensive, almost sad, but there is more intriguing. She seems to be almost... out of time ... Was it the inhabitants of this city, and what have they become? "That is the big question: what happened to the inhabitants?..... I think unfortunately we will never have the answer. Following this strange discovery, the government decided not to reveal anything to the public and all the files and proofs about the "Rapture" case will be classified as confidential and protected. The maritime area where the city is located has been barred from access and will be continuously guarded by army boats. A new area 51 in a way.
Anyway, we will probably never know what happened in this city, or who created it, but no doubt it will remain one of the greatest mysteries in our history."

**********

Years have passed, years in which everyone did everything to forget the suffering of Rapture's nightmare.
Sitting in a white corridor, hands clasped on her little handbag, Elizabeth waited without saying anything, her face neutral. The graying hair combed in a bun, and the wrinkles dotting her face showed the years she had lived, alongside the man she loves. Beside her, sitting on another chair, a young adult woman wearing a long brown coat hold her by the hand.
(Sally) "Are you okay, Mom?" she asked her, concerned. Elizabeth forced herself to smile at her and patted her hand as an answer. A woman dressed as a nurse came to them.
(Nurse): "It's ok. You can go see him."
(Elizabeth): "Thank you."
Accompanied by Sally, she entered a room indicated by the nurse. On a bed covered in white sheets, Jack was here, also bearing the marks of old age. Connected to a respirator and intravenous, Jack smiled as he saw the two women enter the room. He reached out his trembling hand and Elizabeth took her gently.
(Jack): "Elizabeth ...... Sally ......" his voice was weak ..... dying.
(Elizabeth): "Hello, my love." she said with a smile split between joy and sadness, and laid a little kiss on her husband's forehead.
(Sally): "Hello daddy." she said, holding back the tears that threatened to sink. Jack noticed it and invited his daughter to hug him, which she did, delicately.
(Jack): "Life is life, Sally .... You must not be sad, but happy to having one."
(Sally): "It's thanks to you and mom that I have a life today." she said, no longer able to hold back her tears. Elizabeth, who also felt the moisture running in her eyes, came to comfort her. Jack was sad too, but also happy to have been able to live a happy life, to have been able to marry Elizabeth and to have raised Sally as his own daughter. He remembered the wedding ceremony. He, wearing a chic black suit, and Elizabeth, beautiful as an angel in her white dress. Both exchanging their vows, their rings in front of the altar, and sealing their wedding in a kiss, Elizabeth giving up the names of Dewitt and Comstock for Wynand. Their first dance, in slow and melodic music, as well as the night of their honeymoon at Paris, that saw their first act of true love. Tenenbaum had been present at the wedding ceremony, at the invitation of Jack and Elizabeth. The doctor remained good friends with them until her peaceful death that happened several years ago now. Their lives had been very simple but happy, in a small farm in the countryside....
It knocked on the door and the nurse entered.
(Nurse): "Excuse me, but other people ask to see Mr. Jack Wynand."
She stepped aside, letting in a dozen other young women, all holding in their hands a bouquet of flowers. Despite the age that had changed them, Jack recognized them all. The women he once saved from Rapture when they were little, had come to accompany the last moments of their savior. Each of them had find teaching, a job, love .... A life. This time, Jack shed a tear of joy. Elizabeth and Sally, sitting by his side, held him by the hand.
(Jack): "I want to say to all of you a heartfelt thank you ..... I was just a slave, a monster created for destruction...... Thanks to you, I became human."
Tears flowed, and with reason, for all.
(Elizabeth): "You've always been human, Jack."
He smiled at her. Sally and the other young women approached and all touched Jack's hands with theirs. Elizabeth laid another kiss on Jack's forehead, which, smiling and placated, closed his eyes one last time.

THE END