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No Gods Or Kings

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You groaned quietly as the voice on the other end of your radio began calling out to you. It was impossible to find a moment of peace in a place like Rapture; at one point it might have been a safe haven for the cream of the crop but now it was a glorified hell hole. You were lounging about in one of the vacated bathyspheres trying in vain to escape your problems. Suddenly, the rather persistent on the other grew loud and impatient, “Y/N, answer me!”
You cursed quietly but you adopted a sickly sweet tone when you answered, “Yes, Atlas? What do you need?”
There was a rather audible groan on the other end, “I have been calling out to you for ten minutes! What the hell were you doing?”
Your sweet tone had suddenly gone flat, “I was doing my very best to ignore you. What do you want?”
Another frustrated groan crackled through the radio, “Let’s not forget, Doll. You owe me a great deal so get your ass down to my office. I’ve got a special job for you.”
You snorted, “Yeah of course you do. You never call just to say hello…”
His practiced accent faltered for a brief moment, “What was that, Y/N?
You groaned quietly, “Nothing… I’m on my way.” That was the end of that conversation and with that you hauled yourself out of the old bathysphere and made your way through the bowels of Rapture. How had you managed to fall this low? Oh that’s right because you needed money for your research but that was before Rapture went to hell.
As you were walking through one of the many glass hallways when the sound of nails scraping across glass caught your attention. You turned were startled to see a splicer in the adjacent hallway pounding and scraping their metal hooks across the glass; you could very faintly hear them saying something about their plans to kill you. You slammed the end of your revolver against the glass, “Go ahead and try it! God knows that Atlas would have to find someone else to do his dirty work; so you’d be doing me a favor.” You couldn’t stand those splicers; the very substance that they were addicted to was also the very reason that you were stuck bending to Atlas’ will. ADAM was what kept the world of Rapture spinning; never mind the heinous side effects that it produced.
Continuing through the very depths of Rapture you managed to make your way into Atlas’ makeshift office; you found the man in question speaking with a couple of his other lackeys. When he saw you he quickly dismissed his little disciples and stalked toward you, “Finally, I thought that I was going to die of old age before you made it down here. Were you followed?”
You sighed, “Was I followed? How stupid do you think I am? Of course I wasn’t followed. Now, what exactly is this big important job that couldn’t possibly wait?”
Atlas began pacing around you, “On the surface, there was a massive plane crash and there was a lone survivor who is making his way down here as we speak. I need you to find him and make sure that he gets to Neptune’s Bounty in one piece.”
You raised an eyebrow at him, “All this trouble for one man? Who exactly is he? He must be really important…”
Atlas kept walking around you, “Never you mind who the kid is. It isn’t your place to ask questions, Y/N. Let’s remember who owes who, alright?”
Sometimes you just wanted to punch that smug smile right off of his face, “Yes, Atlas I am well aware of the hell that I currently find myself trapped in. How will I know this kid when I find him?”
Atlas finally stopped pacing around you and his lips were practically hovering over your ear, “Believe me, Doll… You’ll know him when you meet him.” He pulled away and you had to repress the odd shiver that ran through you, “Besides, I’ll be in constant communication with him… to urge him forward. Now be off with you, Y/N.”
` You gave him a very sarcastic mock bow before stomping out of his office. How the hell did that man have this kind of effect on you? He was the reason that your life was in such dire straits and yet he had you blushing and shivering like a schoolgirl. You were all too aware of Atlas’ true identity as you two had a very long and soiled history that started largely from the day that you had arrived in Rapture. Once Brigid Tenenbaum had made her groundbreaking discovery of ADAM plasmids would follow shortly after and being a bright young entrepreneur yourself, who was also scientifically gifted; you wanted into the business. With your qualifications, you were soon rubbing elbows with Frank Fontaine and Brigid Tenenbaum; it was amazing at first until Frank proposed his barbaric idea for cheap ADAM production. You borrowed more money then you should have in order to fund your own research on a safer way to produce Adam but it was too late. Soon after the horrifying production of the Little Sisters, the carefully hidden Civil War of Rapture was on the ever approaching horizon. Two of the biggest names in Rapture were now bumping heads; Fontaine was leading the angry lower class while Ryan led the disillusioned upper crust of Rapture’s finest.
This Civil War that followed was brutal and it robbed a lot of people of the better life that they were promised. Rapture went to hell after that but it was a long time coming, after the Little Sisters were created the Big Daddies were created to protect them and the ADAM that they carried. Now the paradise under the sea was a desolate wasteland that was filled with people that were at the end of their rope and desperate. Rapture was unusually quiet as you made your way to where you were informed that this kid would be. Eventually, you came upon a Little Sister and the Big Daddy assigned to protect her; you watch as the girl hovered over a crumpled figure. You realized that that was probably who you were looking for and once the Little Sister was gone you ran over to him.
You cursed as you felt around for his pulse, “Shit, C’mon kid! I’m supposed to be looking out for you… don’t be dead.” You sighed in relief as you felt the steady beat that ensured he would be okay. Suddenly, his eyes flew open and he quickly sat up with a start; you did your best to calm him, “Hey, Whoa! Calm down, you’re alright. Who the hell are you?”
His breathing was a little erratic as he tried to focus on you, “I’m Jack. Who are you?”
You chuckled breathily, “Well, Jack… I’m Y/N. And you picked one hell of a time to visit. How did you end up here anyway?”
He looked a little confused, “I don’t know… All I remember was that the plane crash and then there was this lighthouse. Then I was attacked by someone and Atlas was trying to help me.”
You heard the distinct sound of electricity crackling and you looked down at his hands, “Oh no! You took one of the plasmids? That complicates things because you’re going to need ADAM and Eve to keep you going.” You tried to sound as convincing and concerned as you could, “Alright, Jack… where exactly are you headed?”
The poor guy was too trusting; he was easily spilling his guts as you helped him up, “To Neptune’s bounty. Atlas’ family is trapped down there and they need help. Do you know how to get there?”
You laughed at little, “Yeah, Of course I do. You had better be ready Jack… the people down here act more like animals and they are incredibly hostile. Follow me; the best way to Neptune’s Bounty is the bathysphere in the Medical Pavilion.” You eyed Jack curiously, he definitely stood out like a sore thumb in his cable knit sweater and those slacks. You didn’t have long to muse over his fashion sense as you heard the all too familiar cackling of several splicers. You groaned and turned to Jack, “I hope you know how to use that plasmid because we’ve got some splicers headed this way.”
There were five splicers in total who were all easily dispatched; you were gathering the supplies that could be salvaged from the fallen splicers. The silence was somewhat awkward so you decided to break it, “So, what’s your story Jack? Where were you headed when the plane crashed?”
He looked up at you and the more that he thought about it the more his eyebrows began to knit together in confusion, “This is terrible but my memory is a bit hazy right now… I’m having trouble remembering things.”
You placed a gentle hand on his arm, “Hey, it’s okay you’ve been through a lot. Are you feeling alright? We can stop and rest for a bit if you need to…”
He gave you a kind smile, “No, I’m okay but thank you for your concern. Since I’m having trouble remembering my past… can I hear about yours?”
You laughed lightly and shrugged, “It’s not that exciting trust me… but I came to Rapture a few years ago after the discovery of ADAM. The city seemed like a dream come true for someone like me, I got to continue my scientific research and I met some of the most influential minds that Rapture had to offer. But as you can obviously tell… that didn’t last. Things between Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine came to a very violent end and the Rapture that you’re seeing now is what was left.”
Speak of the devil and he shall appear, Atlas’ voice crackled through the radio to remind the both of you of your intended destination. Jack laughed quietly at the very dramatic roll of your eyes that accompanied Atlas’ comment. You both made your way through Rapture and watched as a splicer unsuccessfully attempted to take on one of the many Big Daddies. It didn’t end well for him but it allotted Jack a pistol and an idea of what he would surely face during his stay in Rapture. Not long after that brief encounter, you and Jack came upon a splicer who had this time successfully taken down a Big Daddy. Before the splicer could harm the Little Sister the familiar accented voice of Brigid Tenenbaum filled the room. She shot the splicer down with a surprising degree of accuracy.
You did your best to avoid eye contact with Brigid as she argued back and forth with Atlas over the fate of Little Sister; she would surely recognize you and you didn’t want her to blow your cover. She called out to Jack, “Wait! There is another way… use this and free them from their burden; you will be rewarded.”
You sat back and watched curiously as Jack took the new plasmid and decided to save the Little Sister rather than harvesting her for the ADAM she carried. You were impressed that a complete outsider could show more compassion than most of the citizens of Rapture. The two of you continued on to the medical pavilion and were faced with the despicable acts of the unhinged Dr. Steinman. You needed to get to the emergency access board to proceed but you needed to go through Dr. Steinman and the many Splicers inhabiting the medical pavilion in order to get there.
With a little help from Jack’s new Telekinesis plasmid, you were both able to overpower Dr. Steinman and you both made it through. You had nearly forgotten that Fontaine Fisheries was now ‘owned’ eccentric Wilkins and you would have to deal with him to get to Neptune’s Bounty. You must have somehow voiced your displeasure because Jack’s deep voice spoke up, “Are you alright, Y/N?”
You sighed but offered a weak smile, “Yeah I’m fine, it’s just… the guy that runs this little part of Rapture; well he’s… How should I put it? He’s a character… he’s a bit odd. Just keep on your toes around him because I don’t trust him.”
As you quite literally expected, Wilkins betrayed you both which started a fire fight between you and the fellow splicers of the degraded fisheries. You hated how this whole day was turning out but you had a debt to repay and if you were honest then you had to admit that you were concerned for Jack. He was one of the first truly decent people that you had met since coming to Rapture. There was just something so pure and good in him; you’d be damned if you let one of these slimy splicers snuff that out.
The bathysphere that Atlas had been so keen on getting to was waiting in the seemingly empty harbor. It seemed that it would be an easy victory until the booming voice of Andrew Ryan warned you against releasing the bathysphere. Dozens of ADAM addicted splicers descended onto the bathysphere and that meant a fight for you and Jack. You knew from the beginning that Atlas didn’t have a family waiting inside of that bathysphere; so you were left to wonder what was actually inside of it. Ryan was true to his word, he destroyed the bathysphere and Atlas gave a rather convincing portrayal of a man overcome with grief.
You were on your way to Arcadia gardens when it occurred to you that you had fulfilled your end of the bargain with Atlas. You had gotten Jack to Neptune’s Bounty in one piece; if you truly wanted to you could have left Jack behind. Sitting across from him in the descending bathysphere it was actually the last thing on your mind; you found that you actually cared about his safety and you would make sure that he survived Rapture. You noticed the tattoos on his wrists and without thinking you reached out and grabbed his hands; you froze for a moment but he didn’t pull away. You proceeded to rub your thumbs across the tattooed chains, “These are interesting… Why chains?”
He smiled hesitantly, “I can’ really remember when or why I got them… maybe we can attribute that to some sort of youthful indiscretion?” You laughed lightly with him but noticed his hesitance, “Why can’t I remember anything meaningful? I keep getting flashes or images of my life but that’s it.”
You gave his hand a reassuring squeeze before letting go, “You’ve been through a lot, Jack. Cut yourself a little slack; your memories will come back in time I’m sure.” The rest of the bathysphere ride was spent making small talk and for the first time in a long time you found yourself laughing and genuinely connecting with someone. Living in a society filled with people who were largely hostile didn’t allow for a lot of deep and meaningful connections.
Arcadia Garden was in a state of disarray much like the rest of Rapture; the once beautiful and lush greenhouse had now been sapped of life by the mysterious gas released by Ryan. You knew of Julie Langford’s work here and how committed she was to her research; the state of her once lush gardens would no doubt distress her. In fact, she was so upset that for the briefest moment she held you responsible but she quickly realized who was truly behind the attack. You and Jack had agreed to help her complete the Lazarus Vector but doing so had only angered Andrew Ryan. The coward had decided to flood her office with poisonous gas; you were forced to watch Julie die as you desperately tried to break down the glass.
Before she succumbed to the toxic gas, Julie left behind the combination of her safe which contained the formula for the Lazarus Vector. When it was successfully completed you and Jack watched the Garden slowly returning back to life and, much to your delight, the air in the gardens cleared. Atlas was on the radio in a heartbeat, urging you and Jack forward to Fort Frolic but you had another plan. You turned to Jack, “Look we’ve been fighting non-stop for a while. I think that we should take a breather… we won’t do Rapture any good if we’re falling over from exhaustion. There are some offices just a little further ahead; I suggest we get some rest before continuing to Fort Frolic.”
Jack considered it for a moment but he shook his head, “Honestly, I think we should just keep moving.” You were tired and you knew that Jack was as well so you persisted; offering your best and saddest puppy dog eyes. Jack caved in with a groan, “Fine! You win… lead the way.”
You and Jack had finally made to an office space that could be locked and it would have to serve as a safe house; where the two of you could get some rest. You sighed in exhaustion, “Finally, a safe place where we can get some sleep!”
Jack walked up behind you, “I guess it’s a pretty secure place but I still think that we should keep going. Atlas said that Sander Cohen wasn’t too far from here. ”
You walked over to him and caressed his cheek, you could have imagined it but it felt as if he leaned into your touch, “Jack, you need to get some sleep. You’re not a machine… Your mission can wait for a few hours.”
Jack groaned lightly, “Fine but just a little while and then we leave, okay?”
You smiled sweetly, “I can concede to those terms, Jack.” You turned toward the corner of the room and very nearly squealed in delight; there was a record player and you hoped it was still working. You ran over and went through some records before finding one that caught your eye. To your delight the record and its player worked as the sound of The Platters, The Great Pretender filled the room.
You walked toward Jack with a smile and he raised an eyebrow questioningly, “Y/N, what are you doing?”
You grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the middle of the room, “What does it look like? I want to dance with you. Come on, please?”
Jack looked absolutely rigid but you were stubborn as you tried to sway side to side with him, Jack spoke up somewhat awkwardly, “Y/N, I don’t… I don’t dance.”
You grinned impishly up at him, “Well, then we’ll just have to fix that, won’t we? Here you put your arms like this…” You placed one of his hands on your waist before gently gripping his other hand in your own, “There. Now it’s just a simple side-step… just do what comes naturally.”
You both gently swayed from side to side as you began to softly sing the familiar words, “Oh, yes I'm the great pretender. Pretending that I'm doing well; my need is such I pretend too much. I'm lonely but no one can tell. Oh, yes I'm the great pretender; adrift in a world of my own. I've played the game but to my real shame you've left me to grieve all alone. Too real is this feeling of make believe… too real when I feel what my heart can't conceal.”
You were too lost in your own little world to really notice that your dancing positon had changed; both of your arms were draped around Jack’s neck and your face was cradled into the crook of his neck. Jack had both of his arms wrapped securely around your waist, pulling you in as closely as he could, and he had his cheek resting against the top of your head. You continued to sing softly but as the song was drawing to a close Jack stood up a little straighter and returned to your original dancing position. You looked up at Jack questioningly but he only offered a quick smile before twirling you around in a few quick circles; you giggled in delight as he spun you outwards and the twirled you back towards his body.
You squealed as Jack placed a large protective hand on your back before dipping you backwards, you were hanging there laughing breathlessly, “My, my Jack… I though you said you didn’t dance.”
He pulled you back up and into his arms before chuckling lowly, “You told me to just do what comes naturally…” You laughed lightly as you looked into his eyes and noticed a softness there that you hadn’t seen before. Jack leaned down and captured your lips and it felt like you were floating; it felt like you were standing there in each other’s arms for hours. However, a face flashed in your mind and you pulled away from the kiss; why were you thinking of Atlas, right now? Jack spoke up somewhat sheepishly, “I’m sorry, Y/N. I don’t know what came over me.”
Your heart broke a little when you realized he thought he’d done something wrong. You quickly pecked another kiss to his lips before pulling away, “You have nothing to be sorry about, Jack. Now let’s get some rest we’ve got a long way to go.”
You and Jack found comfortable enough places to sleep and while Jack was fast asleep you we’re lying there and thinking. Thinking about Atlas or Frank as you knew him, before his “supposed” death, Frank had always been a good friend to you and a small part of you admired him but you hadn’t allowed yourself to feel anything beyond that. You owed Frank Fontaine a debt not your heart; but perhaps he somehow had already laid claim to that as well. No, you couldn’t allow that… especially after what you were beginning to feel for Jack. You were surprised by Jack’s kiss, it’s true but it stirred something within you; something that you had never allowed yourself before.
With a sigh you turned on your side and caught a glimpse of Jack’s sleeping form; the fact that he was at peace, if but for one minute brought a smile to your face. After that you drifted off to sleep for a brief respite. Jack woke you up after the both of you had gotten some sleep which meant that it was time to see Sander Cohen. You were walking toward the bathyspheres when you noticed Jack had stopped walking as he suddenly gripped the wall beside him. You ran over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder, “Jack! Jack, are you alright?”
It took him a moment but he nodded and straightened up, “Yeah, I’m fine. I just had a weird moment… I saw my parents. I mean, I think they were my parents. I was standing with them on a farm… I’ve been seeing that image a lot lately and I don’t know why.”
He sighed and shook his head; you stood up on your toes before planting a kiss on his cheek, “Go easy on yourself, Jack. You’ve been through a lot… I’m sure that your memories will come back to you soon. Besides, you can always look forward to making new memories.” You laughed lightly to yourself, “Once we get you out of here that is. God only knows that this place isn’t something you would want to remember.”
Jack gently grabbed your hand and squeezed it, “I don’t know about that… not everything about this place has been completely terrible.” You smiled fondly as the two of you continued into Cohen’s lair and you were almost surprised to find the bathysphere needed to reach Ryan was docked in its station. However that was short-lived as the bathysphere quickly pulled out of its port and descended into the depths below. A giant pair of glowing rabbit ears lowered themselves down to the ground as several plaster encased splicer bodies were revealed. Jack shifted uncomfortably as he looked over at you, “Who exactly are we dealing with?”
Your mouth was agape as you shook your head, “A certifiable nut… Just make sure your weapons are loaded.” As it happened, Sander Cohen was just as crazy as you remembered him being; from the unfortunate fate of Fitzpatrick right down to his desire for your help in creating his magnum opus. He exacted a high price for safe passage up toward Andrew Ryan’s office; Cohen wanted you and Jack to kill three of his former allies and take pictures of their bodies. It was with a great deal of strife and an attempt on your own life by Cohen that you were able to succeed and continue up to Ryan’s office.
As you drew closer to Ryan’s office, Jack grew quieter and quieter and the silence was slowly killing you. There was a question that you had been sitting on since you had met Jack, “Jack… Why is it that you’re doing this?”
He turned the full force of his gaze on you, “What are you talking about, Y/N?”
His dedication to this new cause was puzzling, “Why are you so willing to take on Andrew Ryan? You’re not from Rapture… so why are you so invested in dethroning him? I realize that he’s an elitist bastard but Andrew Ryan was never your problem.”
He looked utterly confused as he rubbed his forehead, “I don’t know… you’ve seen what’s happening down here. Maybe it’s time that Andrew Ryan was knocked down a few levels. Regardless, I can’t just leave the city like this… I have to do something.”
You silently nodded your head; you didn’t understand his motives but for the moment you agreed to trust him. The path to Ryan’s office was paved with Splicer’s and the bodies of those that had dared to defy Andrew Ryan; a grisly reminder of what a place like Rapture was capable of. You entered a dark room in which a board of portraits happened to be the centerpiece; the words ‘Would you Kindly?’ were scrawled on the wall with heavy strokes of red paint. The audiotape that you found was just as disturbing; it revealed Suchong’s horrifying experimentations and conditioning of a young child.
In the office just ahead, you were granted an audience with the infamous Andrew Ryan; who happened to be leisurely playing golf as if nothing was wrong. The more that he began to talk the more clear the image became; the small child on the tape before was Jack. Jack Ryan, the illegitimate son of Rapture’s top dog; a bombshell whose destruction was only heightened when it was revealed that Jack could be controlled by a simple phrase. You moved to stop Jack once Andrew Ryan ordered Jack to kill him, Ryan looked at with immeasurable disdain, “Get them out of the way, would you kindly.”
Without a word, Jack reached out and shoved you rather roughly to the side; you collided with Ryan’s heavy wooden desk. You hesitantly picked yourself up and watched in horror as Jack brought a golf club down upon Andrew Ryan; in one short moment it was over and Andrew Ryan was no more. Jack looked horrified as he took in everything that he had done, especially, when he looked at you but it only lasted a second as Atlas’ voice crackled through the radio and played Jack like a fiddle. You were left trailing behind Jack as he was forced to take Andrew Ryan’s genetic key and turn it over to Atlas. Unfortunately, you were separated from Jack by an iron gate but you could very much still hear and see everything as it unfolded.
You were biting back tears as Atlas revealed himself as Frank Fontaine and he also revealed his part in Jack’s birth and conditioning. All this time, Frank had you leading Jack to his bitter end and you did so without question. How could you have been so blind? Things only got worse as Frank revealed your part, “I’m sorry, Jack. I know that you have gotten close to our mutual friend, Y/N… but they’ve been playing you from the start. You see… Y/N here works for me and they were only too happy to deceive you to repay their debt.”
The look on Jack’s face was utterly heartbreaking as he tried to process everything, “Y/N? Is it true? You were messing with me… ever since we met, everything was a lie?”
Your voice was hoarse and desperate, “Jack, I’m sorry! I didn’t know that this was his plan… you have to believe me! I never meant for you to get hurt…” You could hear Frank chuckling and it prompted you to turn your attention toward him, “Frank, please just let him go! You’ve got what you’ve already got what you wanted… now, let him go!”
Frank’s voice came out as a crackling bark, “Quiet, Y/N! You’ve done your job but this isn’t your place… Men! Take Y/N away…”
You hadn’t heard anyone coming, so you began to thrash around wildly when a strong pair of arms wrapped themselves around you and lifted you up. Somehow or another, a piece of cloth was placed over your nose and mouth and suddenly you were fighting to keep your eyes open and your limbs were getting harder to move. The last thing you saw, before your world went dark, was Jack pulling against the iron bars in unbridled fury.
Your head was foggy as you opened your eyes, the events of earlier were swirling in the back of your mind as you tried to stand up. The smell of mildew and pungent seawater filled your nostrils and made your stomach roll; you realized now that you were sprawled out on a couch in Atlas’, or rather Frank’s office. A familiar husky voice filled the room, “Thank god! I didn’t think that you would be out for that long.” Frank was slowly walking towards you, “Sorry about that but I needed to get you out of there and I had an inkling that you wouldn’t have gone willingly.”
You gripped your head, “Where is Jack? What have you done to him, Frank?”
A look of displeasure crossed his face, “Your new friend somehow got away… As far as I know, he’s somehow still alive.”
You scoffed at him, “What the hell, Frank? Why would you do this? I knew that you were calculating but this is a new low for you. You engineered a life and tried to bend him to your will; how could you do that to him?”
Frank began to pace and his tone was almost bitter, “You’ve gotten awfully close to that little weasel, haven’t you?”
You wanted to hit him but you couldn’t ignore the tone in Atlas’ voice, “You almost sound jealous of him. Is that it? Are you jealous of Jack?”
He stopped his erratic pacing and looked at you, “Maybe I am. You can’t be that surprise by that, Y/N… After all, we do have quite a bit of history. Is it such a stretch to imagine that I may have a special place in my heart for you?”
You wanted to laugh but he looked and sounded so serious that you weren’t sure that he was lying, “Yes it is. As far as I know, you don’t have any room in your heart for anything but money and power.”
To your surprise, Frank actually chuckled, “That’s where you’re wrong, Y/N. What good is an empire if you have to rule it alone? What I’ve done… I’ve done for the both of us, Y/N. You and me, together… just like it should be.”
The closer he got to you, the more you tried to shrink away, “You’re more psychotic than I thought if you think that I would ever want anything to do with this.”
Suddenly, Frank’s large hand was gripping your chin and forcing you to look him in the eye; his lips were a mere inch from your own. His voice was low and gravely, “You can’t lie to me, Y/N. I’ve seen the way that you’ve looked at me, especially, when you think I won’t notice. We belong together and you know that as well as I do.” He let go of your chin, “Things in Rapture are about to change… you had better decide which side you’re on before you get hurt. We’re going to clean this place up and we’re going to start with your little friend.”
Frank was already on his way out of the door when you called out to him, “Frank, stop! Just let Jack go… he has nothing to do with this mess.”
Another chuckle left Frank’s lips, “Wrong again, Y/N. Jack might not have known it but he’s still the son of Andrew Ryan. That makes him my rival and I don’t take kindly to people standing in my way. You should learn that before you get hurt.” And just like that Frank was gone and you were left in stunned silence.