Had this been any other year, Pockets would’ve charged at the man, weaponless, and with his arms held out. Practically begging for death…as he had been for years.
But now, since his abuse of ADAM and EVE set it, along with the cozy life he was now living in a hovel with a few other splicers, he found himself genuinely happy for the first time in months.
He wasn’t about to let some young gun from the surface take away his quaint set-up. Thinking as quickly as his twisted brain would let him, he stood up on his knees. With a grin, he pulled his tattered tux jacket open, one shirt at a time. It was lined with hand-sewn pockets, each bulging with unknown items.
“…Whatcha wanna buy? Trade? Sell? You want it, I got it.”
When he sat up on his knees, he cocked the gun, prepared to shoot. What he wasn’t expecting, however, was watching as he pulled open his tux jacket and asked him if he wanted to buy.
Well, he did have some money. But he wasn’t willing to buy.
He took a step forward,glancing over all of the pockets stuffed with unknown things that he couldn’t distinguish. He shook out his electrobolt plasmid, then holding the hand out to him.
“ADAM. All that you have.”
Pockets then froze in his place. His one good eye still locked on the intruder, and the pistol. He was at a point-blank range, if he was a good enough shot. The splicer was veritably cornered, so it seemed. And he had learned that, more often than not, it wasn’t a smart idea to bring a wrench or a pipe to a gunfight.
He momentarily considered his plasmids, however, judging by the glow of the man’s left hand, he’d had them too. And…it was Electro-Bolt. His least favourite. It bitterly reminded him of…
“…You know what they do to intruders around here, eh?” he said, making it sound more like a question than a statement.
“I learned pretty fast, yeah.” He kept his hand steady, aimed right between his eyes, while his other hand glowed white-blue. Yeah, this guy was cornered, and if he made one move to even flinch toward him he’d shoot immediately.
“But you know, I’ve been down here for weeks, and you’re not the first guy I’ve run into. So give me one good reason why I shouldn’t put a bullet in your head right now.”
At least this guy didn’t automatically try taking a swing at him. If he did, well, he’d already be dead by now.
Pockets backed up, still on all fours. His eye darted from the intruder, to the grating of a climate vent on the wall, back to the intruder. He wondered how fast he could make it through there if the other decided to use that pistol. The splicer spoke to the surface-dwelling intruder, still backtracking slowly.
“You…yer the surface-dweller…aren’t you?” he said softly, staring up at Jack with his reddened eyes.
“Yeah, that’s me.” He took a step forward when he backed up, still keeping the pistol pointed directly at the man — if he could even call him that anymore. He was expecting an attack in response; that was the typical reaction, it seemed, whenever anyone down here found an ‘intruder’.
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So thatwas what Jack was after: an escape opportunity. These days, who wasn’t?
Finding a bathysphere would be no problem. Finding one that wasn’t falling apart, however, would be a real challenge, if not impossible. The only viable option was to build one from scratch. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find enough materials, but it was going to be tough to build one strong enough to withstand the immense pressure outside the city. One loose screw, and the entire thing would crumple like a piece of paper in a giant’s clenched fist, crushing whatever was inside it.
Gil’s eyes suddenly lit up.
“I don’t, unfortunately, but I believe that I can help you regardless.” His face split in a wide, toothy grin. “I know just what to do. If there are no setbacks, then you should be back on the surface in a few weeks—perhaps even less.”
That’s what he’d been after since his arrival to this fallen utopia, and his want for it only got stronger with each passing minute. He’d say day, but he didn’t know what day it was anymore. There was no point keeping track when there were no clocks down here. Each second that he was still down here made him want to get out that much more.
And now he might have an opportunity. As Gil pondered what he had said, he waited patiently; the bargain was simple. He gets Jack out of here, he gets spared. If he fails, Jack won’t hesitate to test what that control can do.
When his eyes lit up and he gave him this news, Jack smiled.
“Then I believe we have a deal. I want updates on how it’s going every few hours. Any setbacks, any anything, I want to know about it. Accessing the shortwave radio isn’t hard; at least, it shouldn’t be for you.” Plucking the item out of his pocket, he tossed it in the air and caught it. Considering anyone notable in the city has had the ability to contact him via the radio, he figured it wouldn’t be a problem for Gil either.
He’d be out of here in a few weeks. Perfect.
That was the last straw.
“Do you think me a simpleton?”
He wasn’t cowering in the bottom of his tank any more. Now he was pressed up against the glass wall, watching Jack with wide eyes. A muscle near the corner of his mouth tremored uncontrollably.
“I know what will happen if I neglect to pay you back. You will come for me again. Perhaps you’ll kill me, perhaps not. Either way, something terribly unpleasant will happen to me, which I would very much like to prevent. And I may not look it, but I am a very resourceful man. I’m sure that I will be able to get you whatever you want.”
He opened his mouth to reply; yes, honestly, he did think him to be a simpleton. However, he stopped himself from saying what he was about to say when Gil said that last sentence. It halted him for just a moment, before a grin came to his lips and he chuckled; though it wasn’t lighthearted in the slightest, but more dark. He wasn’t very capable of lightheartedness anymore.
“Can you control the bathyspheres?” He simply responded, looking at the man that was now far from cowering, though he himself was still not in the least bit afraid. “Are you able to access them?”
He pushed himself off of the control panel, going down the steps and strolling right up to the tank.
“I don’t care how long it takes or what you’ll have to do to make it happen. If you can get a working bathysphere for me to take to the surface, I’ll spare your life and everyone else’s down here that I haven’t already killed.”
“Does it look like I have anything to offer y— Oh, God…”
There was that hand again. Gil buried his face in his hands, pulling his knees up to his chest. Jack may just have been messing with him, but he wasn’t taking any chances.
“Please, no! Please don’t…”
His anger continued to fester inside him. Gruesome images flashed before his eyes as he imagined what he would do to Jack if he had the strength to put up a fight. Gil had the size of a great whale and the teeth of a shark, yet there he was, cowering before a pint-sized tyrant like a stricken dog. It wasn’t fair.
“I don’t have anything to give you right now, but…” He looked up, forcing himself to smile in an attempt to look at least somewhat composed. “If you spare me, rest assured that I will make it worth your while.”
And it made Jack feel so, so powerful. Being able to make such a big creature cower like a domestic animal that has done wrong, it was wonderful. He chuckled at the words, at the attempt to bribe him. It was a good try, he’d give him that for certain.
“You know,” He mused idly as he looked over the controls again before glancing up at the TVs flashing black and white ‘PLEASE STAND BY’ signs. “You’re not the first person to say those words to me. That you’ll make it ‘worth my while’.”
He remembered when he first entered Rapture; well, not the first time, but more when he came back to Rapture. How Tenenbaum tossed him the plasmid and told him she would make it worth his while if he saved the Little Sisters rather than killing them. But Atlas, the voice on the radio, told him it’d be better if he killed them. And how could he trust her?
“If you have nothing to offer to me, how could you make it worth my while, hmm? Why should I believe you? How do I know that you’re not just saying this so I’ll spare you and you’ll kill me as soon as you have the chance?”
As he said this his eyes flickered to the nearest vita-chamber; it was on, good. Then if he killed him it wouldn’t particularly matter, unless he was able to turn it off from his position.
The splicer’s head snapped up, pivoting all around on his neck, trying to locate the source of the sound. He stood up, brandishing his pipe.
“I can heeeaaar yoooooou…and you won’t like it when I FIND YOU.”
When he heard the cock of a pistol, he planted himself down to the tiled floor, on all fours. Pockets leered uncomfortably at the intruder, his deadened left eye staring off to his left, out of sync with the other locked in front.
Catching sight of the splicer, he almost wanted to gag. Then again, most of the splicers down here disgusted him; what with how distorted most of their features were. It sometimes made him think that he was the only normal looking human down here; until he remembers that his father and Atlas among a very small group of people that are down here look fine.
“You have a pipe, big guy, and I have a pistol. Who do you think’s gonna win here?”
Toasty, like the good juggernaut splicer he was, burst from his cover, trying to locate the intruder. Instructions or no instructions, Ryan or no Ryan, Toasty, along with many of the splicers, hated intruders upon the city, and he was eager to be the one who did away with the man who’s face, and sweater, were posted everywhere.
“I know you’re here…and I’m just itchin’ for a fight!”
He popped the chamber on his revolver, reloading it and spinning it shut expertly.
He knew he was unwanted here by literally every living thing down in this place. Hell, he himself didn’t want to be here and would love to leave. That’s what he’s been wanting to do, anyway. But until then, he had to kill everything that tried to kill him, and it looked like everything down here that wanted him out figured the only way out is with death.
He heard the sound of a revolver and readied his shotgun, listening carefully to where the voice came from and shooting when he saw anything move.
“Yeah? I’ve been looking for some stress relief myself…”
The metal around his feet cut through his jeans and dug into his legs and he kicked some of it away to give him some space, still oh-so-casually leaning against the control panel. No, he didn’t know; it just said sample disposal. Though, when Gil stated that it was actually ‘subject’ disposal, that made it quite clear.
Oh, so this killed him. That made sense.
“For a guy with enough power to run the place, you have a pretty big gaping weak spot right here then, don’t you?” He simply mused. Besides, he was in that tank, how could he stop him?
Besides, maybe, sending more bots after him. But all he had to do was lean against the switch and it’d activate it.
When he saw Jack’s eyes rove over the buttons, he tightened, digging his claws into the tank wall.
“If I could, I would long since have deactivated it.”
It was true. Using his bot to fiddle with the wiring was impossible, and he was far too paranoid to let anyone do it for him. Not even his closest friends were allowed near the control panel unless he was safe outside of his tank.
As he sat there, shaking and waiting for the stranger to lose interest and move on, he felt another outburst coming on. If Jack was there when it happened, then he would, without doubt, get snapped at. And provoking him further was the last thing that Gil wanted to do.
“I am going to have to ask you to leave, sir.”
“Sir?” That made him glance up with a smirk at the rather pitiful man — if he could call him that — in the tank. “I like the sound of that. Tell me; why should I?”
He brushed his fingers over some of the controls on the panel; not hard enough to hit any buttons, but certainly enough to give the man some more scares. He was twisted; it was hard not to be when you’ve been down here long enough. So being able to toy with someone in a weak situation like this was certainly an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. Especially not considering just how long he’s been in the weak spot and been paranoid and anxious constantly. It was nice to take that load off for a bit.
Using one of the bots as balance, he kicked off of it to hoist himself up and sit on the edge of the panel. Picking up said bot, he searched the destroyed remains and harvested some unused bullets to load into his machine gun, casting a small glance over his shoulder at the tank when he finished.