The God's BountyMature

"Technology, " Tenenbaum scoffed. "It can change a person's very DNA, yet if it gets a little wet, it turns into so much smoke and hot metal."

Looking down at the engine as the spotlight on her helmet illuminated it with a ghostly white pallor, it was hard for Eleanor to disagree. The engine casing not only provided no protection whatsoever, but if anything, looked as though it may have actually been retaining water. In several places the wires had melted to the side of the metal casing, making the whole engine about as useful as a net for propelling their craft.

"You will need to replace nearly all of it, " Tenenbaum sighed. "Belts, wires, transformers." A hint of some emotion Eleanor couldn't discern had crept into her voice, but by the next time she spoke it was gone, leaving Eleanor to wonder if maybe it had simply been distortion caused by the acoustics in her helmet. "I'd try looking for tools first. There'd probably be some- ".

Silence.

Eleanor waited for nearly a minute before her nerves got the better of her. "Tenenbaum?" she asked. "Tenenbaum, are you still there?"

A whispering voice finally answered, but it did little to calm her. "Shh. I think something is happening. The Splicers, they've stopped attacking the door."

"Maybe they gave up?"

"Do not be naive Fräulein Lamb, it does not suit you. They are up to something." Eleanor could hear the shuffling of small feet and a door sliding open. "Mama Tenenbaum?" Eleanor was surprised to hear the double-toned voice of a Little Sister that had not yet been rescued. But, then again, it did require a Plasmid to save them. Plamids cost Adam. And if not for Adam, there never would have been Little Sisters. Maybe by not using it, she felt she was somehow making up for past transgressions?

Or, perhaps, the very idea of using any Adam at all sickened her.

Eleanor realized she had been waiting for Tenenbaum to respond, but it seemed that Tenenbaum had turned off the radio. Well, it's not like I don't have my own troublemakers to look after, she thought. And then, maybe they could be helpful, too? They're good at crawling around and finding things. They might even be happy just to have something to do.

She turned to sprint up the stairs, back through the hallway, through the maze of doors, and up yet another flight of stairs when she realized she had a much better way of traversing the distance. She could just teleport up to the deck, and-

An idea struck her like a Bouncer's cold, metal drill. "I am such a moron!" she yelled, her own echo scolding her. She clenched her fists, closed her eyes, and thought of one image very clearly. Neptune's Bounty; the only place a crippled, unauthorized submersible would have been able to dock unnoticed by her mother. There was the familiar feeling of falling, her stomach jumping into her throat, and then the numbing cold as all of her senses failed. There was no noise, no smells, and she never dared open her eyes.

The lifeless void consumed her entirely. Then it chewed her up and spit her back out.

Everything came crashing back to her all at once. Her helmet filtered out the smells of mold and decay, but everything else was just the same. It didn't seem right, somehow. Like after all that she'd been through, nothing should ever be the same again. It was almost... comforting, really. "Now, the fun part, " she breathed, taking off at a modest jog, searching every dark corner for any signs of a dock.

She realized that the floodlight on her helmet was no longer needed, just before realizing that she had no idea how to turn it off, as Tenenbaum had been the one to turn it on. But even with the floodlight making the dark corners pop into visibility, there was a nagging feeling in the base of her skull that something was off. She could feel the tips of her fingers tingling, as the Adam just beneath the surface of her skin began to mix with the adrenaline coursing through her veins. It was too quite, too calm. There weren't so much as a wondering group of thugs looking for a cat to cook.

As she passed a flaming garbage can, not stopping but still reveling in the small amount of heat it gave her, a shadow passed in front of a flickering sign advertising some dump of a bar. But whatever it was was gone before she could find it, disappearing back into the thick swatches of black that no light could pierce.

The End

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