In the next twenty minutes time, Tenenbaum had found the two of them downstairs, hugging, Alice was crying, and neither would give an explanation for what had happened. Eleanor had simply said that it wasn't important, and Alice had just nodded her head in agreement. They'd made their way back to bridge, but Alice didn't seem to want to go out on the deck. When they asked why, and asked where the other sisters were, Alice gripped the hem of her dress tightly in her hands like it was some kind of lifeline.
"Alice?" Eleanor asked, but all it did was make Alice look down at her bare feet, looks of anger, sadness and guilt playing over her delicate features as she tried to keep any one emotion from getting too strong. If she could hold it in the grey area, her hands wouldn't freeze, or catch on fire, or any of the things they'd been doing. What if the next time that happened, she hurt someone? She'd nearly hurt Big Sister, and she wouldn't let anything like that ever happen again. But how?
Since she'd been 'saved' from her old life, what happiness had she had? I just want to go back to the way things were, she thought as her tears finally broke free of her will and began to snake down her cheeks. She could feel a pins and needles sensation in the palms of her hands, which probably meant they were starting to ice over. I just want...
She could feel the instant chill in the air around her legs, her hands icing over and a thin frost starting to cascade down from her tightly clenched fists. "Oh mein Gott..." came the stunned whisper of a phrase from Tenenbaum. "Is that..?"
"Winter Blast, " Eleanor confirmed. "At least level two. Probably three."
"When will Fonatine stop rearing his ugly head!" Tenenbaum seethed. "He's been dead for nearly a decade for heaven's sake! If I ever get my hands on one of his smugglers I'll -" She cut off abruptly, her hands clenching into tight, white knuckled fists by her sides.
"What does he have to do with any of this?" Eleanor asked. Try as she might, even with all of the memories floating around in her head that didn't belong to her, she had no clue what she could be going on about.
"He has everything to do with it!" Tenenbaum yelled. "Him and his damned smugglers! The bastards had nothing to do once Fontaine was supposedly killed by Andrew Ryan, but they still needed money. So they improvised." Tenenbaum's voice had dropped from a yell to a deathly low rasp as she began to pace the floor, her anxious energy obviously getting the better of her.
"They couldn't fund their trips to the surface for contraband anymore, it was too risky and too expensive. But, there was one thing they sold that they could only get in Rapture. Adam." Once again, Eleanor watched as Tenenbaum's hand went to her shirt pocket, only to stop halfway and return to her side more tense than it'd started off. "So, they started experimenting. They diluted it and diluted it and lowered and lowered their prices. No one else could compete. The problem was, Adam is terribly unstable in its normal condition, and by diluting it so much they turned it more into a virus than a drug."
"The inferior Adam attached itself to whatever intact Adam it could find, once inside a host's body, and began stripping the intact Adam of pieces that the fake Adam needed. But it wasn't enough, the fake Adam solution was still unstable and now it had made the old Adam unstable as well. This person would then get horrible Adam cravings, and if they didn't get their regular hit of Adam every few days, they'd die. And of course, they bought the fake Adam again, unaware that they were only making things worse. Eventually people caught on, started calling them the 'apocryphal solutions'. The name stuck, and soon you were hearing about the apocry solutions all over the news. But it was already far too late by then. Those smugglers were singlehandedly responsible for turning nearly fifty percent of Rapture mad, and are guilty of killing another twenty."
"But what does that have to do with Alice getting plasmids?" Eleanor asked. She felt she might already know, but there was no sense in drawing conclusions prematurely.
The older woman sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "I would kill for a cigarette right now," she spoke quietly. With a deep breath she returned her history lesson. "Her plasmid is an apocryphal. A fake. Formed from the diluted Adam solutions the smugglers sold. When it stripped away parts of the healthy Adam, it took some of the modified parts that make a plasmid a plasmid. At some point, she consumed that fake plasmid. Now usually, this Adam stays in her stomach and is regurgitated."
"Oh, what am I saying, " Tenenbaum said with a dramatic wave of her hands. "obviously you know this. But, when damaged or incomplete Adam enters a Little Sisters system, the Adam slug in her stomach absorbs it and repairs it, just like it does with normal plasmids. The difference being, with a normal plasmid the slug would break it down and expel it as even more Adam. But in the case of a diluted plasmid, the slug doesn't release it. It retains all of these plasmids, and if something were to happen - say, the Sister started to go into shock from absorbing too much Adam, or too much adrenaline in her system was aggravating the slug - it could potentially release these plasmids all at once."
Eleanor was silent for a moment, trying to wrap her mind around all of this. What did that mean for her? She was fairly sure that she would have been off the streets before any of this would have happened, but all of that Adam her mother had been pumping her full of... What could be hiding inside of her that she didn't even know about? As she raised a hand and absent mindedly touched the spot on her chest where she knew the slug lived, Tenenbaum was able to guess her thoughts easily enough.
"I'm afraid the answer is yes, " she said. "Not only do you have an unstable plasmid inside of you, but both you and your father have used it more than once."
Eleanor's heart skipped a beat. She had given her Adam to Tenenbaum to help in resurrecting her father, but it had only been a little. Oh, who was she kidding, a little to her was probably more than most Splicers had ever even seen! Of course he'd have had them if she did. But what did this mean? "How do you know? For certain?"
"Because you told me so yourself, " Tenenbaum said. "It's plasmid you used to save the Little Sisters. It's why I needed to see them so badly. It might seem to have worked fine, but it's still an apocry solution. It could have had any number of negative effects on them. And I still need to run many tests to make sure that they're fine. So now if you would be so kind, help me find the rest of them so that I can check for any obviouse problems before I start on their blood work."