What...what's going on...
Oh God! A crash?
There! The surface!
With a loud gasp, Bendy's head broke the surface. The dark-haired young man looked around, seeing burning wreckage all around him.
"Bendy! Is that you?"
"Henry!" Bendy cried out in relief, swimming as fast as he could toward his foster brother. "You're alive!"
"Doesn't look like anyone else is, though," Henry replied grimly. "Luckily, there's a lighthouse nearby. Maybe we can get help there!"
The two swam to the steps, pausing to catch their breath once they were out of the water. Once they'd gotten their bearings, they made their way to the open double door.
"Hello?" Henry called. "Is anyone here?"
There was no response, so the two entered, only to jump in surprise as the doors suddenly closed behind them. Before they had time to think about it, the lights came on, and jazzy music began to play. Once their eyes adjusted, they saw a bust of a man in a suit, with well-combed hair and a thick, neatly trimmed mustache. Below it was a red banner with golden letters.
No Gods Or Kings. Only Man.
"What does that mean?" Henry wondered aloud. "And who is that?"
"I don't know," Bendy said, tearing his gaze away to quickly look around. He spotted a staircase leading downwards on either side of the bust. "Maybe there's someone downstairs."
The two descended the staircase on the left, briefly glancing at the plaques on the wall. Finally, they reached the lower level, where a bathysphere sat floating in the water. Henry's eyes went wide as he saw the red velvet-lined seats.
"This...this looks like the bathysphere we found you in, Bendy."
"Really?" Bendy asked. He'd heard the story about how during a trip to the beach, Henry had come across a bathysphere floating in the water. Bendy--then only a baby--had been inside, along with the body of an unknown young man. Since there was no record of either occupant of the sphere, Henry's parents ended up adopting the infant.
"Yeah, it even has the same cushions."
As they entered and looked around, Bendy's sleeve caught on a nearby lever. He gave it a firm yank, only to end up pulling the lever as he freed himself. The door slammed shut, and the bathysphere began to descend.
"Oh, this is not good," Henry groaned, watching as they passed a sign reading 10 Fathoms. Suddenly, a screen slowly descended in front of the window, and the lights in the bathysphere dimmed. There was a sound like a projector starting up, and jaunty music began to play. On the screen, a picture appeared--that of a man lighting a woman's cigarette with his finger. Underneath was written the words "Get Evolved!" The strange image was soon replaced with a picture of the man whose bust they'd seen.
"Greetings!" boomed a voice, echoing around the bathysphere. "I am Joey Drew, and I'm here to ask you a question."
Another picture appeared, this one of a man wiping his forehead as worked in a field.
"Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow?"
Three more pictures of the man appeared in sequence. Each depicted him confronted by a different entity--a bald eagle atop the Capital Building, a massive hand descending from the heavens above the Vatican City Dome, and a giant hammer and sickle over the Kremlin.
"No, says the man in Washington. It belongs to the poor. No, says the man in the Vatican. It belongs to God. No, says the man in Moscow. It belongs to everyone."
The picture of Joey Drew reappeared.
"I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose..."
The screen lowered, showing the outside.
To the brothers' amazement, a magnificent city came into view. Bright lights, glass tube walkways, buildings reminiscent of New York's skyscrapers--it was like a scene straight out of a movie. As the bathysphere continued toward the city, Joey Drew's voice continued.
"A city where the artist would not fear the censor, where the scientist would not be bound by petty morality, where the great would not be constrained by the small. And with the sweat of your brow, Elysium can become your city as well."
Bendy and Henry paid little attention to that last part, too awestruck by the incredible view. Little did they know what deep, dark secrets lay within the city--secrets that were inextricably tied to Bendy's past.
As the bathysphere finally emerged from the water, the two saw a man fearfully backing away from a woman. Flickers of electricity from exposed wires revealed the woman's face was horribly deformed, the right side of her face swollen in a cancerous-looking fashion.
"I-I'm sorry," the man stuttered. "I didn't mean to trespass. Just don't hurt me!"
His pleading, unfortunately, proved futile, as the woman lashed out with a pair of sickles, killing him violently. Then she turned and looked around.
"Oh," she said. "Is it someone new?"
With a screeching cackle, she leapt atop the sphere and started trying to tear her way in. Fortunately, she seemed to give up after a while, though not before the shaking knocked Henry and Bendy to the floor.
"What the hell was that?" Henry asked as the two got to their feet. Before Bendy could answer, they heard a sound like a radio being tuned.
"Hey, you in the bathysphere!"
The two looked around.
"If ya could, grab that videophone hanging by the door."
Bendy immediately started looking around, spotting a device like a radio with a small screen. Without hesitation, he grabbed it. On the screen, there appeared the face of a young man, about Henry's age, with short reddish-brown hair under a light brown cap.
"Wow, Plato was right! There were survivors!"
"I'm sorry, what are you talking about?" Henry asked in confusion.
"Oh, right." The man adjusted his hat. "Name's Wally Franks. I got sent here to see if anyone survived that crash."
At that moment, the door to the bathysphere opened. "You'll probably want to get to higher ground. It ain't safe down there."
"Staying here won't do us any good," Henry said in agreement. "Come on."
They exited the bathysphere, emerging into what looked like something similar to a train station. Signs were scattered across the floor, and large amounts of rubble were everywhere.
"What happened here?" Henry wondered aloud.
"Nothing good, I'm sure."
As they walked down the hallway, they were caught off guard by the woman leaping down from the ceiling. Before she could attack, however, a spotlight shone on her. Several small drones resembling boxes with propellers emerged from somewhere nearby, shooting at her.
"Ha!" cheered Wally from somewhere nearby. "Take that, bitch!"
Screeching in anger, the woman hopped into the walls, using her hooks to scale them. Once she was gone, Wally emerged from behind a pillar.
"You guys OK?"
"Fine," said Bendy, looking around.
"What the hell was that?" Henry asked.
"A Splicer," Wally replied. "And she ain't the only one. You might wanna grab something to protect yourself with."
The brothers looked around, Henry finding an axe while Bendy grabbed a long pipe.
"That'll work," said Wally, taking out a wrench from his belt. "Now follow me."
The trio made their way upstairs, encountering another Splicer as they did so. Luckily, Henry was able to make quick work of him, leaving the freakish man on the floor.
"Can't say I'm happy about this," he admitted. "But it's not like I have much choice."
Wally was about to say something, but a loud voice caught their attention. It sounded like an advertisement of some kind.
"My daddy's SMARTER than Einstein, STRONGER than Hercules and lights a fire with a SNAP of his fingers. Are you as good as my daddy, Mister? Not if you don't visit the Gatherer's Garden, you aren't! Smart daddies get spliced, at the Gardens!"
"Oh yeah," Wally said. "I forgot there was one of those here. You might want to..."
"Hey, there's a note here!" Bendy had already headed up a nearby flight of stairs to a balcony. Joining him, Henry saw a vending machine-like contraption, which was in a state of disrepair. A small bottle and a syringe lay in plain view behind a broken pane of glass.
Unfolding the piece of paper in his hands, Bendy read the message on it.
If you could, drink from the bottle on the shelf.
Without hesitation, Bendy picked up the bottle, careful not to scratch himself on the glass. He pulled out the stopper, and swallowed the contents.
Instantly, he dropped the bottle as he fell to his knees, overwhelmed by pain. Henry ran forward to try and help, but he tripped over the bottle and fell forward, accidentally spiking himself with the syringe.
As the liquid inside entered his body, he felt an agony like he'd never experienced before. It felt like he was being electrocuted and liquified at the same time. He stumbled backward, but unfortunately, the balcony railing wasn't stable, and he fell. Before he could hit the floor, however, Bendy held out a hand, and a large column of black liquid surged up from the floor, catching his brother and slowing his descent.
Shocked, Wally turned to see Bendy looking at his hands, which had veins of black on them.
"What kind of Plasmid is that?"
Chapter 3: Chapter 3
Gasping for breath as the pain began to lessen, Henry made to pull himself up, only to stop as two Splicers came into view.
"This little fish looks like he just got his cherry popped!" one said mirthfully. "Wonder if he's still got some ADAM on him."
For a moment, Henry considered fighting them off, but before he could move, a loud sound much like a whale call rang out.
"Y'hear that?" the other Splicer yelped. "Let's bolt!"
"Chicken!" his companion yelled after him. He turned back to Henry. "You'll be no better off with the Big Daddy, little fish. See you floating."
As the Splicers departed, Henry's vision began to flicker. When it cleared, he saw a massive metal foot in front of his face. His eyes travelled upwards to gaze upon something resembling a metal diving suit with yellow glowing eyes.
"Wow! Look, Mr. Bubbles! It's an angel!"
The source of the voice--a little girl with red hair in pigtails, ghostly pale skin, and eyes that also glowed yellow--came into view. She wore a light brown dress covered in blood and filth, and she carried a device resembling a cross between a gun and a syringe.
"I can see light coming from his tummy," the girl went on. She crouched down to look at Henry. "Wait a minute...he's still breathing."
The diving suit let out a disappointed-sounding groan.
"Don't worry." The girl stood up again. "I know he'll be an angel soon."
With that, the strange pair departed. Once they were gone, Bendy and Wally made their way down to Henry.
"You OK, pal?"
Henry nodded, slowly pulling himself up. As he did so, he felt an odd sensation in his hands. Looking down, he saw glowing blue veins had formed, and sparks of electricity were dancing around his fingertips.
"Whoa..." Bendy breathed.
"Guess that was Volt in the syringe," Wally said. "It lets you generate electricity."
Awestruck, Henry held out a hand towards the switch for a door nearby. To his amazement, a bolt of lightning leapt out and hit the switch, resulting in the door opening.
"Nice!" cheered Wally. "Let's go!"
"Hey, what's that?" Bendy pointed to a small device resembling a portable blood glucose checker lying near the door.
"Oh, what luck." Wally picked the device up. "It's an ADAM compatibility checker. Hang on a sec."
Taking Henry's hand, he placed the tip of the device against his finger. A moment later, the green light lit up.
"Whew! Good to know you won't end up a Splicer."
At their looks of confusion, he explained. "ADAM's the stuff used to create Plasmids. It lets you modify your DNA in all kinds of ways. Unfortunately, not everyone can use it safely. Most end up getting addicted and turn into Splicers. That's why I haven't used it before."
"Can you check me?" Bendy asked quickly. "I don't know where I got that Plasmid, so I wanna be sure I'm safe."
One quick check later, it was confirmed that Bendy was also ADAM compatible, much to his relief.
Before long, the three had reached the Kasimir restaurant. Once upon a time, it would have been cheery and buzzing with activity, but now it was covered in filth, blood, and corpses. Downstairs, they see and hear two splicers arguing before gunshots rang out and silenced them.
Making their way down, they spotted a small band of Splicers looting a corpse in a pool of water nearby. Henry grinned, recalling how well electricity conducts water. Aiming a hand at the pool, he fired a blast at it, electrocuting the Splicers.
Once it was safe to step into water, Bendy waded in and grabbed a small device he'd seen lying in the water.
"Hey, Wally, do you know what this is?"
"That's a video diary," Wally said. "Lots of folks use 'em to record their thoughts."
Spotting the play button, Bendy pressed it, and on the screen, the image of a blonde woman holding a glass of wine appeared. Judging from her expression, it wasn't the first one.
"Another New Year's, another night alone," said the woman. "I'm out, and you're stuck in Thor, working. Imagine my surprise. I just guess I'll have another drink…here's a toast to Diane McClintock, silliest girl in Elysium. Silly enough to fall in love with Joey Drew, silly enough to--"
Suddenly, there was the sound of explosions and shouting. Diane was knocked to the ground. As she sat up, she put a hand to her cheek, only to see blood on her fingers.
"What…what happened…I'm bleeding…oh, God…what's happening…?"
The screen shut off.
"Lot of folks were killed in that attack," Wally said. "Kicked off the Elysium Civil War. Everything started goin' to hell after that."
Since there wasn't much left in the restaurant, they headed back upstairs.
"Whoa, hold on." Raising a hand for his companions to stop, Wally lowered his wrench. As they did the same with their weapons, Bendy and Henry approached the railing. Down below, a young girl with sandy blonde hair was kneeling beside a corpse, sticking a strange device resembling a gun with a hypodermic needle at the end in and out of the body, much like the one the red-haired girl from earlier had. Her clothes were filthy, and she had no shoes.
"Don't be fooled," Wally said. "That kid's a Harvester now. Bunch of folks took innocent little kids and turned 'em into living ADAM factories. Whatever ya thought about right and wrong on the surface don't mean much down here." He frowned. "Still, I can't help but feel sorry for 'em."
At that moment, a Splicer entered and approached the girl. Just as he got close, she looked up, and promptly screamed at the top of her lungs. The whale call-like sound rang out again, and a familiar diving suit appeared. Hastily, the girl ran off to the side as it attacked the Splicer, killing him in an absolutely brutal fashion. Once he was dead, the diving suit departed, the little girl cheerfully following him.
"What was that?" Henry gasped.
"That," said Wally. "Was a Goliath. Harvesters gather ADAM, Goliaths keep them safe."
Shuddering at the violent death of the Splicer, the three young men continued their journey.
After their encounter with the Harvester and Goliath, the three of them had attempted to head for Njord's Bounty, where Plato would be waiting for them. However, a security lockdown had forced them to head for the Medical Pavillion instead.
"There's an emergency access around here somewhere," Wally said. "Now where did Plato say it was again?"
As the trio looked around, they spotted a man with dark brown hair, about twenty-seven or twenty-eight, kneeling by a pair of automatic double doors. Lodged in the doors was a drone similar to the one that had chased off the Splicer back at the bathysphere dock.
"Tom? That you?"
The man looked up. "Oh, Wally. What are you doing here?"
"I'm trying to help these two get to Njord's Bounty," Wally explained. "Henry, Bendy, this is Thomas Connor. He's a hacker and a pal of mine--well, mostly."
"Are you two from the surface?" Thomas asked. "If so, I'd better warn you--don't trust Plato, even if Wally's willing to be his errand boy."
"Hey, Plato's been fighting against Drew. He's a good man."
"Drew started as a fairly decent man, and look what happened to him. Not to mention, how much do you really know about Plato? Still, if these two want to get out..." He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. "Emergency access is on lockdown. You'll need a special key to turn it back on. I think Dr. Steinman has it, but don't expect her to give it to you willingly. She stopped being human a long time ago."
"We'll keep that in mind."
Before long, they had reached the surgery wing. Upon entry, the videophone crackled to life. Onscreen, they saw a handsome dark-haired man.
"Wally! At last, I got through to you."
"Plato!" Wally looked relieved. "Sorry about losing my vid phone."
"Don't worry about it," Plato replied. "I heard about that lockdown. Where are you now?"
"At the Medical Pavilion," answered Wally. "Ran into Tom a few minutes ago--he told us Steinman's got the emergency access key."
Plato sighed. "Ah, yes. Dr. Jennifer Steinman. She used to be one of the best surgeons around, but she had some strange ideas about beauty, and an unhealthy obsession with Picasso. With ADAM, she could sculpt people's flesh like clay, and she used it to mutilate her fair share of patients--most of them didn't survive."
Henry and Bendy both shuddered.
"If she didn't have that key, I'd stay away from her. Do you know where she is?"
"She's around here somewhere," Plato said. "You want to find her, just follow the blood."
In their search for Steinman, the trio found themselves in the Eternal Flame Crematorium. A security camera overhead was quickly destroyed, courtesy of an electrical blast from Henry.
"Hey, it's one of those machines from earlier--the one where we found our Plasmids." Bendy knelt down, picking up a Plasmid bottle. "This one says Torch."
"Wally, do you still have that checker?" Plato asked over the videophone.
"Yeah, I do." Removing it, Wally did a quick test. Much to his relief, the light went green.
"Hey, I'm compatible!"
"That's good to hear. Bendy, if you could, give Wally the Torch Plasmid."
Picking up the bottle, Bendy removed the syringe and took Wally's arm.
"You might want to brace yourself," Henry warned.
Wally barely had time to heed that advice before Bendy jabbed the needle into his arm. An intense burning sensation shot through him as patches of black covered his body, with veins of red and orange. Henry grabbed Wally to steady him, just as a nearby PA crackled to life.
"Parasites are wandering the streets!" Joey Drew's voice boomed. "We start rebuilding our city, and the doubters send flies to spoil our ointment. One thousand ADAM to whoever pins their wings!"
Instantly, the frenzied screams of Splicers could be heard outside. Five of them came rushing into the room, but luckily, Wally had recovered, the patches fading as he stood up.
"We got Splicers outside!" Bendy held out his hands, and a patch of the ink he'd been creating and manipulating appeared. Henry was about to call forth his Plasmid, but then he stopped.
"Wally, why don't you take this one?"
For a moment, Wally looked hesitant. Then he nodded and raised his hand as it started to glow like an ember. Having learned that the ink was flammable due to a previous encounter, the brothers quickly backed away from the ink pool as their companion snapped his fingers. Almost immediately, the ink ignited, and the screams of burning Splicers rang out.
"All roads in Elysium lead to Drew. The security, the Splicers, the Goliaths, the Harvesters..." Plato spoke up. "He pumps some kind of chemical scent in the air--pheromones, they call it. Makes them all dance to his tune."
"I'm guessing he has some way of controlling who gets affected," Henry said. "Let's go."
With Wally's new Plasmid, they were able to get past the ice blocking the path to Dandy Dental, where Plato had suggested they look for a Telekinesis Plasmid. As they entered, they saw a young woman with blonde hair coming down to her upper back standing a few feet away from a tennis ball shooter. She held out a hand as the machine fired a ball at her, and it stopped in midair.
"Doesn't look like she's a Splicer," Wally commented quietly, not wanting the woman to notice. "But she does look familiar."
"PARASITES!" came a screech from behind them, making them jump. Behind them was a Splicer holding a box, from which she removed a grenade to throw at them. Just before it could land, however, it froze in midair and went flying back at the Splicer, blowing her to bits.
"Are you boys OK?" asked the blonde woman, lowering her hand.
"Yeah," Henry answered. "That was close."
"Hey, you use Telekinesis," Bendy said. "We've got a bit of a problem with some debris blocking the way to Steinman's office--she's got a key we need."
"I think I can help you with that." Grabbing a pistol lying nearby, she accompanied them out. "My name's Susie, by the way."