» The Handoff // Steinman

The Medical Pavilion in Rapture had, at one time, been remarkable. Though one would’ve never described it as “pleasant”, the whole place once buzzed with such innovation and wonder. Then, Andrew Ryan’s underwater “utopia” was the steadfast to the most impressive feats in science and technology, and the pavilion was the shining proof.  People would hobble in, sometimes an inch from death, and stroll out looking & feeling like a million bucks. Between the brilliance of the world’s best physicians and the introduction of ADAM, Rapture had a trophy in its prestigious hospital wing.

Walking through it now, Silas Cobb noted how far it had fallen.

It was late 1958, just a couple of weeks before the start of the new year. The southerner could hardly believe that only a year had passed; so much had changed. The once brilliant city was decaying, and quickly, dragging its citizens down to rot along with it. Everywhere you turned there was chaos. Poverty, filth, and ADAM abuse were rampant. Businesses were closing down left and right, and homes were robbed and vandalized. Even Fort Frolic, Rapture’s central pleasure center, was in danger of shutting down. Cobb remembered over hearing Sander Cohen on the phone, presumably with Andrew Ryan, discussing the matter. He’d sounded heartbroken, even though his typical façade. He had a right to be, what with all his hard work going to waste. The Fort was his livelihood, and it was dying along with everything else.

The ordeal was taking a dangerous toll on the artist, one the southerner did his best to turn a blind eye to. However, it became increasingly difficult with each trip he was asked to make to the pavilion. Each time Sander beseeched him, it was harder and harder to ignore the lesions peppering his face.

“Mm.”

Cobb grunted, adjusting his grip on the large, rusting cart he toted in front of him. It was heavy, its contents covered in burlap and tied together with string into one, bulky package. Silas, knowing full well what he was carrying, worked hard to keep his mind a blank. Even when an arm dangled out from under the covering as he wheeled over a crack in the floor, he reflexively tucked it back in and kept on his way.

It was the only way he could stomach the errand.

This was his 2nd delivery that week- a so called “gift” from Sander to his dear friend, Dr. J.S. Steinman. Steinman, of course, was as infamous as the artist. He’d immortalized himself in his craft, unanimously considered the finest surgeon in Rapture. The man could work miracles, almost an artist himself with a scalpel in his hand. At least, that was once the case. Silas remembered that, just as the pavilion had fallen to disarray, so had the good doctor.

Moments later the disciple approached the entrance to the Aesthetic Ideals, the cart squeaking and screeching against the dirtied tile floor. The large, neon sign above the entrance was flickering, two or three letters out completely. It was crooked, too, as half the support beam behind it had crumbled. Ironic, Silas thought, as it once advertised a place for beautification and symmetry.

The sliding door opened as Silas pushed further. He grunted again when a wheel got caught on a corner.

“Ahhh goddammit.”

The southerner heaved, his biceps aching as he maneuvered the crate. He winced as he accidentally scraped  it along the wall, causing a loud clang. The noise echoed eerily in the abandoned lobby, met only by the sound of trickling water from a leaky pipe.

Silas looked around for the surgeon.

“Doc? You ‘round?”

He received no answer. Silas then took a few more steps inside, surveying the scene. The foyer was turned upside down, papers and garbage scattered all over. Worse, blood spattered the floor in various places. However, Cobb paid it little mind, finding himself rather used to the sight.

“Doc??”

The southerner noticed a light from behind the door to Steinman’s office. Opting to leave the cart behind, he tapped quietly on the glass panel. A shadow moved inside.

“Dr. Steinman? You in there? I got another package fer ya.”