"I am Andrew Ryan, and I am here to ask you a question. Is a man not entitled to the sweat of his brow? '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.' I rejected those answers. Instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose Rapture, 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..."
In the 1940s, an entrepreneur named Andrew Ryan had an idea. Weary with the 'parasites' of the world whose Socialist and Collectivist values intrinsically contradicted his own, he set up a city on the ocean floor for the elite of the world could gather as one in an Objectivist utopia, where everyone would work to further their own goals, unrestrained by the faults of altruism. The city took entrepreneurship to new heights, taking genetic research further than anyone on the surface had taken it before with the development of plasmids and gene-splicing.
Despite Ryan's determination to keep Rapture isolated from the surface with its parasites who decry the ideals upon which Rapture was formed, a disturbance in the dimensional fabric of spacetime has begun to make that work difficult. People from foreign universes and all walks of life are now being pulled toward the Lighthouse, Rapture's single surface point in the North Atlantic.
And you, lucky bastard that you are, just happen to be one of them.
With Andrew Ryan's hold over surface travel tightening and no way out of the city, you have little choice but to adapt and forge your way ahead within Rapture's Objectivist, capitalist society. Even in the upper bounds of Rapture's infrastructure, civil unrest has begun to arise - rebel figures and martyrs, those who would question Ryan's policies. How much or little you comply with any of the factions beginning to form is up to you. All you know is that no matter what path you take, what ethical or moral stance upon which you settle, there will always be consequences, and nothing in Rapture is ever free.
"...and with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city as well."
Rapture was established in 1946 by Andrew Ryan, a sprawling underwater city constructed in the North Atlantic at at 63° 2' N, 29° 55' W - about 433 miles from Iceland's capitol of Reykjavik. Ryan wanted a world free of the dissolution and confusion of the post-WWII era. He wanted freedom from parasites who would benefit from the work of others without offering anything in return. So he created his own society, isolated from the rest of the world, separate from its various vices and parasites, undefined by government or morality or religion.
Rapture does not have many rules, nor does it require them. It is maintained by the superior mindset of its inhabitants and their united ideals. There is no government, no gods or religion or kings. In fact, practice of any religion is illegal.
So is attempting to contact the surface.
Andrew Ryan built Rapture to be a purely capitalist society, which is exactly how functions. Ryan holds everything to the philosophy of the Great Chain of Industry, the idea that everything in this world is governed, motivated, and advanced by human self-interest. Only by focusing on the pursuit of one's own goals without moral or altruistic restraint can industry be allowed to progress. And so, in Ryan's undersea utopia, nothing is publicly funded and everything comes with a price, right down the oxygen everyone breathes. While Ryan's philosophy has allowed significant, unforeseen strides in the sciences of electrical engineering and genetic research, an elitist society like the one Ryan created could never sustain itself for long. Inevitably, the gradual social, economic, and moral declines have begun to take their collective toll.
Plasmids are the discovery that have shaken Rapture to its core. The ability to rewrite one's genetic code has given the Rapture citizens capabilities to do truly stunning things - shoot fire or electricity from their fingertips, lift and throw objects with their minds, and become powerhouses for things science on the surface would have dictated impossible. The act of gene-splicing has become common, almost fashionable, despite the genetic instabilities and side effects it generates. Fueled by a sea slug secretion called ADAM and powered by EVE, plasmids and gene tonics have grown in increasingly high demand - though not as high in demand as ADAM.
So splicing is big here in Rapture. So big, in fact, that it's begun to have some...adverse effects on some of its users. Abuse of such a highly addictive and fundamentally dangerous substance such as ADAM has resulted in the physical and mental degradation in some users. While gene-splicing and making controlled use of plasmids and gene tonics has proven to be effective and safe, ADAM's overuse has resulted in some unpleasant outcomes. The substance abuser usually becomes increasingly and progressively physically and mentally unstable.
Physical symptoms include: copious bleeding from facial orifices, blindness, cutis laxa, hair loss, hallucinations, heterochromia iridum, insomnia, jaundice, memory loss, spider or varicose veins, swollen gums, syndactyly, vitiligo, tooth loss, tumors, and any other unnatural growths, rashes, lesions, or deformities of the skin. ADAM's addictive properties can manifest in various ways, however.
Splicers can take many different shapes and forms depending on how they've chosen to splice, but all share the same increased strength and endurance born from ADAM's influence. Some are little more than disfigured thuggish brutes, while others are tougher, smart enough to use firearms, or even potent explosives. Infrequent sightings of these deranged addicts have yielded an astounding spectrum of evolutions: ceiling-crawling acrobats, teleporting pyromaniacs, and musclebound hulks. Whatever shape they take, all are dangerous and all should be treated with the utmost caution.
In most cases, the affected becomes aggressive, paranoid, and hostile, obsessively fixated on retrieving more ADAM at any cost. The only advice Ryan Industries can give so far is to be wary of the dangers of addiction. A series of PSAs were released by Ryan Industries for that explicit purpose. But don't worry; we're sure these side effects only truly affect a very small percentage of the population. ADAM is otherwise completely safe!
Little Sisters are the fuel that makes the wheels of Rapture turn. ADAM is an extremely valuable resource for gene-splicing and genetic research, but it's also incredibly rare. Brigid Tenenbaum was able to trace its origins to a special type of sea slug, and found that with the proper host the slug could serve as a gatherer for ADAM throughout the city. The best host by far turned out to be young girls between the ages of five and eight. These girls, implanted with the sea slugs and genetically altered to serve as host-gatherers, are the Little Sisters. They have free rein of the city as they gather ADAM to allow Rapture's genetic economy to keep turning. They look like any other orphan girls - oh, except for the notable differences of the bright yellow glowing eyes, distorted voices, and large red needles used for harvesting ADAM.
Ryan Industries would like to remind you: do not approach the Little Sisters.
Big Daddies are specially engineered, genetically enhanced human beings who have been sealed into large, armored diving suits for the express purpose of forming symbiotic bonds with the Little Sisters. They're powerful armored hulks armed with drills and rivet guns should anyone threaten or try to steal the ADAM from their tiny charges. They are relentless, and do not stop attacking until either the perceived threat is dead or they are. They are not capable of speech other than cursory grunts or low groaning noises. Big Daddies are also employed for the purposes of city maintenance.
Do not approach the Big Daddies, unless you're in the mood for an exceptionally painful death. Their bond with the Little Sisters is genuine and as a result, they are extremely protective of their tiny charges. The Little Sisters are even fond of imparting names to their 'fathers' - the most popular of which is Mr. Bubbles.
Speaking of death, what's with these things? Developed by Sinclair Solutions and manufactured by Ryan Industries, Rapture introduces the Vita-Chamber, capable of renewal and restoration of damaged cells! Quantum field entanglement technology allows the chambers to actually, impossibly, resurrect any deceased individual placed inside, even independently of the time of death. It's all experimental technology, of course, rushed into the market with some of those pesky bugs and glitches fully intact. There's no guarantee it'll work every time, or that it'll even work without the subject having died of trauma. And as it merely restores the subject to their former living state, the Vita-Chamber may leave illnesses and disabilities intact, its healing properties perhaps not as effective as advertised. In theory, the chambers are meant to rejuvenate the subject completely with any EVE still present in the subject's system fully intact. And yet - theory does not always fully work in conjunction with practice.
Vita-Chambers are present all throughout the city. It's common for those in Rapture's high society to make use of the chambers for restorative treatments, but with the recent influx of new arrivals, the Vita-Chambers may get more mileage than anyone anticipated, even Ryan.
With vending machines scattered all over the city, it can be a complicated task sorting out one from another. Aside from typical fare such as standard Slot Machines, Jukeboxes, and mechanical Fortune-Tellers (mostly found in Fort Frolic), Rapture is home to many unique and vital supply machines that one would never mind on the surface. Each machine is important to Rapture's economy and resource availability in its own way, however, so their usefulness should be noted. With the exception of Gatherer's Gardens, all the vending machines take Rapture Dollars - and, with that same exception, any vending machine can be hacked to lower the prices of the items sold. But Andrew Ryan doesn't take kindly to thieves, and anyone caught tampering with the machines will be deemed a 'parasite' and punished accordingly.
Circus of Values machines supply general material goods, such as snack foods, drinks, cigarettes, camera film, first-aid kits, EVE hypos, and even certain brands of alcohol. Audible from a distance by their distinctive noise of operation, Circus of Values machines are nonetheless highly useful. The Circus of Values company is expansive, owning many of the vending machines around the city, but monopolies are simply the Rapture way of life.
If ever one feels uneducated regarding the goings-on of Rapture, Andrew Ryan has graciously provided Need to Know Theater nickelodeons for the purposes of educating and entertaining the public masses, free of charge. In association with Rapture Film Productions, Need to Know Theater hosts several documentaries on the history and establishment of Rapture, as well as the minds behind its conception and maintenance. Some machines may even host some of Sander Cohen's unique experimental films. For those interested in more conventional everyday news, News Vendors sell copies of the Rapture Tribune to report the general happenings of the city.
While they're certainly less common, El Ammo Bandito machines have cropped up infrequently throughout the city as a means to supply Rapture's citizens with means of basic defense with conventional weaponry. Their selection of ammunition is somewhat limited, though it's rumored that hacking the machines will expand the selection of ammo available in addition to lowering the prices.
"¡Bienvenido al Ammo Bandito! ¡Muchas Gracias, Señor!"
U-Invent machines are slightly more multipurpose. They encourage the creativity of their users by requiring the inputting of device components (such as kerosene or a battery or a shell casing) rather than money, and depending on the components inputted, can craft certain items, even produce gene tonics if provided with the right materials. While ammunition is the most frequent resulting item, each U-Invent machine allows the choice of what items the user would like to fashion from the components available, and hacking the machine will reduce the amount of components necessary.
If ever you should (whether accidentally or intentionally) get on the wrong side of a security camera, a Bot Shutdown Panel presents you with an obvious solution. It will simply disable the flying Security Bots for you and keep you from being subsequently riddled through with holes - for a price, of course. Unlike many of the other machines in Rapture, these panels cannot be hacked to reduce the price, nor do their sturdy constructions seem to be destructible.
By far the most valued and vital part of Rapture's economy are the Gatherer's Garden machines. They facilitate of the purchasing of plasmids and gene tonics in exchange for ADAM. Due to their high value, Gatherer's Garden are solidly hack-proof in all respects, no matter how much ADAM the hacker possesses. The only way to purchase the precious contents of any Garden is to relinquish one's ADAM.
Gene Banks, on the other hand, do not allow the purchase of any gene tonics or plasmids, but allow the user to equip and de-equip any additional plasmids or gene tonics they may have purchased. While highly useful, and even necessary for anyone interested in splicing, Gene Banks, similarly to their Gatherer's Garden cousins, cannot be hacked.
Health Stations do exactly what they claim: for a small fee, they can heal any user with a stem cell-based formula, and even dispense first aid kids when destroyed. One should be wary when using just any Health Station - hacking a station can make it attuned to the hacker's DNA so it will heal only its hacker, and poison anyone else who dares to use it, often fatally.
Lastly and perhaps most bizarrely, Fontaine Futuristics successfully installed the first Power to the People vending machine in 1957. "A gun in every home," Frank Fontaine famously said upon the first machine's installation, "peace in every street." These machines allow the user to upgrade their weaponry, though it only allows one upgrade for one weapon per user. All upgrades involve improvements such as reducing rate of ammunition consumption or increasing the amount of damage possible to deal. Fontaine, it seems, was well-prepared to supply Rapture's citizens in the case that they would need to endure any conflict.
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