Imagine waking with a lungful of water, drowning in the ice-cold waters of the Atlantic. Surrounded by the fires of the crashed plane – of which you were a passenger just minutes ago – you watch its wreckage sink to its final resting place at the bottom of the ocean.
You struggle to hold on to a piece of the wing that happened to drift by, but as the smoke clears from your vision and your breath returns to you once more, you look up to see the imposing vision of a lighthouse – proud, tall and smack dab in the middle of the ocean.
Overcome by curiosity you pull yourself towards it with aching muscles. You climb its steps to enter the tower, and you find yourself in a grand hall, the centerpiece of which is a small bathysphere – a submarine on rails.
Something compels you to enter it, and close the door behind you. Something makes you pull the lever to cause the bathysphere to descend. 10 fathoms, 18 fathoms, reads the markings on the wall outside. You’re not quite sure where you’re going, yet you’re absolutely certain down is the direction in which you must head.
A screen descends across the lone window. Somewhere a projector activates. A strange ad displays. “Incinerate Plasmid”? The picture clearly shows a man lighting a woman’s cigar with his finger. But before you can even begin to digest this strange scene, the projector flips to a new screen, and a disembodied – though obviously pre-recorded – voice plays from a hidden speaker:
“I am Andrew Ryan, and I’m 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!”
The screen lifts, revealing a most remarkable sight. Beyond the corals and rockbed of the ocean depths stands an entire city. Not a city of long-lost civilizations, but a modern city with its neon signs and skyscrapers and bridges. It looked as if someone with superhuman strength lifted New York City off of its foundations and placed it underwater.
The voice of Andrew Ryan continues: “..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!”
As the bathysphere continues its journey, you watch as schools of fish drift lazily past lighted windows, as an octopus slithers over a glowing neon sign to a theater. A blue whale sounds off below you, and you turn to watch it navigate the wide avenues between the skyscrapers.
“..and with the sweat of your brow, Rapture can become your city, as well.”
To be continued..