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|“||I know you. That symbol on your hand marks you a dead man. Ten years, Subject Delta - since I watched you put a gun to your head and pull the trigger. But take heart: Out of your pain, paradise was born. I don't know how you survived, but your suffering is over now. These men will ease your burden. Please understand that like all I have done, this is an act of love.||„|
|~ Sofia Lamb to Subject Delta.|
Doctor Sofia Lamb, or better known as Sofia Lamb, is the main antagonist of the science fiction videogame BioShock 2 and the secondary antagonist of the prequel novel BioShock: Rapture. The leader of the Rapture Family and a fanatical practitioner of social psychiatry, Lamb firmly believes that humanity will be driven to ruination by its own selfishness, it's own individuality, and even its own awareness; as such, her goal is to eliminate the Self from the human psyche by creating the first a "Utopian," an entity lacking free will and dominated by the drive to serve the common good. However, her ideal candidate for the first Utopian is none other than her daughter, Eleanor - bringing her into conflict with her bonded Big Daddy, Subject Delta. She and the Rapture Family eventually takes over Rapture once the deaths of Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine leave behind a power vacuum for the crumbling underwater city.
She was voiced by Fenella Woolgar.
Sofia Lamb immediately distinguishes herself from the rank and file of her followers by appearing comparatively normal: like Andrew Ryan and Frank Fontaine before her, she apparently has never indulged in Splicing or taken part in any of the fighting around Rapture; as a result, she lacks the deformities and battlescars exhibited by the other citizens of Rapture from around this time.
Standing at six feet tall, Sofia sports a very thin, willowy build, deep blue eyes and platinum-blonde hair in curls. Stoic by nature, she rarely emotes with her face, only occasionally favoring onlookers with a faint smirk. Her age is not currently known and difficult to judge due to her consistently severe appearance, though she could be around fifty at the most. Though she rarely appears in person, her voice is instantly recognizable for its gentle, soothing timbre and perfectly measured English "Received Pronunciation" accent; however, as her audio diaries and radio messages demonstrate, she is more than capable of speaking forcefully - though she rarely ever shouts even in emergencies.
Much like Andrew Ryan, Sofia maintains an undamaged wardrobe throughout the crises in Rapture. In keeping with her collectivist beliefs, she eschews the luxury of an expensive attire, instead opting for a simple, practical grey dress with a navy-blue jacket; judging by the medicine she keeps slung over her shoulder, this outfit may have actually been adapted from a nurse's uniform, perhaps picked up during her time in Persephone. However, one consistent element of her attire regardless of the era are her cat-eyed glasses, which apparently became so distinctive that they actually became her unofficial logo in advertisements for Sofia's therapy sessions.
Cold, superficially polite and fanatical to the point of madness, Sofia focuses on the needs of the community at the expense of the individual, being more than happy to mutate Gilbert Alexander beyond recognition or destroy her own daughter's mind if it means guaranteeing the creation of her world-saving "Utopian." Despite her publicly-broadcast claims that her goal is to secure happiness for the greatest number of people, Eleanor points out that Sofia would gladly see the entire world made miserable rather than allow an individual to find their own path to contentment.
Regarding the world entirely through the lens of her collectivist beliefs, she refuses to believe that Subject Delta could ever be kind of his own free will, and claims that humanity can only be saved from an impending apocalypse by being forcibly deprived of its consciousness. She even seems to view Jack in a borderline-messianic light for his lack of choice in assassinating Ryan, either unaware that Jack ultimately broke free of the programming to forge his own path in life - or simply choosing to ignore the fact. Towards the end of the game, the notion of Eleanor regaining her individuality and awakening the Little Sisters from their conditioning is enough to send her flying into a rage, claiming that Delta is spreading self-awareness "like a plague."
Despite her firm belief in the common good above all else, Sofia also appears to suffer from some kind of messiah complex, believing herself to be the only individual with the ability and the will to save the world - even allowing her followers to worship her as a Virgin Mary-like figure. Furthermore, despite her claims of loving all sentient beings in equal measure, this ultimately amounts to loving nobody - essentially making her a psychopath with a very unusual code of conduct.
Though not overtly selfish and more than willing to put herself at risk in order to serve her cause, she has little empathy for the suffering of others: over the course of her personal history, she has Subject Delta murdered in front of Eleanor, exploits the guilt of both Simon Wales and Grace Holloway to make them into her minions, torpedoes anyone attempting to escape Rapture, kidnaps children from the surface, abandons Gilbert Alexander to degenerating insanity, and even allows Stanley Poole to get away with mass-murder until he endangers her interests. For good measure, despite her claims of having made Subject Omega a better person for his lack of free will, she had no trouble leaving his conscious mind and voice intact, allowing him to spend his last few minutes begging to be put out of his misery. Even her few moments of maternal care for Eleanor have little affection attached, and are motivated mainly by her goal of transforming her into the First Utopian: tellingly, when she first separates her daughter from Delta, she specifically states "she is mine, " indicating that she sees Eleanor as nothing more than property - making her claims of utilitarian selflessness ring distinctly hollow.
As Sofia herself freely admits, she is highly competitive and demonstrates a strong desire to win. In the past, she was able to exploit this by consistently winning big on her weekly poker nights in Pauper's Drop, then using her stake to benefit the neediest players. However, this also manifests as a marked aversion towards failure that verges on petulance, enough to overcome her normally unshakable stoicism and even her desire for the common good. In order to prevent Delta from succeeding, she will smother Eleanor with a pillow, threaten to sink Persephone to the bottom of the ocean, and even abandon Rapture altogether so long as she will be able to ensure her success at the cost of all others.
Little is known of Sofia's past, particularly given that the most consistently-available source of information on it is Sofia herself - hardly the most reliable narrator. Even her precise date of birth remains unknown. However, it's believed that she was raised by a very strict father: a physician, he was a firm believer in serving the greater good, abiding by a utilitarian philosophy he referred to as "the triage imperative," and raised Sofia to follow in his footsteps. Sofia accepted this belief system and adopted it as her own, eventually going on to study medicine at Oxford University, where she majored in psychiatry.
Following her graduation, the newly-titled Dr Lamb left home in search of work, her belief in the common good leading her to serve as a missionary, providing both medical aid and psychiatric counselling to the inhabitants of war-torn regions. This eventually drew her to Hiroshima in the wake of the atomic bombing, and though her efforts won her many friends and supporters among the civilian population, most of them were to die of radiation sickness. This in itself proved quite a blow to Sofia, but the breaking point truly arrived when she heard American politicians arguing that the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki had been a necessary act, using her own philosophy of the common good to justify the civilian death toll.
Disgusted, Sofia came to believe that the world was doomed, not merely through the start of the Cold War and the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but through humanity's selfishness: individuality led the species to one atrocity after another in pursuit of individual goals, every inhabitant of society ultimately being led to turn on one another in favor of their own ambitions and desires. She was even convinced that human awareness itself was the root of evil, believing that humans would be saner, happier and more productive if they could be without conscious thought, and act without free will. These ideas and more eventually blossomed into an extremist philosophy of utilitarian altruism, in which the wants of an individual would be subverted in favor of the needs of a community; however, Sofia knew her beliefs would not be widely accepted, least of all with fear of communism becoming more pervasive in postwar society, so she chose to keep her philosophy to herself.
At some point during the late 1940s, Andrew Ryan contacted her in the hope of securing her services: by this time, Rapture was almost complete, but many of the early inhabitants of the city were beginning to suffer from chronic tension and other maladies brought on by the absence of sunlight. Having heard of Sofia's studies concerning the role of competition in psychology, Ryan's comrades on the Rapture Central Council suggested hiring Sofia Lamb as a psychiatrist, mistakenly believing that her research made her compatible with Ryan's Objectivist philosophy. Though dismissive of psychiatry as a field, Ryan agreed to offer a place for Sofia if she could help to silence those he regarded as the weakest link in the Great Chain.
Sofia accepted the invitation, but only as a means of continuing her studies, reasoning that "one must know the beast before it can be slain." In 1950, Sofia Lamb descended to Rapture, and began her work among the citizenry in earnest.
Birth Of The Family
Throughout her time at the bottom of the Atlantic, Sofia offered counselling to all levels of Rapture's social strata, from career prostitutes to wealthy industrialists. However, the bulk of her efforts were concentrated on the city's poorer districts, most commonly Pauper's Drop: thought it had originally been intended as temporary housing for workers building the Atlantic Express rail line, this area had degenerated into a permanent shantytown once construction work became a rarity around Rapture, and soon became a gathering point for citizens and families unable to find work or simply unable to pay the rent - and given Ryan's noted contempt for charity, most of them were doomed to remain there.
It was among the homeless of Pauper's Drop that Lamb began gaining attention: her therapy sessions were free, something almost unknown in Rapture's highly-capitalistic society, and her apparent compassion for the homeless won her great acclaim. She even hosted poker games on Saturday nights, using her gift for reading the players in order to consistently win; then, she would lose to the players who needed the money the most, at once ensuring that wealth would be redistributed according to the needs of the many, while also satisfying her need for victory. However, all of this was part of Sofia's plan: every act of charity she performed was intended to gather supporters and, in the case of her therapy sessions, spread her beliefs to them.
Over time, this was to form the basis of the Rapture Family, an altruist cult modeled around Sofia's belief in utilitarianism. Offering support to the neediest members of society, it promoted a subversion of Ryan's belief in the triumph of the individual, and encouraged a sense of community among its followers. At Sofia's direction, those of her patients who accepted membership were to wear a butterfly badge as a sign of their faith, the symbol of the Rapture Family being a blue morpho butterfly - chosen for the motif of metamorphosis and transformation. One such recipient of this request was Grace Holloway, a jazz singer employed at the Limbo Room in Pauper's Drop: over the course of their time together, Sofia was able to exploit Grace's desire for a family by ushering her into the cult, encouraging her to hand out leaflets to audiences and even sing protest songs, further spreading the Rapture Family's influence.
However, Sofia's efforts weren't limited to the downtrodden of Rapture. At Andrew Ryan's behest, she was employed for a time as a consultant in the development of the Journey To The Surface ride. Part of the Ryan Amusements facility, this was intended as an educational tool in ensuring that children born in Rapture never grew curious about the surface world. Featuring animatronic puppets designed by Carson Fiddle, it was a cathedral to Ryan's ideals and freely demonized everything about surface society that Ryan himself despised. Among other things, the ride claimed that the Parasites of Big Government would steal everything from the working man, that scientific developments would be plagiarized for their own ends, that any artistic development contrary to their designs would be censored, and children could be conscripted at a moment's notice to die for the state (all acts that Ryan himself would later commit to one degree or another). Disgusted by this blatant shrine to her employer's ego, Sofia severed all ties with Ryan Industries - forming her first public disagreement with Andrew Ryan.
Setting off on her own, Sofia went on to secure a glamorous property known as Dionysus Park and transform it into a gallery and artist's commune - as well as a private retreat where she could work among the city's upper classes without being monitored by the Central Council. By this time, it was well known that Rapture's cultural and artistic developments were largely dominated by impresarios like Sander Cohen, who demanded nothing less than complete control over what was presented or what was said about their work; for good measure, Andrew Ryan - himself a close friend of Cohen - held very particular beliefs concerning the role of art in society, a factor that also stifled creative output in Rapture. Once again, Sofia was able to exploit this: she sought out creative types who felt suffocated by the influence of Cohen and Ryan, inviting them to live and work at the park in order to pursue their own styles, eventually fostering the pursuit of "unconscious art." For good measure, admission to the gallery was free, ensuring that visitors to the park remained consistent - while Sander Cohen's productions became widely known as critical and commercial flops.
Ryan was deeply suspicious of such developments, not to mention angered by the open disregard shown for his artistic and economic philosophies, but he did not make any public moves against her: at this time, he still believed that Rapture would be a place where "the artist would not fear the censor." However, he maintained a very close watch on her, constantly vigilant for any signs of subversive behavior. Outwardly, however, the two remained allies - even appearing in the 1952 commemorative poster of "Rapture's Best And Brightest" alongside Cohen, Brigid Tenembaum, Gilbert Alexander, and Yi Suchong. Rather tellingly, however, Ryan is openly scowling at the camera, while Sofia can barely keep the smirk off her face.
At some point in 1951, Sofia gave birth to a daughter, Eleanor. The identity of the father remains unknown, though deleted content suggests that he could have either been Dr Gilbert Alexander, or the mysterious "Johnny Topside," a marine explorer who happened to stumble upon Rapture while mapping the seabed. However, Sofia claims that her participation in Eleanor's birth was "minimized" in order to avoid any hindrances to her work, suggesting that Eleanor was conceived via in-vitro fertilization and carried to term by a surrogate mother.
In any case, Eleanor Lamb was raised to continue Sofia's work in social psychiatry, intended to one day take her place as leader of the Rapture Family. To that end, she was raised in total isolation from the other children in a highly-secured compound somewhere in Dionysus Park; it's even implied that her very existence was successfully concealed from the majority of Rapture for a time, as Ryan and the other council members rarely even mention her until after the events of 1955.
Found to be highly intelligent, she was given exhaustive lectures on her mother's altruistic philosophy, many of which remain as audio diaries - recorded in part because Sofia was often too busy to attend to the lessons in person. However, Eleanor had a rebellious streak: she took to taping over the audio diaries to record her own observations on the world, and sometimes dismantled the tape recorders just so she could teach herself to put them back together again. She also took to deactivating the security systems surrounding her mother's home so she could sneak out, hoping to learn more about the world beyond her mother's restrictions - though she often ended up getting caught in the process.
Meanwhile, Sofia was still gaining followers, at least one of whom had real celebrity status among the city's elite: Simon Wales, one of the two architects that had helped design Rapture. With little business due to the end of the city's construction boom and his reputation in tatters following the discovery of several leaks throughout the metropolis, Wales had sought out a new purpose in life, and found it in a therapy session with Sofia Lamb. Taking to heart her philosophy of altruism, he came to believe that he had always been selfish and arrogant, and the leaks were divine retribution for his folly. He soon after joined the Rapture Family as a penitent and became her most devoted servant, renaming himself "Father Wales," and eventually took to preaching the cult's gospel throughout the slums.
Dionysus Park became the site of several rallies in which Sofia and her lieutenants spoke out against the injustices of Rapture's society; thanks to the free entry rule, the message spread quickly. Soon, depressed housewives, frustrated businessman, and all the downtrodden inhabitants of the working-class districts soon flocked to the banner of the Rapture Family, openly proclaiming their intent to abandon their worship of the self and support their community in the name of altruism. Andrew Ryan was enraged: having long since declared altruism to be the root of all human evil in an oft-repeated public sermon, and having public worship of any religion forbidden (to the point of classifying bibles and crucifixes as illegal contraband), he firmly believed all of this to be sign of communist leanings on Sofia's part.
However, Ryan chose not to censor her. Instead, at the suggestion of his friend and fellow council member Bill McDonagh, he agreed to a series of public debates with Sofia, believing that doing so would "defang" the Rapture Family and improve his standing with his disillusioned citizens. Unfortunately for him, this only resulted in Ryan being solidly trounced on almost every single point they discussed, with even his belief in the Great Chain of Progress being dragged through the mud - a defeat made all the more galling by the fact that the crowd was quite clearly on Sofia's side.
Blaming McDonagh for Dr Lamb's rise to power, he urged the council to cut off support for her by attacking her lieutenants: ordering the arrest of Grace Holloway's boyfriend for subversive activity, he was successful in frightening Grace into ending her propaganda campaign for the Rapture Family (though she and Sofia secretly remained close allies). He knew this would not be enough, however, and with the help of shady businessman Augustus Sinclair, he was able to hire reporter Stanley Poole to serve as a spy in Dionysus Park. Joining the Rapture Family by posing as a frustrated novelist, Poole was able to gain sufficient trust to gain a surprisingly high position within the cult, allowing him a lofty vantage point to gather evidence; however, two factors are implied to have sped his ascent: the first being Frank Fontaine, who regarded Sofia Lamb as the only individual with the charisma and intelligence to oppose his rise to power, is hinted to have made moves to ensure that Ryan received evidence; the second being Sofia herself.
It's hinted in both her audio diaries and her conversations with Wales that Sofia was intending to be caught in order to further her plans from behind bars; quite tellingly, she did not sound overly troubled by the presence of a "Judas" in her ranks, knowing that Ryan's attempt to re-establish control over the citizenry by forcibly removing controversial figures from the spotlight would only speed his downfall.
In any case, she made arrangements to ensure that the Rapture Family remained stable in her absence, secretly turning over control of her social experiment to the cult's lieutenants: the Family's holdings at Pauper's Drop were to be maintained by Grace Holloway, her hidden church in the mason's quarter was turned over to Father Wales, and Stanley Poole was granted stewardship of Dionysus Park and the cultists still living there. Finally, deliberately playing off Grace's thwarted maternal desires, she gave custody of Eleanor to "Aunt Gracie" in Pauper's Drop, knowing that it would cement her loyalty and ensure her daughter's safety.
In 1955, Sofia Lamb was arrested and sent to Persephone, a secret penal colony run by Sinclair; hidden on the edge of a vast undersea trench not far from the Fontaine Futuristics building, it was believed to be the most secure facility in Rapture - more than enough to bury Ryan's hated rival for all time. In her absence, Ryan spread the story that Sofia had fled the city, then had Sinclair remove any mention of her from Rapture: posters were torn down, photographs were altered, records were expunged, until at last, Sofia was almost forgotten by the majority of the city's upper classes. However, Pauper's Drop kept her memory alive, hoarding mementos of her in places where Ryan's security police would never dare intrude. For good measure, the hoarding tendencies of Splicers also ensured that Sofia's old audio diaries were disseminated across a wide area.
Though he was also made aware of Eleanor's presence in Pauper's Drop, Ryan chose not to separate her from her new caretaker, believing that she might be useful in the future. For now, he was content with leaving Sofia imprisoned and powerless... or so he believed.
Rise of the Common Good
During her time in Persephone, Sofia was able to convince Warden Nigel Weir to hire her as a therapist for fellow prisoners: thanks to the harsh conditions, isolation from the outside world and the disturbing bioluminescence visible in the trench below, the inmates were often unstable, and the staff were constantly on the lookout for anything that would might make them more docile - especially once Sofia began subtly manipulating Weir to see the advantages of a psychiatrist among the populace. Under her guidance, he persuaded Sinclair to allow her the freedom to provide therapy; it wasn't until later that the two realized that by doing so, they'd allowed Sofia the perfect opportunity to spread her beliefs throughout Persephone, gradually converting the entire inmate population into another branch of the Rapture Family.
By this time, the plasmid industry was booming throughout Rapture, and test subjects for experimental trials were in high demand - and short supply. In order to provide Fontaine Futuristics and Ryan Industries with the guinea pigs they required, Sinclair was more than happy to rent out prisoners from among his own stable, including one-time celebrity explorer Johnny Topside, who was later remade into the Subject Delta, one of the Alpha Series Big Daddies. For a time, Sofia was required to assist in these experiments, sometimes by conducting the trials, but most commonly by selecting candidates for experimentation among her flock. Once again, Sinclair and Weir believed they had Sofia at a disadvantage, knowing that she'd be willing to make sacrifices in order to retain control of the prison cult; however, it also allowed her to continue acquiring privileges for herself, gradually dismantling her jailers' power from within. For good measure, in the event that the test subjects were left human enough to be returned to the prison, most were badly addicted to ADAM - and thanks to her position as assistant researcher, she had access to enough ADAM to keep them pacified.
For good measure, Wales was occasionally able to visit Persephone under the pretense of checking for structural weaknesses, allowing him to provide Sofia with information on her followers' activities. It was through him that Sofia learned that Eleanor had been kidnapped and delivered to the Little Sister's Orphanage in the mason's quarter. As she later discovered, Stanley Poole had attempted to pose as an uncle to Eleanor while she and Grace were visiting Dionysus Park, only to end up accidentally giving the precious child an uninterrupted glimpse of how badly he was running Sofia's property in her absence: spending astronomical sums of money on wild parties, women and ADAM to feed his growing addiction, he'd reduced the Family members at Dionysus Park to a degenerate coterie of sybarites and hedonists sponging off what little remained in Sofia's bank account. Eleanor had threatened to expose Stanley's crimes, and in a blind panic, he sold her off to the orphanage. Soon after, she was transported to Fontaine Futuristics and remade into a Little Sister by Gilbert Alexander; she was then bonded to Subject Delta and sent to work in gathering ADAM around Rapture.
Still a dedicated follower of stoicism, Sofia showed little sign that her daughter's abduction troubled her, and though the loss did leave her inwardly perturbed, she remained confident that Eleanor's new status as a Little Sister would ensure her protection for as long as her new masters retained control of the situation. So, she continued her work in Persephone, conducting therapy with Weir's blessing and offering up test subjects for Sinclair's trials. Beyond the walls of the prison, the ongoing war between Ryan and Fontaine spiraled out of control, ending in a shootout that left the gangster supposedly dead and his company in Ryan's hands, leaving Sinclair and Sofia as full-time employees of Ryan Industries. Determined to capitalize on his newfound monopoly in the Plasmid business, Ryan ordered Sinclair to demand greater sacrifices from his one-time rival, insisting on more test subjects. In the end, this only gave her the opportunity to gradually stoke the discontentment among the inmates into the seeds of a rebellion... even as Fontaine - having successfully faked his death and taken up the identity of Atlas - began to ready one of his own.
In the last days of December 1958, Sofia made her move: cutting off the inmates' supply of ADAM, she was able to spark enough unrest to seize control of Persephone, ousting Sinclair from power and forcing him into a humiliating retreat. Weir and the remaining staff were spared expulsion or death on the condition that they pledged allegiance to Sofia and the Rapture Family, a deal they reluctantly accepted. Days later, Atlas made his own decisive move, attacking the Kashmir Restaurant on New Year's Eve and triggering the outbreak of the Rapture Civil War.
On the same evening, Sofia was able to use the city-wide confusion to leave Persephone and track down Eleanor, eventually locating her at the Adonis Luxury Resort. Luring Subject Delta into an ambush, she had her Splicers capture Eleanor and gang up on her protector, and though most of them were no match for the Alpha-Series Big Daddy, ex-convict Louie McGraff was ultimately able to suppress Delta with the Hypnotize plasmid. Then, as Eleanor looked on in horror, Sofia handed Delta a pistol and ordered him to commit suicide - which he did.
Returning to Persephone with Eleanor in tow, she and her followers were to remain at the prison for the rest of the civil war: because it had been built specifically to prevent break-ins just as much as breakouts, it was the perfect site for Sofia Lamb's base of operations; indeed, because the isolated penal colony had been kept a secret from the overwhelming majority of Rapture, few people knew that it even existed, let alone how to find it. With an army of Splicers protecting her, a few Little Sisters on hand to keep their addictions sated, and a fully-staffed laboratory on hand to research plasmids and gene therapy, she had everything she needed to continue her deconstruction of human individuality in peace.
Few among Rapture's population were aware of Sofia's activities, and reactions differed strongly: ever the faithful servant, Wales continued serving her interests in the outside world. By now, the mason's quarter had been ruined by the Rapture Bank Crash, forcing its residents to take up prostitution in order to survive, until at last the once-prosperous neighborhood became a Red Light District known only as Siren Alley. Through it all, however, Wales ensured that the Rapture Family maintained a presence within the area, however limited.
By contrast, Stanley Poole panicked. Knowing that most of the resident of Dionysus Park had witnessed his hedonistic spending sprees and his kidnapping of Eleanor, he knew it would be only a matter of time before Sofia found out, and took drastic steps to prevent his secrets from reaching her: having ferreted out information on a catastrophic structural flaw in the park, he was able to trigger a flood within the complex and seal the inhabitants inside. Unable to escape or pump the water away, the Dionysus Park commune drowned en mass.
Last but not least, Andrew Ryan had received word that Sofia had been loose in Rapture on New Year's Eve, but thought very little of it, believing that the cult leader was of little interest compared to the threat posed by Atlas.
As such, she remained completely undisturbed for the next two years, perfectly safe within the walls of the prison even as the rest of Rapture collapsed into Splicing-fueled anarchy. Throughout this time, she busied herself with experimentation, most prominently in her attempts to undo Eleanor's psychological conditioning and restore her to normal. For good measure, she also continued to consolidate her hold on her followers, expanding her grasp to encompass the rest of the prison staff: after repeated therapy sessions, she was even able to indoctrinate Weir into becoming a member of the Family, undermining his confidence by demonstrating and dissecting his toxic need for control until he surrendered his free will to her.
This was to continue until the events of 1960, when Jack Ryan was deployed by Atlas to assassinate Ryan once and for all - only to turn on Atlas and kill him as well, before departing the city (either with Tenembaum and the Little Sisters they were able to rescue, or an army of Splicers). Thus, with no enemies left to oppose her, Sofia Lamb returned to the city in the company of her cult and began a full-scale takeover of Rapture.
Lamb Is Watching
United by their worship of Sofia Lamb and kept stable though her stable of Little Sisters, the Rapture Family's Splicers made short work of resistance throughout the city: the survivors of the Civil War were either killed, forcibly incorporated into the Family, or pushed to the very fringes of Rapture. Any Splicers who resisted induction into the Family's ranks were soon converted via radical therapy: the deranged Spider-Splicer known as the Crawler found himself subjected to a brutal series of treatments, including hypnosis, electroconvulsive therapy and even incarceration in a sweat box.
At Sofia's command, Father Simon Wales seized almost complete control of Siren Alley, forcing the pimps and prostitutes into heavily-guarded areas like the Pink Pearl Brothel, and converting the rest of the district into neighborhood-spanning temple to the Rapture Family - decorated with the bodies of "unbelievers" for good measure. Elsewhere, despite her failure to protect Eleanor, Grace Holloway was forgiven and allowed to rejoin the Family, later being assigned to lead Pauper's Drop. Finally, Stanley Poole was allowed to slink back into the ranks, believing he had hidden all trace of his crimes - blissfully unaware that Sofia had learned of them years ago and forgiven him.
However, not all lucid members of the populace accepted Sofia's leadership so readily. Now that Andrew Ryan's genetic key was no longer required to operate the bathyspheres, some enterprising citizens even attempted to escape from Rapture altogether; unfortunately for them, Sofia had seized control of the mechanisms that had once allowed Ryan to control the city, and though she didn't attempt to control the Splicers via pheromone or gene-lock them in place, she was more than willing to have any escapees torpedoed before they could reach the surface.
Eventually, the cult's reach spread as far as the city's intellectual elite, and Gilbert Alexander was indoctrinated into a loyal member of the Rapture Family; it's even implied that he fell in love with Sofia, coming to worship her as a "secular saint," though he freely admitted that showing favoritism to him would have been beneath her. Following this religious conversion, he was consumed with remorse over what he'd done to Eleanor: though he would have gladly committed suicide, Sofia instead secured his help in undoing her daughter's psychological conditioning. However, though he was successful in allowing the ex-Little Sister to perceive reality once again, the ADAM sea slug could not be extracted from her. For the time being, this was tolerated as long as Eleanor was lucid again.
With an entire city now under Sofia's control, she now had to provide ADAM for a much larger group than before: her stable of Little Sisters, combined with the few remaining gatherers that had escaped rescue of harvesting, should have been able to provide this. Unfortunately, even with the protection of the Big Daddies, attacks by Feral Splicers escalated significantly - requiring Dr Alexander to outfit a new variant of Big Daddy just to deal with the volume of attackers.
Even the survivors of these attacks didn't remain in service for long, for as the Little Sisters began reaching puberty, they lost their ability to gather and contain ADAM; worse still, as their conditioning began to break down, they became violently unstable - not to mention increasingly powerful thanks to the military plasmids they'd ingested over the years. Eventually, Alexander was able to re-program the teenagers into a new line of protectors known as the Big Sisters, and at Sofia's behest, put them to work around Rapture as her secret police.
The First Utopian
Meanwhile, the new ruler of Rapture slowly pieced together what had become of Ryan and Fontaine, eventually learning of the W-Y-K conditioning that had secretly guided Jack's actions. Because she had no insight into the assassin's true player-dependent personality, she viewed the events of the first game through the lens of her collectivist beliefs, and regarded Jack as an individual that had escaped "the self," instead acting only on orders from Fontaine (and later, Tenembaum). She soon spread this belief to her followers, allowing them to revere the long-vanished player character as a saint. However, it wasn't long before Sofia began have other ideas concerning W-Y-K, openly wondering what might happen if Jack - or someone like him - was instructed to uphold the common good: with no personality, free will or even sentience to get in the way, there would be nothing to prevent such an individual from serving all of humanity.
Thus began Sofia's search for what she referred to as "The First Utopian," a highly-intelligent being with no identity and no consciousness, stripped of all individual desires except for the need to serve the common good. Guided by instinct alone, the First Utopian would devote itself to the needs of the many without any thought as to its own wishes, spreading its love to every single member of the human race... and once this messiah figure could be isolated, its condition could be spread to the rest of humanity, eradicating all notions of the Self and saving the world.
After a great of research into ADAM and it's unique property of transmitting the memories of past users into Splicers, Sofia set out to create her first Utopian: through Splicing, the minds of Rapture's population could be condensed into a large dose of ADAM and infused into the body of a volunteer. With the combined intellects of everyone in Rapture contained within their mind, this individual would then possess the perspective to act on behalf of a community and the skills to serve it effectively. For good measure, a dose of W-Y-K-based programming would ensure that Sofia's chosen messiah wouldn't even think of its own personal desires. However, in order to accomplish this, Sofia would need huge quantities of ADAM, and with most of their Little Sisters either dead or maturing into Big Sisters, the Family barely had enough gatherers to keep the community stable.
The eventual solution was to seek out new Little Sisters from the surface: having Alexander condition one of the Big Sisters specifically for the task, she sent out this lone "Traveler" to comb the coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean for young girls that fit the biological template for becoming Little Sisters. From February 1967 to September 1967, the Traveler abducted at least thirteen children, the pattern of kidnappings eventually being charted by Mark Meltzer; for good measure, Mark's daughter Cindy was also kidnapped by the Traveler, prompting him to join Jeremiah Lynch's search for Rapture in his attempts to rescue her. Though the total number of abducted children isn't precisely known, all were eventually brought back to Rapture and converted into Little Sisters.
With the new gatherers hard at work and the Big Sisters ensuring their safety, Sofia was able to begin her project. Her volunteer for transformation into the First Utopian was none other than Gilbert Alexander, intent on proving his worth in the eyes of his idol. However, this first attempt was an abject failure: unable to tolerate the enormous dosage of Rapture's genius, Alexander's mind and body began to warp out of shape as ADAM sickness took hold, until he couldn't even pass as a human being. Disappointed, Sofia abandoned Alexander in the research labs under the old Fontaine Futuristics building, dooming him to slowly degenerate into a vast fetus-like monstrosity.
The next candidate for the First Utopian turned out to be none other than Eleanor. Because of the sea slug she was still bonded with, combined with her childhood exposure to vast quantities of ADAM, she was essentially immune to the negative effects of splicing: no genetic damage, no delusions, no dementia, and no addiction. If the prospect of endangering her daughter's life or destroying her own personality gave her any concerns, Sofia gave no indication of it: her audio diaries from this time show only excitement; Eleanor was to be every bit as special as her mother had believed and every bit as devoted to the common good as she had hoped. Before long, Eleanor was being worshiped by the Rapture Family as a savior, the means by which they would be reborn from their torment and granted their eternal reward.
Unknown to Sofia, Eleanor took a very dim view of being transformed into her mother's messianic puppet, and secretly took steps to escape her transformation. Kept sedated deep within Persephone over the course of her ADAM treatments, she could not carry out the deed herself; however, using her connection to the Little Sisters, she was able to capture a genetic sample from Subject Delta's corpse and have it delivered to a vita chamber in the long-abandoned Adonis Luxury Resort - hoping that her resurrected father might be able to save her from Sofia's mad designs.
In 1968, prior to the events of the game, the waters around the Lighthouse were briefly disturbed by the arrival of the SS Nellie Bly, a cargo freighter that Mark Meltzer was using in his attempts to find Cindy. With outsiders within reach of Rapture for the first time in eight years, Sofia set out to eliminate any possible witnesses to the city's existence: sending out her followers in bathyspheres, she had the Nellie Bly ambushed and overwhelmed, leaving the ship half-flooded and floating a great distance from he Lighthouse. However, though the Splicers were successful in killing the crew, Mark was able to escape the massacre and descend to Rapture at last.
Events of BioShock 2
Because Eleanor was careful to use the vita chamber in a facility well outside her mother's influence, Sofia is not immediately aware of Subject Delta's resurrection; for similar reasons, Mark's arrival in Rapture also escapes her notice, particularly given that the outside is forced to rely on stealth for much of his time in the city. However, a Big Sister is patrolling the resort in search of the Little Sister that Eleanor had sent to resurrect Delta, and the two protectors soon clash head-on, eventually resulting in Delta's opponent slicing open one of the resort's windows in an attempt to kill him in the ensuing tsunami. When this fails, the Big Sister swims away, and presumably contacts Sofia.
As such, when Subject Delta arrives at the abandoned Atlantic Express depot in an attempt to rendezvous with Brigid Tenembaum, Sofia is able to seal him in a control booth and - after briefly contacting him via the PA system - order a hit squad of her followers to attack him. However, their attempts to burn him alive with molotov cocktails only results in the floorboards giving way under his feet, allowing Delta to escape the ambush via a three-story drop into the sewers. Nonetheless, gangs of Family-allied Splicers continue to attack him throughout the area, with their mistress periodically tuning in to taunt the Alpha Series Big Daddy via the radio - unaware that her daughter is secretly aiding Delta via telepathic messages and gifts left by Little Sisters.
Sofia is soon able to turn every loyal member of the Rapture Family against Delta with a single public, forcing Tenembaum to retreat in order to escape the ambush that follows, leaving the lone protector in the company of Augustus Sinclair. From there, the two intend to take the train to the Fontaine Futuristics Building, where they can eventually seek out Persephone and rescue Eleanor; however, they are delayed at Ryan Amusements - first by the need to rescue or harvest a Little Sister, then by a fight to the death with a Big Sister. Knowing that the Big Daddy's pairbond mechanism will drive Delta to reunite with Eleanor by any means necessary, Sofia continues to send hit squads after him, determined to eliminate him before he proves a detriment to her plans. However, she soon realizes that Delta isn't merely acting out of instinct, but has actually gained self-awareness - a detail that troubles her immensely.
The Big Daddy and the entrepreneur then move on to Pauper's Drop, where they is soon harangued over the PA system by Grace Holloway: having been led to believe that Delta was responsible for kidnapping Eleanor, she is now out for revenge, and proceeds to direct the entire district against him. Sofia remains silent for most of this chapter, instead allowing Grace to speak for her until the time comes for the two to meet in person. If Delta chooses to kill Grace, Sofia will tauntingly remark that he has only ratified her hatred for him; by contrast, if he chooses to spare her life, Sofia assumes that Delta is trying to gain her trust, refusing to believe that an individual could perform a morally-correct act without the guidance of a collective.
When Delta attempts to continue on to Fontaine Futuristics, Father Wales is able to torpedo his train car, leaving him stranded on the sea bed. From here, the only route available to the FF building is the flooded ruins of Dionysus Park, where Sinclair's own train car has been trapped by mistake; as such, Delta must take a detour to Siren Alley, where he can deal with Father Wales and pump the water out of the park. However, he is forced to kill Daniel Wales in pursuit of a door code, allowing Sofia to provoke Wales into a towering rage: as such, the two are eventually forced into a brutal melee at the Temple of the Lamb, where Father Wales and his flock are finally killed in battle.
However, just as the pumps to Dionysus Park are activated, Sofia sets out to demonstrate that she is nothing like Ryan: Rapture means nothing to her, being merely her means of creating the First Utopian, and must die in order for Eleanor to flourish. To prove this, she remotely overrides Siren Alley's own pumps, quickly flooding the district and dooming any followers still in residence to a watery grave. Delta is barely able to escape alive, retracing his steps to the now-permanently open airlock via a submerged concourse filled with the bodies of drowned Splicers.
With Dionysus Park now empty of water, the Little Sisters quickly descend on the bodies of the Splicers that had been floating there for the last ten years. As luck would have it, one of them just so happens to be Cindy, and it is here that Mark Meltzer finally finds his daughter, now a Little Sister. However, he is still no match for the girl's protectors, and his one attempt to rescue Cindy results in him being captured and brought before Sofia Lamb herself. Mark is offered a choice between execution and conversion into a Big Daddy - the only option that, to Sofia's mind, will allow him to be reunited with his daughter. Mark accepts, and can later be found as one of the Rumblers patrolling Fontaine Futuristics alongside Cindy.
Meanwhile, the Little Sisters loose in the park force Stanley Poole to secretly intervene. Seizing the control booth, he blocks off Delta and Sinclair's escape from the facility, refusing to let them leave until they had done their part in eliminating the Little Sisters before they could uncover his secrets. Unfortunately, Sofia is monitoring radio transmissions between Stanley and Delta, and uncovers the plot by the end of the last gathering session: she takes a very dim view of any threats to Eleanor's supply of ADAM, and though she is unable to prevent the conspirators from rescuing or harvesting the Little Sisters, she is able to contact Delta via the P.A. system and inform him of the part that Stanley played in his transformation into a Big Daddy. She also overrides the control booth's door, leading Stanley at Delta's mercy.
Regardless of what becomes of Stanley, Delta ends up taking the train to its final stop at the Fontaine Fururistics building; here, the now-insane Gilbert Alexander has seized control of the local Splicers, and now rules the property from an observation tank in the basement. For most of this level, Sofia remains quiet while "Alex the Great" takes center stage; however, upon learning of Delta's mission to kill Alexander in accordance with his final wish, she reacts with amusement at the fact that he ultimately chooses to follow the will of a member of the Rapture Family. However, by this time, Sofia's composure is starting to crack, until she all but erupts with frustration and demands to know why Delta persists even though he has no claim on Eleanor. Unable to reply, Subject Delta merely deals with Alexander as he sees fit, then uses his genetic pass to open the way to Persephone.
Sofia soon finds herself cornered in same the quarantine chamber where Eleanor is being "treated" with ADAM. Unarmed, unspliced, and with only two Big Sisters to guard the area, she is left seemingly helpless as the Big Daddy closes in. By this time, however, Sofia has become aware of her daughter's plot to resurrect Delta and have him rescue her; furthermore, upon discovering the telepathic link between gatherer and protector, she finally understands that her attempts to condition her daughter into mindless servitude have all been for nothing, as Eleanor has been watching her "father's" activities and forming her own moral values based on how he treated others. Openly referring to her daughter as "a monster," Sofia waits until her hated enemy is trapped in the quarantine chamber's airlock, then smothers Eleanor with a pillow; as soon as her heart stops, the pairbond is shattered, leaving Subject Delta doomed to a slow death as his body begins to shut down.
While Sofia successfully resuscitates Eleanor, the rest of the Family are able to capture Delta and retrain him in one of the examination rooms, and on their master's orders, they simply leave him there under guard. By now, Sofia has worked out that the Big Daddy is capable of using the vita chambers, and any attempt to violently eliminate him will only result in him being immediately revived. Instead, Sofia opts to simply let Delta succumb to the effects of the broken pairbond, which he cannot be revived from. Meanwhile, Sinclair launches his own attack on the prison in a desperate attempt to rescue his partner, only to be captured himself and forcibly converted into an Alpha Series Big Daddy. With all her opponents either captive, dying or both, Sofia appears to have won, allowing her the time to work out how to repair her experiment.
However, Sofia once again underestimates her daughter: using her connection to the Little Sisters, Eleanor is able to briefly transfer Delta's mind into the body of one such gatherer, allowing him to gather the pieces of a Big Sister suit from around the prison. Once the quarantine chamber is breached and Eleanor has donned her new armor, the ADAM spliced into her allows her more than enough plasmid power to overwhelm Delta's guards and rescue him, intent on escaping Rapture together.
Upon discovering her daughter's rebellion, Sofia is furious, and instructs the Rapture Family to plant explosives around Persephone: at her direction, the entire prison can be torn from its perch and sent plummeting into the crushing depths of the abyss. For good measure, she also manages to steal aboard Sinclair's old liferaft, intending to use it last-ditch attempt to coerce Eleanor into joining her - in the hope that the threat of death could convince her daughter to leave Delta's side. When this fails, Sofia deploys her last trump card: Augustus Sinclair, now known as Subject Omega - forcing Delta and Eleanor to put him out of his misery.
Once they acquire Sinclair's master key and enough Little Sisters to help them boil off the water in the lifeboat's ballast tanks, the two rebels have everything they need to claim the escape craft as their own. However, Sofia chooses this moment to detonate the explosives, sending Persephone on a fatal plunge to the undersea trench. Eleanor is able to teleport aboard the rising lifeboat with the Little Sisters, but Subject Delta is forced to grab the pod's external railing as it soars past, leaving him exposed to the titanic pressures of the ocean as the vessel ascends to the surface. This final trauma, combined with the loss of the pairbond, is enough to fatally wound him - though his true fate depends on player choice throughout the game.
With the lifeboat having partially flooded as a result of the hasty launch, Sofia ends up getting trapped in the inundated section of the pod. It is at this point that her fate is decided, based on the player's decisions on what to do with the Little Sisters and Sofia's Lieutenants.
If Delta harvested most or all of the Little Sisters and killed all three of the Rapture Family's defenseless governors, Eleanor has followed her father's example into selfishness and brutality. As such, she grabs Sofia by the foot before she can reach an air pocket in the pod's ceiling, dragging her underwater and looking on with amusement as her mother slowly drowns.
On the other hand, if Delta harvested Little Sisters but spared the three lieutenants, Eleanor learned of the flexibility of right and wrong: as she saw it, her father took from the innocent but spared the guilty once they were no longer a threat. In his ending, she rescues her mother and provides her with breathing apparatus. However, as her voice-over demonstrates, she doesn't do so out of mercy, but so Sofia can spend the rest of her life broken by the knowledge that her daughter and messiah rejected her.
In yet another sharp contrast, if Delta rescued the Little Sisters but killed the lieutenants, Eleanor will adopt a strong belief in justice and the necessity of punishing those who would hurt the innocent. Though Eleanor genuinely loves her mother, the crimes she committed against Delta, the kidnapped children and Eleanor herself have made Sofia unworthy of life. So, the last Big Sister once again drowns Sofia in the flooded compartment of the pod.
Finally, if Delta rescued the Little Sisters and spared the lieutenants, Eleanor follows her father's path and chooses to forgive her mother, proving the Rapture Family's beliefs in the evils of free will wrong one last time. Just when it appears as though Sofia is about to drown before she can reach the air pocket, Eleanor swims in and provides her with breathing apparatus, saving her life.
In this particular ending, with Eleanor chosen to "leave the door open for her" on their path to Utopia, Sofia likely goes on to rejoin the surface world alongside her daughter and the Little Sisters Delta rescued - though she presumably remains closely monitored by Eleanor from now on.