"Would you kindly" is a programmed trigger or post-hypnotic activation phrase used by Frank Fontaine to control Jack, mostly while posing as Atlas. The phrase is also seen on the "letter from home" (on the gift) during the initial flight to Rapture, and also in a brief flashback showing the contents of that gift (a gun plus instructions to bring the plane down at specific longitude/latitude coordinates).
Fontaine used the phrase sparingly; for instance, he never commanded Jack to harvest Little Sisters, allowing Jack the illusion of free will. Fontaine probably refrained so that Jack would not suspect he was being directly manipulated, and that use of the phrase too much would not only tip his hand, but also reveal his (and Jack's) true identity to Andrew Ryan and Brigid Tenenbaum, among others.
After Jack's arrival in Rapture, Ryan eventually became aware of the phrase and its power. He used it to try to forcefully break Jack from the control by pushing forward that then was the time to choose if he was a man or a slave with the phrase "a man chooses, a slave obeys" as Jack beats him to death with a golf club.
The phrase is so controlling that Fontaine tried to use the phrase to force Jack to commit suicide, though that failed because Tenenbaum had already helped Jack by removing the trigger when he was unconscious in her sanctuary. The phrase was also powerful enough to force a boy (presumably Jack when younger) to kill his own puppy even as he protested, as documented in the Audio Diary "Mind Control Test".
Usage Throughout the Game Edit
- At the beginning of the game, in Jack's letter. "To Jack with love from Mom & Dad would you kindly not open until..." It is later revealed that the package contains a pistol, and the rest of the note has geographic coordinates on it; that is where Jack is to use the pistol to hijack the plane so that it comes down near the lighthouse.
- Before Jack picks up the radio, spoken by Atlas. "Would you kindly pick up that shortwave radio?"
- Before Jack picks up the Wrench, spoken by Atlas. "Now, would you kindly find a crowbar or something?"
- When Jack first encounters a Little Sister, spoken by Atlas. "Careful now...would you kindly lower that weapon for a moment?"
- After Jack finishes photographing the Spider Splicers in Neptune's Bounty, spoken by Atlas. "Head over to Fontaine Fisheries when you're ready, would you kindly?"
- If Jack takes too long before making the Lazarus Vector, spoken by Atlas. "Would you kindly get this thing crafted already. Air's only getting thinner down here."
- After Jack confronts Sander Cohen, spoken by Atlas. "--Would you kindly leg on over to the 'sphere and get on down to Hephaestus."
- After Jack enters Hephaestus, spoken by Atlas. "Now would you kindly head to Ryan's office and kill the son of a bitch?"
- Scrawled in red spray paint (or blood) on the wall with the photos just outside Ryan's office, where the Audio Diary "Mind Control Test" is located. On the Audio Diary itself, "Break that puppy's neck, would you kindly?"
- When Andrew Ryan controls him like a pet dog, with commands like "Sit, would you kindly...", ultimately leading to "Kill!", causing Jack to obediently murder Ryan.
- After Jack kills Andrew Ryan, spoken by Atlas. "--now would you kindly put it in the goddamn machine?!"
- At the beginning of the Olympus Heights level, twice, spoken by Fontaine. "Go get stepped on by a Big Daddy, would you kindly?...Huh? I says, would you kindly go get stepped on by a Big Daddy?" (At this point Brigid Tenenbaum had cured Jack of the phrase's hypnotic suggestion, thus it had no effect on him).