"Would You Kindly" is a programmed trigger or post-hypnotic activation phrase created by Dr. Yi Suchong used by Frank Fontaine to control Jack's actions, mostly while guiding him through Rapture and posing as Atlas, to achieve his plans of dethroning Andrew Ryan.
The phrase is first seen on the "gift from home" Jack was holding during the initial flight to England. The message is only fully seen later in a game, through a flashback which reveal the content of the package, followed by instructions to bring down the plane near the Lighthouse, the surface entrance to Rapture.
Acting as Atlas, Fontaine contacted and guided Jack as soon as he reached the city, but used the phrase sparingly; for instance, he never commanded Jack to harvest Little Sisters, allowing him the illusion of free will. He probably refrained so that Jack would not suspect his manipulations, and that using too much of this specific phrase would not only tip his hand, but also reveal their true identity to Ryan and Brigid Tenenbaum (who worked in collaboration with Suchong on Jack's body), among others.
After Jack's arrival in Rapture, Ryan eventually became aware of the phrase and its power. He used it to forcefully break Jack from his master's control and to willingly die by his hand, illustrating the personal philosophy he maintained all along his life: "A man chooses, a slave obeys."
The phrase was so powerful for Jack's genetically modified mind that Fontaine tried to use the phrase to force him to commit suicide. However this last order failed because Tenenbaum had already removed the trigger from the young man's mind while he was unconscious in her sanctuary with many others for other mind control protocols.
Usage Throughout the GameEdit
- 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 and retrieves his genetic key to the city's master controls, 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).
In "Means of Control", Lamb reflects over the news of Ryan's death at the hands of Jack. She is also somehow aware of Jack's mental conditioning and ponders the idea of taking advantage of it for her own agenda. In "Gil's Place in the Plan" it is revealed that Sofia had implemented behavioral constraints inspired by "Project W-Y-K" on Gilbert Alexander that would make it his instinct to serve what she had defined as the "common good", and become the first "Utopian" she idealized.
It is likely that in spite of being strongly inspired by its power, Lamb had managed to dig up very little about the nature of mind control used to manipulate Jack, including the exact words of the trigger phrase and the existence of the Mental Control Plasmid itself. This can be inferred by the context in which "Project W-Y-K" was mentioned by Lamb; implying it to be a campaign of recreating the same results of behavioral conditioning via a gauntlet of various platforms in psychiatric treatment. It is quite evident however that Lamb's project had gleaned staggering results, as she had managed to place Augustus Sinclair under her thrall when he was converted into an Alpha Series Big Daddy, even going as far as to compel the him into attacking Subject Delta against his own will.
When Elizabeth is forced by Atlas to retrieve the "Ace in the Hole" from Suchong's lab, she manages to locate it and decode it using the Vigenère cipher before giving the code to him. Through a series of visions, it is revealed to the player that the phrase was "Would You Kindly". Elizabeth sees through multiple visions the future of Atlas, seeing his downfall as Fontaine by Jack's hands, as well as Sally being among the Little Sisters rescued by Jack. Knowing this, she willingly gives it before Atlas kills her, with Sally remaining by her side.