THIS APP CONTAINS CONTENT SUCH AS: ALCOHOLISM, PARENTAL NEGLECT/ABUSE, TORTURE, INFANT DEATH, AND DROWNING
"BRING US THE GIRL, WIPE AWAY THE DEBT."
- Robert Lutece
Shortly after her birth, a baby girl with big blue eyes loses the mother she will never know. She enters a dull, dreary world, full of factories and unhappy faces. The only person she can rely on is her father: Booker DeWitt, a man who’s just lost the love of his life and is now expected to take care of an infant on his own. He names his daughter Anna DeWitt in memory of her late mother.
Her father’s a Pinkerton. He’s supposed to keep workers in line, and one day he goes too far. Maybe it’s from the stress of losing his wife, or maybe it's from the distress over being a single father before he's even twenty, but one day he’s simply far too strained to deal with workers in a civil manner and batters them to teach them a lesson.
He’s not a Pinkerton for much longer.
Following Booker’s loss of a job, the smell of booze on his breath becomes commonplace. Though Anna is young, the smell of liquor is one that she gets used to. Her father’s not around often, and the money in his pockets disappears bit by bit to feed the slot machines that tempt him with promises of riches to take care of his small family only to trick him out of his life’s savings.
Debt piles up fast. Though Booker takes work as a private investigator, his paycheck isn’t enough to sustain him and his daughter, nor is it nearly enough to whittle away at his debt. A strange man comes to him and offers to take away his debt for one thing in exchange: his daughter. Desperate to get out of debt, Booker agrees to his terms. He picks up his daughter one last time, a smiling child happy to be safe and sound in the arms of her father, only to be placed into the arms of a stranger who is very much not the comforting figure her father is.
The stranger takes off with her, running to enter a portal to a completely different universe. Her father realizes he’s made a huge mistake far too late.
“GIVE ME BACK MY DAUGHTER!”
His screams seem to fall upon deaf ears as he chases the stranger. Said stranger walks through the portal with Anna in his arms, only to place her into the arms of yet another man, bearded and... oddly familiar. Booker rushes and makes a valiant attempt to pry his daughter back into his arms, but in the end, he is unsuccessful as the portal closes. The last thing he sees of his daughter is her face staring at him, full of fear as she tries to reach out to the one person she can call family.
The only thing that’s left of her on Booker’s side of the portal is a pinkie; a phalange left behind, sliced off from the portal closing on it.
"IT WOULD SEEM THE UNIVERSE DOES NOT LIKE ITS PEAS MIXED WITH ITS PORRIDGE."
- Rosalind Lutece
The bearded stranger is Father Zachary Hale Comstock and he appoints himself as Anna DeWitt’s father. In fact, she is no longer Anna DeWitt; she is Elizabeth Comstock. Father Comstock takes her to live in Columbia, a city floating in the sky, and not much happier than the world Elizabeth was born in. It turns out that higher forces don’t particularly like it when worlds are intertwined; due to Elizabeth’s pinkie finger being stuck in her original world, the fabric of the universe opens up tears in Columbia to other worlds, such tears caused simply by Elizabeth’s existence.
Her new “father” is pleased to have a child of his own, but his wife has a much different opinion on the baby. Though she is assured otherwise, Comstock’s wife is convinced that Elizabeth is her husband’s bastard child. A child born out of a love affair, right behind Lady Annabelle Comstock’s back. She looks at this child that she refuses to accept as her own with disgust and contempt, as if the devil himself is her true father. She wants nothing to do with the infant, no matter how hard those around her try to convince her to change her mind about Elizabeth.
Lady Comstock orders a young Elizabeth to be locked up in a tower. A bastard would not be living in her home if she had any say about it. Due to Lady Comstock's request (and the desire to find out why Elizabeth would be causing tears to appear around Columbia), it is decided that Elizabeth should be isolated and studied. So she is sent to Monument Island with minimal human contact, blissfully ignorant of who her family is. As she grows older, her days are spent reading every book there is to offer, painting landscapes of places she would love to go one day, and on occasion, opening tears up to explore what other worlds have to offer.
She never stays in any world for too long; she always feels compelled to come back.
In hopes to make certain that she never gets out of control, a siphon is built to contain her power, preventing her from reaching her maximum potential.
When a giant bird-like creature comes crashing through her window, she nurses it back to health, and it imprints on her. “The Songbird” is what it’s called, and it becomes Elizabeth’s only friend. A confidante, someone to rely on. But even with a friend to call her own, she grows restless and longs for something more than spending her entire life in a tower. The bird won’t let her leave or see the world or do anything that would require her to leave the tower, and she’s convinced it’s the only reason she can’t go out and get a good look at the world with her own two eyes.
She quietly dreams about leaving for good one day.
"MY NAME IS DEWITT. I'M A FRIEND. I'VE COME TO GET YOU OUT OF HERE."
- Booker DeWitt
It scares the living daylights out of Elizabeth when a man comes tumbling into her tower. The young woman had taken time out of her day to indulge herself with one of her favorite books only to be horrifically frightened by the sight of a man nearing his forties burst into her home. It only makes sense that she shrieks in fear and starts hurling books at him. Once he explains his intentions and introduces himself as simply “DeWitt,” however, she relaxes, and realizes that this is the first real life person she’s seen in far too many years. He shows her the way out, promises to take her away from it all; he promises to take her to Paris, the one place she’s always dreamt of going to. He tells her that they’ll go to Paris when they get an airship, and she makes the horrific mistake of believing him.
She’s an innocent when it comes to liars and cheats; she doesn’t quite realize that people will lie to her to get what they want.
As she travels with him, however, Elizabeth realizes that Mr. DeWitt isn’t quite the knight in shining armor she initially thought him to be. He kills people, arguing that he has to kill them before they kill him when she objects to his actions. It’s a sickening thought, to think that he would so willingly take someone's life from the world, and she hates it every single time he kills someone. She has to accept that he’s right; not everyone in the world is a good person, and there are people who are willing to hurt her.
Elizabeth doesn’t like that concept, but she accepts it.
DeWitt tells her to start calling him “Booker.” He’s a mystery to her, one that she wants to learn more about. So she asks him questions; simple questions like if he wants to dance, harder ones for him to swallow like if he’s married. He says no to both of those questions and doesn’t elaborate much on them. He’s full of cynicism, a stark contrast to Elizabeth’s own hopeful attitude towards the universe.
She offers to help him out as much as she can. It’s the least she can do for someone who freed her from a life of solitary confinement. She scrounges up extra coin for him, offers to pick locks for him, and if he ever finds himself just on Death’s doorstep, she’s there to keep him in the land of the living with her medical expertise.
As they try to secure an airship for Paris, Elizabeth discovers some unsettling information about herself: she’s the heir of Zachary Comstock. She doesn’t understand why he - a man who was supposed to be her father - would throw her into a tower. A father was supposed to be there for his child, not lock them up in a cage. He was supposed to look after her. It frustrates her to no end that a parent could so easily abandon their child with little to no regard for the offspring’s wellbeing. He may have acted in a horrific manner to others, but his own child? Surely, he would have made an exception for Elizabeth.
But he didn’t. He practically left her to rot, and this revelation only fuels her desire to leave Columbia.
When the duo finally acquire an airship, Booker does the unthinkable; he punches in coordinates for them to go to New York. She’s stared at enough maps to figure out that Booker DeWitt is not taking her to Paris. He is, in fact, a liar, a cheater, a no-good man using a girl for his own gain. To him, she’s just a means to an end. He has some debt to pay off, and he’s only going to pay it off if he takes her to New York. She feels like a fool, as if she’s been played like a fiddle this entire time, and she loathes this feeling.
He’s not much better than Father Comstock as far she’s concerned.
Run. She runs. She runs as far away from Booker as she can. He loses the airship chasing after her, and she doesn’t want anything to do with him, but she comes to realize that he’s the only way out of Columbia. Stop. She stops running. She lets Booker catch up with her, and she agrees to help him get his ship back.
She'd rather help him out than be stuck in Columbia for much longer, she realizes.
"WHERE DOES HIS GUILT START... AND MINE END?"
- Elizabeth Comstock
Her hands are soaked in blood and no matter how much she scrubs, her sins won’t go away.
Everything had gone so wrong. The local rebellion promised to get Booker his ship back if he helped them out, and Elizabeth, after opening tear after tear, had taken him to another world in order to help them. In that world, the fearless leader of the rebellion Daisy Fitzroy made a decision that Elizabeth couldn’t deal with. Fitzroy grabbed a young boy, fully intent on ending his life, and then... Elizabeth didn’t know what came over her. All she knew was that she had a pair of scissors in her hands and she plunged them deep into Fitzroy’s spine.
Blood, blood, b l o o d, so much crimson liquid spilling out of her body.
Booker finally gets his ship back. But God, at what cost? Elizabeth’s innocence has been shattered in a single moment to get him that ship back... Was it really worth killing someone to get one single ship back?
To this day, she can’t really say.
Her long wavy locks, caked with blood that’s not her own, are chopped off into a shorter style. She’s no longer a saint among sinners. Innocence is not something she can retain after committing such a brutal and violent act. All she had wanted was to save that child, but she had taken the life of another human being in the process.
The bird catches up with them. She’s tired of running, tired of dealing with the guilt on her conscience. She lets the creature take her away; she gives up her freedom for she is undeserving of it, so that she can suffer and Booker can live another day. She quickly finds out relinquishing her freedom is a huge mistake. She is brought to a laboratory, as the bird was instructed to do so by Comstock, and it is there where she is tested and prodded at. Bruises cover her skin because she fights back against the horror she’s been forced to endure. She still has too much spirit in her, and that’s unacceptable in Comstock's eyes.
She loses track of the time. It’s been months, she thinks, since she gave herself up. There are days where she wants to give in, to give up, but for some reason, she doesn’t. Even when needles are stabbed deep within her skin and she can barely see out of her blackened eyes, she refuses to give up what little willpower she has left.
And then he appears.
Booker DeWitt finally comes back to her, and he saves her from the hell she had gotten herself into. It feels like she always knew he would come back for her, yet part of her wonders if he's too late. Numbness is the only thing she can truly feel. That, and hatred towards Comstock. She proclaims that she’ll kill him herself; Booker says he’ll do it for her.
They decide to destroy the one thing holding Elizabeth back from reaching her true potential: the siphon. Once the device falls apart, power surges through her veins, and with Booker at her side, she confronts the man who had let her life go to ruin. She watches as DeWitt bashes Comstock's head into a basin, over and over again, finally killing the man who had stripped her of a real childhood, of real happiness.
Yet... it doesn’t make her feel happy, watching him die. Nor does opening a tear to kill Songbird feel any better. It’s all just more death and destruction, and that’s not the only harm she’s about to cause.
"ONLY BLOOD CAN REDEEM BLOOD."
- Zachary Hale Comstock
She’s no longer tethered by a leash holding her back. She can look into every tear, every possible universe Every world imaginable is just at her fingertips, and with a quick tug and pull, she can rip one reality directly into a brand new one.
She knows that there’s so many more Comstocks out there, so many more Elizabeths out there, and she knows the only way to put a stop to Comstock once and for all is to smother him before he can exist.
The only problem? Zachary Hale Comstock is Booker DeWitt: her father. By unlocking her full potential, she learns that Booker DeWitt is not only her father, but the same exact man as Zachary Comstock. In some universes, Booker DeWitt is baptized and reborn as Comstock. In others, he refuses the baptism offered to him and remains Booker DeWitt. To kill Comstock for good would mean to kill Booker DeWitt, the father that Elizabeth only just got back into her life.
So she does. She kills him. He lets her do it, certain that there’s no other way to stop Comstock from hurting his daughter. She drowns him, she and several other Elizabeths from so many other universes out there. She holds him down under the water, watching the life leave his eyes. One by one, every other Elizabeth collides into her. Every experience, every universe, every memory, everything comes crashing together. Elizabeth is no longer one person, not truly; she’s several Elizabeths stuffed together into one entity.
Some quantum superpositioning has made Elizabeth a god-like entity, able to see into nearly every outcome the future has to offer. That same quantum superpositioning has made it so there’s only one Comstock left in the universe, and she’s determined to stop him from taking an infant Anna DeWitt from Booker DeWitt like he’s done in so many other worlds. She thinks that intervening will save this Anna DeWitt from the life she led.
But instead of losing a pinkie, the baby loses her head all because Comstock is too stubborn to give her back to Booker.
It’s a horrific sight. Even more horrific is when Comstock tries to to run away. He finds his way to the underwater city of Rapture, goes back to calling himself Booker and suppresses the memory of killing a child. Elizabeth won’t let him get away without punishment. She absolutely will not. He killed her; he killed a baby.
He wasn't going to get away with that. She'd make damn sure of that.
She follows after him. She reads plenty of history books and learns to blend in with the people of Rapture, a gritty city full of fake smiles and dark secrets. The city seems to seep into her; whatever little bit left of the happy-go-lucky Elizabeth seems to have been completely overtaken by the grimy underbelly of Rapture, buried by cynicism and pessimism at how the world beyond the tower certainly wasn’t the picture-perfect place she once hoped it would be.
Finding work as a singer, Elizabeth waits for the right time to confront Comstock. When she sees her golden window of opportunity in the form of a missing little girl, she takes it. She uses Comstock’s need to look out for this girl - Sally, that’s her name - and twists it. She knows that girl’s not dead, like Comstock seems to believe, and she knows she can use that little bit of key information to her own advantage. She leaves the girl to sit in harm’s way, luring out a mutated man all the while. She makes Comstock remember what he did to an infant Elizabeth, she makes him realize that he's unfit to take care of Sally, and she watches without a shred of remorse as he’s impaled to death by a hulking, mutated man.
She wasn’t counting on that same man to end her life as well.
"THEY SAY ‘TO SAVE ONE LIFE IS TO SAVE THE WORLD ENTIRE.’ IT IS YOU WHO ARE THEIR SAVIOR."
- Dr. Brigid Tenenbaum
Her eyes blink open to Paris. It's a place full of smiles and laughter, complete with lovely music and artists gleefully painting away. It's perfect... except, it’s not Paris. It all feels like a dream, and Elizabeth discovers that not a shred of it is real. She watches as Paris crumbles away and disappears, and suddenly, she’s back in Rapture.
She’s not supposed to be there. There’s something wrong about it. She can’t figure it out.
Memories and thoughts feel hazy. All she knows is that she has to save Sally. She has to. She’s hurt that poor girl so much, and she has to make up for it. Unfortunately, the young girl has been taken hostage by a man: Atlas. She tells him she’ll help him so long as he doesn’t hurt the girl; a hallucination of her father convinces her to make up a lie to get him to trust her. Lying words pass her lips, and they’re just believable enough that Atlas thinks she’s telling the truth. He accepts her help without much more convincing.
Shortly after sealing the deal, it doesn’t take long for her to realize why everything feels so wrong: she’s supposed to be dead.
As she searches for answers as to why she’s back in Rapture, her eyes fall upon her own dead body, and a flash of memory crosses her mind. She wasn’t supposed to return to Rapture. She died there, and returning meant losing her powers. No longer an omniscient being, she’s just a normal girl, with a now normal pinkie. She's trapped at the bottom of the ocean for the rest of her life, never to see the world beyond yet again.
Bits and pieces of her memory come back to her as she tries to aid Atlas in his quest for rebellion. She can’t quite recall which actions lead to which consequences, but she feels as though she must be making the right decisions. At the very least, it’s what she hopes for. She has to hope that she’s doing something right for Sally’s sake; that girl was the entire reason she had given up her powers in the first place, and she’d be damned if she didn’t help her out.
She helps Atlas find a way to sneak into Rapture and start a war with Rapture’s citizens, and is promptly knocked out cold as a thank you. She’s battered and beaten, interrogated about where the “ace in the hole” is located. She hasn’t the faintest idea about what that might be, and pestering at her for weeks doesn’t help either. She has no idea what the answer is until a vision of Booker tells her something: the ace is in a lab. Atlas, pleased that he has received some sort of answer, allows Elizabeth to search for his ace.
She locates the ace in the hole in that lab: a scrap of paper, garbled with chemical compounds and codes she can’t quite crack, but she knows that it’s exactly what Atlas is looking for.
"WITHOUT SIN, WHAT GRACE HAS FORGIVENESS?"
- Annabelle Comstock
She knows all too well that she's going to die. Atlas is going to kill her, brutally and mercilessly, for she has outlived her usefulness. Perhaps, however, death isn't quite the horrific fate it has been made out to be. It's her chance at redemption, her final shot to receive true freedom. So long as she saves Sally, she’s content with the next few moments being the last of her life.
She returns to Atlas and hands him the code he’s been so desperate to have, spitting final words of disgust at him while she still can. Satisfied with the paper, he bashes a wrench into her skull, only to start screaming at her to decipher the code. A vision passes by her, revealing what the encrypted piece of paper means. It translates to “would you kindly?”, a phrase that Atlas finds useful when Elizabeth viciously spits it at him.
Another strong whack is felt against her skull, revealing one last look into the future. A vision of Sally, being rescued and living life above sea. A vision of Atlas, killed for his monstrous deeds. And then a vision of him, the man who is destined to rescue Sally from the hellish Rapture, giving her and so many other girls a chance at living life above sea.
Her lips curl up into a smile, content with living her last moments believing that she has given Sally a second chance at life. She’s happy to die with the thought that one day, everything will get better for Sally.
...Yet the universe has other plans for her. She does not die like she’s supposed to. Instead, she closes her eyes only to open them on the streets of a place called Vesper.
She's been given a second chance at life, and she has absolutely no idea why.