Plot Summary by xg3
Version 1.01, Last Updated 2013-04-15
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******************************************************************************* BioShock Infinite Plot Summary A Complete History of Columbia Version: 1.01 (04/10/13) Author: XG3 Contact: email@example.com
IF YOU HAVE NOT COMPLETED BIOSHOCK INFINITE, CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK. THIS GUIDE CONTAINS MASSIVE SPOILERS RIGHT FROM THE GET-GO.
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For the Record
- The BioShock story is very complex and richly woven, but it is told through many fragmented audio diaries and radio messages. As such, not everything that happens in the game is directly stated; many events are implied or inferred. Feel free to email me if you have a better take on a certain character or event, and I will include it with proper credit if your argument is compelling enough.
- This is my third story FAQ. You can find the others at:
- Bioshock: http://www.gamefaqs.com/xbox360/931329-bioshock/faqs/50049
- Braid: http://www.gamefaqs.com/xbox360/943284-braid/faqs/53842
- If I got any part of the timeline wrong, please email me with a source (quote, image, link, etc.) or compelling argument for why I'm wrong, and I'll do my best to correct it.
- I'm not the best writer in the world, and a lot of the text was spliced (sorry) together from various sources. I tried my best to blend everything together into one cohesive text, but some sentences may be awkward, the tense may be wrong, or the flow of a certain section may seem off. If you have any suggestions or possible rewrites - in which you are able to state the events more concisely than I have - feel free to email it to me. I do plan on eventually rewriting it to improve the grammar/sentence structure of this FAQ.
- If you really enjoyed this FAQ and would like to donate, please do so at this address: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=FQHT262JK8D92
- If you have any questions, comments, edits, or suggestions about the story, this FAQ, or anything at all, I'd love to hear from you. Don't hesitate to email me!
"One man goes into the waters of baptism. A different man comes out, born again. But who is that man who lies submerged? Perhaps that swimmer is both sinner and saint, until he is revealed unto the eyes of man." - Zachary Hale Comstock, 3/29/1911
Booker DeWitt (born April 19, 1874) was a man with a tortured past. He participated in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 as part of the 7th Calvary Regiment of the United States Army. At Wounded Knee, a sergeant accused Booker of being part Native American. Wanting to prove himself to the cause, Booker burned teepees with Indians still inside and slaughtered everyone in his path. His regiment called him the White Injun of Wounded Knee, for all of the grisly trophies he claimed from his victims. Booker also worked as an agent for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency. He was known for using extreme methods on the job, in one example harming union workers on strike. Booker's experiences at Wounded Knee and as a Pinkerton scarred and led him to a life of alcoholism and gambling addiction. After leaving the Pinkertons, Booker became a private investigator, setting up his practice at 108 Bowery in New York City. Shortly after the events at Wounded Knee, Booker was overcome with guilt for the atrocities he had committed. He began to seek out religion as a means to absolve himself of his past crimes and sins. Booker was offered a chance by Preacher Witting to be born again a different man and start anew, by being baptized. The baptism ceremony took place outside in a small river. However, Booker changed his mind at the very last moment, choosing not to go through with the baptism and pushed the preacher away. He realized that that dunking his head in a river wouldn't do anything to change the things he's done. Booker went on, in 1892, to have his first child, a daughter. His wife, Anna, died during childbirth. Booker named the child Anna in memory of her late mother. His wife's death, lack of success finding redemption, and mounting gambling debts contributed to DeWitt hitting a new low point in his life.
The Construction of Columbia
In another life, Booker DeWitt chose to go through with the baptism. To mark the beginning of his life as a new man, Booker took on the name Zachary Hale Comstock. Where an un-reborn Booker might have lived out the rest of his life in self-despair, Comstock lived with the guilt of his actions by turning them into a righteous and divine act. Comstock established as a prophet and created a religion around himself, championing the founding fathers of America with a religious fervor. He demanded of his followers a 50% tithe, and amassed a large personal fortune. As a new man, Comstock kept his past a secret; everything before his baptism was unknown to the public. His wife, now named Anna Comstock, became one of his biggest supporters and followers. Lady Comstock, as she became to be known, had also lived a less than righteous life, and she welcomed the forgiveness and redemption that Comstock offered. Comstock came into contact with a talented physicist named Rosalind Lutece. Lutece had in recent years discovered a way to suspend atoms in mid-air indefinitely using quantum mechanics. Quantum particles, suspended in space- time at a fixed height.
"I had trapped the atom in mid-air. Colleagues called my Lutece Field quantum levitation, but in fact, it was nothing of the sort. Magicians levitate -- my atom simply failed to fall. If an atom could be suspended indefinitely, well -- why not an apple? If an apple, why not a city?" - Rosalind Lutece, 8/10/1890
Comstock envisioned the possibility of a city in the sky, called Columbia, that would serve as a symbol of American ideals. He compared Columbia to a modern- day Ark raised high above the wickedness below; a "New Eden" that would usher the world into righteousness. Comstock lobbied Congress in Washington, DC to invest in his vision. He was successful. The United States government approved the project and began to officially fund the construction of Columbia, with the purpose of creating a "floating World's Fair" that could travel from one corner of the earth to another and demonstrate to the rest of the world the success of the American experiment. Comstock commissioned an unscrupulous businessman named Jeremiah Fink to handle several of the logistics of constructing Columbia, including the manufacturing, materials, and manual labor. Fink knew that Columbia would require a lower class to handle the dirty work and "chores", so he mentioned a contact he had in Georgia who would lease them black convicts to fill this need. Fink created a conglomerate that manufactured virtually all of the technology and products used in Columbi, often marketing them under a variety of smaller brands. For Columbia's troops, Fink Industries developed the Equis Mechanical automated stallion as an alternative to real horses. Soon they were offered to all citizens for transportation and pulling wagons and carriages. Fink Manufacturing also invented an alternative to electricity, generated by dark crystals, called "Shock Jockey". They partnered with several businesses to be powered exclusively on Shock Jockey. Fink also manufactured vending machines and set them up around Columbia. Fink Manufacturing placed telescopes and silent movie devices called Kinetoscopes around the city for the public to use. Each kinetoscope ran a short movie produced by the Columbia Kinetoscope Company, featuring Columbian history, propaganda, and adverts. A few kinetoscopes featured scenic locations around Columbia, filmed by William R. Foreman. Foreman's last movie was "Battleship Falls", where he fell into the water while filming. Many of the citizens in Columbia carried portable voice recording devices called Voxophones. Most used them as personal diaries. Lutece used them to take notes for her work. Comstock himself used them to record several of his sermons. Since the Columbians needed a way to ship and move cargo among the various islands, the designers of Columbia devised a vast system of metal rails called the Sky-Line system. Jeremiah Fink created an arm device with rotating hooks called the Sky-Hook to allow maintenance workers to easily access the Sky-Lines in case cargo had halted or the rail was in need of repair. The Sky-Hooks were magnetized, allowing workers to close the large gap to a Sky-Line by jumping a short distance towards it. Fink Manufacturing also placed a series of freight hooks around Columbia that were compatible with the Sky-Hooks. Before long, the city's youth found a way to use the Sky-Hooks to navigate the Sky-Lines as a death-defying means of personal transportation. This type of movement would gradually be adopted by workers, the police force, and eventually the general population during times of war when normal routes of transportation were disrupted. Eventually the Sky-Line system would be used not only as a method of transportation, but also as a faciliator of combat. The requirement for officers and combatants who knew their way around the Sky-Line and could fight effectively on it became increasingly important, and so the Columbian police department invested in more advanced models of Sky-Hooks. As the visionary behind Columbia, Comstock founded and led the political party that would govern the city, the Founders. The Founders viewed themselves as successors of the founding fathers of the United States. The party promoted the extreme ideals of ultra-nationalism, Christian fanaticism, xenophobia, racial segregation, as well as justifying slavery and white-male supremacy. The Founders were extremely racist, building separate facilities for minorities. Zachary Comstock, in particular, was known to be especially condescending and hostile towards black people, comparing them to dogs. The Irish were also heavily discriminated against. Jeremiah Fink, a member of the Founders, created an annual event in Columbia called The Raffle wherein minority individuals were demeaned by the audience and "stoned" with a baseball. Columbia was constructed in an extremely short amount of time. For example, Battleship Bay, a beach resort, was completed within six months. The floating city of Columbia was introduced to the world at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago as a main attraction. Among the gathering of the greatest technological feats the world had ever seen, Columbia stood out above the rest.
The United States proudly launched Columbia on a global tour of major cities, which was received with great fanfare by a captivated public. For a time, Columbia was the pride of the United States. Behind the scenes, tension with the new McKinley administration was building. In 1901, that tension boiled over as Columbia, against the United States' wishes, put a violent end to the Boxer Rebellion in Peking, China by opening fire on the Chinese. This revealed to the world the secret nature of Columbia: that it was essentially a heavily armed aerial battleship. Congress demanded Columbia's immediate return to sovereign soil. Instead, the city seceded from the Union. Columbia disappeared into the clouds, never to be seen for decades to come.
Rosalind Lutece, the Chief Scientist of Columbia, experimented with what she called the "Lutece Field", a way to interact with universes parallel to theirs. In one such alternate universe, a physicist named Robert Lutece had been working on the same technology, experimenting on the exact same atom as Rosalind. Discovering this, the two began communicating to each other through morse code by manipulating the atom. Robert, it turns out, was genetically identical to Rosalind, with the exception of a Y chromosome. Rosalind was especially drawn to Robert since he was the only person on her level. She referred to him as her "brother" even though technically they were the same person. With Comstock bankrolling her work, Rosalind was able to further the Lutece Field technology. She built a contraption that could create a "Lutece Tear", a window into between worlds. On October 15, 1893, Robert Lutece successfully stepped into Rosalind's world through one such tear. They noted a small side-effect from Robert's arrival: his nose began to bleed from the cognitive dissonance of meeting "himself". However, his brain was able to adapt and he quickly stabilized. The "twins" were finally united and would be inseparable from that moment forward. Comstock was able to see into the future by opening tears using Letuce's machine. This allowed him to further his cult image as a prophet, earning him the nickname of "The Prophet". He claimed that an "archangel" was feeding him these visions. The Lutece contraption gave Comstock enormous amounts of influence and power in Columbia. Tears began appearing in random places around Columbia, much to the confusion of the public. A few other individuals were able to harness the tears. Jeremiah Fink's brother, Albert Fink, began using the tears to listen in on music from future eras. He shamelessly plagiarized many of these songs from the future, making a fortune as the "Mozart of Columbia." Albert Fink's Magical Melodies, a division of Fink Industries, used the slogan "The music of tomorrow today!" Albert's success exploiting tears for profit made Jeremiah Fink a believer. A tear allowed him to observe an underwater city from the future called Rapture. Fink observed a brilliant biologist by the name of Bridgette Tenenbaum who worked on genetic modifications that gave humans special powers and abilities. Fink took the concept of these "plasmids" and created special tonics called "vigors". To fuel the vigors, he created an inorganic compound called "salts". Although vigors were soon marketed to the general population of Columbia, they were not highly adopted as people were concerned about safety, preferring to hold off on trying them until Fink worked out all the kinks. Fink was also fascinated by Rapture's creation of Big Daddies, which were humans permanently bonded with mechanical suits.
"These holes have shown me yet another wonder, though I've yet to see the application for it. They illuminate a merger of machine and man that is somehow the lesser, yet the greater, of both parties. The process seems to be irreversible. Perhaps, though, Comstock will have some need of this kind of thing to keep watch in that tower of his." - Jeremiah Fink, 10/4/1895
This technology would provide the inspiration for Fink Manufacturing's half- organic, half-machine creations, such as the Handyman, Fireman, and Songbird.
Rosalind Lutece discovered in July 1893 that Comstock's frequent exposure to the Lutece device caused him to be made sterile. She theorized that exposure to multiple realities caused a person's physical body to slowly deteriorate from taking on bits of the negative traits of his counterparts (similar to a child inheriting the negative traits of his parents). Comstock also began to age faster than normal and would develop cancer, although these side-effects would not be discovered until much later. Soon after, Comstock saw in a tear a vision of the future in which he had already died, but his child would take up his mantle and light the "Sodom below" on fire to prepare for the coming of the Lord. He also foresaw that a "False Shepherd" with the initials "AD" branded on his hand would try to prevent that from happening. Comstock made it his top priority to have a child. Attempts to produce a child with Lady Comstock were fruitless, as he was (unknowingly) sterile, so he propositioned Rosalind Lutece to sleep with him in an effort to have a child. Rosalind refused, but she and Robert devised a plan to obtain a child with his DNA from an alternate universe in which he had not been made sterile. They were able to locate a Booker DeWitt who had refused the baptism and went on to have a child.
Bring Us the Girl
On October 8, 1893, Robert Lutece once again passed through a Tear, arriving at Booker's office/apartment in New York. He offered Booker the chance to wipe away all of his gambling debts in exchange for his infant daughter, Anna.
Booker: And what of my debts? Robert Lutece: Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt.
Booker, under tremendous pressure financially and mentally, agreed with the exchange. He walked over to the next room where Anna layed in her crib, picked her up, and handed her over to Robert Lutece.
Robert Lutece: The debt's paid. Mr. Comstock washes you of all your sins.
Almost immediately regretting this decision, Booker ran outside and chased after Robert down an alleyway. Robert and Comstock, with Anna in his arms, stood at the end of the alley waiting for the Tear to stabilize before passing through. Booker was able to reach them just as they were passing through, initiating a struggle with Comstock. Comstock managed to pull away, and as Anna reached towards Booker, the Tear closed, severing the tip of her right pinky finger in Booker's world. Booker branded his right hand with Anna's initials - AD - and sunk into depression. He spent the rest of his days wallowing in sorrow and regret. It would be nearly twenty years before Booker would see Anna again, but it would be in a different world and she would have a different name.
Back in Columbia, Comstock quickly instituted a massive cover-up to explain the sudden appearance of a daughter, who he named Elizabeth. He presented Elizabeth as a "Miracle Child" who was conceived by divine will and delivered by Lady Comstock after only seven days in the womb. Elizabeth came to be regarded as the "Lamb of Columbia". Lady Comstock played along publicly initially, but was privately furious about the charade. She had come to think less of her husband in recent times, after a move against his political enemies resulted in 40 dead. The arrival of the bastard child caused her to distrust him even more. Lady Comstock refused the child to be raised under her roof. Lady Comstock accused Rosalind Lutece of having an affair with her husband, resulting in the baby. Rosalind denied the claim and explained that the child was a product of their machine. Lady Comstock was skeptical of this explanation but became confused in addition to being angry. She confronted Comstock one evening and threatened to break her silence about the child. At the end of a loud and intense argument, Comstock murdered her.
Daisy Fitzroy was one of the black prisoners leased to Jeremiah Fink and brought up to Columbia to do the dirty work. Upon arriving, she described the bright blue sky of Columbia to be almost like heaven, but then noticed the "sea of white faces lookin' hard back" at her. Daisy was assigned to work as a housekeeper for Lady Comstock at Comstock House. She was content in doing her simple tasks like laundry and scrubbing the floors, and even admired Lady Comstock to an extent, thinking her to be genuine for someone so privileged. One night, Daisy heard Lady Comstock and Father Comstock having a fierce argument but couldn't make out what they were going on about from her bunk. In the morning she noticed that Lady Comstock hadn't left for morning prayer, so she crept upstairs to check in on her. Someone noticed her presence in the room and accused her of murdering Lady Comstock. She immediately ran from the scene and was able to escape amidst shouts of "Murderer!" Daisy Fitzroy was officially framed by Comstock for the death of Lady Comstock. Daisy fled to Finkton, Columbia's working class district and the home of Fink Manufacturing. She hid deep within Shantytown, the Finkton slums where the poor lived as a result of Jeremiah Fink's low paying wages and harsh working hours. While there, Daisy observed the horrible conditions the people there lived in compared to the life enjoyed by the privileged of Columbia. This, along with her experiences as a member of an oppressed minority class in the city, lit a fire in her. She decided to become the voice of the working class, establishing a far-left, communist resistance faction known as the Vox Populi (Latin "voice of the people"). The Vox Populi began as a protest group and confederation of like-minded citizens and foreign immigrants. They worked to unionize workers and protect the rights of minorities. As the Vox Populi became more organized and powerful, its members grew more militant. As the conlict with the Founders escalated, the ideals of the Vox became increasingly extreme, and soon Fitzroy sought to destroy The Founders and their sympathizers at any cost.
The public mourned the loss of Lady Comstock and paid their respects at her open tomb in the Emporia Memorial Gardens. A section called The First Lady's Memorial was added to the Hall of Heroes museum in memory of Lady Comstock. Following the murder of Lady Comstock, Elizabeth was moved to Monument Island under the pretense of protecting her from Daisy Fitzroy. A major landmark in Columbia, Monument Island originally served as a gateway to Columbia where all the immigrants passed through. The facility, a massive tower in the shape of an angel, was repurposed to be Elizabeth's home, where she could be studied and held in captivity. Lutece observed early on that there was something different about Elizabeth. She theorized that Elizabeth was special because a small part of her -- the tip of her right pinky -- had been left in a different universe, which meant she essentially existed in two worlds. It turned out that this gave her the unique ability to open tears into other worlds. Elizabeth was put under constant surveillance. Unknown to Elizabeth, the rooms in her dwelling were outfitted with one-way glass that appeared as a mirror from her side, but an observation room on the other. The Columbian scientists, led by Lutece, took power readings of Elizabeth as she aged. Her power levels gradually increased as she aged, but spiked drastically when she received her first period at the age of 14. To combat these dangerous levels, Lutece installed a device called the Siphon inside Monument Island to dampen and limit Elizabeth's power. This worked in the immediate short term. However, as Elizabeth aged into her late teens, the Siphon proved insufficient to contain her power at safe levels. The Monument Island personnel were forced to abandon the facility completely and Monument Island was permanently closed to the public. One scientist, named Samuel Gerst, was diagnosed with stomach cancer two years after Elizabeth's power spike. A dying Gerst and his wife approached Comstock for help, who delivered them a "miracle" through his colleague Jeremiah Fink. Fink offered Gerst a chance to regain his vitality by becoming a Handyman. The Handymen were one of Fink's concepts inspired by the Big Daddies of Rapture. Persons who were gravely disabled, severely injured, or terminally ill were permanently placed in a large mechanical suit in order to survive and become able-bodied again. Although the subject could now hypothetically "live forever", it came with the cost of being in constant pain and with a certain loss of free will. Elizabeth spent her days studying lockpicking, analyzing ciphers, reading, painting, and dreaming of one day visiting Paris.
Fink's greatest Big Daddy-inspired achievement was a massive creature called the Songbird. A person was permanently grafted into a suit made of leather, glass, and metal, and had a wingspan of 30 feet. The Songbird was created for the sole purpose of serving as Elizabeth's jailer, protector, and sole companion during her captivity on Monument Island. The Songbird would feed Elizabeth and bring her items such as books. As a child, Elizabeth considered the Songbird a friend since he was all she had, but when she grew up she came to hate him as she realized he was her warden. The Songbird's arrival was always signalled by a tune played by a steam organ housed inside a golden statue of Comstock, the "Songbird Defense System". Comstock had these sentry statues placed around key areas in Columbia including Elizabeth's cell and and his personal zeppelin. The mysterious nature of the Songbird gave him legendary status among the citizens of Columbia. He was used as propaganda to scare both adults and children into behaving, even spawning this children's nursery rhyme:
Songbird, Songbird, see him fly. Drop the children from the sky. When the young ones misbehave, escorts children to their grave. Never back talk, never lie, or he'll drop you from the sky!
In the event that Elizabeth escaped the tower, the Songbird was prepared to do anything and everything to return her to her prison, including destroying anything in its way. The Songbird had only one major weakness. His adaptations to the low pressure nature of the sky caused sensitivities to high pressure environments. Fink's designers noted this design flaw but never got around to solving it since they didn't consider he would ever be submersed in water.
The Beginning of the End
In 1909, the Luteces saw, through a tear, the future of Columbia and what Elizabeth would become: the flame that would ignite the world. Realizing their part in having allowed this to happen, Robert Lutece, the more idealistic twin, decided that they had to try and undo what they had done. He believed that time was something that could be shaped and molded and perhaps by doing so they could right their wrong. Rosalind, being the nihilistic twin, was much more apathetic to the situation. She didn't see the point, believing that "what's done is done" and that what was written in the future would happen no matter what. Unrelenting, Robert issued her an ultimatum: that if they didn't right their wrong, they would part ways. Rosalind who had become very attached to her "brother", relented and agreed to help him despite her skepticism. They began plotting a way to send Elizabeth back to her original universe, preventing her from fulfilling Comstock's prophecy. Upon discovery of their plan, Comstock decided to murder the Luteces like he had done to Lady Comstock. He approached Fink to carry out deed in exchange for all of their patents. Fink sabotaged the Luteces' contraption, killing the two as they were using it. In actuality, killing them while they were using the device caused the Luteces to exist across all of time and space. Comstock had inadvertently made them into demi-gods. The twins found that although they were now able to appear at any point in time across all universes, they were not able to affect the worlds to any large degree. Determined to stop Comstock, the Luteces decided that they would guide someone to finish the task in their stead. They determined that there was only one person who would be able to stop Comstock: Himself.
"The mind of the subject will desperately struggle to create memories where none exist..." - Barriers to Trans-Dimensional Travel, R. Lutece, 1889
On July 6, 1912, the Luteces put into motion a plan that would redeem themselves and Booker DeWitt, while giving Booker and Elizabeth a chance to be together again. It had been nearly 19 years since Booker, now 38, had given Anna away. The Luteces opened a tear, from Comstock's universe, into Booker's dilapidated apartment and dragged him onto a rocky beach in coastal Maine.
Robert: I told you it would work. Rosalind: We already know IT works. The question is: will he? Booker: Anna...Anna...I'm so sorry, Anna... Rosalind: Do you suppose he branded himself as some sort of penance? Robert: Hmmm... Rosalind: Don't see the point. What's done is done. What's done...WILL be done. Robert: Hmmm... Rosalind: I suppose the brand is his hair shirt, as he is ours. Booker: ...and wipe away the debt...bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt... Robert: See? He's starting to put his story together. Rosalind: Hm. You're quite fond of this theory of yours. Robert: He's manufacturing new memories from his old ones. Rosalind: Well...the brain adapts. Robert: I should know. I lived it.
Booker, dazed and confused having just passed through a tear into a different universe, quickly pieced together a story to make sense of what was happening to him. His mind took the old memory of selling Anna and adapted it to create a new memory where he was hired to retrieve a girl in exchange for wiping away his massive gambling debt. "Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt."
He Doesn't Row
The Luteces and Booker got into a rowboat and rowed towards a lighthouse located further into the sea. Rosalind handed Booker his personal chest which contained several important details about his mission: a gun, the code to enter Columbia, a picture of Elizabeth, a postcard of Monument Island, the key to Elizabeth's cell, coordinates for New York City, and a few Silver Eagle coins. The Luteces had gone through this exact same process over a hundred times before so they ignored all of Booker's questions along the way. Robert Lutece noted that Booker doesn't row in all of the times they go through this.
A Gentleman: Are you going to just sit there? A Lady: As compared to what? Standing? A Gentleman: Not standing. Rowing. A Lady: Rowing? I hadn't planned on it. A Gentleman: So you expect me to shoulder the burden. Booker: What's this? A Lady: No, but I do expect you to do all the rowing. A Gentleman: And why is that? A Lady: Coming here was your idea. A Gentleman: My idea? A Lady: I've made it very clear that I don't believe in the exercise. A Gentleman: The rowing? A Lady: No. I imagine that's wonderful exercise. A Gentleman: Then what? A Lady: The entire thought experiment. Booker: Excuse me. How much longer? A Gentleman: One goes into an experiment knowing one could fail. A Lady: But one does not undertake an experiment knowing one has failed. A Gentleman: Can we get back to the rowing? A Lady: I suggest you do or we're never going to get there. A Gentleman: No, I mean I'd greatly appreciate it if you would assist. A Lady: Perhaps you should ask him? I imagine he has a greater interest in getting there than I do. A Gentleman: I suppose he does. But there's no point in asking. A Lady: Why not? A Gentleman: Because he doesn't row. A Lady: He doesn't ROW? A Gentleman: No. He DOESN'T row. A Lady: Ah. I see what you mean. A Lady: We've arrived. A Lady: Shall we tell him when we'll be returning? A Gentleman: Will that change anything? A Lady: It might give him some comfort. A Gentleman: At least that's something we can agree on. Booker: Hey, is someone meeting me here? A Gentleman: I'd certainly hope so. A Lady: It does seem like a dreadful place to be stranded.
Booker got out of the boat and headed towards the lighthouse. The Luteces had prepared the lighthouse in an effort to reinforce DeWitt's false memories, set the stakes of his mission, and create a sense of urgency. They left a note on the door: "DeWitt - Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt. This is your last chance!" Immediately upon entering, Booker looked into a bowl of water offering to wash away his sins, to which he could only reply, "Good luck with that, pal." Having previously determined the lighthouse keeper as a potential first obstacle for Booker, the Luteces killed him before Booker arrived, leaving him bound to a chair in a pool of blood. Booker became alarm when he encountered the dead man, and he continued to the top of the tower. At the top, he entered the code he was provided with, entered the shuttle, and sat on the seat.
"Make yourself ready, pilgrim. The bindings are there as a safeguard."
The shuttle panels closed around him. The entire floor tilted forward, dislodging and dropping Booker's gun as the shuttle began its ascent to Columbia.
"Ascension...Ascension in the count of FIVE...Count of FOUR... THREE...TWO...ONE...Ascension...Ascension...Five-thousand feet...Ten-thousand feet...Fifteen-thousand feet... Hallelujah."
Upon entering Columbia, the shuttle was lowered into a chapel where all who entered Columbia had to pass through and be baptized in before entering the city. Comstock had appointed Preacher Witting, the same man who baptized him, as the man who would perform these baptisms. Booker accepted the baptism, but blacked out as the preacher nearly drowned him. Unconscious, Booker found himself in his office back in New York. He opened the door and saw a 1984 New York City bathed in smoke and flames under attack by Columbia. When the Luteces brought him through the tear, he had received some of Comstock's memories and he was unknowingly viewing one now. Booker woke up outside the chapel and proceeded into the city, discovering he had arrived on the day of the city's fair. Soon, he was given a telegram from the Luteces warning him not to alert Comstock to his presence and not to pick #77 in the Raffle. They did this so that Booker would know something was up when he would pick that exact number during the raffle. On his way through the fair, Rosalind and Robert Lutece purposely bumped into him to do an experiment on constants. They asked him to flip a coin, which landed heads.
A Gentleman: Heads... A Lady: Or tails? Booker: Come on, let me through. A Gentleman: Heads? A Lady: Or tails? Booker: Uh...heads. A Gentleman: Told you. A Lady: Hmmm. A Gentleman: I never find that as satisfying as I'd imagined. A Lady: Chin up. There's always next time. A Gentleman: I suppose there is.
Rosalind added a mark on Robert's tally board, which had a total of 122 heads and 0 tails, signifying that this was their - and Booker's - 123rd attempt at this mission. Booker made his way to the raffle, receiving his first Vigor the way, and received a baseball marked #77. Jeremiah Fink took the stage, picked #77 as the winner of the "first throw", and revealed an Irish-black interracial couple who would be the subject of the stoning. As Booker wound up the ball, a police officer seized his right hand (which had the brand AD) and identified him as the False Shepherd. Thanks to the telegram warning, Booker had the reaction time to grab an officer's Sky-Hook and fight his way to safety. Booker worked his way through the streets of Columbia and once again encountered the Lutece twins in a bar, who then provided him with a Shield tonic. He continued on his way and passed through the house of the Fraternal Order of the Raven. Similar to the Ku Klux Klan, the Order was obssessed with maintaining the racial purity of Columbia and wore hoods. Calling themselves "Zealots", the members of the Order worshipped Lady Comstock and built a monument to John Wilkes booth, the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Booker fought his way through the house and received a Vigor in the process. Booker saw and made his way towards Monument Island. On the way, he was contacted by Comstock himself, who told him that he knew about Booker's past and that it would all end in blood. Due to the cognitive dissonance of meeting himself for the first time, Booker's nose began to bleed. Booker fought his way onto a zeppelin, but Comstock's disciple lit herself on fire, so he evacuated onto a Sky-Line which led him to Monument Island. Once inside the tower, Booker made his way through several experiments and observation rooms, and accidentally fell into Elizabeth's library. Elizabeth was initially frightened but became interested from meeting someone else. Suddenly, the Comstock organ began playing its tune, signifiying the Songbird's arrival. Booker's key allowed the pair to escape the room as the Songbird frantically searched for them. At the top of the tower, the Songbird knocked over that part of the tower, sending them falling into the sky. Luckily, Booker was able to catch a Sky-Line, but soon fell again as the broken Sky-Line terminated. The two of them landed in the waters of Battleship Bay and Booker blacked out once again. The Songbird pursued him into the water, but was forced to turn back after its suit began to fail from the pressure. Booker woke up on the shore of Battleship Bay with Elizabeth kneeling over him. Booker spotted The First Lady, a giant airship docked at the nearby First Lady Aerodrome, and decided that it would be their ticket out of Columbia. He convinced Elizabeth to come with him so that they can go to Paris which had always been her dream. The Luteces approached Booker and Elizabeth on the boardwalk with an experiment involving variables. They had him choose a necklace for Elizabeth - either a bird or a cage. Inside the Amusement Center, an undercover officer approached Elizabeth and greeted her as "Annabelle". Elizabeth corrected her, unsuspectingly confirming her identity to the authorities. As Booker attempted to purchase two ticket to the First Lady, he was ambushed by several officers but was able to kill them all. Booker caught up Elizabeth, who had run off in fear. As they rode the gondola up to Soldier's Field, Elizabeth accused him of being a monster but ultimately came to understand the situation they were in. Once in Soldier's Field, the two attempted to summon the gondola that would take them up to the First Lady Aerodrome. The device shortcircuited and they discovered that it ran exclusively on Shock Jockey, which they could obtain in the Hall of Heroes. In an elevator on the way to the museum, Elizabeth opened up a tear to let a bee out. This startled Booker, so she explained that she was able to open windows to other worlds and could transport objects through them. Inside the Hall of Heroes, Booker noticed a giant statue of Comstock labeling Comstock as "Commander of the 7th Cavalry" at Wounded Knee. Booker denied that Comstock led the 7th and said that he didn't even know the guy. Cornelius Slate was a soldier who HAD been with Booker at Wounded Knee. He had went on to Comstock and played his part in the Boxer Rebellion in Peking, where he lost his eye and 30 of his men. He eventually became disillusioned with Comstock after he was angered by Comstock's false war past. When he called Comstock out on it, Slate was stripped of his rank and marked as a liar. Slate took his men, holed up in the Hall of Heroes, and declared war on Comstock and the Founders. Learning about Comstock's mechanical soldiers, Slate and his men desperately sought to die a "soldier's death" at the hand of a worthy soldier. Hearing that his old comrade DeWitt was heading his way, Slate decided he would be the man for the job. Slate led Booker through exhibits of Wounded Knee, the Boxer Rebellion, and The First Lady's Memorial, where Elizabeth discovered that she was Comstock's daughter as well as the fabricated history that went along with it. Despite Booker's insistance that he was only there to obtain Shock Jockey, Slate continued to test him by pitting him against his men and Comstock's Motorized Patriots. Past the First Lady's Memorial, they hit a locked gate. Elizabeth unintentionally summoned a freight hook for Booker to use to bypass the gate. She explained that whenever she felt anxious, tears had a way of appearing as a form of wish fulfillment. In this way, she was able to bring in variable aspects of parallel universes and merge them into their own. Eventually, Booker was able to survive Slate's final stand, retrieve Shock Jockey, and head back towards the First Lady's Aerodrome. Booker and Elizabeth boarded the First Lady airship. Elizabeth's excitement at the prospect of visiting Paris was cut short as she caught Booker setting coordinates for New York. He revealed to her that he was in kidnapping her to repay his gambling debts, not realizing that he was about to sell her for the second time in his life. Elizabeth pretended to cry and when Booker tried to console her, knocked him out with a familiar looking wrench. The airship was soon hijacked by the Vox Populi, but not before Elizabeth was able to escape at Finkton Docks. Daisy Fitzroy and the Vox Populi had occupied the ship when Booker regained consciousness. Daisy attempted to recruit DeWitt, who she knew had been fighting the Founders ever since the Raffle, but he declined. She convinced him to retrieve weapons for the Vox from their supplier, a gunsmith named Chen Lin, in exchange for the return of the airship. They dropped Booker onto the Finkton Docks where he was able to find Elizabeth. Elizabeth attempted to evade Booker through her use of tears, but eventually saved him from death by using one. She agreed to rejoin him as a means to leave Columbia and reach Paris. While waiting for the service elevator leading down to Finkton Proper, Elizabeth found Lady Comstock's diary inside Slate's old locker nearby. She concluded that it was Lady Comstock who had her locked up in Monument Island. On the way down to Finkton, Booker received a phone call from Fink telling him that he was their "top candidate". Once they reached the bottom, they were greeted by Fink's assistant who provided Booker with a weapon, medical supplies, and salts for his visit. Thoroughly confused, the pair continued into Finkton towards Chen Lin's gunshop. Booker and Elizabeth ventured into the gunshop and found the workshop ransacked with Chen nowhere to be found. On the way downstairs, they encountered Chen's wife, May Lin, crying in front of a Buddha shrine. She told them that he had been arrested and taken to the Good Time Club for his affiliation with the Vox Populi. When they entered the club, they found Fink's former chief of security's corpse pinned to a large clock. They entered the theater, and Fink revealed that Booker was being unwillingly auditioned for the position of Fink's new chief of security. After fighting through waves of Fink's men and armed machines, Booker rejected Fink's offer and continued into the back of the club, where they found a secret jail area where people were held and interrogated. Upon entering Chen's cell, they found that he had been tortured to death. Suddenly, the Lutece twins appeared out of thin air.
Elizabeth: Booker! Booker: We're too late, goddamn it. Elizabeth: This is what he meant... Booker: Now we need to find someone else to make those guns. Elizabeth: No! Booker: Dead is dead, Elizabeth. A Gentleman: Dead is dead. Booker: What?...the hell did...? A Lady: I see...heads. A Gentleman: And I see tails. A Lady: It's all a matter of perspective. Booker: Why are you following us? Who sent you, Comstock? What do you want from-- A Gentleman: What do you see here, from this angle? A Lady: Dead. Booker: Listen- A Lady: And that angle? A Gentleman: Alive. Elizabeth: Booker...Chen Lin. Booker: The body's gone! A Gentleman: It was never here. Booker: It's another Columbia. Elizabeth: A different Columbia. A Gentleman: The same coin. A Lady: A different perspective. A Gentleman: Heads. A Lady: Tails. A Gentleman: Dead. A Lady: Alive. Elizabeth: We have to go through...to this other Columbia, but...how? A Gentleman: It's like riding a bicycle. A Lady: One never really forgets. A Gentleman: One just needs the courage to climb aboard.
As a form of wish fulfillment, Elizabeth had unintentionally summoned a tear to a world where Chen Lin was never murdered. Although she was able to control this aspect of the newly created world, she would come to discover that all other variables would be uncertain. She opened the tear, merging the two realities into one. In place of Chen's body was a cache of confiscated weapons from the Vox. On their way out of the club, they encountered many of Fink's men that they had killed previously, alive but dazed and bleeding from their noses. Although these people were alive in this world, they remembered being dead as a result of the two universes merging, leaving them in a state of disorientation. Booker and Elizabeth left the Good Time Club and revisited Chen Lin's shop, where they found him in a similar state of confusion. He was busily working, believing his machines and tools were there, when in reality they had been confiscated by the police. The two headed downstairs where they found his wife praying in front of what was now a Comstock shrine instead of a Buddha one. In this world, Chen was married to Sarah Lin, a white lady instead of a Chinese one. She had been able to release Chen from jail due to her brother who was Fink's head of security. Instead, the police had seized his tools and locked them up in the impound in Shantytown, the slums of Finkton where the workers lived. They traveled to the police station in Shantytown, the Bull House, and found Chen's tools, but realized they didn't have a way to move the heavy machinery back to the gunshop. Another tear appeared, through which a world existed where the tools weren't there. They reasoned that if the tools weren't there in the impound, they would be back where they belonged at the shop. Elizabeth opened the tear and once again merged the two realities together. Leaving the police station, they discovered that in this world the Vox Populi had already received their weapons from Chen and risen in revolt against Fink. Making their way through the ongoing rebellion, a Vox member recognized DeWitt and referred to him as the "hero of the Vox". Confused, Booker looked around and saw posters of his likeness plastered everywhere with the words "DeWitt! Martyr of the Revolution". Booker began accessing his shared memories from the merged universe and remembered that in this world he had been a leader of the Vox Populi, burning down the Hall of Heroes with Slate. Booker's nose began to bleed. When the previous Booker arrived in Columbia and was exposed at the Raffle shortly after, Comstock had Elizabeth immediately moved to Comstock House. By the time Booker arrived at Monument Island, he found the place deserted. Disheartened, Booker wandered around Columbia before finding his former army friend Slate at the Hall of Heroes, which they burned down together. Slate introduced Booker to his allies, the Vox Populi, and he joined the movement in hopes of eventually taking Comstock House by storm to reach Elizabeth. Unfortunately, he died during the revolt in Finkton. Daisy Fitzroy painted Booker as a martyr and used him as a symbol for the cause. Because Elizabeth had merged her reality with this one by opening the tear, and she was with Booker in Shantytown, the Elizabeth that had been taken to Comstock House didn't exist in this newly created world. Booker and Elizabeth made their way out of Shantytown and visited the gunshop once again, but found Chen Lin and Sarah Lin lying dead together on the floor. They followed the Vox revolt into the Fink factory. On the elevator up to Fink's office, Booker received a telephone call from Daisy.
Booker: Ummm...Hello? ...Fink? Daisy: I saw you die, Booker. Saw it with my own eyes. Booker: Fitzroy. Listen, I got you your guns. I'm here for my airship. Daisy: But my Booker DeWitt died for the Vox Populi. You either an imposter...or a ghost. My Booker DeWitt was a hero to the cause. A story to tell your children. You...you just complicate the narrative.
Booker fought Daisy's troops in Fink's office and continued outside towards where Daisy had docked the First Lady airship. They reached Daisy at the boarding bridge, where she executed Fink point blank and smeared his blood on her face. She then threatened to kill a young boy, citing a need to destroy the Founders from their roots. As Daisy ranted, Elizabeth snuck behind her and stabbed her back with a pair of scissors, much to her own horror. Traumatized, Elizabeth rushed aboard the First Lady and locked herself in the back room. After attempting to console her, Booker moved towards the front of the ship to set a course. Elizabeth emerged after having changed into the only dress that she could find onboard - her mother's - and proceeded to cut off her ponytail. When she asked him if they were headed for New York or Paris, Songbird attacked the First Lady, sending the First Lady careening towards Prosperity Plaza. When Booker came to from the crash, he found Elizabeth frantically trying to open the First Lady's hatch and stop the Lutece twins, who were attempting to play the Songbird's tune on a piano near the crash site. The Luteces explained to them that calling the Songbird required not only the proper notes, but also the correct instrument. Having both would allow them to control the Songbird. Robert handed Booker a card with a diagram of the Whistler, a musical instrument resembling a pan flute built into the voice box of Comstock's golden sentry statues. As they continued into Prosperity Plaza, Elizabeth spotted Comstock House looming in the distance and decided that they should look for Comstock there. They found residents of Emporia, home of Columbia's upper class, desperately clamboring aboard barges in an attempt to evacuate the now Vox-occupied district. Heading into Port Prosperity Station, they found the scalps of several murdered Columbian politicans nailed to a board with the inscription "Tell us Prophet, do you see us coming?". As the two exited the building, Elizabeth asked him if he believed in prophecies. Booker told her about the vision of New York he had seen when he first arrived in Columbia. During the gondola ride to Grand Central Depot, they spotted the Lutece twins. Elizabeth finally realized who they were: the scientists who had invented the technology that allowed the city to float. However, she was confused since her books said that they had disappeared years ago. Booker and Elizabeth fought their way through Grand Central Depot. As they located the code for the exit elevator, a sentry statue detected them and alerted the Songbird with its tune. The Songbird arrived nearly instantly, but they were able to hide until it left. Elizabeth made Booker promise that he would kill her before ever letting the Songbird take her back. She later explained that if the Songbird were to take her back, she would experience death or something so like it she wouldn't be able to tell the difference. On the way down to Emporia, their elevator was hit by artillery. The two fought their way through a ravaged Emporia, thoroughly covered in the red drapes and paint of the Vox. All of its citizens were either hiding or dead. Soon, they found themselves at the gate of Comstock House. The gate automaton recognized Elizabeth as Lady Comstock, which she attributed to the dress she was wearing. However, it refused them entry as it required a verified handprint. This gave Elizabeth the idea to visit the crypt of Lady Comstock at the nearby Memorial Gardens in order to retrieve her hand, which she had no problem with due to her resentment that she had locked her up in the tower. As Booker was about to open Lady Comstock's airtight coffin, Comstock used a siphon nearby to control Elizabeth and raise Lady Comstock as a Siren, the undead physical manifestation of Elizabeth's perception of her (anger and resentment for having been abandoned and locked up by her as a child). After defeating the ghost, they found the Luteces nearby, digging their own graves.
Booker: But what is she? Alive or dead? Robert Lutece: Why do you ask "what?" Rosalind Lutece: When the delicious question is "when?" Robert Lutece: The only difference between past and present... Rosalind Lutece: ...is semantics. Robert Lutece: Lives, lived, will live. Rosalind Lutece: Dies, died, will die. Robert Lutece: If we could perceive time as it truly was... Rosalind Lutece: What reason would grammar professors have to get out of bed? Robert Lutece: Like us all, Lady Comstock exists ACROSS time... Rosalind Lutece: She is both alive and dead. Robert Lutece: She perceives being both. Rosalind Lutece: She finds this condition...disagreeable. Robert Lutece: Perception without comprehension... Rosalind Lutece: ...Is a dangerous combination. Robert Lutece: It's a shame you have need of her to enter Comstock House. Rosalind Lutece: Frankly, she doesn't seem all the cooperative. Robert Lutece: There is a way to bring her to reason Rosalind Lutece: Three truths you must discover first. Robert Lutece: Truths which, in this world, Comstock has destroyed. Rosalind Lutece: If only one of you had the power to alter time and space. Robert Lutece: That would be a blessing, wouldn't it? Rosalind Lutece: Mmm.
Booker and Elizabeth set out to find the three tears around Emporia that would reveal the truth about Lady Comstock by following her ghostly footprints. In the Bank of the Prophet, a tear showed Comstock's assistant and Fink discussing the Lutece murder, revealing that Lady Comstock had also been murdered. At the Laboratory Lutece, a tear showed Lady Comstock accusing Rosalind Lutece of sleeping with her husband, who revealed that Comstock was sterile. This made Elizabeth realize that neither Lady Comstock nor Zachary Comstock were her parents. At the Cunningham Studio, a tear showed the Luteces complaining about their funeral photos...a week after they had been murdered. Now that Elizabeth understood the truth about Lady Comstock, the two returned to the gates of Comstock House to confront her once again. After defeating the Siren once again, Elizabeth approached her.
Elizabeth: I owe you an apology...Comstock used me to bring you back, but...I brought back a version of you from the reality that I had built up in my own head. He pretended to love you, like he pretended to love me. I'm not your husband's bastard. I am his victim. But my days of victimhood are done. We must forgive each other. Because there is one far worse than you or I. Siren: The Prophet...killed me... Elizabeth: Because you wouldn't keep his secret. About me. Siren: If that's so, then why am I alive? Elizabeth: You're not...not in this world. But maybe this is you in another...a world where you never meet him... Siren: Or where I saved him? Elizabeth: I don't know. Is that possible? Siren: Find out, child. Find out.
With that, the Siren shattered the gate for Elizabeth and returned to her rest. Booker and Elizabeth entered the door and were met with the bridge to Comstock House. As Booker pulled the lever to activate the bridge, the Songbird appeared suddenly and threw him through a high window in a nearby building. Booker blacked out for a few moments. When he regained consciousness, the Songbird tore open the roof and continued to attack him. As the Songbird wound up his final strike, Elizabeth saved Booker by apologizing for escaping and offering to return. In tears, Elizabeth reached out for Booker as the Songbird carried her away towards Comstock House, mirroring the moment when they had been separated for the first time 19 years before. Booker rushed back towards the bridge and crossed it amidst a dramatic thunderstorm. When he emerged on the other side, Booker was surprised to see that it was snowing, since it was July. Little did he know, it was also 1984.