Greetings all, I have returned with a lore post on the mysterious Stranger 👻
I should probably open by saying that I should’ve made this post a loooooong time ago, but I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain why I didn’t make it sooner.
Oh well, I guess now is better since we have some newer community members who don’t know about her and some new info was revealed in Warmind. Just a heads up, there will be a lot of caps and underlining in this post because there’s a lot of stuff that needs strong emphasis.
To begin, the Stranger is a time traveler.
She’s also an Exo.
WHOA! Who knew?!
And she’s a girl.
That’s really all we knew for certain back in D1.
She has demonstrated the ability to basically teleport through time and space, even baffling the Earth fragment of Rasputin by entering his chamber multiple times since he reawakened. She has observed us entering the World’s Grave for the first time repeatedly, has witnessed and attempted to prevent the Collapse repeatedly, and knows exactly when and where the Vex are moving.
That being said, she is obsessed with the Vex. Whenever/Wherever she’s from, the Vex are the only present threat and seem to already have won the war against the Light. We know the Vex are the only threat in her time because she even recorded being surprised by her first encounter with what she would later identify as the Hive, and because she shows no interest in any of the other threats we’ve faced. Her presence in Destiny was meant specifically to guide us to the Black Garden’s Heart, which shows that the Sol Progeny are probably what rule over her time.
We do know that the FWC has noticed the Stranger through the visions of their Device, seeing her alive and roaming as well as dead and torn apart. The Stranger has also confessed to seeing other alternatives of herself dead on the battlefield. She also tells us that she “was not forged in Light” whenever we ask if she’s a Guardian, which ONLY means that SHE IS NOT A GUARDIAN. This is one of the most misinterpreted and misused-out-of-context lines in all of Destiny. “Forged” is a word used several times in Destiny when describing a Guardian’s rebirth, including the metaphorical rebirth that Sunbreakers go through in the Forge. Rasputin himself later told us in the grimoire that she was not an Exo he had created or a Guardian (she could’ve been made by Rasputin in a different time, but the Rasputin we know and love today has nothing to do with her). This means it’s still very likely that she became an Exo in her version of the Golden Age, when the [u]Light was still present[/u].
The last thing we know is that someone is helping her, although we can’t tell when or where they are except that they have a ship and are avoiding hostiles.
As for who she is: Bungie actually all but confirmed it in D2. This is exactly what they did with Rezyl Azzir/Dredgen Yor story back in D1, but I do have to remind everyone that her identity has NOT ACTUALLY been stated, meaning that although Bungie has given us undeniable evidence they have not directly told us who she is from their own mouths. First I’ll explain who Bungie’s pointing at, then I’ll briefly describe another theory that’s been around as long as the first.
Sister of Ana Bray, Elsie mysteriously disappeared during the [u]Golden Age[/u] and had obvious ties to both Rasputin and Exos. This explains her machine body, her ability to walk in on Rasputin, and her knowledge being limited to only the Vex when she began her work. In D1 we find a ship designed by her (Eon Trespasser) that gives a small hint at something involving, well, time. In D2, we find many other things designed by Elsie.
I’ll start with the Eon Drive Sparrow. This actually ALMOST DIRECTLY tells us that Elsie is the Stranger because she leaves a message on the Sparrow saying that she came back to the labs and found the Sparrow during current time [u]City Age[/u] and actually timed it to where she knew we would come right after she left. She says “you will have barely missed me” and even says she’s a “stranger” to herself.
Another is the Shadow Trespass, a remake of the original Eon Trespasser ship but designed for war. All the other gear designed by her is war-purposed as well. Lastly we have the Lost Memory Fragments. Only several of these are focused on Elsie, but the ones that are tell us that she got her hands on Vex technology and saw some terrible future, which is why she started building war pieces. These go on discussing Rosen Bridge alternate timeline theory, quantum science, and the Vex’s simulation capabilities up until the point where Elsie says she’s hidden or destroyed all her work to keep it safe. Also notice that these Fragments about Elsie all count down to something she calls “Divergence” like a doomsday timer. Just by definition of the word it’s very clear that this is meant to be the day that she steps through time and becomes the Stranger, [u]diverging[/u] from her proper place in time and space.
Considering all this, it’s actually also possible that whatever Elsie put together with the Vex tech is what the FWC today calls “the Device”.
Considering the evidence pointing to Elsie, this one is obviously false. But this theory has been around just as long as the original Elsie theory in D1 and has great backing, so I feel it deserves mention.
To summarize, Maya and her Ishtar Collective science team sent hundreds of copies of themselves into the Vex Citadel. It is possible that one or more of these later came to be the Stranger. This explains her knowledge being limited to the Vex specifically and her ability to obtain an Exo body (she was working with the machines that preceded the Exos at the time of the Citadel ventures).
Knowing the Stranger’s identity doesn’t change much about our situation or hers, though. She is still out there fighting through all possible existence to prevent the rule of the Vex, in a manner very similar to that of Osiris in the Infinite Forest. Although she led us to the defeat of the Black Garden’s Heart and we haven’t seen her since, she has assured us that the war wages on and that she will never stop fighting. One day she may need our help, or we may need hers again. Whatever Bungie has left in store for her remains to be seen.
[i]Bonus info: the Stranger’s very existence is actually proof that the Vex have the capability to travel through time. The Stranger very clearly has an actual presence even in times that she does not belong in, and even though she’s using her own technology it is still most definitely Vex in origin. The Vex’s time-traveling abilities have been under debate for a long time, but I personally believe (that’s right, this is an opinion, call the fact police) that this proof sets in stone exactly what he Vex can do.[/i]
Here’s a link to my master post for more lore posts and some fanfiction by yours truly: https://www.bungie.net/en/Forum/Post/217384398/0/0