The Exo Stranger, whose real identity has been revealed to be Elsie Bray1, has been described as an intangible and elusive figure, dissolving in and out of our reality.
Before Guardians came to know Elsie, people spoke of her as a myth. Some believed she was the final member of an Exo squadron, still fighting a war long-forgotten. Others believed she was merely a hallucination created by exposure to Vex technology.2
Elsie Bray was once a scientist, described as an “engineering legend” by humans during the Golden Age, much like the rest of the Bray Family.3 Her grandfather, Clovis Bray I, invited Elsie to work on Europa with him on the Exo Program.4 During this time Clovis told Elsie she had inherited the same fatal disease her father had, in hopes of her volunteering for the Exo program, preserving his legacy forever. Elsie accepted her grandfather’s offer.5
Whilst working on Europa during the late Golden Age, Elsie was given a No Time to Explain rifle by Clovis I, after he found it buried under snow in the hands of Elsie-1 on Europa at some point in the future.6
Elsie became increasingly concerned as to the Vex presence on the icy moon, and the dangers they could pose. In fear of being compromised by the Vex, Elsie volunteered for the Exo program, sickened by Clovis I’s underestimation of the threat they faced and the use of her father as a test subject for his Exo experiments. After becoming an Exo, Elsie travelled back to Mars to reacquaint herself with her family.5 It was during this time that her mother and grandmother warned her about Clovis I’s lies and deceptions.7 During her time away, Clovis asked Elsie about the common dream all Exos share of the Deep Stone Crypt, confirming her mother and grandmother’s warnings of his dishonesty. Realising this, Elsie travelled back to Europa to shut down Exo production permanently by destroying the Vex gate to 2082 Volantis. Before Elsie could follow through with her plan, Clovis I killed Elsie and rebooted her, claiming the Vex had compromised her last instance. Later, Clovis I prepared himself for his transition into becoming an Exo and entered life-support.5
While preparing for an expedition through to the Vex world of 2082 Volantis, Elsie and her team were overrun by waves of Vex coming through the portal built by Clovis I, and began to overrun the icy moon.8 Elsie escaped the onslaught and informed her dying grandfather of the catastrophe that took place. She asked Clovis I for his evacuation protocol codes to save the lives working at their facility. Clovis refused and asked Elsie to activate his backup, the Clovis AI. Elsie reluctantly agreed.9 Clovis’ plan was to lure the Vex from Europa, endangering Mars and Earth, in order to save his work and legacy that had been built on Europa. At this time he also brought online Clovis-1, his own Exo. Clovis-1 did not have the memories of Clovis Bray I at this time, and before he could undergo this process, Elsie returned from her fight against the Vex. Elsie and Clovis-1, as well as the rest of the Exos still within the facility, decided to defy the AI and attempt to evacuate Europa.10 Before Elsie and her team could evacuate, the AI destroyed the evacuation shuttles in a violent explosion.11 This left the team with only one option: shutting down the Vex portal. Elsie and her crew reached Clovis Bray I’s office, where Clovis-1 proceeded to breeze through the Exo Training Protocols. After finishing them, Clovis-1 and Elsie acquired the Lament sword and what seems to be the No Time to Explain pulse rifle. The Clovis AI offered its support to the crew by opening the armory but asked Elsie and Clovis-1 not to destroy the portal to 2082 Volantis, to which Elsie agreed, though she winked to Clovis-1 as to her true intentions.12 Led by Clovis-1 and Elsie, the team fell and rose to waves of Vex. The crew were able to reset themselves with the memory banks kept inside Clovis Bray I’s office, giving themselves another chance against the Vex army while increasing their Exo number. Elsie and the team eventually reached the portal to 2082 Volantis and closed it. Although the now Clovis-43 wished to destroy the portal, Elsie convinced him to simply shut it down, wishing for them to live the lives they were promised with the Exo Program and avoid any retaliation from the Clovis AI.13 Elsie and Clovis-43 returned to the facility and deactivated the Clovis AI. Elsie and Clovis-43 had grown attached to one another, but Clovis-43 wanted Elsie to be free of her grandfather, and so the two decided to go their separate ways. As a final request, Clovis-43 requested Elsie to reset him one last time and for her to use the nickname the other Exos gave him during his fight against the Vex. Elsie obliged, and Clovis-43 became Banshee-44.14
Elsie was present during the resurrection of the Guardian, and oversaw their early development in the Cosmodrome and on Luna.15 16 Seeing promise in them, Elsie asked the Guardian to meet with her if they survived against the onslaught of Hive within the Temple of Crota.17 Having successfully fought against the brood on Luna, the Guardian met with Elsie within the libraries of the Academy on Venus. There, Elsie informed the Guardian of the Black Garden and that destroying the Dark Heart at its centre would allow the Traveler to heal.18
Later, having successfully made their way into the Black Garden, the Guardian destroyed the Heart. Elsie met with the Guardian in a Tower Hangar and gave them her rifle. Elsie stated that humanity’s fight against the dark was only just beginning and once again phased out of reality.19
Years later, after the Black Fleet invaded the Sol System, one of the pyramid ships made contact with Europa. Upon discovering the ship, Elsie began to work with Eris Morn and The Drifter.20 After dealing with a distress call from Variks the Loyal21, the Guardian reunited with Elsie, where she finally had time to explain. Elsie made clear that the destruction of the Dark Heart stopped the Darkness' arrival, but only for a time. She now wields Darkness as a weapon in hopes of stopping humanity’s enemies where the Light would fail. Elsie gave the Guardian a ‘Splinter of Darkness’ to start their training in wielding Stasis.22
Whilst working with Elsie, Eris Morn made note in her letters that she did not entirely trust Elsie, and that she had doubts about the extent of her honesty.23 24 Eris urged Elsie to be open about herself and the knowledge she possessed so that they may face the Darkness as informed as possible.25 The Guardian’s ghost also makes note of Elsie’s reluctance.26
Throughout the Guardian’s training in the use of Stasis, Elsie reaffirmed that Stasis is only a tool for Lightbearers and Lightless alike to use against Eramis and the Darkness - nothing more.27 She warned the Guardian of the dangers that could come if they were to succumb to the temptations of Darkness and that she had witnessed this first hand in a dark future.28
After the Guardian fully embraced the Darkness within and defeated Eramis, Elsie revealed to the Guardian that the dark future she witnessed was her own timeline, wherein Eramis survived and humanity was all but destroyed.29 30 31 Darkness thrived in this future, and not even the Guardian could resist the Darkness’ temptation.32
After the fall of Eramis, the Guardian further developed their mastery of Stasis by uncovering the notes and information within the journal of Elsie’s grandfather, Clovis Bray I.1 It is during this time that the Clovis AI was reawakened by the Guardian.33 34 Whilst decrypting Clovis’ journal, Elsie called to meet with Ana Bray and decided to reveal to her that she is her sister. As well as this, Elsie explained that she, along with the Guardian, are using Stasis. Ana is shocked by this, but Elsie informs Ana that in another timeline, her sister was too obsessed with her past for her own good. And, due to Elsie keeping her identity hidden from Ana, the Darkness consumed her. Elsie wants to rectify this now in this timeline.35 Although the information was too much for Ana at first, she came to accept it and now stands at Elsie’s side, willing to use the power of Darkness for the good of Humanity.36
During their campaign against Eramis on Europa, Elsie also offered the Guardian a No Time to Explain pulse rifle.37 This rifle has appeared in many forms throughout the Guardian’s lifetime.6 38 Analysis of the weapon and its variants throughout history have always pointed to inexplicable qualities.39 It is suggested that the weapon was built to fight an entirely different kind of enemy.40
Elsie appears to be able to travel through time and/or potentially between timelines.41 After the events of Elsie’s original timeline, The Dark Future, she is found to be stuck in a timeloop. She finds herself forced to relive her life over and over again as she searches for a timeline where the Darkness fails.42 The timeloops frequently fill Elsie with despair, though she remains resolute in her mission.43 44
Elsie now serves as a guide to the Guardians on the usage and mastery of Stasis at her campsite on Europa.