All About Chainsofstrife
Letters From Columbia
By Jeff Camire
This my entry for the Bioshock writing contest
The year is 1987.My family is gathered eagerly around our television for tonights special presentation of Unsolved Mysteries. Why is this night so special you ask? Because for the first time since the discovery of the mysterious wreckage from the city of Columbia, they will be airing an actual account from one of the victims of the disaster. My Dad and I were excited we had been following Columbia since they found the wreckage in the Alps,in1981 . After what seemed like an eternity of commercials for Pepsi and GI-Joe action figures we finally heard the brooding voice of Robert Stack pushing through our televisions speakers.
Tonight on Unsolved Mysteries: Columbia, the fabled floating city in the sky. Once thought to be a fable, has been found floating above the Rocky Mountains.
For years Columbia was thought to be a myth, like Bigfoot or the Lockness monster.
Legends surrounding Columbia have been surfacing since 1912, when a fisherman off the coast of Maine found the mangled body of a woman he claimed he saw drop from the sky with a letter pinned to her body. Several years later a couple in Idaho claimed to have found letters from a girl named Adeline Baker a supposed resident of the city of Columbia. Upon further investigation both the letters on the body and the letters from the couple were thought to be fakes. However after finding the wreckage of a building in the Swiss Alps and the expedition to Columbia just three weeks ago we can say without a doubt, that not only did Adeline Baker live in Columbia, but that the letters were in fact not a hoax. Several other letters were found in an office that was marked Daniel Baker Head of repairs and Maintenance. Unfortunately we were only able to salvage two of them. After extensive hand writing analysis of the letter on the body, the two in Idaho and the letters found in Columbia we have determined that they were in fact written by Adeline. So tonight we present to you, the story of Adeline Baker in her own words. I must warn you the following tale is a graphic depiction of events, and may not be suitable for minors. Parental discretion is advised.
Letter 1 dated September 14 1899
Dear Pen Pal,
My name is Adeline Baker and today I turned ten years old. My Daddy says thats a mile stone hitting double digits and all, he jokes about finding gray hairs. Mommy laughs and says he better knock it off before he makes her feel ancient. Yesterday was the best that is the day Mommy and Daddy and I moved to the floating city of Columbia. My Dad said that it was an Honor that we were selected by the Prophet Mr. Comstock and president McKinley in person. Daddy is an important engineer and works on robots called Handymen and Patriots. Mommy says its an honor that we get to live in the symbol of American Liberty and Ideals and we should be very proud as representatives of America. Our house is big it has two bedrooms and a dinning room Dad says were not in the wealthiest part of town but were arent in the poorest either. I dont really care about things like that I still have my dolls and my favorite white and blue dress Mommy got me for my birthday so Im happy.
You should see it here pen pal, its amazing. There are entire buildings just floating on big balloons, and big cars that we ride on rails to move from place to place. On clear days I can look down from the railing outside my apartment building and see all the way to ground below. From up here everything looks like big squares like one of Mommys quilts. They have everything here pen pal Candy shops a carnival were we see Daddys robots, and big park with a stage that hangs over the side. I asked Daddy what that was for and Daddy said that was for Bad people who were going to be tested, but I shouldnt worry about that. Okay pen pal Daddy says its time for bed we have a big day Tomorrow Mr. Comstock is giving a speech I will write to you again real soon. And tell you more.
Sincerely your Pen Pal
Letter 2 dated February 6 1901.
Dear Pen Pal.
I know its been over a year since my last letter but I am afraid this will be my last. Tomorrow we will secede from the United States and be or own country. This should make me happy but after what happened yesterday I dont think Ill ever smile again. Three days ago my mother was arrested by Comstocks men. They say they saw her talking to an unclean element and endangered the city. After a short trial they found her guilty and decided that she was to be expelled from Columbia. I was told her crime was conspiring with a member of the Vox Populi , a disease that was eating away at Columbia and thus should be expelled to the ground below. I told Dad that I didnt understand, that all Mom did was give the man some food, because he seemed starving and we had plenty. Dad said that the will of the Prophet is infallible and we were not to question his judgment. I did not want to go to ceremony but Dad made me. He said if we didnt it would make us look guilty, and we could be next. It was weird the ceremony was huge it was held in the park at noon yesterday. There were kids playing. There was a band ,and a barber shop quartet humming an gospel tune. If they werent expelling my mother it would be a grand old time, heck with fireworks it would have been the fourth of July. When the ceremony began. My mother was lead on to the platform hanging over the edge of the city, along with two other men to the very back of the stage. The Prophet Mr. Comstock came out to a make shift pulpit next to the stage, and began to speak. Ladies and Gentleman of Columbia, praise be to God. The crowd chimed back praise be to God, praise be to the Prophet. Mr. Comstock continued. What we have here today is a band of miscreants, sinners, and defilers of our great and blessed city of Columbia. Now I am not an unjust man, but their lack of repentance has allowed me no choice, but to expel this plague from our midst before it can destroy us from within. Do the condemned have anything to say for themselves before Gods judgment is carried out? With that there was a slight pause while a man removed the tape form over each prisoners mouth and gave them a chance to speak, the first man yelled, for the workers. The next man said nothing. Finally they got to my mother. She screamed ,tears pouring down her cheeks. I am innocent, I dont know anything about the Vox Populi, I was just doing what I thought God would want me to do. With that the Prophet responded. Are you saying I am mistaken, Mrs. Baker? That somehow the prophet of God himself is wrong? Well then I say unto you Mrs. Baker . If I am wrong, may Gods great mercy lift you up and bring you back into our fair city, if not then may he have mercy on your wretched soul. With that the Prophet looked to a man standing near a lever and said. Expel the prisoners Mr. Donning so that they may meet their judgment. Then the man Pulled the lever and my mother disappeared forever. I can still hear her last words, I love you Adeline slowly fade away as she fell.
Well thats it. I will not be able to write to you anymore pen pal, because they are breaking off communication next week. The Prophet says he is letting us say one last goodbye to our friends and family below because he feels merciful. My Dad says I should keep writing letters though if it helps me cope. He said I should write them to Mom that way Ill always keep her in my heart. I made him promise to tape my letters to a bird so she would get them. I would like that pen pal. Well I have to go. Daddy got promoted to head of maintenance and repairs today so we get to move to a fancier part of Town. Good bye and thanks for writing your Pen Pal .
Sincerely your friend
Letter 3 Dated Nov. 18 1907
Today Dad finally agreed to take me to work with him. It was strange though, he almost seemed frightened to leave me alone. Things have been getting bad here. There is a food shortage and workers are disappearing all the time. I keep hearing rumors of strange things appearing every where. There are people claiming to have seen the ghost of a woman, they said they could hear her screaming. Another person claimed to see what looked like a man, only he has big brass horns for a head and when he makes a noise people disappear. My dad says I shouldnt listen to old wives tales, but he still seems nervous. When we finally got to his work place it wasnt what I thought it would be. He wasnt in an office,(though I know he has one) but in an big warehouse, with a huge ceiling the label on the door said Songbird Project. I asked Dad what that was and he said well Addie why dont we open the door and see. I couldnt help it so I opened the door, and my eyes popped out of my head at what I saw. Songbird was a huge robot Dad had been working n for months now. It was a giant bird with wings and big claws and a glaring red eye. I asked Dad what it was for , he said it was to protect The savior Elizabeth from the Vox Populi.
I know who they are,(the Vox Populi), the man you helped was one of them I remember. They are scary I saw one of them set a Police officer on fire simply by snapping his fingers. They are constantly protesting their living conditions and say they are being treated unfairly. I asked Dad if they were dangerous ,and he told me he didnt think so, but that we should avoid talking to them. I saw a wanted poster near the Church. It said that there is a huge reward offered for the capture of Daisy Fitzroy their leader.
I am scared Mom. We cant go out at night anymore because of a curfew put in place by the Prophet. People are rioting in the streets and entire sections of the city are blocked off with big signs that say, This area has been reclaimed by The workers for the workers by word of Daisy Fitzroy. Everyone is talking about war and trying to stay neutral, but where would we go? Okay I have to stop writing now, Dad says we need to be home before dark and, he doesnt want me walking anywhere alone even in broad daylight. I love you Mom and I miss you
Your loving daughter
Letter 4 Dated Dec. 30 1911
Dad is Dead, the Vox Populi murdered him in the street yesterday, for crimes against the workers. It was horrible, they came to the house and broke down the door. When Dad try to stop them, a man lifted him up in the air and slammed him down to the ground with just a wave of his hand. I hid in a trap door in the floor of my room and watched the whole thing. They accused him of hording wealth at the expense of the people and that his greed will not go unpunished. He told them to go to hell, he earned everything thing he had and owed them nothing. A mans voice replied that my dads robots were now armed and killing his brothers in arms. My Dad said that he was ordered by the Prophet to arm them. And that it was the Vox Populis own fault for going against the will of the Prophet. The mans voice replied that he was the new judge jury and executioner, and his crimes will not go unpunished. What do think we should do with him boys I heard the man say. A group of three other men said kill him in unison. I wanted to scream but couldnt I was terrified that they would find me. Then I heard the man say the most horrible thing I have heard since the day in the park when you were expelled. He said its unanimous, then in the name of Daisy Fitzroy I hear by declare that you are guilty of greed and murder, you are to be executed immediately and your wealth redistributed evenly among the workers. With that they dragged my father out to the street and shot him in the back of the head. They took everything, Mom, including the dress you gave me for my birthday, the only thing I left to remind me of you. I am writing this in Dads office I know you wont get it but it makes me comfortable to write it down, hell I dont think I could cope if I didnt.
Its bad here Mom the Prophet has gone mad and hides in his church. Open war has broken out between the Founders a group of people who still believe in the prophet and the Vox Populi, people who think the rich are evil and all wealth should be distributed evenly I have to go, I cant be caught outside or both sides might find me.
Letter 5 Dated January 19 1912
To whom it may concern:
I dont have much time left. I was seen Talking to a man named Booker, he said he was looking for Elizabeth. I told him were her tower was, and that if he found her to keep her safe. After that I was arrested by Comstocks men. While I managed to escape my captors, its only a matter of time before Songbird finds me, and he will expel me on site. I should be scared. But I welcome death. I will be reunited with my Mother and Father, and away from this hell. I am writing this in the hopes that it will be found with my body. All is lost for Columbia. The Prophet is a mad man drunk with power. Daisy Fitzroy is nothing more than a dictator with a different cause. Both the Founders and the Vox Populi are wolves they just wear different sheeps clothing. Both sides claim to be righteous and true, but I wonder. How righteous can a cause be if no matter which side wins freewill is lost. There are innocents left in this city, those who are in hiding and dont side with either of the factions. They have done no wrong and do not deserve this fate. I can hear songbirds screech piercing my ears like a railroad spike, please if you find this send help and if God does have mercy please SAVE THE INNOCENTS.
When the reenactment of the final letter ended all my family could do is stare at the T.V. in disbelief. While the voice of Robert Stack pushed through our speakers once again.
Ladies and Gentlemen what have just heard is a first hand account of the fate of Adeline Baker, but for every truth revealed a dozen more questions remained unanswered. Who was Daisy Fitzroy, and why did she rebel against Zachary Comstock? Who was Elizabeth and why was Booker sent to get her? All these questions have answers, and much more will be revealed. Also is there a connection between Zachary Comstocks City in the clouds and Andrew Ryans undersea city of Rapture? I am Robert Stack saying goodnight, and would you kindly tune in next week for the conclusion of Unsolved Mysteries.
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