Born in Altair's phantom steel industry, South End, there's very little Elliot can recall about his own past. All towns in South End were slums in one way or another - when Altair started moving to a service oriented culture, they were the ones who had the hardest time transitioning. Many homes were broken by poverty - parents would sell their children into slavery or simply let them go to government orphanges.
This is where Elliot wound up. Although he was quickly bounced to a place for 'gifted' children, though no real emphasis on what gifts were to be fostered in this home. Elliot was tested and showed a great talent in abstractions - mathematics, art, music and tactical strategy (?) were like breathing for him. There was no real explaination as to why such things were tested - certainly not by the other children and when Elliot would ask, nonsense was his answer. Elliot did make friends though - Riot, Murphy and Kathryn were the only 'family' he had ever known growing up. By age 15 he was taken away from the only thing he ever saw as home and made a new family. This was when Rin and Shane met him; when Level One Foundations was created; and when Elliot finally began to understand what 'gifts' he really had.
And what terrible things they really were.