Discussion: Archimedians

Archimedian Yonta portrait – Marco Hasmann

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The Archimedians1 were a sect of scholars and scientists during the Orokin Empire. They were often seen in the service of the Orokin Executors, though individual Archimedians could be quite independent at times, and some were known to serve other masters besides the Golden Lords. Through their work in science and technology, the Archimedians had a marked influence on the state of the System, easily overlooked by those seeking a more dramatic impetus to events.


History of the Archimedians

Many facets of the Archimedian class are unknown to current records, but the details we have allow us to reconstruct an idea of how they existed in the old Orokin Empire. The Archimedians were among the oldest elements of Orokin society, their existence predating the discovery of the Void2. Nonetheless, they are not mentioned by Albrecht Entrati as being involved in his fateful initial voyage across the fold of reality3 – one of the few pivotal developments in Orokin civilisation absent their contribution. However, in the scientific revolution that followed, they likely worked closely with the Entrati family to further explore the Void4 and build upon Albrecht's work. By the time of the Zariman Project, some Archimedians had specialised in Void technology, and several5 of them, under the leadership of Archimedian Yonta, were assigned to the Zariman to conduct its great Void jump to the Tau System.

Tragically, the Zariman's Reliquary Drive failed during the jump, and the ship was presumed lost with all hands. In the wake of this failed colonisation project, an Archimedian named Perintol developed a race of intelligent, adaptable, self-replicating robots6. These robots were intended to travel to the Tau System and terraform it for human habitation, in yet another bid for the Empire's expansion7. Although these creations violated the Orokin prohibition against artificial intelligence, he colluded with Executor Ballas to gain approval from the Seven for his project. These robots, of course, would eventually come to be the Sentients.

When the Sentients returned from Tau to visit their wrath upon their Orokin creators, many Archimedians, if not most, found their work now subordinated to the needs of the Old War8. A great deal of research was devoted to the development of weapons, defences, and other wartime projects, and the Archimedians, as the Orokin's preeminent scholars, would have been at the forefront of such efforts. The Sentients' ability to adapt their weaknesses and hijack advanced technology meant that a conventional approach of linear weapons development was not effective9, and so the Archimedians' talents had to be devoted to unorthodox measures. One of the more promising developments were the fearsome bio-drones known as warframes. These hybrid lifeforms were created by infecting human test subjects with the Helminth Infestation10, a process that was overseen by Archimedians such as Ainikki11. However, these prototype warframes broke free of their restraints and turned against the Orokin forces12, and so the project was shelved and the warframes slated to be destroyed.

In the midst of the Old War, the Zariman unexpectedly returned to the Origin System13, bereft of all crew but the colonists' children. Archimedian Margulis treated the orphaned survivors, putting the children into a dreaming slumber to heal them from their trauma14. She developed lotus-shaped stasis pods that allowed the children to better channel their emotions while dreaming, forming the basis of what was later called Transference15. Her work with the Zariman children (now known as Tenno) underwent a dramatic pivot when it was discovered, quite by accident, that the dreaming Tenno could control the failed warframes through Transference16. Although Margulis resisted the weaponisation of her young wards, her wishes were overridden, and the Warframe Project was restarted, this time with a focus on developing combat units suited to work with the Tenno, who were placed into a second, deeper dream in order to control the warframes and suppress their own identities17. This became one of the Orokin's main war efforts. Executor Ballas assumed personal control of the project, and other Archimedians such as Silvana were recruited to work on the warframes18. Margulis, who was also Ballas' lover19, enjoyed wide latitude as the project's chief Archimedian, but was deeply upset at the project's direction. Although Margulis complied for a time20, eventually she could no longer stand to witness what was happening to her adopted children, and she openly rebuked the Orokin for their treatment of the Tenno21. She was promptly executed, demonstrating that not even a top scientist was immune from the ire of the Seven.

During the Old War, other Archimedians continued to serve in a variety of roles. Archimedian Suda studied the history and legacy of the Orokin, helping the Empire learn from its mistakes to gain the advantage22. Once she realised she was suffering from degenerative memory loss, she volunteered to become a cephalon so that her knowledge would not be lost23. Archimedian Javi was an incredible teacher, with a passion to educate as many as he could in radiant science24. The Orokin feared the prospect of widespread education, and Javi was imprisoned and eventually executed. Other Archimedians continued to work with Parvos Granum, leading to the development of Spectre Particles25, able to mimic behaviours and abilities – even those of a warframe. The Orokin tried to take this invention by force26, and when that failed, settled for an alliance with Parvos27, likely so that Spectres could be deployed on the frontlines of the Old War.

With the end of the Old War and the later collapse of Orokin civilisation, the Archimedians vanished along with other trappings of the Empire. The only Archimedians known to survive into the current era are Silvana, Suda, and Yonta, though none in their original, human forms.


Archimedian institutions

Archimedian Yonta mentions a group of "Archimedian Seniors"28, possibly a sort of governing or advisory body. She also recalls regular Archimedian Symposia, where Archimedians would present their work before the Executors, and those projects or individuals deemed unsatisfactory were eliminated29. This is likely depicted in the Detron Crewman Synthesis entry, where one Archimedian specialising in genetics is executed by Jade Light30, and Perintol narrowly avoids the same fate by arguing his case to the Orokin. Lastly, Yonta mentions ethics boards31, indicating that the Archimedians were familiar with scientific ethics, even if their Orokin overlords were not.

Kaelli Entrati mentions an Archimedian Collegium, and that she was denied an application based on a technicality32. The Collegium may have been the educational or accreditation system for aspiring Archimedians. Why Kaelli was denied entry is unknown. The Entrati family as a whole demonstrate that science and study were not the exclusive domains of the Archimedians.

Suda and Yonta are both seen to wear black or dark gray uniforms, and an accompanying cape-like syandana33. Drusus Leverian says that the robes are indicative of Archimedian status, and Javi was permitted to wear them even while in prison34. Drusus describes the robes as white, but this may have been a colour reserved for Archimedians emeriti, if such a distinction existed, or it may simply be a mistake in a centuries-old story. Yonta's robes feature additional gold filigree detail, including a headpiece, which may have signified her prominent role amongst the Zariman crew. Suda wore a much simpler diadem. Both Yonta's and Suda's headpieces feature a gray gemstone on the forehead, which is curiously similar to the black gem embedded in the forehead of Scoria assassins35, raising the possibility that caste may have been signified with different-coloured gemstones in the Orokin Empire.

A final detail about the Archimedian organisation is the presence of an oath, mentioned by Archimedian Suda36. From context, it appears to be a lifetime commitment, and may also indicate that the Archimedian is locked into their specialisation, and cannot change fields. This sets Archimedians apart from mere scholars. To an Archimedian, study and research is not merely an occupation; it is their life's purpose.


Summation

The Archimedians represented a curious caste in Orokin society, and possibly the most complex. They were responsible for most of the known technological breakthroughs and developments in Orokin history – a distinction that carries a not-insignificant degree of culpability. However, a review of Archimedian personalities and institutions reveals a more nuanced tale.

Archimedians were, almost to a person, obsessed with their projects and passions, seeking always to improve and perfect, to continue the work. On many occasions, their personal morals brought them into conflict with their Orokin patrons, who only concerned themselves with prestige and power, without regard to the consequences. The Orokin used the Symposium and the threat of execution to keep the Archimedians in line and ensure their research proceeded along approved avenues. Yet from time to time, principled individuals dared to defy the Golden Lords, and paid the ultimate price.

The Archimedians' legacy lives on through their works, with several major factions owing their modern existence to those who pushed the boundaries of human knowledge. The full impacts of the Archimedians may be expanded on in the future as we uncover more information. But for now, all we can do is study, analyse, and wait.


List of known Archimedians

Ainikki

Involved in the development of the first-generation warframe Kullervo37, and possibly the first-generation Warframe Project as a whole. These proto-frames, developed prior to the discovery of the Tenno, rebelled against Orokin control, and were exterminated. Kullervo survived the destruction of his brethren and sought out Ainikki, whom he regarded as his mother. However, the Orokin had sent Dax soldiers to apprehend Kullervo, and as he fought them, Ainikki died in the crossfire.

Halako

Mentioned by Yonta in a list of prominent Archimedians38. Halako Perimeter, a zone of the Zariman ship where Archimedians worked, is named after them, though they were likely not on the ship.

Javi

A wise teacher and mentor39. The Orokin feared that his teaching could elevate people above their station and disrupt the rigid social hierarchies of the Empire, so he was imprisoned at Dabaoth-Kra prison and tortured. He was known as "the Crawling Serpent, the Abhorred, the Filth-Speaker", and it was feared that he might, by means of unknown witchcraft, survive the Jade Light, so his captors were loth to execute him. The warframe Lavos was his prison guard, but Javi spent his time teaching Lavos, whilst patiently enduring his beatings. Unnerved, the Orokin decided to subject him to cellular reversal, which would transform him to a "biological pulp" without outright killing him, and they granted Lavos this power. Lavos, at Javi's insistence, duly complied, liquefying the Archimedian. He then transmuted the remains into a living serpent that twined around his arm, and then killed the Orokin guards and warden of Dabaoth-Kra. It is said that Javi, in snake form, still teaches Lavos, though this is likely just legend.

Kazirei

Mentioned by Yonta in a list of prominent Archimedians.

Margulis

Among the initial team to recover the Tenno children from the derelict Zariman40, and later worked with the children to heal them from their trauma. She was inadvertently injured when the children could not contain their Void powers, being blinded and otherwise wounded41, but she loved them still. She created the stasis pods that would later be used for Transference. She was also Ballas' lover42, although he was warned against this by the other Orokin43. Although Ballas disagreed with her project and was not fond of the Tenno44, he likely granted her support to continue, until her increasingly outspoken opposition to weaponisation of the Tenno could no longer be ignored. He urged her to recant, but she instead castigated the Seven directly45, resulting in her execution via Jade Light. Interestingly, although Ballas cared for her, he voted along with the rest of the Executors to condemn her to death46 – perhaps under pressure from the other Orokin. Margulis' death had a profound effect on Ballas, and impelled him to seek the destruction of the Orokin Empire47 (despite being one of its rulers). He worked with Hunhow48 to embed a Sentient mimic, Natah, into the Orokin war command as the Tenno's handler49. He reshaped Natah to resemble the dead Margulis50, both to facilitate her control over the Tenno as well as to fulfil his own desires of recreating his lost love. Margulis' legacy played a strong role in the actions of Ballas, the Tenno, and Natah for centuries after her death, shaping the Origin System as we know it today.

Mohler

Mentioned by Yonta in a list of prominent Archimedians.

Perintol

A member of the Corpus who created the intelligent and adaptable robots that would come to be known as the Sentients51. He defended his project to the Executors, and Ballas, by fiercely opposing him, manipulated the other Orokin into approving the project. It was later revealed that Ballas was colluding with Perintol to ensure the project would continue.

Rydal

Mentioned by Yonta in a list of prominent Archimedians.

Silvana

An Infestation biologist working on Earth to restore its ruined ecosystem52. She was summoned by Margulis, her childhood hero, to work on the Warframe Project. Silvana's expertise in Technocyte biology would have been very useful in properly shaping the warframes as they were created. Silvana grew disillusioned with the project and abandoned it, fleeing back to Earth with a set of stolen somatics. She used the somatics to undergo Transference, fusing her consciousness with the vegetation in order to stimulate the environment. She was successful, although the Orokin sent a force of Dax to raze the forest. Silvana and the forest were saved by Titania, Silvana's most recently created warframe, who died of her wounds after killing all the Dax. The forest that holds Silvana's consciousness, the Silver Grove, still exists on Earth and has been revered by New Loka for centuries. 

Suda

Mentioned by Yonta in a list of prominent Archimedians. Scholar of history. Volunteered to become a cephalon after suffering degenerative memory loss, so that her knowledge would not be forgotten53. She may have had an association with the warframe Octavia; Octavia was seen escorting Suda to her cephalisation, and Octavia's music later helped Cephalon Suda recover from an attack by the Sentient Hunhow54. Cephalon Suda also remarks that music is an important part of her data architecture55. Cephalon Suda still remains in the present day and is the leader of a large syndicate by the same name, still obsessed with collecting knowledge from the past.

Tylan

Mentioned by Yonta in a list of prominent Archimedians.

Vrenn

Mentioned by Yonta in a list of prominent Archimedians.

Yonta

The Archimedian in charge of the Zariman's Reliquary Drive. Despite her work and calculations, the Void jump to Tau went horribly wrong and stranded the Zariman in the Void, exposed to its arcane energies. The malign influence of the unreal drove the adult crew insane, at varying rates, and although Yonta retained most of her sanity, her guilt at the incident overwhelmed her, and she committed suicide via Jade Light56. Later, she was recreated by the Man in the Wall along with the other Zariman crew, her consciousness becoming manifest in physical form once again57. Although most of the crew were corrupted by the Void's song and became Void Angels58, she and a small group of others held fast to their humanity until their existence was stabilised by the Tenno59. She now remains aboard the Zariman with the other Holdfasts, studying its entanglement within the Void and what might be done about it60.

Yonta (along with the other Holdfasts) is discussed in more detail in the Zariman discussion post.


[Navigation: HubDiscussion → Archimedians]

  1. In most instances from The New War and later material, this title is spelled "Archimedean" in dialogue and text; however, for the sake of consistency, we continue to use the preexisting spelling "Archimedian".
  2. Euleria Entrati: "Prior to the discovery of the Void, many worthy Archimedians of the past endorsed Presentism." (The New War)
  3. As detailed in his Vitruvian entries.
  4. Albrecht mentions "countless souls" who ventured into the Void, with "light-skippers, and field-wave skins and vari-eyed instruments" (Netra Vitruvian). Archimedian Yonta is very familiar with his work and, based on her dream, may have known him personally.
  5. The Zariman Captain elevator announcement for Halako Perimeter mentions multiple Archimedians.
  6. Perintol's story is told in the Detron Crewman Synthesis entry.
  7. Perintol: "The crossing to the Tau System is perilous. Adaptation and replication are the only way a terraforming journey can be made. They will build an interstellar Rail as they travel. They will adapt to the host planet and prepare it for our arrival. They will save you." (Detron Crewman Synthesis entry)
  8. Archimedian Silvana's (ironic) statement, "I'm relieved I won't be drafted into some Orokin war project", indicates that this was a reasonable worry for her and other Archimedians (Nightfall Apothic imprint, The Silver Grove).
  9. "The Sentients had won. They had turned our weapons, our technology, against us. The more advanced we became, the greater our losses." (Excalibur Codex entry)
  10. Ballas: "We cultured the infestation, conceiving of a hybrid. Transformed, but only just. The Helminth was created, born to yield these new warriors […] We took our greatest, volunteers or not, and polluted them with these cultured reagents." (The Sacrifice)
  11. The proto-warframe Kullervo considered Archimedian Ainikki his "mother", and it was she who gave him the name Kullervo, indicating she was involved in his transformation into a warframe.
  12. Ballas: "The warframes… all of them… failures. Surprised? They turned on us, just as you did. And so we had no choice… but to commit them to grave." (The Sacrifice)
  13. The Seven Crimes of Kullervo indicate that the proto-warframes had already been created when the Zariman returned: "Upon the arrival of the wretched Tenno, you struck."
  14. Operator: "She put us into the dream, brought us peace." (The Second Dream)
  15. Operator: "In dreams we could control it, focus it. So she made the pods, her favourite flower…" (The Second Dream)
  16. As detailed in the Rhino Prime Codex entry.
  17. Lotus: "Your mind, projected into a surrogate strong enough to withstand your power. It felt like waking up, but it was just a lucid second dream." (The Second Dream)
  18. Silvana: "I'll be working with one of my childhood heroes, Archimedian Margulis! On comms she said she needed the best Infestation biologist there was… I think my knees almost gave out!" (Nightfall Apothic imprint, The Silver Grove)
  19. Ballas: "Hush, my wilted love." (The Second Dream)
  20. Silvana indicates that she worked alongside Margulis on warframes: "I don't blame Margulis; she's as much a victim as the children we're working with. At first, the project seemed therapeutic and nurturing. I was myself. But now… Transference therapy is being turned into a weapon. Now I build these vile weapons called 'warframes' all for one purpose: death." (Twilight Apothic imprint, The Silver Grove)
  21. Operator: "I remember we could still hear her voice, raging at the leaders for their mistreatment of us. When they executed her… well… I could not let that go." (The Second Dream)
  22. Suda: "When I took the Archimedian Oath, I dedicated my life to memories. Our history, our knowledge… it is the brink between human… and beast. Remembering our past is our way of protecting the future." (What Remains?)
  23. Suda: "I must become cephalon to save what remains of my mind." (What Remains?)
  24. Drusus Leverian: "Javi was a teacher. He might have taught millions. Now he had only one student." (Lavos gallery)
  25. Parvos Granum: "I am calling it the Spectre Particle. As my Archimedians explain, mimicry is in its nature. An echo. Exposed to precept circuits, we are able to imprint behaviours!" (The Deadlock Protocol)
  26. Parvos Granum: "The palace birds think they control us. They hit our research site with a warframe assault team." (The Deadlock Protocol)
  27. The Business: "Protea. Legend says she was built specifically for and assigned to one Parvos Granum. Yes. Part of a deal Granum cut with the Orokin themselves." (The Deadlock Protocol)
  28. Yonta: "If the Archimedian Seniors could see me now…." (idle dialogue)
  29. Yonta: "There will never be another Archimedian Symposium. No more waiting, petrified, to find out if it's you the Golden Lords are singling out this time." (greeting dialogue)
  30. Perintol: "the Archimedian erupting into a flash, jade-like and blinding. I knew her. She was the greatest scholar of genetics who ever lived. Except now she was nothing but mist and gore." (Detron Crewman Synthesis entry)
  31. Yonta: "If we had an ethics board, I would definitely get written up for this." (Void Flood dialogue)
  32. Kahl: "Blue Girl. You do science stuff. Right?"
    Kaelli: "Xenobiology and xenobotany with a special focus in synergetic Void harmonics, yes. Disqualified from application to the Archimedian Collegium on a technicality."
    (Kahl's Garrison conversations)
  33. Suda is depicted in the What Remains? webcomic. Yonta's appearance can be seen in-game in the Chrysalith, on the Zariman (and a screenshot is visible on her dialogue page).
  34. Drusus Leverian: "In reluctant recognition of his Archimedian status, he was permitted to wear the white robe…" (Lavos gallery)
  35. Drusus Leverian: "Each assassin bore a mark: a swirling, smoky-black jewel between their eyes." (Ash gallery)
  36. Suda: "When I took the Archimedian Oath, I dedicated my life to memories." (What Remains?)
  37. Our information about Ainikki comes from the Warden of Kullervo's Hold.
  38. Yonta: "Rydal and Mohler, Kazirei, Suda, Tylan, Halako and Vrenn. All the shining Archimedians. Where are they all now?" (greeting dialogue)
  39. Javi's story is told in Lavos' Leverian gallery.
  40. Cavalero: "If I'd been less of an asshole, Margulis would have found a lot more dead kids on this ship." (greeting dialogue)
  41. Operator: "We hurt her, blinded her, but even then, she never abandoned us." (The Second Dream)
  42. Ballas: "Hush, my wilted love." (The Second Dream)
  43. Ballas: "People warned me against you, you know. Early on. Before the Jade Light. I should have listened." (The New War)
  44. Ballas: "…what they need, Margulis, is to be destroyed! They're devils from that hell, not human anymore." (The Second Dream)
  45. Margulis: "…so shame on you! You Orokin, so perfect on the outside, but you're rotted through and through!" (The Second Dream)
  46. Ballas: "Seven hands raised! For your apostasy, the judgement… is death." (The Second Dream)
  47. Ballas: "How could I betray my own kind? But you have never had to sacrifice your love for faith." (The Sacrifice)
  48. Ballas: "Distorted by vague horrors, we kept the Zariman survivors within a secret Reservoir […] I give you now the coordinates and codes to this place." (The Sacrifice)
  49. Natah: "…I was born. A mimic, a spy. Conceived to burrow into nests and swallow the pitch-eggs of their war machine. The Tenno." (Ropalolyst boss fight)
  50. Lotus: "I remember… my old self… dissolving… beneath your fingers. Shaping me. Directing me. Lua." (The New War)
  51. Perintol's story is told in the Detron Crewman Synthesis entry.
  52. Silvana's story is told in The Silver Grove.
  53. This part of Suda's story is told in the What Remains? webcomic.
  54. As depicted in the quest Octavia's Anthem.
  55. Cephalon Suda: "For me, music is a lattice, a support to which my vast knowledge clings. Have you ever felt that way? A song that anchors a memory? How a melody or verse returns you to a place you thought forgotten?" (Octavia's Anthem)
  56. Yonta: "An honour I did not deserve. I awarded myself the Jade Light." (Holdfasts rank-up dialogue)
  57. Yonta: "When consciousness and Void come together, it makes a thing. For example, me!" (Angels of the Zariman)
  58. Quinn: "The others were all like us, once. But in time they all drank from that bleak Reliquary, and now they scream in chorus to the Void." (Angels of the Zariman)
  59. Quinn: "We changed. Oh, we drew power, but from a very different source. You have noticed it's not just the Reliquary that can work miracles with the Void, yes? I wonder… do you even know just how brightly you shine?" (Angels of the Zariman)
  60. Yonta: "Something I wasn't sure existed has burst through the Albrecht Membrane, and right now the Zariman is plugging that hole. Pop her out, and we'd see Void Storms from here to Mercury." (greeting dialogue)

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