Discussion: Ticker

Ticker is an interesting character for a number of reasons. The sources we have for information on Ticker are the debt-bond memory fragments found on the Orb Vallis, Ticker’s dialogue lines themselves, and a single, non-repeating line said by Eudico. This alone makes her intriguing, as no other resident of Fortuna will mention her or acknowledge her existence. She is, however, mentioned by off-world Solaris who have managed to get captured by the Corpus. Additional context for Ticker appears in her dialogue during the Star Days event.


Occupation

Ticker sells secondhand wares – random tools and items that the Tenno can use to decorate their Orbiter. She shouts out advertisements for her shop if the Tenno is standing nearby, but she also hints to her real business: debt forgiveness.

Ticker collects Corpus debt dossiers and will sell them to any Tenno able to pay. By investing resources and credits, a Tenno can redeem a Solaris from their debt, freeing them from their servitude to the Corpus. In return, the Tenno receive the Solaris’ debt-bonds, which are used as currency by some Fortuna merchants – allowing them to collectively repay the debt of the freed individual. Ticker stresses that the debt-trading operation is highly illegal and that the Corpus authorities will kill her (or, more likely, brain-shelve her) if she were ever exposed1. This may explain why the other residents of Fortuna stay away from her shop and do not mention her. The Tenno are not her only patrons; some members of the Perrin Sequence also buy debt bonds from her2.

After the Tenno has reached rank Old Mate with Solaris United and proven to Eudico that they are a true friend of Fortuna, the floor boss will reveal, among other things, that Ticker also smuggles families out of Fortuna (and perhaps also smuggles supplies into Fortuna – Eudico’s wording is ambiguous)3. These are likely families that are targeted for full repo or brain-shelving due to severe delinquency on their debt. It is not known if Ticker takes the families off-world or simply to hidden sites on the Orb Vallis or elsewhere on Venus.

The Solaris prisoners that can be found on any Corpus ship will wonder if Ticker sent the Tenno to save them, implying that Ticker may also seek to rescue and aid Solaris who are off-world, using her connections such as the Tenno4. While in keeping with her covert goals of helping Solaris who are at risk, it seems like a logistically difficult endeavour. It is interesting that these remote Solaris individuals are far more forthcoming about Ticker than the residents of Fortuna.


Personal

Ticker is flamboyant and self-confident, never hesitating to give out advice on how to live a fulfilling life. She speaks, like many other Solaris, as someone who has experienced too much pain in life, but she doesn’t seem to dwell on it, instead emphasising personal growth in the wake of every tragedy. She is aware of the role she plays in alleviating, even slightly, the incredibly dehumanising system of debt-bondage the Corpus have instituted, and her outlook is a curious mixture of optimism and cynicism. Overall, Ticker demonstrates one of the more complex personalities among the Solaris.

Ticker’s mother is dead, from an unstated cause5. Her other family are not mentioned.

Ticker’s debt-bond memory fragments portray a deep, long-lasting romance that was terminated when her significant other was brain-shelved. Although Ticker sold off almost her entire body to clear her partner’s debt and buy a rig for him, he had apparently suffered damage from being shelved too long, both in functioning and memory, and Ticker was unable to resume the relationship. Although the story is deeply emotional for her, she does not seem bitter about either the romantic relationship or the loss of her original body, and will refer to both when talking with the Tenno. In the wake of her love story, she began a new holiday tradition called Star Days to commemorate the power of love in all its forms6. She later reveals that her partner was named Volan7.

Ticker seems to be good friends with Smokefinger and looks after him, as she mentions that she will often bring him food and remind him to eat when he gets engrossed in his work8.

Ticker mentions The Business in passing, referencing the latter’s current occupation as an ecologist and wildlife expert, but it appears to be a segue to an unrelated musing on the importance of combating depressing and violent thoughts9. Whether this is simply advice or a subtle commentary on The Business is unknown. Ticker will also mention the relationship between The Business and Little Duck, implying that the two are close after reconnecting in Fortuna, without elaborating on the exact nature of their relationship10.

Ticker is sympathetic to Rude Zuud and her malfunctions, but in an interesting way. She mentions “all her invisible friends” – Chatter and perhaps other split personalities we have not yet seen – and then talks about a paranormal experience where Ticker’s mother appeared to predict the time of her own death11. This suggests an assumption that Chatter is a supernatural phenomenon, such as a spirit possessing or assisting Zuud. This is an odd assumption for Ticker to make, since we know objectively that Chatter and Rude Zuud’s other issues originate from the Deck 12 incident and the loss of her sisters. There are multiple potential explanations – disassociation and hallucination due to the trauma of the event, residual copies or fragments of her sisters’ consciousnesses due to the oneness of their minds and the abrupt nature of the disconnect, or even sensor and comms malfunctions as mentioned in her Corpus debt portfolio – and none of them necessitate a supernatural influence. It is possible that Ticker is not very close to Rude Zuud and is unaware (somehow) of the events in her past.

During Star Days, Ticker will also mention Eudico, Roky, and the Ostrons, implying that she has relationships with each.

Interestingly, Ticker will sometimes mention the legend of Gara and the Sentient Eidolon, drawing inspiration from the battle12.


Other

Every resident of Fortuna who the Tenno befriends will eventually open up and begin talking about the other Solaris, with a single exception in that none of them will talk about Ticker (Ticker will, of course, mention others, as noted above). In fact, the omission becomes conspicuous during Operation: Buried Debts. After the Exploiter Orb is killed and Rude Zuud gains closure, her mental trauma appears to be somewhat eased and she remembers her sisters, and the life they led in Deck 12 with the other Solaris. Eudico replies, “We’ve never forgotten. Me, Biz, Smokefinger… any of us.” It’s possible that Eudico was simply avoiding having to name every resident of Fortuna, but the fact is that she did name every resident we know, aside from Legs and the Ventkids (who were too young to have known Zuud at the time), Little Duck (who was possibly not present at Deck 12)… and Ticker. Coupled with the fact that she appears to be unfamiliar with the nature of Rude Zuud’s trauma, it is a distinct possibility that Ticker was not present during the events of the Deck 12 crackdown. Since her accent points to her being a Fortuna native (unlike The Business), it is possible she was away at the time, working off her debt on a Corpus colony or ship elsewhere. Deck 12 holds such central importance in the histories all Fortuna residents that the fact that there are zero connections to Ticker is remarkable.

Another explanation, as noted earlier, is that the silence is a deliberate policy in place to protect Ticker from scrutiny, since she performs extremely dangerous work of great importance to the Solaris. Either way, a Tenno who never ventures into the upper level of Fortuna may never know she exists.


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  1. “Here’s the kicker for Ticker: the Temple teaches charity? Mortal sin. Ticker gets caught helping a repo? That’s me done, Stardust.” (Ticker dialogue)
  2. One of the possible bios of a Perrin Sequence crewmember includes “Buys up Solaris debt bonds from Ticker when finances allow.”
  3. “It’s next to impossible for Ticker to get families out of Fortuna, or smuggle in supplies.” (Eudico dialogue)
  4. “Ah! I can explain everything! Wait, you’re not Corpus. Did Ticker send you?” (Solaris Prisoner dialogue)
  5. “‘Ticker,’ my mother once said. ‘You be home by 12. The Void’s takin’ me at 12.’ And, sure enough, I get home at 12:02 and there she is, dead in her rack.” (Ticker dialogue)
  6. “‘Star Day’ is a Ticker tradition… begun for just one special person. Now… I give it to the world. If you want to know the story, you’ll find it scattered across the Vallis. Today is too happy a day to tell it.” (Star Days)
  7. “When I die, there’ll be a smile on this face for all the glorious mistakes I made… so many of which were doors to Heaven itself. His name… was Volan.” (Star Days)
  8. “Stardust. Let’s you and me talk about what I can do for you, then I’ve got to run a few nutrient canisters to little ol’ Smokefinger. I swear if I didn’t make him intake once a cycle he’d spend all week just staring at rocks.” (Ticker dialogue)
  9. “The Business loves Venus for the growing thing that it is. But not all things that grow are good. Bad days, Stardust. Bad days lead to bad thoughts, and bad thoughts grow like weeds. Livin’ here, you learn fast: keep that garden tidy. Blood’s a hell of a fertiliser.” (Ticker dialogue)
  10. “Spotted Biz and Little Duck boarding her Rail tractor, bound for parts unknown. I guess they celebrate today in their own way. Lots of history, those two. They’ll work it out.” (Star Days)
  11. “Some think Zuud is a bit much, but I got time for the old lady…[sigh] and all her invisible friends. ‘Ticker,’ my mother once said. ‘You be home by 12. The Void’s takin’ me at 12.’ And, sure enough, I get home at 12:02 and there she is, dead in her rack. So yeah, I got time and an open mind.” (Ticker dialogue)
  12. “You like stories? Someone like you, Gara, faced up to an Eidolon – might as well have been a god – never blinked, saved a world. See, the value of stories isn’t in telling you there are monsters, Stardust. It’s in showing you they can be kicked square in the down-belows.” (Ticker dialogue)

3 Replies to “Discussion: Ticker”

  1. I find it interesting that, at no point, you brought up that Ticker is often referred to as “she” but speaks with a Male voice and has a rather Male face when you unlock the ability to see it. Most would just wave it off as “well ObViOuSlY Ticker’s Trans”, but I think we can make this a deeper part of the character.

    We know that Ticker sold off all of her original body to buy back Volan’s:
    “I sold my arms to buy you an arm. I sold my legs to buy you a leg. I sold my lungs, my bones, my heart… to buy a safe place to cradle your beautiful head. I bought you back from them. I brought you back to me. You in the body I had bought for you, me in the body I had earned to replace the one I sold.”

    I think it wouldn’t be too far out of the question that Ticker, on realizing that her lover (mentally) was no more, saved up to have some modifications done. So that every time she spoke, she could hear his voice; so every time she opened her torso compartment, she’d see his face; so that in some small, small way, he could still be there for her.
    Related Speculation: You know how she calls us “Star Dust/Stardust”? Maybe that was Volan’s nickname for her. If her voice modulator was changed to sound like him, it might be part of her way of coping.

    IDK about everyone else, but I think this is a far more interesting way of explaining the discrepancy than a hand-wavey “she’s Trans”.

    Gamer_Auto says:
    1. That’s a very interesting theory, and would add considerable depth to Ticker’s character. I do think there are some issues, mainly that elective or non-essential modifications don’t really seem to exist with the Solaris. You can read more of their dialogue regarding modifications here. So the idea that Ticker would change her voicebox or other attributes, when she had already sold so much just to buy Volan’s head and rig, doesn’t seem quite right. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make it impossible.

      For the record, however, Cam Rogers, who wrote the dialogue for Ticker and much of the Solaris, has confirmed that Ticker is trans.

      GrayArchon says:

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