A tortured vision sends the Operator on the hunt for a warframe unlike any other.
Previous story quest: Apostasy Prologue
Starting the quest
After completing the Apostasy Prologue, this quest can be initiated in the Codex. Upon starting the quest, the Lotus can be heard faintly whispering in the Orbiter.
Lotus: “Tenno… Tenno….”
The Tenno is prompted to examine the Lotus’ helmet in their Personal Quarters. Upon interacting with the helmet, the introductory cinematic begins.
[On Earth, in a broken-down and overgrown courtyard, dense fog swirls around a dead cherry tree in the deep purple light of evening. Lua looms in the sky, gold-ringed and fractured. A warframe falls to its hands and knees on the courtyard stones. It appears to be a dark-coloured variant of the Excalibur warframe, but with a black scarf-like fabric hanging from its neck, and golden Orokin detailing, including protruding, crescent-shaped prongs along its arms and legs. The warframe plants a nikana in the ground – its pommel featuring the same crescent motif – and briefly leans on it for support. The warframe looks at its own hands, its body language somehow indicative of horror, and throws back its head and howls at the stars. Sparks and beams of light erupt from the warframe in its agony. Exhausted, the warframe slumps over, but immediately whirls around when a refined voice carries softly over the courtyard.]
Ballas: “Howl all you want. It won’t bring him back.”
[Ballas is leaning on a stone obelisk, obscured in shadow. As the warframe turns to face the Orokin Executor, it becomes apparent that the courtyard is in fact a cemetery. Ballas steps out of the shadow of the obelisk and walks forward a few paces, turning sideways to angle his elongated right arm out of view. Six of the Orokin tombstones ripple with blue energy particles as their forms shift, resolving into Sentient fighters similar to Battalysts. The warframe, on guard, analyses the situation quickly and summons its Exalted Blade. Two of the Sentient fighters raise their arm cannons and fire beams of destructive energy. The warframe deflects them both with the Exalted Blade before Slash Dashing forward and striking down all six Sentients with two swipes of its blade – three on the left, three on the right. It then Dashes to Ballas and holds the Exalted Blade to his chest. The tip of the blade glances off a personal shield protecting the Orokin, generating a purple glow. Ballas does not seem concerned. His eyes glow orange as he communicates telepathically with the warframe.]
Ballas (Transference): “Lua brings you strength, Umbra—”
[A burst of red energy dissipates Umbra’s Exalted Blade, and the warframe clutches its head, disoriented, before quickly collecting itself.]
Ballas: “—but you cannot defy your creator.”
[A Sentient – much larger than a Battalyst, but smaller than a Teralyst – emerges from the fog behind Ballas and hovers forward to his side. Ballas steps towards the warframe, gloating.]
Ballas: “Even I make mistakes. Like you.”
[The Sentient raises its left arm and vaporises Umbra with a beam of purple energy. After the flash of light, all that remains is Umbra’s nikana, still standing upright by the dead tree.]
[on board Orbiter]
[The Operator flinches as their consciousness returns to their body, arm still outstretched towards the helmet. They look around the room frantically to orient themself.]
Ordis: “Operator? Are you alright? Your delta waves spiked for a moment. Ever since she— abandoned you— was taken…. Ordis knows just what you need! A comforting memory from my data store!”
Operator: “Ordis, don’t!”
Lotus (recording): “Forgive me. This is who you really are: a Tenno. More than human… but once a child like any other. What do you—”
Operator: “That’s enough, Ordis. Scan for Sentient energy on Earth. Recent activity.”
Ordis: “I don’t think… oh, what’s this? Marking on Navigation. How did you know— oh, Ordis, this is the Operator we’re talking about!”
First Mission: Investigate Sentient energy (Lith, Earth)
The mission takes place on the Grineer Forest tileset at night.
Ordis: “I am not sensing any Sentients, but there is something… oh no, Ghouls! Something must have disturbed their incubation sacs. A disgusting lifecycle.”
Ghouls will burst out of the ground. The Tenno may engage them or bypass them. A waypoint leads deeper into the forest.
Ordis: “Operator, I am just a bug-addled cephalon, but… if you ever need to talk… Ordis would be happy to hear how depressed you are!”
The waypoint leads to an Orokin door with a complex locking mechanism. The door is also overgrown with roots. Upon destroying the roots with damage, Ordis will being unlocking the door. The Tenno must hold their position at the door as the Ghouls assault them. Once the door opens, the Tenno can follow the path through a rocky crevasse that leads to the courtyard from their vision.
Operator: “I saw this place.”
Ordis: “How? Did she… did the Lotus show you?”
Operator: “I don’t know, but I think she wants me to see this. I’ll scan the scene. Check for warframe traces.”
The Tenno must scan the nikana Umbra left behind, as well as three fragments of Umbra left behind by his violent demise. Part of Umbra’s helmet rests in a pile of ash to the left of the tree, the scarf is hanging from the rock walls on the right side of the courtyard, and one of the golden arm-crescents is lying on the ground at the top of the courtyard, near the entrance.
(upon scanning the nikana) Ordis: “This blade may pre-date everything in your arsenal. Very faint traces of mineral exposure. From Lua.”
(upon scanning the first warframe trace) Ordis: “Remnants appear to be of warframe composition. I am not familiar with this design.”
(upon scanning the second warframe trace) Ordis: “Almost… crude. If you can get another scan, I may be able to synthesise a partial schematic of the victim.”
Ordis: “I know what you’re going through. With the Lotus, I mean. Remember how you abandoned me? But look at how— angry— happy I am now! Don’t worry, Operator, we’ll find her.”
(upon scanning the third warframe trace) Ordis: “Processing. I have extraction ready. I think you should hurry.”
As the Tenno heads through the passage to extraction, loud cackling can be heard echoing through the tunnel.
Operator: “Ordis? What’s going on?”
Large numbers of Ghouls will be waiting at the end of the tunnel, at the Orokin door.
Ordis: “Are they… coordinating an ambush?! I may have underestimated Ghoul intelligence! Expect resistance toward the extraction zone.”
The Tenno must get through the Ghouls and reach extraction.
[on board Orbiter]
Ordis: “I’ve reconstructed what I could. Check your Foundry, Operator.”
Upon checking the Foundry, the Excalibur Umbra blueprint will be present, but unable to be built. The build components are undetermined, and the blueprint will be labelled “More data required”.
Ordis: “Uncertain if any Tenno has linked with this design. The Transference bolt seems different, but we cannot build this without more data.”
Operator: “What about Lua? You said there were traces on the weapon….”
Ordis: “Right. One step ahead, aren’t you, Operator! Marking on Navigation.”
Second Mission: Explore Lua (Pavlov, Lua)
The mission takes place on the Orokin Moon tileset. There are no enemies present.
Ordis: “Are you sure we want to build this warframe? It could be dangerous.”
Operator: “What I saw… what the Lotus showed me… this warframe knew Ballas. It tried to attack him.”
Ordis: “What? The warframes are Transference-controlled. Battle envoys for the Operator to command… I don’t understand.”
Operator: “This one is different.”
An Orokin console blocks further access. Upon accessing the console, a set of three rings covered in symbols appears. The Tenno must rotate the rings to display the correct symbols in the correct order, but no combination will be able to be selected.
Ordis: “An Orokin cipher! Impossible to bypass. They use mnemonic code-glyphs drawn directly from your memory. Perhaps search the area?”
On the right wall of the chamber with the console are two symbols, etched into the ivory wall. Another pair of symbols are on the wall in the room preceding the chamber. Upon approach, the markings will glow and project the symbols in the air in swirling blue energy particles.
(upon finding the first symbol pair) Ordis: “Curious. These markings seem fresh. Are there more?”
(upon finding the second symbol pair) Ordis: “Another. Is that a paired symbol there?”
Operator: “The order may be important for the cipher.”
The pairs of symbols represent the first two and the last two symbols in the three-symbol code for the Orokin cipher, with the middle symbol being shared by each symbol pair. The symbol pairs, when put together, reveal the correct order of the three code-glyphs for the cipher. Upon accessing the console again, the symbol pairs will be displayed above the cipher for the Tenno to easily reference, and the symbols will glow blue when the proper code-glyph is selected.
Once the proper combination of code-glyphs have been entered, the gate will open, allowing the Tenno to proceed. In the room on the other side is a Sentient fighter, disguised as an Orokin pillar. The Sentient will reveal itself upon being approached and begin attacking the player with its beam weapons. Like Battalysts and Conculysts, it possesses the ability to adapt to the damage types it encounters, but is weak to the Operator’s Void attacks.
Operator: “Ordis! What are these? Some new Sentient design?”
Ordis: “An old design! Mimics! Sentient Mimics! These haven’t been seen since the Old War!”
(upon killing the Mimic) Ordis: “How did Mimics get to the Origin System? Operator, be vigilant when approaching… uh… ‘things’.”
Ordis: “Sorry, I can’t be more specific.”
More Mimics will be present throughout the mission, disguised as pillars, death orbs, resource deposits, storage containers, or lockers, attacking on approach. Eventually, the Tenno will come to a sealed dome, protected by another Orokin cipher, this one with a five-symbol code. The Tenno must find four symbol pairs in the rooms adjacent to the cipher. Each symbol pair is guarded by a pair of Mimics.
(upon finding the first symbol pair) Ordis: “You found one! Memorise it.”
(upon finding the second symbol pair) Ordis: “Another. And look, a different marking beside it!”
(upon finding the fourth symbol pair) Ordis: “That should be the last one. Now… to figure out the correct ordering.”
(if player takes too long with hacking the console) Ordis: “You have all the codes, but the order seems wrong.”
After entering the correct code, the dome will open, revealing a doorway to a laboratory of some kind. In the lab, an Orokin sentry turret is still active and will fire upon the Tenno until it is destroyed.
Ordis: “These markings signify danger. Was this a containment cell for something?”
Operator: “Umbra. Cave-ins must have compromised the enclosure.”
Ordis: “Likely. There are still strong aftershocks from when you pulled Lua out of the Void.”
The Tenno must search the lab. Eventually they will find an Orokin data-storage device on the bench to the left. Interacting with it will display a spiral of memory-glyphs, one of which glows blue and is labelled “ENEMY”. Selecting it will open up a voice recording of Ballas, while warframe blueprints are displayed in gold on black.
(The Orokin words are, from top to bottom, “sample” and “hand” .)
Ballas: “It is with the greatest of risk that I commit this recording. The codices within reveal the hidden weakness of your most feared enemy. My creations. My frames of war.”
Ordis: “A Vitruvian – this is rare Orokin technology! Incredible it survived this long…. You should destroy it immediately.”
Operator: “What? No. We need to get inside… but it’s locked to a new set of codes [sigh]. I’m bringing it back for analysis.”
Ordis: “I was afraid you’d say that.”
[on board Orbiter]
Ordis: “Operator, I’d rather not connect that Vitruvian to my systems. It could— make me crazy— affect my systems in unforeseen ways.”
Operator: “This may have belonged to Ballas. He’s our only way to the Lotus. Please, Ordis?”
Ordis: “You had to say please, didn’t you?”
The Tenno can install the Vitruvian in the lower level of the Orbiter, just outside of the Somatic Link chamber.
Ordis: “Ordis, you need to learn how to stand up for yourself. To say no, and mean it, even if it is the Oper-a-TTTORRR_OR_OR_OR—”
Ordis will glitch out heavily upon connecting to the Vitruvian. The Orbiter will begin to list to starboard, and the lights will go out. After a few seconds, the lights will come back on and the Orbiter will right itself. Ordis will now speak with a completely toneless cadence and will no longer display any glitches.
Vitruvian Ordis: “I have been upgraded, Star-Child. Your warframe blueprint now has the required data. Check Foundry.”
In the Foundry, the Excalibur Umbra blueprint now displays the required build materials: 10.000 credits, 1 Orokin cell, 60 kuva, 1.200 nano spores, and 1.600 alloy plate. It will take 10 seconds to build, and be already Rank 30. Once completed, the Tenno will be prompted to equip it in the Arsenal. Upon doing so, the Arsenal interface will disappear as a cutscene begins.
[Umbra rejects Transference control and howls, releasing arcs of energy and damaging its helmet. After recovering, it lunges forward and grabs the Operator by the throat, pulling them out of Void mode. Up close, it can be seen that the damage to the warframe’s helmet has exposed biological flesh beneath, and a white eye where one would be expected on a human face. Umbra throws the Operator against the wall of the Orbiter, then follows up by trapping them against the bulkhead, holding their neck within one of the crescent prongs on its forearm. Golden energy ripples across the helmet as Umbra makes itself whole, mending the helmet to obscure its flesh once more. Struggling, the Operator raises their arm and grabs Umbra’s shoulder, initiating Transference.]
Inside Umbra’s mind, the Operator finds themself within a memory. Umbra’s point of view is from a person confined to a bed in an Orokin medical facility. To the right of the bed stands a Dax soldier at attention. To the left sits Ballas, reclining with one leg crossed over the other. Directly in front of the bed is the doorway, but nothing is on the other side but a cherry tree in bloom, surrounded by water, backlit by harsh white light. The Tenno can look around the room, but cannot move, as Umbra is lying in the bed.
Ballas: “Good morning, old friend.”
Umbra: (urgent grunts and muffled attempts to speak)
Ballas: “I’m afraid the disease has taken your voice, but we’ve prepared the finest serums to treat you. Shall we pass the time with a game of komi? Like old times.”
Ballas gestures to a 5×5 game board resting between him and Umbra. A clicking and hissing noise can be heard, presumably a Transference bolt engaging in Umbra’s brain. Ballas’ eyes glow orange as he uses Transference to communicate with Umbra without speaking aloud.
Ballas (Transference): “You remember this game, don’t you? Think your move and the board senses….”
Ballas (Transference): “Oh, this… I’ve had them fit you with a Transference bolt. In honour of our… history together.”
Ballas: “And look… look who hasn’t left your side since you took ill.”
Ballas (Transference): “Look at him, old man. Look at your son.”
(if the Tenno does not look) Ballas (Transference): “Look at your son. Do it.”
Ballas indicates the Dax soldier standing next to the bed. When the Tenno sees the Dax, the soldier glows blue, and a memory-glyph is unlocked. The Dax breaks his stance and steps forward.
Dax: “Can he hear me? Father? It’s me, Isaah. Do you remember me?”
The visor of Isaah’s helmet retracts, revealing his face. Isaah sits next to the bed, close to Umbra.
Ballas: “Of course he remembers you, young Dax—”
Ballas (Transference): “—which will make this reunion all the more tragic… when you watch him die.”
Umbra: [frantic attempts to speak]
The view will shake as Umbra tries desperately to move or leave the bed, and the memory fades into darkness.
Back in the Orbiter, the Operator will collapse to the floor, breathing rapidly and clutching their throat. Umbra is nowhere to be seen.
Operator: “Ordis? What happened?”
Vitruvian Ordis: “The warframe I warned you not to build, that you built anyway, caused a massive Transference overload and damaged my precepts. It has escaped out into the System.”
Operator: “When I linked to it… there was something there. A… a memory.”
Vitruvian Ordis: “Warframes are Transference proxies for the Star-Child. They do not have memories.”
Operator: “Well this one does. Might be why it’s unstable… Ordis, let me look at the Vitruvian.”
In the Vitruvian, a different symbol will be highlighted: the symbol unlocked when seeing Isaah, labelled “BLASPHEMY”. The recording of Ballas continues over a blueprint of the Sentient unit that was seen earlier in the Operator’s vision of the courtyard.
(The Orokin words are, from left to right, “Sentient”, “Natah”, and “data”.)
Ballas: “What led us here? You did. You vile blasphemies. Machines… thinking… breeding…. You were to bear us a new, promised land. But when you arrived at that distant world… you knew that in time, we would bring ruin to it as well. As we had to Earth. And so it was… we came to war.”
Operator: “Ordis. We need to track that Umbra warframe.”
Vitruvian Ordis: “Done, Star-Child.”
Third Mission: Search for Umbra (Nuovo, Ceres)
The mission takes place on the Grineer Shipyard tileset, with the usual Grineer enemies.
Vitruvian Ordis: “Star-Child, are you seeking revenge for its damage to me? Will you destroy this Umbra warframe?”
Operator: “No. The codes are in his memory. If I can get close, I’ll go in again and try to recover them. He’s the key to finding the Lotus, I can feel it.”
As the Tenno progresses through the map, dead Grineer bodies can be seen scattered on the ground. Eventually, Umbra can be found attacking Grineer with his nikana and his full range of warframe abilities.
(when Umbra is spotted) Vitruvian Ordis: “There it is. Approach with caution.”
Umbra is immune to all damage, and will attack the Tenno if no Grineer remain alive. His attacks can cross through the Void to damage the Operator in Void Mode, but he can be temporarily stunned with Void Blast. The Tenno must use Transference on Umbra while he is stunned.
(if the Operator does not use Void Blast, variant) Vitruvian Ordis: “Star-Child, use your Void Blast to weaken him.”
(if the Operator does not use Void Blast, variant) Vitruvian Ordis: “Star-Child, you must use Void Blast to wear him down.”
(if the Operator does not use Void Blast, variant) Vitruvian Ordis: “Void Blast, Star-Child. Use it.”
(upon stunning Umbra, variant) Vitruvian Ordis: “Now… use Transference.”
(upon stunning Umbra, variant) Vitruvian Ordis: “Star-Child, you have an opening. Use your Transference.”
(upon stunning Umbra, variant) Vitruvian Ordis: “He may recover, Star-Child. Quickly, use your Transference.”
Using Transference on Umbra will take the Tenno into another memory. The scene continues from the previous memory with Ballas and Isaah, although now small patches of Technocyte can be seen growing on the pristine Orokin walls.
Ballas: “Your move.”
On the komi board, Ballas has placed a single white stone, which is surrounded on three sides by Umbra’s black stones. Beside the board is a panel which keeps score (currently 0-0) and explains the rules of the game. It is similar to the board game Go. The panel indicates that the first player to capture 3 stones wins the match, and points out that Ballas’ stone can easily be captured in a single move. During komi play, Ballas will periodically urge Umbra to play, or comment on his move. These lines are spoken during all komi scenes throughout the quest.
Ballas (if the Tenno idles, variant): “Go on. Make a play.”
Ballas (if the Tenno idles, variant): “It’s your move, old friend.”
Ballas (if the Tenno idles, variant): “I’m waiting. Make your play.”
Ballas (if the Tenno idles, variant): “Your turn.”
Ballas (if the Tenno idles, variant): “Take your time.”
Ballas (after the Tenno makes a move, variant): “Finally.”
Ballas (after the Tenno makes a move, variant): “Curious.”
Ballas (after the Tenno makes a move, variant): “A fine move.”
Ballas (after the Tenno makes a move, variant): “Hmmm.”
Ballas (after the Tenno makes a move, variant): “Well played.”
Ballas (after the Tenno makes a move, variant): “I see.”
(when Ballas wins a match, variant) Ballas: “Mine.”
(when Ballas wins a match, variant) Ballas: “And so I take another.”
After completing a match, the board will clear and a new game will start immediately, with Umbra having the first move.
(if Umbra wins) Isaah: “He loves this game. I’ll never forget the time I finally beat him… but now I’m thinking he just let me win.”
(after the third match) Ballas: “You served with distinction, old Dax. We commissioned a portrait in your honour, there on the wall.”
(if the Tenno does not look) Ballas: “A beautiful portrait, don’t you agree?”
Behind Ballas, on the left wall of the room, is a portrait of a Dax standing tall on a hazy plain, with scattered wreckage faintly visible behind him. When the Tenno looks at the portrait, another memory-glyph is unlocked.
Isaah: “The Sentient battle at Hull… I can’t imagine…. You were awarded the Lua Cross for valour.”
Ballas: “Will you follow in your father’s path?”
Isaah: “Of course.”
Ballas (Transference): “He will, and his children will. You see… these are the stakes of this little game. Each stone I capture will be another, and another, and another… culled from your subversive bloodline. You thought you could outplay me? I’ve had lifetimes to plan my defection. You spied on me, intercepted my communications. But I saw your move long before you took it. And so… we come to the consequences….”
Umbra: (frantic attempts to speak)
Isaah: “Father? You… you alright? Please! Do something for him!”
Vitruvian Ordis: “Star-Child, were you successful?”
Operator: (gasping) “I couldn’t breathe….”
Vitruvian Ordis: “Somehow you are inverting the flow. Not from Tenno to warframe… but warframe to Tenno. There may be residual effects. Return to the ship.”
Umbra is nowhere to be found, but Grineer bodies will continue to litter the ground on the way to extraction. Sentient fighters will also appear and begin attacking the Tenno, along with the remaining Grineer forces.
[on board Orbiter]
The Vitruvian interface will be brought up upon returning to the Orbiter, and the Tenno must select the glyph they saw in the memory: “WARFRAMES”. The Vitruvian displays an Infested mass as Ballas continues to narrate.
(The three circles are labelled, from top-left to bottom-right, “Figure 1”, “Figure 2”, and “Figure 3”, and the central drawing is labelled “Infested”.)
Ballas: “Our hubris shone like a black star… for our technology, our war-machines were your kin. How easily you turned them against us. We were forced to older means. Not circuits, nor light… but flesh and disease. Our horrors past, our ravaged outer colonies… became gardens!”
Continuing to the next section of the recording shows the blueprint for the chair from the Helminth Infirmary.
(The Orokin words are, from top to bottom, “test”, “simulation”, and “Helminth”.)
Ballas: “We cultured the infestation, conceiving of a hybrid. Transformed, but only just. The Helminth was created, born to yield these new warriors, worthy of battle against you, the great and terrible Hunhow.”
The next schematic is of a human.
(The Orokin text says “test subject” and “Infested”.)
Ballas: “We took our greatest, volunteers or not, and polluted them with these cultured reagents. They transformed. They became infested…”
The next schematic is the same human, but now in the process of becoming infested, looking very similar to a Nidus warframe.
(The Orokin text says “test subject” and “sword-steel”.)
Ballas: “…but only just. Their skin blossomed into sword-steel. Their organs, interlinked with untold resilience. Yet their minds were free of the Infested madness. Or so we thought. We set them upon the battlefield, bio-drones under our command.”
The next schematic is the same human, now resembling an Excalibur warframe.
(The Orokin text says “test subject” and “warframe”.)
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. This is all you know, Hunhow, but there is a hidden half, a secret, that lies within a place forbidden to you and your kind. I speak of the Void.”
Vitruvian Ordis: “Star-Child, repairs continue. Allow me to test vestigial precepts for a moment. Like ‘caring’.”
The lights in the Orbiter will temporarily shut off as Ordis reverts to his previous self.
Ordis (heavily glitching at first): “Operator, you need to stop this! You could suffer permanent harm from Umbra’s memory. What if you internalise all this?”
Operator: “I feel like… he’s leading me to the truth, about Ballas…. Right now, it’s all I have to go on.”
Fourth Mission: Pursue Umbra (Triton, Neptune)
The mission takes place on the Corpus ship tileset. There are no living Corpus units, only bloody corpses. High numbers of Sentient Battalysts and Conculysts are present throughout the map.
Ordis: “Ballas must be tracking Umbra now. I’m detecting increased Sentient presence in the area.”
Umbra can be found in a large room, fighting against several Sentients. He now has shields that protect him from the Operator’s Void Blast. Upon approach, he will emit a Radial Howl that will blind the Tenno. After recovering, the Tenno will find that all the Sentients are dead and Umbra is gone.
Ordis: “The area is locked down. We need to take care of those Mimics.”
Five Mimics will be hidden in the room, and must be hunted down and killed before the lockdown can be lifted. Following usual Mimic behaviour, they will reveal themselves when the Tenno nears them, and attack.
Ordis: “Keep searching, they are here somewhere.”
Ordis (after the last Mimic is killed): “Lockdown ended, very good. Now, where is that warframe?”
Umbra will be alone in another large room and will attack the Tenno’s warframe or Operator (whichever is under active control) on sight relentlessly with all his warframe abilities. As before, his attacks can harm the Operator in Void mode.
Ordis (when spotting Umbra, variant): “See him, Operator? Advise you approach with caution!”
Ordis (when spotting Umbra, variant): “Operator, please be careful… he’s not in control.”
Umbra’s shields must be depleted before he can be stunned by Void Blast, but they can only be damaged by Void Beam or an Amp.
Ordis: “Normal attacks won’t work. Try using your Void Blast?”
Ordis (upon stunning Umbra): “That did it! Now is your chance – use Transference!”
Back in the memory, the Infestation has covered more of the walls – it is clear now that the encroaching Technocyte is a delirious projection of the Infestation growing within Umbra. Another komi game with Ballas is in progress, with the scoreboard noting that Ballas is already winning by 2. The layout of the board makes it impossible to prevent Ballas from winning the game in a couple of moves.
Ballas: “Trouble concentrating, old friend? Look at all your komi stones I’ve taken.”
Ballas (Transference): “This one, a brother. These three, his children. And on and on, all of these gone to the Jade Light.”
(after Ballas wins the komi game) Isaah: “Father, do you remember your shawzin? Remember how you’d sing to us ‘Smiles from Juran’?”
Ballas: “A fine instrument.”
The shawzin is on a stand by the right wall of the room, behind Isaah’s chair. Looking at it will unlock another memory-glyph.
Ballas: “How thoughtful, to remind him of his better days. Come now, your move. Only a few stones left.”
A new game of komi will be on the board, half-completed. Two of Ballas’ komi stones are about to be captured, and the board glows with hints as to the proper moves. Performing either move will capture a stone.
(when his stone is captured) Ballas: “Isaah, looks like your father still has his sharp wit.”
Isaah: “My father understands the game better than anyone.”
Ballas (Transference): “Yet you couldn’t understand why I’d give my secrets to our enemy. How could I betray my own kind? But you have never had to sacrifice your love for faith. Imagine – to live, forever, with only one memory: seeing the one you love, die.”
Ballas places another stone on the board and passes the turn to Umbra. One of his komi stones is still vulnerable, and the board highlights the proper move to capture it. However, attempting to place the stone causes Umbra to lose focus on the board.
Ballas (Transference): “But you won’t have to imagine. A lovingly cultured Infestation swarms within your blood. Your transformation has begun—”
The Infestation in the room spreads visibly and Umbra begins frantically struggling to move or speak.
Ballas (Transference): “—reshaping you into a sacred surrogate of the unholy Tenno… a warframe with but a single burning memory. It is… a miracle!”
Umbra places his komi stone on the board, but instead of capturing one of Ballas’ pieces, the stone lands on a different space than the one selected, placing it right into a trap that Ballas has set, ready to be captured on the next move.
Ballas: “But all miracles require sacrifice.”
Operator: [gasping] “He’s gonna kill him!”
Ordis: “Who’s going to what?”
Operator: “Ballas. He’s going to kill my… his… son, Isaah.”
Ordis: “But aren’t these memories, Operator? You cannot undo what has been done.”
On the way to extraction, Corpus units will begin appearing to attack the Tenno, along with remaining Sentient fighters.
[on board Orbiter]
In the Vitruvian, the shawzin memory-glyph appears, labelled “TENNO”. Selecting it will display a blueprint of an interstellar ship – the Zariman 10-0 – while Ballas narrates.
(The Orokin word to the right says “Zariman”.)
Ballas: “Before the vain faith, our people held Dualism as truth. That all things were of two parts. Mind and body. Consciousness and matter. Of our world… and the Void. It was from there that our answer finally came.”
The next blueprint is of a Tenno, kneeling in front of a warframe.
(The Orokin text labels the warframe as “body” and the Operator as “mind”, and says “Tenno” on either side of the figure.)
Ballas: “Distorted by vague horrors, we kept the Zariman survivors within a secret Reservoir. They were the missing half. Transference-linked: the warframes, the body; and they, the mind. I give you now the coordinates and codes to this place. But do not underestimate these devils, Hunhow. They did what we could not. We had created monsters we couldn’t—”
The Tenno abruptly terminates the recording.
Operator: “I know what I have to do.”
The Operator Transferences out of the warframe and arrives at the Navigation Console of the Orbiter.
Operator: “I don’t need to hear it. I lived it…. Prepare the landing craft, Ordis. I’m going in… myself.”
Ordis: “I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it does.”
Fifth Mission: Confront Umbra (Tycho, Lua)
The mission takes place on the Orokin Moon tileset. The Tenno arrives in Operator mode and has no warframe. There are no enemies.
Ordis: “Operator, please reconsider. You know how dangerous this is. The Sentients will be here in force! This is why you bring a warframe to these things!”
Operator: “My warframe is here. I just have to find it.”
Ordis (when Umbra is spotted, variant): “See him, Operator? Advise you approach with caution!”
Ordis (when Umbra is spotted, variant): “Operator, please be careful… he’s not in control.”
As before, the Tenno must deplete Umbra’s shields, stun him with Void Blast, and use Transference on him, while avoiding his attacks.
In the memory, the room is now completely overgrown with Infestation, even the hospital bed, and black particles fall like snow from the ceiling – whether ash or Technocyte particles or something else is not clear. The komi board is unchanged from the last memory, the game still in progress.
This time, the Operator is present, standing in the doorway, addressing Umbra directly.
Operator: “You have relived this moment countless times. But our minds are linked now. We’ll face this together.”
The growth of the Infestation can be heard audibly, and Umbra begins breathing rapidly, straining from the effort. Neither Ballas nor Umbra react to this, nor to the Operator’s presence.
Operator: “This poison he’s given you, it has taken your will away. You are a victim as much as your son.”
Ballas looks over at Isaah, then makes his move on the komi board, capturing the stone that Umbra had misplayed previously. The komi stones disappear from the board – Ballas has won.
Ballas: “Sorry, Isaah. The time has come.”
Ballas languidly rises from his seat.
Operator: “We are together.”
Isaah rises and stands stiffly at attention, bowing respectfully.
Isaah: “I… am honoured… to be your son.”
Operator: [points to Ballas] “Ballas did this, not you.”
Ballas (Transference): “Don’t worry, old friend. I’m not going to kill your boy…”
Ballas extends his elongated right arm and gestures commandingly at Umbra.
Ballas: “…you are.”
Umbra’s view shakily turns to look at Isaah, who reacts with surprise.
Isaah: “Father? Father!”
Umbra jumps towards Isaah and the memory goes dark.
The Tenno Operator will find themselves in a new place, a curving path suspended in midair leading to a cherry tree. Motes of light and swirls of energy surround the scene. Everything is cast in black and outlined in gold, obscuring detail and texture. The Tenno cannot use any abilities or parkour manoeuvres, and can only walk along the path. As they walk, memories of Isaah’s voice sound out in the dark.
Isaah: “It’s me. Isaah.”
Isaah: “Do you remember your shawzin?”
Isaah: “Father? Father!”
Isaah: “He loves this game. I’ll never forget the time I finally beat him….”
Isaah: “Father? You… you alright?”
A figure is huddled at the base of the tree. As the Tenno approaches, a cutscene begins.
[The Umbra warframe kneels on the ground, hands pressed to the side of his head, shaking violently as if weeping intensely. The plucked strings of a shawzin can be heard as the Tenno draws close to Umbra and slowly sits in front of him in the traditional Tenno seiza position. Ballas’ narration from the “TENNO” Vitruvian entry, which the Tenno had interrupted earlier, plays as the Operator begins to meditate with Umbra.]
Ballas: “—We had created monsters we couldn’t control. We drugged them, tortured them, eviscerated them… we brutalised their minds, but it did not work. Until they came.”
[Umbra stills and stops weeping. He settles back on his ankles and places his hands on his hips, mirroring the Tenno’s sitting position. As Ballas continues, the scene fades out of the black-and-gold rendering and is visible in normal colour.]
Ballas: “And it was not their force of will – not their Void devilry – not their alien darkness… it was something else. It was that somehow, from within the derelict horror, they had learned a way to see inside an ugly, broken thing—”
[The Operator’s sitting position swivels to become aligned with Umbra’s, and the Operator melts into the Umbra warframe as if through Transference, leaving only the kneeling Umbra.]
Ballas: “—and take away its pain.”
The Tenno helps Umbra assimilate the traumatic memory with a dialogue choice:
(Sun) Operator: “We use this memory. It fuels our wrath.”
(Neutral) Operator: “We accept this memory and move beyond its reach.”
(Moon) Operator: “We return this memory to the Void and find peace in our emptiness.”
Back on Lua, Umbra slowly rises from his seated position, glowing with Transference energy. The nikana is embedded in the ground before him, and Umbra grasps the hilt, then draws the blade with a flourish. The scene transitions into gameplay, with the Tenno now controlling Umbra through Transference.
Ordis: “Operator! You did it! Your Transference signal is clean, synchronised with that warframe!”
Operator: “Mark a path to extraction. We’ve got one last mission before this is done.”
Ordis: “Marking, but I’m detecting a mass of Sentient forces converging on your location. Quickly; you may be able to escape.”
Operator: “No. Let them come.”
Excalibur Umbra is similar to the base Excalibur warframe, with his Radial Blind ability replaced with Radial Howl, which has the added effect of eliminating Sentient resistances. His nikana is named the Skiajati, and will grant temporary invisibility upon performing finisher attacks. Both the warframe and the nikana are max level. If the Operator Transferences out of Excalibur Umbra, then the Umbra will retain control of the warframe and fight alongside the Operator, using the equipped weapons and abilities. Battalysts, Conculysts, and Corrupted will begin to appear and attack the Tenno, but they do not need to be killed in order to extract.
[on board Orbiter]
Ordis: “Operator, we have no idea what Ballas is capable of. Please, reconsider this. Why would you risk it?”
Operator: “Ordis. I’d like to hear her.”
Ordis: “Yes. Yes, of course… accessing data-store… which should I play?”
(Sun) Lotus: “Now we fight on two fronts, my child. The war without… and the war within.”
(Neutral) Lotus: “Dream… not of what you are, but of what you want to be.”
(Moon) Lotus: “My child… so beautiful to behold. How do you feel?”
Ordis: “Operator, there is much to be done. Please consult the Navigation console.”
Examining Excalibur Umbra in the Arsenal will show that he has an Orokin Reactor installed and is already equipped with three new mods: Umbral Intensify, Umbral Fibre, and Umbral Vitality, which are primed versions of Intensify, Steel Fibre, and Vitality, respectively. They each also grant an amount of resistance to Sentient attacks, and belong to the Umbral mod set, which enhances the stats of each mod the more are equipped. The Skiajati has an Orokin Catalyst installed and is equipped with Sacrificial Steel and Sacrificial Pressure, which are primed versions of True Steel and Pressure Point. Each also adds bonus damage against Sentients, and belong to the Sacrificial mod set, which enhances the stats of each mod the more are equipped. All five new mods are already rank 5, and can be ranked up as much as desired before continuing. The Exalted Umbra Blade also comes equipped with the Sacrificial mods.
Sixth Mission: Return to Earth (Lith, Earth)
The mission takes place on the Grineer Forest tileset at night, with the map identical to the first mission. The Ghouls are no longer present, but Sentient fighters are present throughout.
Ordis: “He is waiting for you, but I’m detecting powerful signals emanating from the courtyard. They are calling out for reinforcements across the entire System. You don’t have long.”
As the Tenno enters the courtyard, Ballas can be seen standing next to the cherry tree.
Ballas: “I tried to release you from your torment, but it seems those devils rebuilt you.”
Operator: “What have you done with her? Ballas, where is the Lotus?”
Ballas: “Has the wolf become a dog? Is this Umbra, or some Tenno?”
Ballas: “Then both will burn!”
Ballas will generate a protective shield around himself, which also lights the cherry tree on fire. Tombstones all around will reveal themselves as Mimics and engage the Tenno, while Battalysts and Conculysts arrive as well. Upon killing all the Sentients, the Operator will Transference back into Excalibur Umbra (if they were out) and a cutscene will begin.
[Umbra advances on Ballas with his blade drawn. Ballas steps forward and extends his left hand.]
[A wave of purple energy radiates from Ballas, washing over Umbra, who freezes in place. Ballas smiles in satisfaction as he saunters over to stand directly in front of Umbra, regarding him haughtily.]
Ballas: “You think you can defy me? Not even your Tenno devil can—”
[The sound of steel cutting flesh interrupts Ballas, who gasps and looks down. The Skiajati, still held in Umbra’s hand, has impaled Ballas through his left abdomen. Ballas looks up at Umbra in shock.]
Ballas: [gasps] “I… created… you….”
[Umbra’s hand trembles, and releases the nikana momentarily, before the Operator’s hand materialises to guide Umbra to grip the handle again, and together they drive the blade in deeper, causing it to emerge out of Ballas’ back. The Operator releases Umbra, who withdraws the blade, causing Ballas to fall back and stumble to the ground at the base of the tree. The Operator, backed by Umbra, looks down at Ballas and rebukes him. Ballas has different replies based on the dialogue choice.]
(Sun) Operator (angrily): “Squirm like the maggot you are.”
Ballas: “I… am just the stone…. She is the hand.”
(Neutral) Operator: “This was inevitable.”
Ballas: “Yes… yes… she has foreseen it.”
(Moon) Operator: “The cycle is broken.”
Ballas: “Now I know…[gasping breath] what she sees in you.”
[Ballas goes limp, seemingly dead. Sentient Mimics drop from the sky and arrange themselves behind the cherry tree, readying their arm weapons. The Operator runs forward, demanding answers from Ballas’ corpse.]
Operator: “Where is she? Where is the Lotus?”
[A loud, discordant sound rings out, followed by a sonic boom as a large Sentient drops down from the sky, destroying the burning cherry tree. It is the same Sentient seen earlier, in the courtyard with Ballas. It is purple-coloured, composed of the same wood-like, sinewy material as the Eidolons, about two or three times larger than a normal human. A large pair of arms end in pincer-like claws, which earlier had vaporised Umbra’s body. Another pair of arms, ghostly and ethereal, are extended forward, and a third pair of strongly humanoid arms are held together, in front, as if praying. A purple carapace, extremely similar to the Lotus’ helmet, is lifted off of the face by a tail-like appendage, revealing the Lotus herself. The skin of her face is now segmented into discrete portions rigged to the skeleton beneath, producing a disturbing robot-like appearance when she moves or speaks. Her voice, though familiar, is toneless and devoid of what little affect she had previously displayed.]
Lotus: “I am here, Tenno.”
[The Operator is shocked and horrified.]
Operator: “What? What have they done to you?”
Lotus: “Nothing. This… is what I am.”
[The Lotus’ ethereal arms have picked up Ballas’ body while she was talking to the Tenno. The dozen-odd Mimics behind her suddenly fire their arm beams at the Tenno in unison, but Umbra, with seemingly prescient reflexes, leaps to the Operator, grabs them with one arm, and leaps back, shielding the Operator with his body while bringing them to safety. Both Umbra and the Operator land in battle-ready stances, and the Operator immediately Transferences back into Umbra. The Lotus begins to radiate orange energy as Excalibur Umbra readies his Skiajati and the cutscene ends.]
Lotus (voice distorted and echoing): “Drifting, gaunt beyond the bleak star…. Mother… I am coming home.”
The Mimics fly up into the sky, and the Lotus soon follows, taking off like a rocket and warping away in a blast of purple light, leaving only the charred, broken stump of the cherry tree. Instead of heading to extraction, the mission fades to black and ends automatically.
[on board Orbiter]
Operator: [sighs] “I saw her, Ordis.”
Ordis: “But it wasn’t… ‘her’, was it?”
Operator: “No. I— I don’t know. But I’m going to find out.”
After the quest is complete, the Tenno will receive an inbox message from Ordis containing the Excalibur Umbra Sunder helmet (the damaged helmet Umbra had initially, with the exposed eye), the courtyard on Earth as a Captura scene, and unique noble and agile animation sets for Excalibur Umbra.
More Vitruvian Secrets
After close examination, Ordis has determined that the Vitruvian contained several more designs for Umbra-related items! I have taken the liberty of constructing those items for you.
Your loyal cephalon,
After the quest is complete, the next time the Tenno encounters the Man in the Wall on their Orbiter, a short interaction will play out.
Man in the Wall: “Feelin’ better, kiddo?”
Operator: “I killed him… Isaah.”
Man in the Wall: “Did you now? Is that how you remember it?”
Man in the Wall: “Good.” [vanishes]
This quest can be replayed from the Codex.
Next story quest: Chimera Prologue