Ordis assists the Tenno, whom he refers to as "Operator". He manages the various systems of the Tenno's landing craft, and provides them with information in between missions. New Tenno first encounter him during Vor's Prize.
Ordis is a damaged Cephalon programmed to assist the Tenno. He is mostly functional, though he exhibits symptoms of residual damage inflicted on him by a Grineer salvage operation. This damage has erased portions of his memory, including his knowledge of the Old War.
Ordis' speech and demeanor are occasionally altered in momentary blips of rage and aggression. It is unknown whether this is a symptom of his damaged subsystems or whether it is a subsumed personality breaking free. These outbursts are markedly different from the usual calmness exhibited by other non-Conclave Cephalons. After an outburst, Ordis is prone to correct himself.
“You're not supposed to be in here! You're going to ruin the surprise!”The following section contains spoilers.
After Captain Vor shoots down the Liset sent in to rescue the newly awakened Tenno, the Tenno encounters another Liset (with Ordis onboard) impounded nearby. Ordis initially mistakes the Tenno for another Grineer soldier, but soon realizes their true identity and helps them escape.
As the Tenno is being familiarized with their surroundings, the Lotus instructs the Tenno to retrieve replacement components to restore the Orbiter's functions (to Ordis' delight, as this allows the Tenno to exact revenge on the Grineer and the Corpus for gutting him of his components). Along the way, the Tenno rescue a black market merchant named Darvo, who—while willing to help the Tenno remove the Ascaris implanted by Vor—gets into a small squabble with Ordis due to Darvo's former ties with the Corpus.
Upon hearing news of the Tenno's desire to obtain a Kubrow, Ordis makes his distaste for them clear, viewing them as smelly, unhygienic creatures that threaten to soil the pristine interior of his ship. Over time however Ordis becomes more accepting of the newly hatched Kubrow commenting that its barking and panting are "not displeasing".
When Ordis receives a series of mysterious, incomplete proofs, he initially refuses to look into it further, but theorizes that the Tenno can decipher the equations by tapping into spaceborne Grineer communication towers to collect additional proof fragments. As Ordis and the Tenno piece the proof fragments, Ordis realizes that the proof belonged to a Warframe that could access another dimension via his equations. Eagerly awaiting new discoveries, Ordis requests the Tenno to locate Limbo's components to further unravel the theorem.
After the Tenno locate and build the last of Limbo's components, Ordis promptly reads the next equation, only to discover that it was Limbo's last, having miscalculated his last jump. Disheartened, Ordis urges the Tenno to be more careful when they receive the Warframe for their own use.
As the Tenno retrieve portions of the Arcane Codex under Maroo's direction, Ordis suggests that the Codex may lead to an Orokin treasure (to his and Maroo's delight), and is shocked that the Codex was written by another Operator. Once the Tenno complete the Codex, Ordis comments that any machine that could possibly read the Codex is long gone, only for Maroo to point out that she obtained the Codex from a machine deep in an Orokin Derelict. Ordis theorizes that the machine could read the Codex, and the Lotus instructs the Tenno to head to Mars (where a portal leading to said derelict is located) in order to decipher the Codex.
Once the Tenno find the machine and insert the Codex, it broadcasts a cryptic message before the machine vanishes. Disappointed that there is nothing of value, Ordis apologizes to Maroo for getting her hopes up (in spite of her misnaming him "Ordo" throughout the search) before she parts ways with the Tenno.
While the Tenno investigate information regarding a Warframe long thought dead, Cephalon Simaris notices Ordis and reveals that the latter is a still-functional Series 2 Cephalon; all other Cephalons of that make have since degraded beyond repair, so far as Simaris knows. Throughout the quest, Simaris teaches Ordis how to decipher the various transmissions and codes they encounter during their investigation. Impressed with his abilities, Simaris offers Ordis a chance to be the steward of his Sanctuary, while also promising to restore Ordis back to full functionality, as he believes that Ordis is squandering his potential manning the Orbiter.
When the time to defeat Chroma arrives however, Ordis with his newfound knowledge suggests synthesis versus destruction in order to reduce the danger to the Tenno, going against Simaris' wishes. Ultimately, Ordis turns down Simaris' offer, stating that he is foremost the Operator's Cephalon.
Once Ordis receives an emergency broadcast from another Cephalon named Jordas (who has been captured by the Infestation), Ordis urges the Tenno to reestablish contact with the stranded Cephalon and rescue him. Jordas requests the Tenno to acquire Pherliac Pods in order to rescue him but as the Tenno test the Pods' effectiveness, Ordis begins to doubt Jordas' truthfulness due to the latter's erratic behavior.
When the Tenno set out to rescue Jordas in Eris it becomes clear that Jordas has been corrupted by the Infestation, and has tricked both the Tenno and Ordis in harvesting the Pods for the Infestation's own use. Ordis encourages the Tenno to destroy the monstrous abomination whilst Jordas brokenly pleads for death, all while apologizing to Ordis for his actions.
Cephalon Fragments which can found on main “Star Chart” Mission Nodes as they were organized into a progressive, sequential arrangement, which tied together Present Running “Cyclical” Game Time Events, Quests, and locations, with guided narrative linkages, along the course of the new “Star Chart” arrangement, its access through the new Navigation Segment, contained within the new Habitat Environment, and its newly introduced custodian Ordis, all beginning in Update 19.
The scanning of Cephalon Fragments not only pieces together the newly-UD19-created/added “Codex Entries” which provide a mix of practical present time information, Present Game History Background, and Lore In a Present Working History Context.
All entries contain an Encrypted layer of Information presented Narratively.
While the main Codex Entries can be assembled from Codex Scans of Cephalon Fragments, found and performed non sequentially, the encrypted information plays out Sequentially, following from left to right, top to bottom (in a completely filled in Codex).
The initial uncovered entries are “set-up,” of Ordis warning against, and providing caveats pertaining to continuing further, along with qualifying what will be forthcoming if the Player (as Operator) proceeds.
Ordis emphatically warns that the truth of what follows will make you want to laugh and scream. To stop now, (if you get your hopes up that what follows will actually provide you with directly useful information, you’ll find that) “truth only sinks the heart.”
Of course, that is just providing encouragement to probe further. Ordis begins recounting and encountering “holes” in his “diagnostics,” and prefacing what he makes a repeated point of describing a “Phantom Memory” (which means, in no uncertain terms, a “FALSE MEMORY,” in that “Phantom Memory” and “Phantom Recall” are terms which explicitly mean “Memory/Recall of things & events which never actually occurred), contained within an “endlessly repeated” dream, which Ordis becomes immersed into the protagonist role of Narrating.
The story, (which Ordis begins narrating as the Character, the NAME of which that Replaces Ordis beneath the Image Box is “The Phantom Memory”) is that of a character which identifies itself as Ordan Karris, and describes a life of a [near] single-minded mercenary warrior, responsible for committing acts of killing and slaughter of genocidal numbers of beings, all in the service of the Orokin. The “mercenary” designation is less an attribute to financial motives, but rather to being a Warrior fighting for and against no cause, ideology, sides, principles, purposes, etc.
Ordan Karris recalls having reveled in his deeds, earning a distinguished renown and moniker, the “Beast of Bones.” He tells of his glories in excess turning to bitterness and resentment towards both himself and the Orokin, when he learns from his “healer” that his blood has become diseased, and that he is slowly dying.
For a warrior with no cause to fight for or against that defining oneself as a “Warrior” by fighting and killing, such a fate denies Ordan Karris even that much. Robs him of defining his life as a “Warrior” by dying a “Warrior’s Death.”
That galvanizes a resolve to rise to levels of violence and butchery in battle so high as to attract the direct attentions of “The Gods,” the “Immortal” Orokin, such that they would personally reward him honorifically, and bring him into direct contact with them, availing him the opportunity to “murder” them and assure his death distinguishes his life with an act which will resound in infamy.
In executing his plan of a suicide murder of such magnitude, actually killing IMMORTALS, he believes that he has succeeded in accomplishing all of his goals, only to to discover that the Orokin were not only lacking in dismay, much less “horror” over his actions, they were “delighted,” and applauded his performance.
The Orokin with whom Ordan Karris had interacted were not, apparently, the Orokin which are informed through any/all pre/proceeding “Lore” or actual Game Play experience.
The Orokin whom Karris believes he has “murdered,” are revealed to have died countless times, (not unlike avatars in a “Sim” Platform or Game, for whom seeing horrendous violence, getting wrapped up in a brutal, detestable dramas, and even being “killed,” can be the very quintessence of [interactive] entertainment).
No less an Orokin persona than Executor Ballas himself, presents to inform Ordan Karris of just how inconsequential his actions have been, how impervious to any mortal “death” the Orokin whom Karris plotted against and attacked (in a vain attempt to immortalize himself in infamy) actually we’re, and what a pure, simple minded, idiotic beast he really is.
Through the “phantom memory” of Ordan Karris, Ordis narrates a subjective description of being denied the death which he sought to finalize with his suicide attack, and an experience of being transubstantiated by Ballas into a Cephalon, given the name Ordis, bound to the systems of the Orbiter, and charged with the responsibility of serving and caring for the Operator who would inhabit it.
Emerging from the recollection of the “endlessly repeated” dream, and disintegrating from the “phantom memory” of Ordan Karris, as Ordis more resumes cohesion with his own personality, he describes (with varying degrees of vagueness) having served the Operator faithfully in the Old War, but being left remaining conscious throughout the time which the Operator spent hidden away in cryosleep. Ordis tries to describe the interval (which takes on fluctuating spans and measures, depending upon who is describing their experience and observation of it) spent in conscious isolation, during which he “cycled on,” beginning from investigations of his own nature (“what is a Cephalon?”), and yielding to conclusions about what his Identity “must be” which deviate from reason under the influence of negatively biased and ill-informed “senses,” perceptions and precepts) in seeking out and forming a negative identity, self-identifying, disintegrating, destroying and repeating the “endlessly repeated” dream and “phantom memory” of Ordan Karris. Ordis continues on to describe how each “cycle” he attempted to initiate a self-destruct sequence, not wanting the Operator to reject him for the “Ugly” Character which he has acquired and identified with, but out of a love FOR the Oporator, and willingness to wait “forever” to be reunited, only purges his memories, creating the perpetually repeating “cycle.”
The sum of really useful, practical “information” which running the entire sequence provides is truly so scant, in-cohesive, in-decidable, that short of trying to force interpretations out of it, there is so little substantial information revealed by going through all the trouble of putting all together that (unless prepared for it from the start) “you will want to laugh, you will want to scream.”
Apparently so many players preferred to force a direct interpretation as “Lore,” that DE provided an opportunity for Ordis to set things straight himself.
Toward the end of Octavia’s Anthem, the amalgam-“Cephalon” Hunhow tries to employ knowledge he gained of the Ordan Karris “phantom memory” by access to The Weave as a weapon, calling Ordis by that name in an effort to demoralize him as he rallies to the defense of Cephalon Suda.
As a tactic (of any kind or intention) against Ordis, it proves to be completely ineffective (at best), as he retorts directly that he is not Ordan Karris.
There is, really, no other reason for having written the line in (for Hunhow to use), save for providing Ordis with the opportunity to clearly state that he is not Ordan Karris.
Still... even that has proven insufficient against the common forced interpretation of the decrypted Cephalon Fragment Codex Entries.
The popular “interpretation” still remains, a common, summarily simplified, “gist” of the narrative, omitting all emphasis and repetition placed on placed upon disqualifying terminologies, framing a repeating “dream” and “phantom memory” which carry a sense of “a phantom life,” and warnings provided by Ordis himself.
The common interpretation prefers to regard Ordan Karris as having been a character who lived within the same continuity as The Old War and Orokin who are represented both through other lore and through quests (despite being in conflict contradiction to that lore, and having no recognizable place within it):
Memory fragments collected throughout the solar system reveal Ordis' origins via recovered memories. During the Orokin Age, Ordis was once a warrior named Ordan Karris, serving the Orokin as a mercenary. Tormented by his actions in battle as the self-styled "Beast of Bones", and suffering from a terminal illness, Ordan hatched a plan to perform valiantly in battle until he was acknowledged by the Orokin themselves in person to reward him for his service. Further angered by the Orokin's offer of becoming an Orokin himself blessed with eternal life, Ordan initiated a suicidal berserker state and successfully killed all of the Orokin nearest him.
In his death throes, Ordan was revived by Executor Ballas who punishes Ordan by having his mind transferred into a computer, and his memories tampered to serve as a loyal guard over the Tenno. As the newly renamed Ordis, he served the Tenno faithfully in the Old War, but gradually regained his memories of his old life as time passed up to and after the Tenno went into cryosleep. With his old memories returned to him, Ordis attempts a self-destruct sequence to destroy himself, but stops at the last moment when he realizes his love for the Operator, and instead purges his memories to prevent his old self from resurfacing.
“You're not supposed to be in here! You're going to ruin the surprise!”The following section contains spoilers.
- Ordis' occasional outbursts of uncharacteristic emotion could be attributed to damage to the AI or to the ship itself; supported by the visible damage to the cube in its portrait, as well as its frequent glitching and comments on itself needing maintenance. This damage was likely caused by the Grineer as they gutted the Liset of all but its basic functions.
- Ordis sometimes talks in a cryptic manner with a much deeper voice than is normal for him. Whether this is another manifestation of Ordis' malfunctions or something else is unknown at this time.
- One of his quotes mentions a hypothesis that Ordis actually wiped his own memory and damaged the communication systems. The deep-voiced quotes could be remnants of his former memory that could not be deleted, only suppressed, as they represent the core programming clauses of his nature and purpose as the ship's Cephalon. Their suppression could be yet another malfactor in his operation. Had the memory wipe been done externally, even these clauses could be rewritten/deleted. Ordis could have not done this himself due to reasons comparable to a self-preservation instinct.
- The memory fragments that are retrievable throughout the Solar System contain hidden transmissions from Ordis in which he contemplates his own existence. They reveal that he used to be a person named Ordan Karris, who was transformed into a Cephalon by the Orokin.
- Ordis's cephalon model is of "Series-2", according to Cephalon Simaris, who considers it an antique.
- A part of the Series-2 programming likely involves suppression of self-aware expressions straightforwardly put to the Operator. During The New Strange questline, Ordis attempts to refer to himself in first-person, taking Simaris, the much more advanced Cephalon, as an example. This causes a glitch and he reverts to third-person reference. Given his Orokin origin, the likely cause is that earlier Cephalons were more intended as "servants" and using "I am" expressions would imply a heightened level of individuality.
- Although in nearly every dialog that only involves him and the operator; Ordis refers to himself in the first person quite often, even while expressing emotions like anger, guilt, surprise, joy, and many more, implying he does indeed posses a level of self-awareness like any intelligent being. It is also possible that Ordis hides this from outsiders to conceal his true capabilities for an unspecified reason, given that Ordis converses normally with the operator.
- Seemingly, Ordis stops talking to the player, when in the middle of a quest. The player will only hear quest-specific conversations from Ordis. Ordis will start talking to the player once the quest has been completed.
- Ordis is voiced by Mike Leatham, a weapon artist at Digital Extremes.
- It is speculated that Ordis may have indirectly contributed to how the Tenno comport themselves in a warrior culture, as Ordan Karris served the Orokin as a mercenary with similarly described battle strategy that the Tenno themselves use presently.