This is my love letter to Digital Extremes and everyone who contributed to the making of Warframe along with its amazing story and community. Thank you all for both making the game and pouring your hearts and souls into it. Warframe pulled me through the darkest point in my life in 2019 when I was contemplating suicide at the time. After starting therapy, I made a promise to myself that I would write this story as an act of gratitude.
That said, Transference dives deep into depression, self-forgiveness, and the tenuous relationship between dreams and reality. It also heavily examines the nature of the Tenno, which means that there are major spoilers. In fact, quite possibly all the spoilers as of The Heart of Deimos (U29.5) at the time of writing.
I had intended to wait for the release of the Duviri Paradox before rewriting Transference to align it better with official lore. But due to COVID-19 and the Duviri Paradox getting delayed until Digital Extremes can return to the office and do it justice; I had to make do with whatever lore I could find and piece them all together. (A big thanks to /r/ WarframeLore/ and the various wikis that facilitated it). I’ve since followed the advice to go with my gut, so I hope I did it justice.
- The story takes place between The Jovian Concord & The Old Blood. Or U25.3
- The Canon Operator is mentioned once. Following DE’s designation, her name is Mara.
- The Elder Queen is dead, following the ending of The War Within.
- British English is used.
- Dialogue VIA Transference is italicised.
- Operators when their Warframes are treated as the same entity.
The first chapter is below. You can read the rest as a
“The redirection to a substitute… of emotions that were originally felt in childhood.”
In the alabaster halls of the Orokin, golden ribbons fluttered among light-wreathed confetti. Beneath them walked the heroes of The War, each of them monstrous golems of steel-wreathed flesh, piloted by nightmares born beyond all known stars. But as terrible as they were, here, in these high places filled to the brim with cheering crowds of perfect beings, these Tenno were celebrated. Long was the war against the Golden Spear. But the War had finally been won by the blood of nameless armies levied across the Galaxy. By the blood of loyal Dax, numberless cloned soldiers, and beings of failed science and deviled-magics, the Sentients had finally been defeated.
The Seven addressed the Tenno Honor guard. Each of them handpicked by Executor Ballas himself. Each of them taken from across every theatre of The War.
Representing the Bonefields of Pluto was a Mesa. The Warframe looked up at its gods with lidless eyes, boiling with hatred. It was inspired by a child who had lost both friends and surrogate in the name of her masters’ divinity. She waited. Blocking out the lilting voices of her inconsequential gods as they droned on in self-serving praise. She waited. Her trigger finger twitching eagerly at her sides, impatient for the signal from her hollow surrogate.
“What are we waiting for?” the girl whispered, tapping into her Transference.
“Patience, my child,” replied the Lotus, in a voice that made the girl's heart both ache and rise with fury.
“I endured when they tortured us. Endured when you were put to death. Endured when we killed and died for a cause that was never ours.” Mesa's trigger fingers twitched. “My patience wears thin.”
From the corners of her Warframe's eyeless sight, Dax loyal to Ballas made their exit. In doing so, they left behind the guilty to the mercy of what was about to happen. Then, as the beat of Naga drums announced the presentation of Savior’s Silks, a voice rang out to all that were linked to it by Transference.
“As we were promised,” the Lotus said, echoing to all Tenno throughout the galaxy who listened half-asleep from the reservoirs of Lua. “Revenge is ours.”
The final beat of the Naga drums reverberated through the gilded halls. A brief moment of silence followed before it was filled by the drawing of weapons. Then a mix of terror and disbelief befell the ceremony as the heroes of the hour showed their masters exactly the sort of monsters they had made. They opened fire.
Ribbons of blood were torn from the gathered crowds. Screams sang out like a grotesque choir as Warframe and Tenno alike were set free at last to revel in their bloodlust. Mesa fired wildly at first, then, at the behest of its Operator, launched herself towards the podiums where an Executor of the Council watched on in indifference. Mesa locked in place as the girl sprang forth from her Warframe, materializing a curved, void-laced dagger in her hands.
She brought the blade to the throat of the Executor, tracing its length upon his silvered skin and drawing a thread of crimson upon it. “Gaze upon your hall,” she said. “Sear it to memory. So you can take it with you to hell.”
He did so, watching as other Executors were not granted a similar mercy of time. “Poetic,” he responded with irreverence. “To be brought to our end, by the very ones who were supposed to be our future.” The Executor did not flinch, merely observing as his golden halls became slick with blood and sick.
“Our future was never yours to take,” the girl sneered, her dead void-touched eyes gazing ahead into the carnage. “Margulis asked. Once. What I wanted to be.”
She yanked him up by his headdress. A smile curled upon her lips as she studied his impassive features with her dead silver eyes. He was one of the Seven who had consigned her second mother to the Jade Light. A streak of cruel vindication rose in her chest. "Poetic," the girl mimicked. “I told her that I wanted to be Justice.” Her smile widened as his head tumbled down the burnished gold steps to his throne.
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