Warframe Lore: The Story of Alad V/The Timeline of Modern Warframe

Warframe13 - Warframe Lore: The Story of Alad V/The Timeline of Modern Warframe

Dear sweet baby Lotus, this took too long to make. DE I hope you read this.

After discussing the nature of Warframe technology in one of my prior posts, I gave a pretty good reply to a fellow redditor about Alad V's research. After doing so, I decided to make a full post about Alad V and his progression.

You can view my prior most and the reply I spoke about here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Warframe/comments/burhgr/warframe_lore_how_many_warframes_actually_saw/

I would like to express first that I believe Alad V is a severely overused character. Almost every major event in the modern timeline of Warframe involves Alad in some way. In writing this post I hope to shine some light on how overused of a character he is, but at the end I will also express where his character currently stands and how I hope to see the character used in the future.

So let's begin:

At the time of the Player Tenno's awakening at the start of the game, Alad V is a member of the Corpus board of the Directors. This means he not only functions as a CEO of the multiple companies under his name, he also functions as a high priest in the Corpus religion. Alad's holdings comprised several major cities in the Jovian system, making Alad governor of one of the most densely populated planetary systems in Origin. Additionally, Alad would hold a supreme amount of economic power over every faction and sub-faction in the system, as Jupiter is known to be one of the main sources of starship fuel in Origin, and the Corpus are the only known faction with the technology and resources enough to harvest said fuel. This alone made Alad a very powerful individual.

Beyond Alad's personal holdings, however, Alad held an important title. Alad was assigned as the Head of Grineer Relations for the Corpus Empire. In this position Alad would preside over all Corpus-Grineer trade. This was a crucial aspect of both empires' economies, as the Grineer relied upon Corpus technology to operate their cybernetics, and the Corpus drew an immense amount of revenue from these trades.


Operation Sling-Stone is an undeniably historic event in the modern history of Warframe, as not only did it see the utter and swift decimation of the Grineer's greatest military assets (13 Mobile Battlestations destroyed across Origin in a single, coordinated strike over two days), it was also the moment every faction in the Origin system knew without a shadow of a doubt the Tenno had returned. Sling-Stone is to Warframe as the Battle of Yavin is to Star Wars (where they destroyed the death star is the AD/BC of Star Wars lore), and from this point forward I will relate all events in their timely relation to Operation Sling-Stone with the term, "After Sling Stone," or, "ASS."


Alad V witnessed the events of Operation Sling-Stone. Realizing the Tenno were without a doubt awake, Alad V closed a deal with the Grineer where the Corpus agreed to hide the location of a crucial Grineer stronghold on Phobos from the Tenno. However, upon capturing and interrogating key Corpus personnel, the Tenno learned of Alad's deal. To keep his end of the bargain, Alad played the first of many gambles: he encrypted and hid the traded information for the location of the Grineer stronghold on board Corpus trading vessels, and split the fleet into three small flotillas. Then, Alad sent the vessels into the Void. This move was seen as extremely risky by the Corpus Board, with the Chairman himself, Frohd Bek, expressing his hesitation at exposing such valuable assets to the dangerous environment of the Void.

Twelve Days ASS

The Tenno were unswayed, however, and twelve days ASS, the Tenno launched Operation Arid Fear with the objective of locating Alad's vessels and securing the data.

Eighteen Days ASS

Six days later, the Tenno had located and raided every Corpus ship, discovering the location of the Grineer stronghold on Phobos.

This failure simultaneously enraged the Grineer and drew the eye of Alad's fellow Directors. Tensions began to boil between the two empires, and low-ranking Grineer warlords began attacking Corpus shipping in retaliation.


Then, three months ASS, a team of archeaologists under the employment of Alad V stumbled upon an ancient Tenno tomb with a perfectly-preserved Warframe still in cryostasis. However, there was one major issue with this discovery: the tomb had been uncovered on Grineer territory on Mars. Acting Grineer commander for Mars General Sargus Ruk sent an immediate communique to the Corpus Directors demanding the cryopod be delivered back to the Grineer; to strengthen his demand, Ruk sent a Galleon Fleet to the Gradivus sector, blockading the Corpus ships transporting the Tenno cryopod. This was further complicated by the presence of another Corpus Director, Nef Anyo, who was present within the Mars system.

Tensions mounted, and soon the Gradivus Dilemma sparked the beginning of the Machine War (AKA the Grineer/Corpus War).

The Gradivus Dilemma instantly spread to neighboring nodes, and within hours the Grineer had launched a full-scale planetary invasion. For six days Grineer and Corpus ships from across Origin made their way to Mars to secure the Tenno cryopod. The Tenno themselves fought on all sides as mercenaries, capitalizing on both nation's open war chests. The fiercest fighting was seen in the Martialis sector, where the Grineer and Corpus fought twice to a brutal stalemate (in all, four out of the six days of the invasion were spent at Martialis). Finally, six days after the start of the Gradivus Dilemma, the Grineer broke the Corpus forces, and the Invasion of Mars had ended in Grineer victory. The Grineer sacked the remaining civilian enclaves, and the population was enslaved.

It is during this Invasion of Mars that a lone treasure hunter is contacted (kidnapped) by the Lotus because they'd made an interesting discovery. A rando-nobody named "Maroo" had stolen an an ancient codex inside an Orokin ruin. This Arcane Codex described a strange device housed deep within the derelict, and the Lotus was interested in said device. Unfortunately, Maroo had sold pieces of the Arcane Codex to both sides during the Invasion of Mars, and was being hunted by both sides for the other pieces. So the Lotus sends a Tenno cell to procure the Codex and find the machine. Upon finding the Arcane Machine, a Tenno (the player character) touches the machine. In response, the Arcane Machine sends a strange message out into space: "All is silent and calm. Hushed and empty is the womb of the sky." No one knows what the message meant… ((In hindsight, the Arcane Machine ws a piece of Natah that played the Sentient resurrection message)).

Three Months ASS – Post-Gradivus

Alad V, however, safe atop his throne in the clouds of Jupiter, had managed to smuggle the Tenno cryopod away from the invasion, and now had a pristine, original, and most importantly, living Warframe to do with whatever he wished. Where the Grineer had won a tactical victory over Mars, Alad himself had won a strategic victory.

Allow me to explain why this was such a pivotal victory.

It is written in a report from Vor (who was still an admiral at the time) to the Twin Queens that when he captured a sleeping Tenno and dissected the Warframe, the moment a mortal wound was delivered the internals of the Warframe, the internals disintegrated, leaving only the hardest metal parts of the exoskeleton. This shows that the Orokin designed a failsafe in the Helminth virus that prevented anyone from capturing and reverse engineering a Warframe of their own.

The reason Valkyr did not disintegrate when she was dissected by Alad V and his team was because Alad had already dissected several captured Warframes before her (I suspect Rhino but cannot confirm), and was aware of the disintegration protocol. Thus Alad was extremely careful to skin Valkyr alive, removing her carapace and internals piece-by-piece to prevent Valkyr from dying and losing her valuable technology. This experiment gave Alad the information to develop a rudimentary recreation of Transference and Helminth. This recreation saw the release of the first Warframe-Level combat unit since the Orokin Empire: Zanuka.

Zanuka was indescribably valuable to the Corpus Directors. In Zanuka the Corpus saw the physical embodiment of their Orokin inheritance – the first fully successful reverse-engineering of Orokin technology, and of a Warframe no less. Zanuka's creation redeemed all of Alad's past mistakes in the eyes of his fellow Directors. Among them, Alad won the admiration of all but two: Nef Anyo, who grew jealous over Alad's success after investing billions into the Fortuna colony (mentioned retroactively in the "Partnership" audio logs), and Frohd Bek, who grew wary after the Board expressed desire to replace Bek with Alad.

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This led to Frohd Bek to attempt an assassination of Alad V, however the ships he sent to bombard Alad's city were lost to the infestation en-route. With his assets lost and reputation running thin, Frohd sent a secret communique to the Lotus, revealing the existence of the Zanuka unit and promising to further reveal its location if the Tenno recovered his assets from the infestation. This was a win-win deal, so the Lotus accepted.

Days later, the Tenno infiltrated Alad's city on Jupiter and destroyed Zanuka.

This was a disaster for the Corpus. The loss of Zanuka represented the loss of centuries of Orokin archaeological research, and destroyed Alad's reputation among the Corpus Board of Directors. In reality, however, Alad had only lost a single asset. Alad still possessed all his research into Warframe technology – into Transference, and Helminth.

Three Months ASS – Post-Zanuka

It is at this point Alad's story branches into two paths of research: Technocyte, and Sentient. The Sentient portion of Alad's research was only recently added in Update 25, near 5-and-a-half years after the Hunt for Alad V (the story of the above paragraph). So, to make this coherent I will try my best to cover each as I believe they best coincide in the timeline.

If you wish to follow along with what i'm referencing with new lore, here is every Partnership audio log:


With the start of the Machine War raging across Origin, Alad V goes silent in three months ASS. Spending his days pouring over the confusing results of the Valkyr dissections, Alad does not yet quite understand Helminth, nor does he fully comprehend the secret of Transference. Nevertheless, Alad begins experiments with samples of the Technocyte Virus recovered from Valkyr. Conducting the experiments in specially-sealed research vessels, Alad undertakes a deep exploration of the Helminth virus.

It is at this same time Alad is approached by an old colleague, Regus (here we're getting into the new lore from U25). Regus had apparently been thought dead for a long time, yet one day Regus mysteriously approached Alad in his throne room to reveal he had uncovered an incredible piece of Old War technology. Alad inquired what Regus' discovery was, and Regus showed Alad the perfectly-preserved remains of an ancient Ropalolyst – a legendary Sentient combat form. Only this carcass was not a feral Eidolon, nor had it been driven gaunt by Tenno void energy. This was a treasure trove of information, and Regus needed an Investor. So Alad agreed. Alad traded Regus access to the Corpus' system-wide data network, "SysComm," in exchange for the carcass. He then designed a top-secret containment facility on the edge of his floating city on Jupiter, as far down into the clouds as he could build, and instated a no-fly-zone around the containment facility.

Both of these events occurred between three months and one year ASS.



Then, in eleven months ASS, one of the specimens aboard Alad's Technocyte research vessel orbiting Eris broke free. The infestation quickly overwhelmed the ship's defenses. Alad himself was overtaken in the outbreak, infested with his own modified strain of the Helminth, which began using Alad as the host for a new Infested Hive Mind. This Technocyte strain, known as the "Mutalist," had been modified to consume inorganic as well as organic materials. With this, the Mutalist devoured the research vessel's escort vessels, and quickly spread to the planet surface.

This event did not go unnoticed by the Tenno, and, as the Tenno were the only ones powerful enough to stop an Infestation of this scale, organized an Operation to strike back at the Mutalist. However, even the Tenno were fit to only contain the Mutalist, guarding the Eris system's borders to ensure the Infestation swarming the planet did not spread to other systems.

Year 1, Month 4 ASS – PATIENT ZERO

This containment lasted only for a time, when on one-year-and-four-months ASS, the Mutalist broke the Tenno containment and spread across the entirety of Origin. The Tenno scrambled, uniting with every major faction temporarily to stop the Mutalist Incursions. Five days later, the Tenno had triangulated the Mutalist Hive Mind's host position, and with it, Alad V. Traveling to the Technocyte research vessel, the Tenno destroyed the vessel and crippled the Mutalist's Spawning Hives, dispatching a Warframe the Mutalist had unfortunately recovered from a planetside tomb and devoured.

Year 1, Month 9 ASS – TUBEMEN OF REGOR

Five months pass. One-year-and-nine-months-ASS. The Tenno continue the containment of the Mutalist on Eris, striking into the system whenever a new hive is located. Alad slowly wins control over himself back from the weakening Mutalist, and in one-year-and-nine-months ASS gains enough control to desire his old self back.

At this same time the Tenno locate a major Grineer genetic research facility on one of the moons of Uranus. Grineer researcher Tyl Regor had made significant strides in genetic research, and had potentially developed a cure for the Mutalist Technocyte. This "potentially" was enough for Alad, and he contacted the Lotus, the only individual who might have been willing to help, and asked her to retrieve the cure – which may or may not have existed – for him, while Alad could offer nothing in return. Alad, a Corpus Director, a literal Bishop of Greed… Was asking for charity.

Fellow Director Nef Anyo caught wind of the ordeal and, spotting an opportunity for advancement, the Prophet of Profit offered a counter to the Tenno: destroy the Grineer cloning facility and be richly rewarded. The Lotus, acknowledging the benefit of both courses of action, allowed the Tenno themselves to decide. Miraculously, the Tenno discovered the cure and delivered it to Alad, choosing charity over greed and accepting Alad's redemption, a changed man who had realized how bad he'd messed up.

Year 1, Month 9 ASS – Post-Cure

Cured of his infestation after a year of living as the host to an Infested Hive Mind, Alad returned to his home city on Jupiter. Upon returning to Jupiter, Alad was approached by his old compatriot, Regus. Bursting into a meeting, Regus adamantly reminded Alad of his Investment, which to the Corpus was akin to an oath, and expressed his desire for sweeping changes to the Sentient research program. Alad was taken back. This was not the Regus Alad knew. The things Regus was suggesting were near anathema to the Corpus. Regus was proposing… Sentient Amalgamation with humans. Alad denied Regus' requests, but, as he looked upon Regus, Alad swore that face was no longer human.

Alad had entered a partnership with Sentients, and now the fake-Regus was using Alad's own religion to strongarm him into the contract. Alad would not stand for this. Not after everything he'd been through. Mustering as many Crewmen as he could manage with his fiercely depleted resources, Alad set out to destroy the Mimic and any trace of his Sentient partnership.

Yet as the Condors deployed from Alad's hangars, the ancient Ropalolyst awoke. It took flight, rising from the Jovian clouds and met Alad's forces. It tore through the Condors, swatting the last of Alad's forces from the sky. Arriving at the peak of Alad's ivory tower, the Ropalolyst perched above Alad's throne. Alad had nothing left with which to resist. He was to make Amalgams under the watchful eye of a Sentient.

Year 2 ASS – NATAH – "The Year of Quality"

At this same time, something stirred beneath the oceans of Uranus' moon, Desdemona. An ancient tomb had been disturbed by the Grineer, and an old enemy reached out to its daughter. The events of Natah occur in tandem with the events described above with Alad and the Ropalolyst. Hunhow tries to convince to Lotus of her true identity, but Lotus denies her old self and seals her father away temporarily.

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It is during this time the Tenno begin raiding Alad's Amalgam research facilities to stop his Sentient research. Despite their success, Alad always seems to make continual progress. This is because the Ropalolyst is giving Alad pieces of itself to experiment with on Amalgams, and the Ropalolyst tries to keep itself a secret from the Tenno and Lotus (Natah does not reconnect to the Sentient Hive Mind until after Apostacy, mind you, so she would not know of the Ropalolyst's existence either).

Year 2, Month 6 ASS – THE SECOND DREAM

The date is two-and-a-half years ASS, and despite the Tenno lighting a volcano on top of him six months prior, Hunhow is still very much alive and reawoken. Hunhow knew Natah had betrayed the Sentients when the "All is silent and calm" message woke him up but the Tenno were still awake. So, because if Hunhow wanted something done he'd have to do it himself, he allies with the Stalker.

Because of Alad's secret Parternship with the Sentients at this time, Alad knew what was happening. Deciding to repay the Lotus and Tenno for saving him from the Mutalist, Alad hides a secret message for the Lotus, telling her to contact him. The Lotus finds his message and does as is requested. Alad tells her of the pickle he is in, and provides the Lotus information on the location of Hunhow (because of the Orokin's reprogramming of Natah, Hunhow didn't know where Lotus was, and Lotus did not know where Hunhow was). The Lotus sends the Tenno to her father's fragment, only to be unexpectedly counter-hacked by Hunhow, allowing Hunhow to break through the Orokin's firewall and discover the Lotus' location on Lua.

"Curious to see how this all ends," Alad tracks the Tenno's progress during the Second Dream, hoping to be rid of his Ropalolyst overlord. However, Hunhow discovers Alad's involvement and orders the Ropalolyst (who is pretty low on the Sentient totem pole) to slap Alad back into shape. This is why Alad has to abandon us during the Second Dream.

Year 2, Month 8 ASS – SHADOW DEBT

Shortly after, the Stalker sends his Acolytes to track down Alad as revenge for helping the Tenno. The Tenno dispatch them in the search for Maiming Strike.

Year 3 – "The Year of Content"

Year 4 – "The Year of Open World Warframe"

Year 4, Month 6 ASS – APOSTASY

Natah is finally released/unbound/extracted/howeveritworks from the overmind of Lotus by Ballas. Being a machine, Natah instantly reconnects with all her fragments scattered across the system.

Year 5 – THE SACRIFICE – "They Year of Open World Warframe Part 2"

Five years ASS: the events of the Sacrifice take place.

Year 6 – THE JOVIAN CONCORD – "The Year of (Hopefully) Railjack"

Six years ASS: Natah, preparing for the Sentient invasion of Origin to begin the New War, reveals the location of the Ropalolyst to the Tenno. Eager to acquire combat data on the Tenno against a true Sentient combat form, Natah sacrifices the Ropalolyst, a key Sentient pawn, for soon its position would be meaningless as hundreds more will swarm the skies of every planet in Origin. Its sacrifice "will breed a new way for a new kind."

Yet by killing the Ropalolyst, we free Alad from his evil partnership, and at last offer a broken man a path to true redemption.

WHEW. What a ride. That's my best effort at making sense of Warframe's six-year journey. I've been here through it all, and I can say that Warframe's story is so darn good.

However, I definetely believe that Warframe's story was at its strongest when it focused on community events like Sling-Stone, Gradivus, Breeding Grounds, and so on. Those things changed the entire landscape of the starchart. Don't get me wrong, I love Warframe's quest system, but I really believe we should get more Operations with the New War just to make the world be alive again.

Now, Alad… This is a character that has gone from the highest highs to the lowest of lows. This man was once a king, and now we are only just seeing Alad be a free man for the first time in over five years.

Charting Alad's progression, Alad moves from a greedy, arrogant, slimy deceiver to a distraught, broken man. He instigated the start of the Machine War – we have him to blame for lighting the Grineer and Corpus' fuse. His life's work was stolen from him with the destruction of Zanuka. He destroyed everything for himself in the quest for power with the Mutalist. Finally, he was forced to keep a straight face by evil allies he should not have made while working to undermine them all along.

Alad has been involved in almost every single major event in the modern Warframe timeline, and many people see this as a negative.

I do not… But I also do.

Here's the thing: no new player would EVER in a MILLION YEARS work out the timeline I just listed here. Not even veteran players who've been around since day 1 can make sense of this timeline – and, heck, I might not even be RIGHT about it all.

THIS is Warframe's problem: we only get half the story. NOTHING of what I just described that happened before Natah is available anywhere in the game for new players to experience. Sling Stone, Arid Fear, Gradivus Dilemma, Breeding Grounds, all of these are not in the game but the game expects you to know what happened in them, who the major characters were, and why things are the way they are in the order they happened. That's what makes a story. Thing is, they don't exist. So Alad V is nothing more than the Jupiter boss node for new players who just happens to show up during the Second Dream again. There is nothing that shows the REASON for why he's doing what he's doing, and the only way for anyone to know his reasons is for them to have been playing Warframe since DAY ONE, have not missed a SINGLE EVENT where he was important, and PUT THE PIECES TOGETHER THEMSELVES.

Nobody wants to do that.

Which is why I did it here for everyone because I have way too much time on my hands.


Alad V is one of the most influencial characters in the modern Warframe timeline with a fantastic character progression, but his story is half-missing because everything he did happened in community events which cannot be experienced nor researched by new players. This needs to change to give context for why the modern Warframe timeline is the way it is, because Alad V has influenced almost every modern major event in the game.

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