Volt’s neural sensors briefly switched off then on again, to simulate blinking. He appeared to be hanging from a wall. It was only vaguely familiar to him, as if he had only ever slept in that room. After a few more blinks, the Warframe realised he was inside the Arsenal inside his ship, where his Operator stored all the things he currently wasn’t using. Below him was the more habitable area of the ship where he normally spent his time whenever the Operator was controlling him.
Opposite him was a Titania, fast asleep, minding her own business. Volt remembered when his operator took him out to obtain her. The first two missions had been simple, but the third one had nearly gotten them both killed. In fact, they got out by “the skin of their teeth”, whatever that meant.
Vaguely amused by that memory, Volt’s attention snapped back to the other hanging Warframes. The only one not present was Loki, the Operator’s latest prize. Volt couldn’t help but feel a hint of envy, as Loki was all the Operator had used in recent times, even taking him on a “super secret” mission. Every other super secret mission, the Operator had taken Volt. Well, except for that one with the feral Chroma. Frost was always a better choice for solo missions.
Something caught Volt’s attention. The Titania opposite him moved. She too blinked her neural sensors, looking as confused as a biomechanical body could look. The other Warframes were doing the same, waking up from their off states.
Volt wanted to ask what was going on, but found he couldn’t. It made sense, he normally spoke through his Operator and through Transferance, and even then, he would conform to the Operator’s wishes. Something though was missing. Volt could not feel the Operator, and neither could the other Warframes. Worry was beginning to set in. After a moment of hesitation, Volt pulled himself off the device that conmected him to the arsenal and dropped down to the rest of the ship below.
“Operator!?! No. You’re not the Operator…” Ordis’s voice echoed around. “Silly Warframe, don’t make me shoot you out the airlock! Go back to the Arsenal!”
Volt tried to explain but his lack of voice made that impossible.
“Oh, who am I kidding? You’re like, the Operator’s KzzztPetKzzzt favourite Warframe. The Operator would kill me if I damaged you! Trinity on the other hand…” Ordis’s voice trailed off. He was clearly very upset.
Volt looked around the ship, then headed to the communication device normally used by the Operator to talk to other Tenno. He switched it to the Clan chat then typed a message so Ordis could see it.
“Where is Operator?”
At the sight of those words, Ordis almost broke down, as if he was crying.
“I don’t know, Warframe, the Operator… Wasn’t an Operator any more… The automated systems… They rejected the Operator… Not an Operator any more… I’m… Waiting in orbit around Earth… Waiting for him to be an Operator again! I hope he comes back!”
Ordis whimpered a little, then changed his tone. “What are you doing awake, Warframe?”
Volt thought for a moment. He wasn’t really sure. The Operator had been gone for a while, too long.
“Hm,” Ordis crackled and flickered. “Maybe you are more alive than I thought. Not just a Kzzzt infested husk Kzzzt Warframe. Just like…”
“That Feral Chroma we saw on Europa?” Volt typed in the chat box.
“No. When you got impaled by the Shadow Stalker,” Ordis explained. “Although that Chroma works too. I always believed that you Warframes had your own… Personalities. Even mass-produced Kzzzt puppets Kzzzt models like you. You have your own minds, which is how Transferance works between you. I think. Maybe.”
“Plus, I am standing here communicating with you, Cephalon Ordis.” Volt typed. “Where is the Operator now?”
Ordks sighed loudly. “I dropped the Operator off on Earth. Didn’t want the automated systems to Kzzt MAIM AND MURDER Kzzt harm them.”
“What about Loki?”
“I don’t know, Warframe.”
Volt thought for a moment. Behind him, other Warframes had appeared, having broke free from the Arsenal, all of them as worried as Volt was.
“No, no, no!” Ordis abruptly panicked. “None of you should be awake! Frost, Titania, Valkyr, all of you get back into the Arsenal!”
“Calm down, Ordis,” Volt hastily typed. “We are all concerned about the Operator.”
Ordis’s panic died down. “I… I guess. Well, I could do with some company. You can stick around and stop me going insane with failure and loneliness. As long as you all go back into the Arsenal when the Operator comes back. Fair?”
“Fair :)” Volt typed. “Cephalon Ordis, what do you wish to talk about?”
Ordis almost squealed with excitement at the thought of beings wanting to talk to him, even if they were just metal suits.
“Warfame, I am so glad you asked!”