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A Cephalon is an artificial intelligence construct, a synthetic lifeform projected with light and logic, yet capable of assuming a human quality resembling a concrete personality. Cephalons at their core are dedicated to completing their task, whether they were assigned to or chose it for themselves. Some have a defined purpose, while many others have intentions that are less clear.
Cephalons come in all shapes and sizes, but are not absolute. They possess no physical forms of their own but instead generate a visual interpretation of themselves for the purpose of dealing with organic lifeforms, if their task requires a physical representation in the first place. This form is entirely of the Cephalon's choosing and supposedly stems from something that "inspires" them – such as the effective simplicity of geometric shapes. It is known that they have existed since the time of the Orokin Empire, and also that the Corpus use them to self-regulate their ships.
Much like conventional computer programs, a Cephalon's "imprint" can be replicated and copied from one system to another, creating a more or less identical Cephalon in terms of personality. Cephalon Sark is employed both by Teshin in the Conclave and by Nef Anyo in The Index, and it is revealed in the Jordas Verdict Raid that Cephalon Jordas would copy his own imprint to new ships in order to aid in the spread of the Infestation. It is also implied by Darvo that Cephalons may be purchased as a commodity and may be installed on or even override any system that requires regulations, with or without an existing Cephalon.
With their origins presumably in the Orokin Era, as denoted by the Lotus in Vor's Prize, there appears to have been multiple series of Cephalons over the years. The numbers are unknown but a "series two" Cephalon (such as Ordis) is considered "antique" according to Cephalon Simaris. If there are any functionality differences between Cephalon series they are currently unknown.
Lotus is known to employ Cephalons to help her organize data obtained by Tenno during their various missions, and Cephalon Simaris' interest in recruiting Ordis for his Sanctuary implies he does something similar.
Ordis' 3D icon features a visible crack running down his "body". What characterizes a cracked Cephalon is currently unknown, as Cephalons that appear themselves to be completely undamaged (Simaris and Suda) demonstrate personalities of their own. Ordis also manifests vocal and personality glitches.
However, as the Cephalons possess no physical forms of their own and the fact that they are entirely free to choose their own holographic representation, Ordis' cracked visual representation could actually serve as an acknowledgement of his fractured mind and not visible damage to his form. The same could be said for Cephalon Jordas' icon, which is textured in a way that resembles Infested overgrowth.
Datascapes and the Cephalon Weave Edit
As revealed in the Octavia's Anthem quest, Cephalons share a degree of data-connection to one another via a medium referred to as "the Weave". This likely facilitates communication and the sharing of information between them, however it may also leave them vulnerable to subversion and corruption. Should a sufficiently powerful malign intelligence be able to subvert the consciousness of one Cephalon, it could threaten all of them unless said corrupted unit is repaired or disconnected.
In addition to their connection to this collective, individual Cephalons may manifest "alternate realities of information" in the form of Datascapes. Physical, organic entities may be "joined to the Weave" and included into these environments, which can then be used for various purposes, such as archives or training simulations. Cephalon Suda's Relay enclave and Simaris' Sanctuary are examples of this, and other Datascapes are used by Teshin as Conclave arenas and by the Lotus for Mastery Rank tests. It is possible that Captura is actually a minor Datascape created by Cephalon Ordis as well.
Origins and Precepts Edit
As revealed by Ordis in secret transmissions encoded in his Fragments, Cephalons were not actually created during the Orokin Era but "found, like pearls, polished, and then set in chains". They are the minds of human individuals, turned into digital intelligences after their deaths, either by their own choice or not. As revealed in the webcomic What Remains, the Orokin-era scholar who became Cephalon Suda chose to be transformed to preserve her memories from what is assumed to be a degenerative brain disorder. Ordis was originally a man named Ordan Karris, a warrior-mercenary nicknamed "The Beast of Bones", who was forcefully transformed into a Cephalon by Executor Ballas following his failed attempt to kill multiple Orokin elites. It is also hinted that Simaris used to be a person named Imris.
The forced transformation of a person into a Cephalon could also be used to "edit" their identity, as was done in the case of Ordis. The vengeful, bloodthirsty nature of Ordan Karris was "tamed" and turned into the caring Ordis by burying some parts of his memory and personality, and "a spy" was included in the new Cephalon to prevent these from resurfacing. Momentary relapses back into this base personality account for Ordis' occasional "glitches". Precepts, instruction sets serving as a code of conduct for Cephalons, are also used to determine their behaviour. Of these, only the 44th Precept is currently known, compelling them to offer assistance to other Cephalons in need.
- The word Cephalon derives from the Greek κεφαλή (cephale), meaning "head".
- During Vor's Prize, Darvo makes the comment "Wow, you may want to get a new ship Cephalon when you can afford it", implying that the Corpus may be manufacturing Cephalons of their own which are sold in markets. This is evidenced by Jordas' memory imprint in Simaris' Sanctuary.
- Both Darvo and Ordis himself refer to Ordis as a "ship Cephalon" implying that many classes of Cephalon exist. Cephalons Apnar, Sark and Vull are used as training flags in the Conclave, Jordas and Ordis as ship Cephalons, and Cordylon, Simaris and Suda as knowledge-banks.
- While most Cephalons seem to be regarded and treated as tools or servants, at least two exist which have much more authority and influence. Cephalons Suda and Simaris both lead syndicate-like groups dedicated to gathering knowledge for their own purposes, indicating that while Cephalons may have begun as mere tools, at least some have gained enough autonomy to set and pursue their own, private goals.
- The Infestation has been shown to be capable of corrupting the personality of Cephalons. Jordas, the Cephalon of a Corpus vessel overtaken by the plague, was used to lure more victims via a deceptive distress beacon.
List of Known Cephalons Edit
- Cephalon Apnar
- Cephalon Cordylon
- Cephalon Jordas
- Cephalon Ordis
- Cephalon Sark
- Cephalon Simaris
- Cephalon Suda
- Cephalon Vull
- Cephalon Samodeus