Episode 1 – Zer0 Sum
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD
Rhys is a Hyperion lackey who idolizes the now-deceased Handsome Jack. Fiona is a con artist who works over anyone she can with the help of Sasha and Felix, her sister and mentor respectively. Tales from the Borderlands begins late in the game’s story, with Rhys and Fiona captured and bound by a mysterious stranger who wants to know their story. The game is told from both characters’ viewpoints as they recount their journey to the stranger, explaining how their paths crossed and how they’ve ended up where they are now.
Zer0 Sum shows Rhys expecting a promotion at Hyperion, only to be demoted to janitorial duty by his nemesis and new boss, Hugo Vasquez. Disgruntled by the unexpected turn of events, Rhys and his buddy Vaughn decide to go to Pandora to intercept a deal Vasquez has for a vault key. Assisting them from Hyperion is their friend Yvette, sending supplies and equipment and even a Loader Bot as they need it. Vaughn “procures” the necessary funds for the vault key, and the duo goes to meet up with August and Sasha, the pair with the vault key that Vasquez wants.
Just as the exchange is made, Rhys drops the vault key and unintentionally exposes it to be a fake, surprising not just he and Vaughn, but August as well. The fake key was crafted by Fiona, Sasha (who is really her little sister), and their mentor in thievery, Felix. Before anyone has time to react to the revelation of the vault key being a fabrication, Zer0 (from Borderlands 2) crashes through the wall during a battle with Bossanova – it’s essentially a boss battle you watch from the sidelines – who grabs the suitcase of money before taking off in the other direction. Felix and the girls make a hasty getaway, leaving an angry August behind in the rubble of the battle.
The trio reaches their getaway caravan to see Rhys and Vaughn attempting to steal it, and eventually the group reaches an uneasy alliance in order to track down and procure the money. Rhys tries calling Yvette back at Hyperion to see if she can track the suitcase, only to find out they’ve been blacklisted from the company and she can’t help them. After Vaughn got the caravan’s navigation tech working he was able to track Bossanova’s location; an old Atlas warehouse filled with bandits. The team sees Zer0 hack his way into the compound, and figure they have to follow suit if they want the money back.
Felix stays with the caravan in case a speedy retreat is needed, while the other four try sneaking into the warehouse. Rhys and Sasha get separated from Fiona and Vaughn, and the former two end up hacking into the warehouse’s security system. They get ambushed by a group of skags when Zer0 appears and saves them, asking the pair to let him know if they see a Gortys core. Meanwhile Fiona and Vaughn get enlisted in the evening’s death race, hosted by Bossanova. The prize for winning is the suitcase full of money. Fiona is confident Felix can open the case without Vaughn, until Vaughn mentions it will explode if improperly tampered with.
Rhys, Sasha, and Zer0 take a lift up to the rink where the race is going on, and Zer0 recommences his battle with Bossanova. The case gets tossed around a lot during the battle and race until Felix appears in the caravan and catches it. Fiona jumps onto it and hops inside, and Felix pulls a gun on her. While focusing on keeping Fiona at bay he crashes the caravan, and she gets pinned under some debris while he tries to escape. She is given the choice to warn Felix about the bomb, shoot him, or let him explode. Whatever you choose, both Felix and the money are gone.
Meanwhile, Zer0 has killed Bossanova and reports back to Moxxi, again discussing the mysterious Gortys that he is no closer to finding.
Rhys, Fiona, Vaughn, and Sasha are regrouping after the battle when Rhys falls through a pit and stumbles upon some old Atlas equipment. The other three jump down to join him, and they find a hidden passage that leads to two parts of the Gortys Core. The pieces fly together and display a giant 3D map throughout the room, when suddenly a hologram of Handsome Jack appears and says you’ve found the Gortys Project, which will lead you to a vault. And then he’ll probably kill you.