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Tannis has a tenuous grip on sanity. She often abruptly changes the subject of her conversations and appears to have developed emotional attachments to her ECHO device and to two chairs. In Borderlands 2, it is also revealed she has become extremely sociophobic, popping a blood vessel when someone says hello to her in the street. She also has a very strange set of morals, demonstrating scientific curiosity towards horrific experimentation on people.
She is the leading expert on Eridians and the Vault, and as such is a person often consulted in missions. Her knowledge is vast but is presented in an extremely whimsical way. Tannis also records much of her life into her ECHO device, then promptly hides the recordings, paying characters to retrieve them.
Tannis has also displayed rather autistic behavior, especially ones associated with Asperger's, and strangely on the notes described in one of her missions. Being dependent on repetition and a comfort zone, being socially dysfunctional, emotional problems, and difficulty expressing empathy yet still possessing it. In addition, her considerable skill in research and her devotion to her interests are also features of the condition. Tannis, however, suffered from multiple traumas and prolonged isolation on Pandora, as described in many of her echo logs, which likely violently agitated her condition, causing many of these factors to be violently exaggerated and more unstable.
Patricia Tannis is a researcher, scientist, and archaeologist once employed by the Dahl Corporation to unearth details about the mysterious Vault. Over the time of her research, the harshness of Pandora and the deaths of most of her colleagues led to her developing psychosis. She became completely numb to violence, and her loneliness caused her to impart personality onto the ECHO Recorder she uses to log her progress. When rebooting the ECHO network, the instructions she gives are described as being in the form of "an argument with either an invisible cellmate or a rat." From the first time Tannis is introduced, she expresses a sort of arrogance centered around her standing as a scientist, often implying that those who surround her are on a lesser intellectual level, her fellow researchers included.
When Dahl pulled out from Pandora, they removed their funding of Tannis' research. By then, she had become completely obsessed with finding the Vault, so she turned to bandits to aid her research. After several more discoveries, she was betrayed and abandoned by the bandits. It was at this time she realized that she could not leave her campsite because of an irrational phobia, so rather than directly conducting her search, she instead sent out a signal calling for Vault hunters to do the work. Eventually, when a sleepwalking incident left her outside her camp, she decided that there was little to fear and promptly proceeded to scatter the journal recordings around Pandora.
Players are first introduced to Tannis during the the first Hidden Journal mission in the Arid Badlands. The Hidden Journal missions focus on recovering various data recorders hidden throughout the wilderness. The recorders contain journal entries from Tannis, most of which concern her research on the Vault and illustrate her rapidly diminishing sanity.
Players meet Tannis soon after passing through New Haven, when directed to her dig site in Rust Commons West. After showing her the Vault Key fragment that was found in Sledge's possession, she sends the Vault hunters out to find the rest of the fragments.
After collecting the second and third key pieces from Krom's Canyon and the Trash Coast, Tannis sends the Vault hunters to seek out one more piece of the key, alleging that Baron Flynt stole it as Tannis fired him from her team. After battling through Flynt and his men, the Vault hunters find the key's supposed chest empty. The Crimson Lance commander Commandant Steele contacts the hunters, insinuating that Tannis has joined them and has handed in the key fragments willingly, which is never refuted by Tannis. Amidst the doubt over whether or not Tannis has betrayed the Vault hunters, she explains that the Crimson Lance came after her and took the vault keys, and says that Steele came up with the plan to send the adventurers to kill the bandits. Tannis says that she went along with that part because it seemed like something the Vault hunters might enjoy.
After the Vault is opened, the Vault hunters can return to Tannis (who has returned to her dig site) to turn in the key for a substantial reward of money and experience.
Tannis returns in the fourth downloadable content pack, Claptrap's New Robot Revolution. This time she has established a secluded workshop overlooking Tartarus Station. She explains that it is her secret workshop, and she is beginning some sort of project in which she could use some help. After collecting a number of components from rogue claptraps, the project is revealed to be an android of herself, built so she wouldn't be lonely.
Between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, Handsome Jack steals the Vault key from Tannis by torturing her "ceiling chairs", including one she had developed feelings for, intending to charge it with Eridium to open another Vault containing an ancient Warrior. Roland contacts Tannis, inviting her to move to Sanctuary. Wanting revenge for what Hyperion did to the chairs, she accepts the offer.
- See also: The journals of Patricia Tannis
- Welcome to my camp, or what's left of it...
- What can you do for me?
- I need my Claptrap.
- I'm looking for the artifact.
- I hope you last longer than the last one I hired.
- Incredible! Using your brain, and all the hurdles that implies, you have correctly identified a piece of the Vault key.
Claptrap's New Robot Revolution
- Story quotes:
- Atomic batteries to power... Turbines to speed...Ooo, I wonder what this does... - from cutscene
- I'm going to need a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21- Oh hey! Hello! Welcome to my secret lab. Secret lair? Terror pavilion! Yes, I like that one best. Hey, you look like you're into experimentation, maybe dabbled a bit in college. Head down to the Hyperion Dump to find parts for my totally legit, in no way morally reprehensible secret project. There should be plenty of scrapped claptraps ripe for the picking; sure are a lot more of the buggers puttering around. It'll be easier than stealing candy from a dead body! - Upon acquiring Are You From These Parts?
- Fantastic! These parts should let me reroute the Omega 13 device to the Snooze Button without sacrificing the nuclear payload! If you find any more, send them my way. - Upon acquiring Fight For Your Right To Part-E
- I need fresher claptrap parts. These are already going stale. I'll reward you. Rip them right out of the suckers if you have to. - Upon acquiring Parts Is Parts
- (Singing) The anklebone's connected to the leg bone. The leg bone's connected to the plutonium. The plutonium's connected to this rubber duck. Man, I'm gonna need some more parts. - Upon acquiring We All Have Our Part To Play
- Don't worry, the claptraps don't feel a thing. It's no worse than stealing a drifter's kidneys and leaving him in a tub of rice. What? Ice? Uh-oh... - Upon acquiring A Part Of Something Larger Than Yourself
- Upon approach:
- Do these teeth make my gums look fat?
- Do you need something?
- I used to be a galaxy class scientist; but now I've been reduced to a babbling hang-on.
- Hello there, good friend!
- Hey! Over here! Yoohoo! Yes, you!
- My talents were squandered on this rock.
- Over here! I need your help with... something.
- What do you need, an invitation? Come here!
- You can be of service to my talent.
- You're from off planet, you smell oddly.
- Upon leaving
- Did you get lost already?
- I can't finish the toaster setting without those parts! Go!
- I guess you're leaving.
- Keep at it, my friend!
- Keep your eyes open.
- Let's hope you're more useful than the last one I hired.
- More parts! I must have more parts!
- Shh! Act like you don't know me. There are spies everywhere!
- We'll speak again.
- We should talk again.
- What part of secret lab don't you understand? Get out of here!
- I am very sorry to say I need your assistance.
- If you could stand still for a moment, I require something of you.
- Given the blank look on your face, I assume you have not completed your task.
- Do you have a progress update?
- Have you completed your task yet?
- Tannis has strong opinions against various things, calling music "wasteful and stupid," and believing bacon is for "sycophants and products of incest."
- It is unknown at which point exactly the Crimson Lance started forcing Tannis' actions, as while the Vault Hunters are working to gain access to the Trash Coast for the third Vault key piece, Marcus Kincaid contacts them via ECHO, expressing his suspicions about Tannis as she had never used Marcus' services for resupplies and reasoned that she must be getting supplies from somewhere, possibly implying that the Lance had been supplying Tannis for some while in order for her to deceive the Vault Hunters into collecting the key pieces.
- Tannis can also be seen from the "fish" easter egg "Fun with barrels" in Treacher's Landing (near the "You're on a boat!" achievement).
- Tannis has given at least one set of her underwear to Crazy Earl.
- During her intro cut scene in Borderlands 2 the clothes lines hanging about in the background distinctly show a white bra and a pair of pink women's underwear, these articles are not present during normal gameplay. Most likely an Easter Egg referencing her above interactions with Crazy Earl from Borderlands.
- Dr Zed appears to have a certain amount of dislike for Tannis due to her having a "real Doctorate" degree while he does not.
- Tannis flirts with the vault hunter during her first mission-related conversations in Borderlands 2, mentioning a "standing offer" to experience her bed.
- It is believed that Tannis was Maya's assassin killer in the mission Victims of Vault Hunters; available in the Sir Hammerlock VS the Son of Crawmerax. The letter addressed to Maya at the end of the mission reads "Dear Siren: Though I find your physical attractiveness confusingly repulsive, I feel you will have an important part to play in the coming days. Knowing this, I elected to poison the Siren hunters through various means I shan't go into detail about. Suffice to say, they involved a beer bottle and a straw made of anthrax, sincerely a friend."