"Bortus. A commander of few words... Mysterious. Male. Moclan."

Peter Macon[source]

Bortus is a Moclan Second Officer and Lieutenant Commander aboard the USS Orville. According to Admiral Halsey, Bortus served with the Orville under a previous captain as Second Officer prior to Ed Mercer assuming command.[1] He is mated to Klyden, who live together on the Orville with their son Topa.

Bortus is portrayed by Peter Macon.


Much of Bortus' background is unknown, including his childhood on the planet Moclus, his entry into the Planetary Union, and his experiences as an officer.

Bortus dated his future mate Klyden on the planet Moclus. Their first date (or gomaska) consisted of an evening meal in the Moclan Central Arcade, followed by combat games in an environmental simulator.[2] Bortus was pleased Klyden's combat skills: together they shot 339 simulated opponents. They became mates some time in the year 2413.[3]

Bortus is stationed aboard the USS Clemens and Klyden decides to live with him on the ship.[2] Later, he is transferred to the Orville and Klyden follows. Bortus rises in rank to become Lieutenant Commander, and eventually holds the position of Second Officer on the Orville under a previous, unidentified captain.[4] Bortus remains Second Officer in the year 2419, when Captain Ed Mercer is given command of the Orville.

Bortus competently fulfills the duties of his position, even successfully leading the Orville in combat as acting captain several times. However, the birth of his female child causes problem on the ship. Bortus and his mate demand the reassignment of the child's sex from female to male. When Bortus arranges for the procedure behind Mercer's back, Bortus risks his own future with the Orville and challenges relations between Moclus and the rest of the Union. The debacle lead to a Tribunal on Moclus to decide the child's sex, the results of which profoundly change the nature of Bortus' relationship with Klyden.

Old WoundsEdit

Main article: Old Wounds.
Bortus meets Captain Mercer in the Shuttle Bay of the Orville during introductions with the senior staff. He tells Mercer that Moclans urinate only once per year.

Later, when Mercer and Commander Kelly Grayson are on the surface of the planet Epsilon 2, Bortus commands the Orville through a difficult battle with the stronger enemy destroyer. He permits Lieutenant Gordon Malloy to "hug the donkey," a risky aerial tactic to distract the enemy from the ground team, and later to align the Shuttle Bay doors so that the ground team's shuttle can enter the ship safely.

Though his daring leadership saved both the Orville and the ground team, Bortus believes he failed Mercer because the Krill managed to heavily damage the ship.

Command PerformanceEdit

Main article: Command Performance.


Bortus seen here warming his egg.

Bortus enters Mercer's office to request a leave of absence for 21 days, during which Bortus and his mate Klyden will nest an egg.

Later, Grayson and Mercer are kidnapped by Calivon. With Bortus out of commission, Chief of Security Alara Kitan is made acting captain. After a series of command missteps, Kitan runs to Bortus' quarters and stumbles upon Bortus brooding his egg. He is adamant that Kitan make her own decisions: "I will not risk the life of my child."

After the gestation period is complete, Bortus and Klyden eagerly await the hatching of their egg. They are stunned to see their newborn is a female.

About a GirlEdit

About a Girl

The attempt to change the sex of his child sparks a crisis for the Orville.

Main article: About a Girl.
Bortus attempts to arrange a sex reassignment operation for the child. His request is denied by Doctor Claire Finn and Mercer denies his request to order the Doctor to perform it. "My world is different than yours," Bortus objects. "I was hoping you would respect that." Bortus believes an immediate operation is necessary, and goes behind the Captain's back to hail a Moclan vessel to take the child and perform the surgery. Mercer is furious with Bortus and Grayson tries to show Bortus that the debacle has jeopardized Moclus' position in the Planetary Union, but Bortus and Klyden believe they had no choice. Mercer relieves Bortus of duty.

Fellow commanding officers attempt to change Bortus' mind. Kitan takes Bortus boxing. She easily defeats him in the ring to show him that, on a person-by-person basis, women can be superior to men in certain things. Bortus is angry and, perhaps, embarrassed, and leaves to his quarters. Malloy and Navigator John LaMarr greet Bortus with beer and the movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The attempt succeeds: "Without Rudolph's nose, Santa would not be able to complete his voyage... What was clearly a deformity became a supreme advantage. One could never know."

Bortus attempts to convert Klyden, but his mate is adamant the operation proceed. When Bortus learns that Klyden was born female, he is shocked and hurt that his mate hid such information from him for years.

Bortus Klyden Tribunal

After the Tribunal, things are never the same between Bortus and his mate Klyden.

Bortus meets Captain Vorak in the briefing room alongside Grayson and Mercer. Vorak implies a threat against Mercer; Bortus defuses the situation by formally requesting Tribunal for an injunction staying the procedure. It is a two week trip to planet Moclus. Bortus, Klyden, and the child stay on the Moclan vessel for their trip.

The tribunal pits Bortus against his mate. Bortus requests Grayson to serve as his advocate, who squares off against Advocate Kagus. The trial lasts several days, but the council finds insufficient cause to enjoin the operation and the child's sex is change to male shortly after.

Back on board the Orville, Bortus names the child Topa.

If the Stars Should AppearEdit

Main article: If the Stars Should Appear.
Klyden wakes Bortus before work to discuss his time away from the family and spent on the Bridge. Bortus grumpily leaves for his shift an hour early.

Bortus assumes command of the Orville when the Captain and the First Officer enter the Dorahl bioship. He is forced to abandon temporarily the away team to rescue the USS Druyan, a colony transport under attack from the Krill. Bortus leads the Orville to victory against the Krill destroyer, then returns to the bioship.


Main article: Pria.

Krill Edit

Main article: Krill.

Majority Rule Edit

Main article: Majority Rule.

Into the Fold Edit

Main article: Into the Fold.

Cupid's Dagger Edit

Main article: Cupid's Dagger.
When Captain Mercer and Commander Grayson fall under the influence of Darulio's pheremones, Bortus is forced to liaise between the Navarians and Bruidians. War nearly breaks out between the two species; Bortus, Isaac, and Engineering attempt to erect a barrier between them to buy time, though the plan ultimately fails. Fortunately, Darulio instructs Medical to use his pheremones on the Navarian and Bruidian ambassadors. The ambassadors fall in love with each other and call an end to the hostilities.

Firestorm Edit

Main article: Firestorm.
Kitan creates a holographic program to test her ability to perform her duties under terrifying conditions. Consultation with Bortus leads her to add an evil simulated version of Isaac as per his fear of superior adversaries.

New Dimensions Edit

Main article: New Dimensions.
Bortus ends up an unwitting part of a prank on Lieutenant Yaphit by Malloy and LaMarr. At a good-bye party for Chief Engineer Steve Newton, the pilots place a piece of Yaphit in a cake, a piece of which Bortus eats. Yaphit is forced to retrieve his body part by entering Bortus' stomach through the mouth.

Mad Idolatry Edit

Main article: Mad Idolatry.
Bortus and Klyden invite Mercer for an evening of apsada, a Moclan beverage, and a game of latchcomb.


Bortus Environmental Simulator

In his free time, Bortus enjoys the Environmental Simulator.

Similar to other members of his species, Bortus carries a serious, formal demeanor, and he values combat ability and strength above other characteristics.[5] More so than other Moclans, he is career-focused to the point that he is away from his family. Bortus approaches conversations coldly and logically, often misunderstanding jokes[6][7] and rarely breaking decorum even in casual situations.[8] For this reason, non-Moclans often struggle to communicate properly with him. Nevertheless, Bortus does have a sense of humor, finding slapstick humor to be genuinely amusing.[9]

Bortus is hard on himself, believing any result less than perfect is failure. For example, in the episode Old Wounds, as acting commander, Bortus was able to save the Orville from destruction at the hands of a superior Krill ship. Yet he later confesses to Mercer that he failed the Captain, because the Krill were able to destroy the upper spatial tensor coil. This is further illustrated by his confession in Firestorm that his greatest fear is to lose to a superior opponent.

Perhaps one of the most notable attributes is that Bortus does not follow Planetary Union directives or social mores if those standards conflict with his own highly-developed personal moral code. For example, Bortus has no problem going behind Captain Mercer's back to call for a Moclan vessel to perform a sex reassignment of his child.[2] Bortus' reasoning is that failure to change his child's sex would lead to her living the life of an outcast in Moclan society, a result that would be far worse than a broken Union rule. Bortus's moral vision is sharply criticized by Commander Grayson, who accuses Bortus of "failing to see" that his actions jeopardized relations between Moclus and the rest of the Planetary Union.

Relationship with Klyden Edit

Bortus loves his mate Klyden deeply, but their relationship grows strained after the tribunal over their child's sex drives a wedge between them. After the child's sex is reassigned, the couple begin to argue when they had not before. According to Bortus, the two fight constantly when together which begins to disrupt his sleep. Bortus spends increasing amounts of time at work and less time with the family, sometimes showing up to work an hour ahead of schedule to avoid arguments.[10] during a private moment, he confides in Doctor Claire Finn that "all we do is fight; Klyden will not stop eating; the child never sleeps; and we have not resumed normal relations."[11] She advises that the first year after a child's birth is difficult for all parties, but Klyden and he will find a "rhythm."

Production Edit

Early character drafts Edit

The character of Bortus was introduced in the pilot script by April, 2016, though his lines were changed from that time until the show's premiere in September, 2017. He is described as "a thick, broad, very alien-looking humanoid with a rippling epidermis that looks like hardened lava" and works in the Ship's Armory--a position that was eliminated by the time the show aired.[12]

In an early draft of Old Wounds, Bortus claims to be a proud warrior to Mercer and that he does not dance because it is a "foolish waste of stamina."[12] Later, he allows LaMarr to play a slapstick video of a cat attacking a human. The Bridge crew cackles but Bortus simply calls the cat a brave warrior.

Costume and makeup Edit

The physical design of the character took substantially longer to complete than other characters. Early looks of Bortus included an extremely wide neck and chin; another a far more recessed nose.

Special Make-up Effects Artist Howard Berger presented a final head sculpture to creator Seth MacFarlane by November, 2016, for approval so production of the prosthetic make-up could begin.[13] Berger explained:

Bortus had a big evolution. The initial design process was pretty long for Bortus. It was at least a five month period. Once Peter Macon was hired, we brought him into KNB and we live-cast him so we had his head and we could sculpt on that. And we went through a couple different versions, we never quite hit it. . . . I set up a little sculpting area, and I just sat and sculpted for like three or four hours with Seth [MacFarlane], and we finally hit on what Bortus's look was.[14]
The face prosthetics are in three pieces: a head cowl made of foam rubber, a chin piece, and a face piece, all blended in with the actor's skin.[13] Additionally, Macon wears a foam rubber body piece.


  • He has a fear of being overwhelmed by a stronger opponent,[15] which may explain his unexpectedly emotional reaction to losing to Alara Kitan at boxing.[2]
  • Though he is only Second Officer, Bortus has spent more time as acting captain than any other Bridge officer aside from the Captain himself.
  • According to Peter Macon (Bortus), Bortus is fascinated by the "zaniness of his fellow crewmembers."[16]


References Edit

  1. Episode One: Old Wounds
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Episode 3: About a Girl
  3. Bortus testifies that Klyden and he became mates six and a half years prior. Because the date was at the tail end of the year 2419, that means they mated some time in 2413. Episode 3: About a Girl.
  4. Episode 1: Old Wounds
  5. Bortus is first attracted to Klyden's high score in the combat simulator. Episode 3: About a Girl.
  6. He does not understand the humor in Mercer's aside about urination at night during staff role call. Episode 1: Old Wounds.
  7. Bortus fails to see why "dibs on the omelet" is funny. Episode 2: Command Performance.
  8. Bortus does not understand why Mercer would make a social call. Episode 12: Mad Idolatry.
  9. Bortus agrees with Malloy that slapstick humor is funny. Episode 5: Pria.
  10. Episode 4: If the Stars Should Appear
  11. Episode 9: Cupid's Dagger
  12. 12.0 12.1 MacFarlane, Seth. Orville 1x01 - PilotFox Broadcasting Co.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 78.
  14. Special video played at "Seth MacFarlane and behind-the-scenes creative team: "The Orville" | Talks at Google". Talks at Google. Nov. 16, 2017.
  15. Episode 10: Firestorm
  16. Bond, Jeff. The World of the Orville. Titan Books. 2018. Pg. 74.