The Locust War is an apocalyptic conflict that takes place throughout the Gears of War franchise. Taking place all across and beneath the planet Sera, the war is fought between the Human race residing on the planet's surface and the subterranean civilisation known as the Locust. This conflict would rage on for over seventeen years and end with humanity's victory, but at the cost of most of Sera's resources and native life-forms.
Prelude to war
The Humans of Sera have never been strangers to warfare. Before the Locust, the surface nation of the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) fought against the Union of Independent Republics (UIR) in a series of conflicts known as the Pendulum Wars. Both military powers sought to control Sera's large supplies of Imulsion, a highly volatile substance that proved to be a highly efficient energy source. For over 80 years, the COG and UIR commited numerous atrocities and both factions suffered heavy losses during that time, but the Pendulum Wars would eventually end with the COG's victory after they threatened to devastate their enemies with the Hammer of Dawn, an imulsion-powered network of orbital particle beam platforms.
While the COG and UIR fought on the surface, the Locust Horde was fighting its own civil war down in the Hollow. A mutant subspecies of Locust known as the Lambent were relentlessly assaulting the Horde and threatening to destroy their entire society. Queen Myrrah, leader of the Horde, determined that if the Locust were to survive the Lambent "infection", they would have to migrate to Sera's surface, which meant taking up arms against the humans in order to seize control. Before committing to an invasion of the surface, Myrrah made contact with Professor Adam Fenix, the COG's foremost scientist, making him aware of the Locust and the Lambent infection. Fenix attempted to find a means of stopping the spread of Lambency, fearing that it would eventually consume and destroy all life on Sera if left unchecked. But Myrrah was unwilling to wait for Adam to devise a solution and warned him that the Locust would invade the surface if he could not find a way to solve the Lambent problem in time.
Six short weeks after the Pendulum Wars drew to a close, the COG found themselves thrust into another bloody war, this time with the fate of the entire human race hanging in the balance. The day the Locust rose up from the Hollows to conquer the surface world would be remembered from then on as Emergence Day.
Every single major human city on the surface of Sera was attacked from the subterranean, using both bio-engineered weapons and stolen human technology. All breaches were along the ground line, in what was a campaign of rapid dominance. It was a textbook military invasion. There were massive casualties everywhere the Locust arrived; over a quarter of the total human population died on that very first day. The Locust Horde was able to deploy huge numbers of their forces into all major cities on the surface at once. The Locust rapidly dominated the humans in their massive assault and were able to defeat all organized human resistance for over a year. They had used the spoils of war and victory to gather all available military and civilian technological equipment and resources to use against the COG and the few UIR nations that still existed after the Pendulum Wars.
When the Locust emerged, nobody except for Adam Fenix had any idea what these creatures were and why they attacked, which made the Locusts' attack even more surprising and ominous, and made humans even more afraid of their new enemy. Initial reports sent out by the press and media on E-Day told the public to remain indoors and remain calm believing that the authorities and the military had the situation under control, but the horrible truth was that no military force across Sera had any situation under control; the Locust dominated the human forces and annihilated everything in their path. As Emergence Day continued to unfold, the Locust began to mercilessly hunt down and butcher civilians in their homes, businesses and on the streets. The Locust refused to distinguish between men, women and children and relentlessly pursued everyone they found with an unquenchable blood thirst. With the general public being unarmed and with most of the COG armed forces on leave after the Pendulum Wars, the civilians of Sera were almost helpless to defend themselves. In just twenty six hours, a quarter of the human population was killed with many cities and towns completely annihilated; and within days of the first Locust emergence the Global Communications Network had collapsed. Fortunately for the COG, the Locust could not tunnel their way into Jacinto Plateau and the South Islands.
Destruction of Halvo Bay
The Destruction of Halvo Bay was one of the largest battles to take place in the early Locust War. Thousands of Onyx Guards and Gears led by Colonel Loomis fought against the Personal Guard of General Karn of the Locust Horde in the streets of Halvo Bay and Onyx Point. Colonel Ezra Loomis, a Pendulum War hero who spent twenty years fighting the UIR was not able to adapt to fighting the Locust Horde. The Locust, who were led by E-Day planner General Karn, had just arrived from his early victory at the UIR rogue state of Gorasnaya. During the height of the battle, Colonel Loomis had Kilo Squad tried in a military tribune without legal representation for a series of crimes. The Locust Horde military strategy contradicted COG military intelligence and thus the COG were unprepared for an intelligent enemy.
Damon Baird and the other members of Kilo Squad were forced to defend themselves during the trial, explaining everything that had transpired from the start of the campaign up to their arrest. After watching Karn spearhead the assault on the Museum of Military Glory, Kilo Squad decided to use Halvo Bay's Lightmass Missile, as mentioned by their very own Sofia Hendrik, in order to kill Karn. After learning of its location at Onyx Point, Kilo infiltrated the island and fought past the Locust.
Once they reached the missile silo at the island's interior, Kilo picked up a transmission from Sgt. Marcus Michael Fenix, whose squad was pinned down just outside the Museum of Military Glory. Deciding to abandon their orders of staying on the island as issued by Col. Loomis, they readied the missile for launch and left Onyx Point, sealing the entrances to the silo on their way out.
Later, on the rooftops near the Museum Square, Baird sent out the missile's targeting beacon, a JACK-bot named Troy. Once the bot was in place, Baird launched the missile, which struck the museum and destroyed it, killing hundreds of Locust and creating a massive crater. This crater was later named "Kilo" after the squad who made it.
Colonel Loomis, however, was determined to find the squad guilty, but the trial was interrupted when the Locust stormed the courthouse and attempted to take the Colonel hostage. Kilo Squad were able to save the Colonel and escape from the courthouse, shortly after being engaged by General Karn, who had managed to survive the Lightmass Missile. After a long, heated battle, Loomis and Kilo Squad defeated Karn and killed his Shibboleth war-beast. The COG army reorganized around the Tyran war memorial and prepared for a counterattack into the heart of the city. Colonel Loomis personally led a counterattack into the heart of Halvo Bay with the Onyx Guard, hoping the death of their General would demolish the Locust’s Horde moral. Colonel Loomis and his Onyx Guard were trapped around the Regency Hotel. Loomis and his men were killed to the last man. The COG Engineering Corps would later recover his remains and erected a statue of him declaring him the “Hero of Halvo Bay”.
Fall of Ostri
The Ostri Republic, a former UIR nation, had joined the COG after the end of the Pendulum Wars. Over a year after Emergence Day, Ostri was under the administration of Premier Yori Deschenko. Ostri, like all COG nations, was battling the Locust Horde, losing tens of thousands of Gears in the process. Deschenko retreated from Ostri and headed for Pelles. With the fall of Ostri it divided the Coalition and made a counterattack impossible.
Hammer of Dawn counterattack
The Fall of Ostri pushed the COG to take their most desperate measure: newly-appointed COG chairman Richard Prescott authorized the deployment of the Hammer of Dawn orbital network to scorch the majority of Sera's surface, destroying most of the Coalition's own cities in order to deny the Locust the spoils of their conquests. The COG population was given only three days to evacuate to the Jacinto Plateau before the particle beams were fired and the majority, still numbering in the billions even after the relentless Locust onslaught of the previous year, were unable to find shelter. The orbital bombardment destroyed every major COG city around the Tyrus region, wiping out countless Locust and preventing the Horde from seizing any more COG assets, but at the cost of millions of human lives and the devastation of Sera's environment.
Winter of Sorrow
Although the Locust presence on the surface of Sera had been annihilated by the Hammer of Dawn, this was only a temporary reprieve. The Horde survived within the Hollow where they made their domain and would return years later in greater force, more determined than ever to exterminate the remainder of the human race.
Five years following E-Day, the Locust would re-emerge and destroy the city of Landown and the surrounding townships, reminding the COG that the war was far from over. Landown was a vital strategic location as it was only a day's drive from Jacinto where the Locust could not tunnel due to the Jacinto Plateau consisting mostly of solid granite, and so Landown became the Horde's frontline stronghold for the next ten years.
Battle of Ephyra
In 10 AE, the COG capital of Ephyra was invaded by the Locust. They found a way to dig around the rocks of the Plateau, allowing Emergence Holes to appear across the city and bypassing the COG defenses at the city limits. The Locust forces pushed the Gears all the way back to East Barricade Academy, which was across the river from the main part of the city. Here the remaining COG forces made a last stand effort that was nearly successful However, Marcus Fenix received a distress call from his father; leading him to abandon his post, taking the targeting laser with him, in an attempt to save his father. This action was carried out at the cost of his fellow Gears and ultimately causing Ephyra to fall. The COG relocated the capital to Jacinto City, at the heart of the Plateau, and the only major human city not to have fallen to the Locust onslaught. As for Marcus Fenix, he was tried and convicted for disobeying orders and for allowing Ephyra to fall. While he would have normally been put before a firing squad, Chairman Prescott had secretly arranged for Fenix to be sentenced to Jacinto's maximum security prison known as The Slab for 40 years. The reason for this was to keep Marcus' father Adam on a tight leash; the professor had supposedly perished during Marcus' failed rescue attempt, but he had survived and had been spirited away by Prescott to the island of Azura, which had become a safe haven for the COG's scientific elite who had been put to work researching the infectious nature of imulsion, the source of the Lambent condition which, at that time, was unknown to the public. As long as Marcus was alive in the Slab, Adam had the motivation to continue his research, and with Azura's location kept a closely-guarded secret, neither the COG nor the Locust could interfere with Adam's work.
The Lightmass Offensive
Four years following the fall of Ephyra and seemingly defeated in every major land engagement, the Coalition's only hope was Col.Victor Hoffman’s last ditch operation: the Lightmass Offensive. The plan was to end the war for once and for all. They hoped the Lightmass Bomb would wipe out all Locust in the Hollows. The operation began with Col.Hoffman pardoning all the prisoners at the Slab except for Fenix, hoping to bolster the shrinking COG army. While Marcus was denied release, he was rescued from the slab by his long-time friend and brother-in-arms Dominic Santiago. At the same time Alpha Squad and Sgt. Kennel's squad were trying to deploy the resonator, while the Lightmass bomb was placed on a train heading for an Imulsion sinkhole.
But the plan soon hit a roadblock when Alpha was ambushed and took heavy losses. Delta Squad was sent to aid Alpha Squad to retrieve the resonator. They took heavy casualties and lost a King Raven. Delta Squad then got data from East Barricade and downloaded it into the Lightmass bomb. They detonated the Lightmass bomb, killing millions of Locust soldiers, and destroying the Outer Hollows. General RAAM, the leader of the Locust Army was also killed by Fenix and Santiago during the operation.
In the aftermath of the Lightmass Offensive, COG forces, believing the Locust to have been wiped out, tried to recuperate; putting half the King Raven fleet out of service for repairs. This meant they were not prepared for any sort of counterattack, and the suddenness of the Locust attack at North Gate led to new phase of the Locust War. Locust forces soon began attacking COG control zones, ambushing a COG patrol at Sovereigns Boulevard and forcing them to abandon North Gate Agricultural Depot. Locust forces began to attack the city of Jilane, one of the main breeding centers of the COG, which caused the local garrison to abandon the city, leaving its inhabitants to their fate. Drones soon began killing off Gear Squads in the Pirnah Badlands, which forced Coalition High Command to send in Delta-One on a Search and Rescue Mission. However, this only led to more losses. The Lightmass Bomb had also awakened a Riftworm, one of the Locust deities, which the Horde used to sink small military outpost and other cities around Jacinto Plateau, in order to weaken the structure of Jacinto City. Meanwhile, the COG returned to Jilane to scout for any survivors, only to be attacked by them before being forced to defend themselves from the Locust forces still in the city. As the COG began pulling back to defend their last stronghold, the Locust began frequent raids on various buildings, starting the Siege of Jacinto.
Operation: Hollow Storm
The resurgent Locust soon began sinking cities, with Tollen and Montevado both falling to this new threat. Realizing that even Jacinto was not safe, Col.Hoffman and Chairman Richard Prescott planned a counterattack into the Inner Hollows to attack the Locust in their homes. The plan called for a massive assault on Landown, which had been under Locust control for 10 years. The soil in Landown was soft enough for Grindlifts to dig through, which would allow Gears to enter the Inner Hollows. The Assault on Landown resulted in heavy causalities for both the COG and Locust Horde, but COG forces were able to hold the city and launch the Grindlifts. During the course of the Operation, the city of Ilima was sunk by the Riftworm, which was subsequently killed by Delta Squad. COG forces also discovered that the Locust had started taking prisoners and torturing them on Beast Barges.
After the Battle of Ilima, Delta Squad was sent on a mission to the New Hope Research Facility, to recover data on a Locust stronghold. After retrieving the data and re-entering the Hollows through Mount Kadar, Delta reached Nexus, the Locust capital. Once they were in the heart of the city, they set off JACK's beacon which allowed a second wave of Grindlifts to deploy into the siege of the city. During the battle, the COG discovered the existence of Locust work camps and the Horde’s motivation for the destruction of humanity; they were in a civil war with their Lambent counterparts and were moving to the surface in order to survive. Their plan was to sink Jacinto City to flood the Hollow and kill the Lambent after escaping the Hollows themselves. Realizing that by altering the timing of Jacinto’s sinking, the COG could destroy the majority of Locust Horde, they began evacuating Jacinto and preparing for its final stand.
Towards the end of the Operation and the near falling of Jacinto City, another Lightmass Bomb was sent via King Raven into the Hollow. After it was knocked out of commission by a Brumak, which subsequently became Lambent, Delta Squad used the Hammer of Dawn to kill it, with the massive explosion that followed taking out the city's remaining support structures, causing Jacinto to sink and sending millions of tons of seawater flooding into the Hollow, drowning most of the Horde. However, the Locust Queen was able to escape the flooding and a message left by Adam Fenix indicates that another threat to humanity survived the flooding. The survivors of the Horde split into two factions: the tribal Savage Locust and the Queen's Guard, those who followed Queen Myrrah.
In the aftermath of the sinking of Jacinto, the COG army and its citizens headed for the frozen wasteland of Port Farrall, whilst dealing with the last of the Locust. After a few weeks camping in the ruined city, the COG decided it was too inhospitable and began looking for a new place to rebuild humanity. They chose the island of Vectes as it housed a former COG naval base and was on the other side of a marine trench that the Locust could not dig under. They also discovered the islands main town, Pelruan, had a surviving population 3,000 citizens that were still friendly towards the COG. In the following weeks the Gears were forced to fight hostile Stranded pirates who began raiding the area for supplies. One particular encounter lead to over 4,000 more survivors from the former UIR nation of Gorasnaya joining the COG and taking refuge on Vectes.
As weeks passed and the COG began to strengthen the island town into a new stronghold, it began to appear that the Locust Horde had truly been dealt a fatal blow and that the 15 year-long war may finally be at an end. However, as the COG were dealing with the minor conflict of the Stranded Insurgency, a new threat emerged from the Hollows as the Lambent began to invade the surface.
Lambent Pandemic and the End of the War
18 months after the fall of Jacinto and the flooding of the Inner Hollow, both the Gears and Stranded began encountering Lambent forces on the planet's surface, as well as the final remnants of the Locust Horde. In order to ensure the continued survival of the human race, the COG and Stranded formed a truce in order to fight their mutual, and deadly, enemy. Shortly after, the three factions (COG, Locust, Lambent) engaged each other on the surface of Char, an obliterated area of the planet, scorched by the initial Hammer of Dawn strike orchestrated by the COG in order to safeguard humanity and deny the Locust Horde of their prize.
The intense battle was also the first time the Locust had been seen in large numbers since the brutal attacks on Port Farrall. It is, however, unknown as to where the Locust bided their time during the eighteen months in-between flooding the Hollow and the conflict at Char. It is also unknown how both the Locust and the Lambent escaped the Hollow after the city of Jacinto was 'sunk' by Marcus Fenix and the rest of the Gears. The Locust also built a stronghold on the surface of Sera reminiscent of the Hollow in the Deadlands.
The Locust captured the island of Azura where the COG elite and best scientists were secretly protected after being abducted. The Locust slaughtered everyone but Adam Fenix who had built a weapon that could destroy the Lambent, but they feared its use as it might destroy them as well. The Locust captured Adam so he could refine it so it wouldn't affect the Locust, but he didn't have enough time to do that and stop the Imulsion. When Myrrah learned of Marcus Fenix's plan to reach Azura, rescue his father and use his weapon, she sent everyone she could to try to stop him but failed. During the Second Battle of Azura, Myrrah battled Delta herself on her Tempest war-beetle, but was defeated by the Hammer of Dawn. The weapon was activated and killed Adam before Myrrah emerged from the Tempest to confront Delta Squad. Myrrah was stabbed to death by Marcus Fenix with Dominic Santiago's commando knife and the weapon destroyed the Lambent and the Locust, ending the war.