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Sera, and the unfortunate denizens who populate its surface, can’t catch a break. Never short of cause for war, the planet’s history is steeped in blood. This was true even before the Locust plague ravaged their home. Offsetting a hesitance to slow the franchises’ inherent blockbuster pace, Epic has chosen to flesh out the Gears franchise lore through several novels, a comic run, and more. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a comprehensive look at the expanded Gears universe, including a few tidbits relating to Gears of War 3. Welcome to Sera. Enjoy your stay.
Even before E-Day or the lengthy Pendulum Wars, Sera’s surface was riddled with conflict. Records of the time evidence undulating periods of depression and prosperity, but exact dates were not maintained so far back in Sera’s lore. An Age of Armageddon: (XX Years Before Emergence) During the Age of Armageddon, Sera endured unending conflict for nearly a millennium – total annihilation always just over the horizon. Realizing the folly of their ways, humanity narrowly avoided self-destruction in favor of a temporary and fragile peace.1The Era of Silence: (XX Years B.E.) Stepping back from the precipice of extinction, peace reigned in Sera for a period of time, ushering in a renaissance of art, science, and culture. The crucial concept of “destroyed beauty” relevant to the Gears visual identity originates here; If not for the temporary flourishing of Sera’s worldwide culture, it would never be obvious how far they, as a species, have fallen. Despite an optimistic future, skirmishes, crime, and a depleting store of energy reserves (petroleum and nuclear) caused tensions between once-warring nations to swell again. It is unknown how long this time of peace lasted.2Discovery of Imulsion: (XX Years B.E.) Disproportionate energy reserve allowances reignited international conflict, making obvious that an alternative form of fuel was needed. First discovered during a mission drilling for crude oil, Imulsion was little more than a curiosity amongst the scientific community until it was found to have latent potential as fuel. Dr. Helen Cooper is credited for conceiving the crucial steps needed to tap into Imulsion’s raw energy – the Lightmass Process. The method converts the phosphorescing, low-viscosity fluid into usable energy, a move that rocketed Imulsion to the new standard for fuel.3 A starving Sera had found the answer to their energy woes and in so doing ignited the “Gold Rush.” But just as with other fuel sources that had come before, access to Imulsion was unbalanced. Several nations had the bulk of the Imulsion reserves, giving them a nearly endless supply of inexpensive fuel. Other nations weren’t so fortunate. Once again, envy planted the seeds of war.2 [PageBreak]PENDULUM
For casual Gears of War fans, “Pendulum Wars” has slightly more meaning than a string of random syllables. Although both Gears of War games mentioned the lengthy conflict as a platform for establishing the grit and service record of key protagonists – the Pendulum Wars remained abstract until explored through Karen Traviss’ twin Gears novels – Aspho Fields and Jacinto’s Remnant. A World at War: (79 Years B.E.) The opportunity Imulsion offered for global prosperity was short lived. When traditional forms of energy were abandoned, unregulated Imulsion speculation caused a worldwide economic crash.1 With an increased need for fuel, political disagreements and small-scale skirmishes escalated to full-fledged war. Those with abundant access to Imulsion reserves were attacked by those without, starting a conflict that would last 79 years and shape the lives of all those in the Gears universe. Both men and women fought bravely on the frontlines during the Pendulum Wars, aligning themselves with one of two superpowers – the Union of Independent Republics or the emergent Coalition of Ordered Governments.4Rise of the COG: Born from the socialist mind of Alexiy Desipich, the Coalition of Ordered Governments was closer to a philosophy of thought than a tangible, world-governing entity prior to the Pendulum Wars. Time helped to mold the COG into a recognized political party, gaining massive momentum as years passed. Their influence skyrocketed after E-Day, when they were found to be the only governing force willing to do what was necessary to ensure the survival of mankind.1
Birth of Marcus Fenix: (21 Years B.E.) Gears of War protagonist and leader of Delta Squad, Marcus Fenix was born to Dr. Elaine Fenix and renowned scientist Adam Fenix in the final two decades of the Pendulum Wars. Raised with an insatiable desire to protect and serve, Fenix matured to play an essential role in the survival of Sera.4Birth of Dominic Santiago: (19 Years B.E.) Future COG soldier and Delta Squad recruit Dominic Santiago was born to parents Eduardo and Eva Santiago 19 years before E-Day. Younger brother to Carlos Santiago, Dom, Carlos and Marcus were nearly inseparable the bulk of their childhoods.4Enlisted Men: (4 Years B.E.) Marcus and Carlos, the older pair in the threesome, enlisted to aid the COG agenda a few years before E-Day. At this time Dom’s longtime girlfriend Maria Flores became pregnant, and Dom married her before enlisting shortly after.4Operation: Leveler/Battle of Aspho Fields: (3 Years B.E.) When the Coalition of Ordered Governments learned of a devastating weapon possessed by the Union or Independent Republics, drastic measures were called for. Deciding that the Hammer of Dawn could change the tides of war in favor of the enemy, the COG decision makers organized a mission to seize the technology and capture or kill the braintrusts behind it. Led by Major Victor Hoffman, the battle was a success, but at a high cost. Carlos Santiago was a particularly painful casualty, as was Major Helena Stroud, whose daughter – Anya Stroud – was acting communications liaison at the time of her death. The COG justified their losses by putting an end to the decade-long stalemate and regaining favor in the theater of war. A good number of those who survived Aspho Fields were awarded the Embry Star for their service. A silver lining in a heavy cloud, Dominic Santiago’s second child was born the night of the assault.4
A Tenuous Peace: (6 Weeks B.E.) Thanks to the COG confiscation of the Hammer of Dawn, the Pendulum Wars ended with the UIR intimidated into submission. Another brief period of peace punctuated Sera’s history, lulling humanity into a false sense of security as a new threat lay in wait.3 [PageBreak]EMERGENCE
If the inhabitants of Sera thought they had seen the worst their world had to offer, they were wrong. Erupting through Sera’s surface, monstrous creatures spawned from children’s nightmares decimated the planet. Those who survived faced an uphill battle. There’s a reason most people say “The lucky died on E-Day.”Emergence Day: (E-Day) With a respite measured only in weeks, a new enemy threatened humans with extinction. Dubbed “Emergence Day” because of holes dug from their subterranean confines, humans were forced to put aside their inbred mistrusts and animosity to unite behind a common enemy. Nearly 80 years of war left the world devastated, however, and within the first day a fourth of Sera’s population perished at the hands of the Locust horde.3 Everyone lost someone they loved, including Dom, whose parents and two children became casualties in the first few hours. The subsequent weeks saw the Locust capture industrial and urban epicenters – using human technology and resources as their own. On the brink of collapse, asset denial became paramount. COG leaders would do the unthinkable.5Scorched Earth: (1 Year After Emergence Day) COG Chairman Richard Prescott tried unsuccessfully to unite the remaining nations of Sera against the Locust. Afterwards, a harsh decision was made. Refusing to cooperate due to blind self-preservation, a scorched-earth policy using Hammer Strikes from orbital lasers was orchestrated by Adam Fenix. Those who survived the initial E-Day attacks were given three days to retreat to the Jacinto Plateau – a geographic region left relatively unscathed thanks to a solid granite foundation. Even if Sera’s infrastructure hadn’t been decimated, the majority of the planet’s population wouldn’t have made it to Jacinto in time. When the orbital strikes ended, 90% of Sera’s surface became an unlivable wasteland – a scheduled mass genocide turning people into char where they stood. The act produced results, even though the reduction of Locust troops was superficial.5Birth of the Stranded: Harboring massive resentment towards the COG government, humans who survived the orbital attacks refused to align or cooperate with the Coalition of Ordered Governments. This marks the birth of the Stranded – a faction of Sera’s population that makes a point to knowingly loot and steal COG resources.5The Fortification Act: (1 Year A.E.) In a move that was surprisingly well received, the Fortification Act was implemented by COG leaders in order to establish marshal law and make the greater Jacinto Plateau area impenetrable. Stipulations of the act included mandatory food rationing, curfews, and the right to conscript any able-bodied man into service. Women were also reduced to a primitive role – being tasked with reproducing so as to repopulate the earth. Still, realizing the desperateness of the situation, most COG citizens accepted the amendments without hesitation.4Marcus Fenix Imprisoned: (10 Years A.E.) Despite an obvious commitment to cause and duty, Marcus Fenix knowingly abandoned his post and comrades during a nasty battle in an attempt to rescue his father. He was unsuccessful and believed his father dead. Caught and charged with dereliction of duty, Fenix was charged by a military tribunal with 40 years hard time at Jacinto Maximum Security Prison. Fenix narrowly escaped a death sentence for the egregious decision, saved only by a plea from lifelong friend Dominic Santiago and his spotless service record during the Pendulum Wars.3Marcus Fenix Freed: (14 Years A.E.) Realizing what an asset Fenix offered, Dominic Santiago and the Delta Squad stepped in and freed him after four years of incarceration.3Delta, Meet Alpha: (14 Years A.E.) The two surviving members of the eight-person Alpha Squad – Damon Barid and Agustus Cole – are rescued by Delta Squad. After Lieutenant Minh Young Kim is killed by General RAAM, Marcus Fenix is promoted to sergeant and Delta as we know it is born.3Lightmass Bomb Detonated: (14 Years A.E.) After realizing that the sonic mapping device planted in the Hollow wasn’t up to task, Delta collected data compiled by Adam Fenix as a map for the Lightmass Bomb deployment. Once General RAAM was bested, the Lightmass Bomb was detonated and took out a significant portion of the Locust tunnel network, in addition to eliminating the Krill breeding ground. This event marked a significant victory and boost in morale for the humans, even if the reprieve from active combat was brief.3Unintended Consequences: While not as immediate a threat as a bullet to the chest, a condition known as Rust Lung was first introduced following the Lightmass Bomb detonation. The bomb thrust Imulsion vapor into the atmosphere, causing widespread fallout to plague civilians and Gears alike. Sinkholes: (14 Years A.E.) Two neighboring cities of Jacinto called Tollen and Montevado collapse and sink deep into the earth, leaving behind a giant, circular lake.6 Unfolding several months after the Lightmass detonation, the events are unexpected and unexplained, but are translated as a sure sign of a Locust resurgence. Counter measures are planned.5Operation Lifeboat: Realizing a resurgence of Locust requires an increase in troops, the COG put out a call to all able-bodied Stranded, promising food, a roof over their heads and protection for their family. This executive order succeeded in recruiting a good number of Stranded, but animosity between the two groups still ran rampant. Most of the Lifeboat conscripts were tasked with driving Assault Derricks during Operation Hollow Storm.6Operation Hollow Storm: (15 years A.E.) In direct response to the sinking of Tollen and Montevado and the discovery of the massive Rift Worm, COG forces found it necessary to launch an all-out attack on the Hollow. Using the city of Landown as a point of entry – the ground being soft enough to deploy grindlifts – the COG confronted the Locust on their own turf. Delta was eventually able to take out the Rift Worm (from the inside-out, no less), but not before it sinks the city of IIima.3 This is also the setting for one of the more memorable moments in Gears 2, when Dom finds his long-lost wife Maria, only to be forced to euthanize her because of irreversible damage from Locust torture.The Third Faction: During the second day of Operation Hollow Storm, Delta Squad infiltrated the capital of Nexus and discovered a civil war underway. A third faction – the Lambent Locust – appeared to have mutated from prolonged exposure to Imulsion. Taking advantage of the chaos, the COG forces and Delta team hatched a final, apocalyptic plan. Unfortunately, the Locust Queen seemed to have the same idea, except her endgame is to eradicate the “Lambent infection."