- "Just received topside confirmation that Ilima City... damn it... the entire city is sunk, right at your location!"
- —Lt. Anya Stroud reporting to Delta Squad the sinking of Ilima.
The Battle of Ilima took place during Operation: Hollow Storm on 1st Frost, 14 A.E. Within the six months following the Lightmass Offensive, the cities of Tollen and Montevado were sunk underground by the Locust Horde, signaling to the Coalition of Ordered Governments that the Locust survived the bombing and Jacinto City was in danger of being sunk as well. The COG launched an underground assault against the Locust Horde in order to prevent the sinking of Jacinto and the other cities on the Jacinto Plateau. However, hours into Operation: Hollow Storm, the seismic activity was detected under the city of Ilima. It was soon discovered that the Locust were using the gargantuan Riftworm, awoken by the Lightmass Bomb, to sink the cities on the Jacinto Plateau.
- "Anya, it's a giant worm! They're sinking cities with a giant worm!"
- —Sgt. Marcus Fenix following the sinking of Ilima.
Shortly after the Lightmass Offensive, the Riftworm - a prehistoric, gargantuan worm - was awoken by the Lightmass Bomb. In order to retaliate against the humans, as well as fulfill their plans to flood the Hollow and drown the Lambent, the Locust Horde began to use the Riftworm to burrow underneath cities on the Jacinto Plateau in order to weaken Jacinto City's base and sink it as well. Tollen was the first city to fall underground. Soon after, the Locust sieged and occupied the Tollen Dam. The nearby city of Speyer, a manufacturing township for the Coalition of Ordered Governments Army, lost electricity and had to evacuate the Gears, civilians, and manufacturing to Ilima City.
In the following month, the city of Montevado began experiencing the same seismic activity that Tollen experienced before it sunk. Delta-One was sent to investigate and evacuate the city, as Montevado then sank the same as Tollen. Following the sinking of Tollen and Montevado as well as the Siege of Jacinto City, the Coalition feared that Jacinto City was next to be sunk. Six months after the Lightmass Offensive, the COG devised and launched Operation: Hollow Storm, a massive assault against the Locust Horde by invading their stronghold and ending the Locust War once and for all. The Gears were successful in traveling through Stromson Forest, securing and deploying in Landown, and beginning the assault on the Inner Hollow.
Hours into invading the Inner Hollow, the same seismic activity that occurred under Tollen and Montevado before they sank underground was detected under Ilima City. COG High Command realized that a sudden increase in seismic activity could indicate another attack. While the Gears fought the Locust underground, the topside forces of the Coalition evacuated the civilians from the city as a precaution. Lt. Anya Stroud gave orders to Delta-One and other nearby squads to investigate the seismic activity under Ilima. During the height of the assault on the Inner Hollow by the COG soldiers, the Riftworm, led by Ketor Skorge created a massive sinkhole by undermining the rock beneath Ilima and bringing the entire city down into it, killing hundreds of the civilians still trapped within the city.
Order of Battle
Entering the llima Sinkhole
- "First Tollen, then Montevado, and now Ilima... and they all surround Jacinto..."
"Shit they're punching holes around Jacinto to sink it."
- —Cpl. Dominic Santiago and Sgt. Marcus Fenix after the sinking of Ilima City.
Immediately after the city was sunk, the Locust began to pour into the ruins of the city sinkhole by using the Riftworm and several Corpsers to dig tunnels from the Hollow, allowing the Locust to quickly overrun the ruins and eliminate the remaining humans. The Gears left in Ilima were swiftly overwhelmed by the onslaught and the Locust captured hundreds of civilians and Gears for processing in the Torture Barges. Delta-One was among the first of the Gears to enter the sinkhole from the Inner Hollow, as they were witnesses to the Riftworm burrowing and sinking the city. Upon entry, Delta realized that they were sinking cities that surrounded Jacinto in order to weaken the plateau of granite bedrock in order to dig in and sink Jacinto City. KR Five-Four entered the sinkhole and began to carry Charlie-Nine to the surface, but was shot down and crash-landed in the ruins of the sinkhole. The pilot survived and was able to light green-smoke to signal for help.
Delta-One witnessed the crash and began a search and rescue for the survivors of KR Five-Four's crash. Upon traveling in the Ilima sinkhole, the Locust were continuing to hunt and slaughter surviving civilians of Ilima using Bloodmounts. Delta-One was able to eliminate the Bloodmount squadron and Reaver attack. Pvt. Augustus Cole of Sigma-One entered Ilima to assist as well as to find Cpl. Damon Baird and Pvt. Tanner. However, Locust ambushes killed the majority of Sigma-One, except for Pvt. Cole. One block away from the crash-site, Delta-One was contacted by Five-Four's pilot, coughing from the smoke and requesting assistance as the Locust were incoming on Charlie-Nine's location. Delta-One informed him they were on their way, but Pvt. Cole warned Sgt. Marcus Fenix of Delta-One to stay away as there were Locust ambushed all over.
At parking garage nearby the crash site, a Corpser emerged from a cavern wall. The Locust then lowered a drawbridge and unleashed more Drones and Reavers to keep Delta from rescuing the survivors from Five-Four and Charlie-Nine. After eliminating the Reavers, Delta-One opened fire on an exposed fuel tank in the lower level of the building held by the Locust. The tank exploded and the building collapsed, killing all the Locust in there. Delta-One then continued and reached the building where Five-Four crashed. Unfortunately, the fire spread and all members of Five-Four and Charlie-Nine, including Pvt. Hank Bissell, were killed. Delta-One were then ambushed inside the building by Locust Drones, but were rescued by Pvt. Cole. Regrouping with Delta-One, Pvt. Cole revealed that he was looking for Cpl. Baird and Pvt. Tanner and received a message from nearby.
Rescuing the Human Prisoners
As squads from the Inner Hollow entered Ilima to secure the city, Delta-One continued to search for the remainder of Sigma-One. Pvt. Cole revealed that the last message came from the nearby tunnel across the sunken cemetery. The Locust from the tunnel lowered a drawbridge and unleashed Drones, Kantuses, Tickers, and Reavers. Delta-One were able eliminate the enemy threat and continue into the Inner Hollow. Upon reentering the Inner Hollow, Delta-One found coffin-like pods that acted as prisoner cells. Delta-One found Pvt. Tanner tortured to death, but managed to find Cpl. Baird, alive and well, in a prisoner pod. Cpl. Baird revealed that the Locust were taking human prisoners, taking them deeper into the Hollow, and "processing" them.
After regrouping with Cpl. Baird, Delta-One's new mission was to find any other prisoners and free them from captivity. Within the tunnels were multiple Torture Barges, as Cpl. Baird pointed out those creatures were being used to transport and torture prisoners. Delta-One then opened fire at the Drones, Boomers, and Grinders on the Torture Barge as it docked in order to board it and attempt to rescue any prisoners. After clearing the lower deck, Delta-One went into the prison area but found no prisoners. The upper deck of the Torture Barge held several Drones, but were eliminated by Delta and the Barge was hijacked. As Delta drove the Torture Barge in the Inner Hollow, a squadron of Reavers and nearby Torture Barges attacked Delta-One. Their Torture Barge then collided into another docked Barge.
Delta then boarded the other Torture Barge and cleared the upper deck of Drones and investigated the prison below. Upon opening the cells, Sgt. Fenix discovered Cpl. Tai Kaliso, who had gone missing in action (MIA) during the Assault on Landown. However, Cpl. Kaliso had been effectively tortured by the Locust. As Locust forces began to arrive, Sgt. Fenix handed Cpl. Kaliso a Gnasher Shotgun. However, due to Cpl. Kaliso's mental state and personal beliefs, he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with the shotgun out of extreme pain from the Locust processing. Sgt. Fenix was visibly shaken and Delta-One continued down to the lower deck. As Delta-One continued to fight Locust Drones, Boomers, Bloodmounts, Tickers, and Kantuses in the Inner Hollow - COG High Command began to get more reports about human prisoners.
Evacuating the Ilima Sinkhole
Due to the high number of human casualties, sinking of Ilima City, and failure to locate the Locust stronghold and leader - COG High Command considered Operation: Hollow Storm to be a monumental loss. Desperate to locate and destroy the Locust stronghold, Chairman Richard Prescott declassified an intelligence file on the New Hope Research Facility - as it was believed that the experiments conducted there led to the creation of the Locust Horde. A proper investigation into the facility could possibly lead to where the Director, Doctor Niles Samson, relocated the subjects and thus lead to the location of the Locust stronghold, as well as possible information on Queen Myrrah, as she spent her childhood there as a study of immunity against Rustlung. After declassifying the intel file, Chairman Prescott ordered Delta-One to be responsible for the mission. Chairman Prescott then ordered the evacuation of all other Gears from the Inner Hollow in order to prepare for the second wave of Operation: Hollow Storm when Delta-One successful discovers the true location of the Locust stronghold. After navigating the Locust prison camps, Lt. Stroud informed Delta-One of their new mission and ordered to evacuate the Ilima sinkhole.
Upon reentering the Ilima sinkhole, Delta-One was attacked by dozens of Drones and Reavers. After repelling the initial Locust threat, Cpl. Santiago spotted a three-story, mostly-intact building high enough for King Raven extract. Delta-One ascended the building and reached the top floor with an open roof. Pvt. Carmine then lit the green-smoke signal for King Raven pick up. However, a large Locust battalion spotted the smoke and climbed the building. During the lengthy siege against Drones, Kantuses, Boomers, and Tickers - KR One-Nine spotted the smoke and arrived on the scene. As KR One-Nine was preparing to land, the Riftworm began to devour the ruins of the Ilima sinkhole. Sgt. Fenix, Cpl. Santiago, Cpl. Baird, and Pvt. Cole boarded One-Nine, but Pvt. Carmine remained on the roof, fighting the Locust in order to get everyone to safety. Pvt. Carmine was then shot in the shoulder and retreated to KR One-Nine. Just as Delta-One took off, a boulder flung by the Riftworm struck the tail of the King Raven, causing it to spin and Pvt. Carmine to fall out of the King Raven and into the mouth of the Riftworm, which then devoured KR One-Nine and Delta-One completely whole.
The Battle of Ilima was a tactical victory for the Coalition, but a costly one. One of humanity's few remaining refuges was compromised. Hundreds of men, women and children are lost to the darkness of the Beast Barges and the Inner Hollow while the granite base of the Jacinto Plateau was further weakened by the Riftworm's tunneling. The COG managed to drive the Locust from the city, but Ilima had to be abandoned as it became too exposed to the enemy attacks to be defensible. Still, Delta Squad from the inside managed to destroy the Riftworm. The loss of the Riftworm meant that any attempt by the Locust to sink Jacinto would be much more difficult and the Gears gained new, vital intelligence regarding the Locust strategy. Any surviving humans or Locust in the city are killed when the Inner Hollow was flooded by Delta Squad.
- Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant pg 3
- COG forces only lose two King Ravens and one squad while the Locust lose dozens of Drones, Reavers and the Riftworm