- This article is for the drones of the Locust Horde. For the Swarm Drones, see Drone (Swarm).
Drones, usually referred to as Grubs by Gears, are the foot soldiers of the Locust Horde. Completely loyal to their Queen, the Drones are willing to toss their lives away in a second to kill a single Gear. The Drones are said to be bred by the Queen herself. Many different classes of Drones specialize in different forms of combat. They are born and bred for combat, fearless even when outnumbered. There have been reports of Drones appearing on the surface stealing children and other humans decades before the Pendulum Wars, but up until just before Emergence Day, these have turned into nothing more than fairy tales and urban legends. Years before E-Day, the Locust Horde had been building up its army in preparation for the invasion of the surface. Six weeks after the Pendulum Wars ended, the Horde attacked all major Seran cities, with Drones leading the charge.
Drone anatomy is actually quite similar to a humans at first glance; they possess two arms, two legs, a pair of nostrils, two eyes, a digestive tract, a jaw filled with teeth, five-digits on each hand, a spinal cord and a rather normal-looking torso supported by a humanoid ribcage. It is highly suggested that Drones had multiple instances of major organs, such as multiple hearts. Drones seemed to have a low-tolerance for bright lights.
One of their main differences from humans is that all Drones are covered in a thick, white hide which has gone pale, most likely from their subterranean lifestyle. This skin is practically rock-hard in terms of durability, severely limiting the usage of cutting and slashing weapons against them. This was discovered on, or soon after, E-Day, when Serans found that they were unable to defend themselves with their bayonets and combat knives. However, it has been known that if enough brute force was put behind it, a rifle-mounted bayonet could easily skewer a hapless Drone. Eventually, it was demonstrated by Tai Kaliso that chainsaws would be an excellent weapon to pierce through a Drone's skin, eventually leading to the creation of the Mark 2 Lancer Assault Rifle, which were outfitted with chainsaw bayonets.
Female Drones, on the other hand, were far more dangerous. Called Berserkers for their seemingly-endless bouts of rage, each female stood over seven feet tall, could smash through solid brick with little to no effort and was blind. Another one of their most distinctive traits is that they had incredibly durable armor plating which rendered them virtually immune to small arms fire. However, high temperatures were known to temporally soften these shells and make them more vulnerable to attack. Many a Gear have taken advantage of this when fighting a Berserker.
It was speculated by Colonel Victor Hoffman that Drones reproduced through rape, as their female counterparts, the Berserkers, were constantly in a fit of rage and would accidently kill any Drone that would try to mate with them. However, this would be an evolutionary disadvantage, as every species needs to reproduce to survive.
On Emergence Day, the Locust Horde launched an all-out attack on the surface, hitting every single COG nation and remnant of the UIR. The Drones began systematically killing every single human they encountered and fought off any COG counterattack the Serans could muster. The Drones' brutality was immense as they didn't leave alive any human they found (even if they were women or children). The Drones began ransacking cities across the planet and stealing technology to help benefit their war effort. Cities like Jannermont and Andius were ransacked and looted, with the local population massacred. The Drones' natural hides made it nearly impossible to kill with the bayonet on the Mk 1 Lancer Assault Rifle. Their bloodthirsty nature made the Drones a truly horrible enemy for the Gears to fight. Because of their advantage in the war, the Serans were forced to take desperate measures and launched all their WMDs and Hammer of Dawn stations. Destroying all life outside of Jacinto Plateau and killing any Drone caught outside the Hollow, the Hammer of Dawn strikes failed to eliminate the Locust Horde or the majority of the Drone army. The war would continue for years to come, with the Horde continuing to gain ground towards Ephyra.
Evacuation of Ilima
When Zeta-Six tried to evacuate Ilima City after it had been taken over by the Kryllstorm, General RAAM led a personal attack on the city so the Kryll could devour its human population. Thousands of Drones and their variants helped assist the General in carrying out his attacks, given out by Queen Myrrah. Corpsers began to open Emergence Holes around the city and Drones began to attack every evacuation checkpoint they encountered as the COG tried to evacuate the city as soon as it could; one of these evacuation checkpoints was Zeta-Six's evacuation checkpoint. Drones killed every Gear squad they encountered to prevent them from evacuating civilians; their arrival was somehow surprising for the humans as they didn't expect Locust to attack the city when the Kryll was already there. General RAAM and Queen Myrrah ordered Drones to take over certain parts of the city, such as Ilima Savings and Trust and Ilima High School; these were cleared of all civilians waiting for evacuation. RAAM appeared to encourage the Drones to complete their objectives as the sky began to ink so a Kryllstorm could destroy the city. Drones were also tasked to defend Seeders so they could ink the sky. They soon took over Ilima City Hall as RAAM and his bodyguards finished with Alpha Squad's Evacuation Checkpoint and the Onyx Guards that protected it. In the final moments of the evacuation, one of the few places not under the control of the Locust was Dr. Wisen's School of Hope. It quickly became an objective of all Drone forces. When 20 minutes were left for the Kryllstorm to arrive, the Drones stormed the orphanage from all angles and attacked the squad defending it. Theron Elites soon arrived and Drones gave them assistance as they tried to eliminate the humans. General RAAM himself appeared at the scene to take care of the Gears, destroying the bridge that led to the orphanage. However, the battle soon shifted sides as the Mauler Elites and RAAM's Lieutenant were killed in battle. General RAAM again encouraged his soldiers in their final battle against the Gears and many Drones, Cyclops, Grenadiers and Bolters helped him attack the orphanage and to protect him and his Reaver. Emerging from every Emergence Hole that opened underground and assisting the General in his attacks, the Locust's attempts to destroy the orphanage were futile, with General RAAM himself being badly wounded. Many of the civilians were rescued and the city was saved from the Kryllstorm. Despite this, the Horde managed to take over the city and were one step closer to Ephyra for an attack on the capital city, as Myrrah had expected.
From Victory to Defeat
With one military victory after another, the Locust Horde would continue their march on Ephyra and the rest of Jacinto. By 5 A.E., Landown, only a day’s drive away from Jacinto City, was captured. In 10 A.E., Ephyra, the COG’s capital, was attacked. Only capturing the city after Marcus Fenix, having deserted his post with the targeting laser for the Hammer of Dawn to save his father, the Horde was able to conquer the symbol of the COG. For the next four years, the Drones would continue to advance towards Jacinto City, the last refuge for the Seran race. By 14 A.E., the COG Army was greatly diminished, allowing criminals and possibly the criminally insane to enlist in the COG Army. One of these criminals was Marcus, who would fight hundreds of Drones in the Ephyra City area. The Drones, led by General RAAM, would attempt to stop the COG from using the Lightmass Bomb. Despite the Locust Horde's best efforts, the COG was able to launch the Lightmass Bomb and attack the Outer Hollows. The bombing killed untold numbers of Drones, along with other caste members of the Locust Horde. The Locust Horde faced its greatest defeat since the step back in 1 A.E. Bloom, but it was not destroyed and was able to recuperate.
A New Army
Weeks after the bombing at Timgad, the Locust Horde was forced to rebuild the Hollows and their army. The Drones were given new armor and new classes of warriors. Snipers were given new armor, Grapplers were trained to climb over the natural defenses of Jacinto, Cyclops were trained to use the Lancer chainsaw bayonet, and a new class of Grenadier was given the Scorcher Flamethrower. But a major change was placed in the hierarchy; Skorge, the leader of the Kantus monks, was placed in charge of the Locust army, replacing the deceased General RAAM. Skorge used the Riftworm to counterattack the COG and destroy at least three cities and an unknown number of COG outposts. The new Drone army would lead the siege of Jacinto. They would attack North Gate Agricultural Depot, opening the siege by taking out the food centers for Jacinto. The Horde would continue to lay siege to Jacinto, while Drones would eliminate Gears in the Pirnah Badlands. After the small Drone presence in the Badlands was eradicated, Montevado and Tollen were gone. The Locust counterattack began. By 15 A.E., the Locust Horde was within Jacinto City, raiding Pomeroy Depot and Jacinto Med. Though the attacks were viewed as desperate by the COG, the continuing raids into Jacinto forced the COG to launch an attack deep into Locust-held territory. The COG assembled a large force of Gears, ranging from newly recruited Stranded soldiers to veterans of the Pendulum Wars. The COG strike force entered the Landown area, while the Locust Army waited for an ambush, using their Seeders to take out many King Ravens. Reavers attacked the Derricks from the air whilst Grapplers climbed aboard from below, leading to heavy losses. The COG was able to enter Landown, but with unacceptable losses which failed to stop the main Locust army from attacking Jacinto. As COG forces entered Landown, they engaged the Drones in urban combat, which caused heavy losses for the Horde. The COG forces were able to deploy their Grindlifts, but the Drones, led by Skorge, carried out a partially successful attack on the dig site, killing many Gears, destroying several Derricks and even personally slicing through a Centaur tank. In an all-out attack on the Inner Hollow, Drones ambushed several COG squads before they had the chance of getting out of their Grindlifts.
Fall of Nexus
While the second wave of Gears were landing inside Nexus, the Drones were fighting a second front against the Lambent. The Lambent were routing the Drones on all fronts inside Nexus, leaving the interior almost defenseless for Delta Squad. The Drones failed to stop the Gears from entering the Palace but the Queen sent the main Locust army to attack Jacinto in an attempt to sink the city, thus flooding the Hollows and exterminating the Lambent threat. Tens of thousands of Drones attacked Jacinto, with hundreds of Grapplers climbing into the COG HQ and other parts of the army entering via the sinkhole. At the same time, Reavers tried to keep the skies under Locust control. Delta Squad was able to defeat Skorge, leaving the Locust Horde leaderless. Delta Squad was also able to defend COG HQ and lead a counterattack into the heart of the sinkhole, killing hundreds of Drones on the way and hijacking a Brumak.
In the Locust tunnels, as Marcus and Dom piloted the Brumak, hundreds of Drones attempted to flee deeper into the caverns to avoid the Brumak's chain guns and rockets, but were quickly massacred by them. Those that managed to escape into the caverns died after the COG flooded Jacinto by detonating the Brumak that had turned Lambent.
After the sinking of Jacinto and the flooding of the Hollows, a vast amount of Drones became separated from the Horde and reverted to their feral stages. These 'savage drones' would rebuild their tunnels near the surface or occupy the former homes of the Serans. Meanwhile, other Drones, such as Snipers, Cyclops, Grapplers and Spotters, of all whom were still loyal to the Queen, joined with the Remnant of the Horde and attacked Port Farrall. After a series of battles around the city, the COG abandoned the city and headed for the Lesser Islands. While the remnant would disappear for the next 18 months, it reemerged to fight the Lambent and Serans during the Lambent Pandemic. Eighteen months after the Lambent attacks on Vectes, some of the stranded drones became the Savage Drones. Due to Adam Fenix's Imulsion Countermeasure device, the Drones, alongside every other Locust on Sera, were wiped out and became extinct.
Following the deployment of the Imulsion Countermeasure, the bodies of all Locust creatures, including Drones, were encased in an Imulsion, indestructible, crystalline shells. Twenty five years later, on the 25th anniversary of Victory Day, humanity learned that those shells were in fact cocoons and all creatures inside of them were evolving to later hatch out and become part of a race known as the Swarm. The Locust Drones evolved into beings known as Scions, the initial leaders and later officers of the Swarm.
During the Mission to Mount Kadar Laboratory, Gears Cpl. Kait Diaz, granddaughter to Myrrah and daughter to Reyna Torres, and Lt. Delmont Walker, entered the laboratory accompanied by an artificial intelligence of Niles Samson where they find the first created Drones as "successful hybrids." As with their ancestors, some remained in stasis while others had been frozen to death during Myrrah's rampage after the supposed death of her daughter, which led to revolt. After Cpl. Diaz's connection to the Swarm was disconnected and the Matriarch awakened, the Drones emerged from their stasis, pledging their allegiance to their new queen, but were wiped out along with the Sires within the laboratory and the Matriarch by Cpl. Diaz and Lt. Walker.
The females of Drones are Berserkers, which are taller and more aggressive than their male counterparts and in order to be effectively used in combat need to be chained and led by a Drone escort.
Other than transforming humans into Drones, another form of reproduction is classic sexual reproduction, with certain Drones given mating rights with Berserkers. It is speculated that Drones breed by raping Berserkers as Col. Victor Hoffman theorized that Berserkers are tied down in order to prevent them from killing the Drone due to their aggressive nature.
Drones use the massive tunnel network under the planet's surface for troop movement and can quickly create 'portals' almost anywhere on the surface, called Emergence Holes, which they often use to surprise their enemies. Around 18 months after the sinking of Jacinto, feral drones began digging small tunnels and living in the homes of Serans to try to regain the atmosphere of the Hollows.
The Drones are fully capable of setting up ambushes, lures, and sniping positions. All Drones are willing to throw their lives away by the hundreds to kill a single entrenched Gear. The Drone was unable to lose morale or rout in the face of the Serans, but after the Lambent Pandemic, many Drones gave ground in face of the advancing Lambent Locust.
Behind the scenes
- "Tattooed enemies are easy. Branding? Far more rough and nasty. Tough, savage, yet intelligent."
- —Destroyed Beauty
- Another Drone variant was set to appear in Gears of War named the Locust Hunter. Armed with a Torque Bow, it was eventually scrapped in favor of the Grenadier, and the Torque Bow was given to the Theron Guard. The Hunter did eventually get its own debut as a class, but not until after the first Gears of War game.
- Drones know some human language, but speak in very short phrases. Some of them are:
- "Advance!" or "Advancing."
- "Behind sandbag"
- "Die, groundwalker." or "Die, 'human."
- "DOWN!" (when downed)
- "Shoot me." or "Destroy me."
- "Spotted!" or "Ground!"
- The Drone is a playable character in Gears of War, Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3.
- The Drone is a playable character in Gears of War 4, available in the Locust Drones Gear Pack.
- The Drone is a playable character in Gears 5, available as part of Operation 2.
- Locust Drones appear as Enemies in Gears 5's Horde mode.
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- Gears of War 2 Collectible
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- Gears of War: Aspho Fields pg 249
- Gears of War: Aspho Fields
- Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant
- Gears of War: Jacinto’s Remnant intro
- Gears of War 2
- Gears of War 4
- Gears 5: Dirtier Little Secrets
- Gears of War