- "Lemme tell ya somethin' about war... War ain't always about fightin'. Blood, bullets, death, yeah-yeah, that's part of it... but is sure as hell ain't all of it. Sometimes it's knowing when to turn tail... and runnin' your fucking ass off. Storm's about to hit."
- —Cpl. Michael Barrick describing the events of the evacuation
The Evacuation of Ilima took place several years after the Hammer of Dawn Strikes but before the Fall of Ephyra, where the Locust Horde manipulated the Kryll into attacking Ilima city by using Seeders. COG High Command deployed Zeta-Six, Echo-Five, and hundreds of other Gears to take part in evacuate the city civilian population from the approaching "Kryllstorm." General RAAM under orders from Queen Myrrah led a personal attack on the city to fasten the “inking” of the skies so the Kryll can devour the city of it human population. The evacuation turned into a major battle after the Locust Horde hoped to use the city as a stepping stone to attack the COG capital, Ephyra.
- "Just remember, little one. In life, there will always be struggle. Such is the nature of things. But in life there is also hope and happiness."
- —Tai Kaliso to a young child explaining life before an E-Hole opens up and kills the child
A massive "Kryllstorm" was approaching Ilima City that prompted the Coalition of Ordered Governments High Command to evacuate the city of its civilian population. Zeta-Six along with hundreds of other Gears was sent to the city to help take part in the evacuation. Four hours prior to the estimated strike of the Kryllstorm, many of the civilians were evacuated but a few small pockets remained. The Locust Horde's goal was to capture the city and use it as a stepping stone to take Ephyra, the Coalition’s capital in hopes of finally winning the war.
The Horde planned their entrance into Ilima discreetly, masking their presence and connection to the Kryllstorm until they emerged in the city.
Order of Battle
- "Control this is Zeta-Six! Ilima city is under attack. Repeat: Locust invasion, Ilima city is under attack."
- —Lieutenant Minh Young Kim after a massive E-Hole emerges
Four hours before the Kryllstorm would arrive, at one of the evacuation centers, Tai Kaliso finished loading the last of the civilians onto an Armadillo. Reporting to Lt.Minh Young Kim that the evacuation was nearly completed, a massive Emergence Hole opened up in the nearby intersection. A Corpser came out of the Emergence Hole and reared up its huge claws, then swamped the Armadillo and pulled it down into the ground, as Locust forces poured out the Emergence Hole along with other holes around the city. The present Gears began to hold off against the horde that was pouring out the hole. After several minutes, several Locust fireteams emerged from smaller E-Holes and breached the perimeter. With the battle seeming to be more hopeless, multiple Reavers join the fray. Desperate, Minh pleads to the CIC Controller Walker authorization to use the Hammer of Dawn. Walker authorized the strikes, allowing Michael Barrick, one of Zeta-Six's members, to use the Evacuation Center's mobile command center. After frying several Reavers and Boomers, the rest of Zeta managed to mop up the remaining Drones.
After Zeta secured the area, Walker reported that another Gear squad, Echo-Five, lost contact with Control; the last location they were at was at their evac center which was stationed in front of Ilima Savings and Trust bank. Zeta made their way through the city towards Savings and Trust, even encountering a Brumak along the way. The Brumak, fortunately, was pre-occupied trying to escape a trigger-happy Hammer of Dawn user, who annihilated a huge chunk of a building.
After making their way through the city and several firefights, Zeta finds the plaza where Echo-Five was last heard from; they found Echo was pinned down in the plaza's drained fountain, but were being picked off one-by-one before Zeta could assist; Zeta killed the present Locust and lamented over Echo's demise. When they're just about ready to enter the bank in search of survivors, several Emergence Holes open up in the plaza.
Zeta-Six was able to retake the plaza after killing all the Drones and Boomers with their sniper support. Zeta squad reflected over the loss of Echo-Five and tried to move into the bank to locate the civilians until multiple E-Holes opened up around the plaza and the Locust attacked the Gears of Zeta-Six with Drones and Grinders. After stopping the counterattack, Lt. Kim reported to CIC controller Walker that Echo-Five was KIA and that his squad was moving into the bank to locate the civilians. At the gates of the bank, Barrick asked if his commanding officer Kim had the codes, only for Kim to order him to open the doors by hand.
Finding the bank on fire, they moved downstairs to the vaults in hopes of finding the civilians, underground they found the remains of some civilians but continued moving on while hearing tremors. The Gears found a massive pack of Wretches and preceded to massacre them. Now moving into the main vault the Gears reached a closed gate and needed JACK to open the door. At that point more packs of Wretches attacked them, Zeta was able to hold them off and JACK was able to rip the door open. Inside the vault, they found a single teenage boy, who locked himself in the vault to protect him from the Wretches. After slaughtering the Wretches, the boy introduced himself as Jace and gave Zeta squad information on how the civilians along with him tried to escape from the back of the bank but he was trapped underground in the vaults. After reaching the second story it was only three hours before the Kryllstorm hit Ilima city, they witnessed a massive E-Hole opening up and General RAAM emerging from it.
RAAM Enters the Battlefield
- "With Ilima under our control, we will be but one step away from Ephyra. Without the protection of their capital city, the humans will be left with nothing."
- —Queen Myrrah to General RAAM on their goals
General RAAM, along with two Maulers Elites and Theron Elite emerged from the Hollow with Tremor outside a massive COG outpost. RAAM’s objective was to clear the street of the Gears and allowed a Boomer known as the Tremor to summon Seeders using Thumpers so they can “Ink” the sky and have the Kryll depopulate the city of any Seran. General RAAM using his massive size to burst to a concrete wall attacked the Gears defending the area. After clearing the street of the Gears, the Boomer used his hammer to active the Tremor so the Seeders can be summoned.
The COG counterattacked the Locust and RAAM was able to successfully defend the street and the Seeder emerged from the Hollow. RAAM was then ordered to move to another location to summon another Seeder. Moving to a courtyard, RAAM was warned by his queen that the COG where using One-Shots, RAAM was able to kill the Gears in the small courtyard until a King Raven attacked the Locust and RAAM was able to destroy it. In the second Seeder location, RAAM was ordered to defend the Tremor while the COG sent in waves of Gears from all sides; RAAM was able to eliminate the Gears in the street so the second seeder could be summoned and allowing with the continuation of the invasion of Ilima and inking of the skies.
After the summoning of the second Seeder, their Queen expressed gratitude for their quick successes. With new orders to move to the third emergence point, a Silverback attacked RAAM with Gear support. After overwhelming the Gears and the Silverback, RAAM assaulted another COG outpost inside the city where the third Seeder would emerge. Bursting to the main gates RAAM and his Maulers and Theron moved in to dismast the Gears in the outpost. Deeper inside the outpost, a second Silverback attacked RAAM but was destroyed. With Tremor now in place, the third Seeder was now being called. The COG launched another counterattack against RAAM by attacking from the walls of the outpost and in close quarters combat. But the Locust Horde prevailed over the COG and the final Seeder emerged.
Search for Civilians
- "Some bad juju in these vibrations."
- —Tai on the battle outside
Still in the bank, Zeta-Six overhears the massive destruction outside and contacted Command, Walker relayed that another evacuation center went dark and asked if they found the civilians from the bank. Kim replied to command they only found Jace and are on their way to the evac checkpoint. Walker told Kim that the caravan met resistance on the streets of the city but was still heading to the checkpoint. Outside the bank, Zeta runs into a sniper nest on the third floor of the building across the street another E-Hole with Drones taking cover in the remains of an APC. Moving down the main street, they find the remains of more Gears and the aftermath of a major battle, on the balcony of a building a Locust mortar team pinned down Zeta-Six. Taking out the two Drones on the mortars, Zeta moved down the street taking down Drones and Boomers defending the fallen COG outpost. After clearing the main gates of E-Holes and the Locust, Kim reported to command that General RAAM and his Therons are leading the attack on the city, Walker also told Zeta-Six that they need to clear the skies of Nemacysts that had inked up the sky around the evac checkpoint so the Evac Caravan can enter the area safely. Across the city, Emergence holes where detected everywhere and Chairman Prescott ordered the Onyx Guard to the eastern part of the city.
- "That big bastard did not go quietly."
- —Barrick on the dead Brumak
Now moving inside a building that overlooks the evac route, Valera and Barrick marveled on the fact that the Onyx Guard was ordered into the city and the battle must have been getting bad since the Guard is not used for evacuation missions. Right before using the door to the evac area, Valera told Jace to stay inside while they go out and clear the area. Once outside, three Seeders took cover under a building with pillars and Kim ordered his Gears to clear both the skies and the ground of any Locust. Zeta was unable to kill the Seeders with small arms so they resorted to using heavy weapons on the pillars to crush the Seeders, while Grapplers attacked their positions. Using Boomshots to destroy the Pillars, the Seeders were crushed under the building. With the evac checkpoint back in COG hands, the Evac Caravan of four APC’s arrived. Soon a thumping noise was heard and a Brumak forced it way from the fallen building. Using the Boomshots to destroy the Brumak, the explosion took the rest of the building with it. Kim would report back to CIC that the area was now secure and Walker congratulated them for their efforts. Zeta-Six tried to get Jace to ride out from the city on the Caravan but did not want to leave because his “father”, Dr.Gregory Wisen, was still at the school. Valera told the young Jace they would check out the school, and the two wished for each other's safety.
Ilima High School
- "This place have COG written all over it."
- —Barrick on the school
Zeta-Six reached the outer area of the high school two hours before the Kryllstorm would reach the city, seeing the school was also turned into an evac center. Kim was unaware that the school was an official evacuation center, Walker confirmed it was and the checkpoint was behind the school but the caravan sent there failed to report to command when the fighting started. Reaching the front doors of the school, Kim placed Barrick on point. Once inside the school they found a makeshift barricade stopping them from moving into the hallways. Using one of the windows, they were able to get into the school. Inside they found no signs of life but more barricades. Commanded relayed to Zeta that the Kryllstorm was approaching and recommended them to return to base. Kim told his CIC controller they wanted to find Wiseman before they would leave.
Soon they heard a recording of Wiseman warning of approaching Locust on the school. Now with the goal to find Wiseman's office, they see signs of something alive in the school that was leading them deeper inside the building. Finding a locked security gate, the Gears now needed to find the override; Zeta continued to hear more noises and kept on calling out to see if it was Wiseman or another civilian. Soon a blackout hit the school leaving the Gears in the dark, the power soon came on and they found the override. Now with access to the locked door the Gears soon discovered a Wretch was making the noise and lead them into a trap. Fighting off the Wretches in the flooded area of the school, Zeta soon made their way outside. Finding poor living conditions for the civilians Barrick was too quick to remind his fellow Gears that the Stranded had it harder outside of COG controlled lands in the no man’s land. In the courtyard a Drone with a One-shot pinned down the Gears forcing to use cover to take him out. In the center of the courtyard, another E-Hole opened up and more Drones attacked from all sides. Back inside the school they round into another pack of Wretches and wiped them out after that they had JACK rip open a door that leads to the cafeteria. Once inside, a swarm of Tickers attacked them hiding under the tables and after that they meet a group of more Locust in a locker room with Wretches that where defending a E-Hole. After that skirmish, Zeta-Six started to find the remains of civilians slaughtered in the classrooms. Barrick was extremely angered at the fact that the COG failed to defend the evac point and the children in it. Kim rebutted that the COG does what it can for its people and Barrick reminded him that it was the COG that used the Hammer of Dawn to kill millions of it citizens and ruined his life but Valera remained both of them that every life they saved it’s a chance for something new. After the debate, they found Serapede webs in the hallway and a Giant Serapede defending its new domain in the locker room.
After fighting the Hollow creature, Zeta-Six made their way into the gym only to find a slaughterhouse full of slain civilians, though one of them appeared to be killed by gunfire. A Berserker soon emerged in the gym; Barrick wanted to fight it, but as they had no incendiary weapons to deal with the Berserker, Kim ordered a retreat. They managed to temporarily escape the Berserker by using the bleachers, but the Berserker was still able to smell where they were as they approached a parking lot. The Berserker, who was attempting to sniff out Zeta Squad, soon heard a car alarm go off and charged straight into the car, setting her carapace alight. Zeta managed to lure the Berserker into several other cars before killing her.
Downtown Ilima City
- "The Seeders arrive, my children. The humans are too late to stop us now. Show them what it means to face the might of the Locust Elite."
- —Queen Myrrah addressing RAAM's commando unit
General RAAM along with his elite forces emerged in downtown Ilima city after the Seeders successfully inked the sky. The COG had set up a series of sandbag defenses around the street trying to prevent RAAM from advancing. Outside a COG evac center, the Tremor began to deploy the Thumper so another Seeder could be summoned. Several Gears attacked the Locust Elites from the walls of the evac center and from behind in hopes of stopping Tremor from summoning another Seeder. But RAAM and his underlings successfully stopped the Gears.
- "Well done, my general. The city has fallen, and these fragile humans cannot hope to stop us now. Crush them into dust."
- —Queen Myrrah after the Seeder was summoned outside the COG outpost
With the Queen congratulating them on another victory in the fight for Ilima, a COG APC burst through the main gates of the evac center and several Gears along with Silverbacks counterattacked the Locust forces from deploying another Thumper inside the outpost. Outside the Ilima city hall, RAAM used his strength to burst into another concrete door and found a group of Gears and Silverback waiting for him. With the objective of clearing the area so the second Seeder could be summoned, RAAM and his forces attacked the entrenched Gears and massacred them. At the intersection, the Thumper was placed but a King Raven approached the city hall and dropped two Silverbacks and four Onyx Guards, the elite of the COG army. When the troops that were airdropped in got killed, a group of Onyx Guards attacked from a garage and flanked the Locust Elite. After the ambush, the last of the Seeders was summoned around the city hall and Reavers advanced from the Hollows. But the Queen commanded that more Seeders were needed to ink the sky so the Kryll can feed on the city without the fear of sunlight.
- "The evacuation is over, Zeta. You're all that's left. Stay where you are and we'll send our last APC to pick you up."
- —Commander Walker to Lt.Kim after liberating City Hall.
After the battle with the Berserker, Zeta-Six exited the school and Kim attempted to report to Control that the school was lost and the civilians inside where dead. But the newly arrived Seeders cutoff all communications in the area and leaving Zeta-Six blind in Locust-controlled Ilima. With the new goal of killing the Seeders that are disturbing all communications, Zeta entered the Evac checkpoint of Alpha Squad. Outside the outpost, a swarm of Tickers attacked Zeta-Six and an E-Hole opened up behind cover allowed the Drones an advantage. With the clearing of the E-Hole, a second one opened up down the street prompting the Gears to eliminate them too. After the second E-Hole was closed a Boomer crashed its way through several cars outside the parking structure along with a pack of Wretches. After the firefight, the Gears moved into the parking structure to continue their mission. Inside the parking garage, they witnessed an aftermath of a gridlock where all the civilians tried to exit out in their vehicles at once; on the second story of the building a group of Flame Grenadiers attacked Zeta-Six. After clearing the second story, a group of Drones dropped a burning truck onto the onramp that almost killed Barrick. Moving up the ramp, the Gears engaged a host of Grenadiers and Boomers defending their positions. Now trying to exit the parking garage, a pair of Boomers defended the gate. Zeta was able to kill both of them and exit the building.
On the street, a heavy fortified group of Drones were defending the Seeders area that was once the city hall and Kim decided a head on attack would be too costly, so he decide to split his squad into two and have one team on the roof tops and the second on ground level. The Zeta squad members on the roof where tasked with killing the Drone on the turret and after killing several snipers occupying their same position, the Gears took out the turret, but an E-Hole opened up next to the turret and more Drones entered the battlefield. The Gears on the roof top took a ladder and reunited with their squad mates ground level to help fight off a Bloodmount counterattack. After closing more E-Holes the squad needed to find a way around the road block. Outside the gates of city hall, Kim hoped that the mobile command center was still active inside the capital building so they can use the Hammer of Dawn on the Seeders and clear the sky. Moving into the courtyard of city hall, a group of Grenadiers and Wretches defended the building, needing to get past them Zeta-Six attacked them, but a E-Hole opened up in the center of courtyard and the Gears had to close another Emergence Hole. Fighting their way to the front doors of the building a group of Drones climbed over the walls of the building and tried to flank the Gears forcing them into a defensive position. Soon Boomers and Reavers started attacking them too. After a series of ambushes the Gears made it inside the building. Valera was distressed over the Locust battle tactics and who was behind the attack, but Barrick reminded them it has to be RAAM and he hoped to meet the Locust general. Inside the main hall, a group of Grinders with Drone support ambushed the Gears. Barrick headed up stairs while the rest of Zeta engaged the Locust but found a group of Therons defending the command center. Clearing the room, Kim ordered Barrick to use the Hammer of Dawn while the rest defend the room. Using the Hammer of Dawn to clear the area of Seeders, Zeta was able to reestablish contact with Command, Walker told Zeta-Six they were they were the only COG forces left in the city and sent an APC to their location. Kim requested that the APC be diverted to Wiseman's orphanage, as there might be survivors there. The orphanage was a klick away from city hall, and Walker agreed to Kim's request, wishing them luck.
Inside a construction site, several Drones attacked them. Having to use a Loader to get to the main construction area, Barrick used the loader to pick up a large metal sheet and cover his squad mates from a pair of turrets. In the main yard, the Gears battled Theron Guards and Drones. With Boomers and Bloodmounts joining the firefight, Zeta was finally able to defeat the Locust in the construction yard and used a massive crane to move pipes blocking their exit. The Gears soon noticed that the city was being entrenched with millions of Kryll but the sky was not totally inked out yet. Valera thanked Kim for making the “right call” on trying to save the children and the Gears finally reached Dr. Wisen's orphanage. Kim told command they made it and the children were safe, Walker told him the APC was near and Jace was still in it. Jace and a Gear disembark from the APC, the Gear was sniped and a massive Locust force attacked the Children's School of Hope. Jace tried to get the Lancer from the dead Gear while Kim tried to order his soldiers to get inside the Orphanage.
RAAM snuck in from behind, intending to kill the remaining humans by himself. He grabbed Jace and attempted to kill him with his knife, but Valera shoved him, causing RAAM to loosen his grip on Jace. Valera then attempted to chainsaw RAAM, but she severely underestimated the Locust general, who simply caught her in his grip, before plunging his knife into her stomach and killing her, tossing her lifeless body away. Barrick, Tai and Kim opened fire on RAAM after her death, who proceeded to call in his personal Reaver to escape. Jace, wishing to protect his own after seeing Valera die in front of him, took her Lancer and began supporting the Gears. Barrick asked if he knew how to use the Lancer; before Jace could respond, a Drone attempted to charge at him, only for Jace to blindfire and kill the Drone, which Barrick interpreted as a yes.
Zeta's Last Stand
- "Control! The orphanage is under heavy attack. APC is down, repeat transportation is destroyed. We need an exit strategy ASAP!"
- —Kim's distress call.
Zeta-Six was now cut off from the orphanage and Kim requested air evac since the APC was lost. Walker told him that King Raven was on its way, but it would be a tight squeeze. Zeta needed to get back to the orphanage and had to battle their way back. In the small courtyard, they saw a “super Elite” killing two Gears on a balcony. After clearing another E-Hole, two Mauler Elites attacked Zeta squad. Zeta eventually killed the Locust Elites in an intense firefight, before moving into a grocery store where they found several dead Onyx Guards. Using a door to a canal that led to the destroyed bridge, the Theron Elite returned and fast roped himself down to fight Zeta again. The Elite Theron used the Kryll and his fellow Drones to attack Zeta-Six. Wounding the Theron he retreated into the tunnels that the Kryll had colonized. Finally Barrick was able to down the Theron and executed him.
RAAM witnessed his subordinate's death, and a random Gear fired on him to avenge Echo-Five's demise. RAAM's Reaver crushed the Gear upon landing, but had also caused the platform the Gear was on to collapse, allowing Zeta to get back to the orphanage and see another Gear fighting RAAM only to be killed by a Kryll grenade. Zeta was able to retake the sandbags in front of the orphanage had to deal with RAAM on his Reaver. Several E-Holes opened up around the front entrance of the Orphanage and RAAM made several sortie runs against Zeta squad. They were able to wound the Reaver, who dropped RAAM off as his Reaver temporarily retreated.
Using his Kryll as his shield, Zeta squad used explosion weapons to their advantage. RAAM's Reaver returned, escorted by two more Reavers. The three Reavers began attacking Zeta-Six, after taking out his two support Reavers, Zeta focused on RAAM and his Reaver. They were finally able to shoot and kill the Reaver for good, with RAAM crashing beside the orphanage. Kim ordered Barrick and Tai to head to the roof, before he collected Valera's COG tags. As Barrick and Tai escorted the survivors to the King Raven, Barrick realized Kim wasn't with them and realized what he intended to do, making his way down the building. Kim was intent to avenge Valera's death. RAAM, injured by the crash-landing, had his foot stuck on some debris and had trouble getting it out as Kim approached him. Kim attempted to chainsaw RAAM, but the Locust general used the Kryll to keep him at bay. Barrick managed to catch up to Kim and told him that "today is not the day", as the Kryllstorm was going to arrive soon. Kim relented and reluctantly spared RAAM as the two Gears boarded the King Raven, with RAAM only looking on in anger.
- "Today is not the day!"
- —Pvt.Barrick to Lt.Kim after the latter failed to kill a wounded General RAAM.
Despite heavy losses on both sides, they were able to achieve their goals. The Locust Horde now had a foothold to the COG capital of Ephyra, which would later be besieged by Locust forces, who were able to control the southern half of the city. The COG was also able to evacuate most of the civilians in the city.
General RAAM survived the battle and continued to lead the Locust Horde until the Lightmass Offensive in 14 A.E. During the Offensive, RAAM encountered Minh Young Kim again and killed the Lieutenant in the same way he killed Valera. General RAAM was eventually killed by Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago during the Battle on the Tyro Pillar at the end of the Offensive, avenging Valera and Kim.
Jace, who had survived the evacuation, decided to become a Gear so he could further protect his own, with Valera's death having a profound impact on him. IIima would later be revisited by the Locust Horde in 14 A.E. during Operation: Hollow Storm when the Riftworm would sink the city in an attempt to reach Jacinto City.