- "She said she'd pray for me... she said she'd pray for us all."
- —Harper's last words
Sergeant Jonathan Harper, CSID:444526-MI2K9-3B, was a nine-year veteran Gear soldier in the Coalition of Ordered Governments army. He participated in Operation: Midnight, the Lightmass Offensive, and Operation: Hollow Storm, commanding Echo-Nine. While stationed in Timgad following the Lightmass Offensive, he was infected with Rustlung as the evaporated Imulsion from the bombing polluted the city. His diagnosis being covered up by the COG, he was cleared for duty. During Operation: Hollow Storm, he was briefly a prisoner of war by the Locust Horde before escaping. Harper was killed in combat while protecting civilians evacuating from Jacinto City before the city was sunk by the Coalition.
Jonathan Harper was born in Tyrus in 15 B.E. After turning fifteen, Jonathan Harper saw the end of the Pendulum Wars in its 79th year. Six weeks after the end of the war, however, a race of underground creatures called the Locust Horde emerged from the Hollow and massacred a quarter of the human race in an attack known as Emergence Day, waging a war against humanity.
Joining the COG
- "Bastard! Those were two good men!"
- —Harper, after a Theron cuts the rope holding Ahman and Takashi up
Fourteen years after Emergence Day, Harper was selected to take part in Operation: Midnight as part of Midnight Squad. He rode with the rest of the squad aboard two Assault Derricks along the Landown Highway, and was dropped off in the Stromson Forest near the Ferro Bridge. Lt. Draper briefed the squad on their mission to hold the bridge open for a convoy to cross, and they proceeded through the forest to the bridge. Once they arrived, Draper ordered Harper to take Cpl. Ahman and Pvt. Takashi to the far side of the bridge and secure it.
Harper has his team move quickly but quietly across the bridge, until they reached the far side. Once they got there, they found a hole in part of the bridge, and Harper ordered Takashi to get rope ready so that they could rappel down and inspect the underside of the bridge. Harper had the rope tied around part of the bridge and himself, in order to hold Ahman and Takashi steady. He asked them if they found anything, but Takashi told him they were just getting their bearings, and that there were a lot of places to search.
However, Tickers arrived and began swarming around the two of them, and the extra movement put a strain on Harper, and he began worrying about dropping them. He also heard gunfire, as Draper and Pvt. Jace Stratton came under fire from a squad of Theron Guards. As Ahman and Takashi drove off the Tickers, Harper's strength began to fail him, and he noticed a Theron sneaking up behind him. It fired a Torque Bow bolt that cut the rope holding Ahman and Takashi, and Harper opened fire on the Theron, furious that it had killed two of his men.
Draper, Jace, and Pvt. Gil Gonzalez arrived and helped him kill the Theron, and Harper tried to report the deaths of Ahman and Takashi, but Draper told him there was no time and to get into cover, as the entire Theron squad arrived to attack them. They were in danger of being overrun, but four King Ravens arrived and drove off or killed all the Therons, saving Midnight Squad. The Gears celebrated their victory, and were contacted by Takashi, who had managed to grab onto the bridge and survive, requesting a pick-up.
Several weeks later, Harper and Echo-Nine was assigned to Timgad City. Meanwhile, the COG prepared for the Lightmass Offensive, in which a Lightmass Bomb would be launched into the Outer Hollow, using tunnel mapping data from the Sonic Resonator, and strike at the heart of the Locust stronghold. The Lightmass Bomb was placed on the Tyro Pillar as the train would fall into an Imulsion sinkhole from a collapsed bridge and deliver the bombs into the Outer Hollow.
Harper and other members of Echo-Nine witnessed the Tyro Pillar depart. Despite the train being hijacked by Uzil RAAM, the COG was successful in boarding the train, killing Uzil RAAM, installing the tunnel data, and launching the Lightmass Bomb into the Outer Hollow. The bomb collapsed Timgad Valley, as Harper and the rest of Echo-Nine cheered on. The bombing itself was an almost religious experience for Harper, likening it an act of God.
Stationed in Timgad
- "For a while, it had seemed like we had stopped the Locust. For a while."
- —Harper, describing the situation after the Lightmass Offensive
Harper and his squad were stationed in Timgad for two months after the bombing, and he believed for a while that the Locust might have been permanently stopped. However, they reemerged stronger than ever, and Harper and his men fought off a resurging Locust presence in the area, as well as the city of Tollen being sunk by unknown means. During this time, Harper and the other Gears stationed in Timgad, as well as the civilians living there, were exposed to heavy amounts of Imulsion vapor due to the Lightmass bombing.
Patrolling Jacinto City
- "We just wanted them to tell us what was going on."
- —Harper, wishing the COG would stop covering up the causes of Rustlung.
After Timgad, Harper and his squad were stationed in Jacinto, patrolling the city perimeter. After being stationed there for three months, he and the other Gears who were been stationed in Timgad came down with a sickness. One of Harper's squad mates, Cpl. Michael Barrick, revealed "Rustlung", as he was infected with it also. Harper and the other infected suffered from vertigo, persistent cough, and insomnia. Tests were run on them at Jacinto Med, and Doctor Vivian Merriweather told Harper he was suffering these symptoms due to him being unable to accept the harsh reality of war. This angered Harper, and he knew that that was just an excuse and a cover-up, and wished that the doctors would just tell him what was going on. He was prescribed a medium-strength antihistamine before being released and cleared for duty.
Operation: Hollow Storm
Harper and the other Gears were not given time to recover from their illness. One month after visiting Jacinto Med, Harper was deployed along with the rest of the COG army for Operation: Hollow Storm. He felt that the mission was a last-ditch attempt to win the war, and likely suicidal. Harper was happy that the weather was good before the Assault Derricks began drilling, feeling that the surface was giving them a proper goodbye.
- "Tortured us. Demeaned us. Tried to break our spirit. But they didn't break mine."
- —Harper, describing what the Locust did after they captured him
Once he and his squad drilled down into the Hollow in Grindlifts, they linked up with several other squads and did not encounter enemy forces for a while. He had become dizzy from the ride down, but was relieved that his rust lung symptoms were not acting up. Harper wrote in his journal about the experience, and wished that the fighting would start, because he was tired of waiting. He left his journal behind with his grindlift. Once they did encounter the Locust, Harper and the other Gears were quickly overwhelmed. Many of the Gears were killed, but Harper and several others were captured, and he witnessed them break the others one by one.
Harper found a piece of paper to write on, and he wrote a warning to others about the Locust's new tactics and encouraged them to try and escape. When the Locust tried to put him in one of their storage "coffins", Harper resisted and surprised his guard with a quick punch to its face, squeezing its neck until it died. He then ran through the Hollow until he encountered Alpha-Seven under the command of Cpl. Jace Stratton. He took armor and a Lancer from one of the squad's dead Gears, and fought alongside them, determined to reach the surface and see the sun again. They fought their way to the surface, escaping the Locust and a Corpser, and returned to Jacinto City.
- "I saw the sky again today."
- —Harper, happy to see the sun again
As the Locust attacked the city, Harper assisted in protecting and evacuating civilians. He covered an evacuation Raven, holding off the Locust so that a family could get on board. He killed all the Locust, but was fatally wounded by them. As he lay dying, he was just happy to have seen the sun again and to have saved the family.
Several documents about Harper and his battle with rust lung and his escape from the Locust were found and taken by Sgt. Marcus Fenix. After his death, Harper's COG Tags was also recovered by Marcus.
Jacinto Medical Center File
Patient Name: Jonathan Harper
Occupation: Sergeant (Echo-9), COG Army
Height: 1.9 m
Weight: 91 kg
Patient is a 9-year veteran who has recently experienced vertigo, persistent cough, and insomnia. Was stationed at Timgad area for 2 months after Lightmass offensive, when assigned to Jacinto perimeter patrol last 4 months. Symptoms began about 1 month ago. Physical and diagnostic evaluation showed no chronic illnesses and no signs of bacterial infection. Prescribed a medium-strength antihistamine, released patient, and gave clearance for further duty. Expect a full recovery with no side effects.
Dr. Vivian Merriweather
We just touched down in the Hollow about a half-hour ago. Things are quiet, too quiet. I don't like it. It's kind of pretty down here, in a weird way, but the calm is worse than a firefight. I know what to do in a fight... waiting just makes me edgy. Still a bit dizzy, too. Might just be from the ride down here, though... Grindlifts shake the crap out of you. I hate being dizzy. Doc said it was normal, some kind of vertigo, probably from the battlefield, eardrums always getting hammered from the gunfire and explosions. Cough doesn't seem as bad today, that's good, but I'm on edge. Could throw up if I let myself. Not going to, but I'm ready for this stuff to start. I'm tired of waiting.
-Sgt. Jon Harper
Can't believe I found something to write on, but if you find this, you should just run. NOW. Get the hell out of here while you can. The Locust are taking prisoners, putting them in weird coffins and crap.
They got me isolated right now, I hear people screaming around me. I'm coughing brown chunks from my lungs and it's making me puke. I'm sitting in my own damn puke, people are getting tortured, I just want to see the sky again. Just the sky, that's all.
I hear 'em coming, their messed-up breathing. I don't even care, I'm just gonna smash the bastard in his face. If I'm gonna die, I'm dying like a man.
I saw the sky again today. Blue and bright, I watched the Raven take off into it. Could barely see the details, my vision's all blurry now from coughing so much and the punches from that Locust jailer, but I can see enough.
Never thought I'd see it again, but I escaped. I made it... I survived the Hollow.
And I got that little girl and her family on that Raven. Took these bullets, but I saved that family... no medics around now, but that's okay.
The sky is so bright, and I finally feel all right, kinda warm... and I keep hearing that little angel telling me thank you, her sweet little voice... She said she'd pray for me... she said she'd pray for us all...
-Sgt. Jonathan Harper
Behind the scenes
- On the back of the Manual for Technical Reference "Gears of War 2 Manual", it is written that Sergeant Jonathan Harper was the original owner of it.
- In RAAM's Shadow, Jonathan Harper was originally going to be in Kim's place, but the writers decided fans would like to see Kim again since RAAM was in it too.
- Midnight (Appears in flashback(s))
- Harper's Story
- Gears of War 2 (First appearance) (Photo only)
- Gears 5 (Mentioned only)
- His medical profile states that he was 29 a few days before his death in 14 A.E. From this, it can be deduced that Harper was born 15 years before E-Day.
- Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant pg 3
- His medical profile gives his height as 1.9 meters, which transferred into feet and inches equals 6'2"
- Gears of War 2: Act 1: Tip of the Spear: Desperation
- Gears of War: Harper's Story
- Gears of War: Midnight
- Gears of War 2
- Gears of War 2: Act 2: Denizens
- Gears of War 2: Act 4: Hive
- Gears of War 2: Act 5: Aftermath
- Josh Q&A Email