- "That's what freaks me out more than anything. Grubs- you knew they could think. But these things- they're just animals. Or plants even, like the damn stalks. What's driving them? What do they want? They're not even eating us."
- —Sgt. Drew Rossi, reflecting on the nature of the Lambent
The Lambent, or 'glowies' as the Serans call them, refer to infected, mutated variants of all the life on Sera caused by prolonged exposure to Imulsion. Most Lambent differ in behavior, appearance, strength, and death from their original counterparts. While infection by Imulsion in the case of Rustlung was discovered by the Coalition of Ordered Governments in the early Pendulum Wars-era, the Lambent were discovered until much later. Publicly, the Lambent were discovered by the COG as Lambent Wretches and later Drones of the Locust Horde during the Locust War. The Lambent have the ability to mutate and transform at will and explode upon death due to their volatile nature and desire to spread and reproduce the infection. In 14 A.E., the Lambent became a pandemic due to the sinking of Jacinto City, causing the Imulsion to rise into the soil and spread. The Lambent were eliminated in Bloom, 17 A.E., when Professor Adam Fenix detonated the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon, a targeted-radiation wave aimed at killing Imulsion cells - vaporizing all Lambent and Imulsion lifeforms.
Discovery of Infection
Around a century before Emergence Day, the substance known as Imulsion was considered to be more of a scientific curiosity than a practical resource after its discovery, and was essentially useless until Dr. Helen Cooper created the Lightmass Process. The process was capable of refining Imulsion into an efficient energy source. In the early years, scientists had no reason to consider Imulsion as a parasite or a living being at all.
Sometime later, in the early years of the Pendulum Wars, COG officials and scientists such as Niles Samson discovered poisoned, infected Imulsion miners. In order to cure the Lambency for continued use of the fuel, the New Hope Research Facility was opened to attempt to find a cure for Lambency. However, Niles, after discovering that one test subject, Myrrah, was immune to Imulsion, began experimenting on the people infected with Lambency, ultimately creating the Sires. Eventually, due to information leaks, recent attacks by the Sires, and failures to find a cure, New Hope was decommissioned as well as the project, and all sources related were erased. This information, however, carried on about the health risk with Imulsion with Chairmen and COG officials. This would remain secret until a public discovery in 15 A.E. Niles, some of his test subjects and all of his research were relocated by a Fringe COG Party to a secret laboratory beneath Mount Kadar where he continued his experiments, eventually creating the Locust Horde.
The Lambent and the Locust eventually entered into a war with each other over control of the Hollow. With the Lambent spreading, they began driving the Locust Horde into extinction, and a desperate Queen Myrrah entered into a pact with Adam Fenix; if he could find a solution to the Lambent infection, the Locust Horde would not have to invade the surface. Unfortunately, the Pendulum Wars forced Adam to create another weapon to help the COG instead of the Locust Horde, taking up his time to make a countermeasure weapon against the Lambent. By the time the Hammer of Dawn was completed, the Locust Horde was preparing to invade the surface after the Pendulum Wars ended. With the Locust losing ground against the Lambent, General RAAM pushed for an invasion of the surface by the Locust, a plan that Myrrah agreed with.
The Lambent Wretches
Fourteen years after E-Day, during the Lightmass Offensive, Delta-One discovered Lambent Wretches for the first time at the Lethia Imulsion Facility and engaged them while trying to gain access to the Hollows and deploy the Sonic Resonator. The Lambent Wretches were reported to have been seen before by the COG and had in fact been seen six weeks after Emergence Day during the Destruction of Halvo Bay. Unlike the rest of the Lambent, the Lambent Wretches did not appear to be hostile to the Locust and worked with them on the Tyro Pillar. Their presence there may have just been coincidental, as while they did attack, they didn't attack at the same time as the Locust.
Siege of Nexus
During the Siege of Nexus, Delta-One infiltrated Nexus and discovered that the Locust were already engaged in an urban battle with the Lambent. At the time, the COG did not know the full effect of the Lambent infection. With the Horde losing ground to the Lambent, the COG discovered how they were able to make great progress in the Hollows, because the Locust were split losing on their home front. Sgt. Marcus Fenix later discovered a Locust defense plan of the city of Nexus showing that the Lambent were attacking from under the city. During the battle, Augustus Cole killed a Lambent Drone which didn't explode and its Imulsion moved on its own up a cliff to the other Lambent Drones there. Later, the squad used the Hammer of Dawn to detonate the Lambent Brumak to sink Jacinto and flood the Hollows.
Infection of the Surface
Several months after the sinking of Jacinto and the flooding of the Hollow, the Lambent infection spread to the surface. By this time, they had developed the capability to appear all over the place through the Lambent Stalks and deploying various different forms. Although at first believed by COG to only infect Locust, Formers - humans infected by Imulsion - begin to appear in areas such as Mercy. Adam Fenix developed a weapon capable of destroying Imulsion and all those that were heavily infected by it, thus the Lambent and the Locust, but Adam was captured by the Queen's Guard during the First Battle of Azura before he could activate it. When the remnants of the COG and the Gorasni launched an attack on the island, the Lambent attacked as well, battling everyone present. Eventually Adam managed to activate the weapon and a wave of Drudges were sent to try to stop him, but were killed by the weapon before they could succeed. The weapon was successfully activated and destroyed all Imulsion and everything infected by it, including Adam, the Locust and all Lambent lifeforms, marking the end of the Locust War and Lambent Pandemic.
The Lambent organism lies within the Imulsion and spreads through Imulsion fumes which acclimated after the Lightmass Process. The organism acts as a parasite and will actually kill its host rather than eject and find another. The Parasite does, however, possess its host to spread the infection. The plant life acts as transport and fruiting bodies for other forms of Lambent to spread while the animal life is mobile and seeks to kill and infect other living forms.
The sickness, at least for Humans, is followed in stages. The first stage is contraction, in which by 17 A.E. everyone has. However, the Lambent organism is rather dormant unless exposure is constant. The second stage is a form of Rustlung, in which Imulsion invades the body and lungs via Imulsion fumes. This is shown by extreme coughing and brownish-red mucus and blood bleeding from the mouth, nose, and eyes. This is contracted mostly by Imulsion miners and people near refineries, and those unlucky in Timgad following the Lightmass Offensive when the Lightmass Bomb evaporated much of the Imulsion. The third stage is a fever and intense muscle pain, in which the Imulsion has almost colonized ones cells and it has begun heating the blood in ones veins. The fourth and final stage is Lambency in which the blood veins illuminate the golden color of Imulsion and burns the skin and cartilage, blackening the skin. Finally the parasite possesses the host and aims to kill and infect other beings.
As the Imulsion takes over and kills it host, it also mutates. After the skin is blackened, the veins are illuminated, and the cartilage burns away, the host begins to mutate limbs and tentacles. Lambent hosts differ in mutation depending on the species, mentality, and possessions. Creatures such as Gunkers have mutated their limbs over the butcher cleavers they once held as Butcher Boomers. Regardless, each mutation is very similar. A mutated host has their eye colors turn into yellow-gold, pulses of Imulsion throughout their bodies, and the skin turned into a jet black carapace. Most forms also sprout tentacles forming from the body itself, especially the Lambent Berserker.
The end of the life cycle, whether it is killed or automatically activates it, the Lambent will explode. The Lambent have a mentality to rush and kill rather than think logically and live. Their mind set is kill and infect. The explosion is a last resort in which the Imulsion exits the body and spreads in the general area, and at times, the Imulsion will mobilize after the death of its host and move to another. This was shown when one of the Lambent Grenadiers in the Siege of Nexus attempted to board the lift Delta Squad was using, only to be killed by Cole. Cole later saw the Imulsion leave the corpse in an attempt to find a new host.
Unlike the Locust, their bodies are vaporized by the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon while the Locust only being placed into metamorphosis to be evolved into the Swarm.
The Lambent consist of an organic root parasite that infects other organisms, causing them to rapidly mutate into impulse-driven, feral and monstrous forms of their former selves. This parasite is linked to the Imulsion fluid that exists on Sera, as exposure to Imulsion vapors seemed to be what causes the Lambent infection. This was illustrated when Locust Gunboats abandoned their pursuit of Delta Squad over the lake in the Hollow in order to avoid the vapors, and also when a Brumak wandered through a large quantity of Imulsion vapors and mutated into a hideous, stronger form.
The most basic form is known as a Lambent Polyp, which has a crab-like appearance and is normally spewed from Lambent hosts after they have been destroyed or have mutated.
Lambent Stalks are huge plant-like tentacles that swarm over battle sites, dropping other Lambent forms into their enemies' midst. They appear to be the fruiting bodies of organic Imulsion material in the planet that carry other Lambent life forms to spread the infection on the surface. These are massive and easily differentiated from the smaller mutation of the Lambent Drudges. The opening level of Gears of War 3 involves Lambent Stalks rising out of the ocean, dropping other Lambent into the CNV Sovereign. The Stalks attack by ramming into a target and releasing Polyps.
Lambent Wretches were the first encountered Lambent life forms. Delta Squad first ran into them in the Lethia Imulsion Factory on the Jacinto Plateau.
The Lambent Brumak is the largest known Lambent creature. They are at least double the size of a regular Brumak, sporting large, snapping tentacles, and are barely recognizable once the mutation is complete. It is incredibly powerful and takes multiple blasts from the Hammer of Dawn to kill. There has only been one encountered and it is possibly unique.
The Lambent Leviathan were infected Leviathans that found its way out of the Hollow and surfaced in 15 A.E. It is much larger and faster than a regular Leviathan, but is also very volatile. Three attacked Vectes, leading to the Battle of Pelruan and the First Battle of New Jacinto. One was killed when a Raven unloaded all of its ammo into its head, another was killed by a combined torpedo attack from the Zephyr and the CNV Clement, while the third was killed by a blast from the Hammer of Dawn. All three of the Leviathans carried Polyps which attacked Pelruan and New Jacinto. Later, another one Lambent Leviathan attacked New Jacinto and was killed by a grenade being dropped down its throat by Marcus Fenix after being forced to the surface by makeshift depth charges.
During the final days of the Lambent Pandemic, a massive Lambent Leviathan, stated to be twice the size of the others previously encountered, attacked the CNV Sovereign at the same time as Polyps, Lambent Drones and Lambent Drudges attacked with the help of Lambent Stalks. After Delta-One pushed the Leviathan under Centennial Bridge using Silverbacks, Delta-Two dropped a whole crate of Tickers on its head from the bridge. The Lambent Leviathan was killed, but the explosion from its death destroyed both the Sovereign and Centennial Bridge.
Lambent Drones are Drones that have been exposed to Imulsion enough to become Lambent but not long enough to mutate into Drudges. Lambent Drones essentially share the same appearance to their Locust counterparts, with the exception of their glowing skin. During the Lambent Pandemic, the Drones have a slightly different appearance, similar to an amalgamation of the Drones encountered in Nexus and Drudges, hinting that Drudges are the next stage in a Drone's mutation.
The Lambent Drudge, a hideously mutated Locust Drone, is the most recognizable part of the Lambent fighting force. However, these creatures have lost all form of sentience. They have the ability to morph their ligaments and heads, forcing their enemies to constantly change tactics, and becoming a deadlier threat.
Lambent Berserkers can spawn from the Lambent Stalks. They are bigger, faster, more violent than their standard counterpart, and they jump unlike the original Berserkers. They have long spider-like appendages that sprout from their backs and have been shown to be much less vulnerable to the Hammer of Dawn than normal Berserkers; able to take three simultaneous blasts without significant injury. Only one Lambent Berserker was ever encountered by COG forces.
A Gunker was a Lambent-infected Butcher Boomer. The Gunkers had their right arms mutated onto their Butcher Cleavers while their left arms mutated into a spoon-like hand which poured and hurled balls of Imulsion from afar while their right cleaver arm was used to extend and mutate, killing their victims. They were first encountered during the Misson to Hanover by Cole's squad.
Formers are humans turned Lambent after prolonged exposure to Imulsion. During the Lambent Pandemic, cities that had major Imulsion refineries, like Mercy and Char, were the first cities to have their citizens turn Lambent. Halvo Bay also had Formers, particularly survivors who had taken refuge in a Beached Imulsion Rig.
- "We cannot allow the Lambent to pollute the surface. We must bury their infection here!"
- —Queen Myrrah
The Locust Horde and the Lambent are in a state of war and fighting for control of the Hollow. Queen Myrrah regards the Lambent as an infection to the Locust Horde and lower life forms, and that it is the duty of the Locust to stop the spread of the Lambent parasite to the surface of Sera. The Lambent is also the reason that the Locust invaded the surface: the Lambent were driving them from the Hollow.
In reality, the Locust Horde's origins are partially traced back to the Lambent due to Doctor Niles Samson's experiments on humans infected with Rustlung leading to the creation of the Sires and later the Locust.
The Humans now view the Lambent as a huge threat to the society of the Serans, and now attempt to stop them at all costs. The Lambent also find the humans as a new source of "species barrier" jumping as said by Marcus Fenix when first finding Formers in the sewers of Mercy. The Lambent is the reason why the humans are on full alert to them, most notably because of the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon. The Lambent continue to amaze the humans, espically with the newer and deadlier lifeforms such as the Lambent Berserker, Drudges and Formers.
The Lambent make an appearance in Horde 2.0 as well. They consist of the above-mentioned creatures, except the Lambent Animals, and the Lambent Brumak, with a Lambent Berserker or two spawning in boss waves just like the uninfected variant. It is strange that the Locust and Lambent disregard each other and focus their attention on the players; however, they will turn on each other if one side's shots hits the other side.
Behind the Scenes
- Queen Myrrah was the first to refer to the glowing, infectious organism as Lambent.
- It is unknown if the Lambent have some sort of hivemind, as they always attempt to stop the Gears throughout the Gears of War 3 Campaign, and also made a last stand during the Second Battle of Azura. This is evidenced when the Warehouse Stranded Leader says how tons of Lambent start appearing when the COG show up, and how the Stadium Leader blames the COG for getting their home overrun because of them.
- The Lambent may have been inspired from Bungie's Halo series as there is a counterpart to them; the Flood. Both are infectious parasites that attack and kill their victims, only to possess their bodies to spread their plague. When infected, both have their skin colors turn into jet black (Lambent) or decaying flesh (Flood). When the vessel is destroyed, both leave none or little remains behind.
- Lambency also resembles the real-world Cordyceps, a parasitic fungus that infects and possesses its host to expel fungal spores and infect other members of their colony. Imulsion is also a parasitic fungal organism that infects its host through vapors, which act as spores - and the Lambent Stalks also act as fruiting bodies to further spread the Imulsion spores. The Lambent explode upon death in a last attempt to spread the Imulsion and, therefore, spread Lambency - similar to how Cordyceps hosts expel spores from their corpses.
- A Pendulum Wars Story (Indirect mention only)
- The Rise of RAAM
- Gears of War: Judgment
- Gears of War (First appearance)
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
- Aspho Fields (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War 2
- Jacinto's Remnant (Mentioned only)
- Anvil Gate
- Coalition's End
- Dirty Little Secrets
- Gears of War 3
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Gears of War: Anvil Gate
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Gears of War 3
- ↑ Gears of War
- ↑ Gears of War 2 collectible
- ↑ Gears of War: Coalition's End
- ↑ Gears of War: The Slab pg 40