- "I was in their network."
"Network. What network?"
"This! This whole goddamned hive. It's all connected."
- —Sgt. Marcus Fenix to his son, James Dominic Fenix.
The Locust Hivemind, or the Rift, is a psychomagnetic link shared by all members of the Locust Horde and later the Swarm, acting as a collective consciousness. The Hivemind was used by the Locust to communicate with each other telepathically, as well a means of control by the Queen, making the Locust the "perfect soldiers". The Hivemind was discovered after the creation of the Locust Horde. Dr. Niles Samson mutated human children ill with Rustlung by using Imulsion and the DNA of creatures from the Hollow to create the Sires. The DNA of the Sires were then combined with the embryonic stem cells of Myrrah, a human female who had a genetic immunity from Imulsion and benefitted from Imulsion exposure. The result was the Matriarch, the mother of the Locust Horde and established the Hivemind.
While the Locust obeyed ranks within their species similar to the human militarities, only human females related to Myrrah were able to control the Locust completely through the Hivemind. The Matriarch was subservient to Myrrah, but also amplified her connection to the Hivemind - allowing her greater control over the Locust. The link is located within the temporal lobe and is hereditary, as Myrrah's human daughter, Reyna Torres inherited the link. The link was also passed down to Reyna's daughter, Kait Diaz. Within the Hivemind, the Queen is capable of causing visions, hallucinations, and nightmares. The Queen could perceive another's senses, telepathically communicate with other members, and was able to transfer her consciousness into any being, making the Queen practically immortal. However, when the Hive physically lacks a Queen, they remain unguided until they seek a vessel for her.
When ordered to discover a cure for Rustlung, Dr. Niles Samson genetically altered the children of the Imulsion-poisoned miners with the DNA of the indigenous creatures of the Hollow, mutating them into what he called "Sires", believing that he was using genetic power to evolve the humans into becoming immortal. One his patients, Myrrah was genetically immune to Imulsion. By combining Sire DNA with her embryonic stem-cells, they created a hybrid known as the Matriarch which produced the Locust Horde.
While being created, a collective consciousness between all members of the Locust Horde was established. With Myrrah's embryonic stem-cells used in the creation of the Locust Horde and its Hivemind, she too had a connection to this Hivemind and was able to communicate with them telepathically. When exposed to the Matriarch, however, Myrrah's abilities to communicate with the Locust were amplified to the point where she could control them. A device was made to connect Myrrah's consciousness to the Matriarch's mind, allowing the scientists to study Myrrah's power and control the Locust better.
Myrrah finally learned about the extent of her powers, but she began to empathize with the Locust who felt imprisoned and tortured by the scientists and longed for freedom, but were unable to do so without the guidance of an intelligent queen. Myrrah gave birth to a human daughter, Reyna, fathered by Dr. Torres. Among her incredible immune system and resistant aging, Reyna also inherited her mother's connection to the Hivemind. However, Dr. Torres feared the experimentation of his own daughter and escaped with her from the lab. Niles, unable to recapture Reyna, lied to Myrrah that Reyna died in the escape attempt.
Myrrah's grief coincided with her empathy for the Locust and newfound hatred of the humans and began to prepare to guide the Locust to freedom. Niles Samson and the other scientists began to notice that the Locust were becoming more organized and intelligent, following the orders of Myrrah. The scientists feared the worst and attempted to prevent this by curtailing Myrrah's exposure to the Matriarch, but it was too late. Myrrah led the Locust to riot and slaughter the scientists. After escaping from the facility, Myrrah became Queen of the Locust Horde and led them into the nearby caverns of Mount Kadar to build their own civilization: Nexus.
- "Ketor Droak the First was writing about his experiences with the Rift. A spiritual plane for those with the knowledge and access."
- —Ketor Vrol discussing the Hivemind to Skorge as the Rift.
In order to build Nexus, Queen Myrrah relied on the Hivemind to compel the Locust into extreme labor. As Nexus was completed, Queen Myrrah reinstated some free will while maintaining control over the Hivemind.
Meanwhile, the Locust began to create their own religion, known as the Trinity of Worms. Based on the Riftworms, whose tunneling led to the creation of the Hollow network and ecosystem within, the Locust believe the Hollow is theirs by birthright and they were created from the Riftworms. The original High Priest of the Trinity, Ketor Droak, began experimenting with Imulsion fumes. By inhaling the Imulsion fumes, he discovered it can allow one to access the Hivemind and command certain beings of the Hive, as well as receive prophetic visions. He referred to this as the "Rift".
- "By the Glowing Fog, the thrice-riven tunnel bore out into the Rift. I saw through each the eyes of the Trinity, and their mind was my mind."
- —Acolyte Skorge's prophecy of connecting with the Riftworms.
By 7 B.E., the Locust and other creatures in the Hollow were becoming Lambent - in which they were infected, possessed, and mutated by the Imulsion. During the war, Acolyte Skorge inhaled Imulsion fumes and gained access to the Hivemind. Through which, he received prophetic visions that assisted the Locust during the war.
Acolyte Skorge then received a prophecy that unless another course of action would be taken, the Locust and Hollow would fall to the Lambent. Pressured by the Kantus monks, Ketor Vrol banished Skorge for blasphemy, as his vision implies the Riftworms are dead or had long abandoned the Locust to allow for their extinction and loss of the Hollow. Banished, Skorge joined the Locust army where he assisted Vold RAAM in the Bloodied Vanguard by accessing the Hivemind and predicting the best outcomes for each battle against the Lambent. By the end of the seventh cycle, Skorge used the Rift during the Siege of the Gorgon Front, and determined that it would fall. Uzil RAAM then decided to destroy the fortress themselves and take the Lambent down with it, leading them to victory.
Unlike the Kantus, Vold RAAM believed in Skorge's prophecy of losing the war as he had led the frontlines that resulted in the loss of Locust and the Hollow. Arranging a coup against Uzil Sraak, Vold RAAM wanted to convince Queen Myrrah to lead a war against the humans in order to colonize the surface and escape the Lambent from below. While Vold RAAM went to arrange the plot, Skorge was sent to convince Ketor Vrol to vouch for them on the Queen's counsel. Ketor Vrol welcomed back Skorge, and discussed with him that the Rift has protentional to awaken the Riftworms and use them against the Lambent, but Skorge saw it as futile - as he prophesied that the Temple of the Trinity would fall too. Moments later, the Temple was attacked by the Lambent, as a part of Vold RAAM's plot by abandoning the Expansion Hollow. Vold RAAM led the defensive and was victorious in securing the Temple. Ketor Vrol, convinced of Skorge's visions, allowed RAAM and Skorge to meet the Queen.
At the Locust Council, Vold RAAM and Skorge managed to convince Queen Myrrah to engage in a war with the humans, demoting Uzil Sraak to Vold and Vold RAAM to Uzil. Requesting to be alone with Uzil RAAM, Queen Myrrah revealed that she had been planning the war against the humans for years now, and was waiting for a Locust of true strength to take the initial steps. She also made Uzil RAAM aware that she was always watching him and knew his intentions through the Hivemind, and revealed that she will never be out-maneuvered by him due to his thoughts being known by Queen Myrrah.
The Locust continued to wage war against both humanity and the Lambent. However, several groups of Locust who had been isolated from Queen Myrrah reverted to a feral mindset - unguided and unable to properly grow as an advanced species. There was still some ingenuity among the Savage Locust, however, such as the Digger Launcher. When Queen Myrrah revealed herself to the Savage Locust, the Hivemind was restored as they pledged their allegiance to her once again - becoming coordinated in their efforts to stop the COG from reaching Professor Adam Fenix.
After Professor Fenix activated the Imulsion Countermeasure Weapon, the Locust Horde collapsed in a hibernating state as their bodies began to form an impenetrable crystalline shell composed of the Imulsion in their cells to develop a cocoon for their evolution, as designed by Dr. Niles Samson. Despite this, many of the Locust managed to avoid the radiation and remained. Queen Myrrah was then killed by Sgt. Fenix during this, but her consciousness continued to exist within the Hivemind. As the humans began to bury the Locust bodies, the surviving Locust were commanded to stop them, but were eradicated by the 81st "Brash" Brigade.
- "Surely you see I've done you a kindness. You are no longer vulnerable to the Hivemind, and your mother has been awakened. Well. So to speak."
- —Dr. Niles Samson to Cpl. Kait Diaz.
Because the Locust were designed to be evolutionary, both the Locust and their Hivemind survived the countermeasure, albeit in a dormant state. In 42 A.E., the Hivemind was reactivated as members of the Locust emerged from their Imulsion cocoon shells, transformed into Scions. Despite Queen Myrrah's physical body killed in 17 A.E., her consciousness survived within the Hivemind and managed to guide the Scions into creating a new army, connected to the Hivemind, known as the Swarm - creating Hives within the Locust burial sites.
The Scions became leaders of these Hives, whose primary goal was to expand and build their army. The Swarm Hivemind was still fairly rudimentary, and the Scions themselves longed for the singular driving voice they once had. Therefore, Myrrah concluded that possessing a body would be necessary in order to fully restore the Hivemind. When she learned that her daughter, Reyna, was still alive, she guided the Speaker to the Outsider settlement, Fort Umson, to capture Reyna and make her the required vessel. These ambitions were cut short when Reyna was disconnected from the Hivemind and the Speaker was killed by Reyna's daughter and Myrrah's granddaughter, Kait Diaz.
As Kait Diaz remained her last possible vessel, Myrrah began to use the Hivemind to haunt Kait with horrifying visions and nightmares to sow paranoia and distrust among her human friends and compel her to join the Swarm. Meanwhile, Reyna's body was reconnected into the Hive and preserved as a last-resort should Kait fail to become their Queen. After four months, Kait Diaz traveled to the Mount Kadar Laboratory to disconnect herself from the Hivemind. Niles Samson learned the Locust had evolved into the Swarm and offered to disconnect Kait from the Hivemind, but instead used Kait's connection to redirect Myrrah into Reyna's body, reawakening her from her death and providing the Swarm Hivemind the Queen they desperately needed.
Despite Kait destroying the Matriarch and actually severing her connection with the Hivemind, Myrrah was still able to possess Reyna and became the Swarm's new Queen. With a fully functional Queen, the Hivemind's intelligence began to grow considerably, in their aggression and planning in their tactics, alongside the creation of some rudimentary weapons of their own, such as the Claw Light Machine Gun and Breaker Mace. Queen Reyna then led the Swarm to attack New Ephyra, revealing herself to Kait Diaz and murdering one of her friends. The COG was able to repel Queen Reyna's attack with the Hammer of Dawn, but understood that the war with the Swarm was just beginning.
It is revealed by Baird that the Hivemind Connection can be temporarily disrupted by flooding the Swarm creatures with high amount of electricity. This is first shown when he shows Del and Kait the Hijack function of Jack, which enables Jack to temporarily disconnect a Stump from the Hivemind connection, causing it to attack other Rejects.
Behind the scenes
- The concept of a Hivemind was first revealed in Gears of War, with Queen Myrrah's ability to telepathically communicate with Uzil RAAM during his assassination of Lt. Minh Young Kim.
- During the sections of RAAM's Shadow in which the player takes the role of RAAM in the Evacuation of Ilima, Queen Myrrah repeatedly communicates with him telepathically - indicated by the lack of radio equipment and the rim of RAAM's vision being darkened each time she speaks.
- Due to the Hivemind being referred to as the "Rift" by the Trinity of Worms caste, it's possible that the Kantus have an innate ability to revive their brethren by entering and utilizing the Hivemind.