- "So you always have me with you... I love you, Dominic... Always, Maria."
- —The note Maria wrote for Dom on their picture of them in a bar.
Maria Santiago (née Flores) was the wife of Corporal Dominic Santiago. She was a childhood friend of the Santiago Family and Marcus Fenix. She would later marry Dominic, shortly before giving birth to their first child, Benedicto Santiago, when they were both sixteen. They later had a second child two years later, named Sylvia Santiago. Maria's children, along with her parents, were killed on Emergence Day by the Locust Horde. That event lead to her depression and eventual self exile. Maria spent the remainder of her life by living with a Stranded group led by Stu. After searching for twelve years, Dominic finally found Maria in a Locust prison camp, only to discover that she was severely tortured to the point of being in a permanent vegetative state. Dominic was forced to euthanize her to end her suffering, which was something that he never recovered from.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Early Life
- 1.2 Pendulum Wars
- 1.3 Locust War
- 1.4 Death
- 1.5 Legacy
- 2 Personality and Traits
- 3 Quotes
- 4 Behind the Scenes
- 5 Appearances
- 6 References
Maria Flores was born and raised by her mother and father in the Imulsion township known as Mercy. The Flores were a prominent family in Mercy's history. Among their history in Mercy, the Flores had their own family tomb in the graveyard located near the local church.
Bombardment of Mercy
In 9 B.E., Mercy was bombarded by the Union of Independent Republics with mortar strikes. Maria and her family survived the bombings due to Mercy's many bomb shelters, but moved out of Mercy for their safety.
Moving to Ephyra
By 9 B.E., the Flores family relocated into the suburbs of Ephyra, the capital of Tyrus and the Coalition of Ordered Governments. Maria and her parents lived two houses down from the Santiago family. In her free-time, Maria would climb the tree in her front-yard, which attracted the attention of Dominic Santiago, the youngest of the Santiago family. Dominic eventually introduced himself to Maria and the two became good friends, with Maria also befriending Dominic's older brother, Carlos Santiago, and their best friend, Marcus Fenix.
Starting a Family
By 4 B.E., when they both were sixteen, Maria and Dominic began dating and became sexually active. Maria soon became pregnant told Dominic, who after revealing the news to his parents accompanied Maria in telling her parents as well about the pregnancy. Dominic always planned on marrying Maria and her pregnancy led them to finally get married. Maria gave birth to a son, Benedicto, after the middle name of Carlos Benedicto Santiago. When Benedicto was born in Frost of 4 B.E., Maria received a single pearl necklace from Dominic to mark the birth of their son.
Maria spent the next several months with Dominic and Benedicto. The three moved from the suburbs of Ephyra to an apartment in Lower Jacinto. Dominic then enlisted into the COG to support his family. Before Dominic left for basic training, he, Maria and Carlos went to a bar off Embry Square to celebrate. After Dominic went to basic training, Maria mostly wanted to take care of Benedicto by herself. A year later, Maria was pregnant with a girl.
Maria only saw Dominic once after the conception of their daughter during his leave. Maria was woken up by Dominic in the middle of the night. She congratulated Dominic when he showed her his commando knife, revealing that he had passed his training. The two spent the next week buying and building baby furniture for their expecting daughter, only for Dominic to be called back early from leave. Maria was promised by Dominic to be home when the baby was born.
Battle of Aspho Fields
- "She's right, you are one in a million."
- —Telling Dom what Anya said about him
Maria went into premature labor the night before Battle of Aspho Fields, the battle in which the Coalition of Ordered Governments invaded Aspho Point and obtained schematics for the Hammer of Dawn, an orbital beam weapon of mass destruction to help end the Pendulum Wars. Dominic received the message that Maria had given birth to a girl named Sylvia Carla. Hours later, Dominic, Carlos, and Marcus fought in the battle, with Carlos sacrificing himself in action.
Due to the heroic actions of Maria's husband, Dominic received the Embry Star, as well as Marcus, and Carlos, posthumously. Maria attended the ceremony and attended a formal dinner at a hotel with Dominic, Marcus, Anya Stroud, Eva and Eduardo Santiago and Adam Fenix. After Dominic's parents left, Maria and Dominic chose to be home with the kids. Maria told Dominic that she was not enthusiastic about the idea of a relationship between Marcus and Anya, who were clearly attracted to each other and went home together, saying that they would get into trouble as she was an officer and Marcus was enlisted. However, Dominic believed if they kept it to off-duty hours, they would be fine.
End of the War
In the next two years, Dominic spent more time with his family as the Pendulum Wars quickly came to an end. Towards the end of the war, Maria and Dominic decided to move from of their city apartment in Jacinto and into a house in the suburbs of Ephyra. Dominic found and rented an Ephyra residence, a two-story house, for him and Maria to create a new life with Benedicto and Sylvia in the new era of peace. By the end of of those two years, the Hammer of Dawn was used by the Coalition to end the Pendulum Wars, allowing Maria to be with her husband and kids together in their new home.
During the six weeks of peace, Maria and Dominic maintained their family with outings, picnics, and playing in the park. Maria's parents had also decided to move from their residence after living near the Santiago family for nine years. During their move into the new apartment in south Ephyra, they brought in a stray cat as a pet. Benedicto expressed excitement to his mother and father about seeing his grandparent's new home and pet cat. With the war over, Mr. and Mrs. Flores wanted to spend as much time as possible with their grandchildren. Wanting to have time alone with Dominic, Maria planned for her children to spend the day with her parents.
- "Dom? Dom? Dom you awake? I brought you breakfast! The kids are at my mother's, so we get the whole day to ourselves!"
- —Maria waking up her husband, Dom, on the morning of Emergence Day
Six weeks after the end of the Pendulum Wars, Maria sent Benedicto and Sylvia to be with her parents for the day so she and Dominic could spend quality time together. Maria surprised Dominic with breakfast in bed and told him that the kids were with her mother, allowing them the day to themselves.
Later that day, the Locust Horde, a race of subterranean creatures, emerged from the Hollow and invaded every major city on Sera, including Ephyra, in what would be known as Emergence Day. The Locust killed every man, woman, and child they could, and were successful in killing a quarter of the planet's population that day. The Locust were able to kill Maria's parents, while Benedicto and Sylvia were killed when an Emergence Hole opened beneath them, falling to their deaths.
- "So you always have me with you. Don't let me go. Keep it in your pocket, please."
- —Maria giving Dom the photo of them so he has something to remember her by.
While unable to bury her children, Maria had her parents buried in their hometown of Mercy within the family grave. The deaths of their children and parents devastated both Maria and Dominic, but Maria was officially diagnosed with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. After attending counseling sessions on grief, Maria was then prescribed anti-depressant medication. Dominic was called back to duty during the Locust War, leaving Maria alone in their home, exposed to the news reports of the Locust incursions day by day.
The following months after Emergence Day, Maria was still grieving over her children. Maria developed the routine of cleaning her children's bedrooms followed by walks in the city. She would go for weeks without speaking or eating and blamed herself for her children's deaths, for sending the kids to her parents on that day, thinking that she let the Locust Horde get them.
After the first anniversary of Emergence Day, Dominic hosted a dinner party cooked for Maria and Marcus, which allowed Dominic to show Marcus the extent of Maria's depression. Afterward, when Dominic was prepared to go back from leave, Maria went through the kitchen drawers and found the photo that Carlos took of them at the bar in Embry Square. She signed a note on the back: "So you always have me with you. I love you, Dominic. Always, Maria." She gave the photo to Dominic and promised to always keep it safe to remind him about her.
Hammer of Dawn Strikes
- "I need to find them. Bennie and Sylvie. I know I saw them. Just once, but they're out there, and they'll be so scared. I have to find them."
- —Maria stating why she needed to go after her kids died.
Following the anniversary of E-Day, the newly appointed Chairman Richard Prescott announced that 90% of Sera was to be incinerated by the Hammer of Dawn. After the announcement, she was transported to the Fenix Estate where Adam Fenix took care of her.
Upon the announcement, Dominic came to Maria but found the house empty, not knowing she had been taken to Haldane Hall. Dominic was worried she had gone to tend her parents grave in Mercy, but Marcus was able to locate her. Dominic and Marcus arrived at the Fenix Estate to attend to Maria. Dominic eventually got her to admit that she went on her walks because she believed that the kids were still alive and that she had saw them. Maria blocked the truth out that her kids died and did not listen to Dominic.
Days after the Hammer dropped, she risked her own health to go outside to see them again, despite the event that led to the pollution cloud that blanketed in Ephyra and all over Sera.
Living with the Stranded
- "Hey, Santiago, what you doing here man? No news on the lady, I'd tell you if I heard anything."
- —Franklin, when Dom arrived at his outpost with Delta-One
In 2 A.E., Maria's depression soon led to her self exile, leaving Dominic to go on one last venture to find her children, but ended up leaving entirely. Maria eventually joined a Stranded group led by Stu in Ephyra. Dominic began a search for his wife by asking the Stranded if they saw her by using the photo she had signed for him, as well as employing his Stranded and Gears friends to help search for Maria in their spare time. Among the Stranded in Ephyra employed by Dominic to search for Maria was Franklin Tsoko, the leader of the "New Ephyra" Outpost. Deduced by Dominic, Maria was likely well-cared for in Stu's group as she was not a fighter or survivor as well as suffering from PTSD and depression, theorizing that she was with the people that loved and took care of her.
Dominic routinely made visits to Franklin Tsoko for updates on Maria. However, Maria kept herself out of sight. By Gale of 14 A.E., Maria still had not been found, as she was with Stu's group. The Coalition, at the same time, initiated the Lightmass Offensive, which involved bombing the Hollow with the Lightmass Bomb, hoping to finally end the Locust War. Dominic was part of the mission, but when air transport was no longer an option due to Nemacysts, Dominic led Delta-One to Franklin's Outpost in search for Laverne, a scrapped APC with a ultraviolet light turret to help defend against the Kryll. Franklin mentioned that there currently had been no leads on Maria, but promised he would keep looking. After a brief argument, Franklin gave Dominic the keys to Laverne and assisted Delta on their mission to deploy the Lightmass Bomb.
Moving Under Mount Kadar
After the Coalition launched the Lightmass Bomb in Timgad City during the Lightmass Offensive, the Locust began sinking cities surrounding Jacinto and attacking in desperate raids on the surface against Stranded camps and Coalition bases. Also, due to the bomb evaporating the Imulsion, an epidemic of Rustlung began to infect the humans in the area.
The Stranded, believing nowhere was truly safe anymore, began to camp underground in the Hollow, believing that it would be safer since the Locust were focused on the surface. Maria's group went underground Mount Kadar to escape from the constant fighting. They set up camp on the shore by the underground lake to wait for Stu's friend, Chaps.
Capture by the Locust
- "Maybe she was with one of the other groups that came down before... Stu's group, I think. Ah, but Stu and them got captured."
- —Chaps, telling Cpl. Dominic Santiago about Maria's capture.
Maria lived in the camp beneath Mount Kadar for several weeks. Chaps and his camp eventually arrived beneath Mount Kadar to join Stu's group. However, a Locust squad patrolled the lake and discovered Stu's group, capturing most of them - including Maria. They were taken across the lake to the prison camp on the Nexus Highway, near the dam. Chaps attempted to reach Maria and her group at the prison, but it was too heavily guarded. Chaps then barely managed to return to his camp on the shore due to the Leviathans in the lake.
At the prison camp, Maria was put to extreme labor. Over the course of weeks, she was deprived of resources and became emaciated. She then experienced torture at the hands of the Locust, causing major scarring and physical damage. Maria was ultimately processed, a crude lobotomy performed by the Locust as a final form of torture to their prisoners. The Locust placed Maria into a machine that cut into the tear duct of her left eye and scraped away at her brain, inducing her into a permanent vegetative state - making Maria a mindless slave to the Locust Horde.
Due to the neglect, torture, and lobotomy - Maria developed multiple physical and neurological disorders such as ataxia, dystonia, nystagmus, bradykinesia, ocular toxin deposition. While she continued to exist as a living being, she became a shell of her former self - suffering from lifelong, terminal diseases, from which she could not be saved from.
- "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry, Maria... I love you, so much."
- —Dom's last words to Maria before she is euthanized.
Maria remained in her cell until the events of Operation: Hollow Storm. Dominic Santiago had questioned Stranded he and Marcus Fenix found in the caverns of Mount Kadar. Chaps, a friend of Stu, was familiar with Maria and revealed that she and the rest of her group were captured and brought to the prison camp on the Nexus Highway.
After crossing the underground lake and arriving at the Nexus Highway, Dominic and Marcus located the prison and managed to find Maria's information and cellblock area in the Locust terminals. Dominic and Marcus then found her cellblock and eliminated all Locust guards, liberating the camp. After searching through the prison, JACK found Maria's cell.
Dominic finally reunited with Maria, but in her emaciated, tortured, and lobotomized state. Initially distraught and unsure how to help Maria - Marcus allowed Dominic privacy so he could do what he needed to do. After apologizing for not finding her in time, Dominic euthanized Maria by shooting her in the head with his pistol. Dominic took the single-pearl necklace that he gave her when their son was born and tied it to his own COG Tag before continuing with Marcus to Nexus.
- "Maria... baby I'm sorry I couldn't bring you home. But you're with the kids now, that's home, yeah? I'll see you all again some day. Look, Marcus is busy saving the world again so, I gotta be there for him. Sleep tight, sweetheart."
- —Dom praying to Maria at the Flores Family Grave
Maria's death was an emotional toll on Dom, causing him to lose his optimistic personality, growing a more cold, pessimistic outlook on life. Dom's friends gave their condolences and assured him that euthanizing her was the right thing to do, but Dom blamed himself for not finding her in time and believed that she could have been saved and euthanizing her might have been a mistake.
However, Dr. Isabel Hayman believed that Maria had ataxia, dystonia, nystagmus, bradykinesia, ocular toxin deposition and said that none of those diseases are curable and Maria was slowly dying as well as being in a permanent vegetative state due to the lobotomy that the Locust had put her through. Dr. Hayman assured Dom that euthanizing her was the right thing to do and nothing else could have been done.
As time went on, Dom came to accept Maria's death and hoped that she was happy and loved when she lived with the Stranded before she was captured. Two years after her death, Dom still grieved over her death and the actions that he took. Dom let himself grow a beard and took tomato farming up in order to care for something. To honor and remember Maria, he had a fellow Gear named Samantha Byrne modify his heart tattoo into an angelic Maria cradling the heart with her wings. During this, Samantha grew a romantic attachment to Dominic, but he was unable to reciprocate the same feelings.
During the Lambent Invasion, Dom lived on the CNV Sovereign and tried to go on with his life. The Lambent began to attack the ship when Sovereign was entering Lambent waters near Hanover Coast. Dom was reluctant to leaving his crops and radishes as if they were his family. As the Lambent boarded the Sovereign deck, he was concerned for the well being of his tomatoes and crops. When Sovereign crashed, they ventured to Anvil Gate to decode the late Prescott’s disk that would lead them to Adam Fenix so that he could end the Lambent Pandemic.
After being tasked to get a submarine from the Endeavour Naval Shipyard to Azura, Dom suggested that they should get fuel from Mercy or Char. Sam was concerned about Dom suggesting going to Maria’s hometown in Mercy. Though emotionally broken, Dom assured her that he could handle it and they needed the fuel. When they arrived to Mercy, Dom began to remember Maria and visited the Flores family grave. He prayed to Maria that he was sorry for not saving her, but promised her that he would be with them soon by offering his COG tags and Maria's necklace to the grave.
When Delta finally got the fuel, they were cornered by the Locust and Lambent. Due to his emptiness without Maria and love for Marcus, he drove a truck into the fuel tanks to kill all of the Lambent and Locust in the area. Dom managed to save Marcus and Delta Squad, who were able to reach Adam Fenix and end the Locust and Lambent War. Maria's legacy encouraged Dom to save the world.
Personality and Traits
Maria, typical of most parents loved her children and husband. Maria, however was independent. When Dom was in the army, she wanted to take care of Benedicto and Sylvia by herself without her mother's help. When her children are killed on Emergence Day, she entered into a phase of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder. She was later prescribed anti-depressants and showed some revealing side effects. She would cry every day while she still cleaned the kids' bedrooms and went on walks believing that she would still find them. She would go days without food or water and finally giving in to her loss, left the only safe place on Sera to live among the Stranded.
- "Now, Marcus and Anya... I know it looks like a good idea to you, but those two will never last beyond tonight. Don't try to fix it for them. And she's an officer, he's enlisted. They'll end up on a charge."
- —Maria pointing out why Anya and Marcus could never be together .
Behind the Scenes
- Maria Santiago was voiced by Courtney Ford.
- Maria's death was based on Cliff Bleszinski's personal statement on Terri Schaivo and his belief in "right to death". Terri Schaivo was a woman in a persistent vegetative state from massive brain damage due to lack of oxygen to her brain during a heart attack. For fifteen years, Terri's husband fought to end her life, while her parents went to the Supreme Court to defend her life. She ultimately was allowed to die in 2005 after being taken off life-support. 
- Joshua Ortega revealed part of the storytelling purpose behind Tai Kaliso’s suicide was to set-up justification for Dom’s decision to euthanize Maria. Tai's death established that if the “indestructible” Gear could be broken by a few hours of Locust torture, Maria was beyond hope of recovery after weeks of torture. 
- The Slab (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War (First mentioned)
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (Mentioned only)
- Aspho Fields (First appearance) (Appears in flashback(s))
- Last Day (Photo only) (Mentioned only)
- Hollow (Mentioned only)
- Barren (Photo only) (Mentioned only)
- One Day (Appears in flashback(s))
- Gears of War 2
- Dirty Little Secrets (Mentioned only)
- Jacinto's Remnant (Appears in flashback(s))
- Anvil Gate (Mentioned only)
- Coalition's End (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War 3 (Photo only) (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War 4 (Photo only)
- Gears 5 (Mentioned only) (Multiplayer only)
- Beneath the Surface
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- Gears of War: Aspho Fields
- Gears of War 2