- "Tai's as tough as a Brumak, though, so if anyone could make it, it'd be him."
- —Marcus Fenix, after Tai was last seen fighting Skorge
Corporal Tai Kaliso was a Gear soldier who hailed from Irohma Island in the South Islands. He joined the Coalition of Ordered Governments army after his village was wiped out by Union of Independent Republics forces during the Pendulum Wars. A boulder of a man, Tai's muscular appearance stands in contrast to his quiet, meditative personality. Tai was descended from a long line of men who viewed themselves not just as fighters but as warriors. This lineage molded Tai into a warrior-philosopher with a spiritual view of war that often caused odd glances from his squadmates. However, they liked and respected him, even if they didn't always understand him. Tai and Marcus Fenix have a long history of saving each other's lives during the Pendulum Wars, and served alongside each other several times during the Locust War.
Tai was from the South Islands, and was born on the Island of Irohma. He was raised in that islands strong warrior tradition, which other islands saw as extreme. From a young age, Tai was taught how to hunt in the jungle, learning to move quickly and silently.His tribe instilled in him wisdom and fearlessness and above all, respect. This served as the foundation for Tai's outlook and disposition towards people, life, combat and death. In his younger days, before he joined COG ranks in the Pendulum Wars, Tai had always been a humble soul. He believed there was always a reason and purpose for everything and that death walked beside us all. Humility, loyalty and the acceptance of fate were Tai's greatest values. At some point, Tai had a cousin by his uncle named Lahni Kaliso.
Battle of Irohma Island
- "Some have said that war is hell. War is not hell... for in hell, innocence is spared."
- —Tai, after discovering the ethnic cleansing of his village
In 4 B.E., Irohma was attacked by the Union of Independent Republics. While the main tribal forces defended the village, Tai began stalking UIR squads and taking them out one by one as they moved through the jungle. He stalked a UIR patrol that was heading toward his village, slitting the rear Indie's throat, and then jumped on the next one and stabbed him in the neck. He then grabbed the Indie's weapon and shot the other two members of the patrol as they tried to attack him. Tai then headed back to his village, but was horrified to discover that it had been destroyed by the UIR in his absence, with everyone in it being brutally slaughtered. Tai continued his tactics of hunting down Indie squads in revenge, determined to become the Indie's worst nightmare.
During a rainstorm, Tai stalked a lone man and prepared to shoot him with an arrow, but the man, Cpl. Marcus Fenix, warned him not to do that. Marcus told him that he was with the Coalition of Ordered Governments, and they were fighting the UIR and trying to drive them out of the South Islands. He promised him that the COG was going to win the war, and that he wanted Tai to be on the winning side, offering him a chance to become a Gear. With nothing left for him on Irohma Island, Tai accepted his offer. One year later, Tai was a member of the 26th Royal Tyran Infantry's C Company.
Battle of Aspho Fields
- "They already know. Be at peace."
- —Tai, comforting a Indie soldier as he dies
In 2 B.E., Tai Kaliso was trained for Operation Leveler with the rest of the company, practicing naval insertions. After one practice operation at Merrenat Naval Base, he and Sgt.Bernadette Mataki, a fellow Islander, talked and exchanged rations. During the actual operation on 15th Brume, 2 B.E., Tai fought in the more urban areas of the battle. He killed two Indie soldiers, and as he went over to make sure they were dead, he heard one talking about wanting to see his family again and how he loved them. Tai gave comfort to the passing soldier until his soul passed on, telling him to be at peace and that his family knew. Tai then used the body as a Meat Shield, and killed two more Indie soldiers that had been trying to sneak up on him.
He reported to Major Helena Stroud that he could hear Khimeras approaching from the sea. As the battle was winding down, Bernie assigned Tai to get the remaining stragglers down to the Sea Raven LZ while she retrieved Marcus and Pvt.Carlos Santiago. He asked her if she was sure Carlos was still out there, as he had not heard any firing from the area he was in for a few minutes, and that he hadn't reported in on the radio. Bernie told Tai she was sure he was still out there, and Tai proceeded to head to the LZ with the rest of the unit.
Skirmish in Ghato City
- "We seek balance in war. But sometimes we find only stalemate."
- —Tai, as he prepares to fire a RPG at a group of Indies
In 3nd Bloom, 0 B.E., Tai was in a squad with Sgt.Marcus Fenix, Pvt.Dominic Santiago, and Pvt.Padrick Salton. C Company was dispatched to the Independent Republic of Furlin, and Tai and the others were deployed to Ghato City to clear out a unit of Indie soldiers. They became pinned down inside a building by an Indie squad, so Marcus ordered Tai to fire a RPG at them in order to give Pad cover as he got into position to snipe at them. As Tai got the RPG ready, he remarked that they sought balance in war but sometimes only found stalemate, causing Pad to tell him to just hurry up and fire the rocket. Tai fired the rocket, and joined in with Marcus and Dom in firing their Lancers to give Pad more cover. After Pad sniped the machine gunner, Tai, Marcus, and Dom rushed the Indie position as Pad gave them covering fire, and they killed the remaining Indies. Marcus contacted command and let them know they had killed the Indies, and Tai began walking with the rest of the squad to Tenla in order to regroup with the rest of C Company.
- "Your father found his true path, Marcus."
- —Tai to Marcus, after it was announced that the war was ending because of Adam Fenix's Hammer of Dawn project
Two weeks later, on 11th Reap, 0 B.E.m C Company stopped on a cliffside road overlooking a Furlin town, and heard over the radio that Chairman Tomas Dalyell had announced that talks for the surrender of the UIR had begun. Credit for the surrender was given to Professor Adam Fenix and his Hammer of Dawn project, which had convinced Premier Yori Deschenko to stand down.
Tai joined in on the celebrations, and told Marcus that his father had found his true path in life. Marcus told him that things weren't over yet, and fighting could continue for weeks as the details were worked out. He was proven right seconds later, when Indie soldiers on the cliffs opposite them began shelling their position, with many shells also landing in the town below. Tai and the others took cover and returned fire, as their commander tried to contact the Indies and offer an informal ceasefire to avoid more bloodshed. The Indie commander was skeptical at first, but soon learned that the surrender was true, and stopped firing and surrendered to the COG forces. Three hours later, Tai stood with the rest of the company looking at their watches, as the official ceasefire and end to the war went into effect at noon.
Battle of Jannermont
- "We must improvise. The world is full of weapons waiting to be used."
- —Tai, after using a power-saw to kill a Locust
Only a few weeks after the end of the Pendulum Wars, the Locust emerged from underground and began destroying the victorious COG forces, overrunning entire countries and military divisions. One year after their emergence, Tai was still serving in a squad with Marcus, Dom, and Pad during the retreat back over Tyra River. While on route back to Ephyra in APC-Two-Eighty, Tai slept in the back of the APC. He was woken up when Pad took the vehicle off-road and the APC began bouncing around, and told him that they would reach their destined place in the world no matter how fast he went. Pad shot back that he didn't believe in destiny, and that doing so led you to believe all kinds of crap. Tai smiled back to him and said that he should embrace what he couldn't change, but Pad again dismissed Tai's philosophical pronouncement. They then heard that Jannermont was under attack, but were ordered to stay away from it by Control. However, Tai and the others decided to head there and try to help. They found Locust killing civilians in a general store, and Tai, Marcus, and Dom rushed inside to save them while Pad covered them from outside. During the battle, Marcus was wrestling with a Drone and was unable to reach any of his weapons. Tai came from behind with a power saw and sliced the Drone in half, smiling as he did so. Marcus thanked him for the save, and Tai remarked that the world was full of weapons waiting to be used. Tai's use of power saw led to the creation of the Chainsaw Bayonet after Marcus recommended to his father that the regular bayonet get replaced. Tai and Dom then carried a wounded man outside to where Pad had put several others, and they then loaded the wounded civilians into their APC and took them to a first aid station. As they began to head back to Ephyra, Tai fell asleep again in the back of the APC. However, their APC broke down and Pad was unable to fix it. They stripped it of all useful parts, but Tai had them leave the broken engine, in order to teach the Locust "value of strength from adversity" if they found and tried to use it. This caused Pad to tell Tai that he was nuts, and the four of them then began walking to the nearest convoy point.
Hammer of Dawn Strikes
After walking all night, they eventually reached a vehicle checkpoint along the Ephyra-Kinnerlake highway, where they overheard Chairman Richard Prescotts announcement of the Hammer of Dawn counterattack. Marcus was held at the checkpoint because his father had requested he be evacuated, but Marcus refused to leave the squad, and instead put a civilian and his baby on board the Raven that had come to pick him up. Tai and the rest of the squad then began to move abandoned cars out of the way, in order to allow military and civilian traffic to flow again. After they finished, they boarded a convoy heading back to Ephyra.
Clearing the Voslov Bridge
- "The Hammer of Dawn would waste its time targeting most of the Islands. So I can hope."
- —Tai, after Dom asked him if he was worried about his family in the South Islands
After making it back to Ephyra, Tai and the rest of the squad were deployed to reopen the Voslov Bridge a mere seven hours before the Hammer strike. They arrived to find fifty Locust Drones had destroyed a convoy crossing the bridge, and were looting the remains. They headed to the bridge control booth, where Marcus lifted up the bridge, killing all the Locust on it as they were crushed by vehicles, while Tai fired a Longspear into a fuel truck, killing most of the other Drones. Pad complimented him on his good shooting, but Marcus was worried that a bulldozer they needed to clear the debris had been damaged by the explosion. Luckily, it wasn't, and the four of them then mopped up what was left of the Locust while waiting for the fires to burn out. Tai then watched with Marcus and Dom as Pad cleared a path for the convoy with a bulldozer, and patrolled along the end of the road, firing a few shots into the forest when he thought he saw Locust. They got back into their APC, and Pad drove it to the rear of the last convoy to make it safely to Ephyra. As they drove, Dom asked Tai if he had any family still on the Islands. Tai told him that he hoped that the Hammer of Dawn would not waste it's time targeting most of the Islands.
Scouting a Wasteland
- "Once something is seen, it cannot be unseen. Who are we to force him to live with what's in his head when it's not in ours?"
- —Tai, after Marcus asked him to make sure Pad didn't do something to himself
Five days after the Hammer of Dawn strike, Tai and the squad was deployed in PA-Five-One to scout the areas near Ephyra hit by the attack. After driving for several hours and finding nothing but a desolate wasteland, they stopped one kilometer outside the city of Gerrenhalt because the terrain was too tough for the APC to continue on. As Pad took a break to relieve himself, Dom and Marcus talked with Tai, and Marcus told him that few of the Island were targeted. Tai responded that he could not change the past, so all he could do was move on. They were interrupted when Pad returned, shaken up because he had discovered he had been standing on burned dead bodies. They drove back to base, where Pad sat down in front of the APC and began talking about death in wistful tones. After he left the vehicle hanger, Marcus asked Tai to take a shift with Pad to make sure he didn't do anything stupid. Tai replied that it was not their decision on whether or not Pad wanted to live with the things he had seen, but followed him anyway.
Evacuation of Ilima
- "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, to a young child he was evacuating from Ilima
Around nine years later, Tai was in Zeta-Six when a Kryllstorm threatened the city of Ilima, and the decision was made to evacuate the city. Tai and Zeta were deployed to help in the evacuation, and he worked with Pvt.Alicia Valera to load civilians onto Armadillo transports. Tai helped a small child get into an APC, but he dropped his Thrashball when did so. Tai picked it up for him and handed it back, and told him that while there was hardship and struggles in life, there was also hope and happiness. He and Valera then reported to Lt.Minh Young Kim that they had finished loading the last of the civilians, and watched as the APC departed. However, a Corpser emerged underneath the APC, and dragged it below the ground. Locust rushed up from underground and assaulted the checkpoint. Tai and the others fought hard to defend it, but Emergence Holes opened within their lines, and multiple Reavers and Boomers attacked them as well. They received permission from Commander Walker to use the Hammer of Dawn, and Cpl.Michael Barrick used a command post to wipe out the Locust. With the area secured, Zeta was ordered to go to Ilima Savings and Trust, where contact had been lost with Echo-Five and civilians awaiting evac. As they moved through an alleyway, Barrick wished they would just take a stand and fight the Locust, and Valera agreed, since Ilima was her hometown. Tai told her he was sorry to hear that, and remarked that losing one’s home was next to losing family. They then saw a Brumak being fired upon by the Hammer of Dawn, but noticed it was missing badly and hitting nearby buildings. Barrick said they were doing more damage than the Locust, and Tai began to say that desperate times called for desperate measures, but another Hammer blast hit close by, and Barrick told him that it called for some restraint. They then entered a small courtyard and killed a group of Wretches and Drones, and after going through a small building, they emerged into the financial district. They found Echo-Five fighting against Locust, but they were killed before Zeta could reach them. Tai and the others killed the Locust, and Tai said he hoped that Echo-Five would find peace now. Before they could enter the bank to look for civilians, more E-Holes opened up, and they fought another wave of Locust, fending off Drones, Theron Guards, Boomers, and Bloodmounts. Once they were done, Tai and the others entered the bank.
Searching for Survivors
- "Precious things are kept in vaults."
- —Tai to Valera, when she wonders where civilians might hide in Ilima Savings and Trust
When they entered the bank, Valera wondered where the civilians might try to hide for safety. Tai suggested that precious things were kept in vaults, but Barrick pointed out that those were also underground. As they tried to locate the vaults, Valera couldn't believe the state the bank was in, and remarked that she had had an account there. Tai remarked that everything changes, and they then heard a rumbling from below along with a Locust roaring, and Barrick told him some things stayed the same. When they heard more noise from below, Tai proclaimed that thunder always followed lightning, and Kim agreed, saying there must be Locust nearby, causing Barrick to remark that they worked so well together because Kim could act as Tai's translator. They found hallways filled with dead bodies that had been torn apart, and fought against a group of wretches and a drone. They entered the vaults, and after JACK opened a door for them, Zeta entered a high security area. They came under attack from more wretches and drones, including Flame Grenadiers. When stacks of money were set on fire, Barrick complained that he hated seeing that, as it reminded him of his divorce, but Tai told him that monetary value was fleeting, and he valued their lives much more. Once they had finished off the Locust, they heard someone calling for help from the secure vault. They entered it to find a teenage civilian trapped by wretches in a security cage, and they killed the wretches and freed him. He told Zeta that his name was Jace Stratton, and that no one else had made it to safety in the bank.
Rendezvousing with the Convoy
- "Hit them with a big rock."
- —Tai, recommending that they kill the seeders by bringing down a building on them
Zeta headed upstairs with Jace, and when they looked outside, they could see the sky had gotten even more inked up, leaving only three hours until the until city was covered. Jace asked what was going on, and Tai told him about how the Seeders could ink up the sky. They then saw a Corpser open a giant emergence hole outside the building, and witnessed General RAAM emerge alongside elite Locust troops. As more and more tremors hit the city, Tai remarked that this was bad juju. Walker informed them that they had lost contact with the last evac checkpoint, and to get Jace to the evac convoy. After exiting the bank, Tai and the others cleared out a nest of snipers and a Mortar crew. They then closed two emergence holes and killed two boomers, and entered an abandoned evac camp. They spotted Nemacyst over the convoy rendezvous point, and Walker informed them they needed to take out several seeders before the convoy arrived, and that the Onyx Guard had been deployed to the city. They then reached the meeting point and found that the Gears there had been killed, and that there were three seeders in the street, supported by dozens of drones. As they fought, Valera yelled out that their weapons weren't hurting the seeders, and that they needed more firepower. Tai said they actually needed less, and just needed to hit them with a big rock by bringing down the building behind them. Kim said it was a good idea, but they needed more than bullets to take down the columns supporting the building. They found Boomshot Grenade Launchers, and brought down the columns, which crushed the three seeders and cut off the emergence holes. After Zeta finished off the remaining Locust, the convoy arrived, but they heard a loud thumping sound as well. Walker informed them a Brumak was inbound, and it smashed through the remains of the building they had brought down on the seeders. They used the boomshots to kill it as well, and brought Jace out of the building so he could leave with the convoy. He told them that his guardian, Dr.Gregory Wisen, was still at Ilima High School, and they promised to check it out and see if he or anyone else was still there.
Ilima High School
- "I see signs of life, but no thing living."
- —Tai, as Zeta searched the abandoned school
Tai and the rest of Zeta headed for the high school, and Wisen informed them that it had been an evac center, but contact had been lost before they learned if everyone had been evacuated. Kim told the others that they would search it, but they had to be out before dark. Tai remarked that he believed that darkness would come before night. They entered the school through an open side window, and found that many people had been living there. Tai remarked that there were many signs of life, but nothing living, but Kim decided that they should search the entire school just in case. As they proceeded through the school, they heard various noises and possibly people moving about, and Tai called out for any civilians to not be afraid, and yelled for Wisen to come out. When they entered the basement, they were trapped by wretches in a flooded room, and Tai eagerly joined the others in fighting them off while JACK opened a door for them. They then entered a courtyard where a Drone had set up with a One-Shot, and multiple emergence holes opened around them. They managed to survive the Locust onslaught and reach the doors to reenter the school. They heard more wretch noises when they entered the halls, and Tai commented they were toying with the Gears. They entered Wisen's office and killed the two wretches in there, and then fought off a large wave of them. They then heard a recording from Wisen saying that everyone had gone to the gymnasium, and then to the orphanage. They decided to check the gym before leaving, and as they proceeded through the abandoned halls, Tai remarked that the silence in the school felt heavy. They entered the cafeteria and fought off a large wave of Tickers, and as they made their way through the tables, Valera said it made sense that Wisen had led people here for safety, since he was the principal. Tai remarked that Jace had said they were close, like family. They exited the cafeteria and fought a group of Drones led by a Theron, and entered a classroom full of torn apart bodies. They then found the locker rooms, and discovered that if was full of webs and large eggs. Valera wondered if they were Serapede webs, but Tai told her it would take a colony to make one this big, although Barrick said it might be a Giant Serapede. Barrick's suggestion was proven right a moment later when two Giant Serapedes attacked them, but they managed to fight them off along with several drone and a Mauler. They then entered the gymnasium, but found everyone inside was dead, and Tai remarked that it was a sad resting place for the dead. They found a Berserker on the other side of the gym, and Tai yelled that bullets wouldn't work and they needed to flee. They managed to avoid her and escape outside, but the Berserker followed. They managed to defeat her by tricking it into running into cars, making them explode, and then shooting the Berserker while she was on fire and vulnerable.
- "Time for Seeder hunting! Like boar- only uglier."
- —Tai, after Kim decided to find and kill the Seeders blocking their comms
Tai and the others headed for downtown Ilima, hoping to find other COG forces. They lost communication with Walker, and heard Seeders thumping in the distance. Kim decided they should hunt down and kill the Seeders to reestablish contact with command, and Tai remarked that it would be fun like hunting boar, except the Seeders were uglier. As they neared a parking lot, Tai remarked that it was unprecedented that night masked the day, and Valera said Ilima would be a graveyard soon. As they entered the parking lot, they fought off a small wave of tickers, and closed two emergence holes, killing the Locust that emerged. A Boomer then emerged from the nearby parking garage, but they killed it, and Barrick remarked that it was hard to believe that just used to complain about gridlock. Tai said many people complained about things they wished for later, and Barrick told Tai he would likely say that about him one day. They fought their way through the parking structure, killing many drones, Flame Grenadiers, and three Boomers. They emerged out onto the street at Alpha Checkpoint, and found all the Gears dead, with Locust swarming around and a Seeder at the end of the street. They decided to split the Locusts attention along the street and rooftops, and Kim sent Tai with Barrick on their chosen path. They met up at the end of the street, defeated the Locust, and forced the Seeder underground. They found themselves outside of Ilima City Hall, and found nemacysts swarming over it. Kim decided that they should retake the building and use the Hammer of Dawn command post inside to destroy the Seeders. As they entered the garden, Tai remarked that it was beautiful, and it was a shame it was defiled by the Locust. They encountered heavy resistance, facing off against multiple waves of drones supported by Reavers, Boomers, and Grinders, but they managed to preserver. They entered city hall and fought their way upstairs, and Tai worked with Kim and Valera to protect Barrick as he used the command center to destroy the nearby Seeders. Once they were done, they headed to the back door of city hall, and reestablished contact with Walker. They learned the evacuation was over, but decided to investigate Wisen's orphanage and see if he was still alive. With twenty minutes left until the kryllstorm hit, they hurriedly cut though a construction site, and Tai commented that they had once dared to build their dreams. They defeated a large group of Locust within the site, and emerged onto a street near the orphanage.
Defending the Orphanage
- "Time is fleeting... we must hurry."
- —Tai, as the kryllstorm closes in on Ilima
They found Wisen and a small group of other civilians, including children, at the orphanage, and called in an APC to evacuate them. The APC arrived with Jace, but the Locust attacked, and the driver was killed. Tai and the others took cover and opened fire on the advancing Locust. As they cut down the last ones, Tai and the others heard Jace screaming no from behind them, and turned to see General RAAM had impaled Valera on his blade, killing her. They opened fire, causing RAAM to summon his personal Reaver and flee. More Locust approached over a bridge, and Tai joined the rest of Zeta, aided by Jace, in rushing over to fight them. However, the bridge was destroyed by RAAM, cutting them off from the orphanage. They entered a courtyard and fought off a large group of Locust, including two Mauler Elites. Kim warned the others that their shields deflected bullets, which Tai remarked was a deadly combination combined with the flail. After defeating them, they proceeded down into the canal below the destroyed bridge, where they encountered a Theron Elite. After a long battle, they managed to defeat the Locust, and Tai remarked that time was fleeting, and they needed to get back to the orphanage. They worked their way up a building beside the canal, and emerged down the street from the orphanage. They retook the courtyard in front of the building, and fought off several waves of Locust forces and RAAM, with him attacking the Gears both on foot and from his Reaver. Tai was determined to kill RAAM, but they forced his Reaver to crash behind the orphanage. Tai headed up with Barrick and Jace with the civilians to evacuate on KR Eighty-Four, while Kim recovered Valera's COG Tags and attempted to kill RAAM. He failed, and joined the others aboard the Raven, which escaped Ilima through the last patch of clear sky above the city.
Evacuation of North Gate
Preparing for the Evacuation
- "Thirty thousand. Thirty thousand, five hundred, and ten."
- —Tai, quoting how many Gears died after the Battle of Aspho Fields in the Pendulum Wars
Five years later, the war with the Locust continued to rage. Tai took part in the Evacuation of North Gate, where he was Col.Victor Hoffman's personal APC driver. He and Hoffman were in APC-One, in the middle of the convoy. As they drove, they spotted many Stranded on the streets, and Hoffman wondered why they were out. Tai suggested they had discovered acceptance, but Hoffman told him not to go mystical on him and said they were loitering. When one elderly man flipped them off, Hoffman ruled out gratitude, and Tai joked maybe they were holding a festival. Hoffman had Tai stop so he could speak to a couple of the Stranded women, but they just insulted him. After they began driving again, Tai and Hoffman discussed if the Locust were close to defeat, as the Stranded seemed to, and Tai vowed to make sure the last of the Locust would lay dead at Hoffman's feet. Shortly after they arrived at the North Gate Agricultural Depot, Lt.Anya Stroud informed them that a group of Locust had been spotted moving on the ground. KR A-108 was dispatched to transport Tai and the other Gears to intercept them. As they flew to the ambush point, Tai and the other Gears discussed with the Raven crew on if the war was really almost over, and Hoffman pointed out how after the Battle of Aspho Fields, the Pendulum Wars had still gone on for two more years, with many more casualties. Tai responded with the exact amount of Gears that had been killed, stopping the conversation. Pvt.Augustus Cole asked Tai if his lip piercings made it hard for him to get women, and Tai and the others laughed. Once they arrived at the ambush point, Tai and the others got off of the Raven and into to cover. Once the Locust got into range, Hoffman gave the order to engage. During the battle, Tai charged into the Locust, screaming as he cut into one with his chainsaw. After the last of the Drones were killed, the Raven returned Tai and the others to the convoy point.
Dealing With Stranded
- "It's a war grave, sir, like you said. Cremation is the proper thing to do."
- —Tai to Hoffman, after destroying a truck with dead Gears in it to prevent the Stranded from defiling them
Tai once again drove Hoffman in APC-One in the middle of the convoy. As they drove, both sensed that something was wrong, noticing the Stranded clearing out and fleeing into buildings, when suddenly the Locust ambushed part of the convoy. Trucks Two-twenty-five and Two-twenty-six were taken out, and all personal aboard both were killed. As Tai drove APC-One to take over at the head of the convoy, they passed the two food and fuel trucks and discovered Stranded swarming over them. Tai was angered that they were crawling over the bodies of his comrades, and he asked Hoffman's permission to exit the APC and stop them, which Hoffman granted. Tai jumped out with his Boomshot Grenade Launcher and yelled at the Stranded to step away from the truck, as they were defiling it, while Hoffman yelled it was COG property and they would open fire on them. The Stranded said that it the fuel was covered in fuel and other garbage, and that the COG wouldn't use it, but Hoffman declared it a temporary war grave. Tai lifted his grenade launcher, causing the Stranded to run, and fired into the trucks, blowing it up. He called out to the Stranded that he would return for the remains later, determined to not leave anyone behind, alive or dead. As he headed back to the APC, Hoffman asked him what that was all about, and he told Hoffman that it was a war grave, and the proper thing to do was cremation. He asked permission to return later and retrieve what remained, and Hoffman agreed, saying that no one ever got left behind.
- "No sir, let's be vigilant right now..."
- —Tai, after finding a bomb on his and Hoffman's APC
After Two-forty-five and APC-Three were hit and comms were lost, Tai and Hoffman took up positions in the Theater of the Muses to investigate a Locust ambush. Tai spotted Locust waiting for them to move forward, and as they tried to work out what the Locust were doing, he and Hoffman held a conversation about the Locust. Hoffman remarked that they breed by rape, tying down Berserkers, and that there was nothing to admire about them. Tai noted they were very intelligent, but Hoffman said that JACK was as well and asked what his point was, causing Tai to tell him that admiration was not approval. He then said that if the Locust were waiting to ambush them, there must be survivors, since the Locust knew they never left a comrade behind. They began to move forward, and Hoffman suggested that Tai go back to the APC and leave the situation to him, but Tai refused, pointing out Hoffman was injured, and the others might be as well. As they got ready to attack the Locust, comms were restored and Anya informed them that all the Gears had been rescued, and no one had been left behind, and the convoy was entering the safe zone. Tai told Hoffman that they were done there then, but they wondered why the Locust were still waiting to ambush them. They went back to their APC, and Tai checked underneath it before they got in, and discovered it had been booby trapped while they were away from it. When they returned to it and discovered the trap, Hoffman and Tai disconnected their comms, not wanting to draw any other Gears into the ambush. They decided to attempt to make their own way back, or take as many Locust down with them as they could. They became pinned down as Locust emerged from a basement, but Tai was able to plug it up with a grenade. Several Locust were still able to come out of it, and continued to close in on the two of them. Tai remarked that the Locust weren't expecting their targets to want to remain in the kill zone, and Hoffman called him crazy. They continued fighting, with Tai chainsawing several and Hoffman shooting several more, but they were still in danger of being overrun until Marcus and Dom arrived to save them, and the four Gears defeated all the Locust. Tai explained their situation to Marcus, and Anya sent JACK in to disarm the bomb. Dom was concerned about the bots safety, and Tai argued that it wasn't sentient. Dom countered that the Locust were sentient and Tai had no problem killing them, but Tai told him that that was his calling. After the bomb was disarmed, Tai drove them back to the Jacinto safe zone in the APC.
Recovering the Fallen
The next day, Tai led a recovery team to recover the remains of the dead drivers and guards from the destroyed vehicles that had been left behind. In addition to recover their remains, Tai also helped the rest of the squad gather what salvageable materials they could from the wreckage of the vehicles. Afterwords, they recovered a broken down vehicle from a group of Stranded trying to take it.
Battle Outside of Jacinto
- "You shouldn't be. All life is sacred."
- —Tai, after Jace tells him he is not thrilled with death
Three weeks later, Tai fought in a battle outside of Jacinto alongside Marcus, Pvt.Dizzy Wallin, and Pvt.Jace Stratton, who had become a Gear since Tai and Zeta-Six rescued him from Ilima. After the battle, he saw Jace looking ill at the sight of all the Locust corpses, and asked if him was okay. Jace responded that he is not thrilled with death, and Tai told him that he shouldn't be, and that all life is sacred. Jace responded that it is hard to remember that sometimes, and Tai agreed, but said they still must remember. He then burned the corpses of the Locust with a flamethrower.
Siege of Jacinto City
- "I like the glow of Locust blood in this light."
- —Tai, after fighting off a group of Locust inside Jacinto Med
Five months later, Tai had been promoted to Corporal and was stationed at Jacinto Med when it came under attack by Locust. He ran into Marcus and Pvt.Dominic Santiago during the raid, and told them it was good to see them again. He then led them upstairs, where he showed them an ambush that had been set up to take out the Locust by placing fuel tanks around where they would be entering. He also warned them to stay away from the rustlung patients, and explained to them what it was. After they wiped out the first group of Drones with the aid of another squad of Gears, they proceeded to clear the hospital of all the attacking Locust. After killing a group of Locust near the exit, they waited for power to be restored so they could proceed. Tai commented that he liked the glow of the Locust blood in the emergency lights, causing Dom to reply that he had a sick mind. When power was restored, they headed for the exit and discovered Pvt.Benjamin Carmine, Delta's newest member, waiting there, and he told them that Locust were fighting Gears out in street in front of the hospital. The four of them headed outside, and repelled the Locust incursion along with several other Gears. After the battle, Carmine attempted to get a high five from Tai, but failed, and the two of them watched Dom's breakdown after discovering that he had missed finding his wife again.
Operation: Hollow Storm
Assault on Landown
- "Everything happens for a reason."
- —Tai, after his entire squad is killed by Tickers
During the Assault on Landown, Tai rode on Rig D14 on the road to the city. His Assault Derrick was in the rear guard, and as the Operation got going, Tai contacted Marcus and the rest of Delta and told him where he was in the convoy, and that he would see them in Landown. Tai's rig joined up with Delta's near the city, having managed to avoid being attacked en route to the city. However, it was destroyed by Tickers the moment it entered the city, killing Tai's entire squad. Tai somehow survived, and he joined up with Delta-One once again. Marcus told him it was good to have him back and that he was sorry about his squad, but Tai responded that everything happened for a reason. Dizzy asked him what had happened to his rig, and Tai explained to him that the whole area was infested with Tickers. As they fought through the city, Tai talked about when the Locust first took Landown during the Winter of Sorrow, and how it had been a bad omen. When they reached a long dark tunnel, Ben wondered why they just didn't give them flashlights. Tai remarked that he preferred "might versus light", meaning that he would take an extra gun over a flashlight any day. They cleared a path to the drill site for Delta's Rig, defending it from Tickers, Reavers, and a Brumak. After reaching the drillzone, Tai and the others defended the rig from the Locust counterattack while Dizzy prepared the Grindlifts. However, before Tai and Carmine could tunnel into the Hollow, Skorge attacked the Derrick. Tai left his Grindlift to assist Dizzy as he fought against Skorge. After his squadmates got away in their Grindlifts, Tai fought Skorge for a brief period of time, Skorge began gaining the upper hand. As the fight progresses, Tai began losing ground, and eventually ordered Dizzy to escape before Skorge defeated Tai in one on one combat. Dizzy escaped successfully, an although Tai fought valiantly, he was defeated by Skorge and taken captive.
- "Life is simple. There is the void. There is the darkness. There is the light. Much is learned on the hunt. How to mask one's scent. How to blend in with one's surroundings. How to move silently. How to move quickly. How to kill efficiently. How to adapt. And most of all... how to survive. Some have said war is hell. War is not hell... for in Hell, innocence is spared. When a man has nothing left... when everything has been taken from him... he becomes his enemy's worst nightmare. When a man has nothing left... he is ready for change. My people believed that the body was sacred... but only when a soul dwelled within him. Once a soul had passed... the body was but a husk. Your enemy forgives you. Every warrior has an equal. An opposing force, equal in strength. Every warrior has a superior... an opposing force that he cannot overcome. My grandfather once told me that a soul will leave its body when it is time... "Not always at death" he said. "When the body becomes a prison...it is time for the soul to escape. And once the soul is gone...the body will follow soon after." There is the light. There is the void. There is the darkness. "
- —Tai, quoting his grandfather on his peoples culture in his mind before killing himself
Tai was not killed by Skorge, and along with many other Gears, he was taken captive by the Locust. He and the others were led into the Hollow and "processed" by being hung on hooks and whipped with a metal whip, among other tortures. Tai was then imprisoned on a Beast Barge, where he was found by Delta Squad, heavily scarred and brutally tortured, with bleeding gouges and deep slashes all over his body and back from the processing. Marcus, unaware of the mental toll the torture had taken on him, armed Tai with a Gnasher Shotgun and told him to join the team. Tai hesitated, yet the physical and mental trauma had gotten beyond recovery, he aimed the shotgun at his own head. As Marcus heard him cock the shotgun, he tried to stop Tai before he pulled the trigger, but was too late and Tai committed suicide. Marcus was horrified by this turn of events and Carmine, who had truly believed that Tai could survive everything, was shocked as well. His COG Tags were then collected by Marcus, and his body was left on the barge as Delta moved deeper into the Hollow.
Marcus reported Tai's death to Anya, who was saddened to hear about it, and passed her condolences along to him. Later, Dominic Santiago found his missing wife, Maria Santiago, in the same position of Tai. She had been a prisoner of the Locust and tortured for months, and ultimately lobotomized. Dom witnessing the strongest Gear he ever met commit suicide after hours of torture from the Locust made him realize the severity of Maria's condition and the only possible solution - euthanizing her.
After Operation: Hollow Storm ended with the sinking of Jacinto and the flooding of the Hollow, the COG relocated to Port Farrall, where news of Tai's death and the circumstances surrounding it began spreading throughout the COG forces. Sgt. Bernadette Mataki was especially upset, and attempted to take revenge on the Locust by torturing one, but was persuaded not to by Marcus. Hoffman and Dizzy were also upset to learn Tai had died, and Dizzy and the rest of Delta vowed to drink in his honor when they got the chance.
In 42 A.E., Cpl. Kait Diaz and Lt.Delmont Walker recovered Cpl. Kaliso's earring in the Kadar Valley. A Locust Drone had ripped off his earring during his processing and kept it as a trophy, but was later killed during the Assault on Mount Kadar. Upon recovering it, Lt. Walker felt the strong presence of Kaliso when holding it. Weeks later, Kait placed Cpl. Kaliso's earring along with heirlooms of other lost Gears at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In the following years after his death, his cousin Lahni Kaliso is still engaged in combat and is currently a Hivebuster in the Swarm Invasion. Unlike Tai, Lahni was not as formidable in their spiritual faith. She became rather agnostic as their belief system states that everything happens for a reason, but such a good man like Tai befell a fate no one should ever endure. She instead grew in an intense hatred for the Locust and killed every one in his honor. During the Mission to Weilehi, Lt. Kaliso found Tai's ceremonial mask and kept it in his memory.
Personality and Traits
- "Life is simple. There is the void. There is the darkness. There is the light."
- —One of Tai's many philosophic quotes on life and death
Tai, along with his attitude, is calm and almost philosophical at moments, and sometimes extremely violent at other moments. During battle he can reflect this calm and yet violent personality, as he says "I like the glow of Locust blood in this light". He is willing, able, strong, brave, ready to lead, and ready to fight, just like any COG soldier should be. Tai believed in destiny, and that one would reach their destined place in the world no matter what they did or the path they took. After being captured and tortured, it lead him to suicide but it was not of own personal dissatisfaction with life, but rather because he considered himself left a broken and hollow man according to his religion. Tai believed his soul had left his body long before his torture by his Locust captors, and his body was merely following when it got the opportunity.
Tai decorated his armor and Lancer with tribal symbols similar to his tattoos, something that was against regulations. Tai always checked over vehicles before he entered them, after friends of his in the Pendulum Wars were killed by a bomb planted on their vehicle.
- "Maybe they've discovered acceptance, sir."
- —Kaliso to Col.Hoffman on the "loitering" Stranded.
- "Embrace what you can't change."
- —A conversation between Tai and Padrick, over Pad's reckless driving.
- "Might versus light."
- —During a conversation with Benjamin Carmine inside Landown tunnel about having an extra gun rather than a flashlight.
Behind the Scenes
- Tai was voiced by Fred Tatasciore.
- Tai Kaliso is based off the New Zealand Maori.
- Tai Kaliso was created and introduced in Gears of War 2 as a representation of religion in the series.
- Jungle Tai is supposed to be Tai during his transition period from being full on jungle warrior to wearing the official certified COG armor, when he was first recruited to join the COG army.
- Originally lead level designer for Epic Games Dave Ewing wanted Tai to jump off a cliff for his death, however Cliff Bleszinski pushed for him to commit suicide with the Gnasher Shotgun.
- Joshua Ortega revealed part of the storytelling purpose behind Tai Kaliso’s suicide was to set-up justification for Dom’s decision to euthanize his wife, Maria Santiago. 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 months.
- Tai is a playable character in Gears of War 2 multiplayer, and is unlocked by beating Act 3.
- Unlike in the campaign, Tai's multiplayer character does not have his large shoulder piece.
- Tai was added as a multiplayer character in the RAAM's Shadow DLC for Gears of War 3 on December 13, 2011.
- In Gears of War: Judgment multiplayer, Tai can be unlocked by earning 126 stars in the campaign on any difficulty.
- Jungle Tai can be unlocked through a promo code from specially marked Oberto Beef Jerky packages.
- In Gears of War 4 multiplayer, Tai Kaliso is only available by crafting scrap. There was also a chance of receiving him early in the Locust Drones and Weapon Collector Gear Packs.
- A Pendulum Wars Story
- Gears of War: Judgment (Multiplayer only)
- RAAM's Shadow
- The Slab
- Aspho Fields (First appearance)
- Gears of War 2
- The Quickening
- Jacinto's Remnant (Appears in flashback(s))
- Coalition's End (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War 4 (Multiplayer only)
- Gears 5 (Mentioned only) (Multiplayer only)
- Gears: Hivebusters (Mentioned only)