One of the plot points left unresolved at the end of Gears of War 3 involved the contents of the disk Adam Fenix gave to Baird. Introduced at the 11th hour, this disk was mentioned briefly in a single conversaton, handed over, and then never addressed again. Subsequent interviews with Karen Traviss, the lead writer of the game, revealed that it was deliberately left unanswered. The reasons for this I do not know but I do believe that, similar to figuring out the Origins of the Locust, the contents of the disk can be unravelled if you know where to look.
First, a little bit of clarification. There are two disks in Gears of War 3; the first was stolen from Prescott by Hoffman during the events of the book Anvil Gate, and Baird attempted to hack into this disk throughout Coalition's End. By Gears of War 3, he had gave up, but a dying Prescott hands over the encription key for the disk allowing Hoffman and company to decript it at Anvil Gate and discover the blueprints for Azura. The second disk is in the possession of Adam Fenix on Azura, and handed over to Baird just before the final encounter with Myrrah.
A. Fenix - "If the imulsion hadn't reached a critical stage, I might of found a way to save the Locust as well and they could have gone back underground."
M. Fenix - "Tell me you don't feel sorry for them."
A. Fenix - "Responsible, not sorry. It's my fault they're here, Marcus. I failed to stop the imulsion spreading all those years ago, it drove the Locust out of their warrens. I tried to pursuade Myrrah to keep her people underground, but they couldn't, so then-"
D. Baird - "Wait, wait, wait, did I hear right? The government knew E-Day was coming, and none of you bothered to warn us?"
A. Fenix - "No, just me. Even Prescott didn't know, not until much later. I had so many ideas, just too little time."
M. Fenix - "Dad, stop this. Come on."
D. Baird - "Whoa, what else don't we know?"
A. Fenix - "You're a scientific man. Look at this later and try to understand what I wanted to do, and what I had to do."
- A conversation between Adam Fenix, Marcus Fenix and Damon Baird (Gears of War 3 – Act 5, Chapter 5: Ascension)
In this conversation we can begin to narrow down what the contents of the disk may be. Of importance is the last line - what did Adam Fenix want to do, and what did he have to do? As seen earlier in the same conversation, we already have our answer - he wanted to save the Locust, but instead he had to kill them along with the Lambent in order to save the rest of Sera. The question becomes rather simple - what information could be contained on the disk that is relevant to Adam's desire to save the Locust?
“At the time of its discovery, there was no reason to believe that imulsion was a living organism. It exhibited no observable characteristics typical of life; no response to stimuli, no apparent method of reproduction, and no metabolic process. It has since become clear that this is not the case.
Though our examinations were sound, the assumptions upon which they were based-our narrow definitions of life-were not. It is very definitely alive, mutagenic, and highly invasive.
Viewed in this light, imulsion exhibits characteristics that resemble the structure and life cycle of many fungi. The bulk of the organism - in liquid form - is underground like a mycelium. The evidence of its existence that we have begun to observe on the surface in the form of stalks is the equivalent of fruiting bodies. Its periodic vapour-like emissions are perhaps best likened to spores. Its behaviour is parasitic yet simultaneously viral; It not only colonizes its host, it also reproduces in the host at the cellular level. Its life cycle appears to be a long period of dormancy followed by accelerated activity before maturation, but I cannot establish whether it has existed on Sera since the first origins of life or if it somehow developed or was introduced during human history.
A successful parasite does not kill its host, imulsion does. It may be inept, but I suspect the death of its host organisms - which appears to be every living thing on Sera, plant or animal - is part of its reproductive strategy, not an unfortunate side effect. Its high-energy content may be part of that.”
- Fenix Research collectible (Gears of War 3 – Act 5, Chapter 5: Ascension)
The Fenix Research collectible in the same room contains Adam's analysis on imulsion and the Lambent parasite. Since this information is presented here, it is unlikely that the same information will be contained on the disk. In the same vein, does the content of the Fenix Research collectible bear relevance to Adam's attempt to save the Locust? No, it appears not. Something that would be relevant is information regarding the Imulsion Countermeasure itself. The design and specs of the device would be very important, and reading and understanding them could lead to a way to alter the device to save the Locust. Perhaps the disk contains this information?
"You know the island better than I do, Nevil. Is there anywhere inland where we can hide our research?"
"Take your pick, there's a limestone cave network that runs for kilometers."
// "Nevil, take my research and hide it in one of those caverns."
"You wouldn't be trying to send me somewhere safe, of course."
"If I've guessed wrong about Myrrah, you'll need to start rebuilding the device somehow."
- Adam Fenix and Nevil Estrom (Dirty Little Secrets, Part Six: No Hiding Place)
As seen in the final comic, the research regarding the Imulsion Countermeasure is in the hands of Nevil Estrom, Adam's long time co-worker, who fled with it and hid in the cave system of Azura when Myrrah and the Locust occupied the island. Whether he survived or not does not really matter, the important thing is that since the Imulsion Countermeasure research is elsewhere, and so that also cannot be on the disk. So what does that leave?
“// This research into the teratogenic effects of imulsion was sealed years ago, but I think [Adam Fenix] should have access to it // We need to know what happened to the rest of Niles Samson’s New Hope research. The children with abnormalities.”
“If I had it, I would hand it over. We searched for those children for years.”
“We could go back and recover the Sires.”
“No. The facility has to stay locked down.”
“Sir, we know imulsion can cause changes in human physiology, and I think Adam’s established the link between imulsion and the pathogen.”
- Esther Bakos and Richard Prescott (The Slab – Chapter 6)
SELECT FOLDER: AJF_PERSONAL
SELECT FILE: JOURNAL
- The contents of Adam Fenix's computer (The Slab, Epilogue)
“Queen Myrrah. It was an odd choice of title. It smacked of termite colonies and ants, an analogy he knew she’d find offensive, but he suspected she’d chosen it in an attempt to make herself feel more embedded in Sera’s history, more Seran than the humans who’d long since discarded their monarchies. You know that’s not true, Myrrah. You know all about your origins. But this is no time to argue that with you.”
- Adam Fenix’s thoughts (The Slab – Chapter 4)
Adam Fenix is already aware that the Locust came from Lambent humans, only possible because Myrrah herself told him. And while Adam studied Locust corpses shortly after E-Day, he did not have access to the detailed information regarding the Sires and the early days of the Locust. The New Hope information was declassified to Adam Fenix shortly after his transfer to Azura, 5 years before Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad travel to the facility in Gears of War 2. As seen in the Epilogue of "The Slab", this information resides on Adam's personal computer along with a copy of Elain Fenix's research and other COG projects that have not been delved into within the franchise.
This is the information that is likely contained on the disk. With the New Hope data Adam now has access to studies exploring the state and contamination effects of imulsion from 100 years ago. With this he is able to compare the differences between imulsion as it existed 100 years ago, and the evolved imulsion as it exists today. Adam wanted to save the Locust while at the same time destroying the Lambent, and the only way to do so would have been to find a way of altering the Imulsion Countermeasure so that the radiation affected the evolved imulsion cells, while at the same time ignoring the Locust imulsion cells. Unfortunately, he never found a way to do this and in the end, when the Countermeasure was activated, all Lambent lifeforms died - including the Locust.
And so, when Baird finally looks at the content of the disk he'll find the Teratogenicity Study conducted by Niles Samson, as well as Adam's own research on the Locust. With that in hand it will be pretty easy to understand what Adam wanted to do, and what he had to do.