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The Fireflies are a revolutionary militia group featured in The Last of Us. Led by Marlene, their public charter calls for the return of all branches of government in the wake of military oppression. They are fighting a losing war against FEDRA, whom they view as tyrants. The Fireflies are one of the few organized groups still searching for a vaccine for the cordyceps brain infection (CBI) and will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. The militia group is spread throughout the country, but their most recent main base is located at St. Mary's Hospital in Salt Lake City. It should be noted that the Fireflies are not the only rebels fighting against the military, however; normal civilians belonging to quarantine zones may rise up due to food shortages. When comparing the Fireflies to these unaffiliated rebels, the latter will typically possess greater numbers, more brutality, and less paramilitary-style organization.

History of the OrganizationEdit

Early activitiesEdit

The Fireflies were founded sometime after the CBI outbreak in response to the US military's martial law placed on the quarantine zones. The group called for the return of all branches of government to end the military's rule and staged several attacks within the quarantine zones. Support from the public increased when soldiers executed at least six Firefly members. The Fireflies were successful in overthrowing several quarantine zones such as the one in Pittsburgh, but their actions did not always have the desired results. In most quarantine zone uprisings, rioting citizens have done more fighting than actual Firefly members. Disagreements between groups like these sometimes resulted in the citizens turning on their city's Fireflies after the revolt is finished, rather than accepting their control.

For many years the Fireflies searched in vain for a cure to counter the CBI. Morale within the organization was falling as vaccination tests continued to fail as well as the military beginning to hunt them down. It is mentioned in the Firefly's Recorder that they did have some success in trials with a passive vaccine in 2028, but apparently nothing came of this.

Events of American DreamsEdit

In Boston in 2033, the Fireflies were engaged in a shootout with the Boston military just outside the zone. Ellie and Riley came across the fight where the militia group were losing and Riley used Winston's smoke bombs to cover the group's escape. The Fireflies later found the two girls in the shopping mall and saved them from a couple of infected but took the girls prisoner. Marlene, who was among the group, ordered the girls be kept alive after recognizing Ellie.

After finding a smuggler's tunnel to hide in, Marlene later freed Ellie and Riley from their bindings. As Riley and Marlene argued over the former joining the group, the Fireflies were attacked by three armed smugglers. With minimal casualties, the Fireflies killed the smugglers and Marlene tested Riley's commitment. Marlene later directed the girls back to the QZ, though not before telling Ellie about her mother.

Riley eventually was allowed to join the Fireflies. Three weeks before the events of The Last of Us, Marlene discovered that Ellie was immune to the disease after being bitten by an Infected and did not succumb to the fungus, unlike her friend Riley.

Events of The Last of UsEdit

In the beginning of the game, the Fireflies are responsible for bombing a vehicle at a military checkpoint, which prompts Boston troops to lock down the streets. In preparation for getting the girl to their main lab at the University of Eastern Colorado, Marlene initially made a deal with a local smuggler named Robert to take Ellie to the rendezvous point at the Capitol Building outside the Boston QZ. The Fireflies made plans to quietly exit the city, but the military began to provoke them. The Fireflies became violent in response, and Robert himself was killed by Joel and Tess. After meeting with Marlene, they witness a squad of soldiers executing captured Fireflies that they defeated in a skirmish. Later on, the pair agreed to take Ellie to the Capitol Building in return for their weapons that Robert had sold to the militia group, but the Fireflies they were to meet there had all been killed by the military, forcing them to flee. Unable to locate Ellie or the smugglers, the Fireflies were forced to conclude that their last hope for a cure was gone.

During the year, the Fireflies relocated their base from the UEC back to St. Mary's Hospital in Salt Lake City, as the safety of the science lab was becoming compromised by infected attacks. Furthermore, a Firefly scientist became infected when a lab monkey carrying the infection bit him. Marlene and a handful of the surviving Boston Fireflies retreated back to Salt Lake City by March 23rd 2034.

On April 28th, 2034, nearly a year after tasking Joel with Ellie, a Firefly patrol found the pair in the tunnels of the city on the way to the hospital. Ellie, having almost drowned, was being given CPR by Joel when the Fireflies knocked him out and revived her, then took them both to their main base. As Ellie had been taken away and prepped for surgery, the doctors told Marlene that they could not extract her fungus-infected brain without killing her. Marlene reluctantly gave the go-ahead, but when Joel heard of the operation, he killed his guard Ethan and proceeded to the operating room, killing or avoiding the Fireflies searching for him (player determined). The head surgeon was killed when he did not stand aside for Joel to get Ellie and the Fireflies vainly attempted to corner him in the pediatrics area. When Joel brought Ellie down to the parking garage, Marlene confronted him and attempted to convince Joel to hand over Ellie, as this is what Ellie would have wanted--to save humankind and create a vaccine. However, Joel, after making the decision that he would not lose Ellie, killed Marlene as he believed she would only come after them. It is unknown what became of the group after Marlene's death.

Known MembersEdit


The Fireflies serve as the final enemies encountered in The Last of Us, and are appropriately the toughest non-infected enemies encountered (next to the military). Most of the Fireflies at the end of the game wear body armor and helmets that help resist gunfire. Many Firefly soldiers at the end of the game also wield powerful, flashlight-equipped Assault Rifles that can drain Joel's health in a single burst if the player is not careful. This contrasts with the equipment of the dead Fireflies witnessed in the beginning levels of the game; the dead Fireflies in Boston are seen without any armor or heavy weaponry.

This suggests that most of the members encountered at St. Mary's Hospital are actually elite Firefly soldiers, tasked with guarding their base of operations and overseeing the safety of the surgical team and Marlene, while the dead Fireflies seen in Boston were likely low-ranking rebels with inferior equipment - such as hunting rifles instead of assault rifles. Evidently, the latter mostly failed in their attempts to fight the military, as almost all of the city rebels are captured or dead. They are seen to only pose a threat to the military when they do hit-and-run bombing attacks against them; whereas they to get slaughtered if they ever engage military troops in open combat. Fireflies seem to know this; the Fireflies who bomb the checkpoint at the beginning of the game begin to flee as soon as the guards start to open fire.

This is ironic, as Marlene was in Boston with this group and, as the leader, one would have expected her to have high-powered weapons and elite members, as opposed to the lightly-armed militia shown in Boston. However, the reason for their poor equipment may be that the Fireflies in Boston wanted to keep a low profile.




  • Fireflies prefer to wear yellow just like the glow of fireflies.
  • After the military, the Fireflies are the strongest faction in the post-apocalyptic America.
  • "Look for the light" is commonly seen graffiti around Boston, presumably put there by Fireflies or sympathizers with them.
  • Their members wear Firefly pendants, which appear to fill the role of dog tags and can be collected by Joel.
    • The Bloater in UEC has a Firefly pendant that can be collected if killed. The pendant says: "Joe Warren".
  • Before the game's release, Naughty Dog held 3 different contests to get the names of 8 winners from each contest on Firefly Pendants in the game. Contests were to make fan art, fan videos/trailers, and cosplay photos of the game.
  • Joel and Ellie both have at least one known close affiliates with the Fireflies. Ellie's best friend Riley (who has a pendant in Ellie's backpack), her guardian and mother-figure Marlene and Joel's brother Tommy were Fireflies.
  • In the Pittsburgh chapter, after leaving the hotel and entering the courtyard, you can see what are presumably dead Fireflies with a note in the freezers of a sandwich shop.
  • The Fireflies also have or had scientists and medical experts working in labs, which proves that they are more than just a militia.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Fireflies

  • The Vaccine Debate, and the ending. (spoilers)

    254 messages
    • Marlene was idealistic enough to believe that she could persuade Joel of the rightness of her actions. I don't know - maybe she thought he ...
    • I obviously have not read every comment on here, so maybe this isnt new, but i think this game, especialy the scene where sarah dies and j...
  • Firefly pendants

    2 messages
    • Can someone add the names on the FIrefly pendants that you find throughout the game to the Members section? Thanks.
    • Great work! Now, should we add their service numbers (The number on the tag under their name)?

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