Gears are artificial magical creatures created with the intention to advance evolution, but were eventually produced to be biological weapons of war. They are not a species of their own; they are "altered" versions of existing ones. Gears run on instinct and turn out to be little more than killing machines, but some - especially those derived from human subjects - are able to retain their free will.
HistoryThe Gear Project started on 2014 for the purpose of bringing evolution to the next level. However, the project is clouded with mystery. Two years after, the first human subject to undergo the change into Gear, the American, Frederick, escaped the laboratory. He and the researchers all disappeared shortly after and the Gear project halted. In 2073, a person known only as That Man created the first complete Gear, named Justice, and the project was restarted. Shortly after, a certain major country mass produced Gears to overwhelm other nations. This enrages Justice, and she decided to control other Gears and wage a war on mankind, an event which would be later known as the Crusades.
The fundamental source of a Gears' traits and abilities is its cells. Using genetic science, different animal genes are fused together to obtain the most favorable outcome. Gears can either be mass produced in Gear plants, or through the conversion of organisms. The ones manufactured by That Man bear a sigil in some part of their body, Sol and Justice having one in their foreheads. The process of Gear conversion isn't revealed, but it is implied that it is not a secret, since the P.W.A.B. and the Blackard Company are able to convert humans to Gears.
It is shown in Lightning The Argent that Gear cells can stay in a person's body through ingestion. A Command-type's influence can cause harmful mutations to a host's body, resulting to its death. It is also speculated that Gear genes are dominant, and are not likely to be diluted by other DNA.
Since Gears are designed for war, each class or kind have different purposes. Land-based Gears have characteristics similar to mythological land monsters; claws, sharp teeth and armored skin are common. Flying-type Gears include dragons and bird-like creatures. Most Gears have a very large size, ranging from the size of an elephant to the size of a small town. Gears bear a symbol on some part of their body.
Humanoid Gears look very similar to humans, except for a few notable differences. The key characteristic of human type Gears is the presence of a red eye pupil (note that Chipp Zanuff has red pupils too but he's not a Gear). This is also true for non-human Gears, and can come in different shades. An exception is Sin, who has an emerald eye (the other remains hidden under his eyepatch). Other differences are immediately visible, like Solaria's elf ears, and Dizzy's wings and tail. On a greater degree, Sol Badguy has to keep wearing a limiter to appear human, and Dizzy assumes a more demonic-looking appearance in her Instant Kill, implying that Human-type Gears are able to transform into a more beastly form.
The process of making a Gear can cause a being to lose its own will and run on a set of programmed commands. Only a Command-type Gear can input these programs via genetic or magical links. With the death of Justice, Gears were unable to move of their own volition anymore. They were reduced to a dormant state that can longer do any function. However, it is revealed that some Gears were able to escape Justice's control, like the Gears in Ganymede, while some retained their consciousness after the war, like Testament. Gears like Dizzy and Sin can also function on their own from birth, but it should be noted that it may be because they are hybrids.
These independent type Gears can range from intelligent to animalistic. Humanoid Gears are no different intellectually from humans and are capable of accelerated learning like their physical growth. However, there are some indications that they have mental problems that causes them to be unstable and anti-social. Even Dizzy, who is known to be very friendly and gentle, can break down at some point to insanity, as shown by the Drama CDs. Other classes of independent Gears remain to be instinct-driven, being similar to animals, but intelligent enough to recognize the authority of more intelligent Gears and submit under them. If Gears are given enough time and experience, they can evolve into a more intelligent being, just like what happened to Dr. Paradigm.
Growth and Life Span
The maturation of Gears is accelerated exponentially to make them readily available for war. Human-type Gears are shown to mature from infancy to adulthood in three years, and it is implied that they develop 8 times faster than humans, even inside a mother's womb. At a certain point, when they are in their prime physical and mental state, they become immune to aging and can live for an indefinite period of time. The oldest Gear, Sol Badguy is around 170 years old; likewise, Testament looks like in his twenties despite being around 60 years old.
According to Dr. Paradigm, humanoid gears "multiply like rabbits" confirming their reproductive abilities. One example of a Gear being naturally born is Sin's birth to Ky Kiske and the Maiden of the Grove. Sin's existence also proves the abilty of Humanoid Gears to breed with humans. On the contrary, Dizzy's birth remains mysterious since she was born when her mother was imprisoned in a dimension. Her situation implies that Gear mothers can put their child into an egg for safety, a fact also implied in Ky's story.
Physical CapabilitiesGears can withstand serious injuries through regeneration and an evolved body structure. Because of this, it is difficult to defeat them in battle. This is evidenced by Sol Badguy, who stood up shortly after being shot multiple times, and by Dizzy, who survived a fall a thousand feet from the sky and an airship suicide attack launched on her. Justice, on the other hand, was undefeated for a hundred years and was sealed instead.
Since Gears are created for evolution, they can also adapt to their environment or viceversa for convenience. Dr. Paradigm, who can't live comfortably without water, has created a water bubble where he can be submerged constantly. It can be observed that the less intelligent a Gear is, the most it is dependent on raw physical strength rather than magic.
The Gears' genetic alterations are by magical methods. Because of these, Gears supposedly use magic on instinct, whether it be sustaining themselves through absorbing magical energy or using spells for battle. However, only intelligent Gears are shown to exhibit skills to use magic. These intelligent Gears are shown to have a greater potential for magic than humans and are capable of high level spells. While humans can only use one type of magical element determined by their genetic affinity, Gears like Dizzy and Justice are capable of using different elements naturally, like Lightning, Fire and Gamma rays.
Here are several known Gear classes/types. Some categories can overlap with another.
- Prototype Class - The foundation for the Gear archetype. The only known Gear Type capable of full resistance to Command-Type commands. Also bears the Prime Field DNA structure and foundation of the Cube found in the backyard. Sol Badguy (originally Frederick) is the first Prototype Gear and the only known one.
- Command Class - The only type of Gear capable of controlling other Gears on a massive scale. They are also very powerful in magic and are shown to control various elements. It is unknown whether the abilities shown by each Command-type Gear are exclusive or are also present to others. Examples are:
- Justice - The leader of the Gears and was alive for a hundred years and has commanded a "mankind erasure" program on Gears.
- Dizzy - She is reported to have abilities to restore downed or incapacitated Gears.
- Solaria - Her singing creates a strong reaction on Gear cells, causing them to mutate.
- Valentine - Because her creation is branched off from Justice's Prime Field DNA, she was able to transform into a Command-Type Gear, and a Megadeath-Type afterwards.
- Humanoid Class - A special case of Gears who were once human but were converted, or have semi-human or half-human traits. Some are capable of reproduction, and according to Dr. Paradigm, multiply fast. However, most are highly destructive in nature and do not coexist with other forms of life very well. They are noted for being capable of strong resistance towards Command-type Gears. Examples are:
- Testament - A former knight who has been living as a Gear for more than 40 years. He has shown a notable resistance against Justice's control.
- Sin - His fractions are unknown, but he is a hybrid between a human (Ky Kiske) and a Gear (Maiden of the Grove). He does not show any features that can identify him as a Gear, but has exhibited an enormous magical potential.
- Toxic Class - While it is uncertain which Gears carry this specific ability, Toxic-type Gears are capable of releasing poisonous gases and spores from their bodies as a form of biological warfare, often resulting in massive casualties. The Sacred Order has worked long and hard to develop an antidote to such magic-based toxins. In some rare cases, metahumans are immune to Gear toxicity. Examples include:
- Flying Class - Typically large, however not necessarily so. Do not always require wings to fly. Flying Classification is a sub-trait in many Gears. Examples are:
- Large Class - Noted primarily for its size compared to other Gears, but in particular labor and worker types. Large Classification is a sub-trait in many kinds of Gear.
- Regular Class - Standard fare Gears. Though simple in construct, they are often large in numbers due to their role as a foot soldier type. Comes in many different animal species, even Youkai/Demonic-Types.
- Megadeath Class - A typically very large, extremely deadly class of Gear that can level whole populaces and civilizations within a very brief time span. They are very difficult to kill in most cases and often sealed away instead. Examples are:
- The Megadeath classification could be a reference to the American heavy metal band Megadeth.