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. Rather, 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.
In early 2014, a team of American scientists under Vince McDonell completed a theoretical assessment of what they called "Gear" cells. The purpose of the Gear Project, originally the Ecosystem Evolution Project, was bringing evolution to the next level and ending to human illness. In 2015, they managed to stabilize Gear cells infused with magic, but That Man was afraid that his work would be weaponized and turned the research data over to the government for more thorough study on four conditions.
Following the successful but secret creation of the "Prototype Gear" in 2016, experiments involving animals (such as owls, dogs, bears) went awry as arranged by That Man, and several core team members died or disappeared. After the incident, the project was frozen and all related data files were classified.
The Gear Project was reopened in 2042 after the military and political influence of the U.S. began to decline. After several other prototypes, in 2065 the first combat-ready Gear was completed. The U.S. thus began their mass production and monopoly of Gears. The country deployed them as weapons to allies across the globe, and brought "countless lands" under its control. That Man at some point rejoined the Gear Project, but he didn't intend Gears to be weapons of war. That Man thus created Justice throughout 2073, giving his old friend the ability to command all other Gears so that she could stop the wars.
But her activation in 2074 went wrong. An entity attempted to take over Justice and started to infect the people of Japan. That Man had to override her controls and use her Gamma Ray on Japan to stop the entity's materialization. Her psyche shattered by the incident, Justice rebelled in response to the Gears' enslavement. As 2074 progressed, Justice gathered an army of Gears and declared war on humanity, starting the Crusades that engulfed all of Earth.
In the face of heavy initial casualties, humanity put aside many of their differences and formed the Sacred Order of Holy Knights as they were pushed to the brink of extinction. After a hundred years of war, the conflict came to an end with the Sealing of Justice in 2175 by the Order. Without their commander, the majority of Gears were reduced to a dormant state; many were destroyed, but others were simply sealed. Those that retained a will of their own went into hiding at the Ganymede Archipelago, although humanoid Gears would soon leave. Any being suspected of being a Gear would be ostracized and persecuted.
In 2185, after the Baptisma 13 incident that causes the disappearance of many Gears, public opinion begins to change. Ky Kiske, as the High King of Illyria, publicly announces his desire for coexistence between humans and Gears at a conference for the United Nations. Two years later, the open involvement of the Gear Dizzy in a battle to defend Illyria is met with public acceptance.
The fundamental trait of a Gear is its possession of Gear cells (ギア細胞, Gia Saibō?). Through the application of magic, scientists can fuse these cells to the material world, allowing them to reproduce and become at least semi-permanent. Gear cells can be inhibited with devices that restrict them from transforming the body's genetic structure.
To create a Gear, human or animal DNA can be fused together to obtain the most favorable outcome. Gears can either be mass produced in plants, or through the conversion of organisms, although the process hasn't been revealed. According to Raven, when something becomes a Gear, its predecessor's consciousness is inherited. It is shown in Lightning the Argent that Gear cells can stay in a person's body through ingestion, and a Command-type Gear's influence can cause harmful mutations to their bodies, resulting in death. It is also speculated that Gear genes are dominant, and are not likely to be diluted by other DNA.
A Gear's maturation is exponentially accelerated to make them readily available for war. Dizzy and Sin matured from infancy to adulthood in three years, being implied to develop eight times faster than humans, even inside a mother's womb. When they are in their prime physical and mental state, they appear to become immune to aging and can live for an apparently indefinite period of time. The oldest Gear, Sol, is around 180 years old and hasn't show signs of aging, while Testament appears to be in his twenties despite being around 60 years old.
Humanoid Gears can breed with humans and, according to Dr. Paradigm, they "multiply like rabbits". It has also been implied that Gear mothers can put their child into an egg for safety.
Physical traits Edit
Gears bear (or can manifest) a sigil on some part of their body that instantly gives away their identity as Gears. The ones manufactured by That Man, Sol and Justice, bear one in their foreheads. Another key trait is the presence of a red eye pupil, which can come in different shades.
Designed for war, Gears vary widly in their appearance according to their purpose, but for the most part, they are usually monstrous. Claws, sharp teeth, tails, and armored skin are common. Flying-type Gears possess dragon and bird-like characteristics. Gears often have a rather large size, ranging from the size of an elephant to the size of a small town. Humanoid Gears look very similar to humans, but they usually have a few immediately visible differences besides the red eyes. For example, Solaria's elf-like ears or Dizzy's wings and tail (while possessing shapeshifting abilities), whereas Sol appears completely human only due to wearing his limiter.
Mental traits Edit
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. Without a master, most Gears are unable to move of their own volition and reduced to a dormant state. Others were able to regain their consciousness after the war, like Testament. Dizzy and Sin, noted to be natural-born Gears, can function on their own from birth perhaps due to being hybrids.
Independent 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. It is implied, however, that their emotions can cause imbalances regarding their powers. Other independent Gears may be instinct-driven, being similar to animals, but intelligent enough to recognize the authority of more intelligent Gears and submit under them.
Gears can withstand serious injuries through extremly fast regeneration, while also having a far tougher body structure. Because of this, it is difficult to defeat them in battle. Sol Badguy can stand up shortly after being shot multiple times with Black Tech guns, and Dizzy can survive thousand-feet fall from the sky and, in an alternate timeline, an airship suicide attack directed at her. Justice was undefeated for a hundred years and had to be sealed instead. No matter their physical build, they also possess titanic strength.
As the Gears' genetic alterations are done with magical methods, 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 using high level spells of multiple elements.
The following are known Gear classes or types, although some categories can overlap with another.
- Prototype Class - The several attempts at producing combat-ready Gears. Sol Badguy is the original Prototype Gear; he cannot be controlled by a Commander-Type Gear, although that may be due to being the Flame of Corruption and bearing Prime Field DNA structure.
- Command Class - Said to be only "complete" Gears, they are capable of controlling other Gears on a massive scale. Examples are: Justice, Dizzy (reported to be able to restore downed or incapacitated Gears), and Solaria (her singing causes ingested Gear cells to mutate).
- Humanoid Class - Gears who were once human but were converted, or have a mostly human appearance. They are noted for being capable of strong resistance towards Command-type Gears. Examples are: Testament, Sin Kiske.
- Toxic Class - They 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: Testament (capable of using his own blood to attack opponents causing them to be poisoned)
- 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: Gig, Dr. Paradigm, Faeries.
- 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: Hydra, Leopaldon.
- The Megadeath classification could be a reference to the American heavy metal band Megadeth.