Since it seems people have a demand on lore-related stuff I decided to make a write up on one of my favorite parts of the series, Drama CD Red and Black. This audio drama is translated by Edward Chang (script here
) and the recording is uploaded in Youtube. But for everyone too busy or lazy to listen and read the script, I made this summary. I'm not going to mark this as Spoiler as the drama was released around the early 2000's and as old as a lot of people in the fanbase.
The story takes place in 2173, 14 years before the events of Xrd in 2187. It's heavily focused on I-No's intervention of the timeline and how important Ky Kiske is to the fate of the world. Whether or not this is really the "original" or the "altered" timeline is subjective based on your perspective. Ky Kiske is 15 years old here and a novice captain in the Holy Order, while Sol is still part of the organization.
I-No wanders at the village and a few men hit on her. She rebuffs their advances and casually mentions that a Gear is actually heading towards the village. The people panic and I-No entertains herself watching the villagers die.
Meanwhile, Ky is patrolling via airship and arrives at the village with Sol. They note that everyone is dead except one woman which they take in. Ky expresses doubts about his leadership and thinks they should never have stopped at the village. A nameless officer encouraged him that as Holy Knights they should rescue everyone even if only one is left.
Sol finds I-No suspicious and confronts her at the airship's medical bay. A fight ensues between them and Ky responds to the commotion. I-No pretends to be a helpless damsel to make Sol look bad.
I-No: Please help! This man suddenly...
Ky: You! I don't even have words to describe you anymore. Bring the handcuffs!
Sol: Ha... yeesh.
Ky: Take him to the brig.
Ky: Forgive me... I have no good apology... I-No: Thank you for saving me... who are you?
Ky: Sorry for not introducing myself earlier. I am Ky Kiske, working as Captain of the Holy Order.
I-No: Oh, you're so young and yet so great! I'm I-No. Who was that wild guy earlier...?
Ky: He's... Sol. A disgrace to our Order... he will be punished severely.
I-No: I was so scared!
Ky: I-I see...
It turns out Ky does think I-No is suspicious, because while he thinks Sol's behavior and lack of obedience to authority is a disgrace, the man must have attacked I-No for a legit reason. Ky also knows I-No seems powerful and asks the guards to keep an eye on her.
The group receives a distress signal from Rome, Italy, saying there are "three Megadeath-class Gears, and about 200 large-class Gears" enough to obliterate the city. Ky decides to help even if it's not his official duty to do so. Knowing they're heading to a dangerous mission, Ky goes to I-No and requests her to get off the ship, offering to drop her at the next safe village. I-No refuses and says she will join the fight. Ky asks what she wants for a reward and I-No implies something suggestive:
I-No: That's okay. I don't want money.
Instead... (whispers) Ky: Ah... that's...!
I-No: A million... million!
Ky: But... that's too...
I-No: Come on.
I-No: Then... later! Come back alive! I'll be waiting in my room...
Ky: I... will do my best.
I-No: How cute, turning bright red! Well... it doesn't look like this'll be boring...
Remember Ky is 15 years old here!
Ky collects all the troops available as well as volunteers. Reinforcements are promised by Kliff Undersn, who is still the Commander this time. However, they're still too far away to help. Ky decides to undertake the mission anyway to save Rome, which has around one million people. He expresses uncertainty and fear on the possible outcome of his decision.
Ky: Sometimes I feel angry at myself... even though I'm telling them to commit suicide... they follow me anyway.
Officer: Then, why ask for volunteers? You could've just ordered everyone.
Ky: Yes... if we live, I'll remember that.
Officer: Please don't make that face. The soldiers will be frightened.
Ky: And it would be nice if they were frightened and quit... no. Let's go.
Officer: Salute the Captain!
Ky: Everyone... thank you for gathering. Please hear me. In the battle between humans and Gears, we do not have the advantage. No... we are in a dangerous situation. And now, we are headed towards an unfair battle. In terms of military and logistics, it's meaningless. But then why? With technology, humans created forbidden creations, and yet still did not gain the ability to stop war. They wanted... a rational world where humans did not fight. And then... Gears were born. War came to humans who responded with machines. But... a battle between machines cannot be called a victory. Therefore, we, as humanity, have to pick what looks like the foolish road. We will save the citizens of Rome. It's because we can't let lives pass in front of us! Do we care what happens afterwards? God, by your grace, please save us! Holy Order, set forth!
The knights fought to the point of reaching their limits. Ky chooses to remain and look for I-No on the battlefield while ordering the other knights to retreat. He fights his way against several powerful Gears and succumbs to exhaustion, still hoping to find I-No and believing it's his duty to keep her safe.
Some of the officers reached Sol and beg him to save Ky. Sol goes into the warzone to retrieve the teenager but he is too late. Ky is dying from his wounds and he begs Sol to lead the Holy Order in his place.
Sol: I came to pick you up.
Ky: Always coming late... you never could fix that...
Ky: As to be expected... until the very end... I could never beat you...
Sol: Don't say anything!
Ky: I have... a request...
Sol: I said shut up!
Ky: After Commander Kliff... carry on... the Holy Order...
Sol: Stop it... that's your job!
Ky: Please... promise me...
Ky: If it's you... you can do...
Sol: Hey.... what's wrong. Hey! KYYYYYY!
This is one of the only instances in the series where Sol cried. Meanwhile, it's revealed that I-No is actually watching everything as her entertainment.
I-No: Kyahahaha! So he died! "Is I-No-san all right?" Hahaha! Wonderful!
The next part of the audio drama is a long rambling of Zappa but since it's unrelated to Ky's story I'll just leave it out.
Fast forward to 2183, five years after Ky's death, the story starts with Dr. Baldhead arriving at a shelter of civilians hiding from Gears. Dr. Baldhead murders the guards sadistically and annoyed I-No who kills him afterwards.
Baldhead: Over there over there! Young miss, you... oh... just about everything is wrong with you! Let me start by fixing up your heart and mind...!
I-No: What shall I do? Such a bother...
Baldhead: This might hurt a little, no need to hold back! Heheh... begin operation!!
Sol is revealed to be the Holy Orders' leader aboard an airship with Potemkin, showing an alliance between the knights and Zepp. They are discussing how they're planning to launch a risky assault on a Gear plant when I-No arrives. Sol expresses his anger on I-No being the reason Ky is dead but the woman leaves him with the location of the Gear plant she took from a dead intelligence officer.
In the plant, it's revealed Dizzy has become the Commander Gear with Testament as her second-in-command. They're anticipating Sol's attack and mentions that have 7 times more in number than the human army.
Dizzy: I shall go as well.
Testament: There is no need for that...
Dizzy: Let us be careful. We shall end the long battle here.
Testament: Understood. Let us make this the demise of mankind!
Dizzy: Mankind has injured this Earth too much. They must have the judgment of justice. Justice-sama... I take my leave.
Sol and Potemkin lead the fleet, which is everything humankind have, to finally put an end to the war. They see a large number of Gears which leads to this humorous exchange:
Sol: Easy battle.
Sol: It means no need to aim.
Potemkin: I see. Did you hear that?
Dizzy meets them in battle and fires a Gamma Ray, obliterating 50% of the human fleet. Sol decides the only way to end the war is to fight Dizzy himself. Potemkin takes command of the fleet and calls their other remaining allies, which includes the Jellyfish Pirates led by May. Johnny is dead and his crew is undertaking the mission to take revenge.
I-No visits the Gear plant where she discovers That Man (Asuka) chained and imprisoned by Dizzy. I-No expects someone scarier but amused by the Gear creator's identity. Asuka expresses remorse over everything that happened.
That Man: I have no power to control Gears. Everything is going not to plan.
I-No: Huh, what a boring guy...
That Man: This world is not what I wished for. This world is not what I created Gears for.
I-No: Spare me the crybaby talk! Huh... and that's it, huh.
That Man: Why did you come here.
I-No: I got bored. Bored of this world... thought I'd meet you and make it Game Over...
That Man: Game Over? Congraultions on the ending? What are you aiming for.
I-No: It should be obvious: recreation! Recreation. This is a stage... there's such a thing called a role. Trash should be stepped on like trash... and those with power bathe in the spotlight, burning. Come now, everyone... the show is about to begin.
Back to the battlefield, Sol and Dizzy talks before they fight.
Dizzy: You traitor... why do you help mankind?!
Sol: That's my line. Unlike Justice... your heart should be free. So why!? Why do you kill!
Dizzy: Don't talk about mother so easily! You... I'll kill you!
Sol: A kid's crying, huh.
The Jellyfish Pirates arrives to attack Dizzy, May leading them and rallying the crew in honor of Johnny. However, Dizzy obliterates the pirates easily.
Back to the Gear plant, I-No and Asuka continue their conversation. Asuka expresses that hope is fading and I-No offers a fix by returning back in time to change a key moment.
I-No travels back to year 2173 Rome and instead of letting Ky die, she saves him. I-No wipes away Ky's memory just in time before Sol arrives.
Sol: This... did you do this?
Ky: Huh? Y-yeah... looks like it.
Sol: Yeesh... don't fiddle around. We're done hear. Time to retreat!
Ky: Y-yeah... I got it. Ha...
Sol: What are you worrying about now?
Ky: Ah, nothing... if you're here, I feel safe.
Sol: Yeesh... such a carefree guy.
The story ends with I-No deciding to be Asuka's ally, wanting to see the future he envisioned. In 2181, 8 years after the Battle Rome, I-No attacks Dizzy out of nowhere and causes her to go berserk, which is the beginning of GGXX's main story.
Hope you liked my summary. Just some comments:
- Justice is killed offscreen in this timeline, most likely by Sol, causing Dizzy to be embittered and take her place.
- This is the only story in GG that Dizzy is shown to be commanding other Gears.
- Ky is 15 years old in the Battle of Rome, 16 years old when he's made Commander and successfully ended the war, 23 years old in GGX-GGXX, and 29 years old in Xrd.
- If Sol is in his thirties by the time he's converted as a Gear in 2016, then Sol is born in the 1980's. If he's 30-35 years old by the time he stopped aging, then Sol is around 195-205 years old in GGXX to Xrd.
- Due to the new information, when know May is 22 years old in Xrd (2187), meaning she's 18 years old when she's Captain of the Jellyfish in the alternate timeline, and 16 years old in GGXX.