In this tale, Ecco the Dolphin, Tides of Time, and Defender of the Future are all connected in an idea thought up by me, Aldara-Nerita. I am unable to back up any of this information with written proof, or anything like that, only that it makes sense to me. Please play along with my time theory which takes place throughout this entire story. I really have NO clue as to what I'm talking about.

Long story short, I was speaking with my English teacher after reading a novel called "Timeline." He explained to me, along with this book which helped a lot, how the theory of multi-universes has been proven mathematically by mathematicians. (Believe what you want, I just found it really fascinating. It really doesn't worry me whether or not it is true.)

I'm still highly confused, but understand a lot more than before. This prologue contains an idea that I just thought up with back-up from other novels, movies, ideas I've seen/heard, and my own creativity. I understand what I've written myself, but I hope you do as well. If you're REALLY confused, I guess you may let me know if you must. Perhaps I can change it slightly, you know, make it easier to understand. Trust me, I'm no scientist or mathematician, but I'll do my best. Just play along, and perhaps (and hopefully) you'll get the idea of what I'm trying to say.

Oh, and another thing, which I know is bothered by others. Yes, I know the games are not connected. Ecco the Dolphin and Ecco: Tides of Time are together in a series, (Along with Ecco Jr. placed as an extra, but we won't go there.) but Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future is a completely seperate story along with a different plot, storyline, time, characters, etc, etc. But, DotF is still Ecco, whether you like it or not. So, what law is there that says they can't be placed together in a true series for a fanfiction? In other words, if they "were" connected, then this is a "possibility" on how they could have that I created. Just something I thought up over a period of time.

Ah, and something else too. I recommend having some experience with the Ecco series, or at least know the basis of the storylines through the three games I mentioned above, before becoming interested in this particular fanfiction. This way, it is easier to recognize familiar scenes, characters, and clear up some confusion too. Just a little hint for you.

So, enough of me jabbering away. Just wanted to give a proper introduction and clear a few things up. Oh, and so I don't forget, as it seems it is required:

I do NOT own Ecco the Dolphin or any part of the Ecco the Dolphin series, such as the characters already created by the game designers. (Minus the characters I created myself, of course.) Anyway, just use your imagination, and enjoy! .

Prologue

Past, Present, and Future

The sea was cold and stained with red,

and monsters turned their tales and fled.

Hope arose when the Elder One said,

to hail the one with stars upon his head...-Neria's Work

How high in the sky can you fly? This simple sentence, stated from a young companion and playmate, innocent as it seemed, started the legacy...

500 years had passed. 500 years of wondering and loneliness. Outside all known reality, space, and time, was the area that was only known as the Tides of Time. A region unimaginable outside the Time Stream flowing continuously throughout nothingness and empty space, holding within it all known and unknown, all seen and unseen. Watching with eyes nonexistent, one being of eternal life in the frozen emptiness, traveled in this nightmare and wonder. One who had seen all and witness it as if being there, but had seen it as a flash.

This being is constantly being forced through events, for time lasts for eternity, forever, never ending, never beginning, and never stopping. The Stream of Time contains within in it an infinite amount of possibilities, or multi-universes. These multiple universes are identical to one another except for changes. These may differ from minor changes to major changes. They all run parallel to one another, yet still separated all within the Stream of Time. This being had seen the once thought beginning of time, but found this untrue, for time lasts forever. It can resemble a circle. The Tides of Time flowed alongside, around, and within the Time Stream as it pulsated life and spirit.

This being once had been called a name by those he loved and was loved by. It was a name that for a time, compared to forever, lasted shorter than the blink of an eye. He was called Ecco, and he created a legacy by great acts that at first he did for himself and then moved to the world he lived in and treasured. An ordinary bottlenose dolphin, bearing the markings of the stars. They were in the shape of the constellation Delphinious, and resided upon the left side of his melon.

His first act got his name put into the world. He was talked about almost constantly. He had traveled to a new world and defeated monsters that threatened an unknowing world: the earth. His family was rescued and he was sung about. The whales heard about his meeting before the blue one's death. He had received wisdom from their most ancient one, the Big Blue. The largest singers of all, the Blue Whales, whispered his name in with their long soul-filled songs.

Ecco, now known as a great hero, had even met the so-called oldest living creature on earth. The Asterite was connected with the life streams of Earth. He could feel it, communicate with it, and loved it. He had a gift of song and was a master of communication. His power reigned past any being known, and his arms could even pull at the strings and control the Time Stream itself. And this being was a 'friend' of the Hero Ecco. The Asterite was not a mindless thing, not a machine, but a living creature with heart and personality. In return for deeds given to him, the Asterite placed in Ecco a connection of minds. Ecco was given gifts beyond what any dolphin or whale could imagine. He was incredibly fast, strong, and had stamina beyond orcas' capabilities. His breath was everlasting, but no gills were needed for Ecco to survive under the waves, and he was given a short song that echoed the voice of death. Any creature hit with it immediately succumbed to Death's call. Ecco's wounds healed before his eyes. He was next to immortal, if it was even possible for him to die.

Nothing seemed to be able to confuse or startle the now growing dolphin. What did forever shadow his mind, though, was the presence of his stars. He did not know their purpose or their usage except maybe for show. It was how he was identified by those who did not know him personally. As he grew, though, the nightmare he once witnessed returned.

The Vortex returned. The monsters whom he had faced before, had come back. He had not fully destroyed their queen, their life giver and leader. She followed him back home from the planet Vortex, and attacked his friend, the Asterite. Being shattered and split apart, the Asterite wasn't dead, but powerless. Ecco, with help from his eons direct descendent Trellia, a flying dolphin of the future, searched for his globes and retrieved them all, but two. The destruction of the Asterite was not intended in Ecco's universe, so as a result, one of the alternate universes, an entire different future of Earth, crossed paths with Ecco's reality of Earth, creating two possible futures within one universe instead of remaining separate. A dark future now existed for Ecco's Earth.

The Asterite had enough strength to speak, but Ecco was left to travel to Lunar Bay alone, a place known for its sights of the night sky. He was taken to the Vortex once more, but battled his way past them all.

He came face to face once more against the dreaded queen of the Vortex after being transported into the Dark Future. With all his might he managed to destroy her, but she somehow escaped in a larva form. A weaker, yet surviving form. It found out about the existence of the still standing ruins of Atlantis back in Ecco's present and reality, and went to the Atlantean time machine, a mechanism Ecco once used to travel backwards in time, for it could only go towards the past.

In his rage in worry, Ecco disobeyed orders given to him. The Asterite had instructed him to destroy the machine as well with one blast of sonar, and end any more messing with time in this reality. Somehow, though, Ecco could not bring himself to destroy the thing, and left it in the abandoned waters of the destroyed city, laying in ruins by a beam from the Vortex long ago.

Ecco, instead, jumped into the machine as it was still activated, and sent himself into a spiraling vortex of bubbles and light. Now Ecco traveled through the Tides of Time, trying to follow the path of the larva, but unsure as to where it went and when it went. Ecco was now lost within the Tides of Time, trapped within its flowing and seemingly unbreakable bonds, frozen in time to forever witness forever. An everlasting prison that even the Great Ecco, as he was sung after his second defeat of the Vortex, was locked in.

What was the worst part? For Ecco's family. They waited, they sang, and yet their hero never returned. Their brother and son never came back. Ecco was gone.

However, Ecco's memory hadn't vanished. His family continued to sing, filled with great love for him. Their songs echoed along the entire oceans. Singers adored over his memories, and it seemed Ecco would never die. Some said, spreading rumors, that the marked bottlenose may someday come back. No one really knew what had happened, so his fate was forever unknown, but many prayed that he would return. They're prayers, however, were never answered.

Like all things, time wears away at things. Ecco's songs became less than great treasures. Soon they just became folk songs sung traditionally. Then they turned to popular chants. They faded and faded away, memories becoming nothing more than the past that no one else cared about. Their hero never did come back, and no living being lasts forever. Like every mortal, Ecco's own blood family eventually passed on to newer generations. They did their best to pass on stories, but the children weren't as fascinated about just a story that happened so long ago. The Great Ecco, who left and never returned. What kind of hero was that? What kind of victory was that? In their eyes, Ecco was nothing more than a children's story, and soon that is all Ecco came to be.

The life expectancy of Ecco soon became part of History as did everything else. Still, the star marked hero never returned. Everyone still living who knew him personally, gave up. They never spoke of Ecco again, knowing that he must be long gone by now. At those days, Ecco was no more a memory. Soon, he became even less until nothing seemed to be left. Ecco was lost. Ecco was gone. Ecco was forgotten.

Dolphins had no hero to follow. Many turned to the Asterite, trying to convince their friends that this mighty creature was something to wonder about. However, the once marvelous Asterite slipped into a deep quiet. He refused to sing, let alone speak. He turned his back on the singers, at first seemingly deeply angered. Many tried to sing to the once majestical singer, wanting to hear his voice play in their minds wonderful harmonies once more, but the Asterite refused. He became silent and no longer sang to them. No one knew why, but many suspected that he missed Ecco. A few said he was angry at singer-kind, but no one really knew for sure. No one ever did.

Their minds wandered to new things now that they were no longer distracted by a faded memory. They looked to other things to adore, and this thing turned out to be man-kind. These two-legged beasts shared many things in common with singers of the sea. An insatiable appetite for knowledge and curiosity was one thing they had in common. The two had a day when they both revealed themselves to each other, giving away trust and love. The dolphins were intrigued, the humans adoring over the playful dolphins and majestic great whales. At that day, humans and dolphins made a pledge, clearly seeing that their species was meant to be together for eternity. To research all they explored, and to learn all they possibly could. They bound their souls together, so to speak. This day became known as the Golden Day, the day that dolphin kind and man kind joined as one. The singers of the sea had so much more to think about, that all traces or records of Ecco became lost. All worries of the Asterite faded, and he was left to be alone and silent in his crystal adorned cavern.

500 years passed. Dolphins and Man worked together. They built cities and machines, and wonders of metal construction. A new Atlantis was rebuilt in the tropical seas near the equator, the center of the earth itself. All dolphin species came around this one spot, and man visited often. It became a metropolis of life and happiness. The once great city of the Atlanteans, the original Atlantis, was lost. It's location couldn't be remembered, and the memory, just like everything else time ate away at, disappeared.

However, the Vortex were not alone in their vast regions of space. Nomadic species roamed the stars as well. Particular creatures, who had great knowledge and skill in technological advancement, came across the smaller planet of Earth. They were greedy and bloodthirsty. Regardless of their health and power, they attacked Earth. Unlike the Vortex, who seeked survival by living off of Earth as a parasite, these monsters planned to take everything and leave the planet a dying corpse. They proposed themselves as a great foe of man and dolphin, and thusly were given the simple name "Foe."

To the Foe's misfortune, Man and Dolphin were smarter than expected. They banded together, and in desperation of a protection constructed the greatest mechanical achievement so far in history: the Guardian. A crystal and metal structure, it was given the gift of artificial intelligence, and the ability to think and communicate for itself. It was also given the ability of language and song, in order to work with both species dominating Earth. The Guardian tapped into the planets life source and energy deep within the bowls of the planet, calling up power to create a great shield surrounding the earth. This shield was impenetrable by those unwanted, but the inhabitants of earth still were frightened. The Foe were undeterred, determined to suck Earth dry before leaving. If the shield were to be knocked off-line, Earth would be exposed. Earth was still in grave danger...

During these times of fear and worry, the Asterite still lived quietly and song-less in his cave. He was still depressed and saddened. Ecco had not obeyed his words. Ecco was supposed to destroy the machine, and leave it be in rubble. Now, however, the Vortex queen as a weak larva had escaped back into the past, and Ecco had stupidly followed her. Now the dolphin was trapped wondering the Tides of Time, trying to find the queen in the infinite Stream of Time itself. The Asterite had lost more than a life savior, he had lost a friend.

The Asterite sensed the new approach of danger. It wished to help the earth if it could, but unfortunately its mind could not reach out to any singer. They had blocked their connection with the great singer in the cavern after so many years of bonding and joining with man. The Asterite was on his own. Still, he wished to help. He couldn't do anything stuck in his cavern. He came up with a plan, a desperate plan, for Ecco could help. Ecco could fight. The Asterite could control the threads of time, pulling at them to obey his wishes. He could open a portal outside the Time Stream, but such a feat required great strength and power.

Such an action might have been easy for the Asterite to perform, but not in his current condition. Years of silence had weakened the great creature, and now he lay weak and pitiful in his dark, deep, lonely home. However, the earth needed a savior. It needed hope, and the Asterite made the decision that he was willing to do everything he could to give that hope back after his years of silence.

The Asterite, knowing his probable fate, made his decision. Calling forth every bit of strength he had, he suddenly erupted with song and cries. His globes lifted from their normal flow that they had traveled for countless years. In fact, they stopped all together. Forming parallel vertical lines, the Asterite glowed and flashed with brilliance. The crystals of the cavern reflected the light, sending the chamber into a marvelous beam of color and warmth. He threw up his arms with shouts of pain, the energy seeping out from the life of his globes, creeping up the cavern walls and through the tunnels to the surface. The energy broke the water wall between ocean and air, flying into the sky. The powers wrapped themselves into a circle of life energy.

They swirled into a vortex, ripping into reality and space to open a portal into time. A gateway outside the universe. As a black hole of nothing, it sucked in all life around it, creating a spiral of color being pulled into infinity and beyond that, to a land never before seen. Except by Ecco.

The dolphin heard the cries of his friend. Within the endless nothing and great pressure of the forever rushing Tides of Time, he entered back into the main Stream of Time. He grasped hold of the Asterite's outstretched hand, and was pulled from the portal, back into reality, back into Earth.

Ecco had arrived back home. Bewildered and confused, the dolphin couldn't remember how he had arrived back. He thought he was home, but things seemed greatly different. The dolphin went in search of knowledge, and with his adventures found the great city of Atlantis, the powerful and mighty Guardian, and the temple displaying the haunting images of a new enemy...

The records of the Ecco 500 years ago had been erased from History, though. No one remembered the Ecco so long ago. Since, to them, it was impossible for Ecco to still be alive, even if they did remember, they wouldn't believe that this was the same Ecco. For them, this was just any other ordinary bottlenose with strange star markings who needed a home. Ecco was welcomed in, and he was taught the history of time. He was still a young adult, and took his teachings like a child. He had much to learn.

The fate of the Asterite wasn't as pleasant. After using every bit of life energy it could afford, the Asterite was incredibly weak. Too weak to even simply hold itself together. The globes, the glow dyeing away, collapsed. They fell into a pile of rubble, setting dust to explode from the ground and cover every inch of the once incredible chamber. The globes, the cavern, and the crystals, were all covered with the dust. Once it settled, they all had a thin layer of it on them, as if it had been sitting there already for many years. The cavern became dark and quiet. The globes became gray rocks, blending into everything around them. The light given off the by the Asterite itself was no more. The Asterite lay quiet in a pitiful pile of globe and dust.

Unfortunately, the Asterite knew this was going to happen. For his friend, he gave up everything he had to bring him back, hoping that Ecco could re-become a hero for Earth and save it from the menacing Foe. With its years of silence and sadness, the Asterite's passing was unknown. No creature felt the sudden emptiness of the Asterite's presence in the waters of the oceans. No one heard the shout of the Asterite as it cried to tell the planet that a new hope had arrived, thanks to him. Ecco didn't even have his seemingly unbreakable connection with the Asterite anymore. Though he wondered what had happened to his friend, it remained a mystery to Ecco that he soon forgot with other worries as his next adventure soon started. So because of this, no one, not even Ecco, heard the Asterite die.

Ecco's journey wasn't finished completely yet. The Foe attacked, disrupting the shield. The Foe had great machines of power and might. They had the capability to manipulate time to their will. They seeked to stop Earth from gaining such strength through the bond of man and dolphin, by jumping into the past to prevent it. Such an action may cause an alternative future of earth, much like the Dark Vortex world, to cross and join with the known reality of earth, only to the Foe's wishes. A possibility where the Foe ruled. Ecco was caught in going into the past with them. To his luck, which Ecco had been given a great deal through his life so far, Ecco found an ancient source of the lost power of Metamorphosis. Back in Atlantis, yet to be built being 500 years in the past, Ecco was taught of the ancient power whose sources and uses were unknown. No one really knew where to find such fascinating energies, but Ecco used it to morph into a Foe Flyer, destroying the time ship, but not before it could do a terrible task.

The Foe had drained out all of the dolphins' of the past traits. Intelligence, Ambition, Wisdom, Compassion, and Humility were all taken away. The destruction of the Foe ship created an unbalance in the Line of Ecco's Universe. It became unstable, the Line beginning to bend in some places, creating a wave. This wave would disrupt reality, creating random time portals at once. The globes were sucked into one. Desperate to save them, Ecco left his ancestors to go after them, and thus began his next adventure the Asterite had wanted...

In total of Ecco's doing, the Stream of Time remained unstable. As Ecco regained the traits, two at a time, to send them back to the moment in his reality where dolphin and man united, a different possibility would cross the Line of Reality Ecco lived in, presenting the possiblity with the amount of traits recovered. Ecco would then enter this newest reality to continue his search for the rest of the globes.

Three new realities of Earth crossed with the one universe Ecco had always known before he returned to his present time during the Golden Age. Now Earth had a total of five fates attached to the original reality. The original one, which the Ecco we know known, had many possibilities attached to it due to the tampering with time. The Vortex had no power over Time, and so therefore the surviving minions were not a threat in the Dark Future. Wherever the queen larva had ended up, it appeared that she had either become lost herself, or had died in the process. She had inflicted no damage to Ecco's present, and the dolphin never thought about the existence of the dreaded Vortex. In the Man's Nightmare, Man along with Foe were destroyed. In the Dolphin's Nightmare, the power of the sea singers were too great. The Foe, if they ever had the courage to attack, would face an almost guaranteed defeat. In the Foe's Dominion, Ecco had destroyed the queen. Without a leader to guide them, the last few remaining survivors were left to wither and die away. Within Ecco's present, the last remaining Foe left hastily. Earth's shield was back up, and there was no chance of survival if the Foe attacked again. Earth was safe...

Ecco was no longer the Hero Ecco. Ecco was no longer the Great Ecco. In the time he now existed in, he was given the name "Ecco the Immortal," and like before, he was sung about. Ecco never revealed his past existence. No one would believe him anyway.

Or so it has been thought. Now here is when Ecco begins his next adventure. Now a little older, and as wise as ever, the marked hero kept his life within the great city of the new Atlantis. It just happened one day, though, when the bottlenose was swimming in his new favorite place, Aquamarine Bay, that he heard a calling for him...from the deep depths of the ocean. Ecco didn't know what it was, but he went in search for it, and this is where his next adventure begins...

From the Author-

Well, here we have a summary of the Ecco series with my own connection squished in between. So, got everything? Good. Now we may continue on with the story...

Oh, and for those interested, just to let you know. For updates: "I'll get to them when I can." This story as a whole is still under some major construction, and when I'm in the mood, I'll enter the next completed chapter when I believe I'm (and it's) ready. It may take a week, it may take a month or two. I really have no idea, because Life gets in the way of typing, as I'm sure many of you understand. So, just give a short glance this way every once in a while if you wish, and we'll see more of each other later, okay? Okay.