Disclaimer: Ecco and
his world belong to Appaloosa Interactive.
Author's notes: This story takes place in the Genesis/Mega Drive games' storyline. It was written to cover up what I think was a plot hole.
It was a normal day in the life of Ecco's pod. No Hungry Ones had bothered them for several days, and so they were happy, hunting and playing contentedly. The pod had fallen into a game of 'high in the sky', seeing who was the best jumper. When Ecco's turn came, the pod's songs saw a stranger arrive nearby, but they could not greet whoever it was before a very powerful storm hit them with swirling terror and confusion. The entire pod was dragged shrieking into the waterspout, along with their fish and some of the neighboring pods – all life was taken, except for one little dolphin. Ecco had escaped the terrors of the Storm, but he was alone...
When the Singers stopped spinning and found themselves in calmer waters, they were still confused and afraid. All around them were strange rock walls rising high out of the water. The rocks were unnaturally angular, filled with perfectly circular pits, and confusing to Songs of Sight. The Singers chattered nervously amongst themselves until someone called over their voices.
"Be calm!" It was a little grey dolphin. "Be calm! I know where we are!"
Several Singers made questioning noises, and everyone looked at the little grey. A member of his pod asked, "Where are we, then, Ecco?"
"We are in the waters of the Unseen Enemy, the Vortexkind."
"Vortexkind? Unseen enemy?" asked the single orca.
"How you know?" asked a black and white porpoise.
"If you will listen, I will tell you," Ecco answered, calmly.
"Gather! Gather!" Alone and disoriented, Ecco called for his family. "Where are you? Gather!"
He searched his home bay with his song three times over before he could accept that no one would answer because no one was there. Frightened, confused, and lonely, Ecco left his home bay. He would find his pod. He had to.
That night, Earth's moon was hidden.
Many hours had passed since the Earth creatures' arrival on planet Vortex. Ecco was just finishing his story.
"...and so, you see, we are now trapped by the Vortex. But I will get us out, and I will stop the Vortex harvests, thanks to of the powers the Asterite gave me. I am stronger and faster than I ever was, my Battle Song is stronger than any Vortex body, and I can hold my breath for a very long time, too. Observe that I have not surfaced once during the telling of my story."
The other Singers made impressed noises. "He's right!"
"The Asterite is –"
The black and white porpoise was cut off by a noise at one end of the Singers' prison. The pod turned to face whatever it was, making nervous sounds as Ecco swam between them and the source of the sound. Fish were swimming through one of the circular holes, or so it appeared; Ecco swam closer and felt something drag on him as he got close to the opening. He whipped around and swam back to the other Singers.
"It is a current. We should avoid openings like that. They probably lead to being eaten."
The other Singers made noises of assent, and Ecco swam up to the edge of the strange rocks. He looked at their top from the surface – they stretched up very high, but Ecco had tested his powers. He knew he could jump higher than that. Ecco made a pleased noise, dove, leaped – and came back down within the flat rocks with a startled sound.
"What is wrong?" asked a yellow-striped dolphin. Ecco didn't answer, swimming away from the edge of the rocks a little, diving and leaping again. Again, he landed back in the prison. He nodded his head and snapped at the rocks, angry, frustrated, and for the first time since arriving on Vortex, seriously afraid.
"What is wrong?" asked a member of Ecco's pod.
"The – my powers! I can jump higher than that!" Ecco tried again. And again. And again. The other Singers watched him try and fail numerous times, then watched him ram the strange rocks, watched him sing a powerful Battle Song at them, watched all his efforts fail. They watched Ecco grow afraid, and his fear became their fear.
If he could not get out, when he was empowered by the Asterite, who could?
Ecco had found that other pods, indeed all life in the ocean, had been affected by the Storm. Ecco had helped who he could, travelling steadily northward to see the Big Blue on the advice of an old matriarch orca. She had said that perhaps the Big Blue would be able to help him.
The orca had been wrong. Ecco hoped the Big Blue would be right, that the strange creature called the Asterite would be able to help him. Travelling south now, Ecco was glad to be swimming in warmer waters again, and the better temperature and more familiar food made him happy, gave him more hope that he would find his pod after all.
A few nights before he reached the Asterite, the Earth's moon was round and bright.
The mismatched pod of Singers was not sure how long they had been on Vortex. They knew it had been some days, as most of them had half-slept quite a few times. Ecco had not needed to. Despite the fact that his powers from the Asterite had failed to get them out of the strange rocks, Ecco was still faster and stronger than any of his fellows, and had become their leader and protector.
They had seen more fish and other non-Singers dragged into the strange openings in the rocks. There was still plenty for them to feed on, and Ecco had defended them from the Hungry Ones that had been brought up to Vortex along with everything else, but they were all still afraid, even Ecco. They knew, from what Ecco had learned from the Glyphs and the Asterite, that the Vortex were hungrier than any Hungry Ones, that sooner or later they would probably come to the strange rocks if the currents did not take the Singers to them. But they had not come yet.
The Big Blue had been right; the Asterite could help him, provided Ecco helped it first. Swimming through Atlantis, Ecco had learned much – he now knew what no other Singer did, understood the terrible threat to their planet, knew that it would not just be his own pod and the Asterite he would be helping.
By the time Ecco reached the time machine in the City of Forever, the Earth's moon was again hidden.
The strange pod was huddled near one end of the strange rocks, youngsters and smaller Singers in the middle of the pod, older and bigger Singers surrounding them. A little way ahead of the huddled Singers, Ecco was making threatening sounds and snapping his jaws.
The Vortex had come for them. At first, it had only been a few drones, coming in through a temporary opening in the rocks; the pod had huddled then, and Ecco had quickly defeated the drones. Now they were coming in steadily greater numbers, and though there were fairly large gaps between the waves, eventually not even Ecco would be able to hold them off.
Ecco had spent several days in the far past, but he arrived in his present a few hours after he had used the Atlantean time machine. At first disoriented by the change in pressure and light, Ecco took a breath, then dove with the Asterite's missing globe. A short time later, the Asterite was complete for the first time in fifty-five million years, and it whirled around itself much faster than usual when its missing globe moved into place.
During a pause in the Vortex attacks, Ecco was swimming back and forth, every motion agitated. When he abruptly halted with a little questioning noise, the other Singers were worried.
"Ecco?" asked the orca.
"Something wrong with leader?" asked one of the porpoises.
Ecco did not answer. He turned, looking up at the edge of the strange rocks above where the Vortex drones had been coming from.
"What's wrong? Are you okay?" asked one of Ecco's podmates.
Ecco turned again, darting for the pod. He circled back right in front of the orca, surprising him and the others, then reached the far wall and jumped. The Singers watched him go higher, higher, and higher until he cleared the wall. They dimly heard him land on the other side, heard him call back at them, though his voice was muffled.
"Something good has happened! I'm not sure what, but my powers are back in their full strength. Wait here, my friends – I will return when I have defeated our Unseen Enemy!" He swam away, able to hear an excited cheer start up amongst the trapped Singers before their voices were drowned out by the rock walls.
Ecco felt the Asterite's 'voice', its strange song of thought. -Now I am whole again with all my power. Thank you, Ecco! Now I will help you; I will give you new powers...-
Ecco felt the Asterite's energies focus in on him, felt a strange tingling sensation swim backward and forward through his body. When the tingling went away, Ecco swam a few circles around the Asterite. "What happened? What powers have you granted me?"
-You are now the strongest and fastest animal in Earth's seas, with the deadliest Battle Song of any Singer. Now, you must use the Atlantean time machine to swim back to the hour of the Storm... You will be taken with your pod... You will see the Unseen Enemy.-
"But how can I change when the time machine sends me to?"
-Use this song to return to your home bay just before the Storm.-
Ecco heard a song that seemed to be coming from everywhere and nowhere at once. The Asterite had something to do with it, but he had no idea how it was making the noise. He decided he would have to ask later and imitated the song.
The Asterite was pleased. -With your new powers, perhaps you will save your pod.-
"I know I
will." Ecco felt that, if the Asterite had been a Singer,
it would have made a smile-sound. -Then I will see you again, young
Singer. Good luck!-
Ecco felt that, if the Asterite had been a Singer, it would have made a smile-sound. -Then I will see you again, young Singer. Good luck!-
"Thank you, great Asterite. And thank you for all of your help." With that, Ecco swam out of the Asterite's cave and headed west, towards Atlantis.
It was not too long before Ecco reached the City of Forever in Atlantis' heart, swimming faster than he ever imagined he or any other Singer could. He soon reached the time machine, and, using the song the Asterite had taught him, he activated it and was sent whirling through the Stream of Time.
When he exited the Stream of Time again, Ecco saw his pod playing. A couple of his podmates made inquisitive noises and looked at him, but then his past self had jumped and the Storm had begun. Ecco knew he could outswim the Storm with his powers from the Asterite, but he simply let it carry him up into it with his pod, let it drag him through outer space to planet Vortex.
When the Singers stopped spinning and found themselves in calmer waters, they were still confused and afraid. They chattered nervously amongst themselves until Ecco called over their voices...