I’m hard at work at aspects of my own life, but I’m still working on the next phase of this site. In the meantime, as I prepare larger endeavors for DARK SEA, this should serve as a demonstration that this work of mine and its dedicated followers is continuing with no end in sight. I thought I’d share some thoughts I’ve been turning over in my head today regarding the Ecco storyline. I’m looking forward to hearing others weigh in on this little mystery. This is likely the first of many analyses of various nuances of the storyline which will become their own section on the site.
The games do not give us very much information about Vortex and its malicious associations with Earth. What we do know comes from bits of information left behind by the Atlanteans. These (not all-inclusive):
- Vortex has lost its ability to produce its own food.
- Vortex needs to harvest life from Earth to sustain its own survival.
- Every 500 years, when there is a clear path between Earth and Vortex, a feeding occurs, tearing life from Earth’s oceans to feed the Vortex Queen and her spawn.
- Vortex is located in the head of the constellation ‘Pegasus’.
Let’s get one technical detail out of the way first. Analyzing the graphical tileset of the original Ecco title, the graphics segments that form all sprites and text in the games, only one number exists and can be displayed; that is the number 5. All numbers mentioned in the game use only this digit, and the letter O substituting as the number 0. The reason is unclear; space limitations do not appear to be involved. This would be the reason for the nice, even number ’500′ years.
The Pegasus Galaxy located in the aforementioned constellation is approximately 2.7 Million light years from Earth. Ecco, after being empowered by the Asterite, is able to swim through ‘The Tube’ to Vortex, and back. His pod follows him back, so, with his pod lacking those powers, they must be travelling at a typically-achievable dolphin swimming speed.
Powers aside, let’s do the math here:
1 light year, the distance light can travel in one year, is 5,878,625,373,183.608 miles. 5.88 trillon miles.
So 2.7M light years = 15,872,288,507,595.74 miles.
The highest figure I have heard of a dolphin’s possible swimming speed is 40 miles per hour. So let’s see how that would figure into the trip time.
The time it would take a dolphin to swim this distance is approximately 45.3 million years.
Obviously, the method of transit involved is nothing conventional. Ecco and his pod, in their return trip to Earth, would have taken nearly as long as the period of time Ecco travelled to reach the prehistoric Earth.
So how would Vortex connect the Tube to Earth to harvest its ocean life, and how would the Queen travel to Earth, in such a short timespan? The only explanation I can think of is an application of the concept of a ‘wormhole’.
If you’re not familiar, the theory is that two distant points in space can be brought closer together by bending space-time. In essence, this bending brings the two points closer together, allowing an instantaneous crossover from one location to the other. A common analogy is a piece of paper with two points drawn on it. The logical fastest route from point A to point B is a straight line. However, imagine folding the paper so that points A and B line up with each other, then punch a hole through the two. The distance isn’t travelled, it’s eliminated.
So theoretically, the Vortex must have been in possession of some sort of wormhole generator to allow them to ‘bring Earth closer’ to use the tube in Earth orbit, or travel across directly. One might wonder, how does a hive-mind species like the Vortex achieve such technology? The Vortex Queen has demonstrated tremendous intelligence– the ability to copy and manipulate DNA to suit her needs, generate life forms at will, create a race of drones to build an expansive biomechanical harvesting machine so powerful it appears to have eradicated all food sources on her planet. With enough time on her hands, doing nothing but eat and think, would it really be beyond her to devise something like this? Who is to say Earth is the first planet Vortex harvested from? And even if it was, Vortex’s war with the Atlanteans could have yielded untold knowledge and technology. The Atlanteans had developed a functional time machine. What other technologies did they have?
But the obvious question remains. In the use of wormhole technology to bridge the gap between Earth and Vortex… why does there need to be a clear path between the two worlds? Is there a targeting process Vortex must complete before the portal could be opened? Does the wormhole generator require so much energy that there is a lengthy period to store the power to operate it? If my thinking is correct, no distance is being traversed– the Earth and Vortex are being put in the same place for just long enough to achieve a short-term goal. Why should it matter what matter exists in the path between two objects between which nothing ever travels?
I’ll leave you with that for now! What do you think?