The Echidnas were one of the most technologically advanced races on Mobius. Historically, the Echidnas established themselves as a civilized and advanced society centuries before the other species on the planet after the Xorda attack, which occurred over 12,000 years ago. The Echidnas were formally located in two primary locations: the city of Echidnaopolis on Angel Island, and the fabled city of Albion on the planet's surface, located somewhere near the Kingdom of Mercia. Recently, after mass genocide by the Dingo Regime under Kage Von Stryker's rule, and the complete destruction of Albion by the Eggman Empire, only ten percent of the Echidnas survived. The vast majority subsequently disappeared from Mobius due to a vendetta pursued by the last Mobian Tasmanian Devil, Thrash the Devil, leaving only a handful in other locations.
After the Xorda attack on Earth over 12,000 years ago-which resulted in the devolution of humans and the evolution of the rest of the animal kingdom, which became Mobians-the Echidnas evolved much faster than their other Mobian counterparts, able to innovate and learn at a far superior level. Their advances included studies of the Chaos Force, which led to the rise of two legendary figures: the benevolent Aurora and her former husband, the villainous Enerjak. Fearing the other Mobians and believing them to be savage primitives, the Echidnas established an island civilization called Albion, which served as a hidden sanctuary for their race. (StH: #71, #125, CSE)
Approximately 9,000 years ago, after the Coming of the Chaos Emeralds (which led to the extinction of the Mobosaurs), the Echidnas were already in the medieval era. The Albion Knights of Aurora found themselves defending the planet against the wizard caste known as the Order of Ixis, which was bent on world domination by the will of their founder, Mammoth Mogul. Despite the Order's incredible powers and Mutate war beasts, the Albion Knights successfully defeated Mogul during the Forgotten War with their own resources, effectively wiping out all of the Order of Ixis but him and three members, the latter merged to form the individual wizard Ixis Naugus. The war was also complicated by the emergence of the second Enerjak. (StH: #66, #163, SSSM: #1, CSE)
It was also during this Forgotten War that Albion sent their most brilliant scientific minds to form a colony on the remote continent of Downunda to conduct experiments to aid in the fight against the Order. Rather than creating miracles, the scientists used the native Tasmanian Devil population as their test subjects, mutating most of the Mobians into savage Mobinis called Tasmanian devil dogs. Although the scientists were arrested and imprisoned for their crimes, the Tasmanian Devil species would never recover. (SSSM: #2)
"Driven by their need to strive for higher levels of achievement", as Councillor Gala-Na put it, a group of Echidnas left Albion in search of adventure and a new land to call their own, consisting of the warrior caste called the Knuckles Tribe, a group of advanced scientists called the Nocturnus Clan, and various intellectuals. When the group arrived in the Mysterious Cat Country, the Knuckles tribe's leader, Pachacamac, decided to wage war against the natives and defend the land which he now called his own along with their technologically advanced Nocturnus Clan rivals, led by Imperator Ix. The scholars wanted no part in the war however, and left the group to settle elsewhere. As the clans turned on one another and a three-way war waged on, the Knuckles Tribe stumbled across the Mystic Ruins, and discovered the Chao and the Black Emerald. When the war with the Felidae began to go badly, Pachacamac decided to neglect the native Chao's desires to remain neutral, and use the power of the seven Super Emeralds also found at the ruins for himself to defeat his enemies. Unbeknownst to him, the creature known as Chaos was the defender of the Emeralds, and wiped out the Knuckles Tribe in an act of revenge for their utter disregard for the Chao. (StH: #82, KtE: #12; SSSM: #2)
The Nocturnus Clan fared hardly any better, mysteriously disappearing off the face of the planet to the Twilight Cage in the Argus Event, where they managed to preserve themselves with their advanced technology. Once in the Twilight Cage, the Nocturnus found themselves surrounded by four bloodthirsty alien races. They immediately began launching raids against their new opponents, quickly earning themselves the nickname "The Marauders", and in time they had conquered the entire Cage itself and established an empire. With the Zone under his control, Ix began researching the power of the Twilight Cage himself in preparation for an eventual escape. (SSSM: #2; CSE)
The scientists and scholars, having left the Mysterious Cat Country, instead went to the continent of Downunda, where they forged the city of Echidnaopolis. Years later, when a group of scientists discovered a white comet heading on a direct course with their city, the Echidnas decided to use the power of 12 Chaos Emeralds to lift Echidnaopolis into the sky, avoiding destruction. While the majority agreed with this plan, a group of Echidnas, led by the radical known as Arakkis, decided to remain on the planet's surface. While Arrakis and his followers left the city and decided to search for a new home, the others proceeded with their plan, lifting Echidnaopolis into the sky, creating the Floating Island (later to be renamed Angel Island). (KtE: #10)
Arrakis and his group, known as the Lost Tribe (and later the Forgotten Tribe), attempted to find a new home for centuries, each time before forced to move on due to the natives forcing them out. After their technology broke down, the Lost Tribe began their quest to locate their original homeland of Albion. When Dr. Ivo Robotnik came to power, a large portion of the Lost Tribe was captured and roboticized, though some managed to escape. The tribe finally managed to reunite with their brethren in Albion, under the leadership of Knuckles, Athair and Yanar. (KtE: #11, #12)
Role Model and Development
In the time their own society reached it's pinnacle, the other Mobians learned from the Echidnas on how to structure themselves into societies. One Mobian, Alexander, decided to pool the various groups resources and knowledge together to form a single society. While the Overlanders proved too violent in nature to be included, and the Echidnas of the Lost Tribe chose to exclude themselves from joining the group, the other Mobians pulled together and created Mobotropolis—the first multicultural city on the planet. By this time however, the Echidnas in Albion had already ventured out into space; the astronaut Dave exploring the planet Saturn and its moon Europa on the ship Monolith. (StH: #71, KtE: #12, #30)
Unrest on Angel Island
- See also: Angel Island Civil War
Some 400 years ago, the Echidnas on Angel Island found themselves caught up in their over civil war. After Dimitri attempted to use his creation, the Chaos Syphon, to drain the power of the Chaos Emeralds and slowly lower the island back to its former site on Mobius, he became empowered by the Emeralds, becoming the functionally omnipotent being known as Enerjak. After his defeat, the Echidnas decided to ban all excess technology, as they felt it was technology that nearly destroyed their civilization. Dimitri's son Menniker went on to form the Dark Legion to follow in his father's footsteps and not only restore technology to their society, but return the Floating Island back to Mobius. Dimitri's brother Edmund was designated the first Guardian, and was responsible for protecting the Floating Island from harm, particularly against the Dark Legion. Edmund was killed during his duties, but his son Steppenwolf followed in his footsteps, exiling the Dark Legion to the Twilight Zone using his chaos-based powers. The Legion was shunned by the Nocturnus Clan in the Zone and left to fare for themselves, but they were supplemented by stolen Nocturnus technology which they would later use to escape. (KtE: #1, #2, #3; CSE)
Since then, Edmund's descendants became the Guardians of the Floating Island, with each new generation acting as the current protector and Guardian during his or her lifetime. In addition to the Dark Legion, which managed to breach the dimensional barrier numerous times and attack Echidnaopolis, the Guardians had to contend with the other native species on the Floating Island, the Dingoes. A militaristic and brutal race, the Dingoes nearly wiped out Echidnaopolis via nuclear strike, but were stopped by the current Guardian at the time, Hawking. To prevent all life on the island from dying to the radiation, he transported Echidnaopolis to its own pocket zone, and the Dingoes to another. He then began the tedious task of restoring the island to its former state. (KtE: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5)
Albion's Isolationism and Destruction
For thousands of years, Albion has remained neutral in the conflicts that affected the planet Mobius. Although they attempted to convince the Echidnas on Angel Island to return to Albion, they never participated in any events pertaining to their politics or society. Their neutrality changed when Albion's primary leader, Councillor Gala-Na, discovered that Knuckles was evolving at a rapid rate into a living Chaos Emerald. She decided this much power in one individual would pose a threat to the entire planet, leaving her no choice but to act. She had the weasel bounty hunters Nack and Nic capture Knuckles, then attempted to drain his power using their own version of the Chaos Syphon. The plan failed, resulting in Knuckles becoming the super being Chaos Knuckles, whom teleported away before he could be recaptured. (StH: #89, #90, #91, #93, #94)
During their efforts to drain Knuckles of his power, the Albion scientist Dr. Finitevus received a large amount of Chaos powers during his use of the Chaos Siphon Suit. This transformed the scientist into an powerful, yet corrupt and evil being. When his powers became too much, the Albion Council voted to euthanize him. Using his Warp Rings, he managed to escape captivity and death. In an act of revenge, Finitevus provided Albion's secret location to Dr. Eggman, who proceeded to obliterating the millennia-old city. A recording by Councillor Gala-Na describing the events just prior to her capture was discovered over one year later. (StH: #94, #182)
Dingo Takeover and Genocide
After Sonic was transported to the other side of the universe when he disarmed the Xorda weapon - the Quantum Dial, Dr. Eggman went on to forge the Eggman Empire and declared war on the Kingdom of Acorn and the Republic of Station Square. In addition to this, he made an alliance with the Dingoes, providing them with the necessary resources to take over Angel Island and act as his enforcers. The majority of Echidnas on Angel Island were then imprisoned in labour and concentration camps, while a select few remain free. The Dark Legion was originally the free Echidnas' main defenders against the oppressive Dingoes, but the group splintered into two factions, resulting them to be caught up in their own civil war. Following this, the free Echidnas were only defended by Locke, the Destructix and Dr. Finitevus, their primitive village of Echidnaopolis (renamed after their once-great city) constantly under attack. (StH: #125, #130, #139, #140, #141, #165, #171)
Population Displacement, Relocation, Banishment and the Revenge of the Tasmanian Devils
After Dr. Finitevus managed to capture Knuckles and explain to him the destruction of Albion and the reduction of the Echidnas' population to 10% of its former size, he placed a hex on Knuckles to control him and convinced him to turn into the Chaos-demigod Enerjak. With his unlimited powers, Enerjak went on to transport the surviving Echidnas on Angel Island to the ruins of Albion. He then proceeded to obliterate the Dingo Regime and destroy a significant portion of New Megopolis, capital city of the Eggman Empire. Those Echidnas who were sent to Albion were left to rebuild, under the leadership of Remington. (StH: #181, #182, #186)
A handful of Echidnas, members of the former Dark Legion followed their leader Lien-Da to New Megopolis to join the Eggman Empire. After the alliance was made, Lien-Da discovered that Dr. Eggman had already promised Dimitri Grandmaster status over the rechristened "Dark Egg Legion". Eventually, she betrayed him and took over leadership of the Legion herself, and the Legion became the crew of the Death Egg Mark 2. After serving in this capacity for some time, the Legion was dropped off in Albion, where they attempted to conquer their fellow Echidnas and integrate them into their numbers. Many the Echidnas in Albion at the time-including surviving members of the Lost Tribe as well as the Angel Island natives-were then knocked out by a powerful electrical surge, and were subsequently transported along to another zone by the revengeful Thrash the Devil (the last of the Mobian Tasmanian Devils) using a Warp Ring. Thrash also tricked the handful who remained conscious into using the ring as a means of escape. This left only a handful of Echidnas on Mobius itself, most notably Knuckles, Dimitri, and Dr. Finitevus. Julie-Su and Saffron of the Chaotix were also banished, while Mari-An and her son Jon in Mercia went into hiding and had not been contacted in some time. (StH: #184, #206, #224 #243, #244; SU: 46)
Soon after these events, Dr. Eggman unleashed the second Genesis Wave and subsequent Super Genesis Wave on Mobius, which caused the entire Prime Zone and Multiverse to be completely, and irriversibly altered. In the newly created timeline, the Echidna race had been near-extinct for quite some time, with Knuckles being the last known member of his race still alive. (StH: #247, #251, #252)
Almost all Echidna females have two letter suffixes after their names, which is handed from mother to daughter like a surname, with the only exceptions being females of the Knuckles Clan and Nocturnus Clan. (SSS: #11; StH: #191)
An Echidna sixth sense called the the Soultouch allows Echidnas to identify their soul mates. However, the Soultouch apparently isn't perfect, as Knuckles' parents Locke and Lara-Le recognized each other through it, but later divorced with the latter remarrying. The only other couples confirmed to have had the Soultouch are Knuckles' great-grandfather Athair and his wife Crystal-La, though it can be presumed that all other Echidna couples have also felt it. (KtE: #27)
The descendants and relatives of Edmund are born into the noble role of Guardian. Educated from very early ages, they are deprived of a normal childhood and forced to learn how to act as the island's defender from internal and external threats. (KtE: #16)
Echidna religion is centered around the worship of Aurora (and to a lesser extent, the Ancient Walkers). Echidnaopolis was home to numerous temples and shrines known as Auroriums which acted as places of worship. The tomes were also considered to be very important spiritual and historical texts. Even after the genocide of the Echidnas Aurora continues to be revered as a goddess by the dwindled Echidna population. Another part of Echidna religion were the legend of the Avatar. (StH: #139, KtE: #10, #16)
Additionally numerous mentions of a deity named Hades have been made (often as a curse). (Citation needed)
The society in Echidnaopolis existed as a theocracy, having a Mitre (a spiritual leader) holding the most power. Below him is the High Council and its elected members. The Dark Legion, by contrast, is a technocratic society, whose use of technology is on par with Robotnik's. Their leaders (called "Grandmasters") are always descendants of Dimitri, and are also those who have a thorough knowledge of technology. (StH: #108)
Stance on Technology
Roughly 400 years ago the Echidnaopolis Echidnas adopted a radically anti-technology stance following the brief takeover of Dimitri. Although the scientist was defeated after only a brief period of rule, he had still managed to quickly enslave the population of Echidnaopolis by using his god-like powers to reprogram the city's Mechanauts to act as his enforcers. It was also through the use of his own scientific invention, the Chaos Syphon, that Dimitri had acquired his incredible powers. Thus in the aftermath of Dimitri's defeat, the Echidnas felt their trust in science and technology had nearly led to a dangerous level of arrogance that nearly enabled their civilization's demise. Hoping to prevent such an event from happening again, many felt their people should renounce their ties to technology. Shortly thereafter a referendum was held by the Citizen Council on whether to ban excess technology or not. The majority ended up voting in favor of the ban, and subsequently technology that was deemed excessive was confiscated and stored in the Grand Conservatory. This outraged many citizens, such as Mr. Arrunda, who did not agree with the ban. It also led those who cherished technology to join the secretive organization known as the Dark Legion. (StH: #35, #36, KtE: #1)
- In StH #36 Knuckles states the Echidnas tore down their city and got rid of all their technology. Later stories throughout the Knuckles series show that not all technology was disposed of. It is likely that Knuckles was either not told the story exactly how events happened, or forgot the specific details due to being told the story at a young age.
Despite the banning of excess technology, the buildings of Echidnaopolis remained largely intact. Following the brief civil war that ensued when the technocratic Dark Legion attempted to take over, the use of technology was considered even more taboo. This position somewhat changed during Hawking's tenure as Guardian nearly 200 years later. Hawking was forced to use long-abandoned technology from the Grand Conservatory to stave off a nuclear attack from the Dingoes. Although he managed to destroy the nuclear missiles, the radioactive fallout from them forced Hawking to further utilize technology to transport the Echidnas and the dingoes to separate pocket zones. Hawking was subsequently revered by the Echinda population for saving everyone's lives, with a monument of him erected for remembrance of his deeds. (KtE: #2, #3, #4, #5)
While in the pocket zone the Echidnas were forced to adopt a mixed position towards technology. City buildings that were transported to the zone remained used, but hover cars were replaced by Streaking Pashas. Hydroponic gardens were also created, as the vast tracks of farmland previously utilized were not available within the pocket zone. The lack of technology left the Echidnas largely unprepared for an assault by the latest Dark Legion Grandmaster, Moritori Rex. As pitch-forked armed citizens fought well-equipped legionnaires, the attack was eventually thwarted when Moritori Rex and the Guardian-on-duty, Tobor, were transported away from the battlefield and both seriously wounded (all of this was part of Moritori's plan to infiltrate the ranks of the Guardians). (KtE: #17, #18)
Over the next 200 years technology was increasingly utilized by the Echidnaopolis Echidnas, in part to stave off periodic attacks by the Dark Legion. By the time the city was restored to Mobius Prime from its pocket zone in 3235 it was once again a city flourishing with skyscrapers and hover cars. Sabre, a member of the Brotherhood, justified his people's arguably excessive use of technology by saying it was only to allow an "even playing field" with the Dark Legion, adding that neither Edmund nor his contemporaries ever intended to ban technology forever. Even with their high level of technological use, hostility and resentment remained between the citizens of Echidnaopolis and members of the Dark Legion, as the latter had tried to conquer the city on so many occasions and force their ideology on everyone else. (KtE: #4, #23)
- Albion High Council (wiped out)
- Albion Knights of Aurora (retired)
- Albion Security Team (dismantled)
- Brotherhood of Guardians (imprisoned in the Twilight Cage)
- Dark Legion (reorganized into New Megaopolis/Albion Dark Egg Legion; imprisoned)
- Dark Presence (Mobius: X Years Later reality, status unknown)
- Echidna Security Team (dismantled; rebuilt in Albion, imprisoned)
- High Council of Echidnaopolis (dismantled)
- Knuckles Clan (wiped out)
- Lost Tribe of Echidnas (integrated into Albion; most wiped out, imprisoned)
- Nocturnus Clan (imprisoned in the Twilight Cage)
- While the comics previously featured the most extensive cast of Echidna characters, they were not the first Sonic media to introduce additional Echidnas. The book Sonic the Hedgehog in the Fourth Dimension introduced Eric the Echidna, whose debut took place a year before even Knuckles was introduced in the games, while the French Sonic Adventures comic series introduced Princess Alucion and another civilization of Echidnas.
- In the videogame franchise of Sonic the Hedgehog, Knuckles was long depicted as the last Echidna left-with the exception of Tikal, who was introduced in Sonic Adventure-while in the comics there were thousands of them throughout Mobius. As of issue #181, roughly "90%" of the Echidnas have been wiped out, and all of the surviving Echidnas have been transported from Angel Island to Albion, making the similarities between the games and the Archieverse series much closer. Although later in the video games, it is revealed that another clan of Echidnas known as the Nocturnus survived the wrath of Chaos, and had been living in the Twilight Cage for roughly 4,000 years after being imprisoned in there by a god-like entity known as Argus. A similar recounting of game events was told in the timeline feature of Sonic Super Special Magazine Issue 2, though Argus and Imperator Ix were not mentioned until the release of the Enycyclopedia.
- The way that most of the Echidnas died is reminiscent to the way that German Nazis treated Jews during World War II, each were put in labor or concentration camps and a large number of them died.
- As a result of the events of the Endangered Species story arc, the majority of the surviving Echidnas in the old continuity were either part of the group that was banished from Albion or members of the Nocturnus Tribe. Exceptions to this are as follows:
- Knuckles-deliberately left on Mobius by Thrash as a form of justice: his intent was to doom Knuckles as the last Echidna just as Thrash believes himself doomed to be the last Tasmanian Devil.
- Dr. Finitevus-hunted by Thrash but not found.
- Dimitri-presumably left in Haven II by Knuckles.
- Mari-An and Jon O'Hedge-disappeared in the vicinity of Never Lake with husband and father, Robert O'Hedge.
- Athair and Aurora-were Neo Walkers residing in the Virtual Zone.
- Brotherhood of Guardians and Moritori Rex-imprisoned in Twilight Cage. The editor's note for StH #244 suggested that the Albion Echidnas might be with the Brotherhood, but this wasn't officially confirmed in the story arc or in subsequent issues before the reboot.
- Tikal-was inhabiting an unknown Zone with Chaos.
Although individuals and some groups of Echidnas varied in wardrobe and other features, various characteristics are present throughout many members of the race. All Echidnas are derived to some degree from Knuckles' design, with obvious variations based on age and gender. All Echidnas sport spines, which typically hang downward off the head in large groupings. Some echidnas sport quill that are styled like hair. Echidnas have also been shown with hair atop these spines, as well as facial hair among males.
Echidnas come with a variety of different fur colors, the most common being shades of red, brown, purple, pink, and similar colors. Blue Echidnas have also been seen, while recolorings in the Knuckles Archives feature yellow-furred Echidnas as well. No natural instance of black, white, or green fur have been seen (Spectre's fur often appears black but may be red). Dr. Finitevus and Pir'Oth Ix both have white fur, but Finitevus' is known to be the result of an unnatural transformation. It is unknown whether Ix is albino or similarly gained his through a transformation. The only instance of a green Echidna was Chaos Knuckles, who gained this pigmentation due to a Super transformation and later reverted to his normal red.