Echoes of Eternity is a duo of Sonic the Hedgehog fics by SnickerToodles that are themed around Shadow and Maria Robotnik.
The first fic, The Promise, is a take on Maria's childhood and her relationship with Shadow. It begins with Maria as a lonely seven year old living on ARK. She has no one else to talk to on ARK besides her friend Rei, who works as a guard. When her grandfather Gerald reveals his newest experiment to Maria, he tells her that it isn't conscious but Maria doesn't believe him. After Shadow awakens and shows signs of self-awareness, Maria and Shadow become friends behind Gerald's back. Unfortunately, their friendship wasn't meant to last as tragedies soon put a dent in their budding relationship.
The Memory is a sequel to The Promise. In it, Maria is a ghost who is stuck drifting Earth looking for Shadow. After several years she meets a boy named Christian who can see and touch her. Believing he can help her find Shadow, Maria befriends Christian and stays with him.
Aside from the main stories, there are a few short stories related to it:
- Carry On is a short fic set in an Alternate Universe where Maria died as an infant.
- Black & White is an interquel short story set during the five year timeskip.
- Snow Angel is an Alternate Universe What If? story where Maria survives the ARK incident and escapes with Shadow to Earth.
These fics contain examples of:
- Blood-Splattered Innocents: In front of Maria, Rei violently shoots the man who had been sexually abusing Maria. She ends up splattered in blood and traumatized.
- Born as an Adult: Shadow was created with the body and mind of a teenager.
- Cassandra Truth: Rei tries to tell everyone about how the scientist who abused Maria and tried to rape her when Rei stopped him. They don't believe him because he was a well-liked, quiet and charming fellow. Maria is too frightened to say anything either. Rei ends up executed, only for Gerald to afterwards realize he was telling the truth.
- Children Forced to Kill: Maria shoots a man in order to save Shadow.
- Cute Ghost Girl: In the final chapter of The Promise and in The Memory, Maria is a ghost but is physically the same as she was at twelve. She can't physically age, but by the time she meets Christian she no longer considers herself mentally a child.
- Dark Fic: It's much darker and bloodier than any of the canon Sonic material.
- Dead Person Conversation: Just before his execution Gerald talks to Maria's ghost. A soldier is briefly able to see her as well.
- Driven to Suicide: Maria's father killed himself when Maria was an infant. His wife, who also has NIDS, died soon after childbirth. After learning his daughter had the same terminal illness, he lost his will to live and shot himself.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Rei's full name is Rei Furukawa. He is from the United Federation (United States) but is of Sajipean (Japanese) heritage. His parents were really into their Sajipean heritage and thus they gave him a Sajipean name. Rei was bullied as a child because his mother gave him bentos for lunch.
- Harmful to Minors:
- A scientist had sexually abused Maria from age five to age seven.
- Seven year old Maria is Forced to Watch Shadow kill Rei. It's so traumatic that she faints afterwards.
- Maria sees several people on ARK killed by G.U.N soldiers.
- Abraham (the future G.U.N. commander) watched his mother be killed at age six.
- Heroic BSoD: Maria shuts down after seeing a person killed in front of her for the first time.
- Implausible Hair Color: Abraham had silver hair even as a child.
- Infant Immortality: Discussed. Maria thought the soldiers wouldn't hurt her because of age. She was very wrong.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Between Maria (a child) and Rei (an adult). There are no other kids on ARK at the start of The Promise, except for Abraham who was only an infant.
- I See Dead People: Christian can see Maria, and so can his dog, but few others can.
- Last-Name Basis: It's mentioned that Abraham's mother tried to get Maria to call her "Lucy", but Maria always used "Mrs. Tower".
- Living Emotional Crutch: In The Promise Maria is the only person Shadow has a connection to. He feels an innate desire to protect her.
- Not-So-Imaginary Friend: In The Memory, a ghostly Maria meets a boy named Christian who can see her. His mother, who can't see her, believes that she's just an imaginary friend. It was amusing at first but then years passed by and nothing changed. Christian's parents began sending him to therapy and he was given medication that caused him to stop seeing Maria. Maria still stayed with him as the years went by. At age 20, Christian stops taking his meds and is able to see Maria again.
- Older Than They Look: Maria at age twelve is developmentally stunted and doesn't look like a twelve year old. She's only 4'3, which is a good foot shorter than she should be.
- Parental Abandonment: Maria's parents died when she was a baby, her mother of NIDS and her father of suicide.
- Politically Correct History: Averted. Rei mentions that as a child he was bullied for being of Sajipean (Japanese) descendance.
- Public Execution:
- Rei was supposed to be sent to Earth to be given justice but instead they had Shadow execute him. This was done in front of Maria so that Maria would learn to fear Shadow. The excuse given to his family was that he tried to escape and accidentally ended in the Biolizard chamber.
- Gerald is publicly executed.
- Reality Ensues:
- Maria doesn't have much adult supervision because her grandfather is busy. ARK is huge and not everyone on it has the best of intentions. This leaves Maria an easy target for predators. When a man begins sexually abusing Maria, she's too scared to tell anyone. Even after the truth comes out no one initially believes it because the man was respected amongst the others and Maria is still too scared to confirm the allegations.
- Maria's illness leaves her palid and developmentally stunted.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Shadow goes on a murder spree after Maria is shot. He only lets one soldier survive because he's reminded of words Maria had told him.
- The '60s: Maria's mentioned to have died in 1962, meaning that most of The Promise takes place in the 1960s (with the early chapters being set in the 1950s).
- Teen Genius: Theo Bright is a genius even amongst the other scientists. It's mentioned that he began college at fourteen and he was only eighteen when he was recruited to live on ARK.
- They Call Me Mister Tibbs: Theo calls Penny by her first name. She doesn't like it and wants him to use "Dr. Pahlke".
- Think Happy Thoughts: Used at the start of chapter 3 of The Promise. Maria avoids thinking about what's happening by staring at the light of her vital monitors and pretending they're fireflies on Earth.
- Timeskip: Chapter 4 of The Promise skips five years into the future.
- Tragic AIDS Story: Similar to in canon, Maria is still this in all but name. Maria was born with an autoimmune disease called NIDS. She was given it by her dying mother. Unlikely to survive long on Earth, Gerald raises Maria on ARK to try and find a cure for her, however Maria still gets weaker with each year. Even if she hadn't been killed it would have been unlikely she would have survived much longer. NIDS in this fic is even more similar to AIDS than in canon, as it can only be transmitted either through blood or through sexual contact.
- Unfinished Business: Even after she's killed Maria won't let herself pass on to the other side until she finds Shadow.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Even as a seven year old Maria was inquisitive for her age.
- Would Not Hurt A Child: The soldiers don't want to kill Maria, however someone has to follow the orders. Thus they all shoot her.