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Echidna (pronounced “eh-kid-nah”),[3] formerly known as Noelle Meinhardt, is a powerful being described as a potential Endbringer.[4] She is amazingly destructive, powerful, and hard to stop. With her ability to create clones and extraordinary durability, she qualifies as a Class-S threat, a category that includes the likes of the Endbringers.

Personality[]

Echidna's emotional state is incredibly volatile, heavily influenced by her power and mental issues. She has an adversarial relationship with her body, with her body constantly seeking highly destructive and aggressive combat. While Echidna disliked the prospect of killing, her body had a mind of its own, trying to subvert her by twisting her perception of other people and instilling a killer instinct within her that was difficult to suppress.[5][6] When she gave in to her "other half," she would experience visions, usually based on her memories, while her body took over and rampaged of its own accord until the vision ended. Echidna frequently worried that her body would completely subsume her, leaving her as a passenger in her own body.[7] Later, however, she became more in sync with her body, sympathizing with its anger and viewing the world in a more detached manner.[8]

She has an intense hatred of the Undersiders for killing Coil, who she perceived as being her only hope of becoming normal again and going home to Earth Aleph. This hatred was exacerbated by her body's killer instinct, which led to Echidna developing homicidal feelings toward the Undersiders.[9] Echidna's most notable "human connection" is with Trickster. He is the Traveler most able to control her, and is the main reason the Travelers have not abandoned Echidna.

Appearance[]

Echidna's body changes with the amount and type of tissue that she consumes. From her pelvis up, Echidna appears exactly as she originally had as Noelle. Underneath is a mass of flesh from which animal heads, limbs and other assorted body parts protrude. The tissues of her lower half are split between smooth dark green, brown and gray flesh and angry, wrinkled and blistered red flesh.[10]

Prior to her internment in Coil's base, the limbs of her lower half included forelegs ending in a cross between claw and hoof, a set of tentacles (with assorted exoskeletons) that were able to support her weight, and a gigantic arm and hand with another limb sprouting from the palm. Lower-body heads included a horse-sized half-bovine and half-canine head and a half-sprouted head. These features would further develop and change before the combined hero and villain forces fought her.[10] Echidna could shift her body like fluid, pushing her flesh and organs through rubble and dissolving her own bones when necessary.[11]

Abilities and Powers[]

Echidna consumes tissue and 'evolves' body parts, varying from wolf-like heads to legs. When she comes into contact with a lifeform, she will vomit a clone of it that is stronger and more violent than the original. If she maintains contact with the original, she can produce clones of them at will. If she clones a parahuman, the clone will possess either a stronger or modified version of the original's powers.[12]

Echidna's clones are usually physically tougher than the original, resistant to pain and injury. They vary based on how long she spent creating them - clones that are produced too rapidly are fragile, half-formed and missing body parts, while clones that are held inside too long are heavily mutated to the point of having difficulty moving.[13] Even the most human-looking clones are visibly different from the original.

Echidna can also create hostile versions of rats, insects, spiders, and other organisms that she absorbs, and can mutate fungi and bacteria into a form that temporarily debilitates anyone she captures.[14] Anyone Echidna touches is absorbed and, if a parahuman, has their powers suppressed.[15] Anyone ingested also experiences vivid hallucinations based on the worst moments of their lives.

Tattletale considers Echidna to be as physically strong as Leviathan, though not as durable.[16] She is able to move quite fast despite her size, with powerful legs that carry her body. While seemingly indestructible due to her quick regeneration, she can be damaged and killed. Echidna has a core in her lower body, and anything cut away from this core will deteriorate and die. Anything left attached to the core will rapidly regenerate. If Echidna's core is destroyed, the rest of her is destroyed as well.[17]

Echidna has a thinker ability that interprets parahumans through "smell." She can smell across the city, meaning it can serve as a powerful tracking aid, and can help to identify the powers parahumans have to facilitate planning the creation of clones. She can rank parahumans by "intensity" of smell and identify untriggered parahumans. Through this, she can also tell which parahumans are more in sync with their shards.[18]

It is likely that Echidna's power was affected by the fact that Echidna was administered only half of a dose of a Cauldron vial; her unstable temperament and monstrous lower body were probably not in the intended spectrum of effects. Oliver, who drank the other half of the dose, may have received the portion of the power intended to moderate and control these effects.

History[]

Background[]

Echidna is the codename of Noelle Meinhardt, a member of the nomadic villain group known as the Travelers, who were dimensionally displaced from Earth Aleph after being transported into Earth Bet during the Simurgh's attack on Madison.

Noelle and the rest of her group found and drank several Cauldron vials that they found in a briefcase, granting each of them powers. However, Noelle and Oliver split one of the vials, each of them drinking half. As a result, they received what are believed to be two halves of the same power - Oliver gained a power that adjusted his appearance to the local standard of attractiveness, and Noelle slowly became the monster that would later be known as Echidna.

Noelle was the main cause of the Travelers' nomadic lifestyle due to her occasional rage states and clones that resulted in dozens of deaths. They arrived in Brockton Bay after fleeing from Boston, enticed by Coil's promise to find a way to cure Noelle. Noelle was kept in a secure room underground in Coil's base, far away from other people, but could communicate via a microphone and loudspeaker installed in her room.

Post-Leviathan[]

When the Slaughterhouse Nine came to Brockton Bay, Crawler's choice of nomination was Noelle, likely in hopes of finding a foe powerful enough to injure him. He visited Coil's base, to the vault where Noelle was being kept, but was unable to penetrate the thick metal doors due to Coil's foresight. After a period of frustration, Crawler eventually left.

Post-Slaughterhouse Nine[]

After the Undersiders found out that Coil had betrayed them, the Undersiders managed to best Coil despite his best efforts. In the final standoff, Coil was killed by Skitter. As his final act of spite, however, Coil made sure that Noelle heard his death over the phone. Her last hope of being cured gone, Noelle broke out of her cell and set out to kill the Undersiders for what they had done.[19]

After escaping from her cell, Noelle tracked down and kidnapped Vista, making multiple clones of her.[20] Accompanied by her clones of Vista, Noelle began a webcam call with the Brockton Bay Protectorate, lying about killing Vista and giving them an ultimatum of either killing the Undersiders or giving them to her. After the conversation, the PRT rated Noelle as an A-Class threat despite Tattletale's efforts to persuade them to make it S-Class.[21]

Noelle then began rapidly moving across the city, facilitated by her Vista clones, in order to track down, capture, and clone Über, Leet, and Circus. She deployed several of her Vista clones across the city in order to distract and slow down the capes mobilizing against her.[22] Eventually, she was confronted by Eidolon, who tried to reason with her at first, likely promising to try to find a way to cure her. However, Noelle was aware that her mind was too far gone, rewired for aggression. She used one of her Vista clones to reveal an ambush against Eidolon, employing multiple clones of Über, Leet, and Circus.

Battle against Echidna[]

After Noelle was rated as a threat, a PRT member suggested the name "Echidna" for Noelle because he had a daughter with the same name and didn't want to associate the name with the monstrous equivalent. It is implied that this PRT member is the Earth Bet version of Noelle's father, as they share the last name Meinhardt.[23]

Echidna was finally killed by her former friend Sundancer, who incinerated her and several capes still trapped inside of Echidna at the time.[24]

Fanart Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • Echidna was named by fans before being eventually incorporated into the story proper.[25]

References[]

  1. Miss Militia nodded. Not much sympathy, but I couldn’t blame her. “Then let’s get things underway. Everyone, please get seated, or find space to stand.”

    [...]

    “Tentative ratings, based on what we know, we have her down as a brute eight, a changer two and a combination of striker and master with a rating of ten.”

    “Too low,” I heard Tattletale murmur. - Excerpt from Queen 18.4
  2. She’d be a Trump/Master hybrid. - Comment by Wildbow on Cell 22.6
  3. Worm Audiobook pronunciation guide (confirmed by Wildbow)
  4. “An unknown. Possibly a fourth Endbringer, not yet fully grown. I’d like to get in contact with PRT thinkers to verify.” - Excerpt from Queen 18.4
  5. Her other half hated him, and she was realizing just how much her monstrous body had been influencing her without her knowledge, now that her emotions were all pointed at this one individual, this one target. It left her feelings towards everyone else at an almost normal level. Her feelings for Krouse, her hatred of the Undersiders, her anger at Coil, each had been twisted, magnified, warped. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  6. Noelle couldn’t bring herself to reply. She wanted to say she was sorry too, that his apology was unnecessary, but a kind of indignant rage was rising deep within her, threatening to overwhelm her. All of it was directed at Eidolon.

    And in the midst of that rage, she felt a killing instinct she hadn’t experienced before. Even coming this far, she’d never wanted to kill. She’d wanted the Undersiders dead, yes, she’d tried to kill people, but a part of her had always held back from wanting to kill, from wishing to carry out the act of murder herself.

    To execute this man who sought to end her existence.

    It wasn’t her desire, not really. It was her body’s. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  7. She ran. The simple act of moving flooded her body with endorphins and adrenaline. It felt good, made her feel strong. That was another avenue of attack, as her body tried to work its manipulations on her mind. The hunger, the heightened emotions, rewarding her with pleasant memories and good feelings when she operated in sync with it.

    It was a matter of weeks, days or hours before she lost enough ground that she was the one trying to manipulate her body into doing what she wanted, with it calling all the shots. If the process continued, she would eventually be subsumed entirely, unable to do anything but observe, and maybe not even that. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  8. Her vision from before lingered. The entity. The thing that was taking her over, that had made her a monster, it had an identity, now. She wouldn’t say it had a face, but it was no longer a vague malevolent force, now.

    Part of her felt sympathetic for it, because this thing that shared her body had been wronged by some nebulous circumstance. In that, at least, they were kindred.

    Another part of her was just bewildered. The memory it had shared with her was so vast, it changed everything, had left her feeling like her problems here were so small, so miniscule. Even this, this fight, her revenge, in a way it felt artificial, false.

    It’s not my world, she thought. It’s almost like a game. Killing characters in some false, barbaric setting. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  9. Surfacing from her dream, she’d temporarily supplanted the killer instinct that was demanding Eidolon’s head. Now that she was closer, her thoughts were afire with thoughts of revenge, and that killer instinct was welling up again. The idea that she’d maybe had the chance to get back to normal, that her friends had maybe been close to going home, and the Undersiders had taken all that away, it made her want to scream. To inflict punishments worse than death on them. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  10. 10.0 10.1 Noelle was perched on the ruined bed. Her fingers were clutching a sweatshirt, with no shirt beneath. Still the Noelle he’d always known.

    From the waist up.

    Around where her pelvis should have been, she’d changed. The mass of tissue left her tall enough that she had to hunch over to avoid hitting her head on the ceiling, and she was lying down. Half of it was angry, red, wrinkled or blistered. The other half was smooth tissue, dark greens, dark brown and pale grays. The head of an animal, half-bovine and half-canine, extended from the front, large as a horse from the back of its skull to the tip of its flaring nostrils. Another head was in progress, emerging just to the left. Two forelegs extended to either side of the heads, rippling with powerful muscle, ending in something that fell between claw and hoof, massive and easily capable of tearing through steel.

    There were the fingers and thumb of a hand, extending from her right hindquarters, each digit thicker around than Krouse was, with another, smaller limb extending from the palm. Her rear left hindquarters featured only a mess of tentacles, some bearing partial exoskeleton, some long enough that they had to encircle the massive head and numerous limbs, or wind in a wreath around her as she lay down, lest their coiled mass fill the master bedroom of the house and leave Krouse nowhere to sit. Despite the apparent lack of bones, the tentacles were capable of supporting her weight.

    She didn’t expel waste. She only grew, or she reinforced what had already grown. - Excerpt from Migration 17.8
  11. In her restlessness, unable to shake the idea that her sanity was slipping away moment by moment, she pushed her way through the last length of the rubble, absorbing it into herself and spitting it out behind her, moving through it as though she were a thick fluid; even her bones dissolved when needed. The only thing that slowed her down were the capes she’d stored within herself. Each of the three Undersiders, the tinker, and the girl in white. She used her strength to wedge gaps sufficient to squeeze the individual organs through. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  12. Some of the time, the powers would be different. Most of the time, going by precedent, they were stronger. Trickster was left to wonder how Perdition’s powers had changed. Duration? Range? The amount of time reversed? - Migration 17.8
  13. Noelle tagged several of the bodies in her internal stomachs, felt flesh constrict tight against them, felt the pre-prepared nuggets of flesh in her gullet forming into close replicas in an instant. Timing was crucial; if she spat them out too soon, they’d be malformed, missing limbs or features. Too late, and there was extra material. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  14. With that thought, it dawned on me. Noelle absorbed living things, and that apparently extended to bacteria. Where others had bacteria in their digestive systems to help them digest food, Noelle, Echidna, had no need for such. When she absorbed the ambient bacteria and molds from her surroundings, she was storing them, weaponizing them like she did with rats and insects. They were used to debilitate her victims, render them unable to fight back while her clones got the upper hand. - Excerpt from Scourge 19.1
  15. [Echidna has] touch-based power/ dampening & absorption - Wildbow on Reddit
  16. “She’s as strong as Leviathan, physically,” Tattletale said, “She’s not as tough, based on what I’ve seen. - Queen 18.3
  17. "The following information has been disseminated, and remains unconfirmed. Echidna is in a rage state. The monster is in control, not the girl. Seventeen capes are currently within her. Her rate of regeneration and production of clones is derived from a central core within her lower body that produces an endless quantity of biological material. A body part severed from the core will die. Destroying the core in entirety will destroy her…"

    Tattletale, I thought. She'd passed on the info she'd gleaned. - Excerpt from Scourge 19.5
  18. One was the little space-warper, another was a copy of the firebreathing acrobat with the rich smell, and three were copies of the unpowered people she’d absorbed.
    [...]
    Regent might work against this girl in white, but his influence would be too minor in the big picture. His smell was weakest of the three.

    Not that it was really a smell… but she was peculiarly aware of the people with powers, active or otherwise. Each had a texture and a tone and a flavor, something she felt like she could come to understand. She might have said it was taste, might have compared it to when she’d tried wine that one time and tried to see what the wine aficionados looked for when they sampled a vintage. Except the word ‘smell’ worked better, because smell and taste were really very similar and smell worked over distances.

    There was a difference in Skitter, Grue’s and Eidolon’s smells, along with a handful of the other visiting capes. A smell that set them apart from the other parahumans in the same way that the other parahumans were set apart from the people who could have powers but didn’t. An intensity. - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  19. We stopped when we reached Tattletale. She stood facing the vault door. The one that was used to seal Noelle within.

    There were two vault doors, one set behind the other, and both were ruined, the one closest to us nearly folded in half, hanging by one hinge.

    “A final act of spite,” Tattletale said. She looked at the phone in her hand. “He made sure she heard our conversation.” - Excerpt from Monarch 16.13
  20. Queen 18.3
  21. Queen 18.4
  22. Queen 18.5
  23. “Echidna?” Noelle asked.

    “One of the PRT members coined it,” Eidolon said. He was eyeing her minions warily. “Said he had a three year old girl called Noelle, didn’t want to associate her with something like you.”

    “What was his last name?”

    Eidolon gave her a wary look. “Meinhardt.” - Excerpt from Interlude 18
  24. Scourge 19.7
  25. Trusting:
    Echidna , mother of monsters ! - First mention in comment on Migration 17.8

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The Travelers
Leader Noelle Meinhardt Trickster 
Members Ballistic Genesis Oliver Perdition Sundancer 
Echidna
Leader Echidna 
Clones Abhorror Apocrypha Carnie Charlatan Chitter Gross Ignis Fatuus Pwn Scape Temblor Unter Vizier Witness 
S-Class Threats
Endbringers Behemoth Leviathan The SimurghKhonsu *Tohu *Bohu *
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Parahumans Ash Beast Echidna Khepri NilbogPastor Scion SleeperThe Tower 
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