-- UPDATE 1/16/2017 --
I decided to send Joe an email with my most burning questions about As Embers Turn To Dust. Once again, I'll just paste Joe's answer verbatim so we can all decipher it together:
1. When does As Embers Turn To Dust take place?
As embers turn to dust fallows progenitor. In order, the world we lost - conqueror - Andromeda - first half of empyrean - progenitor - as embers turn to dust. The next few albums are planned to lead right up to, to coexist is to surrender. No empyrean colonization has happened in embers. Although as time moves towards the end of embers, empyrean is silently being scouted for colonization.
2. What is the Vanguard's mission?
Their mission was to establish contact with the first titan, Anicetus. Through the entirety of progenitor, the civilization lived and expanded in orbit. Slowly building the first cepheus ring. Before they woke up from cryosleep, the titan was already planetbound on acheron, beginning the slow process of terraforming which took multiple decades. The thick atmosphere of blue and white shadowed any attempt for humans to survey the planet from orbit, and the contents of Acheron's atmosphere was littered with foreign elements. No communications, radar or ships could enter the atmosphere from orbit. Some have tried before, but lost contact with the Cepheus ring. (More will come regarding that) As a result, the humans in orbit feared that the titan was scuttled upon entry. The population grew and expanded. Cultures were created and turmoil began flourishing within the ring. Planetfall and progenitor (the song) are the two songs that alerted us that the titan came back online. The atmosphere was weakened and eventually their current technology was capable of entry. The vanguards were the first group to attempt a controlled landing, in hopes to regain physical control of the titan. Their secondary mission was to survey the land for the first Acheron colonies. The first few songs of embers turn to dust depicted the vanguards first hand account of searching and discovering a freshly terraformed Acheron. Creation level event, was a play on words regarding " extinction level event". Impact proxy is a term for a clue or evidence of a highly powerful impact, implying the titans first landing zone. Signal's lyrics depict the first faint signal of Anicetus. Where the vanguards not only discovered the distress signal through communication surveys, but also through subconscious cues. The lyrics also describe the environment.
3. Who is Enyo? Is she Alithea's sister?
Enyo is Alithea's twin sister. Only Amyntas has awoken from cryosleep. This happened once Anicetus went online. (Planetfall). Though, 9 others were still asleep. For many years, these 10 have become idolized over decades as "those bound by frost". Venerated through tales and lore and occasionally labeled as "Earthborn" Enyo was the only surviving non Titanborn, yet, had a similar bloodline as Alithea. This allowed Enyo to surpass the traditional age of most humans, barely aging over the decades of orbital colonization. It became quite clear that whatever happened to the 10 Titanborn, through cryosleep, created a new augmented biology. Enyo was part of the initial Cepheus corporation, eventually coining the term "Titan Born". With this knowledge spreading throughout the populace, she was given a highly trained military guard called the "Banshees".
-- UPDATE 1/19/2016 --
Joe sent me an email with a block of text he wrote about the story of Progenitor for a new interview. I'll post the relevant bits here for now, but there's a good chance we'll see all of it when that interview comes out.
The first five songs focus mostly on Andara’s perspective, conditions and environmental descriptions. Weirdly enough, those five songs encompass roughly one hour of Andara’s life. Andara succumbs to what we call "Cryoshock", a fictional and lethal after effect of cryosleep. Without falling into a huge lyrical tangent, Andara’s short placement within the story was created to emphasise and question human hope. How someone may feel in the presence of seeing new worlds up close, and how life can have an unexpected and cruel ending.
Before people started awakening from cryosleep, the Titan A.I [Anicetus] fell to the surface of Acheron to begin the terraformation process. For decades, those aboard the host ship continued to orbit Acheron, awaiting a return signal from the Titan.
Although some of the initial population died from cryosleep, ten individuals were crippled by a form of endless coma. Two of these individuals were Amyntas and Alithea. These ten individuals were kept alive within a partial cryosleep/life support. Acquiring the description "Those bound by frost", was the beginning of this orbital society’s cultural grasp on these individuals. As decades pass and human generations cycle, these ten Titan Born adopted the same veneration that the gods of Earth received. During the song Planetfall, the Titan can be heard from the surface of Acheron. While many rush to swarm the planet of Acheron, Amyntas awakens to the innate and terrifying realization that his mind and nervous system are connected to an auxiliary source. That source being Anicetus’ A.I. All ten of these characters will someday control one of the ten Titans.
-- UPDATE 6/28/2015 --
More images from Joe! All of these pictures take place before or during Conqueror. That means all of these images take place on Earth.
-- UPDATE 5/30/2015 --
Joe has decided to name the story "As Embers Turn to Dust" rather than "The Acheron Trilogy". This makes sense given that the story is now expected to span 8 full-length albums. I'm not sure when I'll go through the entire wiki and remove all references to "the trilogy" though. I'll have to think about how to re-arrange the albums on the main page...
-- UPDATE 3/27/2015 --
Joe sent me an email to explain why things have been a bit quiet lately on the Mechina front. Basically, he's been super busy. Here are the highlights:
- He's been working on a "visual storyline/timeline". Once it's done, he'll be adding it to the wiki!
- The story is fully fleshed-out now and Joe expects it to take 8 full-length albums and 8 singles/transition tracks. As he's said before, he can keep adding more to the story if there's still interest but at this point it's an 8 album minimum.
- Finally, there's this last sentence. I'll let you interpret it however you want as I have no other information: "We are also working with a writer to get these story elements to print."
Hey guys (Specteon, Juanker52, Nitazi, anyone else interested), I got Joe to answer some questions but it just led to more questions for me. I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I'm not sure how to incorporate this info into the wiki so I'll just dump it here for now.
The image above is of Hydrus terraforming Empyrean. Since this obviously takes place before Empyrean was colonized, I asked if the original colonists brought the titans with them. Joe said:
They built them on Acheron
This threw me for a loop because I always thought those on Acheron were basically purists who rejected technology to preserve their "earthborn" bloodline and it was only those on Empyrean who embraced technology to the point of being posthuman (in my mind). Turns out I was completely wrong. Joe sent me a couple quick one-liners in response:
Acheron was settled by humans who fled Earth and its fallout due to the events in Conqueror. Conqueror's character/listener is actually an ancestor of Amyntas.
Anicetus was the first titan that carried these people from Earth to Acheron. As Acheron was settled, they began building the other titans to terraform Empyrean.
Both Empyrean and Acheron are inhabited by humans, some more augmented and "post human" than others.
So now we know that the main character in Conqueror was not Amyntas. I have to assume that it was still Amyntas witnessing these events from his ancestor's perspective and not that it was this ancestor who woke up on Empyrean. I can't imagine it was the ancestor waking up on Empyrean and that later albums changed perspective to a new character.
Also, I now know that the titans were built on Acheron and that there isn't a posthuman/purist divide between Acheron and Empyrean. Given this new information, I don't know why Empyrean would utterly destroy Acheron. What do you guys think?