Hello Community! I don’t know about you, but if there is one thing I love in a game, it is a good story with some good science fiction. We’ve seen some awesome stories on many of Evolve’s hunters both in and out of game. We know who they are, where they came from, and why they fight. There is something that has remained completely elusive to us though. The monsters. They have been a complete mystery for the past year or so. Where do they come from and do what they do? We’ve been left in the dark…until recently. With the release of Kala and the new in game dialogues, we’ve had some incredible hints laid out before us to piece together this mystery, or at least get a good enough insight to see where things are going.
Today, I’d like to share my thoughts with you, and go deep into the pseudoscience of the Evolve universe to help explain the existence and actions of the monsters.
The best way to start figuring out what’s going on with the monsters is to establish what was known about monsters in the order it was learned. The year is 2379, and humanity has spent its years advancing in technology and colonizing the universe. Monsters have been showing up on multiple colonies across the universe, including Factor, Chapel, and now they are aiming for Shear. They show up spontaneously out of seemingly nothing, beginning relatively small before feeding rapidly evolving into unstoppable kaiju. Then they eliminate all life on the target world. Up to now, every planet attacked has been overrun, and all life that did not escape the attack was swiftly eradicated. All this occurs within a year or two of the Shear Evacuation.
The major corporations across the galaxy are aware of the monsters. NORDITA sent The Crew out to evacuate Shear. Ebon Star has been transporting monsters for at least a year before Shear’s Evacuation, as shown by the Ajax incident explained by Torvald. It is likely they knew far beforehand, as they had time to develop the Wraith Trap. Meanwhile, Celestial has been using their star quantombiologist Kala to figure out what the monsters are and how they work some time before the evacuation. All these corporations have covered up their knowledge of the monsters and have been quietly working together and along with the spy agency CIG9 to find a way to combat the threat.
During the evacuation, Caira works on monster samples gathered by The Crew to try and learn anything she can. In her studies, we learn that monsters use HNA in their genetics, they have an unnatural hate for Patterson technology, as well as that the eggs scattered along shear have no embryos and appear to be capable of interdimensional travel through Cherenkov Space.
The Old News
Now we get into nitty gritty details of what is going on behind Caira’s discoveries, and lay down a baseline of knowledge on what is going on in the world of Evolve. This gets really dense, so I’ve pressed the details into three categories below. They should flow fairly naturally, but for those that aren’t into the science so much, I’ll put the conclusions below before hitting the next step. Click the drop down triangles to get all the juicy details!
**What is HNA?** - Why would the monsters want this over DNA?
HNA is a genetic material lot like DNA. As background, DNA stands for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid, and it consists of two parts that form a double helical structure. Codons form the rungs between the spirals (Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine), and provide us with the genetic information that gives an organism it’s genome. The pattern made by codons is transcribed to make the proteins that form a body. Codons are held together by the backbone of the genetic material, which is typically made of sugar and phosphates. DNA uses the sugar Deoxyribose. The only difference between DNA and HNA is that HNA substitutes the Deoxyribose sugars with Hexose sugars.
So what’s that all mean, and why is it significant? Well, HNA does not occur naturally in known biological organisms. It can be made synthetically and is capable of carrying meaningful genetic information just like DNA and can communicate with RNA for protein transcription, but it is far more chemically stable, harder to degrade, and is fairly easily manipulated, making it a prime candidate for guided evolution. That said, within the Evolve universe, HNA is described unstable when transplanted into a non-monsterous living system, and the phosphates in the sugar chain fly apart. In real life, HNA has not been successfully transplanted into an organism to the extent of my knowledge.
The bottom line is that HNA does not occur naturally, and it is possible to control it’s genome, evolution, and degradation more efficiently than natural DNA. Perfect for something like a monster. It “explodes from the inside” under natural biologic transplantation.
TL;DR: HNA is an unnatural synthetic of genetic code that is good for rapid and controlled evolution, which is part of what makes the monsters ideal for attacking a planet like this.
**What is Patterson Technology?** - What exactly is it that monsters are so intent on destroying?
Ok, so now, onto Patterson tech. This part is entirely science fiction, so everything here is based on in game dialogue and tidbits from Matthew. Patterson Technology is anything that uses the Patterson effect or field to function. There are three main uses for this: Faster than light travel, deployment of a permanent impenetrable force field, massive generation of power for colony infrastructure. Everything you’d want when colonizing a planet distant from the Hub where most humans live. The only downside is that it runs off of extremely valuable high energy Bohrium (a real element, 107 to be precise - generally unstable and decays on a timescale of minutes, and is thus mostly useless in reality for this reason). Monsters hate this stuff with a passion for attack it unknown purposes. I will elaborate on how Patterson tech works and why it must bother the monsters using the new information provided to us through Kala below.
Note that things like personal shields, mobile arenas, jetpacks, cloaks, and bucket run on the Rank-Rajat effect (another fictional phenomenon), which while it was a precursor to the Patterson effect, generally requires much less energy to run, but work temporarily on relatively small scales only. There is one more key difference I will outline later on.
TL;DR: Patterson technology allows FTL travel through Cherenkov space, Formation of indestructible force fields, and can be used to generate massive amounts of energy for colonial purposes. It runs on Bohrium.
**What is Cherenkov Space?** - What are these eggs traveling through?
Third, lets talk about the eggs and interdimensional travel. Dimensions are a tricky thing, so lets start there and make it simple. A dimensions are on a fundamental level connected to units of measure. Generally, there are three primary base units that govern the properties of objects in our existence: mass, length, and time (There are others like charge and temperature and such, but for all intents and purposes, I’ll be neglecting those for now since they don’t directly relate). Mass, Length, and Time are all dimensions, and the number of each dimension is how we define our reality. For now, we care about spacetime, so lets look at length and time respectively and do an example definition:
In our world, we can move forward/back, left/right, and up/down. This means we inhabit the third spacial dimension. We can only move forward in time, so we inhabit the first temporal dimension. Make sense? According to string theory, each fundamental unit has up to eleven possible dimensions in a given reality.
So for interdimendional travel, you’d need to move through space outside the dimensions available to you. Instead of moving forward/back, left/right, or up/down, you would have to cross fourth dimensional space. How? Simple! Patterson Technology! Patterson tech allows for Faster than Light travel (FTL). FTL seems unintuitive since matter and energy cannot surpass the speed of light according to the principles of relativity, but there is a way to cheat the system. Light must travel along the fabric of spacetime - to move “faster than light” is to penetrate this fabric and take a shortcut to your destination. Imagine the fabric of our reality looks like a saddle. Light would have to travel along the surface of the saddle, but a ship with a FTL drive from Patterson tech can go across the gap in the middle. It moves slower, but covers much less distance, so it can return to this reality much farther than it actually moved.
So what is this empty space outside of spacetime that the ship had to pass through? Well, in this case, it is the fourth (spatial) dimension! In Evolve, this place is called Cherenkov Space. The bottom line is that both humans and monsters get where they’re going through Cherenkov space. Humans cross it with Patterson tech, and monsters have it connected to their eggs.
TL;DR: Cherenkov Space is a fourth dimension that humans pass through during FTL travel, and monsters use with their eggs.
The New Facts
For a very long time, this is all we had. Nothing really added up. Sure, the pseudoscience is well established, but it explains nothing of the monsters’ origins, functions, or intentions. But then everything changed when Kala showed up. Lets begin with the big reveals from her backstory before diving into her dialogue.
**Δk / *i*t** - That doesn't make any sense. THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE!! Or does it?In Kala's backstory, she works with monster HNA under the false assumption that they came from some sort of space nudibranch. On trying to transplant the genetics into an earthly organism, the phosphate chain flies apart and the genetic material self destructs due to steric hindrance (I'll get to this in a moment). She solves this problem using the equation Δk / *i*t - a fundamental formula used in FTL Patterson tech.
On first glance, that seems like an alright statement, but through a bit of unit analysis, we can see just how bat shit insane this statement really is. In Kala’s backstory, she describes Δk / it as this: Change in Kaluzas divided by imaginary time. Lets start with Kaluzas. These are not real units, but it is stated specifically that a change in Kaluzas denotes a displacement in Cherenkov space. For background, Kaluza was a scientist that co-created the Kaluza-Klein theory involving the behavior of forth spatial dimension gravitation, electromagnetism, and motion - in Evolve’s universe, units of displacement through Cherenkov’s fourth spatial dimension space are likely named for this man. So to simplify, the top of the equation is simply a displacement.
Now for time. We have a pretty good sense of what time is, but what on earth is imaginary time? To understand this, we must understand what imaginary means in this case; we are considering time as a complex value with real and imaginary components. In this case, with time being purely imaginary, it runs along a complex axis, meaning it runs strictly orthogonal to the time we experience without entering a separate time dimension. So that’s nice, but what does it mean? Ultimately, imaginary time is used to denote the passage of time outside conventional spacetime, in this case, it is a time span in Cherenkov space.
So we have displacement over time. That means Δk / it is far simpler than it looks. It is a Velocity. A velocity of something moving through Cherenkov Space. And it stabilizes monster HNA in organic systems.
That is like saying “gee, I’m feeling hungry. I better flail around in circles.” and then magically you feel full again and you somehow have nourishment. This defies all logic. It is insane.
Or…is it genius?
We learn from in game dialogue that Caira and Kala run into the same problem of Steric hindrance, and it is high time I explain what that means. Steric Hindrance is when the shape of atoms in a molecule or compound or some such thing gets in the way of a reaction. Literally, something about how this HNA is trying to fold or move when implanted in an organic system is causing it to self destruct because it is running into itself in a physical way. Caira tries to use Wolff-Kishner Reductions to rearrange and detach or rearrange some problematic carbonyl chains somewhere in the HNA’s environment, and it doesn’t work. Kala introduces Patterson Field equations on a hunch because a few constants show up, and it suddenly works.
This implies that the monster’s HNA has some component that needs to occupy, move through, and possibly phase in and out of Cherenkov Space at all times. Otherwise it collides when reduced to three dimensions and collapses on itself. We also learn from some dialogue with Kala that her implanted HNA is constantly reorganizing, and seems to have genetic information of every monster coming and going at will as the strand fold, unfold, twine, and untwine. This is likely the control mechanism that monsters use to determine base form and evolutionary paths so quickly and in such adaptive manner from afar - in this case, something coming from WITHIN CHERENKOV SPACE. I will come back to this point after discussing some of Kala’s more interesting statements after dealing with her own personal monster problems.
TL;DR: Δk / it is highly illogical for a perspective of classic biology and physics. However, if a monster’s HNA has a component that must move through Cherenkov Space at all times. This component may be where a lot of the variability and evolutionary patterns are controlled, stored, and altered.
**The Point of Origin** - Where the ramblings of a madwoman meet the insight of scienceNow is where things all start to come together. Kala's experiments ended at a very specific point when she realized the monster's HNA needed something more to operate properly. Using Patterson field equations, she could stabilize the HNA within a living organism, but the moment it died, the HNA would rapidly decay unlike the dead monster samples she had at her disposal. She suspected that this was because the component of the HNA's function that was governed by the Patterson field equations required regulation. All regular Patterson technology is inherently chaotic, and can only be used while maintained by a computer system. Monsters would need something similar that operates on a higher function. They would need a mind and a very very complex one at that - so complex that things like higher thought process, cognitive function, sentience, sapience, and intellect would be a _side effect_.
There is one problem though. Monsters lack a cerebral cortex. This doesn’t mean they’re brainless, but it does mean they lack the physical organs required for higher cognitive function. Or do they?
Val had been keeping records of the Shear Evacuation and sending them back to CIG9. Most of these reports cover strategy, tactics, and a summary of monster behavior. These records all but confirmed that monsters have intelligence. But how does that work with an underdeveloped brain? Kala found out the hard way. Thinking sentience was enough to manage the HNA’s interaction with the Patterson effect, she injected a monsters genome into hers using a retrovirus. And that’s where shit hit the fan.
Kala found that the monster’s HNA was more aggressive in her body than ever expected. She became half monster as the ever changing HNA’s structure invaded her own, ripping her immune system to shreds. Relying on some heavy duty biotech to fight back, Kala is currently halfway between humanity and monstrosity. This of course lead to all sorts of physical problems, and an ever constant worry that the genome may take over her body one day. But that may not be her primary concern. She connected her mind to those of the monsters. This confirms that monsters operate on a hive mind.
Kala is able to sense the feelings of other monsters close to her and gain insight on their thoughts through this hive mind. From their perspective, many mysteries of how the monsters function unravels before her. There is a lot to go over here, so lets start small and work our way up.
First, lets look at something simple. The way monsters eat. We know from the game that monsters eat a lot of meat, and they use the mass gained from this to evolve. But that’s not all they consume. They also eat refined Bohrium, which is a primary resource on Shear. Kala has a bit of dialogue on monster eating habits. Check it out:
“I found a corpse! They’re not very efficient eaters. Like they don’t really know what food is for.”
Now THAT is odd. Think about it. A gigantic beast that is designed to be the optimal predator doesn’t understand the concept of food and eating. It eats meat sloppily and leaves a lot of edible material behind. Yet at the same time, it eats Bohrium on instinct alone. Why? Well, I’d hypothesize that two things are going on here separately. First they eat and metabolize Bohrium to maintain their HNA’s Patterson effect. Second, they eat Shear’s wildlife simply to pack on mass to evolve faster and develop an armor coating. This has some heavy implications I will come back to once all the pieces are on the table.
One interesting tangent, is we hear Caira mention that the monster’s armor is an Ablative Coating. In the real world, Ablative Coating is what spacecraft use to resist the heat of reentering the atmosphere on a return trip from space. It is also one of the most popular forms of spacecraft defense in most science fictions, with Star Trek being the most common example. The fact that monsters can metabolize such an armor from eating meat is definitely an unnatural function not commonly tied to eating.
Second, Kala does not think of the monster eggs as eggs. She specifically calls them transport pods. For example, when an egg hatches, she says “One of their transport pods opened!” and when she destroys one, she says “I’m cutting off its transport!”. This basically confirms that the eggs are allowing monsters to access Shear through Cherenkov space.
Ok, almost there. There are quite a few lines of dialogue that lead to the big conclusion of where the monsters originate from. I think it will be best to order these quotes and speak briefly on each to lead up to the big reveal. Let’s begin:
“Come Goliath! I bring the end of your pain!” and “I’ve come to end your pain, Behemoth!”
These lines indicate that monsters are in a constant state of pain. It’s almost as if their bodies are unnatural and not designed for biologic stability or existence. Half their biologic material cannot exist outside of Cherenkov space. They don’t understand the concept of sustenance. They spawn spontaneously from transport bods full of formless biological goo. It’s like the concept of being alive with a body doesn’t make sense to them. Lets continue down the rabbit hole.
“You don’t like our universe, do you Wraith? I’ll send you back!” and “It hatched! Another visitor from another dimension.” and “You’re mortal here Wraith!”
Oh snap. This says a lot. We have solid conformation that monsters are not of this universe! It is even implied that they give up immortality when arriving in our universe. I theorize that monsters have an ethereal existence outside our reality, and that they have to physically manifest and become mortal to interact with our world. This is why their genetics are completely incompatible with natural life without significant help from some seriously convoluted upper level physics phenomena. They are aliens in a form far more profound than just coming from the depths of space…they are not of this reality at all. It goes even deeper though. Kala has some choice words on killing a monster, and what she experiences close to her own death.
“Back to the void! Back to the nothingness between worlds!” and “Do not struggle so, monster! You will not die, only return.” and “No. No, I can feel them. . .waiting for me…”
These are the big ones. This shows us two key things. First and foremost, monsters exist BETWEEN worlds. Based on all the above information, I can say with confidence that this is Cherenkov Space, especially based on their interactions with Patterson science. Monsters are fourth dimensional beings that manifest an organic construct to interact with our world. These constructs are imperfect, illogical, and ultimately incompatible with our reality. And when these bodies are destroyed, we come to the second point from these quotes: they don’t die. They just return to their ethereal existence in Cherenkov space.
But why would they do all this. What do they want? Well, Kala can tell us that too… The hive mind sees through her Kraken’s eye and speaks through her unconscious mind. And they are happy to tell us why they’re here.
TL;DR: Monsters have a hive mind that communicates with Kala. Through this, it is revealed that they come from a void between worlds that sounds a lot like Cherenkov space. The monster’s bodies are constructs, and when they die whatever forms them simply returns to the void, and likely returns as another monster with a fresh body later.
**True Intentions** - Why are the monsters here now, and what are the monsters trying to do?
So we know where the monsters are coming from, but why are they doing what they do? And what exactly is it that they’re doing? Lets begin with why now of all times, and open things up with a Kala quote.
“The Patterson effect releases Minkowsky waves! That’s what its after!”
We know the monsters naturally exist in Cherenkov Space, where humans pass through by the use of Patterson technology. We also know that monsters depend on the Patterson effect to maintain an organic body in our realm. It is extremely likely that monsters took so long to notice humanity because we were the ones to invade their space first. Before Patterson tech allowed for FTL travel, The Far Arm was an inaccessible reach of the universe simply due to time and distance. No FTL travel means no Cherenkov Space interactions, which means humans and monsters exist separately in peace. But we upset that balance in our conquest to populate our universe. This is also why monsters seem to primarily show up only in distant worlds and not in The Hub - FTL is used to jump far away from hub, and since it is a colonial effort, there is probably much less transport heading back.
So are the monsters targeting Patterson Technology because they want us out of their dimension? Well, it goes far deeper than that. I can think of two reasons they may target Patterson Technology. I’ll explain the first now and the more likely one at the end of this section. For now lets look at Minkowsky Waves. Minkowsky waves are not necessarily a real term, but Minkowsky space very much is. Minkowsky Space is a geometric manifold representation of fourth dimensional space, which models and defines movement of objects moving through it. Minkowsky waves are likely an energy disruption through this representation of space (in evolve’s case, Cherenkov Space). Recall that the problem with HNA stability is steric hindrance - a geometric problem solved by velocity in Cherenkov space. If Patterson tech emits Minkowsky waves, it is likely causing a superdimensional disruption in Cherenkov space that agitates monsters and destabilizes their physical form. It’s why they can sense it and why they target it. By destroying Patterson tech, the monsters feel relief from human meddling.
But is it that simple? That basic? No. No, not at all. In fact, the monsters real intentions are far far more sinister…
“A second monster! Not much of an advantage, they hate each other.”
This strikes me as odd. Why would all monsters hate all other monsters. It is made from the same stuff, comes from the same place and shares a same goal, and is even capable of working in tandem to complete these goals. Why then?
I hypothesize that monsters don’t specifically hate other monsters. They hate EVERYTHING about our dimension. They hate our world, they hate us, and they hate their own manifestation in our world. In fact they hate it so much, they aren’t just trying to destroy Patterson tech. They aren’t just trying to destroy humanity. They are not just trying to end life as we know it.
They are trying to erase our reality. And they’re even willing to tell us directly. When kala’s waking mind goes unconscious the monsters speak through her. And they tell us everything they intend…
“All that lives, dies! Life is order, but all is chaos! It must be! The boundary of stability is wrong! We are the universe righting itself! This is a false vacuum! We are the catalyst for conversion!” We will nucleate a true vacuum! This abnormality will be erased!"
So first off, this means monsters understand English enough to speak and communicate with humans. I cannot imagine what benefits they have gained from communing with Kala. but that is beside the point…
Holy shit. So what the hell does all that mumbo jumbo even mean? So lets talk about vacuums. This is NOT the vacuum that means “an empty space” but the kind of vacuum in quantum mechanics that is defined as “a space with particles in it”. In this case, our universe is a vacuum. Now, there are true vacuums and false vacuums. These are defined on the energy level the vacuum exists in. True vacuums are stable at the lowest possible energy state, whereas false vacuums are metastable at a higher energy level.
So lets discuss what energy levels are about. So picture a book on a shelf. It is being held above the ground and gravity is pulling on it. It doesn’t move and is stable. But if you move it off the shelf and let go, it falls to the ground. In falling, it releases the potential energy it had, converting it to kinetic energy and moving down to the floor where the kinetic energy dispels and the book comes to rest. It now has less potential energy that it did on the bookshelf, returns to stability, but has an overall lower energy state because it is lower toward gravity. Make sense? When the book was on the shelf, it was metastable - it had an energy level above ground state, but it was supported. The book on the ground is at a lower energy state - all matter and energy in the universe naturally tend toward the lowest energy state. This is part of the principle of entropy and disorder.
If our universe is a false vacuum, we are like the book on the shelf. The monsters see us as going against nature since we are stable above the lowest natural energy state. They want to right this wrong by bringing our universe to a cosmically grounded energy state. Now, that doesn’t sound so bad…until you understand what that means for us.
Imagine the shelf again. Imagine you can’t move the book. How do you get it to ground state? You smash the shelf. The book falls to ground state, and everything is at the lowest and most stable energy state. Now scale that up to the universe.
The monsters intend to nucleate a true vacuum. This means smash our false vacuum so all the matter within it can collapse into the lowest possible energy state. This event is described as the formation of a nanoscale bubble of another universe sprouting in our own, then expanding through our own, ending everything we know INSTANTANEOUSLY. This event would require massive amounts of energy to do though, and possibly interaction from another dimension. And that is the second reason I think explains why monsters target Patterson technology. It only takes one high energy multidimensional event to wipe out our reality, and that is what their true goal is.
Now, whether our universe is a true or false vacuum in reality is up to debate. There is evidence to both sides of the argument, and we likely won’t know for certain for years to come. The scary thing is, if it is a false vacuum, we can spontaneously nucleate into a true vacuum at any moment. Poof! Randomly and spontaneous universal eradication. I guess the moral of the story is to live life to the fullest!
TL;DR: Monsters noticed us because of our invasion of Cherenkov Space during colonization of the far arm, and on discovering our world, they intend to shatter reality by nucleating a true vacuum within our false one. This will instantaneously destroy our universe and drop it to a grounded energy state, and can likely be accomplished through a single catastrophic failure in Patterson technology experiencing influence from another dimension.
So that is the whole story! Monsters are of a Lovecraftian nature: they are beings that inhabit a dimension beyond human comprehension. They manifest in the far arm because we got their attention while traveling through their world, and what they found disgusts them on a level we cannot understand. In experiencing our reality, they have resolved to destroy it in the fastest and most efficient way they can, and they do it in the name of nature.
And now, with Kala in the mix, they have insight into humanity and we have insight into monstrosity. The gloves are off, and the conflict rages with new intensity.
Though I’ve been working on these theories behind the scenes for a while now, @PreePhoenix has figured a lot of this out without the hard science behind it. I highly recommend reading her take on things, especially if you want a less science heavy wind baggy perspective on things.
An extra big thanks goes to @Matthew for his amazing science fiction writing and all the rest of Turtle Rock Studios Developers for making such an incredibly cool universe with such amazing characters and such fun! (I’d list all the devs, but I don’t want to slam their inboxes)
And finally, thank you to the community for making Evolve such a fun experience! you all rule! Feel free to comment on whatever you think, and if you have anything you want me to go into more detail on, just let me know!
If you saw the last livestream with Matthew’s commentary on Evolve’s story and writing, there was a hint dropped. I go into as much detail as I can here: