A/N: Written in response to a contest at the The prompt was to write a story about what happened to Samus between Prime 1 and 2. My particular story has some canon flub in it since it was written before I ever played Echoes, but it isn't hugely noticeable. I hope. :)


By Syntax

The dry still air had provided little discomfort from thoughtful musing and introspection. Bright and glistening dunes of sand draped themselves along a softly lapping sea, and the settled quiet was not one of apprehension. Rather, it was a dead silence, one that could have been disturbing to anyone but the sole presence on a small planet in a distant space.

Toes buried themselves within the soft sand, wiggling slightly through the grit between them. It seemed a wonder that something so simple could feel so good. She grinned slightly to herself, walking along casually as the moment of happiness soured into a low and steady thrum of distaste. It was a normal occurrence, brief and fleeting freedom before it was clouded with constantly running thoughts of a less than dismal nature. She supposed this was just the way it had to be - whatever she tried, it all led back to the same thing. Samus resigned herself to her fate - nothing would ever be simple for her.

The planet of her current location was newly founded into the Galactic Federation database, a little extra blip of information on an infinitely growing stream of recordable space. What had made the small planet much more appealing to her was it's history, barely surviving the test of time.

The stretch of beach was like a path, leading back to the barely remaining steps of a temple. The stone may have worn from the water that was so near to it, but amazingly enough it was sturdy and tall. It was not impressive by any account, for in her travels Samus had seen such sights of awe that this small and crumbling little place paled in comparison. Her bare feet stepped onto the hot stone and she started slightly at the sudden change from the cool sand. What lay here, she treasured, perhaps more so because of what her last adventure had entailed. It was the fading history of the Chozo.

How many planets had they touched? Tallon IV was a place of a crushed hope, Zebes a broken dream. This place, it seemed, held no such importance and no such failure. But anything she could touch herself, lay her palm against and absorb, helped ease that constant pain she felt at trailing along behind them like this. They were her life, and as hard as she tried not to feel it, she wanted as much as she could have.

It wasn't that long since the struggle and triumph of Tallon IV, and she smirked at the thought. Yes, the Federation may have considered it as such, for the experimental Space Pirate facilities were thoroughly destroyed and the mission it seemed was a success. Somehow, it didn't feel like it. There was still so much more to fight.

She came here soon after, and now stared at the faded writing on the temple walls. The scratches were worn and barely decipherable but she had pieced together that this place was made in the celebration of a child born to a high elder, long before she was brought to Zebes. It was a place made in the joy of a life. Her hand brushed the wall lightly and tenderly.

In the weeks she was here, she often wondered what had made them leave. There was no sign of civilization other than this small temple. It seemed they had not lived here at all, only left their mark and moved on.

It was almost expected when the distant rumbling disturbed her absolute quiet. Turning from the wall with a frown, she left the inner chamber of the temple, walking back onto the steps and squinting up into the bright sky. Something trailed down steadily, a ship, coming closer and with increasing speed from her position. The rumble became a thunderous noise as the ship's controlled descent slowed. She leaned against the temple wall slightly, watching it land a little ways off, near where her own ship sat in an open patch of vegetation.

She felt her frown deepen, and shaking her head, turned to head back inside. It was no use pretending they wouldn't come, or that she could somehow escape her responsibility. She knew even if she had tried, it would never have worked. Her mind would never have let her indulge in such a fantasy.

The sound of heavy steps caused her to glance back at the shining chrome figure of a Federation Officer. The uniform blandness indicated an ordinary soldier with a regulatory hard suit. Most likely the kid picked a short straw and was sent off as a message boy.

"Ms. Aran?"

She nodded, turning fully to acknowledge the soldier, arms folded across her chest. He stepped into the room further, covered head swiveling slightly to take in the place. She briefly wondered if he thought her presence here was odd, and as quickly decided it really didn't matter.

He hadn't continued, looking to be more absorbed by the ruins than to relay anything to her and she cleared her throat, making him look back at her. "Uh, sorry." The voice was sheepish, and already she could tell that this nameless and faceless soldier at least hadn't had the personality sucked out of him. "HQ had sent you several summons, but you failed to respond. They wish you to contact them immediately."

"So they do." She muttered, more to herself than as an answer. Her eyes looked away as she knew another important mission was surely waiting for her. And for some reason, this failed to excite her. Any other time she would have welcomed a break from monotony, a chance to do what she did best. There was something about this place that regaled a feeling of content within her that she never known existed.

Noticing that the soldier hadn't left, she raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. He shifted a bit, a hand on his hip, but didn't say anything more, and she sighed slightly to herself. "Was there anything else?" His inability to leave was starting to get to her.

"Oh. Well, no." As she was about to suggest he take himself elsewhere, he went on as if he hadn't paused. "Its just fascinating, frankly. I can see why you like it here."

"Oh?" Her other brow joined the first.

"Well, the history I mean. An archeologist's dream." He laughed slightly. "Well, mine anyway."

"There are other places that could qualify as an archeologist's dream."

"Oh I know. This is just the first I've ever actually been to. Its just fascinating."

Amusement was starting to edge out annoyance. The soldier walked right past her, studying the faded writing. "I've seen this script before." He was muttering to himself now, and she stayed silent, watching.

"An odd syntax, but similar to another dialect found in the western galaxy. Zebesian if I'm not mistaken..." he trailed off, and stood a little straighter, turning slightly to look and Samus. She offered no response. He looked back, unconcerned about anything other than the wall. "Devotion of, um...success. No, of joy." He leaned forward, but didn't touch, working out the language. "Not devotion, dedication... dedicated to a bringer of joy."

"Something like that." Samus voiced, and the soldier turned again. "A hobby of yours, deciphering languages?"

"Something like that." She could hear the smile in his voice.

She shook her head, and turned to leave the temple, the soldier still looking at the wall. She headed back across the sandy beach, the air now a bit more chilly as the sun had left its high place in the sky to travel towards dusk. The soldier's ship was next to hers, and she looked at it briefly, entering her own. The dial to her CO was quick, and he didn't ask her about her delay in answering, getting to the point. Malcovitch was new in his position, but he seemed to understand the way Samus worked.

Absorbing the details of the mission, Samus looked to her power suit standing lifeless, waiting for her to wield it. Her last link to the Chozo, and a thing of such cold and mechanical beauty. It had taken severe repair after her dealings with the Phazon infused Metroid, but the metal joined together easily and remained solid and strong.

As she suited up, ready to depart, she looked out to where the federation soldier's ship still stood. She wondered faintly if he was still at the temple, and felt herself return to check. She didn't analyze exactly why she was curious, and in fact avoided it, walking the entire length back to the temple and finding the sight had not changed.

The muttering was constant, and she felt her head shake again. He seemed to notice her presence and turned, taking in her change in appearance. His voice held a slight awe as he spoke, "You know, you're a lot more intimidating in that."

"I'd like to think so." Her voice was dry.

He looked back at the wall briefly before letting out a sigh. There was a longing in it that she recognized, and she tilted her head slightly. "My orders are to accompany you as far as Aether, then rendevous with a team on the planet's surface.

Samus nodded. Her own briefing was to investigate a Federation ship abandoned in orbit before joining them. She looked around one last time, the fading sunlight casting an orange glow about the ruins. She knew before turning to follow the soldier out that she would return here. It was the closest thing to home she had.