A/N: As some of you already know, Frost is out of the country at the moment, so I'll be posting his chapters, as per his request. You can simply call me "Jennie"...yes, that one. He asks that you please read and review to let him know what you think.
To AuthorShax - Simply look up a picture in deviantART or Google. They're not hard to find, and it will allow you to envision the story much easier.
Disclaimer: I own nothing having to do with the Metroid franchise in any shape or form.
Chapter 3: Born of Darkness
"I don't like this." Samus whispered from within her helmet. "I've been in here for almost twenty minutes already and the most dangerous thing I've seen is a spot of what looks like oil on the floor."
"That's dangerous?" Adam asked with a hint of mirth.
Samus rolled her eyes. "You know what I mean. If this place is really as important as Anthony says it is, there should be a ton of defense systems. The only one I've come across so far is an easily-bypassable retina scanner. It doesn't make sense to me."
"I agree." her CO responded warily. "Keep your guard up."
"Yes sir." the Hunter responded softly.
Samus kept her head on a swivel, checking the hallways for any sort of danger. Much to her annoyance and growing paranoia, there wasn't any.
"Samus..." a soft voice broke her thoughts. "I think I may have found why there's no danger around here." Samus was about to speak, but Adam interrupted her with, "Get to the data uplink system, right now. It's about a thousand paces ahead of you."
The woman didn't respond, and only took off running, blasting the door in front of her with her Power Beam, then running inside and thrusting her arm cannon into the link device. Her suit quickly hacked the protocols installed within the station's system and downloaded the map.
After a few seconds of going through the new data, her mouth dropped open. "No..."
"Yes." Adam responded softly. "Silent self-destruct has been activated. There's no alarms because there's no one to warn...and you only have about seven minutes to deactivate it, but there's another problem."
"Of course there is." Samus growled softly.
Adam ignored her comment and continued. "The remote uplink device is sixty floors below you...there's no way you'd get there even if you used your Speed Booster the entire way."
Samus sighed and punched the wall in front of her. "So that's it then...we came here for nothing."
"Well...I do have one idea, but you're not going to like it." her CO responded with an implied grin.
"Time's a-wasting, Adam. Quit skirting around the idea and just tell me." Samus growled.
"Alright," the virtual CO began, "well here's what the situation is: as I said, there's no way that you'd get down there in time to deactivate the self-destruct...not if you took the elevators and everything."
"So..." Samus urged.
"So," Adam began again, his demeanor more optimistic now, "you're not. You're going to take a little run along the rocky surface of the station."
Samus nearly choked on the air she was breathing. "I-is that even safe?"
"Define 'safe'." Adam deadpanned.
"Right..." she responded with a wry grin.
"Anyway, this station is large and dense enough that coupled with its own gravity, your Gravity Suit function will provide you with more than enough usable gravity to allow you to safely make your way to your destination...but therein lies another problem. The atmosphere is nearly non-existent...and with this being the dark side of the station, it's only 70K out there. You're going to have to keep your Speed Booster running the entire time you're out there. Stop for more than a few seconds, and you'll freeze solid. The friction provided from you running through the 'air' will provide enough warmth for you to survive." Adam then brought up the map in Samus' visor, and a point on it began blinking with a small waypoint next to it. "The waypoint is your exit to the surface. A safety door will slam shut behind you when you burst through the wall, so don't worry about it damaging the station...and the same will happen at your re-entry point. Your point of re-entry is about eight miles away, so get moving. Remember, don't stop until you get back inside."
Samus nodded without another word and activated her Gravity Suit function, and ran to the end of the hallway to give herself room. She then sprinted, using both her Chozo strength and Powersuit technology to increase her speed. The boosters on her back activated, and suddenly she burst through the wall and into the cold darkness of the station's surface. From there, she did not stop, already feeling the crushing cold. She ran faster than she ever had before, and thankfully, Adam had been right...the running was warming her up.
'Just seven miles to go...' Samus thought grimly.
Three minutes later, Samus burst through the wall within the radio tower of the station, and a safety door slammed shut behind her, locking out the cold exterior air. She stood and brushed the ice crystals off her arm and reestablished contact with her CO.
"Adam, I'm in. Where's the uplink?" she nearly shouted as she caught her breath.
"Two floors down and at the end of the hall. Unfortunately, you have to take elevators to get there...there's no other way. Hurry Samus, you've got just under three minutes left!" urged the voice of her mentor.
She nodded and took off running, activating the elevator's controls from afar as she ran, causing the doors to open just as she arrived at them. She quickly stepped inside and pressed the button for Deck 2, and felt as the elevator hummed as it suddenly dropped through the shaft.
Samus waited, impatiently tapping her foot as the agonizingly slow elevator made its way to her destination.
After nearly a minute, the elevator arrived and the doors opened, and the Hunter within wasted no time in sprinting down the corridor and towards the door at the end of the hall. She held her cannon in front of her and blasted the door, and it opened to allow her to run through...but leaving her with no idea how to handle things.
"Alright Adam, I'm here. What do I do?" Samus asked anxiously.
"You need to destroy the entire console...not with the Plasma Beam though. Heat on that scale will cause a chain reaction that will make the explosives detonate." Adam answered. "So, you need to freeze them. Activate your Ice Beam and Wave Beam and freeze everything in here...then smash the main console. In doing that, you'll have successfully disabled the remote uplink, and the self-destruct sequence will halt. Hurry up, you have under a minute left."
She nodded and pressed a few buttons on the outside of her arm cannon, selecting her Ice Beam and Wave Beam, and once both were active, she began firing at everything in the room in bursts of power. Both weapons did their job well, and after just a few seconds, the entire room looked as if it belonged in a winter wonderland. Samus then wasted no time in using her enhanced strength to bring her right heel down upon the main console, followed by her arm cannon and her left heel. The wires were frozen and brittle, so much that they simply fell apart when struck, and the metal of the console fractured as if it were glass.
After a few seconds of this, Samus sat against the wall with a loud sigh. "Alright Adam, I got it...the console's destroyed."
"Well done Samus," the CO praised, "you did a great job."
Samus took a deep breath and stood again, frowning as she thought. "What the hell could be so important that the research group would rather destroy this place than try and protect it?"
"Something that they never want the light of day to see." Adam responded grimly. "Alright...the remote uplink is disabled now, so all you have to do is make your way to the primary research deck and find the research subject. Regardless of what you plan to do with it, after that you need to manually activate the self-destruct sequence and set the timer to allow yourself enough time to escape."
She nodded with a smile. "Sounds good, sir...although if you don't mind, I think I'll take the scenic route this time. I'm still having trouble feeling my feet after that mad dash on the surface."
Adam laughed heartily. "Well you're more than welcome to do that, Lady. I should remind you that you're still sixty stories below the surface, and even with one of the three elevators you have to take is jet-powered, you're still in for quite a long trek. Tread lightly, someone knows you're here. There's no telling what else might be in store for you. Perhaps whoever it is doesn't know it's you, but they know someone is tampering with this station. Stay alert and accomplish the mission."
"Will do, Adam. Entering the Communications Room elevator shaft now." she advised. The Hunter then pressed the button on the panel, and the motor roared to life, taking her up.
"I never want to see another elevator shaft for as long as I live." Samus grumbled as she stepped through the open doors and onto the primary research deck.
"It couldn't have been that bad." Adam prodded.
Samus growled. "I've been through drain pipes in my Morph Ball, and once spent an entire week in a cave too small to lay down in, waiting for Old Bird to find me. Nothing gave me claustrophobia until now. I hate elevators."
The CO chuckled and said, "Well as soon as you retrieve or destroy the research subject and set the station to detonate, you can leave...and then you can be done with this place for good."
"I can definitely get behind that plan." Samus answered with a smile. "Well, let's get to this research deck and get the hell out of here."
The armor-clad woman quickly made her way through the corridors of the research deck, not wasting any time. By her count, this would be the fourth time she'd been somewhere she didn't like, having people she didn't know try to kill her. She was in a hurry to complete her mission and destroy this wretched place.
As Samus turned to the next hallway however, she froze. Something didn't feel right, and a moment later she found out why.
Upon the HUD in her visor, the Hunter noticed some sort of projectile heading her way, and with the practiced reflexes of a warrior, she jumped into the air and off the wall, dodging a large shot of plasma. Upon landing, her head swiveled to the right and she saw what attacked her. It was a large security bot, apparently the last line of defense within the station, assuming the self-destruct protocol failed. The machine was shaped into the form of a humanoid, with twin cannons on each arm instead of hands, and large ball bearings attached to the legs instead of feet. Twin boosters were on its back, and its head was a blank shield of what looked like glass. Samus quickly activated her visor to scan for any weak points, but was forced to dodge behind the wall again as the machine began to chase her, firing its powerful cannons the entire time.
"For fuck's sake, who built this thing?" she growled under her breath.
"The Federation knows that you'd do something like this." Adam responded calmly. "I'll bet they designed it with you in mind. It's a 'Samus-hunter', if you will. As fast and as strong as you, but it lacks your experience and judgement. You can beat it, Samus...just focus."
"Right." the bounty hunter responded softly. She then took a deep breath and focused on her target. "Alright you overgrown toaster, let's dance."
Samus dashed directly at the machine, and dropped onto her back and slid underneath its counter of twin beams of plasma. She activated her own Plasma Beam and jumped off the ground and over the mech, charging her beam. When it was fully charged she released the blast directly at its chest...but an energy shield deflected the blast away.
"Shit." she cursed. "Any ideas Adam?"
"You're not going to be able to do anything to it until you disable that shield, and I'd bet money that's where its 'vitals' are." the computerized CO replied hurriedly. "Switch to your ice beam and try and freeze its arms so it can't fire at you, and then try and use the grappler to rip that shield unit off."
Samus switched her beam accordingly, then charged and fired a shot directly at one of its arms...but this also was deflected.
"Use the Wave Beam variant you found on Tallon IV. Overload its shielding systems." Adam suggested.
The warrior complied and changed her weapon yet again, and just as she hoped it would, the electric shot was absorbed by the energy shield.
"You know what? I'm sick of this. Time to fry, 'bot." Samus growled. While dodging the multiple plasma shots from her opponent, she charged up her Wave Beam to full capacity, then used her right index finger to hit the missile button within her arm cannon, which caused a large steady stream of deadly electricity to seek out and attack the enemy, breaking through its shield in a matter of moments, and then overloading its systems, causing it to fall to the ground in a smoking heap of metal. Samus stepped closer and latched her grappler onto the chest shield and ripped it off, then charged her Plasma Beam and released a white-hot stream of molten energy at the chest, incinerating and destroying it.
"Well, that's one way to do it." Adam commented. "That was your Wave Buster ability...I didn't even know you still had that."
"Just because I don't use it often doesn't mean I don't keep it in the suit's databanks." Samus responded with a grin. "Just like today, I never know when I'm going to need it." She then chuckled. "C'mon Adam, you're supposed to be the one of higher thought here."
"Even computers make mistakes, Lady. You've been privy to that before, I beleive." the CO responded cooly.
Samus shuddered and kicked the smoking debris away from her before making her way down the corridor and to the main research vault, where the subject was supposed to be.
A small sphere dropped out of a hole in the ceiling, and when it landed, it reassembled into the armored form of Samus. She looked around cautiously, noticing that multiple containment tanks were on display.
As she eyed the specimens within the tanks, she grimaced. "What were they doing here? This is wrong on a level I've never seen before."
"New objective, Samus." Adam stated sternly. "I want you to access the research database and download their notes and findings. At the very least, we could use it for some leverage in a jam."
She nodded before walking over to a computer kiosk and using her left hand to type commands on the keypad. With Adam's prompts, she broke through the multiple layers of security within a few minutes, and then looked at all the data.
"By all that's holy...they were experimenting with human and alien DNA here." Samus breathed in shock. She snapped her left index finger and thumb, and a small cord snaked its way out from the thumb. She connected it to the computer and began the download process.
"So what do you think they'll do next?" the computer within her helmet asked.
Samus shrugged as she watched the computer's download progress bar. "After something like this, I wouldn't be surprised if they started experimenting on live humans. This is beyond what I ever thought possible."
The computer beeped once and her CO added, "Download complete, Samus. Alright, records show that the subject should be in the high-security tank to your right, through the doors."
The Hunter nodded before disconnecting from the computer and readying her weapons, unsure of what to expect. She slowly made her way to the door marked "HS-0332" and broke down the door with a single kick, revealing the glowing green tank before her. As she inched closer, she held her cannon up ahead of her, just in case the subject had been loosed or something...
But her paranoia was unfounded.
The subject was still within the stabilizing fluid of the tank...but it was nothing like she expected.
It was humanoid in form, not much larger than her, and had the basic body of a human...however, that was where similarities ended. The skin was heavily plated with what looked like chitinous armor, and was a deep violet. Large clawed hands with only four digits took the place of human hands, and reptilian-esque clawed feet replaced the soft human appendages. The head was angular, with an elongated mandible structure and an elongated cranium, ending in a slight point.
It was the large dragon-like wings that completely confirmed Samus' suspicions though.
"Ridley?!" she nearly choked out.
"Why couldn't they experiment with the DNA of something cuddly and harmless...like a puppy?" Adam asked in exacerbation. He sighed and said, "Well...that's that I guess. Start the self-destruct sequence and get to the ship."
Samus' brain was still frozen from the realization of what this subject was, but her body moved to follow the order. Seemingly in a daze, she began to type in the detonation codes to the computer, and pressed the button to start the procedure, giving herself nearly ten minutes to exit. Just as she was about to leave the room, however, she stopped and looked back at the tank.
"Samus, let's go. Seven minutes was cutting it close last time, don't tempt fate twice." Adam warned.
The Hunter stood frozen for a moment before slowly making her way to the tank and using the terminal to drain the fluid and open it. "I can't leave it behind..."
"Samus, I know I said that I was leaving how to handle the subject up to you, but are you sure? Ridley has only been your greatest enemy your entire life. Even that clone of it on the Bottle Ship seemed to have an intense hatred for you. I'm just not sure this is a good idea." the CO responded cautiously.
Samus shook her head with a sigh. "I'm living proof that what we are doesn't make us who we are. If it is in fact a danger, I'll deal with it myself...but it might have memories, or even dreams."
"Are you going soft on me Lady?" Adam asked curiously.
Samus shook her head again. "Just trying to think like my people would...with wisdom and good judgement." She watched as the test subject fell to the floor within the chamber, and she stepped over and picked it up over her shoulder, noting that it was quite a bit heavier than she assumed. "Gray Voice once told me that when a life is in my hands, to think of the life. Well this life hasn't attacked me yet, and until it does, I don't hold any grudge against it. Prepare the medical bay on the ship...we need to find out as much about this thing as possible before we can take care of it."
Adam sighed and did as he was asked. "I hope you know what you're doing, Samus. Alright, medical bay is being set up for it. Get out of there and let's get clear of the station."
Samus nodded once again before setting off in a soft jog towards the docking bay.
"C'mon Samus, time's ticking." the ship's computer warned.
The unarmored woman nodded as she strapped the new passenger down on the medical table. "I know, I just want to be sure that it doesn't sustain injuries just from the takeoff."
"If its DNA is half Ridley's it'll be fine. It can die at your hands at least four more times before it would be in danger of not coming back." Adam quipped.
Samus rolled her eyes before exiting the small medical bay and sat down in the pilot's seat. "Keep it sedated until we're near Korasit. It'll be the only place I can safely handle this if things go south."
"Understood, Samus. Course is set...we'll arrive within about twelve hours." Adam advised.
Samus slumped in her chair a bit with a smile. "Good. Keep things handled...I'm getting some sleep."
The woman then quickly made her way to her private quarters before entering her sleep chamber and nearly immediately falling asleep.