SECTOR 1, SR388 ECOSYSTEM
The odd party began to move their way into Sector 1. The plants and animals she was encountering reminded her of the horrors on board the B.S.L station, but the overall area seemed calmer, more serene... Samus noticed a Hornoad hopping around helplessly as another member of its species joined it. Underneath her helmet, she couldn't help but smile at how blissful the ignorant creatures were of her and her allies.
Suddenly, one of the Hornoads froze in place. It began to emit a noise similar to - no, exactly like an alarm. Its eye turned red, contracting like a camera as it opened its mouth, a small plasma pellet coming from its mouth and hitting the bounty hunter's Chozo armor. Her suit gave an alarm as the energy from her tankless suit depleted slightly.
By reflex, she opened fire on the strange Hornoad, but practically nothing happened to the creature except for one thing: its skin was burnt off.
The Hornoad - more accurately an Autoad - reminded Samus of the Ridley Robot she had faced long ago. She was surprised that her cannon did nothing to it. The Autoads she had encountered during her first stay on SR388 were much weaker than this. Continuing to avoid the plasma bursts of the Autoad, she quickly scanned it and read the data file.
Autoad: Mechanical construct designed as a reconnaissance unit for the Space Pirates. Unit constructed with basic AI and a depleted Phazite skeleton. Is equipped with a weak plasma gun for defense against inquisitive life forms. Remanufactured from existing Phazite stocks due to Phazon becoming inert.
"Phazite?" Samus pondered how Phazon-based materials could still exist if Phazon had been rendered inert due to Phaaze's destruction, but then she remembered. Since Phazite was a combination of Phazon and other metals, the Phazon going inert would not change the strength of the material. It would only remove any and all traces of radioactivity from it.
"Samus, move out of the way!" Boxy barked a sudden order that Samus followed as the mechanoid charged its twin plasma beams, the resulting shot piercing through the automaton as it exploded with a big bang. The weapons retracted back into the B.O.X as the sound of someone blowing the tip of a smoking gun came from the security robot.
"Plasma beam, pierces through any enemy in its way."
The bounty hunter looked in awe at the massive weapons. "Can I have one to integrate into my beam?"
The defense platform turned, 'looking' at her. "No. If you have these, then I have less weapons to defend myself. You're a cool girl, Samus, but I prefer keeping my weapons."
A tad somber, Samus was distracted by her frustration and barely noticed the scared Hornoad hopping away.
"Hey, where's that thing going?" The B.O.X stepped towards the little creature, making it hop away even faster. Realizing that it was a potential meal, the young Metroid detached itself from Samus's power suit and hurried towards the living creature.
"No, wait! Ugh..." The bounty hunter began to follow her "baby," the security mech following behind her.
Samus and Boxy followed the characteristic squeels of the Metroid as it led them through the forested area. Through the path of trees and wildlife, which stayed well clear of the security robot and the bounty hunter, they were able to keep pace and track the creatures directly to the plains. What they saw through the brush startled them...
The Metroid was, as expected, greedily devouring the life energy of the Hornoad. Watching it were a pair of Zebesian Space Pirates, one green, one red, both of them with their claw cannons fearfully aimed at the impenetrable creature.
With the Hornoad drained of energy, its lifeless gray husk lying on the grassy floor, the Metroid turned and "looked" at the two Space Pirates, giving a loud screech. It rushed towards them, but was suddenly stopped by the whistle of Samus Aran. Like a parrot, it flew over to her shoulder, gracefully landing and latching itself onto her as she aimed her arm cannon at the pirates.
Unusually enough, the Space Pirates simply stood there, looking at her with their part avian/part crustacean physique as she stared at them. They, for some reason, chose not to attack. One of them turned away, tapping his claw's tip on a keypad as a portion of the rocky wall behind him opened. Out came a silver-armored Zebesian, flanked by a pair of black-armored Space Pirates who otherwise appeared exactly like him.
"The Hunter returns. It is a time of... celebration. Please, come inside." Turning around, the elite Zebesians led Samus and the Metroid inside, refusing to allow Boxy entrance.
"Hey, what gives?"
Samus turned around to look at the oversized mechanoid. "No offense, but I don't think you can fit in between these doors."
Already, the Space Pirates had established a modest base within an underground tunnel. There were 5 tents set up around a small fire, Zebesians of many colors sitting in them. All of them looked up at Samus, giving glances she assumed to be of awe as the bounty hunter and her Metroid "baby" walked through the camp.
"We have waited for your signal, Commander," started the silver commander. "When we detected the trail of your ship leading here, all of us knew the time was right. Thus, we followed you here to the archives."
Samus stopped the elite Space Pirate in mid-paragraph. "What did you just call me?"
"Commander. That was Mother Brain's original designation for you, was it not? You, Commander Ridley, and Commander Grey Voice."
She stayed silent, mulling over this new possibility. The Space Pirates saw her as their commander?
"Every single leader of the Space Pirates is dead. All have been killed, a multitude by you. You are all we have left, Commander. If you die, the Space Pirates will cease to function as a corporeal organization."
With the Galactic Federation inevitably on their way to the archives, the Aurora Unit likely having betrayed her and kept her occupied with this quest as a distraction, she knew she could use the help of the Space Pirates.
"Very well. You, the silver one... What's your name?"
With a large claw, the silver Zebesian commander saluted Samus. "Siad. My name is pronounced 'side.'"
"Alright, Siad. You're coming with me. I need to get to the next objective."
Immediately as she said this, Adam rang in, his voice somewhat clearer than before. "Lady, there are Space Pirates right on top of you! Get out of there!"
"No worries, Adam," she quipped, looking into the eyes of her new subordinate, "they're on our side now."
"What..." The AI paused for a moment, suffering a minor logic error before continuing its new briefing. "We're detecting a massive energy disturbance in Sector 2. Something the archivists stored there is reactivating. Mechanical construct, about one and a half times the height of your power suit. Overgrowth is beginning to choke off all the tunnels in Sector 2. if the sector gets blocked, access to the life support systems could be restricted. As well, I'm picking up at least one survivor near the disturbance's location... Whoever they are, they won't last long if whatever's choking the Sector gets to them."
"Very well, Samus Aran out." Deactivating her communicator, the new commander of the Space Pirates looked at her subordinate. "What spare weapons have you got?"
Leading Samus into one of the tents, Siad picked up three pieces of technology, giving what she assumed to be a smile. The bounty hunter picked up the upgrades and gave a soft groan as they were absorbed into her suit's database.
New upgrade received: Polar Beam
The Polar Beam is a combination weapon prototype based off of Project TORCH and Project GLACE, attempts to create a fire beam weapon and an ice beam weapon, respectively. Though a normal shot carries slightly more power than a regular arm cannon blast, the cannon can be charged with a variable pole system: if the targeted enemy is ice-based, it will launch an arc of fire, and if the targeted enemy is fire-based, it will launch a spread of ice flechettes. Pole system may be switched to fire or ice outside of targeting mode, or it may be set to automatic. Warning: Ice Beam data erased.
A pole-based weapon? The fully-charged fire beam would be useful against the vegetation in Sector 2.
New upgrade received: Shard Missile
The Shard Missile is a redesign of the missile designed for maximum collateral damage. On a basis, this weapon is capable of filling the same space in a missile pack as an ordinary missile, despite it carrying twice the power. A micro-heatseeker is installed in the warhead, allowing for slight changes in trajectory to more adequately produce shrapnel. Upon impact with the target, the Shard Missile produces a sphere of glowing shards that rapidly move outwards from the explosion. Any enemies hit by the fragments of the Shard Missile will take minor damage, though your suit protects you from the small pieces of energy. Warning: Missile data erased.
This weapon seemed to operate like the Diffusion Missile, but with less damage and no freezing capabilities. It also could not be charged, allowing for more firepower but less overall damage to the target.
New upgrade received: Hazard Shield
This Hazard Shield is a redesigned variant of the Hazard Shield you encountered during your time with the PED Suit. Rather than deflecting damage from all environmental hazards, the new Hazard Shield seems to be designed as a multipurpose resistor. As such, it merely adds an extra layer of Phazite armor to your power suit, allowing for a 10% decrease in the damage experienced due to environmental hazards, projectiles, explosions, melee attacks, plasma and laser weapons, and any other hazard you may run into. Likely a Pirate attempt to augment their own armor with a Varia Suit mimic. Warning: Spazer data erased.
As the data on the upgrade indicated that this was a Varia Suit mimic, Samus was impressed at its ability to defend against all types of hazards. However, it would only be helpful until the Varia Suit data was repaired, which would hopefully be soon.
"Do you have any usable data chips I could use to restore the functionality of my armor?"
Siad nodded, leaving and quickly returning with a single data chip that integrated seamlessly into Samus's armor.
Wide Beam data repaired. Upgrade restored. Charge beam data repaired. Upgrade restored.
"Samus, these may be useful upgrades, but they aren't the Super Missile, the Wave Beam, or the Gravity Suit. Be careful with them."
"Roger that, Adam." She looked at Siad and her Metroid, motioning for them to come along. "Let's go. We have some more secrets to dig up..."
A gleam of fire flew down the tunnel as Samus burned away at the plants. Siad was snipping vines with his claws as the Metroid voraciously worked on sapping whatever energy it could from the bigger vines. Slowly but surely, they made progress, sculpting out a hole for the B.O.X to fit into, using its plasma beams and seeker missiles to blow away even more of the festering biomass.
Eventually, the party managed to get past the plug of vegetation and plowed their way deeper into the tunnel, boring past another plug at the end of the hallway before entering a very large room. Inside was something very, very strange...
The room itself was overgrown with plants and vines of all sizes, very few empty patches of land available to stand on. In the center of the room was what appeared to be a Chozo Statue, its eyes glowing brightly. The dulled and rusted carapace of the machine seemed to be somewhat integrated with the mass of plants, and it clawed at the party, trying to attack them with the whip-like plants grown into its arms.
From the ceiling, flowers opened, dropping spores onto the party. Boxy stepped forward, aiming her missiles and plasma beams at the central statue, trying to crack it open. All her weapons succeeded in doing, though, was freeing the Chozo mechanoid from its organic prison.
With a mechanical growl, it began to shoot waves of energy at Samus and the others. Boxy found herself hunkering down behind her 3 front legs as Siad tried to hit the animated statue in its chest, the weak point. Samus joined the Space Pirate, firing her own arm cannon's Shard Missiles at the vulnerable Torizo as it continued to move around the room.
Suddenly, the statue was surrounded by a field of light, so bright that the living members of the party had to look away... except for the Metroid, who saw the energy recharging the now-golden Torizo as a meal.
Now spewing explosive item spheres, its wave attack even more powerful, the Torizo continued to jump around, performing a Shinespark-like move that Samus barely avoided, the ancient statue crashing into and ricocheting off the legs of the B.O.X. Siad fired at its chest again... and his claws' lasers did nothing. They were too weak. The bounty hunter herself knew that trying to use missiles on the Golden Torizo was useless... she had encountered a statue exactly like this during her second trip to Zebes. And yet...
On a hunch, Samus lept across the room, standing directly in front of the wall and persuading the Torizo to rush towards her. As it Shinesparked towards her, she rolled out of the way, the statue crashing head-first into the metal wall. Stepping back, attempting to regain its balance, the Torizo was fair game for Samus as she opened up on it, sending several Shard Missiles into the gut of the Chozo creation and causing it a great deal of damage.
The sparks flying from the ancient mechanoid were all the motivation for feeding that the Metroid needed. It greedily latched onto the damaged Torizo, its fangs sinking deep into the metal of the statue's head as the very energy was drained from whatever form of power it used. Finally full, the larval Metroid lifted off of the dead Torizo as Samus gave it a final blast, the remains of the Chozo creation disintegrating into a pile of dust.
"Samus? Are you there?" Adam was calling her.
"I'm here, Adam."
"Good," the AI began, "because the survivors on board this station are all located in the room behind the door on that back wall. From there, it's a short trip to the Norfair environment of Sector 3. I'd highly advise that you get the survivors to your ship first, however. They won't last long in these environments. Once we make our first round of the six sectors, we can penetrate deeper into them, see what we missed. Until then, keep calm and carry on."
Giving an informal salute, the bounty hunter continued towards the next room. Shooting the door open, she eyed the personnel leaning against the wall. Personnel that seemed extraordinarily familiar to her...
"Madeline Bergman? What are you doing here?"
The disheveled scientist looked up at the Power Suit-armed warrior, her eyes opening with more hope than she had ever felt in her entire life, except for...
"Samus? Samus Aran? Oh my God... You have no idea how glad I am to see you." The scientist doffed her lab coat and gave the bounty hunter a very strong hug. "I've been trapped her for days, with him as my only company." She motioned to the Federation marine in armor next to her.
"Hey, you're a fun lady, Madeline, but I'd prefer hittin' on the Princess."
The young Aran's eyes practically exploded as the faceplate of the armor retracted. "ANTHONY!?"
"The one and only." The former member of the 07th Platoon stood up, clutching a worn freeze gun in his hands. "After the whole Bottle Ship thing, I thought I'd request a transfer to the archives depot, help keep Miss Bergman here company. And as such, here I am!" He gave a goofy smile.
"Company?" She eyed Madeline with a suspicious glance.
"Let me start from the beginning, Samus..." Madeline began to tear up a bit.
"When Melissa... I mean, when MB was destroyed on board the Bottle Ship, I suffered a nervous breakdown. I had to take months off from my work schedule, all the while being hounded by the Galactic Federation, who wanted to keep me quiet about what went on there. In my... emotional state, I was not going to reveal any critical information. When I finally was rested up, ready to take on my duties as a scientist once again, I requested for a position here on Gyyr'tak. I felt that since I was one of the many foolish scientists who helped the Federation create these biological weapons of death and destruction, helping preserve their remains and keeping them safe from anyone else who wanted the technology was a fitting way for me to pay penance for everyone who died because of my involvement in Project Metroid Warriors."
"I see... So what happened to the facility?"
"At first we thought it was the Space Pirates. They intruded into Sector 1, a somewhat native environment for them, but went no further. It was strange... We expected them to be in Sector 6 by now, attempting to loot whatever technology they could find. Then our systems began to be scrambled. It was like some sort of virus had placed itself in our network, taking over all the automated defenses and wresting their controls away from the Aurora Unit. Then the creatures here in Sector 2 began to wake up... I was fortunate enough to be with Anthony when the plants and that Chozo machine started the mess. They locked us in..."
Anthony absent-mindedly scratched the back of his neck with a smooth edge of his freeze gun. "So what's this Pirate doing here?"
Siad straightened up as well as a Zebesian could. "I am following the orders of the Commander of the Space Pirates, Samus Aran."
Now it was Anthony's turn to go goggle-eyed. "You... But... How the hell did you end up running the Space Pirates?"
"Long story short, I killed everyone else in line. Apparently, they're still going by what Mother Brain told them about me being one of the Commanders of the Space Pirates."
Adam rang again on her communicator. "Samus, I'm picking up a disturbance in Sector 3. The station's power systems are based off the magma flow from a facility buried inside the sector. Something is trying to break in and disable the power, which would lock you inside the facility. I need you to go and investigate what it is."
Anthony raised an eyebrow. "Commander Malkovich? Aren't you dead?"
The comm stayed silent as Samus gently placed her hand on Anthony's back. "I'll explain it to you on the way. Madeline, Anthony, you're coming with me to the Norfair sector. Once we figure out what's there, I'll take you back to my ship. You'll be safe there."
"Hell naw, Princess." Anthony put his faceplate into position. "I'm sticking with you until the end of this mission."
Knowing she was never going to get rid of him, no matter how hard she tried, Samus and her newly expanded party moved on their way to Sector 3...