Darkest Ridley's Metroid: Chapter 2
Written by Darkest Ridley
Published on the 5th July, 2008.
In my dreams, the world is dark. I cannot see, and I cannot hear. There is nothing. Absolutely nothing. The sensation of nothing is something that will haunt you forever. Your heart pounds in your chest, and you pray that you will never have to live through it ever again.
But I am living through it again. This nightmare is something I will experience every time I close my eyes until the day I die.
The thing about nothing is that your body slowly begins to realize that nothing can only sustain itself for so long, and, eventually, something is going to shatter the peace. It's a law of the universe... something always happens. As I dream I begin to realize that yes, something is going to happen, and it is going to happen very soon, because I have already lived through this.
At that point I begin to hear the screaming, and the horrific shrieks of monsters in the dark. My heart rate is accelerating, and up above something bright flashes, and I think I'm going blind. But I can see the outlines, black outlines against the white, coming for me, coming for everything I've ever held dear.
And then I wake up.
My sheets are usually drenched in sweat, and I usually am out of breath as soon as my eyes fly open. Most of the time I just sit up and put my head back and close my eyes, breathing slowly.
Praying that it'll all go away.
Maybe it will. Then again, maybe not.
I had another nightmare on October 22nd, 20X5. They were starting to get more and more elaborate, and I was starting to realize why. October 29th was soon. I had one week until the one-year anniversary of the birth of my nightmares. One week.
I got out of bed and splashed some cold water on my face. I looked in the mirror. It'd been a while since I had the courage to look into the eyes of the woman who stared back at me. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Fair complexion. Most humans would consider her to be beautiful.
But not me. She was someone to hide, and not let the world see.
I walked into the living room of my apartment, devoid of any decoration. The floor was wide open, which was perfect. I dropped to the floor and did some push-ups, followed by sit-ups, and finally some pull-ups on a bar hanging in the doorway to my bedroom. I finished, and walked into my bathroom.
I pulled off my night clothes, and got into the shower, letting the water run down and wash away everything from the nightmare. I think I might've been in the shower for an hour and a half.
I got out of the shower and dried off, put on a bra and underwear, and then zipped into the blue jumpsuit, which hugged my skin and felt like another part of me. These weren't my clothes.
However, what I was about to put on was.
I placed the gauntlet on over my left hand. It was a thick-plated orange gauntlet with a green, glowing button on top of my palm. I pressed the button, and felt the energy course over me as, out of nowhere, the orange and red armor appeared over my body. I put my blonde hair up in a ponytail, and then placed the green-visored, red helmet on over my head. My right arm was encased in a long, green cannon, which was my weapon of choice.
When I exited the apartment, I walked down the hall and got in the elevator, which took me up to the landing pad. I got out of the elevator and stepped into the rain.
Bay City floated on a platform above where New York City once was. Hundreds of years ago the city had flooded, along with most of the United States Eastern Coast. The United States was no more. The entire planet was united under the Galactic Federation.
All around Bay City, the sea crashed with fierce waves. It had been five years since the last time the City had seen the rays of the sun. It had been raining ever since. The Capital of the Galactic Federation was located here, amidst the gloom. Vast corporations also made there homes here, and, besides the major companies, one form of business was an illegal market that sold "treasure" found below the sea, in the ruins of New York.
Last year I retired from the Galactic Federation Marine Corps at the age of nineteen. I served in a special forces group known as the Shadowed Hand, which either lent support to the main infantry or went on missions far too dangerous for standard Marines. The Federation was, and had been, at war with beings known as the Space Pirates for nearly a decade.
Now that I was out of the Marines, I worked as a bounty hunter, tracking down fugitives and going on missions, that, strangely enough, the Federation deemed too dangerous for Marines to go on.
Today the job demanded that I track down one of the leaders of the Sea Raiders, as they were called. The Sea Raiders were the ones that went below the surface in submarines and collected the treasures from the ruins. Vehicles that had once driven down the streets of New York City had rusted away, becoming unattractive lumps on the bottom of the ocean. The buildings' structural integrity was compromised by the seawater, and, apparently, buildings down below collapsed on a daily basis. I found it hard to imagine what could possibly still be obtainable down there, but apparently, some of the bank vaults were still unopened and unexposed to the sea water.
Marcus Santiago was arrested three weeks ago, along with the rest of his submarine crew, and had a court appearance scheduled for yesterday at three in the afternoon. He never showed up. That meant that I had to find him and re-arrest him.
I crossed the landing pad, passing all of the tiny civilian-class cruisers, and stood in front of my massive Hunter Gunship. It was red, with a green cockpit shield. The body sloped back, and from the sides curved wings, and the two of them together kind of looked like a big U.
I climbed to the top and dropped into the hull. The hexagonal door closed over my head, and locked. Inside my ship was a suit repair device, which was given to me by the Chozo before I left planet Zebes. There was also an ammunition rack, which hooked up to the arm cannon to reload missiles and other ammunition. A small bed was in the rear of the hull, for intergalactic missions that required a lot of sleeping time. And up front, in the cockpit, was a seat for me.
I sat down in the cockpit, and took off, gliding through the city sky at a slow pace.
On the way there, I thought about the Chozo, the beings who had given me the armor I was now wearing and who had raised me since I was a small child. I don't remember my pre-Chozo childhood, but I do know that they took me in when my parents died. They told me they would tell me how they died when the time was right. I had lived with them on several different planets as a child, and the creatures, which seemed to be a hominid/avian cross, were incredibly kind to me.
I hadn't seen them in years, ever since I departed Zebes, their last home planet. I hadn't been in contact with them either. Now that it had been several years, I wondered if I had been deemed "ready" to find out who I was before I lived with them. Maybe some day I would go back to Zebes and find out.
I finally reached my destination: the landing pad of a large, rectangular building without much decoration or, really, anything beautiful or easy on the eyes at all.
I moved back to the hexagonal, overhead door, and the lift brought me up and out of the hull of the ship. I stood there, the rain pelting me, and glanced across the deck. The building seemed to have been abandoned years ago. Which, it had been. But on the street, it was said that Santiago had taken residence in the building, which was scheduled for demolition in three years. Apparently he had renovated the place.
I leapt off of the top of the gunship, somersaulting through the air, and landed in a crouch, my palm touching the ground and my arm cannon held at my side. I got up slowly, and then walked to the door.
I walked inside the building, and found myself on a massive catwalk. The first thing I noticed was the giant, green head with a spiky crown that sat in the center of the room, in the middle of a fountain. Jutting from another part of the fountain was a long, green arm holding a golden torch. Water trickled from the statue's eyes. The statue was immense, and at first I had a hard time believing it could fit inside. The building had looked big from the outside, but not this big.
The second thing I noticed were the walls. The walls were covered in metal plates with names like "33rd Street". There were hundreds of them.
I walked down to the bottom floor, and looked around. On one side of the building was a fireplace, and in front of it, a big leather chair.
"You're here to arrest me, aren't you," said a voice from the chair. I couldn't see who it was, but it was coming from the chair.
"You missed your court appearance. I have to," I replied. Through the helmet's technology, my voice came out in a generic, monotonous way.
"You know what they're going to do to me?" he asked.
"They're going to process you, and then imprison you as the judge sees fit."
"No. What they're going to do is they're going to process me, search this building, and find all the stolen art here. And then they're going to execute me and say that I was murdered in prison by a bunch of criminals. I am not a criminal. I am an artist, and I, in turn, appreciate fine art. Is that so much of a crime? To bring up things from the underworld?" He got up from his chair and pointed to the fountain. "Do you know what that is? That is the head of Lady Liberty, and to her right is her torch. Several centuries ago, she represented hope and freedom, welcoming people to her world. Now she is an ancient relic; an illegal one. 'Propaganda of a dead world' they say. It took me three months to smuggle her in here."
He gestured to the walls. "Those signs aren't the originals. Those all faded away with time. But they're recreations, symbols of a time when there were streets you could walk on and not feel the acid rain slowly deteriorating your skin. In my bedroom the walls are covered in broadway posters. do you now what broadway is?"
I shook my head, no.
"Of course not. They wouldn't tell you that. But it was a place were musicals and stage productions were performed, and they inspired hopes and dreams and individuality. It was all art, all art that told you that you could be whoever you want to be, art that directly disobeys our Federation's policy."
There was a pause.
"They're not going to incarcerate me, my friend. They're going to murder me because I have different taste."
I thought about it for a moment, and as I did, he walked back to his chair. But instead of sitting down, he reached for the seat cushion.
"I say no. I refuse, because I do not want to die their way. I want to die, with my art. On my terms."
He pulled out a sidearm, put it to his head, and just as I managed to cry out "NO!" the thunderous sound of the trigger being pulled echoed through the room.
I returned home after filing a report at the Law Enforcement Detainment and Policy Station, and removed the suit that I hid behind every day. I went into my bedroom, sat at my desk, and turned on my computer. As soon as it came to life, a message came up:
TO: SAMUS ARAN
FROM: THE OFFICE OF CARLISLE DANILOV
BODY: HEAD OF GALACTIC AFFAIRS AND DEFENSE, CARLISLE DANILOV, REQUESTS TO SEE YOU TO DISCUSS A SPECIAL OPERATION REQUIRING YOUR UNIQUE TALENTS. PAYMENT IS NEGOTIABLE. PLEASE APPEAR AT THE G.A.A.D. BUILDING TOMORROW AT THREE. THANK YOU.
END OF MESSAGE
I sighed. Another mission they needed me for. Just what I needed. I went back to my bed, and closed my eyes, waiting for the bad dreams to come again.