Darkest Ridley's Metroid: Chapter 3
Written by Darkest Ridley
Published on the 17th July, 2008.
The GAAD building is, for security purposes, several miles away from the nearest landing pad. Military craft were kept on the grounds for defensive purposes, but nothing else was allowed anywhere near it, and if they did manage to get near it, anti-aircraft turrets would rip the ship right out of the sky before it got even close.
The walk from the landing pad to the GAAD is about an hour long, walking at a brisk pace. I did not have an hour and a half. So, to avoid this, I took the Bay City Transit System, which was consisted of large, box-like cars that ran at high speeds across miles of magnetic rail systems. I stepped into the car, and immediately the citizens in the car spread far to the walls, giving me a wide berth. I looked from one end to another. They were all practically piled up on top of each other, and I had about ten feet of space around me in all directions.
I suppose I appeared somewhat menacing to them. The armor did that sometimes. The visor was solid green, so no one could see my face. I looked... cold, like a cyborg. Emotionless. Sometimes that scares people.
The car started moving, and they all stayed as far away as possible.
I stared out the windows of the doorway as the cars flew across the track. As we got closer to the GAAD, I noticed that the building Santiago had lived in had a force field barricade set up around it. I narrowed my eyes, and glanced up at the top of the field, where letters shone through the gray sky on a screen: SCHEDULED DEMOLITION. But I knew otherwise. Santiago's building held in it artifacts from an old world that the Federation could not allow to re-emerge. I watched as the building shuddered, glass panels flying and bouncing off of the force field, rubble shattering as it crumbled to the ground in a cloud of smoke, flame, and metal.
Finally the transit car stopped at the station near the GAAD, and I got off. As soon as the doors shut the people inside spread out a little.
I walked up the stairs from the transit station into the rain, my footsteps changing from a metallic clanking on steel stairs to a dull thud when they hit the fake marble that the courtyard was paved with. It was fake because the real thing would gradually deteriorate in the acid rain. There wasn't enough marble in the world to actually pave this place. Across the courtyard was a group of protestors, holding up signs, most of which said "END THE WAR!" Most of the signs were falling apart, or the ink was running down, because cardboard signs don't do so well in the rain.
As I got closer to the large, pseudo-marble steps leading into the GAAD, I saw the altar set up with a picture of a proud-looking young man in the center of it. Candles and rose petals were all over the altar, and a small roof was set up over it. I paused and looked at the set-up.
A woman, maybe in her mid-forties, stood on top of a stage near the altar, a podium in front of her, and she spoke into an amplifier.
"This is my son, Edward. He joined the Galactic Federation Marine Corps. when he was 18 years old. He was so proud. He made us proud. He served three campaigns, eventually becoming a Sergeant. On his fourth campaign, he died fighting in the Battle of Varthen..."
I felt my stomach do a flip. I couldn't listen to this.
"They say that only two Marines survived the battle. Two out of forty thousand. Thirty-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-eight Marines died in that battle, which was over three weeks long. My son died in that battle. The Federation sent a generic letter apologizing for his sacrifice to their 'noble' cause. Well this 'noble' cause has gone on for decades... how many more young men and women must die for the Federation? To the Federation, that number is just a statistic. Well you know what, here is my son's face, come look at it, and look me in the eye and say his death was justified. Enough is enough, and I say we pull out of this war now. I was ten years old when it started, and I am forty-two years old now. Enough is enough."
As I marched up the stairs to the GAAD, I felt something build up in my chest. Emotion maybe? I'm not sure. I'd lived without it for a while, so I wouldn't know what emotion felt like anymore.
It was true that only two Marines survived the Battle of Varthen.
It was a tragedy I held close to my heart.
After going through security, I walked to the elevator. The elevator ride to the bottom floor was unusually long that day.
I got off the elevator and walked down the dimly lit hallway, which, on each side, stood Marines. There were eight in all, and two more at the end at the entryway to Danilov's office. I stopped at the doorway, and the Marines glanced at my armor.
"Excuse me, sir, is that green thing a weapon?" asked one of them.
"Yes, it is." I tried hard not to correct them in the fact that I was indeed a woman, and not a man.
"We cannot permit you to enter the office with that... thing... on your arm."
"I'm Samus Aran. I have clearance."
They looked at each other. "One moment please."
The marine to my right put his left hand to the edge of his visor and looked me up and down.
I knew he was scanning me.
"Alright, you're all set."
"Thank you," I replied. They stepped to the side and the door slid open to reveal a large, round chamber. One I had been in many times.
All around the chamber were rows of seats, all of which were empty except for one. Fleet Admiral Dane sat on the left side of the aisle, looking up at the huge stand in the center of the chamber, where Danilov sat, two of his guards at his side. He always used androids as guards. They were each six feet tall, and black, with glowing blue Federation emblems in the center of their chests. Their heads were shaped to look like the helmets once worn by the Spartans of ancient Greece, and where a Spartan face once would have been was a glowing blue visor, housing behind it a powerful intelligence processor. They stood with their legs spread and their arms crossed, and on one wrist they had a beam cannon, on the other, retractable blades.
He didn't take security lightly.
"Welcome, Samus Aran," said Danilov. "We were expecting you."
I nodded to him, and then nodded to Fleet Admiral Dane.
"Might I ask if you could remove your helmet for the proceedings?" he asked.
I didn't say a word.
"Right then," he said, clearly uncomfortable. "I'll take that as a no."
The Sparta Guards inched towards me. Danilov held up a hand, smiling nervously.
"That will not be necessary," he said to them.
They backed up to their original positions.
I sat down across the aisle from Dane, and peered through my visor at Danilov.
"Samus, are you familiar with the term 'Metroid'?" he asked me.
"Yes," I said. "It's Chozo for 'Ultimate Warrior'."
"Yes... well, do you know of the organisms that the Chozo named Metroids?"
I thought about it for a moment. I couldn't think of any organism that the Chozo would give such an honorable name too, besides maybe a Chozo Warlord.
"No, I am not."
A hologram displayed an image of a jellyfish-like creature, with a gelatinous body and four long talons protruding from the base. It hovered silently in the room.
"This is a Metroid. In all of your experience with the Chozo, have you ever seen one?"
I examined it for a moment.
"These organisms were discovered on Planet SR388, a Chozo colony. Our team extracted several specimens a few weeks ago, and was en route to the B.S.L. station here on Earth to have them researched. They can be used as a power source, and absorb the energy of any life form they attach themselves to. We're not sure how they do this, as the victims of Metroids are left without any punctures or abrasions.
"A few days ago, the GFS Mordecai was attacked by a Space Pirate Assault Frigate. During the battle, every Marine was killed, their bodies found mangled where the beasts left them. All except for the Commanding Officer, Captain Rick Cole. His body is still unaccounted for. The Metroids had been stolen from the ship. And we don't know where they went."
Samus thought about it for a moment. "And you want me to bring them back to you."
"No. I want them destroyed. Metroids have an... interesting life cycle."
The hologram expanded and showed the Metroid sucking the energy out of a Marine, and growing larger and larger. Finally it drifted off, and landed on the ground, shuddered, and the top of its jellyfish-like head exploded violently. Out of it drifted a creature with a gelatinous structure for a stomach, and a hard outer shell. It was very insect-like. It grew larger still, and then lost the gelatinous structure curving at the back, becoming a completely hard insect. It grew even larger, then the shell started to crack, legs forming and a tail. It landed on two legs, and had a very reptilian structure. It grew even larger, its tail shrinking, its jaws widening. And finally, it grew three times that size, and walked on all fours. The image expanded, and showed eggs all around her.
"As you can see, the Metroids evolve rather quickly. After the standard Metroid stage, they become Alpha Metroids, and then Gammas, Zetas, and Omegas. Finally, the largest and fiercest Omega evolves into a Metroid Queen, but only if there isn't one already. The Metroid Queen lays all of the eggs, about 40 for her kingdom."
One of the eggs hatched, and four long tentacles crept out, and a slender, squid-like body slid out. It drifted off, across the ever-expanding hologram, and used its tentacles to drain another Marine. It then drifted back to the nest, having grown, and picked up dozens of eggs, slipping them into a pouch in its body.
"That is the Metroid Hatcher. It takes eggs from the nest and takes them to new areas, laying them so that a new nest can be established. The Space Pirates have no idea what they're dealing with. If there were to be an outbreak, the Metroids could evolve rapidly, and soon we could be looking at a galactic epidemic." The hologram showed the Metroid Hatcher float away from the nest, which morphed into a planet as it left it behind. The planet had a green glow slowly spread across the surface. The Hatcher approached another planet, and got smaller and smaller. Suddenly that planet also had a green glow slowly spread across its surface. "The green represents Metroid infestation."
I thought about it for a moment. "It's not a sickness, Mr. Danilov. These are living creatures."
"They were bio-engineered. They're a copyright."
"If you want them re-obtained, or destroyed, talk to the Chozo. It's their property, and it's their choice how they handle them."
I got up and started to walk away.
"We can't, Samus," said Danilov. "Several months ago, all contact with the Chozo was lost. They seem to have either left Zebes or... died out."
I paused, and spun around on my heel. "Why was I not informed? You know of their significance they hold over my life. Why was I not informed?"
Danilov smiled sympathetically. "I am sorry, Samus. But we thought you knew."
I nodded at Fleet Admiral Dane. "Dane, what are you doing at this meeting?"
"We were just getting to that..." said Danilov.
"Dane, what are you doing here," I repeated the question, turning my back on Danilov so he knew I wanted the answer from Dane.
"I was summoned because I was to provide ground or air support on your mission. Mr. Danilov was under the impression there would be a lot of hostiles."
"Get your men ready. We're leaving, now."
"But where are we going?"
"Zebes," I said. "The Chozo wouldn't leave it unless forced to. First we investigate the Chozo. They know everything about the Metroids, and they'll be a powerful ally on this mission."
"Alright," responded Dane. "I'll give the order. Dock your gunship in the hangar of the GFS Olympus and we'll set out this evening."