This story I'm actually relatively pleased with, it's really not much--in fact it's basically just the intro to Super Metroid (hence the name), but I always loved the intro to Super Metroid with a passion (then again I loved all of Super Metroid with a passion)
The funny thing with this story is it didn't turn out at all like I expected. I had expected to deal with Samus' planetfall and subsequent discovery of a ruined Space Pirate base, I always found that part of the game ridiculously creepy. Instead I ended up enjoying writing about Ceres station far more than I expected.
Maybe this means there's another Super Metroid story down the line somewhere.
Sirens blared, alerting me to the immense shockwave that was washing over the surface of my ship, buffeting it about like a tiny schooner in the midst of a tidal storm. Remembering my training I made no attempt to control reach the control console, instead remaining in my quarters, tightly gripping an emergency handrail until the shockwave had passed and a relative tranquility came over the tiny vessel.
Letting go of the handrail I floated effortlessly to the hatch that led from my quarters to the corridor and from there into the bridge. Upon reaching the bridge of the ship I checked the various instruments, inspecting temperature, speed, and of course, damage. Strangely enough the ship was seemingly untouched. Whatever had caused that shockwave had to have been moving incredibly rapidly, but whatever it was it hadn’t damaged my ship. That’s all I cared about.
I was about to leave the bridge and go rest in my quarters when the telltale shrill beeping of my communicator filled the silence aboard the ship. I sighed and sat down at the communications console, fitting myself snuggly in-between the control panels that took up most of the space on the bridge. With an idle mind I flicked the switch that activated the communications rig, expecting to find someone wanting expert bounty hunter Samus Aran for whatever reason—instead I found a dropdown screen informing me of an S.O.S. in large blinking letters. Flipping up the navigations console I scanned for any nearby vessels that could have been scuttled, or had their power cut, but the only thing that came up was the research station I had just left. Ceres Station was under attack.
Without a second thought I shifted my seat to the piloting controls, dialing the speed to maximum and sending my ship hurtling through space towards the distant speck that was Ceres Research station. There was no way I was allowing anyone to get away with attacking that station, not when I knew what was on board. Setting my ships navigation safely to autopilot I left the bridge to suit up, I had no intention of walking into a trap unarmed.
The door to my small armory hissed open, revealing my most basic armor suit—had I had more time I would have been able to return to HQ and use one of my many upgraded suits, but as it was all I had on me was the recon variety for an upcoming mission. I sighed
“Better this than nothing, I suppose.”
I had just finished checking my suits’ diagnostics when my proximity alarm alerted me to the fact that we were on approach to Ceres. It was a few seconds later that I realized my hailing signals weren’t being responded to. This was not a good sign. I took a deep breath and activated my ship’s gravity, using one of the various subsystems routed directly into my suit. In an instant there was a sudden lurching feeling, and then the heavy clang of my armored boots hitting the floor of the armory. I smiled grimly, systems check all green for pressure sensors.
By the time I had reached the bridge again I could see Ceres Station through the view screen, the massive gear shaped oval filling my view with a thousand twinkling lights from its various different ports and windows. Taking hold of the controls I gently steered my ship towards the central hollow, where even from this distance, four massive red lights could be seen flashing brightly. Guiding my ship into this hollow I fired my retro rockets and found a docking port nearest the sector I wanted to go to. Using another subsystem of my suit I interfaced directly with Ceres’ docking computer, feeling the dull reverberations of the heavy docking clamps slamming shut around my ship and drawing me into the station’s plated hull.
Once the station had automatically docked me, I drew up a map onscreen and found that I was just one tier above where I needed to be. I double checked my arm cannon and set my ships’ defenses to their highest level—there was no telling what could be out there. With that done I opened the hatch in the roof of the ship and allowed the platform to carry me from the warm comfort of my own ship into the cold metal vastness that was Ceres.
Almost immediately I was on guard, using my passive scanners and radar to begin searching through my immediate area, and tracking everything with my arm cannon. I stepped off the armored hull of my ship and into a service dock, accessing the blueprints of the station from there I took the nearest service elevator down into the third tier of Ceres Station. While I had been here recently I wanted the blueprints in case anything unexpected happened.
The ride down the service elevator was uneventful, however it did confirm a fear of mine. Upon reaching the bottom of the shaft I found no-one there to greet me. Having just recently left them, and especially considering what I had left in their care, this was unthinkable. Whatever was attacking was after this section specifically.
I entered one of the armored doors, which took me into the oxygenated and comfortable area of Ceres proper and looked around slowly—everything looked exactly as I’d left it. The only difference was that there were no hurried bustling scientists, in fact it was as quiet as a tomb. I picked up my pace and made my way deeper into the station, walking down a flight of stairs and into the ‘experimental research’ department—where I hoped I’d find the scientists huddled, scared, but alive.
Instead I was greeted with the sight of three scientists’ dead, their bodies viciously slashed and bleeding profusely. In the center of the room a large apparatus lay in ruins, with the subject of experimentation being nowhere to be found. I gritted my teeth, it was possible that this was going to get much worse than I expected.
Wishing I could have spared a moment to mourn for the dead, I instead sprinted across the room, entering another heavily armored door and finding myself in a narrow corridor. One described in the blueprints as leading to the storage room—if ever there were a place to find living scientists, it would be the storage room. I only hoped I was right.
I entered the storage area, tracking with my cannon, and found it completely bare of anything, light included…except a large containment unit containing the gift I had left for the scientists on Ceres. The hatchling Metroid from planet SR-388. I breathed a sigh of relief, whatever had attacked the station hadn’t known about the hatchling, and the scientists must have given up their life to get it to safety here. I lowered my cannon and allowed my scanners to fall silent, I already knew there was a life form here, the hatchling in front of me. I took a step towards the containment unit, thinking of various other research stations that would be happy to continue Ceres’ work, but was shocked to hear a voice speaking.
“Not quite that easy, Samus” came a dark growl. All of a sudden a baleful eye flared above where the canister that held the Metroid was, and using my visor’s heat tracking I was able to make out the hulking form of one of Mother Brain’s generals, the cruel and intelligent Ridley.
“You actually thought you’d won, Hunter?” The massive dragon crowed. “Thought you’d beaten us? That we’d just give up and die?” The enormous claw holding the containment unit squeezed it tightly. “No, Samus. We’re not dead yet!” And with that the massive beast hurled itself into the air, blasting a stream of fire directly towards me.
Acting out of reflex I threw myself to the side, tracking and firing as I did so. Most of my shots simply bounced of the dragon’s black carapace but a single shot struck him in his sensitive beak, causing a shriek of pain to erupt from the creature’s mouth. Then he fixed me with his hate-filled eyes and spoke
“You’re not worth my time, Bounty Hunter. Now die here with all the rest!” With that he lashed out with his spiked tail, smashing into the metal of the station’s walls and breaking through effortlessly. Then he was gone, with the hatchling.
I cursed, exiting the storage area and intent on catching up with the giant dragon, intent on retrieving the Metroid. Then my suits’ internal warning system came to life and informed me that he had triggered the entire station for overload, essentially causing a self-destruct. Cursing even more I sprinted through the corridor, passing the gargantuan machine where the now-deceased scientists had studied the Metroid hatchling and up the stairs, becoming more and more aware of the blaring klaxons and deteriorating station all around me. Bursts of steam from overworked conduits were shooting out almost everywhere and even the structural integrity of the lab began to crumble. I cursed a third time.
I became acutely aware of just how bad the situation was when I entered the service elevator shaft and found the entire station beginning to tilt haphazardly from one direction to another, the stabilizers that once controlled it seeming have given out. Without thinking I launched myself onto the elevator, all too aware of the timer that was counting down the seconds until the entire station detonated.
With mere minutes left to spare I darted from one end of the airlock to where my ship still remained, luckily Ridley hadn’t seen fit to tamper with it before he left. Lacking the time to interface with Ceres’ docking system I simply fired my ship’s weapons, destroying the docking clamps and freeing my ship to escape from the station’s hull.
The countdown had hit ten seconds remaining when I fired my boosters to their maximum, forcing me back in my seat as my ship shot out of the station’s interior. Seconds later a massive shockwave washed over me, sending the ship into mad spirals as shrapnel and energy washed over it. Being in control this time I managed to steadily guide the ship away from the worst of the concussive force and avoid the deadly shrapnel that was being scattered by the massive explosion.
At last the explosion was over, and while my ship had taken a few blows from the shrapnel, it remained intact. With no time to think of anything else I immediately brought up my scanners and set them to the longest range possible. Ridley was out here somewhere, he’d likely had a ship stashed on Ceres just as I had…so all I had to do was pick up his heat signature and trace his path.
It was a full five minutes before I was far enough out of range of the still smoldering ruins of Ceres and my scanners were able to pick up a rapidly moving heat source. I smiled grimly. Ridley. I had the computer run a course trace on his heat signature while I moved back into the belly of the ship, using the precious few hours I had left before I caught up with the Space Pirate to run various combat simulations. I had faced Ridley before, and it had almost cost me my life, I refused to allow that to happen again.
It was approximately one hour later (and roughly 20 different combat sims) that I was broken out of focus by the rapid beeping of my navcom. It had determined his path, and with luck I could cut him off before he made it there.
I made my way to the bridge, moving slowly as I had to with my power armor on.
“May as well get used to it” I thought to myself. “After all, you’re going to be in it for quite a bit longer.” It was unlikely that Ridley would go down easily, and even he did, it was doubtful he had acted alone. Had the remnants of the Space Pirates rallied under Ridley’s flag? That was a distinct possibility.
Entering the bridge I checked the navcom results. Unable to believe them I ran a second check myself. The proof was undeniable.
He was going to where it all began. To the place where the Metroid’s had first entered my life.
He was going to Planet Zebes.
And I was going to follow him.
Word Count: 2,086