Chapter 1: A Chance Encounter

A/N this was written with Author Fractured Sanity, and she allowed me the pleasure of putting it on my Profile. So thank you Sanity. The story is set after Metroid other M (it happened) and before Metroid: Fusion.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the rights from Metroid. Fractured Sanity owns Crecy Archer.

Samus leaned back in her cockpit and groaned. She had faced deadly pirates, savage beasts, and monstrosities of every description without so much as a blink but now she was facing down perhaps her most stubborn opponent: worst part of boredom was that she had no way to counter attack it. During these times when bounties were slim, she'd start to have doubts. After the decline of the space pirates, she felt like she was becoming an overglorified bug hunter, as most of her bounties consisted of getting rid of all the insectoid creatures that unerringly found their way inside derelict vessels for salvage crews.

Now, after all her jobs, all her near-deaths, all her pain and all her help, she only ever made one true friend. Adam Malkovich, her former commanding officer and now just a name and a rank. She promised, however, not to mourn for him so she didn't. She just passed the time by counting stars, waiting until she got to her destination.

At long last Station Delta-6 came into view. In years past it was an important refueling station here in the frontier, but as local planetary starports like Silicon Valley became safer, places like this fell into decline. But for the meantime, most of it was used for salvagers and scavengers alike, while the rest was used as a scientific platform in the study and curing of Phazon Radiation.

"Alright, thanks for your help Samus. We'll have the money sent to your account in the usual way."

The salvage freighter started to peel away on its own course and docking procedures were sent to her navigation computer. The station really must've been in bad shape though, because even the signal transmitting the procedure had interference.

The hangar was swarming with security when Samus's gunship touched down. They didn't show much interest in the landing ships. Instead their attention was turned on a smaller courier vessel. Samus recognised it as an older Hermes class, useful for getting from point A to point B, but not much else. Perhaps something interesting would happen after all…Samus moved over to the group, to see who or what had got them interested in the nostalgic space vessel.

As she approached, a large sweaty man in black fatigues and captain's stripes walked up to her and wiped his brow. His name tag said that his name was Goethe.

"I'm sorry but I can't allow you to enter the station. The whole place is on lockdown until we find the spy."

Samus looked down at Goethe, "Commander Goethe," she began, the com system within her suit, producing a slightly gritty, robotic voice, which made most believe that samus was a robot of some sort, "Do you need any help finding this spy?"

His eyes widened. "Oh, no. No, no thank you. We have everything under control. She can't have left the station and there are only so many places to hide. We'll find her."

It seemed her reputation preceded her.

"Commander Goethe, if you had everything under control she would have been caught by now" Samus said, as she began to walk past him, wanting to find the spy and get her bounty.

He held up a hand to stop her, but he might as well have tried to stop a rolling boulder.

"Please, this is a matter of station security, we don't need any outside help."

Samus looked back at him, "As before, commander, if you didn't need my help, the spy would have been caught and captured by now" she said, as she merely continued towards the ship, as she ignored the obviously terrible commander.

The guards shied away from the titan of armor and firepower as she approached. She had met soldiers and hired guns of every description over her career, and these guards were clearly not trained for anything more dangerous than issuing docking fees. As she stepped up the loading ramp she could hear someone at the cockpit speaking on his radio.

"That's right, she sabotaged her own navigation computer. She couldn't fly this thing out of here if she tried." a pause. "How am I supposed to know how recent it is?"

Samus, having heard that, decided to do a little reconnaissance around the rest of the station. She found little besides what she already knew, the station was studying a way of reversing the effects of Phazon radiation, with minimal results. After an hour and a half of searching, samus returned to the docking bay ready to leave.

As she prepared to launch a strange thought occurred. How could a station of this size have such a large security force, much less be a center for studying Phazon, and yet have such a frail docking signal? She carefully tuned her reciever back and forth along that frequency until a telltale transmission appeared. A dog-whistle distress call.

It was a very particular signal, that ironically tried to call for help while in turn staying unnoticed. Since the signal was rarely found unless you were specifically looking for it, it was rarely used unless secrecy was paramount...such as if you were a spy.

The signal was coupled with a simple text transmission: "One half of bounty if you rescue me."

Samus, having heard said transmission, used her suit's transmitter to send a signal on the same wavelength and frequency, "Go to the ship labelled 'the Cosmo Liner', by 18:00 hours"

The transmission suddenly stopped and was replaced with a woman's relieved voice. "Oh thank god, someone actually heard my distress signal! Who is this?"

"I am Samus Aran, bounty hunter" Samus stated entering her spacecraft, "Now, state your name and destination?" she finished, growing curious at to what spy would use such an old trick as a Dog-Whistle signal.

"Uh, Crecy Archer, operating out of Silicon Valley starport." the voice paused. "You're not going to turn me in to the station security are you? I'll wipe the data if you try!" the spy suddenly sounded very desperate.

"It depends on the bounty," Samus said, walking to the cockpit and sat in the control seat. "How much will I be given?" she said, as she started the ships engines, ready to leave as soon as the spy entered her ship.

The spy didn't answer immediately. "You'll get 3000 galactic standard." she said eventually. "You won't get more than 500 if you turn me in, if they give you anything at all."

The bounty hunter replied, "I accept" still sounding like a mindless automaton. however she waited a moment before adding , "make in on board A-S-A-P"

"Um, that could be difficult. You see I'm sort of...outside the station." the spy said. "If you maybe put your loading ramp down just outside the station's vent cluster, I can come to you."

"No wonder they never found her…" Samus said, ending communications with the spy. Her ship levitated upwards and flew out of the space station and around to the vent cluster. The ship then hovered in place as it's ramp opened.

A lightly armored figure emerged from amongst the stream of vented waste gasses and sprinted towards the ship. In one hand the figure carried a box about a foot across each side which it held as close as if it was a child. She was on the ship in moments and leaned against the nearest wall in sheer relief as soon as she was aboard.

The room that the spy was entirely empty, except for one door with a red translucent light above it. The room itself was a grey, metallic with a few buttons on a keypad next to ramp.

Having a new passenger on board, the ramp automatically closed as the atmosphere inside repressurized. "Spy, meet me in the cockpit" a robotic voice spoke over the ships speakers as a green light lit up, above the door as it jutted open.

The spy complied, and slowly made her way through the ship. She was struck by how bare and spartan the whole place was. No decorations or personal effects, nothing that wasn't strictly functional at all. It was difficult to believe that anyone actually lived here. She almost dreaded to see what sort of automaton would own such a vessel, but she arrived at the cockpit anyway. She cleared her throat to announce her presence.

The cockpit had a control panel which covered half the room and on it where thousands of different coloured/sized buttons. Above the control panel was the viewscreen, showing only stars and close planets, while the room itself was a dark orange colour. Also within the cockpit there was a single rotating brown, leather chair in the middle. The chair rotated around so that Samus could see her new passenger, "Spy, the closest M based planet is Gauda Prime," she said, looking up at her, "I want my bounty now, before we go any further". Samus now took a look at the Spy, taking in her suits features.

The spy groaned. "You really are a pure-bred bounty hunter aren't you?" she said as she removed her helmet. She was an albino, judging by her complexion. Her skin and fine short hair were shock white, though her silvery eyes were almost certainly implants of some sort. "Look, I don't have that much on me, but what's in this box is worth a small fortune to the right buyer. If you just get me out of here I'll let you have a copy of the data."

Samus looked at her, "Or I could just kill you and take the box from you. So, why should I get you out of here?" she asked, as she stood up, standing a full head taller than the spy. She looked down and into crecy's eyes, her visor obscuring crecy's vision of her face, as she tried to figure out the purpose for the implants in her eyes.

Crecy swallowed. "There's no call for that." she held the box out. "Do what you want with it, and good luck with the code. If you don't get it right on the first try, it won't be worth anything to anyone, and those nice men on the station won't be happy that you deleted their navigation charts." She kept a straight face, even as worry lined the edges throughout.

Samus merely produced an odd chuckle as she sat down, "Impressive, very impressive" she said as she looked up at her, "Now, what is your destination?" she asked, as her seat rotated round so that she was facing the control console.

Crecy stood in shocked silence. Was that...a test? Or had she really brushed that close to death? "Uh, Silicon Valley starport."

Samus put in the co-ordinates for the Silicon Valley Starport, as she put the speed up to maximum, "Fine, I can find another bounty in that space port to make this worth the detour." she remained still, looking as if she were merely a lifeless suit of armour in the chair.

Crecy waited in silence for a few minutes to see if anything else was forthcoming. When it seemed that her rescuer (for want of a better term) was content to sit in silence, she decided to broach the subject. "It's been a long day, you don't mind if I, ah….freshen up, do you?"

Samus tilted her head, just enough that she could see Crecy in her peripheral vision, "The toilet is to the left of the Cockpit door, while the chemical shower is to the right," she said remaining in her seat, even speaking about it made her realize that she had left some of her own needs unmet...

A few minutes later Crecy leaned against the wall of the shower as warm water massaged her tired muscles. "What have I gotten myself into?" she sighed to no-one in particular. It was supposed to be a simple mission: get in, get the data, get out. It wasn't anything she hadn't done a hundred times before, and yet it was today where everything went wrong.

She heard the door to the room open, and then close again a few seconds later. Crecy shut off the water and looked outside the stall to find a clean white towel and a fresh change of clothes waiting for her on the counter. 'So perhaps this guy does have some hospitality'. She thought as she dried herself off. The clothes, a simple white blouse and red skirt, were a little big for her (especially around the chest), but they were clean and warm. She stepped out and started looking for her host so she could say thanks.

Samus was not in the control room, but a soft zzzzzz-ing sound, could be heard by crecy coming out of the room that she had heard was the 'toilet'. Samus was inside,doing her business. She had spent the last 3 days in her Armour suit and her Zero suit, due to having to defend off the scientists both day and night. So she had no time to have her customary shower or a toilet break.

Crecy knocked lightly on the door. "Thank you for the clothes." she said. She decided to wait until her host emerged before she started asking pertinent questions like, 'why do you have women's clothing laying about?'.

Samus remained silent, looking at the door as she finished. She then washed up, before putting her armored exterior back on, then opening the door, as she looked down at the newly dressed passenger. "I expect those clothes back, before you leave to Silicon Valley" she said, as she walked past her and back into the cockpit.

"Don't worry, you'll get them back. I wouldn't want you to get in trouble with your lady-friend." Crecy said. She paused for effect. "These do belong to a friend of yours don't they?"

Samus remained silent as she sat in her control chair and it rotated so that she was looking at the controls, before a small ringing could be heard coming from a button labelled, 'Com Systems'. Samus pressed it as a the windshield of the spaceship became a black opaque, as a static look came over it. As the static dissipated a strong, snide looking man appeared on screen. He had short, Auburn hair and small devious green eyes with a paper thin face. This was of course a representative of the federation.

"Samus Aran, we have a problem on the planet Gauda, pirates have invaded and defeated the federation forces." He said ending communications as he knew Samus would go and do what needed to be done.

"Fine.." Samus said, turning around to look at crecy, "Crecy, we have to make a short stop"