"The recent investigation into the BSL SR388 explosion by a Federation Superior Court has finished. Bounty hunter Samus Aran, and her ship's computer –called 'Adam' by Aran and other Federation officials –were found not guilty of treason and sabotage of the Federation's Metroid and X parasite studies. Sources doubt that some Federation officials will be satisfied, and will appeal the case to yet another court, despite repeated findings of Aran's-"

Samus switched off the monitor, and sighed. "When will they give up, Adam? Almost every major court in the galaxy has deemed us innocent by now."

"Are we really innocent, though?" Adam replied through the onboard speakers. "When you discovered the Metroid Project, you were considerably less than happy, and when the Federation decided to start an X-parasite program…"

"I suppose you're right, but we acted in self-defense. We certainly aren't guilty of treason."

"Not treason per se, anyway," the computer replied.

As the small gunship roared through space, headed for nowhere in particular, Samus lay back on her bed. Her computerized CO, Adam, was trying to keep her spirits up with sarcasm, but it wasn't having the intended effect. The federation officials, furious with the destruction of the entire X-parasite species, would probably not give up until she was put on probation.

Or, until they needed her again.

"If they want to start a Metroid breeding program, why not look for the Chozo? They were the ones who engineered the Metroids. They'd know everything there is about them," Samus said, sitting up again.

"Officially, there are no Chozo left," Adam said.

"You know as well as I do that that's a lie."

"Samus, even if there were any surviving Chozo on Zebes, they would have been destroyed along with the planet."

"They weren't on Zebes. After the Pirate occupation began, they moved to another planet."

"They did? Well, why didn't you tell me this before?"

"I… I don't know. I don't want the poor souls to be hounded by Federation biologists, especially after everything they did for me."

"You ask why they don't go looking for the Chozo, and then you say you don't want them to find the Chozo? How did I ever keep my sanity while we were working together?"

Samus's reply was cut off, as a nearby monitor lit up with an 'INCOMING MESSAGE' alert. Samus quickly got off her bed, and straightened up. She started pulling on her Fusion suit, and called, "Put it through, Adam."

Samus was putting on her helmet as the face of Federation Officer Connehan appeared on her screen. His beard was neatly trimmed, as always, and he was wearing a tie. Samus never saw him without a tie. It was the same tie every time, too. Samus wondered if he ever changed his clothes. But this time, his neatly trimmed hair was a bit frazzled, and his face betrayed impatience… and fear.

"Samus," he growled. "We have a problem."

"Go on," Samus replied, her voice being filtered through the Fusion Suit's intercom system.

"I didn't believe it at first, but I got a report about a pair of Space Pirate galleons attacking Aliehs III."

Samus shook her head. "That's impossible. The space pirates have been cleaned out of the galaxy. Even if there were any pirates left at all, they wouldn't have two galleons left."

"That's what I thought," Connehan replied. "But regulations say we have to investigate all reported pirate activity, so I went in a small cruiser with a small complement of troopers."

"How small a complement?"

Connehan looked down. "Too small. As soon as we came into Aliehs space, a galleon appeared and nearly shot us out of the sky. Dozens more arrived in the next twenty minutes. We don't know if they're planning an invasion of the planet, but we can't take the risk. We've called every available ship to help us, but there are so many pirate vessels…" He looked up toward Samus. "...and that's why we need you. If the Pirates saw you here, they'd lose all hope!"

Before Samus could reply, Adam cut in; "We may have trouble helping, sir. We are under investigation for treason, after all."

"We will end our persecution! All charges will be dropped!" Connehan yelled. "Just hurry, please!"

"Very well," Samus said. "Over and out."

The monitor turned off.

"You shouldn't have done that," Samus said. "It was risky."

"But it worked," Adam replied. "We got our charges dropped, and a new contract."

Samus couldn't help but smile to herself. That perfect military mind… "All right. I assume you've already set a course?"

"Yes. Course set for Aliehs III. By the way, what do you think the Pirates want there?"

Samus shrugged. "Ships, or supplies for ships. On the other hand, they could be looking for the plans to my old Hunter-class ship, looking for a weak spot."

"Your hunter-class ship was destroyed."

"The pirates might not know that," Samus said. "Look, it doesn't really matter why they're there; this may be their last strike against the Federation, and we have to be sure it fails."

The ship turned in space, and rocketed at full power towards the shipyards of Aliehs III.