I don't own the characters, blah blah blah, disclaimer etc.

The being that strode forward out of the wreckage of the doorway was almost as intimidating as the first creature. While it was slightly shorter than he was, it was obviously meant for battle. It was covered head to toe in shiny armor plating in various shades of orange, yellow and red. Massive rounded pauldrons of shiny orange plating protected the shoulders, and a red helmet with respiratory gear covered the head. The green V-shaped visor set into the helmet offered no clue to the beings identity. While the left arm was relatively normal, the right arm sported a massive cannon which formed the entire fore-arm.

It glanced at him for a moment, and then looking down the corridor he had been about to enter, it took off at a sprint. The Master Chief barely had time to get to his feet before he heard several shots go off in rapid succession and then the thud of something large hitting the deck.

The Master Chief turned the corner to see the newcomer standing with a boot on the chest of the struggling creature. The weapon on the creature's right arm had crushed beyond recognition, and the creature was vainly trying to hack away at the armored boot planted on his mid-section. Without a word, the armored being placed the muzzle of the cannon up to the creatures face, ending its life with a flash of energy.

"Must have been personal…" muttered Cortana.

Samus lined up the shot, and flexed her right hand. The charged up missile slammed into the sealed door, reducing it to scrap metal. Striding through the ruined doorway, she momentarily registered the presence of someone who actually appeared to be human before catching sight of the space pirate down the corridor. She sprinted forward, dodging several shots it fired at her before flipping through the air several times and colliding with it. Her right foot drove into it's chest, knocking it to the ground. In the process of landing, her left foot landed on the creatures weapon, crushing it beneath the armored boot.

She regarded the creature for a moment. Through the green visor covering her face, the space pirate saw a look of utter disgust lacking any pitty. Frantically, it tried to escape, attempting to hack away at her boot with the blade attached to its left arm. However, in this position it couldn't get any leverage to do any kind of damage.

You're almost not worth the shot. She thought. She aimed her weapon at the creatures face and pulled the trigger. Almost.

She was about to continue down the corridor when her audio sensors picked up something behind her. Turning around, she spotted the soldier she'd seen in the hallway. She was momentarily taken aback. Even in her power armor, he was taller than her. Granted, while he was wearing some form of power armor himself, it was obvious that he was about half a foot taller than she, even without it.

Her mental thoughts triggered the scanning system in her visor. After a few moments, a data readout showed up on her HUD, along with a summary.

Human, Male. Age unknown. Abnormally tall, Heavy frame. Genetic or cybernetic enhancements suspect. Power Armor of unknown design.Possesses energy shield system with limited capacity but rapid recharge ability. Armor provides full atmospheric containment and considerable enhancement of physical strength. Tactical software, unknown.

She regarded the soldier. While he held his weapon at the ready, it was not directly aimed at her in a hostile manner. The green armor was not anywhere near as elaborate as hers. Her readouts suggested that it was a lot heavier than hers, but also was a lot more powerful in terms of strength assist capabilities. Granted, it was nowhere near as flexible, and it also didn't contain any built in weapons systems, but she had no doubt he would be a formidable combatant. She stared at the visor. Unlike hers, it was opaque, so she was unable to see the face behind it.

The soldier broke the silence.

"What is that thing?" He asked. The voice was low, cold, and business-like.

She glanced down at the fallen pirate. "Space pirate. Scum. Part of a massive organization dedicated to the sole purpose of bringing about the end of the Galactic Federation and dominating the galaxy at any cost." The speakers in her helmet did nothing to disguise the contempt in her voice.

The soldier stared at the fallen creature for a moment before looking at her. "And you? You're part of this….Federation? You don't match any kind of intelligence we have."

Samus sighed. The fact that he didn't know who she was confirmed her suspicions. Privately she admitted to herself that her ego was just a little injured. She'd built up quite a reputation in the galaxy. Everyone knew who Samus was. The portal had obviously taken her somewhere very different from the galaxy she knew, possibly even to a different time. Well…stranger things had happened before.

"I am a bounty hunter." She answered. "I work for the Galactic Federation, when they chose to hire me. Of course…" she stared into the visor covering his face. "You probably have no idea what I'm talking about"

"You're right. I don't." he said. She noticed that he had gripped his weapon much tighter than before. "Nor do I know what your intentions are, or where you came from, though I'm guessing it has something to do with the rift the pirate ship came out of."

"You'd be guessing right" she replied. "I was more or less dragged into it with them after…unusual circumstances."

"A contract that went wrong then." He raised his gun slightly. "And after the contract is done…then what?"

She noticed the hostile gesture. Muscles in her body tensed, in case she had to get out of the way fast. "I wait for the next contract. What's it to you?"

"Your allegiance goes to whoever pays you, from what I understand." He answered. "This puts me in a very dangerous situation, since I don't know where your loyalties lie."

Samus was just about to reply when she saw a blurry outline appear right behind the soldier. A strange paired blue energy blade appeared in mid-air and pulled back, about to slice him in half.

"GET DOWN!" She yelled, bringing up her arm cannon. As he ducked, she changed the shape of her hand inside the cannon. The gun casing expanded vertically, revealing a glowing white crystal matrix with clouds of condensation surrounding it. A bright white blast of energy flashed out of the muzzle.

Samus glanced at the creature, frozen in mid-slash. The blade was currently occupying the space where the soldier's head had been, the strange horizontal hilt connecting the twin blades frozen into the solidified palm of the creature. She turned to the soldier who was getting to his feet. "Does that answer your question?" she asked, returning her arm cannon to its normal pulse fire mode.

He had gotten to his feet at this point and after glancing at the creature, he turned to her. "So you aren't with the covenant then."

"I don't even know what the covenant is!" she replied, a little irked."I followed a group of the pirates onto this ship. I don't know who this ship belongs to, or even where I am!"

The soldier was silent. He seemed to be reacting to something that she couldn't hear, possibly a com-link in his helmet. Except she wasn't detecting any signals being exchanged between him and somewhere outside. After a few more seconds of silence, she just shook her head and brought up the map of the ship she had been keeping track of. She didn't have time for this. Looking at the map, she frowned. She hadn't been able to find a computer anywhere that would give her a ship layout, so she didn't have much to go on.

However…It looked as if the corridor the soldier had just come down would lead back to the hangar bay she had left her ship in. Glancing at her energy gauge, she decided heading back would be a wise choice. The weapons used by the aliens on this ship used some form of plasma energy. While it wasn't the raw superheated form that her most powerful weapon used, it had still proven quite able in draining the shields built into her suit, leaving her with only half of her tanks still full. Ignoring the soldier and the frozen alien, she walked past them and started down the corridor, her weapon at the ready.

"I was only being cautious, the last thing we need in this situation is someone who's going to stab us in the back"

"Well, did you ever think you might have just given her a reason to do just that?" Inside his helmet, Cortana shook her head. "Men…Honestly"

"Well, now there are two more factions on this ship. The bounty hunter, and these pirates. That complicates things. Originally I had thought an allegiance between us and whoever massacred the covenant back in the hangar bay would be beneficial. Now I'm not so sure. The big question is, who's responsible? It's likely that there is a large number of those pirates on board, which makes them the more probable culprit. However, if the bounty hunter is telling the truth and they are as dangerous as she says, they might be more trouble than they're worth.

"And the bounty hunter?" Cortana asked.

"The fact that she doesn't know who the covenant is means she can't be working for them, and the fact that she just attacked one of their soldiers supports that. However, she is a bounty hunter, if they were to offer her enough…that would change things. And there is still the possibility that she is responsible for the dead in the hangar."

"You think she's capable of that?"

"There's a definite chance." He glanced at the frozen Elite. "We don't know what that suit of hers is capable of. If it was her, and not the pirates, then that makes her incredibly dangerous. The fact that she entered solo and is still alive attests to her skill. I suggest we keep an eye on her until we know what she's up to. The last thing we need is a sudden shift of allegiance when we're not looking."

"Agreed." Cortana replied. "Based on the direction she went, that strange ship in the hangar must have been hers. That's probably where she was headed."

The master chief nodded and was just about to head in the same direction when he noticed something. The Elite blinked. It was still alive. Now that was interesting. He sighed. No time to mess around with that now. He pulled a plasma grenade off of his belt and clicked the activation button, before sticking it in the palm of the frozen Elite. He turned and headed down the corridor, stopping only to hit a panel on the wall. A door to slid down between him and the Elite, muffling the explosion that came a few seconds later. With that done, he jogged off in the direction of the hangar bay.