One

Approximately 48 hours after the conclusion of Metroid Prime

Tallon IV orbit

Samus Aran sat alone at the controls of her gunship, far above the planet Tallon IV. For the past two days, she had been resting, a rarity for her. The Hunter was usually extremely busy, going sometimes days without sleep as she went about her work. Her work was mostly blowing up Space Pirates, and that suited her just fine. If she got paid to do it, so much the better.

Regular bounty hunting, going after crime lords and smugglers and whoever else was stupid enough to do something to get a price on their head was enough to keep the bills paid, but it was rarely a challenge for her anymore. Thugs, be they humanoid or not, were never very smart, and her cannon made quick work of them all.

But Space Pirates, even though they were usually not much smarter than the average crime lord's henchmen, were infinitely more satisfying to destroy. Space Pirates had destroyed her first home and family, and therefore deserved to be wiped out, as far as Samus was concerned. Any job that had anything to do with the race of plunderers and conquerors was known among the bounty hunting community, such as it was, to be hers alone, and any who got in her way quickly learned why nobody else accepted Space Pirate contracts anymore.

A few days ago, Samus had destroyed a large Space Pirate base of operations, having trailed the damaged frigate Orpheon to this system, and had subsequently vanquished the loathsome creature the Space Pirates called Metroid Prime, avenging the Chozo it had murdered with its radioactive Phazon. Samus had been spending the last couple of days thinking while she rested, sorting out all the details of the affair in her mind.

It had been an interesting adventure, challenging to say the least, and she would remember it for a long time. She would definitely have to do some more research on the mutagenic substance Phazon, at the least, as a result of what had happened on the planet below.

At present, Samus had no other jobs to do, so she had set her ship to orbit the planet while she recovered from the injuries she had sustained during her battles with Ridley and Metroid Prime. Tallon IV drifted slowly below her, and already the planet was looking a little better, though that might just be an illusion on Samus' part. The radiation that covered large parts of the surface would likely take decades or even centuries to drop to safe levels.

Samus leaned back in her chair and put her arms behind her head. Her Chozo powersuit stood behind her like a giant metal sentinel. Sometimes, when she was bored or had to think about something, she would talk to the empty suit like it had a mind of its own. She recalled that, as it was being designed for her by the Chozo, they had offered to give it limited artificial intelligence to assist her in her missions. She had rejected the voice systems, saying that it would distract her if the thing was talking to her while she was blowing away Space Pirates, but accepted the mission-assistance programs and upgraded sensors.

"You know," Samus said to the empty powersuit, "I like some of those upgrades we got while we were down there. I think that plasma beam might come in handy on my next job." Samus stared into the blank visor for a moment. She alternated between amused that she still spoke to the suit when she wasn't in it, and concerned, thinking that the day it answered was the day to seek help.

It seemed sometimes that the suit was a separate individual, in that she almost became a different person when she wore it. The suit was the Hunter, feared by the criminal element of the galaxy, instantly recognizable by any who saw it as belonging to Samus Aran.

It was her own natural face that was the disguise. Samus had once experimented to amuse herself, striding into a cantina in her armor, and made a show of looking around, smirking beneath her visor at the panicked reactions of a few of the patrons before turning around and walking back out. Five minutes later, she had walked into the same cantina without her armor, made the exact same series of motions, and no one reacted in the slightest to her. The contrast had been fascinating at the time.

An alarm on her console beeped at her and pulled Samus out of her thoughts. She swung her chair back around to face the bank of monitors and keyboards, tapping a few controls to see what it was.

A ship had reverted to realspace a few thousand kilometers away. As she studied its outline, she didn't immediately recognize the design, but it looked vaguely familiar somehow.

There was nothing for parsecs around this system. Nobody would just stumble across Tallon. That was why the Chozo had chosen this world. If somebody was here, they were either looking for her, the Chozo, or the Space Pirates.

The Hunter wasn't taking any chances. She activated the cloaking device and cut the lights. Now the other ship's sensors, if they registered her gunship at all, would dismiss it as floating space junk. She set the laser cannons to slow charge, so she could blow the other ship away if it made any hostile moves.

Samus Aran waited, like a spider in its web, to see what would happen next.

--

Davin Ortry hit the braking thrusters on his ship and set the sensors for system-wide sweep. He had finally figured out where the Space Pirate frigate Orpheon had fled to, and it was payback time.

Arriving at Zebes to find the planet virtually abandoned and the Pirate base there destroyed, Davin had set off in pursuit of the hyperspace trail of one of the frigates, the only thing he could do if he still wanted to kill some Space Pirates.

Some of the Pirates on Orpheon, he had discovered, were among the same ones who had murdered his entire family except his younger sister Malysa, who was dozing in her bunk a few meters away. Double reason to go after it, he reasoned.

As he checked the preliminary sensor readings, Davin glanced behind him, past the door to the cockpit into the rear section of the ship, where Malysa slept. He still thought she was too young to be tearing around the galaxy with him, one step ahead of the Galactic Federation and the Space Pirates, but there was little choice. Both organizations were after the Ortrys for the theft of certain high-tech weapon systems and this ship, which they had stolen from a Federation shipyard a few months ago, before it was to be sent off to some bounty hunter.

But, they didn't have any family Davin could leave her with while he pursued his revenge on the pirates who had murdered their parents. He still had nightmares about hiding under his parents' bed, trying to keep his little sister quiet while the brutes ransacked the house, stepping over the bodies of his mother, father and uncle as they smashed all the furniture, looking for something. Davin still didn't remember what, try as he might.

Hearing soft footsteps behind him, Davin glanced back again to see Malysa stumbling into the cockpit, rubbing her eyes. She looked over and mumbled something unintelligible at him.

"What?" he said. "Try that again."

She shot him a glare that teenage girls the universe over have mastered, and repeated, slower this time: "Are we there yet, dweeb?"

Davin grinned and shook his head. "Sure thing, banshee. We came out of hyperspace just a couple minutes ago."

Malysa yawned, showing off the overlarge canine teeth that were an Ortry family trait, and took a few more steps into the cockpit, looking out the viewport. Personally, Davin enjoyed his unsettling smile, but Malysa hated hers and was always bugging him to let her get them fixed. "I look like a vampire!" she often reminded him. Of course, he would then remind her that it was better to look scary in their present line of work.

She ran her fingers through her tousled electric-blue hair in an attempt to straighten it as she continued to wake up. Her natural color was jet black, the same as Davin's, but she frequently changed it, depending on her mood.

Davin shook his head again. He personally thought she looked ridiculous, but he was trying to let her have as much freedom as was reasonably possible. If the girl wanted to dye her hair and get fake tattoos, she was welcome to it as long as none of it was permanent. At sixteen, she was beginning to mellow out a little, but she still had her quirks. Still, sometimes he was glad he brought her along. It got lonely out there on the spacelanes, and he was glad to have someone to talk to in the monotony of hyperspace.

He reached over and mussed her hair as she sat down beside him in her custom, ultra-comfortable chair, one of the few things he had splurged on when he got this ship retrofit at a black-market shipyard a few parsecs from here.

She adopted a mock-furious expression and stuck her tongue out at him. He rolled his eyes. Malysa stretched her fingers and settled them over her keyboards as she prepared her own sensor sweeps. She reminded him every once in a while that he didn't know how to use the sensors properly, and he should just let her do it. Of course, he let her think whatever she wanted.

"Do we have the ugly buggers this time, or is this another red herring?" she asked as she reviewed the sensor readings. Malysa hated the Space Pirates just as much as he did, though she didn't actually remember much of the attack.

Davin pointed at one of his own monitors. "This drive signature is a few days old, but it's definitely the Orpheon. Looks like it had a reactor problem and crashed on the planet somewhere. I don't know what this other one is, the one that follows it down there. It looks like it came back up from the planet, but all traces of it disappear a few kilometers from here. Looks like whoever it was might have left."

His sister peered at her screen. "It looks similar to readings I've seen of Samus Aran's ship. Think maybe that Aran guy was here and went down to take a look? He's been known to go after Space Pirates, too." Malysa reached out and rapped her knuckles against the bulkhead near her seat. "You know, this was going to be his ship before we uh... appropriated it." She cocked her head. "I hope Aran isn't still here. I've heard he gets painful revenge on people who screw him over."

Davin chuckled, but raised the shields anyway.

--

Samus continued to peer intently at the newcomer. Suddenly, it popped into her head where she'd seen that ship before. It had taken her a few minutes because it looked so radically different from the last time she'd seen it. It was her ship, the one the Federation was building special for her in appreciation for the countless jobs she'd taken on for them over the years. She'd almost punched a hole in the monitor when she'd gotten the communique from the Federation shipyard, saying that her new ship had been stolen and had escaped into hyperspace before the Fed ships had been able to catch it. It had been what, a week from being completed? It had disappeared more than six months ago, and looked like it had been heavily modified in the meantime.

That was it, all right. It had several more weapon emplacements, and another pair of engines besides the ones the original design had called for, but it was definitely her new ship. Instead of the original orange and black, it was now midnight blue with gunmetal accents.

Samus chuckled softly to herself. Whoever had modified it had done an excellent job. After she threw the thieves out the airlock, she might keep most of the modifications, if they were up to her own personal standard.

Her hand hovered over the firing control for the forward ion cannon. Before she fired, Samus stopped herself. What were the thieves doing in the Tallon system, anyway? Did they know she was here? She decided to ask them before she blew them into space. It would satisfy her curiosity, anyway.

--

The back of Davin's neck began to tingle a few moments before the first blast hit them. From the way Malysa was scratching, he knew she felt it, too. Something wasn't right. There was some kind of energy fluctuation a few kilometers away, and the readings from the planet were coming in, too, showing widespread radiation of a kind neither of them had seen before.

But there was still something else, something that still seemed wrong. He couldn't really put it into words, but he knew the feeling well and trusted it.

"Davin, let's go. Something creepy's going on here." He wasn't sure, but Davin thought he detected a tremor in his sister's voice.

"Way ahead of you, sis." Davin began slapping controls, arming the lasers and preparing to turn around and re-enter hyperspace. "Go make sure my suit's charged up, and strap yourself in once you get it ready."

Malysa must have been scared. She didn't even pretend to argue with him. She was on her way to the back when an ion blast hit them on the port side, only partially deflected by the shields.

Another supercharged blast hit them again in the same spot and almost flipped the ship on its axis. He heard Malysa grunt in pain as she was thrown into the wall, and a muttered curse as she picked herself up.

Davin wrestled with the controls as he strained to see where their attacker was. His sensors weren't registering anything.

"They must have a cloaking device. Man, do I wish we had one of those!" Davin quickly wiped some sweat out of his eyes and took the ship into a barrel roll, followed by a stomach-twisting corkscrew maneuver as he looped back in the direction of the hyperspace point. No point in crashing on the planet.

Their opponent wasn't going to allow that. A third ion blast blew a hole in the shields long enough for the other ship to slip a missile in and take out the rear shield generator.

"Who is this guy?" he heard Malysa hiss from behind him.

"Beats me. He's on me like stink on a Space Pirate. I can't shake him!" Davin threw a few of his choicer curse words at the enemy ship, wherever it was. If this kept up, they were going to be destroyed before long.

Wrenching the controls suddenly to starboard, he narrowly avoided another missile, pulling the ship into a loop and feeling the whole vessel shake as yet another ion blast grazed the hull near the engines. Davin frantically divided his attention between maneuvering and glancing at the monitors, trying to catch any readings on the enemy ship, anything that would tell him where it was, what it was, or who it was.

Wait, what was that? Davin risked a longer glance at the monitor. There! That fluctuation was back, a reading he had dismissed as residue from the crashing Orpheon still floating around up here. It was moving much too fast to be space junk. It was probably a cloaked ship, the one that was attacking him.

His hand was on the firing controls when another two ion blasts in rapid succession took out his engines, disrupting the electrical systems. He was effectively dead in space until they reset. Davin smashed his fist into the bulkhead in frustration. He was better than this. How had the other ship disabled him so quickly?

He heard his sister dragging something forward, scraping along the deckplates. "I sure hope it's not Aran," she said.

"Hey, shut up. That's not even remotely funny."

"It's not meant to be." Her voice was serious.

Davin hissed a curse under his breath as his opponent finally turned off his cloaking device. It was indeed Samus Aran. The other bounty hunter's famous ship had its menacing lines pointed right at him, every laser cannon and missile launcher locked on to the front viewport.

Malysa chose this moment to come forward again, dressed in his flak jacket, and dragging Davin's battle suit behind her. She dropped his suit with a clunk on the deckplates and motioned him out of the pilot's seat. He rose and crossed to where his suit lay on the deck.

It was standard procedure for them to confuse potential boarders by making them think Malysa was alone on the ship while Davin prepared a nasty surprise for them. Another of his special modifications, carried over from their last ship, was a masker that disguised his life-sign as a power relay when he wasn't in his battle suit. That specialized armor didn't give off anything that sensors could interpret as organic. It worked surprisingly well, and had gotten them out of a few tight spots over the course of their career.

Davin snapped his helmet into place and ducked into the back, near the hatch.

--

Malysa Ortry took a deep breath and stole a quick look back at her brother. He caught her glance and winked at her through the visor of his helmet as he primed his weapons and ducked out of sight behind a bulkhead. She forced her features into a passive mask and waited for Aran to hail.

She didn't have to wait long.

Malysa answered the hail and the mysterious bounty hunter's armored visage appeared on the main screen, face hidden by his reflective blue visor.

"This is Samus Aran. I believe you have something that belongs to me." The cold, mechanically filtered voice held no trace of mercy or sympathy.

Malysa struggled fiercely not to let her nervousness show. Ordinarily, she wouldn't care, and would possibly even smart off, but she had heard things about this Aran. She had heard that he cared not for the personal safety of his prey, only that they reach his employer alive, if not necessarily intact. Unless ordered otherwise.

Thinking fast, she selected one of her fake names and surreptitiously tapped a few controls, activating the fake ship registry connected with that name. "This is Alysa Beneten. I believe you are mistaken, Mr. Aran. I purchased this ship new. And legally, I might add. I can show you the receipt."

That was at least partially true. She and Davin had taken the precaution of doctoring up registration papers for the ship, with all of them making it look like they had owned the ship for far longer than they actually had. It was possible, after all. The basic ship the Federation had modified for Aran had been available for about a year now.

Aran's inscrutable visor stared at Malysa for a few moments, as if waiting for her to blurt out the truth, which she nearly did.

She was saved when Aran transmitted again. "Prepare to be boarded."

--

Samus checked her weapons as she waited for the docking procedure to finish. The two hatches sealed together with a hiss of equalizing pressure.

She scowled. She hadn't expected a teenage girl to be aboard. What she had expected was a hotshot space jockey or possibly a Space Pirate who had stolen her new ship to learn about her superior weapons and technology. Samus couldn't just shoot that girl and dump her into space. She certainly didn't have room for a stowaway, though.

Jumping up, Samus drifted through the null zone where the two ships' artificial gravity fields canceled each other out and landed on her feet in the other ship.

She found herself looking into the business end of what was obviously a weapon. What surprised her, though, was what was on the other end of that weapon.

It was a man in sleek-looking battle armor, one her sensors hadn't registered. Where was the girl?

Samus cursed herself for being so foolish. What her sensors had registered as a fluctuating power relay had in fact been the person standing in front of her. As she had pulled the trick once or twice herself, she should have recognized it.

As she raised her cannon to point at his visor, she studied the man's suit. It was of extremely high quality, heavily armored, but obviously flexible. The armor was mostly nonreflective black, with dark gray highlights, and was vaguely reminiscent of a Chozo powersuit, though scans revealed it was not of Chozo manufacture. Its capabilities and shielding nearly matched those in her own powersuit, and the scans also indicated that the man inside had several cybernetic enhancements, some of which connected into the armor.

His gun did not completely encase one hand, like hers did, but was more like a rifle and apparently could be used with either hand, though she did notice that it hooked into his armor at the elbow, like a Federation Marine's weapon. She also noticed a pistol holstered on his thigh. Both weapons were not of a type she recognized, and as the Hunter and the armored man continued their standoff, Samus scanned those, as well.

The rifle was similar to her arm cannon in that it did not require ammunition, and was capable of an extremely high rate of fire. The pistol likewise did not require ammunition, though it was substantially weaker than the rifle. Samus was impressed. After she disposed of this thief, if the armor and weapons were in good enough shape to repair, she might keep them.

The armored man was the first to speak. "Detach your gun and drop it on the floor, or I'll put a plasma blast through your brain." He seemed to consider himself a threat to her.

Samus debated whether she could take him out before he fired. His suit had almost the same amount of protective shielding hers did, and she would likely be unable to do him sufficient damage before he did an equivalent amount to her.

His dark eyes glared at her from behind his visor. "Do it now!"

Samus frowned. She didn't really want to start a firefight in here and risk blowing holes in her new ship.

"You know who I am," she said calmly. "Do you think you can kill me before I kill you?" She began charging her cannon, the ball of energy collecting at the muzzle.

They stared at each other for a few moments, waiting for the other to blink. Of course, he couldn't have seen her blink even if she did, seeing as how her visor was reflective.

Her opponent shrugged, and slowly started to lower his rifle. "No guns, then." He made a point of letting her see him switch the safety on, then he dropped the gun on the deck. He raised his armored hands into a defensive posture.

Samus briefly considered shooting the fool anyway, but instead switched off her own weapon and detached it with her left hand, letting it drop to the deck at her feet. She shoved it away with her foot. This wouldn't take any time at all.

She could incapacitate the man, possibly questioning him later as to where he got his armor from, and lock him and the girl in the hold. She'd drop them off on the nearest station or planet, get her new ship repainted, and look for another job worthy of her skills. Provided neither of the thieves did anything stupid.

Anything more stupid than trying to steal a ship from Samus Aran.

The man raised an eyebrow, starting to circle her in the cramped space. "You're shorter than I expected, Mr. Aran."

Samus was glad he couldn't see her roll her eyes at him as she started moving, as well, her armored hands raised and clenched into fists. Most sentients she encountered assumed she was male, simply because of the aggressiveness of her fighting style. Most of the time, she didn't bother to correct them, simply because it was easier for her to not be recognized when she was out of her powersuit.

This idiot, however, she might take the pleasure of correcting. With extreme prejudice. Break a few bones, maybe.

The man in the armored suit seemed to be thinking. Thinking on what to do now. Perhaps he had realized how low his chances were of beating her.

As soon as his gaze shifted slightly, she sprang for him.

--

Davin managed to get off one kick before Aran was on him, gloved hands searching for his hidden helmet clasps.

Aran managed to find them, and turned his helmet around backwards, nearly breaking his neck in the process.

He flailed blindly, hoping to knock the other hunter away long enough for him to fix his helmet. He felt his boot connect with Aran's torso. Davin smiled grimly as he heard his opponent grunt in pain.

As he fumbled with his helmet, Aran tackled him again and ripped his helmet off entirely. He shoved the bounty hunter away, but too late realized Aran still held his helmet.

Davin tried to duck, but Aran clocked his unprotected head with the helmet and followed with a punch to his jaw with an armored gauntlet. He went down.

The other bounty hunter picked Davin up and bashed him against the wall, punching him in the gut as he did so. His suit caught most of the force of the blow, but it still knocked the wind out of him. Davin caught Aran's next punch in his hand and attempted to twist the other hunter's arm.

But no, Samus was too crafty for that to work. Aran held his arm steady with surprising strength and threaded his leg between Davin's, tripping him and kneeling on his chest.

Davin hooked his ankle around Aran's knee and flipped him over, rolling away to draw his pistol.

"I thought you said no guns, thief." Aran moved with cat-like quickness, darting forward to take hold of Davin's pistol.

Davin grabbed the other hunter's wrist with his left hand, straining to point the weapon at Aran. The armored warrior put both hands on the gun, putting all the strength a Chozo powersuit could provide to forcing the weapon's muzzle to point at Davin's unprotected head.

It became a contest of wills, both combatants pitting the full extent of their power against the other. Davin poured all of his concentration into keeping the pistol pointed away from him. It began inching closer and closer back toward Aran. He redoubled his efforts.

That's when the spiked knee caught him in the abdomen. He dropped the gun in surprise to clutch his stomach. The spike hadn't pierced his suit, of course, but the force of the motion knocked him backwards. His hands scrabbled against the wall, searching for a handhold to keep him upright.

Aran planted a boot in the center of his chest and contemptuously knocked him down. Not willing to give up just yet, he struggled violently to get up, but Aran punched him in the jaw, then grabbed Davin's head and began bashing it against the floor.

As he began to black out, Davin Ortry reflected what a colossal mistake stealing this ship had turned out to be.

--

Malysa took a deep breath as the two ships docked. Okay, so now Aran had them and was coming through to kill them, most likely. But Davin could take the other bounty hunter, couldn't he?

Maybe. Davin was only twenty-two, and nobody knew for sure how old Aran was. Maybe he was old and tired.

Yeah, right. Samus Aran had destroyed an entire planet's worth of Space Pirates all by himself. Or was it herself? Malysa didn't even know if Aran was a man or a woman.

Davin was good, but he was definitely no Samus. After how easily Aran had disabled their ship, the hunter had to be better than Davin. Her brother had once taken on an entire squadron of Federation fighters with this very ship and won, escaping with minor damage. On another occasion, he had flown circles around a Space Pirate dropship before causing it to crash on a planet's surface. But Aran had taken him out like he was nothing, a worthless amateur. He had no chance against the legendary hunter, she decided.

Malysa heard her brother talking to Aran, then sounds of a fight erupted from the back.

Fearing the worst, she grabbed an EMP grenade and a laser rifle from Davin's arsenal and dashed for the hatch.

She saw Samus Aran beating Davin senseless and sprang into action. Malysa primed and threw the grenade in one smooth motion, then snapped the rifle into firing position and armed it.

The EMP grenade had the desired affect. All of the electrical systems in Aran's suit began shutting down.

Malysa knew that the Hunter's suit was sophisticated, and would recover quickly from this kind of thing, so she fired her rifle directly into Aran's visor, knowing this would only disorient the Hunter. The powersuit was probably too well shielded for it to do much more than that.

She sprang forward, but Aran's booted foot hit her right in the stomach. She was surprised Samus recovered this fast.

Rolling with the impact, like her brother taught her, she took advantage of her smaller size and darted between the hunter's legs. She jumped up onto Aran's back, but the hunter just flipped her off, slamming her into the deck.

Malysa's breath went out in a rush. Aran grabbed her by the front of her flak jacket and threw her up into the ceiling, catching her in the back with a boot on the way down. Malysa felt a sharp pain in her lower back as she slammed into the far wall. Aran stepped over to her and picked her up by the collar of her jacket again.

"I don't want to kill you, little girl. You should give up while you still can."

"Up yours." Malysa spat on the hunter's visor.

"Suit yourself." Aran threw her across the room again.

When she landed, Malysa noticed that the maintenance hatch near her was open, and one of the power cables was unhooked on one side. Now she remembered. Davin had been working on the secondary starboard missile launcher, as he had noticed that it was behaving erratically. He'd unhooked the power, so as not to shock himself while he was working. But, the unhooked cable just might still be live. Sometimes Davin had to patch things on the run, so he had gotten into the habit of leaving the power on while he was working on things. Malysa told him all the time that he was going to shock himself to death one of these days, but he would just grin and wave her off. Had he left the power on, or had he listened to her, finally?

Malysa decided to take that chance. As Aran stepped closer, she let out a not-quite-fake groan and rolled over, her hand coming to rest on the insulated covering of the power cable.

Aran reached down to grab her again, but before the Hunter's hand could take hold, she jabbed the end of the power cable into Aran's thigh.

Malysa's gamble paid off. Aran's suit seized up as the electricity coursed through it and its systems reset themselves. She knew that the hunter would be mobile again in a few seconds, so, ignoring her screaming ribs, she reached up to Aran's helmet, fumbling for the release.

There was a sudden impact against her stomach, and Malysa was knocked back, the Hunter's helmet coming with her. An armored hand shot up to grab Malysa's wrist, and with a sudden pivot, her arm was pinned behind her back and her face was slammed into the wall.

"I'm getting tired of you." a distinctly female voice hissed in her ear. "I was going to drop you and your friend off on the planet, but now I think I'll see if there's a reward for you two. "

"W-Wait! You can't turn us in!"

Malysa felt cuffs locking around her wrists as the Hunter answered. "Oh? Give me one good reason, little girl."

Samus jerked the girl around to face her, and Malysa saw her face for the first time. She was actually very beautiful, surprising considering Aran's reputation. She was glaring at Malysa, and she momentarily wondered what had happened to this woman to make her into the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter.

Her mind whirled as she tried to come up with an answer. What did she know about Aran?

"We hate the Space Pirates, too!" Malysa blurted. "They killed our whole family on one of their raids, and we came here to pay them back."

The Hunter appeared unimpressed. "The Space Pirates have killed a lot of people, little girl. That doesn't mean it gives you the excuse to go around stealing things." She tapped a hand against her armored chest. "Especially if they belong to me."

Malysa briefly considered attempting to summon tears, but reasoned that tactic wouldn't work on Aran, either. Besides, she wasn't the blubbering type, and wouldn't be able to sustain it very long, anyway.

She glanced over at Davin, who lay motionless on the deck. "At least let me check on my brother. You might have killed him." She tried to think what else she could say. "He's worth more, of the two of us, so if you mean to collect our bounty, you should probably keep him alive."

Aran reached out and grabbed the collar of Malysa's jacket again. As she wondered what the Hunter was going to do, Aran threw her down on the deck, planting a boot on her back.

"No sudden moves, understand?"

Malysa nodded, and watched as Aran stepped over to where her helmet lay on the deck and picked it up, putting it back on. The Hunter looked down at Davin through the visor and stepped over to him, kicking him in the side.

"He'll live." She pointed at Malysa with an armored finger. "If I take off your cuffs, are you going to try anything stupid?"

Malysa shook her head, already planning something 'stupid' to try.

--


Author's Note(prepare for a long one): This is a rewrite of an old story of mine, which was okay, but not the best thing I've ever written. I've since reworked the outline, and now I intend to continue with this story, having recently replayed 'Metroid Prime'. The first two in that sub-series are the only Metroid games I've actually played, though I have done my research on the rest of the series. You'll have to excuse anything that disagrees with a prior game or 'Corruption', since what I don't know, I make up. I don't have a Wii, and so haven't played 'Metroid Prime 3', so there might be some things that disagree with that game. I understand that game has more on the Federation, so if my version of it contradicts what's in 'Corruption', I'll fix it once I finally get to play it. No spoilers for MP 3 in reviews, please. I've already got one of my friends on strict gag order concerning the plot. ;)

Also, since you may be wondering because of my penname, the character Davin in this story is not meant to be me as a self-insert in any form. I decided I liked the name from the original story, and couldn't think of a different one for him, so I kept it. Many of my male protagonists are named 'Davin', so it's sort of a recurring thing for me.

Finally, as I have other stories I'm working on, also, updates on this story will be sporadic. My main project right now is a 'Legend of Zelda' story that, if you're interested, you can find in my profile. This is only getting started now because I've hit a temporary snag in that story, and so I need to think about something else for a little while. I hope this story is enjoyable, at least, and provides some good adventure fun to all my fellow Metroid fans out there. Honest reviews are always appreciated.