Excerpt from transcript of "Hero or Hoser? The Career of Samus Aran, Bounty Hunter," originally aired on Channel Ohm Stardate 3492, Cycle 58, Standard Time 2620

Samus Aran. A name that needs no introduction, no explanation. In this era of space travel, to speak of a "household name" holds far more meaning than it did in bygone times when species were confined to their own home planets. There are perhaps half a dozen entities still alive who can be said to have achieved that level of notoriety, and Samus Aran is one of them. Having saved the civilized universe from the ambitions of the predatory Space Pirates three or more times, having singlehandedly destroyed the horrible Metroid species that threatened life itself, it is perhaps understandable that Samus Aran has acquired this degree of notoriety. A humble bounty hunter reaching such heights is the sort of thing to inspire dreams and light the fires of hope in the hearts of the multitudes everywhere, from the sunken halls of the royal palace on Evir to the farthest travel routes of deep-space cargo haulers to the beer halls of the Federation's finest soldiers.

Unfortunately, simply accepting common beliefs at face value rarely leads to the entire truth. While we of course wish to remain duly respectful of Aran's accomplishments, the quest for truth, that cold mistress, spurs us onward. And so we have looked into all available resources documenting this most legendary bounty hunter's career, searching tirelessly for any inconsistencies and indiscretions which an adoring public might choose to overlook out of well-meant but misplaced gratitude.

The official statements on Aran's childhood are the first thing to catch the eye upon such an analysis. The fact that this young human exploded onto the bounty hunting scene eight Standard years ago at the age of twenty with no official records of any sort is curious, to say the least. Only under the most relentless questioning did Aran divulge any details, and those have only complicated the issue even moreso. According to her own apparent memory, she was the only survivor of a Space Pirate attack on the space cruiser Pykasye. A remarkably convenient story, considering that records of the Pykasye's final passenger list were wiped out by a system glitch in Federation computers. However, since there is no actual means to deny Aran's story, one must reluctantly admit it is certainly possible, however unlikely, that a four-year-old girl would be the sole survivor of the destroyed ship.

It is there that Aran's story enters the realm of suspended belief. For the next fifteen years of her life, she claims to have been raised by the last survivors of a dying species whom she referred to as the Chozo. Though the existence of the Chozo has of course been proven by Federation archaeologists, those same archaeologists also date the most recent Chozo settlement yet discovered to have been abandoned two thousand Standard years ago. The existence of some last remnants of the species is hardly to be believed on a single human's word alone, no matter how notorious, and she has yet to provide evidence of this claim beyond her infamous power suit, a model which shows a degree of interface with Chozo technology admittedly beyond Federation standard.

It was one year into her career that Aran's name became legend. At that point, her own natural abilities had already rocketed her to a significant amount of fame, and thus was recognized by the Federation as talented when disaster struck. Reports came in of the Space Pirates of Zebes having acquired a frightening new biological weapon, a nonsentient species known as "Metroids." These creatures, in addition to possessing a carapace impenetrable to any weaponry below vehicle-mounted caliber, could actually drain the "life force" out of any living being in remarkable short time. Ludicrous as such a metaphysical concept might seem, the Federation regarded the threat as substantial, and immediately began to negotiate in earnest with the Zebesians over the control of the beasts.

Negotiations were underway when Aran entered Zebes airspace. To this day, she maintains that she was sent in by a Federation Commander, Adam Malkovich, as a one-man assault force with the mission to eliminate all Metroids held by the Pirates. In addition, she was supposedly assigned to assassinate the two Pirate Lords present on-planet, Ridley and Kraid, as well as the Pirate Queen, Mother Brain. Why exactly Malkovich believed a single bounty hunter of only twenty-one years capable of completing this mission (in direct violation of Federation practices and policy at the time) better than other alternatives, such as a well-trained platoon of the Egenoid Star Marines, shall never be answered; Malkovich himself was killed several years later under mysterious circumstances. While he did confirm Aran's story before his demise, it is still entirely possible that was a fiction meant to prevent the Hunter from ungracious but righteous prison time for uncalled interference.

Aran's second adventure is much more murky than her first. What is known is that, during the next several years, she persisted in stymieing further attempts by the Space Pirates to acquire and breed Metroids, destroying their captured beasts whenever any were taken from their native planet SR-388. The Federation has classified these several conflicts as the "Metroid Prime Incident," for reasons which have not been made known to the general public. The only thing of note reported is that the Pirate Lord Ridley returned to fight Aran again not once, but twice, leading the gullible to accept that the Pirates' lead scientist, Kraid, had created some means of reviving the dead. This is, of course, completely laughable, and a more reasonable being must instead accept that the name of "Ridley" is passed on to each member of the Drakar species to inherit the title of Pirate Lord following his predecessor's death. The only other possibility, that Aran had faked Ridley's death, could only have happened for reasons too dark for even this investigator to peer into yet.

Eventually, it seems the "Metroid Prime Incident" was concluded satisfactorily, although the Space Pirates remained a threat, with two Pirate Lords-Draygon and Phantoon-still confirmed to be alive and active, along with the aforementioned issues with Ridley. It was not to these threats that Aran turned next, however. It was to Planet SR-388, the homeworld of the Metroids. Located on the Far Side, the discovered space which is not under Federation control, SR-388 was a world with no known sentient life. Though the Federation was obviously reluctant to order the extinction of even a nonsentient species, the threat of the Metroids had by now been proven to be simply too much to tolerate. Again, Aran alone was entrusted with this mission, and again she succeeded. Or, at least, nearly succeeded. When she returned to Federation Space, only one living Metroid remained-an infant, which she had brought with her.

It is here that, once again, Aran's story stretches the bounds of credibility. All of her accounts of the infant Metroid claim that the animal had bonded with her, and thought of her as its mother. This is, of course, patently ridiculous. Metroids are not evolved enough to possess even the possibility of such emotions, and even were they capable, all other records of Metroid behavior have shown mindless hunger to be their only response to any lifeform save themselves, every time. The chance that this one creature would break the mold are beyond belief. Regardless, Aran turned the Metroid over to Federation officials (a remarkably coldheated move if her story of the beast's feelings were true) for scientific testing.

This was where Aran's most recent, and most spectacular, adventure began. Space Station Ceres, where the Metroid was held, was assaulted by Space Pirates led by "Ridley" yet again. Aran followed the Pirates back to Zebes, where they had rebuilt their forces. There, in a display one could almost believe was intentionally planned to outdo her previous stint on Zebes, Aran killed not only Ridley, Kraid and Mother Brain (who had also been "resurrected,") but the remaining two Pirate Lords, Draygon and Phantoon, as well. While the absolute crippling of the Space Pirate command is unarguably a good thing, the following destruction of the entire planet of Zebes is far less so. Aran's report was that Mother Brain had set charges to detonate the core of the planet in the event of her death. And since Aran is the only surviving witness to the adventure of legal credibility (all other bounty hunters attempting to take advantage of the skyrocketing prices during the incident having apparently been conveniently killed by the Pirates), one must once again admit that no evidence exists to doubt her story. Aran also claimed that the last of the Metroids was killed as well, rendering the species extinct at last.

This brings us to the main story of the evening. With the Space Pirates crushed and the Metroids extinct, the threat to the universe appeared to have been neutralized, and Samus Aran could now return solely to her chosen profession of bounty hunting without needing to save intelligent life as we know it every tax day. However, she instead chose a different path-a return to Planet SR-388, the home of the Metroids. Further information on the revelatory events that occurred there will return after this commercial break.