Project Codename: GFE57978 "Ignition"
Submitted by: M. Killian Snow
We began on Project "Ignition" shortly after GF-hired galactic bounty hunter Samus Aran reported back from her excursion from planet GFETLN4, "Tallon IV", and her self-imposed mission beginning with a distress signal she picked up while in the area. Her success removing the mysterious radioactive compound known simply as "Phazon" as well as an entire Space Pirate tactical base/mining facility has earned her a respected reputation among even the GF's most hardened elite; having only one previous GF-sponsored deed to her name (case GF0001: destroying the Mother Brain that had usurped control over Zebes and eradicating the Metroids that had infested Tourain), Aran has proven that she is a reliable soldier that we can count on for any emergency, assuming that the price is right.
Her actions on Tallon IV had set in motion a series of events far grander than anyone in the fleet could have predicted; what was supposed to be a simple rescue mission had turned into a galactic war not only with the Space Pirates, but with a 'sentient' material that fed off whole planets to spread its virus. Project "Ignition", however, was already well underway, having started after her report back from Tallon IV and before her following mission on planet GFE4THR, "Aether".
Aran had reported that, while she was on Tallon IV, she had encountered at least two different Space Pirate bases of operations. Thanks in whole to her Chozo-powered suit and visor, she was successful in cracking the password protection on their logs, both personal and scientific, giving her full access to any information they had on the GF, their own operations, and Phazon, Metroids, and anything else Aran deemed important enough to download and decrypt.
Most of the journals were typical Space Pirate chickenscratch – their desire to rule the galaxy, to control the Metroids, and to kill anyone who stood in their way, be it the "Hunter" or even their own kind should one lack the spine to follow orders. As barbaric as they are, they are still capable of advanced thought and problem-solving, and as such their technology fluctuates between being both inferior and superior to our own. When it's not stolen, anyway.
One particular scientific log had captured the eye of the GF execs: the Space Pirates, having been fed up with Aran's constant raids and their own inability to stop her, attempted to reverse-engineer her Power Suit for their own uses. Their humorous stories of their failed attempts at replicating her "Morph Ball" feature, along with their stories of successfully reverse-engineering her various Beam-functions, had begun to stir the imaginations of the high Chiefs: if the Space Pirates could successfully replicate Aran's Power Suit in full, it'd be almost certain defeat at their hands. After all, statistically, an average GF soldier stands an approximate 1:2.733 chance of survival against a single average Space Pirate, and Aran had defeated their highest in commands single-handedly at least twice by then. An army of Samus Aran's fighting against us would spell doom, no matter how many other bounty hunters we hire to help.
Naturally, the reverse also holds true: if we can reverse-engineer Aran's Power Suit before the Pirates can, then our long-standing war with them could see an end before the end of our lives. After securing permission from Samus Aran herself to examine her Power Suit, provided we follow her set conditions – any alterations to the Suit must be done by her hands, she must always be present during the research, et al – Project "Ignition" was born.
Team "Ignition" estimates that the project is 37% completed overall. Many basic features were completely replicated early in its production, while many others push our minds to their absolute brink in an effort to solve them. It's too early in production to reasonably expect a fully-fleshed-out replica of the Suit at any time, although a prototype Suit for field-testing should be available in the next four Earth-months.
Simple Visors, such as the Combat Visor and the GF-issued Ship Command Visor, have been rewritten from the ground-up for compatibility issues with the GF-created Suit. They were completed within the week we had begun work on Visors. The Thermal Visor was next to be completed – thermal vision, though a centuries-old technology, is still highly useful, particularly in colder climates, and was no trouble to redo. The Echo Visor took a suitably longer time to complete – about a month all by itself – though a final, ready version is expected by the end of the week.
The Scan Visor holds impossible secrets for such a simple idea: 2nd Assistant Programmer M. Raphael Coryes had a nervous breakdown one sleepless night, attempting to figure out how the Scan Visor could operate machines and programs, and decrypt foreign languages and passwords, while still having an entire encyclopaedia on everything from flora and fauna to creatures that have never existed before the discovery of Phazon, yet could still provide an extremely detailed analysis from their brainwaves to their bone structures, digestive, defensive and nervous systems, et al, while still leaving enough space in the central processor of the Suit's systems for complex programs and HUD elements. He's too scared to even think about how Aran can 'upgrade' her Visor "on the fly".
Team "Ignition" has wisely decided to forego the Dark Visor – Planet Aether being a rare exception, there simply isn't enough evidence for any practical application for it. It allegedly sees anything that's invisible in shocking detail. The Team doesn't believe in ghosts or spirits, and thus don't find the Dark Visor to be worth the time or effort. Besides, if these "invisible" things have any tangibility to them, the Echo Visor will pick them up.
The X-Ray Visor has been completed…but how the Chozo managed to manipulate the Visor to not constantly give out dangerous radiation is still beyond us. While it will function as well as Samus' own Visor, its radiation emission is a constant threat to the user. The Team will continue their research on the Visor, though they suggest the Chiefs reconsider further testing.
Currently, the standard issue for GF soldiers is a large automatic high-frequency rifle. The biggest issue with this weapon is its limited ammunition capacity; something Aran has never had to worry about. We had her fire at a target continuously for ten minutes to test the limits of the Arm Cannon, and aside from a little steam from the barrel of the Cannon, there seemed to be absolutely no downside to that sort of constant fire. It wasn't even that overheated – the steam from the barrel had been from constant friction of the shots scraping against the opening. It's a total marvel of technology and the more we examine it, the more envious we become of the Chozo's intelligence.
Nevertheless, we did manage to replicate the infinite ammo issue, a.k.a. the Power Beam. A small generator in the inside of the Arm Cannon creates the heated energy used in her shots, and recycles the energy by taking the hydration from the air and superheating it in only a fraction of a second, applying extreme pressure so it 'shoots' instead of 'sprays', and propels it forward by a small controlled explosion just in front of the generator. Like Aran's Arm Cannon, the shot can be charged for a larger, faster, and more explosive 'pellet'. This issue of Arm Cannon does not require reloading; however, it overheats drastically quickly and has an extended cooldown time. Research is being conducted to create a metal that disperses heat faster and to draw out, and hopefully eliminate, the overheat time.
The process can be repeated in reverse to create a mock-Ice Beam, which seems to function as totally normally as Aran's own. They both have slow rates of fire, but otherwise replicating the Ice Beam has, surprisingly, been finalized, since the generator is in no danger of overheating. Team "Ignition" is triple-checking their data just to be sure there isn't going to be any fatal surprises down the line.
Likewise, the Plasma Beam has been successfully replicated as well. However, because of the Plasma Beam's superheated properties (even for the Power Beam), it can fire only one shot before needing to cool down, and cannot fire charged shots. Regardless, the Team sees this as excellent progression and will continue their research on enhancing the Plasma Beam.
The Wave Beam is far too finicky a Beam to even begin understanding. Aran's Cannon will fire three shots of it at once, and each one has an electric property to it that will stun the enemy, leaving them prone to further damage. A charged version will fire one larger shot that can somehow locate and home into a target; it can seemingly shut down the nerves on a target temporarily, leaving them totally motionless. It can power devices with one well-placed shot, and it can travel through walls that are less than three inches thick. How a Beam shot can behave like a programmed missile is beyond us at the moment, to say the least. Of all the Beams so far, the Wave Beam has progressed the least.
Initially, we were to just skip the Annihilator Beam all together – it is comprised of two totally different Beam weapons, artistically called the Light Beam and the Dark Beam, which fired concentrated, superheated light and concentrated, frozen darkness, respectfully. The Luminoth certainly had a poetic way with weapons. Aran noted that both the Light and Dark Beams required ammunition to work, because Luminoth technology could not totally hybrid with Chozo technology, resulting in some corners that were forced to be cut. Attempting to reverse-engineer Luminoth technology when even the Chozo could not fully understand it was beyond our league, and we resigned to leaving the Annihilator Beam unfinished. However, the Annihilator Beam fired concentrated sound, meaning the Echo Visor is compatible with and only with that specific Beam. While we concede that we will never understand the Annihilator Beam with our current resources, we will persevere to create something of our own that will function with the Echo Visor. Anything we make will not be a pure Annihilator Beam reconstruction, but hopefully what we make will be close enough.
We have managed to create enough room within the Arm Cannon for five missiles and five super missiles, yet no more. This lowly number sorely pales in comparison to Aran's capacity to hold two-hundred-fifty missiles and one-hundred super missiles; according to her stories, she can only carry so many by acquiring various different Chozo technology frequently scattered around the world they at least visited at one point. How these expansions somehow cram more missiles into her one Arm Cannon than can fit into thirty-five of our Arm Cannons totally baffles us. With some time, we theorize that we can successfully create enough room to store an additional five of each; other than that, the Team advises that the Chief's to not get their hopes up.
For the purposes of testing the Morph Ball's functions, the Team has built three archetype Suits equipped with the hardware and software necessary to engage the form. While the Suits are hollow, they are not equipped with any of other features, and are obviously not meant for wearing or field-testing. Instead, taking into account the humorous-yet-frightening accounts of the Space Pirates and their live subjects engaging their prototype Morph Balls, the Suits are filled with a dummy made of ballistics gel to accurately depict the effects of a human engaging in Morph Ball form.
The Suit itself can engage and disengage the Morph Ball form perfectly, sustaining no damage to itself in any conceivable way. It can compact itself into a form that perfectly emulates the Power Suit's, with a difference in diameter of only one-ten-thousandth of an inch. The biggest issue, however, is the person in the suit surviving the transformation. While the Suit is in no danger, each dummy in the Suits emerge broken, torn, disfigured, and occasionally melted. Samus Aran herself describes the experience with her Power Suit as 'out-of-body' and 'celestial' – she implies that her body is no longer a part of the Suit when she engages, and she watches herself perform her movements from a third-perspective. The Team has offered two solutions: either further research into somehow reproducing this magic, or sacrificing size for survivability: the smallest the GF Suit's Morph Ball can safely be in this stage is approximately 3 ¾ feet, compared to the Power Suit's 2 ½ feet.
The Morph Ball Bomb and Power Bomb features are another story. The Power Suit's Morph Ball seems to have some kind of power generator totally visible in its center that fluctuates whenever a Morph Ball Bomb is dropped; this is obviously what is used to generate the small concussive explosions, but how it can do it is currently being researched. The lead designer of the generator, N. Archibald Sun, says he has a general idea of how to reproduce it and says he'll have a working prototype ready in three days. Although he says that his generator will supply concussive energy akin to the Morph Ball Bomb, he seriously doubts anything created this early will have the stunning cataclysmic power of a Power Bomb. How something so small can create something so destructive is completely beyond us, and as a result research in that area is going slowly.
The Spider Ball feature has been completely reverse-engineered successfully and was finalized immediately. It was simply a feature that turned the Morph Ball magnetic, that could be turned on and off like a switch, at any time, so that it enabled the Morph Ball to climb along magnetic rails like a spider. Even beyond that, Aran's version could only apply itself to certain magnetic strips, hindering exploration; the GF version can apply itself to anything metal and crawl anywhere like a true spider could. The Team couldn't be more pleased with the result.
The Boost Ball feature has made fair progress: a small, jet-propelled thrust from the inside of the Morph Ball can propel it large distances quickly, with very little overheat. While this method is totally different from Aran's method, which seems to involve absolutely no outside force and can simply dash the distances seemingly by itself, the Team advises to proceed with this train of thought of jet-propulsion, but are not averse to investigating the Chozo method further if ordered.
The Varia Suit addition to Aran's default Power Suit has entered beta stages with promising outlooks. The main function of this upgrade is to allow Aran to traverse molten areas (though not lava; this is covered in the Gravity Suit's report) that would cook the standard GF suit in a matter of minutes with absolutely no hindrance. The 'shoulder pads' of the Varia Suit is the largest difference between it and the Power Suit, and some minor dissecting proved that these were where the secrets of the Varia Suit lie: in the right 'shoulder pad' was a large cooling unit that maintained and moderated the temperature of the entire body, able to keep the user and the Suit itself cool from temperatures up to 500° Kelvin. Incidentally, this disproved popular theories that the Power Suit's surplus missiles were stored in the right 'shoulder pad', which somehow solved the three-hundred-fifty missile problem. Additionally, the left 'shoulder pad' seemed to contain dead weight, serving no obvious purpose other than symmetry and balance.
The Gravity Suit addition is an enigma: this addition allows Aran to move freely through water without feeling its drag or thickness, providing her movement as if she were in dry air. Furthermore, the Gravity Suit bolstered the capabilities of the Varia Suit by raising its tolerance to such high degrees that she could traverse molten lava without any drawbacks. The Gravity Suit also strengthened all Visors so that the user could see clearly in water, whereas normally the user could only see a certain distance of about fifteen feet. Research in this area has been slow.
The Space Jump was a useful upgrade for Aran, although it was a pitiful idea by Chozo standards. A simple jetpack or thrusters built into the bottoms of the Suit's boots provided a small boost that propelled the user about twice as high into the air. This commendation has been applied to second-generation GF combat suits and onward; ideally, the Space Jump was completed before we had begun Project "Ignition".
The Grapple Beam is a small, scope-like armament attached to the lower forearm on the left arm on the Power Suit. It fired a magnetic beam that latched onto certain hooks, which fired and retracted with a simple flex of the hand. Another easy fix for Chozo technology that had been standard issue for GF combat suits for years, but what made the Power Suit's Grapple Beam so different from the GF's rope-and-hook grapple was that the Power Suit's Grapple Beam seemed to be made out of what could only be described as pure magnetism. It had no physical, tangible form other than a simple line of blue static, so while the practice of the Grapple Beam is extraordinarily easy to replicate, the method is currently being researched. As a normal grapple, there is no difference between the GF version and the Chozo version; however, the Chozo version can be used as a quick, short-range weapon and can use Gliders as grapple points, where a normal GF grapple would simply pierce the Gliders skin, potentially killing it. The Team asserts that there are too few pros to Aran's version of the grapple and recommends to not waste the resources to attempt to replicate it.
The Screw Attack, while oddly named, is arguably Aran's most destructive weapon in her arsenal: by combining some aspects of the Space Jump with a program that vibrates her suit to fantastic levels, she can almost literally slice her way through any enemy imaginable; even the Ripper, with a hide so durable the most devastating of weapons cannot pierce it, was shred to pieces by merely contacting the Suit. Not even Aran can confirm it, but it's joked that the name "Screw Attack" comes from the idea that if you're hit with it, you're most definitely "screwed". The Screw Attack takes advantage of every aspect of the Power Suit, turning the Suit itself into a weapon, and while not as environmentally destructive as a Power Bomb, a precise hit with the attack is far more reliable than any other weapon she has. It is so powerful, in fact, that a safeguard program in the Power Suit will only allow the weapon to be engaged midair (hence the necessity for the Space Jump); if engaged on the ground, it's highly possible the Suit would vibrate through any material it is standing on, be it soil or titanium. The Team has created an archetype of the weapon. However, in its current state, it cannot vibrate any more than to cause a slight irritation on the skin, and can hardly be used as a weapon. The Chozo's masterful craftsmanship has been properly appreciated here; to create such a devastating weapon without dissolving the user or any of the Suit's other components is truly a see-to-believe experience. Research is ongoing, with high spirits.
There is no doubt in anyone's mind that the Space Pirates have been continuing with their efforts since the launch of their own project four years ago on Tallon IV. We also have no doubts that, despite their headstart, we are most certainly farther along with our own project, with thanks in no small part to Samus Aran allowing us to conduct tests on her Power Suit – without her assistance, the chances of us ever seeing this project's completion in our lifetime would have been totally nil. To reiterate, we are expecting a beta-worthy GF-Power Suit for field-testing within the next four Earth-months, with an expected fully-operational Power Beam, Ice Beam, Thermal Visor, Morph Ball and Morph Ball Bomb, Spider Ball, and Boost Ball, along with alphas of the Varia Suit, Plasma Beam, Echo Visor, Grapple Beam and, if we're lucky, Annihilator Beam. The Team recommends beginning a search for a voluntary test subject – subject must be lithe, flexible, athletic, between 5'8" and 6' and must weigh less than 170 pounds. We also ask for an increase of budget to 80,000 credits to accommodate a sudden increase in overtimes and, likewise, resource management.
Lead Designer, Architect Project "Ignition"
Mallard Killian Snow