A/N: Good morning/afternoon/evening, readers! I'd like to very briefly introduce a new story. Metroid: Fallen is my current favorite thing ever. It's also a comic, which will have the prologue posted soon on deviantART. It introduces two of my original characters, both of whom feature in nearly all of my Metroid stories. Therefore I thought it was pretty important to post it, because if I want to post the other stories-well, they wouldn't make a lot of sense, now, would they? :P Anyways, enjoy!

prologue: the new general

The hum of machinery was the only sound in the laboratory as the Head Scientist made the final preparations. His assistants worked silently on either side of the lab, monitoring the readings displayed on the glowing viewscreens.

The Head Scientist checked the connections of all the wires and pipes hooked up to the experiment. This was the most critical stage, and if something went wrong now, all his hours of work would go to waste. There was already a high enough chance they would have start at the beginning again; he refused to allow anything to increase the odds against a success.

"It is ready," he said at last as he stepped back to admire his work. For a moment, he hesitated, thinking back on the past few days, before he gave the order. "Activate the power source."

The first assistant nodded and pressed his claw against the scanner. It glowed a fraction brighter, and the Head Scientist clenched his fists. If all had gone as he'd hoped, the most revolutionary idea in the history of the species was about to become reality. If, of course, something had gone wrong—a single change to the code, the tiniest mistake in his calculations—it would all be for nothing. This was the moment of truth. This was the moment that determined his success...or his failure.

The power source activated with a crackle of energy and a flash of blue and white. The lab's lighting flickered wildly as the wires inside the cell glowed brighter and brighter. The air itself tingled, and there was a taste in the air like lightning.

The lights went out at the exact moment the charge transferred to the experiment itself. The Head Scientist stepped back in alarm, raising his arm to shield his eyes from the burst of white-hot electrical power. The experiment was silhouetted against the light—a winged, humanoid figure, stripped of color and detail by the backdrop of pure energy. Even without the antigravity systems running, it was suspended in midair for a moment as power surged through it.

Silence fell once the crackle of electricity died. The backup lightstrips came on, casting a dim, eerie red glow over the lab. The experiment was on its feet, head down, wings still folded behind it. For a moment, no one moved, and the Head Scientist drew a breath through his teeth, certain he'd failed.

Then, the experiment opened its yellow eyes.

It—no, he—raised his head slowly, his eyes fixed on the Head Scientist. He was still little more than a silhouette against the crimson glow of the lightstrips. His wings spread a little, helping him keep his balance as he adjusted.

The Head Scientist stepped forward, his own eyes glowing wickedly. "Welcome back, sir," he said smoothly, ducking his head a little.

The experiment lunged forward, one hand shooting out to grab the Head Scientist's throat. The Scientist tried hopelessly to free himself, both of his clawed hands struggling in vain against the grip of his creation. "What happened?" the experiment demanded, his claws digging into the Scientist's unarmored flesh. "Where's-"

He stopped short, his eyes narrowing slightly, and drew back as suddenly as he'd attacked. The Scientist gasped for breath, rubbing his bruised throat as the experiment stared at his hand.

"What..." began the experiment weakly. He paused to compose himself and looked back at the Scientist, fury burning in his eyes. "What have you done to me?"

The Scientist stepped back, a little wary. He wasn't quite surprised, but he'd hoped this new creation would take a little longer to find his footing. Clearly, he'd been wrong. "You were...well-defeated this time, sir," he began cautiously. He hadn't actually seen it first-hand, of course, but there had been an explosion that shook every room in the building. "Unfortunately, we were unable to resurrect you."

The experiment looked as if he wanted to go back to strangling the Scientist, but he waited.

"Nor, I'm afraid, did we have the time to construct a new body for you," the Scientist went on in a hurry. Explaining things to the General in any form was a risky business; he'd gotten this position when the last Head Scientist failed to do so satisfactorily.

"So what is this?" growled the experiment, folding his arms.

"This," said the Head Scientist, "is our greatest experiment ever." He gestured to the computer screens, which were still active and displaying the readings from the experiment. "We used the body of a former Federation trooper and modified his genetic material with pterodragon DNA."

The experiment nodded, the rage fading a little from his face.

Very relieved, the Head Scientist went on. "We then uploaded your mind to the soldier's brain, creating what we hoped would function as a smaller form for yourself, sir."

The question, of course, had been whether the formerly human body would accept the genetic modifications, and whether it would resume normal processes, given the right spark. So far, it seemed to be working, but only time would tell for certain.

Either way, he had succeeded—or at least come a long way towards succeeding—and now, the only thing to do was turn the experiment loose and watch what happened. "This is the result of that experiment," he finished proudly, turning away with a nasty grin on his face. "This, sir, is the new General of the Space Pirates!"