A/N: Here comes Chapter 2 for ya! Please R&R and enjoy.
To AuthorShax - Well Samus as a whole has been rather mysterious, so it's something I've wanted to do for awhile. Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I own nothing having to do with the Metroid franchise in any shape or form.
Chapter 2: The Light
Just as there is fear, there is also courage...in equal amounts.
To submit to fear is to die, but to have naught but courage is to be arrogant, which also leads to death.
Even the greatest of warriors has fears, just as the most cowardly can find courage.
To let either attribute define us, however, is dangerous and foolish.
This is the way of enlightenment, the way of the Chozo.
We place our trust in the Newborn, in hopes that she will instill courage in those that fear the darkness, and instill fear into the shadows themselves.
May the light of wisdom always guide her.
-Gray Voice, Cir. 4012 GA
"Samus...we have arrived." stated the loud voice of the ship's computer.
The blonde bounty-hunter rolled her shoulders and opened her eyes, enjoying the feel of her rejuvenated body and relaxed muscles. She pressed the button on the inside of her sleep chamber and waited for the glass door to open, then stepped out and stretched before looking to the ceiling of her quarters. "Adam, I'm going to take a quick shower, so I'll be in the cockpit in a few minutes."
"It's been days since your last one, so that would be a good idea." quipped the voice of her CO.
Samus simply grumbled before entering a small washroom and closing herself within the automated cleaning machine. Though efficient, the "shower" was very...thorough, with independently moving jets of water that literally cleaned every inch of her, sterilizing her entire skin's surface while still maintaining its natural acidity.
A few minutes later the woman left the room, grumbling, "It always feels like I was just violated when I go in there. At least the Federation's medics have soft hands."
She then pressed the insignia on her left hand with the index from her right, and felt as the skintight tri-colored bodysuit wrapped itself around her. Neo-threads of blue, cobalt, and yellow trailed around her fingers, back, and chest, quickly covering every inch of skin in a comfortable, insulated covering. She sighed as she felt the suit connect with her skin's nervous system, and smiled as she felt the breathable neo-fabric ventilate her entire body, keeping her cool.
"To this day, I never thought the feeling of nakedness could be so liberating." she commented to herself.
"If you're done being pseudo-naked, we have work to do." replied the CO.
Samus pouted and answered, "Aw, you're no fun."
"My excitability with the female form left with my physical body, no matter how desirable it is." Adam responded gruffly.
The woman rolled her eyes. "Fine fine. So how goes our approach?"
As Samus took her seat in the pilot's chair, a multitude of different diagnostics appeared onscreen. "Speed and rate of descent is steady. I've already sent our security codes to the planet's defense systems, so as long as the Luminoth haven't suddenly become a hostile race, all should be fine."
"And the weather?" the bounty hunter asked worriedly.
A robotic sigh sounded from the air as the CO responded, "There are no dimensional energy storms, if that's what you're asking. The Light of Aether is still flowing strong, and my preliminary scans show that the life forms upon the surface are primarily Luminoth, with native life present as well. No corruption appears to be present."
Samus let out a sigh of relief as she looked over the different pieces of information. "Good. Just wanted to be sure is all."
Just then, the communicator array sounded an alert.
"We are being hailed by the planet, Samus. Onscreen." advised the computer.
A video screen appeared in front of her, and the picture phased into the visage of a younger Luminoth warrior. "State your name, rank or title, and business here, friendly."
The Hunter smiled and replied, "Samus Aran, Hunter. Personal visit to reconcile with some friends."
The Lumnoth's green eyes widened just a bit as it asked, "Samus Aran? The Samus Aran?"
"I don't personally know of any others." the woman replied smugly.
The warrior bowed slightly before responding. "It is a pleasure. No doubt you are here to meet with Sentinel U-Mos, yes?"
Samus smiled. "If it isn't any trouble."
"Not at all." the Luminoth responded. "Without the Ing to plague Aether, there is not much for the Sentinel to do other than guide the rebuilding process and assist in research. I will send the coordinates to the landing dock, which is just outside the Great Temple. The Sentinel will be notified of your arrival, and he will await you in the Chamber of Light of the temple. All security forces will also be notified so as to make your stay here comfortable and without hassle."
The bounty-hunter smiled and nodded. "Thank you. Coordinates received...I'm beginning my final approach."
Samus then turned away from the video screen and flexed her left hand, causing the insignia upon the back of it to flash as the modified Chozo powersuit began to materialize on her body. The powerful arm cannon appeared on her right arm, and the visor covered her head last as she opened her eyes and viewed the ship's cabin through her advanced HUD.
"Adam, are you synced?" asked Samus as she flexed her left hand.
"100%, Samus. Shielding is at full capacity, all primary systems engaged, with auxiliary on standby. Varia suit online." the voice spoke within her helmet.
Samus nodded with a smile. "Good. Engage neural net synchronization and download current suit customization protocols from ship drive. Keep weapon systems in standby mode."
"Understood, Samus. Standby for neural net synchronization..." the CO replied. It was then that Samus felt a small electric jolt to the back of her neck, along with a transition of her conscious body from her own skin to the powerful exoskeleton that now covered her body. She felt as if it were a second skin to her, and its sensations reflected this. Experimentally, she tapped her arm cannon upon her chest, and felt as if she were tapping her own sternum. After a few moments, a small beep sounded and the computer added, "Suit synchronization complete. You're all set, Samus."
The blonde Hunter nodded within her helmet and smiled. "Thank you, Adam. Keep an eye on the situation of the planet, and let me know if any distress-"
"I got it, Samus...the usual. You act as if I've never done this before. Apparently you forget, I was literally trained to do this, even as a human. I have everything under control." the CO interrupted in annoyance. A few seconds passed as a slight jolt shook the ship. "Alright, landing sequence complete. Scans of the air reveal it is indeed breathable, with all corruption particles having been removed from the air. Radiation is negligible at best. It appears completely safe."
She smiled and pressed the button upon her airlock, depressurizing the interior with a hiss of air and causing the platform she was on to lower slowly to the ground. As a sign of respect and trust, Samus removed her helmet and breathed in the clean air, relishing the crisp smell that flowed into her nose and lungs, along with the overall fresh smell to the temple grounds. She then headed towards the large elevator tube and entered the hologram, waiting patiently as the platform warmed up. Then, the motor fired and quickly ascended.
As the elevator locked into place, Samus stepped off of it and fired a low-energy shot at the door, opening it into the main temple.
She was pleased to see the area was not empty, as it was the last time she had been on this planet. Instead, a great many Luminoth, both male and female, young and old, were milling about in the main chamber. Some recognized her from her last visit and waved, while others eyed her with curiousness, but none feared her. Samus was beside herself with how nice it felt to be accepted and even welcomed among such a powerful and wise race of people. She smiled warmly once before making her way to the small elevator that led to the Chamber of Light.
The elevator ride was rather short and quiet, and when she arrived at the top, it was to find the soft hum and harmonious sounds of the Light of Aether, the very life force of the planet itself. As she opened the door that separated her from the chamber, she was greeted with warm air and a soft breeze, caressing her skin and hair and making her feel completely at ease. It was one of the few times since her childhood on Zebes that she felt truly at peace, and she reveled in the feeling.
"Samus." spoke a young, bright voice, sounding like it was the auditory companion to light.
The Hunter looked up at the planet's guardian and smiled as she placed her left hand across her chest and bowed slightly. "U-Mos."
She rose and saw the crimson eyes of the Luminoth sentinel "smiling" at her, and he returned the customary gesture of bowing. As he stood tall again, he nodded towards her. "You have finally returned to my home in peacetime, I see. How does it look to you?"
Samus smiled warmly and answered, "Amazing. True there is still much structural work to be done, but what is most amazing is to see your people out and about, in peace. There was just something so fundamentally wrong with war on this planet...it's too beautiful for that."
U-Mos nodded as he looked out over the landscape. "I agree, but the people have endured, and the planet is much hardier than the people are. Because of your efforts, the planet is strong, and the Energy Transfer Module is placed under lock and key, so that the past cannot be repeated."
The Hunter smiled for a moment before her eyes widened and she looked down at her helmet momentarily. "You're speaking my language, U-Mos."
Again he "smiled" and gestured to her. "The Federation was kind enough to send cleanup crews to salvage their equipment and resources, and it was in our best interest to at least keep an open connection with them, no matter how tenuous. It need not be said that learning the language of the race we are speaking to is a rather powerful sign of good will."
At the mention of the Federation, Samus cringed just slightly...and U-Mos noticed.
"I assume you are not on the best terms with the Federation, are you?" he asked with concern.
Samus grumbled, "I almost wish I'd had my helmet on."
U-Mos shook his head warily. "I would have noticed nonetheless, Samus...psionics, remember?"
"Right..." she deadpanned. She sighed and lowered her eyes to the ground. "Let it simply be said that theres a lot that's happened since we've last met, and I've noticed more and more that where I once found light, there's now nothing but shadows around every corner. The only two humans I can trust are Anthony and Adam...and Adam isn't even a normal human anymore."
The Sentinel nodded slowly as he made his way over to the human female. "I imagine it must be rather difficult to lose faith in your race."
She nodded slowly and took a deep breath. "Yes...it's cost me more than I'd care to think about, and even cost me my last piece of normality as well. Their experiments and need to use me has turned me into an odd mix of alien DNA, phazon, and what used to be a normal human woman." She then gestured to herself. "I mean look at me, I'm almost eighty. By my age, I should be wasting away, not fighting the most dangerous beings the universe has ever known." Suddenly, decades of repressed emotions surged forth, and she couldn't stop the words. "I'm supposed to be a great-grandmother enjoying sitting in a rocking chair, drinking iced tea and watching old movies on television. Instead, I'm still the most dangerous living thing in the galaxy, possibly the universe, and have the spring in my step of a teenager." She finally caught herself and went silent, much to her embarrassment, but the words had already been said.
U-Mos nodded slowly. "And is that stereotypical life what you truly want?"
The female warrior thought for a moment before shaking her head with a frown. "No. I love what I do, and it is one of the few things that gives me a sense of purpose...and that's what bothers me about it." She chuckled darkly. "I mean, what human woman wants to kill the scum of the galaxy all her life? I'm not even human anymore, and honestly, I don't think that has anything to do with the metroid and Chozo DNA in my body, nor the scars left from Metroid Prime."
"Then why does it bother you so much?" the Luminoth asked knowingly.
"Because it's not normal." Samus growled.
U-Mos nodded slowly before kneeling down before her and placing a hand gently on her armored shoulder. "Samus, I apologize if this sounds callous, but your life is far from normal because you are not normal." The young Sentinel then chuckled. "You were considered a daughter by a Chozo high priest...do you have any idea the sheer power of that title? The Chozo themselves are considered the most powerful, intelligent, and wise beings in the cosmos, even by my people. To simply be considered friend by one is a vast accomplishment." He then moved his hand over her chest. "But you? You were family...to all of them. Though different people mine may be, the strength of the bonds of family trump the strength of friendship every time." The Luminoth then removed his hand and stared right into her eyes. "With all that being the case, I can say that you are not meant to 'fit in' with humans. You are a Chozo...perhaps not by form, but by blood and spirit. You are a part of a race that is revered by nearly the entire galaxy...even the darkness fears them...fears you."
Samus thought for a moment before looking to the Sentinel and smiling. "Thank you, U-Mos. You've given me perspective."
The Luminoth nodded as he stood. "Now, it is not as if I do not enjoy your presence here, but I assume that you were not simply 'passing by', yes?"
The bounty hunter nodded. "You're correct. Nearby is a Federation research facility that's specializing in genetic experimentation on a scale that is likely to be considered an abomination."
Samus knew that the Luminoth as a whole were not a race who took tampering with the sanctity of life lightly, and she knew this would strike true with the Sentinel.
U-Mos' eye twitched before he answered, "Our people will not interfere. If it is truly what you believe, you have my full authorization to wipe that blight from the galaxy, and any like it in the area."
Samus smiled and nodded. "Thank you Sentinel, I'll leave immediately. If it all goes the way it should, that place should be gone within the week. I'll come back and let you know when it's finished."
U-Mos nodded and gestured to the door. "May the Light of Aether guide you, Samus Aran."
Nearly an hour later, Samus was again seated in the command seat of her ship, and Adam noticed her cheery demeanor.
"So," the CO began, "you seem in a better mood."
The woman smiled as she deactivated her powersuit, and it vanished in a flash of green light. "Yes actually, I am. Let's just say that I've gained a lot of perspective thanks to U-Mos."
"It's good to have friends among the Luminoth, eh?" Adam responded jovially.
The Hunter nodded with a smile. "It is. Feels like I have a second home here." Her eyes then flashed with determination. "Alright, enough downtime. We need to get this done. Take us to the BSL X-4." The engines of the ship hummed to life, and Samus allowed herself a smile with renewed vigor as she headed towards her objective.
The ship exited hyperspace and began to slow as it approached the research station, which was housed within a dwarf planet of unknown origin...small enough to not cause damage to Aether when destroyed. The gunship's onboard CO quickly hacked the access codes for the station, allowing Samus to safely land in the dock undetected.
Upon docking, Samus again donned her powersuit and stood. "Alright Adam, I'm going to try and do this quick and unseen, but if things get ugly, we might end up a little banged up on the way out."
"Nothing we're not used to." the computer responded. "Alright, so here are your objectives: 1)Locate the main research deck. 2)Disable the uplink to the ship. 3)Destroy or escape with the primary research subject...I'll leave discretion up to you. 4)Set the self-destruct sequence in motion and escape the station. Any objections Lady?"
Samus grinned and shook her head. "No sir, I think that's all. Will uplink to the station and download map data at the first terminal I can find." She then pressed the button on the hatch and allowed the platform to lower to the ground. She took a deep breath and smiled. "Just another day at work."