The planet was bright red as I looked at it from inside the cockpit and as I approached the sensors picked up a weak, but constant signal originating from somewhere along the planets equator in an area caught in a massive storm.
Wind and sand battered the ship as I brought it down into the planets lower atmosphere. It was barely possible to see anything out the cockpit due to the storm raging around the ship, but I did not need visual either as the on board computer was more than enough to set the ship down safely. In fact the storm was only a gift as it allowed me to land my ship closer to my target than under normal circumstances.
The moment the ship touched solid ground I rose from the cockpit seat and headed towards the lift in the back of the ship. As I walked towards the lift a simple thought was all I required to activate the materialization process of my Power Suit. The yellow and red armor plates quickly covered my body, the green arm cannon formed around my right arm and finally the helmet closed around my head as the visor materialized.
The lift quickly descended carrying me out into the raging storm on the planet's surface. There I quickly locked the ship with the control panel on my arm cannon.
The data on the inside of my visor quickly told me that the winds blasting across the surface would thrown a normal human to the ground and the heat would have killed a person in moments. Standard Federation soldiers would be unable to handle this without special equipment.
But that was why they had asked me to investigate as my suit could handle these conditions without any problems. Quickly locking on to the weak communication signal that had gotten the Federations attention in the first place I walked forward through the storm.
As I walked I shifted to the x-ray visor with a quick press of button near the helmet, turning the otherwise blinding storm of sand into something that looked more like rainfall as the entire world around me turned monochrome. Though the range of vision was greatly limited with the visor on, it was still way longer than the storm allowed me to see.
I did not have to walk far though before I found the source of the signal as a massive hole opened up in the sand strewn ground before me. The limits of the x-ray visor prevented me from seeing the other side of the hole, but it was enough that I could see a large communications disc rising up on a pillar in the middle of the hole.
Looking downwards into the hole a suspicion I had had concerning the source of the signal was immediately confirmed as I saw the clear outline of a hunched over alien with three fingers on each hand, standing on two claw like toes and with a long beaklike face with six eyes and insectoid mandibles. A Space Pirate.
I immediately hunched down at the edge of the hole as to not get spotted, but a quick switch back to the normal visor told me that I was not in danger of that as the storm was still blinding even a short ranges. The normal visor did however reveal a shimmering red containment field covering the hole which had been invisible in the spectrum used by the x-ray visor. It seemed to keep out the sand and heat allowing the Space Pirates to work unhindered.
The presence of Space Pirates also explained the communication discs purpose. This was probably a listening post for spying upon nearby systems.
As I changed back to the x-ray visor I observed the Space Pirate for a moment, comparing the body structure with my suits database. It quickly turned up that these Space Pirates were most similar to the ones I had encountered on Aether and during the Phazon Crisis.
Just to be on the safe side I then observed the Space Pirate for any hints of Phazon mutation, but found none. However it was clear from the dim outline around the Space Pirate that it was is fully armored and armed with a wrist mounted cannon on its right arm and a energy shield on the other, not that it surprised me.
With that conclusion I looked around a bit trying to identify more of the Space Pirate base. I immediately noticed a hatch in the rock wall almost directly below where I was, as well two more Space Pirates fiddling with some crates, but I could see nothing beyond that.
Working my way along the edge of the hole more crates came into view as well as another Space Pirate who was unloading a small transport ship, likely the one that had brought them to the planet. It took up most of the opposite side of the hole and a quick comparison to known Space Pirate crafts in my suits database gave me its specifics.
A simple craft made for setting up small spy bases, the craft was equipped to quickly enter a system and set down upon a planet before it was detected. However it could only carry a crew of six Space Pirates at max, plus the cargo necessary to set up the base and that was all I needed to know.
With an idea of the scope of the base as well as the location of four of the Space Pirates I was ready to leap into action, all I needed was to breach the containment field covering the hole.
The field completely covered the hole with only the large communication disc rising out of the middle of it. Looking closer where the field met the pillar the communication disc was standing on I noticed a series of projectors set in ring around it creating the field.
I almost smiled as I raised my arm cannon towards the communication tower the gentle hum of building energy sounding from it even as I locked on to pillar right where it connected with the field. Few things made me feel better than taking on the Space Pirates even if this seemed to be nothing but a simple communications outpost.
With a simple pull of the mechanism inside my arm cannon the end of the cannon opened a bit as missile materialized in the chamber and was infused with buildup energy before being released in a blast that drove my arm upward from the recoil.
The insuring explosion ripped the pillar the disc was resting on in half and I watched satisfied as the field disappeared and the disc crashed down into the hole below crushing one of the Space Pirates.
Immediately I leapt into the hole even as the sandstorm filled the air to use the insuring confusion to my advantage. I landed on top of the Space Pirate who had been unloading the transport ship, placing both my feet in his neck snapping it instantly as I drove him to the ground.
I then ran to the fallen communications disc, leaping over it towards where I knew the two Space Pirates by the crates would be. Both had their weapons at the ready and opened fire as I leapt towards them.
However it was clear they had not been prepared for me as their shots were imprecise and reflexive with only a single energy bolt striking me, easily being absorbed by the power suit without major damage.
As they fired upon me I also returned fire quickly taking down the first one with a few shots to the head even as I landed before them.
The other reacted fast, leaping behind a crate and activating its energy shield before opening fire again. But I did not allow myself to be an easy target, leaping aside and throwing out my grapple beam in mid air.
It latched on to the Space Pirates shield and I quickly yanked backwards ripping the shield from the Space Pirate. I then opened fire upon the Space pirate forcing it to take cover behind the crate as I slowly approached it.
The moment I was standing before the crate the Space Pirate jumped over it slicing at me with a scythe mounted on its left arm, but I quickly dived under it and then rammed my arm cannon upwards into its jaw lifting it of the ground before I pulled the trigger, ending its life.
I had barely done this however before the blue security field on the hatch nearby disappeared and only a moment later a Space Pirate leapt out clearly trying to find out what the commotion was. It only needed one glance at me and its dead pals to realize it and in a sensible act it threw itself backwards towards the still open hatch.
But I was not about to let it get away and fired a missile at it, which reached it just as it entered the hatch and the resulting explosion sent the Space Pirate flying through the hatch, damaging it in the process.
I quickly entered the hatch as well finding the corpse of the Space Pirate thrown against the far wall of the hallway. The hallway itself was carved out in the rock of the planet with only a few installed lights casting a dim orange glow over it all, illuminating that the hallway split in two only a little forward.
I walked slowly down the hallway knowing that there could still be one more Space Pirate left. As I reached the split I glanced down both paths and saw a hatch at the end of another short hallway on both sides.
The moment I stepped around the corner to the left an orange dot appeared on the radar on my visor. The last Space Pirate was behind me, on the other side of the hatch furthest from me and even as spun around the hatch opened.
The Space Pirate that stood in the hatch was not a normal soldier however, that was abundantly clear from its thick black armor and the grenade launcher covering its arm, an arm pointed at me. A Pirate commando!
The muzzle of the grenade launcher flared even as I leapt forward towards the commando and the grenade struck the wall behind me, exploding in a burst of electricity which arched to my suit distorting my visor as the energy pulse ran through me.
But it would take more than that to take me down, much more. Though my vision was distorted I continued forward towards the commando and soon enough my vision cleared, just in time to see it readying its launcher again.
But as the muzzle flashed I activated the morph ball becoming a small ball even as the grenade passed over me. Quickly building up energy I boosted forward towards the space pirate leaping into his stomach at great speed.
The force pushed him backwards into the room he had come from where he landed heavily on the floor, me still on top in morph ball form. But he recovered quickly swiping for me with his wrist scythe, forcing me to leap away even as I uncurled again. But not before I left a few presents for him.
The commando shrieked in anger as the morph ball bombs attached to his chest exploded, but it only nicked of a little of his armor plating. I was going to need something stronger to take him down and I knew what.
As the pirate jumped to his feet I used the delay to alter my arm cannon from the standard power beam to the plasma beam in order to burn through his armor.
Tthe commando once again raised his grenade launcher and I quickly lashed out with the grabble beam, wrapping it around his launcher and pulling him off balance just as he fired. However I only noticed as the grenade passed me, not where it landed as I moved forward.
With the grabble beam preventing him from getting away I closed the distance with the commando opening fire as I moved. Each shot tore of pieces of his armor slowly witling him down to nothing but what a standard soldier used.
That did not stop the commando from lashing out with his scythe though and I only narrowly sidestepped it even as I released the grabble beam. Before he could get chance to swipe again I began building up energy in my arm cannon and leaping forward I grabbed his neck, swinging around to his back.
There I delivered a swift kick to the back of his knees collapsing him even as I placed the now fully charged cannon at the back of his head and released the blast.
The charged plasma shot went straight through the commando´s armor at point blank range leaving a gaping hole in the back of his head as he sunk forward on to the floor.
I watched the dead Pirate commando thoughtfully for a moment. Trained to, "Hunt the Hunter," to hunt me, Pirate commando´s were among the most formidable warriors the Space Pirates had at their disposal so why had one of them been sent here to a simple listening post? Was there more to it?
I looked around the room and noticed a computer nearby. Switching to my scanning visor I quickly hacked my way into the computer. Once in I quickly sorted through several reports and work logs before finally finding something that shed some light on the commando´s presence.
Log 00.015.7: Communication Established
We finally got the communication disc working despite the hostile conditions and were pleased when we almost immediately made contact with Project Dread. A quick report from them assured us that the project is continuing as planned except for a minor setback which will be elaborated on in a future report. Command will be pleased to hear this.
I deactivated my scanning visor and quickly searched my suits database. I was certain I had heard the term "Project Dread" somewhere before. It did not take long before I was met with success as I found a small log entry dating back to the Phazon Crisis and the Federations attack upon the Pirate Homeworld.
Experiment status report update: Metroid Project Dread is nearing the final stages of completion.
I stood for a moment thoughtful at this development. I remembered now how I had found the entry back on Pirate Homeworld, but the attack by the Federation as well as nearby computer log mentioning how an experiment with using Metroid as energy sources had been a failure, had led me to believe Project dread had been ended but now it would seem it was still very real.
I quickly went through the computer again finding the mentioned report from "Project Dread" and coordinates for where it had originated from. I then turned around to leave, but stopped as I reached the hatch.
The project mentioned Metroids, could a batch of them have survived among the Pirates? If that was the case it would not be the first time discovered this "extinct" race to be very much alive.
Making a quick decision I turned around and blasted the computer terminal with several missiles reducing it to a pile of slag.
I then headed outside where the control panel on my arm cannon quickly summoned my ship to me through the storm. Entering the ship I cast only one last glimpse back at the Pirate base. Without the containment field to protect it the sandstorm would soon cover any traces of the base.
I then entered my ship and set of out of the planets atmosphere. Stopping in orbit I then opened a channel to the Galactic Federation. After the usual verification codes I reported my success in locating the source of the signal in the system and the destruction of the Space Pirates.
But I mentioned nothing of Project Dread to the officer taking my report and he simply said "Well done Samus, the standard fee for destroying a small Space Pirate base will be transferred to your account" like it had been any other assignment I had completed.
But to me this was just the beginning. While I would have normally reported the location of a major Pirate base without hesitation, the alleged involvement of Metroids made me hesitate. I remembered only to clearly the last time I had encountered Metroids aboard the BOTTLE ship and how the experiments there had implied that someone high in the Federation command wanted bio weapons for some unknown purpose.
And with the death of Adam Malkovich during the same mission I did not have anyone left I trusted within the Federation command.
I punched in the coordinates I had retrieved from the communications post. I would investigate this "Project Dread" myself and then if needed contact the Federation.
My ship turned correcting itself with the new cause and the stars dotting the black void became lines of white as my ship accelerated heading towards my destination.