METROID

A Fanfiction Script

By Scott Demarest

EYES OF GLASS

EYES OF GLASS

CYBERPUNK HORROR BY

SCOTT DEMAREST

DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Neither the author, nor the original plot, is in any way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. The following is an unofficial, non-commercial piece designed as transformative speculation. No copyright infringement is intended and the piece may be removed by the author at the request of said respective owners.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I wrote the following script in the Spring of 2022 after wondering what a Metroid film might look and feel like. As the source material does not immediately lend itself to a traditional cinematic narrative, an angle needed to be found to transform Samus Aran's lonely adventures into a tight, motivated story. It could not, however, be any angle--the script still needed to be thoroughly and unapologetically Metroid. That means extremely isolated exploration of strange alien landscapes dripping with atmosphere, but almost no dialogue...and lots of boss fights.

 

Once I stumbled upon just such an angle the rest of the story quickly fell into place. Though purists will notice a deviation or two from official canon, I strongly believe the spirit of the franchise not only remains intact, but is well honored.

 

I greatly enjoyed sending Samus on this mission. I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

 

 

 

 

METROID

 

by Scott Demarest

 

 

 

 

INT. SAMUS’ GUNSHIP - OUTER SPACE

 

Dim backlighting vignettes the hulking, black silhouette of SAMUS ARAN (female 20s/30s) sitting in her orange Varia Power Suit at the end of a small bed. Her head is drooped low in-between bulky, round shoulder plates. They periodically lift as she winces through labored breaths, hinting at the injuries treated by the IV tubes snaking across bloody cotton sheets into different parts of her suit. In the poor lighting and cramped room we can't otherwise make out what she looks like or that she's even human, let alone a woman. The strange, wide helmet lying on the bed with its V-shaped green glass and ribbed tubing does little to clear things up.

 

In this lonely agony she waits, but not for her grueling injuries to heal. She waits for her revenge on the monster that gave them to her in the first place. Some of those injuries were inflicted decades ago. They hurt far more then the ones from a few days ago.

 

Ear splitting alarms blare from off-screen. Finally, the time has come.

 

With one armored hand, Samus rips every cord from her body. Fluid leaks from their sharp ends as they coil to the floor. With her other hand she retrieves her helmet. By the time she steps into the light, her helmet is already locked into place. Light glares across the visor's glass, obscuring Samus' face save for a very human eye peering out. It's alight with rage. Maybe the glare is coming from Samus herself.

 

She enters a tight metal corridor lined with blinking electronics...and immediately falls against a wall grabbing at her ribs. Her fingers are twitching. We can't tell the full extent of her injuries--hell, neither can she--but she keeps moving forward anyway.

 

She marches down the rest of the corridor to a flight deck and its wide view of starry space. Light glimmers off a gibbous red planet in the distance. One swipe of a hand across a beacon map reveals her new location: PLANET ZEBES.

 

Samus falls into an cockpit chair at the center of a massive, wrap-around console of chirping and humming navigational equipment. Her fingers dance across the controls. The blaring alarms are replaced by steady, quiet radar pings of an unknown vessel approaching Zebes ahead of her gunship.

 

Optical scans quickly cycle across multiple monitors. Samus rotates back and forth in her chair to address all the information poring in. In a matter of seconds, her fingers tap a dozen more buttons...then wrap into a trembling fist as her reconnaissance returns a name for the vessel: FRIGATE ORPHEON.

 

With the flick of a few switches, the light of the flight deck extinguishes and the hum of the electronics hushes. Samus reaches up and slides a heavy lever backwards, killing the floodlights along the front of the ship. All the same, the visual of the Orpheon glides into view ahead, highlighted by its own beacons of light.

 

With a soft touch of the manual flight stick, Samus gently guides her gunship towards the massive Orpheon. After finding a sufficient landing spot she locks a lever into place and rises from the cockpit.

 

The gunship continues to quietly maneuver towards the Orpheon as Samus inserts her armored right arm elbow deep into a tubular shaft built into the flight deck. When she retracts her arm, it is now seamlessly affixed with a gleaming silver arm cannon. Energy audibly vibrates inside it.

 

Samus steps towards a small disk on the floor.

 

EXT. FRIGATE ORPHEON - OUTER SPACE

 

The total silence of space.

 

Samus' small and sleek gunship, shaped almost like her helmet, gently swoops over the flat, black hull of the whale-shaped Orpheon.

 

A shaft on top of the gunship slides away. A metal disk beneath it irises open. Samus rises into space. A subtle glow along the base of her feet teases the magnetism keeping her firmly planted on the metal disk of her ship.

 

With a big leap and a few sharp jets of thrust from her suit, Samus spins through space and lands in a crouch on the Orpheon. Reflected light from Zebes glints off her orange power suit as Samus lifts her arm cannon and prepares to infiltrate.

 

As her gunship quickly retreats into the darkness of space, Samus bounds across the hull of the Orpheon in lengthy, zero-G leaps before thrusting above the arched "back" of the whale.

 

Grabbing onto an exposed antenna with her free hand, Samus rotates to land her feet against the fuselage. Her arm cannon glows and a thin beam of red light pierces through the riveted surface of a circular hatch. With a sharp tug, Samus rips a hole open and dives into the Orpheon.

 

INT. FRIGATE ORPHEON HALLWAYS - OUTER SPACE

 

Samus lands into the artificial gravity of a steel hallway...quickly aims down one direction...spins and aims in the opposite direction. The hallway is empty, however. Only one dying light remains.

 

As the foggy condensation on her visor evaporates back into the air of the vessel, Samus lowers her weapon and stalks down the shadowy hallway. She carefully turns a corner, arm cannon raised again...but no one is there either. Several more turns. It's the same every time. Every hallway is empty. Every room is quiet...save for the hiss of static. Samus follows the sound into...

 

INT. FRIGATE ORPHEON SCIENCE BAY - OUTER SPACE

 

...the science bay, just barely illuminated by that very static from a wall-sized screen. A massive crack across the display teases the recent violence that has left the rest of the lab in total disarray.

 

Loose cybernetics hang off heavily strapped gurneys next to trays of the bloody tools designed to install them. Large cages are overturned, some still housing the victims of barbaric soft tissue experiments. The ghastly corpses are so heavily modified that Samus can scarcely guess their original species. She moves past them, nauseated, but not surprised. She's seen the work of the Orpheon's scientists far too many times by now.

 

A computer monitor beneath the static display flickers as it displays the most recently referenced log file. Bloody handprints streak across the glass.

 

LOG FILE

 

Unidentified Parasite Creature-X

Origin: unknown

Designation: extremely hostile

Propagation: assimilation

Threat Level: civilization

 

Bloody footprints on the floor lead Samus towards a 3D schematic floating in the far corner of the lab. Shattered glass crunches underneath the weight of Samus' power suit.

 

Painted into the air above a ball-shaped projector is a blueprint of a complicated cybernetic enhancement. Samus traces the shape with her eyes and knows exactly who this is for. The long, metallic spine, the riveted beak-like protrusion, the steel ribs of a sharp angled wing...This is what was cooked up to heal the wounds Samus recently inflicted on her target. She already knew she didn't do enough. That's why she tracked this ship for as long as she did. Now she's here to finish the job. She crushes the ball-like projector with one clench of her fist.

 

At the far end of the science bay is a large freight elevator shaft. Its doors are loosely ajar. The panel next to it is unlit. Samus peers down the gap. Power seems to be disconnected.

 

She casually jumps into the shaft and plunges towards the belly of the ship.

 

As the ground races up to her, Samus extends her arm cannon and a ropey grapple beam of pure, blue energy projects out of it, embedding itself in the shaft wall. Samus curls beneath the fulcrum of her hook and kicks her way through the bottommost doors.

 

INT. FRIGATE ORPHEON ENGINEERING BAY - OUTER SPACE

 

The elevator doors explode out violently as Samus lands, prepared to shoot, in the middle of a gigantic engineering bay.

 

Titanic pieces of machinery and equipment stack up to an extraordinarily high ceiling above her. Huge tubes and rows of exhaust vents grunt and belch steam beneath diagonal stabs of floodlight. Static electricity randomly discharges across puddles of condensation dripping off loose chains hanging above.

 

Samus rises out of her combat ready stance. Once more, it's not needed. How can this enormous ship be completely aban--?

 

A shadow flits across a wall.

 

Samus instantly spins, her arm cannon raised towards the shape. She slowly moves forward, beneath the pitter patter of condensation raining against her suit. Samus stops beneath the water and the light beaming down with it to scan the room. Eventually she spots a maintenance door exiting the chamber not far ahead.

 

With one hand, Samus peels the sliding door open and shoves her arm cannon into the darkness on the other side. With a tap on the side of her helmet, Samus activates low-light enhancement and cautiously moves past computer mainframes feeding static onto nearby monitors.

 

A staircase rises in the distance. Samus carefully ascends, ready to fire at any moment.

 

When she reaches the top, Samus finds herself at the far corner of a medical bay...

 

INT. FRIGATE ORPHEON MEDICAL BAY - OUTER SPACE

 

...and a disaster.

 

Emergency lights whirl in silence through the blood-streaked glass of a dozen examination rooms lining a long hall. Beds, medical devices, and equipment are flung randomly in every direction. IV fluids have exploded into intermittent pools across the floor. It's as if a mob rioted through here not long before Samus arrived. But where's that mob now?

 

Samus warily scans the hallway, cautiously searching each destroyed room for signs of life, dead or alive. Ultimately, she hears a sign before she sees it. Based on the rawness of the feral howl echoing in the distance, Samus is not so sure if that life is, in fact, dead or alive...

 

Pounding footsteps race towards her.

 

Samus drops low and out of sight...listening to determine the direction of the assault. She hears silence instead. She peeks back down the hallway.

 

It takes her a moment to see it among the shadows, but a silhouette is standing at the far end of the bay, at the very edge of the whirling light. It's not moving. Has it been there this whole time?

 

She dares to rise. Still no movement. She takes a step forward. Nothing. One more step. Then another. She stops and lowers her arm cannon. What the hell is standing in front of her?

 

A murmur slips from the shadows. It's unintelligible, as if something is trying and failing to mimic language. And then the silhouette leans forward towards the light. Achingly slowly it moves, one step at a time...too slowly. It should be toppling over but it somehow it stays standing...

 

Samus charges her arm cannon. As it glows with power, the light bleeding off its tip cuts out more silhouettes around Samus.

 

She quickly turns back and forth...exposing an army of grotesque shapes slowly drifting towards her. Each is tall and bipedal...a hybrid of insectoid and cybernetic parts...teeth and claws merged with metal and electronics. Iron rivets fasten weaponry and gadgetry to carapace armor. Pincers glisten with saw-toothed blades. Antennae blink with fiber optics. Mandibles are forged steel.

 

Finally, Samus has found the missing crew of the Orpheon. Finally, she has found the SPACE PIRATES. They've always looked monstruous to her, but she's never seen her arch foes like this...lumbering, murmuring...and red-eyed. Almost like zombies. Or demons.

 

The pirate behind Samus reaches out its pincers...

 

She turns at the last second and plunges her white hot cannon through its abdomen. It barely reacts to the fatal blow. Instead it grasps Samus' suit, attempting to hold her in place as the remaining red-eyed pirates encircle...

 

Samus spins around, her first victim in tow, and finally lets loose with her arm cannon. A wide beam of energy engulfs the crowd.

 

INT. FRIGATE ORPHEON HALLWAYS B - OUTER SPACE

 

Samus dashes down a network of hallways, advancing towards the bridge at full speed, chased by the roving silhouettes of the possessed pirates.

 

Through the twisting corridors she turns until finally she emerges to a wide chamber just outside of the bridge. The entire rest of the ship's inhabitants, hundreds of red-eyed space pirates, thrash within it, scratching at the gap in the door to the ship's controls. They claw the gap wider and wider.

 

They haven't spotted Samus yet, but as the murmuring voices approach from behind, Samus knows it's only a matter of time. She leaps into the scaffolding above.

 

EXT. FRIGATE ORPHEON - OUTER SPACE

 

Back in the silence of space, an emergency hatch bursts off of the Orpheon and Samus bounds out feet first before snapping back to the hull with her grapple hook.

 

She dashes across the ship towards the window of the bridge.

 

Stopping short, Samus leans forward, pressing her hand against the glass to register the vibrations of any noises within it. Sure enough, she's able to just make out the metallic-tinged echoes of a frantic conversation.

 

SPACE PIRATE A (O.S.)

There's no time! The barricade won't last!

 

SPACE PIRATE B (O.S.)

It's too risky! This could end the entire planet! If they get to Mother Brain--!

 

SPACE PIRATE C (O.S.)

She'll release the metroids!

 

SPACE PIRATE B (O.S.)

Are you mad? Mother can't control them! No one can!

 

SPACE PIRATE A (O.S.)

We have no choice! We'll die up here!

 

SPACE PIRATE C (O.S.)

Commander Ridley! What do we do?

 

As soon as Samus hears that name, she grips the glass tighter. Cracks snake around her fingers.

 

RIDLEY (O.S.)

Enough of this! Let them come! I'll kill them myself!

 

RIDLEY's deep, rumbling voice trembles through Samus' body. Reflected light from Zebes flashes across her visor, incidentally indicating the blinding rage those sounds just triggered inside her.

 

She hasn't assessed the unique situation in any way, but she doesn't need to anymore. Samus doesn't care how many pirate are on that bridge, or how many are about to be. Samus only cares about one thing right now. No matter what, she is going to kill Ridley.

 

INT. FRIGATE ORPHEON BRIDGE - OUTER SPACE - DAY

 

A white-eyed space pirate commands a wide control panel beneath a curved glass window peering over Zebes.

 

Light flickers from space. It catches the attention of the pirate. He cranes his neck--

 

The glass explodes. A roaring, depressurizing wind, condensing into frosty white flows, assails the bridge. It rips the pirate out into space through a jagged hole punched into the window just before...

 

Samus dives into the bridge, landing with her arm cannon aimed directly at...

 

...Ridley, a goliath monstrosity of a space pirate standing more than twice the height of Samus. He's not insectoid, but reptilian, like a wiry, two legged dinosaur with bony protrusions embedded in his scaley, purple skin...massive claws on his four-fingered hands...a crocodilian, razor-toothed snout nearly the size of Samus itself...and two leathery wings...no, not two...one of his wings is metal, an artificial recreation just like the blueprints in the science bay indicated. It's attached to hard metal joints climbing up his back like a spine. Half of his skull is wrapped in steel. His sickly yellow eyes remain untouched. As does his long, multi-jointed tail equipped with a sharp, bony tip like a natural spear.

 

Ridley sees Samus and roars with instant rage. He's currently tied like a knot between a string of medical cabinets dosing him with dozens of wires of IV fluid to treat his recent (and catastrophic) surgery. He immediately begins slicing himself free. The dozens of space pirates around him turn their attention to the intruder.

 

Samus, meanwhile, has her target locked right between Ridley's indignant eyes...but a space pirate dives on top of her before she can fire.

 

Samus tosses him out of the way...and out of the bridge entirely.

 

Laser fire from all directions...Samus shields herself...allowing her armor seems to absorb some of the incoming...but is forced to react as another space pirate sprints forward wielding a long, oversized blade.

 

She parries his thrust...breaks his arm clean off with one swing of her arm cannon...decapitates him with a second swing...then quickly raises her free hand...snatching a second pirate out of the air by its throat. She's about to blast him...when a third space pirate pulls her arm cannon away from her body. She fiercely headbutts her captive...then blasts the newcomer in the chest instead.

 

More pirates dash towards her from in front. Samus cuts them down with blaster fire from her arm cannon. Their bodies fall...revealing Ridley now freed from his medical restraints.

 

He stabs at her head with the full length of his tail...Samus just barely dodges.

 

The attack still manages to crack off half of her helmet. Long, golden hair flutters into the wind like yellow fire. Half of Samus' face is finally revealed...fair skin, long angular features...thin eyebrows above narrow eyes. She looks strong...and pissed. A thin crescent of blood oozes down the fresh gash on her cheek.

 

As the two rivals stare down, the barricaded doors suddenly break open...and a swarm of infected pirates pours out onto the bridge.

 

Samus doesn't care. Neither does Ridley. They both dash towards one another...meeting in the middle of the bridge with a crack like a sonic boom.

 

The infected storm past them towards the ship's controls. The space pirates indiscriminately fire at the tide. A melee breaks out all over the bridge.

 

In the middle of the chaos stands Samus and Ridley, grappling nearly chest to chest for domination over one another...their grasp suddenly breaks...Ridley swings a clawed hand at Samus...but she blasts his arm away with her cannon...then aims point blank at his chest.

 

Ridley pins her cannon to the ground as two missiles fire out...skidding along the ground before arming and exploding.

 

Ridley unfolds his wings...grabs Samus by the waist with his other massive hand...and swoops into the depressurizing wind...dragging her along the ground with him...until his new metal wing seizes up. He howls and lets go of Samus...she crashes into equipment...he uses his hands to force his artificial wing back open.

 

He flexes his full wingspan boldly above her...before snapping at Samus with his beaked jaws...she grabs them...keeps them pinned open long enough to jam her cannon down his throat and ignite a scorching lick of flames...

 

Ridley stumbles away...throat expanding first with screams...then with those same flames as he spits them back at Samus like a dragon.

 

Samus dives away...but a crowd of the infected are not so quick. They ignite...and a fire quickly spreads throughout the bridge.

 

Samus lands and thrust her blue grapple beam at Ridley's head, clamping his spewing jaws shut. Black smoke rises from his nostrils as he struggles to free himself.

 

Meanwhile, the space pirates flee from the flames, opening an opportunity for an infected to dive onto the ship control panel...and accelerate the Orpheon into a rapid descent towards Zebes.

 

Ridley tugs at the grapple beam...Samus uses the momentum to fly toward Ridley for a kick...cracking him in the skull.

 

The ship begins to tilt vertically from the pull of Zebes' gravity.

 

Samus, still connected by the grapple hook, uses the leverage of the tilting ship to fling Ridley into a mass of powered equipment, which sparks violently...Ridley bellows as electricity arcs across his body.

 

Samus uses the opportunity to charge her beam...as she skates down the vertical deck towards Ridley...then fires. The momentum of the blast slides her back up the deck.

 

Ridley blocks the attack with his metal wing while flying towards his nemesis.

 

The ship is now so vertical Samus must grab hold of a steel pipe in the wall to keep from falling...but Ridley is almost upon her...she taps a button on her arm cannon...then intentionally lets go.

 

A hovering Ridley attacks rapidly with claws, tail and fangs, but a falling Samus acrobatically dodges all incoming attacks... before landing next to the hole in the bridge window.

 

She catches a final thrust of Ridley's tail right before it can pierce through her head.

 

Now vulnerable, Samus is piled on by the infected...who drool grotesquely over her power suit. Ridley flaps his wings to stay above the fray.

 

The button on Samus' arm cannon rapidly chirps...just as her gunship swoops beneath the falling Orpheon...and rakes the bridge with gun fire.

 

The infected are knocked off...Ridley tries to fly to safety, but Samus doesn't let go of his tail...he shields his metal wing around himself to tank the incoming fire...and to freefall towards Samus...he unfurls at the last second...then grabs her by the waist...and tackles her out into space.

 

EXT. OUTER SPACE

 

The gunship immediately stops firing so as not to hit Samus.

 

Samus is not so discriminating. She fires everything she has at Ridley. He screams (in silence). Then she slashes at his arm with long waves of continuous beam fire, deeply wounding him each time.

 

Ridley releases Samus and flies away, leaving a curling trail of blood like spun tapestry.

 

The gunship swoops beneath Samus...she grabs onto the exit hatch and dives...

 

INT. SAMUS’ GUNSHIP - OUTER SPACE

 

...into the cockpit just as the Orpheon explodes brightly in her face, knocking huge pieces of the frigate even more quickly towards Zebes.

 

Samus turns the ship around to face the planet...reaches up and smashes the floodlight lever back on...just in time to reveal Ridley accelerating towards her like a battering ram.

 

Samus barrel rolls to dodge, then tracks Ridley as he swoops around and enters the atmosphere. Massive chunks of the Orpheon fall in between them like an asteroid field.

 

EXT. PLANET ZEBES ATMOSPHERE - DAY

 

She gives chase through the streaking debris. The gunship rattles and vibrates from the incoming friction of the atmosphere.

 

She fires with her gunship...eventually lands a hit...but Ridley counterattacks...throwing massive chunks of the Orpheon at the gunship.

 

Samus blasts at the incoming projectiles...but the broken pieces slam against the hull anyway. She blasts one hunk...and reveals Ridley on the other side having used it like a shield. He latches onto the front of the gunship and tears the glass off with his claws.

 

He aims his tail for a kill shot on Samus...she's dead to rights...unless...

 

She bails out of her gunship just as the tail pierces through her now empty chair.

 

Samus spreads her arms to slow her descent...hair whipping wildly in front of her. Looking down she sees Ridley destroy the engines of her gunship with his bare hands.

 

The gunship loses thrust...and enters a free fall of its own.

 

Samus launches a hail of missiles as Ridley flies up towards her...forcing him to evade and retreat past her. She rotates in air to track him...arm cannon charging.

 

Carefully she aims...then launches a massively wide beam, which sends her careening even faster towards the surface and past her dead-stick gunship.

 

Ridley tries to dodge...but the attack is too massive...it scorches his organic wing...he falls from the sky...

 

Samus' back slams into a large piece of Orpheon debris...she looks up...sees Ridley careening towards her.

 

She fires her grapple hook at his twisting body...then leaps off the debris as he slams cleanly through it.

Her grapple beam eventually goes taut and she's dragged through the atmosphere after him.

 

Quickly retracting the beam she lands on his back...aims at his already wounded wing...and keeps firing.

Ridley panics and peels Samus off, carving his claws through her power suit in the process. She cries out...and is flung off into a chaotic spin.

 

She fires in different direction to steady the spin while the badly hurt Ridley accelerates into the distance as fast as he can.

 

From upside down Samus aims...and aims...and aims...then finally lets loose at her rival.

 

The streaking beam connects with a heavy thud...and Ridley falls straight down towards the rapidly approaching surface.

 

Samus' exposed eye quickly widens in excitement. Did she do it? Did she finally kill--?

 

Suddenly, a fiery piece of the Orpheon slams into Samus...then another...and another...She's careening out of control again...and running out of altitude...running out of time.

 

In her wild free fall, she quickly assesses the situation...spots her ship in the distance...below her, no less...a massive piece of debris is above her...one equally as massive below...and hurtling towards her like an erupting volcano...one of the Orpheon's rogue engines.

 

She heaves her grapple beam at smoking piece of heavy wreckage above...it doesn't slows her enough before she slams into an larger hunk of metal beneath her...but eventually she gains her footing...dashes across the debris...and powerfully hoists herself upwards.

 

She charge shots through the hunk of smoking metal she's attached to. It splits in half and she bursts up through it...then laces a barrage of missiles in a wide arc towards empty atmosphere before flinging her grapple hook again....this time laterally towards the furthest moving object she can find...the Orpheon's falling engine as it careens towards the planet.

 

The grapple hook connects...and accelerates Samus even faster to her doom...until her missiles finally catch their intended target ...the very same engine Samus is attached to. A rapid succession of dull thuds...followed by a massive explosion...then a deafening moan as the engine fails...and rotates in mid air. Samus rotates with it, using the angular momentum to slingshot herself across the atmosphere towards her gunship.

 

Her aim is good...but not good enough. She reaches out to grab at the hull, but her fingers slip off the metal.

 

Before she loses total control she launches a desperation grapple beam at the gunship. It connects...but rotates the cockpit upwards as she trails above.

 

She releases, turns her back towards the planet...and fires her arm cannon towards space. The momentum accelerates her down through the broken windshield of her ship.

 

INT. SAMUS’ GUNSHIP - DAY

 

She slams into the cabin wall with a harsh crack...then muscles herself up into the cockpit chair...and straps in.

 

Every warning and alarm is blaring at her...and now that she's facing the wrong direction, she can't even visually identify how long she has.

 

Samus desperately wiggles the flight stick...tries to re-engage the boosters...but nothing responds.

 

As a last possible resort, she tugs the engine block out from beneath the console. Naked wires are spilling across the cockpit. She tears them off from the block and joins them in a spark of fire to her Varia suit.

 

Flames leap across the cockpit. Smoke billows. But the navigational panel flickers with the bare minimum of energy. Samus needs it to be enough.

 

Samus slams her fist onto a flashing red button and the deafening braking thrust goes off.

The gunship rotates in air to face the ground...and an imminent impact. There are only seconds left.

 

Samus tugs back on the stick and the nose just barely lifts before the gunship slams into the planet.

 

The gunship rolls over and over down an embankment before finally settling on a clearing above a dense jungle.

 

EXT. JUNGLE CLEARING - DAY

 

Explosions reverberate in the distance as the Orpheon impacts all along the horizon.

 

After several minutes, Samus drags herself out of the gunship. She's bloody. Broken. Can't even stand. But she looks up as the fire-streaked remains of the Orpheon rain onto Zebes like the apocalypse.

 

Reaching up to one of her shoulder pads, Samus extracts a large silver cylinder. She squeezes and a cap ejects, revealing a long, dripping syringe inside. She buries it into her gut through her power suit and collapses into a heap...audibly crying. Is it her injuries? The injection itself?

 

She flips onto her back. They're tears of joy.

 

SAMUS

Mama...

 

Samus is alone, but still calling out.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

I killed him...

 

She knows her mother won't hear her. She needs to tell her anyway...

 

And then static fills her ears...static from her power suits receiver. And from that static...a voice.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

S-Samus? Is that...you?

 

Samus' tears stop. Her joy vanishes. Her pain vanishes, too. All that's left is confusion.

 

SAMUS

Mama...?

 

Samus' eyes close...massive shadows from the raining debris blot out her face...

 

EXT. COLONY SETTLEMENT K-2L FOREST - NIGHT

 

Under the shadows of tall conifers, the glow of an alien firefly (with red eyes) lights up the awestruck face of CHILD SAMUS (3 years old). She holds the exotic creature in the palm of her hand.

 

CHILD SAMUS

Mama?

 

The silhouette of SAMUS' MOTHER stands above her daughter. The insect glows again...revealing the young mother's face...but she's not looking at her daughter. She's looking towards the horizon. Her eyes are wide in fear.

 

Red light shimmers through the trees.

 

CHILD SAMUS (CONT'D)

Why won't you look?

 

Samus' mother grabs her daughter by the wrist and races towards the lights in the distance. Samus struggles to keep pace. She begins to cry.

 

CHILD SAMUS (CONT'D)

Stop, Mama! You're hurting me!

 

But her mother only stops when she exits the forest...

 

EXT. COLONY SETTLEMENT K-2L VILLAGE - NIGHT

 

...to find a small thatched village in flames.

 

Samus is bawling. In the chaotic rush, Samus' accidentally crushed the insect in her own hand.

 

Trapped in that sadness, Samus doesn't hear the screams of the villagers. Or the gunfire. She doesn't even react to the explosions behind her. She's crouched down, hovering over her dying insect as it faintly glows in its last moments.

 

Her mother's face is glowing much more brightly from the chaos engulfing the village...until a shadow bends over her...

 

The mother quickly turns...crouches down to her daughters level...grabs her by the shoulders...and implores with grave whisper.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

Shush, Baby! Don't cry! Please don't crying! You have to stop crying!

 

But Samus can't.

 

Her mother picks her up to flee back into the woods. Samus' eyes peak over her mother's shoulder...

 

...and for the first time, Samus sees what her mother was looking at all along. Villagers scatter in every direction as a battalion of space pirates unleashes a massacre. Every building is in flames. Many people are too. Gunfire is indiscriminate, as are the screams. And at the center of it all, standing in silhouette, backlit by the smoldering embers of Samus' own home is a massive, satanic shape with two huge wings and glowing yellow eyes.

 

A purple tail stabs cleanly through Samus' mother's chest. It just barely misses Samus herself. Her mother doesn't blink. She doesn't scream. Blood pores down her chin and she crumples to the ground on top of her daughter.

 

Samus is pinned tightly next to her unmoving mother. She's confused...frightened. A pathetic whine slips through her lips.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (CONT'D)

No...baby. No...

 

The dying glow of the insect just barely reveals Samus' mother's twitching mouth and the CIRCULAR PENDANT she wears around her neck. The rest of her face remains in stark silhouette.

 

Samus' mother quietly hums a gently lullaby to try and keep her daughter from making any noise.

 

The insect glows again. This time, with the light waning, Samus sees even less of her mother. But the song continues. Another glow. Even less light than before. Still she sings. One final glow. Samus can barely see her mother now. But she hears her. And then darkness...

 

EXT. JUNGLE CLEARING - DUSK

 

...but the lullaby continues.

 

Samus, still heavily wounded, opens her eyes on planet Zebes, and can still hear the soft notes her dying mother sang all those years ago. But she's not recalling that song from her memory.

 

Reverberating with electronic distortion and tinged with a metallic echo and a hiss of static is Samus' mothers voice as she sings to her daughter through her power suit receiver from beyond the grave.

 

Samus jolts upward. This is no dream.

 

SAMUS

Mama?!

 

The voice coming over the power suit receiver blows out above a spray of harsh static. A distorted word harshly reverberates before the feedback disintegrates into white noise...

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Baby--?

 

Samus is on her knees, paralyzed by the idea that her mother is somehow alive and talking to her. It's absolutely impossible. And yet...the sound of that voice was unmistakable. But over a radio burst?

 

Through the missing half of her helmet, Samus reaches for her face. She grabs tufts of hair with shaking fingers and holds on for dear life because Samus is so sure she's losing her mind...unless her mother actually is out there somewhere looking for her...

 

But there is only silence on her radio now.

 

Samus tears off the rest of her helmet and tosses it into a heap of broken parts spilling out of her ship. She takes several deep breaths...closes her eyes...calms her nerves...drains her emotions and the fantasies they're weaving.

 

When her eyes open, she is whole again. Logical. Practical. She looks back at her ship.

 

Her best way off this planet is in shambles. By the looks of it, it might never fly again. She taps on her right forearm, generating a quick triage of the gunship's internal systems.

 

It's in even worse shape than it looks. She engages one of the aux boosters to try and flip it right side up. The burst of exhaust isn't strong enough. She leans down to help out, lifting the gunship enough for it to right itself. She walks inside.

 

INT. SAMUS’ GUNSHIP - CONTINUOUS

 

Smoke hangs in the air. Half the circuit boards are fried. Wires are dangling out of every wall like rainbow-colored cobwebs.

 

Samus leans over the flashing lights of her command console. One by one, the repair warnings scroll down multiple monitor feeds. Samus silently reads the flood of information and sighs.

 

With a few taps on her arms and chest, Samus opens up her power suit, revealing her full human body inside. She's wrapped in a sleek blue and teel jumpsuit underneath--the ZERO SUIT. Her mother's circular pendent hangs from her neck. As she steps out, she loses a few inches of height, but still cuts the imposing and athletic figure of a peak human.

 

She begins the repair process in brief montage, often using her PARALYZER HANDGUN--an emergency sidearm that doubles as beam whip/saber--as a mechanical tool. She uses the yellow whip variant to tug out dead hardware...then the blue saber variant to slice through the mangled metal. She reroutes wiring...and replaces batteries...always working in silence, save for the periodic winces of pain from her numerous internal injuries. By the end of her initial repairs, the interior of the ship doesn't look half bad. It still can't fly though.

 

Samus taps a long string of code at her command console, initiating a total ship computer repair, reconfiguration, and sequencing. A progress bar slowly advances: 0.001%. This is going to take awhile.

Samus locks the open hatch at the top of the ship and extends a metal tray over the entire (shattered) windshield.

 

Now protected from the wild jungle outside, Samus limps down the narrow hall and collapses into her bed. She doesn't even bother getting beneath the covers. She grabs ahold of the pendent and closes her eyes--

 

SEVERAL HOURS LATER

 

A bestial roar shakes the air.

 

Samus' eyes burst open. She heard it. She folds up out of her bed and races back towards the flight deck.

 

Beneath the slap of heavy rain on the hull, Samus taps at her navigational equipment to try and echo-locate the sound. But the damaged system is glitching up.

 

SAMUS

Come on!

 

Another roar. It's him. It's definitely him. Ridley is still alive.

 

She keeps typing.

 

The mapping sequence locating the noise blinks off.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Come on, damn it!

 

Samus smashes the navigational panel with the bottom of her fist.

 

The mapping sequence glitches briefly...then blinks back on. A beacon flashes loudly near the base of a mountain...it's not too far from her current location.

 

Samus turns towards a sliding door housing power suit gear. A variety of backup helmets and arm cannons are stacked up. She grabs a spare helmet.

 

EXT. JUNGLE CLEARING - DUSK

 

Samus rises out of her gunship and into a swirling monsoon.

 

As if on cue, another bellow rolls off the jagged mountain rising ominously in the distance. Ridley sounds badly hurt. Whether it's his body or his pride, it only makes him more dangerous.

 

Samus leaps down into the thick jungle below.

 

EXT. JUNGLE - CONTINUOUS

 

She lands on one knee... and briefly buckles. Her ribs are still killing her...but she won't stop so long as Ridley is still breathing.

 

With a twist of a knob and heavy click, a cone of floodlight emerges from her power suit. The beam is swallowed up by the storm after only several feet. It barely makes a difference. She bounds ahead anyway.

 

Rain pounds down on her suit as she dashes through the dense foliage of the jungle towards Ridley's echoing howl.

 

She shoulders through thick brush. Splashes across rain-swept flood banks. Races up shear cliffs. Leaps down natural embankments. All the while, twin moons bleed streaks of white light through the canopy above...and all the while, Ridley's anguished voice shudders the ground beneath her feet.

 

Suddenly, Samus hears a very different noise...it sounds like violent sobbing. She stops and raises her arm cannon. Through the shivering trees she spots a figure standing in silhouette.

 

Lighting strikes, electrifying the night in stunning white light. In the brief illumination, Samus makes out a cloaked figure with its back to her. The jungle goes dark again. Samus holds still in the monsoon, unsure of what she just saw in the distance. She listens for movement...but it's so difficult to discern the heavy rain from heavy...footsteps!

 

Lighting strikes again, revealing a red eyed space pirate sprinting towards Samus at full speed. She barely has time to react before the pirate leaps onto her power suit.

 

Just like as on the Frigate Orpheon, the pirate salivates thick white liquid over Samus' helmet...but this time she pulls away and throws the pirate to the ground...before unloading blue beams of energy from her arm cannon.

 

The spray illuminates the surrounding jungle, just barely revealing a shrinking circle of red eyed pirates all around her.

 

Samus sees them...holds her fire...The red eyes remain, now disembodied, in the storm.

 

Again Ridley howls demonically in the distance...as if commanding the red eyes to descend on Samus. They do.

 

A hail of gunfire and missiles slices through the rain. Samus launches everything into the blackness around her. A seemingly endless tide of bodies race towards her narrow field of view, falling just as they reach the shallow cone of light emanating from her.

 

Finally, the final body falls...and assault seems to end. Samus backs away, unsure if she's truly alone again...more sobs from behind. She's not alone.

 

Where Samus spotted the first space pirate now lies a four legged creature with a majestic horn, reminiscent of a unicorn, dying in the mud. There are no visible wounds, but it seems to be...suffocating? Veins protrude around its face and neck. Samus crouches down and caresses it, but doesn't know how to help.

 

Light scatters off the rain. Samus turns towards it.

 

What looks like liquid light oozes out of the dead pirates' bodies and merges into a corporeal shape floating several off the ground. The floating light reaches out for Samus...

 

Another echoing roar in the distance.

 

Samus douses the mysterious force with flames. It disintegrates into mist.

 

The final embers fade away. Darkness once more. Samus waits inside it...ready to strike at the next threat...but she only hears the rain now. She doesn't even hear--

 

She turns. The unicorn lies dead at her feet. Samus lowers her aim.

 

Cautiously, Samus resumes her mission towards the mountain. She checks the jungle in all directions careful of what might await her--

 

Hissing from above.

 

Samus' floodlight reflects off the cat-like eyes and fanged teeth of wild felines stalking across trees limbs. But they're not looking down at her...

 

Behind Samus is a large, wolf-like creature with an elaborate headdress of bony protrusions. She's snarling in defense of her small cub, which shrinks beneath his mothers' legs from the glaring cat eyes.

 

Samus is in the wrong place at the wrong time, standing in the middle of a hunt...

 

A feline pounces at the mother wolf. The wolf rises on her hind legs and fights it off before a second cat tackles her to the ground. With the cub now exposed, a third feline dashes in to grab it...but Samus knocks it back at the last second with a long range thrust of her grapple hook.

 

The first feline sees the assist and hisses at Samus, but before the melee can escalate, Samus pre-emptively ignites her flame thrower into the air.

 

The felines heed the warning and flee from the smoldering heat.

 

The wolf takes advantage of the relief, grabs the back of her cub's neck in her mouth and vanishes into the jungle.

 

The rain slows.

 

The oppressive storm recedes and glowing spores rise from the jungle floor. They dance around Samus in every direction and the once black jungle now pulses with light and life. It's the dead of night, but the jungle is waking up. Myriad species of insects are now emerging from the jungle--some with spiked backs, others with extended eye sockets--and with them come a chattering of songs. Serenaded by the creatures of the night, Samus clicks off her floodlight and walks through the lit path laid out for her.

 

Massive mushrooms pulse with iridescent energy. Man-sized nocturnal flowers bloom, cascading more spores that swirl and drift like snow.

 

Samus climbs over plunging tree roots, their blue veins throbbing just beneath their bark. Their leafy trunks ascend into a canopy of limbs knotted around one another. Willowy vines hang off like cut marionette strings blowing in the night wind. Samus walks through this glowing wonderland, mesmerized by sights and sounds all around her...

 

EXT. JUNGLE GREAT TREE - NIGHT

 

On the top of a small hill, Samus stops beneath a distinct tree, its trunk made up of black vines wrapped around one another. Inside those vines beats what looks like a green heart. Each squeeze of the plant-like muscle sends fluorescent sap through thin arteries extending into the umbrella-like branches. From each of those branches hangs bunches of large, round fruit.

 

A visual scan on the HUD identifies the fruit as edible. Samus picks one off the tree.

 

Removing her helmet, she sits down against a root. She looks tired...yet has lost none of her determination. She takes a small bite. The flesh is soft. Some of its juice splashes against her arm cannon. The rest leaks down her chin. While Samus eats, curious insects emerge from inside the tree. They crawl out onto her, as if examining her power suit. Before long, Samus merges completely into the living jungle.

She gently passes the remains to a small, crab-like insect staring up at her from the jungle floor. It curls out next to her leg and indulges in its gift. Meanwhile, a millipede-like creature has already curled around her arm canon to lap up the spilled nectar. Samus smiles as brightly as the white moonlight peeking through the leaves above.

 

A spore briefly hovers over her free hand before unfurling wide, glowing wings and the body of a what looks like an oversized, neon butterfly. It lands on her palm and drinks the nectar left on her fingers. Samus' smile expands into laughter.

 

As if attracted to the joyful sound, dozens of spores unfold into butterflies all around her, landing on her power suit. Samus looks like she's armored with pure light.

 

An unusual bird song warbles in the distance. The butterflies retreat en masse, flooding the air with blinking illumination.

 

Samus stands, helmet tucked under her arm, and follows the song. Some insects stay on her suit, glowing as she passes through a curtain of ivy and emerges into a large clearing in the jungle.

 

EXT. JUNGLE RUINS - NIGHT

 

Arranged in a large circle are a half dozen stone statues of gigantic, beaked creatures standing like half-man half-bird. Broad-shouldered, but thin limbed, they cut a shape not dissimilar to Samus' power suit. She doesn't realize it right now, but these are statues of the CHOZO race...and they're all facing a seventh Chozo kneeling at the center of the circle. It's two arms are outstretched, as if offering something in its hands already taken.

 

Samus runs over fingers over the beaked face of this center statue, drawn by some tantalizing nostalgia begging her to remember something long forgotten. That forgotten something looks exactly like this face. The mystery is deepened by the sorrowful notes of the songbird's music. The songbird, tall and thin with majestic feathering, is perched on the kneeling statues' hunched shoulders. It tilts its head back and forth as it studies the woman in the power suit.

 

The bird stretches it wings and takes flight. The rush of air snaps Samus out of her hypnosis. She follows the song of the alien bird as leads her alongside open air ruins built into the jungle itself, the remains of the same civilization that must've built those statues.

 

Samus drags the palm of her hand along a rough, sandy wall. She enters through a hollow doorway into what must've been a ceremonial chamber ages ago. All that's left of the grooved, geometric shapes are swallowed up by jungle foliage, ensnared by vines periodically sprouting into enormous flowers larger than Samus herself.

 

Samus keeps moving underneath fallen columns and around crumbling walls, never quite sure if she's standing where an enclosed room once stood or where the jungle always remained. Now it's all one and the same.

 

She descends a flight of uneven, mossy rocks arranged like stairs...

 

EXT. JUNGLE CANYON ROAD - NIGHT

 

...and emerges into an overgrown canyon. The wall are cut too straight. It might be a road once carved into the mountain.

 

Samus travels down the passageway. Above her--a tight canopy of thick, twisting vines. Before her--two more Chozo statues standing guard on either side of a small cave entrance.

 

Finally, she's arrived at the mountain. Finally, she's arrived at the...burial chamber?

 

A flash of memory somewhere between deja vu and outright premonition tingles her brain. She's been here before...

 

Footsteps bound towards her from behind...

 

Samus spins...a young blonde is girl running towards her...no...towards the cave entrance. And Samus isn't looking at her...Samus IS her...

 

But there's no girl anymore. Samus is alone in the canyon, her cannon pointed at absolutely nothing. She lowers her arm, deeply concerned by the strange revelation. How could she have any memory of this place, let alone a childhood memory...

 

Caught in deep concern, Samus barely notices the gargantuan flower blooming from the canopy in front of the cave. Or that the air is suddenly choked with spores. It takes Samus a moment to realize the song bird has stopped its music.

 

A gargantuan, bulbous plant descends from the flower behind her.

 

She turns--

 

A barbed tentacle plunges at her chest. She leaps backwards in the air, dodging the strike, but losing her helmet in the process.

 

She lands...sliding backwards several feet...then freezes to assess the situation.

 

The SPORE SPAWN curls low...blocking the cave entrance. It's vaguely reminiscent of a spherical Venus Fly Trap the size of a small house. It's various tentacle vines slither around Samus like snakes ready to strike. It's razor-toothed mouth opens at its equator, exposing it's dozens of eyes--all red with infection--nesting above a black tongue. It drools oozing infection to the jungle floor.

 

Samus glares back...fires her grapple hook to capture her dropped helmet...and catches it in her free hand without ever breaking eye contact.

 

She blows a wisp of hair out of her eyes and reequips the helmet...all the while, her arm cannon is already charging. She takes aim and fires.

 

The Spore Spawn's mouth closes. The ball of energy deflects off its tough outer skin...then explodes against the canyon wall.

 

Before Samus can react, a vine grabs at her arm cannon. She resists...ripping herself free.

 

Simultaneously, a second vine wraps more tightly at her left arm. It tugs Samus forward towards its opening mouth.

 

Samus is losing the tug of war. She drives her arm cannon into the ground to create leverage and rips herself free a second time.

 

She leaps up to a rocky outcrop to dodge more incoming vines...and to get a better aim of the exposed mouth.

 

She quickly fires a barrage of shots, but the Spore Spawn closes its mouth again.

 

More incoming vines.

 

Samus leaps sideways as the outcropping crumbles between the Spawn's strike.

 

In midair she fires off several streaks of missiles...they too bounce right off...and explode high above the canyon.

 

Fire rains down as Samus lands on the ground in front of the Spore Spawn.

 

She dashes forward, dodging and rolling between wild swings of vines along the way...then intentionally grabs one and rides it up to the Spawn's mouth...to spray flames into its nest of eyes.

 

The Spore Spawn screams...it sounds like chittering bats...and ejects Samus with a wild flick of its vine.

 

Samus lands low on her feet and tries spring back into action...but stops short...to grab at her injured rib.

 

She quickly ejects a fresh syringe from her shoulder and tries to stab it into her gut.

 

In that brief hesitation, the Spore Spawn swoops forward...grabs her hand with a vine...unwittingly smashing the upper half of the syringe in the process. Only a partial dose is administered.

 

Samus burns away at one vine as another wraps around her ankle...and drags her towards the Spawn's drooling mouth.

 

Samus fires a barrage from her back...first at the mouth and then at the other vines trying to latch onto her.

 

She's lifted upside down...and raised to the Spawn's mouth...which she fires into.

 

The Spore Spawn cries out...and repeatedly smashes Samus back and forth against the canyon walls.

 

The vicious assault dazes Samus long enough for a second vine to attach to her arm canon.

 

She fires missiles off more missiles...they curve through the air, lightly homing in on the Spore Spawn, but just miss to one side.

 

Two more vines wrap around her remaining free limbs.

 

Samus charges her arm cannon to overheat...scalding the vine wrapped around it.

 

With brief freedom of movement, Samus aims to fire into the Spawn, but an entire network of vines entwines around her limbs first. She's now completely immobilized.

 

Samus is dangled helplessly over the Spore Spawn's mouth...it drags its salivating black tongue over her power suit...then thrusts her into its mouth...and bites down with a loud crack.

 

Suddenly, the mother wolf reappears, leaping down from the canyon. She claws through several vines attached to Samus.

 

The Spore Spawn screeches in agony...but refuses to let go of its prey.

 

Light flashes in its mouth.

 

The mother wolf dashes to more vines...violently tears through them with bared teeth.

 

More howls. More flashes.

 

And then the mouth of the Spore Spawn is thrust open.

 

Samus is standing inside it, grapple hook forcing the lower jaw down, free arm struggling, but succeeding, in lifting the upper jaw.

 

She releases the grapple beam...quickly aims at the shimmering red eyes.

 

The jaws snap shut...just as a loud explosions ring out.

 

The Spore Spawn reels...before shuddering and withering. It's vines retract. It's flower curls. It's body fades to brown. Dead.

 

Samus falls out of its limp mouth...and lands in a heap on the jungle floor. Her loose helmet falls separately in front of her.

 

The mother wolf immediately runs over and licks at the cracks in Samus' armor, as if trying to tend to her wounds.

 

Samus isn't moving. And while she lies on the ground...radio static quietly consumes her vacant thoughts. It grows louder. Louder. Louder still.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

S-Samus...?

 

Once more, Samus' mother's voice emerges from the white noise. But Samus still isn't moving.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

Baby...are you there?

 

The voice sounds stressed. Afraid.

 

SAMUS

Ma...ma...?

 

Finally, Samus stirs on the ground.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Can you hear me?

 

SAMUS

How...? Y-you're...

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Dead...

 

Samus' mother's voice booms and crackles eerily when the word is spoken.

 

SAMUS

I...don't understand...

 

With some effort, Samus rolls onto her stomach. The wolf backs off to let her ally try and stand...but right now she can't even do that. Samus' head is spinning. Her body is throbbing.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Neither do I, baby...but I can still hear you...and all these other voices in the dark...whispering to me...

 

Samus' mother is increasingly distraught.

 

SAMUS

Whispering? Who?

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I don't know! I keep begging them to stop but there are so many now, like...teeth biting at me from the inside...chewing on my flesh, chewing on my mind, chewing on...my eyes! I've been calling out to you for so long...but you don't sound like my little girl anymore!

 

SAMUS

Mama, it is me! I'm here!

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I shouldn't be alive Samus! I should be dead! Why aren't I dead! Why--Oh, God those voices! Leave me alone! Samus! Help me! Please, baby!

 

Samus tries to get up.

 

SAMUS

Where are you!? Mama! Tell me where me where you are!

 

Samus' mother melts into sobs. Samus is struggling to press herself off the ground, but her strength is rapidly failing.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Just tell me where you are...

 

Samus wills herself to her feet, but her body is shutting down. It's not her battle scars...her heart is pounding...her head is swooning...her skin is going cold and clammy. She drops back to her knees, then her hands, then flat onto her stomach as some sudden, putrid sickness consumes her from the inside. The infection...

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Damn it!

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

S-someone's s-scratching at the door...Someone's trying to come in!

 

SAMUS

Mama!

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Or...am I trying to get in...? I don't know! I don't know! Wait! The mountain! There was a mountain! I'm under...the mountain...

 

Samus digs her fingers into the dirt...drags herself towards the Chozo statues and the cave entrance.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Something's wrong. This can't be...I--I don't remember this! This isn't my memory...

 

Inches at a time, Samus pulls her entire body forward with only her fingertips. It takes her longer and longer to regather the energy after each effort.

 

SAMUS

Just stay there! I'm coming for you!

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

No! Oh, God, no! I know what it is! I know what's coming! I know what's on the other side of that door...The metroids! The metroids!

 

SAMUS

I'm coming--

 

Samus' fingers are shaking. She can't even grip the soil anymore. She rolls onto her side...then stops moving completely.

 

The mother wolf and her cub step forward...both curious and protective.

 

A long shadow approaches the trio. The mother wolf immediately turns to growl at...the unicorn from before. The cub, less threateningly, tries to mimic her mother's actions.

 

The unicorn is standing a safe distance away, infected, red-eyed...and watchful of Samus. Without moving, it studies her body closely, almost skeptically.

 

The mother wolf takes a decisive step forward...fires off a vicious warning bark.

 

The unicorn slowly turns and vanishes into the shadows of the canyon road.

 

The mother wolf lies in place, scanning the canyon for any more possible threats to her allies' ailing body. It doesn't take long to find them. A low growl vibrates in her throat because...

 

...endless pairs of disembodied red eyes are watching from the shadows.

 

The cub nervously backs up behind his mother. The mother wolf doesn't flinch.

 

Samus is still on her side. Her eyes are wide open. Is it fear? Or sadness? Because she's staring...

 

EXT. COLONY SETTLEMENT K-2L VILLAGE - DAWN

 

...at the pale corpse of her dead mother. Her eyes are open, too...but she's looking at nothing.

 

Child Samus is still clutched in the arms of her mother, horrified by her unmoving face just as she has all night...and will for the rest of her life.

 

She hasn't made a noise in all that time. Her mother bade her quiet, and so she was, as the roving band of space pirates eradicated the rest of her village and everyone she ever knew in her short life. Child Samus doesn't even make noise now as the strange shadows bend overhead, blotting out her mother's face. But when the clawed hands wrap around her arms and pull her away from the last retreating image of her already extinguished childhood, every emotion she hid to stay quiet and alive is released. Samus explodes.

 

CHILD SAMUS

No! Mama! Mama!

 

The young child screams and cries. She tries to battle free from her captors, but the fingers grasping her are vices. She finally looks up to see who has taken her...

 

Two fully cloaked creatures, tall, wide, and bipedal, are dragging her away from her destroyed village. Both wear what look like plague doctor masks over prominent, bird-like beaks. The Chozo have come for her.

 

Child Samus' tiny body freezes beneath the sight of these two frightening, alien shapes.

 

Then the frightening shapes freeze, too. They're not looking down at Samus anymore. They're looking at something behind her.

 

Samus lowers her head and in the fleeting moment before her captors force her to turn away, Samus sees her dead mother standing once again...silently staring back at her. Her eyes are crimson.

 

CHILD SAMUS (CONT'D)

Ma--!

 

EXT. JUNGLE CANYON ROAD - DUSK

 

SAMUS

--ma!

 

From the jungle floor, Samus lunges towards her capt--no...She's not dreaming anymore. But her outstretched hand reaches for two massive bird-like creatures all the same...the two statues standing guard to the mountain Samus' mother claims to be alive underneath.

 

Silence on her receiver. No voice calls out to her. No sign of...

 

...her mother. Alive. First on this planet then in a vision of the past. Was that a fever dream concocted by the alien illness she's been battling since arriving at this planet or...was it a real memory?

 

And are the bird-like creatures she just imagined more vanities of the unconsciousness, or a vital part of her life she's since forgotten? Somehow, both scenarios feel too convenient. And yet she's spoken to her dead mother all the same. Unless that's all an illusion, too.

 

Has she slept all night? Or the entire day? Either way, the dose of stimulant she injected seems to have helped. She's far from healthy, but Samus has recuperated enough to keep moving. She rises to her feet.

 

The mother wolf rises to hers as well, her guard duty now complete. The cub watches Samus from behind his mother's front leg.

 

Samus silently acknowledges her two allies before reequipping her helmet. She doesn't bothering wiping the dirt and blood off her power suit. She has a feeling the attrition is still far from over.

 

Samus steps into the mountain, prepared to face whatever ghosts from her past still haunt this place. The bird creatures. Her mother. Ridley.

 

The mother wolf and cub follow her inside.

 

INT. NARROW CAVES - CONTINUOUS

 

The floodlight is clicked on once more.

 

Leaning beneath a curtain of stalactites, Samus wedges herself in-between a narrow gap in the rock wall and slowly infiltrates the mountain.

 

The wolf and cub follow a safe distance behind.

 

It doesn't take long for the last rays of dusk to vanish from behind. The only light comes from Samus' power suit now. She presses on.

 

Deeper and deeper. Tighter and tighter. Samus keeps crawling down this rocky throat towards the belly of the mountain.

 

Finally, she arrives.

 

INT. BURIAL CHAMBER - CONTINUOUS

 

Samus emerges into a circular room carved into the mountain. At the center of that chamber stands a wide and cylindrical black monolith. Behind it stabs a thin streak of moonlight through a hole carved in the cavern ceiling.

 

The wolf whimpers in fear. She skulks into the shadows with her cub.

 

Samus crosses the chamber. Her light barely cuts through the inky black. Suddenly, she stops moving.

The frightened whimper of the wolf gets louder...

 

...because dead center in Samus' light stands a ghostly, white figure. As if itself too scared to look, the floodlight flickers, wanes and then dies.

 

Samus quickly charges her arm cannon and holds it in front of her like a new light...but the figure is already gone...replaced by...whispering.

 

With arm cannon still raised, barely lighting the way, Samus follows the voice to the front of the monolith.

 

Mysteriously, the stone has transformed. Now in the center of the room stand an enormous Chozo statue, bigger than any Samus has seen in the jungle. In it's outstretched palms it holds a glowing ball of white.

 

She reaches her hand towards it...picks it up...because it's whispering to her. The language is alien...but Samus is so sure she's heard it before. The words grows louder. It's not a whisper anymore, but a chant. She brings it closer. The chant is deafening now. But what's it saying? She's so sure she can remember...she just has to listen--

 

The chant suddenly stops. In fact, there is no sound at all anymore. There's no more ball of light, either. Samus is holding nothing but thin air in her hand.

 

Her floodlight flickers. Samus taps it with her hand. Another flicker. She taps harder. The light is shivering now...and in it's struggles, Samus realizes two disturbing truths: she's not standing in the chamber anymore...and she's surrounded by tall, pearl-white phantasms...

 

She quickly spins in every direction, trying to use the quivering light to reveal exactly what is encircled around her.

 

Every time Samus turns away from one shape, it's closer the next time its touched by her light, as if only the light can temporarily keep them away.

 

Frantically, she spins back and forth, trying to keep them all in sight at the same time, but it's impossible. They're so close now they could touch her...and they're still moving closer...

 

The light extinguishes...but the ghosts have not left. Samus can still see the small glimmer of light from her HUD reflecting off their black eyes. They're standing mere inches away...staring down at her in silence.

 

Samus is trapped...except for one small opening in the circle behind her. The ghosts have left one tiny gap for her to slip through...and so she does...slowly, cautiously...

 

She passes down this lane in the void, lined on both sides by ghosts visible only by the faintest of light reflecting in their black eyes.

 

At the end of this ghostly column Samus reaches a dead end wall...on it, light barely creeps through what looks like the frame of a narrow door. Do they want her to step through?

 

Samus turns. She's been surrounded once again. The message is clear. She can not go back.

 

Hesitating briefly to asses the exit, Samus bends down, grabs when feels like a loose rock in the wall and lifts the door.

 

Blinding red light spews into the void. Samus turns away from it only to be met by the shocking reveal of one of the ephemeral, bird-like ghosts in its entirety...it's wearing a plague doctor mask.

 

So startling is the image to see up close that Samus falls backwards through the doorway, arm cannon instinctively raised...but the rock races back down, sealing off this secret entranceway.

 

INT. LAVA CAVES - CONTINUOUS

 

Samus has fallen into a cavernous network of rocky pathways surrounded by molten flows. Geysers of fire spew out of sulphureous rivers. High ceilings leak magma like viscous waterfalls down craggy walls. Thick clouds of humidity cling to the ground. Bat-like creatures squeak far above.

 

Samus wipes a streak of condensation off her visor then taps a few adjustments on her arm cannon. A audible puff of air flow engages. The condensation evaporates, but the heat is still oppressive. After detouring through that haunted burial chamber, she might've just landed in hell. So be it. That's where she always intended to send Ridley anyway.

 

She probes ahead through the lava caves. Above her hang strange weed-like nests. They swell as they absorb the rising heat before expelling more hazy, white mist below. Samus tries to wave it away with a hand but the cavern is so thick with moisture it's like she's swimming through the air.

 

The mist disperses to reveal lava flowing off the edge of cliff hundreds of feet into a lake of fire below.

 

Stabbing her grapple beam into a rocky outcrop, Samus descends in three bounces down the face of the rock wall and lands next to the splashing lava.

 

She turns to face an entire ecosystem of heat-resistant creatures and plants. Shelled creatures slowly scratch along various rocky surface. Crustaceans with three jaws scurry around Samus' feet. Orbs float up and down overhead, gently lifted by small puffs of ejected humidity.

 

She carefully traverses around the natives and moves across a land bridge crossing the molten lake.

 

The ground rumbles.

 

The creatures of the cave retreat into holes in the walls and ground just as the head of a large eye-less worm partially emerges from the lava pool. It opens its jaws, drawing lava into its round mouth.

 

The entire cavern goes silent...including the worm as it listens carefully.

 

Scratches overhead. A shelled creature is struggling to hang from the rock wall.

 

With perfect precision, the worm spits melted rock across the cavern and knocks the shelled creature off the wall. It lands on its back in the lava, slowly sinking into the fire.

 

The worm rises tall out of the fire. It's length is incredible, far beyond what Samus initially imagined.

 

It rapidly extends its body, arcing high above Samus and the land bridge...and snatches the downed creature out of the lava. It trashes its fallen prey then cracks thru the shell with one bite of its jaws.

 

Blood, fire and molten rock splatter towards Samus, forcing her to acrobatically spring out of danger.

 

The ground melts where she just stood...but she's not out of danger, yet.

 

The worm gulps down its appetizer...then snaps its head towards the sound of Samus landing back on her feet; it's the sound of a much larger meal--the main course.

 

Samus is still locked in the pounce she landed in...unsure if she's been found out or not. The worm doesn't move either as it listens intensely. The silent standoff is agonizing. And the longer it holds...the less confident Samus feels.

 

Slowly, she dares to lifts her arm cannon...

 

The worm instantly darts towards her like a missile...

 

...but she fires off her grapple beam first. It hooks into a nearby rock wall and rips her out of the way of the worm's snapping jaws at the last possible second.

 

She clumsily smashes into the rock, but is able to grab a hold and pivot out of the way...just as the chasing worm bites a chunk out of the wall where she first landed.

 

She grapples away a second time...just before another chunk of wall crumbles in worm's jaws behind her.

 

She rotates mid-air...so that when she smashes into the ceiling she's already aiming down at the worm springing up towards her.

 

Her momentum defies gravity, pinning her upside-down long enough to fire back at her incoming enemy.

 

The worm roars from the hits it takes, but it doesn't slow in its pursuit.

 

Samus, now trapped in her own inertia, fires her grapple hook towards the ground...and just barely dodges the next chomp of the worm's jaws.

 

She lands...and frantically backflips in-between hunks of broken rocks crashing all around her.

 

She fires off a wave of missiles through the hail of debris...blinding explosions shake the cavern.

 

Samus can't tell if she hit her mark...until she hears the howls of pain. And rage.

 

The worm's body collapses into the lava pool ejecting a curtain of lava. This time Samus can't dodge it all.

 

The molten spray tags her suit...black smoke plumes off her body. She grimaces through the scalding heat.

 

Through squinted eyes she watches bubbles rising in the lava. A plume of fire erupts. The worm is still alive.

 

Samus breaks out into a full sprint across the land bridge towards a narrow pass in the cavern.

 

Behind her the worm explodes out of the pool, its cheeks stuffed full of lava. Molten rock and fire drip out from between its closed lips.

 

Samus knows what's coming for her. She forces herself to run harder...then aims above the narrow pass and unloads into the rock.

 

The worm spews its flames across the cavern.

 

The rock wall begins to collapse from Samus' attack. Dust and ash kick up...as she dives through the haze...and rolls just past the crushing avalanche with not a fraction of a second to spare.

 

On the other side she quickly rotates on her back...aims up towards the barrier of rock left in her wake...and waits. Waits. Waits.

 

Nothing has followed her through.

 

She relaxes into a full recline, daring to lie defenselessly in this new area before even scanning it for threats.

 

Pebbles rustle behind her.

 

No more time to rest. Samus springs back into action and turns to face...the wolf pup, crawling through a tiny gap in the wall.

 

As soon as he sees Samus he barks excitedly, then turns and barks at the boulder he just crawled out from underneath.

 

Samus understands. She walks over, grabs the boulder and with a great heave, dislodges it from the wall.

 

This time the mother wolf crawls out from the widened gap.

 

She stretches her body. Shakes vigorously. Then trots ahead into a tunnel to explore what she's emerged into. The pup chases after her. Samus follows in the rear.

 

Samus winds down the tunnel and enters into...

 

INT. WATER CAVES - CONTINUOUS

 

...a vast and gorgeous oasis. Gone are the molten flows. Rainbows now shimmer above layers and layers of misty waterfalls crashing down multiple tiers of lavender rock walls. Pools of clear turquoise are full of aquatic life...fish, amphibians, crustaceans, plants, even narrow trees that bend over the shallow walkways.

 

Samus reaches up and tugs a leaf off of one of its branches. The leaf immediately turns to glass in her hand.

 

Samus hears splashing. The mother wolf and her cub playfully leap around each other in a shallows under a small waterfall. She moves past them and rests against a weed-covered wall. She could use a rest. And some food. She's starving.

 

She peers down through the pristine water besides her. A school of fish are nibbling on pink plants. With a quick thrust of her free hand, Samus nabs the largest one.

 

With two handfuls of a loose minerals, the broken limb from an aquatic tree, and a lick of fire from her

arm cannon, Samus constructs a quick spit to cook her dinner.

 

She removes her arm cannon, then her helmet, closes her eyes and exhales a heavy sigh. Her journey into this planet has taken a toll. It's evident all over her exhausted face. And there's still so much further to go.

 

She can't get her mother's voice or her strange message out of her head. Or Ridley's violent screams of agony. Or that weird name she's heard warning of twice since arriving. Metroids?

 

Lifting her spit off the smoldering embers, Samus takes a large bite out of her steaming fish.

 

Across the cave, the pup takes notice. He's sharing a cold fish with his mother, but judging by his shy walk towards Samus, his interest is piqued by her hot preparation.

 

He stops a distance away from her and waits, unsure whether or not to commit. Samus glances past him at the mother wolf for permission.

 

The mother wolf licks her nose and stares, apparently just as curious. Permission granted.

 

Samus tears off a hot chunk and holds it out for the pup. He tip toes over, sniffs it gingerly then grabs it off her palm. After one small test bite, the pup quickly devours the rest of the piece. As soon as he's done, he sits patiently next to Samus, hoping for some more.

 

She takes another bite for herself, but can't resist the begging. With a gentle smile, Samus places the rest of the spit in front of her new friend.

 

The mother wolf seems to shrug and turns back to finish her cold fish.

 

Samus stands. Reequips her helmet and arm cannon. Time to get back to work.

 

She wanders ahead and begins to notice unique, rocky structures high up along the walls of the glittering caves. They're faded and worn from centuries of weathering but definitely not natural. The curves are too smooth, yet the angles too precise.

 

Samus moves closer to examine the nearest protrusion and notes what look to be symmetrical wings unfolding from a hunched over body. A gargoyle? She looks closer. Is that...?

 

Two solid black eyes open. Samus stops moving, unsure of what new threat this might represents.

 

The black eyes shift in their rocky skull...scanning the room...like a...security camera? The eyes peer down at Samus...

 

...just as a disturbing, guttural howl echoes off the arched ceiling of the cavern. It doesn't sound like Ridley...but Samus has to check to be sure.

 

Samus drifts forward, poised to fire at the audible distress emanating just ahead. It sounds like some great beast being eaten from the inside.

 

She turns into a wide, cylindrical room, naturally shaped like a great hall.

 

At the center of it writhes a bear-like creature, suffering from some intense internal torture. It groans and wails, dragging itself away, but from what? It seems to choke then cry out.

 

Samus rushes over...kneels down and feels the body of the great beast...undulating.

 

It's just like out on the surface. It's being infected by that sickness she found on the Orpheon.

 

A cloud of bat-like creatures nesting above suddenly takes flight in a great frenzy, clamoring chaotically...before falling to the ground. They squirm...and writhe...suffering just like the bear.

 

A row of long weeds with beaked mouths hanging off the far wall howl like banshees. They shudder and curl as if in agony.

 

All around her, Samus is surrounded by this strange corruption and the wild creatures suffering immensely from it.

 

The erupting madness is distinctly punctuated by one more noise, this one faint and subtle: hissing static flickering in her ear...

 

The wolf mother suddenly growls from behind. It's backing into the center of the room, cub in lockstep, away from a red-eyed space pirate lumbering forward like a zombie.

 

Without a moment of hesitation, Samus opens fire, mowing down the possessed biped with a streak of missile fire.

 

Now the wolf is barking madly at her...no...at the surging, red-eye bear rising behind her.

 

Samus turns...prepared to engage...when a piercing laser beam burns through the beast first. The bear teeters towards Samus like a falling tower. She dives out of the way.

 

From the ground she watches an army of bipedal robots march out of a false wall in the cave. Their eyes are black just like on the stone gargoyles. They lay waste to the corrupted organisms all around her with inhuman accuracy.

 

Then the lead robot turns towards Samus. It hesitates briefly...as the static amplifies in Samus' ears. The robots open fire on her.

 

Samus raises both arms and tanks the energy beams. The impact feeds back as a loud squeal. Her power suit glows white hot. She feels like she's absorbing the sun.

 

Behind her...the mother wolf barks sharply. It's a sound of extreme distress. Is she injured?

 

Samus glances over her shoulder...the wolf's body is seizing up. She moves chaotically, limping and falling, but keeps getting up...to drag herself towards a narrow crack in the wall.

 

Her cub barks nervously...runs up close and grabs at his mother's leg. She aggressively snap at her child, barking so viciously that foam falls from her bared fangs.

 

Samus knows what's happening. The mother is trying to protect her cub from whatever sickness is about to claim her own body.

 

Several of the robots cease fire and shift their aim towards the ailing wolf. Samus sees it.

 

SAMUS

No!

 

She taps into the energy she's been unwittingly granted and launches a devastating wave of white energy towards the army of assassins. The attack obliterates half of the machine force in an instant.

 

More sharp, tortured barking from the mother. More timid, nervous yelps from the cub. The remaining machines all turn to fire at the sounds of distress.

 

Samus leaps in-between and blocks every incoming lasers with the back of her power suit. The entire room reverberates with the resultant squeal.

 

She extends her free hand forward, turning to grab at the cub...but the cub is too scared.

 

He keeps rushing towards his dying mother. She's now too weak to even howl. Over and over she tries to nudge him back with her nose, but he doesn't stop trying to get to her.

 

The mother sees Samus reaching ahead and understands. With her little remaining strength she lifts a paw and knocks him towards Samus.

 

Samus grabs the cub and pins him next to her stomach. The cub struggles desperately to get back to his mother, clawing and scratching at Samus as he yelps in utter fear.

 

The mother crawls halfway into the crack in the wall, but is running out of energy.

 

Suddenly, Samus is knocked forward. She loses control of the cub, who springs out of her hand towards his escaping mother. Several machines have simultaneously tackled Samus to the ground, pinning each of her limbs down beneath the pile up.

 

Samus struggles to fight free...looks up...sees a machine racing towards a clear shot of the cave exit. It's arm is rising as it prepares to exterminate the wolf family.

 

The sight enrages Samus. She explodes to her feet, knocking the pile off her.

 

She fires her grapple hook at the lead machine and springs herself forward onto its body. In one motion she rips off its head and acrobatically leaps backwards in the air, landing behind the rest of the robot army.

 

With heavy, battering strikes of her arm cannon, she cleaves her way through the bipedal metal just in time to see the mother wolf successfully escape...and the cub slip into the crack right behind her.

 

Samus lifts a hand, ready to chase after him, but she won't get a chance. Every remaining robot grabs onto her body...and drags her through the false wall into...

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY HALLWAYS - CONTINUOUS

 

...a dark, metallic hallway.

 

The false wall slams shut behind them.

 

More machines clamor out from the shadows to pile on Samus.

 

Samus fires with her arm cannon, but the machines hold her arm up, redirecting the projectiles. She launches homing missiles but they careen off course, bouncing and sliding across a metal floor before arming and exploding indiscriminately.

 

Pinned down by dozens of machines on every limb, Samus is helpless as one more mounts her torso and violently assails her with its iron fists. Each strike reverberates like thunder. Cracks snake further across her visor with each haymaker blow, until she can't even make out her attacker anymore behind the web of glass scars.

 

The static in Samus' ears is deafening now. And from that ear-splitting white noise erupts a familiar, but distorted voice.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Samus!

 

SAMUS

Mama!

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Don't you touch her!

 

What look like metal veins throb protrude down the arms of Samus' power suit. They immediately spread onto every robot holding her down...

 

Their beady eyes flicker red. In an instant they are seized by the same type of internal anguish as the beasts of the cave. And while they grab at their heads, shuddering in the same kind of tormented fit, Samus takes advantage.

 

She springs free and spins in a tight circle, casting a wave of energy with her arm cannon.

 

The broken, iron bodies fall to the ground. Lifeless.

 

Samus rips off her broken helmet to see where she's been taken.

 

She's surrounded by metal walls, chrome plating and branching corridors...all lined by tube lighting and stamped with the alien language of the space pirates. The natural wonders of the caves have been replaced by the artificial construct of a secret underground lab. Samus must've just eliminated a security system. She's alone again. No, there's one other here...

 

SAMUS

You did that...didn't you?

 

Samus' receiver flickers with white noise. Her mother is hesitating to respond.

 

Suddenly, Samus curls in pain. She winces to stop from crying out...It squeezes out tears of pain instead. She rips the last syringe of stimulant from her shoulder.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Baby?

 

SAMUS

I'm sick, Mama...I don't know how much longer I can last.

 

The syringe is poised to plunge into her gut one more time. But this time Samus is reluctant to impale herself.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Baby...

 

Samus' mother has a tone of guilt. The sinking grimace on Samus' face is not just from the infection. She already knows what her mother is about to say. She's known for awhile now.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

I think...I *am* the sickness.

 

Samus lowers the syringe...and her head. She close her eyes. Grits her teeth not just in physical pain, but emotional pain as well.

 

SAMUS

I know...

 

She drops the syringe on the ground, then drops to her knees next to it. Finally, Samus capitulates to something. Herself.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

I know.

 

Tears leak down her cheeks.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I'm starting to understand. These voices. They are everyone, merged into one. Lives and memories. They want me to join them. They want you to join them, too.

 

Samus' mother laughs quietly.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

Guess they don't know much about us yet, do they?

 

SAMUS

But you're just...a fever...a dream...

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I'm you, baby. Everything you've always remembered me to be. You never forgot. So I never left.

 

SAMUS

How could I? I wanted you back so bad...

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

You did bring me back, baby. You kept me in your heart this whole time. Your memories breathed me back to life.

 

SAMUS

No, you're just a voice in my head...

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I'm here now, Samus. Inside that ship. Out in the jungle. The caves. And now I'm somewhere in this darkness, too. Far beneath the mountain.

 

Samus lifts her head. There is a distant fear in her eyes. Some recognition she doesn't yet want to voice...

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

I'm becoming everything, baby, including everything that was inside you. And now everything is whispering again. There's one thing left for them to do. One place left for them to go. There's...an elevator.

 

SAMUS

An elevator?

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

They want me to descend. They keep calling out...Mother. Mother. But I won't go. Something bad is down there. I can feel it. Baby, you need to leave. You need to leave me here.

 

The voice of the memories in Samus' head are breaking up in the receiver. It's not static this time. It's just sadness.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

After all these years...we were so close, baby. I almost got to hold you in my arms one last time...

 

SAMUS

My last stim? Is it enough?

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

It's your armor. That's what's staying infected. Your injection can chase it out of your blood for a time, but you'll keep being reinfected inside your armor. You have to leave it behind.

 

SAMUS

I see.

 

Samus picks up her last syringe.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

You know what you need to do, Samus.

 

SAMUS

Yeah. I do.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Just know...

 

Samus' Mother can barely get the words out.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

...that I'll always--

 

Samus stuffs the syringe back into her shoulder ball.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

Samus! What are you doing?

 

Samus picks up her cracked helmet and slams on the glass with a thunderous strike of her fist. The visor shatters.

 

Samus re-equips it. Her once teary eyes peer through the large gap in her helmet. There is only defiance now.

 

SAMUS

I'm coming to find you.

 

She peels down the dimly lit corridor in a full sprint, racing against the infection coursing through her veins.

 

The walls on either side of her appear to be the locked doors of containment units stamped by the strange, pirate language. Samus sees this and takes note, but doesn't stop moving.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Don't do this! It will take you soon! You need to get off this planet! You need to live!

 

SAMUS

I'm not dying! Not yet!

 

If the look in Samus' eyes is any indication, not even this alien hivemind infection stands a chance against her. Not until she's completed her mission. She grits her teeth and wills her body ahead. Further. Faster.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I can't keep holding them back! Samus, please! There's no time for this! You don't understand what else is down here! You have to leave!

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY MAINFRAME ROOM - CONTINUOUS

 

Samus kicks a metal door cleanly off its hinges and storms into a large computer mainframe. Massive, freestanding towers of computing power blink silently. Huge cooling coils snake through humidity and mist.

 

SAMUS

Not until I find you.

 

She peels a plate off one of the towers and strips a fistful of wiring out. The loose ends are stuffed into the constricting end of her arm canon, whose inner tube now resembles a terminal.

 

A monitor blinks to life above Samus. It projects a blueprint across the room and Samus' power suit.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

So tell me what you see.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I--I see...MB. The elevator says MB.

 

SAMUS

MB?

 

Samus cycles through the map of the facility with blinding speed. Suddenly, she stops. A small circles pings violently over a diagram of a chamber that reads: MB. The image of the chamber projects backwards over Samus' exposed eyes.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Gotcha.

 

She taps a button and the map downloads into her power suit--

 

Every light suddenly blinks off. The entire terminal goes black. The whine of a dying power source follows.

 

After a long, anxious silence, alarm klaxons wail intermittently.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

Oh, God! It's happening!

 

Samus clicks on her floodlight. It reflects off large dust floating in the air above.

 

SAMUS

What is it? What's going on?

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY HALLWAYS - CONTINUOUS

 

Samus exits back outside. Red emergency lights whirl ineffectively, just barely revealing the hall in-between long periods of darkness. More periodic shrieking of alarm klaxons.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

(whispering)

Samus...they're coming...

 

In the far distance, gun fire echoes through the halls of the laboratory. The gut-wrenching screams of space pirates follows. Whatever is happening to them sounds horrific. Unbearable. Samus would cover her ears if she could.

 

And then total silence. Even the klaxons stop, as if hiding from whatever just happened.

 

SAMUS

(whispering)

Who's coming?

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

(whispering)

The metroids...

 

At the very far end of the pitch black hall, an amorphous shape glows a pale, almost translucent, green.

Samus points her floodlight at the shape, but can't seem to find it in the cone of illumination. She turns away...and there it appears again in the darkness. Again, she points her floodlight at it...again it vanishes.

 

Confused...and concerned...she clicks the floodlight off.

 

SAMUS

(whispering)

What the hell are metroids?

 

In the inky black softly glows the green shape, now much larger than before. Much closer. It's drifting towards Samus. Hovering high in the air. Undulating. Curling like a twisting breeze. It looks so supple, even graceful. But ephemeral. Samus is mesmerized as it fades in and out of view, like corporeal light swimming silently through a black ocean. Its glow recedes. The hallway goes dark again.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

(whispering)

Death...

 

Out of the black...a shriek like a banshee...then the darkness yawns open with two pairs of long, jawless teeth. The METROIDS are finally here.

 

A blinding green glow...then the creature suddenly darts low to devour Samus...

 

...who dives away just in time...then rotates as she lands to fire back a blast of energy.

 

The metroid shimmers as it's hit, but is only briefly stunned before resuming its attack. It moves even faster now.

 

Samus is taken by surprise...and pinned against a wall. She grasp onto one of its teeth with her free hand...wedges her arm cannon against the other...to keep the metroid from cleaving her head cleanly off her shoulders.

 

The metroid stretches out its smaller pair of pincer-like teeth. They scratch a thick line down Samus' armor.

 

From up close, Samus gazes into the metroid's translucent, jelly-like body...to see three brain-like organs pulsing blood through a network of thin veins.

 

She jams her arm cannon as close to the mouth as she can...and sprays flames into the being's body.

 

It screeches loudly...and recoils out of her grasp, but the flames quickly extinguish.

 

Taking advantage of the brief separation, Samus launches several missiles as she retreats towards the mainframe room...but as soon as they enter the green jelly, the missiles slow to a halt...then melt away.

 

The metroid glows brightly...then dives again for Samus...

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY MAINFRAME ROOM - CONTINUOUS

 

...knocking her to her back. She's stunned...vulnerable.

 

The metroid aims a tooth for her stomach. Samus just barely shifts away in time...as the tooth impales the ground.

 

The next tooth is poised in the air. Samus quickly shimmies...and the ground is pierced once more.

 

The floating metroid seems to walk, one swing of a tooth at a time, as a retreating Samus just barely avoids a killing blow with each step.

 

Accidentally, a tooth slices thru the coolant coil...and a blast of ice cold mist freezes the metroid in its tracks. It shrivels and falls to the ground.

 

Samus grabs the spewing coil with her free hand.

 

The metroid tries to crawl away, but Samus burns it with ice...then crushes the frozen body with a heavy thrust of her foot. It explodes into hundreds of crystal shards.

 

SAMUS

How many? How many of those things are there?

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

How many?! Oh God, they'll kill the entire planet! They'll kill everything!

 

SAMUS

I need you to stay hidden. Stay quiet! I'll find you! I'm close!

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY HALLWAYS - CONTINUOUS

 

More gunfire echoes throughout the hallways. Samus sprints after it.

 

She turns a corner...sees flashes of machine gun fire painting the walls in brilliant whites...and stark silhouettes.

 

Samus watches in horror...like a grotesque puppet show...the shadow of a space pirate first fleeing...then floating in the air...a piercing scream...then the shadow tears in half...and falls to the ground in two separate pieces.

 

Samus tries to retreat...but is cut off by more glowing green orbs swooping into view.

 

There are no good decisions here. Samus grits her teeth and dashes towards the scene of the execution.

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY BLOODY HALL - CONTINUOUS

 

As soon as she hits the new hallway, Samus raises her arm cannon...and stares down a grisly massacre.

 

The entire length of the corridor is littered with dead space pirates...their shriveled bodies torn to pieces...their blood staining the walls and ceiling. Metroids cling to every body, sucking and swallowing in a macabre feast.

 

One pirate is devoured while still standing...backlit nightmarishly by a whirling emergency light at the end of the corridor...with a metroid on each of his limbs gnawing directly on bone...and one metroid wrapped entirely over his head...squeezing tighter and tighter...under brain squirts into the metroid's jelly body...

 

Samus is revolted...takes a heavy step backwards...

 

...and just like that, the metroids realize there is fresh prey. They release from their current meals and drift towards Samus like enormous, razor-toothed spores.

 

Samus blasts a nearby door open and dashes inside.

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY EXPERIMENT DECK - CONTINUOUS

 

As soon as she's through the door, Samus slams it shut, then throws a tower of computer and lab equipment in front of it like a barricade.

 

But there's no barricade she can erect to block the horrifying visual behind her--a dying space pirate writhing on a surgical bed. A metroid is poised on his chest, ripping the pirate's organs out of its body.

 

The pirate turns its head to face Samus...weakly extends his hand towards her...as if begging to be put out of its misery.

 

Samus doesn't have time to even consider it...as two soft glows emanate from above her.

 

Metroids pour out of a ventilation system.

 

Samus sprints...as more and more metroids flood out of every direction...thru air vents and connecting doors.

 

There's only one corner of the room Samus has left to run to...a wall with a massive bay window.

 

She doesn't slow down...can't slow down. Instead, she lowers her shoulder and crashes through the rest of the broken glass with no regard for what might be on the other side...it has to be safer than here...

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY CANYON PASS - CONTINUOUS

 

As soon as she does break through...she realizes just how far she has to fall...a stomach-lifting fifty story drop at least...to a metal bridge crossing a craggy, canyon gap.

 

The metroids gives chase through the broken glass...Samus can't rely just on gravity here...

 

Samus thrusts her grapple beam down towards the bridge. It snaps in place...and she desperately tugs herself downwards...careening like a meteor.

 

She smashes into the middle of the metal bridge at high speed, absorbing the greater than free-fall momentum in a three point stance...and a wave of shivering pain.

 

After a delay, the free-falling shattered glass finally comes raining down around her.

 

As that glass falls...metroids rise up from the depths of the black canyon on both sides of the bridge.

 

Samus quickly assesses her options...in one direction a waterfall roars down the canyon...in the other, the secret laboratory extends down as a narrow tower built inside the natural rock formation. The latter takes her closer to the MB elevator.

 

The decision is made for her...Samus races in the direction of the waterfall and leaps over the railing of the bridge...

 

While upside down she grapple hooks the bottom of the bridge and swings herself at high speed back towards the tower...through the surging veil of metroids.

 

She releases at just the right angle...to launch herself through another glass window overlooking the canyon.

 

INT. SECRET LABORATORY WAREHOUSE - CONTINUOUS

 

This time, in her haste, she does not land acrobatically. Her body slams against a wall and she crumples to the ground on a freight dock...

 

The metroids breach through the hole in the glass.

 

Samus tries to right herself...she only has a few seconds...but her muscles are weak...she's running out of energy...and the pain...God the pain. Her body feels broken, even without the infection slowly overtaking her.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

(whispering)

They've found me, Samus.

 

More metroids pour into the room.

 

SAMUS

No! I'm so close. I'm...

 

The lead metroid's teeth glisten.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

...so close.

 

Her eyes are shimmering.

 

The metroid raises it's tooth-like claw and swings...

 

But Samus shields herself with a piece of broken debris at the last second. The tooth impales through the metal, just barely missing Samus' head.

 

Now stuck, the metroid is helpless as Samus rises to her feet and heaves it towards the rest of the invasion.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

I'm sorry...

 

Samus turns to flee down a wide ramp...and is struck from behind.

 

A second metroid has finally landed a blow as its tooth sticks into her back.

 

Samus cries out. Tears eject from her tightly squeezed eyes. She falls to her knees...

 

Immediately, she feels the energy evaporating from her body. Her muscles burn...shrink even...and the static in her receiver wanes. The infection in Samus is weakening as Samus weakens.

 

SAMUS'S MOTHER (O.S. CONT'D)

I'm sorry, Samus...I don't know if we'll ever see each other again...

 

Incensed by the thought, Samus reaches back...and grabs the vampiric tooth with her free hand.

 

SAMUS

Not...yet!

 

Samus tears the metroid from her own body.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (O.S.)

--Sam-- I just want---know...

 

So desperate to get to her mother, Samus can only crawl forward on her stomach. But a green glow consumes her body.

 

SAMUS

Mama! Stay where you are! Don't leave!

 

Samus rolls onto her back...and is stabbed through the chest.

 

Again, that horrible burning as the very energy in her body is swallowed by this hideous creature. And as it leaves her, so does the sound of her mother's voice. The static fades completely.

 

SAMUS

I'll...find...you...

 

She reaches up with her free hand...into the creatures body. It gladly accepts its new meal. Sucking and chewing...until Samus grabs one of its jelly brains...and crushes it in her hand. The metroid shrieks...and goes limp.

 

Samus rips the metroid off her power suit...tosses it indifferently to one side...then rises to face the relentless pursuit of dozens more.

 

SAMUS

...I'll find you.

 

Samus closes her eyes. She's gasping for breath. Sweat is pouring down her forehead...burning her eyes.

 

She just needs a moment to collect herself...focus her strength. There's not much of it left.

 

A swarm of metroids is coalescing right above her...already stretching their claw-like teeth towards her.

 

Still, she stands in place, like a statue, slowly gathering everything she has left for one last push. Samus' body is failing. It has been since she landed on this planet. Now Death itself has come for her. She just felt it's cold grip twice now. But she's not dead yet.

 

The metroids dive for her.

 

Samus' eyes open. But not armored, adult Samus. Young Samus is standing in the exact same spot in the exact same place decades earlier. There are no metroids. In fact there is no one. Samus is alone.

 

She turns towards a non-descript door in the wall of the warehouse...suddenly she remembers...in this moment and decades into the future--that's where she has to go to find...MB?

 

Back in the present, Samus is still facing where that non-descript door once stood. Only now she sees a wall of solid rock. Is she mistaken? Is there no door there afterall? There's only one way to find out.

 

The metroids are so close...but she's not running. Samus is gambling on the vague whim of a seemingly impossible memory.

 

She raises her arm cannon and fires towards the rocks.

 

INT. UNDERGROUND RUINS - CONTINUOUS

 

Into the darkness bursts a rectangle of light and Samus with it. She immediately turns...and slams the newly revealed door shut...just as more metroid fangs plunge through the metal. This won't hold for long.

 

Into the unknown she sprints, pounding at the increasingly rocky ground with legs ready to explode. They carry her nonetheless, away from the cloud of metroids and deeper into the heart of this mysterious cave.

 

Samus can't stop...won't stop...not until she reaches her final destination. Even after her muscles are spent and she's gasping for air, she commands herself forward...deeper into the mountain...deeper...deeper still.

 

The laboratory has given way to ancient ruins, not unlike what Samus first saw in the jungles outside. Metal has been replaced with rock. Not even the space pirates seemed to have dared to venture this far below the mountain. But someone else did.

 

Samus finally slows to a halt. She's fled into total darkness. No longer can she hear the emergency klaxons, or the screams of the metroid massacres. The only sound in the air is her own breathing. She tries to click on her floodlight...but the metroid attack has broken it.

 

She rips a fistful of long-dead and stiffened vines handing off a wall...and puffs it with a blast of flame like a makeshift torch. The dancing flames reveal a glimpse of where she's standing.

 

Samus isn't just inside ancient ruins...she's standing in a graveyard. Stacked all around her are the armored skeletons of enormous, bird-like creatures, shaped exactly like the statues elsewhere on the planet...shaped exactly like the plague doctors in her childhood memory.

 

Bones snap beneath her steps...as the mass grave extends in every direction. The scale of the killing field is staggering. This is genocide...an entire ancient race now lies dead under a carpet of dust and cobwebs.

 

And then something catches her eye in particular: a body with a bird-like skull--armored in a power suit that looks identical to her own.

 

Samus raises a hand...looks at her own palm. Her suit...? It was...theirs?

 

Static hisses in her ear again.

 

She looks up...and realizes how close she is. Her eyes are frightened...not just from the bodies, or the unexpected revelation of her suit...but because of the downloaded 3D blueprint projecting out of her palm. The visual indication is clear. The MB elevator is just ahead. That means her mother must be, too.

 

The last embers of the torch die out. She drifts into the darkness.

 

INT. UNDERGROUND RUINS ELEVATOR - CONTINUOUS

 

SAMUS

Mama?

 

Strange light from a high ceiling barely illuminates the very bottom of a massive bipedal shape sitting in the middle of a large, creased circle. Is it one of the Chozo statues?

 

The bodies of dead metroids litter the ground she steps across.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Can you hear me?

 

The static is loud in her ears again. She can feel fever burning through her. That's the infection. Her breathing shortens. That's not the infection. She's just that afraid of what she'll find in the dark.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Can you hear me, Mama?

 

She stops in front of the still shape and peers up into the darkness.

 

And from that darkness...opens two reptilian eyes. Both crimson red.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

Samus...?

 

The shape, huddled in the middle of a flat elevator platform stamped 'MB', rises forward into the light. Samus finally sets eyes on her resurrected mother...as Ridley towers over her.

 

SAMUS

Mama...?

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

Samus! You found me!

 

Ridley's mouth is moving, but Samus still hears her mother's delicate voice. He lifts a hand towards her.

 

Samus hesitates. This monster killed her mother in the first place. But now...he has joined the parasite hivemind...and the memories of Samus' mother...

 

Deep down she had a feeling. When she heard Ridley's cries that night in the forest she knew he was gravely injured. With the infection running rampant he was vulnerable...yet the only infected being brutal enough to get this far on his own.

 

Now Samus has come this far too...to see her mother one last time...and to avenge her.

 

SAMUS

No...You--you're not...

 

She takes a step back. Ridley takes a step forward.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

I am. It's still me.

 

Ridley takes one more step forward and presses her hand against the cheek of Samus' helmet.

 

Samus lets it happen, but her eyes are unsure.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (CONT'D)

I waited so long...to hold you...one last time.

 

Samus puts her hand on top of Ridley's.

 

She's revolted being touched by this monster. Yet at the same time...

 

Samus steps forward. Ridley wraps his other arm around her back.

 

Tears leak down Samus' cheeks...she lets herself be pulled in by the beast who once murdered her mother...the same beast who somehow is her mother now.

 

The two embrace tightly.

 

Ridley cups his hand around Samus's helmet to rest her head on his shoulder.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

It's okay now. We're together again. We're together.

 

Samus sobs in Ridley's arms.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER (CONT'D)

No, don't cry, baby. Please don't cry...

 

SAMUS

It's just that...it's just that...

 

Samus squeezes Ridley tightly. It will be her final embrace of her mother.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

...you're not my mother!

 

In one motion, Samus retracts from Ridley's arm, extracts the stimulant syringe from her shoulder and plunges it into Ridley's exposed chest.

 

The beast stumbles backwards and howls. His pain echoes off the high chamber walls.

 

Veiny protrusions carve a path through his organic body and into his iron wing.

 

His eyes, squeezed close in agony, reopen...no longer red, but yellow. Those are the eyes Samus remembers. Ridley is back.

 

Immediately, he severs his own wing with a swift slash of his own claws. The infected metals falls to the elevator platform.

 

Samus wastes no time...leaping up towards her nemesis to try and deliver a killing blow.

 

Ridley grabs her out of the air with one hand and drives her harshly into the elevator platform...then stabs at her body with his spear-like tail...but Samus snatches it with her free hand before it can pierce her exposed eye.

 

Ridley raises his free claw to strike next. Samus matches the action by aiming her arm canon directly at creature's head. Stalemate. Neither can strike fast enough without the other retaliating just as quickly.

 

RIDLEY

I knew you'd come back! I knew you couldn't resist! Look at you! Oh how I've waited to feast on your flesh!

 

SAMUS

Then what are you waiting for you son of a bitch!?

 

Samus' eyes are alight with rage. Ridley examines her power suit.

 

RIDLEY

So, the parasites have claimed you...

 

SAMUS

That makes two of us.

 

A sickening grin creases Ridley's beaked mouth.

 

RIDLEY

Then what do we have to lose?

 

SAMUS

Go for it.

 

Ridley's eyes curl in ecstasy.

 

RIDLEY

Dear girl, can you smell your own sweetness?

 

Ridley's saliva drips off his bared teeth and splashes against Samus's power suit.

 

RIDLEY (CONT'D)

Chozo blood! How can I resist?

 

SAMUS

Chozo...?

 

RIDLEY

You didn't even know where you are right now, do you? Forgotten your family so quickly? Mother wouldn't like to hear that, sister!

 

Samus' rage dissolves.

 

SAMUS

What?

 

Ridley roars with deep, rumbling, obnoxious laughter. It sounds like squealing metal--like a demon who just snatched up a fresh victim to torment.

 

RIDLEY

It lied to you, Samus! This plague taking over the planet. It read your mind...and it lied to you! This was your home.

 

SAMUS

That's not...possible...

 

But her eyes betray her. The strange memories. The deja vu. Deep down, Samus knows Ridley is not lying.

 

RIDLEY

You grew up here...before Mother cast you out!

 

SAMUS

It can't be...

 

But of course it can.

 

RIDLEY

Before she abandoned you! Like she abandoned the Chozo!

 

SAMUS

I don't understand...

 

RIDLEY

The Chozo raised you, gave you their blood, their armor...all under the protection of...Mother.

 

SAMUS

You killed my mother!

 

RIDLEY

To save the galaxy from this pestilence! This Parasite-X! Mother sent us in secret to burn your sickness to the ground...end it before it could spread! But the Chozo found out and saved you like they saved so many others...dooming us all. Eventually, Mother righted that wrong. We are her only children now, empowered by the blood of all our...vanishing twins.

 

Another hideous, booming cackle.

 

RIDLEY (CONT'D)

You are her last bastard now. The prodigal daughter, finally returned. Do you fear Mother? Do you hate her? Is that why the parasite hid her memories from you? Is that the only way it could trick you into returning to her?

 

SAMUS

I only came here for one reason--!

 

RIDLEY

You're here because the parasite craves Mother above all others! The metroids will protect her! I will protect her! Our Mother will live on!

 

SAMUS

You took my mother! It's time I returned the favor!

 

Samus redirects her arm cannon to target the elevator summoning panel and launches a tight beam of energy.

 

Ridley quickly releases his grasp of Samus...and tries to pin the cannon against the platform...but he's too late. The beam depresses the elevator summon bottom and the platform immediately begins to rapidly descend.

 

INT. UNDER RUINS ELEVATOR SHAFT - CONTINUOUS

 

The platform accelerates...faster and faster...down a wide cylindrical shaft lined by beads of light in a corkscrew pattern.

 

Briefly free to move, Samus thrusts the preoccupied Ridley's own forked tail through the bottom of his jaw.

 

The creature screams...and relinquishes to rip the tail free. He opens his eyes to stare down a barrel full of missiles careening towards him.

 

He swiftly slaps one down towards Samus before it arms...the missiles explodes against the elevator platform and breaks a large chunk out of it.

 

Samus falls through the gap...

 

She launches her grapple hook...aiming directly for Ridley through the hole in the platform.

 

He snatches the beam with his large fist...Samus dangles helplessly from Ridley's grasp.

 

Ridley roars...tugs Samus up through the hole...and brutally smashes her against the shaft wall.

Samus tries to retract the hook, but Ridley won't let go. He's winning the brief tug of war...Samus' heels slip as she's dragged towards Ridley's salivating jaws. She dives forward...uses Ridley's pulling strength to launch herself into a high kick.

 

He doesn't fall for the old trick. Ridley dodges out of the way, but grabs Samus by her ankle in mid-air...and ragdolls her against the elevator platform, viciously slapping her limp body against the retreating ground over and over. More cracks form in the damaged lift with each strike.

 

Samus tucks into a tight ball before the next swing...a trio of small pulse bombs drop from her body like carpet bombs. They explode around Ridley...who releases Samus to protect his body from the concussive blasts.

 

The explosions subside...Ridley lowers his arms...right as Samus dashes towards him...spears him in the gut...lifts him off his feet, and slams him into the platform.

 

From her mounted position, Samus rains heavy blows down on Ridley's jaw with her arm cannon...he tries to cover up, but teeth are still being knocked from his mouth. Blood splatters across her suit with them.

 

Ridley retaliates with a heavy slash across her face. His long claws leave thick gashes in her helmet...and even reach to her face. Blood oozes from the wounds.

 

He swings again...but Samus block his strike her free arm and pins it down, allow her to continue pummeling him with hammering blows from her arm cannon.

 

He swings with his other arm. Samus again blocks and pins his second arm down, this time with the arm cannon itself.

 

Ridley is completely exposed...but Samus is out of limbs to strike with...so she smashes her helmet down on Ridley's face with brutal headbutts.

 

Ridley wails...he's badly hurt and running out of options. Samus is beating him to death. He snakes his tail out from underneath himself...and skewers Samus through her side.

 

She inhales sharply, but can't seem to draw breath into her impaled body. Ripley opens his mouth...and bites down around her helmet. His jaws tremble...squeezing tighter and tighter. Samus finally cries out in pain from inside his bloody mouth.

 

She douses him with fire from her arm canon. It burns and scars his skin, but Ridley won't let go. He keeps wrenching his jaws shut...the helmet is crumpling beneath the pressure. Samus is seconds away from--

 

She disengages her helmet and slips herself free from Ridley just as he crushes the helmet with his jaws.

 

Ridley spits out Samus' broken helmet...then forces his tail further through her stiffening body.

 

RIDLEY

You're still dead...I got you...

 

Samus spits out a mouthful of blood directly onto Ridley.

 

SAMUS

I'm taking you with me!

 

Samus powers up her arm cannon...and aims for the weakened platform beneath Ridley. She blows a second hole through the lift and the two arch rivals enter a free fall even faster than the elevator's descent.

 

Samus and Ridley, flail chaotically around one another as they plunge down this seemingly bottomless hole towards certain death. After a lifetime of trading blood and scars, Samus and Ridley are now met in final battle. But even if they are both are about to meet their fate at the bottom of this shaft all they care about is who meets it first.

 

The two bitter enemies swing back and forth at one another, but the fall is so chaotic, neither can land a decisive blow.

 

Golden hair blowing wildly around her, Samus changes tactics. She wraps her entire body around one of Ridley's arms...then jerks sideways. Ridley's boney arm snaps with a cruel pop.

 

Bellowing in rage, Ridley flings Samus off his tail...she adroitly lands on the shaft wall in a perpendicular, three point stance. Sparks fly off her heels as she continues to skate down the wall with her free falling momentum intact.

 

Ridley flaps his remaining wing and darts after Samus. She pushes off the wall before Ridley can slice through her.

 

Turning in midair Samus fires wildly at the swooping Ridley...but he has the same idea. His throat swells briefly before he belches a beam of energy down the shaft.

 

Samus rotates in the air to avoid the strike...and while she's facing downward, tries to measure how much ground she has left...it's still too far away to tell for sure. Time to gamble.

 

She grits her teeth, rotates back to face up the shaft and launches her widest wave of energy yet...consuming the entire diameter of the shaft. It's impossible for Ridley to dodge...but the the incredible momentum accelerates her even faster downwards...

 

Ridley's throat goes raw from his shrieks of pain...as he nosedives through the attack...and stabs his clawed hand into Samus' chest.

 

Body smoking...melting...from the laser attack...Ridley drags Samus upside-down against the shaft wall as he flies full speed downward.

 

Now its Samus' turn to burn...the incredible friction sparks like white fire behind an ear splitting squeal. She tucks her head awkwardly to keep it from being torn off by the wall...

 

The sparks suddenly cease...as the elevator shaft expands into a gigantic subterranean cavity.

 

INT. MOTHER BRAIN’S LAIR - CONTINUOUS

 

Ridley tucks his wing and accelerates their dive.

 

Samus opens her eyes and peers down at the ground, finally exposed, racing towards her. There's not much time left. Maybe ten seconds. Less. Even with her power suit a fall at this speed will obliterate her...Ridley's grim smile reveals he knows this too. It's not even clear if he'll be able to pull out of the dive himself. This might be his final attack.

 

She needs to get free of his vice-like grip...but there's only one choice left for her...it's not a good one.

 

Samus deactivates her power suit. It splits apart at a variety of hinges, releasing Samus in her blue, skin tight, one-piece Zero suit.

 

Ridley rages...tossing the empty Varia away above him and reaching for the freed Zero Suit Samus...who is already arming her emergency Paralyzer sidearm.

 

She flicks her wrist and a tongue of yellow light extends from the paralyzer...and wraps around Ridley's throat.

 

She tugs herself up to perch on his shoulder...quickly disengages the lasso...re-engages a sharp blade of blue light...and slices cleanly through Ridley's remaining wing.

 

As Ridley plunges, now helplessly, towards the ground, Samus springs off his back towards her empty Varia suit.

 

Quickly tucking her body inside, Samus reengages the power suit and charges her arm cannon as quickly as possible. Only seconds left. She doesn't know if she has enough time...she points towards the ground racing towards her and fi--

 

A brilliant burst of light--

 

Ridley's body slaps harshly against the ground.

 

Samus crashes next to him. Smoke rises from her arm cannon.

 

Ridley twitches...his tongue is hanging out of his open mouth. Blood leaks from his throat and pools around Samus' lifeless body. She's not moving at all. Not breathing.

 

In this darkest pit of the planet Zebes, Samus and Ridley lie next to each other...their lifelong staredown now occurring behind close eyes...

 

...until Ridley's steel wing slices into the ground in-between them.

 

Silence. Stillness...

 

...and then an ephemeral foot steps onto the pool of blood next to Samus. It's Samus' mother...glowing like the parasite in jungle...glowing like an apparition...

 

The ghostly woman turns Samus onto her back.

 

Blood is leaking out of Samus' mouth. Her eyes are still closed. Her hair is matted down with sweat and blood.

 

Samus' mother kneels down...presses a button underneath the arm cannon...and kisses Samus on the forehead.

 

Samus' eyes slowly open. The apparition is gone.

 

It takes Samus a few minutes to even move. One limb at a time she forces herself back up. She can barely stand...still, she towers over Ridley's broken corpse.

 

Tears quietly stream down her face. She doesn't have the energy to sob right now.

 

Behind her, the broken elevator lift comes to a gentle stop, floating several feet over the ground.

 

The static from her suit is hissing at her again...or is the sound coming from inside her own head? Of course it is...it has been this whole time.

 

SAMUS

Mama...?

 

She stumbles forward into this colossal geofront, for the first time appreciating its sheer scale...the hissing gets louder. She keeps moving forward.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Can you hear me?

 

The static hisses louder.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Can you--?

 

An immense silhouette blots out a distant light. There is a titanic platform ahead of her in the shadows...but...there's something else...hovering above it. All the while the hissing grows louder still.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Mama?

 

Is that...a brain? A ring of floodlights smashes on.

 

SAMUS (CONT'D)

Ma--?

 

The word sticks in Samus' throat. There aren't many others to describe what she's peering up at...or really...what's peering down at her...

 

Her mouth goes agape. Her eyes shake inside her skull. She wants to flee but feels the life leaving her body instead...stolen not by metroid but by the mere sight of this hideous beast leering down at her...with one enormous eye...MOTHER BRAIN.

 

A brain the size of a city block...with massive spikes protruding from its lobes...linking chains of arcing electricity...as the voyeuristic organ floats in a glass chamber as big as a skyscraper. Bundles of cables, each the size of a city street, curl out from the brain in every direction. They snake off into the shadows, outside the ring of spotlights revealing this nightmare to Samus.

 

And behind it all, hanging on a rock wall like an old coat...or a spare skin...is a nude...headless...female body. A red, featureless mask with black eye slits hangs around the chest. The creature's means of movement?

 

MOTHER BRAIN

Daughter.

 

The creature speaks with the hiss of an electric snake amplified to booming volumes that shift the ground Samus stands on...

 

MOTHER BRAIN (CONT'D)

Welcome home.

 

Samus is speechless. Ridley's "mother"...this is what he was talking about?

 

MOTHER BRAIN (CONT'D)

And what have you brought with you? Pestilence and death! You stupid, pathetic, little bitch! I should have smothered you when I had the chance! I could have spared the Galaxy this plague! And I could have spared me you!

 

Samus falls to her knees...overwhelmed...disgusted...broken.

 

She starts to shake...then seize up...she can barely breathe.

 

Samus' is choking...no...gagging. Her throat expands, her neck swings back and she regurgitates a tall beam of white light...before collapsing back to her hands and knees.

 

She's shivering...until a soft hand lands on her shoulder...a female hand...glowing.

 

The corporeal apparition of her mother has returned. This time, Samus sees her with open, if tearful eyes.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

You did so great, baby. I'm so proud of you. Now, let me do the rest.

 

MOTHER BRAIN

Stay away! Stay away from me!

 

Samus' Mother rises high into the air...all the way up to Mother Brain's blood shot eye.

 

MOTHER BRAIN

Don't come any closer! Go away! Leave me alone!

 

Samus' Mother drifts forward...and right through the glass. She's now hovering mere feet away from the brain's bulging eye.

 

MOTHER BRAIN

You'll never win! They're coming for you! Turn back or this will be your grave!

 

Samus' Mother is looking back at her daughter on the ground far below.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

I know.

 

She plunges into Mother Brain's eye.

 

Immediately, electricity crackles. The gigantic brain froths in its clear solution. The lobes stretch and curl like a wringing dish rag. It's eye shudders. Samus has to cover her ears to block out the horrible sounds of suffering.

 

And then...a familiar voice.

 

MOTHER BRAIN

Baby...

 

Samus lowers her hands. Mother Brain is still again. She's looking down at Samus. Her black eye is now crimson. And she sounds just like...

 

SAMUS

M-mama...?

 

MOTHER BRAIN

You have to go now.

 

SAMUS' MOTHER

W-what's happening?

 

MOTHER BRAIN

The metroids are coming for us. For me.

 

Samus turns. Out of the elevator shaft far above pours an endless tide of metroids.

 

She exhales...unsure if she has enough left to resist...but engages her cannon nonethe--

 

What? A beacon is blinking on her arm cannon. A homing beacon that hails...

 

MOTHER BRAIN

We can't beat them all. Not even together.

 

SAMUS

What is this? What did you do?

 

MOTHER BRAIN

There's one way out. And it's for you. I can give you a chance. You just have to trust me. One last time.

 

SAMUS

No! You'll--Mama, there's too many!

 

MOTHER BRAIN

Good. I want them all here. I'm going to bring down the mountain. I control it now. I won't give it to the parasites or the metroids. And I won't give them you! Now go!

 

SAMUS

Wait!

 

MOTHER BRAIN

There's no time! I need you far from here, but I can't do this if the metroids get to me first!

 

Samus eyes are streaming with tears. Finally, it's time for her to leave her mother behind. Memories and all.

 

MOTHER BRAIN

It's time for you to finally live your life! I'm letting go of you, but you need to let go of me back!

 

SAMUS

So this is it?

 

MOTHER BRAIN

It's the saddest a mother can be. And the happiest. I love you Samus. You became the woman I could only ever dream of being. The exact woman I always hoped you'd be. Now go! Live!

 

A coil tears itself out of Mother Brain and the geofront rocks like an earthquake.

 

The endgame has begun. Samus turns to face down the incoming metroids. Even in her retreat, she can still buy her mother some time.

 

Her arm cannon sizzles with stored energy. The metroids scatter as Samus illuminates the entire chamber with her opening attack.

 

Behind that attack, Samus races towards the poised elevator. Every step of the way she fires at the metroids, delaying them every possible second with beam and missile fire.

 

In the distance, huge arcs of lighting zap through the air, paralyzing the metroids in Samus' immediately vicinity. She dives through the stunned targets, lands, fires off another volley, then keeps moving towards the elevator.

 

More lightning. Another coil explosion. Another earthquake.

 

Rocky debris crashes around Samus as races through the army of metroids, battling when she can, retreating otherwise...all the while...the hiss of static in her head has been replaced by the gentle lullaby her mother once sang to her to keep her alive. All these years later, she's still singing to her daughter...and still protecting her.

 

Samus is so close to the elevator...it starts rising on its own...

 

But the ground is shaking so violently. The entire ceiling is caving in now. The shuddering mountain knocks Samus off balance. She falls to her back as a metroid opens it's jaw above her face and--

 

A clawed hand grabs the metroid out of the air and dashes it against the ground. Ridley's zombified body has reanimated with crimson eyes. He sprays fire from his throat and protects Samus' body long while she gets back on her feet.

 

The elevator is accelerating away...she fires her grapple hook and catches the bottom of it.

 

She rappels up, but is swarmed by metroids...

 

Falling rocks smash into their translucent bodies.

 

Samus dodges the debris and swings her body, launching herself like a rocket through the hole in the platform just as it enter the shaft.

 

INT. UNDER RUINS ELEVATOR SHAFT - CONTINUOUS

 

She lands in a heap.

 

The shaft is trembling so violently...large pieces of the wall break off and smash through the platform. Samus has to roll out of the way...but there's not much of the platform left for her to stay on.

 

Another dodge...the platform breaks up even more...She's never going to make it. The mountain is shaking so hard she can barely make out the lights approaching above her--

 

Her arm cannon beacon beeps rapidly...there's still a chance! Samus leaps into the air just as the platform crumbles in the shaft.

 

Samus closes her eye. This is it--the critical moment. In mid air she blindly launches out her grapple hook as far as it will go...

 

...and...

 

It snaps taut...as her repaired gunship roars above her.

 

It's already turning and accelerating full speed up the shaft with Samus dangling loosely from her grapple hook. She dodges debris in all directions as the shaft utterly collapses.

 

She pulls herself up the grapple beam and just barely grabs ahold of the top of her ship.

 

INT. SAMUS’ GUNSHIP - CONTINUOUS

 

She dives headfirst into the cockpit and quickly saddles into the pilot's seat.

 

With every warning alarm screaming at her...she grabs ahold of the stick and slams on the afterburners...

 

The gunship breaks through a wall of debris...then screams out from inside the bridged canyon gap she fled from earlier.

 

There's no time or room to try and navigate back through the caves. This is insane but...she just has to fly straight up and blast through the top of the mountain.

 

Screaming in desperation, Samus engages every single weapon in her arsenal. Missiles, beams and machine gun fire tears through the crumbling mountain. Explosions. Fire. Inside and out. Emergency systems deploy. Rock and debris are everywhere. The gunship is wildly shaking. Smoke fills the cabin.

 

Samus can't see...can't even even tell which direction she's facing anymore...she just keeps going up...blasting with every bit of firepower this ship has left.

 

And just when the catastrophe seems to climax and the mountain seems to swallow her up...

 

The gunship screams out of the mountain and into sky...

 

She made it.

 

Samus melts across her cockpit...all her anguish and fear, anxiety and pain, exhaustion and adrenaline overflows out of her body...gushing out of her eyes even faster than she could ever sob it out by crying...

 

She lives in this moment for a time. We watch her up close for every one of those seconds--saddened, but inspired. Shaken, but exhilarated. Scared, but safe. This is the most vulnerable she's ever been, yet it only makes her stronger than ever before. And we are in awe of it all.

 

The gunship lands on the outskirts of the jungle besides a winding river. Rain is spitting down beneath overcast skies.

 

EXT. JUNGLE RIVER - DUSK

 

Samus limps out of the gunship in just her Zero suit, obscenely injured, but alive. One arm hangs dead by her side. Blood's soaked through her clothes. She can't keep her left eye open.

 

She kneels along the edge of the river, cups a handful of water and brings it to her lips. It's painful to even swallow...

 

Multiple red light reflect off the water.

 

A cloud of insects has appeared, glowing red as they dance over the running water. They remind Samus of her childhood.

 

A rustle beside her...

 

The mother wolf, uninjured, is also drinking from the river. She notices Samus and lifts her head. Her eyes are still crimson.

 

Beneath the mother wolf...the cub...also drinking. He lifts his head. Red eyes, too.

 

Samus' exhales the melancholy growing heavy on her heart. Did she actually succeed? Or did she fail? The question is too emotionally complicated for her to answer. She'll never decide which...

 

The three beings share a moment of silent acknowledgement...

 

...then mother and son calmly walk away together.

 

Samus watches them leave...until they vanish into the jungle...then limps back into her ship.

 

Alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

END