|This article is written from the Real Life point of view|
Metroid Prime: Episode of Aether (メトロイド プライム EPISODE OF AETHER Metoroido Puraimu Episōdo Obu Ēteru ) is a manga series that depicts an alternate version of the events of Metroid Prime 2: Echoes and spanned seven issues of Comic BomBom in Japan. Bom Bom is a monthly magazine published by Kodansha. This series was written by Matsumoto Hisashi from issue July 2005 to January 2006. It was never officially translated into English.
The Metroid Database, until February 2011, had 2 volumes on their website in their original format, with the first poorly scanned. They had no plan to translate it until they had acquired the rest of the chapters and rescanned those they had. After July 2011, the first six chapters had been translated. The MDb acquired a copy of chapter 7 on June 30, 2014, and a translation of this chapter was released on November 15 the same year, coinciding with the 10-year anniversary of Echoes.
The story begins showing a transport and passenger ship, the Crest, under Space Pirate attack. Eight people are currently on the bridge when a large Pirate boss harms a child holding his little sister. The Pirate boss ridicules the child's hope that someone will help them, when he receives a report that his ship has exploded. He then sees a famous gunship intervene, and is shocked to witness the arrival of the galaxy's greatest bounty hunter: Samus Aran.
Samus sends a report while the Pirate assumes that she is just one bounty hunter, and Samus is soon surrounded by one hundred Pirates. As always, she proves their beliefs wrong by leaping over them and annihilating most of them with a single blast. Samus then collects a gatling gun left on the floor and fights the remaining Pirates with double the weapons. The Pirates are killed very quickly, and the boss threatens the lives of an adult and child survivor. Samus manages to goad him into letting them go and she then kills him. The adult survivor then complains that what she did was reckless and that she was incapable of emotion, but the boy sees that she had kind eyes.
Samus touches down on the GFMC Compound to find that Squad Bravo was entirely annihilated by Splinters, questioning how such small creatures could wipe out an entire platoon. To answer her question, she watches the last recorded logs of the troops, recorded three hours prior (while ingame it was 30 days prior), with only four survivors remaining (ingame, there are none), and sees mentions of a "black fog". Samus believes they may still be alive and sets out to search for them.
Hearing gunfire, Samus finds a Federation Marine attempting to repel an Alpha Splinter, which she defeats for him. The Marine urges her to kill it before the "black fog" comes, but she is too late; the Splinter comes back to life, now a dark color and much more powerful. While ordering the Marine to flee, Samus finds that her weapons are useless against it. She then deduces that the Black Fog strengthens enemies it possesses, and so she decides to switch to full power as well, by using her Charge Beam, and destroys it with an Overblast.
After its death, Samus wonders what world she is on. The Marine and the rest of the survivors appear, with another Marine welcoming Samus to "hell".
Samus hears the stories of the survivors one by one. Klaus Schneider, the Marine Samus saved from the Dark Alpha Splinter, claims that he commanded properly, and denies being a coward. Miguel Luis Garcia, the other Marine, is full of pride and believes a rumor that Samus has no emotion. Lily Thran, the woman, claims to have blacked out at the time of the attack, and has nothing to say about the black fog. Jeff McCloud, the boy, says that the comm link to the Galactic Federation was destroyed, and that he cannot repair it as it is "not his specialty".
The survivors then decide they need to restore power, but Samus starts to leave for the Generator Room. All the survivors but Klaus follow after Samus, with Miguel stating that he can live longer with Samus than he can with them. The paranoid Klaus panics when he sees a Splinter corpse, and Jeff complains that Samus was moving faster. Just as the foursome arrive at the Generator Room, Klaus begins to have some hope, until they find several Marine corpses with no visible wounds.
When Lily reports that she has found a pulse on one of them, the troopers begin to wake up. Now possessed by the black fog, Samus shoots one. Ignoring criticism from Klaus, Samus continues to battle them until none are left. While still in denial over how they could have all been saved, Lily analyzes the troopers and comes up with the conclusion that once they were possessed, they could not come back. Miguel believes Samus at least showed them mercy.
Jeff restores power. Lily, although amused because "Glasses Boy" didn't think he could do it, is snapped out of her amusement when she thinks she heard the wall vibrate. Samus' order to not touch it is ignored, and the wall crumbles, revealing a dimensional rift. Samus then orders the survivors to leave, and all except Lily do. Pleading with Samus not to leave her there, the black fog suddenly arrives, and attempts to possess Lily before Samus sacrifices herself by pushing Lily out of the way and allowing the black fog to push her back into the dimensional rift.
Samus then arrives in a parallel dimension, specifically, an exact copy of the Generator Room, but filled with poisonous gas. While attempting to escape, she notices a dark being above her that resembles her Varia Suit. Samus is last seen asking the figure "who the hell are you?".
Samus suddenly awakens and finds herself at a campfire with the survivors. She had lost consciousness and gone back through the portal. Lily is terribly hurt after almost being possessed by the fog. Klaus asks Samus about the rift, and she explains the "Black Samus" that she saw, and how it vanished into the shadows, giving little regard for her existence.
Miguel, busy carving a stick, informs Samus that she lost several of her abilities, causing him to panic because he assumes that she is now little better than an ordinary soldier. Deducing that the Federation has left Samus to complete her mission without any extra backup, Samus reveals that when she crash-landed, she located an unidentified energy source. The group finds that the existence of an alien civilization here is remarkable, and also find several pipes containing an unknown energy. Just then, Samus orders everyone to spread out as they are attacked by another Dark Alpha Splinter.
The group discovers that the Splinter is draining the energy and thus becoming more powerful. Samus, with her lack of equipment, is uncertain if she can destroy it again. Miguel loads his gun, regretting his promise that he wouldn't help Samus, and fires at the Splinter while it is ramming Samus into the wall. He manages to kill it by shooting it point-blank, much like Samus did, and states he will not help her again. Samus is surprised to find a ball of light coming from the Splinter's remains. Alarmingly, it suddenly enters Samus' Power Suit, but it has no negative impact on its performance.
A strange creature suddenly appears to the group, and Samus does not believe it to be an enemy. It states that it has awaited the "guardians of the light".
U-Mos begins to explain the "episode" taking place on the planet. Long ago, a meteor impacted Aether and created Dark Aether, a mirror image with a radioactive atmosphere, the dimension Samus had been thrust into. The creatures that live in the "black fog" are the Ing, a vicious race described as "beyond evil" by Miguel. The Luminoth fought to the death, but were ultimately defeated. U-Mos insists that the group are the guardians of the light, although Miguel states for them that they are not interested. However, the rest of the group ponders the coming and existing threat of the Ing's takeover of the galaxy, which, according to Jeff, will begin in four days with the invasion of another planet, and the galaxy will be ruled by the Ing in three months.
Whilst the group leaves, Samus remains to continue speaking to U-Mos. Samus inquires to U-Mos about the Dark Samus she'd seen, which he knows nothing about, although he states his belief that it is certainly an "evil mind". Meanwhile, Miguel admonishes Klaus for not attempting to stop Samus from going to the Agon Temple alone. He and Jeff then disobey the orders of his lieutenant by running after Samus. Lily insists to Klaus that they follow as well, as they need his "abilities". She states that he was extremely skilled in tactical simulations, although he insists he is not as skilled in real combat. Miguel shouts to her to forget about him, which she does, saying "I'll be waiting!"
Klaus collapses to his knees, sulking about his poor combat skills, whilst the rogue soldiers approach Agon. Calling it "awful terrain", Miguel contemplates how they will be unable to escape if they are attacked. True to his fears, a family of Sandiggers attack. While the rest of the group escapes, he holds the attackers off. His arm is quickly burnt by an acid projectile, and he soon discovers that Jeff's leg has been hit as well, preventing him from running. Cornered and with no escape, Miguel refuses to give up. At that second, Klaus intervenes, giving the order for his troops to climb up the rocks. The team finishes off the Sandiggers with grenades.
Miguel offers a handshake to Klaus, until they are attacked by a much larger Sandigger. At that second, Samus reappears, finishing it off with one hit. She expresses her disappointment to the team for disobeying her orders; Klaus states that they intend to accompany her on her mission to restore the planetary energy. Samus accepts their decision.
The story jumps to near the end of Echoes, as Samus has the Light Suit. The group faces the Portal to the final Energy Controller, in the Sky Temple. Miguel informs Samus that the rest of the group will form a line of defense at the portal, which Samus says is "suicide". However, they stick to their decision, as the Ing will most certainly attempt to attack the final portal, and thus leave Samus trapped on Dark Aether, with death impending. Gripping each other's hands, Samus steps into Dark Aether for the final battle.
In the light dimension, the team sets up booby traps, which are set off when a swarm of small creatures, possibly Chyklings, appear. The explosives set by the team destroy some of them, but most survive. On Dark Aether, Samus fights and destroys the Mutated Emperor Ing in a haste. The team's turrets run out of ammunition, an the creatures begin to attack Lily until a knife is thrown at them. Her savior is Miguel, who orders her not to die, as one death would cause them to lose. The team finds that the creatures have retreated, until a single one of them, at a gargantuan size, appears. Lily begins to panic, believing that they will lose anyway. Miguel buys her time to analyze it until he is smacked back by a tentacle.
Lily deduces a weakness in the abdomen, and so Klaus collects a landmine and applies it to the creature, before leading it to flip over. His hand is stuck under the creature as it falls, but the creature is damaged, although at the believed cost of the lieutenant's life. As Miguel recovers, he orders Jeff to throw another landmine at the beast, and fires at it, vaporizing it. Miraculously, Klaus survived, having fallen into a pit to escape death. The team falls into hysterical laughter, until they detect a second of the beasts arriving. All five of the group vow to stand as Samus' lifeline as they plead for her to return.
Following the Emperor Ing's defeat, the final Light of Aether begins to return to its rightful place (ingame, Samus absorbs the energy). Samus rushes for the Portal as Dark Aether begins to collapse, but finds herself stalled by Dark Samus (who has not deteriorated into her skeletal form as seen in the game), who has gained even greater power. The two Samuses fight to the death. Dark Samus unleashes an attack that Samus quips would have killed her if she did not have the Light Suit, but Samus kills her doppelganger with power enhanced from her resolve to get back to her allies.
Samus races for the Portal, miraculously finding it still active. However, when she reaches the light dimension, she finds that all of the survivors have been massacred by the gigantic creatures. Samus finds Miguel close to death and comforts him in his final moments. She removes her helmet out of respect and leaves Aether. A final narration states that Dark Aether was destroyed and the Luminoth were awakened from stasis. Despite Samus' report, official military records do not mention Klaus, Miguel, Lily or Jeff. Back on Aether, U-Mos tells to the Luminoth children the story of the five "guardians of the light", the four dead of which were laid to rest on a hill on Aether.