My fourth novel, this time taking us back to the BSL and the X Parasites.

Chapter 1: Reborn

It had been two years since I destroyed planet Zebes and killed Mother Brain. I'd been assigned to watch over Biologic's research team, so I once again found myself on the surface of SR388. It was there that I was attacked by a life-form I had never encountered before. The specimen appeared when I killed a Hornoad that attacked the three of us. It was only later that I learned the identity of my attacker: the parasitic organism we now know as X. Unaware of my condition, I was returning to the station when disaster struck. Once the X had infested my central nervous system, I lost consciousness and my ship drifted into an asteroid belt. The ship's emergency systems automatically ejected the escape pod before impact. My ship was destroyed in the crash. Biologic's vessel recovered it and transported me to Galactic Federation HQ. However, during the journey, the X multiplied within me, corrupting large areas of my Power Suit.

It then came to light that the organic components of my Power Suit had become so integrated with my system that it could not be removed while I was unconscious. Large portions of my suit had to be surgically removed, dramatically altering my physical appearance. However, the X in my central nervous system were too embedded to be removed safely. I was given a minimal chance of survival. Then, someone found a cure. They proposed using a Metroid cell to make an anti-X vaccine. It seems that the Federation had managed to preserve a cell culture from the last infant Metroid from SR388. The serum was prepared and injected without delay. The X parasites were immediately and completely destroyed. As for me, one life ended... yet I survived, reborn as something different. Pondering this fact, I realize... I owe the Metroid hatchling my life twice over. I held my hand to my chest. The Metroid hatchling that had died so long ago to save me was with me forever.

"We'll soon be arriving at the B.S.L research station. I must prepare for docking." The ship's computer has notified me of our approach to the Biologic Space Labs, or B.S.L, research station. During my surgery, the research team sent the last batch of creatures we captured there, as well as the infected pieces of my Power Suit. After regaining consciousness, I learned that an unexplained explosion rocked the station. For some reason, this awoke a nameless fear in my heart, and now I am being sent there to investigate. My mission on the B.S.L station will be overseen by my new ship's computer. Following the commands of this blunt, computerized CO is something I have to bear, as it was a condition of my taking the ship. For someone who dislikes taking orders, this is the second time I've found myself having to do so. It makes me recall my other CO... He'd died during my last mission to wipe out the Metroids on a facility called the Bottle Ship. I still had his helmet - my possessions were left at Galactic Federation HQ, so I didn't have to worry about that. However, I'd taken them with me again.

I piloted the ship and landed in the Docking Bays. Activating my suit, the computer briefed me. "There's been an explosion in the Quarantine Bay. The bay currently stores capsules containing recent samples from SR388 as well as parts of your suit infected by the X parasites. The cause of the explosion is as yet unclear. Investigate. The Quarantine Bay is here. Move quickly and quietly... You are still unable to use most of your latent abilities. Don't forget that, Samus. Stop at the Navigation Room on the way. Uplink from there. Is your objective clear?" I nodded. "Now, go to the Quarantine Bay."

Chapter 2: X

After it provided me with a map of the Main Deck, I exited the ship from the bottom. I "disliked the look of my new ship. It was too purple, and didn't remind me much of my old ship. Oh well. Later, I would fly to the asteroid belt and gather the pieces of my old ship, then rebuild it. I ran through several rooms before I came to a Navigation Room. The computer told me that these would be used to uplink with it, so it could give me its orders. "The Quarantine Bay is ahead. Bio-signs are confirmed. Be careful." The next shaft was remarkably darker. As I entered the Quarantine Bay, I saw numerous crates shattered and in bad repair. The entire area was damaged. How could such small specimens do this much damage? I encountered a lone Hornoad and killed it. Another X emerged from it. I backed away slowly, but it found its way into me. I absorbed it and began to panic, dashing toward the Navigation Room. The computer told me this:

"This is unfortunate news... The specimens brought back by the field team were infected by X parasites. The X can mimic its prey; any specimen could have hosted it. Before the explosion, a security sensor scanned one..." An X Parasite scan appeared on the screen. "The gelatinous X parasites invade and rapidly reproduce, killing the host creature. They also absorb DNA and use it to mimic the host. You were almost killed by an X infection. Only the Metroid vaccine saved your life. It seems Metroids were the main predators of the X. That's why the vaccine worked so quickly and so well. But it has also changed your cellular makeup. You will never be infected by X again... In fact, you can now absorb any free-floating X parasites without a host by merely touching them. This will allow you to replenish health and restore weapons. You may also restore latent abilities this way, so pursue free X parasites whenever you possibly can. This station is home to many species...some violent ones. We must keep the X out of the breeding environments at all costs. This is vital, Samus."

The scan disappeared as the computer highlighted a location on my map. "I am already detecting massive bio-signs in this region. The X are gathering. This may be our chance to exterminate them, but... You are only at 10% battle capacity. Your chance of survival is extremely low. The Federation needs you alive and on duty, Samus... Is your objective clear?" I accepted. "Now, get going. I have released the lock on Level 0 hatches. Look for the blinking hatches." The hallways had lit up in nature. Now I was able to see properly. At the top was one of the hatches the computer mentioned. It was silver in color, and flashing. A Hornoad was in the connecting hallway. I killed it again and wasn't so fearful when I absorbed the X.

I spotted a Save Room - a welcome sight. These copied the data components of my suit. In case my equipment malfunctioned, I could return here to reactivate my suit. If my equipment did malfunction, my Zero Suit was the outfit of choice. It was a blue bodysuit that enabled acrobatic movement and faster running. Unfortunately, all I would have to defend me was a mere Paralyzer, a small hand gun that shocked enemies long enough for me to escape. I relied on it during my first Zero Mission, and utilized it during the escape from the Bottle Ship. I hoped I wouldn't have to use it again.

Mechanics aside, I ran into the next, large shaft. In front of me I saw the miserable form of a lab worker's corpse. Its remains were splattered all over the floor. Humans were just food for the creatures. They were too weak to be mimicked. I then saw an X come in and infect the remains. I tried to absorb it, but it dodged my every attempt. Ultimately, it formed into a large, purple mass with torn fragments of the researcher's lab coat. I could kill it, but it would leave behind another mass that I wasn't able to destroy. The X escaped and reformed. I decided to just ignore it.

I continued up even farther, and saw a green biomass blocking the way to a room. It was a Geron. These creatures lived on Zebes during my original Zero Mission. They served as obstacles. I couldn't destroy them; I had to attach purple parasites that would decompose the masses. However, it appeared to be vulnerable to my own fire. However, my shots wouldn't get it. I needed Missiles, but they were in the infected parts of my Power Suit, which were nowhere to be found in the Quarantine Bay. In the nearby Navigation Room, the computer gave me my next orders.

"I have received news from HQ. They can support you with downloadable weapons data. Once you have this data, you'll be able to use Missiles. This will help against some enemies your beam can't hurt. Head to the Data Room for the download. The Data Room is here. Is your objective clear?" It pointed out the location of this "Data Room" and sent me off. "With Missiles, your chance of survival climbs to 20%..." I ran to the elevator leading up to the Operations Deck. As the elevator went up, I started to think. I'd did a lot of that during the Bottle Ship incident. I figured I would do some more this mission. I believed that the Galactic Federation group that had cloned bioweapons off DNA on my suit was continuing their illegal operations on the BSL. Did that mean there were Metroids aboard?

On top of everything, I began to think about my computer. That computer reminds me of a gruff Federation CO I served under named Adam Malkovich. He called me "Lady" on missions; from anyone else, it would've sounded sarcastic, but Adam made it sound dignified. Out of respect and with some irony, I named the computer after him.

The elevator had arrived at the Operations Deck. As I entered the main operations room, I stopped for a minute to look out the window. There was a breathtaking view of space. I could see SR388 from here, as well as that accursed asteroid belt. There were three rooms above me. The bottom led to a Recharge Room, the second a Navigation, and the third was blocked by a red door. I investigated it until "Adam" chimed in. "Samus, you can't access that room yet. Proceed to the Data Room." I did. Perhaps the secrets of the facility, if any, were behind that door.

In the Navigation Room, "Adam" said, "The Data Room is just ahead."

I entered the Data Room and stood on a platform as I felt energy surge into my back. The data terminal uploaded the Missile data through the three diodes on my back. The diodes made me think Metroid nuclei. I re-entered the Navigation Room, and it suddenly darkened. This is what Adam had to say. "Electrical interference has knocked out the elevators on the Main Deck. This may be related to the X. I'll work on it. As for you... Try to find another way to the target. It's located here." He once again pointed me to the location where he'd detected bio-signs. "I'm reading huge bio-signs, so I hope your Missiles work... To reload Missiles you can use a Recharge Room or absorb a special type of X parasite. You'll see them. Try it out."

Mission accepted. "Missiles are your only hope. Don't hesitate to use them. Now, find a way to the target." I entered the shaft again and found a glowing red panel on the far wall. I tried shooting it. The panel crumbled and gave me a new pathway. I travelled through several corridors, ultimately coming to another area on the Main Deck. I'd also encountered the X that Adam mentioned: green-colored parasites that replenished my Missile ammunition, as well as a new sight to me: ladders that were attached to the ceilings and walls. Among many more Zombie researchers, I saw another familiar sight: Gadora.

The Gadora was a bio-engineered life form created by the Space Pirates, my sworn enemies. It was an eyeball-like mass that covered doors. I could only destroy it when the eye was open. The Gadora here was swollen red and very grotesque. And it didn't always open its eye to be damaged: it would also harden its eye to the extent where it could fire energy blasts. Upon its defeat, a Red X Parasite emerged. It fully replenished my energy and missiles.

I stepped into the next chamber, which was my target location. It appeared to be in complete disorder. I found an Energy Tank in my path as I jumped down a shaft just after that. I landed in a small arena where numerous X Parasites were surrounding a larger one. It formed into a creature from SR388: Arachnus. The battle was a lot more difficult than last time. Due to its increased size it no longer could jump Spring Ball style. And it didn't simply spit shrapnel. No, now it summoned energy waves with its claws and created a torrent of fire on the floor. I jumped up to a ledge and grabbed it. I was much more agile with my amputated suit. However, it did roll into a ball, and then rushed at the wall. I jumped off just before impact and continued firing. The Arachnus had also sacrificed durability for its size and new abilities.

Eventually, it exploded, and the inner X appeared. It had developed a large shell that was vulnerable to my Missiles. Three took it down before the Core-X, as I dubbed it, began floating in the air. I picked it up and took back my Morph Ball. My new ability proved effective to get out. I entered the Navigation Room, but was unprepared for the shocking news.

"Samus, it's as I feared. The breeding environments have been invaded by X parasites. Sector 1 (SRX) shows several abnormalities on bio-sensors. Sector 1 is a simulation of the SR388 ecosystem. To get there, take the Main Elevator to the access shaft and use Elevator 1. Is your objective clear?" I didn't even have to say yes. Use the Navigation Room just inside for further briefing. "I'm not sure, but I think that whoever allowed the X into the environment may also be linked to the earlier explosion..."

I didn't talk to "Adam" any further. I raced to the location he had pointed out, coming to the Main Elevator. As I descended down the shaft, I heard another explosion above. The elevator deactivated once it had gone down. I entered Sector 1 to find out what was going on.

Chapter 3: SR388 Replica

This was what "Adam" had to say: "The Main Elevator leading to the access shaft has been severely damaged. It will be totally unusable for some time, unfortunately. Some unknown agent is at work. Something very powerful... certainly not human. I'll report when I know more. Now, listen closely. The X in Sector 1 have invaded the atmospheric stabilizers. They must want to alter the environment to their needs. They are already reproducing. Clear all 5 atmospheric stabilizers to stop them. Is your objective clear? Now, get moving."

As I entered the next few corridors I encountered numerous energy-sapping life-forms called Yamebas. They were similar to SR388ian Meboids or Flitts, but appeared to be an entirely different type of creature. I wondered if they were similar to Metroids. I then entered the first SR388-like chamber. I could hear the stabilizer in the room trying to function properly, but an X mass was in the way. The room was filled with gas that made it hard to see. I found a gap in the stabilizer, which I used to my advantage. The X mass was destroyed by my three Missiles. I heard "Atmospheric stabilizer online. Four units still malfunctioning." over the intercom.

A very unwelcome sight awaited me in the following room. Hornoads. These creatures were the host for the X that infected me. Now, I decided that I was going to exterminate the Hornoads as well as the X. I wasn't able to absorb their inner X, as they reformed into another creature native to SR388, a Halzyn. They had tough plated wings that they used to crash into the ground. However, their wings were now not so durable. The next stabilizer room had more Hornoads in it. I destroyed the X mass to lower the count to 3.

The next familiar life form I encountered was a Moto. They inhabited the deepest areas of SR388, and had tough facial plating. Which, obviously, was no longer as durable. As I entered the next shaft, I saw X forming into Zebesians! They were purple and acted much like they did on Zebes. Crawling on walls, jumping off them. I screamed out loud, "WHY CAN'T THEY JUST DIE?!" In a puddle of water somewhere else, was a creature not native to SR388: Scisers. They were Zebesian creatures that dwelled in aquatic environments. In the third stabilizer chamber, there were several Hornoads far off into the caverns. They weren't X mimics.

Two units remained. And then one. I exited the SR388 replicating areas temporarily and found myself in a shaft. At the top was a Gadora. I blasted it down and went inside to see what abilities I could possibly get back. I continued inside, and my jaw dropped. Could it be? I was standing right in front of a Chozo Statue. Relics of the civilization that had raised me. I thought they were done to death with the destruction of Zebes, but then I remembered that it must have been excavated from SR388. Eagerly, I destroyed the Item Sphere in its hands to see what it held. It had a blue sphere that unfortunately seemed to be the Morph Ball. An ability I already had.

Then I was even further saddened by the fact that it was an X mimic of a Chozo Statue. I thought it might form into a Torizo, live Chozo Statues that attacked me on Zebes, but it was merely formed into a Core-X. Its defeat earned me my Charge Beam. It had ironically been using it against me. The strength of my beam actually increased. I then found the last stabilizer room, and destroyed the X mass. "All stabilizers online. Atmospheric levels equalized." I quickly proceeded to the earlier Navigation Room.

"Atmospheric stabilizers online. But many X have already made it to other sectors, it seems. In particular... Sector 2 (TRO), the tropical habitat, shows abnormalities. I suspect the X entered this sector with the help of our unseen saboteur. He or it may be in TRO now. Samus, get over there. We need to put an end to this. Is your objective clear? Start moving. I'll brief you at the TRO Navigation Room." I went up the elevator and continued thinking.

As I listened to the briefing, my thoughts turned to Adam. The real Adam understood me well. He would end orders by saying, "Any objections, Lady?" He knew I wouldn't disagree. That was just his way of noting our trust. I wonder if I can trust this computer, too...

Chapter 4: Tropic Horror

I descended down the elevator and briefed with Adam. What he said was truly shocking. "I have learned the identity of our mystery saboteur... Samus, it's an X mimicking you." How was that possible? I was part Metroid! He showed me a security scan of the elevator's top floor when I first descended down the Main Elevator. There, on the top floor, was... was... me! In my old suit! What appeared to be me came exploding out of the wall before it faced the security camera. It caught a glimpse of its eyes as it zoomed in. The eyes were shockingly empty, and the face, my face, was scarred. "I" had jumped over the elevator and then destroyed the door before walking out. "I have named it the SA-X. I believe the SA-X came from the capsule containing your infected suit parts. It used a Power Bomb to escape the Quarantine Bay. That explosion breached the capsules containing all the X that started this disaster. But the SA-X is definitely our biggest worry right now. The SA-X is mimicking you at full power. You can't face it. If you see the SA-X, just run. Don't think about fighting... You are still very vulnerable to cold, an unexpected side-effect of the Metroid vaccine. Like Metroids, you can be frozen by an Ice Beam. Of course, the SA-X is armed with the Ice Beam. Stay away. If you see it, just run. HQ says they have Bomb data ready in the Data Room. Bombs will help you find a way out if the SA-X traps you. The Data Room is here, but... it's sealed by a Level 1 hatch. You'll have to find the Security Room and release the Level 1 locks. But per safety protocols, it's not marked on the map. You'll have to find it on your own somehow, Samus. So, first find the Security Room and unlock Level 1 hatches, then go to the Data Room and get that Bomb data. Is your objective clear? Keep an eye out for the SA-X."

My greatest fear during this mission was myself. Adam made a deal with me that if I am trapped in an area that the SA-X is hiding in, I would go find the nearest Save Room and Adam would lock the doors. I would stay in there until the SA-X was gone. As I entered Sector 2, I took in the sights. I was immediately reminded of the many tropical environments I had explored in my previous adventures. There were several Zoros, worm-like creatures that slithered on the ground and hatched into Kihunters.

The area was overgrown with plants. Much more than any other jungle area I've ever been in. This was the tropical sector after all. As I saw a Blue Hatch, I guessed that the Security Room was in here. How to get in... I noticed a grey hatch above me, and entered the Security Room. I jumped down to the bottom floor and interfaced with the terminal there, flashing blue. "Security Level 1 unlocked. Blue hatches now active." the terminal displayed that message as the blue hatch behind me began flashing. As I ran past the main chamber a few rooms back, I entered the first Blue Hatch-covered chamber, and found several Owtches. Spiked creatures from Zebes that inhabited Maridia. I found the path to the Data Room, inhabited by Reos with an uglier appearance and once again stronger than before. The Data Room was just nearby.

As I exited, I heard an explosion and then footsteps. A chill ran down my spine as I curled up on the ground panicking. The SA-X might be coming for me. However, the footsteps faded away afterwards, and so I stood up. The SA-X had missed me. I dropped down and saw that the door had been completely wrecked. I was sealed in, so I started searching for alternate exits, like a weak spot in the ground. In one corner of the room, just barely, I could see cracked ground covered in vines. I tried bombing that before I felt myself fall. I got out.

Continuing my exploration, I ultimately came to another area of the sector. Puyos, other Zebesian creatures inhabited just a few rooms beyond. The area was inhabited by fungi-like plants. I bombed my way down into an isolated chamber containing a Gadora. I entered the next room and was attacked by a crustacean-like plant. Zazabi. Yet another creature I had never encountered before, this creature had two other nicknames from me: Pogo, because it would repeatedly jump and trap me in its body (forcing me to bomb my way out) and Cyclops, because it had one eye with strands of hair on the head. It wasn't even hair, actually. When it jumped up, I would fire all my ammo into its main core as it slowly floated down. When it touched bottom, another part of it exploded. Eventually, the Core-X came out, and gave me my High Jump Boots, and Spring Ball. Appropriate. Perhaps the X who had copied my abilities were much like the Ing Sub-Guardians on Dark Aether.

As I returned to the jungle area, I noticed that several Zoro were carrion. They seemed to be preparing to hatch, I guess. Then, I saw a Dessgeega jumping around in front of a damaged door. Why was a Dessgeega here? They only inhabited lava areas, like Norfair or Pyrosphere. They had green accents to replace the pink that they used to have. They also released thorny projectiles from their legs every time I shot them. An attack that the Cacatac, another Zebesian creature used to have. The door was the most I was concerned about. I knew the SA-X would have to be nearby. I bombed my way around and jumped down into a chamber. That was where I heard the footsteps again. It was here. My greatest fear, myself, was currently in this room. I feared for my life as I crawled against the wall, peeking through a crack in the floor. My X mimic was below me, walking toward the exit, unaware of my presence above. I expected it to mass destroy the door, but I instead heard an Ice Beam shot. The door opened, and the X mimic walked through.

When I was sure it was gone, I found a weak portion in the floor and slowly crept out of the room. One of the doors was destroyed, but I didn't see the SA-X anywhere. There were also several cocoons on the walls and floors. I stood on them to get up to the Navigation Room. The final new life-form I saw was a Kago. These were hive creatures that became tall plant pillars. I interfaced in the Navigation Room, the doors locking behind me, securing my safety for the time being. I believed I was safe, however, Adam proved me wrong.

"Samus, we've got trouble. Releasing the security lock may have been a bad idea. The SA-X has invaded the water environment in Sector 4 (AQA) with several thousand X. With the blue hatches active, the SA-X slipped in easily. The creatures and systems in Sector 4 are already showing multiple irregularities. I'm currently investigating. I'll brief you in the Navigation Room when you arrive. Is your objective clear? Now, head for Sector 4." I quickly rode up the elevator and began to think again. "The SA-X. An enemy with my strongest abilities. But does it have reason? Probably not. It's just a killing machine. In my current state, I can't face it head-on. The SA-X is me, only heartless. I must stop it before it learns its potential and threatens the universe..."

The elevator arrived at the Main Deck. I took Elevator 4 down quickly and interfaced in the Navigation Room.

Chapter 4: Electric Lake

"This sector has taken more damage than expected... I knew the X were powerful and destructive, but still... This seems to be purposeful. We certainly can't rule out the possibility that the SA-X has a high degree of intelligence. I find the X fascinating, especially this SA-X. ...But I digress. This sector is home to a very large creature the researchers called Serris. It is capable of moving and attacking at ultra-high speed. The more senseless and widespread destruction here may be attributable to Serris. No doubt the SA-X released it, but I can't be sure why yet. Serris has returned often to the breeding tank here. Its natural behavior must be to go back to it periodically. It's a valuable specimen, but you have been authorized to terminate it. If you don't, it may invade other sectors. Is your objective clear? While you're moving, be careful. Some broken power nodes have electrified the water... but we can't cut the power. Doing so would affect the whole station adversely. If you touch the water, you'll be electrocuted. Conserve energy as you go."

The first life-form familiar to me was a Sciser. I bombed my way through a wall and saw some of the electric water that Adam mentioned. I came across several tanks spewing water onto the floor. I had to be careful not to slip as I ran to Serris' chamber. Other than said things, I didn't see many notable sights. Ultimately I found myself blocked by a minor obstacle. I was very close to Serris' chamber, and yet there was a Save Room in my way with no door out. Fortunately, there was a breakable part of the wall that I rolled through in my Morph Ball. I entered a pool of water and saw Serris' bones. Well, it was clearly dead. I was just about to go tell Adam that when I found that it had traces of X oin it. Perhaps the skin had been used to make Serris-X.

I then found Serris' subchamber. But where was Serris? I ran along the platform suspended above the water before parts of it crumbled, and I heard a screech. That was all before a snake creature leaped out of the water from the end of the platform and charged at me. I barely dodged it. It then swooped down at me from the top. I tried firing my ballistics at its head, and it screeched once again. Then the superfast speed kicked in. I lept up to the ladder on the ceiling and held on as it slithered into and out of the water, and flew down at me. I kept blasting its brains out until the Core-X was exposed. This time, however, it took five Missiles to crack it open. My prize was the Speed Booster. I wondered if Serris gained the ability to move via my Speed Booster, or if it was a natural aspect of its species. Either way, I started off for the Navigation Room. However, I noticed a new path I hadn't taken before, and I found myself in the Pump Control Unit. I sped through the barrier blocking my way to the terminal and then interfaced with it. The electric water lowered, and I had access to new areas. I used this opportunity to get back to the Navigation Room. When I got there, Adam had this to say.

"So Serris had been infected by the X, too... Well, as a result, you recovered another ability. At this rate, you may be able to face the SA-X yet... But that's still a ways off. HQ has more support data. This time it's Missile upgrade data. You desperately need this, but the Data Room here is sealed with a Level 4 lock, the highest security level. Let's avoid opening sensitive areas unless it's necessary. Also, the route to the Data Room in Sector 2 is blocked by still more SA-X activity. I note a deliberate activity pattern, as if it is blocking your recovery intentionally. Samus, it looks like your best option for this download is in Sector 3 (PYR). You will find the PYR Data Room on your map after using a Navigation Room there. Is your objective clear? Now, head for Sector 3 (PYR)."

Chapter 5: Molten Sands

I promptly made my way into Sector 3. This was the lava/desert area on the BSL. Ironically, it shared the same sector number as Pyrosphere on the Bottle Ship, and had a bit of "Pyro" in their names. "Thankfully, the X have not invaded this area yet... The Data Room here is sealed by another security hatch. In order to download, you must find the Security Room here and activate Level 2 hatches. This may allow the SA-X and X parasites into the area... But we are left with no choice. Your recovery is our main goal. The Data Room is here. As I explained, Security Rooms can't be shown on the map. Be careful, Samus. You will see very violent organisms here. And avoid the ultra-heated areas: your suit can't take such high temperatures yet, but we're working on it. Level 2 hatches are green. Release the lock and proceed to the Data Room for download. Super Missile data is ready. Your firepower will triple. Is your objective clear? First, activate green hatches. Then go to the Data Room. There are no ultra-heated areas on this route, so turn back if you enter one."

That was good news. Unlike last time, Adam wasn't making me go through superhot areas like the original on the Bottle Ship. I just headed through a door and sped through a breakable block on the wall. Finding the security room was easy. As I exited, the X came in, and formed Sidehoppers. The X had made the Sidehopper and Dessgeega trade spots I guess. Numerous X infected bioforms inhabited the rooms on my route. One such example was the Fune - a snakelike creature from Zebes that burrowed itself into the wall and spat stuff at me. However, they now launched themselves out at me, and I was sometimes forced to stop and fight. The desert area was very hot. So far no lava. That was disappointing, I thought the area would look like Norfair. The heat of the desert area was wavering, but not hot enough to damage my suit. I found the Data Room and downloaded the Super Missile data. As I was escaping, I heard an explosion. I returned two rooms back and found a part of the floor torn open, the sand spilling into the chamber below. As I ran for the door on the other side, I began to hear booming. I raced back and heard multiple explosions from the room connecting to the Data Room.

From the poor Green Hatch emerged a spiderlike security robot with a vulnerable core. B.O.X. Security Robot model. I used several ladders on the ceiling to fire at its middle. Sometimes, however, it would shut its middle off with a metal hatch, and fireballs that summoned spires of fire. After damaging it enough, it fled, jumping to the top of the chamber. I wasted no time proceeding to the Navigation Room. "I see that you encountered a rogue Security Robot. You may destroy it if you meet it again. Your safety is vital. But as to your brief... Level 2 security locks are released, so Sectors 5 and 6 are open. That means those sectors have likely been infiltrated by X. They are much harder to stop than we initially suspected... Sector 5 (ARC) is sub-zero. You're still susceptible to cold from the vaccine side-effects, so you'll take damage if you even set foot inside there. Avoid Sector 5 for now, but in the meantime, HQ is working on data to adjust your suit for extreme temperatures. Once we have the transmission, you can download it, but... The X have destroyed all the Data Rooms you have used so far. I no longer doubt their capacity for critical thought. You'll have to use the Data Room in the night habitat, Sector 6 (NOC). Go to Sector 6 and access a Navigation Room there. Is your objective clear? Tread lightly, Samus. You are the only one who can do this. And the X may be much more dangerous than we know..."

Chapter 6: Nocturnal Caves

Descending down the purple-lit shaft, I talked to Adam again. "The Varia Suit data is here from HQ, ready to download. Get moving to a Data Room. But there's a problem... X from the sub-zero sector ARC are in Sector 6 (NOC), and they... (a pic of a blue X appears) They've been changed by the cold. If you absorb one, you'll be frozen from within. This seems like a deliberate tactic. Once you download the Varia Suit modification, you'll be out of danger. Just be extremely careful until then. The NOC Data Room is here. Remember, avoid the blue X. Use your beam to stun them in order to get by. Is your objective clear? Be careful. They are hunting you actively now, Samus... And this area is very dark. Proceed with extreme caution."

I'd never been in a nocturnal area before. I hoped it would be light enough for me to see. I took off into a run, before I was suddenly shinesparking through the room after the Recharge Station. I found myself cutting through Menu in the air. Very effective. As I passed through a room with two mechanical arms on the ceilings, I saw one of the Blue X Parasites floating around. It was larger than other varieties and obviously blue in color. I tried sneaking past it, but it quickly took notice of me and sped toward me. I stunned it as I dove for the door. I soon entered the cave area and started speed running through blocks as several Blue X pursued the vulnerable Metroid me. The next room had an Energy Tank for my efforts and a passage downward. It led into a chamber that had a wall of Power Bomb blocks. Suddenly, I heard the door open. The SA-X was here. I quickly bombed into the floor and fell into a tiny chamber. The SA-X walked to the block wall and Power Bombed it. I screamed a little as 29 percent of my energy drained. I knew the SA-X had heard, and I knew my death was probably coming. However, I heard the door below open, and it was gone.

I sat there for a long time, not cautious of Blue X or the SA-X coming in to try and kill me. I just sat there until the trauma was gone. Then I kept going. I was a survivor. Every loss in my life made me emerge stronger. Every scary incident in my life made me emerge less fearful. I then went back into the cave area and found a swarm of Menu as well as the Gadora. The Data Room was just ahead. I entered the room only to find a Core-X trying to absorb the Varia Suit data. I fired at the Core-X to try and damage it, but it ultimately escaped. I proceeded on until I found the X appearing out of the middle of nowhere, larger than ever before. Several mini cores surrounded it. I blasted them down to get to the inner core, which took Charge Beam shots instead of Missiles. The death of the unmimicking X resulted in my Varia Suit being exposed to me. However, when I got it, the look was just ugly. The blue on yellow changed to light green on magenta. No orange and yellow for me, sadly. I didn't waste any more time, proceeding to the Navigation Room, ever cautious of the SA-X. The Blue X fled from me, only to get killed by my absorption. Samus is hungry, X-y boys.

In the Navigation Room, Adam spoke. "How did that X download the Varia Suit data? This doesn't seem to make any sense at all, unless the X... Unless the X have the ability to process data organically... At any rate, you have the Varia Suit data. Now you will be protected from extreme temperatures. More importantly, the SA-X will no longer be able to freeze you, so you can escape easier. But you're still too weak. That thing is too much for you. You currently have no way of damaging it. But my simulations indicate that a penetrating weapon like the Plasma Beam might work. Developing modification data will take HQ some time, though. There's also a chance that you may be able to restore your Plasma Beam by absorbing a large Core-X, as you did with the Charge Beam function. As for restoring Ice Beam functionality, I doubt it... Your current cellular makeup would reject that addition. Therefore, HQ has developed an Ice Missile upgrade. This will add a freezing effect to your Missiles. It will help. Go to Sector 5 (ARC) for the download. Is your objective clear? Now, get moving."

I then proceeded to the now open-ended Sector 5.

Chapter 7: Arctic Cove

"You need to download data for the Ice Missile upgrade, but... As you might expect, the Data Room here is secured. Level 3 security hatches are yellow. Release the security lock and download the data as usual. And experiment with those new Missiles. They will be helpful... Is your objective clear? You know what to do. Go to it."

As I leaped out the Recharge Station room, I was immediately disgusted by a grotesque-looking Zeela. The X had mutated it nearly beyond recognition. The bottom two hatches were yellow, but one my missed shots toward the Zeela revealed a secret passage. Another room had blue-colored Choots that jumped, but no longer swayed from side to side as they fell, and also spat acid. A glass wall blocked off the areas in the background. Finally, I'd found one of the actually cold areas. I could feel a slight chill, but it wasn't enough to kill me. One of the Blue X fled from me as I entered.

I was also surprised to have not seen Wavers until now. They flew around in the arctic room, unaffected by the extreme cold. No sooner had I discovered a hidden passage in the floor next room, when I landed right on top of a Kago. I soon after found the Security Room and opened it. A secret passage lead me back to the main shaft, where I happily strutted into the Data Room to receive my prize. Unless I would have to fight another Core-X. No threats awaited me before or after downloading the data. I tested my new weapons out on Rippers and a false item. When I entered the chamber with the Choots, I saw a large appariation speeding around behind the glass. It looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't put my foot on it. I'd just entered the shaft before the trio of safe rooms, when I heard the PA come on. "Emergency in Sector 3." I wondered what was going on. The sirens blared and the voice sounded repeatedly. I dashed to the Navigation Room to find out what Adam had to say.

"Emergency in Sector 3 (PYR). The area could melt down soon. It seems the Main Boiler's cooling unit is malfunctioning. This could easily destroy the entire research station, as it would likely trigger the auto-destruct explosives. We have about 6 minutes. Hurry to Sector 3 and access the Control Room to the side of the Main Boiler room. Most of the systems in PYR are down because of this... Again, we know who to blame. The SA-X must have hacked into the system control file. What impressive intelligence. Is your objective clear? There's little time. Hurry to the Control Room in Sector 3." Adam gave me the directions as I flew up the elevator shaft and sped through Sector 3.

In a large, damaged shaft with ladders and Funes, I hadn't explored the bottom region. I dropped down, and sped through the superheated area, dodging Novas, Namihes and whatever else was thrown my way. As soon as I reached the Main Boiler, I saw it severely overheating. I could feel myself melting in my suit, so I wasted no time in jumping up to the top, where I witnessed a growing Gadora over the door. One Super Missile blast took it down, as I didn't have any time for the nonsense of destroying it slowly. I took a deep breath as I jumped through the Main Boiler Control Room door. I braced myself for the SA-X, but what I saw was something more odd than I'd ever expected. A lab worker was interfacing with the terminal. "Hey!" I shouted. "What do you think you're doing?!" he ignored me. I guessed that the human wasn't so normal after all. I shot him a few times before he recoiled back from the terminal.

Instantly, his lab coat and clothes tore off, and what little hair he had left was lost too as he turned into a Core-X. I quickly destroyed it and gained a new ability, the Wide Beam. The Core-X was positioned over the terminal, so I simply fell onto the touch-sensitive platform and activated the cooling system. I then took a deep breath. When I got back to the Navigation Room, Adam had this to say.

"The X mimicked a crew member... It all makes sense now. The X can absorb the memories and knowledge of their prey. What an astounding find. HQ was very impressed. But don't you find it strange? This could have destroyed the station with the X in it, not to mention to SA-X. Unusual for a self-preserving species like the X. Unless... Your presence is an even greater threat, a threat to the existence of X elsewhere... This is only a hypothesis... Perhaps... Their survival instinct is in conflict with their newly-borrowed intelligence... Don't let your guard down yet. The X are still a threat. Samus, I see bio-signs on the Habitation Deck. Survivors? The infected crewman you saw had survived until recently. Maybe there's a chance... The signs emanate from here. Is your objective clear? I have just restored power to the Main Elevator. Use it to return and look for any survivors."

As I ran up to the Habitation Deck, I began to think some more. Survivors in the Habitation Deck? I knew I was likely to find some survivors that would know what went on here. I wondered if they would be like MB on the Bottle Ship. The AI modeled after Mother Brain had posed as another scientist, Madeline Bergman, to me. If the Space Pirates and many other Zebesian creatures had been cloned or preserved from the Bottle Ship, then I knew it was likely that Metroids and a Mother Brain-like AI were being kept somewhere on the BSL. Perhaps in another Tourian-recreation area like Sector Zero was. I would see Rinka, Mother Brain's turrets and Zebetite if that was true. And if there were Metroids, were they unfreezable like they were before?

Speculation aside, I'd entered the Habitation Deck. There were multiple Namihes embedded into the walls. Not a good sign. However, X weren't detected in the room Adam pointed out to me. The Namihes served as icy platforms to me as I descended the room and entered the main Habitation Deck. There were no signs of any humans, but I could hear some familiar animal sounds. I noticed a passage hidden in a wall, and hoped it lead to the terminal that would open their cage up. I did, thankfully. As the gate opened, no humans exited. However, what came out was even better. The Dachoras and Etecoons came out, and I saw that the bird's egg had hatched. Its offpring was adorable. I was just about to hold them, but they scurried off.

Etecoons and Dachoras. I've met these intelligent beings before. They seemed to recognize me, as well. How unusual to meet again here. In the past, they've helped me unleash abilities I didn't know I had. But where did they run to? I hope they're safe...

Adam responded to my discovery of my friends. "So the survivors were not human... Most unfortunate. We can now confirm the deaths of all crew members. I imagined this was the case, but I had hoped it wasn't so. I believe the X only infected the humans for knowledge... That form is too weak for battle. I am sure the others were merely food for the X... Samus, I think they are evolving, growing stronger. Some are now appearing that resist your current weapons. HQ anticipated this and sent Power Bomb data as soon as the hardware team finished it. Is your objective clear? Download it immediately. Our choice of Data Rooms is limited to this one in Sector 5 (ARC). Go. Now."

I didn't know why Adam was so strict on the last thing he said. Was he sensing the SA-X's presence? I heeded the warning as I marched onto ARC, eager to get my own Power Bombs. I'll summarize my trek to the Data Room in a few short sentences: Geruta encountered. Geruta seemed to be enhanced cybernetically as it was in a lava area. Cybernetic creature whose name I still did not know was still circling around. It roared very loudly. I took an alternate path after collecting the Power Bomb data, entering a small shaft that lead into a dark room. Oh, and let's not forget Adam's next words: "You've been to this Data Room before, but I'll show you its position again. Is your objective clear? Now move out."

Almost immediately after I'd stepped into the room, the door opened. The SA-X was here. Thank god, the room was too dark for it to have seen me close enough. I lept over a pillar and hid as it stomped around. I studied the wall behind me. It appeared to have some weak points in it, some that could be destroyed with bombs. The pillar seemed to be made of Power Bombable material, but I didn't dare unleash one. I knew it would get the SA-X's attention and I'd die in seconds. As I escaped the room with the mad mimic of me, I laughed at how it never knew I was even there.

All Adam had to say was: "Samus, return to your ship. I have important information." There was no question if my objective was clear, he just ordered me to go back. It was sort of concerning. What was this important information? Without any further question, I followed his orders and started off for the Docking Bays. However, as the Main Elevator was descending, it came to a halt. Now what? I managed to find a weak portion in the wall, which lead to a small tunnel. When I was able to navigate in bipedal form, there were several Geemers, Zoomers, whatever they were in the way. I destroyed them and continued into another tunnel.

As I emerged in an icy cold room, I found right in front of me was Ridley! Why wouldn't he just die?! He was frozen and likely dead. Perhaps it was his clone from the Bottle Ship, frozen after the Queen Metroid there had killed him. I saw a blotch of red in his chest, which seconds later turned out to be an X Parasite leaving his body. It shattered right in front of me, but the X got away. I was overcome with delight at the defeat of my foe. However, I knew without much of a guess that it was likely I would find an X mimic of him soon enough, so my feeling of triumph was short-lived. I then found myself in the Docking Bays.

Chapter 8: True Terror

"The main silo of the Reactor Core has gone offline. That's why all elevators and station systems are down. Elevators and hatches won't work. This doesn't bode well... If you can get to this point," - he gave me my target location - "you may be able to start the auxiliary power system. Then we can figure out why the main silo went offline... Is your objective clear? By the way, I asked you to return here to tell you... Some strange creatures have boarded your ship. I confirmed that they were not X hosts and gave them a berth. Do you know anything about these strange creatures? Were they the source of the healthy bio-signs earlier? Very well, then. Their presence in the midst of this disaster must have some significance... I will keep them here."

I took a moment before leaving to deactivate my suit and hold them temporarily. The Dachora nestled its small head in my lap as the Etecoons jumped all over me. The Dachora beckoned its baby to see me. It was sort of curious at first, but quickly grew to love me. Then I told them, "I have to go now. I'll be back when I can." before I reactivated my suit and left for the Reactor Silo.

In the first few shafts beyond the landing site, I found a weak portion at the bottom of a wall that I had previously missed. I tried destroying it with a Power Bomb. Once inside, I found the empty carcass of a Zoro. Perhaps the Kihunter that was just in the shaft before had hatched from this. I then found the Central Reactor Core. In the midst of the deactivated power station was a lot of plants. Perhaps more than Sector 2. Much of it was like this barnacle-like material I'd encountered in Tourian at one point.

I traversed through it and found a series of mechanical rooms inhabited by Zebesians. I found several powerups nearby, and I soon needed them, but not only for the SA-X. I soon found a Gadora that lead me near the Auxiliary Power Station. However, I couldn’t reach it just yet. As I dropped to the floor, I heard a loud explosion, before three flames came down to the floor. Before I knew it, I was in the hands of a very large spiderlike creature that I named “Yakuza”, named after a mafia. I gave it that name because it was the most difficult fight I’d fought on the BSL, aside from the SA-X itself. I wrenched myself free from its grip and fell to the floor. I then discovered its weak point; its open mouth.

Sometimes, it would prepare to spit out more fire, at which point I let everything I had out on it. Soon, its legs crumbled, and it used an ability very similar to my Space Jump. The head rapidly spun around the room in the air as it spat projectiles at me. I reverted it to its Core-X form. My reward? The Space Jump. I needed that to get into the Auxiliary Power Station. A Navigation Room was just ahead. This is what Adam told me:

“Save Rooms and Recharge Rooms are now back online, but with only auxiliary power, no elevators or hatches will work. Without the main silo online, we’re still stuck. I believe the source of the problem is the vegetation you saw earlier choking the Reactor Core components. Is your objective clear? We’ll have to find the source of those roots to proceed.”

As I travelled to the still plant-infested Central Reactor Core that now had Kihunters in it, I searched for an alternate exit. I found some plants blocking a part of the upper wall and tried shooting them. I found myself in Sector 2, and… and… I heard footsteps. They were coming from below. I immediately retreated back to my ship and recharged all my energy then hid there for a while. Adam came on the screen and said, “Samus, what are you doing? Get back to searching!” After some time, I went back, and unfortunately, it was still there.

I was too high for the SA-X to see me, but I knew it was too much of a risk to get by. I had no choice but to let it see me. I dropped down, uttering a quick prayer. As my feet hit the floor, it whirled around. There it was. Me. At my full power level. It stared at me for a few seconds before it fired its Ice Beam at me. I dodged, beginning to scream. In retaliation, I fired an Ice Missile at it. It was frozen for about a second. I decided to use that to my advantage. However, no sooner was I out the door than it had completely drained my energy and reverted me to my Zero Suit!

I shrieked out in terror as I sped away. My Paralyzer would only hold out for so long. I needed to get to a Save Station to redownload the data components and restore my suit. Until then, I kept my pistol charged and kept running. A wall in the way? Destroyed. Shutters in the way? Deactivated. I found a weak point in the floor right in front of the door out (it lead to a dead end) and dropped down. The SA-X continued its pursuit. I came up to a shaft with more of the overgrowth and desperately shot it to find a way out. I found one leading to a contained door. Ultimately, I came to a large chamber with a large shaft at the top. I couldn’t reach it without the Space Jump. Praying for good luck, I stunned the SA-X and stood on it, long enough to be able to wall jump to the top. I entered a Navigation Room and screamed out at Adam, “LOCK THE DOORS!” he did so quickly.

I sank to the ground. “Samus, what’s wrong?” Adam asked. I started to cry. “S…A… the… SA…X…” I couldn’t talk properly. “You encountered the SA-X?” I nodded. “Of course! That’s why you holed up while in your ship!” Adam was angry at himself. “I feel so ashamed. My arrogance almost had you killed! Can you ever forgive me?” I stood up. “It’s all right now, Samus. The SA-X can’t reach you for now.” He then gave me directions on the map I had on my glove emblem. “There’s a Save Room just ahead. Use it to restore your suit. Is your objective clear?” I was shaken, but I said yes. “Be careful Samus. I’m sorry.”

I used the Save Room and was immediately relieved of only a single Energy Tank’s worth of energy to sustain me. The vegetation was getting thicker, so I guessed that the core was somewhere near. Just a few rooms after, I came across a Gadora. The source was just behind. As I dropped down, I narrowly avoided falling into a Parasitic Flower. They looked a lot like Blob Throwers now. Above me were two buds repeatedly creating spores, and in front was a large biomass, Nettori. This had to be the source. I opened fire on it, repeatedly being distracted by the spores and having to pull myself out of the flowers below. The Torizo-like statue began to deteriorate, before the flowers died and the Core-X appeared. My energy drained a lot because it had the Plasma Beam. The weapon that would kill the SA-X easily. I took my pierce weapon back and left as the plants began to rot.

“What? You’ve restored Plasma Beam functionality? …Most unexpected. Even so, continue to avoid the SA-X. It, too, may be stronger. And you still lack a few abilities crucial to survival…” I was disappointed. I thought I was finally able to take the mimic down and steal back all the rest of my abilities. “Wait… Wait a second… More trouble… Hold on.” I shuddered. The SA-X? Lots of dots before he spoke again. “I’ve isolated the cause. There’s been an explosion in the ARC Data Room… Samus, go to Sector 5. Is your objective clear? The damage is staggering. Find out what’s causing it.”

I set off for the Data Room yet again.

Chapter 9: Old Foe

I’d been here so many times it wasn’t funny. "It's gotten worse. The damage seems to have been caused by a creature kept here by the researchers, who named it... the Nightmare. Apparently, it was a bio-mechanical organism designed for military applications... It possesses uncommon power and can manipulate gravity. We must assume that it's become an X-host. We have no choice. You must find it and defeat it. I can't confirm the location. Is your objective clear? This thing is out of control. Hurry before it destroys the entire station..."

I thought I knew what he was talking about. I stepped into the sector, and saw, firsthand how severe the damage was. Glass was broken, floors ruined, debris scattered everywhere. The large apparition that I had seen earlier was gone. I knew just what the Nightmare was. It was the cybernetic, gravity-manipulating monster that I’d previously seen on the Bottle Ship, before it was seized by the Federation when they stormed the station. It had been brought here and resuscitated. And I had to hunt it down again.

The damage especially staggered in the Data Room. The first floor was torn open, and I could see the damaged terminal below. The overused room was no longer good for anything. There was a flooded area that severely hindered me. Skulteras and Zebesians attacked me at multiple turns, and sometimes they would combine into an aquatic Pirate to hinder me further. I blasted a nearby Gadora down and jumped into a mess of cables and electronics. A large apparition appeared from the floor. I was correct. It was very aggressive and obviously not happy to see me again. Neither was I. I had the same objective to defeat it as before: target its gravity manipulator and destroy it to stop the anti-gravity. This caused its faceplate to crumble. I once again saw the grotesque, green face with multiple yellow eyes.

I blasted away at it, causing it to do something it hadn’t before. The face began to sag and turn red, which never happened last time I saw it. I took the Core-X down fast and then got my Gravity Suit back. The ugly light green on magenta was replaced by purple on green. Still no satisfaction for me. I found my way into a seabed, more aquatic area of Sector 4. I ran through, encountering Skulteras, Evirs (which I thought were extinct) and the Level 4 security room. Adam hadn’t authorized it, but I unlocked it as there were several red hatches in my way. I made my way up to the Navigation Room fast. That was where the suspicion began.

"Samus, I'm impressed that you were able to make it back. That trick with the Shinespark was very... ingenious." Adam said this as a Federation official chimed in. "That's our Samus Aran! Magnificent! Truly Magnificent! As a reward, let's fill her in on our plan. Hmm, computer?" "That is... not advisable." The official spoke without much thinking. “Bah…” Adam went serious. "No more joking. Samus, get back on task. Is your objective clear?" I answered yes. Curiously, he didn’t respond.

What was the “incoming dispatch” trying to tell me? I pondered the question as I went back a few rooms and found a red hatch I hadn’t gone through yet. I stepped in and found it was a Data Room. After I’d killed Serris, Adam had told me about this. Now that the hatches were open, I decided I’d see what secrets were held. A weapon new to me, the Diffusion Missile, appeared on my active weapons list. Basically, charge Missiles. They spread a wave of ice that froze enemies from afar. I used it to escape through Powamps blocking my way. Adam then furthered my suspicions when I talked to him again.

"You upgraded your missiles? That's unusual... There was no word from HQ. A procedural error, I'm sure... Even so, I did not approve of bypassing security Level 4. From now on you will use more discretion. In any case, Samus, do you remember the Security Robot you faced earlier? I believe the X have infected it. That is to say, they have claimed the organic components that form its neural network. It has entered Sector 6 (NOC). I don't know what it's planning, but let's not wait to find out. Samus, you know what to do. Is your objective clear? To Sector 6, quickly."

Another enemy encounter. I wondered if it damaged Sector 6 just as the Nightmare did. Adam had only a small bit to tell me when I got to the NOC Navigation Room. "The Security Robot seems to have gotten much stronger. This worries me. Be careful. But we have another problem. Once you're done, leave NOC immediately. The SA-X is tracking you. Is your objective clear? Don't stay longer than you must. Understood?" After my last ordeal with the SA-X? I was ready to run. I travelled through areas I hadn’t come across before, stepping into another cave area.

As I kept moving, I found what appeared to be the entrance to a facility right in the middle of a series of wet caves. A security camera looked around, always vigilant, above me. I stepped past it and examined. There was a shutter in my path, so I couldn’t pass through it unless I either got the Wave Beam or found a way to get behind it. Besides, a voice came on. “Warning. No entry without authorization.” What could possibly be so secret? The voice echoed over and over again, before it began to annoy me. I then heard an explosion. I ran back a few rooms until I found one that was flooded with electric water. I tried not to step in it as I looked for a Ladder above me. A Power Bomb destroyed the ceiling and gave me access to what I needed to destroy B.O.X. The battle raged on, too loud for me to hear the annoying P.A. system voice. The battle remained the same as last time. Then, the main CPU flew out of the unit (resembling a small Aurora Unit) before B.O.X. reverted to its X form.

I knew what to do. Conveniently, it gave me the Wave Beam. My orders were to leave Sector 6, but I had curiosity on my mind. I returned to the shutter and opened it. The voice echoed again, ordering me not to enter without authorization. I then heard skreeing.

Chapter 10: Metroid Lab

Right behind me was a tank of infant Metroids! I rubbed my eyes, not believing what I was seeing. Metroids… but… how? I thought this station wasn’t a bioweapon breeding program like the Bottle Ship, but apparently not. However, instead of disgust, I felt… empathy. I was one of them. They screed to me, crying for help. They needed me. It made me feel emotional. They were of my kind, and I had to help them. I traversed through, finding that the Federation had been breeding Metroids once again. I could even see the later stages of their life cycle. Mature, Alpha, Gamma and Zeta Metroids were kept in stasis tubes. As I kept walking on, I even saw a Queen Metroid in the largest tank. She roared ever so softly at my presence. She was begging for my help, bowing her head in sadness. I felt so emotional that I was just about to break all Metroids out of their tanks.

That’s when the siren came on.

Not the same annoying female-voiced siren that constantly sounded before I entered the Metroid lab, but just a normal siren. Tanks broke, and Metroids ran free. I sped through to the first and largest chamber as the voice sounded again: “Fire alert. This sector will soon be locked down. Sixty seconds to isolation lockdown.” There was the SA-X, attacking my brethren. I fired desperately at my mimic to stop it, but it was no use. None of the Metroids were killed, but they were seriously hurt. They soon overpowered the SA-X. Go, they cried out to me. Escape while you can! I began crying. “I won’t leave you,” I told them. You need to survive, Samus. You deserve the chance. We are parasites and monsters that do not deserve to live. I looked at the panicking SA-X. We’ll take care of it. Escape! I turned away from them and space jumped to the top. The Metroids moved out of the way as best as they could, with them circling around to try to get to the top. The Alphas, Gammas and Zetas then began to break out. And then, what hurt me the worst emotionally.

The Queen emitted a sad roar. Her neck extended to the top, begging for me to save her. “I’m sorry,” I told her. I then escaped through the door as the entire lab detached from the station.

I stayed there for what seemed like hours, crying on the ground. Why would the Federation do such a thing to them? The poor, poor Queen. I wasn’t able to save any of them. The only Metroid alive was me. And the Baby. I then trudged on to the Navigation Room. I didn’t care what punishment Adam would give me. The Metroids were terribly mistreated. "Samus, you shouldn't have done that. You ignored your orders. You may have to pay a price for that quite soon..." I was silent. "As you can see, the Federation has been secretly working on a Metroid breeding program. For peaceful application only, of course. Please understand. But perhaps you already knew of this program's existence? Certainly, you must have had doubts when you saw Sector 1. SRX, a faithful replica of the SR388 ecosystem... Ideal for raising Alpha, Gamma, Zeta, and even Omega Metroids. This research even uncovered techniques for rapid growth. Imagine...creating an Omega from a larval Metroid in days... But that research is finished. The X has smelled out its natural enemy, and one of the SA-X is on its way here..."

I was surprised at the mention of the Omega, because I didn’t see a single one in the lab. But that didn’t concern me much. "ONE? ...Are you saying there is more than one SA-X?" More of those monsters were alive? "Don't be so surprised, Samus. You know that the X reproduce by asexual division. Because of this mechanism, there are now no fewer than 10 SA-X aboard the station." I almost had a heart attack. "Samus, you must go. Get out. If you stay too long, the SA-X will destroy you. Stop only at a Navigation Room to uplink to me. I don't know how HQ is going to take this, but you need to report to them immediately... Is your objective clear? Now get going."

I headed out to the Docking Bays, finding another area of Sector 1. This looked a lot like the Mother Brain’s base on Zebes, Tourian. I wondered if it was once again the work of the Federation. Sector Zero on the Bottle Ship had recreated Tourian, and had unfreezable Metroids, an AI modeled after Mother Brain, and possibly even Rinka, Mother Brain’s turrets and Zebetite. I never explored that area, because the real Adam had gone in for me to save me from the Metroids. The real Adam… he would have said the same thing about that incident, but he would have softened the blow. He was relentless in his criticism, but he always cared... He was not a machine obsessed with duty. No such compassion could exist in that computer...

Chapter 11: Reunion

I found a Gadora in a long hallway filled with battery acid and Rippers. I studied the room from the ledge. Below me was the rotting corpse of my foe Ridley. I’d found him. Before I left the BSL, I was going to face him for the absolute final time. He morphed into a blue version of himself, yet the fight wasn’t very different from past battles. He gave me the Screw Attack, which certainly would help if I met an SA-X. I sliced my way through Sector 1 up to the Navigation Room.

"Samus, we're done here. Leave the rest to the Federation... We should be preparing to evacuate the station..." I was ever angry. "Are you joking?! Do they know how dangerous the X are? ...How quickly they reproduce?" Adam wasn’t helping. "The Federation has taken an interest in the X and SA-X. They believe this life-form had endless potential applications."

"This is ridiculous! The X are heartless abominations! What potential could they have?"

"It is not necessary that you understand such matters. The Federation is coming now. You should just leave quietly..."

"This is madness! They won't stand a chance here! This station will devour them! What could be worth the risk!?"

“Capturing the SA-X, of course.”

I was about a hair away from destroying the computer. "...Are you serious? Do they really think they can succeed?"

"It will certainly be difficult. They don't expect your help. They knew you would try to destroy the SA-X... That's why they stopped sending you support data... The Plasma Beam modification was ready some time ago, but they withheld it to keep you from engaging the SA-X. Yet somehow you restored that function on your own... They also tried to withhold the Diffusion Missile upgrade because they didn't want you to grow too powerful. But they had already sent it, and you tracked it down... Bravo, Samus."

"They must cancel this mission! Open a channel to HQ! I won't let this happen!"

"They are already on their way."

"Fools..." I knew I was right.

As soon as the Federation ships land, the X will overwhelm them and absorb the knowledge and power of their occupants. The X are just waiting for the hunt to begin, and then they'll spread across the universe. Galactic civilization will end.

The X hunger for form, knowledge, and power. They mimic these perfectly. But they cannot copy the soul. They're single-minded, instinctively seeking to increase in number. They're a plague, and the Federation underestimates their threat.

The X must not leave here. I must destroy them all before the Federation arrives. This station has a self-destruct mechanism. I must use it to destroy the X here and on the planet. I must send them to oblivion. Them, the station, and myself, if I have to. I tried to escape, but found that the hatch was locked. "Open the hatch!" I yelled. "I have been ordered to confine you until the ships arrive." My anger sky-rocketed, making me do something I regretted at the time, but didn’t later. "Don't let them do this. Can't you see what will happen, Adam?"

“…Adam?” The computer was confused. I hadn’t disclosed my personal nickname for it. "...Who is Adam?" His prying was not comforting. "...A friend of mine." The questioning began. "And what would this...friend advise you to do now?"

"He would know that the only way to end this is to start the self-destruct cycle. He'd know how important it is..."

"Did this "Adam" care for you? Would he sit in a safe Command Room and order you to die?"

"He would understand that some must live and some must die... He knew what it meant. He made that sacrifice once."

"So, he chose life for you? Our fair warrior, Samus Aran... Your Adam gave his life so that you might keep yours... For the sake of the universe... How foolish." I could understand insults to myself, but I wasn't tolerating any toward Adam. "How dare you! How could you hope to understand, machine?" Then things changed. "You know that detonating this station in high orbit would not guarantee the complete extinction of the X parasites, even though the station would be utterly destroyed... You would only succeed in removing the one obstacle to the galaxy's ruin...yourself. You would ignore this simple fact and choose death. When Adam decided who would live, he chose incorrectly."

"...If you were to alter the station's orbit, then you might be able to include the planet in the vaporization field of the self-destruct detonation. You would have to start the propulsion sequence now. Before the Federation arrives. Samus, this is your last mission. Go to the Operations Room and adjust the station's orbit path to intercept SR388. Then return to your ship and escape. Move quickly, and stay alive. That's an order! Any objections, Lady?" I cried out Adam's name in pure happiness and emotion. This computer was somehow Adam! All of my suspicions about it were lifted as I accepted the mission order and raced for the Operations Room.

Whatever few enemies were left didn't live at my hands. I raced to the control room and was about to open it when an explosion occurred. The SA-X stormed into the room through the hatch I had used hours ago to get to Arachnus. I wasn't about to let the mimic win again. It was time for me to take revenge for all of my near-death experiences and to take my old suit and Ice Beam back. My Ice Missiles still froze it, and only my Wave Beam shots could penetrate its thick armor. After it had enough, it knelt to the ground, the suit disappearing. It had my face, but with no pupils in the eyes and with many scars and injuries. It was a deformed version of me. It then morphed into a Hornoad. This creature was the host of the X that infected me. My anger rose again, as I had been suspicious of Hornoads throughout the whole mission. Ultimately, it reverted to the deadliest Core-X ever. After I destroyed the shell, I hesitated before collecting my prize. What if it kills me? After all, I am still vulnerable to cold, even if I can't be frozen. I jumped for it, only to not feel a surge of power. As I fell to the platform, I saw why: the parasite escaped! It disappeared before I could get it.

That disgusted me, but I kept going and found the Operations Room. I set the course for SR388. "Propulsion sequence activated. Destination: Planet SR388." The station started to rumble, but there were no explosions. I sped to my ship, and once I got to the first hall, I saw some damage had been done. I continued to investigate, only to find that my ship was gone. "Adam, GODDAMN YOU!" I shouted. I was doomed to crash. What I hadn't noticed was the presence of a huge shell. I had seen two more in Sector 1. One of the Metroids must have escaped and matured. That meant that this was the discarded shell of a Zeta. Out of the corner burst an Omega Metroid, which roared. I sensed something was wrong, though. I began talking to it, but it swiped me and sent me to the corner of the room. My suit was gone and I had no Save Station to return to. I was near defenseless, about to take my Paralyzer out when the SA-X Parasite floated in. This felt a lot like the end of my second mission to Zebes. Mother Brain had nearly killed me, before the Baby saved me. I wasn't exactly excited to see the SA-X until it began to shoot the Omega. Why was it helping me? Maybe it thought the Omega was a bigger threat. In no time however had the SA-X succumbed to the Omega Metroid's swipe. The X floated in the air, giving me the chance to leap up and regain my suit. All my energy was restored, and I discovered I had the Ice Beam! The SA-X gave it to me, as well as the orange and yellow color of my old Varia Suit!

With me being as close to my old self as I was, I took down the Omega Metroid. Then, mysteriously, my ship came in. The station neared the planet. I wasted no time in getting inside my ship. I got us out of there fast, and then I began to reflect on Adam.

That perfect military mind... The wisdom of Adam Malkovich continued to serve even after death. Until today, I had no idea that the minds of leaders and scientists were frequently uploaded to computers. My incredible reunion with Adam may have saved the universe...

But how will the beings of the universe view our resolve? I doubt they will understand what we did... the danger we barely averted. They will hold tribunals and investigations. They will hold us responsible. Adam understood this, and he spoke to me in my anger...

"Do not worry. One of them will understand. One of them must."

I've reflected upon his words, and I see the wisdom in them. We are all bound by our experiences. They are the limits of our consciousness.

But in the end, the human soul will ever reach for the truth... This is what Adam taught me.

Just one detail still bothers me. This ship can only be started manually. Yet, before I faced the Omega Metroid, the ship moved on its own, guided by someone's hands. Is it possible? Adam...?

Adam then spoke. "Lady, what's troubling you? You wonder how I started the ship? Just think about it. They lent me a hand..." I turned to see the Dachoras and Etecoons sleeping, smiles creeping onto their faces. I smiled too as I held Adam's helmet in my arms and set off for a destination. I do not know where we will go. I do not know what will happen to me. But I do know that someone will understand what I did. And that's good enough for me.

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