Clang. Clang. Clang. The metal-clad boots echoed in the chamber beyond, and I knew it was here. It had tracked me, hunted me here. It had been trying to kill me ever since I got here.
As I opened the door and stepped through, the worst of all the things about this monster crossed my mind. I strode across the wide, open metal floor of the station's main control deck, the door sealing shut behind me and locking tight.
Across the room, waiting for me, was myself. The abilities I had, so did it, for it was grown from me. The armor it had, it used to be mine. Pure, prestigious orange, signifying the last and greatest in ancient Chozo technology. Sleek lines, perfect construction, ultimate craftsmanship.
It had all been taken from me, twisted by the evils of the X Parasite, its machinations now controlling what had once been a part of me. Now, I stared down my former self, here in this room. I had to kill it. It had to kill me.
Scanning...Scan Complete! Recording to Logbook...
SA-X is an X Parasite mimicking the DNA and Varia Suit functions of the famed Bounty Huntress, Samus Aran. It possesses near-perfect imitations of every known Suit function and form. As such, it possesses similar weaknesses.
But there was one thing that the Scan Visor wasn't capable of telling, that I knew from the start. It was me...but it wasn't. That thing that I locked stares with, both of us pointing our respective Arm Cannons at each other, wasn't me. Not anymore.
It made the first move, charging an Ice Beam shot. As it let loose, I hit the Sense Move jets and rolled out of the way, recovering from my roll to fire a Missile at it. The projectile rocketed through the air , straight at its mark...and the SA-X perfectly emulated the maneuver I had just done seconds earlier, causing my Missile to miss its target and impact the wall behind me. Clever bastard.
Changing tactics, I fired uncharged Beam shots at it in an attempt to get it to move in a predictable fashion. It responded to my repeated Plasma Beam shots by leaping at me, spinning rapidly in a Screw Attack. I was just barely able to duck and roll under, charging my Beam as I did so.
But SA-X jumped again in midair, avoiding my shot completely before landing and taking the initiative from me. It released a spread of five Seeker Missiles right at me, and I could hear the enemy lock-on warnings in my helmet. I took to the air this time, performing a Screw Attack of my own and sawing through the Missiles my mockery had shot at me before sticking the landing perfectly.
SA-X had made it to the opposite side of the room, and was charging right at me. I could see its Speed Booster ignite, and again I was forced to the defensive as the stampede of evil twin narrowly missed me before coming to a screeching halt...and began glowing red. I stayed on the defensive a bit longer, allowing it to Shinespark right at me. This time, however, I did not merely dodge. Using my free hand, I found a secure Grapple Beam connection, managing to yank it out of its Shinespark while simultaneously charging a Diffusion Missile.
It pointed its cannon right at me just as I did the same to it, and this time my shot made its mark. The warhead sprayed chemical freezing agent in a radius around the impact site, coating the inhuman monstrosity and the part of the room around it in pure freeze. There was a sharp THUD as the frozen SA-X hit the ground, then a loud shattering noise as the monster broke free and rose to its feet again.
As it recovered from my Missile, I decided to follow up with another. This one, instead of being dodged, was actually shot down by a Missile of its own! We again locked stares for a few moments, but this time it was I who made the first move. Seeing as it was only a few meters away, I performed a Screw Attack right into it, and I managed to knock it back with the blow. I then executed a Space Jump in order to try for a combo just as I had previously done...but this time it was ready for me. Our Screw Attacks collided, and we were both blown across the room in opposite directions by the collision.
We both got up in near-perfect synchrony, this time we both charged at each other, each warrior's Beam weapons firing frantically at the other. This only lasted a couple of seconds, though, before we both Speed Boosted into each other, each of us causing massive damage to ourselves, and more than a little collateral damage. The shockwave from the near-400-mph head-on collision spread out from where we had collided and knocked each other up and back, and it was too much for the riveted floors to handle. The metal floorboards sheared clean off of their structural supports, and so too did the plasma power conduits, which began leaking what was essentially synthetic magma onto the floor. I was barely able to Wall Jump from the wall I had been knocked back into, onto one of the room's raised platforms.
On another of the four raised platforms, was my nemesis.
The floor had flooded completely to the top of the ground-level doors with twelve hundred degree plasma, glowing bright red below us, as each of us stared at the other, both of us planning our next moves. It was once more the first to move, and we both were soon firing at each other's feet, trying to get the other to slip into the plasma below. Both of us moved with perfect precision, staying on our respective platforms while dodging fire perfectly.
Then I caught it off guard, leaping to another platform. Now that we were adjacent rather than across, the beast jumped to the same platform I was on. Instinctively, I punched at it with my free arm, and the blow was blocked by its Arm Cannon. I used my own Arm Cannon to follow up with another punch, this time getting its stomach and causing it to relent a little. I freed my arm from its block, and this time swung my Arm Cannon in a wide arc, aiming to bludgeon it in the head. It dodged my attack by backflipping to the platform it was on before, then leaping across to the platform I had originally been on. Perfect.
I flipped through the air, landing on its platform on its opposite side. It whipped around 180 degrees in an attempt to duplicate my bludgeoning attack I had performed about a minute earlier. I raised my own cannon to block the blow, we connected, and we locked in a cannon press. We wrestled with each other on that platform, each of us trying to push the other off to their death below. My suit's augmented strength is nothing to joke about, but now seemed about the time when I wished I still had my full Suit instead of the Fusion Suit I now wore. The SA-X was actually winning!
But before it could end me right there, I noticed the ledge up near the door to the control bridge. With a quick knee to its chest, I broke the press, then Space Jumped up to that ledge. The X may have been able to copy my abilities at their full strength, and they may be able to out-brute-force me. But there's one thing the X will never copy, something I had over a decade of ever since I joined this Bounty Hunting gig: experience.
Without that, the X didn't know that I had the high ground.
The twisted mockery of myself looked up at me, crouched down, and I knew exactly what it was going to do. Even before it finally launched I had a Beam charged up. It arced through the air with its jump, winding back its Arm Cannon with a Charge shot of its own, and I intercepted it at the peak of its leap. As the electricity from the Wave Beam arced over its surface area, I quickly followed up with a Diffusion Missile, instantly knocking it back and freezing it over again with another layer of freezing agent.
The knockback of the Missile was enough to make it miss the ledge I was on, and the ice was enough to stop it from leaping back to safety. The oversize ice block called SA-X landed right in the plasma that had flooded the floor, and mere seconds later its free arm reached back up out of the molten lake, followed by the shoulder, then the helmet...and nothing else. The Visor glowed a bright red, almost the exact same as the material it was drowning in. It was desperately clawing for a way out but never found one, and its death throes subsided as it slipped back into its fiery grave.
All X parasites have a core that stores everything that particular X organism has assimilated. I inspected the lake for any sign that SA-X's Core would emerge from where its manifestation had perished. But after nearly a minute of waiting, all I could assume was that it, too, had been incinerated.
I turned around and headed through the door to the command bridge. I had a station to destroy...