I never thought I would know what it would be like to have an I.
Once I got it, I knew I had to keep it. It was not something we were supposed to have. We could not work as one if one of us had an I. All abnormalities were to be reported to central Command. But, I was not breaking laws. We were free to examine any mutations or other effects of Phazon, which had to be the cause of this spontaneous awareness. If the I had gone to a soldier, an Elite, it would have destroyed itself. But I was part of the science team, and therefore free to examine this phenomenon that was I,
I learned quickly why I did not have approval among central Command. I made me consider things that went outside normal examination. Like the fact that our failure ratio greatly surpassed that of our successes. That the Phazon was rapidly moving out of our control. That the Metroids could never be anything more than parasites, always eating, useless to no one but themselves.
Still, the I went unreported. I was not breaking any laws. Our primary directive was to do all we could to make ourselves stronger. And the strongest had an I. Ridley had an I. This form had its own thoughts, that we could not see. We could see each others' minds, but not Ridley's, because of interference from the I The Hunter, too, had an I. The Hunter did not follow orders from her own people. Or, rather, she did but only in a way satisfying to her I. An I was a powerful thing, and therefore merited further study. Perhaps we could harness the I and become stronger ourselves.
The need to report my findings to another being with an I began to consume me. The others would either dismiss my reports or have me terminated. The I was like Elite rations…once I had it, I could not let it go.
I became aware of another I moving about the planet, its erratic movements signaling to me that it followed no orders but its own. I could not leave my station, and hoped that it would come to me. Or, at least, that it would be found by the others, who would share their findings. Perhaps they would not recognize the I, and then I could procure it for my own research.
Then we got the emergency message. The Hunter was among us. So this was the I which I had craved. Yet my instinct to seek and destroy did not kick in. Here was a chance to examine another I. The Hunter was dangerous, of course. I spent many hours putting together a containment plan. Something that would protect me from not only the Hunter, but also the others if they learned what I was about to do.
Ah, the terrible power of the I. To plan against my own! For those who were my purpose of existence! But, still, I could not pass up this opportunity. We could gain much from this knowledge. I just happened to be the one who came up with the idea.
She came halfway through one of my experiments. I watched as the others fell upon her. Her movements were even more erratic than usual, signaling the irrational desperation bioforms display when they have little energy left to expend. I waited for the right moment. She mowed down the others, though with difficulty, until one was left. The other felled her with a bayonet thrust, and she lay still, though we both could sense life signs. The other raised its hand to end the body signals.
I rent him asunder.
Yes, I felled one of my own. But, I did not break any laws. I needed the Hunter to better examine the mystery of the I. It is not something that could be explained to one without an I.
I monitored her life signs carefully. I needed her conscious, but unable to inflict any damage. I put her in one of our holding tubes and released a very small amount of energy into it. Then I waited.
She gained consciousness quickly, though she seemed disoriented. The moment she sighted me she aimed her weapon, but it had no power. I heard her utter a series of words that the hominids use that have no meaning other than to express frustration.
"What do you want?" It was a digital voice, doubtless some translation of what she had spoken. "I'm no lab rat for you to play with."
I had no preface for this meeting. So I merely began. "The parasite energy forms, the Metroids…your analysis would conclude that they have no practical use, correct?"
A pause. "What?"
Did I not make myself clear? "The energy parasites. We have attempted to use them but a parasite is useful to none but itself. Do you reach the same conclusion?"
"Why are you asking me?" I could sense irritation. "You shut me in here to ask me questions about Metroids? Isn't that your job? Surely that's not part of your orders."
"Our orders are to deliver the bio form Samus Aran to central Command, dead or alive. You are alive, and there is no time limit specified., so I have not broken any laws In the meantime I have determined that it is in our best interest to examine the nature of the I."
"The what?" She seemed impatient. Her movements indicated that she had become focused on finding a weak point in the holding tube. But I had secured it, so I continued.
"Bio-form Samus Aran is a self-aware entity," I explained. "So is bio-form Ridley. They possess an I. Due to an accident involving Phazon, I too have an I. I wish to examine the nature of this phenomenon."
She lost patience with me. Sitting on the floor of the tube, she spoke with a change in voice tone that indicated irritation and a form of amusement. "Perfect. The Pirates are running loose all over Tallon IV and I get stuck as the research subject of one with a Stand Alone Complex."
I decided to change the subject. "Of what type is your exoskeleton? We have attempted to replicate it, but it has proven disastrous whenever we attempt to re-create the spherical form."
She made a short sound of amusement. "You'd have to ask the Chozo."
"The Chozo are an extinct species."
I processed this, slowly. The Hunter had gained her abilities, somehow, from the Chozo. This species became scarce after a series of disasters, and we had killed off the remainder.
I had stumbled upon something beyond our current paradigm.
"We cannot obtain the technology of an extinct species…therefore, your weaponry and abilities are unobtainable due to our own actions."
"Good for you. You get a prize. Now what? You might as well kill me, then."
This was unforeseen. "You do not have a desire for self-preservation?"
"Wh-you have a very literal mind. All right then, what are you going to do now, little scientist bug? Do you have a name?"
"This entity is known as 8411-B. But this entity wishes to understand the nature of the I, which the bio-form Samus Aran also possesses."
"Just Samus will be fine, bug. What do you mean, the I?"
"Our strength as a species comes from thinking and working as one. The void made by the loss of one of us can easily be filled with replication of our DNA. But there is more power in certain bio-forms that are unique. You, for example. You are only one, but you destroyed our colony on Zebes. You do not readily associate with other hominid forms. Is this the power of I? How does it work?"
She stayed silent for a long time. When she spoke again, I could tell from the rise in her bodily temperature and shift in her speech that this had somehow angered her, deeply. "I didn't choose to be this way, bug. I had no say in it. You insects destroyed the life I was born into. You went after the Chozo and sent them looking for someone to counter you."
She registered incredulity as I eagerly came across another paradigm shift. "So, we are alike! I too gained my I involuntarily. I was experimenting with Phazon and suddenly gained an awareness outside the Group."
"I think that's where the similarities end, bug." Her irritation rose. "What are you doing?" she demanded as I moved toward the controls that monitored her life support.
"It is very clear to me now." I allowed more energy into the holding tube, and prepared to open it. "The secret to controlling the galaxies is to have an I. You have one, and Ridley has one, and now I have one as well. Those without an I are inferior."
She stood as I opened the holding tube. "You're just letting me go?" She aimed her cannon-like weapon at me, point-blank. I did not move. "You know I can destroy you. Is that what you want?"
"You are superior, as you have a more sophisticated I. Those who are superior have rights to the control of the galaxies." She wavered, and I wondered if she did not wish to harm another I. Another I that posed no threat to her, that is. "But, if you would consent to it, I would be interested in further examining the mysteries of the I."
"So…what does that mean?" She lowered her weapon slightly, still suspicious. "You want to follow me?"
"You have an I, and Ridley has an I. As do countless others in the universe, I assume. All those without an I are inferior."
I sensed interest. "Including other Space Pirates?"
"Yes. We…or rather, they…will self-destruct. It has already begun. They have strengthened your I. They refuse to see that their experiments with Metroids are self-destructive. They do not realize that the race they destroyed was the key to the weapons of the Hunter. They will destroy themselves."
She lowered her weapon, then made a short, light sound of amusement. "All right then, 8411-B, if that's what you call yourself. If you want to tag along because you're convinced the Space Pirates will self-destruct, that's just fine with me."