Snake had a few things to say to Campbell after learning the truth. He knew as well as anyone that if the fact that the U.S. had been developing a new breed of nuclear weapons were made public on the eve of START3, negotiations would break down and U.S. would suffer a devastating embarrassment. "Did you know about this, Colonel?" "I really am sorry, Snake." "You really have changed..." "I won't offer any excuses..." "Snake, you've got to hear this," Dr. Emmerich broke in, ignoring Campbell. "The new missiles were complete in simulation only. That's why they had to perform this exercise -- to get field data that would back up their simulation results." "How did the exercise go?" Snake asked. Emmerich's reply was discouraging. "It seems to have gone better than they expected, but I can't find any of the data. There isn't a trace of the thing on the entire network. You'd think it's backed up somewhere, but zilch." "It's on the optical disc that Baker gave me."
"You mean you still have it!" Campbell exclaimed hopefully. "No, Ocelot took it." Snake replied bitterly. It must have happened when he was a hostage. Did this mean that Ocelot had known of the existence of the exercise data before- hand? "This doesn't look good..." Campbell murmured, deep in thought. I glared at Richard. "You knew about this too, didn't you?" "Knew what?" "The small matter of this new nuclear weapon technology." Richard shrugged. "If I'd told you, would you have cooperated? You probably would have tried to leak it to some media contact. And that would have forced our hand..." He left it at that. Would he have had me killed "in the interest of national security"? Something like that, I supposed. In the world Richard inhabited, preserving secrets always merited higher consideration than human life. But I was a privy to that secret now. What would happen once the mission ended? I felt a chill go down my spine as I considered the possibilities. Richard was quietly puffing on his cigarette.
He had too many men with him, working for him every moment. There was no way I could simply walk out of this house. But I had something up my sleeve as well, and I was not about to let myself be exploited without a fight. I looked over at my PC. The screen saver had kicked in, and geometric patterns flitted across the dark monitor. I slipped my PDA into my pocket and headed for the bathroom to send some mail. One of Richard's men trotted over with a slip of paper. Richard studied it, and after some consideration, raised Campbell on the radio. "What can I do for you, Major Ames?" Campbell's tone was openly hostile, but Richard paid no heed. "Colonel Campbell, I'd like you to start interrogating Naomi Hunter." "Interrogate her? What are you talking about?" Campbell said sharply. "There are suspicious points about Dr. Hunter's background, as you've heard. I've therefore sent one of my men over there to talk to her, but she seems reluctant to cooperate." Richard lit another cigarette.
"But she's taking a nap." The Colonel insisted. "Actually, she's not." "What?" "In reality, she's been taken into my agent's custody." "How -- dare you!" Campbell barked angrily. Richard was unfazed. "If, as Master Miller charged, Naomi Hunter has falsified her identity and is in communi- cation with the enemy, there are serious repercussions. I trust you understand." "FOXDIE..." Campbell groaned. FOXDIE? This was something new. This mission was like an onion, with layer after layer of secret intent. "She won't talk to my agent. She may talk to you. Find out from Naomi who she is and what her objective is." "Absolutely not. I don't take orders from you. And I'm having Dr. Hunter freed immediately." "What makes you think you can do such a thing?" replied Richard, exhaling a cloud of smoke. There was a long silence. "Who exactly the hell are you?" I could hear the barely suppressed rage in Campbell's voice.
"The DIA wouldn't have the authority to send a man into a Navy submarine and hold someone prisoner." Richard did not answer. Campbell continued. "And that's not the only thing. Nothing has been done through the usual channels, including the way you induced Snake and I to cooperate. This mission isn't even official business, is it? So who else can mount such a major operation..." Campbell suddenly broke off, as though struck by something. "Is it possible that -- the Patriots?" He murmured. Richard ignored Campbell's outburst. "Does it matter what I am? It doesn't change the fact that your life, not to mention your precious Meryl's life, is in my hands. Isn't that right?" This time it was Campbell's turn to be silent. I had never suspected that his participation in the mission had been arranged by force. The Colonel was literally fighting for his, and his niece's, life. "Think it over carefully, Colonel." Richard's voice was the coldest I had ever heard. There was no reply from Campbell.
"And Snake has no need to know about any of this; we need his full cooperation at this point. Just tell him that Naomi was a terrorist spy and was apprehended while sending them a coded transmission." "Do you expect me to betray a friend, keep him in the dark?" Campbell objected furiously. "A friend? Are you referring to Snake?" Richard smiled coolly. "Do you really think he considers you a friend anymore?" He had hit a sore spot; Campbell had no answer. Richard moved in for the kill. "You've already lied to him too many times." "Against my will, under your threats!" Campbell was roaring, but Richard barely seemed to register his anger. "Certainly, but that's not an issue. You were, after all, giving him false information and relaying false orders to him of your own accord. Then there's FOXDIE..." I could almost see Campbell grinding his teeth in frustration and rage. "Do you still have the right to call yourself his friend?" There was nothing Campbell could say. "You will cooperate with us. Understood?" "Understood..." The transmission ended.