Snake raised Campbell on the radio. "Colonel, can you hear me?" "I'm here." "What's the Pentagon up to? You'd better tell me, Colonel." "The Defense Secretary's personally taken control of the mission. He's on an AWAC heading your way." "For what?" "An air strike." Campbell replied bitterly. "WHAT?" "That's not even the bad news. A bomber just took off from the Galena AFB. It's carrying the B61-13 surfacing-piercing missiles." "Christ, Metal Gear's already been destroyed." Snake raised his voice. "Doesn't the Defense Secretary know that?" "He knows. But because of Naomi's betrayal, he no longer has any faith in FOXDIE's effectiveness. Your taking out Metal Gear means that the threat of nuclear strike has been removed, and he's free to ensure a direct and complete cover-up of the whole affair." " -- By blowing up all the evidence and everyone who knows anything sky-high with a nuclear bomb." Snake finished angrily. But Campbell's next words were unexpected.
"Don't worry, Snake. I'll halt the air strike." "What?" "It may be a technicality, but I'm still the field controller for the mission. If I call in an order to halt the strike, it should wreak enough havoc with the chain of command to buy you some time. Use it to get out of there." Richard called one of his men over and muttered an order. There was little doubt that it was for Campbell's arrest. Snake and Campbell, ignorant of the roomful of ears who were listening in on their exchange, were still talking. "Colonel, you know what would happen to you...?" "It's all right, Snake. But you should know something. There was a top-secret internal investigation being conducted into FOXHOUND these past few months. Meryl was transferred out to Shadow Moses the day of the insurrection -- as a hostage to ensure my cooperation." "What a -- " Snake broke off in disgust. "Now go, Snake." "Are you sure about this? You'll lose everything you've worked for." "I'm sure. And this way, I get to keep the things that are really important -- and that I would otherwise lose."
"Colonel -- " "All right, I'm putting in an order to halt the strike. This is the point of no return... What the hell!?" Campbell gasped. It seemed that Richard's men were trying to restrain him. The only thing we could hear over the radio were gun- shots and unintelligible noise. I was once again a helpless spectator of a life-or-death struggle. Mei Ling burst in abruptly, as though she had seized the microphone. "Snake!!" "Mei Ling, what happened to the Colonel!" "I don't believe this -- !" "Tell me what's going on!" "Snake! The Colonel!" Mei Ling's voice was lost in the shower of static before she could reveal more. Instead, an unfamiliar male voice started to speak. "This is Jim Houseman, Secretary of Defense. Roy Campbell was just relieved of duty. " "Let me talk to Colonel Campbell!" "He's been arrested for compromising national security. He'll be charged with treason." "That's insane!"
"No, it was Roy Campbell who was insane if he truly believed that he had any real say in this mission." "You -- !" Snake was seething, but Houseman went on nonchalantly. "The nuclear strike will go forward as planned. The sea will take care of what little there is left. It's what the President wants." "So this is an executive order?" "The Presidency of the United States is a very, very busy job. Let's just say that I take full responsibility for this strike." "How are you going to explain to the media why you dropped a nuke on American soil?" "Don't worry, there's a cover story ready. A band of terrorists took over the Shadow Moses facility, and were extremely careless with their nuclear missile." "You'll be killing your own genome commandos -- all the researchers too." "Donald is already dead..." Houseman suddenly said with genuine sorrow in his voice. "So you didn't plan on killing the DARPA chief after all." Snake asked. "He was my closest friend."
"And the rest of the poor bastards stranded here aren't, so to hell with them, is that it?" "That depends. If you transfer the contents of the optical disc over to me, there may be room for negotiation." "What disc?" Snake feigned ignorance, but Houseman was not so easily put off. "The disc that contained the full exercise data. Donald was supposed to personally bring it back." "I don't have it..." "Hm. That's unfortunate." Houseman said calmly. "The fact remains that the two of you are a liability. You belong to an age no one cares to go back to, and you have the potential to needlessly embarrass this great nation. No, you cannot be permitted to ever leave that island. Take the time until the air strike to catch up. Then rest in peace -- you are a ghost of the Cold War, after all." The transmission ended. "So there's no way out for either of us," I heard Liquid laugh as he approached Snake. "We'll settle the score before the cavalry arrives." Snake rose to his feet. "You've taken everything from me, " Liquid said.
"And I will reclaim it all -- including my rightful biological heritage -- right here." The two Snakes closed in on one another. The final battle was about to begin. Snake and Liquid had engaged each other in a fierce hand-to-hand combat, but Richard had other things to attend to. He had one of his men open a radio channel. "Yes, what is it?" I realized with surprise that the person he had called was none other than the Secretary of Defense Jim Houseman. "An air strike was an unwise decision." Richard sounded displeased. "With a nuclear- armed Stealth bomber airborne, a complete cover-up is no longer an option. 'They' are not happy with this." "It's the only way to destroy the evidence. The results will bear out the correctness of my decision." "There will be no results. I've already aborted the air strike." "How -- dare you...!" Houseman started to roar, then suddenly petered out. He no doubt had remembered the powers-that-be that stood behind Richard. "What do you intend to do then?"
He asked with barely suppressed rage. "There is another viable way to salvage the situation." " -- Make me take the fall? I don't think so!" Houseman's voice shook with fury. Richard sighed exaggeratedly. "You don't think so? It seems, Mr. Secretary, that Colonel Campbell is not the only one who 'truly believed that he had any real say in this mission.'" "What are you saying!" I heard the sound of scuffling on the other end. "Hey, what do you think you're doing! Get your hands off of me!" Houseman had apparently been restrained. It was exactly the same scenario that had played out during Campbell's arrest. "You have several choices." Richard explained with something resembling pity. "It's up to you which ending this particular story has. I myself would suggest a quiet retirement from public life..." "You'll pay for this, Ames. I swear to God..." Houseman spat out as he struggled vainly against his captors. "Personally, I don't condone rough measures. I hope you'll come to the same decision." Richard ended the call.