The next-generation special forces is an aggressive anti-terrorism squad deployed to counter acts of political violence involving weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear, biological and chemical warfare methods. The combat philosophy is derived from the one used for Force 21, and most of the recruits come from a mercenary background. The men are intensively trained in VR environment, and their combat capability is estimated to be well beyond even those of Delta Force or the Night Stalkers. While the government categorically denies the accusation, there are persistent rumors that the men have been genetically enhanced to increase tactical advantage. FOXHOUND and the next-generation special forces. They were without a doubt the most skilled group of fighting men produced by the U.S., and they had hijacked a nuclear arsenal. Richard had more bad news.
"There are also civilian hostages involved. Two of them happen to be the DARPA chief, Donald Anderson, and Kenneth Baker, the president of ArmsTech, Inc." The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is the research satellite of the U.S. Defense Department, charged with planning and leading the development of new weapons technology; AT happens to be one of the top three defense contractors in the country. There is no such thing as a coincidence, especially the kind that involves the head of these two organizations meeting in an out-of-way nuclear weapons disposal plant. I decided to be direct with Richard. "There was something going on in that 'disposal' facility, I take it? Let me guess -- a demonstration of a new weapon." "How should I know? Shadow Moses is also a prime Northern Lights observation locale, you know." Whatever Richard knew, he wasn't telling. But his evasiveness only confirmed my suspicions. Whatever was going on, this was no ordinary terrorist incident.
With that in mind, I moved onto another point. "What are their demands?" "They want a body. Not just any corpse though -- they want FOXHOUND's founder, Big Boss. Legendary soldier, best fighting man of the twentieth century, the whole works." "His body? Why would they want something like that so badly?" "No idea, but unless they have it within 24 hours, they'll launch a nuclear strike." Richard glanced at the watch coolly. "So we have about 19 hours." "You don't seem too worried." "The DOD is already working on the situation." Just as I'd suspected. Richard always has a plan in place and the machinery in motion before opening up to someone else. All he asks from others is approval after the fact. "Shadow Moses is completely locked down.
We had to rule out deploying an entire assault team. Instead, we're inserting a single operative to free the hostages and prevent the nuclear strike." "Impossible." "Possible -- for Solid Snake." Solid Snake...! The former FOXHOUND, a legend among mercenaries for single-handedly bringing down the fortress cities of Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land. Yes, with Solid Snake in thepicture, there was a possibility of success. But still... "USS Discovery, an Ohio-class nuclear submarine, is already in place with Snake aboard." So the plan was already a go. I looked Richard in the eye and held his gaze. "And what do I have to do with all this?" He grinned. "Snake may be a legend, but he knows jack about nuclear weapons. Which is why I'm asking you to be a part of mission support. We'll have you set up in no time." Right on cue, two men started to move a large piece of hardware, apparently communi- cation equipment, into the study. Richard nodded towards the bulky load. "I'd like you to be available to Snake for consultation via satellite linkup." As soon as the equipment was in place, an engineer type started to make adjustments. I could see another group of men setting up a satellite dish in the backyard. They were all in civilian clothes, but not a few of them had the build and the oddly-fitting jacket that marked them as armed military personnel.
Clearly, refusal was not an option. But there was still something that puzzled me. NEST has a small investigative team, SRT, on standby at all times for immediate response. They were stationed at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, just over in Nevada. Clearly, they were the natural choice for this assignment. And if not the SRT, the DIA also had a number of qualified nuclear weapon specialists. Richard had started to direct his men on where to set up the equipment, but I inter- rupted him. "Why me?" He turned and answered without missing a beat. "I need people I can trust. There's too much at stake." It was a lie. The Richard Ames I knew trusted no one. But it was clear that whatever the reason, he did not intend to tell me. "It's a good thing I was in. What would you have done if I weren't?" "You have to be somewhere. We would have located you." "I'm sure you would have." "So are you in?" I took a deep breath. "Of course."
I don't enjoy being a pawn, especially Richard's, but I had no intention ofstanding by while nuclear terrorism was in progress. A nuclear strike takes an untold number of lives, all in a blink of an eye. Adults and infants, women and men, it kills indiscriminately. If there was a chance that I could do something to stay the hand on the nuclear button, I had to do it. "So everything is set..." Richard slapped a fist into the other palm. "Insertion was a success. Snake is on Shadow Moses." Richard walked into the study with the update he'd just received from one of his men. The study was almost unrecognizable, thanks in part to the racks of communication hardware. Cables snaked across every square inch of available space, and engineers and DIA agents were coming and going in controlled chaos. The place looked like what it now was -- a temporary mission control room. Richard laid a hand on my shoulder. "You should be hearing from him soon. You're clear on how to use the radio?" I nodded assent.