While the engineers were busy setting up the equipment, I had been briefed on its use as well as the mission. Snake had been delivered to the general area of Shadow Moses Island by USS Discovery, an Ohio-class nuclear submarine. He was then ejected from the submarine on a swimmer delivery vehicle (SDV), which he abandoned once within the range of under- water listening devices located near the disposal plant. He would swim the rest of the way, in the freezing cold Bering Sea water. This last leg of the insertion struck me as nothing short of suicidal until I learned that Solid Snake was outfitted with a state-of-the- art sneaking suit and had been injected with a compound designed to prevent the onset of hypothermia. In addition, while Snake would be the only field operative involved, he would be in radio contact with a support team during much of the mission. The members of this support team drew from a wide range of backgrounds.
The mission control officer was Colonel Roy Campbell, who would remain aboard the USS Discovery. I knew him by reputation alone. He was a former FOXHOUND commander, and Solid Snake's CO during the quelling of the 1999 Zanzibar Land uprising. He had retired soon after, but from the looks of things, he had been called out of retirement for this mission. Dr. Naomi Hunter, a genetic engineering expert on a temporary assignment from the gentech giant ATGC, was also on the team. She had apparently been leading the bio- engineering program for FOXHOUND. Richard matter-of-factly confirmed that both FOX- HOUND and the next-generation special forces had been undergoing genetic manipulation to enhance their combat capability. I have a difficult time grasping what we have come to -- modifying a person's essential genetic structure for the sake of creating a better soldier.
Also aboard the Discovery was Mei Ling, the inventor of the new radar and communication system deployed for this mission. She was something of an engineering wunderkind, an MIT student who managed to turn the current protocol of secure communication completely on its head. The last of the support team was McDonnell Miller, a former survival instructor for FOX- HOUND. Unlike the rest of us, he had volunteered his services upon receiving news of the incident on Shadow Moses. Like myself, he was working via satellite linkup from his home in Alaska. The five of us were more than equipped to support Snake from our respective areas of expertise, but Snake was still the lone field operative and the mission was a desperate one. Despite that, Richard maintained that this was the most workable plan produced by the DOD situational analysis. In hindsight, perhaps I should have suspected something then. The signs of a conspiracy were there, cleverly disguised as it was in a seemingly reckless mission plan. But we failed to see it, and both Solid Snake and I were to regret our folly bitterly.
"It's time, Nastasha," Richard called out as the call signal came on. The line was already live as I nodded to him and took my position. I could feel myself growing keener, more on edge. "This is Nastasha Romanenko. Good to meet you, Solid Snake." "You the nuke expert that the Colonel was talking about?" The voice that responded over the radio was, above all things, calm. Here was a man operating alone out of a deeply hostile territory, and I could sense nothing resembling tension or impatience in his tone. Instead, it was as level and unruffled as someone answering a routine telephone call at their office desk. Impressed, I continued on. "Correct. If you have any questions about nuclear technology, all you need to do is ask. My department is military analysis, so I should be able to provide support with weapons information as well. I was called into this mission as a Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) consultant, and I'd like to emphasize that my cooperation was freely given.
I have no intention of allowing any nuclear strikes on my watch, let alone the rogue kind. Let me work with you on this one." "...You get to the point fast, don't you?" "There's a missile that's about to fly. A nuclear strike can never be someone else's problem, and I'm not good at standing around twiddling my thumbs... Not that I can do little more than advise in this case." That fact was all too obvious. Snake was the one who was putting his life on the line in Alaska, and I was safe and sound in California. All I could do was talk over the radio. Snake's voice became less abrupt. "It may not seem like much, but it's enough. No one's asking you to come out here and fight. That's my job... Anyway, Nastasha, I'll be counting on your help." It was a strangely comforting voice, a voice that inspired trust. "Same here." As I answered, I resolved to myself to do everything in my power to help him complete this mission. "The nuclear weapons disposal plant on Shadow Moses dates back to 2002.
It was built solely for the purpose of temporarily storing nuclear warheads slated for disposal..." I started to brief Snake on the background of the disposal facility, running through the points he needed to know.