My first short exchange with Solid Snake ever, I was beginning to understand why he was called the man who "makes the impossible, possible." The icy calm in the face of insurmountable difficulty, the absolute confidence, made it suddenly seem possible that he would pull off this deadly mission. He had the power to make me believe. I grew conscious of Richard's gaze. "What?" "Oh -- just that you have a kind of glow about you when you're working. I like it." "A glow? Funny, you used to call it workaholism in the past. You found it very unappealing, I recall." "Time flies. People change their minds." "It's called nostalgia. You'll dislike it again soon enough." "Perhaps..." Richard continued to look at me. Solid Snake certainly managed to live up to his reputation.
He adroitly wove his way through the enemy's patrols and infiltrated the nuclear weapons disposal plant, where he made contact with Donald Anderson, the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) director. Throughout the mission, we had radio monitoring capability over Snake's every movement thanks to his internal nano- machines. It was through this access channel that I learned a shocking fact. Donald Anderson -- discovered in solitary confinement by Solid Snake -- confirmed that the terrorists had full nuclear capability, and that Shadow Moses Island was the site of a field exercise for Metal Gear. Metal Gear. The very mention of that name sent me reeling. It was the ultimate weapon, a nuclear-capable bipedal tank that could launch a rapid and accurate nuclear strike from virtually any terrain, from mountains to marshlands to the desert dunes. It could bestow the dubious privilege of initiating a missile strike from sites that were previously out of the question as launch locations.
For that very reason, analysts had long predicted that if brought to fruition, Metal Gear techno- logy would rewrite the tactical map of the world. There are speculations that this Unholy Grail of weapons development was being pursued late last century in the South African fortress state of Outer Heaven, then in the ultra-nationalist sovereignty of Zanzibar Land in Central Asia. One source went so far as to claim that a working prototype had been produced, but the weapon never made it onto the world military stage; instead, it was destroyed by a special forces operative. The squad in question was FOXHOUND, and the operative was a man codenamed Solid Snake. I briefly wondered if it were some strange quirk of fate that had brought Snake into this latest incident, but I knew Richard too well. Snake had to have been called in because of his past battles. Whoever had planned this mission had been thorough, and the more I realized the fact, the less I liked it.
A few years ago, I interviewed a high- ranking DOD official and led the conversation to the subject of Metal Gear. His response at the time was that the U.S. had very little interest in developing a weapon like Metal Gear (not that he officially admitted that such a thing as the Metal Gear existed - on a purely a hypothetical level, IF such a techno- logy were available.) With the collapse of the Soviet Union, nuclear arsenals built to enforce the idea of mutually assured destruction had lost its justification, and the deterrent argument was losing ground. In the current "multilateral world order rife with smaller regional powers" as he put it, development priority lay with cruise missiles and smaller weapons with lower lethality that could be carried by stealth bombers. He also went on to note that Metal Gear, with its affinity for rough terrain, would be extremely difficult to discover and destroy. Hence, it was the perfect nuclear strike system for rogue states. He was deeply concerned that if such non-democratic sovereignties were to get a hold of Metal Gear technology, the resulting upset in the balance of military power would lead to a massive rupture in world order. It was a fear that I myself shared.
An artifact of the Cold War. The devil's candy, created by nuclear proliferation. That was what Metal Gear seemed to be. So why was this weapon, a cutting-edge technology that was politically long-obsolete, being developed once again on American soil? It was possible that the Defense Department wanted to restore last century's nuclear strategy to the national agenda. Or did this new Metal Gear have something that set it far apart from Metal Gear as I knew it? Anderson had more to say. Metal Gear's launch key consisted of two separate pass- words, one held by Anderson himself and the other by Kenneth Baker, the president of ArmsTech. Anderson's own password was already in the terrorists' hands, and he feared that the same was true for Baker's. A renegade FOXHOUND psychic, codenamed Psycho Mantis, had literally read Anderson's mind and obtained the key. The bottom line was that the terrorists could activate Metal Gear and launch the missile whenever they pleased.
The worst- case scenario had come true. However, Anderson revealed that there was still a way to prevent the nuclear strike. Kenneth Baker alone had the emergency override key that could be used to reenter the launch code and cancel the missile launch. Even if the terrorists had already completed preparations for a strike, the override would reverse the process. His only hope now riding on obtaining the override key, Snake attempted to leave the cell area with Anderson in tow. We heard the terrible cries over the radio at the same time Snake did. Anderson had suddenly started to clutch at his own chest in agony, and before we could even recover from our initial shock, he was dead. Dr. Naomi Hunter, monitoring the situation from onboard USS Discovery, tentatively diagnosed the cause of death as a heart attack. Snake walked out of the cell alone in search of Kenneth Baker, leaving behind what had until recently been Donald Anderson, chief of DARPA.