Kenneth Baker had been colluding with Donald Anderson, the DARPA chief, to secretly develop a new Metal Gear on the government's so-called Black Budget. My later investigations revealed that regular payments in the tens of thousands of dollars had been made to the corporate account of a firm for which Anderson's wife ostensibly acted as a consultant. The ArmsTech payoff into this dummy company had started several years ago. The total amount is difficult to estimate, but there is little doubt that Anderson had been bribed to the tune of an astronomical sum. Even the government Black Budget had limits, however. I recalled a rumor from some years before the Anderson payoff started. The CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) at the time had a classified pet project, and the scuttle- butt was that it involved the construction of a completely new type of battleship. Just what kind of a ship was never revealed, since the entire program fell apart after the CNO suddenly passed away.
The unexpected death coincided with ArmsTech's launch of the Metal Gear development program. The Black Budget earmarked for the CNO's little project must have been freed up by his death; the question was whether it had been freed up for allocation to the new Metal Gear development. The manner of the CNO's death was officially ruled a suicide, but I could not help recall the theories to the contrary that had made its rounds back then. Whatever the background, Anderson and Baker's deaths could not be a coincidence. Anderson's dying words included a reference to the Pentagon, and I was certain that there was more to it than met the eye. "So now Baker is dead as well. Are you looking into his medical records too?" I asked Richard. "We'll do that. Just as a precaution." He did not seem particularly disturbed. "It may have been for the best, anyway. Having to babysit a senior citizen with a broken arm sure wasn't going to help Snake with his mission." "You haven't changed a bit, I see."
"What?" "That bad-boy act of yours. You only talk like an insensitive jerk to divert attention from something. I wonder what you're hiding?" Richard turned away. "Nothing. There's nothing to hide." Having successfully made radio contact with Meryl, Colonel Campbell's niece, Solid Snake agreed to put off a rendezvous with her in favor of rescuing Dr. Hal Emmerich, the chief of Metal Gear development. He reached the lab just as the Ninja was attempting to attack Dr. Emmerich, and the two fighters immediately squared off. Snake and the Ninja launched into a silent hand-to-hand combat, a balletic exchange of blows that seemed almost to serve as a private dialog. The fighting seemed interminable to us as we followed over the radio, but just as in the last encounter, the Ninja suddenly let loose an inhuman howl, and vanished in the maelstrom of its ragged echo.
It was our second encounter with the Ninja, and we were as in the dark about him as ever. But Snake had recognized something during their battle, and he raised Campbell on the radio. "It's Gray Fox -- the Ninja is Gray Fox. I'm 100% sure." "That's impossible. You took him -- in Zanzibar Land -- " We could hear the perturbation in Campbell's voice. Naomi Hunter suddenly cut in. "Yes, he was supposed to have been killed. But he wasn't." Dr. Hunter revealed that her predecessor at the helm of FOXHOUND's genetic treatment program, one Dr. Clark, had been conducting human testing. Gray Fox, the alpha soldier of FOXHOUND and the only member allowed the FOX designation, was the subject. After he had been shipped back from Zanzibar Land mortally wounded, his superior physical abilities and combat skills had marked him as an ideal test subject for genetic manipulation and skeletal reinforcement experiments. He was listed as killed in action, but kept alive in a lab. I could not help but note with some surprise the emotional tone in which the normally collected geneticist described these events.
When Snake asked why she had not volunteered the truth of the Ninja's identity earlier, Naomi had only a terse reply. "It was classified information." According to records she had seen, the subject -- Gray Fox -- had died in an acci- dental lab explosion two years ago. I turned to Richard. "Is this true?" "What's true?" "The accident in the lab." "It's true. The cause of the explosion was never determined. Dr. Clark died in the accident, and the only remains they could find of Gray Fox were fragments of the reinforced skeleton." "So Naomi wasn't the only one who knew about this and didn't say anything." "It was classified information." Richard mimicked. Snake secured Dr. Emmerich after the Ninja's departure. Amazingly enough, the engineer had believed Metal Gear to be a portable tactical missile defense system, rather than a nuclear-capable tank. It was a peculiar irony that the chief developer himself had been unaware that the project was one of offense, rather than defense.
On discovering that he had been deceived, Dr. Emmerich volunteered his expertise to Snake. He mentioned his grandfather's involvement in the Manhattan Project, and the ethical turmoil the man had carried with him to the end of his days as a result. Ironically enough, the older scientist's son, Hal Emmerich's father, was born the day the atomic bomb had found Hiroshima. "Three generations -- sometimes I wonder if nuclear warfare is our personal albatross, an inherited pathology." We could hear the pain and the regret in Dr. Emmerich's voice. He seemed genuinely upset that the technology he had developed purely for the furthering of knowledge and betterment of mankind had been exploited for weapons development. You may call me harsh, but I felt little sympathy for him. Technological and scientific innovation need not have direct bearing on nuclear or virological research to contribute to the making of weapons of mass destruction.
After all, the Ninja was born of genetic engineering and cybernetic research, which could easily have healed a civilian rather than improved upon a soldier. A scientist cannot plead naivete to the practical products of their own research. The consequences must be anticipated, and the ethical burden of a newly developed technology must ultimately rest with the individual researcher. I wondered if Dr. Emmerich would ever realize that onus. Freed from the laboratory where he was being held, Emmerich cloaked himself with a stealth camouflage of his own making and promised to keep out of sight. With the stealth camo, he could easily evade the terrorists' surveillance. His rescued charge safe, Snake departed for a rendezvous with Meryl.