The Big Shell was anything but an offshore cleanup plant.
Otacon received word from an anonymous source that, once again, a new model of Metal Gear was under development, this time at the alleged decontamination facility. Snake set off to the Big Shell only to find that it had been seized and captured by radical members of the formerly anti-terrorist Class “A” unit Dead Cell, as well as Russian mercenaries led astray after the death of Sergei Gurlukovich. A clean sweep was already under way, executed by the Navy, to eliminate the terrorist threat and rescue President James Johnson, newly inaugurated into the White House. The President had been inspecting the progress of the offshore plant, along with several members of the presidential cabinet and the Pentagon at the time of Dead Cell’s takeover. Disguised as a Navy SEAL, himself, Snake infiltrated the facility from beneath its central struts.
It was not long before Snake came face-to-face with an operative from Special Operations Unit FOXHOUND – a man calling himself “Raiden.” Snake looked on in uncertainty, as the unit had been disbanded nearly four years ago following his actions at Shadow Moses Island. Skeptical to place trust in the FOXHOUND recruit, Snake resorted to using an alias, acting under the guise of Iroquois Pliskin, Lieutenant Junior Grade. However, regardless of his lack of faith in the blonde-haired man, Snake aided Raiden by Codec, advising him about weapons, the enemy, and the Big Shell.
SEAL Team 10 had already been completely wiped out, bar Peter Stillman, a retired, legendary bomb disposal expert who had descended into the decontamination facility with Bravo Team. Having found Stillman alive, the two warriors listened intently to him as he informed them of the immediate threat: several explosive charges had been planted throughout the Big Shell. As opposed to manually disposing of each bomb, Stillman handed each operative an atomizer that could freeze the C4 packages for up to twenty-four hours. Snake made his way to Shell Two, the second area of the Big Shell entirety, to defuse the explosives there, while Raiden remained in Shell One to carry out his half of the task at hand.
With each disposal, the circumstances grew murkier; both Snake and Raiden reported the location of the bombs they found, only further alarming Stillman to the possibility of a much greater threat. Weary of this, Snake rapidly headed to the bottom of Shell Two to investigate – Stillman’s fears proved to be anything but imaginary, as a massive amount of C4 explosives were hidden beneath the shell’s struts. As Raiden froze the last miniature package, Hell became undeniable veracity. Within a few short moments, Shell Two erupted into flames, and several of the struts collapsed under their own weight. Stillman shrieked in horror as the immense explosion pilfered his last, fiery breath.
Raiden sprinted toward Strut A of Shell One, the incontrovertible location of the second colossal C4 charge. With a mere fifteen seconds to spare, he managed to freeze it, rendering it immobilized, and finally eliminated Dead Cell’s foremost threat to both the Big Shell and the President of the United States. As he approached the lift to return to the surface, however, Dead Cell’s leader, Fortune, confronted him. The two soldiers commenced in battle – Raiden found himself powerless, as every projectile that came within a few meters of the mystifying woman swerved around her, deflected by a bizarre electromagnetic force field. Just as the FOXHOUND warrior began to submit to Fortune, a second member of Dead Cell by the name of Vamp confidently strolled into the chamber. Raiden dashed to the side from behind a crate and fired one concluding shot toward the two terrorists – the bullet wildly danced around the woman until it came to an abrupt halt, ripping through the flesh of her jaded comrade.
Blood trickled down Vamp’s pale cheeks as he plummeted to the tinted floor, his eyelids shut within watery eclipse. Fortune sunk to her knees and coddled the lifeless victim as Raiden fled the scene, the soft, chilling breeze sweeping away her cries of anguish.
“Vamp … are you gone …? No … that death was meant for me …! Why am I the only one that can’t die?! How much longer will you force me to live?! How much longer, dad …?”
A single, salty tear dripped onto her fallen companion – Vamp’s eyes shot open. He spoke almost blissfully as Fortune gazed on in bewilderment. “No need for sorrow, Queen. I died once, already … I can’t die twice.”
As Raiden proceeded toward what was left of Shell Two to rescue the President, Snake finally awoke – the prior explosion had knocked him unconscious for nearly an hour. Almost immediately thereafter, Otacon reported the location of the new Metal Gear; the entire facility was the new model, or rather a guise for the armed fortress, codenamed Arsenal Gear. In an attempt to save the hostages from the impending terror, both of the Philanthropists hijacked a Kasatka, a Kamov helicopter, to transport them to shore.
Raiden slowly made his way across the bridge that connected Shells One and Two, his handgun constantly whipping in each and every direction. The thunderous resonance of the Kasatka screamed overhead as Snake gestured down to him – Raiden smirked up at him as the aircraft began to turn away from the overpass.
“I’ve been waiting for you!”
The FOXHOUND recruit jerked around and found his weapon’s sights trained to the silhouette of a dark figure at the bridge’s end – a man emerged from the shadows of the facility. Raiden grinned as he spoke. “So, you’re the boss around here …”
“No, not just around here. I’m the boss to surpass Big Boss, himself! Solid Snake …”
A voice from above echoed down upon the two men. “No! That is not Solid Snake!”
Raiden snapped back toward the hovering Kasatka – Snake grimaced as he glared at the terrorist, pulling back on the trigger of his M4 Assault Rifle.
“Brother, I’m a whole different game from Liquid!” the white-haired leader declared. Bullets rained down upon him, launching him off of the bridge into the watery depths below. However, instead of sinking into the bay, the man fell onto an awaiting Harrier 2 hovering beneath the overpass, piloted by none other than Vamp. The fallen terrorist hopped into the cockpit of the fighter jet, his expression tinted with blistering resentment.
Snake’s eyes widened in horror; the Kasatka had utterly no prospect of standing up to the Harrier. Raiden slowly turned toward the helpless Kamov helicopter as the legendary warrior threw a Stinger Missile Launcher down to him, informing him that he was their only chance of survival.
After several minutes, Raiden finally managed to defeat the Harrier and sent it crashing below; however, Metal Gear RAY, the same unit from the tanker two years earlier, immediately caught it in midair as it rose from the salty waves. Raiden shrieked in terror as the walking behemoth launched several missiles into the air, nearly destroying the entire bridge, and also damaging the helpless Kasatka, in the process. Otacon was forced to land on the heliport of Shell One, while Raiden proceeded into the chamber of the President’s alleged detainment.
The sun began to sink into the vast ocean as Raiden found himself staring into the horrified eyes of James Johnson. Raiden lowered his handgun in relief – the President was alive. However, Johnson soon drowned the premeditated rescue in incomparable mystique, claiming that the terrorists had not a desire for money or power. Instead, they sought the destruction of the Patriots. Raiden gazed at him, assaulted by confusion, while Johnson chuckled.
“I’m not surprised you’ve never heard of them. Very few are aware of their existence, even among those with codeword clearance. Politics, the military, the economy – they control it all. They even choose who becomes President. Putting it simply, the Patriots rule this country. It’s all a show. ‘Democracy’ is just a filler for textbooks!” Johnson proclaimed. “This county is shaped and controlled as the Patriots see fit. The people are shown what they want to believe. What you call government is actually a well-staged production aimed at satisfying the public!”
Raiden stood in disbelief as the President continued. “The Patriots – even I don’t know who the actual members are. Are they financial, political, or military leaders? No one knows who the Patriots really are. Even my instructions come from a cutout. All I’ve been told is that every key decision is made by a group of twelve men known as the Wisemen’s Committee. Whether you believe it or not, the balance of power rests in the hands of the Patriots. They regulate the country’s various interests though controlled presentation, staging a ‘drama’ that is palatable to the general masses. Can you imagine what would happen if they ceased to function? Like it or not – the Patriots is an organization that must continue to exist.” President James Johnson turned as he spoke, asserting that Solidus Snake – the third, well-balanced clone in the Les Enfants Terribles project, and the leader of the terrorist faction – would declare war against the Patriots once he obtained the new Metal Gear: the demon below the Big Shell, itself … Arsenal Gear. Before Johnson could explain further, the sound of death reverberated within the chamber walls; Revolver Ocelot smirked as he lowered his smoking gun from the assassinated President.
In shock, Raiden turned toward the lower levels of the Shell Two Core in search of Emma Emmerich, the woman whom Johnson deemed the only one who could stop Arsenal Gear. After making his way through the flooded core, the bemused operative located the woman – the forgone half-sister to Otacon. She explained that she had created a virus, a “digital” counterpart to FoxDie that could corrupt Arsenal Gear’s artificial intelligence systems.
The operative escorted a helpless Emma across the oil fence that connected Shells One and Two, hoping to rendezvous with Snake and upload the virus into Arsenal’s system. However, her path hastily found itself stained in tinted wine; Vamp surfaced from beneath the waves and seized the defenseless woman. With a final pull of the slippery trigger, Raiden launched a lifeless Vamp into his watery grave.
Within seconds, a deafening scream plagued the Atlantic as Emma collapsed onto the narrow bridge, blood pouring from her knifed torso. Snake rushed out from Shell One, lifting her over his back and carrying her into the Shell One Core where Otacon awaited. The two struggled futilely to save her; blood surged incessantly from her tarnished body as Raiden sprinted toward the scene of imminent death.
Both soldiers began the upload of the virus into the computer system as Otacon sank to his knees beside his sister.
“Hal …?” Emma muttered, her voice weak. “Can I … can I ask you one last favor …? Call me … call me … ‘Emma.’ Please call me … Emma.” Otacon looked into her hazy eyes as she lifted her hand to his cheek – her hand drifted to the floor as she passed away into eternal sleep.
Otacon burst into tears as he held his breathless sister in his quivering arms. Finally, he rose to his feet, determined to fulfill his duty and rescue the hostages of the Big Shell. The three men turned toward the exit, their resolve of an unparalleled essence, as Emma’s sodden eyes gazed at her grieved brother for the last time. As Raiden stood before the elevator to descend into Arsenal Gear, Snake facetiously spoke.
“You can come out now.”
Olga Gurlukovich, the leader of the Russian band of mercenaries and daughter to the murdered Colonel Sergei Gurlukovich, dropped from the ceiling and struck Raiden with her High Frequency blade, knocking him unconscious. Olga, having discovered that Ocelot was responsible for her father’s death, used Raiden as a decoy to attract the attention of the terrorists, providing Snake with an opportunity to infiltrate the colossal weapon.
Once Raiden awoke within the foyers of Arsenal Gear, Olga explained to him her reasons for betraying her own troops. Less than two years had passed since she had given birth to a beautiful baby, only to have her child ripped from her arms by a subordinate division of the Patriots. Olga’s defenseless child’s life now solely depended on Raiden’s success, forcing her to turn her back on her own Russian comrades. If the FOXHOUND operative’s nanomachines ceased to function, her only remaining family would be immediately executed.
As a newly determined Raiden made his way through Arsenal Gear in search of Solid Snake, he began to receive strange Codec transmissions from the colonel of Big Shell exercise. Each conversation seemed more outlandish than the last, the colonel constantly stumbling over his entirely arbitrary and awkward statements, as if controlled by a malfunctioning computer program.
The bemused soldier continued deeper into the murky corridors of Arsenal Gear and found he staring into the visage of Solidus Snake, the same man he had encountered prior to his confrontation with the Harrier 2. Solidus elaborated on his intentions, declaring that he would bring an end to the reign of the Patriots and truly liberate the United States of America once and for all. Within moments, an onslaught of mass-produced Metal Gear RAY units marched toward Raiden, all controlled by GW, Arsenal Gear’s main artificial intelligence system.
The young warrior was quickly forced into submission by the eternal wave of machines, helpless to resist against his imminent death, when Olga Gurlukovich appeared at his side. Raiden called out to her, fearing for her life, only to realize such pleas had fallen upon deaf ears.
Olga gripped her handgun tightly as she spoke. “Your nanomachines … they’re transmitting your vital signs to the Patriots. If you die, my child dies. Do you understand?” Solidus chuckled in amusement and took hold of the courageous woman, suffocating her by the throat. A dying Olga glanced back toward Raiden as she muttered, her voice trembling beneath her teary eyes.
“Live … you have to …”
The sadistic terrorist leader pulled the trigger of his assault rifle, firing a shell into her forehead. Olga fell backwards into a pool of her own blood, her cold sights still focused on a horrified Raiden. With a facetious comment, Solidus called upon the Metal Gear RAY units, once again. However, the mass-produced models began to malfunction, their artificial intelligence unresponsive – the virus was beginning to take effect. Solidus single-handedly destroyed the remaining three infected units, enraged by what seemed to be an act of none other than the Patriots.
Footsteps echoed from the opposite end of the chamber – Fortune sauntered toward the fallen Metal Gear RAYs, a handcuffed Solid Snake in her grasp. Raiden, exhausted and somnolent, managed a glimpse of his comrade before finally kneeling over into unconsciousness. When he awoke, the three remaining terrorists stood before him: Solidus Snake, Fortune, and Revolver Ocelot.
A perplexing scene began to unfold between the three individuals, and Solidus proclaimed his true objectives to the unknowing Dead Cell leader – a list of names of the Patriots. Fortune grimaced, infuriated that she and her unit had been exploited like pawns in a board game. The eerie silence that followed was quickly broken by uncontrollable laughter as Ocelot stepped forward, grinning nonsensically.
“What exactly do you find so funny?” Fortune questioned.
“Charades usually are humorous. I wouldn’t have minded watching some more of it, but we’re running a little short on time.” Solidus glared at the Russian terrorist, mystified by his sharp words, as he continued. “Everything you've done here has been scripted – a little exercise set up by us. The S3 Plan was conceived as a means to produce soldiers on par with Solid Snake. That's what I told you. But, the VR Training the boy was put through,” Ocelot gestured toward Raiden, “is not the meat of the project. You think this terrorist incident is your own doing, Solidus? This is the S3 training kernel – an orchestrated recreation of Shadow Moses.”
Solidus’s eyes widened in fury as Ocelot continued. “The President’s death – the computer virus that mimics FOXDIE. Did you really think they were all a coincidence? As for the President – although Johnson realized what was going on, he played out his allotted part. As for the computer virus, it's a digital counterpart of FOXDIE. It was also designed to eliminate every scrap of information regarding the Patriots from GW. Your plan was invalidated even before execution, Solidus. The project has no room for failures!”
“What do you mean?!” Solidus shouted.
“Given the right situation, the right story, anyone can be shaped into Snake. Even rookies can fight like men of experience. An instant creation of genius – and, this training kernel will provide more than enough data to formulate such a program. You, Dead Cell, Olga – you're all nothing but pawns placed to create the perfect simulation.”
A scene of destruction transpired between the deceived and the deceiver. Ocelot fired upon Fortune, easily disposing of her, and leaped into the Marine Corps’ Metal Gear RAY prototype. “Now that I have enough data, all I have to do is retrieve Arsenal ... and, clean up the refuse from the exercise.”
Just before the Russian traitor could fire upon the three remaining men, his right arm began to throb in pain, just as it had on the tanker two years earlier. A piercing scream reverberated within the machine of death as Liquid Snake, once again, seized control of his body. Liquid called out to his brothers in excitement, claiming that he retained the knowledge of where the Patriots were located, and turned to dive into the salty ocean with Metal Gear RAY. In a futile attempt to stop him, Snake managed to muster enough strength to break free of his damaged handcuffs and dove into the sea after the brother of dark.
Arsenal Gear continued to wade through the waves until it crashed into lower Manhattan, hurling Raiden and Solidus onto the rooftop of Federal Hall. As Solidus asserted his wishes to triumph over the Patriots and liberate the United States of America, Raiden received a strange call from the colonel once again. The colonel had been operated by an artificial intelligence all along, indicating why he had malfunctioned when the virus began to take effect. However, only GW, the Arsenal artificial intelligence system, had been corrupted … there was still another system under the influence of the S3 – a protocol titled “Selection for Societal Sanity.”
The colonel spoke to Raiden with a newly found resentment for human nature, claiming that it, itself, was humanity’s only hope in a generation of excess digital and unnecessary information. Humans had exercised their right to “freedom,” and a wasteland of fiction and pollution of a rotting society was the result. Raiden found himself plagued by a series of “truths,” each more disturbing than the last. His entire mission had been nothing more than a staged drama, and his role had consisted of nothing more than fulfilling the wishes of the Patriots, acting as a mindless weapon of creation. The colonel pronounced that the time for the final exercise had come and commanded that Raiden take down Solidus. Raiden refusal to play into the Patriots’ hands any longer was quickly conflicted by the final words of Olga Gurlukovich: Live … you have to …
Solidus could only chuckle at the shroud of misleading fabrications that the Patriots had fashioned around the mindless masses of the United States of America. A few short moments before the final battle commenced between the two, the man of liberty spoke of what he knew of Raiden’s past; years before, during the Liberian Civil War, Solidus had murdered Raiden’s parents and taken him in as a foster child, utilizing him as an adolescent soldier in the war. At the mere age of ten, he had assembled an unmatched kill record, earning himself several nicknames like “White Devil” and “Jack the Ripper.” In a final confrontation between the two warriors, Raiden emerged victorious, sending Solidus plummeting to his death several stories below.
Snake returned to shore and located an indomitable Raiden, who now stood alone in front of Federal Hall. He convinced him that he had done the right thing, and that the realities the Patriots had forced upon him were only as real as he would allow. Having planted a tracking device on Metal Gear RAY, Snake intended to set out and end the terror of the Patriots once and for all. In addition, he informed Raiden that the disc Emma had used to install the virus into the Arsenal artificial intelligence system could also be used to discover the location of the Patriots. In an instant, Snake vanished into the shadows as quickly as he had appeared.
Raiden remained on the busy streets of Manhattan as Rosemary – Raiden’s pregnant girlfriend and analyst of his newly successful mission – approached him. The two decided to live a new life, free of violence or betrayal, together. A single man watched the two lovers from afar, his hair gently swaying in the tinted wind … Vamp.
Immediately subsequent to the Big Shell incident, Otacon, who had managed to rescue the hostages from the offshore plant, analyzed the disc’s data. He informed Snake of the material he discovered, including the fact that a member of the covert organization had been one of Philanthropy’s foremost contributors. However, all of the twelve most significant men of the Patriots, known as the Wisemen’s Committee, were already dead, and had been for almost one hundred years. Snake, overcome with unparalleled confusion, uttered three words under his breath … What the hell …?
This is it … this is where the new story began … where fiction transformed into truth … where Hell became reality.
-- Summary by Grant Gordin, Metal Gear Solid: The Unofficial Site