The floor was similarly too hard to break through with brute force. Even for the great Solid Snake, Hal doubted it would be an easy task to break through solid concrete. From the sound of it, it had to be at least 3 inches deep.

There was one door in the room, locked from the outside, of course. From the inside, there were signs of neither keyhole nor, in fact, doorknob. A window in the door allowed some light into the room, but it was barred. He'd found out the hard way that the things were electrified.

Still, the situation wasn't hopeless. Hal refused to believe that. Not while he and Snake were both still alive. He spared a glance at his cellmate.

Snake's chin was starting to show something like 2 day's worth of shadow. Hal rubbed his own lightly stubbled face irritably. It wasn't as though they thought he'd go after them with a razor blade... Snake's hair was still matted at the back from the blood he'd shed. Truthfully, Hal was starting to worry about how long it had been since the soldier had been awake.

The lights had been turned off and on a few times.. Hal was hungry and tired. He couldn't sleep in these conditions, and they hadn't brought any food around, though they had forced him to drink an obscene amount of water in the morning, or at least, what he thought must have been morning. They'd poured it down Snake's throat as well. Hal thought they might wake him, or worse, choke his friend, but luckily, he hadn't drowned, only sputtered a bit.

Even if they escaped, Hal wasn't quite sure where they'd go. But as long as they didn't get their memories erased, he supposed it didn't much matter...


Dave groaned and looked around. His memory seemed to be intact. If he could remember there was a reason to need to remember something, his memory had to be reasonably intact. "Hal?" Dave sat up and leaned against the wall.

"Snake! You're awake! It's been a while."

Dave tilted his head. "Where are we? And why aren't our memories erased?"

"Well, I'm not sure where we are. We were on the chopper for... a long time." Hal shrugged. "As for our memories, well, he said there was something wrong with the mechanism. He looked upset about it."

Dave nodded. "Anything about this place?"

"I haven't found a way out, if that's what you mean." Dave nodded and began looking around. "You think... maybe we should talk? About... well... you know. Everything."

"More important to get out just now," said Dave absently.

Hal took a breath. "Right." There was a long and rather uncomfortable pause. "Don't touch the bars."

Dave looked at them. He could just see the wires. With a little luck, he should be able to... "Anything they didn't take off you? A pencil, a screwdriver...?"

"No. They thought you might make a weapon out of it..."

Dave nodded. "What are your glasses made of?"

"Uh... titanium and plastic. Why?"

"Give them to me." He grabbed the glasses from Hal's head, then, holding them carefully by the lenses, used the frames to gently pull at the wires connected to the bars.

Hal stood and walked to him. "Snake!"

"You want to get out of here or not?"

"Still. Give a guy a bit more warning."

Dave gave a non-committal grunt and continued prying the wires with Hal's glasses. The wires shifted back and forth as he moved the glasses, carefully positioning the arms under the connections. "Snake, I think someone's coming."

"Just a few more seconds," Snake hissed. He could hear them outside now, fumbling for keys, still walking towards the door. He redoubled his effort, smiling slightly as the arm went under, then pulling up sharply. He handed the glasses to Otacon before half collapsing against the wall as sound of the unlocking door penetrated the room.

"Still asleep?" Roy Campbell again. A few steps, then a kick, hard, into his side. Snake let himself fall farther to the side with the kick. "Sit down, boy."

"I'll stand, if it's all the same." Hal, don't play that game...

There was a dull thump, and a held-back grunt of pain. "It's not."

There was a brief pause. "So what do you want?" Snake dared cracking one eye open. "Here to gloat about how everything turned out like you wanted?"

He'd fallen into a position where he could survey the entire room. Fortunate... Snake was not one to ignore luck.

"You're wrong about that, boy." A nameless soldier brought him a chair at an unspoken command. Roy sat. "It wasn't supposed to be like this, you know that, boy?"

"How was it supposed to be?" Hal was sitting on the floor, arms clutched around his midsection.

"You weren't supposed to know about this. Do you know how much effort we have to put into a story now, just to make sure the two of you don't come looking again?"

"Do you expect me to feel sympathetic?"

"Do you want to know all of this about your past, Hal? Wouldn't you like the slate wiped clean?"


"His betrayal of everything you are... wouldn't you like to just forget it?" Roy's face looked almost... compassionate. "That your father worked with Big Boss, his progenitor? You and he could be a team again, just like always. No niggling questions about what someone else was planning, just the two of you, working to keep America strong. Or the rest of the world weak, if you'd rather see it like that."

Otacon's eyes darted towards Snake. "I don't want that. Not a chance. Grandpa, I..."

"Want to live your own life, I expect?" He waved a hand and the soldiers backed out of the room. Leaving the door open. "I'm sure you see why I can't let you do that." Otacon was slowly backing away from Roy, who had stood and was slowly advancing. "I'd have liked your cooperation. Makes the process easier. But don't worry, boy. This won't hurt much, and all those complicated questions and issues won't matter to you anymore." Otacon's back was to the wall and Roy had a hand on Otacon's shoulder.

Now! thought Snake, pushing himself off the wall, shouldering Roy away from Otacon. The colonel's arms went up automatically to grab the back of Snake's collar as he maneuvered himself to Roy's back. His hand quickly found the gun at the colonel's waist and Roy stood stiffly still as the pistol was placed at his head. "This time, I know how many bullets there are, Roy."

"Do you." The words came out as a statement.

"Otacon, stay behind me."

"Right," whispered Otacon.

"And now, we're going to leave," Snake announced. There were no sounds to indicate that anyone had heard him, but he cautiously walked out the door, Otacon trailing behind him, Roy as a shield in front of him. "Where did everyone go," demanded Snake.

"I thought you were unconscious. My mistake. I didn't need them to guard one little computer soldier. I had them leave."

"What all of them?"



"Remember when I went on that little mission?" Snake nodded. "This is that place."

"That's right, gentlemen. This is probably the most heavily guarded building in America. It has to be, with the quantity of weapons grade uranium we have here."

Snake tightened his grip. "Shut up. Okay, Otacon, you know the layout of this floor?"

Otacon shook his head slowly. "The layouts weren't really the same as what was on the building plan."

"Then how do you know this is the same place?"

"The layout is what it should have been... Look, this place is based on keycards. Gr- The colonel has to have one."

"Right. Otacon, search him for the card. Colonel, hands out to the side, slowly."

Snake kept the Colonel from moving while Otacon searched the man, looking uncomfortable. Still, better him being uncomfortable searching his grandfather than unable to shoot when necessary.

"Got it," said Otacon after nearly thirty seconds.

"And how do you expect to get out? Do you know where the stairs are, boys?" Otacon was looking worried.

"I told you to shut up, Roy. Otacon, get behind me." He glanced around. They were in a long hallway, doorways at intervals along the corridor. "There's only two directions. We'll go-"

"Gentlemen, if you continue with this, my men will shoot you both without hesitation. Snake, you're a right mess, no one who sees you will imagine you've not escaped from something. And Hal can't do espionage without one of those sneaking suits. I don't want either of you dead, but-" Snake pulled the gun away from Roy's face, spun it in his hand, then brought the butt down on the back of his head. Roy collapsed on himself.

"Snake, he's an old man!"

Not that old, thought Snake in annoyance. "Come on, Otacon." He took his friend's hand and pulled. "I'm sure we'll be detected soon, if we haven't already been."

Snake chose a direction at random, and the pair followed the hallway to the end without incident. They used the Colonel's card and gained access to the stairs without anyone noticing them. Up the stairs, and a close call with a member of staff. The only difficult part was in the lobby. Snake knocked on a wall and dragged Otacon out.

"We're safe now, right, Snake?"

"Yeah. Yeah, pretty much."

"Then I think it's time for that chat."

Security started boiling out of the building behind them. Dave wasn't very interested. "Right. Let's go somewhere and talk." They didn't talk immediately, of course. If you didn't want to have to scan for enemies while you were talking, you needed a place. If you wanted a place, you had to have money. Snake retrieved money and all the portable equipment from their apartment.

They needed somewhere quiet, but not too quiet. Neither of them wanted eavesdroppers. Dave insisted on a place where he could smoke, and Hal had already decided that he wanted a coffee of some sort. Something deluxe, with as much caffeine as possible. Hal took care of finding a coffee shop that fit the criteria.

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