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Tyler stepped back, neatly avoiding the third shot as Ocelot rolled into a shooter's position. "I didn't spend all this effort just to have it wasted by you." Tyler's hand came up with a gun.

Ocelot's gun was faster. "You should know not to go up against me with a gun!" The bullet ripped through Tyler's hand.

Snake had no weapon. There was only one choice. Get rid of Ocelot's advantage. Snake rushed at Ocelot. The fifth bullet raced towards him. Snake raised his arm and let it hit him, lodging itself in his arm instead of Otacon's head.

The pair hit the ground with a thump. Snake pushed past the pain in his arm and concentrated instead on pounding Ocelot's head into the floor. He could hear a struggle besides his own, but had no energy to deal with it. Hal would have to do it on his own.

He set the thing up, after all. Ocelot was reaching for his gun again, and Snake moved his uninjured arm around, grabbing his wrist and twisting.

Gunshots. He turned his head. Hal was ducking behind his chair. Ocelot grabbed his attention back with his uninjured hand, a punch to the bullet wound he'd given Snake earlier.

"Watch out!" shouted Hal.

Snake had no time to react as Tyler crashed into the fight. Ocelot used the distraction to reach for his revolver. One shot left, thought Snake grimly. He and Ocelot struggled with the gun, each trying to get the requisite strength to turn the other's aim away.

Ocelot fired.

*****

There was no reason to hide. Not anymore. "Snake?"

"I'm sorry, Hal, but it's for the best." Hal's heart sank.

"I thought in the end, you'd support us, Mei \cf1Ling\cf0."

"The Patriots are a plague on humanity. They've been using the two of you to create peace here, and war throughout the rest of the world. He would have changed that."

"How would he have done that?" asked Hal skeptically.

"By taking over."

"So you sold us to Ocelot?"

She shook her head. "No!" She began again, more gently. "No, I didn't sell you to anyone. I was hoping you'd be able to make a deal with him. He was your chance to be who you were born to be."

"I was happy being who I was."

Mei Ling frowned. "Anne Sexton said, 'It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember him to be.' But she was wrong! It matters what your past was, because it's a part of what your future will be.

"I want it to stop, Hal. All these wars are killing us. We need one government that looks after the interests of everyone. You were supposed to be the person who led the world. You and one of Big Boss' clones. But you can't do it. They changed you. Ocelot can do it." She looked back. "Could have done it.

"You ruined it." Her eyes dulled.

"Ruined it? Snake's dead! Tyler's dead!"

"And who brought Ocelot and Durden together?" she demanded.

"I thought Ocelot was setting us up. I wanted to know what was going on. You could have just told me!" He shook his head. "I thought we were friends, Mei Ling." He looked down.

"Hal, you spend all your time with Snake. He's your friend. I'm just someone you know from work."

"And now Snake is..." Hal sat down heavily. "You know, it doesn't matter why we were here, Mei Ling. You had no right to manipulate us."

"Neither did Durden."

"I guess that means I should be used to disappointment?"

Neither of them said anything for an uncomfortable moment.

"I'm going to go," said Mei Ling softly. "I wish things hadn't turned out like this."

Hal closed his eyes and listened to the footsteps. He took a deep breath.

His head snapped up as the hand fell on his shoulder. "So that's how it ends," said Dave quietly. "Spies and traitors. And us."

Hal relaxed, then tensed again. "Us. It always comes down to us." He shook his head. "I'm... glad you're okay. I thought you were dead."

"Yeah. Ocelot and Durden are. You okay?"

"Sure." Hal smirked. "We... okay?"

Dave grunted and gave a nod. He smiled the smile that only Hal ever got the chance to see.

"We're weapons then. For war or for peace, but controlled by someone else no matter what."

"'We make war that we might live in peace.' Aristotle." Hal tilted his head and looked at Dave. "We want peace, and we can make it happen, Hal. Our way. With our rules."

Hal shook his head. "A weapon doesn't bring peace. All it can do is make war go on forever."

Snake shrugged. "It's all in your perspective. Nuclear weapons weren't made to continue war. They were used twice, then kept as threats. They're so powerful that their only use is genocide. In the age of nuclear proliferation, the top brass creates weapons like Metal Gear in the hopes that they will never be used."

"You think they're made so they'll never be used?"

Snake shrugged. "Maybe not always. But I'd be willing to bet it's how our predecessors thought. Metal gear, us? Same thing. Weapons of war. Created in the name of peace."

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