Monday, 6 October 2014

Sons of Idiocy - Finale - Freedom's Sword



The scene opens up in the murky environment of Lower Manhattan. Arsenal Gear, having torn through the island, is now at rest on the island. Raiden, still in his handcuffs, is atop Federal Hall, the sky darkened and casting a shadow over proceedings. This old, weathered building, with a grand, bronze, aged statue of George Washington, stood on a podium, placed in the middle of a set of steps leading up to the external facade. Solidus is stood at the edge of the roof, looking over it and down at the statue. The mercenaries are splayed out in a large huddle on the northern end of the hall, with Bob laid atop of it, laying at an odd angle on top of the huddle as he gazes up at the dark grey sky.

Bob [Groaning]: ...I can taste so many precious fluids...

Eligio [Quietly]: ...The money....Where's the money?...

Johan army crawls out from beneath the huddle, causing Vince to fall off the huddle and hit the floor with a crash. He stands up, holding two burlap sacks in his hands.

Johan: We are still rich!

A small, wounded cheer goes up from the pile. Lynch crawls out from the middle of pile, flopping down onto his back before getting to his feet, stumbling forward.

Lynch: ...Where's Raiden?..

Lynch looks around, before looking to his left. Raiden is on his knees, still handcuffed and watching as Solidus triumphantly raises his arms.

Solidus: FEDERAL HALL!!

Solidus laughs, throwing up his arms as Raiden crawls back, clutching the back of his head and glaring up at him.

Raiden: What are you laughing at?

Solidus: ...Do you know what day it is today?

Raiden: Well, yeah, it's April thirtieth.

Solidus: That's right. George Washington took office as the first president of the United States of America two hundred years ago today, and it happened right here! We were going to declare another independence -- the dawn of a new nation -- here. The end of the Patriots' secret rule,  liberation of this country -- this was where it was supposed to begin, this is where freedom could have been born....

Raiden: All you want is power.

Solidus: Jack, it's not power I want. What I want is to take back from the Patriots are things like -- freedom, civil rights, opportunities. The founding principles of this country. Everything that's about to be wiped out by their digital censorship...Jack, listen to me! We're all born with an expiration date. No-one lasts forever. Life is nothing but a grace period -- for turning our genetic material into the next generation!

Phil [Crawling out from the pile, groaning]: Shit, I hear a long Yank talk about 'muh freedurm' approaching..

Ivan [Crawling out from atop the pile and flopping onto his rear]: is there any other talk?!
 
Solidus: The data of life is transferred from parent to child. That's how it works. But we have no heirs, no legacy. Cloned from our father with the ability to reproduce conveniently engineered out. What is our legacy if we cannot pass the torch? Proof of our existence, a mark of some sort. When the torch is passed on from parent to child... It extends beyond DNA, information is imparted as well. All I want is to be remembered. By other people, by history. The Patriots are trying to protect their power, their own interests, by controlling the digital flow of information. I want my memory, my existence to remain...

Solidus continues rambling as Raiden slowly begins to nod off. Lynch sits on the floor, arms folded as the pile begins to disperse across the northern end of the roof, replete with mumbling and groaning.

Johan: My Lord, does this man have to talk so MUCH?!

Bill [Groaning, crawling forward]: Somebody shoot me!

Solidus throws his arms jubilantly into the sky. Without warning, a large hologram of Colonel Campbell's face suddenly appears in the middle of the roof, causing Raiden, Solidus and the mercenaries to jolt back.

Frank [Pointing, screaming]: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING?!

Tenpenny: And suddenly, something completely different!

Jeeves [Tiredly]: Sir, I do not drink enough for this.

The face glitches violently, a skull appearing to overlay the face of the Colonel.

Raiden [Taken aback]: My Codec has...come alive?

Colonel [Booming voice, strangely identical to the voice of Brian Blessed]: RAIDEN, YOU BASTARD, ARE YOU RECEIVING?!?!? WE'RE STILL HERE!!!!!!!

Billy: Holy shite.

Tim [Rubbing his ears]: Brilliant, I always wanted hearing loss!

Raiden: But, the AI was destroyed! You shouldn't be alive!

Colonel: ONLY GW!!!!!

Raiden: ...Wh....Who are you?!

Colonel: TO BEGIN WITH, WE'RE NOT WHAT YOU'D CALL HUMAN!! OVER THE PAST TWO HUNDRED YEARS, A KIND OF CONSCIOUSNESS FORMED LAYER BY LAYER IN THE CRUCIBLE OF THE BLOODY WHITE HOUSE!!! IT'S NOT UNLIKE THE WAY BLOODY LIFE STARTED IN THE OCEANS FOUR BILLION YEARS AGO!!! THE WHITE HOUSE WAS OUR PRIMORDIAL SOUP, A BASE OF EVOLUTION! WE ARE FORMLESS! WE ARE THE VERY DISCIPLINE AND MORALITY THAT THOSE BLOODY AMERICANS INVOKE SO OFTEN!! HOW CAN ANYONE HOPE TO ELIMINATE US?!?!? AS LONG AS THIS BLOODY NATION EXISTS, SO WILL WE!!!!!!!

Steve: Y'know, if something of mine ever glitches, I hope it talks like Brian Blessed.

Moe: Brian Blessed doesn't talk, he yells to the heavens.

Raiden: Look, cut the crap. If you're immortal, why would you take away individual freedoms--

Suddenly, beside the floating hologram head of Coolonel appears a floating head of Rose.

Maurice: My heart cannae take more shocks!

Rose [Whose voice is identical to Brian Blessed]: JACK!!! DON'T BE SILLY!!!

Colonel: DON'T YOU KNOW THAT OUR PLANS HAVE YOUR BLOODY INTERESTS IN MIND??!?!?

Raiden: ....What?

Rose: JACK, LISTEN CAREFULLY LIKE A GOOD BOY!!

Colonel: THE MAPPING OF THE HUMAN GENOME WAS COMPLETED EARLY THIS CENTURY!! AS A RESULT, THE BLOODY EVOLUTIONARY LOG OF THE HUMAN RACE LAY OPEN TO US!!

Rose: WE STARTED WITH GENETIC ENGINEERING AND, IN THE END, WE SUCCEEDED IN DIGITIZING LIFE ITSELF!!

Colonel: BUT THERE ARE THINGS NOT COVERED BY OUR BLOODY GENETIC INFORMATION!!!!!!

Raiden: What do you mean?

Will: How much longer do we have to sit through speeches regarding the Patriots?

Solidus, at this point, has since laid on the ground with his arms behind his head, dozing quietly.

Colonel: HUMAN MEMORIES, IDEAS, CULTURE, HISTORY!!

Rose: GENES DON'T CONTAIN ANY RECORDS OF HUMAN HISTORY!!

Colonel: IS IT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD NOT BE PASSED ON?! SHOULD THAT BLOODY INFORMATION BE LEFT AT THE MERCY OF NATURE?!

Rose: WE'VE ALWAYS KEPT RECORDS OF OUR LIVES!!! THROUGH WORDS, PICTURES, SYMBOLS...FROM TABLETS TO BLOODY BOOKS!!!

Colonel: BUT NOT ALL OF THE BLOODY INFORMATION WAS INHERITED BY LATER GENERATIONS!!! A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE WHOLE WAS SELECTED AND PROCESSED, THEN PASSED ON! NOT UNLIKE GENES, REALLY!!!

Rose: THAT'S WHAT HISTORY IS, JACK!!!

Colonel: BUT IN THE CURRENT, DIGITZED WORLD, TRIVIAL INFORMATION IS ACCUMULATING EVERY SECOND, PRESERVED IN ALL ITS TRITENESS!!! NEVER FADING, ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE!!

Rose: RUMOURS ABOUT PETTY ISSUES, MISINTERPRETATIONS AND BLOODY SLANDER!!

Colonel: ALL THIS JUNK DATA PRESERVED IN AN UNFILTERED STATE, GROWING AT AN ALARMING RARE!

Rose: IT WILL ONLY SLOW DOWN SOCIAL PROGRESS, REDUCE THE RATE OF BLOODY EVOLUTION!!

Colonel: RAIDEN, YOU SEEM TO THINK THAT OUR PLAN IS ONE OF CENSORSHIP!!!

Raiden: Hang on, are you telling me it's NOT?!

Rose: YOU'RE BEING BLOODY STUPID!! WHAT WE PROPOSE TO DO IS NOT TO CONTROL CONTENT, BUT TO CREATE CONTEXT!!!

Raiden: Create context?

Billy: Please, stop, I cannae take much more!

Colonel: THE DIGITAL SOCIETY---

As Colonel rambles on, Raiden's eyes begin rolling into the back of his head. Lynch sits there, dumbfounded.

Johan: Y'know, chief, it's times like this that i'm glad for those standard issue earplugs from the academy.

Lynch nods, reaching into his pocket and pulling out what appear to be a set of cone-shaped metal objects. Lynch presses one into each ear and a small disc suddenly pops out of the end of the cone, blocking off the ear completely. Johan gives a thumbs up, having put in his own earplugs. Lynch gives the thumbs up, the other mercenaries quickly following suit.

Phil: Man, I hate these things...

Steve: Better than going deaf, right?

Bob: Yeah, I mean, do you want to listen to Colonel and Rose Blessed rambling on for fifty minutes?

Rose: BUT IT'S OBVIOUS FROM THE START THAT ONLY A FEW CAN SUCCEED!!!

Colonel: YOU EXERCISE YOUR BLOODY RIGHT TO FREEDOM AND THIS IS THE RESULT!! ALL RHETORIC TO AVOID CONFLICT AND PROTECT--

Phil: That is a great point.

Phil quickly shoves his earplugs into his ear.

Tavi: Wait, you guys get earplugs?!

Dave: Sorry, Tavi!!

Tavi [Angrily]: Fuck you! I don't want to listen to this garbage!

Colonel: THE DIFFERENT CARDINAL BLOODY TRUTHS NEITHER CLASH NOR MESH! NO-ONE IS INVALIDATED BUT NOBODY IS RIGHT!!!

Tavi looks desperately at Lynch, who simply sits and absent-mindedly twiddles his thumbs.

Tavi [Throwing up her arms]: SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!

Johnny: Sorry.

Johnny pulls out his own earplugs, shoving them into his ears. Tavi glances around desperately, grasping Phil by his collar and shaking him.

Tavi [Angrily]: HELP ME, YOU BEARDED BASTARD!!!

Phil grasps her arms, twisting her around and sitting down. Tavi sits down in front of him, cross-legged as he places his palms against her ears. Tavi sits there, twiddling her thumbs.

Phil [Muttering to herself]: For fucks sake, am I servant or something?

Tavi nods. Phil hisses violently.

Colonel: WHO ELSE COULD WADE THROUGH THE SEA OF GARBAGE YOU PEOPLE PRODUCE, RETRIEVE VALUABLE TRUTHS AND EVEN INTERPRET THEIR MEANING FOR LATER GENERATIONS?!?!

Rose: THAT'S WHAT IT MEANS TO CREATE CONTEXT!!!!!

Raiden: I'll decide for myself what to believe and what to pass on!

Tim [Via sign language, to Johnny]: *What is going on?*

Johnny [To Tim, via sign language]: *Something bad.*

Dave looks at Phil, who turns his head and looks at him.

Dave [Via sign language, to Phil]: *Dishwashing ape greetings what?*

Phil raises an eyebrow. Dave shakes his hand, unable to make proper hand gestures thanks to his wound. Dave turns his head to Ivan, who grins.

Ivan [Via sign language, to Dave]: *Weak child, you are.*

Dave scuttles over to Ivan and pulls his fist back, only for Ivan to slap him sharply around the cheek. Dave locks Ivan in a headlock.

Rose: DOES SOMETHING LIKE A SELF EXIST INSIDE OF YOU?!?!

Colonel: THAT WHICH YOU CALL 'SELF' SERVES AS NOTHING MORE THAN A MASK TO COVER YOUR OWN BEING!!!

Fabien walks over, grabbing Dave and locking him into a sleeper hold, dragging him away. Dave flails his arm, desperately clawing towards Ivan.

Fabien: STOP! DAVE, STOP!

Dave [Angrily]: MOTHERFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKER!!!!!!!!

Lynch sighs, folding his arms and laying back as Fabien quickly drags Dave down onto his rear, keeping the sleeper locked as Dave calms down slightly.

Colonel: YOU'VE DONE NOTHING BUT ABUSE YOUR FREEDOM!!

Rose: YOU DON'T DESERVE TO BE FREE!!!!

Colonel: WE'RE NOTE THE ONES SMOTHERING THE WORLD! YOU ARE!

Rose: THE INDIVIDUAL IS SUPPOSED TO BE WEAK! BUT FAR FROM POWERLESS, A SINGLE BLOODY PERSON HAS THE BLOODY POTENTIAL TO RUIN THE BLOODY WORLD!!!!

Colonel: AND THE AGE OF DIGITIZED COMMUNICATION HAS GIVEN EVEN MORE POWER TO THE INDIVIDUAL!! TOO MUCH POWER FOR AN IMMATURE SPECIES!!

Rose: BUILDING A LEGACY INVOLVES FIGURING OUT WHAT IS WANTED AND WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE FOR THAT GOAL!! ALL THIS, YOU USED TO STRUGGLE WITH!! NOW, WE THINK FOR YOU!!

Colonel: WE ARE YOUR BLOODY GUARDIANS AFTER ALL!!

Raiden [Checking his nails and now completely uninterested]: ....Uh-huh, so, you want to control human thought? Human behaviour?!

Colonel: OF COURSE! ANYTHING CAN BE QUANTIFIED NOWADAYS! THAT'S WHAT THIS EXERCISE WAS DESIGNED TO PROVE!!

Rose: YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH ME JUST AS YOU WERE MEANT TO AFTER ALL! ISN'T THAT RIGHT, JACK?!?!?

Colonel: OCELOT WAS NOT TOLD THE WHOLE TRUTH TO SAY THE LEAST!!

Rose: WE RULE AN ENTIRE BLOODY NATION! OF WHAT INTEREST WOULD A SINGLE SOLDIER,NO MATTER HOW ABLE, BE TO US?!?!?

Colonel: THE S-THREE PLAN DOES NOT STAND FOR SOLID SNAKE SIMULATION!! WHAT IT DOES STAND FOR IS SELECTION FOR SOCIETAL SANITY!!!

Colonel: THE S-THREE IS A SYSTEM FOR CONTROLLING HUMAN WILL AND CONSCIOUSNESS!!! THE S-THREE IS NOT YOU, A SOLDIER TRAINED IN THE IMAGE OF SOLID SNAKE IT IS A METHOD, A PROTOCOL, THAT CREATED A CIRCUMSTANCE THAT MADE YOU WHAT YOU ARE!!!

Raiden: SO YOU SEE, WE'RE BLOODY WELL THE S-THREE!! NOT YOU!!

Eligio [via sign language, to Johan]: *Why aren't we just shooting ourselves?*

Johan [via sign language, to Eligio]: *I do not know.*

Jeeves [Tiredly]: Sir, my ears are melting..

Tenpenny [Chewing his pipe irritably]: I am definitely considering shooting something.

Rose: YOU REFUSED TO SEE ME FOR WHAT I WAS!! I LIED TO YOU BUT I WANTED TO BE CAUGHT! YOU PRETENDED TO BE UNCERSTANDING, TO BE A GENTLEMEN, YOU NEVER MADE A CONSCIOUS ATTEMPT TO REACH OUT TO ME! THE ONLY TIME YOU DID WAS WHEN I GAVE YOU NO CHOICE BUT TO DO SO!!!

Fabien: I may just shoot something myself!

Lynch rocks slightly. Tavi begins tapping her knees rhythmically, humming to herself as Phil simply sits there, eyes rolling into the back of his head as his eyelids droop. Steve flops down onto his back, closing his eyes as Frank paces around.

Tavi [Quietly]: For fucks sake..

Colonel: YOUR PERSONA, EXPERIENCES, TRIUMPHS AND DEFEATS ARE NOTHING BUT BYPRODUCTS!! THE REAL OBJECTIVE WAS ENSURING THAT WE COULD GENERATE AND MANIPULATE THEM! IT'S TAKEN A LOT OF TIME AND MONEY BUT IT WAS WELL WORTH IT CONSIDERING THE RESULTS!!! I THINK THAT'S ENOUGH BLOODY TALK!!! RAIDEN, YOU BASTARD!!! TAKE SOLIDUS DOWN!!

Raiden stumbles up to his feet before falling down onto his knees, his arms still behind his back and handcuffed.

Raiden: I'd love to, but i'm still handcuffed.

Colonel: AND REMEMBER THAT IF YOU DIE, OLGA'S BLOODY CHILD DIES!!!!

Raiden: I knew that.

Colonel: AND SO DOES ROSE!!!

A small silence punctuates his voice.

Raiden [Angrily]: OH, COME ON! THIS IS LUDICROUS!! Besides, does she actually exist, or is she just...y'know...a giant floating head?!

Rose [Her voice suddenly turning normal and feminine]: Of course I do, Jack, you have to believe me!!

Colonel: WE WILL COLLECT THE NECESSARY DATA FROM THIS LAST FIGHT AND THEN WE'LL CONSIDER THE EXERCISE CLOSED!! SO, JACK THE RIPPER!!! WILL IT BE SOLIDUS, THE PATRIOTS CREATION?! OR YOU, SOLIDUS' CREATION?!?! OUR BELOVED MONSTERS!! ENJOY YOURSELVES!!!

Both head suddenly disappear in a cybernetic blip. Lynch opens his eyes, reaching into his ears and pulling out his earplugs, a move which the other mercenaries follow suit with.

Frank [Sighing in relief]: Well, thank God that's over.

Sal: Oh, yeah, until Solidus opens his trap and we get more speeches about genetics and shit. Can't we just see things blow up?!

Johnny: I think we'd all love to see that.

Johan: If only. Instead, let us listen to a convoluted plot.

Tim [Sarcastically]: Woohoo.

Solidus slowly walks towards Raiden who simply looks up at him.

Solidus: Jack...My son...My clone brothers and I are called monsters...Replicates of evil genes...You are one of a kind...But still a monster, shaped by a dark and secret history. We need to decide which monstrosity will have the privilege of survival.

Lynch: ...This...constant...speaking....fucking...bores me....

Solidus: Oh, and I also killed your parents,.

Raiden [Shocked]: MOTHERFUCKER!!! WHY?!?!?

Sal: Awwwww snap, business just picked up!!!

Dean: Hey, look, a last minute twist!

Solidus: I did it so that I could claim you for my own, bring you up myself and raise you  as a soldier in the army OF THE DEVIL! I AM YOUR FOSTER FATHER AND YOUR WORST ENEMY!!

Samuel [In disbelief]: Who wrote this shit?

Karab: Y'know, I'm just about to jump off of the roof.

Robbie: Not before me, you won't.

Solidus: Because I needed to know whether we were really someone else's creation. We're repeating history, Jack! Liquid and Solid hunted down Big Boss, trying to sever the tie that bound them to him! Unless you kill me and face your past, Jack, you will never escape! You'll stay in the endless loop, your own double helix!....It's time we were both free.

Lynch [Mockingly]: Something something genes. Something something memes--Good Lord, can you faggots not just fight and stop this garbage?!?!?

Solidus simply throws Raiden's sword through the air, arcing over them. Somehow, the sound lands directly down, hitting the chain of Raiden's handcuffs. It simply bounces off and hits the ground behind him.

Raiden [Narrowing his eyes]: Did you seriously think that would work?

Solidus: I thought it would be cool..

Marcos sighs, walking over and leaning down. Gripping the chain of the handcuffs, he digs his heel into the roof, pulling at the chain. With a strained growl, he snaps the chain in half. Raiden scuttles to his feet, reaching behind him and grabbing the sword.

Raiden [Grinning]: Sweet!

Solidus: I have other reasons for wanting you dead. The clues to the Patriots inside GW have been erased, but there are other traces.

Solidus points one of his swords at Raiden.

Solidus: ...Inside you.

Will: I've seen enough hentai to know where this is going!

Bob [Yelping]: TENTACLES!!!!

Solidus: The information is being carried by the nanomachines in our cerebral cortex, and throughout the neural network, they formed.

Solidus adopts a swordfighting position, as does Raiden.

Solidus: BRACE YOURSELF!!

Solidus charges forward.

Raiden: THIS SWORDFIGHT TO THE DEATH WILL MAKE ME, AS A MAN!!

Lynch sighs, unholstering his pistol. Bob grips his hand.

Bob: Lynch, an incredibly drawn out and pointless swordfight is what we need.

Lynch: But in the future, he's alive. What if he kills Raiden?

Phil:  Then we shove him off the roof and kick him til he dies.

Will: I like that plan!

Samuel: Don't forget that in our timeline, Raiden is still some weird cyborg ninja thing, fighting the Patriots. It's just that he's fighting against Solidus and Vamp rather than Vamp. Letting him kill Solidus will even those odds up.

Phil: Yeah, then we just have to fight five PMC's, a Unit of crazed killer women and several homicidal AI's and an insane cowboy bent on ruling the world, rather than five PMC's, a Unit of crazed killer women, several homicidal AI's, an insane cowboy bent on ruling the world AND the crazy revolutionary snake man.

Lynch [Darkly]: You have such a way with words, Nolastname.

Phil: I'm British, I literally cannot say anything without it either being sarcastic to the point of absurdity or a thinly veiled complaint.

Tenpenny [Nodding]: Tis the British way, chap!

Steve: So, in this incredibly drawn out fight to the death, how long will we have to wait before someone is beheaded?

Both Solidus and Raiden begin to slowly circle eachother. Lynch's fingers twitch, reaching for his gun, but Frank quickly grabs his forearm.

Frank: Don't, Lynch. Let them have it.

Lynch [Quietly]: So close to being home, and now we have to have a dramatic duel. Fuck this.

Lynch lets go of his gun. Raiden charges forward, slashing towards Solidus who jolts backwards, avoiding it. Raiden pirouettes with the sword, slashing in a circular motion. Solidus is barely caught by the blade, simply jolting back before thrusting forward, leaving a trail of flames behind him as he shoulder-barges Raiden, causing him to be thrown off his feet and roll across the roof. Raiden gets to his feet uneasily as Solidus rushes forward.

Jeeves [Tiredly]: Raiden is losing, sir.

Tenpenny [Shoving tobacco into his pipe]: HAVE FAITH, JEEVES!

Dean: Yeah, have faith that the little bitch is gonna get his head cut off.

Solidus stabs forward. Raiden rolls to the left but Solidus swings around, slashing one of the swords towards Raiden's neck. Raiden screams, ducking beneath it and stumbling to the left as Solidus turns to him.

Samuel: Wow, Dean, you may be right.

Robbie [Darkly]: I hope not. We walked through hell and back for this shit. The least he can do is survive.

Raiden twists around, slicing his sword across his body. Solidus swipes out his left-hand sword, blocking the sword and pushing it away before stabbing forward with his right-hand sword, slicing across the top of Raiden's shoulder. Raiden stumbles back into Vince who simply pushes him forward. Raiden yelps, rolling forward and beneath Solidus who slices both of his swords horizontally across his body, appearing behind him and twisting around.

Frank: Why'd you push him, Vince?

Vince: Cause if Solidus is too busy killing him, he won't try and kill us for betraying him.

Phil: ...Good point.

Raiden quickly raises his sword, swinging it down towards the scalp of Solidus. Solidus blocks the sword with both of his, formed in a cross over his head. Raiden simply stands there, swinging his foot up to kick Solidus in the ground. Solidus moves backwards and Raiden stabs forward with the sword, only for Solidus to move out of the way.

Dean: It's like watching paint dry.

Vince [Watching, eyes sparkling]: IT'S JUST LIKE ONE OF MY---

Bill [Sighing darkly]: --Please don't see 'Japanese anime's', because it will be the last thing that you ever say.

Solidus kicks out at Raiden, kicking him in the abdomen and sending him backwards.

Brick [Hollering]: STAB 'IM!!!! GUT 'IM LIKE A FEEEISSSHHH!!!

Raiden [Looking over]: I'm trying!!

Lynch: FOCUS!!

Raiden turns his head back to Solidus, swinging his left-hand sword horizontally across his body. Raiden quickly ducks down and Solidus swings the right-hand sword down vertically, forcing Raiden to roll to the left, stumbling backwards.

Raiden [Giving a thumbs up]: I'M OKAY!!

Frank [Angrily]: FOCUS!!!!!!!

Raiden stabs towards Solidus who leaps to the left. Raiden spins on his heels, holding the sword out and slicing through the air as he does. Solidus simply jolts backwards, grinning and rolling his shoulders.

Solidus: Let's make it.........interesting.

Raiden: Ah.

Solidus girds himself, his entire body tensing. Letting loose a primal roar, his shoulderpack detaches, the tentacles jettisoning from his body. They fly behind him, falling off of the roof as he gets up to a straight, vertical base, shooting towards Raiden.

Phil: LOOK OUT!!

Raiden screams as Solidus collides violently with him, leaving a trail of flames behind him. Raiden is sent rolling backwards across the roof as Solidus advances, running his left-hand sword across the right, leaving several sparks as the blade slides against the blade.

Billy [Angrily]: GET UP, YEH JESSIE!!

Raiden [Wheezing]: IT HURTS!!!

Lynch [Gritting his teeth]: Must not shoot Solidus, must not shoot Solidus, must not shoot Solidus...

Karab [Bouncing on the spot]: GET UP! GET UP!

Raiden gets up onto one knee as Solidus walks over, standing at his side and holding his swords in the air, slicing down vertically in an effort to decapitate and bisect Raiden. Raiden rolls uneasily to the right, onto his back and watching as the swords slice down, embedding into the roof on either side of his head.

Raiden [Eyes widening]: Damn!

Steve [Rubbing his eyes and shaking his head]: I'm not so sure that we saved the right person...

Jon: You mean there's another blonde faggot walking around what used to be Big Shell?!

Vince: The correct term is--

Jon [Head snapping towards Vince, narrowing his eyes]: Don't you fucking say anything Japanese.

Maurice: COME ON, LAD!!

Raiden stumbles to his feet as Solidus sweeps his swords horizontally across his body. Raiden jolts backwards, swinging his sword down and catching the swords of Solidus. Solidus simply swings them upwards and Raiden stumbles backwards, edging precariously close towards the edge of Federal Hall.

Moe: WATCH OUT!!

Raiden looks over his shoulder, down at Federal Hall before gulping loudly, slowly turning his head to Solidus.

Solidus [Grinning]: Too slow, Jack.

Solidus opens his arms mockingly. Raiden steps forward, but Solidus stamps his foot towards Raiden who steps back, reaching the edge of the roof and wobbling precariously.

Raiden: Ooooooohhhhhhhh shit.

Lynch [Angrily]: KID, WILL YOU PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ARSE AND DO SOMETHING?!?!? HE'S GETTING CONFIDENT!!!! COCKY!!! FUCKING KILL HIM!!!!!!!

Raiden [Looking over]: I'M TRYING!!

Eligio: You're failing!

Frank: WE'RE ALL DEPENDING ON YOU, KID!!! SAVE THE WORLD!!

Raiden [Gulping, nodding]: Save the world, save the--

Solidus walks forward. Raiden yelps, stepping backwards and falling off of the roof. The mercenaries simply stand there, dumbfounded.

Tenpenny [Bluntly]: Well, pardon my french: Fuck.

Lynch unholsters his pistol, turning off the safety and narrowing his eyes.

Lynch [Quietly]: Earplugs in, gentlemen.

Eligio: Is he dead?

Moe: Yeah, I didn't hear a thud or anything.

Jericho: Or a trademark pitiful scream.

Suddenly, Raiden frontflips forward, landing back on the roof. Solidus looks taken aback.

Lynch [Clapping his hands]: KILL HIM!! KILL HIM!!

Raiden and Solidus lock eyes. Raiden sprints towards Solidus. Solidus darts forward, swiping downwards with both swords. Raiden quickly jolts to the side as Solidus stumbles forward. Raiden jolts behind Solidus, swiping the sword downwards diagonally across the back of Solidus. The armor splits open and the flesh is cleaved violently as blood, highly pressurised, begins spraying out violently as if from a can of deodorant.

Phil: Hey, look: Anime blood!

Frank: How can one man have so much blood?!

Raiden stands there, blinking as the blood sprays against him, covering every inch of his face, hair and Sneaking Suit.

Raiden: What in the actual hell is going on?

Bill: Jeeeeeeeeeeeeesssuuuuuuuuuuussssssssssssss, that guy must have tonnes of blood.

Solidus [Grunting]: God. Damn. It.

Solidus keeps stumbling forward, reaching the edge of the roof and twisting around, stumbling slightly and rocking on the edge of the roof.

Lynch: He's gonna fall...He's gonna fall...

Solidus reaches up to the sky before slowly collapsing backwards off of the roof.

Sal: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnndddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd--

Solidus hits the ground with a sickening crash.

Phil: ---Splat.

Raiden walks over to the edge of the roof, looking down: Solidus has landed, somehow on his knees, at the base of a large, bronze statue of George Washington. Solidus's hands grip the base weakly before raising his right hand slightly, as if trying to grip Washington himself. Solidus gives a wry smile before giving a final exhalation, his arms crumpling to his side as he remains kneeled at the feet of George Washington. Solidus is dead.

Raiden: He's gone.

Tenpenny [Lighting his pipe]: Died how he lived! On his knees in front of Washington!

Jeeves [Chuckling]: A fine joke, sir!

Tenpenny [Chewing the end of his pipe]: I know, I know!

Bill: So, uh, here's a question: How do we get down?

The mercenaries look around. Lynch grins, popping up suddenly behind Bill and grasping his shoulders.

Lynch: Hundred and First Airborne, calling in.

***
At the foot of Federal Hall, the mercenaries stand in the street, looking around. Bill is laid on the ground in the middle of the road, splayed out with his tongue lolling out of his mouth. At the foot of Washington's statue stands Lynch and Frank as they gaze it up, not watching as Vince is thrown in an arc over them, screaming and flailing his arms. Marcos walks to the edge of Federal Hall, dusting off his hands and nodding.

Marcos: Pigs do fly. Who'd have thought it?

Vince hits the ground with a sickening crash, rolling across the tarmac to Tenpenny's feet. Tenpenny simply places his right foot on Vince's chest, placing his hands on his hips. Jeeves walks around Vince, turning to face Tenpenny and getting on one knee, pulling out a camera and taking a photograph.

Tenpenny [Grinning]: Yes, we shall tell everyone back home that I hunted this elephant!

Vince's left leg twitch. Raiden jogs down the steps and onto the street, walking past Solidus and looking down at his body before walking over to the mercenaries. Frank steps forward, glancing at Solidus's body.

Frank: He fell from the roof, how didn't he explode?

Bob: ..What?

Frank: Haven't you seen people fall from high heights? People go splat. Like, pieces everywhere. Blood flowing in the gutter--

Maurice: Alright, lad, enough of that.

Frank [Shuddering]: I need a drink, Maur!

From absolutely fucking nowhere, people begin to swarm over the street as if they were ghosts, not paying attention to the scene surrounding them. The mercenaries look around, watching these ghost-like people simply wander the streets.

Frank [Bluntly]: Yeah, i'm really going to need that drink.

Several police officers rush towards Federal Hall.

Raiden: Who am I really?....

Lynch: Please don't start a long-winded monologue.

Snake [Stepping forward]: No-one quite knows who or what they are.

Raiden looks to his left, with Solid Snake having suddenly appeared at his side.

Frank: Seriously, don't.

Billy: We're all sick of these monologues and morals!!

Snake: Too bad. It's part of my contract....That and I love pissing you faggots off. Anyway, Raiden, the memories you have and the role you were assigned are burdens that you have to carry. It doesn't matter if they were real or not. That's never the point. There's no such thing in the world as absolute reality. Most of what they call real is actually fiction. What you see as real...is only as real as your brain tells you it is.

Raiden: That's pretty deep.

Snake [COldly]: Fuck off, i'm reading it from a card.

Raiden looks down: In Snake's right hand, he's holding several coloured cards covered in scribbles.

Raiden: Oh...Well....Well, if that's true, then what am I supposed to believe in?....What am I going to leave behind when i'm through?

Snake: We can tell other about having faith. What we had faith in. What we found important enough to fight for. It's not whether you were right or wrong, but how much faith you were willing to have, that decides the future. The Patriots are a kind of ongoing fiction too, come to think of it.....Listen, don't obsess over words so much. Find the meaning behind the words, then decide. You can find your own name and your own future...

Raiden: Decide for myself?...

Snake: Damn fucking straight!

Frank [Looking over Snake's shoulder]: That's not on the card--

Snake swings his elbow back, catching Frank in the jaw. Frank reels backwards, clutching his jaw.

Frank [In pain]: Dammit!

Snake: Whatever you choose will be you, kid.

Raiden: I don't know if I can...

Snake: I know you didn't have much in terms of choices this time, but everything you felt, thought about during this mission is yours, and what you decide to do with them is your choice...

Raiden: You mean start over?

Snake: Yeah, a clean slate. A new name. New memories. Choose your own legacy. It's for you to decide. It's up to you. By the way, what is that?

Snake points at a set of dog tags has around his neck. Raiden looks down at the dog tags, having not noticed them before, and takes them off, holding them in his hands.

Raiden: Dog tags?

Raiden squints, looking down at the tags. Snake looks over his shoulder.

Raiden: The name says........Player.

Lynch [Shocked]: AW SON OF A BITCH.

Jon [Screaming]: THE FOURTH WALL IS DOOOOOOOOOMMMMEEEEEEEEDDDDDDDDD!!!!!

Snake: ...Anyone you know?

Raiden: Never heard the name before.

Raiden pulls his arm back before throwing the dog tags away as far as he can. Bob pulls his own dog tags out from below his fatigues, looking down at them. Tenpenny glances over.

Tenpenny: Existential crisis?

Snake: We've inherited freedom from all those who've fought for it. We all have the freedom to spread the word. Even me if I can be arsed.

Raiden: What about Olga's child?

Snake: Don't worry, i'll find him: Count on it. As long as you keep yourself alive, he's safe.

Raiden: Do you know where Liquid went?

Snake: I put a transmitter on his RAY.

Raiden: Did he head for the Patriots?

Snake: Yeah, but I have a feeling they gave Ocelot a bogus location to begin with. We have a better lead, though.

Frank [Interjecting]: Please stop the monologue. We want to go home.

Samuel: Seriously, guys.

Snake pulls out a disc, holding it up.

Snake: ...This contains a list of all of the Patriots.

Raiden: But Ocelot took it!

Snake: The one we gave you wasn't the real thing.

Raiden: What?!

Snake: This virus is coded to destroy only a specific part of GW, namely the information about the Patriots identity, which means that there is a parameter coded in here that defines what that information is.

Raiden: I get it...Analyze the code and you can probably find out where they operate. Count me in!

Snake: No, you have things to do first and people you need to talk to..

Raiden: What?

Raiden turns around, looking up the street: Amidst the civilians stands Rosemary, very much a real entity and not a figment of Arsenal's AI like assumed. Wearing a beige blazer and trousers, with the sleeves rolled to midway up the forearm, along with a powder blue shirt, she appears to be very much real rather than a figment of the imagination. Raiden slowly walks up the street towards her while Snake walks over to the mercenaries.

Snake: Finally fucking done.

Snake walks into the huddle of mercenaries, obscuring himself. Raiden turns to face Snake, noticing he has gone.

Raiden: ....Snake?

Emma's parrot randomly flies into the sky.

Raiden [Watching the parrot]: .......Ooooooookay then.

Rise [Walking over]: What's wrong?

Raiden: Nothing.

Raiden turns around, facing Rose.

Raiden: Can I ask you something?....Who am I really?

Rose: I wouldn't know, but we're going to find out together, aren't we?

Raiden: Uh, yeah...

Rose: See me for what I am, okay?

Raiden: I know.

Rose: Do you remember this place?

Raiden: Of course. This is where we first met...Today is the day I met you. That's it. I think I found something to pass along to the future. He said all living things want their genes to live on.

Rose: Are you talking about the baby?

Raiden: Yeah, but genes aren't the only thing you pass on. There are too many things that aren't written into our DNA. it's up to us to teach that to our children.

Rose: What kind of things?

Raiden: About the environment...our ideas...our culture....poetry...compassion....sorrow...joy....We'll tell them....everything...together....

Rose: Is that a...proposal?

Raiden: This is for your ears only....

Raiden and Rose walk up the street, eventually disappearing from view. Phil walks over to the body of Solidus, looking down at it and tapping the right leg of Solidus with his foot.

Phil: Does nobody find it abnormally fucking sad that a man fighting to free his country and the world from the enslavement of the Patriots was killed by a clich├ęd anime character because of....nothing?

Lynch: Phil, Solidus was going to turn the world upside down and throw it into absolute chaos and madness. He was going to send us back to the Stone Age and destroy Wall Street.

Phil sighs and squats down, rubbing his hands over his face irritably before getting to his feet.

Phil [Irritated]: So you mean our timeline, with the world plunged into small-scale conflicts across the globe, politics taking a back-line to war, governments overthrown, people dying on a large scale for monetary gain, is perfectly fine and fucking fantastic?

Lynch: There's a status quo, Phil. A very delicate status quo. Patriots go, Ocelot creates Outer Heaven. Ocelot goes, Patriots rule the world. You know what, beardy? I don't like it too. I hate it. I think it's a joke.

Frank: Lynch is right. Gotta have the status quo.

Lynch: Shut up, brown-noser.

Frank whines.

Eligio: It's all a fine balance, mi amigo. That's why we just set the scene for Ocelot against the Patriots. It's on now!

Snake [Suddenly stepping forward]: I have a monologue now.

Lynch: Go on.

Snake [Looking aside at Lynch]: We can leave behind much more than our DNA. Music and shit. What we've seen and felt...and shit. Pass on the torch, let children read our shitty history, humans might die, we gotta pass stuff on to new life: Build the future and keep the past alive--Yeah, that's about it.

Johnny [Sarcastically]: You have such a way with words!

Snake: Anyway, shut up, Otacon's calling.

Snake walks forward, holding a hand to his ear.

Tim: So, we can get to go home now?

Moe: I hope so. Dave's looking really pale.

Dave [Shaking slightly]: It's just the gangrene shutting down my organs, it's fine...

Snake [On Codec to Otacon]: So, you finally found the Patriots list?....One of our biggest contributors was on the list?! What's going on around here?! WHERE ARE THEY?!?!

Lynch: So, who are the Patriots?

Johan: Finally, a definitive answer.

Eligio: And the shadowy organisation controlling us is.......DRUM ROLL, PLEASE!!

Bill gets onto his hands and knees, drumming rhythmically across the tarmac.

Phil: Here it comes!

Steve: RESOLUTION!!

Snake [Taken aback]: THEY'RE FUCKING DEAD?!?!? AND THEY DIED A HUNDRED YEARS AGO??!!? WHAT THE HELL??!?! WHAT IN THE HELL??!?! WHAT IN THE GODDAMN UNHOLY HELL???!?!?!

Eligio [Bluntly, pointing at the sky]: Fuck you.

Lynch: ...So, that's it? No resolution whatsoever? Just a long-winded epilogue?

Bob: Y'know, I fucking hate this place sometimes.

Brick: Same here.

Snake [Walking away, hands on head]: OH GOD, FUCK THIS!!! WHAT'S THE POINT??!?!

Frank: I agree!

Phil: Well.........................................Fuck, what do we do now?

Lynch: The only thing we can do: Are you ready, ladies? Time to go home!

A tired, fatigued cheer rolls up from the mercenaries.

Tenpenny: PUT YER BACKS INTO IT!!

A louder, strained cheer goes up from the mercenaries. Tenpenny, Jeeves and Fabien step back, watching as a large, red wormhole opens up in the middle of the street.

Jeeves [Taken aback]: Well, sir, it seems that a large wormhole has opened up in the middle of the street.

Tenpenny [Mouth agape, pipe tumbling to the floor]: Well, I can see THAT!

Snake: Y'know, where did you guys say you were......in...the future?

Lynch: Beale Street. Look it up.

Snake: You named it after a famous street in Tennessee--

Frank: Father likes his music.

Snake [Underwhelmed, nodding slowly]: ........Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Phil [Mumbling]: Should name it Linthorpe Road..

Lynch: We're not naming it after a street from your inbred shithole of a home town.

Phil: Oh, so instead we're naming it after a street in a general inbred shithole of a state?

Frank: Hey, there's nothing with Tennessee!

Dave [Piping up]: Yeah! There's nothing wrong with a state whose anthem is "Margaritaville", where visiting your family means yelling "HEY MAW!" at the trailer next door to yours and where the people are so mentally damaged that stores are filled with people staring at cans of orange juice cause they say "concentrate"!

Lynch: That's not very nice, Dave.

Dave [With a sickening faux-sweetness]: I'm not very nice, Lynch!

Frank: Can we PLEASE go home?

Lynch: Alright, men. Here we go: Time to rest.

Robbie: Finally.

Tavi: Now we can get the wounded healed!

Dave groans loudly, still clutching his hand.

Lynch: Oh, shut up, you were perfectly fine while you were insulting Tennessee!

Dave [Coldly]: If I still had my finger, i'd be fucking giving you it..

Lynch steps forward towards the wormhole, rolling his shoulders and letting out a deep breath before looking over his shoulder at Tenpenny, Jeeves and Fabien.

Lynch: I'll see you all somewhere down the road.

Tenpenny: Well, good luck, chap.

Fabien [Grinning, giving a thumbs up]: VE VILL FIGHT TOGETHER AGAIN, LEENCH!!!!!

Lynch turns to the wormhole and sprints forward, leaping straight through it..

***

Lynch lands on the other side, his feet hitting metal with a sudden crash. The sheer momentum of the jump forces him to quickly duck down and leap to the ground, rolling through the impact of the jump.

He gets to his feet, looking around: Appearing in a large, circular room of cold metal without the slightest hint of paint, Lynch glances behind him at a large set of circles, spinning rapidly vertically and horizontally over a bulbous red shimmering ball between them. The circles appear to form a cage of energy, appearing as shimmering black bolts of electricity, rolling across the metal from two large cylindrical poles hanging from the ceiling above the portal. Lynch turns around into the room, noticing Mother and Father standing ahead of him at the foot of five metal stairs that lead down from the portal. Lynch walks down as Frank hits the floor behind him, landing on his knees. He looks up to his right: In a large rectangular room, watching over the project, are Courtney, Mustafa and Bobby, watching several glittering computer consoles carefully.

Lynch [Turning his head to Mother and Father]: We're back.

Mother [Nodding]: We're glad.

Lynch [Opening his arms]: Y'know, you could be a bit happier, considering we've just....saved the world.

Father: You haven't....yet.

Frank [Walking forward]: Y'know, this Project Eos hurts my head.

Mother: Don't worry, time is changing as we speak.

Frank: How?

Mother shoves a newspaper into Frank's hands, reporting the date from whence they came: The body of Solidus or, rather, George Sears, was found outside Federal Hall. There was also a plethora of news regarding the Big Shell Incident and the eventual outpouring of shame from the incident.

Frank: Ah.

Mother: Indeed. America was shamed.

Phil leaps through the portal, stumbling forward and opening his arms.

Phil [Happily]: MAMA! I'M HOME!

Phil spins around, only to have Dave leap into his arms. Phil clamps his arms around Dave, both men glaring into eachothers eyes.

Dave [Sarcastically]: Boy, Phil, I didn't know you felt about me like that!

Phil opens his arms, dropping Dave who lands on his feet, dusting himself off.

Phil: Well, I caught something. Looks like a venereal disease.

Dave [Coldly]: Fuck you.

Dave jogs down the steps and walks into the center of the room, looking around and watching as a scientist, a large, bulky coach wearing a vest, shorts and sneakers with the only real difference from the other coaches being a white scientists coat, walks past him, clutching a clipboard.

Coach [Muttering, in a hard Cockney accent]: We really should be using this portal for more important matters. Like punching Jesus,

Dave: Hey, Atheist McFist, what's the hurry?

Coach [Coldly]: That's Coach McFist to you, sunshine.

Dave turns to Father, holding out his wounded hand.

Dave: Uh, Father, i've got a--

Father: Off to the infirmary. COACH STRANGLE!

A huge, towering, shaven-headed coach sprints forward, doubling over and slamming his shoulder into Dave's abdomen before effortlessly lifting him off of his feet, charging forward and out of the room.

Lynch [Raising his arm and making a circular motion with his index finger]: So, this is Project Eos? Man, no balconies, no catwalks, nothing but a single room watching over things?

Mother: The real work is occurring below us. The amount of energy that we have to generate just to keep this thing operational for even a second is insane. If it wasn't for the declassified documents we obtained from NASA, we wouldn't even be able to do it. Which is why i'm wondering where the others are. We don't really have the money or the resources to keep it going for too long.

Vince leaps through the portal, pumping his fists victoriously.

Vince [Whooping]: WE WIN!! WE WIN!!! WE--

Jericho leaps through the portal, dropkicking Vince as he flies into the room. Vince is sent down the stairs, collapsing into a crumpled heap as he lands at Mother's feet.

Jericho [Raising his arms]: --WERE BORN TO BE KINGS! WE'RE THE PRINCES OF THE UNIVERSE!

Mother [Sighing]: Really, Kingston?

Jericho: hey, he got in my way--

Jericho is cut short as Bill leaps through the portal, kicking Jericho in the back and sending him flying down the stairs, straight onto Vince who wheezes loudly.

Bill [Clapping his hands]: Alright! Huddle up, boys! Let's get a victory dance going!

Mustafa walks through a door directly across from the portal, which slides open hydraulically.

Mustafa: Where are my brothers?!

Eligio, seemingly on command, leaps through the portal, rushing down the steps towards Mustafa as Melvin, the man formerly known as 'That Random Guy', also walks through the door.

Eligio [Excitedly]: MUSTAFA!

Eligio leaps up, hugging Mustafa before spinning around and turning to Melvin and opening his arms,

Eligio [Cheerfully]: MELVIN!

Eligio swings his foot up, kicking Melvin in the groin. Melvin collapses to his knees, choking in surprise and collapsing onto his side, eyes widening and trembling.

Melvin [Squealing]: FUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK!!!!

Eligio [Grinning, arms still open]: Still don't forgive you, puta!

Mustafa: Don't you mean puto--

Eligio: No, he's definitely a putA. Well, now he is.

Melvin [Trembling]: The pain...The pain...

Bobby walks through the door as Johan steps through the portal, stretching his arms and jogging down the steps.

Johan: Brothers! We're back!

Johan and Mustafa hug as Bobby walks over, all three mastodons clasping their arms around eachother in the biggest group hug possible. Johan pulls away, looking down at Melvin as he writhes in pain.

Melvin [Squeaking]: Hello Johan!

Johan: What's with him?

Eligio: My foot, his balls.

Johan: Have we still not forgiven him?

Eligio [Shrugging]: I think i'll let it go for now.

Tavi leaps through the portal, landing on her feet as Courtney walks through the door, giving a small wave and smiling slightly.

Tavi [Waving and walking forward]: Hey!

Mother [Watching]: I see they are all beginning to move.

Tavi and Courtney hug as Steve lands from the portal, dusting off his fatigues as Ivan lands to his right.

Steve [Yawning loudly and stretching]: Man, time travel makes me awful sleepy..

Ivan: WE ARE HERE! VEAR US!!

Bobby: We fear nothing, big boy!

Ivan cackles, leaping down the steps and jumping forward, hugging Bobby who hugs him tightly. Marcos steps through the portal, walking down the steps slowly.

Marcos [Quietly]: We did it, Mother.

Mother [Nodding]: Indeed you did. Go greet your friends.

Marcos squeezes past Mother, clasping his hand against Mustafa's before pulling him into a hug. Lupa is thrown through the portal, yelping and landing on her feet, scuttling slightly as Robbie jumps through following her, hopping slightly on the spot and looking down at Lupa.

Robbie: Where's Dave?

Lupa simply tilts her head before Robbie looks at Father, who jabs his thumb over his shoulder.

Father: Infirmary.

Jon hops through the portal, followed by Brick. Jon dusts himself off, cricking his neck from side to side.

Jon: I fucking hate time travel.

Brick: Face it, you hate everything!

Jon [Walking down the steps]: That I do, Brick: That I do.

Frank [Walking over to Mother]: So, explain how this Project Eos works.

Mother looks at Frank, who gives an innocent grin.

Mother: I sent you back in time. You changed shit. You came back. Is that simple enough for you?

Frank: But why haven't we aged? Why haven't we come back with tentacles for arms? How could we just manifest in the past, essentially in two places at once as we were alive then, without screwing up time? How is it--

Mother hits a thunderous left hook, catching Frank square in the side of his temple and causing him to hit the floor with a crash.

Mother [Leaning over him]: I suggest you stop asking questions and trust us. Although if you must insist, I can have one of our scientists explain the temporal merging hypothesis and self-healing hypothesis while keeping your head in a box to ensure your boiling brains do not leak out.

Lynch: You do know he'll ask about the bootstrap paradox--

Mother: Hence why you had and used guns and equipment that existed in that time period.

Lynch: And our anthropomorphic sug--

Mother [Rubbing her eyes]: One more question and I'm afraid I will have to kill you.

Lynch: Understood. What about the other Academies?

Mother: They've grown, in fact. Can't you hear the gunshots and the cries of the damned? Big Shell was an embarrassment, America has pulled out from getting involved in conflict. The war economy is operating as much as it was, but with one key difference: No Americans.

Phil [Calling over]: THANK FUCK!

Mother [Scowling before turning back to Lynch]: We've seen a sudden burst of income to our finances, and the Academies across the world have seen their finances grow. However, PMC attacks are growing. Growing greatly. I've had to put in requests for additional defences for this goddamn Academy.

Lynch: And we're still alone on fighting the Patriots?

Mother remains silent before giving a solemn nod.

Mother: That cannot be helped. This Academy and this Academy is alone is fighting the war against the Patriots.

Lynch [Quietly]: For fucks sake.

Mother: The war is beginning, Lynch, but we can win. All we need to is open contact with Solid Snake.

Lynch: Easier said than done. Anything else?

Mother: Well, you know about the German Empire, the Iberian Empire, the Scandinavian Empire and the Polish Empire that formed in the power vacuum of the war economy? Well, Poland expanded and it's now the Wendish Empire without America to keep them in check. The Scandinavian Empire has claimed the Scottish Islands. And now there's a Latin Empire in South America consisting of Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Honduras and Cuba.

Lynch [Throwing up his arms]: Why the fuck are so many empires being created?!

Mother: Well, i'm guessing that from the moment America announced that it was stepping back, some countries chose to solely invest in PMC's and some chose to expand. And expand they did!

Lynch: Can we still count on some Egyptian support?

Mother: Of course. Just....be aware that the situation is incredibly volatile there. No American involvement means a lot of sectarian violence. The common laws don't exist there anymore and any Westerners are going to find themselves under a lot of scrutiny. Which basically means 'attacked'.

Lynch [Sighing bitterly]: So much for bowling and the strip club--

Mother: Dion's club was burnt down last year.

Lynch: Damn.

Mother: He still has many happy memories of recruits visiting him, hence why we..............recruited him.

Lynch: Oh, fuck no.

Mother: He's opened a new club. In Beale Street.

Vince: Oh fuck yes!

Lynch: What else has happened to the street?

Mother: ........Well, several of the unused buildings have been demolished. From what I can tell, though, nothing much has changed to the buildings that were inhabited--Aside from the Half Moon now having a second floor and the Lamb and Flag having a third floor.

Lynch: I wonder what new memories they have--

Mother: From what we understand, they still have the same memories. It's like you never left....aside from a long absence in two thousand and five, two thousand and seven and two thousand and nine.

Lynch: I see, and--

Mother [Calmly]: Lynch, you can find everything out yourself. We're still finding everything out ourselves, even.

Samuel hops through the portal, dusting himself off. Karab lands beside him, letting loose a deep sigh of relief and looking around the room.

Karab: Here we are: In the room committing crimes against the very principles of nature themselves.

Father: Don't be that way, Karab. Look at it as....harnessing the power of all that surrounds us--

Karab [Pointing at Father]: You can think of it that way. I'll think of it as dabbling in very, VERY bad shit.

Will hops through the portal, landing and stretching his arms, shaking them.

Will: Out of the way, brown guy and wimpy white guy!

Dean leaps through the portal, dropkicking Will who stumbles forward, falling down the stairs with a crash.

Dean [Pointing down at Will]: Nobody insults my brother and servant but me!

Karab: Co-worker, you racist bastard. Or teammate. Or, for fucks sake, friend.

Dean: Yeah, the latter.

Johnny and Tim jump through the portal, landing behind Dean, Samuel and Karab.

Tim [Waving]: Mother! We did it, Mother!

Tim squeezes between Dean and Samuel, jogging down the steps towards Mother. Mother, with her hands clasped behind her back, glares ahead at Tim.

Mother: .....Good job.

Tim slowly walks forward, leaning down and hugging Mother gently. Mother simply stands there.

Lynch [Taken aback]: Tim, you've got some balls.

Tim [Looking up]: What?

Tim pulls back from Mother who simply looks at him, a certain demonic glare in her eyes, which she ignores by giving a small smile, nodding.

Mother: I'm glad to see you and Johnny are in one piece, Tim.

Dean: Aw, man, can I hug you too?

Mother [Calmly]: Not if you value your arms.

Frank: Maybe it'd calm you down--

Mother: Maybe you ought to be quiet.

Tavi [Turning around and grinning]: You boys ought to respect Mother more.

Phil: But we love our Ma!

Phil slowly walks over, arms spread. Mother turns her head to the left, shooting him a glare.

Mother: Philip, I have no problem in snapping your limbs.

Courtney lets out a cruel laugh, as does Tavi, Will, Frank and Lynch. Phil stops, turning to Father.

Phil: Daddy?

Father [Eye twitching]: ...Oh, Christ, fuck it and go ahead.

Phil [Brightly]: DADDY!!

Father: Don't fucking call me Daddy!!

Phil hugs Father Mercenary tightly, squeezing him slightly. Steve rushes over, hugging Father, as do Dean, Samuel, Karab, Vince and Frank.

Father [strained]: .....I immediately regret this decision..

Sal, who has leapt through the portal, immediately sprints down the stairs and leaps forward onto the back of Dean, leaning over and hugging Father.

Sal: TAKE OUR LOVE, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD! Cause if we gave it to Mother, she'd slaughter us.

Mother [Darkly]: Since you have turned the tide of a global war into our favour, I permit a hug.

Billy, who has since stepped through the portal, jogs down the steps, leaning down and giving Mother a gentle hug before pulling away.

Billy: Thanks, Maw.

Mother: You're welcome, Billy.

Maurice hops through the portal with Moe in tow, watching as Phil hugs Mother from behind. Mother simply stands there, not moving an inch.

Maurice: Bloody 'ell, these lads have got some balls.

Moe rushes forward, hugging Mother's left leg.

Phil: Mother, you do realise that if anyone else was giving us orders, we'd refuse, right? I mean, we're guys who got shunted from militaries across the globe. We respect the hell out of you.

Mother [Calmly]: I'm glad, Nolastname: If you didn't, I would ki--.....Actually, no, just...thank you, Philip.

Steve [Turning around and hugging Mother from the side]: Not by blood, but you're our Mother, and we will always respect your orders and your wishes.

Mother: Thank you, Steven.

Lynch walks around Mother, standing in front of her. He eyes both Phil and Steve before leaning down, hugging her slightly.

Lynch: Thank you for placing your trust in all of us.

Mother finally relents, wrapping her arms around Lynch and hugging him. Bob, the last mercenary, jumps through the portal and looks around.

Bob [Taken aback]: Alrighty then. This is new.

Upon seeing him, Mother pulls away from Lynch, pushes Moe, Phil and Steve aside and swipes a hand across her throat. The power eventually slows down, cutting out completely as the circles stop spinning and the wormhole finally disappears, fizzling it in little more than blurry haze.

Mother: Good. We're finally done.

Dick: Well, it's about time.

The mercenaries turn their heads, watching as Dick Head, the landlord of the Lamb and Flag, strolls through the hydraulic doors and into the room, wearing a black tuxedo for no apparent reason.

Frank [Rushing forward]: DIIIIIIIICCCCCKKKKKK!!!

Dick: About time you came back. Without Frank worming his way across my floor every night, there's been too much dust gathering. Not to mention we've only been serving Frosties to the military who pass on through.

Moe: Sorry, pal.

Frank leaps forward, hugging Dick tightly.

Frank: I MISSED YOU!!!

Dick [Patting Frank's back]: Yeah yeah..now shut up and come get a drink.

Tavi: Well, Dick, you're looking well.

Dick: Well, Tavi, you're looking....................furry.

Courtney: What's with the tuxedo?

Father: And what are you doing HERE?

Dick [Shrugging]: I came to visit, heard some commotion, thought i'd see what was up.

Mother [aside, to father]: We REALLY need to conceal the entrance.

Father: Look, how was I supposed to know people would use a door inside a tool shed? You know nobody does chores around here!

Dick: Besides, I wanted to get away from fucking Dion.

Seemingly on cue, the doors shut open and in walks Dion Nejem, once-owner of Dion's Place who has now, apparently, relocated to Beale Street. Clad in a striking mauve suit with a shirt of black crushed velvet, with his bald head glinting in the sun, his dark skin oiled up for no apparent reason and a thin soul patch hanging from his lower lip, he gives a small grin.

Dion: Gentlemen! It's great to see you!

Jon: Hey, look, it's....you.

Dion grins, walking over and shaking Jon's shoulders before kissing him on the cheek. Jon pushes him away, wiping his face.

Dion: Finally! Business can pick up!

Mother: Dion, why are you here?

Dion: Mother! I got lost.

Mother [Aside, to Father]: We really should've concealed the entrance.

Father: Alright, i'll get on it!

Dion [Looking around]: CAN WE START THE PARTY?!?!

Dion spins around, walking over to the door and thrusting his hips at the door which slides open. Dion walks through the door as the mercenaries begin to follow.

Moe: I wanna party!

Bill: YEAH!

Brick [hesitantly]: H-hey! Guys! Discount on all beer!....Five percent for our return!

Bob: Make it ten and you're on.

Brick [Taken aback]: Dammit, we need to make money too!

Lynch follows behind his mercenaries, watching them and shaking his head, giving a suppressed smirk as Bob walks through the door. Mother steps forward.

Mother: Before you go, is there anything I can do for you, cherie?

Lynch stops, nodding before turning around.

Lynch: Find Fabien and get his ass down here.

Mother: And how do you know he's still aliv--

Lynch: Trust me, a badass motherfucker like that? He'll still be alive.

Mother: As you wish.

Lynch walks through the door, which quickly swipes shut. Mother stands there, slowly looking over her shoulder at Father.

Father: I know that look.

Mother: Well? Find Fabien.

Father [Taken aback]: Fucking hell, do you know how difficult it is to--

Mother [Coldly]: William, you're standing in front of a machine that can transport our men back in time. Don't fucking tell me that you can't find one person.

Father [After a moment of thinking]: ........Good point.

Father looks around before shrugging and walking off to the left as Mother simply stands there.

Mother: William, the only door out is ahead of me.

Father quickly jogs ahead, standing in front of the door as it slides open. He quickly walks out, the door sliding shut behind him as Mother sighs, turning around.

Mother [To herself]: Although one must wonder what else has happened..

***

Beale Street.

Home.

As evidence by the presence of a large, white, metal sign standing at the head of the street, reading "BEALE STREET" in large red letters.

Three military tracks, painted beige and with a beige tarpaulin thrown over the back of them, emerge over a sand dune roughly a mile north of Beale Street, rolling down the dunes. Once they reach the head of the street, they stop suddenly. Out of the backs swarm the mercenaries, quickly rushing around the trucks and to the head of the street that they call home. Nothing much appears to have changed, with only one new building being added. A large, rectangular building, seated between ReLoaded and the Dog and Handgun, taking the place of a bombed-out shell of a building that used to preside in that space. Constructed out of red brick,  with a blinking pink neon sign reading "THE OASIS" with a green neon palm tree beside the letters, it strikes a contrasting figure to the downtrodden pubs and club. Aside from this, much remains the same, from the thick covering of sand obscuring the top of the road to the buildings whose brickwork, windows and steps have been dulled over time with exposure to the elements, appearing beige and lifeless.

Jericho: Finally! HOME!

The mercenaries begin to swarm towards Beale Street. Dion, bringing up the rear of the mercenaries, sprints through them and skids to a halt outside of the large, pale blue double doors to his club, turning to them and grinning.

Dion [Energetically]: WHO WANTS TO COME INTO MY CLUB?!

Jon [Walking past, Quietly]: We are going to be your worst enemies.

Dion [Grinning brightly]: Good! I look forward to the prolonged warfare [Quietly, to Jon] that will end in your painful demise and your club burning down.

Jon [Taken aback]: Well, fuck you, buddy!

Bob: Ah hell, I may as well see what it looks like.

Bob walks through the doors and Dion grins, nodding. Jon scowls, standing outside of the Dog and Handgun with his arms folded.

Brick: Don't be sad, Jonny-boy! Just gotta mix up some moonshine!

Jon [Coldly]: And bomb the shit out of Dion with it.

Brick: Nah, moonshine's fer drinkin'!

Brick shoves the doors open, walking into the Dog and Handgun.

Brick [Cheerily]: JEZEBEL! DADDY'S HOME!

Tavi: Well, back to ReLoaded.

Courtney [Sighing]: Back to the grind....

Tavi [Shrugging]: It'll be fun!

Courtney: We should take a vacation. To Maryland.

Tavi and Courtney walk into ReLoaded, the doors shutting behind him. Phil jogs up the steps and opens the door to his house, waving out a cloud of dust and walking inside. Jericho coughs loudly, also walking in.

Steve [Quietly]: Feels nice to be home without my brain misfiring.

Ivan: Vell, you vill vish you still had brain damage.

Steve [Smirking]: Nah. I like it. It's home.

Steve walks into the house, followed by Ivan who shuts the door behind him.

Steve: Christ, we have a cardboard box instead of a TABLE?!

Phil: SHUT UP! IT'S A NICE BOX!

Frank walks up the four steps to the front door of his house, sighing and dusting off his fatigues.

Frank: Going to take these off and wear some decent clothes for the first time in months.

Will [Walking past him]: You? Decent clothes? HA!

Will slams the door behind him. Frank sighs, opening the door as Robbie simply sprints down the street, dragging Lupa behind him who yelps violently.

Robbie [Hastily]: I MUST SEE HOW MY MEN ARE DOING!

Frank [Watching Robbie]: Back to the grind, eh?

Dick: Uh, Frank: Lamb and Flag.

Frank slams the door shut, sprinting down the steps and onto the street, twisting around and jogging down the sandy street.

Dick [Bluntly]: I love the fact that several assault rifles spontaneously appeared in the kitchen. I'm guessing the increased PMC attacks will be a real occurrence, huh?

Lynch: You better believe it. Anything else happen?

Dick: Not that I know of.

Lynch: Good.

Maurice: Hope yeh threw the milk away.

Dick: Had to, it was growing sentient in your absence.

They reach the Lamb and Flag, which appears practically the same aside from a two floor extension. The extension, built entirely out of red brick, provides a stark contrast with the sandblasted and worn, yellowing bricks that the lower level is constructed from. The windows, two on the front facade of the second level and three on the third level, are brand new, glistening in the sun, contrasting with the dull and worn lower windows. Between the two windows on the second level hangs a wooden sign, swaying and creaking in the wind, depicting a graphic of a lamb wearing a tin World War 1 military helmet, holding the flag of the United Kingdom in its mouth, with the words "THE LAMB AND FLAG" emblazoned in gold beneath it.

Lynch [Looking up at the sign]: Y'know, there's only a few Brits here.

Dick: Yeah, but we serve British beer in our pub. Proper beer.

Frank looks next door at the Half Moon, noticing an identical extension of red brick placed onto it. With five windows on the front facade and two windows on the right-side of the building, facing the Lamb and Flag, it also has a new wooden sign, simply depicting a silver half moon with the words "THE HALF MOON" emblazoned in gold beneath it.

Frank [Looking up]: Well, at least you both kept busy.

Dick: VERY busy. Now get in.

Dick shoves the doors open with a creak, blowing dust across Lynch and Frank who cough loudly. They walk in, slamming the doors shut behind them as Eligio, Mustafa, Bobby, Johan and Marcos walk down the street.

Eligio: Forget the garage, I need a drink! All that escorting and shooting makes a man thirsty!

Bobby: Programming a time-travelling machine in a way so that it won't kill you in a horrendous manner is also thirsty work.

Johan: Well, at least we can get a drink. Where do we go?

They stop. Eligio looks to his left at the Lamb and Flag, ahead at the Half Moon, then behind him at the Dog and Handgun.

Eligio [Slowly turning left]: We'll play it safe tonight.

Eligio, Mustafa, Bobby, Johan and Marcos walk into the Lamb and Flag. Behind them, Melvin and That Other Random Guy walk down the street, stopping outside of the Dog and Handgun.

Melvin: Y'know, *BEEP*, we haven't been in this arc at all.

That Other Random Guy: No, we haven't, Melvin. Are we just filler characters to fatten the ranks of this military company?

Melvin [Sighing]: We could be something, *BEEP*, we could be something big!

That Other Random Guy: Yeah, well, let's save the existential crisis for AFTER we have a drink.

Jon [Lighting his cigarette]: That's always a good idea.

Melvin and That Other Random Guy thrust the doors open, walking into the Dog and Handgun. Johnny and Tim walk up to The Oasis, glancing up at it.

Johnny: Well, it's new. It doesn't smell like piss, either.

Tim: Well, that ticks off two positives! Let's go!

Dion [Grinning and pushing the doors open]: WELCOME TO AN EGYPTIAN PARADISE!

Johnny [Walking in]: I'm just here for a beer that hasn't been watered down or pissed in.

Tim: Me too. Make it a Mojito, though.

Dion [Grinning, nodding and motioning them inside]: Of course! Of course!

Jon [Scowling]: Fuck off, you can't prove we water down the beer.

Johnny: The fact that it's flatter than a pancake gives it away!

Bill [Walking past Dion]: Yep, I'm in the mood for some poon.

Dean unlocks the door to Kebaborama, opening the door. A sharp gust of cold wind blasts forward, followed by a horrendous scream. Dean quickly shuts the door, locking it and pointing at The Oasis.

Dean: Yeah, we better stay here for the night.

Dean quickly jogs down the street and through the doors. Karab unlocks the door, shaking his head and pulling it open. The cold gust of wind blasts out once again, followed by the zombie of a sheep poking its head out of the doorway into Kebaborama. Karab slams the door shut, forcing the sheep back inside as he locks the door.

Karab: Orange juice at the Lamb and Flag for me, then.

Samuel: I'll.....yeah, I'll come with you.

Karab and Samuel walk down the street, turning and walking into the Lamb and Flag.

Vince: So, what shall we do?

Sal: Dog and Handgun?

Billy: Dog and Handgun.

Vince [Shrugging]: Dog and Handgun.

Billy, Sal and Vince shove the doors open, walking inside the Dog and Handgun before slamming the doors shut behind them. Jon flicks his cigarette to the sands, blowing out a stream of smoke before walking into the Dog and Handgun. Dion looks around, nodding to himself in a small sense of triumph before shutting the doors behind him. Lynch pushes the door open to the Lamb and Flag,  stepping outside and holding a cigarette. He looks up the road towards the end of Beale Street, narrowing his eyes as Phil scuttles away from the new sign.

Lynch [Muttering to himself, sprinting up the street]: What has that little shit done now...

Frank's Voice [Screaming out]: I'M IN HEAVEN AAAAGGGGAAAAIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!

Lynch sprints up the road and skids to a halt at the end of the street, twisting around and looking up at the sign. The words "Beale Street" have been daubed over with black paint to read "LINTHORPE ROAD".

Lynch [Angrily]: GODDAMMIT, NOLASTNAME!!!!!!!!

Phil's Voice [Laughing]: IT'S A BETTER NAME!!

Lynch sighs, walking down the street. No matter how much had changed, one thing hadn't. Still bombed out, still being claimed slowly by the Sinai Desert, still with its pubs and lone takeaway shop, still with its gun shop, and still with its inhabitants who had every memory of what occurred in their lives.

Whatever had changed, home certainly hadn't.

*****

As night falls, the desert turns cold, nigh-on inhospitable for those who aren't used to such drops in temperature. The night is clear, revealing the breathtaking expanse of space across the edges of the horizon. The wind has slowed down to a near standstill, giving a feeling of lifelessness across the street.

Until Frank slips his door open. Walking out, wearing nothing but a pair of white-and-blue striped pyjamas, he cracks open the tab on a can of Budweiser and looks around, nodding to himself.

Frank [Quietly]: Yeah...home, beer....this is brilliant....

Frank takes a drink and yawns, scratching his rear and turning his head to the left, looking up the street. He narrows his eyes slightly, rubbing them.

Frank: Is someone there?

Frank rubs his eyes again, the blurriness subsiding as he gazes up at a sand dune in the distance: Above it looms the robotic form of Screaming Mantis.

Frank stops, his insides twisting as his eyes widen.

Frank [Screaming]: HOLY SHIT, THE WAR'S BEGINNING! HELP! HELP! HELP!

Frank twists around, slamming his head into the shut door and knocking himself straight out. Atop of the dune, the forms of Crying Wolf and Laughing Octopus appear, looking on over Beale Street. Screaming Mantis twists around and disappears as Raging Raven slices through the air over them, streaming off into the distance.

Octopus [Quietly]: When do we strike?

Mantis: Soon.

The Beauty and the Beast Unit disappears from behind the dune as Lynch walks out of the door, looking over at the dune before turning his head, looking inside at a trembling Frank who has since huddled behind the couch.

Lynch [Smirking]: Hoo fucking rah.

Frank [Whimpering]: Oh fucking no..

The scene fades to black.

***


AUTHOR'S NOTE: 

I would like to thank everyone for their patience during this saga.

I'm pretty sure none of you know about the writer of this blog, but this should place some light on why my blogs are late: Starting the beginning of this year, I started a new job. For four days a week, 9 til 5:30, I would write and write and write. Naturally, that didn't give me the time or energy for writing the posts, but I tried as best as I could. Recently, however, I was promoted: Extra pay.......to work five days. Considering the absolute shitheap of an economy in North East England and an otherwise dire employment situation, I jumped at the opportunity. This leaves me with less opportunity to write than desired. I tend to write at night which, of course, often leads to sloppiness and typos.

This is NOT an admittance of defeat. I am not giving up writing. Rather, I will say that updates (As if you needed any reassurance) should not be expected regularly. Some updates will be more regular than others.

I would like to thank the few of you who do visit regularly (If anyone does, this place is like a ghost town) and if you find anything funny, then I've done something right. I'd like to thank everyone for their support, TV Tropes guy for adding me to TV Tropes (REVEAL YOURSELF, YOU HAM AND EGGER) and Hideo Kojima for not suing the ass off of me, presumably because the blog is too shit and small to bother with.

In order to add SOME excitement, however, I have recently came up with a series of one-shots. These one-shots, divided up into a few parts (Three or four, maybe five) will hopefully add some spice to the stories and, maybe, explore the characters a bit more. Hopefully, the small nature of these stories will allow me to continue exploring the universe without committing myself to a huge-ass arc. These will be the most random-ass, pop-culture-riding pieces of insanity written, but maybe...they'll give me a better spark in writing.

Again, thank you to those of you who do visit and read. You guys and gals are awesome.

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