The Question Mark: Chapter 22

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Quick Catchup

Time to head back to the sub, in the events that led up to Mei Ling’s mysterious call to Snake. Remember, if you missed it, click the ‘Quick Catchup’ link above to quickly cover everything that’s happened in the last twenty one chapters.

Disclaimer: This story contains violent scenes that some younger readers may find disturbing. Many chapters contain detailed scenes of gore and peril. If you haven’t played the Metal Gear series, there will be spoilers in this story. If you haven’t read the previous chapters, just click ‘All Chapters’ above.

The Mole in the System

… [Twelve hours ago from present time] …

The dark room hid the eyes of the two who stood facing each other. A distant monitor hummed over the sound of deep breathing.

“Do you think you could kill a man?”

“In what way?”

“Undercover. Gun, head. Quick.”

“Yes.”

“Good.”

Ocelot handed his undercover an automatic pistol. They took it in their hand and tucked it into their clothing. The hard metal felt warm against their skin. It had just been used.

“Who’s the target?” they asked in a monotone voice. No worry hindered their ability to talk.

“I’ll be on radio contact. There’ll likely be more than one person. Could be male, could be female. I’ll instruct you as you go along.” Ocelot’s moustache bounced about under his nose as his lips outlined gruff words.

“Ok Shala…”

“You know that you may need to die for the mission to be a success?”

“I do. That’s fine by me. Just give me the drop-off point and I’ll do whatever is necessary.”

“He’ll be proud of you.” Ocelot put his arm on the undercover’s shoulder reassuringly.

They looked down and sighed.

“I know.”

“Be a mole for me. Keep your com on twenty four seven. I want to hear every word from the people around you.”

“No bugs?”

“No. We can’t risk anything. If anything… anything… seems out of the ordinary, it’ll all be over. You act normal. As soon as I give you a name, you get up, move to that person and shoot them dead. Two bullets in the head. No questions.”

Ocelot handed them a small silencer. They immediately checked the clip at the end. Satisfied with how to connect it to the gun, it was slipped into a pocket.

“You make sure Solid Snake talks to you.”

The undercover nodded, swallowed, and took a deep breath in.

“Ok… I’m ready.”

… [One hour ago from present time] …

Mei Ling slammed down the headset as Naomi walked into the room. They both stared at each other. Mei Ling looked relieved.

“Oh my God, Naomi… Nastasha…”

“What?” Naomi didn’t seem moved by Mei Ling’s tearful face. Her mascara had run down her cheek, and one eye was bloodshot. Naomi remained calm.
“What’s going on Mei Ling?”

Mei Ling pointed franticly through the open door. From where she was sitting, she could see down the short corridor to what was once Nastasha’s room on the right hand side. The door was closed. Naomi turned around and walked slowly towards the cabin. Her eyes medically studied the stains of sweat on the rim of the door. She had little emotion at this stage. There was every reason to doubt everyone on board of anything.

Naomi placed her hand on the door release. Mei Ling stood up and screamed from her own room.

“No don’t open it!”

Her voice crackled, and she coughed violently to one side. Her voice had never strained itself so much, and she moved back to her chair. Her hand shook uncontrollably as it found the armrest. She slowly sat down, turning away and running her fingers through her hair.

Naomi could see through Nastasha’s cabin window. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

“What the hell is going on?!” Campbell stormed in from the adjacent corridoor, close to Naomi. His forehead was glistening with sweat, and his eyes were dark from lack of sleep. Naomi looked up at him and readjusted a smile.

“Nothing, sir. I was just returning to my office. Mei Ling just had a nightmare, hence the scream. I’ve just settled her.”

“Very well. Make sure Mei Ling is awake. This mission isn’t over.” The Colonel nodded to Naomi and turned back to return to the communications room.

Naomi returned to Mei Ling’s office. The young woman was rocking backward and forwards slightly from her desk chair. Her forefinger rapped nervously fast on the arm of the chair.

“Why didn’t you tell him?”

“The last thing we need right now is more people panicking.” Naomi stated calmly. She looked down at Mei Ling with slight pity.

“She knew… she knew…”

“Sorry? What do you mean?”

“Nastasha knew what was wrong with the Colonel! She contacted me on the codec to meet her in a few minutes from her broadcast. I waited… then…” Mei Ling cried heavy tears. “I opened the door to her room…”

Naomi put an arm around Mei Ling.

“The smell Naomi… My God! There’s someone on this submarine who did that!”

“What did you mean about the Colonel?”

Mei Ling was staring at the floor in a state of shock. Natasha’s body still littered the office a few rooms down the hall. Her friend. The only person who shared her feelings. Mei Ling couldn’t move her eyes. She wanted to, she didn’t want to. She didn’t know what to do. Her body couldn’t stop shaking, and her brain was losing sanity at an extremely fast rate.

“Mei Ling…”

“The Colonel is not the Colonel. The Colonel is not the Colonel…”

“Mei Ling! What do you mean?” Naomi’s words were pronounced clearly in the hope that they could be getting through to the mentally scarred woman.

“There’s something wrong with the Colonel! Can’t you see that?! He’s… reacting strangely to everything. Why can’t you see?!” Mei Ling screamed into Naomi’s face. The last words turned to a whisper as her throat lost its energy. No one was safe. Naomi had to know that. Everyone needed to be together, but that was a risk in itself. Mei Ling’s shoulders tightened before loosening. She feinted.

Naomi reacted on instinct, and lifted Mei Ling from the seat. Her boots skidded as she was dragged by her arms through the wet corridors towards the communication room.

Human survival instincts are naturally badly judged when thinking quickly. Time slowed on the submarine as the surrounding walls sank in the situation unfolding around them. Mei Ling’s feeble body shut down to avoid further mental trauma. Her head slowly rocked from side to side as it rolled about on the moving floor. Naomi, a quiet doctor in high heels dragged an unconscious associate through dark dank hallways in slow motion. Grit stuck to the bottom of her legs, and every step sounded a tiny boom of heel against grated metal. No-one appreciated the detail of fear racing through the woman’s face. Beads of sweat dropped from her forehead onto Mei Ling. Every slow-motion tug of the body strained on her already weak muscles. The Colonel sat at the codec interface, watching green dots move slowly about a digital map. His eyes slowly followed the positions of items and people amongst the terrorist-inhabited island. Nastasha had never called for help when the knife stabbed her in the side. Her screams of death were unheard under a routine tannoy announcement. She died with the secret of the face of the killer.

Ocelot’s mole was somewhere in the sub, waiting for their next command. They knew everything that he needed to know. They knew where every person was on board at any one time, and they knew the position of Solid Snake, Hal Emmerich and Meryl Silverburgh.