The Question Mark: Chapter 35

The final chapter.

It all ends here. Thirty five weeks and thirty five chapters have led up to this point. It’s been a few weeks since the last chapter, so feel free to go back for a quick catchup. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this story as I have writing it. It’s time to wrap things up. See you on the other side.

Previously: Welcome to Metal Gear Solid – it’s all a game. Snake died, “game over”, and travelled back in time to the beginning of MGS1. Upon realising the world wasn’t real, he’s been thrown back to his original point of death right at the end of MGS4.

All Chapters

Chapter 1 – 21 Quick Catchup

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.

THE FINAL END

Snake was thrown against hot, hard metal. His teeth smashed against his jaw and he spat out bloodied molars, clinking against the surface and sliding to one side. The rusted silver emitted a orange glow, covering him in the ironically comforting warmth of the sunset in the distance.

Something shuffled above him, and Snake threw himself over to see the haunting image of Liquid Ocelot loom over him.

Everything Snake had done to change the events, they all had no change on these events. It had all been for nothing. Big Mamma was right. She may have spoken to Snake only seconds ago, but now she had died in the same place she had before. Naomi was dead. Vamp was dead. Their scripted deaths had passed, and now Snake was left on the final gameplay sequence.

Ocelot spoke in an old man’s voice.
“Get up, Snake.”

Snake closed his eyes. Everything he had been through had been for nothing. Nothing.

“Get up and die.”

Snake opened his eyes. Ocelot hadn’t moved.
Snake turned over once more and pushed his aging body up from the ground. They were atop the new Outer Heaven, a huge submersible capable of world control simply through artificial intelligence centers and a holding hub for Metal Gear Rays. An unintentional insult to the forgotten crew members who had died on the submarine in Shadow Moses, only to be reanimated again for the storyline of the game to progress.

Upon standing, Ocelot had grabbed him and pulled him close. Arching his back and preparing his fist, he tore his arm upwards, propelling his punch into Snake’s chest. Winded, Snake stumbled back. His greying hair was beginning to fall out, and Ocelot stepped forward to grab his head, removing a clump of hair. Snake couldn’t feel his straw-like strands ripped from his scalp. He was already lightheaded in a close state of unconsciousness.

“No one here knows the truth, Snake. They’re all puppets reciting a script of fate. I, on the other hand, I remember.”

Ocelot spat the last two words with hatred.

“You have no idea what I went through to get here.” Ocelot grunted.
“I was sucked into the raw darkness of the code, torn about and spat out at the Big Shell.”

Snake turned around.
“What do you want from me?”

“I had to go through everything. Everything again. You were there, but it wasn’t you. You were here.”

“What do you want?”

“I’m old, Snake.”

“So am I.”

“You still don’t get it do you? If you die now, it’ll be game over. We’ll get thrown back in time again and we can all start over. Your friends, they’ll all be there to support you.”

“I’ve already been back to that God-awful place. I’m not doing it again.”

“We could do the Big Shell!” Ocelot looked hopeful, scrounging around in a bin of offers. He was desperate to have his stolen life back.

“Why would I want to work with you?”

“…” Ocelot looked at Snake dead in the eye while his eyes grew a soft red, ready to cry.
“I… I’m scared, Snake.”

“What?”

Ocelot sniffed, manning himself up and raising his fists again. If Snake murdered Ocelot now, nothing would happen. Time would continue to move forward. This was where Ocelot had died before, and they both knew it.

“You give your life now, and we can go back and change everything. Together. Please.”

“No.”

Ocelot stood up straight, looking over Snake with despairing authority.

“Then you’ve killed us all.”

“We’re here, Ocelot. We’re all still alive.”

“This is it. We’re all going to die.”

“No one is going to die.”

“Can’t you hear it Snake? Can’t you feel it?” Ocelot looked upwards at the digital sky.

“Feel what?”

“That still, lifeless, looming presence of nothing. The void of no return, the end of everything. The final end.”

“You’re talking madness.”

“I’m the only sane one here! Snake, you have to die now. You can’t leave it to chance.”

Snake threw out two punches to the man’s face. Ocelot stumbled. One final punch at Ocelot’s stomach. The man let out his last breath as he fell in slow motion, his crippled body floating gracefully to meet the hard metal hull below. His ribs were cracked and his face bloodied. This was his time to die. He closed his eyes lying on the artificial ground and resentfully left the world he had come to know, a tear in his eye.

Snake looked around at the reality surrounding him. The sunset in the distance dropped quietly below the horizon and the wind stopped, hanging dense in the air. This was it. Everything was watching him. He couldn’t explain it, but he had the feeling of a mass presence. Every scripted event had played itself out and there was only one last event to relive.

In the blink of an eye he was standing in the graveyard he had once shot himself in. The program was desperate to push him to this one particular moment. In his hand, one gun with one bullet. The lifeless body of Big Boss lay in the middle of the graveyard, surrounded by the dust of others who had come and gone before him. That was his programmed time to die. Here, computer code was his equivalent of FoxDie.

The secret everyone had tried to hide from Snake was staring him in the face. The question everyone had feared he’d have to answer. If he didn’t know, maybe he wouldn’t have needed to be here.

The Question Mark. The one final riddle that once found would need an answer. One that had brought torment into the minds of those who knew. The question was simple. Knowing what he knew, David bowed his head in respect for all those who had died trying to avoid this from ever coming to surface.

If Snake shot himself again, he’d relive everything again. He’d go straight back to Shadow Moses and face the continual loop of trying to fix everything. But he’d bring everyone else back. Some would realise what had happened. Some wouldn’t. Some would go mad, himself included. If Snake shot the bullet away, he’d write a new future. But no one would return.

Not killing himself would mean facing the ultimate unknown. This was where the artificial world ended. There were no events written after this moment yet, and there was no promise there ever would be. If he remained alive, he could throw the entire world into the void of nothingness, where nothing existed. There would be no-one left to remember the events that had been. The final end.

This was the ultimate decision. The question mark stood in front of him demanding an answer. Relive it all again, or leave it all to chance?

And everything went quiet.

No one was next to Snake to comfort him as he walked through the graveyard. The dead either side of him would have been glad to not be in his shoes, deciding the fate of reality itself. Nevertheless, the silence of the lifeless air made him feel completely alone. No one was here to watch anymore. No one was here to tell him what to do.

He stood in the place he had before and knelt. Gripping the gun, he looked at it with the old hands he once had. Whatever his decision, the one loaded bullet would cause unimaginable consequences. But here, of all places, with so much death around him, he felt selfish to tag a seal of importance on his own actions. He sat down and inhaled slowly, sharing his last thoughts with himself.

Snake lay against the dusty gravestone, the life’s story of the corpse buried beneath him crumbling away on a slab of rock. This was his future. Eventually information fades, no matter how much you hold onto it. He held the gun in his greying hands. Just another death. No-one would understand, nor care.

Meryl. Where is she now? Not that she’d care for a man like David. Not now.

He brought the gun to his mouth and felt his jaw clamp down upon its cold metal. Eyes closed. He was ready. He knew what must be done. Knowing his next breath could be his last, David swallowed, tensed every muscle in his body and took a deep breath.

He pointed the gun away and pulled hard on the trigger.

THE END

There we have it. The Question Mark is answered and finished. I hope you enjoyed reading this somewhat different series of articles outside the news-side of TheSixthAxis and that you managed to survive right through to the end. All information about the story can now be found HERE, including its translation into Chinese.

What did you think? Leave your last impressions, questions and opinions below.

2 Comments

  1. Well there you go.

  2. only just saw this thanks BioEye, will need to go through it again from the start as well.

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