A lone figure ducked behind a building, tossed a spent cigarette into the predawn shadows. The sun was just rising, but not a single other star was visible in the fading night sky. He knelt, reaching one hand up to his neck to activate the device implanted there.
"This is Snake. I'm in position. Otacon, do you read me?"
"Loud and clear, Snake. Now, let me fill you in on the current situation..."∗∗∗
The Prince of All Cosmos sat upon his father's palm and listened patiently to the story he heard all too often. Inwardly, he sighed. Every so often, his father indulged a little too deeply. The next thing anyone knew, the stars had all been smashed into glittering pieces, and the noble Prince was assigned the task of rebuilding them from random bits of Earth junk. He never complained. When the King of All Cosmos gave you a job, you simply didn't question him. In fact, no one ever questioned him at all. The Prince rolled his trusty katamari wherever the King directed him, and that was everything he needed to know.
"Everything is clear, We assume," said the King. His voice was comparable only to a cosmic DJ with one hand on a turntable. "Don't presume to slack off, not on Our watch! Now go back to Earth and get us a great big katamari!"
The Prince nodded, and began his descent to the blue planet below.∗∗∗
"Snake? Snake, do you read me?"
In a basement somewhere in New York City, a brown-haired man sitting in front of a computer pushed his glasses up and frowned slightly. Otacon hadn't heard any transmissions from Snake for some time.
"I read you, Otacon. It's just..."
"Just what? Snake, I hacked all of this information out of the Pentagon's top secret files myself. I know it sounds strange, but the stars are gone!"
Snake, huddling in his anonymous alley, gazed upwards. Or you could look outside sometime, you geek...
"Never mind," said Snake. "What do you want me to do about it?
"...And on top of that, a massive object was seen devastating several cities in Japan."
"Devastating? You don't think they've developed a Metal Gear?"
"No, that's the thing. There's no record of it anywhere. It first appeared as soon as the stars were reported missing. A large object, described as a ball of smaller objects, rolls into the city. Nothing is left behind. Nothing, not even the clouds!"
The former mercenary scratched his head. Otacon had sent Snake on some very, very odd missions. Snake still had nightmares of the time his partner had sent him off take a picture of some sea monster haunting the Big Shell and the universe almost collapsed in on itself. He always thought that nothing would ever top that ordeal. But now...
"And you think that thing's going to visit...what was this place called?"
"Pigeon Town. All the previous sightings of the giant ball have been in this area. I want you to be on your guard. I'll continue searching for more information from my end. Snake, stop the giant ball at all costs. Don't let that thing roll off with our entire world! And, er, if it's not too much to ask, could you get me some tentac-"
"Sorry, Otacon, I'm getting interference. Talk to you later."
Snake switched off the codec, checked his gear, and set off into the new day for some sign of this supposed "giant ball".
Meanwhile, Otacon flipped the tab on another can of his favourite ridiculously caffeinated soda. He sensed that this was going to be a long day.