I'm baaack, with a brand new bit straight from the workbench. A bit different from the last one, but change is good.

And now, I present, the opening act of the Lone Wolf Association...

The night air was cool and crisp as he made his way through the endless avenue of warehouses and empty lots. No other souls were out and about this late or in such an urban desolate, but that made it perfect. Keeping his face cloaked and body hidden under the trenchcoat, this lone figure made his way through corner and darkness alike until he spotted his target. To anyone else, it was yet another empty warehouse, faded markings of the Shin-Ra Electric Company splayed over the door and metallic walls covered in rusty patches.

But to him, this was a fortress. Expertly trained eyes were peaked to pick out the small cameras covering the doorway and any lit portion of the alley in front of it. From the roof of the neighboring hovels, only the tips of the sniper rifles gave away the pair of sentries watching anything that came into view. Small trails of washed away blood marked the street below the building's exterior light, proof that whoever was in there was very serious about privacy.

Staying well within the shadows and out of prying eye's sight, he crouched behind a not-too-sweet smelling dumpster and placed a finger to his ear. The button his fingertip connected with was miniscule, but it was enough to activate the codec nestled inside his ear.

The recipient of the call was quick to answer "What's your position?"

"Otacon, I'm in front of the warehouse we were tipped off about. Multiple cameras covering the entrance, and at least a pair of snipers with 107s covering from above" he answered, trying to keep his gravely voice low in case of any audio watchdogs.

"That's it? Sounds like an open invitation, Snake. Shouldn't be a problem for you." Dr. Hal 'Otacon' Emmerich replied from wherever Philanthropy had decided to set up their control station for this operation. Sure, it wasn't a huge organization by any means, but what was lost in resources was well compensated for in skills and subterfuge. Which had yielded them the reward of information.

"That's what bothers me. If they really are gathering parts for a new Metal Gear in there, you'd think they would have picked a better location." Snake questioned, keeping his eyes on the doorway that looked big enough to fit a B-52 through.

"I dunno Snake. With DARPA's classified laboratory and the Army Corps of Engineer's Materials Depot all in about an hour's drive from there, it's a huge blind spot. No doubt the reported thefts from those two spots ended up there. Perfect for terrorists on a budget. So, how do you plan on getting in?"

Peeking up from his covered shadow, Snake scanned the buildings around him. One of them had an old fire escape ladder trailing down the side closest to him, coming up behind the sniper whose attention was focused elsewhere. "Stairway to Heaven" he replied before ceasing the call. The plan was simple, or at least the first part. Take out the eyes above the door and rappel across the street and onto the warehouse. From there, stealth and surveillance took priority and Snake would get a count of who was there, how many, and what they were really up to. Once that was done, Otacon would call in the Marines and they would do what they did best.

But, first things first. Keeping his footsteps light and pace quick, the former FOXHOUND operative crossed the empty street and re-cloaked himself in the shadow of the opposing structure. Again, his eyes darted from side to side, looking for any sign of pursuit or increased security as he approached. So far nothing.

Tossing off his coat into the darkened alleyway, the ebony color of his new sneaking suit hid his muscular build well were there was no streetlight, though the bandana securing his dark brown bangs back contrasted that. Placing one hand on the first leg of the ladder, his free fingers wrapped around the grip of the SOCOM .45 complete with silencer at his hip and brought it up from the holster. One last look up into the night sky to ensure security, Solid Snake climbed most of the way up the fire escape, avoiding any windows that weren't completely boarded up. Stopping just high enough to see over the roof's ledge, his caution was rewarded with the sight of three men, masked and armed, pacing across the rooftop in a very precise pattern. Across the way, the building with the second sniper also had three armed guards on patrol, with one guard making sure his path allowed eye contact with his mirror image on Snake's building. Yet his building had one advantage the other did not. A second staircase, leading up to the roof from inside the old hovel. Much like the roof entry on other buildings, it provided decent cover from the eyes across the street, but the guards on this roof had of course accounted for that.

Hmmm, this could get complicated…. his mind deduced as he watched these soldiers trace their routes. The moment the blind spot was at its biggest, Snake lifted his body from the ladder with ease and ran into the shadows of the entryway. None of them noticed his approach. Luckily for Snake, the door leading into the stairwell was unlocked and the hall vacant. Easily slipping inside but not shutting the door completely, the battle-hardened veteran waited until the nearest guard was in view from the open crack before he reached out and grabbed him in a classic choke. The guard groaned out in surprise, but was unable to break free as the pressure around his neck increased until the bones broke and his body went limp. Snake tossed the kill into the shadows, retrieving the few grenades, rations and the Chinese-built QBZ-95 assault rifle, complete with two full spare magazines.

One down, seven to go. Peeking out and around the corner, Snake waited until the second guard noticed that his partner was gone, which didn't take long. The unknowing solider walked right in front of the door, eyes low and rifle pointed to the floor. A fatal mistake, as a muffled round flew from the .45 and through his cranium. Snake grabbed the body and deposited it on top of its partner before it hit the ground, gathering anything useful that fell.

Unfortunately, the guards on the neighboring building suddenly noticed that two of three standing guards were gone. One of the dead guards radio's crackled to life in some kind of coded chatter, causing Snake to curse under his breath as he braced himself in the corner of the hall, keeping his eyes alert between the stairs and the door. Sure enough, the sounds of a formerly locked door crashing down from below signaled the approach. As did the roof door creaking open to allow the muzzle of a weapon inside. But with no mounted light, the guard had to come closer to see the bodies of his comrades. As soon as the solider was almost fully inside, Snake took aim and fired, dropping him with two shots to the chest as the entryway came alive with bullets bouncing off the wall and doorframe from a distance. One of the snipers now had the doorway in scope's view and was not going to let Snake out that way. But the more pressing issue became the heavy stomp of combat boots thundering up the stairs on full stampede. Popping the pin on one of the billiard ball-sized explosives, Snake tossed it down the stairs into the hall, if nothing else it would make them think twice. Sure enough, a voice below cried out "Grenade!" in English before a thundering explosion and screams of the wounded. Snake hoped to holy hell that the building was sturdy and strong enough to take the blast and shield the warehouse from the sign of intruders.

That left two snipers to deal with, one covering the door he'd come in through. And as luck would have it, the second got curious or brave and the barrel of a long rifle swept into the entryway. Sticking to the wall, Snake slid closer to the approaching guard and waited until just a bit more of the gun was inside. With an agility worthy of his codename, he grabbed the weapon and pulled the owner inside. In a contest of strength, the sniper came up short and lost control of his rifle, which Snake easily flipped into position and fired. Even with a silenced weapon, the sound of the .50 caliber round resonated through his chest as the hardened warrior claimed another kill. Taking cover in the doorway, Snake peeked out to see where the other solider was shooting from. Unlike his building, the other didn't have the same covered roof entry. But the shooter was lying down, making his profile even harder to see. Ducking quickly back under cover as a pair of rounds pinged off the concrete of the frame, Snake readied his newly-acquired Beretta longrifle and steadied his pulse. Then on a three count, he spun out of cover, leveled the scope to his eye and fired, just as his enemy fired. Though unlike the opponent, Snake's shot was deadly accurate.

Finally… these guys are persistent… no way are these amateurs… he thought as he resisted the urge to light up a smoke. Sure, it would slow his reaction and make him easier to track, but damm would it feel good. As expected, the radios on one of the fallen grunts came alive again, but with encrypted voices. Then another, then the snipers. "Guess I need to move on" he growled to himself, unlatching the rope from the other side of his belt. Skillfully, Snake tied the free end to one of the line to a sturdy post, and swung the hook on the other over to the warehouse roof. The rubber coating muffled the normal clanging sound it made as it skittered across the metal roof until it looped around one of the ventilation pipes. Once he was sure it was tight, Snake wrapped his arms and legs around the line and shimmied across the street from a much safer altitude. From there, he heard the warehouse door slam open as a quartet of soldiers rushed out towards the other buildings, in full body armor and one carried some form of RPG. Once he was back on some form of solid standing, Snake used brute force to break the knot holding the rope on the other rooftop and reeled in the slack. It was a long shot, but maybe it would delay pursuit just long enough.

Carefully, he checked his surroundings as he stalked across the roof like a predator, staying low to avoid any other sharpshooters out there. The metal under his boots was solid, but that didn't mean there weren't pressure sensors under it. At every point and entry along the building, cameras kept a unwavering eye over the night. And he had little doubt that some very unfriendly faces were patrolling on the other side of the doors.

Kneeling beside the peak of the roof, he signaled Otacon again "This is Snake. I'm on the roof."

"Good work Snake. How does it look up there?"

"All's quiet on the roof. They've got the rest pretty tight. Multiple armed guards on patrol and snipers on building tops. There's something here alright."

"Got it. Snake, can you see any way inside the building from there?"

"Like what, the front door? I can think of better ways of suicide."

Chuckling on the other end, Hal just shook his head. "No, I mean like an air duct or freight entrance?"

"Not yet, I'll keep…wait a second." Snake paused the conversation as a pair of headlights approached. The sounds of a heavy diesel engine told him it was a heavy truck, possibly a tractor trailer. It did not waver as it approached the warehouse, slowing to a stop at the door. Dump truck, eh? Well I doubt its hauling manure at this hour. There's my way in… Snake smiled to himself as he approached the edge of the roof. Above the steady rattle of the engine, he heard some kind of massive lock release as the doors screeched upon just wide enough for the truck to enter. Quietly, Snake lowered himself off the roof until the truck started to move forward, then he pushed off the metal and into the bed. Indeed, the truck was not carrying fertilizer. Instead, his back bounced off something solid and heavy. After he massaged the pain in his neck, the silent warrior flipped onto his belly and cocked an eyebrow at what it was he was laying on; sheets of dark green metal, ready to be fastened to something. "Armor plating?" he whispered aloud.

The truck seemed to steer an obstacle course of twists and turns until it stopped beside a large container, also marked as being from Shin-Ra. As soon as the vehicle ceased moving and the driver and passenger had left to go speak with whomever he needed, the stealthy veteran of Shadow Moses climbed quickly down from the side of the truck bed and darted behind the shipping crate. Once in complete concealment, Snake fished the electronic binoculars from his rear pouch and observed the scene.

Maybe warehouse doesn't quite fit… this place is more like a cavern! There were as many guards as there were workers, and none of them were sitting still. Most of the firepower was concentrated at the front and rear entrances, doubtlessly alerted by the scout team he'd seen earlier that someone was coming in force. The rest remaining few were watching a flurry of activity in the works at the warehouse's center. Sitting eerily quietly on the haunches of its legs was a haunting mechanical specter of his past. Complete with the rail gun on the right arm, it was a near exact copy of Metal Gear Rex. Its skin tinted a deeper camouflage green, the memory of their terrible battle in Alaska made Snake's pulse quicken.

Yet it was not quite the same instrument of death he'd fought before. The radome on its left arm was a bit smaller than he remembered and well draped in armor. And adding to the two buzzsaw-like miniguns in its head, this Rex now sported a second pair of cannons built into the thighs of the beast, along with some kind of close-support weaponry mounted into the chin just under the cockpit.

Swarming all around the giant walker, attaching the new armor plates or twisting about the internal electronics were dozens of small drones, the likes of which Snake had never seen. Not but the size of watermelons, they hovered and zipped around the slumbering walker and performed whatever tasks they were assigned. And every one of them looked to be stamped with an insignia he couldn't quite make out, though it looked the visage of a larger man wearing dark glasses and outrageous facial hair.

And between Snake and his metallic adversary stood two guards flanking whoever was in charge. Tall, somewhat thin built, but with mannerisms that radiated authority, it wasn't a far leap to guess that this was the leader. And right now, his leader was not happy with the person seated in front of him. Chained to the desk and surrounded on three sides by computers, a fat man with lanky legs and arms and bright red mustache extended well beyond his cheeks, eyes hidden behind dark goggles and worksuit tainted and torn. In between the two, some kind of debate was raging, their voices just loud enough for Snake to pick up over the hissing of various torches and clattering of tools.

"Always with delays, Doctor? You told me you would have this project done three days ago!"

From his seat, the captive looked absolutely livid, even behind the facial hair "And you told me that you were finished with blueprint modifications a week ago! Do you know how hard it is to keep up with all the changes you've made Colonel Prescott?!"

Colonel Prescott? An American is running this operation? Snake pondered as he tried to keep up with the argument.

"Why do you think we hired you, Dr Robotnik? You, the master of robotic terror, evil genius with an iron fist" answered the officer as he gestured to the unfinished Metal Gear.

"HIRED?!" Robotnik nearly choked on that word "Is THAT what you call sending your goons to kidnap me and chaining me here till I finish this little toy of yours?"

Another figure approached the scene from the direction of the dump truck, a man in an expensive looking suit and unruly brown hair "Calm yourself Ivo. The last thing you need is another heart attack."

The scientist gave this newcomer a hidden glare as Prescott smiled "Sounds like things went well Chang. Did you get it?"

Sliding a hand into his suit, the third member of the coatery produced a small vial and handed it to the Colonel. Inside it, carefully kept stationary by wire, was a small chunk of black stone. Zooming in on it, Snake could swear that he could see swirls of fluid cascade across the rock. "The WRO had this locked up tight. Had to kill quite a few lackeys to get into the vault where this was" Chang grinned, almond eyes narrowing as he examined the fragment.

Snatching the stone from his partner's fingertips, Prescott handed it to Robotnik "Will this be enough to complete the warhead?"

The doctor smirked as he measured the sample with his eyes "I should say so. Adding this little gem to the power of a Chaos emerald should be quite interesting indeed."

Warhead!?! His voice yelled out in six languages of alarm. Immediately, Solid Snake called back to base.

"Otacon, we've got problems here."

Emmerich's eyebrows jumped skyward on the other end of the line. He'd never heard his friend so alarmed "What is it Snake? What did you find?"

"It's here alright. Almost an exact copy of Rex, except with even more close quarter firepower. A Colonel Prescott looks to be running the show. He's apparently kidnapped a scientist by the name of Robotnik to finish the weapon, including some kind of new warhead."

That made Otacon leap to his feet "Warhead?! As in nuclear warhead?!"

"I'm not sure. It doesn't look like any nuclear material I've ever seen. It was brought in by someone going by Chang. Possibly a codename."

"Snake, do you see an open terminal around there anywhere? If you can send me a few photos of the device or any of its components, I'll send them to Nastasha and see what she says."

Drawing his eyes off the argument, Snake scanned across the complex, looking for any unsecured computer. Sadly, it looked like the only actual terminals were all surrounding the overweight scientist. Which meant unless the stealthy operative wanted to simply ask nicely to use the computers, he was out of luck for the moment.

But as his magnified eyes crossed across the rear entrance, something else caught his eye. The flicker of sparks cascading through the door as the lock was melted away.

And that was when all hell broke loose.

Three madmen, three universes, one objective. Isnt teamwork fun?

Course, since ff doenst have a three-way cross overdeal, this has to go in the two biggest slots, so apologies to the one that got left out...

Otherwise enjoy!