LAST TIME, I yelled at you guys, FOXHOUND went to Central America, Liquid beat up a fat bastard, said fat bastard's bullet-shield got stolen, the fat bastard was blown up by a tank, Mantis decided to make zombies that blow up when they try to talk, and Liquid was all like ASDF LEADERSHIP. SO WE WEREN'T ON A CLIFFHANGER OR ANYTHING SO HERE WE GO YEAAAAAH. I don't own anything. Seriously, we're almost public domain by this point.
Several days after the Central America mission and the zombie incident, the Genome Soldier Experiments finally entered the stage of human testing. I had vaguely heard about these experiments from Dr. Clarke before her death, but I never really knew what they were. Naomi was kind enough to explain it to me. Apparently the 'soldier genes' harvested from Saladin were being implanted into soldiers in an attempt to create the world's most superior special forces military unit. Among other things, their hearing and sight would be augmented and improved. Most of them would be trained via VR training, having little to no actual field experience. I cringed at that; VR created one thing and one thing only. Idiots.
"You think this is going to work?" I asked Liquid. The two of us were watching the Genome Soldiers doing some target practice, both of us anxious about what would come of these experiments.
"I have absolutely no idea," Liquid replied, "On the one hand, Big Boss's genes are pretty bloody powerful. I mean, I got the recessive ones, and you can see how I've turned out. On the other hand, I've had them my whole life. Who knows whether just adding them to someone fully grown will do anything?"
"Besides which, there's plenty of other things besides genetics that affect your abilities," I added, "You had personal instruction from Saladin himself. That's probably worth much more than just his DNA."
"You can't implant a seething hatred of your son of a bitch father, either," Liquid growled, narrowing his eyes. I winced a bit, but said nothing. That was a topic I liked to avoid, even though it wasn't as much of a sore spot as it used to be.
"Anyway, even if they're not a squadron of Saladins, I certainly hope they get something out of this," I said, bringing things back on track, "Like the ability to hit the broad side of a barn with a rocket launcher. Seriously, where did we get these guys? Storm Troopers 'R' Us?"
Days sluggishly blended into other days, nothing really happening that needed FOXHOUND's attention. It was even worse than those seven months, at least then we had missions. The Genome Soldiers' abilities progressed, improving little by little. By "little by little", I mean "at a pace that a snail would call painfully sluggish". There were no words to describe how slow this was going. My frustration was through the roof, as was Naomi's. Actually, hers was probably even worse than mine, since she was in charge of these experiments now that she had taken Dr. Clarke's place.
During this time- and with increasing frequency in the times to come- Liquid, Ocelot, and sometimes Mantis would obsessively plan the revolution we were going to invoke. I didn't know all the details, since I didn't sit in on every meeting, but I did know that we were going to forcibly take over the facility on Shadow Moses Island and that we were doing it in a few months. I only knew that little detail because of how often Ocelot and Liquid would plan for it, and how often Ocelot had to leave to negotiate with Sergei Gurlukovich, President Sears, or some other third party I had no clue about.
I wasn't privy to any major developments in this until one day when I was performing basic maintenance on the PSG-1, listening to some music as I was. While I was cleaning the barrel, Mantis walked by. I could hear that he was humming something, but what exactly it was had been muffled by the music. I did smirk a bit; I could tell that there weren't many variations in the tone. And then I saw the small line of Genome Soldiers following him with perfectly blank expressions.
I blinked a few times in surprise before taking off my headphones and asking, "What's that song you're humming?"
Mantis stopped, shrugged, and replied, "Nothing in particular. Why?" I simply pointed to the train of soldiers behind him.
Mantis stared at them for a second before turning to me and commenting, "I should write this down."
"No kidding," I replied, putting my headphones back on and going back to cleaning the barrel. Mantis obsessively experimented with his mind-control melody for the next few days. He even experimented on the normal members of FOXHOUND. I know this because one day I woke up in a puddle of my own blood one morning. Liquid and I gave Mantis the appropriate beating for this. Several days after that, I sat in the next time Ocelot, Liquid and Mantis got to planning, mostly because they were discussing soldiers. God knows I wanted to find out any way we could replace the Genome Soldiers for this revolution.
"Okay, let's talk about my idea for how to get backup for the revolution on the cheap," Ocelot began with a smirk, "Mantis, how long can you maintain brainwashing with that song you discovered?"
"From the few times I've tried it, it looks like I should be able to it going indefinitely," Mantis replied. "But I'd like to experiment with it some more."
"I woke up in a puddle of my own blood two Thursdays ago. I think you've experimented enough," I snapped, shooting Mantis a glare.
"Let's move on," Mantis said quickly, glossing over my comment. I continued to glare.
"It couldn't be simpler," Ocelot continued, "Mantis uses his freakish talents on a bunch of goons. They do whatever we tell them. We sit back and watch. Eh?"
"Uh… You're okay with this?" Liquid asked, turning to Mantis, "Controlling all those minds at once sounds like a lot of work."
"Oh, I wouldn't be manipulating them constantly like puppets," Mantis replied, "I'd just make them think they wanted to work for us."
"Sounds good to me. Nice work you two," Liquid said with a smirk. "So, who's going to be joining our little cult?"
"Well, to best avoid suspicion, we ought to use our own men," Ocelot responded, "Maybe the Genome Soldiers." Liquid and I just stared at Ocelot.
"… You could do the whole puppet thing, right?" I asked, turning to Mantis with a semi-desperate look. Liquid talked me down, but I still wasn't happy about the Genome Soldiers' inclusion. Days blended into weeks, planning went along, getting more and more frequent, and the Genome Soldiers continued to train and get injected with things that may or may not help them become better soldiers. The planning didn't go through another major breakthrough for a few weeks, but when it did, damn was it a breakthrough.
Liquid and I were planning alone that day. Mantis was off doing his own thing and Ocelot had been summoned by the president once more, so only the two of us were there to plan. Well, it was just the two of us until in the middle of some minute detail, Raven had opened the door and knocked on the doorframe. I furrowed my eyebrows just a bit, perplexed by the fact that Raven of all people was interrupting us. Liquid however just nodded Raven over.
"Got a sec?" Raven asked, walking over to Liquid.
"Yeah, what is it?" Liquid asked.
Raven paused for a few seconds, then asked, "How dedicated are you to this whole revolution business?"
Immediately Liquid stood up, glared full-force at Raven and growled back, "The Hell kind of question is that?" I recoiled a bit, eyes widening. He was really defensive about this… Well, I couldn't blame him. It was his dream, his father's dream, Raven really didn't have any right to criticize that or Liquid's dedication to it.
"Alright, let me rephrase that," Raven clarified, "Are you willing to die to see this through?" Liquid just stared at him, honestly considering the question. I could see it in his eyes, and it flabbergasted me. Liquid had honestly never considered that he just might die on this potentially dangerous operation? Liquid was confident, that much I knew without a doubt. But this wasn't confidence, this was cocky stupidity. However… This brought a thought to my mind.
Was I willing to die for this? I knew I was dedicated, and I knew that I would see this through no matter what it took, but death was death. It was permanent, I'd go to Paradise (or Hell, I had no idea). Was I really prepared to die? I thought over all aspects of that possibility, over the myriad of ways it could possibly happen, over all the possible outcomes and aftereffects of my death. It was staggering, to think over your own mortality in several minutes.
… Yes, I was certain. If that's what it took, I'd push myself to the brink and die for this to go through. It was Liquid's dream, it was Saladin's dream- no, now… now it was my dream too. That didn't mean I'd immediately strap a bomb to my chest and blow myself up suicide bomber style, but you get the point. But I knew I wasn't going lose Liquid. I wouldn't let him die, I nearly lost him once before and it wouldn't happen again.
"Honestly? I hadn't considered that possibility," Liquid finally replied, confirming my previous thoughts, "I mean, all of us know how hard it is to kill me."
"I didn't ask if you thought you would die, I asked if you were willing to die," Raven said sternly, "Because all of us may not live to see the plan succeed. And I would rather know your answer before committing my own life to your cause." There was a small flicker of fear in Liquid's eyes. It was a tiny, tiny spark, but it was there all the same. He snuffed it out quickly, but I didn't forget it.
Liquid stared at Raven for a few seconds before taking a deep breath and answering, "I'd rather die than fail. Does that satisfy you?"
"For now," Raven replied cryptically, making his way out.
"You're worrying over nothing. Who could possibly come close to causing trouble for us?" Liquid wondered, his smirk returning.
Raven stopped near the door and replied semi-sarcastically, "Gee, I was thinking maybe the guy who stopped your father from doing the exact same thing. Twice. But you're right, I'm sure those were just flukes." The second Liquid and I figured out who Raven was talking about, we looked at each other with wide eyes. He was right, and that wasn't good. We were going to go up against Solid Snake. Ocelot got back a half-hour after this initial discussion, and immediately we brought this to him, including him in this now.
"You know, I think Raven's right," Ocelot stated, "We're going to have to deal with Solid Snake. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that they'd send him in. He has experience with this kind of situation from Big Boss's two attempts, the U.S. doesn't have any other independent agent at our level, and they'd be able to get him there quickly since he's already living in Alaska." I looked over at Liquid; his back was to the rest of us, and since I couldn't see his face his thoughts were a mystery to me.
I put a hand on Liquid's shoulder and asked, "Liquid? Are you alright?"
Liquid turned nearly all the way around quickly enough to make me jump, grinning wide like a maniac, and exclaimed, "I'm better than 'alright'! I'm bloody ecstatic! I mean- It's like- I can finally face Solid Snake on the battlefield! I can finally crush him into the dust! I can FINALLY make the world just shut the hell up about Solid Snake! This is fantastic, bloody fantastic! You can't even begin to imagine how good this is!"
I suppose his enthusiasm should've calmed me down, but instead I just cringed a bit. His confidence was back in full swing, and I didn't know what to feel about that. I guess it was a good thing after all, since Liquid could get his revenge and I could finally repay him for killing Saladin (twice), but Solid Snake was still dangerous. That fight would not be an easy one, definitely not. Well, I suppose I had to admire his confidence just a bit. That was the one thing that always impressed me about him, Liquid never ever cracked, not even when the odds were stacked high against him.
"Why does it matter that he lives in Alaska?" Raven asked, bringing me back to the situation at hand.
"'Cause that's where the action's going to be, pal," Ocelot replied, looking and sounding smug, "Aren't you proud?"
"What is there in Alaska that the government would care that much about?" Raven questioned further.
"You remember your little field trip to Shadow Moses Island? All I can say is that on that island is quite the government secret," Ocelot replied, getting smugger by the minute. I think he should've twisted his mustache at that point, but instead he just twirled his precious revolver. It'd been a while since I saw him do that, now that I thought about it.
Days blended into weeks, and weeks melted into months like the hues of a watercolor painting someone left out in the rain. Planning was on an automatic setting, since everything was drawing closer and closer and closer. I didn't sit in on any more meetings unless I was asked, since I didn't want to get that feeling of anticipation stuck in the pit of my stomach. There weren't any missions at all, not even a small solo one here or there. If you took it from a FOXHOUND standpoint, the world was at peace.
And I enjoyed that 'peace'. I went on lengthy walks with Berthold, actually ventured into the outside world (and bothered to wear civilian clothes when I did so), went to the beach a few times, hung out with Naomi when she wasn't working on the Genome Soldiers or some other project I paid no attention to, or just lay on the roof and watching the clouds go by. It was interesting, to say the least, to finally have time to breathe. I had been working on my relationship with Liquid alongside small missions during the first semi-peaceful time, so I hadn't gotten to properly enjoy the feeling of having 'nothing' to do. And now that I did, I never wanted it to end.
It was during these days of wonderful boredom, in the middle of the night actually, that I was wandering through the halls with Pentazemin and Diazepam in hand. Right when I didn't expect it, I happened upon Liquid's room. And there was light coming from inside. I blinked a few times in surprise; I thought that he was still planning with Ocelot. These meetings normally lasted through the night, so it was odd to see him out of them at this hour. I knocked three times before opening the door.
The first thing I saw was Liquid staring at his computer screen intently. He was obviously reading, but my eyes were more drawn to the fact there were bags under his. He looked even more exhausted than he used to, and I didn't blame him one bit. He was slouched over, his elbows on the desk and his hands steepled in front of his mouth, and his coat slung over the back of his chair. His hair was tied back in a short ponytail, which he only did when his hair was bothering him in some way or if he was intently reading. It seemed like a combination of both in this case.
"Can I come in?" I asked semi-playfully. Liquid glanced over at me and smiled.
"Of course," he replied.
I walked in, closing the door behind me, and as I made my way over I asked, "What're you up to?"
"Well, I was supposed to be researching the current geopolitics of modern nuclear weaponry," Liquid replied as I got behind his chair and loosely hugged him from behind, perching my head on top of his. I could only do this when he was slouching like this, and damn did I revel in it. I raised an eyebrow when I saw what was on the screen.
"This is Mick Jagger's Wikipedia article," I commented dryly.
"I got slightly sidetracked," Liquid replied, un-steepling his hands for a second to scroll down the page. "Did you know he studied for a year at the London School of Economics?"
"I can't say that I did," I replied, reading along with him for a few minutes before I continued, "James, you should get some sleep. You look awful."
"I know, and I will… Right after I figure out what those symbols on the cover of Led Zeppelin IV mean," Liquid said. I let out a small sigh; that obviously meant that he wasn't getting to sleep any time soon. So, resigned to his decision (and realizing I couldn't hold this position for very long), I pulled up another chair (why Liquid had two when he only needed one always baffled me) next to his, popped a few Diazepam capsules, and sat down next to Liquid.
I leaned my head on his shoulder, then furrowed my eyebrows. He felt relaxed, like he almost always did when we were in contact, but he was also tense behind that. It was obvious; in his own way, for reasons completely different than my own, Liquid was nervous for what was to come. I smiled a bit, glad to know his normal human instincts were working. And, since we were on the same page emotionally, I felt far closer to him.
The raging current of nothing continued on. Although, there was a slight change this time. Ocelot and Liquid had finally planned everything down to the microsecond, which finally gave me time with Liquid to just do whatever. Naomi left for a little bit, said she had to ask Campbell something, which left me slightly worried for her but also convinced she could take care of herself. I even was able to drag the whole unit out drinking one night (I had been a part of a similar outing with the old unit when I was fourteen, and I wanted to recreate it just a bit).
Admittedly, it wasn't a smart idea, but I will also admit that on that night I had the most fun I had ever had with the whole unit. I was stuck as the designated driver, but that was alright. Not getting drunk was a small price to pay to watch Mantis forget his principles and try to flirt with women (and men) while the others belted out a surprisingly good rendition of "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. I joined in on the latter event, which I like to believe saved the performance from falling flat on its ass. The others had awful hangovers the next morning, and I had the honor of explaining to Mantis that he almost scored.
A few weeks afterward, the Genome Soldier Experiment had finished. Apparently they had just barely met the requirements for this experiment to be called successful. Now, Liquid had to properly induct the soldiers into FOXHOUND as reserve operatives and test their mental capabilities. This was going to be 'fun'. The Genome Soldiers were all grouped in the secondary briefing room (far larger than the main one), and at the head of the room there was a podium with the FOXHOUND emblem on it. Liquid stood behind that while the rest of us leaned against the left wall.
"This is going to be a disaster," I muttered.
"Hey, they passed through the experiment, it might not be that bad," Octopus commented. I just gave him a look.
Liquid cleared his throat to get everyone's attention, then began, "Congratulations on completing the Genome Soldier gene therapy treatment… thing. You are now among the most elite of modern soldiers. However! Your conditioning is not over. The Next Generation Special Forces are affiliated with FOXHOUND, and we hold to a higher standard of excellence! It's not enough to be physically superior. You must be able to think as well as you can fight." For some reason or another, Octopus snickered. I responded appropriately by elbowing him in the ribs.
Liquid then continued, "Consider a hypothetical mission in which your unit is defending a base against a single enemy infiltrator. While on patrol, you find a fellow member of your unit unconscious. What do you do?" Immediately one of the soldiers' hands shot up.
"Yes, private?" Liquid asked.
"Wake him up!" the private replied enthusiastically.
"As soon as you get him on his feet he mysteriously collapses again," Liquid said, narrowing his eyes just a bit.
"Wake him up again!" another soldier called.
"The exact same thing happens as the last time you woke him up," Liquid stated in an aggravated deadpan.
"Wake him up again!"
"No matter how many times you wake him up he just falls unconscious again! There are a bunch of tranquilizer darts sticking out of his neck."
"Ooh! Ooh, I've got it sir!"
"Wake him up again?" Liquid's left eye twitched out of control and he sputtered something unintelligible. He was speaking in what we liked to call 'angrish'. I was nearing that point as well; these guys were idiots! Liquid took a deep breath, no doubt assuring himself that they couldn't be much worse than this.
"Let's move on," Liquid sighed before walking over to a nearby chalkboard with a basic layout of some nondescript area on it. "This is the layout of an area you have to guard. I want one of you to show me the best path for a patrol to take." One of the soldiers got up and walked up to the board, looked at it for a few seconds, then picked up a piece of red chalk and drew a series of arrows that made a path around a smaller, square 'building'. He then turned to Liquid with an expectant look.
Liquid stared at him for a second before narrowing his eyes and saying, "Not quite, no. Anyone else think they can do better?" Another soldier got up, picked up a blue piece of chalk, erased the previous path, then drew a new one detailing a back and forth path along an alleyway of sorts between the two small buildings and one longer one.
"No," Liquid snapped. A third came up, erased that path, then drew one in yellow out in the open that was basically just walking in circles counter clockwise.
"No!" Liquid exclaimed, eye twitching again. I face-palmed, and a fourth soldier went up. He erased the previous path, then just drew an 'X' in purple on the very edge of it.
Liquid glared daggers at this newest soldier, then hissed, "Explain. Now."
"See, the problem with all those is they're way too predictable," the fourth soldier began.
"Okay, good, that is true…" Liquid commented, starting to calm down a bit.
"So I'd just be standin' in one place, but movin' around all randomlike so no one could tell where I'd be lookin' next!" the soldier chirped. "Kinda like this-" And then he proceeded to do the robot. I couldn't stop myself from letting out a curse in Kurdish and turning around to hit my head on the wall over and over.
"Alright, for future reference, everyone? Doing the robot is not an effective surveillance method!" Liquid snapped. I didn't stick around for the rest of this. I knew all I needed to know about these guys. I seriously hoped to God that Solid Snake killed every last one of those idiots. Several days went by, and Shadow Moses was upon us. We were being sent to guard the facility during the test of Metal Gear REX, the newest model of Metal Gear that the government was keeping on the down low. To say the least, I was a little nervous that everything was finally coming together after weeks and months of planning. Everyone else was getting ready to leave, and I decided I needed to talk to Naomi about this, and I found her on a balcony watching the Genome Soldiers load up and get ready to go outside the base.
"Hey," I said casually, PSG-1 slung over my shoulders and Berthold by my side, standing beside Naomi and smiling at her. She was leaning on the rail, dark hair blowing about in the wind and framing her troubled face. She looked over at me and attempted to smile.
"Hey," she replied, looking back out at the Genome Soldiers, "… You know, it's weird, but I feel sort of responsible for them now. I mean, in a sense, I created them as they are now. So their success or failure reflects on me. I thought this project was laughable from the beginning, but now I'm totally invested in its outcome."
I could tell there was something else going on in the back of her mind, something else bothering her, but I wasn't going to pry. If it was something I had to concern myself with, she'd tell me. I smiled a comforting, almost maternal smile, and put an arm around Naomi's shoulders in a half-hug. It reminded me of when she was just a kid, and how I had to hug her for a whole hour after she burst out crying seeing me kill an animal. She was so grown up now… My God, I sounded like her mother.
"Don't worry, Naomi. You're a great scientist, I just know this'll turn out fine. I've always had faith in you, and I can't tell you how proud of you I am even now. You're going to be fine, you and the Genome Soldiers," I murmured, rubbing her shoulder in another comforting gesture. Naomi smiled back at me, and at that moment Berthold took the opportunity to walk up on Naomi's other side, looking up at her expectantly. Naomi semi-unconsciously reached down and scratched behind his ears, Berthold giving a contented sigh when she did.
Liquid walked out onto the balcony right then and asked, "Now what's going on up here?"
"Naomi just has cold feet about the Genome Soldiers," I replied with a grin. She shot me a look, and all I could do was laugh a little.
"Well, if even one of them can last a week without chocking on their own tongue, she deserves the Nobel Prize," Liquid remarked, folding his arms behind his head. I let out a little chuckle and Naomi shot him the look.
"That's very reassuring, thank you," Naomi said dryly.
Liquid was about to respond when Ocelot yelled from the ground, "Yo, Boss!"
"What?" Liquid called back down, leaning over the rail of the balcony.
"Special delivery just got here!" Ocelot shouted back up, pointing over in the direction of said 'special delivery'. Liquid, Naomi and I all looked over there, my eyes widening when I saw what it was. Apparently FOXHOUND was now in possession of a Hind D Russian helicopter. Liquid stared at it wide eyed for a few seconds longer before a gigantic grin cut its way onto his face. Liquid let out a loud whoop of happiness and leapt off the balcony, landing on his feet and dashing over there with an enthusiasm I hadn't seen before. I chuckled sheepishly and Naomi gave me another look, though this one was a little happier.
"Quite a catch you've got there," Naomi remarked sarcastically, standing up straight now and looking me in the eye with a raised eyebrow.
"Hey now," I laughed, putting the hand that had been around her shoulders on my hip, "I don't criticize your taste in men."
Then I jumped a bit and face-palmed, saying as I did, "Ugh, that's right! Berthold and I are driving with Octopus and Mantis to Shadow Moses, I gotta get down there quickly. Seeya Naomi!" I turned to leave, but right as I began to walk I felt something hit my hand. I glanced over my shoulder; Naomi was still looking out over the balcony… I turned around and kept walking, my eyebrows furrowed. I looked at my hand; there was a crumpled up piece of paper in it. A note…? I could read it later, maybe on the drive to Shadow Moses. I made it down there to the car (walking past Raven setting off in the tank) and was about to climb in, but suddenly Berthold jumped up on my seat.
"What are you doing, Bertie- OOF!" I was interrupted by Berthold jumping from my seat and into me, knocking me out of the car. I was about to question him further, but then he ran back toward the base. I blinked a few times in surprise before running off after him, shouting in Kurdish for him to get back here. I could tell plenty of people were staring at me, which only made this worse. I chased Berthold into the base and up the stairs, wondering all the while what he was trying to do. I opened the door to the roof to see Berthold sitting by the edge, panting and wagging his tail. The Hind D was idling right next to him.
I walked over, but when I got close Liquid jumped out of the cockpit and ran to meet me halfway, taking both of my hands in his. Berthold got on his feet right then, wagging his tail double time. I looked from Berthold to Liquid and back, confused as all hell.
"Liquid… What is this?" I asked.
"I know I should probably wait until Shadow Moses succeeds and stuff but I just can't," Liquid began, looking nervous and happy at the same time. Once again I felt something hit my left hand. I turned my hand over, but this time instead of furrowing my eyebrows, they shot straight up and my eyes widened. Sitting in my palm was a ring. It was gold with Celtic knots around the whole ring, two smallish white gems on either side of a larger, bright green one in the center. Allah… It was beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
I looked up at Liquid, completely shocked, and sputtered, "J-James, I-I-"
"Ferishteh, before you say anything, I want to tell you something," Liquid interrupted, "I love you more than anything else. I mean, when Raven brought up the fact that some of us might die before the plan succeeds, I was only thinking that I couldn't lose you. When I tried to regain my memories, I almost didn't because I was afraid you wouldn't like who I became. It's almost pathetic, really, but it's true. And I know that being together like this is distracting enough, and that getting married would only make it worse, but I just don't care. So, Ferishteh Rekani… will you marry me?"
For several seconds, I stared at him, my mind blank. Well, that wasn't entirely true. In fact it was a huge lie, there were several thousand thoughts buzzing around my head, trying to tell me to do it, not to do it, or eat a sandwich. It was that crazy in there.
I mean, it was all so sudden-
We were about to go to Shadow Moses-
It had only been seven months-
But then again it had also been several years-
What would my mother say-
I refrained from shaking my head, but I would've, since I had to clear out all the cluttering thoughts. Without warning, I wrapped my arms forcefully around Liquid's neck and pulled him down to my level, kissing him hard on the lips. I held the kiss for several seconds before breaking back and smiling wider than I had ever smiled before.
"Yes, yes, of course I'll marry you, James!" I exclaimed, wrapping my arms tightly around him. Liquid embraced me back even tighter, possibly even happier than I was that I had agreed. But I'm not sure that that was possible, since I felt happier than I ever had. Nothing could've ever compared to this, not the feeling of going back home to the ruins, not the feeling of finally admitting to myself that I was in love with Liquid, nothing in the world.
We figured afterwards that when Shadow Moses was said and done we'd get married in the smallest of small ceremonies (neither of us wanted some huge spectacle), and Ocelot took my place in the car so Berthold and I could ride with Liquid in the Hind D to Alaska. We also promised to keep it between the unit, and for that such reason I wore my ring underneath my glove. It wasn't the most comfortable thing in the world, but I could manage. I stared out the window the entire way, in something of a daze. I should've been a ball of panic and fear, but I was far too happy to be nervous.