And let the lack of creativity BEGIN~! *brick'd* LAST TIME, Wolf was experiencing the Heroic Blue Screen of Death because her old, one-eyed crush-guy kicked the bucket. WILL SHE EVER REBOOT?!?! Find out on this episode of HOWLING BALL Z!!! I own nothing, not even that crappy reference.

-Liquid Snake-

Years passed before I felt that anything of interest happened; but you shouldn't take my word for it, you know my condition. Mantis, Octopus, Ocelot, Raven and I went through many missions together, and if any of us were normal we'd probably become a strong team with unbreakable bonds. Seeing as Ocelot- in addition to being an ass- had backstabbed more people than I could count, Mantis was himself, and the rest of us were ourselves, that looked impossible from the get-go.

One thing I found almost interesting enough to snap me a little more into being a normal human was the Zanzibar Land Disturbance. By 1999, the Cold War had thawed, and it seemed nuclear proliferation would soon be a thing of the past. Despite this, all was not well in the world. A military junta came to power in Zanzibar Land, a small nation bordering the USSR, China, and the Middle East. After gaining its independence from the Soviet Union in the Mercenary War, Zanzibar Land began attacking nuclear weapons disposal sites around the world, seizing those weapons that were still intact, and becoming the world's only nuclear power. It then began to invade its neighbors at will.

Meanwhile, a series of shocks to the oil market spurred the development of new high-tech energy sources, including fusion power. However, most vehicles still relied on oil for power. Oil reserves were at a critical low, and the world community was prepared to take drastic measures, either by drilling into sand and shale for more oil, despite the difficulty -- or moving on to renewable fuels. Such steps proved unnecessary when Czech scientist, Dr. Kio Marv, successfully bio-engineered a new species of algae, OILIX, that could produce petroleum-grade hydrocarbons with little expense and effort. Marv presented the algae to the World Energy Conference in Prague, and was on his way to a demonstration in the United States when agents of Zanzibar Land kidnapped him.

NATO discovered that Zanzibar Land's leaders planned to hold the world hostage by controlling the supply of oil, along with the threat of nuclear war. Campbell brought Solid Snake out of retirement for this mission, so I suppose this was what snapped me into some more awareness; hearing the codename Solid Snake filled me with homicidal rage, the likes of which the world had never known. Either that, or the news that Grey Fox had been killed there while Acid Crab and Manic Rat had disappeared once more while Volatile Jaguar had been sighted alongside them. I could only imagine how Naomi would take the news. Solid Snake had (sickeningly enough) succeeded in his mission, taking down Zanzibar Land and effectively saving the world a second time.

That was one year ago. Let me inform you, now that we've gotten so far from this story's beginning, that I'm about twenty-three years old as of last August. Today is February 23, 2000, and today Campbell informed me that FOXHOUND would finally be a complete unit.

"I wasn't aware that our unit was not complete," I had commented when Campbell gave me the news yesterday, not looking away from the scope as I observed Berthold hunting in the woods. He liked to do that on his own, so I only kept an eye on him from a distance. Both Campbell and I were on the roof, because that was the best vantage point and I sure as hell wasn't coming down.

"The main FOXHOUND unit normally consists of six soldiers, and currently we only have five," Campbell explained, "We've finally found a suitable recruit." I chuckled dryly; I heard of all the sub-par soldiers being churned out of the final test, earning codenames like 'Snail' and 'Mole', so it was a good thing to see that a threatening 'animal' had finally appeared.

"What codename did he get?" I asked, taking my attention off of Berthold as I got a little interested.

Campbell was silent for a second or two- alerting me that I wouldn't like the codename our new member got- before he replied, "Snake. His codename is Liquid Snake." My eyes widened and I could feel rage simmering at the bottom of my stomach.

"… I'm assuming that since their prefixes are alike states of matter that there is some relation between this man and… Solid Snake?" I asked, biting my lower lip as I said 'Solid Snake'.

"Yes. Liquid is Solid Snake's brother. I'm not sure if he's aware of it…" Campbell replied.

"I'll try not to hate him simply because of who he's related to," I muttered after a long pause.

Campbell was silent for a few more seconds before he said, "Wolf, you're aware of how Big Boss and Solid Snake were related, right?"

"I thought they weren't," I replied simply. Campbell bit the inside of his lower lip before he told me something I never even considered for a slight moment.

He told me that Solid Snake was Saladin's son. His son. I had noticed that Snake looked like how I imagined a younger Saladin might, but I thought it coincidence… It seems that there aren't any coincidences around here. Now I didn't just hate Snake for killing Saladin, but for killing his own father in cold blood. Campbell had left me to let out a loud 'roar' and shoot something Berthold had been about to kill. I sat there on the roof all day, ranting to myself that it just wasn't possible and that it had to be a lie. By the time that night rolled around and Berthold had come up onto the roof to keep me company, I had somewhat accepted it.

Now, I just had to figure out what I thought of Liquid Snake. I knew nothing about him, minus the fact that he was Solid Snake's brother and Saladin's son… If I knew myself, I was certain that I'd start comparing the two of them the moment I met Liquid Snake.

Today I would meet him in a rather… unorthodox way. Berthold and I had been on the roof, the wolf in question lying by my side as I looked out at the front of the base with a disinterested look. I wasn't staring through the PSG-1's scope though, for I was much too bored to be sniping wildlife today. That, and Campbell always gave me hell when I did shoot the animals out there; I could never see why he cared so much.

As I was musing on Campbell's affections for animals, Berthold sat straight up, his ears perking up as well.

I sat up straight, blinking once or twice, before asking, "What is it Bertie?" Berthold then 'pointed' down at the front of the base right as Ocelot walked out with someone by his side. His back was turned to me (and I was high up), so I could only see that this person wore a long brown trench coat (I had practiced suppressing the heartache, so I didn't associate it with Saladin's coat) and had long-ish blonde hair. Right as he and Ocelot stopped a few feet from the entrance and turned towards each other, Berthold started growling and baring his teeth at the blonde one.

Right as I was about to question it, Berthold let out a loud bark and jumped off the roof towards the blonde one. I didn't even get the chance to call out to him before my wolf had tackled the object of his detestation (eliciting a surprised yelp from said 'object') and was pinning him to the ground while growling in his face. I frowned and swooped off the roof, keeping both feet and one hand on the wall (the other holding the PSG-1) as I slid to the ground at a manageable speed.

As I slid, I could hear Ocelot note, "Yeah, that's Berthold. He'll get used to you eventually." That alerted me immediately that the blonde one was Liquid Snake, the resident new recruit.

I landed on both feet and walked a little ways before calling, "Berthold! Girtî!" Berthold looked back at me before growling at Liquid Snake again and trotting back to me. Liquid stood up semi-shakily and brushed himself off a little before muttering something about not liking dogs under his breath. Right then, the two of us noticed each other. The first two things I noticed were that Liquid didn't wear a shirt underneath his coat and that his eyes were green. He certainly looked a lot like Solid Snake, but not very much like Saladin. Maybe he took after his mother?

"Well, this saves me the trouble of tracking you down, Wolf," Ocelot remarked casually, spinning his revolver around (as he was wont to do), "Liquid, this is Sniper Wolf. Berthold is her monster."

Berthold growled at Ocelot while I smiled politely at Liquid and said before extending my hand to shake, "Ah, so you're Liquid Snake? It's a pleasure to meet you."

Liquid stared at me for a couple seconds in an almost dumbfounded manner before he shook my hand and replied in a British accent I should've expected from details I got earlier today but didn't, "The pleasure's all mine Miss Wolf." I wanted to roll my eyes, but I settled for turning my attention to scratching Berthold behind the ear; I got that reaction a lot from men, and I'm sure you can realize why if you're paying attention.

"So, it's my understanding that you were with the British military before FOXHOUND?" I asked, not looking up from Berthold as I knelt beside him to pet him better.

"Yep," Liquid replied simply.

"Army or marines?" I questioned further.

My eyebrows and mouth flattened into straight lines as Liquid replied again with, "Yep." I had a feeling where his eyes were wandering.

I glared up at him and asked in a threateningly calm tone, "We are making eye contact, yes?" Liquid's eyes immediately darted back up to mine and he grinned sheepishly.

"Uhm, sorry about that," Liquid said, "Actually, I was with the air force."

I allowed him a smirk and remarked, "Air force? Hm, interesting."

I straightened up into a fully standing position before continuing, "So, I suppose that since you're new around here I might as well give you a demonstration of my sniping skills."

"Yes, actually, I'd like that," Liquid mentioned.

I smirked before replying, "Campbell has forbid me from shooting anything that's alive in the forest, so…" I glanced from the corner of my eye at a bird about a kilometer away flying over the forest before pointing the PSG-1 backwards on my shoulder and pulling the trigger. I could hear a distant caw and Liquid's eyes widened a little at my skill.

"Çûn anîneve ew, Berthold," I said calmly. Immediately Berthold took off into the woods, coming back within a minute with the bird. I scratched him behind the ear, calling him a good boy, before looking back at Liquid with an almost smug smirk.

"Satisfied?" I asked.

"You… certainly live up to your reputation," Liquid remarked.

My smirked widened as I murmured cryptically, "Let's just hope you live up to yours." I turned away from him right then and strolled back into the base without a backward glance, Berthold catching up to me quickly as I did. I ran into Raven about a minute after I entered the base.

"So, did you meet Liquid?" Raven asked, the two of us now walking together through the halls. Berthold was wagging his tail rapidly, walking between me and Raven; as a shaman, Raven had quite the connection with animals. It was only natural that Raven was Berthold's second favorite human.

I rolled my eyes and replied, "Yes. First thing's first, Berthold doesn't like him. And second… I was expecting him to have a little more class than he does."

"I can tell you didn't interact with him for very long. Trust me, it's much worse than it seems," Raven muttered. I cringed at that remark; it seemed that Saladin could only produce inadequate or homicidal offspring.

About two days passed before we finally got a mission as a complete team. The briefing was early that morning, but that hardly mattered for my state of mind (what with my tranquilizer addiction); Liquid looked like he was tired enough to pass out right there, so I had to slap him into awareness twice before the briefing. To say the least, slapping Liquid felt vaguely satisfying, even if I did feel a little guilty when he looked at me with a 'What Was That For?' expression.

Campbell explained the situation, as per usual; several hours ago, the American embassy in Tknsydska was attacked by splinter unit of the Tknsydska Special Forces lead by Colonel Jensen Kyrnosz. We had encountered this man before in our missions, and none of us FOXHOUND veterans were very fond of having to encounter him again. From what we could gather from our intelligence, it seemed that the ambassador was taken hostage. What happened after he gave us this information was probably the single greatest instance in the history of this unit as of this year.

"Wait a minute- let me get this straight," Ocelot began.

"We're being sent into the buttcrack of eastern Europe," Liquid continued before I picked up, "To rescue the single least important member of the US government," then Mantis continued, "From a bunch of wack-jobs," before Octopus picked up once more, "Being lead by Colonel Shit-For-Brains there?"

"It seems like a complete waste of time and resources," Raven finished, "And we have gone on some very pointless missions before." It took Campbell a minute or so to get over that brilliantly seamless melding of our thoughts and ideas. It even took Liquid and I a few seconds to recover.

"The ambassador isn't what's really important here," Campbell replied to our mass 'question', "It's most likely that the real target of the attack is the communications tower, which is the only link to the military's secure data network in eastern Europe."

"Aw crap," Ocelot grumbled, voicing what most of us were feeling.

"Aw crap what?" Liquid asked.

"That means that, in theory, they can get access to all of the US military's files," I explained.

"Including our own dossiers. That's bad," Mantis added.

"How come?" Liquid questioned further. I rolled my eyes and tried to refrain from muttering my judgments under my breath.

"We aren't exactly 'popular' in the rest of the world these days. Hell, I can't even count on one hand the organizations that want us dead," Octopus scoffed.

"Hm, I don't think anyone wants me dead… at least, that's what I can remember," Liquid murmured to himself. I raised an eyebrow when he mentioned his memory; perhaps that had something to do with why he didn't 'jive' with everything I had heard about him.

We left for Tknsydska soon after the briefing, getting there at nightfall in their time zone. I quickly took up a post near the perimeter of the area, looking for any of the soldiers to take out. It was business as usual for me as I took down several soldiers guarding the outside of the embassy and I had a feeling that this mission wasn't going to be interesting for me personally.

However, something strange did occur; not for everyone, but for me personally. I had taken down two soldiers, one listening to an MP3 player (the idiot), but when I had been right about to look for more targets Liquid had strolled into the periphery of my crosshairs; I raised an eyebrow, wondering what Liquid was up to. I got my answer as Liquid grave-robbed the soldier of his MP3 player and left, presumably humming the tune he was listening to.

My bubble disappeared for a minute, allowing me to crack a real grin and laugh a little at that. As my bubble reappeared, I gasped and realized what just happened; I had genuinely felt something after so long. Though part of me was happy about this revelation, another part of me was frightened and disoriented. I wasn't used to feeling, it was foreign to me now. As I regained my composure, I caught sight of Kyrnosz heading to the communications tower.

"Colonel Dumbass is going to the tower. You're on Octopus," I said over the radio.

"Copy that," Octopus replied. I could hear the smirk in his voice, though it technically wasn't his since he had disguised himself as Kyrnosz just a little while ago. I kept a good watch on the comm. tower for about twenty minutes before Raven contacted me over the radio.

"Wolf, is there anything strange going on out there?" Raven asked.

"Not that I can see. Why?" I replied.

"We've hit a snag in the rescue," Octopus cut in.

"What kind of snag? Is the ambassador dead?" I asked, fearing the worst.

"It's pretty hard to kill a guy you never had hostage to kill," Octopus replied bitterly. My eyes widened in surprise; the ambassador was a decoy?! Then… there had to be a trap, there just had to be.

After something like fifteen minutes of tense waiting for a trap, I let out a yelp of surprise and dropped my rifle next to me as the embassy exploded in a gigantic ball of flames, the comm. tower included. I gained true feeling again as the charred rubble and people flew everywhere, but this time I was feeling worry for my comrades. And right as I was thinking that they could all be dead and about to run over there to find survivors, I was knocked over by Liquid at three hundred miles per hour. Liquid's momentum sent us both rolling towards a nearby cliff where wefinally stopped with Liquid's semi-conscious body pinning me to the ground.

"Ah, I must really be dead," Liquid remarked dazedly as he realized the situation we were in.

I rolled my eyes and dragged the two of us to our feet before snapping, "No, you're still alive Liquid even though you shouldn't be. Now come on, we need to find the others!"

"Well, here's one right here." Both Liquid and I turned towards the cliff when we heard Mantis's even raspier than normal voice to see him just barely holding his upper torso on the cliff. I immediately ran over to him- dragging Liquid behind me because he was still hardly aware of his surroundings- and tried to hold down a gasp as I saw a spike of rock had impaled Mantis through the abdomen.

I had crouched down and was about to grab Mantis's hand to help him up, but before I could Mantis gave me a glare filled with contempt and rasped, "Oh don't you even think about touching me, slutbucket."

My showing eye twitched a bit; this was absolutely absurd, even for Mantis.

"Mantis, you could die. Just let me help, you misogynistic bastard," I snapped, glaring at him with the same level of contempt while Raven, Octopus and Ocelot arrived to this spectacle.

"Okay, what's the problem here?" Ocelot asked, walking up to me and Mantis.

I stood up and grumbled, "There's no problem here. He's being a stubborn idiot, so let him."

Liquid also walked up beside me to ask Mantis, "Wait, why don't you just levitate yourself up here? You can do that."

"A couple reasons. First, levitation takes quite a bit of concentration, concentration that I don't have in this situation," Mantis replied, "Which brings me to reason two, there's a stalactite the size of a tree trunk lodged in my stomach!"

"Stalagmite," Raven corrected. Everyone just stared at him.

"Stalactites point downward," Raven clarified.

"Yeah, but doesn't a stalagmite have to be pointing up?" Octopus wondered. I also wondered why everyone was bickering about what was impaling Mantis instead of helping him, but I was still pissed off at him so it didn't matter too much.

"So what's it called when it points sideways?" Ocelot asked.

"How about stalagbites?" Liquid suggested with a very stupid looking grin on his face. I could tell that this wouldn't end well.

"As in 'stalag-bites to be him right now'?" Liquid continued. Ocelot did the honors and pistol-whipped Liquid across the face for his stupidity.

"Someone pull me up here so I can kill him," Mantis hissed. Eventually we did get Mantis off the cliff, though Liquid didn't get murdered. As we were leaving from a mission only slightly botched, I was prepared to leave Liquid on his own for his stupid pun; but he just had to do such a great job of standing at the back of our group as we walked looking pitiful with a revolver-shaped bruise on his face. I bit my lip and fell back beside him, walking in time with him as he realized my presence.

"For future reference, Liquid, don't make horrible puns when a teammate is in danger of dying of blood loss, infection, or both at once," I murmured with a gentle smile.

"Yeah, I know that was a dumbass move," Liquid sighed, "You don't hate me too much for it, do you?"

"You should be much more concerned with their opinions. They aren't nearly as forgiving as I am," I chuckled, indicating the others when I mentioned them.

Liquid looked from me to them before smiling and mentioning, "I don't know, something about your opinion seems quite a bit more important." I tried to hold down a blush, then tried to figure out why that blush even existed; Saladin had never once complimented me in a roundabout way like that, and yet this… it seemed that the comparing of Liquid to Saladin was starting a bit later than I thought it would.

The two Kurdish phrases Wolf uses mean (loosely, since I'm not a native Kurdish speaker) 'Off', and 'Go get it'. If anyone has any corrections, I could really use them.