After swimming a ludicrous distance towards the barge, Snake finally reached his destination to search for Ocelot. Snake surfaced beneath the offloading ramp and waited as a guard flicked his cigarette ash into the water behind where Snake lay in wait. “I don’t get paid enough for this.” hissed the guard as he walked back towards his post. Snake looked onward as he began looking to match the barge’s description with his visuals. He was looking for a heavily guarded three-tiered ship with the Falcone label plastered on one side.
He found the targeted barge. The time to act was now.
“Otacon, I found the ship. Do you have the radio frequency of the guard’s radios?”
“Yes, Snake. Frequency 119.39 appears to have the most comm chatter on it. You’ve also managed to approach the boat without raising any alarms. It doesn’t look like it, but the barge has several lower areas inside it. Every entrance to the other levels is locked down with encrypted keycards that have been given to the Deck Captains. You should start by looking for the most decorated guard on each floor to find the cardholders.”
Snake peeked up again to study the uniforms for differences in logos or design and spotted something very odd: each guard wore the same black pinstriped tailored two-piece suit with a much weirder detail; a black mask affixed to all of their faces.
“Otacon, that’s going to be an issue. Every guard here is dressed in the same suit with masks. What type of unit is this?”
“I’ll check into the comms, but they appear to be codenamed “Black Mask.” Standby for clarification.”
Snake cut the codec call and climbed out of the water onto the lower deck. He ventured to the first intersection and checked the corners for surveillance cameras. Seeing none, he launched into a nearby storage room where he began looking for any substance of evidence of who was his opposition. Snake sighed and rested his back against an old Flying Grayson poster laminated against the cold metal wall, most of it being trash memorabilia.
Just then, Otacon’s voice filled Snake’s codec channel. “Snake, this group belongs to a local crime boss named Roman Sionis, aka Black Mask. I can’t get into his comms or his general security systems from here. Still, it appears that he’s working with an unknown citizen here. Ocelot must be here, but I don’t have any confirmed sightings. Have you found anything?”
“I’ve found as much as you have. If these are local thugs and not an actual unit, I can count on them being chatty and revealing the information. Keep on the codec channel just in case I find anything.”
“Will do, Snake. Oh, by the way: my systems have picked up someone by the surname “Alfred” detailing this exact barge’s coordinates to an undetectable comm. I went to cross-reference every Alfred in this city, and none stand out as someone who’s that computer literate. Even got a hit on the butler for this city’s magistrate, Bruce Wayne, but even that seems farfetched. It could even be a nickname or alias; this city loves them. I’ll send you the findings on this “Joker” after you apprehend Ocelot. It’s a grim read, but I can’t tell what details been fabricated and what hasn’t.”
Snake left the storage room and snuck behind an adjacent barrel as two of Black Mask’s henchmen were in mid-conversation.
“So that panther guy the boss is working with-”
“OCELOT. His name is Ocelot, moron.”
“Hey, in this city, you wouldn’t be surprised if we got names like that. Anyway, have you seen him?”
“Yeah, he’s shadier than what I’m used to seeing in this city, but I’m not fazed. He doesn’t look so tough, but apparently, he has some tricks he does with his revolvers that some of the guys have told me about downstairs.”
“Is it really that amazing? I wanna see it.”
“Well, too bad. You’re gonna have to wait until either shift change or if Mark uses the badge to let you go downstairs and ask. I’d wait until the former, the boss sees us out of order, and it’s hell we’ve gotta all pay.”
“Mark’s here tonight? He recovered from getting shot in the leg by Penguin last night already?”
“No, the lucky idiot is hobbling around here still. How he got the door key is beyond me. Sometimes his bandages will bleed through and he’ll leave a small trail of blood behind him.
Snake snuck away from the conversation, looking for the injured henchman. As he searched the deck, he found the aforementioned trail of blood. He followed it, careful of the surrounding guards that lingered in the area. He saw that the course ended behind a door to the main cabin rooms and carefully opened the door, his tranquilizer gun prepped in his hand to subdue the guard and grab his keycard. When he opened the door, Snake realized that the guard had laid collapsed on the floor, keycard was nowhere to be found.
Snake called Otacon.
“Otacon, I think one of the guards bled out in the cabins from an untreated gunshot wound.”
“His vitals appear normal. It looks like he’s been knocked out.”
“Knocked out? Did he knock himself out?”
“Unlikely. Check the face for bruising or marks of assault.”
Snake rolled the guard over and saw that a colossal fist-sized bruise had begun to swell over his eye.
“It appears that he’s been struck. Otacon, do we have a rogue henchman on comms?”
“Not likely; these guys are loyal to Black Mask and themselves. Are there any forced entry markings anywhere?”
Just then, a loud grunt and thud could be heard outside of the cabin Snake occupied.