*The Gaylord Hotel’s night bar. Snake is at the bar, alone, drinking a beer.*
I’ve been for some time
Looking for someone
I need to know how
Please tell me who I am…
Hello there. Mind if I sit here?
Make yourself at home.
Good, good. What’s in this selection of wines… “1999 Château Backstab”? Never heard of it. Seems like a knockoff trying to sound French, but I can try at least. Garçon, could you please give me a glass?
Huh, so that’s how you do it. How does the yellow one manage?
We keep a lot of things secret. That’s part of our marketing strategy, at least.
Even for something as basic as drinking? Hmm…
So, what have you been up to lately?
I’ve mostly been keeping a low profile, watching some of the other contestants and their matches.
That sounds like something a secret agent would do. Say though, I’ve noticed something with you. Something a bit weird…
I sensed your mind was a bit troubled.
You sense wrong.
Do I? I’m quite good at catching stuff like this, even for a robot.
You’re naive if you think that people see you as a robot. Everyone knows that’s just a mask.
I know, don’t worry! I just wanted to cheer you up a bit. Most of the other losers are back on their usual antics, but there’s something sticking with you…
So… You think you’re ready for your next fight, with the DJ?
K? Eh, we’ll do what we usually do. We’ll give life back to music, and we’ll see how that goes. Although I’m quite excited for this battle of the samples! But… I’m not gonna lie, I’m nervous too. K is popular, and he has a distinct sound hard to replicate. It will be tough.
He can only ever stick to one sound. That’s his weak point. You and your friends have more variety in your arsenal.
True, true. With Guy-Man, we always want to reinvent ourselves. Our next album could feature anything, even fat hard rock, who knows. But what matters to us is that we have fun experimenting. As one of my biggest inspirations say: “Once you free your mind about the concept of music being ‘correct’, you can do whatever you want.”
Hmm… That attitude seems quite similar to that of the DJ. Both of you seem to have fun, but I’m sure both of you also dread the thought of fighting one another. The stakes have never been higher…
Say… Now that we’re face to face, I’ve gotta ask something.
Why exactly are you walking around with a helmet on? It seems highly impractical and inconvenient if anything.
Guy-Man and I chose to wear a helmet all the way back in the 1990s. To us, music should do the talk, not personality. Music is more important than the person making it. Come to think of it, that’s the entire spirit behind the whole “Vote Responsibly” motto… Choosing between me and K shouldn’t be choosing between that guy making pep talks and those three chilling dudes, it should be between the samples, his Japanese breakbeat and our French funk.
I’ve gotta admit, you’re pretty admirable for playing by those rules. But, I also don’t doubt you could also use that helmet of yours for something other than anonymity.
Oh? For what, then?
Are you… worried you can’t read my face or something?
…Masks have disadvantages. They make you feel less natural. You have to work on your music twice as much to make it have an impact. With a mask on, people can’t see your emotions when you perform, and so, you have to convey them through your music. I remember even making a song called “Emotion” back in the day.
Tell you what, Snake. As I said before, I can tell that something happened. And I don’t want to ask you about it, it’s none of my business. If you don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine, but I’m sure other contestants wouldn’t mind if you did talk about it.
If it’s about tournament stress, I think all of us are feeling like you. The game has changed. Not only because of the higher stakes as you progress, but also because everyone learned to know the other contestants better. We’re not simply rivals anymore. I’m sure that some next battles will be heartbreaking. Ours with K, for example…
I’m fine. I’m just pondering it all, you know.
Say, Snake. I have a quite personal question. It’s fine if you don’t answer.
Remember that incident in the cafeteria?
Seems like I’m pushing a button there, sorry, I just was wondering why the kid acted like that.
I’m asking myself the same question. In front of everyone, too… It was uncalled for.
And it’s not like him at all… Maybe he had a good reason to act this way. Can you think of one?
I may have an idea. But… I’ll keep it to myself.
Snake… You asked me about masks a bit earlier. But both of us know everyone here put at least one mask on during the tournament. We have much in common, after all… Some did it to get to know other people, like Eminem. Some did it to save face, like Adam. Some did it for popularity points, like those squid girls. But as we’re getting further and further in the tournament, those masks are all falling down. And we’re all seeing each other not as the marketing stunt we’re putting on the show, but as the people we really are. You seem like the kind of person who learned to change masks every once in a while because of your work. Here’s the thing: in this place, I don’t think you need to put the same mask all the time. You’re not on a critical military mission. You can change your mask, tweak it, even make it fall. And I’m sure people can be surprised at what’s under. Tell me about it.
So, is that why you never show your face…? You’re pretty clever.
It’s more for anonymity than anything else but… *sigh* I guess I should practice what I preach, shouldn’t I.
…Thank you for the chat, Solid Snake. And, um, whatever it is that’s troubling your mind… I hope it’ll get better.
Thanks. Good luck.
Whoa, hey, what’s up?
N-n-nothing! I-I was just, uh, looking for Quote!
Quote? He’s not in the bar. Although uh, I hope he’s alright. I remember that restaurant episode where everything went bonkers-
Uhhhh, d-don’t worry! I-I’m sure Quote had a g-good reason to act this way! Although I-I don’t know, I wasn’t there… I’m just trying to, uh, understand why he…
Hey, don’t be so nervous! What’s happening?
I, uh, uhhhhh… I’m nervous because I still don’t know where Quote is! S-so, I’ll look elsewhere! Cyaaaaa!!