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19 October 2011 @ 11:55 pm
You know what, never mind  

As Thene put it earlier, I appear to have trolled myself by forgetting that I am a troll. Looking at my fic folder, I noticed that I had this one lying around finished since April. I probably wrote it and walked away, planning to get back to it later - and then I forgot all about it. I do not know how. It has Gene and Zero in it as they try to out-scheme each other, though if you're familiar with MPO you already know who "won". I don't know how I forget this stuff.

Anyway, I have polished and proofread it now, so I present to you...

Title: A Gentlemen's Agreement
Characters: Gene, Zero; mentions of BB/Zero, Cunningham
Rating: SFW
Word Count: ~830
Summary: The most skilled player will answer to no one.
Notes: Pre-Portable Ops, playing with the interpretation that Zero's "overthrow" as the head of FOX was negotiated with the very party that was supposed to overthrow him. The thing is, can you outfox an old FOX? (Gene's original codename was indeed Viper, by the way.)
Disclaimer: MGS belongs to Hideo Kojima & Konami.

A Gentlemen's Agreement

For something supposedly as significant as a shift in command to affect the entire FOX unit, the interrogation goes smoother than Gene himself could have imagined. This, considering he usually gets what he wants one way or another, says a lot. He barely even has to try.

He gives the man opposite him a small smile when they settle a few last points—last for now, that is; there are still things in need of being finalized before the plan is put to the test—and is rewarded with a polite nod. So reserved, his current superior, even with his days so drastically numbered. It makes Gene wonder if the man can ever let go. Were he dealing with anyone else, Gene would be disinclined to make much of this quality given the fact that surrender will be required, but Major Zero is a man of his word.

Especially, Gene makes a calculated guess, when there is something in the arrangement that's worth the momentary concession. An irritating missing piece for now, but he will work it out.

It should not be so hard, as long as he remembers the dishonesty is mutual.

“Well, Sir,” Gene says with a touch of mock-friendly sarcasm that he hopes passes for just friendly, “what are your conditions? Surely you aren't giving me free rein in this operation at no cost at all.”

Zero's stare borders on disconcerting. “I believe most of my concerns have been addressed,” he replies at length, his tone mellow. Gene resists the urge to shake his head, but instead he moves in for the kill.

“None about Big Boss, then?”

For the first time, Zero's impeccable mask of tranquility cracks, the disturbance fleeting but perceptible as a pained look crosses his face. It's gone before it has left a trace at all, but Gene has seen enough to know what he's hit. So the rumours were true: whether in part or in full doesn't matter. Either renders the FOX commander human, exploitable. Gene's attachments are none.

But the grace with which Zero composes himself is admirable.

“You'll have to capture him. I don't want him subject to unnecessary torture when you do. He will, without a doubt, complete the mission no matter his physical state, but nothing calls for putting him through the level of stress he endured in Groznyj Grad.”

Gene swallows the chuckle in his throat like candy. “Will he really? Don't forget, he must carry out this 'mission' but stay ignorant of the wider context till the end.”

“If you've done the amount of research that you claim,” Zero says; no, the weight of his voice is more like a sigh, “you know he performs in missions of that stripe particularly well. He might try to work out the situation, but without the insider knowledge the two of us have, his picture will be missing vital details.” His eyes narrow to slits. “All you need then is to play your cards right, letting Snake accomplish what is needed. And all I ask is that you use him, but no more. Are we quite clear on that, Viper?”

“Gene,” he corrects, the retort empty. “I won't put him through what Volgin did—I don't have to lay a finger on him!” The phrasing doesn't seem to have the desired effect this time, or maybe Zero has perfected his deceptive craft for the purposes of their conversation after that one slight lapse. “Just understand I give no guarantee that all my comrades will embrace the same set of ethics as I do, or that I'll be there to stop them if they don't.”

He hasn't used the Voice, its utility limited at a meeting of manipulators by designation. However, Gene would not be Gene if he lacked the skill to speak persuasively without such an enhancement; against Zero, that would amount to pure cheating. Not that Zero will be persuaded, of course: all Gene needs is to placate him, steer him towards his beloved calculated guesses that, in this instance and no other, will happen to be just one crucial figure short.

Or, more to the point, one metal leg.

As Zero finally accepts his half-answer, Gene pushes the cup holding most of the now unappetizing tea away on the tabletop (the host's own cup, he notices, is empty). He sipped a little at the start, not really fearing poison or any mind-altering substances, but that's where his sympathy with the old man ended, just like he won't go beyond observing with Big Boss. The game will obey much different rules with Zero safely under the house-arrest they have outlined today and Gene's own hands as free as his loyalties. No one will know what hit them till it does—not even Cunningham, not Langley, and certainly not the old guard of FOX.

When Gene exits the room, his departure is amicable, and Zero's real satisfaction lost on him.

Current Music: 'Old Metal Gear' - MGS3 Soundtrack
Thene: jackathenemiranda on October 20th, 2011 08:50 am (UTC)
oh well played Zero, WELL PLAYED.
See you later, instigator: Zero - Cipheroudeteron on October 20th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
His strength is people don't KNOW when he's trolling them.

On the other hand, Gene might've paid the full price in the end, but he did troll Zero partially by letting BB get crotch-stomped. More than once. ;_;

...but now I am sad since I'd like to write Gene as a POV character some more and can't think of another scenario for it.