The entire mess hall had grown eerily silent after Big Boss had used one of his men to break a table in half with a might CQC throw. Whispers shot around like bullets ricocheting off steel walls, but the soldiers of MSF knew to keep their words brief. When the big man was in a mood like this, anyone was fair game.
"Say it again." Big Boss said with his gruff voice. It commanded an answer despite it hardly being at the volume of a normal speaking tone. The soldier gurgled and whimpered a bit. Snake growled and threw the cigar he had been smoking to the ground. The collective sphincter of every MSF soldier clinched. That soldier must have been talking about something horrible. Treason? A one eyed monster joke?
The soldier tried to pull himself up, but his arms buckled beneath his body and the room began to spin. No amount of training could really prepare one for Big Boss' throws. He was simply the best there was, and this time, he was furious.
"Hold on, Boss." MSF's number two said slowly standing up. "We have a brig for a reason. There's no need for you to dirty your hands with an insubordinate." Kaz tugged at his collar uneasily and motioned for two larger soldiers to aid the commander.
Big Boss threw up a hand and Kaz and his men immediately sat down. The man's eye narrowed on the soldier who was just now realizing what had happened to him. "Tell your comrades what you said." He demanded.
"B-Boss! I-I was k-kidding!" He let out another groan as he was suddenly lifted from the floor and was put into a choke hold. "Gyerk! I-I-I said only a baby would believe in Santa Claus. I-I was t-t-talking about that guy from Intel who was dr-droning on and on about that guy! Ha ha ha, wh-what a coward, r-right?"
The soldier found himself slammed into another table and was now covered in someone's creamed corn. The guy from intel shrunk in his seat once Big Boss turned his eye on him.
"So you believe in Santa Claus?" Big Boss said lighting another cigar. "Do you really believe in Santa?" A half grin spread across his lips, but with a man like him, it could have been one indicative of another bit of disciplinary action instead of one of good will and genuine amusement.
The underling awkwardly shot up from his seat and saluted. "Boss sir, yes sir, sir, sir, yes sir, Boss, sir, Boss Big, er, Big Boss!" He was nervous. Just like everyone else. He shrunk back once his boss slowly started for him and raised an arm. This was it. He was about to get his lights punched out too. He quickly scolded himself for not eating more protein. Surely, if he had, the impending beat down would be more bearable.
Instead of using CQC to maim another grunt, Big Boss put a hand on his shoulder and smiled warmly, something much more shocking than the sudden slamming. Gasps escaped the lips of nearly every MSF soldier in the room. "Hey, good to know. So do I. Do you think you were nice this year? I really hope I don't get any coal..." He grunted and thought of the prospect of getting a lump of the black stuff in his stocking as opposed to the brand new sidearm he had wanted since June. "Hrrrrng, I'll be sure to say thank you more often just in case." He patted the soldier on his back and nodded. "Merry Christmas."
As Big Boss walked by, he grabbed his chicken leg from his plate and made it a point to walk across the infidel who had mocked dear old Saint Nick. Kaz hurried after him and ordered the kitchen staff to clean up the mess that had been made. Someone had to motivate these people.
"Boss, I wanted to remind you that I reserve the right to keep my belief, or lack thereof, regarding Santa, to myself." The number two said following his honcho to the situation room. It was time to check for any requests and dispatch any squads to various parts of the globe that needed help.
"Kaz, I think you're getting coal either way." Snake said with a chuckle. "Believing now won't help you. I only did that to prove a point. When that kid insulted his fellow soldier about what he believed in, especially his belief in Santa of all people, he insulted me, and he insulted...." He drifted off. He and The Boss had taken Christmas very seriously. His arm ached recalling the punishment he had received for not leaving Santa enough cookies. He was lucky to ever recover.
"Ah, Boss, Kaz. I was just about to call you guys in." Huey said turning away from his keyboard. "I've got some good news for the troops." He beamed and consumed an entire candy cane in one bite. "We've got no requests for aid. Apparently the world must have answered all of those peace on earth Christmas wishes!" He laughed to himself and pushed his glasses up his nose. "Ahem, but in all honesty, it looks like everyone can have Christmas safe and sound tonight."
Big Boss nodded, but then a blip caught his eye. He walked over to a monitor and pointed at it. "No requests? Then what's this one?" He tapped the screen and Huey rolled over to it.
"Oh that? I think it's a prank from Intel." He laughed again and shook his head. "Apparently we got a distress signal from Santa's Workshop, and get this Boss, Santa has gone missing!" He snorted and nearly fell out of his wheelchair. Kaz smirked to himself, but immediately put on his poker face. Big Boss looked very distressed.
"Santa has gone missing?" Big Boss said slamming his fists on the keyboard. "Huey, that isn't a laughing matter. Without Santa, there won't be a Christmas. Good boys, girls around the world will go without getting their presents!" He bit hard into his cigar and clenched his fist. "The world will be thrown into sorrow and a nuclear holocaust would be a better alternative than to live a life without Santa Claus!"
Huey furrowed his brow and typed some mumbojumbo into the computer. He soon looked worried. "Intel says it wasn't their doing, and I believe them. My tracing shows that the call did originate from the North Pole...but there's something more that we should worry about, if this is true." Huey swallowed hard and let out a wavering breath. "With Santa captive, there will be no one to unfreeze time."
"Unfreeze time?!" Big Boss said shooting a horrified look to Huey.
"Yes, recent scientific findings prove that at midnight on December 24th, the temporal powers that be "readjust" themselves. Santa somehow, is the person responsible for allowing the timestream to 'hiccup' and get out of that readjusting phase. Without him, time won't advance and it'll be midnight on Christmas Eve forever!"
"And what does that actually matter?" Kaz said raising an eyebrow from behind his sunglasses. "What does this do to the world? More importantly, what's this mean for MSF?"
Huey shook his head and ran a hand through his hair. "If Santa is truly captured, then whoever has him will likely try to abuse his power to teleport around the world and mess with time and space for their own gain! We could have an army of terrorists who could strike at any time and at any location without so much as a warning!"
"How much time do we have?!" Big Boss yelled tightening his bandanna and combing his beard into a battle ready style.
"I estimate that while we were talking, time has already begun to stretch itself out. Take a look at the clock, it's not a minute past eight! Every cutscene we've ever had is nearly half an hour! Based on my calculations, we have a while before time and space face any issues, and I doubt Santa would fork over his info to a bunch of naughty people!"
"Where do we begin? Do we just fly to the North Pole?"
"Normally, I would suggest that, but the report from the North Pole says that Santa was doing a practice run of his night, as he usually does, and suddenly went missing at his very first stop! The address is...1458 E. Racoon Rd in Utah. I think we should be able to find some clues there!"
"Alright, I'll suit up. Kaz, you and Huey keep everyone calm. I'm going alone. We've got no time to waste..."
And thus Operation: Present Bringer began....