First appearance: Metal Gear Solid (Konami, GBC, 2000)
Known crimes: Espionage, political coercion; infiltration of CIA; open combat.
Aliases: Black Arts Viper, Slasher Hawk, Marionette Owl, Pyro Bison, and Brian McBride
Nature of demise: Died at the hands of Solid Snake while fighting for justice for their dead comrades.

Profile by Jeremy Signor? | February 6, 2011

Black Arts Viper stood high atop the chaotic frenzy that had taken over the fortress of Galuade. The General’s plans to utilize Metal Gear GANDER to elevate the Gindra Liberation Front were about to go up in smoke. Solid Snake was making sure of that. But Viper cared little about Eguabon’s schemes, as helping the GLF was merely a means to an end. Just as The General was using the U.S. government to ultimately double-cross them and gain liberation, Viper was using the GLF to accomplish a much simpler goal: revenge.

Though Solid Snake was his immediate target, it wasn’t necessarily Snake’s fault. He wasn’t part of the ambush that decimated nearly every Black Chamber member, nor was he behind it. Roy Campbell and Army Chief of Staff John Parker would soon get their just desserts. It was FOXHOUND and its precious reputation that needed taken down a peg. After all, it was Black Chamber who continued secret secret operations after FOXHOUND gained an inconvenient amount of fame for their efforts against Outer Heaven. While FOXHOUND got all the attention, Black Chamber picked up where they left off, even stopping a Metal Gear in the hands of South American terrorists. This should have proved Black Chamber’s adeptness, but instead of a hero’s welcome, they got FOXHOUND’s ambush. Black Chamber was wiped out like they were nothing by people undeserving of their reputation. This was the reason Solid Snake had to die, after all. He was the lone man behind FOXHOUND’s success. If he falls, FOXHOUND falls.

But this was not about petty jealousy. Black Chamber was nothing if not a tightly-knit unit who would gladly die for each other. And given how the Galuade mission had gone so far, that expression has proved to be true indeed. The remaining Black Chamber members had gone to great lengths to try and best Solid Snake throughout the complex, and all had died trying. Viper stood for a moment to remember the fallen in these last moments before Snake arrived for the final showdown.

First to die was Slasher Hawk, the proud Aboriginal warrior who specialized in wielding large wilgis. One would do well to avoid calling them boomerangs in front of him, though, as he viewed that as the “white man’s name” for them. Hawk always took pride in his heritage, but in reality it was a false one. He was abandoned by his real parents at birth and was taken in by a nearby tribe. Driven by a longing to be accepted as a true member of the tribe, Hawk enthusiastically took on the traditions of the tribe. However, once his adoptive parents died, he was cast out, leaving him to wander until he was recruited for Black Chamber. Even until his death, he still held fast to Aboriginal traditions like they were his own, making them his own in the process.

Despite his seemingly eccentric trademarks, his battle strategy was actually fairly common among special forces. In order to distance himself from his target, Hawk would dig a deep trench and attack with his long-range weapons from the other side. Crude, but when your weapon of choice is a pair of large objects that cover the battlefield with whirlwinds of death, you don’t need to be fancy. Of course, the flaw with this strategy is the fact that most soldiers don’t need to be close to opponents to dispatch them given the fact that most of their weapons are guns and grenades. Solid Snake saw this, too, and handily dispatched Hawk with grenades. In true Aboriginal fashion, he asked for no funeral pyres, as his ever-present hawk would carry his spirit home where he might finally be accepted. Slasher Hawk was full of pride even in death. It’s a shame, as the drive to be accepted was what pushed him to be as deadly as he was. It wasn’t a complete loss, however. Hawk was able to deliver to Snake a taste of our bitterness and grief. Black Chambre’s foe would soon understand why he had to die.

Marionette Owl was the next to go down, which was a shame considering his battle strategy was far more cunning. Because of a genetic condition that allowed him to see in the dark, he took control of the lighting of the ambush area, confounding his opponent but not himself. Then it would just be a matter of his grisly puppets Osan and Koharu to finish the job. The only problem was the fact that Snake had procured some Thermal Goggles along the way, which lessened Owl’s advantage considerably. In the end, it made the difference, as Owl fell.

Viper was never sure whether death was what Owl ultimately wanted or not. It was clear that Owl’s horrific past had caused deep wounds in his soul. The hellish sight of a dismembered woman sent his sanity on a downward spiral that turned him into a serial killer. Every kill was driven by his inner torment, so death would seem to be a release. It didn’t matter as long as Owl performed, but Viper wondered if Owl would end up regretting his horrible acts when faced with the abyss. Viper hoped that his comrade found rest, but he wasn’t holding his breath.

Then there was Pyro Bison, one of the more conventional members of Black Chamber. Of course, normally you wouldn’t call someone obsessed with fire as a weapon conventional. Pyro Bison was a genuine freak by normal standards. But American Special Forces organizations have a long history of employing soldiers who love fire a little bit too much. Still, it’s hard to argue with a force as destructive as fire, and Bison put it to good use against Snake. However, he too fell short. Not being one to wallow in his past, Bison wasted little time in pointing out Snake’s hypocrisy by pointing out exactly how many people Snake killed while in Galuade. Snake prides himself on being stealthy and killing as few people as possible, but it was literally impossible to prevent all deaths for this mission. With that, Bison lit himself on fire and died, tied to his precious flame to the end.

That left only Viper to deal with Snake, though it was not their first encounter. Viper had previously attacked Snake with a Havoc model helicopter just after Snake successfully navigated a minefield. This was appropriate, as traps had always been Viper’s calling card. His second battle with Snake made ample use of tripwire explosives that constantly changed their pattern. Viper’s code name wasn’t “Black Arts” for nothing. An ordinary soldier would have been mystified by the display, but Snake saw through the ruse and dispatched him. But Viper would not be denied justice when he had come this far. He slipped away as wreckage fell onto him, leading Snake to believe he had annihilated Black Chamber much like FOXHOUND assumed their ambush had done the same. Black Chamber was not done.

Viper chuckled to himself, because even now this was truer than Snake realized. He was not the only Black Chamber member left, as someone had infiltrated Snake’s intel team from the beginning of the mission. The man posing as CIA agent Brian McBride was actually the mysterious fifth Black Chamber member Snake had been wary of throughout the mission. He had changed his name, his background, and even his appearance all to hinder Snake’s mission from within when the time was right. Viper took a moment to appreciate his commitment to the plan and compared it to his own. When the final act began, he was to spring into action and deal with Snake’s team, leaving Viper to serve retribution to Snake and the entire world at large.

As Viper listened in to Snake and Eguabon’s final conversation, he stood motionless atop a wrecked Metal Gear GANDER and pondered the events that lead to this final showdown with FOXHOUND’s face. Even as Black Chamber’s numbers dwindled, it was all for a singular purpose. The last reason left for Black Chamber to exist was to bring justice to their fallen comrades. It didn’t matter how many innocents had to die to achieve this goal. None are truly innocent. They sat by and allowed a world to exist where “Anonymous” was in power. Rage began to build inside Viper, but it quickly gave way to joyous satisfaction. “McBride” was about to deal with Campbell and his friends. The wreckage of GANDER would launch its payload at Parker. FOXHOUND’s best was about to be killed by Black Chamber’s best. Viper’s comrades would finally be able to rest in peace even if he had to give his life to make it happen. To fail now would be the same as betrayal. Snake must be made to pay.

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