|"Hmm, I don't remember that one. It mustn't be that important." |
This article is about a subject from outside Hideo Kojima's core "Metal Gear Saga." It has some level of canonicity within the continuity, but reader discretion is advised.[?]
Lt. Cunningham (formerly known under the codename of Boa) was a member of FOX during the time of the San Hieronymo Incident in 1970. He had an artificial leg which replaced the one he lost in a mission, and was FOX's interrogation specialist.
Early life and career
During his career in the CIA, Cunningham suffered a grievous wound to his left leg that required it to be amputated, and fitted with a prosthetic. Afterwards, he was transferred to a desk job at Langley, much to his consternation and anger. At an unspecified time, he learned some of the details regarding the true nature of The Boss's "defection" in 1964, making him despise the CIA even more, since The Boss had been revered by many as "the Mother of the Special Forces." Eventually, Cunningham was scouted by the United States Department of Defense to try and smear the CIA's reputation, and he agreed, wanting to pay the CIA back for removing him from active duty. As a member of FOX, Cunningham's unique Sneaking Suit color was yellow.
- Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
In 1970, Cunningham, utilizing the "Perfect Soldier" Null, had Naked Snake (Big Boss) kidnapped and brought to the former Soviet missile base on the San Hieronymo Peninsula, along with drugs to keep him sedated during the trip there. Cunningham's reputation as an expert in interrogation preceded him, as Snake was able to identify him after only hearing his name. He demanded that Snake tell him the location of the missing half of the Philosophers' Legacy. After Snake told Cunningham to ask the CIA as they were the ones who took it from Snake six years prior after Operation Snake Eater, Cunningham struck him with an electrified baton and pressed his artificial leg into Snake's groin, explaining that his methods of persuasion were to "apply the right type of pain, to the right degree, at just the right location." He then revealed to Snake that the CIA had only received half of the Legacy after 1964, and thus they suspected that he had stolen the other half. When Snake further denied any knowledge of its location, Cunningham struck him again with the baton and then departed (although not before hinting that while his being there was part of an official FOX mission, it soon wouldn't be).
Cunningham also mentioned a weapon that was capable of obliterating every major city in the Soviet Union within earshot of a Soviet soldier, causing him to report it to a comrade about what he heard (to which they disparagingly referred to Cunningham as a "tight-assed peg leg") at least one day prior.
Sometime after Snake's and Roy Campbell's escape from imprisonment, Cunningham, along with Ursula and Gene, conducted an aerial search of the area aboard a Hind A gunship. He also radioed forces on the ground, demanding to know why they hadn't caught Snake or Campbell yet, and threatened that he would make them regret it if the prisoners got away. He then ordered them to call Python and have him lead a search unit, as well as to keep the research lab secure. Cunningham, Ursula, and Gene later arrived at the lab, where he asked the research staff about Null's status, adding that had brought along Elisa to help speed up the preparation of his culture tank. However, he was caught unaware by the collapse of some nearby scaffolding, with only Gene's and Ursula's precognition saving him at the last second.
After Snake attempted to infiltrate the missile silo, Cunningham arrived with a number of FOX soldiers to recapture him, telling him that he had been "quite a handful." He then knocked Snake unconscious by whipping him with the butt of his rifle, catching him off guard after having just fought with Null. He later used the same rifle to try and get Null to stand down with the stance that his mission was complete. Snake was taken to the guest house, where he was stripped of his clothing, tied to a chair, and tortured further by Cunningham in the presence of Gene. Though Gene felt that information extracted via torture was unreliable, Cunningham reassured him that his treatment of Snake wouldn't even qualify as such, seeing as he was a former FOX member. He then proposed the use of a recently-developed truth serum to force Snake to reveal where the other half of the Legacy was, with the side-effect of acting as an anesthetic. Gene initially opposed the idea, feeling that truth serum was just as unreliable, and asked why Cunningham why he was in such a rush to get the information. Cunningham replied that he felt it was necessary from an efficiency standpoint, with Gene ultimately agreeing to the plan, but only under the condition that he would talk to Snake first.
Sometime later, Cunningham was tipped off by Ursula that Snake would escape with the help of his men during a rescue mission. With this knowledge, he ambushed Snake aboard his customized flying platform, and attempted to force some answers from him by using his soldiers as target practice (as well as inadvertently giving a hint at his true loyalties). Elisa, after stealing a transport truck, knocked Cunningham off of his platform, although not before he noticed her. He also ordered for the present FOX soldiers to attempt to stop the truck, although the truck ultimately escaped.
After successfully infiltrating the silo complex, and proceeding to the launch control room aboard a cargo elevator, Snake was once again confronted by Cunningham piloting his flying platform. It was then that Cunningham revealed the truth to Snake: while he feigned loyalty to Gene, he was actually working under direct orders from the Pentagon. His objective was to force Gene to deploy the Intercontinental Ballistic Metal Gear and launch a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union, and thus, tarnish the CIA's reputation as an efficient organization (or, as Cunningham put it, "The CIA'd lose face and the military's influence will start to soar"), as well as to erase any evidence of what happened by destroying the missile base afterwards. He explained about his loss of faith in the CIA due to his past experience, and attempted to gain Snake's cooperation, but the latter refused to take part in the Pentagon's plot and attacked Cunningham (with Cunningham declaring Snake as "a real traitor"). Cunningham fought Snake using the gatling gun, side-winder missiles and laser of his flying platform. However, Cunningham was defeated, lamenting Snake's decision to disobey his mission, as both he and Snake would have received "the highest honors a soldier could achieve", he then attempted to destroy the base with a Soviet-made Davy Crockett, intending to take Snake down with him, but his platform was badly damaged during the previous battle, causing it to explode, killing Cunningham before he could launch it. Shortly thereafter, Gene expressed pity that Cunningham had died without ever realizing that he had been used.
Personality and traits
Cunningham, despite his possessing an artificial leg, possessed a tremendous amount of physical strength, as evidenced by his preparing to fire the Davy Crockett by hand, as the Davy Crockett normally requires a tripod to use.
During the San Hieronymo Incident, he was shown to be determined regarding finding the Legacy. However, it was implied that this was all an act. He was largely motivated by desires of revenge against the CIA in his actions due to his mistreatment under them. He also held a large degree of respect for The Boss, in large part due to her status as the Mother of Special Forces, which also acted as another factor in his desire for revenge against the CIA. He was also a decent pilot, as evidenced by his manning a Hind during the search for the then-recently escaped Naked Snake and Roy Campbell. He was also shown to be sarcastic, which was evident by his berating the present FOX soldiers at the Guest House by yelling "Don't just stand there, stop them!" when Snake and his resistance were about to escape due to the timely intervention of Elisa.
Despite formally acting as a member of FOX, he did not wear the FOX logo on his uniform, which could have been a hint about his true allegiance for the Pentagon.
Behind the scenes
Cunningham shares his name and a similar facial appearance with the Benson Cunningham character from Snatcher, although their clothing and roles are drastically different. Also, the North American password to recruit him is a direct reference to Snatcher (JUNKER).
Cunningham's accidental divulgence of information to Snake that the latter hadn't known previously resembles Colonel Volgin's "backward" interrogation of Snake in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Both assumed that Snake knew more than he was willing to let on, with Cunningham letting slip that the Pentagon was somehow involved with the events of the San Hieronymo Incident.
When Cunningham encounters Snake at the Silo Complex's freight elevator in Portable Ops, he mentions that Snake had been following a script written by the Pentagon and another individual, whom he does not name. He also mentions that the unnamed individual "was right" about Snake's skills. Ocelot's later reference to Zero's script, in a conversation with the Major after the game's end credits, implies that the latter was the individual in question.
Portable Ops recruitment
To unlock Cunningham outside of a password, the player needs to not only defeat Cunningham non-lethally, but also defeat him before January 1, 1971. This method was also alluded to by Sigint in an optional radio call.
Cunningham comes equipped with the Laser, a heavy weapon that utilizes up to 300 allotments of unique ammunition, and does not alert other enemies when fired.
He also has a unique set of animations during gameplay. All other characters use all of Snake's animations while Cunningham has unique run and sneak animations. His movement sounds are also unique because of his artificial leg.
- "FOX's interrogation specialist and a participant in Gene's rebellion. Tasked with tracking down the now-retired Snake in an attempt to uncover the whereabouts of the "Philosopher's Legacy.""
- ―Official description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus
Metal Gear Online
Although Cunningham himself did not appear in Metal Gear Online, he was briefly alluded to with the Bandanna reward item, where it not only possessed an identical appearance to Cunningham's bandana, but the full name was also given as "Bandanna (Cunningham style)." It came in a variety of colors and patterns, including Aucam Desert, Choco Chip, DPM, Desert Tiger, Leaf, Snow, Splitter, Tiger Stripe, Tree Bark, Rain Drop, Marpat, New JGSDF, Old Rhodesian, Russian Flora, Black, Olive Drab, Coyote Brown, Green, Khaki, Navy Blue, Sage Green, Crocodile, Python, Zebra, Panther, and Maroon, where it costed 2000 rwd for the various pattern designs, 1000 rwd for the single color variants (barring Maroon), and 5000 rwd for Maroon.
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (flashbacks and painting; painting's non-canon)
Notes and references
- ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006).
Soldier A: A weapon that can obliterate all major cities in the motherland? Give me a break! You've been watching too many movies. // Soldier B: No, no. This ain't no joke. I heard that American officer - the one our boss brought in - say something about it. // Soldier A: You mean that tight-assed peg-leg? // (scene cuts to a Soviet Officer with the blueprints behind him) Soldier B: You should have seen that bastard's face when the topic of the weapon came up... There must have been something in that document that arrived from HQ the other day...