The Hallucination

I survived the colonoscopy, they didn’t need to perform surgery beyond the biopsies, I won’t know what’s wrong with me for a couple of weeks still.
Waking up from the anaesthesia was horrific, I was drifting in between dreams and reality, both seeming to be equally real. The hospital was on fire, I called out to Snake, he stood there doing nothing. Then in reality, I kept trying to turn over on my stomach and crawl away. The doctors were yelling at me to open my eyes, I couldn’t figure out why they were getting angry at me. I didn’t understand why one of them kept poking me so hard in the ribs, I would have punched her back, but I wasn’t lucid enough. I thrashed and writhed around, the doctors all had to hold me down and sedate me, I then starting hallucinating that certain rape scene from Berserk. I woke up later in another room, still struggling to regain consciousness.
They later asked me if if I was afraid of snakes. “Why?” I asked. “You kept saying there were snakes”. I laugh, “Oh, Snake, that’s the codename of this character in this game I like”. Thankfully one of the nurses was a gamer, so he got it.
It could just be that I had a bad reaction to anaesthesia, or maybe I’ve retrained my brain having had to lucid dream so often to combat the nightmares. Big Boss is one of those “tulpas” I call on to intervene.

Metal Gear’s Raiden in the style of H.R. Giger

This started as an experiment with AI, I gave this suggestion to a number of art generators (did you know even DeviantART has one now? It’s terrible). Then I did my own interpretation of the prompt, what I quickly realised was that not only was I able to make sensible observations (this is how Giger draws hair, this is how Giger draws hands, etc) but it came from a personal place. I wasn’t just mimicking an art style, my own experiences and emotions and traumas were bleeding onto the page.
Also happy ten year anniversary Revengeance, hope this is a fitting tribute.

Snake and the Cave

Like tears in the rain, that’s how all of my inner worlds would gone had I died in the car accident earlier this year. It’s made me think more about the importance of ideas, of stories, and dreams. I think I kept them private my whole life believing they were shameful or “cringe”, but self-insert fanfiction never hurt Dante Alighieri. I want to explore and share my fantasy worlds, whether they breach copyright or not. Ideas are bigger than that, and Kojima made powerful characters that have the ability to influence an untold number of people, to guide us out of darkness.

The Dream:

The entrance collapsed from the impact of the rocket, leaving Snake and I in total darkness and choking on the dust. Turning our torches on we realised we had maybe a hundred metres of ground in front of us before the rest of the cave descended into water. Realising there was no other means of escape, Snake didn’t hesitate to enter the lake in search of any tunnels hidden beneath the surface. I sat alone on the bank, waiting for what felt like too long for someone to remain alive on one breath. Defying my anxieties, Snake resurfaced and informed me that there was a passageway leading outside. In the darkness I could see that where he was pointing it was ever so slightly brighter than the rest of the cave.

Entering the water, I had the air knocked out of my lungs, it was cold, colder than anything I had ever experienced, the pain subsiding only slightly, not due to adaptation, but numbness. Snake had shown none of the same discomfort, this either came from his own resolve or his sneaking suit offered greater insulation than my fatigues. 

He talked me through what I needed to do and how best to prepare for this passage. I wasn’t confident but I didn’t let it show. Snake went ahead of me and I was left following only the light of his torch, otherwise there was very little visibility as the silt had been disturbed by our presence. The tunnel wasn’t so narrow as to impede our movements, but enough to feel claustrophobic. I had made it only halfway through when I started to panic, my lungs began to burn, and however long it was going to take to reach the other side felt like an impossible distance at that moment, and Snake seemed to be moving too fast for me to keep up. Frantic, I struggled to turn myself around and resurface back where we had come from. 

Succeeding and able to breathe again, my lungs brought in air voraciously, excessively, I couldn’t stop, my mind ran through unlikely scenarios. What if there was something lurking in the dark waters beneath me? What if there was a finite amount of oxygen in here? What if there was no escape on the other side? I wanted desperately to get back onto dry land but I was too terrified to move, to do anything but tread water. It would be another minute before Snake realised I hadn’t followed him and returned to me. Had this been the real Big Boss, he might have just dragged me through the tunnel kicking and screaming, but Venom Snake took his time to calm me down. ‘There’s nothing through there you can’t handle. But we’ve got to hurry, your lips are turning blue.’

Having no choice, I dove down again, this time Snake was following behind, ensuring that I had no way out but forward. I tried grabbing onto the edges of the tunnel to propel myself faster, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to grab onto anything. My vision was vignetting just as I reached the surface on the other side. It was now I realised we were no closer to freedom than before, although the light of the moon shone down upon us, we were at the bottom of a natural well, almost sheer walls all the way around us. Snake sat me on the small ledge and I watched as he free climbed his way up the wall with ease, possessing a strength I will never know. Fastening a rope somewhere above, he then lowered himself down the steep edge again to help me to freedom as I heard the sound of Pequod approaching. 

Kazuhira Miller Cosplay

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Costume by me

Photography by Sreeraj Sreenivisan

Edits by me

Location: Fremantle Harbour and Maritime Museum

Nearly four months ago I was nearly killed in a hit-and-run, I have no memory of the incident, nor the week that followed. Since then I’ve had to deal with injuries I don’t remember acquiring, it doesn’t feel real. I have two skull fractures, I am deaf in my left ear (hopefully temporarily), I was in a neck brace because of my fractured vertebrae, but the most debilitating part was my broken right leg with severe lacerations along the tendons. I was robbed of my ability to walk for months. Thankfully I wasn’t in a wheelchair for too long, but whether or not I’ll ever be able to walk properly without needing the crutch is unknown at this point.

While I recovered from the worst of my injuries, I stayed with my family, I didn’t have much else to do but play whatever games I had downloaded on my laptop, and that just so happened to be the Phantom Pain. What I got was an intense exploration of pain, loss and grief, I was shown characters who seemed to understand what I was going through and gave voice to these new feelings I couldn’t articulate. The opening of the game alone was some kind of nightmarish re-enactment of my hospital confinement. But it was Kazuhira that became a kind of spirit guide for me, because of him I feel no shame in my current physical limitations, if I need this crutch forever, so be it, no matter what I’ve lost, a Diamond Dog gets up and keeps on fighting.

I still haven’t been able to return to work, my circadian rhythm is completely unpredictable, so while I continue to recover, and when I’m not sleeping, or playing Metal Gear, I find myself inspired to make costumes again. This costume was entirely sourced in op shops, the only sewing I did was attaching the Diamond Dogs patch to the beret, and tailoring the trousers. I’m not so much interested in making everything from scratch and being 100% accurate to the source material. It’s more fun for me to source pieces, the thrill of the hunt, finding garments that evoke the character, and I just so happened to get lucky. I wasn’t going to make this a girly rule 63, that would be tacky, I wasn’t going to make this crossplay and try to pass myself off as male, that would be inauthentic. I just adapted Kaz’s costume for myself, with all the practicality and dignity his costume entails.

Another stroke of luck was the shoot, it had rained mere hours before we shot, but it was mostly clear skies when we needed it. It was cold, perfect for all the layers I had to wear, and just the right amount of wind to get us a few dramatic flowing trenchcoat shots. There also happened to be a real naval ship in the harbour too, although we couldn’t get too close.

It felt good to return to modelling, and I hope I can bring you more Metal Gear shoots soon.