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Oh the pain, the pain of it all! Nothing like starting an article off to fulfil a suggestion, by making an out of date reference. Mike Anthony of Still Loading made the suggestion that we talk about the Pain, so clearly we have to follow through. We leave no suggestions lingering around here. Although I suppose making an outdated reference doesn’t make sense to open up an article with, nor is it nice to marginalize his pain. But who really cares about the hooks of these articles or the pain of a make believe character? Context time!

For those who don’t know, the Pain is one of the bosses in Metal Gear Solid 3. He is a man who uses a plethora of hornets to attack his enemies, whilst defending himself at times. His attacks can take unusual forms, like a hornet ‘grenade’ or rapid fire hornet ‘gun’. The defence is the equivalent of a shield of hornets. In spite of all the gimmicks, he is a pushover. Really easy to fight. But still a very noteworthy addition to the Metal Gear Universe.

The most obvious of weapons.

The most obvious of weapons.

Since we weren’t given any direction with the request, we’ll have to make up our own direction. We will talk about pheromones and tolerance. Let’s focus on the former, first.

In case there was any question about it, to put it bluntly, hornets are aggressive jerks. They typically do not act very friendly to people, especially to those trying to use them as a weapon. I tried to create a hornet gun and it only resulted in copious amounts of stings. Hornets don’t exactly have a positive, insatiable attraction for humans, the exact opposite really. So the Pain has to take advantage of some lovely chemicals to make the hornets love him ever so… or follow him at the very least.

The pheromones are the key. For those who don’t know, pheromones are basically chemicals that create uncontrollable urges in a sense, an insatiable attraction. Sort of like the smell of a significant other, or a favourite dish, but pheromones activate more of a primal attraction. Pheromones are commonly, naturally produced and used between the same species, but luckily for the Pain, they are extractable and usable. So it is definitely possible that he douses himself in hornet pheromones and carries vials full with the lovely chemical as well. The chemicals give good reason for the hornets to do the Pain’s bidding, there wouldn’t be much incentive otherwise. I imagine it would be difficult to arrive at some sort of payment plan.

The use of pheromones is even acknowledged in the ‘behind the scenes’ folklore of MGS3, so we’re right on track with our physical explanation coinciding with the game. Though this constant company of hornets comes at a price, which is why we need to talk about tolerance.

As mentioned before, hornets are rather aggressive. With the aggression comes stinging. From the stinging, comes venom. The combination of stinging and venom would surely create some unwanted PAIN! For those unaware, venom can kill people. So how can the Pain get stung so much, yet not get killed?

The face of a man who has got stung. A lot.

The face of a man who has got stung. A lot.

A person’s body is able to produce many types of antibodies as a defence for just about anything. Venom, the flu, all sorts of lovely things can be warded off by the bodies’ natural defences. In the case of the flu, people continue to get it because the virus constantly mutants, so totally immunity can’t really be achieved. Hornet venom is rather constant in its chemical composition. Thus, the Pain can slowly build his immunity to hornet venom until he is able to thwart its deadly potential. It does not seem like the best idea, subjecting himself to this kind of damage, but if he wants his strange weapon gimmick, then there really is no other option. So, even though it is possible, would you really want to surround yourself with hornets?

Dan

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Next time: I like big something and I am not going to lie about it.