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Dead Cell was first formed as a small government organization who would carry out surprise assaults on ally bases, such as embassies, consuls, and military installations, in order to provide anti-terrorism training for the Navy SEALs and Marine Corps. One of the earliest recruits to join Dead Cell during its formation was Vamp.
Prior to the Big Shell Incident, Colonel Jackson was found guilty of corruption charges and misappropriation of government funds. Despite the claims of his innocence from the members of Dead Cell, Jackson was imprisoned at Leavenworth Prison. Feeling that Jackson had been falsely accused, Dead Cell took the case to the higher courts but they never managed to have it reopened. The group's name became tainted and Jackson later died of exhaustion while serving out his sentence, having apparently lost the will to live. With the loss of their leader, the members of Dead Cell snapped and underwent a radical change, eventually becoming a rogue terrorist unit, although Vamp later implied that the Dead Cell unit was actually framed by the Patriots for the terrorist charges leading to the liquidation.
The U.S. military became concerned by Dead Cell's activities, and in October 2008, they set in place a trap aimed at eliminating the group. Members Chinaman and Old Boy, were killed, leaving only Fortune, Fatman, and Vamp alive. Unbeknownst to them at the time, the Patriots had deliberately spared them for future use in their upcoming plan.
Although Fortune and Vamp were devastated by the events, Fatman was unconcerned, as he felt free to become the "Emperor of Explosives." On April 29, 2009, six months after the liquidation, the Patriots manipulated Dead Cell into joining Solidus Snake, former President George Sears, and the Sons of Liberty terrorist group in the armed takeover of the Big Shell. Together they stole Arsenal Gear and its nuclear payload in order to seek revenge on the Patriots. Furthermore, Dead Cell had been carefully chosen in the Patriots' S3 Plan to carry out the "role" of FOXHOUND, in an elaborate recreation of the Shadow Moses Incident.
It was also revealed that Jackson was in fact innocent. The Patriots had arranged for his arrest in order to push Fortune and the rest of the unit into becoming dangerously unstable (or, according to Vamp, justify wiping out Dead Cell regardless of whether they had actually committed terrorist acts or not).
After GW was assumed to be destroyed by Emma Emmerich's worm cluster, Ocelot, believing that there was enough data from the S3 Plan, revealed to all present, including Fortune, that all the misfortune that she and her unit encountered was to use her for S3. He also revealed that he murdered her father, Scott Dolph, after stealing RAY, which was the catalyst of her family's destruction. He then proceeded to mortally wound Fortune to give her the death she longed for. However, she was able to protect Snake, Raiden, and Solidus from Ocelot and RAY before succumbing.
Following Arsenal Gear's destruction, almost the entire team had been wiped out with the exception of Vamp. When Vamp, the last remnant of Dead Cell, was killed by Raiden in 2014, the unit was completely eradicated.
- ^ a b Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
Vamp: Six months ago, we lost everything we believed in... We were abandoned to take the fall in their cover up. We were labeled as killers responsible for the mass-murder of civilians as well as our own allies. And the "public" believed every word, turning a deaf ear to whatever we had to say to the contrary. Our only goal is to wipe them from the face of the earth -- and destroy this world of deceit they have created along with them. // Raiden: You're insane. // Vamp: Insane? We might be the only ones telling the truth...
- ^ a b Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (script), Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2001).
Images of Dead Cell members stumbling around on a battlefield. Vamp carries a wounded [sic] in his arms. The deaths of Chinaman and the Old Boy.
Iroquois Pliskin: The unit was devastated. There are only three of them left, and [Raiden] just saw one of them. 
|Timeline of events in Metal Gear|
|1962 - Sokolov Defection - Cuban Missile Crisis|
|1964 - Virtuous Mission - Operation Snake Eater|
|1972 - Les Enfants Terribles Project|
|1974 - Peace Walker Incident|
|1975 - Ground Zeroes Incident|
|1976 - Attack on Zero|
|1977 - Zero visits Snake|
|1984 - Hospital Escape - Phantom Pain Incident|
|1995 - Outer Heaven Uprising|
|1997 - Mercenary War|
|1999 - Zanzibar Land Disturbance|
|2003 - Assassination of Dr. Clark|
|2005 - Shadow Moses Incident|
|2007 - Tanker Incident|
|2008 - Liquidation of Dead Cell|
|2009 - Big Shell Incident|
|2014 - Guns of the Patriots Incident|
|Liquid Sun - Solid Sun - Third Sun - Twin Suns - Old Sun - Naked Sin|