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This article is about "Cipher" (Zero). You may be looking for the Cypher UAV.

Zero (real name David Oh, and formerly known as "O", Major Tom, Major Zero and Cipher) was the original commander of CIA Special Forces Unit FOX (Force Operation X). After Zero became a founding member of the Patriots along with Big Boss, the two friends would later develop a bitter enmity.


Early life and career

Prior to creating FOX, David Oh served in the British SAS alongside The Boss. During his later career in MI6, he was referred to as "O". David ultimately joined the CIA, under the bureau of classified planning,[4] where he gained the codename "Zero" (derived from "O").

In 1962, Zero helped Dr. Nikolai Sokolov and his family defect from the Soviet Union to America, but was forced to allow Sokolov himself to be taken back, due to a secret deal made between the two superpowers, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. After reuniting with The Boss, the two formed the CIA's FOX Unit, much to the DCI's dismay. Zero's own reasons for forming FOX was to prepare himself for a second attempt at recovering Sokolov.[5]

While serving in the CIA, Zero recruited Donald Anderson and Dr. Clark into the organization as he recognized their potential, though he ended up receiving complaints three days per month relating to Anderson. Zero also formed a club within the CIA dedicated to finding UMAs, and acted as its president, with Donald Anderson as its vice president.

At some point during his time at the CIA, a mission that would have involved a CIA agent impersonating a GRU officer, infiltrate a secret facility, and steal documents was aborted. Zero then intended to dispose of the mask that was intended to be used for the mission, officially because of the mission being aborted, but in part because he hated the mask, but Anderson (the creator of the mask) complained about throwing away what was considered by the latter to be a breakthrough in science due to it being the first mask to have effective blinking mechanisms. Nonetheless, he put the mask into storage. At point prior to 1964, David obtained a residence in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Operation Snake Eater

See also: Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater

By August 1964, Major Zero served as FOX's commanding officer for the Virtuous Mission, the objective being to once again rescue Sokolov in Tselinoyarsk, USSR. Earlier, Zero briefed his friend Jack on the previous attempt to rescue Sokolov, explaining that the Soviets most likely wanted him to finish a weapons system he had begun developing, capable of turning the tide of the Cold War. He also warned Jack that if he didn't retrieve Sokolov in four hours, then they wouldn't have enough time to extract the two from Tselinoyarsk. In addition, in order to hide Jack's identity from the gunship crew, Zero put the mask to use by having Jack disguise himself. Zero gave Jack the codename Naked Snake, due to the on-site procurement and stealth aspects of the mission, and designated himself as "Major Tom", having incorrectly remembered the name of the successful escape tunnel in The Great Escape. Upon Snake's arrival at Rassvet, Major Tom explained to him that he needed to deliver Sokolov a message when he rescued him: "Sorry for being so late." Upon learning of the dangerous circumstances between the KGB and the GRU's current rivalry, Major Tom also insisted that Snake get out of there with Sokolov quickly.

Following the failure of the Virtuous Mission, Major Zero felt that his new codename might have been a mistake, so he re-watched the film roll for The Great Escape, having arranged its delivery through the film company, and thus realized his error. The Boss's defection to the Soviet Union and the bombing of Sokolov's facility had shocked Zero, as he viewed her with higher regard than even his own family, although he did later admit that she had an aura of mystery surrounding her. Zero later visited Snake in an advanced ICU, offering him a Cuban cigar. There he explained to Snake that the Government was willing to revoke the charges in regards to any and all involvement in The Boss's defection, under the condition that he accepts a follow up mission entitled Operation Snake Eater. Zero also implied during this visit that he had been placed in the same situation as Snake, and that if he failed the mission, then not only would FOX be disqualified from becoming an official unit, but he and Snake may also be executed.

Major Zero again served as Snake's commanding officer during Operation Snake Eater, with Para-Medic (Dr. Clark) and Sigint (Donald Anderson) providing radio support, and the supposed KGB spy EVA assisting Snake with transportation. The mission was a success as the Cobra Unit were killed off, the Shagohod weapon was destroyed, Colonel Volgin and The Boss were eliminated. After Snake was awarded the "Big Boss" codename by President Lyndon B. Johnson, Major Zero ran into him but was too distraught to say anything to him.

Post-Snake Eater

While his friend Naked Snake left FOX and America and drifted around nations as a mercenary, Major Zero's stature rose and his influence grew inside the halls of Langley.

San Hieronymo Incident

Main article: San Hieronymo Incident
Major Zero Power

Zero exerts his influence over the CIA.

In 1970, Major Zero was arrested for treason by the Pentagon under the suspicion that he instigated the FOX rebellion at the San Hieronymo Peninsula. Because of this and Big Boss (Naked Snake) being framed for the FOX rebellion, he also kept the frequency 145.73 on and instructed Para-Medic to respond if it is called in the event that Snake called to send an SOS signal.[6]

In actuality, Zero conspired with triple spy Ocelot to grab the remainder of the Philosophers' Legacy. As they both decided that it was time to "end" the Philosophers and then "reform" the group due to being tired of the American Philosophers' bickering, the two staged Gene's FOX rebellion and the theft of the Intercontinental Ballistic Metal Gear, so that they could lure the DCI to come out of hiding. Although Ocelot was initially unaware of Zero's identity, Gene referred to Zero as "the man with the same codename as Null".

However, they were unaware that Gene was serious in launching the nuclear missile towards the American Philosophers, thus framing the Russian Philosophers. But Snake and Roy Campbell were able to convince some of the soldiers to defect and help them against FOX and Snake ultimately foiled Gene's plot. Meanwhile, Major Zero supplied trajectory data to the DCI in regards to where the Metal Gear was to be launched. Zero then had Ocelot assassinate the DCI in order to obtain the entire Philosophers' Legacy and documents concerning the identities of the Philosophers' members.

Afterwards, Major Zero was cleared of all charges. When Snake and Campbell returned to America by plane, Major Zero along with Para-Medic, Sigint and a senior Government official were there to welcome him at the runway. Zero later shared with Ocelot the battle data of the Perfect Soldier Project and gave hints about genomes as bargaining chips to which Ocelot agreed to stay working together under the condition that they recruit Big Boss into their new organization: the Patriots.

The Patriots

In the immediate aftermath, Zero joined with Big Boss, Sigint (Donald Anderson), Para-Medic (Dr. Clark), Ocelot, and EVA to form the Patriots. Using the Philosophers' Legacy as a limitless source of funding, Zero hoped to carry out The Boss's vision by turning Big Boss into a charismatic icon and unifying the world by controlling information. However, Zero and Big Boss disagreed on this goal. Fearing that he might leave the organization, Zero had Para-Medic create clones of Big Boss in order to maintain the Patriots' icon. Big Boss condemned the project upon finding out, and, considering it to be the last straw, parted ways with Zero and left the United States to form his own private military company.

Peace Walker Incident

Main article: Peace Walker Incident

In 1974, Zero and the Patriots (both referring to themselves as "Cipher") orchestrated (with Sigint's help) the Peace Walker Incident in Costa Rica, involving Hot Coldman's AI weapons. To carry this out, Cipher recruited Pacifica Ocean and Vladimir Zadornov, and arranged a secret business proposition with Big Boss's lieutenant Kazuhira Miller, to help expand the Militaires Sans Frontières. Cipher's ultimate aim was to manipulate Big Boss into participating in the project without his knowledge.

Cipher also ordered Pacifica Ocean to modify the MSF's Metal Gear ZEKE when the time came, and convince Big Boss to rejoin Cipher, threatening to frame the MSF for launching a nuclear warhead at the United States if he refused. Ultimately, this plot failed when Big Boss damaged ZEKE and stopped the nuclear launch. Miller had earlier informed Cipher of Pacifica's actions, although he had been unaware of the plot to discredit the MSF. Afterwards, Big Boss and Miller discussed the nature of Cipher, causing Big Boss to realize that "Cipher" was actually Zero. Meanwhile, Cipher (Zero) planned to use the sons as "insurance" against Big Boss should the time arise.

Later years

Halved patriot

Big Boss, Dr. Clark, Zero, and Donald Anderson.

Zero continued to craft a world of order, governed by rules. He increased his fortunes by manipulating countless wars, with his vast influence eventually manipulating the very core of the Oval Office. Years later, Big Boss plotted coups d'état against Zero in Outer Heaven and Zanzibar Land. After Solid Snake (a product of "Les Enfants Terribles") defeated Big Boss during both incidents, Zero had the "legendary mercenary" placed in a nanomachine-induced coma.

Having lost Big Boss as an icon and still bitter over his former friend's betrayal, Zero went into hiding and began to rely on an advanced AI network to control the Patriots, thus commissioned the creation of five AIs as his "successors" to his organization. However, he lost the support from his primary allies due to divisions in his own ranks for Big Boss, with EVA having Dr. Clark (Para-Medic) killed by the first Cyborg Ninja in 2003, and Revolver Ocelot personally killing Donald Anderson during Liquid Snake's 2005 Shadow Moses Incident. By the time of Solidus Snake's 2009 Big Shell Incident, the AIs had completely ignored Zero's will and eventually crafted their own will. Zero failed to realize this change due to suffering from the debilitating effects of his advanced years.

Guns of the Patriots Incident

See also: Liquid Sun, Solid Sun, Third Sun, Twin Suns, Old Sun, and Naked Sin/Naked Son

Zero in 2014.

In 2014, after the computer worm was used to destroy the Patriots' AIs and Old Snake (Solid Snake) defeated Liquid Ocelot, Big Boss awakened and was then able to discover the location of Zero, who had entered a persistent vegetative state and was kept alive solely by life support equipment. Taking the wheelchair-bound Zero to The Boss's grave in Arlington National Cemetery, Big Boss lamenting that the man had nearly "brought the world to the brink of ruin" without even realizing it. Reflecting on their past experiences, Big Boss switched off Zero's life support equipment and Zero was struggling to breathe which Big Boss pressed his hands over Zero's heart to kill him, ending the dictatorship of the organization he created and putting his former friend to peace.

Personality and traits

Zero had a prominent scar over his left eye.

According to Zero's personal data as of 1964: his eyesight was 20/13; his blood type was "A"; he had previously been afflicted with gout; his hobbies included watching movies and hunting; his favorite food was Shepherd's Pie, while his least favorite food was hamburgers; he enjoyed spy and war movies; his favorite animal was the horse; his favorite type of liquor was whiskey; he enjoyed rugby; he liked Dimbula brand tea; and his favorite UMA was the Loch Ness Monster.[3] Additionally, Zero disliked coffee and referred to it as "foul mud."

Due to his SAS training, Zero often looked down upon the American Armed Forces' methods of conducting operations, viewing them as sloppy, such as the fact that they relied too much on prepared equipment, such as a flashlight, or that they would leave their feces on the battlefield.

Zero was a huge fan of the James Bond films. During a radio conversation with Naked Snake, Zero talked about the intricacies and technological side of Bond's spy equipment, and suggested that Snake be more like Bond, equipped with a "Snake shaped gun." In the same conversation, he and Snake get into an argument on the subject, the latter harboring a disinterest in the series and the spy genre in general. Zero also admitted that he personally didn't approve of how Bond interacted with female spies, after supposedly deducing one of the factors in Snake's dislike for the character. Sokolov said that Zero was a man of his word and a man of honor as he kept his promise to rescue him from the Soviet Union and apologized for being so late.

He also held serious dislike towards the GRU major Ivan Raidenovitch Raikov, having once told Naked Snake that in the unlikely event that he crosses paths with Raikov during the Virtuous Mission while wearing the Raikov mask, he "beat the crap out of him."

While Zero formed the Patriots to carry on The Boss last will, over time, Zero became power hungry and close to a dictator using the Philosphers' Legacy to get more wealth and to gain more influence within the government. As a result, he also had no qualms for using Big Boss as a icon and to clone him without his knowledge. He also lost his ability to keep his promises and his code of honor by this point, as evidenced by his nearly having the Militaires Sans Frontières framed for a nuclear strike against America when Big Boss refused, despite it going against his promise to allow MSF to expand to Kazuhira Miller when getting him involved in the plot. After Big Boss left the Patriots, Zero felt betrayed and lost his faith and belief in everything. When he recovered Big Boss, who was near dead, he placed him in a permenant coma to be persevered as a icon.

Big Boss wondered if Zero hated or feared him though it is most likely he just feared him as he did keep Big Boss alive after his defeat.

The bomber jacket that Major Zero wore during the missions to Tselinoyarsk resembled those worn by Allied pilots in World War II. It was also similar to the one worn by Steve McQueen in the 1963 film The Great Escape.

Zero didn't know much about technology and would use Sigint's notes when explaining what the anti-personnel sensor, motion detector, and active sonar were to Naked Snake. On a related note, he once bought a washing machine but didn't know how to use it.

According to Sigint, Zero believed that he had once been abducted by aliens.


"Zero" is a British military radio term, often used as a callsign for a HQ. It also refers to a ghost, which Zero claimed was also fitting for a sneaking mission.

Behind the scenes

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater

Zero's Japanese voice actor, Banjo Ginga, previously voiced Liquid Snake in Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and Liquid Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (Plus)
Zero MPO
Equipment M870
Career Politician, Quarterback, Rescuer, Deliveryman
Initial life 55
Maximum life 115
Initial stamina 260
Maximum stamina 360
Sense 25
Handgun B
Sub-machine-gun A
Assault rifle A
Shotgun A
Sniper rifle A
Heavy weapons B
Knife (CQC) B
Throwing weapons A
Traps B
Technical skill B
Medical skill B
Password (NTSC) 1+2-3
Password (PAL) GALAXY-0

Zero's real name, David Oh, was first given in a voice casting sheet for Metal Gear Solid 3, which was leaked prior to E3 2004.[4] It is never mentioned in-game, but it was later given in the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database.

The name Major Tom, while mentioned in-game to be a reference to The Great Escape, is also a character in the song "Space Oddity" by David Bowie. This could be a nod to the song, as it was originally selected as the ending theme for Metal Gear Solid 3 as it references space exploration. However, as the game ultimately departed from this theme, it was replaced by Starsailor's "Way to Fall."

In the Operation Snake Eater Briefing, Zero provides a Cuban cigar to Naked Snake, despite the fact that Cuban imports are illegal in the United States. However, Cuban cigars made before 1962 were still legal in the United States in 1964, and remain so to this day.

If the player ends up dying three times during The Sorrow battle and continuing, Zero will call and tell the player to use the Revival Pill at the Game Over screen.

In two radio conversations, relating to the Raikov Mask and the completed Raikov disguise, will have Major Zero commenting regarding the mask's "nostalgic" feeling that he "for some reason doesn't like it" and that Naked Snake's wearing of the Raikov disguise "is starting to irritate [Zero] already," referring to the negative fan controversy regarding the character Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

Prior to the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, some fans had incorrectly concluded that Zero was the "deviously cunning strategist" who had plotted The Boss's death, as mentioned in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. Upon first viewing, the dialogue in the game does not immediately make clear that this strategist and "the man with the same codename as Null" (Zero) are two distinct characters, originating the confusion. However, later games reveal that Zero had continued to admire and idolize The Boss, while Hot Coldman had actually been responsible for her death, as revealed in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops


Major Zero opening fire on FOX soldiers.

Although Zero was supposedly imprisoned during the events of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, he can still be recruited as a secret character. Simply complete the game with a Metal Gear Solid: Digital Graphic Novel save file on the PlayStation Portable's memory stick or use a code.

Zero's true involvement in the game, and likewise his role in founding the Patriots as revealed in Metal Gear Solid 4, was briefly hinted at during Gene's conversation with Ocelot in a cutscene, where he identified Ocelot's co-conspirator as "the man with the same codename as 'Null'." "Null" is the German word for "Zero."

"Commander of Special Forces unit FOX, it was he who proposed the establishment of the unit to the CIA. Led Operation Snake Eater, providing support to Snake via radio. President of the unofficial UMA Finders Club at the CIA."
―Character description in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker

Zero does not make a physical appearance in the game (barring his secret phone call with Miller and Paz's flashback), but he was referenced multiple times. In one of the briefing files, Big Boss reminisced about Zero hating coffee to Paz. In addition, during the attempted destruction of the Mammal Pod in Chapter 4, one of the glitched statements by the Mammal Pod was "The Lonely Fox Chases The One Eyed Hound " hinting at Big Boss and Zero's feud.

Other appearances

"David Oh" is also a dog tag that can be collected in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty HD Edition. It is ID 026 and can be found during the Tanker Chapter on the Extreme difficulty setting.



  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Radio Mode, Personal Data (1/4). [1]
  2. ^ a b c d Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Radio Mode, Personal Data (2/4). [2]
  3. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Radio Mode, Personal Data (3/4) and (4/4). [3]
  4. ^ a b Metal Gear Solid 3 voice casting sheet [4][5]
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    This was implied in a radio conversation between Zero and Naked Snake during the Virtuous Mission.
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops, Kojima Productions (2006).
    Naked Snake: Does anybody read me? This is Snake. If anybody can hear this, please respond. // Para-Medic: Snake! Is it you? Is this the real Naked Snake? // Snake: That voice... Para-Medic? // Para-Medic: It's me! It's been a while, huh, Snake? It's good to hear your voice again. // Snake: Same here. It'd be even better if I weren't in this god-forsaken place. So, you're still using this circuit? // Para-Medic: Major Zero kept it just in case. He said if you were safe, you might try to use it to contact us. To be honest, I never really expected you to call. But I'm glad you did.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Zero

  • Big Boss's return to FOXHOUND

    85 messages
    • Well, the true ending has pretty much cleared it up by showing he commits none of the things that Venom Snake does, and instead secretly hid ...
    • Misterbunnsy wrote:So the topic of Big Boss returning to FOXHOUND is in debate currently. Us fans cannot possibly envision how Zero would allow...
  • David Bowie as Major Zero in TPP?

    17 messages
    • If only David Bowie actually did voice Zero, that would've made Kojima's day.
    • IfICantHaveMyUsername wrote:If only David Bowie actually did voice Zero, that would've made Kojima's day. I know, I was hoping so much :c m...

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