October, 2012: Believing Desmond’s condition to be a consequence of the Bleeding Effect, his Assassin companions place him in a special Animus program in an attempt to forestall further deterioration of his mental state. As his body is transported from Italy to a new destination by his new unit supervisor, William, Desmond “wakes up” in an unfamiliar environment. To his surprise, he meets Abstergo’s previous Brotherhood captive, Subject 16, digitally realized and fully cognizant in virtual form. Sixteen explains that Desmond’s mind has been fragmented by the experience of reliving the lives of Ezio and Altaïr, and reveals that he can recover by completing unresolved ancestral memories. Desmond then resumes his journey through Ezio’s life.
1510-1512: Still puzzled by the revelations he had witnessed yet failed to comprehend after his encounter with Minerva beneath the Sistine Chapel, Ezio travels to Masyaf to investigate a secret library created by his predecessor, Altaïr. To gain entrance to the library, Ezio must find five unique keys to fit the openings on its imposing doorway. Despite Templar interference (and the scheming of Prince Ahmet of Constantinople, who believes that First Civilization technology could enable him to preside with benevolence over a world free of racial or religious intolerance), Ezio obtains each key in turn. On examining each of these First Civilization devices, he has lucid “waking dreams” where he experiences events from Altaïr’s later life.
When Ezio finally opens the secret library beneath Masyaf he finds not books, but a tomb: inside lies Altaïr’s skeletal remains and his Apple of Eden. The device bursts into life, using Ezio (now reconciled with his role as a Brotherhood “prophet”) as the conduit for a message intended for Desmond.
As Altaïr’s Apple activates in the secret library, Desmond is addressed by Tinia – the third member of the First Civilization triumvirate along with Minerva and Juno. He relates to Desmond how his people had tried but failed to survive the great Catastrophe revealed at the close of Assassin’s Creed II. Resigned to their fate, Tinia and his colleagues chose to transmit their collective knowledge to a single underground vault – known as the Grand Temple – located in what is now the state of New York. Tinia informs Desmond that answers to his questions, and the potential salvation of mankind, can be found inside.
Meanwhile, outside the Animus, the Assassins land in the state of New York. Oblivious to Desmond’s travails within the Animus, they are astonished when he begins to regain consciousness. After taking a moment to consider William, revealed to be his father, Desmond experiences a strange connection with the nearby Apple of Eden. It pulses in response as the Assassins arrive at the long-sealed surface entrance to the Grand Temple.
Key Concepts & Developments
Tinia explains the true nature of the Catastrophe: a gigantic solar flare (or “coronal mass ejection”). We can safely speculate that the effects of this event triggered a cascade of other disasters on Earth, particularly volcanic activity, which led to widespread famine.
Subject 16: Players who delved into the deepest recesses of Revelations (and its single-player DLC pack, The Lost Archive) could learn the true story of Subject 16 – real name Clay Kaczmarek. His capture by Abstergo was a ruse: a plan devised by William Miles to gain more information on the Animus project and a better understanding of Templar intentions. Clay was to pose as an unwitting captive, gain first-hand experience in the Animus, then escape with the assistance of Lucy Stillman. Forced to comply with a punishing schedule, Subject 16 began to suffer from the Bleeding Effect. At this point, he came into contact with Juno, who revealed Lucy’s treachery, and told Clay that his death was assured… and then convinced him to sacrifice himself to assist the Assassin who would take his place. We can presume, with hindsight, that it was also Juno who instructed him on how to upload his personality into the Animus memory core – a feat that foreshadows an important development in Assassin’s Creed III.
William Miles: William is Desmond’s father. He raised his son in a secret Assassin community known as The Farm. A senior member of the modern-day Brotherhood, William has the role of supervising Assassin cell structures operating throughout the world. Following the death of Lucy Stillman and Desmond’s collapse after the encounter with Juno, William arrives to assume direct control of his son’s unit.
Keys: The five “keys” that Ezio uses to open Altaïr’s final resting place are actually First Civilization devices designed to capture memories from the user, which can then be experienced again in full detail at a later date – and, more pertinently, by another person. As this process appears similar (or perhaps directly related) to the Animus technology, this is the first suggestion that genetic memories might one day be freely shared with no constraints based on bloodlines – or, for that matter, complications such as the Bleeding Effect.