Partners in Crime
Markuz, May 24, 2014
Translated by: Stefania & Markuz

The Surveillance file released on May 23rd, "Your humbled spy", opened a world on the Initiates panorama. Finally the humble spy, or better the humble SPIES, have been revealed, but let’s proceed with order by analysing the recent events. In the last article in our section Into The Initiates we left Gavin, leader of the Brotherhood, in search of his friend William Miles. Gavin was very angry at Bill who left
NORWAY // 2014-05-01 // 13:02
him with the responsibility of the Brotherhood and never recontacted him once he overcame the death of his son Desmond. In order to find William, the team of the Altair II had to decypher a riddle they found in William's Codex and, as we supposed, they were able to locate him in the Olavsvern secret base, near Tromsø.

Predictably, when the two met, Gavin immediately confronted William while Emmett pulled Rebecca aside to work on the Hephaestus system (the one used by the Assassins to exchange data and e-mails) and to “enjoy some recreational marijuana". In this situation of separation and sharing between the teams of Gavin and William, our humble spy affirmed that he/she would have planted some bugs around the Assassin compound, considering that the main members of the Brotherhood were in that place.

And that’s exactly what happened and one of those bugs allowed us, with the memory "Venting anger" to see the verbal clash between the leader of the Brotherhood and his predecessor. Gavin stated that Bill deceived him with his retirement and his comeback in less than a year while William asserted he got back in the game because the reason why he returned (the Order and all it fights for) is more important than anything else, even than Desmond.

After these last remarks, Gavin decided he would leave William to his “riddles and schemes" and go out with his team “into the real world" to really work for the Assassins, as soon as Rebecca and Shaun would finish to update the machines on the Altair II.

This last information is very important because thanks to this upgrade, as many of you know, Rebecca found the existence of the Initiates and the spy within Gavin’s team. So our humble spy decided to keep a low profile to avoid being identified, considering that the bugs would have allowed anyway the transfer of information to the Initiates Database.

So William took the reins and while Shaun and Rebecca remained on the boat to try and track the signals left by the spy towards the Initiates Database, Mr. Miles decided to question all the members of the Altair II (except Galina and Gavin, a priori excluded) to investigate their past and find the spy.

Bill was actually of his words and in seven days, between May 7th and 13th, he "interviewed" the remaining members of the crew of the Altair II. These memories are also very helpful to give a background to the members of Gavin's team: Galina is excluded because we already have a lot of information about her through the analysis of some of the past Surveillance memories. Let's see, however, which are the pieces of information that we can gather from these interviews and the new connections with the main plot.

Susan Drayton - Captain of the Altair II
TREE-HUGGER - NORWAY // 2014-05-07 // 07:00

The captain of the ship seems to be (almost certainly) Canadian because she grew up in Prince George (the largest town in British Columbia largest town) where she started to follow the path of activism. This choice led her to extract the sample of a compound, called "New Fluoride". The New Fluoride should not sound new to the most attentive of you: it is, in fact, a synthetic drug which was mentioned in Warren Vidic's e-mails in AC1. These emails were talking about a public scandal in which Abstergo Holdings was accused of having polluted the waters of a small town to test the effects of a synthetic drug, the New Flouride precisely.

The e-mails also referred to "someone" who succeeded in leaking certain documents concerning the "Fluoride Enhancement Studies" and that, in that moment (September 6th, 2012) Abstergo's pharmaceutical division was under investigation by the Feds.

Susan tells William that after extracting the New Fluoride sample, she intended to let it out for the press, but she got arrested while trying. It is, therefore, possible that the "someone" mentioned in the Abstergo emails was, however, Susan.

In any case, Susan also mentions that she got bailed out not thanks to Gavin, but to Janice. Even in this case, the name should sound familiar, because she is the Assassin who contacted Gavin from Whistler (this city is in British Columbia too) in the "Gunfight" memory on September 12th, 2012, while desperately searching for support during an attack to her den and just before losing her life.
Only at a later stage Susan met Gavin while both of them were trying to steal what would have become the Altair II. From that moment on, Susan has been the captain of the ship and joined Gavin as they were pursuing common goals.

Stephanie Chiu - Doctor of the Altair II
DOUBLE MAJOR - NORWAY // 2014-05-08 // 07:00

Dr. Chiu definitely has a past that reasonably raised doubts in William. Her parents worked and still work for an Abstergo's pharmaceutical company in Beijing, she studied medicine, chemical and biomedical engineering at a University subsidized by Abstergo and she also ended up working for Abstergo itself (in the tech field, where she was able to get a degree in information security and network science).

What pushed her away from the Templar front holding was, once again, the New Fluoride scandal. In this case William refers to it by talking about the scandal of the pollution of the waters in a small city of the United States. About William's last sentence, it is not clear whether this is a slip of the writers (maybe they actually wanted to refer to the leak of information about Prince George, Canada, as seen in Susan Drayton's profile) or if the scandal actually happened in this unspecified city of the United States (Abstergo was, in fact, investigated by the Federals and the U.S. government) and Abstergo's activities in Prince George were not made public.

In any case, the Doctor, while talking about the New Fluoride, states that the synthetic drug was also tested throughout China without Abstergo getting caught and that its creator was her father. The combination of these two events was the catalyst that pushed Stephanie away from Abstergo, specifically in Hong Kong, where she was found by Gavin and Susan and joined their group in the fight against Abstergo, convinced that no one had the right to ruin lives that way.

Emmanuel’s past is one of the most difficult among those of the Altair II crew. As we know from the past memories, Emmanuel made a promise, that he would have never killed again, a very unusual promise and also very limiting for an Assassin. Such promise is the result of the fact that Emmanuel had to deal with William during the War on Terror. In that period Emmanuel followed William’s orders with the objective of finding a Templar presence.

Emmanuel says that, because of his mission, he ended up on a bus, headed for a place where peace talks were carried out, full of children wearing bombs. Emmanuel had to make a tragic decision, because he had to save the lives of the people who were working on peace talks, killing the children that he himself described as "victims in the truest sense". From that moment, having broken the Creed’s first tenet (because he killed innocent people), Emmanuel promised he would have never killed again.

Bill insinuates that he’s limiting himself to punish the Brotherhood, considering that some of the Initiates’ signals come exactly from the base where Emmanuel was trained, but Emmanuel replies with one of best, in my opinion, ironic phrases of the whole AC saga, a sentence that should be used as a standard answer to all the questions: "With all due respect, sir: Fuck you."

Eric is Scottish and through his interrogation he suggests that he underwent some sex change surgeries. This is also sustained by the fact that to remain a “ruggedly handsome scoundrel” he needs the constant help of Doctor Chiu to regulate his hormones.

In this sense we can better understand Eric’s “killing spree” (according to William) in Edinburgh. Eric, as a matter of fact, added that his act was a carefully executed plan of revenge against the group that killed the love of his life. Unfortunately there aren’t further details, but after that event Eric was recruited by the Brotherhood while he was in an awful state of mind and was thinking about suicide (probably because the love of his life was dead). The fact that Eric was recruited by the Assassins soon after his revenge can lead us to think that his love was killed by Abstergo agents, but at present we don’t have any confirmation for this.

The youngest of the Ninidze brothers is another “unruly” element who carried out particular actions because of his difficult past. Akaki comes from Georgia, a troubled zone where many wars were and are fought for different reasons and in which Assassins had long since vanished, but still had a fearsome reputation. For this reason Akaki created a fake Brotherhood and assembled people from different origins to fight for peace. The Assassins’ reputation together with the intents of Akaki and his men saw to it that the latter started to be involved in the various conflicts throughout the region, but they also drew the attention of Templars, who inflicted them several defeats since they were part of the various factions fighting the wars. Following the Templars’ activity, the (true) Assassins represented by Gavin and, maybe, by his team, reached the Ninidze brothers and what was left of the fake Brotherhood and taught them the “secret history of the world”. For this reason the two brothers joined the crew.

Emmett is my personal idol of the crew. Basketball jersey, headband, habitual smoker of “recreative” marijuana and computer expert.

Like Doctor Chiu, he’s a computer expert and, like Doctor Chiu, he previously worked for Abstergo. Their experiences though are very different. While the doctor’s path in Abstergo was planned out by her parents and she chose the IT field just because she didn’t have many other options, Emmett was a software engineer for the Surrogate Initiative. In this case there’s a reference to AC4, in particular to some of the files that can be found hacking the PCs inside Abstergo Entertainment.

For those who have not unlocked these files, the Surrogate Initiative was a program started in the 1980s based on the Animus Project that had the objective of exploring genetic memories that did not belong to the subject’s ancestors. The project was spearheaded by scientist Aileen Bock, who tested the program on herself. The experiments didn’t end well and Bock suffered severe injuries that forced her to stop the tests and drove Abstergo to close the program in 1981. But its bases, though, were almost certainly used for the Data Dump Scanner (the tool used in Project Legacy to allow Abstergo Recruits to relive the memories of other subjects) and then for the Sample 17 project that we saw in AC4.

So Emmett was already an Abstergo employee in the 1980s and this speaks volumes on the information he might have at his disposal to share with the Assassins.

Also the motivation that drove Emmett to leave Abstergo is different from Doctor Chiu’s one. As we said, in 1981 the Surrogate Initiative that Emmett was working on was closed and so Vidic tried to recruit him to work on the Animus Project, but he refused because, as he teels William, he knows crazy when he sees it. If he had accepted, maybe Desmond would have dealt with him instead of with Lucy, I don’t dare to imagine the consequences...

Anyway as a consequence of this refusal Emmett abandoned Abstergo in a “civil” manner, signing non-disclosure agreements and obtaining a considerable severance package. It’s very strange, considering the information he had, and indeed one night the Abstergo agents went to his house to silence him. For unknown reasons, Gavin arrived before the Abstergo agents, and thanks to him Emmett saved himself and he’s been on the run ever since.

Answering a question by Bill about the Initiates, Emmett replied he keeps an eye on everyone in the digital space, governments, military, Abstergo, Erudito, but never heard of the Initiates.

Nodar Ninidze - Steward and Cook
KOMUSUBI - NORWAY // 2014-05-13 // 07:00

We already know a part of Nodar’s past thanks to the interrogation of his brother Akaki. What we come to know now is that Nodar, before following his brother, was a sumo wrestler. He had to abandon this sport because it had become “a vile stew of politics and corruption", exactly like the country he left, Georgia.

Also Nodar affirms that the group of the fake Brotherhood he joined when he returned in his country was seeking peace, even though only when they met Gavin they found a real cause to fight for.

Who could therefore be the spy? The community, especially on the Initiates forums put great effort into trying to find it out and the main options on which it was focused were as follows:

  • Stephanie Chiu : the doctor has a degree in information security, it would not be a problem for her to work on Emmett's systems and upload to the Initiates Database;
  • Nodar and / or Akaki Ninidze : the two brothers, during the creation of the false Brotherhood were motivated by the ideal of peace, an ideal which is different from the Assassin freedom and the Templar control. Peace, therefore , would have probably been a good compromise that could make the basis for the objectives of the Initiates, who as far as we know at the moment are only studying and watching the events related to the war between Assassins and Templars;
  • An additional member of the crew with no name that could always refer to him/herself in first person in the Initiates files without showing up in any photo , description or representation of the crew for security reasons.

The doubt was also worsened by the fact that in some updates, such as "In transit", the spy mentioned some of the crew members who were leaving the ship while he/she remained on board. This, in theory, should have excluded from the assumptions about the spy exactly those members who moved away from the ship, but we will also see how this direction was not necessarily the right one to follow.

Based on this consideration , we can get to to the memory of May 23rd, "Your humbled spy".
At last, as we saw earlier in this article, we have an answer about our spy, but it is not exactly what everyone would have expected. The memory takes place ten days after the last interrogation. Ten days in which we do not know what kind of investigation William performed, but it is possible that he worked on the information extracted by Shaun and Rebecca about the Initiates signals found on the Altair II.

The spy is then ... Dr. Chiu! Based on the fact that in the past the betrayal of the Brotherhood was punishable by death (in fact, doing so meant breaking the third tenet of the Creed), William coldly orders Galina to kill the doctor.

NORWAY // 2014-05-23 // 14:33
This order causes an unexpected reaction by Eric Cooper, the navigator, who begs William to wait. Gavin tries to stop Eric, expecting perhaps that he was defending the doctor as a friend, and instead Eric reveals to be the spy and not the doctor. I must admit that at first glance this seemed to me more like covering the doctor rather than a real admission of guilt, but as we shall see it is not so.

Before proceeding, however, I would like to emphasize a joke made by Shaun Hastings in relation to this admission of guilt. Shaun says "A Scottish spy? That's a laugh.". As our Hephaestus pointed it out to me, this is not a random joke but it is probably a reference to Sean Connery, the Scottish actor who mainly represented the figure of James Bond in the movies over the last 40-50 years.

Going back to the revelation of Initiates spy, as anticipated, the admission of guilt by Eric proves to be true when Dr. Chiu says, in a desperate counterattempt to save him that it's true that Eric wrote the messages for the Initiates Database, but that she was the one to upload them online. Eric tries to talk the doctor out of the path she is walking , but she heroically argues that "we are in this together".

The two are now resigned to dying when Gavin interrupts Eric saying that no one will be killed. Eric is perplexed but William says that with the resources at his disposal he would never be able to exterminate the Initiates and Gavin adds that looking at the information obtained by Rebecca about the Initiates, this group seems pretty reasonable in its intent. In short, it was all an act. The memory ends with Bill who claims to be very impressed by the interviews that he performed and with Shaun who states that no one will be killed.

The analysis of the memory ends here but I would like to focus a bit more on some elements.
First I would like to specify how it is possible that the Initiates spy always spoke in the third person in the messages which were uploaded to the Database: besides it being an act of secrecy, it is also possible that in some cases, Eric and Dr. Chiu alternated themselves in doing it to arouse less suspicion.
Also, again on the Eric - Dr. Chiu connection, I would like to report the idea of user SpiritMuse from the Initiates forums, who states that one factor that may have allowed the two of them to work quietly for almost two years is the regulation of Eric's hormones Eric. Using this "cover", the two spies could be able to organize their next moves in complete tranquility. I would also like to dwell on William and Gavin. As for William, considering that it seems that what happened never was more than a hoax, it is possible that announcing that he wanted to kill Dr. Chiu was an attempt to flush out other potential spies, exactly like it happened. If so, Bill would confirm himself to be a the usual cold schemer. As for Gavin, instead, his approach is much more cooperative
One of the few examples of
the organization of the Initiates
towards Bill than in the previous updates (so much so as to be aware of Bill's hoax), it seems as if the common goal of finding the spy may have brought them closer in the past ten days. We hope to obtain further information about this in the future.
I close the piece with a final comment regarding the possible future of the Surveillance updates and of Initiates in general. The fact that Gavin defines the Initiates as "reasonable" might be the first step towards a rapprochement between the Assassins and the Initiates, but how will the organization of the Initiates react to the discovery of the spies?
Moreover, the fact that Eric and Dr. Chiu were not assassinated means that the Surveillance reports can formally continue, but in which format? It is no longer a real surveillance, considering that the spies were flushed out and probably (at least in my opinion) Gavin and William will be wary to talk about their secrets when they are close to Eric and the doctor. Finally it would be useful to know what Rebecca found out about the Initiates. This way we may be able to hypothesize the countermeasures of the Initiates and maybe to understand a little more about their organization.

Until then, stay syncronized!

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