The Evolution of the Present Day - Part 1
Markuz, January 5, 2016
Translated by: Stefania

Quite a long time has passed since the release of Assassin's Creed: Syndicate. Like every year, we have limited the functions of our page to avoid the risk of spoilers and in the end we reopened it and finally we can deal with some of the themes offered by the last chapter of the franchise. Like many fans have said, this year the plot of the present day finally had solid developments, which were shown in-game and not only through written files as it happened in the previous game, Unity. Let’s see, then, how the events of the present day in Syndicate developed, using the same structure of the article Present day Chronicles: the 2014 scenario.

The Initiates
The Initiates, as already shown in AC: Unity and pointed out in our previous article, have now been relegated to a marginal role in the story: now they work as a non-operating branch of the Brotherhood dedicated to the research and sequencing of genetic memories. The situation for the Initiates, therefore, at least initially, did not change compared to what we saw in Unity, except for two elements. The first and less important one concerns the initiate protagonist. As it has become tradition since AC4, the initiate is “us”, the player, yet he/she is different from the protagonist of Unity: Bishop gives even more for granted the information about Assassins and Templars to the point that she tells the initiate “We both know that when Abstergo makes big moves, the Templars are up to something". He/she is, therefore, a “veteran” initiate compared with the one seen Unity, which perhaps has made the understanding of the plot a bit hard for the beginners (fortunately there is the Database dedicated to the present day). The second and most important difference with Unity is the "leadership" of the Initiate branch in the Assassin Order, which went from Shaun and Rebecca to Bishop, as stated by her entry in the Database. The decision was taken by William Miles, or "Grumpy Old Bill" as Shaun calls him, when he introduced her to the other Assassins. A sort of unexpected choice (at least for Shaun), probably made prior to the events in Unity. The Initiates, therefore, in 2015 have played a role of support, analyzing the genetic memories (the person dealing with the sequencing of the memories of Jacob and Evie is an Initiate, after all) and reorganizing the new Assassin's Network... until the Assassins realized that after the events at the end of 2014 (specifically the ones of AC Rogue) Otso Berg was able to trace the names and locations of several members of the organization. That’s why some of them have been killed, for example the ''Man of Montreal”, whom we will extensively talk about later, and others have faced a number of “unexpected” difficulties – read “caused by Abstergo”.
You've proven your potential.
Why not dedicate it to a true cause?
[S. Hastings, 2014]
Having to deal with such a situation, William Miles decided to cut off the relationship with the Initiates for their safety, a choice that in terms of plot may appear wise but that, considering the events of the recent years, suggests, in my opinion, that the Assassins exploited the Initiates, “enlisting” them when their ranks were reduced and their communication network was at risk and now, although driven by a good cause, “dumping” them. Obviously, many fans thought that this new direction of the story was caused by Ubisoft’s recent definitive shut down of the Initiates platform and then by a general and complete separation from anything that had to do with the Initiates. As always, in order to see if it’s really like that, we’ll need to wait at least for a year, although the clues seem to be very explicit.

There’s maybe a positive side to this choice, though. The removal of Initiates from the plot may also mean the removal of the usual “the protagonist of the game is you, an initiate who works for the Assassins or joins the Assassins" and therefore it could lead (but perhaps we are just dreaming here) to the return of a real protagonist with his/her own story and personality in the present day plot line. We need, however, to consider that both in AC4 and AC: Rogue the protagonist of the present day wasn’t an initiate and yet the player was the protagonist of the games. Also in this case, as we said earlier, we will have to wait and see how things play out.

The Assassins
Contrary to what happened with the Initiates, we have plenty of information about the Assassins. Finally, after the almost complete “visual” absence of the present day in Unity, we have seen a solid present day, although perhaps a bit short and with a complete lack of gameplay, the only elements that made us turn our noses up this year.
In all of this, the Assassins finally had an active role, though once again their intervention did not turn the tide of the endless war against the Templars in their favor and, ultimately, it did not allow them to “win” (but they didn’t completely lose either, to tell the truth).

Update of the Hospitallier
Antivirus to the 4.0.7884... version
The events concerning the Assassins start (of course) at the beginning of Syndicate when, after a brief introduction of Helix, the hooded people infiltrate once again the Abstergo Cloud during the installation of version 4.0.7884 of the antivirus called "Hospitallier" (the name isn’t a coincidence and it’s a reference to the Knights Hospitaller, mentioned in AC1, Revelations and Rogue). Perhaps it is through this antivirus that the override of Hephaestus on Helix happens. In any case it’s in this way that Bishop can contact the umpteenth initiate she needs.

Bishop, who appeared in Unity, is back and, as mentioned earlier, she becomes the manager of the Initiates but that’s not all. Bishop, in fact, is also in charge of assigning (always to the Initiates) the genetic memories to sequence and especially of supporting the field operations and managing / deploying the Assassins on a global scale (an example of this is Galina’s intervention to help Rebecca and Shaun). In addition to that, we learn something more thanks to the database entry dedicated to her, or rather, we learn ... that almost nothing is known about her. In
Bishop, picture coming from the
AC: Syndicate database
fact, according to Shaun, nobody knows who she is but Rebecca, who obviously does not want to say a thing, and probably William Miles (otherwise he wouldn’t have given her such an important role and wouldn’t entrust her with the communication of the new orders for the Assassins in the world as it happens in the Jack the Ripper DLC). This mystery has become so "important" to involve many members of the Brotherhood interested in discovering the truth, including Gavin Banks who believes she’s a former CIA agent (in this case this may explain her ability to handle various operations for the Assassins) and Harlan T. Cunningham who believes she’s been part of Erudito in the past (this would explain her knowledge of the Assassins and Templars ... but would Bill really trust so much a former Erudito member?). In all likelihood all these assumptions are wrong, and probably we need to wait a bit to know the truth (only Rebecca knows and she is dying - and anyway she has promised not to tell anyone). Speaking of Bishop, our Hephaestus thinks that Bishop isn’t a common person we know nothing about. Considering that the only person who knows her directly is William Miles, and that Bill introduced her to the others making her appear out of nowhere and immediately putting her in charge of the entire network of the Initiates, it is possible that Bishop is someone very powerful, skillful, and trustworthy for the leader of the Assassins, and perhaps very "close" to him. According to Hephaestus, then, the code name Bishop may hide none other than“Mrs. Miles", Bill's wife and the mother of Desmond. Unless the developers have introduced an entirely new character, Bill's wife might be the most qualified person for the role of Bishop, especially taking into account that in Syndicate Shaun goes back to use his real name instead of "Deacon" while Bishop has kept her code name (thus giving rise to the hypothesis of the known and not entirely new character).

In any case, a bit as happened in Unity, we see that in Syndicate Bishop calls the initiate without notice to announce his/her next mission. Before doing so, though, for a split second it’s possible to see a world map behind Bishop showing the Assassins insignia and the Abstergo logo in different places in the world. As we’ll see later with London, those are probably places of interest where the two orders have settled. My hypotheses about these places are the following:

  • Abstergo / Templars - Los Angeles or, maybe, San Francisco: In this place we can probably find the location of quite an important Abstergo Industries office / laboratory. In fact it’s not by chance that in AC Initiates we saw two e-mail exchanges started by Abstergo CEO Alan Rikkin (you can find the first one at this link and the second one at this link) in which the messages were sent respectively from Monterey Bay and Pebble Beach, which are both very close to San Francisco (and quite close to Los Angeles too). Los Angeles, on the other hand, is mentioned on the website as one of the cities where an Abstergo office is located.

  • Abstergo – Denver: The city is known in the franchise especially for the satellite incident at the DIA (Denver International Airport) in which Daniel Cross was also involved. In fact, before October 2011, an Apple of Eden was destroyed in an underground laboratory of Abstergo, causing a high number of casualties (you can find more information and theories about that in this article). In all likelihood the Abstergo symbol refers to the same building. It is worth mentioning that in the emails in Brotherhood Shaun and William Miles referred to the presence of a cell of Assassins in Denver. This cell had unexpectedly been in radio silence and the two were concerned that it had been attacked by Abstergo agents: Initiates unfortunately confirmed it years later, when in the "Gone Wrong" memory the Denver team is listed among the lost ones.

  • Abstergo – Mexico City: It is the hometown of Alvaro Gramática, but what’s mentioned here is probably the laboratory of the Future Technology division of Abstergo, which appeared in the present day file 001 in Syndicate.

  • Abstergo – Altaïr: At present an Abstergo office in the Cuban capital has never been mentioned... but as our fan Luigi noticed , in file 10 of the Assassin Intel in Assassin's Creed Unity Alan Rikkin writes to Gramática mentioning the presence of a Grand Master in Cuba. It's possible that the Abstergo office in Altaïr is the building in which the Grand Master operates.

  • The Abstergo office in Philadelphia
    (source: AC Wiki)
  • Abstergo – New York or Philadelphia: it’s not clear which of the two cities is indicated by the Abstergo symbol on the map. If it were New York, it may refer to the clinic where Isabelle Ardant has found the now famous 10-year-old Sage mentioned in file 010 in Syndicate (we’ll talk about it in the second part of this article). If it were Philadelphia, on the other hand, we can find within the city the Abstergo facility in which Daniel Cross took refuge after he killed the Mentor of the Assassins in 2000.

  • Abstergo - Quebec City or Montreal: In this case probably the city is Montreal with its Abstergo Entertainmentheadquarters.

  • Abstergo – Lima: At present an Abstergo office in the Peruvian capital has never been mentioned.

  • Abstergo – Buenos Aires: At present an Abstergo office in the Argentinian capital has never been mentioned.

  • Assassins – San Paolo: The city has an Assassin hideout which was mentioned in the emails in Brotherhood. Specifically, at that time the cell in São Paulo had noticed it had a spy in the team and cut off contacts with the Headquarters in order to drive him/her out. During the operation, according to the email, the Assassin team transferred to another city before contacting the Headquarters again. São Paulo is also the city which holds the stadium in which, in AC3, Desmond goes to find one of the power sources of the Grand Temple.

  • Assassins – Middle of North Atlantic Ocean: The map behind Bishop shows the symbol of the Assassins in the center of the Atlantic Ocean, in the middle of nowhere. It’s possible that this is the location (on October 23) of the Altaïr II ship led by Gavin Banks.

  • Abstergo - London: In this city we can find the Abstergo office that is featured in the early stages of the present day of AC: Syndicate. Considering the presence of Isabelle Ardant, it’s possible that it is the headquarters of the "Historical Research” division, in which she was an executive. The office is also shown on the website.

  • Interiors of the former Abstergo
    laboratory in Paris
  • Assassins - Paris: After the Assassins’ attack to the laboratory, mentioned in this article, in which the body of John Standish was being studied, and, as stated in the second file of the present day of the Jack The Ripper DLC, Abstergo never returned to Paris, although it has shown interest in the Paris Saclay industrial district dedicated to research. It’s possible that other Assassins have stayed in the area after the attack, and this is why the world map indicates the presence in the French city.

  • Abstergo - Berlin: At present an Abstergo office in the German capital has never been mentioned.

  • Assassins - Abuja: At present an Abstergo office in the Nigerian capital has never been mentioned.

  • Abstergo - Shanghai: The city is among the ones mentioned on the website, probably further suggesting the presence of an Abstergo office. In addition to that, it is probably not a coincidence that the “Templars" comic book series will take place in Shanghai.

  • The headset stolen by
    the Japanese Assassins
  • Assassins - Osaka: The Assassin cell in question has been operating in Osaka for some time, at least since the late 90s. In 2012 in some of the emails in Brotherhood we saw the team while it was on the run from Abstergo and later, as we saw on Initiates, after it was completely exterminated by the Yakuza. From that moment on, the reins of the Osaka cell have been entrusted to the new Mentor Saeko Mochizuki, or "Osoroshii Baba" ("The terrible grandma"), who in 2013 hid the Assassins under the name of the Onmoraki-Gumi, one of the factions of the Yakuza, to be able to act more freely within the city.
    During the meeting with Gavin Banks , which occurred on Initiates in the last days of December 2013, in exchange for the weapons needed by the Assassins in Japan, Saeko gave Gavin a new Animus headset quite similar to the Brahman VR shown in AC: Brahman. In this case the old Mentor said that the Japanese Assassins had stolen it from an Abstergo facility very close to Osaka, claiming that the Templars were up to something big. And indeed on the website there’s an Abstergo facility in "Osaka-Kobe".

  • The point located at the center
    of Australia in the AC1 map
  • Abstergo - Uluru / Ayers Rock (Central Australia): In this case the Abstergo facility was not mentioned in the past releases nor present on the Abstergo website ... but there’s maybe a reason why it’s exactly in that region of the world. At the end of the first chapter of Assassin's Creed, when the Apple shows the map with the location of other Pieces of Eden, one of the points on the map is located in the center of Australia. And so it’s for this reason, maybe, that Abstergo has built a facility in Uluru.

While all of this happens in a few seconds behind Bishop, the new manager of the Initiates tells the protagonist of the present day in Syndicate about the various projects that Abstergo started in London, which serve as cover for a new search for a Piece of Eden. The Assassins, however, don’t give up on this lead, and therefore have sent there two of their... “executives" by now.To the delight of the old fans Shaun and Rebecca make their appearance during their infiltration into the Abstergo facility in London, followed by two drones (Clay and Lucy, obviously their names aren't a coincidence) that film the situation so that Bishop and the initiate can follow them.
Both Shaun and Rebecca modified their equipment, and not only their clothes. Rebecca wears on her right arm a device / smartphone which comes with an extendible USB cable to download the data for the Initiate (a bit like the gauntle tof the Frye twins with the rope launcher, but more ... Rebecca-like). Shaun, on the contrary, wears no less than the Shock Blade, a type of hidden blade appeared only as concept art in 2011 in the Assassin's Creed Encyclopedia, which has never appeared in the AC games but that has made the fans daydream on the possibilities of its use ever since.

Concept art of the Shock Blade coming from the AC Encyclopedia (Source: AC Wiki)

The appearance of the Shock Blade, therefore, is part of the fan service that we find many times in the present day (Shaun and Rebecca as protagonists, the intervention of Galina, the presence of the Project Legacy text files etc.)
In any case the chemistry between the two has remained unchanged while they make fun of each other during the infiltration in the Abstergo facility and while the two upload a bug into the computer of Isabelle Ardant, a member of the Inner Sanctum and, as mentioned before, Operations executive in the Historical Research division of Abstergo.

Audio file records
a world map, a data
search function...
The uploading of the bug through which Rebecca and Shaun gain access to Ardant’s personal data gives us several pieces of information that appear on the big screen in the office of the Templar executive. Initially we can see "general" data such as an audio file record, a world map, a data search function, etc .. Later we see a map of London, a sort of physical analysis of Jacob Frye,
London map, the physical
analysis of Jacob,
the October calendar...
a sort of calendar showing the dates of October 16th, 18th, 19th and 21st, a 3D map of the world, the writing “ABstergo” with a series of numbers that changes constantly.

Finally, fortunately with a higher definition, the Assassins (and us, the players) have had access to a calendar containing Ardant’s schedule and a list of British Assassins and Templars, whose memories are saved on Helix.

The calendar itself is interesting, because it gives us an idea of the various appointments of Ardant, although it doesn’t reveal anything special:

Isabelle Ardant's calendar

  • October 4, 2015, “Happy birthday to me!" - In this way, the birthday of Ardant joins the other dates of the franchise to remember. I do not think that it will be celebrated so often, though ...

  • October 10, 2015, “Planned Helix Maintenance"

  • October 15 2015, “Conference with Mitsuko Nakamura" - It’s a conference with another member of the Inner Sanctum, a Research and Lineage Discovery and Acquisition executive. It's more than likely that the meeting was about the 10-year-old Sage mentioned in the audio file 010 of the present day, considering the division Nakamura is part of and especially the fact that the meeting took place just a day after the recording of the file (October, 14, 2015).

  • October 24, 2015, “Phoenix Project Recon Kickoff" - This event is the one being mentioned by Rebecca when she says "Isabelle Ardant has a meeting here in a few hours. Doesn’t say with who.” This is still the beginning of the present day and therefore the opening scene refers to October 23, 2015, release date of Syndicate in the real world. It’s very likely that the meeting was the one with Violet da Costa and Otso Berg seen in the second cutscene of the present day of Syndicate.

  • October 30, 2015, "Conference with Melanie Lemay" - Maybe it was a meeting to define some Abstergo Entertainment project on the history of London, maybe one of those mentioned by Bishop at the beginning of the first sequence of the Syndicate present day. Probably we'll never know because Ardant is murdered by Shaun a few days (presumably) after October 23.

  • November 1, 2015, “Family Holiday Dominican Republic" - A holiday that unfortunately Ardant couldn’t do and that shows a human side of one of the highest ranking Templars. Too bad it's so hidden that it isn’t shown to everyone, making Ardant appear as a mainly negative character without any "shades of gray".

However, the most important part appearing on the screen in Ardant’s office is certainly the list of the English Assassins and Templars, whose memories are present in Helix since October 23, and that I list below thanking the AC Wikia for the images (click on the name of the characters to see a picture of them!)

The list of the British Assassins and Templars


  • Samuel Bellamy - Also known as "Black Sam”, Bellamy is a British pirate who lived between the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries and who appears in AC: Pirates as a member of the Assassins in search of the umpteenth artifact called "Fragment of Eden" that has shapes and properties different from the previous "Fragments" in the franchise.

  • Robert Fitzwalter - Real historical character who appeared in AC: Memories as member of the British Brotherhood in the 13th century, he is the leader who led the opposition of the English barons against King John Lackland and also one of the guarantors of the Magna Carta.

  • Emmett Frye - ??? Plot twist hidden between the lines of the screen in Isabelle Ardant’s office, the name of this member of the Frye family stands out in the list. Considering that Ethan Frye, the father of the twins and also a member of the English Brotherhood, is not mentioned in the list, it’s possible that the name Emmett is an oversight occurred during the development of Syndicate. Conversely, if the name is intentional as I presume, he is another member of the Frye family who has been part of the Assassin Order. Is it maybe the name of Jacob’s son and father of Lydia?

  • Evie Frye - Little to say about her that has not been said already.

  • Jacob Frye - Idem as above.

  • Henry Green - Idem as above.

  • Shaun Hastings - It is interesting to discover that Abstergo has the DNA of Shaun and therefore his genetic memories. However this should not surprise you too much because it is possible that the Templars have got his DNA either in 2010 when they kidnapped him, or in 2013 when he worked as an undercover bartender in the Abstergo Entertainment office in Montreal.

  • Annie Horniman with Mina Bergson
  • Annie Horniman - This character (who really existed) might be hard to remember because she belongs to "Discover Your Legacy”, a Facebook app created at the time of Revelations, in which there was additional information about the AC plot. Specifically Annie Horniman was the assassin who introduced Moina Bergson Mathers to the Assassins (more information about this two paragraphs from here).

  • Edward Kenway - We see Edward as an Assassin only in the final stages of Black Flag and in the novel and indirectly we are aware of the fact that he worked for the Assassins also when he came back from the Caribbean, joining the English Brotherhood and becoming leader together with Miko. Edward devoted much of his last years to the search for First Civilization temples, finding some of them in Italy (probably the ones we already know), one in Alamut (perhaps the one discovered by Altaïr, where he found dozens of Memory Seals) and above all finding out about the Grand Temple near New York. In addition to that, something new in Syndicate, it was Edward together with the English Brotherhood who found the Shroud and organized the whole series of riddles through which Evie and Henry Green have retrieved the artifact (from the artifact in the basement of Edward’s mansion to the necklace with the key in the St Paul’s Cathedral to the "chest" containing the Shroud initially located in the Tower of London).

  • Moina Bergson Mathers,
    one of the most fascinating
    artwork from Project Legacy
  • Moina Mathers - Born in 1865 in Geneva as Mina Bergson, Moina joined the Assassins thanks to Annie Horniman. In 1887 the Brotherhood entrusted her with the mission of pretending to be romantically interested in Samuel Mathers, because he was a rising star among the occultist groups in England and was funded by the Templars who were initially looking for the "Book of Abraham" and later for the Isu entity who was the protagonist of the memories in the Frater V.O.V chapter in Project Legacy. Moina and Mathers, along with William Woodman (the man "possessed" by the Isu entity) and William Westcott, have also founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (for more information about this part of the plot visit our Database at this link).

  • Miko - Miko is the assassin in possession of the Grand Temple Key, killed by Haytham Kenway at the Royal Opera House in London at the beginning of Assassin's Creed 3. Previously Miko, as already mentioned, had been co-leader of the English Brotherhood and had traveled the world in search for the Pieces of Eden, also meeting Haytham Kenway a year before his assassination, and handing him over his hidden blade to have his life saved.

  • Louis Mills - After the assassination of Miko, the Assassins gave Mills the task of following Haytham Kenway on the Providence, the ship used by the Templar to travel to the North American colonies. He was killed by Haytham too.

  • Bernard Ruddock - Ruddock was a former member of the Assassins who appeared in the Assassin's Creed Unity novel. He was one of the two men who tried to kill Julie de la Serre, Élise's mother, under order of the Carrolls, a family of English Templars.

  • Maria Thorpe - Former Templar, Maria was the second love of Altaïr and his bride. Faithful companion and mother of his children Sef and Darim, Maria was present in one way or another in all of Altaïr's adventures, even in the expedition to kill Genghis Khan, before being killed during Abbas Sofian’s “coup d’etat" in Masyaf.

  • Upton Travers - He is the leader of the Assassin hideout in Nassau together with his brother Vance. The two lived quietly until the Chinese Templar Jin Lang entered Vance’s life and feigned an interest in him to put her hands on a treasure in possession of the two brothers. Lang managed to influence Vance so much so that he made an attempt on his brother’s life. For this reason, Upton was forced to ask Edward Kenway to assassinate both his brother and Lang.

  • Vance Travers - See above.

  • Duncan Walpole - Walpole is the Assassin traitor whom Edward meets at the beginning of AC4 and who had to give Laureano Torres the Vial and the maps containing the location of the various Assassin hideouts in the Caribbean. It’s from him that Edward gets the main outfit that he will use in the game.

  • Reginald Birch - He is the Grand Master of the
    Reginald Birch
    British Rite of the Templar Order at the time of Haytham Kenway, obsessed by the Pieces of Eden, who had Edward killed and sent Haytham in search of the Grand Temple. What else should we add?

  • Edward Braddock - General of the British Army and member of the Templars, Braddock appeared both in AC3 and in the novel “Forsaken”. He and Birch plotted the killing of Edward Kenway. Haytham never liked Braddock, initially for his violence and then for getting in his way in several occasions (the transfer of Charles Lee and John Pitcairn under Haytham's command for example). He was mortally wounded by Haytham during AC3 and died in the following days because of his wounds after he was carried away from the battlefield.

  • Josiah Burgess - Burgess was one of the British pirates who followed Benjamin Hornigold (who had accepted the pardon of the King and had joined the Templars )... before being assassinated along with John Cockram by Edward Kenway.

  • Peter Carroll - Peter was the head of the Carroll family, the instigators of the attempted murder of Julie de la Serre.

  • Christopher Condent - Condent is a British pirate too and member of the Templars. Appeared in Assassin's Creed Pirates, Condent dealt with the control of Nassau during the absence of Benjamin Hornigold. Together with Hornigold and another Templar called Barnes, he tried to get the Fragment of Eden that had been previously owned by Samuel Bellamy and then Olivier Levasseur.

  • Francis Cotton - Better known as General Cotton, he is the English General and member of the Templars who was hunting down the Koh-i-Noor in Assassin's Creed Brahman.

  • Hilary Flint - Flint is the templar known as "The Navigator" in the AC4 multiplayer. In the AC plot, Flint was one of the Templars sent by Torres in the locations of the Assassin hideouts marked on the map brought to him by Edward Kenway. He was murdered by Edward himself with the leader of the hideout in Altaïr, Rhona Dinsmore.

  • Aubrey Hague - He is the father of Matthew Hague, the man Caroline Scott, the first wife of Edward Kenway, was betrothed to.

  • John Harrison - Harrison was one of the most trusted agents of Reginald Birch and one of the highest-rank members of the Templar Order in London. He was involved in several important researches, including those of the Precursor Box in China, the Prophecy Disk in Chichen Itza, the Grand Temple in the American colonies and other Pieces of Eden in Lisbon. Everything is recorded in the War Letters of Assassin's Creed Rogue.

  • Francis Hume - Another Templar appeared in Pirates, Hume has been repeatedly used by Grand Master Laureano Torres to hunti down Samuel Bellamy and the Fragment of Eden.

  • Haytham Kenway - Only one of the best characters ever created in the AC universe.

  • Charles Lee - Not found.

  • George Monro - Colonel Monro is the Templar that Birch sends in the colonies because of the poor results obtained by his agent on site, Lawrence Washington. It’s Monro with his men who saves Shay Patrick Cormac after he betrayed the Assassins (and recovered the Voynich Manuscript) and it is Monro who sets Shay on the Templar path.

  • Benjamin Pritchard - Pritchard worked as the captain of a ship - the Amazon Galley - for the East India Company. Attacked by the ship of privateer turned pirate Alexander Dolzell, on which Edward Kenway was working, he was captured and tortured. During the torture Edward noticed that Pritchard was wearing a ring with the Templar cross similar to the one wore by the people who had attacked his family in Bristol. Unfortunately he could not provide Edward with other information about what that cross meant because he was killed by Dolzell shortly after.

  • Emmett Scott - Father of Caroline Scott, first wife of Edward Kenway, Emmett was the founder, together with Aubrey Hague, of the "Trade Organization", an association of merchants protected by the Templars. To tighten the bond between the Scott family and the Hague family, Emmett promised her daughter Caroline to Aubrey’s son, Matthew. Caroline, however, chose Edward. Scott was also the instigator of the attack on Edward's family and the fire of their farm. Edward murdered him when he got back from the Caribbean.

  • Crawford Starrick - The best mustache of Victorian London.

  • Samuel Smith
  • Samuel Smith - Smith appeared in Assassin's Creed Rogue and was the treasurer of the Templars. His job was to guard and operate the Precursor Box after Lawrence Washington had stolen it from the mentor of the Haitian Assassins François Mackandal along with the Voynich Manuscript. He was murdered by Shay Patrick Cormac.

  • Perkin Warbeck - This is another reference that may be very hard to find. Warbeck was a pretender to the English throne in the second half of the 15th century. His name appears only once in one of the memories of the Contracts in Project Legacy, in which, along with Lambert Simnel, he is described as a member of Templars working to conquer the throne of Henry VII.

  • James Wardrop – Wardrop appears in AC: Rogue. Like Smith, his job was to guard the Voynich Manuscript. Before Shay assassinated him, of course.

  • Lawrence Washington – Brother of the more famous George, Lawrence Washington was one of the emissaries sent to the colonies in the mid-eighteenth century by the Grand Master of the Templar Order Reginald Birch to locate the Grand Temple and other artifacts of the First Civilization. He was killed by Shay Patrick Cormac too.

The download of Starrick's
genetic memories
In addition to all the information that appears on the screen for a few seconds, as we said, these sequences lay the foundations for the part of the game set in the past. In fact, Rebecca downloads from Ardant’s computer not only Evie and Jacob’s memories but also those of Crawford Starrick (in this way the sequences dedicated to him are justified) in order to send them to Bishop and the Initiate. While sending the data, Rebecca discovers the "Phoenix Project Recon Kickoff" entry in Ardant’s calendar and along with Shaun she decides to find out who else will attend the meeting in order to assault the Templar executive. Obviously it is a decision made on the spur of the moment and not planned ahead, and so, naturally, Bishop doesn't like it ... but she cannot do anything and is forced to remain a spectator of the events.

The next morning Shaun and Rebecca are busy preparing their escape (we can see Rebecca preparing the smoke bomb that will explode later), just before Ardant enters the office and starts a videoconference with Alvaro Gramática, one of the bosses if not THE boss of the "Future Technologies" division of Abstergo Industries. The two talk about the fact that soon their “friends” would arrive to search for the Piece of Eden in London (this suggests an alliance between Gramática and Ardant and also the two "friends" who would arrive shortly, but we'll discuss it in the second part of this article). All without ever noticing the drones used by the Assassins, which are comfortably flying around the room (this seems very implausible, although it’s not a bad way to film the events of the present day in cutscenes without using fixed cameras).
The drone trying to track
the call, unsuccesfully
Finally, during the call we can see how the drone is trying to trace the communication between the two and therefore Gramática’s location. The drone unfortunately fails, although the success of such operation would have really been important for the Assassins after the events of Syndicate, as we’ll see in a few paragraphs.

Immediately after the call with Gramática Shaun and Rebecca face Ardant, apparently forgetting that those "friends" would have arrived shortly. Ardant is unfazed because the "friends", Otso Berg and Violet da Costa have just arrived. While Rebecca put her hands up (as Shaun does), however, she activates one of the smoke bombs prepared that morning. The screen of the drone shows an "Explosives armed" text and ten seconds later the bomb explodes. Thanks to this, the Assassins manage to escape but without obtaining any result on the field, as it happens all too often lately.

The next time we see Shaun and Rebecca is in what appears to be an Assassin hideout, an abandoned warehouse in which the two have transferred all their equipment, several computers, some blankets and takeaway food (... definitely vegetarian for Rebecca, as stated in her database entry).
The scene itself doesn't reveal much new information about the plot but it shows once again the characters of Shaun and Rebecca. Shaun, as always, jokingly shows off, saying that “It’ll take more than a Templar super soldier to end the glorious saga of Shaun 'Danger' Hastings", and Rebecca takes care of his wounds while Bishop tells them what the Initiate discovered on the Shroud. Even in this situation it is shown how "close" the two are, although they keep poking fun at each other. Rebecca finally proves herself to be perceptive: in her opinion the Templars want the Shroud so much because there is something that the Assassins still do not know (and that they’ll know only when they get the ending video with Violet da Costa and Álvaro Gramática).
Bishop closes the scene almost commanding the two to stay where they are, waiting to get information from the Initiate while she calls for backup.

One of the best moments of
the ACSyndicate present day
During that same evening Bishop contacts Shaun again while Rebecca is already asleep. In my opinion this is one of the best moments, of the present day in Syndicate, because that is when Shaun finally shows a bit of himself without making jokes, teasing and bragging. Bishop asks why he’s pushing himself so hard although he's not an operative agent and he answers remembering Desmond. Shaun tells Bishop how he had reacted badly to him joining his team because to him, he just wasn't invested in anything that didn’t affect him personally ... But Shaun describes how he realized he was wrong, and how they became friends over time, as we have seen in the various chapters of the franchise. Shaun shows that he started respecting Desmond for everything that he did and for everything he had to go through, which ultimately led to his sacrifice to save the world. Shaun says, however, that now he can't apologize to him and so the only thing he can do is trying to live up to Desmond’s example. This is why we see Shaun as an operative agent in Syndicate and, I must say, it is a beautiful explanation. This moment has been very well written both because of the development of Shaun’s character, and because it's able to bring the nostalgia feeling to the old hardcore fans, who surely, while Shaun was speaking, have re-imagined Desmond while he collaborated with the team of Lucy, Rebecca and Shaun himself.

The nostalgic moment is, however, interrupted by the fanservice moment (and what a fanservice moment!). The reinforcements called by Bishop are none other than Galina Voronina, one of the most successful characters of Initiates and perhaps one of the symbols of the now deceased platform (I think I screamed when I saw her the first time...). Obviously Galina is able to get in without being detected immediately by the drones and let alone by Shaun, who is frightened by her entrance (and although he scream"Holy Jeez!”, the subtitles say "Mother of Thor!", another element that characterizes Shaun’s personality).
The English historian says that the two haven’t seen each other since the attack on the Abstergo laboratory in Paris, which we talked about in our 2014 Scenario. Galina says that during the attack there were many explosions and Shaun screamed like a baby (the new information on the Paris attack in Paris does not end here, as we shall see in the second part of this article).Galina suddenly becomes serious and asks Shaun confirmation that Otso Berg is in London: the girl immediately shows to be strongly determined to assassinate Berg, so much so that she says she will kill him for Shaun before the two go to sleep while the Initiate is searching for the location of the Shroud.

Jacob puts the Shroud back on
the altar (Source: RajamanGamingHD)
At the end of Sequence 8, the Assassins in the present day have the confirmation that the Shroud is in the vault of Buckingham Palace but Shaun curbs their enthusiasm saying that the Assassins will only get one shot to try and get the Shroud, so while he, Rebecca and Galina position themselves near the palace, the Initiate has to start scouring Sequence 9 of Syndicate, featuring the entrance of Jacob, Evie and Starrick in the vault, the assassination of the latter and the positioning of the Shroud in the "case" on the "altar" with the Precursor symbols.

Once obtained the visual confirmation of the fact that the Frye twins had not carried the Shroud away from the vault, the present day Assassins made their move and reached the vault at Buckingham Palace ... finding out they’re late, the Templars beat them.

Ardant is already handling the "briefcase" escorted by Otso Berg and Violet da Costa, armed to the teeth. The drones of the Assassins starts flying in the vault, while Galina asks Shaun for orders. The historian says he would rather avoid killing, because it is the least productive way to achieve their goals ... but there is no other choice and so he orders Galina to kill the three Templars.
It’s with a smoke bomb that the Assassins begin the battle, during which we can listen to the beautiful track "Underground". Ardant orders Berg to kill Shaun to get revenge for the assassination attempt in her study and the latter at first hits one of the drones of the Assassins (which partly clarifies the doubt we previously had on the interaction of the characters with the drones themselves).

Galina 1 - Berg 0
Berg fails, however, to even see Shaun because he’s in turn attacked by Galina, finally starting a fight we had been waiting for so long. Maybe Berg was looking forward to it too, since when he met her during the attack at the Abstergo laboratory in Paris in October 2014. The fight leads to the destruction of the Russian assassin's hidden blade, to da Costa’s attempt at supporting Berg foiled by Rebecca, and to Galina’s acrobatic move on Berg that sees her winning the clash: GALINA 1 - BERG 0.
During the frenzied action, however, there are other two events that drawn the attention of all the fans of the present day plot. First, the leader of the Assassin team, Shaun, finally manages to use his Shock Blade and kill the leader of the Templar team, Isabelle Ardant. A success that leads for a moment not only to the recovery of the Precursor case with the Shroud but also to the killing of a Templar member of the Inner Sanctum. The success, however, is temporary, because when Berg screams "Only the mission matters", sacrificing himself to keep Galina busy until he falls unconscious, da Costa grabs the gun to shoot Shaun and, as now we all know, it is Rebecca who takes the bullet.

Shaun & Rebecca in one of the cliffhanger moments of the game

This moment is important not only for the concern for the fate of Rebecca who, incidentally, I think will survive because we didn’t see her dying on screen. In fact, the thing that struck me the most about this scene, is the juxtaposition between Berg with his "Only the mission matters" and Shaun with his orders to Galina to find a way out to save Rebecca at the cost of losing the Shroud, of not killing Berg and so of abandoning the mission. Within seconds we see the contrast between the two "leaders" of the opposing factions and their two approaches that directly or indirectly represent the ideology of the order they’re part of: the importance of the mission and goals at any cost against the importance of team and its people at the cost of the mission (although we need to point out that Shaun also had a personal interest in the salvation of Rebecca).

The sequence ends with the entrance in the vault of the entire Sigma Team shooting wildly and with Galina dealing with them quietly in a few minutes (I wonder if Sorkin was still there to get beaten up by Galina this year too, this is a regular appointment at this point). The assassin, therefore, creates the way out that Shaun had requested ... and the information on the three ends here, following the classic tradition of the cliffhangers in AC.

Once again, the Assassins haven’t prevailed. Over time they’ll recover the Shroud, as stated by Bishop, but in the meantime, and for the umpteenth time in the recent period of time, the Assassins were not able to obtain an appreciable advantage on the Templars. Once again they fall behind, chasing or at most containing the advance of their enemies.

The true ending of the game, that the Assassins sees thanks to a bug left by Rebecca in Ardant's computer, is an example of that. Bishop slyly looks at the initiate, almost as if the writers themselves were looking at the fans before the final plot twist of the game (ok, probably I have just imagined it ...)

.... Are you ready?

The mission was the only thing that mattered and da Costa completed it, delivering the Shroud to Gramática. The video shows Gramática's lab, with a series of "clones" kept in preservation pods and the Mexican scientist revealing to da Costa and indirectly to the Assassins and to the players his plan: using the Shroud to rebuild at a cellular level aPrecursor starting "from scratch" (we’ll thoroughly analyze Gramática's plans in the second part of this article).

Was it all part of the plan...?
In addition to that, the last few seconds of the video stolen by the Assassins show a plot twist that, I must admit, left me speechless when I saw it the first time: Violet da Costa is an Instrument of the First Will and she’s in direct contact with Juno! This means that delivering the Shroud to Gramática to accelerate the research on the Phoenix Project was part of Juno’s plan ... but we’ll talk about this in the part dedicated to Juno and the Instruments, in the next article.

What matters, for the Assassins, is knowing about the existence of Gramática's laboratory and his plans for the Shroud, communicated to Alan Rikkin. And indirectly about Juno, da Costa as an Instruments of the First Will, and the alleged son of Desmond (the Assassin Intel also consists of information in the hands of the Assassins), but these are mere details.

The new goal of the Assassins after the events of Syndicate, as ordered by William Miles in the much appreciated present day files of the Jack The Ripper DLC, is to find Gramática’s lab, assassinate him and recover the Shroud and any additional artifacts found in the laboratory.

Bishop takes care of communicating Bill’s orders to all the Assassins in the world to see if once again they will (only) be able to stop the Templars and their intents and almost immediately she receives several, unfortunately all negative, answers.

Arend Schut Cunningham,
artwork by Remko Troost
The first answer comes from Arend Schut and Harlan T. Cunningham, who are on their honeymoon after they got married! When I read it I screamed of joy like a teen, a not very manly reaction but I must admit that I enjoyed this development for these two characters that we know since the release of Rogue and Brotherhood respectively.
The two are on their honeymoon in Western Europe and therefore Arend comments about that area: the Templars are buzzing around London and Paris, but this has nothing to do with Gramática's laboratory. In London, according to Arend, the Templars are closing ranks to make up for the loss of Isabelle Ardant, with a strong presence of soldiers from the Sigma Team and also from the Delta Team, the team that agent Theodore Rizzo belonged to, and that appeared in Initiates when it was ambushed in Florence by Harlan Cunningham during Desmond's and his team's escape from Italy. Conversely, in Paris the Templar presence was eradicated after the attack by Gavin and Shaun’s team on the Abstergo lab in October 2014, although Schut denotes a Templar interest in Paris-Saclay, an industrial district in Paris dedicated to the research, which is still in construction and will be completed probably around 2020.

The last information Arend gives us is that he has lost contact with the Ninidze Brothers' people (to know who they are read this article or this article) in Georgia. It is, for Arend, a worrisome and very suspicious silence, considering that "The chaos in that part of the world might make for good cover for a lab.” These are, however, unconfirmed hypotheses, although some very interesting ones.

Jasdip "Jazz" Dhami
(source: AC Wiki)
The second assassin to answer is Jasdip Dhami, the Indian assassin who survived the events shown in Assassin's Creed Brahman. Jasdip gives Bishop a negative answer too: Gramática's lab is not in India and he’s proceeding south through the various island nations to Australia.

Jasdip’s email, however, has a much more important goal. The Indian assassin warns all the other Assassins in the world (including therefore also Bishop and William) against the continuous use of the Initiates as a support in the war against the Templars. He appreciates their work and respects what they did, but he says that they are not trained assassins, they’re just civilians who have a device connected to Helix through which they support the cause of the Assassins and this makes them easy targets for the Templars.

In particular Jasdip feels he is personally involved in the matter because he’s seen with his own eyes what happens when civilians are caught in the conflict with the Templars. In fact, in Brahman the involvement of Jot Soora and Monima Das in the search for the Koh-i-Noor has led to the assassination of Jasdip's sister, Siobhan, to Monima's death, to the destruction of the Assassin hideout in the Chor Bazaar in Mumbai and the assassination of another assassin named Dinesh, and to the daring escape of Jasdip and Jot, who then was abandoned to himself at the end of the
Kiyoshi Takakura
comic book (as for Brahman and the aforementioned events I suggest you to read our articles: The Assassin's Creed Comic Books - Brahman, The Indian matter, Looking through the Brahman – Part 1 and Part 2).

The third answer to Bishop’s email comes from Kiyoshi Takakura, the member of the Osaka Brotherhood who clashed with Gavin when he arrived in Japan (you can find the Initiates memories here and here). The Japanese assassin said that he is absolutely sure that Gramática’s lab is not in Japan and that his mentor, Osoroshii Baba, ordered the Japanese Assassins to support the cells in China and Korea to search for it. In particular Kiyoshi was sent to China and in the email he says what he will do when he arrives there, in a paradoxical and amusing comparison between the information in his possession about Abstergo in the various areas of the country ... and the speciality foods he’ll be able to eat in those areas.

The fourth and final answer comes, ultimately, from Eric Cooper, former Initiates spy among the Assassins and now a member of the Brotherhood. Unfortunately, "our man in Montreal" is dead. According to Eric, the so-called man in Montreal has tried to keep a low profile during the “incident of 2014“ (namely the events in Rogue
Eric Cooper
during which Berg uploaded Shay's story on the Assassin's Network, which now is an unsafe channel). At that time, according to Eric, the Assassins hadn’t taken seriously Berg's move: they had to shut down some servers, empty a few safehouses but nothing more. For this reason, the Assassins lowered their guard and so Berg was able to act freely, finding the man in Montreal and monitoring his communications "with other Initiates". In this way Berg has managed to track the Initiates and find out where they were running to.

Before moving on I’d like to point out something: several members of the community have argued that with "Man in Montreal" Eric was referring to the protagonist of the present day of Black Flag or Rogue. I believe it is not the case for different reasons. First, because the file points out his communications with "other Initiates" and then because the ''Man in Montreal” is a character who appeared more
The man with the Vial on the plane
than once on Initiates. Specifically, the Initiates, a day before the beginning of the events of AC4 and so before the protagonist of the present day joined Abstergo Entertainment, already claimed to have a spy in the Montreal office looking for a Vial. Four days later, on November 2, 2013, once again on the Initiates site, the Initiates communicated that they had been able to retrieve the Vial and bring it out of the building (as proved by a photo of a man with a Vial on a plane). This alone may be a proof that the Man in Montreal, even though he was not referenced as such yet, is not the protagonist of the AC4 present day (otherwise it would have been a shame not to show these events in the game, taking also into account the fact that the protagonist of the AC4 present day remains at the Abstergo office at least until November 26th). Also, the protagonist of the present day of AC4 never interacts with the Initiates, but only with the Assassins who, however, at that time weren’t allies of the Initiates yet. Finally, on February 7, 2014, the “Man in Montreal” appears in the database of the Initiates through an update in which he proves to be a skilled Initiate, still in the Abstergo Entertainment office, while he analyses the code of the Animus Omega and corrects it to make sure that the Initiates can make the most out of the information.

So, I think the “Man in Montreal” is not the protagonist of AC4, but neither the one of AC: Rogue. In fact, during the events of Rogue, the Initiates were already part of the Assassins, so if the ''Man in Montreal", ally of the Assassins and the Initiates, were the protagonist in Rogue, he would definitely have communicated to both organizations Berg's intentions before uploading Shay's story on the Assassin's Network.
In my opinion, therefore, in the Jack The Ripper DLC file, the "Man in Montreal" they refer to is most likely a simple spy of the Initiates in Montreal, and another reference to the faction that supports (or supported) the Assassins, considering that Eric Cooper’s email is all about them.

Going back to the email, Eric says that following the ''Man of Montreal", Berg has traced the movements of other Initiates and it’s since then that some of the most influential supporters of the Initiates (and therefore of the Assassins) started running into some bad luck. The military contacts started being transferred or discharged, the companies of the wealthier supporters were subjected to inspections and tax audits or were bought out directly by Abstergo and the contacts in the "seats of higher learning" faced budget cuts and challenges to their authority and their knowledge. This is why Eric, reluctantly, agrees with Jasdip regarding the Initiates, who are in danger because they’re not trained, and argues that the Assassins must do something about it and do it fast.

And with this we come to the latest information on the Assassins of the present day in Syndicate and its DLC. Bishop finally answers all the e-mails describing William Miles’ new orders. In fact, Old Bill, after much deliberation (with whom?) has decided to enact the "Rooftop Garden” protocol, namely the complete (and I dare say usual and annual) shut down of communications between the Assassins on their network. The main target (which probably will be what connects Syndicate to the next game, or perhaps the movie) will remain Dr. Gramática and his laboratory, but Bill has ordered not to engage, in case an Assassin agent were to discover the whereabouts of the Mexican doctor, but rather to communicate his position so that Bishop can organize a precise attack with a strike team.

The new target of the Assassins
What's interesting and which may be a bit bewildering is that, considering the radio silence, William allows the Assassins to choose their targets until the next contact (always taking into account that Gramática is a priority), so long as they follow the Creed. A move a bit too anarchic which on one hand follows the idea of freedom always supported by the Assassins, but on the other hand maybe puts the Brotherhood at risk if mistakes were to happen or if something went wrong.

The last paragraph, which we have already discussed at the beginning of the article, is potentially so important that it might be a harbinger of changes for the future of the franchise. Through Bishop, the Assassins communicate to the Initiates that they will not contact them anymore (at least in the near future) in order not to put them in an even greater danger. Bishop still leaves an open door at the end, saying it is not excluded that she may call them one day, but the communication seems to be definitive, at least for the immediate future.

As previously mentioned, therefore, this move seems to have been made both for plot needs and due to the complete shutdown of the Initiates platform, but it could also be an indicator of the much requested return of a real protagonist of the present day with a story of his/her own and actual interactions with the characters who surround him/her and, consequently, of the equally acclaimed return of the gameplay sequences in the present day, which now have been absent since Assassin's Creed Rogue.

And that’s all as for the developments related to the Initiates and the Assassins coming from Syndicate and the Jack the Ripper DLC! Stay synchronized with us for the second part of this article, in which we’ll analyze all the information we have about the Templars and the Instruments of the First Will!

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