The Evolution of the Present Day - Part 2
Markuz, April 27, 2016
Translated by: Stefania

Let’s resume the analysis of the new status quo of the present day in the Assassin's Creed franchise after Syndicate with one of the organizations that still need to be examined, perhaps the most interesting one in terms of plot development in Syndicate. Let’s see, then, what the objectives and moves of the organization were at the end of 2015, taking into account that some of them are rooted in events that happened much earlier.

The events related to the Templars in Syndicate involve mainly four main characters: Isabelle Ardant, Álvaro Gramática, Otso Berg and Violet Da Costa, whom will be examined below.
Isabelle Ardant e la sua classica
espressione da "Non ho tempo
per le tue minchiate"
Isabelle Ardant is a member of the Inner Sanctum who, in the Abstergo documents, has always appeared as the Operations executive in the Historical Research division of Abtsergo. As we learn from the database, initially Ardant had studied at the University of Cambridge and then she had become the first woman to be recruited for Abstergo’s "Young Innovators" program. From that moment on, Ardant started working on Abstergo’s digital archives (and this is very important for some of the present day files in Syndicate) and then climbed the ranks of the Templars’ front company up to the aforementioned position of executive. Basically, even now (and until Shaun "Danger" Hastings killed her) her team was in charge of collecting the genetic memories obtained individually by the various branches of the company, of storing them, and making them available to the other divisions of the company. A sort of "hub" of the genetic memories owned by Abstergo that has, for example, allowed Abstergo Entertainment to use the memories of Desmond Miles to create the products seen in AC4 and that justifies the appearance on Ardant’s screen of the gene bank of the British Assassins and Templar, in the present day of Syndicate.

A child with his toy
Álvaro Gramática is, together with Ardant, the second character who physically appears for the first time in the AC franchise, although he had been mentioned several times in the previous releases. Gramática is currently perhaps the most important Templar around except maybe the so-called three “Guardians", which Alan Rikkin is part of, and the "General of the Cross”, who the Guardians have to answer to. This is due to the fact that basically he is the chief scientist who took care and is taking care of Phoenix Project in the last years. In Unity we have seen him in the Assassin Intel files working alongside Melanie Lemay, at the time the new COO of Abstergo Entertainment and showing her the "wonders" of the Phoenix Project, the successes they achieved, the expected objectives and the marketing campaigns that had to cover up the project (you can read our analysis in this article).
In Syndicate we actually see him, initially as a supporting character, then as one of the key players of the audio files of the Assassin Intel and finally as the main actor of the further boost of the Phoenix Project at the end of Syndicate and as the new target of the Assassins as shown in the Jack the Ripper DLC database.
It is precisely from the Syndicate database that we discover that Gramática is a scientist born in Mexico City, a genius since a young age. In 2008, at the age of 43, he was recruited into Abstergo to work on the Akashic Satellite Plexus (ASP), the satellite plexus used by Abstergo "to locate individuals with potential," into which the Eye-Abstergo Satellite had to be launched (the plexus was publicly launched in the same year). The following year the scientist created no less than the Data Dump Scanner, the device through which, for the first time, (not taking into consideration the Surrogate Initiative of 1980-1981) it was possible to explore the memories of ancestors who didn’t belong to the bloodline of those who used it. From that moment on, his career has progressed and he became the director of Project Phoenix, the Templars’ main project at the moment, and thus most of Abstergo's investments were concentrated in his hands. The Assassins, therefore, turned their attentions and their Hidden Blades on him, but some of his colleagues in the Templar Order did the same too. In fact, as stated in the database, the confluence of all of Abstergo's resources on the Phoenix Project caused internal fights in the Order that had never happened when Vidic was the "bigshot" (Ardant herself, when Gramática cannot hear her, calls him “Prick”).

Otso Berg, while being
identified by the
Assassin's drones
Otso Berg, together with da Costa, is instead one of the two Templars returning from previous chapters of the franchise (you can find further information about Berg in this article and the latest developments of his activities before Syndicate in this article). The Syndicate database enriches the information about his private life, telling us about his
Otso Berg with his daughter Elina
father, who worked for an oil company that belonged to one of the companies controlled by Abstergo, about his enlistment in the Finnish army in the Utti Jaeger Regiment and his encounter with his ex wife Helmi. This meeting led to the birth of his daughter Elina, who, however, immediately was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. From this moment on, Berg decided to work as a mercenary to get the money to pay for the medicines for his daughter, a decision his wife never supported (she chose, therefore, the divorce) but that at the same time drew the attention of Vidic. As we have seen in ACRogue, Vidic recruited Berg in exchange for a special treatment for her daughter created by Abstergo, that could not be found in the market. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Finally, the "cast" of Templars is completed, and then abandoned, by Violet da Costa. Once again we learn from the database new
Violet da Costa
(source: AC Wiki)
information about the character's story: Violet is Canadian and has a degree in both computer science and mathematics and, for this reason, she started working at Abstergo as an expert in technology. She was later recruited by Otso Berg in the Sigma Team after they were destroyed in Florence because of the explosion caused by the old assassin Adriano Maestranzi. From that moment on, da Costa has provided tactical and strategic support to the Sigma Team, guiding them through the various tasks and keeping in contact with her superior Berg. Abstergo, however, has not always made da Costa available to Berg: in fact, the IT knowledge of the girl was useful for creating operating systems, fine-tuning network security, and for the creation of intrusion detection systems. In conclusion, using Shaun’s words, "Violet da Costa is an evil version of Rebecca Crane, but then, that assumes you haven't spent much time with Rebecca Crane."

In a slightly different way from the last years, the plot of the present day that was developed in the files (and in particular that of the Templars) doesn't only show what happened during the last year, but is rooted in the AC plot with events dating back to 2011, in order to tell events related to the Shroud in the possession of the Templars.

The first event dates back to October 3rd, 2011, in the Abstergo laboratory in Mexico City dedicated to Future Technologies, the division in which Gramática works as an executive. To get an idea of the timing, we are well before the events of the present day that we have followed with Desmond in the main games of the series, but after the launch of Project Legacy that occurred on September 30, 2010 both in the real world and in the plot of AC. In particular, we are just after the end of the updates of Project Legacy (which took place around December 2010) due to Erudito’s hacking activities, while Clay Kaczmarek has been kidnapped by Abstergo around seven months ago.

It’s in this situation that Ardant pays a visit to Gramática and the two analyze what’s happening in Abstergo. Ardant, much to her dismay, has been given
on of the first models
of the Akashic Satellite Plexus (ASP)
shown in Revelations
the responsibility of archiving the genetic memories of Project Legacy following Erudito’s attacks (as stated in her database entry) while Gramática has been "transferred" to work on the Eye Abstergo Satellite and the ASP to fulfill the objectives of Vidic’s Animus Project. Ardant, however, does not hide the fact that she thought they were both tasked with something well below their talent, pointing out that the Animus Project, in her opinion, has failed because the Apple has been lost and Vidic will no longer be able to find another one. The reference is to the DIA (Denver International Airport) accident, beneath which there is an Abstergo laboratory in which Daniel Cross was working as Project Manager on an experiment related to the Eye Abstergo Satellite. On that occasion Cross had fallen under the control of the Apple (and perhaps of Juno? Years ago we had produced a theory about that in this article) in his possession and killed whoever was present in the laboratory before the Abstergo cleanup crews arrived at the site. Vidic at the time had been tasked with writing a report on what happened and that’s why Ardant in the audio file states that the Animus Project at the time was a failure: without the Apple (incidentally, this is the same Apple that Altaďr had owned), which was destroyed in the accident in Denver, the satellite could not be launched until another similar artifact could be found. Ardant, in the file, says that Vidic will not find another Apple in time, but she will be proved wrong (and the capture of Clay and then Desmond is the proof for that).
Nevertheless, following her belief, Ardant tells Gramática that they both are undervalued while Vidic (who was the star at that moment in 2011-2012) and his project actually are idle and without any result. For this reason she tells Gramática they need to see that the Abstergo CEO, Alan Rikkin, notices them, using a Piece of Eden different from the Apple: the Shroud.

Keith Scipione and the recovery
of the Shroud in Trattoria Bagutta
In fact, Ardant, thanks to her new role, managed to find out that in the 40s Abstergo obtained the Shroud (specifically on December 25, 1944 in Milan at the Trattoria Bagutta)... The interesting thing is that Ardant had to find it out through Project Legacy, as if the largest Order in the world, whose goal for thousands of years has been organization and control, had forgotten in just 70 years of owning an artifact it had tried to obtain for the previous 2000 years ... It is not clear what happened after the Shroud was recovered in Milan, but the questions that rose before the release of Syndicate haven't been answered (what happened to the Shroud in those 70 years? Why has Abstergo never used nor studied it? Why does it seem that in the present day no one was even aware of its existence?)

In any case, Ardant has a plan: pulling the rug out from under Vidic and, together with Gramática, get noticed by Alan Rikkin, showing him concrete results following the study of the Shroud, contrary to what Vidic did in those years and in those yet to come. For this reason, Ardant seeks an ally in Gramática, a "mad scientist" who, however, is able to study the First Civilization technology like no other. Gramática, as far as he’s concerned, is attracted by the artifact like bees to honey and shares the hatred for Vidic. In a nutshell, therefore, the alliance between the two is established.

From that moment on, Ardant has sent Gramática all the Project Legacy files dedicated to the Shroud, from the story of Marcus Junius Brutus told by the philosopher Publius Volumnius (who really existed) to the part dedicated to Renato Auditore (son of Domenico, architect of Villa Auditore, and Ezio's great-grandfather), from the events featuring Perotto Calderon and Giovanni Borgia up to what was narrated by Keith Scipione, the Abstergo employee who recovered the Shroud in Milan in 1944.
The Shroud and the
technology it is made of
Time passes and we get to January 4, 2012. Gramática has moved from Mexico City to Paris to work in the laboratory of Future Technologies of Abstergo in which John Standish would be studied. It’s here that Gramática continues to study the Shroud, without being able to activate it. The study has led him to discover that the Shroud, at a microscopic level, consists of a specific alloy that they called "Pathoritka" or "Pathoritca" (probably derived from “Pathos”, emotions / suffering, as suggested by our Hephaestus), the same material that other Pieces of Eden are made of, which seems to react directly with the thought of people (so with the "infamous" neurotransmitters discovered by doctors Wu and Traunero and showed in 0 Glyph #18 in AC2).

Gramática's problem, though, is that the Shroud can't be activated and doesn’t work (and therefore does not bring results for Rikkin). For this reason, the Mexican scientist has an idea which is as unhealthy as it is consistent with his mad scientist profile: shooting himself to see if at least in critical conditions the artifact can activate. Before doing so, Gramática calls Ardant in Paris to carry out the test together ... and actually this works. The Shroud activates, cures the damage caused by the gunshot and has a small, almost insignificant side effect: Gramática's body is "owned" by the consciousness of "Consus, the Erudite God".

I don’t know if it happened to you too when you listened to the file for the first time, but at the time I was in awe. Consus is the member of the First Civilization who had accompanied Giovanni Borgia throughout his history in Project Legacy, and who revealed himself in general after Giovanni was wrapped in the Shroud (it is also very likely that
The only picture in which
we can see a real
representation of Consus
it was his voice that was heard by the other characters in Project Legacy when they were close to the artifact). The last part of Giovanni Borgia's memories, to be more precise, ended with Giovanni who, in the last room of the Temple of Pythagoras in Rome, was "possessed" and uttered the words "I am Consus, the Erudite God ..." For more information you can check this link and this link for the original text of the chapters of PL dedicated to Giovanni Borgia and this link and this link for our analyses.

The presence of Consus inside the Shroud in the present day gives strong continuity to the events of Project Legacy and demonstrates once again how the one in possession of Gramática is the same artifact that Templars and Assassins fought over for at least 2000 years in the events of Project Legacy. It is through these events that we have seen in the files sent by Ardant that probably Gramática had the idea of bringing himself on the verge of death in order to activate the Shroud: in fact, a few months later, he’ll find out that the artifact can only be activated as a result of a serious wound.

The wonder and the screams by Ardant in front of Consus’ voice are just the first reaction to this turn of events, but Gramática doesn’t give up because in the following months he repeated the experiment, shooting himself in the head constantly in order to evoke Consus and make him talk. As we learn from file 003 of the present day of Syndicate, Ardant is concerned about the health and risks Gramática is taking (actually in my opinion she’s concerned about the health and risks for her career, which is bound to Gramática) and it is in this situation that, on June 26, 2012, she takes Violet da Costa to the Mexican scientist as a volunteer for his experiments (with hindsight, the Templars may have done a big mistake with that). The scientist, through da Costa, finally has a person he can take advantage of to be "possessed" by Consus, so that, at last, he can speak to him, and the results are very… effective, at least for longtime fans.

Consus (or rather his consciousness transferred to the Shroud) says that when he was flesh he was an apprentice of Hephaestus,
No, not this Efestus...
Unless the system was
"inspired" to him
another mythological deity who is acknowledged in the plot of AC as a member of the First Civilization, defined as "Hephaestus, the maker ". In my opinion, it's really a shame that a new member of the First Civilization as Hephaestus is simply introduced with a quote into an audio file, especially considering what sets him apart. In fact Hephaestus, along with Consus, was the one who forged the Swords and the Shrouds of Eden during the so-called War of Unification that, beware, is NOT the war between men and the First Civilization (that should be the War of Generations, as it is called in AC3: Liberation). The War of Unificiation is one of the new events belonging to the timeline of the First Civilization / Isu mentioned by Darby McDevitt at the beginning of last year and which occurs well before the war with the humans and the Toba Catastrophe.

As Gramática points out, therefore, the Shrouds and Swords are objects created for war purposes. Not really a... mystical or mysterious goal… as you might expect from the Pieces of Eden, but it fits well within a timeline / historical series of events dedicated to the First Civilization.

Consus tells Gramática that the Shrouds work because the body is a "machine", with blueprints stored within (probably he’s referring to a person’s DNA). The Shrouds access these "projects" and repair damages according to the specifications of the projects themselves (and hence to the person's features). A "Factory Reset" to the initial settings of the "machine", as Gramática says.
That's why, therefore, the Shroud can revive but not resurrect and that's why the Shroud is able to heal any wound.

Consus goes on telling about the Shroud owned by the Templars and that was the center of the Project Legacy storyline: it is the first Shroud, the prototype created by him in the year 1923 of what he calls "the Isu Era", before creating the other ones. The sentence is obviously interesting because it gives us more information on the timeline of the Isu / First Civilization (the date itself might not be very interesting, but on the basis of this we can assume that the War of Unification occurred shortly after).

We don’t know the central part of Consus’ life, for now, but we know what happened at the end of it. In fact, the "Erudite God", exactly as it happened with Juno, was getting old and in order to cheat death he uploaded his consciousness to his prototype Shroud (unlike the body, for Consus the mind / consciousness is a program, just as Juno said in Assassin's Creed III: "What is consciousness but a series of electrical impulses?"). It is more than likely that he did it through the method of transcendence, taking into account that Juno in Syndicate says she was inspired by Consus for her research. It is interesting to think about the consequences of the actions of the two First Civilization members: Juno, in order to get out of the temple where she had transferred her consciousness, needed someone - Desmond - to sacrifice his life. In this case Consus, about 150 Isu years before Juno was born (in the year 2195 of the “Isu Era"), moved inside the Shroud, perhaps unaware of how to get out and anyway, even if he had known, it’s possible that physically he never managed to do so because the Shroud healed each subject who was on the verge of death. In any case, as he tells Gramática, Consus, after moving into the Shroud, remains trapped inside, "alive" but without the possibility to talk (at least initially, considering his appearance both in Project Legacy and SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS - in the last Assassin's Creed comic books - SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS). From the Shroud, Consus sees the generations passing by, time passes and only then he sees the Isu creating humans (this further demonstrates that Consus had lived long before Minerva, Juno and Tinia), the catastrophe and everything that happened afterwards, so that Gramática himself is amazed at how long Consus remained inside the Shroud.

And here we are, December 21st... (Source: AC Wiki)

Going back to the present, we get to December 21st, 2012, corresponding to file 004 in Syndicate. Clay is dead, Desmond was kidnapped by Abstergo, he killed Lucy in the Temple of Juno under the Colosseum and reached the Grand Temple while the launch of the Eye Abstergo satellite was canceled because Vidic wasn't able to find another Apple of Eden in time, as Ardant had predicted.
It’s in these moments, just before Desmond sacrifices himself in Turin, that Gramática is about to do the last session with the Shroud along with Violet Da Costa, who is sad for the fact that the Eye Abstergo he indirectly worked on would not be launched.
The session of December 21st, 2012 is important not only for the fact that Consus suggests that he interacted and (maybe) possessed at least temporarily the bodies of Jason, Giovanni Borgia and William Woodman ("Everything is impermanent. Jason, Giovanni Borgia, William Woodman. Here, then gone."), but also, and above all, because he immediately notices that Juno was released from the Grand Temple. This shows that in one way or another, the Isu technology is interconnected in its various forms, and it is possible that exchanges of information occur between a Piece of Eden and another and between the Pieces of Eden and the Temples, "wireless" and on a planetary scale. This is also demonstrated by the fact that the Shroud once again directly brings back up what Juno says just after being released - "It's done. The world is saved. You played your part well, Desmond. But now... Now it's time that I played mine.”

In addition to that, it is interesting to see the way Consus reacts to Juno's release. The former scientist shouts "Minerva has failed. All is lost!", proving to be aware of the fact that Juno was locked up in the Grand Temple, of the reason why Minerva and Tinia had imprisoned her and also of the plan the two had for Desmond. All things that probably Consus learned when he was already trapped in the Shroud, remaining powerless in the face of the events.

"Now it's time that I played mine"

Another fast forward, and we get to November 17, 2013. As we have seen in Rogue and analyzed in our 2014 Scenario, in an unspecified day of November 2013, Laetitia England decided to dismantle the Sigma Team (the team Otso Berg and Violet Da Costa were and are part of) and reassign its members to missions for the Phoenix Project: from hunting down the Assassins, therefore, Berg and his companions would have to deal with the search for artifacts of the First Civilization and IT support (that's what happened to Da Costa, who was transferred to Montreal). While this indeed happened, leading to a series of failures by Berg and his team, in the Syndicate files we are just few days after England took the decision to reassign the Sigma Team to the Phoenix Project.
Berg and Da Costa, contrary to the orders of their superior, go to Paris to Gramatica's Future Technologies laboratory. Being there "unofficially", the two don’t meet the scientist but, on the contrary, try to put him to sleep by spiking his coffee with enough tranquilizers "to knock out a whale".
Their goal is unexpected. Berg learned about the Instruments of First Will and he is particularly concerned by the existence and potential of this group (it is in these days that John Standish had scattered the notes containing the "Manifesto" of the worshipers of the cult of Juno all around the Abstergo Entertainment office in Montreal, where Da Costa was). For this reason Berg (or Da Costa?) had the idea of using the Shroud and talking to Consus to get more information about Juno and about how to deal with the Instruments of First Will ...
Too bad that the tranquilizers haven’t any effect on Gramática, who immediately noticed the infiltration of the two, stating, with the classic finesse that is his trademark, “I shit better drugs than whatever weak thing you spiked me with.
The real threat for the Templars,
according to Berg
In front of the evidence, Berg justifies himself by saying that the Inner Sanctum, unlike him, at the time didn’t consider the Instruments of the First Will as a threat, and that was why they had infiltrated the laboratory. Gramática replies starting scolding them for their bad behaviour, insubordination and infiltration in the lab ... but he once again proves to be a mad scientist approving all this. The three, therefore, proceed to question Consus once again, in order to get information on Juno. The little they get is that three centuries after Consus' death (which occurred, as we have seen, little after the 1923 of the Isu Era), Juno discovered the work of the Precursor scientist, she made it her own *cough* stole it *cough*, and used it for her own ends. That’s why the transfer of Juno’s consciousness in the Grand Temple looked so similar to the transfer of Consus’ consciousness in the Shroud.

Through the typical cryptic phrases of his race, Consus states that Juno's goal after the Toba Catastrophe is not the annihilation of the human race anymore and that now (already in 2012-2013) she was interested in the “grey area inside of systems”. Already at the end of 2013, therefore, the Templars (or at least Berg and Gramática) were aware of the presence of Juno inside the networks and were determined to further investigate the situation. The fact is that Da Costa knows that the Templars know too. And we have seen, at the end of the Syndicate, who she stands with...

A few days later, as we know from the AC4 events, John Standish lets himself be killed according to Juno's plan so that the Templars can start studying his body and his DNA, speeding up the Phoenix Project (this will happen again later thanks to the recovery of the Shroud at the end of 2015). That study, as stated in Unity, has been entrusted to an Abstergo laboratory in Paris, which is, as we learn in Syndicate, Gramática's Future Technologies one. Specifically, from the Syndicate files we know that Violet da Costa (keep in mind her allegiance with the Instruments of the First Will at this time), on December 25, 2013, took John Standish’s body to Gramática, almost like if it was a Christmas gift, at one condition: the creation of a body, of a clone from the Precursor DNA of the Sage, Standish. Gramática says it could take decades, even starting from the Sage, but as usual he cannot wait to try, following his nature. What he may not know is that even though the body has been officially sent by Berg to Gramática, the insistence of Da Costa - "The sooner we get started, the better. Can it be done?" - may hide other intentions ...

We then get to 2014, and to all the events that we described in our 2014 Scenario and that were shown in Rogue and Unity. Berg and what remained of the dismantled Sigma Team have strung together a series of failures / losses of time while searching for the artifacts, Da Costa has dealt with the Abstergo Entertainment security, Melanie Lemay became COO in Montreal and, obviously, Gramática studied the body of John Standish and carried out the study and the sequencing of the Precursor DNA ... Until an important event happened, an event that was often mentioned in Unity and Rogue but that has never been fully explained, and that caused Berg’s umpteenth failure, to the point that Laetitia England admitted her mistake and allowed the reconstitution of the Sigma Team: the attack of the Assassins at the Paris laboratory.

The Vials hidden
by Bartholomew Roberts, concept art
by Martin Deschambault (Source: AC Wiki)
On October 13th, 2014, Gramática was in his lab talking quietly to himself and indirectly with Consus, as usual, saying that he made a lot of progress and also received a series of promotions, after working on the Standish’s sample ... and on the Vials retrieved from Bartholomew Roberts' stash. In a few words, and unfortunately only in written / audio form, the mystery of the vials disappeared at the end of Black Flag is partially solved, even though we only know that at some point between 2013 and 2014 Abstergo recovered and entrusted them to Gramática for his studies. It’s a shame that a mystery that captivated the whole community for more than a year has been "solved" like that, although we can’t rule out the possibility that it will be investigated thoroughly in the future.
Anyway while he gloats over his results and complains about all the duties pertaining to his new rank after his promotion, Gramática receives a more than unexpected call.

Sigma Team is, as we have said in past articles, late on the attack by the Assassins on the lab, but Violet Da Costa is able to call the Mexican doctor and warn him of the impending threat, which in fact occurs a few moments later. In the team that breaks in the laboratory there are also Galina Voronina and Shaun Hastings, who are the leaders of the operation in the absence of Gavin Banks. As expected, Galina is responsible for destroying (samples, clones, perhaps even Roberts’ Vials) and killing while Shaun recovers data from the Helix servers (maybe the files of the Assassin Network in Unity come from this) before making them melt. Everything is going as planned by the Assassins until, with an explosion, Galina and Shaun manage to enter the room where they find Gramática... who failed to escape and therefore saw fit to protect himself by wearing the Shroud with Consus inside.

When Shaun sees Gramática “equipped" like that, he is puzzled for a moment, a single moment which is long enough to allow Galina to do maybe the only thing that made her fans (myself included) curse her in different languages and dialects: she launches a grenade against Gramática and makes the scientist AND THE SHROUD explode.

In this way another Piece of Eden, unfortunately, was destroyed even though its destruction has various narrative functions, which also seem to be well planned. The explosion created by Galina causes the Assassins to think that Gramática died and that therefore another member of the Inner Sanctum has been eliminated. For this reason, according to Galina's orders, the Assassins leave the lab while Gramática's body is still wrapped in the Shroud. And that’s why Gramática survives (thanks to Consus, who pronounces his last words before "dying" along with the destroyed Shroud) and can continue to be the protagonist of the Phoenix Project while at the same time we get to know how the Assassins have destroyed the laboratory where John Standish was studied.

New Gramatica's laboratory
shown in the secret finale of
the Assassin's Creed Chronicles series
Finally, this stage, and specifically the loss of the Shroud and Consus, act as catalysts for the reactions of the moody Gramática. In the following weeks the doctor moves to a new laboratory in a secret location, the name of which has been removed from the file header (in all likelihood it is the same lab in which he stays in 2015-2016 too, and the one the Assassins have searched for all over the world). In one of his recordings at the beginning of December 2014, Gramática partially loses himself to sadness for all the work lost in Paris, all the samples destroyed, and all the servers that went up in flames. Nevertheless we must admit that despite much of the work he developed in the previous years was destroyed, the scientist already thinks about other ways to get more Precursor samples to develop the Phoenix Project through new products and new directions.

Gramática speaks of trying to "sell" to the public the "Big Mother" image of Abstergo and its products to make them attractive so that they’re used by everyone and even more data are sent to the company. He mentions the idea of a stenographer directly "provided" by Abstergo, also used for the gathering of the DNA from plaintiff and defendant in a trial in order to relive the truth through their eyes. The scientist also speaks of the possibility of obtaining samples from prisoners, a possible reference to what might happen in the Assassin's Creed movie considering that in some images of the film we see the character of the present day played by Michael Fassbender, Callum Lynch, while he stays in a prison.

In addition to that, Gramática mentions the imminent creation of Abstergo clinics in different cities in the world, officially created to provide information related to the "medical history" of patients and their family tree, and that actually will be an easy cover for receiving additional blood and DNA samples. Keep these clinics and their imminent creation in early December 2014 in mind, because soon they will be very useful.
Gramática continues to suggest ideas to himself, from the expansion of the Abstergo Entertainment demographics to the creation of a digital wake which displays the highlights of the deceased’s life, but at the end of his speech he remains the moody scientist we get to know in Syndicate, and he gives in to sadness because all these ideas seem pointless after what happened in Paris...

The audio files of the present day go on with some sort of continuity, showing Gramática still sad and grumpy in September 2015. In ten months unfortunately it seems almost nothing happened and even the trail of Arno Dorian and Germain proved to be probably inconclusive for the Templars , who now only have the list of Sages shown in the files of Unity.
Gramática's sadness, however, is destined to come to an end and give room to the umpteenth abrupt change of mood thanks to Ardant and her account of the recent developments of her work.

Berg's intervention in India
In fact, Berg’s intervention in India mentioned in Brahman (incorrectly indicated as happened in 2014 when it actually took place in late 2013) allowed the Templars to learn about Arbaaz Mir. From this, the Templars have "studied" his bloodline and found out about Jayadeep Mir / Henry Green ... not without creating some problems to the most attentive fans. In one of the last podcasts by Loomer, in which Jeffrey Yohalem, Lead Script Writer on Syndicate, was present as a guest, the latter said that Evie is NOT an ancestor of Monima Das, one of the characters of the AC: Brahman comic book and, above all, the person from whom Arbaaz's memories were extracted. Making a fast rewind (for more information please refer to this article and this article), and following what is reaffirmed by Ardant, Berg’s team went to India and carried out a raid into the Assassins' hideout located in the Chor Bazaar in Mumbai because Jot Soora had activated the Brahman VR, revealing the location of the shelter. Noticing what happened, the assassins Dinesh and Jasdip Dhami worked very fast to download the data of Monima Das’ memories in a smartphone and leave only a part of those memories on the computer in the hideout, to make the Templars think that the search for the Koh-i -Noor had come to a dead end. In fact, Dinesh, shortly before being killed during the assault of the Templar agents, "cut" the flow of memories and stopped it when General Cotton shot the Koh-i-Noor reducing it to pieces. Consequently, the memories of Monima that the Templars obtained stopped at that point and did not contain more information on the descendants of Arbaaz Mir and Pyara Kaur and on the continuation of the bloodline up to Monima.

In file 009 of the present day in Syndicate, however, Ardant says that her team has "looked further into his [Arbaaz Mir's] genetic line”, a study that brought them to learn about Jayadeep Mir / Henry Green. This means that if Monima is not Evie's descendant (and therefore probably not Jayadeep's either), but the Templars found out about Jayadeep anyway, it’s possible that Arbaaz and Pyara had (at least) two children: Jayadeep who led to the descendant from whom the Templars have extracted the DNA with which they “looked further into" Arbaaz’s genetic line, and another child who led to Monima (or at least, that's my best guess, let me know in the comments if you have other ideas!)

The analysis of Arbaaz Mir’s bloodline led the Templars to study Jayadeep’s life, who took place for a lot of time in London, and, inevitably, to discover what he was searching for together with the Assassins: a Shroud, or rather, another Shroud, different from the one that contained Consus and which had been the focus of Project Legacy (and of Ardant's previous studies).
The download of Starrick's memories
In addition to that, Ardant is already working on finding other data on the historical era and has already found a set of memories belonging to none other than the Grand Master of the British Rite, Crawford Starrick. That’s why we see in the cutscenes of the present day that the Assassins are able to download Starrick’s data and so to see the scenes in which he's alone in his office (keep in mind that all of this takes place on September 25th, 2015 , a month before the scenes we see in the Initiate’s shoes).
Obviously this new discovery wakes Gramática from the slumber of his sadness, so the scientist immediately follows Ardant’s advice of calling Berg and going in search of the new Shroud in London.

The research of the Shroud, as we shall see, will bring everyone but Gramática to London. But before this, there is a last fact that took place before the events we saw in Syndicate, the one that sparked a discussion in the whole community. Obviously I'm talking about Desmond’s alleged son. It’s October 14, 2015, nine days before the release of Syndicate and so nine days before the scenes involving Shaun and Rebecca. Ardant visits Gramática in his lab to show him the greatest discovery of all time, something even more interesting than the existence of a second Shroud.
In fact, the researcher shows him a document on a new Sage that she found, and the most interesting thing about him is his bloodline. As a matter of fact, the patrilineal line implies ancestors (and memories that are set) in the
Part of the email
"Re: Possible Locations... ?" by Melanie
Lemay in AC4 (Source: Destructoid)
Italian Renaissance, in the 16th century during the Ottoman Empire, in the 18th century during the American Revolution and in the 19th century in the American midwest. An explosive mix that perfectly matches the father's side of Desmond Miles’ family tree shown in the AC4 emails and that means only one thing: he may be a son of Desmond we were unaware of. Or rather, to be more accurate (correct me if I'm wrong), having all memories belonging exactly to Desmond's father's side, it is also possible that he is a second and very recent son of William Miles, with the same paternal genetic makeup and a mother still unknown.
Ardant explains that the Sage is actually a 10 year old boy who was taken by his mother to one of the new Abstergo clinics created by Gramática, specifically that of New York (that's why the mention of the clinics some paragraphs ago and the fact that they have been built within 8 months were important).

It’s interesting to keep in mind the two possibilities (son of Desmond, son of William) because they create two possible scenarios on how the events occurred.
If he is the son of William (something that seems unlikely to me), he was conceived between 2004 and 2005 and in all probability, unless good ol'Bill cheated on his wife, the mother who brought him to the clinic would be Ms. Miles, Desmond's mother. Bill's wife, however, has always been an Assassin: that’s why I think it’s unlikely that she took the boy to the Abstergo clinic.
If, however, the kid is Desmond's son, and this idea is heavily supported by the sentence "The Sun ... Your Son" by Subject 16 in AC Brotherhood, we can paint a more detailed picture of the situation thanks to some trailers of the marketing campaign of Assassin's Creed Revelations. In fact, these trailers contained some base64 codes that told Desmond's story from October 6th, 2001 (when, at 14, he was still in the Farm) to September 19th, 2012 (after being kidnapped by Abstergo):

Ah, the good old times...

source\S17.anima.06102001.SVJlbWVtYmVy -------------------> IRemember

source\S17.anima.21032002.QmxhY2tIaWxscw== --------------> BlackHills

source\S17.anima.16030002.V29vZFNtb2tl ---------------------> WoodSmoke

source\S17.anima.08212002.TW90aGVyU2Fk -------------------> MotherSad

source\S17.anima.08212002.RmF0aGVyTWFk -------------------> FatherMad

source\S17.anima.22072002.Tm90aGluZ0lzVHJ1ZQ== -----------> NothingIsTrue

source\S17.anima.22072002.RXZlcnl0aGluZ0lzUGVybWl0dGVk= --> EverythingIsPermitted

source\S17.anima.04022003.Qm9yZWRPZldhclN0b3JpZXM= -----> BoredOfWarStories

source\S17.anima.30082003.UGFpbktpbGxlcnM= ----------------> PainKillers

source\S17.anima.23082003.RmFjZXNJblN0b25l -----------------> FacesInStone

source\S17.anima.16082003.RXNjYXBl --------------------------> Escape

source\S17.anima.23082003.V2hhdElzVGhpc1BsYWNl -----------> WhatIsThisPlace

source\S17.anima.16052003.Q2hpY2Fnb0dpcmxz ---------------> ChicagoGirls

source\S17.anima.27082003.Tm90RmFyRW5vdWdo -------------> NotFarEnough

source\S17.anima.14082004.MTJUbzY= ------------------------> 12To6

source\S17.anima.11032004.VGhleVdpbGxGaW5kTWU= ---------> TheyWillFindMe

source\S17.anima.03032005.SnVzdEFDdWx0!Q== --------------> JustACult

source\S17.anima.16082005.V0hFUkVBUkVZT1Uh --------------> WHEREAREYOU!

source\S17.anima.16082008.U29NdWNoTm9pc2U= -------------> SoMuchNoise

source\S17.anima.12062008.Q0FMTEhPTUUh ------------------> CALLHOME!

source\S17.anima.16022009.VGhlRXZlcnl0aGluZ0NpdHk= --------> TheEverythingCity

source\S17.anima.04022011.SnVzdEFkZEdpbg== ---------------> JustAddGin

source\S17.anima.17092011.VGhlSk1a -------------------------> TheJMZ

source\S16.anima.08082012.SSBBbSBOb3QgQWxpdmU= --------> I Am Not Alive

source\S17.anima.09082012.QmFkV2VhdGhlcg== ---------------> BadWeather

source\S17.anima.10082012.TmluZVllYXJzQWxvbmU= -----------> NineYearsAlone


source\S17.anima.19092012.QmFzdGFyZHMh --------------------> Bastards

These sentences, along with the part of Revelations called “Desmond's Journey", are the only information we have about Desmond's past that allow us to understand more or less when
The Shirley Templar, Desmond's
specialty at the Bad Weather bar.
Created by
Desmond conceived his son and in which context. Doing the math, if on October 14, 2015, the boy is 10 years old, this means that he was born approximately between mid-2005 and the beginning of 2006 and was conceived nine months earlier, so between the end of 2004 and the first half of 2005 . While the above mentioned dates don’t include much information about Desmond’s whereabouts and what he was doing at that time, "Desmond's Journey" shows that after meeting with some Illinois girls during his escape (those mentioned in 2003 as "Chicago Girls" in the base64 codes), Desmond had already been advised to travel to New York: "If you got nothing, you go to New York. That way, if you leave with nothing, people don't ask why. And if you leave with something, you are one lucky son of a bitch."

Desmond, therefore, conceived his son during his escape, perhaps even unintentionally, and probably had him with a New York girl or with a girl who was living near the city (this can be supported by the fact that the kid's mother took him to the New York clinic), before fully settling in the Big Apple and getting a job as a bartender at the Bad Weather.
The fact that Desmond never talked about this child suggests that, within the plot, he didn’t know about him, while, as for the planning of the story, this shows how some parts of the narration sometimes are abandoned (intentionally or not) and how difficult it can be to resume and justify them with "years" of plot that have been developed in the meantime..

In any case and going back to 2015, regardless of who is the father of the boy, what counts for Ardant and Gramática is his gene pool: he’s a Sage and has a number of ancestors who all had a high concentration of Isu DNA, such that they developed Eagle Vision and sometimes the Eagle Sense. In short, it is the dream of every self-respecting Abstergo scientist and Ardant and Gramática are no exception. For this reason, the two have special projects for the boy. Gramática would like to “strip him for parts” to study him like they did "with Subject 17".
"We then commenced material e
xtraction, and were able to
preserve several exemplary samples"
The scientist, therefore, not only makes it clear that his goal is to biologically examine the boy, probably to study his DNA and have another boost for the Phoenix Project, but also describes in detail what they have done to Desmond's body once his DNA was uploaded to the Abstergo Cloud at the end of AC3, confirming what we’ve seen in the Post-Mortem Report in Assassin's Creed IV. A classic scientific point of view with a hint of Abstergo madness.

Ardant, however, recognizes the importance of the genetic memories in the boy's DNA ... and then, instead of taking part in the mutilation of a child, she believes it’s way less inhumane to put him in an Animus for the next 50 years. The classic historical perspective with a hint of Abstergo madness. Not at all inhumane.

Ardant imposes her choice because, since she was the one who found out about the boy, she believes she should be the one to decide what to do with him. Gramática, while complaining, postpones the discussion, saying that the Sigma Team need to recover the boy as soon as possible... but Ardant once again holds him back, saying that for now she’ll keep an eye on the boy and that they’ll collect him when the time is right. A move that I think will prove to be wrong, for two of reasons. The first one is that waiting in recovering an important resource such as the boy may lead to unexpected issues that may put into question the recovery itself. The second reason is that one of these hitches has actually already happened: through the Initiate, the Assassins learned about the conversation between Gramática and Ardant and therefore also about the boy and in all likelihood they’re already trying to recover him unbeknown to the Templars (the same situation as when Desmond fled the Farm, but now the roles are reversed).

At this point the audio files have ended, but the actions of the Templars recounted in Syndicate are still far from the end. Instead, they go on with a detail that perhaps not everyone has noticed.

As we have stated in the first part of this article, the day after the conversation between Gramática and Ardant about the alleged son of Desmond,
The meeting with Mitsuko
Nakamura is mentioned in the
third entry of the calendar
on October 15th, 2015, Ardant participated to a meeting with Mitsuko Nakamura, research executive at Abstergo Industries' Discovery and Acquisitions division and member of the Inner Sanctum. It could be seen on the big screen in the London office of the Templar researcher and that date is not a coincidence. Considering what Nakamura works on, it is obvious that Ardant, after finding a ten-year-old Sage who belonged to the Miles' bloodlines, decided to talk with a member of the Inner Sanctum who deals with the acquisition *cough* kidnapping *cough* of the descendants. It’s also possible that a plan for the recovery of the boy has been prepared for the right time, maybe we'll know something more about it in the next AC game, maybe even in the movie.

And finally, we get to the present day cutscenes in Syndicate. Based on the discovery of the existence of a new Shroud which probably is located near London, as Bishop stated, the Templars, on orders by Ardant, have launched several projects in the British capital supported by the Abstergo Historical Research division in order to cover their true search for the artifact.

On October 24th, 2015, Ardant schedules a meeting, called "Phoenix Project Reckon Kickoff”. The participants are Otso Berg and Violet Da Costa (and Ardant herself) and the goal is to inform them of the presence of another Shroud in London
The hand of the clone
and to entrust them with the task of finding it. Ardant also has a video call with Gramática before the meeting to inform him of the beginning of operations (it seems they’re still working together as a team, but as soon as the call ends the researcher calls him "prick"). If you look closely, you can also see that Gramática is already working with the clones: in fact, in the video it's possible to see a hand raising and the scientist pushing it down so that it doesn’t get in his way during the conversation with Ardant.

What Ardant doesn’t know is that the night before the Assassins Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane infiltrated the building and recovered the memories of Jacob Frye, Evie Frye and Crawford Starrick and they are also going to set an ambush for her. The following morning the two assassins put into practice their plan, facing Ardant after her call with Gramática, but she is not intimidated because she knows that Berg and Da Costa will be there soon and, as a matter of fact, that’s what happens. The assassins are surrounded but luckily Rebecca has prepared a smoke bomb that, when it explodes, allows the two to escape. Ardant gives order to pursue them, but as we have seen, the Templars fail to reach them. What we do not see is the meeting that probably took place later between the researcher and the two operatives. It’s easy to imagine, however, that following the attack by the Assassins and probably after finding out that the two had downloaded Jacob and Evie's data, the Templars have decided to speed up the search operations, both physically and in the memories of the two Assassins, of Henry Green and Starrick.

From this moment on, we have no other information on the Templars’ actions up until the night when both the Assassins and the Templars locate the Shroud beneath Buckingham Palace. This time the Templars reach the vault first and the "sarcophagus" with the "suitcase" containing the Shroud. Specifically, only Ardant, Berg and Da Costa entered the crypt and, judging by the final scene, Sigma Team remained outside. This allowed the Assassins led by Shaun to face the Templars almost on equal terms. In the clash, on the Templar front, it's interesting to see how calmly Berg removes the knife that pierced his hand, and to listen at the sentence he pronounces: “Only the mission matters". The phrase of a trained soldier, that pushes Da Costa to direct her attention to the Shroud (which ended up in Shaun's hands after he assassinated Ardant) instead of to her leader, attacked by the assassin Galina Voronina. The choice seems to bear fruits, because in doing so, Da Costa shoots and hits Rebecca Crane, almost killing her, and recovers the chest containing the Shroud, ready to flee. Meanwhile, the Templar team suffers another bitter defeat: Berg is assaulted by Galina and passes out. Luckily for him (and, indirectly, fortunately for us, otherwise we would have lost a major antagonist) Galina doesn’t kill him because Shaun orders her to find a way out and save Rebecca. Only then the entire Sigma Team enter the vault, probably alerted by Da Costa. Unfortunately, however, the whole group of Templar soldiers ends up like their leader Berg and is defeated by Galina.

If you look closelu to the picture, you can see Sorkin
resigned to be beated by Galina an other time

While in the first part of this article, dedicated to the Assassins, I stated that the hooded men suffered yet another defeat, I must say that also from the point of view of the Templars this can’t be considered a clean victory. It's true, the Shroud has been recovered, but the Templars have lost a member of the Inner Sanctum and another passed out as a result of the clash with the Assassins ... and even an entire assault squadron was defeated (and perhaps even eliminated). Finally, we have to consider that the Shroud was not recovered by a character really devoted to the Templar cause, as we shall see ...

The "handover" with
a dead clone in the background
In any case, shortly after, Da Costa finally completes her task and she delivers the Shroud to Gramática in his new super secret lab. Immediately fans are placed in front of Gramática's imperfect attempts to recreate a Precursor clone, each one "stowed" in a capsule (there are around 10 capsules, judging by the pictures) in which they are "grown" and in which it seems they are also able to move. From what it's possible to see, they are nothing more than guinea pigs of humanoid form immersed in a liquid through which oxygen seems to run, the flow of which can be interrupted at any time by pressing a button, causing their sedation (or their death?).

When Da Costa delivers the Shroud to Gramática, the scientist tells her his intentions. He doesn’t need the Shroud to create the umpteenth clone, but to recreate a Precursor starting from scratch. In fact, the artifact, when wrapped around a body, using Gramatica's words “scans for damage and then reconstructs it on a cellular level." The intention of the Mexican mad scientist is therefore to use the Shroud to recreate a Precursor ... but where can he find a suitable body or at least the right DNA to rebuild it?
The answer, albeit vague, may be found in multiple elements.
Most of the sources of Precursor DNA were destroyed in the attack to the laboratory in Paris on October 2014 (although we don’t know if and what was saved from it) and only Gramática has the analyses of the various samples which he had at his disposal. As the scientist himself stated, though, he called for a further effort to locate additional Precursor DNA samples at the end of 2014, so it is possible he has obtained more of them in the meantime.

We also have to keep in mind Desmond’s alleged son (I will continue to say “alleged” until we get a proof that he actually is his son). He is a Sage, with half DNA belonging to Aita and the other half with a really high percentage of Precursor DNA (exactly like Desmond). We also need to consider that Ardant had vetoed Gramática’s suggestion to retrieve the boy and strip him for parts to study his DNA ... But at this point Ardant is dead and there is a high probability that the researcher has talked about the kid only with Gramática, given their “intimacy", and maybe with Nakamura (as we have previously shown). If that is the case, now Gramática would have free rein to pursue his goals with the boy without being impeded by anyone (apart obviously by the Assassins).
Gramática admires the Precursor Box
Finally, we must not forget what we saw in the Chronicles series, the secret ending we talked about in our review of Chronicles Russia. On orders of Laetitia England, Otso Berg gave Gramática the Precursor Box that belonged to Shay Patrick Cormac and the scientist said he’s going to use it to better understand another artifact that the Templars retrieved (probably he’s referring to the Shroud). Considering that now, in the myriad of skills the Precursor Box has, there’s also the transfer of genetic memories of those who touched them in the past into new users, it’s possible that Gramática wants to use the two artifacts together to really recreate a Precursor from scratch, both physically / biologically (with the Shroud), and in terms of memories and consciousness (with the Precursor box).

With Ardant out of the running, therefore, Gramática becomes more and more a key figure for the Templars, the man who can pursue their objectives through the Phoenix Project. For this reason, Abstergo does everything to give him a secret lab (the location of which is unknown even to important members of the Inner Sanctum such as Laetitia England) and also important artifacts like the Shroud and the Box. In short, the attention of the Templar Order is all focused on Gramática ... and this necessarily means that the same goes for the Assassins. In fact, between mid-December 2015 and the first months of 2016, as we could see in the Jack the Ripper DLC, William Miles announces to all the Brotherhood that Gramática is the new number one target and that the location of his laboratory has assumed primary importance in order to stop him and his purposes once and for all.

Bill has thus unleashed around the world all his Assassins, but right now the laboratory has not yet been found, although we obtained more information. It seems that in the United Kingdom the "Historical Research” division is committed to finding a replacement for Ardant, that in France the Templars are interested in the technological district of Paris-Saclay and that the technological district of Xi'an in China is almost entirely in the hands of the Templars, which allows them to acquire many new graduates of the area.

It’s all very interesting but not useful to locate the new main target of the Assassins. Another small victory for the Templars, for now, that gives Gramática time to continue his research and perhaps to achieve his goals ... and indirectly supports the plans of Juno and the Instruments of the First Will, with their latest and surprising recruit, Violet Da Costa, who appears in the traditional cliffhanger at the end of the game, while talking to Juno.

The creepiest picture of Assassin's Creed Syndicate

But this, as they say, is another story, which will be analyzed in the last part of this article, in which we’ll talk about the less vengeful Isu of all and her not at all creepy and disturbing cult.

What was, then, Juno's role in all this? And what has changed for the Instruments of the First Will during the last year? How can we re-interpret Da Costa's actions in the recent years in light of the final plot twist in Syndicate?

Stay once again synchronized on Access The Animus to know everything about it!

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Evolution of the Present Day: Part1

The 2014 scenario