With the release of the first half of the “Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies” duology in English, here we are with the latest on the Isu Codices.
Oh, and before we get into it: Godwin’s Law is officially on hold for this.
The use of this device seems to be nearly identical to its successor, but for the fact that it appears to be powered by an Apple of Eden directly, namely the Fourth Apple that was in Tesla’s possession and led to his electrical inventions. According to the words of Kramer, lineages with high levels of Isu genetics (though he does not know that term) are used for Die Glocke, so perhaps that connection is needed to use the machine, a limitation that may or may not be shared by later incarnations of the Animus itself. There is only one other major change, and that involves what happens in 2016, answering a question some may have had for quite some time already.
As demonstrated by the Übermensch project by the infamous eugenicist, the information gleaned from the Apples can be used to augment the human condition itself. As this type of innovation has rarely been seen in the franchise outside of other equipment such as the Shrouds of Eden supplying superhuman healing and the like directly, the fact that the likes of Gero Kramer has such phenomenal superhuman strength and accelerated cellular regeneration speaks to the possibilities of these artifacts in the wrong hands, having the possibility of developing super soldiers. The closest we have ever seen was the apparent healing ability of Grigori Rasputin’s shard of the Imperial Sceptre, a Staff of Eden, and while the Staves and the Apples do have similar abilities, they are not necessarily the same, nor do they act this swiftly except in the case of the Shrouds themselves.
Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies: Chapter 1: Die Glocke
For sake of clarity, the analysis of this issue will be told in chronological order, rather than according to the chronology presented within the issue itself.
A former soldier in the British Armed Forces, Eddie Grom took up work as the leader of the docking company “Grom & Co.” on the East End of London alongside his friend Stan, also working up a profit on illegally redistributed military rations on the black market in the process. By the time we first see Eddie, it is the 7th of September, 1940. The infamous gangster Jack Turpin, flanked by his right-hand man Robert Burton, propositions the dockers with an opportunity to help his gang. Though feigning an interest in the offer, Eddie tells Stan that, despite their need for the funds, he will not engage in deliberate illegal activity (his aforementioned dealings with rations notwithstanding).
All of that changes when, through circumstances involving Eddie’s nephew Paul and his niece Justine that he was put in contact with two American Assassins: Colonel Boris Pash and Lieutenant Julia Desk, who his sister-in-law Maria believed to be threatening her children and prompting a decision to move to somewhere else. They wanted him to take the offer of Jack Turpin, or as he was truly named, Otto Hammerstein of Nazi Germany, so as to infiltrate the German “Uranprojekt,” which they knew as an attempt to create the atomic bomb.Continued below
While Eddie was even more reluctant to take the job now that he knew it was for a Nazi, his decision was seemingly made for him within seconds. September 7 of 1940 is also the first day of the German Blitz of London, a bombing run of the city that continued to May of 1941. One of their many bombs hit his family’s home, killing his deceased brother’s wife, son, and daughter.
Eight days later, on September 15, Boris and Julia found Eddie drunk in the London City Center, and convinced him to take Hammerstein’s offer in order to exact vengeance on the Nazis for their destruction of his family. By five days after that, Eddie, having taken the offer and convinced his fellow dockers, was raiding a hotel of French refugees and stealing their research on a heavy water reactor.
“Turpin” worked to convince the dockers to be smuggled into Germany rather than be killed in the hotel, and once a curious Stan looked deeper into his ultimatum, he found out about his true Nazi allegiances. Despite his horror and his disbelief that Eddie would ever follow the Nazis willingly, Stan was killed when Eddie, who had come to try to keep from ruining his chance to get deeper into the Nazi hierarchy, was silence him in order to prove his loyalty to Hammerstein. However, Eddie hated himself for doing so.
Jump forward two years to September of 1942. Though hating the Nazis still, Eddie had risen in to the rank of “Untersturmfurher” in the German Schutzstaffel (SS), the equivalent to a second lieutenant in other military organizations.
He has come to the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics in Berlin to be on guard duty, and meets with the infamous Josef Mengele, who mentions his Übermensch project (see above) when speaking with Hammerstein, who has come to like and trust Eddie. According to Mengele, Obergruppenfuhrer Gero Kramer, the man who sent Hammerstein to London in the first place, is at the institute, and wished to speak with Eddie.
At his meeting with Kramer, Eddie manages to keep his charade up, learning of the arrival of theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg, head of the Uranprojekt, in a few days’ time, and of Kramer’s decision to put him in the security detail for said physicist. Though he manages to get in and keep the trust of the Nazi officer, his ability to keep calm breaks down as soon as he reaches his room in the hotel, and he rages at Julia Desk, who had become his contact to the outside. He hates his work as a spy, how he has to become a monster to face down other monsters, but Julia, despite trying to reason with him and tell that it needs to be done, also brings up the latest of Colonel Pash’s plans: she wants Eddie to kidnap Heisenberg the day he arrives in Germany and send him to the Assassins, likely to smuggle into the United States.
In his opinion, Boris Pash only wanted the Uranprojekt to give the Americans the atom bomb instead of the Germans, rather than to annihilate the project altogether. Though Julia is unwilling to accept that idea, it’s highly likely that, given history’s turn by three years later, Eddie is entirely correct.
At the Kaiser-Wilhelmina Institute of Chemistry, presumably still in Berlin, a few days later, Eddie stands with Hammerstein as Gero Kramer makes a speech about the power of the Reich and the Uranprojekt under Werner Heisenberg, but finally, after two years of work as a spy, and according to his later word, some drunkenness on his own part, loses his temper, kills Hammerstein with a stab in his back.
He takes Heisenberg hostage, bringing him into a laboratory and prompting him to tell all he knows about the Uranprojekt. As it turns out, there is no Nazi atomic bomb at all. Instead, he is meant to work on something entirely different: Die Glocke, a weapon that can allegedly change history itself. It uses the heavy water Eddie’s dockers had stolen research of in 1940 in a reactor for the weapon, at a hydroelectric factory in Vemork, Norway controlled by none other than Abstergo Industries, which had been founded, according to the timelines in the series thus far, approximately five years earlier in 1937.Continued below
As the German troops came to grab Eddie and Heisenberg tried to defend himself using his lab equipment, Julia came in through a window and rescued her only known ally in the Nazis, bringing Eddie to safety, but taking a bullet in the process.
Luckily, Colonel Pash is ready with a car, and they get inside, Julia unconscious and eventually cared for by none other than Robert Burton, Hammerstein’s right-hand man who was in fact a plant left by the Assassins, not to mention the former doctor of Winston Churchill (who has at different times been an ally of British Assassin Lydia Frye or a puppet of the Templars, but that is neither here nor there). At a bar elsewhere in Berlin, as Burton treats Julia’s wound, Pash explains the entire Assassin-Templar conflict, or at least some ideas of it, to Eddie, who is in fact part of one of the long lines of Assassin ancestry.
Despite his obvious reservations about believing in a mysterious shadow war, Eddie’s cynicism runs deeper, and leads us into a discussion of how and why the Nazis are actually in power at all. Apparently Albert Bolden’s efforts were for naught, as the Templars did help fascism rise in spite of his attempts to lead them toward more benevolent ends. What use is a Black Cross who can accomplish nothing, though? Perhaps he had lost his sway with the people, or was still presumed dead for the most part after the events that led to his apparent death in Shanghai.
In any case, Eddie is initiated into the Assassins officially in order to further his training and make him more ready to infiltrate Norway, considering he told what he had learned from Heisenberg about Die Glocke.
On November 27, 1943, after months of training, Eddie infiltrates the facility in Norway by parachute. By using a scientist to get inside, he approaches the room of the enormous Die Glocke itself, with someone sitting in its chair. That person is none other than Gero Kramer himself, who rises from the chair and removes its helmet and goggles to fight the Assassin with a machete. On account of his status as a subject of Mengele’s Übermensch project, Kramer is more than capable of handling the Assassin even as he steals his machete and strikes with it, throwing him around and easily taking his blows before choking him into unconsciousness with one hand and placing him into the chair in his stead. Over the course of the fight, one of the knives Eddie brought cut into a cable used for Die Glocke, but whether or not that will have an influence on the machine is unclear.
Apparently, Kramer knew all along that Eddie was a member of a longstanding Assassin lineage, and had allowed Pash to get him into the project with the hope of using him in Die Glocke instead. After explaining its workings, he has Nikola Tesla (mentioned above under the workings of Die Glocke) activate the machine itself…
… and we transfer to the present day, likely 2016 according to the date on which this story was originally published. Apparently a group in some unknown location is trying to use the Animus to discern something about Eddie Grom from his grandson, Maxime Grom. Eddie’s descendants were born after the winter of 1943, so he has to have lived. Needing answers, the two questioned Maxime as he came to…
… Well, then. That’s a new one. Is this like what happened to Daniel Cross in 2012 with Nikolai Orelov, or something worse or weirder? Did accessing an Animus inside of an Animus cross the streams without use through direct Isu technology like Memory Discs? We’ll have to wait another month to find that one out, in “Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies – Chapter 2: Project Rainbow.”