With the release of the second 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 still officially on hold for this.
Inner Sanctum of the Templar Order
The “Inner Sanctum” of the Templar Order, also known as the Nine, are a collection of the best and brightest of the modern day Templars, primarily taken from Abstergo Industries’ higher echelons, though ranked just under the General of the Cross. The membership has been in flux on account of various assassinations (most of which were by actual Assassins), but as of November 2017, when this story apparently takes place in its modern day sections, the known membership includes Agneta Reider (CEO of Abstergo Financial Group), Laetitia England (Head of Operations of Abstergo), David Kilkerman, Doctor Mitsuko Nakamura (Director of Lineage Research and Acquisition), Agent Juhani Otso Berg (who we’ve discussed), Professor Simon Hathaway (Abstergo Historical Research Division), and Alfred Stearns (Laetitia England’s predecessor). Yes, there are only seven in action, but two of the prominent seats, those held by Alan Rikkin (killed in the 2016 Assassin’s Creed film) and Álvaro Grammatica (killed in “Assassin’s Creed: Uprising”) remain unfilled as of late.
These individuals are often key targets for the modern day Assassin Order, hence why the leadership often changes.
The only real exception before “Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies” has been with Crystal Balls, a type of Piece of Eden that allows access to the Isu Nexus, a kind of place outside of time that enables communication across centuries.
For some clarification, there are two main forms of time travel in fiction: “fate” time travel and “free will” time travel. To illustrate, let’s assume that a time traveler wants to go back in time and kill someone before they go on to commit atrocities.
In a “free will” situation, the time traveler can change things with respect to their own timeline, going back in time. Traveling back to kill that person can result in that person’s death, which will result in either a timeline where the other person was never around to do so (a temporal paradox) or merely create a branch in time itself, with one timeline being where the traveler went back, and another being where the killer died, not unlike how Marvel Comics deals with time travel.
On the other hand, in a “fate” situation, the time travel was already a part of the timeline in the first place. To use the example above, a traveler would attempt to kill the would-be villain, but fail, possibly resulting in that villain getting the idea to commit those atrocities in the first place out of paranoia about assassins.
With the intended use of Project Rainbow, there is more than merely speaking to peoples in the far future. Instead, there is an attempt to actually change the past, specifically the classic of preventing Adolf Hitler from ever coming to power in the first place. Is this even possible? We have no evidence one way or another, considering how Eddie Gorm ruined the project (more on that below), but the possibilities are unnerving, shifting from a “fate” to a “free will” form of time travel that enables actual choice rather than simple temporal loops.
Known as “Project Rainbow” within the Assassin’s Creed universe, the Philadelphia Experiment was an alleged experiment performed by the United States Navy at some date around October 28, 1943. According to the information about the experiment, the Navy rendered the destroyer escort USS Eldridge (DE-173) invisible, cloaking it from enemy devices. Some stories about this experiment give the idea that it teleported from its drydock to a naval base over 200 miles away, while the most radical of tales indicate that it achieved accidental time travel.
By and large, the Philadelphia Experiment is considered to be a hoax. The Navy maintains that no such experiment ever took place, and the details of the story, which was initially propagated by astronomer and UFO buff Morris K. Jessup, contradict well-established facts about USS Eldridge. Even ignoring those things, the experiment itself does not conform to known physical laws, and without any confirmation of the existence of the paranormal, there is no way that it could have actually occurred in the first place.
However, owing to the bizarre and intriguing nature of such an event, none of this stops fiction. The Philadelphia Experiment is a key component of the second issue of “Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies,” where what happened related more to time travel than mere invisibility, and even that is uncertain of being possible due to what happened within said issue. Other video games also have made use of this experiment, most notably Command & Conquer: Red Alert (in which Albert Einstein had a hand in it) and, after a fashion, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, in which a similar situation, involving teleportation, happened to the ship Borealis.
Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies: Chapter 2: Project Rainbow
Much like the previous installment, the analysis of this issue will be told in chronological order, rather than according to the chronology presented within the issue itself.
On February 27, 1943, in the Hydroelectric Factory of Vemork, Norway, Eddie Gorm returns to his body after the activation of Die Glocke, to find a furious Gero Kramer and a worried Nikola Tesla. Apparently at least part of Die Glocke exploded when Gorm was forced to use it, and Gorm retains no memory whatsoever of his brief moment in 2017. However, before Tesla can be bullied into reestablishing contact with the past through the device, Nazi forces come and announce the arrival of British commandos, likely tipped off by the Assassins.
As Tesla brings Gorm away from the test site and many of the Nazis (including Kramer) go on to fight the British, Julia Dusk descends from on high helps save the two. She is understandably skeptical about Tesla’s claims to be who he says he is, considering the official records (and real history) place his death in the prior January, but Gorm’s note that the idea of falsifying deaths to blackmail scientists in order to work for the Nazis seems to be a common theme (from Hammerstein to Kramer) helps her to agree.
By Tesla’s account, he is not a traitor to the Assassins, but rather an inside man to the Templars, and that he knew of the true purpose of Die Glocke: using Assassins with longstanding bloodlines to look into the past and gain technologies of the Isu for the Nazi war machine, which would be assembled by the relatively new Abstergo Industries at a location underneath Ksiaz Castle in Poland.
With that information, Julia knocks Tesla unconscious (both unable to take him with them and aware that he is a good source for information inside), and helps Eddie to escape the facility. They also appear to have developed some form of romance, or at least be on the way to that being a possibility.
The story jumps ahead to July 15 of the same year, to the location Tesla mentioned: Ksiaz Castle (its proper spelling actually being “Książ” in Polish) in Poland, the location of Project Riese. In history, Project Riese was a construction project of Nazi Germany from 1943 to 1945 that consisted of seven underground structures located in the Owl Mountains and the aforementioned castle, none of which were finished, but included unfinished tunnels reinforced with concrete. In “Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies,” the tunneling project was actually a cover for Kramer’s research with the Fourth Apple of Eden, the same one used by Tesla himself before it was taken away, and was so unfinished that even early 21st century Abstergo archives do not have much beyond stories or legends about what the project’s purpose may have been.
The plan for the Assassin team of Boris Pash, Julia Dusk, and Eddie Gorm is to assassinate Gero Kramer during an auction he is holding at the castle, and to thereafter steal the Apple from him. After a stealthy ascent, the latter two, having broken off from the former to do his own work, end up above the auction itself, deciding to use the panic they could stir up to kill Kramer and send away civilians at the auction itself.Continued below
Through the use of a smoke bomb and an intense battle, Eddie Gorm and Julia manage to overcome the übermensch, killing him with their swords and copious amounts of damage to his entire body. However, he seems to have the last laugh, and knows a lot more about their leader than they themselves do, claiming something that Gorm had been worried about as early as his time as a double agent in the Nazi military: Pash wants the Apple to create a weapon, the atomic bomb.
The phrasing is rather odd, as it implies that Eddie, who had been concerned about the Manhattan Project in the previous issue, does not actually know what the Manhattan Project actually is. This problem isn’t too unbelievable given he was with the British, along with a host of other military espionage tricks, but it does seem strange.
Regardless, the two make their way down to the lower levels, where Pash meets them and helps them to escape from the coming guards by bringing them into one of the storehouses for Project Riese, chock full of plans and designs for Isu-enhanced Nazi weaponry. Very little actually works, needing the use of Fragments of Eden (likely another way of saying Shards of Eden, broken-off parts of Pieces that grant smaller amounts of similar powers, as the actual Fragment of Eden is something completely unrelated), so the technology is clearly not anywhere near the level of the replication Abstergo Industries managed decades later with the more modern versions of the Animus.
The group reaches a garage of sorts, a hangar that has already had all of its guards killed by other Assassins, and Pash asks for the Apple, having heard they obtained it from Kramer. However, Tesla, having reunited with the Assassins, drops his own verbal bombshell: Pash was one of the orchestrators of World War II alongside the Templars in a joint venture, and Pash wants to use the Apple (and Tesla himself) in Project Rainbow for unknown reasons.
When Pash admits as much and grievously injures Gorm with a hook-type Hidden Blade when the latter attacks in a rage, Julia is beyond distraught, and rather than hand the Apple over willingly, she tries to destroy it, herself, and anyone too close with a hand grenade. Due to the sheer durability of the Apple, all she actually manages to do is kill herself and knock the others back, injuring Gorm in the process.
His plan at least partly unveiled, and Gorm unwilling to follow him due to having caused Julia’s suicide, Pash leaves the wounded Assassin behind, bringing his others and Tesla away with him and leaving the man filled with agony both physical and emotional in nature.
We jump ahead again, this time to October 29 on board the U.S.S. Eldridge in the Philadelphia Shipyard. A new Die Glocke has been created, this time better constructed and for a very different purpose as part of Project Rainbow. The Templar in charge, John von Neumann (a famous real-life mathematician, physicist and computer scientist), is aware that the Inner Sanctum (mentioned above) will do what they can to shut down the Manhattan Project if Project Rainbow fails to deliver results, and they need Tesla in order to navigate Die Glocke. For that purpose, Pash goes to get him, as he appears to be late.
As it turns out, that is true, but in a more fatal sense than intended. Reaching Tesla’s room, Pash finds him dead, with Eddie Gorm holding a handgun in his hand and sitting calmly in a chair, very likely having gone at least a little mad with grief over his brother, brother-in-law, niece, nephew, and possible lover all being dead due to the actions of the man standing in front of him and the war he had perpetuated. Gorm had killed Tesla in order to make completion of the atomic bomb impossible, unaware that the intention of Project Rainbow was completely unrelated.Continued below
Horrified, Pash explains what is actually the intention of Project Rainbow: to use Die Glocke to send an Assassin back in time and prevent Adolf Hitler, who had gone beyond the Templars’ ability to control, from ever rising to power in the first place, negating the second World War altogether. Whether or not this type of time travel is even possible is irrelevant, as with Tesla gone, the project is essentially worthless.
However, Eddie Gorm has had enough of manipulation, of people trying to “save the world” while making it infinitely worse. Rather than continue to be a part of it, he takes the only option he feels he has left, and says goodbye to Colonel Pash.
Of course, Gorm’s suicide brings up another can of worms: when exactly did he have children? For Maxime Gorm to exist as his grandson, he would need to have had a child at some point with someone, and he does not seem to have any at all. The only excuse (beyond a plothole) would be that he has at least one illegitimate child of which he does not know.
In Madrid, Spain, during November 2017, Abstergo employees Thomas and Alice Adler have forced Eddie Gorm’s amnesic grandson, Maxime Gorm, into an Animus in the hope of finding the Fourth Apple and using it, and the Bleeding Effect, to solve the amnesia of their daughter, Elisa Adler, who was in a serious car accident. They try their best, but given that Eddie committed suicide with the Apple still in the possession of the masters of Project Rainbow (consisting of both Assassins and Templars) and there is very little record of the project at all, even with the recently deceased Alan Rikkin’s clearance level, all seems relatively hopeless.
When Elisa and her caretaker, Dr. Florent Carpentier, come to their home, the couple panic and immediately go out of their basement where they had been working, leaving Maxime, who has awakened again as himself, but without any recollection of his identity whatsoever, to look at their files, realizing that the memories he had been viewing were in fact real, and not a mere dream.
While Elisa argues with her parents over being able to stay with them and regain her memories that way, Maxime comes up the stairs to reveal what they had been doing to him. With Elisa very confused, Carpentier, if that is even his name, reveals himself to be an undercover Assassin tasked with killing Maxime. However, he murders both Thomas and Alice before he can get close enough to Maxime, the latter telling him to protect her daughter.
Cut forward to that night, or a time likely close to it. A unit of Assassins have come to the Adler household, only to see that not only are Thomas and Alice dead, but so is “Carpentier,” and Maxime, Elisa, and all of the research on the Bleeding Effect that the Adlers gained before their deaths is gone, the window to outside broken. Apparently the Assassins were hoping to gain information from that work, and they do not care if they kill either of the two survivors, who are listening in on their conversation as they mention that the Templars cannot know how close they are to their goal, whatever the goal of this Assassin cell actually happens to be.
In all, this duology didn’t seem to really add much to the lore at all in terms of moving things forward, but perhaps other stories will.
Well, until more comics for the Assassin’s Creed franchise are announced, this will be the last of the Isu Codices. Here’s hoping we get some, but until next time, hope this was educational and entertaining.