Assassin's Creed Bloodstone #2 Featured Annotations 

Isu Codices, Volume 16: Catching Up with “Assassin’s Creed”

By | February 2nd, 2021
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Welcome back to the Isu Codices. We have had quite a bit of time away from the French “Assassin’s Creed” comics, but this month, with the release of its English translation, we finally will be going over the events of the latest in the “Cycles” of Les Deux Royaumes, and seemingly the last from Titan Comics in general for at least the foreseeable future: “Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone” Book 2. If you want to get caught up on what happened last time, look here.

New Concepts

Bleeding Effect

Boris Pash describes the Bleeding Effect (without knowing what it is), August 2, 1964

We discussed the Bleeding Effect briefly in the second volume of the Isu Codices, but never in extreme depth.

To quote that element: “Overuse of the Animus can cause a condition known as the ‘Bleeding Effect,’ wherein memories or traits of the ancestors can “bleed” into the life of their descendant. Though this trait can be very good, allowing for a fast track of learning skills, it can also lead to insanity as memories crash into one another. In some cases, this insanity leads to the victim being rendered brain dead, but in at least one notable case, it led to homicidal mania.”

While this state can be intentionally utilized for quick training, such as in the cases of Desmond Miles and Charlotte de la Cruz, the muscle memory and instincts come with a cost, as mentioned above. As the genetic memories bleed into the sufferer’s real-time memories and experiences, there comes a difficulty distinguishing between one state and the other, leading to something that Lucy Stillman identified as similar to some dissociative or schizophrenic disorders, including visual or auditory hallucinations of past events, or an inability to identify the date or their own identity separately from their ancestor or otherwise the person whose memories are experienced. Eventually, these problems all-too-often become a full mental breakdown into either violence (famously the case with Daniel Cross) or catatonia (in the case of Desmond Miles). Proximity to Pieces of Eden can cause exacerbation of the symptoms, even if managed through therapy, and it has been thought, at least in 2012, that the disorder was especially potent in those with high quantities of Isu genetics.

Unlike Sages or similar reincarnations, who seem to naturally develop their memories without an Animus or related device, the majority of people with the Bleeding Effect have it due to overexposure to the Animus, itself based on Isu technologies.

History Lessons

Gulf of Tonkin Incident

The franchise's interpretation of what happened on August 4, 1964

The “Gulf of Tonkin incident” is the name for an altercation between the United States naval vessel USS Maddox and North Vietnamese forces that officially took place on August 2, 1964, but had buildup including July 30 and July 31 of the same year. At the time of the incident, it had been captained by John J. Herrick (hereafter simply identified as “Herrick”).

By late July, North Vietnamese territorial waters were areas of extreme tension, on account of infiltrations by South Vietnamese intelligence teams and commando raids in addition to North Vietnam’s military response to the same. On the night of July 30, South Vietnamese commandos attacked a North Vietnamese radar station on Hòn Mê island, an operation that, in 2005, United States National Security Agency (NSA) historian Robert J. Hanyok identified as the inciting factor to the later incident, when combined with the (seemingly unrelated) proximity of the Maddox at the time. Regardless, Maddox began patrols of the North Vietnamese coast in this context the next day in order to collect intelligence, and came within a few miles of the very same island that had been attacked. At the same time, United States aircraft carrier USS Ticonderoga was stationed nearby, with Maddox being tracked by North Vietnamese by August 1, and were believed to be within the 12 nautical mile territorial limit of North Vietnamese waters. This limit was not recognized by the United States, as (according to the factually incorrect assessment of United States Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp Jr.) North Vietnam had only claimed a 5 nautical mile limit to its territories.

On August 2, three torpedo boats began following Maddox as it continued patrols after briefly retreating, with intercepted communications indicating the boats’ intentions to attack Maddox. With the boats coming close, Maddox fired three warning shots (never reported by the Johnson administration to the public), which received retaliation with an outright attack that prompted, with a distress call from Maddox, for Ticonderoga to send out jets that sank one of the torpedo boats and heavily damaged another, with Maddox only suffering minor damage. After the skirmish, President Johnson ordered Maddox and destroyer USS Turner Joy (which had joined her toward the end) to stage daylight runs into North Vietnamese waters in order to test the North Vietnamese territorial limit and their military’s resolve, runs that coincided with South Vietnamese coastal raids and were interpreted as coordinated efforts between the two countries by the North, in official acknowledgement of the engagements on August 2.

Continued below

On August 4, the NSA claimed that there was another incident, a supposed second sea battle, also in the Gulf of Tonkin. However, further examination has shown that the US intelligence-gathering patrols had merely seen “Tonkin ghosts,” or false radar images, as there was no evidence of any wreckage from a further strike when sought out. In 1995, Robert S. McNamara, US Secretary of Defense during the incident, had met with former Vietnam People’s Army General Võ Nguyên Giáp to ask what had happened in the second attack, which was declared as “absolutely nothing” and that the attack had been imaginary.

At the time, Herrick had noted his misgivings about whether or not there had been any second attack, citing confusing radar images and lack of visual confirmation, and requested further investigation before any decisions could be made. Evidently, his concerns were not told to Sharp or Johnson, as the latter retaliated against the assumed strike with “Operation Pierce Arrow” the next morning, resulting in bombing of four torpedo boat bases and an oil-storage facility in Vinh.

After the fact, McNamara admitted that while there was no response by the Department of Defense to the incident on August 2, the second incident never happened. However, he also claimed that the second attack had been highly probable at the time, and that there was a strong feeling that the first (and only confirmed) attack demanded a response, so Johnson had responded to the second one.

Ultimately, the overall incident resulted in the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, also known as the Southeast Asia Resolution, first introduced to the United States Congress on August 7 and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on August 10. This resolution allowed the President to do whatever was necessary to assist “any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty,” of which South Vietnam was a part. The joint resolution was especially notable because it allowed the United States to enter into a conventional military war in Vietnam without a formal declaration of war by Congress, a situation that had been developed progressively since the Central Intelligence Agency-sponsored 1963 Vietnamese coup d’état that had led to the arrest and assassination of South Vietnamese President Ngô Đình Diệm (discussed in a prior Isu Codices volume).

William King Harvey

William King Harvey on August 4, 1964 (with the Fourth Apple)

Although William King Harvey did show up in the first book of “Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone” hiring Alekseï Gavrani as the new QJ/WIN, he was not shown in depth until now, so it is best to talk about the man as he was in reality (so far as we can discern).

Also known under the codename “ZR/Rifle” in the 1960s while organizing “executive actions” (a euphemism for assassination of foreign political leaders), CIA officer William King Harvey (September 13, 1915 – June 9, 1976) is known for his involvement in Operation Mongoose, a.k.a. “the Cuban Project,” an extensive campaign of terrorist attacks against civilians and covert operations carried out by the CIA from 1961 until, at the very least, far into 1963, following the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. He was also one of those suspected of involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy following the death of former CIA officer and Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt in 2007, though the story by Hunt’s sons has since been declared inconclusive at best and exploitative of the ageing Hunt’s loss of lucidity at worst.

Also known as “America’s James Bond” as nicknamed by fellow CIA officer Edward Lansdale, he had connections to the American Mafia, including those through businessman and CIA asset Robert Maheu, most notably John “Handsome Johnny” Roselli, who helped him with various actions against Fidel Castro in Cuba.

According to records, he was assigned as station chief for the CIA in Rome in 1963 following his tarnished reputation in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, where he remained until being ultimately relieved in response to his deteriorating health and continued alcoholism. He eventually formally retired from the CIA in January 1968, having taken an extended leave of absence throughout much of 1967 on account of both his alcoholism and concurrent fallout from his relationship with the convicted Roselli. In 1975, he testified before the Church Committee on some of the CIA’s past operations.

Continued below

While William King Harvey is identified as the Director of Central Intelligence during 1964 in “Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone,” in real life, that role was held by John McCone, who served from 1961 until his resignation in 1965 over a feeling of being underappreciated by President Johnson and disagreement over expansion of the War in Vietnam.

New Issues

Much like the first volume of “Bloodstone,” this one will be organized in chronological order, rather than according to the pages. For the elements in the “present day” (November 2017), they will be organized according to their pages, which seem to be in roughly chronological order, unless otherwise stated in the text.

Assassin’s Creed: Bloodstone, Book 2

We pick up with Alekseï Gavrani on June 30, 1964, in the Gulf of Tonkin, North Vietnam. American forces were navigating through the gulf as a distraction so that Gavrani, also known as “Agent QJ/WIN” of the CIA under William King Harvey, could sneak on to Hòn Mê island on its north face. Despite his fellow Americans (disguised as South Vietnamese troops) being less than enthusiastic about being so overt in their behavior along the south face (which soon drew gunfire), he told them that he would keep the Viet Cong busy for at least thirty minutes, before diving off of the ship without a shirt and climbing the cliff face without any safety equipment whatsoever. Apparently, Boris Pash was stationed in a small base that Gavrani went to infiltrate, but he had escaped, leaving one of the Bloodstone Unit members, Dhogura, behind to cover for him. Dhogura held Gavrani’s (non-lethal) defeat of William Greer in 1963 against him, as well as Gavrani hunting down the members of the Bloodstone Unit rather than just abandoning them. Unable to reason with Dhogura, Gavrani was forced to kill him, with the Pash loyalist telling the former Bloodstone member to “take care of Zenia,” referring to a blonde woman in the Bloodstone Unit.

The next day, the troops on the USS Maddox, located in the gulf, were feeling disillusioned with fighting the North Vietnamese, but kept going in the hope that they could avert another far larger war, mostly because Captain Herrick told them so. They were working for Agent QJ/WIN and had been told to do anything he said, with Gavrani even noting that he would “put the entire region to fire and the sword if it dug up the Bloodstone Unit,” justifying his extremism as being to avert something far more dangerous than another massive war if Pash was not stopped. However, Captain Herrick balked at going into North Vietnam itself, only agreeing to drop him off and leave him to his own devices, but not to continue onward beyond that, as even as a CIA operative, “William King’s damned soul” had limits on what he could order.

Zenia reveals herself to be expecting.

Alone but for radio contact with Captain Herrick, Gavrani caught up with Boris Pash, along with Zenia and another man in the same unit named Doni, as they traversed a river in the Ninh Binh region of North Vietnam on August 2nd. The Apple of Eden Pash had been using for his experiments, the same one that Gavrani was trying to steal from him, had been hidden away and left in the encampment where Dhogura had died, as he and Zenia told Gavrani when questioned at gunpoint.

The reason why Pash was traveling here was that Zenia was heavily pregnant with his child, and they had to reach the diocese of Phát Diệm (which places them roughly near to the rural Kim Sơn district of the province) if said child was to be born healthy. Zenia promised to tell where the artifact had been buried if they made their way to the diocese alive.

Julia undergoing treatment, presumably at some point in 1963 or earlier in 1964

As for why this was a problem, the issue runs far deeper. Judging from both Pash’s dialogue with Doni and Zenia and his talk with Gavrani upon being discovered, the extremist cell leader had been fleeing from Gavrani’s assault with the Americans, but they were also very worried about an ambush by Julia Gorm, who had apparently gone rogue and was apparently actively tailing them in the region, which did not have Bloodstone allies amongst the Viet Cong. Julia had been suffering from what fans can recognize as the Bleeding Effect, with the memories and identity of her father Eddie Gorm having overridden her original personality due to Pash’s experiments with the Apple, resulting in her seeking revenge for what happened to Eddie Gorm himself and Julia Dusk on July 15, 1943 (as previously discussed). She had been locked up in the base on Hòn Mê until they could find treatment, but Gavrani’s attack had allowed her to escape, with the crazed woman hunting after Pash for the past few days.

Continued below

As for why she was made this way, and why she had been turned to this life, both rested on Pash’s obsession with the Isu and their “fragments of Eden” (really the Pieces, not to be confused with the actual fragments, but let’s not digress). According to Pash’s beliefs, the only way to be truly free of the “shackles” of the Isu was to have access to ancestral memories, which had led to Project BLUEBIRD. The project itself had been meant to allow the present mind to cohabit the body with the genetic memories, but much as with other such attempts, the result was madness. While Pash blamed it on her inheriting her father’ “psychosis,” it is readily apparent that her state is his fault, both due to involving her in this way and his manipulative behavior decades prior with Eddie.

A lost romance?

Despite wanting nothing to do with Bloodstone, Gavrani followed the trio to a hut deep in the jungle, with Doni staying on watch. That night, Gavrani sat by a campfire with Zenia, reminding her that Harvey only wanted Pash, not her or her baby, with her denying his offer to keep them safe due to her child needing a father.

Judging from Gavrani’s choice of words, he and Zenia were once romantically involved. However, while Zenia chose to bear Pash’s child, it was not out of love, but rather a fear of death, with BLUEBIRD having been a method to “extend our existence beyond death.” Zenia wanted to be “reborn” through her own child by way of genetic memories, in order to have a chance to right her wrongs if not given enough chance when younger, something that Gavrani noted was utter madness.

Before they could speak further, Doni struck Gavrani from behind, not trusting him to be anything but a CIA agent, but was therefore unprepared when Julia Gorm attacked their temporary hideout, resulting in him having his throat slit and Zenia having a knife thrown into her right shoulder before they could escape.

Pash wants redemption... but isn't learning much.

As Zenia began to bleed on the ground in front of an arrived Pash, Gavrani took it upon himself to confront the mad Assassin woman, only to be stabbed fatally in the gut with a Hidden Blade before he could fire his rifle, though managing to render Julia incapacitated in the process (but clearly not dead given how these memories are viewed).

With Gavrani dead, Pash spoke to the seemingly unconscious young woman, apologizing for Eddie’s “failure with Kramer” and for the death of Julia Dusk. However, despite everything that had happened, he apparently learned nothing, as he still berated Gavrani’s corpse as having possibly killed his hope for a “revolution,” and demanding that Julia Gorm not die.

With Zenia’s life hanging in the balance and dawn riding August 3rd, Pash was forced to choose to surrender the location of his Apple of Eden to William King Harvey on Gavrani’s discarded radio so as to call in a rescue team, sacrificing the Apple to save his children both biological (Zenia’s offspring) and not (Julia Gorm).

Okay, yeah, that was a pretty brilliant twist.

On August 4, 1964, Pash finally met with William King Harvey, his immediate superior as Mentor in the Assassin Brotherhood, on board the USS Maddox, and confronted him about his role in Bloodstone following the retrieval of Pash’s Apple of Eden. Apparently, the creation of the Bloodstone Unit had been Harvey‘s idea from the beginning, from the coup against and assassination of Ngô Đình Diệm to the subsequent assassination of John F. Kennedy and more. Pash had not been a rogue extremist, but acting on the orders of his superior, who Gavrani had no idea was the same person as his CIA contact. All of the actions of the unit and Gavrani had been masterminded by Harvey himself to manipulate the Assassins into exacerbating the situation in Vietnam, as Harvey was not only a Mentor, but he was a Templar double agent, and had been for an unknown amount of time. Harvey had lied to President Johnson, saying that “one of [their] most illustrious colonels [Pash] was captured,” which led to the Maddox intruding in the Gulf of Tonkin, incidentally inviting enemy fire.

Continued below

As such, Pash was both a traitor to the Brotherhood and his own nation, and unable to explain either. Despite being kept alive to help learn how his Apple (the Fourth, the one he had been using which had also been held by Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Adolf Hitler) worked. Unfortunately, even if Pash wanted to help, he felt he was at a deadlock. Gero Kramer had attempted to use it to make übermenschen (super soldiers), only for the attempt through Die Glocke to cause his base to explode when sabotaged by Tesla. John von Neumann tried to use it for time travel, only to end up causing the deaths of hundreds of Marines in Philadelphia during Project Rainbow (due at least in part to Eddie Gorm’s murder-suicide with Nikola Tesla robbing them of a brilliant mind). Even Pash’s attempt to “buy [his] conscience back” for the deaths of Julia Dusk and Eddie Gorm by way of raising Julia Gorm backfired when he used the Apple, turning her into a homicidal monster. Despite Harvey’s comments that Pash had transferred Eddie’s strength to his daughter and demonstrated living proof of people being able to draw upon genetic memories, Pash believed that BLUEBIRD proved Precursor technology to be too dangerous for humanity to do anything but destroy it, as human minds are not prepared to “welcome multiple independent consciences.”

Dr. Warren Vidic in 1964

Harvey disagreed, introducing Doctor Warren Vidic (known to fans of the franchise as the primary antagonist of the “Desmond Saga” that occurred in 2012 and took up the games from the original through to Assassin’s Creed III), at the time a young prodigy who took care of Zenia’s delivery of Pash’s daughter Nathalia. Unfortunately, Zenia died in childbirth. Harvey took to using Nathalia as a bargaining chip, forcing Pash to stay working with the Templars in order to care for his daughter, along with ordering him to quit the CIA and hand over all of his research on Project BLUEBIRD over to Vidic (research that eventually led to the seventeen subjects of the Animus Project from at latest 1980 through to Vidic’s death in 2012, as well as the construction of the Animus itself).

Julia Gorm, CIA Operative

As explained by Nathalia “Nathalie” Chapman, and inferred through the other history shown, Julia Gorm recovered physically from her ordeal in North Vietnam, and was taken in by Harvey as his new agent to replace the lost Alekseï Gavrani, and also took over operations for Harvey as ZR/RIFLE, specifically assassination of political leaders on the orders of the CIA. Her methods were rumored to be so extreme that torture was considered a mercy.

Nathalie Chapman and William Miles, 1977

After losing Julia Gorm to the CIA and the Templars, Pash did raise his daughter, but Vidic took to using her in the 1970s for his preliminary tests on what would become the Animus. Ironically, it was Vidic’s own actions in having the young Nathalia (or rather, “Nathalie Chapman,” as she became known) view her father’s memories that led to her realizing how her family had been manipulated and betrayed, leading to her giving the blueprints on the Animus to an American Assassin and escaping Abstergo with the Fourth Apple.

Judging from the 2012 to 2015 website Assassin’s Creed: Initiates, it is known that she gave the blueprints to William Miles, the Mentor of the global Assassin Brotherhood as of 2020 and father of Desmond Miles, and the transfer happened in 1977, when she was roughly thirteen years old. Afterwards, they were given to Medeya Voronina, mother of Galina Voronina (who we have seen in games such as Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and in the “Assassin’s Creed: Assassins” and “Assassin’s Creed: Uprising” comics from Titan Comics between 2015 and 2017). Medeya has her own story tied to the franchise (it involves Juno, who was in earlier comics), but it is irrelevant beyond that transfer in regards to this comic.

The trigger is activated.

At last, the story catches up with the “present” day, November 2017. In Madrid, Hajime Shimada, who planned on bringing the still-living Tomo Sakagawa home, sent an Assassin after the escaping Maxime Gorm and Elisa Adler, who tried to escape in the car of “Dr. Florent Carpentier” (Sakagawa’s alias), with the attempted assailant killed by Gorm before he could do anything to either of them. Gorm, driving, demanded answers from Adler (who was still rather upset about her parents being killed right in front of her), and heard about Director Nathalie Chapman, who was calling Adler on her cell phone. When he asked her to say they had a hard drive to trade, the voice on the other end of the line said a phrase in Russian, “BOPOH ИДET.” Immediately after hearing the phrase, presumably a trigger for hypnotic suggestion, Adler held Gorm at gunpoint and told him to drive back toward the Swiss Alps to bring her “home,” presumably back to the clinic.

Continued below

Boris Pash's grave at Lake Geneva, in (or at least near) Switzerland

At Lake Geneva (between Switzerland and France), a few hours since the aforementioned scene with Elisa Adler and Maxime Gorm, Nathalie Chapman has survived Shimada’s men’s attack on her clinic and the attempted assassination. She hurries on to find Adler once more after being reminded by her security officer Stanislaw, but not before stopping by the grave of her father, Colonel Boris Theodore Pashkovsky. Better known to readers as Boris Pash, he died in some way or another on May 11, 1995 in Greenbrae, California, decades after the Vietnam War.

From here, the story returned to where it left off with Tomo Sakagawa. Brought “home” by Shimada, he was in fact forced back into the Animus at Nathalie Chapman’s old base in Devil’s Bridge Gorge for his ability to synchronize with Alekseï Gavrani, picking up the trail on July 30, 1964 (see above for the details). All the time, he was begging to not be forced back in, as he was “going to go mad,” but Shimada insisted, as they needed Gavrani’s memories to find a way to put a stop to Chapman’s goal of being able to bring any Assassin from the past back to life in the modern day, even if it means driving his student to madness in the process.

Fall of a cell

When the memories of when Gavrani first saw Julia Gorm in the night of August 2 came to Sakagawa, the transmission was stopped due to the Assassins coming back to the base and informing Shimada of what was happening with Elisa Adler and Maxime Gorm, including how they had the hard drive with the Adlers’ data on the Animus to hand over to Chapman. Shimada called for the Assassins to send an entire unit of troops to intercept the two amnesiacs, only for Sakagawa to awaken, still feeling the memories of Gavrani. His work was deadly and efficient, destroying the Animus and computers with a gun after killing an Assassin with his bare hands. Only after he had grievously injured Shimada did he come to his senses, the older Assassin, his adopted father, bleeding out in his arms, and the base in flames. As Sakagawa was still intent on taking down Gorm and Chapman both, Shimada told him to warn Saeko Mochizuki, head of the Osaka cell of Assassins (and also head of the Onmoraki-Gumi faction of the yakuza, if that is still true since December 2013; more on that if it comes up later) about how the targets were hiding near Gimmelwald, Switzerland, so as not to go alone. (As a side note, contrary to the translation, Mochizuki is female. Her husband, a co-Mentor of the Japanese Brotherhood was killed in 2013, was Kenichi Mochizuki.)

Due to Chapman’s hypnotic trigger, Elisa had Maxime Gorm drive them back to a facility in the Swiss Alps, where Chapman met them and brought them inside, explaining about the Adlers’ hard drive and the use of the Animus to manipulate the human brain, as well as about how Gorm had killed all of Sakagawa’s family under hypnotic suggestion in 2000 and narrowly escaped the fall of the Madrid Abstergo headquarters when it was destroyed by the actions of Callum Lynch in 2016. By Chapman’s estimates, Maxime Gorm was the key to her project for “the destiny of [the human] species.”

Inside of her base, Chapman noted that she had “inherited” the Fourth Apple from her father, and hoped to uncover how to use it to continue his goals for advancing humankind by accessing the memories of Maxime’s mother, Julia. In exchange, she would restore the memories of Maxime Gorm and Elisa Adler both, so Maxime agreed, picking up roughly where Sakagawa’s experience with Gavrani had left off (if that is not just an easier way to show it for the readers).

With the look into 1964 eventually concluded, Chapman allowed Maxime Gorm to take off the headset used to view his mother’s memories. Apparently there was nothing to be gained from Pash’s experiments after all; the best he had accomplished was a madwoman, after which he had “cast aside his dreams” for his newborn daughter.

Continued below

Despite seemingly failing, Chapman decided that the fact of Julia Gorm having lived with her Bleeding Effect for some time was evidence enough that her plan was feasible. Knowing they had to be careful, but not willing to abandon the ideas entirely, Chapman decided to use the radio towers in her base to project 5% of the Apple’s power outward to try and begin the transfer of consciousnesses from the past, hoping to create a new kind of humanity.

A tense reunion

As they began, Tomo Sakagawa had finally arrived. Climbing up the side of the cliff and entering. Both shocked and angry, Elisa Adler tried to attack him, but was easily subdued by the veteran Assassin, who told her not only that he was sorry for the murder of her parents when he was not in his right mind, but also confirmed his true name and explained about how he hated Maxime Gorm because the agent had killed Sakagawa’s mother when he was a boy in 2000.

The Assassin strikes.

Reluctant, but still willing, Adler agreed, and helped “Dr. Carpentier” kill guards in front of Gorm’s room by distracting them with a relatively hostile conversation. Even so, she was momentarily horrified when Sakagawa stabbed Gorm in the head while he was tied to his chair, executing him instead of keeping him as a hostage as they had apparently discussed.

Using his technological expertise that Chapman’s forces considered “genius,” Sakagawa locked down Project BLUEBIRD from inside their closed system using a smartphone, using the encryption as a new “hostage” to guarantee that he and Elisa could have access to a helicopter and escape the facility in it without being shot down. As far as Sakagawa was concerned, Chapman’s plans of “gifting” humanity with genetic memories had no hope of coming to fruition.

The Japanese Assassin noted, “Being saddled with the memories of our ancestors isn’t freedom, Chapman. Quite the opposite. It’s having the choice to make decisions free of influence.” By forcing the memories on others, Chapman was acting exactly the same way as the enemies of the Assassins or Hidden Ones of ages past. Much like her father, she had abandoned the cause of free will and taken that of either her Templar upbringing or even that of the Instruments of the First Will or the Order of the Ancients (the 870 CE version of which was a predecessor to the former while using the ideals of the latter).

And so it ends.

Despite letting them leave, Chapman fully intended to bring them back by using her hypnotic suggestion on Adler as she had not so long ago. But even then, Sakagawa was completely aware of the imminent betrayal. Even with the muscle memory of Gavrani fading from him with Rome, he knew how to fly the helicopter, leaving, and told an indignant Adler that he had never intended to turn off the encryption. Instead, he knew that the reason the base had been built into an icy mountain was to be able to cool down the high-power equipment in use. Instead of giving the codes to restart Project BLUEBIRD, he had made a Trojan horse designed to sabotage their cooling system. When Chapman and her team turned it on, the entire base seemingly exploded, very likely killing every person and piece of data connected to the project for good, along with seemingly detonating the Fourth Apple itself.

This destruction is similar to that of the Seventh Apple on February 10, 1868 in Roxburghshire, Scotland. That Apple, which had few if any known users of import beyond its last one, was destroyed in an overclocked experiment by David Brewster, who only made the settings on the experiment as high as he did at demands of Templar Lucy Thorne. Incidentally, Brewster also died in the same incident, assassinated by Master Assassin Evie Frye, so he never faced direct consequences for his failure from his employers.

And so, the four-issue story of the Gorm family, Boris Pash, and those they interacted with seemingly came to a close after more than four years. If one counts the translations as part of the saga’s length, it stretched from October 21, 2016 with the release of the first book of “Assassin’s Creed: Conspiracies” in French until this latest translation at the tail end of January 2021. Future comics in this vein will likely be more representative of more current developments in the saga, rather than kept in at latest 2017, but we will see if those come into being.

Next month, we will be looking into the translation of the first installment for different project, written and overall produced in a different country altogether: a manga adaptation of Assassin’s Creed: China, “Assassin’s Creed: Blade of Shao Jun!”

//TAGS | Isu Codices

Gregory Ellner

Greg Ellner hails from New York City. He can be found on Twitter as @GregoryEllner or over on his Tumblr.


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