Zarni De Wet - The Bleeding Effect

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Desmond Miles (Voiced by Nolan North) is the primary protagonist of the Assassin's Creed series. He is a descendant of both Altaïr ibn La-Ahad and Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Based on in-game glyphs, Desmond may be a cross-breed of human and 'Those Who Came Before', them a possible source for his and his ancestor's extraordinary abilities.

Desmond was born at an assassin hideout much like Masyaf, a modern day Assassin enclave called "The Farm". Isolated and living "off the grid", Desmond was born and raised as an assassin. He was unable to leave this small community of thirty or so people, but desperately sought escape, as he believed that they were "just a bunch of hippies who wanted to stick it to the man." Desmond later facilitates his desired escape, claiming that he wanted to see the rest of the world. Desmond states that he has no regrets leaving his father or mother; at one point when accused of being an assassin, he responds "I'm not an assassin…not anymore." At some time in his life, Desmond became a bartender, but lived under assumed names to protect himself. He used cash only, and he was found by Abstergo via his fingerprint (needed for a motorcycle license).

Assassin's Creed's story starts off with flashes of Altaïr in a garden, but his visual senses are distorted and he is running frantically around the courtyard. After about five minutes, Desmond wakes up to find himself in an unusual machine, and two figures with lab coats near him. He has no recollection of arriving at his current location, and is told that he is being held captive. When he questions why, the answer he receives is somewhat unbelievable:

The scientists introduce themselves as Dr. Warren Vidic and Dr. Lucy Stillman, employees of Abstergo Corporation. Thanks to climate change and massive food shortages, Abstergo has become the single largest corporation on the planet, funding everything from healthcare to advanced theoretical research. Vidic and Stillman run the Animus project for Abstergo Industries, and inform Desmond that the Animus (which Desmond was placed in at the outset of the game) reads 'genetic memory', and that they are searching the memories of Desmond's ancestors for a piece of information that they refuse to disclose. While Desmond claims to be nothing more than a bartender, it is alluded to that he is an Assassin, or at least was one at some point in the past. Vidic is working under immense pressure to find a specific memory from Desmond's Assassin ancestor, Altaïr ibn La-Ahad; Desmond's subconscious mind, however, is blocking that memory, and Vidic requires Desmond's cooperation (though he coldly informs Desmond that he is more than willing to forcibly retrieve the information and leave Desmond to die). Without much choice, Desmond agrees to help them.

Over the next few days, Desmond is removed from the Animus several times; either to give him time to rest or make repairs to the Animus when it overheats. Dr. Stillman informs him that spending too much time in the Animus creates a 'Bleeding Effect', where the subject becomes less and less able to distinguish his ancestor's memories from his own; the Bleeding Effect was responsible for driving Desmond's predecessor, 'Subject 16', into madness.

During one of his sleep periods, Desmond discovers that someone has hidden the lock code for his room inside his closet, allowing him to roam freely within the confines of the Animus chamber. Accessing the computers (and discovering that Lucy apparently forgot her security pen), Desmond attempts to discover what the Abstergo scientists want, but he can only get so far without Vidic's computer access code.

The next day, Desmond begins to put on an air of cooperation, but makes use of the Bleeding Effect (and some of his own skills) to pick Vidic's pocket and steal his security pen; he remains unable to escape, but he obtains some information about Vidic and Stillman through their Abstergo e-mail accounts.

Some time later, after recovering the information for which Vidic was searching, he hears gunfire in the distance; his fellow Assassins are staging a rescue attempt. The attempt quickly fails, and Vidic (in an attempt to demoralize Desmond) tells him that the Assassins were all killed in the attack, and that they were the last of the Assassins. After Vidic leaves, Lucy carefully warns Desmond that they cannot speak freely, and covertly indicates to Desmond that she may be an Assassin herself.

Abstergo's executives, having obtained the information they sought, order Desmond killed; Lucy's quick thinking saves him, and she persuades Vidic to keep him alive until they know for certain that he's of no further use. Upon returning to his room, Desmond discovers that the Bleeding Effect has given him Altair's 'Eagle Vision', allowing him to discern friend from foe and read cryptic messages left on the walls and floor by Subject 16.

In Assassin's Creed II, Desmond is still being held within Abstergo, several hours after the end of the first game. Lucy arrives with someone else's blood on her shirt and demands that he get into the Animus before Abstergo discovers what she's done. Desmond, though shocked by Lucy's appearance, reluctantly agrees; inside the Animus, he experiences the birth of one of his ancestors, Ezio Auditore da Firenze. Lucy pulls him out, salvaging a memory core from the Animus, and the two attempt to escape from the Abstergo building. Along the way, Lucy and Desmond encounter Abstergo security guards, which Lucy handles with a surprising level of skill. Entering Abstergo's main research facility, Desmond is stunned to find dozens of Animus machines in use; when he attempts to question Lucy about the machines, she sternly orders him to be silent.

The main laboratory door is secured with a code that Lucy doesn't have, but Desmond steps in and uses his Eagle Vision to see the fingerprints on the pad and unlock the door. After exiting to the parking lot, the two are ambushed by Abstergo security; Desmond takes a more active role in this fight, though he can only use basic bare knuckle boxing and street fighting techniques. After the fight, Lucy hides Desmond in the trunk of a car and takes them to an Assassin hideout.

When they arrive, the two of them meet Shaun Hastings and Rebecca Crane, both of whom are Assassins, just like Lucy. She tells Desmond they want him to become an Assassin in fact as well as memory, and can use the Bleeding Effect to train him in a matter of days using Ezio's memories. With the bleeding effect, Ezio's skills will be passed to Desmond, making him faster, stronger, more agile and therefore a better fighter -- and a key member of the modern Assassin order. He accepts, flatly stating that he's in it for revenge against Abstergo. Rebecca introduces Desmond to the Animus 2.0, a much more comfortable upgrade that resembles a lounge chair, where his journey as Ezio begins.

After successfully navigating Ezio's early memories (with help from Shaun and Rebecca on the outside), Desmond is extracted from the Animus to avoid the mental degradation that Subject 16 suffered as a side-effect of the Bleeding Effect. She also wants to see how much Desmond has picked up from his ancestor's memories, tasking him with initiating security protocols around the Assassin hideout. Just as he begins, however, vivid hallucinations develop as he begins seeing people from Altaïr's life in different parts of the hideout. Desmond asks Lucy about the hallucinations, and she tells him that as long as they don't start to exceed 30 seconds in duration, he should be fine. After activating the hideout's security systems, the visions start to become more real and he flashes back to one of Altaïr's memories, even though he isn't linked to the Animus. Here, Desmond learns of Altaïr having a lover, Maria, a Templar used as decoy by Robert de Sable in the first Assassin's Creed. As Altaïr leaves, Desmond wonders why he isn't following. Instead, he moves towards Maria where he enters her womb, showing that Altaïr's child and another of Desmond's ancestors has been conceived.

After spending more time in the Animus 2.0, Desmond begins to adjust to his newly-developed skills, becoming highly agile and an expert in whatever weapons Ezio learned to use. The last segment of Ezio's memories brings an astonished Ezio (and by extension, Desmond) to a futuristic chamber underneath the Vatican, where a "god", Minerva, addresses Desmond by name and, through Ezio, warns him of an impending cataclysm that has the potential to destroy all life on Earth. Desmond is pulled from the Animus quickly afterward, and Lucy tells him that Vidic and the modern Templar's have found the hideout; Stillman tells Shaun and Rebecca to pack the gear while she and Desmond buy time, and hands Desmond a hidden blade that is strongly reminiscent of Altair and Ezio's favored weapon.

Vidic appears in the hideout's loading dock, and announces that he's come to retrieve Desmond. Desmond, now fully synchronized with both Altair and Ezio, uses his freshly-improved hand-to-hand fighting skills to dispatch the Abstergo security officers that Vidic brought with him. When he confronts Vidic, the scientist says that the victory was only temporary, and he escapes in the back of the Abstergo truck.

Lucy, Shaun, Rebecca and Desmond know that their safe-house has been compromised, and have loaded the Animus into the back of a truck for transport to another safe-house somewhere in the north. Desmond enters the Animus while in transit, knowing that Ezio -- and perhaps Subject 16 -- may have the answers they seek.

In Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, Desmond, Lucy, Shaun and Rebecca arrive at Monteriggioni, where Villa Auditore was located, in order to locate one of the remaining Pieces of Eden. The Templars, however were actively searching for them and so they had to set up underground the Villa Auditore. Whilst searching the grounds of the Villa Auditore for a way into the Sanctuary, Desmond, through the bleeding effect, experienced a number of visions of Ezio's past. When he reached the Sanctuary, he saw another projection of him who seemed to have visited it in his old age. Before he opened the door to Mario's office, Desmond noticed some numbers written by Ezio on the walls.

After finding the location of the Apple of Eden through the Animus, Desmond and the others learn that the it is hidden under the Colosseum. The assassins find a way inside an ancient Vault, where the apple is located. He then takes the Apple and Juno takes control of his body and forces him to stab Lucy Stillman, because Juno needed a sacrifice to be awakened. After Desmond passes out, he gets put back into the Animus by two unknown men, whom are probably assassins.

lyrics

Like an untrained soldier I was dropped in the middle of a battlefield
All I had was the right kind of blood
They took me in, they locked me down, they invaded my memory

Ancestor secrets
A lost generation’s secrets are powers that I keep

I became a ghost
So you won't bleed
I became a ghost
To keep you safe
I'm a hero assassinate

They destroy just for a piece of Eden, everlasting power
Mothers, children in the world you will be devoured

In this game of who kills who first
Don’t have time to be a loser
If I gotta shed some blood to save some
Then I'll save some

I will be a ghost
So you won't bleed
I will be a ghost
To keep you safe
I will be a ghost
So you won't bleed
I will take a chance
Travel to the past
To keep you safe
I'm a hero assassinate
I'm a hero assassinate
I'm a hero assassinate
I'm a hero
I'm a hero assassinate
I'm a hero

credits

from SpinTunes #2: Round 4, released November 23, 2010
Zarni De Wet

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Spintown Middletown, Ohio

I run a songwriting contest called SpinTunes. Most of the material hosted on this account is a result of that contest. You can follow the contest on Twitter (@SpinTunes) or my personal account (@Spintown).

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