Chapter 9: Old Memories and New Problems

After the memory had finished, Desmond was pulled out of the Animus. It was, of course, dangerous to leave him in their for too long. He already was having hallucinations regularly, and they couldn't risk having his condition worsen. Besides, the wanted to see how well he retained Jack's memories. They had arrived at the cabin at this point. Rebecca and Shaun were already in the process of setting up the Animus in there. Meanwhile, Lucy and Desmond walked around to the shooting range in the backyard. It consisted of a few paper targets attached to bales of hay and a few paintings of Crusade-era Templars painted to some trees.

"Alright, Desmond.", said Lucy, "Here's where the real combat begins. As I said before, swords and crossbows aren't going to cut it up against Abstergo. The next time we see them, they'll have guns. And you'll need to be ready when we do. So let's see how well Jack's training helped you."

Lucy then reached into her leather jacket and pulled out a semi-automatic, 9mm pistol and handed it to Desmond.

"Not quite as much stopping power as a .45, but it'll work for now.", she said, "Now, walk over here, and let's see how your aim is."

The two walked over to the table in front of the range and put on some safety glasses. Desmond then took the gun in his hand and aimed down the sights. With Jack's retained skills now in his own head, he took a deep breath, adjusted the gun, and fired down the range, hitting the hay target nearly square in the center.

"Not bad,", said Lucy, " but don't tense up so much, it'll help keep the recoil minimal."

Desmond reloaded and aimed down the sight again, this time more relaxed adjusted. He took another breath and concentrate, like before, only this time, something was different. Without really trying, he had blocked out anything around him but the targets. It was the same way he felt when he was in Eagle Vision, only his sight was much more keen. It was surreal, for when he looked around, everything seemed to have an orange tint and the world seemed to have slowed down. He had inadvertently entered Dead Eye Vision.

Having done this, he proceeded to look at all the targets, mentally mark where he would shoot, instinctively switched to full automatic, and shot every one of the targets with a perfect bulls-eye, one bullet each, all in under a second. Once his clip was empty, his vision was normal again, and Lucy was in shock with amazement.

"Desmond, that was incredible!", Lucy said running down to check the targets, "Perfect bulls-eyes all around. And on automatic! How on earth did you do that?"

"It must've been Jack's Dead Eye.", said Desmond, "Like back at his duel with Ross. Remember how it went all slow? It was the same thing for me. Just like with Eagle Vision, all I had to do was concentrate."

"Well, I'm impressed. One Animus session seems all you need nowadays, huh?", said Lucy with a smile, "First with Ezio, now with Jack. I never would've thought you'd be so receptive at this point. I mean I knew that—". But suddenly, Lucy was interrupted, for from behind her jumped a Florentine guard brandishing a rapier came at him, as white and as clear as a ghost. In a fright, Desmond jumped to the right and retracted his hidden blade, ducked in a fighting pose.

"Desmond, what's wrong?", asked Lucy, coming to his aid and looking into the woods, "Did you see someone? A sniper, what?" Desmond put his blade back and then stood up, relieved.

" Spiacente, Lucy. Appena un'altra allucinazione.", he said wiping his brow.

"What?", asked Lucy, startled.

"I said it was just another hallucination. What?", asked Desmond, confused.

"You just spoke to me in Itallian."

Desmond groaned."Oh God, are you serious?", he said.

"Did you take your pills today?", asked Lucy, frantically pulling an orange bottle out of her jacket.

"No, not yet.", he admitted, taking a few that were offered to him and swallowing them.

"Have you been doing your exercises before bed like I told you?"

"Yeah. Don't worry, Lucy. The biofeedback you've been building up in me has been working. I haven't passed out again, right? Except for the occasional ghost, the memories are only coming in my dreams now."

"Well, I just hope it stays that way. After all the shit we're putting you through, and after you just keep going with it I– just– I just couldn't– ", Lucy said, but then started to cry a little. Then she embraced him and started crying into his shoulder

"Hey, hey, relax, Luce.", said Desmond, hugging her, "You don't see me making any vague, cryptic puzzles yet, do you?". He smiled at her, and then she smiled back, wiping her tears away. They hugged one more time, and then headed back to the cabin to rest up. It was a nice cabin with two bedrooms with bunk beds and a small kitchen with plenty of food. After they were rested and fed, Desmond and company went to bed. It was a full day of work, for all.

Within a few minutes, Desmond was asleep, but once he had done so, he found himself in yet another memory. This time around he found himself on a wooden platform, a noose around his neck, his hands bound. In front of him was at least two dozen people gathered around, jeering him and the three other men on the platform with him.

"Ahh, great.", Desmond said, or rather thought, his voice echoing over the scene, "Where am I this time, the Spanish Inquisition?" But this idea was quickly dismissed as he looked closer and saw the people were dressed in relatively modern clothes and the town he was in was like that out of a western. As he began to realize this, he noticed he was not in a man's body at all, but that of an eight year old boy, whose face was bloody and cut, probably by a bottle. Just then, the town official, who was dressed in a black suit and top hat, began to read the paper he was holding.

"Steven Scholl, Anthony Williams," he read in a loud, authoritative voice, "Doug Dell, and John Marston," Desmond got it. He had to have been in John Marston's memory as a child. Once he got this, he began to wonder how John got out of this, as he obviously was not hanged as a child. The official continued to speak, regardless,

"You four have been convicted by twelve good persons and true to the crimes of: Horse Theft, Grand Larceny, Arson, and Second Degree Murder. Because of this I, Mayor Stephen Gardens, sentence you four to, on this day, June 4, 1865, hang by the neck until you are dead. May God have mercy on your souls." , the Mayor then rolled up the paper and was about to give the order to execute when a young, brash voice spoke up from the crowd.

"I don't know about the Almighty, but I'd sure as hell take mercy on that poor boy, you merciless hog thumper!", the boy yelled over the jeering.

"WHO SAID THAT?", yelled the Mayor with a sneer.

"I did!", said a boy walking out of the now-silenced crowd. He looked about fifteen years old, had black, slicked back hair, and an orange shirt.

"Oh," said the Mayor, "And just who are you, you little tramp?"

"Name's Dutch Vanderlin. Who the hell are you?"

"Whu– I am Mayor Gardens and you would do well to respect me, young man. Else you'll end up just like this little sack of–"

"HA!", Dutch interrupted, "Respect you? Why should I? You the one with the blood all over your shirt."

"What? That's nonsense! Where on earth do you see blood on my–", the man was cut short, for Dutch had quickly whipped out a revolver from his belt and shot him square in the heart.

"Right...there.", he said with a smirk. He then proceeded to shoot and kill the three lawmen standing guard near the platform and then shoot the rope around John's neck, freeing him. Dutch then jumped on the platform and grabbed young John, throwing him over his shoulder and putting his gun away. Then he turned to the adjacent saloon, ran twords, it, ran up some stair-arranged crates in front of it, and jumped to grab a window with his free hand. He then jumped to grab another window above it and caught it, then again to grab the ledge of the roof and caught it. Once he had gotten to the roof, he ran to the next-door rooftop and jumped to it, and then the next one, and the next one.

Dutch quickly pulled out some smoke bombs from his pocket and tossed a few into the street and one on the rooftop. In the confusion, Dutch was easily able to take the boy on his shoulders to safety by jumping off a rooftop at the end of the street and landing safely in a large carriage full of cotton. Waiting for them was a horse-drawn covered wagon. They hopped in and sat down.

"Uncle!", Dutch yelled at the driver as he started untying John's hands, "I got him, let's go!" With that, the wagon sped away at a seemingly breakneck speed. Once John's hands were free, he looked around and saw two more kids in the wagon. One a little girl about his age, and another younger, Mexican-looking boy next to her. John also saw the driver, who was short and portly, with black hair, a tooth sticking out from his mouth and a big, round beard, wearing a white cloak.

"Good work, boy.", yelled the driver over the sound of beating hooves, "One last stop and we can get home and have that drink!"

"Bully, that's great!", replied Dutch, "That last one really took a lot outta me." He then looked over at little John, who was visibly confused.

"Mr. Dutch," he asked, "Where are we goin'?"

"Well, John, we're goin to train ya.", Dutch said.

"Train me? For what?"

"Your Willy Marston's boy, right?"

"Yeah.", nodded John.

"Well then, son, that mean's you've just been drafted in to a war!", yelled Uncle.

With that the memory faded into blackness, which then turned to light as Desmond awoke to the sun shining out his window. He got up, put his pants back on, and walked out to the kitchen area, where, surprisingly, the team was already packing everything up.

"Oh, morning Desmond.", said Lucy, putting some food in a box.

"Uh, morning.", he said, "Why are you already packing up? We just got here."

"We just picked up some Abstergo radio chatter.", explained Shaun, who was carrying a box outside. Desmond followed him and Shaun continued,

"They've found out about the cabin. They're coming for us.

"Just as well, I guess. We had to leave anyway."

"Why?", asked Desmond.

"I'll explain when we leave.", said Lucy, putting her box in the truck.

The group rushed to get everything in the truck and in no time at all, they were back on the road. Lucy was driving and the rest were in their spots in the back.

"We received a call from HQ about the situation in Austin.", Lucy started over the radio. "Abstergo and half the Order in Texas are in all-out war at the site. Authorities are hopeless to stop it because of Abstergo's "Private Police Policy", meaning since Abstergo polices itself, the regular police can't do anything when their "entrepeneuric endeavors lead it's employees to dangerous situations". Basically, Abstergo can pull rank on the police whenever they want, thanks to all the Templars they've got in Congress. But that's not the problem here.

"What is the problem is that the Assassins in Texas are some of the best we've got. Because of this, they're putting up a good fight and have suffered very little casualties. But they're low on supplies now, and soon they're gonna be completely dry, making them sitting ducks."

"Are the Texas Assassins really as important as all that?", asked Desmond.

"Hell yeah!", said Rebecca, "If it weren't for some of those guys, we'd all be dead years ago. In fact, half the Dallas Cowboys are Assassins."

"Woah.", said Desmond, impressed.

"Exactly.", started Lucy again, "And that's why we've got to help them out. Those guys are our ace in the hole if something goes wrong anywhere, and we can't afford to lose them. So the guys at HQ want us to go and help them."

"What's the plan?", asked Desmond.

"We get to the site, get the Piece of Eden, destroy it, and get the hell out of there. Destroying a Piece of Eden is very difficult and always results in a huge explosion, akin to a small nuclear bomb. Don't worry, though, the mine where they're situated is 20 miles away from the actual city. There won't be a big enough blast to result in any civilian casualties. If we can get out fast enough, the Templars we'll be dead and the rest of us will be safe."

"Cool. How do we get there?"

"I know a guy in Detroit who owes me a few solids. And he has a plane. He can fly us to Austin, and then out of the country afterwards. After setting off a nuclear explosion on US soil, we won't be welcome here any time soon. Besides we'll need to get back to finding Ezio's Apple"

"But wait a minute,", said Desmond, "You said the Piece of Eden was booby trapped. How will we even get to it?"

"Jack's memories.", she explained, "From what I could gather from the guys, Jack Marston also found an Apple of Eden and hid it. Since he was from the area, and since according to Altair's map, there are only three Pieces of Eden in the US, we can safely assume it's there."

"OK, let's do it.", he said.

Desmond was then hooked into the Animus and was put back into the mainframe.

"Ok, I think I've found the memory.", said Rebecca, "Here, let's try it."

Desmond then entered Jack's body, but the world was not completely formed. There were red blurs everywhere and white lines. Over the shrieks and beeps of the Animus trying to load, he head voices;

"What are you talking about, WHERE ARE THEY?", one voice echoed.

"It was that damn boy, he got them all. They're all dead.", another one shrieked.

"Impossible. What about MacFarland?"

"He's missing. They probably got him too–"

Desmond heard an explosion, screaming, the man again screaming,

"FIND HIM, DAMMIT! FIND BOTH OF THEM!"

Then it was quiet, and he heard Red's voice in a whisper,

"Hear that, Jack? The wolves are out hunting! Get in that tree!"

Desmond was then abruptly pulled out, much to his relief. He panted for a few seconds and then asked, "What happened?"

"It's just like with Altair.", said Lucy, "We're going to have to ease you in first."

"Figures.", said Shaun, "It's never a simple, 'Upload this and we're here', is it? Always a bloody trial."

"Looks like the closest memory we can get is back at the Palace HQ in Frisco." , Rebecca said, looking at her screen.

"Upload it then," said Lucy, "We can't waste any time."

"Will do!", said Rebecca.

And with that, Desmond was put back in to begin yet another 'treasure hunt'.