The story within Assassin's Creed is set in September 2012 AD. Desmond Miles, a bartender, has been kidnapped by unknown people (Abstergo) prior to the start of the film, is brought to a building belonging to Abstergo Industries, where researchers are working on a project involving a machine called the Animus. The Animus is able to extract memories from the DNA of the user, passed on from descendant to descendant, allowing the user to replay those memories as if he were there himself. Desmond was “chosen” for the project due to his relationship to his ancestor Altaïr Ibn La-Ahad, a member of the Assassins Order during the Third Crusade of the Holy Land; the researchers express interest in understanding more of how the Assassins worked. Though initially Desmond's subconscious rejects the memories of Altaïr, he eventually learns to accept them and is able to proceed to follow Altaïr's actions through the Animus. Along the way, however, Altaïr discovers that his targets are bound by more than just a shared interest in personal gain, but are secretly members of the Knights Templar, with the goal to unite all mankind under a common cause. Desmond further learns by secretly reading emails on computers of the research personnel when left overnight between Animus sessions that Abstergo Industries is in fact run by the Knights Templar, the order having survived from the Middle Ages, and that the Templars are seeking the locations of several artifacts known as the “Pieces of Eden” that they can use to continue Templars' goals. Desmond learns that he was kidnapped so that they may learn, through Altaïr's memories, where the locations of the other Pieces of Eden may be buried throughout the world. When Altaïr's memory complete, Desmond wakes up out of the Animus to learn that Abstergo Industries is already sending out recovery teams to locations shown by the “Piece of Eden” in Altaïr's memory, hoping to find additional artifacts. Desmond, no longer being of use to the Knights Templar, is to be silenced; however, he is saved by a researcher named Lucy Stillman, who reveals herself to be an Assassin by showing her hand with her ring finger closed as if it were missing.
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