"And then there were these barrels of gunpowder, and I lit them on fire and exploded the machine gun! But the Borgia had another machine gun so I had to chase it down and destroy that one too! But there were like hundreds of Templars on horseback trying to get me! But I was all pow, pow, pow!" Desmond mimed firing a cannon. "Using their own weapon against them! How d'ya like dem apples, Cesare?!" he declared triumphantly.
"Sounds like quite an escapade. Your ancestor sure had a crazy life." Alexis remarked. "...By the way, why do you keep saying 'I', when it's not really you?"
"Well, technically, yeah, Ezio originally did it. But I was doing it today." He scratched his head as he tried to explain. "It's not like watching a movie; there's input from me that affects how things happen. I have to follow the memory close enough to stay synced, but within those parameters, I can choose how to do it. Does that make any sense?"
"Uh, I guess so. Next question: What do you mean, 'synced'?"
"It's just what it sounds like: I have to keep my actions in sync with Ezio's life, with his memories. Like, I couldn't make him go to Milan, because he never went to Milan, so I don't have any genetic memories of Milan, so I'd get desynchronized." He laughed, prompting a quizzical look from Alexis. "Can you believe I thought you might be working for Abstergo? It's pretty obvious you know nothing about Animus stuff."
"You thought I was with Abstergo? Geez, Desmond."
"It was a possibility! You can't be too careful in my line of work."
"Well, I'm glad you decided to trust me. Hey, you want some vino? I got some Moscato d'Asti while I was out today."
"Sure. I haven't had a drink in ages." She poured out two glassfuls and he sampled one. "Man, this is really sweet."
"I told you it's Moscato."
"Hey, I know a lot of Italian, but that doesn't automatically make me a wine expert."
"What kind of bartender are you?" she teased.
"You're thinking of a sommelier, doofus." he laughed.
"Fair enough." She began laughing too, and, for some reason, neither one of them could stop for several minutes.
After the giggling subsided, Alexis breathed deeply. "God, I'm gonna miss you, Des. I missed you before, but, I thought they would find you eventually. Now I know you're out there, doing all this secret stuff, having to hide forever and never come back... In a way, it's more devastating than if you had turned up dead."
He was silent for a long moment, considering his next words carefully.
"...What if you could come with me?" She looked at him, wide-eyed. "Would you? Even if it meant you could never go back?"
"I... I'd have to think about it. I mean, I'm still not sure what exactly you do."
"Sure you do, I was just telling you about it! I relive memories in the Animus, looking for information from the past to help the present-day Assassins."
"How many of you guys are there, anyway?"
"In total? I have no idea. I've met three. ...Three in the present, that is. There's other cells around the globe, but we're the only ones in Italy, it seems."
Alexis sipped her wine, contemplating. Desmond forged ahead. "You know I didn't like New York that much. But it was fun with you around. I don't really care about returning to the big rotten apple. But I do kinda want to take advantage of the crazy coincidence that brought us together again."
"Is that allowed? For outsiders to join your group?"
"It happens all the time in the memories I'm reliving. Granted, the Brotherhood is a lot more clandestine nowadays. I don't know what the current protocol is, but I'm sure there's a way... Are you saying you would go for it?"
"Well, I have been considering a career change. I'd like to do something where I'm making positive change in the world. And from what you've told me, you guys are big into liberty and democracy and stuff.... What's the pay like for an entry-level Assassin?" she said, half-jokingly.
"Whatever you can liberate from the enemy's coffers... and they tend to be wealthy fatcats with a lot to spare." He grinned.
"So, like a Robin Hood type of deal?" she said, swishing the wine around in her glass.
"Yeah. He was probably an Assassin, come to think of it..."
"I'm still not sure how much I believe of all this. But it's feeling pretty real."
"It is very real. And there's real danger too. Not that long ago, our previous hideout was discovered and we had to fight our way out. If they find our current location, we're screwed. Like I said, we're just four people. The Templars outnumber us and they have way more resources."
"So you want me to help you fight them? I'd love to, but I've got a lot more experience being a cubicle jockey than a freedom fighter. You really think I could be an... Assassin?" He could tell by the way she said it that she still had some doubt about the organization's veracity.
"Believe me, we need all the support we can get, even if it's just moral support," Desmond said, even as he wondered: Is it truly the Assassins that could use her support, or just me? He drained the final sugary droplets from his glass, then looked into Alexis' eyes. "You would really do it? You would leave your friends, your family, your whole life behind?"
"Desmond, I..." She paused for a long moment, seeming to search within herself for what she wanted to say, and then began again. "You said these guys, these... Templars, want to control the minds of everyone on Earth?"
"Yes. To suppress anything that threatens their rule."
"Well, 'everyone' includes my friends and family... If I can protect them from that, I think it would be worth it. And besides: You don't know how many times I've said to myself 'I'd do anything to see Desmond again' since you disappeared. I can't amend that after the fact to 'I'd do anything except risk my life fighting evil with him.' It'd be dishonest." She was smiling slightly, but it was obvious she was serious about this. "If this is all real, then I'd gladly join up."
"All right then. I'll find out what I can about getting you into the fold, and give you an update tomorrow night."
"Don't leave yet... Tell me more about them." She hesitated before specifying. "...The other Assassins. ...Geez, it's so weird trying to think of that word as meaning 'the good guys'."
"Well, ah, good guys sometimes have to kill bad guys," Desmond hedged. "I mean, you saw the Hidden Blade. It's not just a fashion accessory."
"Okay, but why couldn't they give themselves a more positive name?"
"I dunno, ask Shaun; he knows everything about everything."
"Shaun? One of your guys?"
"Yeah, it's Shaun, Lucy, Rebecca, and me. And, hopefully, you, soon."
"What are they like?"
Desmond shrugged. "Like I said, Shaun's a know-it-all; our resident historian. Lucy's pretty nice; she's the one who got me out of Abstergo. Rebecca's kind of kooky, but she's all right. She built and programmed the Animus we're using. I still don't know them that well. But we're all on the same side, and that's what matters."