“So, you decided to 'ease me into the Animus' by showing me one of my ancestors burning to death!”
Amanda was furious. Since she had gotten out of the machine, she had been fuming at Shaun and Rebecca. She swore she could still smell the acrid stench of burning flesh, and though her hair was all in-tact, she couldn't help but feel singed. Her fingers twitched almost constantly, though this she could not explain. Rebecca had tried to calm her down, but Amanda seemed determined to throw a tantrum. Shaun did nothing and waited for it to blow over.
“How could you make me see that?” Amanda demanded, throwing her fists up in the air, “When you said 'ease in', I assumed you would show me a nice flowery plain, some bunnies, young lovers in the spring - not an old man dying for something he believed in!”
“With all due respect, Amanda,” Shaun said, “Sit down,” he pointed to a seat and then put a finger to his lips, “and shut up.”
Amanda went to claw at him, but Rebecca held her back. Items clattered off their shelves as Amanda struggled to get out of her grasp, but it was no use.
“You done?” Rebecca asked, her teeth clenched.
“No!” Amanda replied, “Let go of me!”
“Promise you won't attack Shaun.”
“I can't promise anything!”
“I'm not letting you go until you promise that.”
“I will never promise! Shaun is in constant danger of being attacked by me!”
“Well, I'm flattered,” Shaun quipped.
“Knock it off, asshole,” Rebecca snapped at Shaun, holding Amanda away from him. She sighed and grasped Amanda's arm, “Now, instead of trying to kill each other, can we please talk this through?”
“Fine,” Amanda huffed and sat down.
Rebecca walked to the front of the caravan and brought back a drink for Amanda, “Here,” Rebecca said, handing the drink to her.
Amanda took it and sipped at the cup slowly. The soft drink fizzed in her mouth and calmed her a little, “Explain,” she said.
“Well-” Shaun began.
Rebecca cut him off, “When we tried to access the first memory, your subconscious rejected the treatment. It wouldn't project and it caused you to panic. So the programme got knocked back to a different memory, one from before even the ancestor I was checking out - that was the whole burning at the stake thing...” she paused, “I didn't know it was going to happen, otherwise I would have looked for a different ancestor. Sorry, really.”
Amanda looked back at the Animus. The machine was shaped like a dentist's chair and about as comfortable to lay back in. The computer screen it was connected to still shone, lights still blinked from the desktop.
Amanda rubbed her arms nervously, feeling her temples begin to throb, “I felt like I was there, like it was me...”
“Obviously. That's how it works,” Shaun said, like Amanda was some kind of stupid chicken.
Amanda glared at him. Did he always have to be so blunt? She finished her drink in one go and tried to relax.
“But to more important matters: Jacques de Molay... Thoughts?” Shaun said, a strange smile spreading across his face.
“Who was he?” Rebecca asked, “Someone special?”
“Jacques de Molay was-”
“He was a Templar Grand-Master,” Amanda said, interrupting Shaun deliberately. Who said he should know everything all the time, anyway? “the 23rd and final, to the known world.”
Shaun blinked, gave Amanda a look and then continued, “He was burnt at the stake for-”
“Heresy,” Amanda interrupted again, “and on charges that the Templar Order practised idolatry, sodomy and spat on the cross.”
Shaun paused, waiting to see if Amanda had anything left to say, “He initially-”
“Admitted these charges, under pressures from the French King, but denounced them later before the Pope in Court. He was then burned, as we saw, as a relapsed heretic - one that gets no trial.”
Rebecca laughed, pointing at Amanda, “You really are the anti-Shaun!”
Shaun's face turned sour, “I'm not sure I like that,” he sat back, “But Amanda's insistence on trumping me aside, this is absolutely fascinating.”
“Is it?” Amanda asked.
“You have a relation to Jacques de Molay, a Templar Grand-Master,” Shaun said, “It's no wonder the Templars want you.”
“But how would they know?”
Amanda shook her head in disbelief, “Your head is like a hot-air balloon, flying higher and higher up your butthole, isn't it?”
“They can extract memories from your DNA, remember?” Shaun said, an irritated look on his face, “Your boyfriend died within an Abstergo complex, if he had so much as - oh, I don't know - a thread of your hair on his person, they could find out.”
“Do they really have the time for that? Why would they even do that?”
“Because they're nutcases who want to take over the world, Amanda, couldn't you tell that much already?”
“But why would it matter that I was... related to them, in some way?”
“Remember the artefacts we were telling you about? Your head might contain the locations of thousands of lost artefacts, archives of lost Templar knowledge. That's what they want.”
“But wait, hold on,” Amanda rubbed her forehead with her hand, “How can I be related to Jacques de Molay? He didn't have any children.”
“Really?” Shaun said, slapping his face, “That's your question?”
“We actually found him through one of his brothers,” Rebecca explained, “You're directly related to a Robert de Molay. I was trying to get into the memories of Robert's son, Jack Molay.”
“Either way, why would that question be relevant?” Shaun said, “You don't honestly believe that de Molay remained celibate for all his life, do you? He died an old man in his seventies.”
Amanda looked at him, “I don't know... That's like asking me whether Mother Teresa remained a virgin all the her life. It's what they believed in.”
“So now people don't go against what they believe in?”
“I don't know, Shaun. I'm about as cynical as you are, but I don't want to go that far. They're dead, man, leave them alone.”
“So, what now?” Rebecca asked.
“Amanda still needs training,” Shaun said after a while. He stood up and stretched out, yawning as he did so, “We'll keep digging until we reach Jack Molay.”
“You're not going to do anything about all the Templar knowledge locked away in my head?” Amanda asked.
“Well, we are going to be sifting through a lot of Templar memories, Amanda,” Shaun said, “but for the most part, no. Let the past and all its wonders stay locked away in your head. We haven't the use or patience for any more bloody artefacts. They've caused enough problems as it is.”
“And this whole Templar thing...” Amanda said, “that doesn't make you doubt me?”
“Memories and physical characteristics are passed down genetically, not ideas and beliefs.”