Vidic: It’s a projector that renders genetic memories in three dimensions.
Desmond: Genetic memory?
Vidic: Seems you’ll need a bit of a tutorial. Very well, we’ll start simple… what is a memory, Mr. Miles?
Desmond: It’s the… recollection of a past event.
Vidic: Specific to the individual remembering the event.
Desmond: Yeah, sure.
Vidic: What if I told you that the human body not only housed an individual’s memory, but the memories of his ancestors as well? Genetic memory, if you will. Migration, hibernation, reproduction. How do animals know when and where to go? What to do?
Desmond: That’s just animal instinct.
Vidic: Now you’re arguing semantics, Mr. Miles. Whatever you call it, the fact remains. These creatures hold knowledge, absent the requisite first-hand experience. I’ve spent the past thirty years trying to understand why. I’ve discovered something most fascinating. Our DNA functions as an archive. It contains not only genetic instructions passed down from previous generations, but memories as well. The memories of our ancestors.
Desmond: And the Animus lets you decode and read these DNA files.
Lucy: But there’s a problem. This is the specific memory we’re trying to access. Unfortunately, when we try and open the memory, your mind withdraws. You lack the confidence to step into your ancestor’s body. That’s what happened earlier. You got knocked out of the target memory and pushed back to a more stable state.
Lucy: It’s your subconscious. It’s resisting. We found similar reactions among patients who undergo hypnosis to relive traumatic events. They can’t jump directly into the specific memory. They need to be eased in. Even then, there can be problems.
Desmond: So how do we fix it?
Lucy: We find a memory you can synchronize with and move forward from there. You’ll get used to it. This is the closest we can get, so, it’s where we’ll have to start. I’m uploading the tutorial program now.
Vidic: You’ll see. Maybe they’ll even let you watch when it begins. It’s not as terrible as you think.
Desmond: Look, I know you’re not gonna let me leave. So why not tell me what’s going on? Humor me.
Vidic: I’m not an idiot, Mr. Miles. I think you’ve already learned quite a bit.
Desmond: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Vidic: Of course not.
Desmond: All right, let me ask you something else then.
Desmond: Some of the stuff I’m seeing in the Animus… sometimes it seems… wrong. Untrue. Like the history’s off somehow. It doesn't–
Vidic: It doesn’t what, Mr. Miles? Match up with what you read on an online encyclopedia? What your high-school history teacher taught you? Let me ask you something: do these supposed experts have access to secret knowledge, kept hidden from the rest of us?
Desmond: There are books, letters, documents… all sorts of source material from back then. Some of it seems to contradict what the Animus is showing me.
Vidic: Anyone can write a book, and they can put whatever they want on its pages. Anything. Used to be we thought the world was flat.
Desmond: Some people still do.
Vidic: Yes, and they publish books about it. Or that the moon landing was a hoax. I believe there’s also a book that claims the Earth was created in seven days. A best-seller, too!
Desmond: Where’s this going, Doc?
Vidic: The point, I suppose, is that you shouldn’t trust everything you hear. Everything you read. What’s that your ancestor said? ‘Nothing is true…’
Desmond: ’…everything is permitted.’
Vidic: Yes, exactly. It’s part of what makes the Animus so spectacular. There’s no room for misinterpretation–
Desmond: There’s always room.
Vidic: Touché, Mr. Miles. Now that I’ve answered your question, can we begin?