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Arend Schut-Cunningham is a former mixed martial arts champion and Assassin from the Netherlands, as well as the husband of Harlan Cunningham.

Biography

Early life

Arend grew up in the neighbourhood of Osdorp in Amsterdam, where he trained under a martial artist named Ali.[1] He became a successful mixed martial arts champion, but his decision to come out as homosexual negatively affected his career, eventually causing him to stop competing entirely. Sometime after, he came into contact with Harlan, who had suffered similar experiences in the United States. The two bonded and became lovers, with Harlan introducing Arend to the Assassin Brotherhood and subsequently taking him on as his disciple.[2]

Assassin activities

In February 2014, Arend and Harlan conspired to steal a Precursor box from an Abstergo Industries facility in Rotterdam. While Harlan went after the artifact, Arend ran interference, attacking Templar agents throughout the city in an attempt to divert attention away from his Mentor. He then became embroiled in a firefight with Abstergo's Sigma Team and took Sorkin, one of their members, hostage.[2]

Using his captive's firearm, Arend was able to eliminate many of his attackers, following which he used a smoke bomb to make his escape. He then went to find Harlan, rescuing him from Master Templar Juhani Otso Berg, who had managed to take back the Precursor box. Although Harlan was reluctant to leave the artifact behind, the pair decided to abandon the mission objective and flee.[2]

Sometime in 2015, Arend and Harlan married, with Arend taking on Harlan's surname, and decided to visit various European countries for their honeymoon. However, in late 2015, their trip was interrupted by Bishop, who was calling upon Assassins across the globe to locate the secret laboratory of Álvaro Gramática, an Abstergo scientist that had gotten his hands on a Shroud of Eden.[3]

Traveling to the United Kingdom first, Arend and Harlan observed the fallout of Isabelle Ardant's assassination. While there were many members of Sigma and Delta Team active in the area, there was no evidence of a secret laboratory, leading the two to go to France next. Arend did not expect to find Gramática's lab there either, as the Assassins had destroyed a similar lab in Paris the year before.[3]

The two Assassins did notice Abstergo's interest in the Paris-Saclay business cluster, but did not pursue this lead, believing it to be outside their mission parameters. Arend and Harlan also contacted the Ninidze brothers in Georgia, but received no reply, which they found worrisome. They subsequently reported back to Bishop, with Arend indicating they would try Italy next, despite Harlan's reservations about doing so. Additionally, Arend asked Bishop to relay a message to Galina Voronina, telling her not to feel down for failing to kill Juhani Otso Berg and declaring that he would take Berg out as payback for hurting Harlan.[3]

In 2016, Arend and Kiyoshi Takakura were sent by Gavin to rescue Galina Voronina and her team from a Templar strike-team assaulting Erudito's hideout in Argentina. With a helicopter, the two Assassins rescued their fellow Assassins and their Erudito allies and also killed the high-ranking Templar Ortega Sanchez while escaping the island.[4]

The Phoenix Project

In February 2017, Kiyoshi and Arend were in London with Galina and her apprentice My'Shell. During a training session, Galina received a call from Charlotte de la Cruz, who reported back on her mission in Hong Kong. Charlotte informed her fellow Assassins that the Abstergo office they raided for intel about the Phoenix Project was empty and that Barindra Mitra's cell was butchered by an unidentified third party.[5]

One month later, outside of an Abstergo office in Berlin, Arend and Galina confronted Heinrich Hart, the informant who told Kiyoshi about Abstergo's Hong Kong office. Seeking answers after their losses in Hong Kong, the angry Assassins threatened Hart in an alleyway. The mole admitted that the intel wasn't as solid as he told Kiyoshi but that he wasn't responsible for what happened there. After he promised to find useful information, Arend and Galina left, promising to come back for blood if Hart couldn't prove his usefulness.[5]

In London, Arend and his fellow Assassins reviewed the media, where a large explosion in Berlin dominated the headlines. Kiyoshi argued that killing a hundred seventy people in public didn't really fit with the Templar methodology and suggested that another faction might be in play. My'Shell revealed that she had a list of Pieces of Eden retrieved from the Hong Kong Abstergo lab and pulled up an image of the Koh-i-noor. With My'Shell convinced that it was present in the Spanish Civil war, Charlotte strapped herself into the makeshift Animus.[5]

The machine, however, appeared to malfunction, resulting in Charlotte dangerously becoming trapped inside a simulation and unable to be woken. An injured Guernica returned to find the team surrounding the stricken Animus. He was shocked to learn that My'Shell had repaired the machine with unvetted Abstergo parts and feared that the machine was now compromised. She made her apologies and left, while Guernica informed the others that they will need the assistance of Felix Oladele, an Abstergo Entertainment employee with Erudito sympathies based in Montreal and familiar with Animus extractions.[5]

Arend and Kiyoshi made the flight immediately to Canada, using a cargo plane perform a halo jump onto the roof of Abstergo Montreal. After working through the few guards present, they reached the office of Oladele only to find him already slain by the same "Assassin" from Hong Kong who armed himself with a high-tech suit. Unbeknownst to them, this foe's identity was Jasdip Dhami. Jasdip then proceeded to wound both of them with throwing knives, throwing Arend out the nearest window which he just manages to hang onto. After a few shots from Kiyoshi's gun, Jasdip leapt from the window.[5]

Arend and Kiyoshi both make their way back out, heavily injured. The only way that Jasdip could know where they were headed is if they had a leak either from the Animus or from one of their own within the Brotherhood. They then decided to lay low in a safe house.[5]

Equipment and skills

As a former MMA champion, Arend was quite skilled in hand-to-hand combat, being able to best Sorkin rather easily, and also showed a proficiency with firearms. As a result, he could hold his ground against Abstergo's Sigma Team, taking out at least half of them. Among his equipment, Arend counted his Hidden Blade, worn on the right arm, and brass knuckles.[2]

Trivia

  • "Arend" is a Dutch name meaning "eagle". Schut is a Dutch occupational surname derived from schutter, meaning "shooter, archer".
  • According to Melanie Lemay, Arend was considered for one of Abstergo Entertainment's virtual features centered around MMA wrestling.
  • According to writer James Nadiger, the characters and relationship of Harlan and Arend were inspired by the comic book characters Apollo​ and ​Midnighter​.[​1]​

Appearances

References

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