- "Rot in hell, Thomas."
- ―Tesla on Thomas Edison, before firing his particle beam weapon.[src]
Nikola Tesla (Serbian: Никола Тесла; 1856 – 1943) was a Serbian American inventor, and a mechanical and electrical engineer. He was one of the most important contributors to the birth of commercial electricity. Tesla planned to create a worldwide network that was able to transmit information and electricity to anywhere on the planet. The knowledge needed for this plan came from an Apple of Eden he had acquired.
Acquiring the Apple of Eden
In 1874, Tesla fled to Tomingaj, near the municipality of Gračac, in order to avoid being drafted into the army. While there, he spent much of his time exploring the wilderness and the surrounding mountains; it was here that he found an Apple of Eden.
The Templars however, most prominently Thomas Edison – Tesla's former employer – opposed his ideas, as they would be a serious impediment to the Templar goals and Edison's own ideals. To this end, Edison demonstrated a series of experiments, such as the electrocution of a circus elephant that he released, as proof of Tesla's power being dangerous, causing public disapproval towards Tesla's invention. Along with his smear campaign, Edison also influenced his fellow Templar J.P. Morgan to cut funding for Tesla's famous Wardenclyffe Tower. In the following months, Tesla's Apple of Eden seemingly disappeared from his lab, along with some of his designs.
We know what they have done to your lab, to your career. It may be too late to set things right, but you can help prevent something far worse. [...] We do not ask you to risk your life, just that, when the time comes, you use your electricity to destroy the object.
Regardless of your decision, know that we admire your work greatly and will bear you no ill will.
We respect your freedom above all else."
- ―A letter to Tesla from the Assassins.[src]
While a team of Russian Assassins led by Nikolai Orelov infiltrated the facility to retrieve the Staff of Eden, Tesla fired his machine from America, while he also expressed his resentment of Edison just prior. However, the Assassins failed to secure the Staff in time, with both the artifact and the Assassins ultimately caught in the explosion.
As a result, a massive super-explosion that became known as the Tunguska explosion erupted, and the facility and the Staff of Eden were destroyed. Nikolai was the only survivor, and a remaining shard of the Staff later came into the possession of Grigori Rasputin.
As Tesla's popularity began to dwindle under the Templars' efforts, he lost the rights to several patents and wasted what money he had in elaborate parties where he would reveal his latest inventions. The unbelievable nature of many of these machines, coupled with Tesla's distress over losing the Apple, led the public to see him as little more than a benevolent lunatic.
Kidnapped by Kramer
Officially, Tesla died in poverty in New York City in January 1943. However, Tesla was infact kidnapped by the Nazi general and Templar Gero Kramer who needed the aging genius to study the Pieces of Eden in order to create new weapons. Having no choices, Tesla decided to comply and act as if he accepted his new situation while he in fact planned to discretely thwart the Templars' progress.
By February, Tesla was still well and alive, secretly working in Sweden. With the knowledge obtained from an Apple of Eden and other kidnapped scientists, Tesla created Die Glocke, a proto-Animus, that the Templars intended to use to find more Pieces of Eden by looking into the past of captured Assassins, to discover where their ancestors hid Pieces of Eden.
After Kramer captured Eddie Gorm, an Assassin who infiltrated the facility to put an end to the Templar's project, the general put him in Die Glocke and ordered Tesla to activate the device. However due to Tesla's sabotage, the device exploded and the scientist told the angry general that he needed several hours to fix it. Thankfully, as the Templar was strangling Tesla, british commandos launched an assault on the facility and Kramer ordered two of his men to escort a dazed Gorm and Tesla to the cells while he was dealing with the attack.
On their way, they were rescued by another Assassin, Julia Dusk, who killed the soldiers and asked what happened. Tesla told her everything and revealed to the Assassins that the weopons created by Kramer were constructed by a company called Abstergo Industries under the Książ Castle in Poland. Dusk then knocked Tesla, telling Gorm that they couldn't take old man with them if they wanted to successfully escape the Germans and that he was smart enough to understand it and continue to act as if he was loyal to Kramer when he would wake up.
Rescued by Pash
In July 1943, a dozen of Assassins led by Boris Pash assaulted the Książ Castle, under which Tesla and hundreds of other scientists were constructing the new weapons inspired by the Pieces of Eden for the Templars in what was known as Project Riese. After killing Kramer and recovering the Apple, Dusk and Gorm joined with the rest of the Assassins who had already cleared the underground facility and freed the scientists, and met with Tesla again. However, Tesla wasn't happy, stating that his colleagues' families were still in the hands of the Reich and that he would still be forced to create dangerous devices, this time for the Brotherhood.
Warning Pash that the Assassins would destroy the world if they kept playing god, he begged Dusk not to give the Apple to Pash. Stating that Pash's plan would only result in another Tunguska explosion, he also revealed that the colonel was working with the Templars. Stunned by this revelation, the two Assassins asked for explanations from their leader who admitted that it was true while Tesla was taken away. Pash had accepted an alliance and to work on Project Rainbow with Templars after the war they orchestrated escaped their control.
The situation quickly escalated, with Boris grieviously injuring Gorm, while a disgusted Dusk tried to destroy the Apple with a grenade, killing herself in the process. Picking up the intact artifact, Boris declared that Gorm was no longer one of them, and left with the scientists and his Assassins, leaving his former protege bleed to death.
Project Rainbow and Death
Eventually, Tesla was convinced to work on the Assassin's grand plan to solve the War by Pash's Templar partner, the scientist John von Neumann. The Assassins, now backed by Abstergo and the Inner Sanctum, settled the scientists on the USS Eldridge where Die Glocke was reconstructed and modified. On October 28, von Neumann activated the device and launched their last try before the Inner Sanctum deemed Project Rainbow a failure and ordered him to join the Project Manhattan.
After the Templar inquired about Tesla absence, Pash went to Tesla's cabin to find him, as the old man was the only one who knew how to operate the device properly. Once there Pash discovered the bodies of several Assassins and eventually Gorm waiting for him and standing next to a desceased Tesla, a bullet in the head. To Gorm who had become erratic after the death of Julia and eventually comited suicide, a distraught Pash tried to explain that the Rainbow Project was never about a bomb but was something else.
Indeed, after the Templar understood that their pawn Adolf Hitler and the War had completly escaped their control, in desperation they decided to help the Americans develop the Atomic Bomb. However, von Neumann believed that there was another solution and that it was the best course of action but his superior disagreed with him so he contacted the Assassins. The Templar convinced Pash that travelling through time to stop Hitler before he became a menace was possible thanks to knowledge he found in the Apple of Eden. Despite believing that Neumann's plan had infinitesimal chances of success, Pash decided that the Brotherhood had to take the risk and accepted an alliance with the Templar.
- Historically, Tesla's ashes were placed in a spherical golden urn, an object that bore a striking resemblance to the Apple of Eden that influenced Tesla's work in the Assassin's Creed universe.