|“||We thought our world would last forever until a single virus destroyed the society in a few days. But here we are eight months later, and you haven't learned anything. Somehow you can't see that you're making the same mistakes that brought it all down in the first place. Your Job, Agent, is to protect this delusion and I have sworn to destroy it. You can try to stop me, hunt me down, kill me. But this is bigger than any of us. So you're going to ask yourself, is this a fight that you can win.||„|
|~ Aaron Keener speech's|
|“||You have no idea... what's coming...||„|
|~ Keener last words|
Aaron Keener, also known by his call-sign Vanguard, is the main antagonist in the Ubisoft game's Tom Clancy's The Division franchise, appearing as the overarching antagonist in Tom Clancy's The Division and Tom Clancy's The Division 2 and the main antagonist in The Division 2: Warlords of New York.
He was the "prodigal son" of the Strategic Homeland Division and the leading agent of the First Wave Division Agents when they were first deployed to secure New York City from the large scale Rikers attacks. Due to his self perceived impotence of the governing bodies, he became the leader of the Wave of Rogue Agents in New York and Washington D.C.
He is voiced by John Hopkins.
Information on Keener given in the game indicates that Keener considers himself of a higher intelligence than anyone else around him, and that he used his intelligence to make his living as a future's trader. He was chosen to become part of the Strategic Homeland Division for this very reason, as Keener's sharp intellect and action-oriented nature would be vital traits in the event of a mass catastrophe on US soil.
Aaron attended The Citadel, a Military College of South Carolina, before serving in the military. He served on a tour of duty at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti and has a mild reputation as a "Fobbit", which is a soldier who spends most of his service away from the front line and serving sentry duty at Forward Operating Bases in the battlefield.
Keener is noted to combine his military experience and his extensive decision-making expertise to achieve extensive success in the private sector. Upon leaving the military, Keener took up a job on Wall Street as a successful future's trader. Aaron Keener has been labelled to be adaptable and very confident, where he always assumes that he is going to come out on top. This makes him borderline arrogant.
Aaron Keener has been divorced twice, and he maintains friendly relationships with both of his ex-wives. One of them has even described Aaron Keener as too much work to keep up with.
Aaron Keener has a very privileged upbringing and has never faced real adversity during his youth. However, he has been able to always overcome any obstacle in his life through a combination of his indomitable willpower and advanced intelligence. Keener also has a personable character and can come off as highly relatable and is extremely charismatic, enabling him to get others to work together to achieve his goals.
All the above mentioned traits, combined with his intelligence, personable character and his military expertise as well as his high adaptability; had made Aaron Keener a noteworthy candidate for the Strategic Homeland Division, with them labeling him as a "potentially prototypical candidate" for joining the Division.
The First Wave
During the initial outbreak of the Dollar Flu on New York City, Aaron Keener was activated with the First Wave of Division agents in order to try to restore order to the city. The issue was that the First Wave wasn't enough to curb the outbreak of violence, looting, and killing that would become New York during the initial weeks of the outbreak. While at first only forced to contend with various groups of rioters, the situation took a drastic turn when a majority of the inmates of the Rikers Island correctional facility managed to secure a barge and escape into Manhattan coupled with the formation of what became known as "The Dark Zone", an area of central Manhattan that the government had deemed out of their hands and sealed from the city.
It was from the Dark Zone that Keener had rescued a group of civilians. As he was attempting to lead them to safety, Keener was ambushed by a group of Rikers inmates. Sheltering the civilians inside an abandoned apartment building, Keener desperately tried to radio to the nearest friendly forces for backup and evacuation for the civilians. When the friendlies replied they couldn't afford to spare any forces for the pickup, a Riker Molotov cocktail crashed through the window and into the apartment. Keener was the only survivor.
Shaken by what had happened, Keener became a ghost in the crumbling city. The First Wave of the Division agents vanished while the city was overrun by what soon became the forces of the Rioters, Rikers, Cleaners, and the Last Man Battalion.
The Second Wave
When the Second Wave was activated, Manhattan was only barely held by the Federal Joint Task Force. Rioters were overrunning Brooklyn, and the JTF had suffered enormous casualties both from the Dollar Flu and from opposing forces. Holding Brooklyn and moving into Manhattan, the Second Wave was soon confronted with evidence that the majority of First Wave agents had been killed by the various factions trying to control Manhattan.
It was during a Division raid on the New York Police Academy that the truth was found. The First Wave hadn't been wiped out. It had simply found a new force to follow. At Keener's urging and his deal with Lt. Colonel Bliss, multiple First Wave agents fell in with the Last Man Battalion in East Manhattan and hunted down their remaining First Wave comrades. While the discovery sent shock waves through the Second Wave and JTF, Keener was focused on ensuring he was part of the superior force in Manhattan. Through with government oversight and the Federal government's refusal to do what he felt was "necessary", Keener found that the Last Man Battalion's ideals of peace at any cost meshed far more effectively with his worldview.
Commanding his turned First Wave agents to gather anything of value related to the Dollar Flu and to combat the efforts of the Second Wave in New York City, Keener realized the power at his disposal when he managed to gain control of the protein "printer" used by Gordon Amherst to create the Dollar Flu, and the unwilling services of Dr. Vitaly Tchernenko. By the time the Second Wave agents regain control of the neighborhoods of Manhattan and eliminate the LMB as an effective force, Keener is gone.
Warlords of New York
8 months after the outbreak, Keener took full control of Manhattan, causing a series of attack where the main base of The Division was also targeted, along with 4 lieutenants who were his supporters all to achieve total chaos in New York. Also achieving the alliance with factions such as Rikers, Cleaners and Black Tusk.
Knowing the chaos that Keener caused The Division ordered a manhunt to stop Keener once and for all, after his lieutenants were eliminated, Keener intended to use his new virus to end what was left of The Division, but it all ends in a confrontation against The Division Agents where Keener is fatally injured, Agent Kelso tries to talk to him, but he activates a Network of Rogue Agents before he dies letting Agents know they have no idea what is coming. Keener's SHD watch remained in possession of The Division Agent to know the information that Keener blocked.
Aaron Keener is a man whose trauma which he received in the Dark Zone in Manhattan had turned him into a delusional clinical sociopath. Able to easily manipulate those around him into doing what he wants them and always preferring to be on the most successful side of a situation. His desertion of the Division, followed by leaving the LMB to be destroyed, show that Keener is only loyal to his own ambitions. This is exemplified in one of the game's ECHO logs in the United Nations building, where the footage shows Keener eliminating members of the LMB and ordering two rogue agents to remain behind to stall the player long enough to allow Keener to escape New York's quarantine zone and take Tchernenko with him.
He is also willing to try to manipulate the same agent who has been hounding him across New York City. In the final ECHO log involving Keener, he mentions that the agent is as efficient and willing to do what is necessary as Keener, and that if the agent is so willing, then perhaps they would be willing to join with Keener.
Equipment and Abilities
- Superior Conditioning: Like all Division Agents, Aaron Keener has shown to have the exact levels of physical attributes as any Division Agent or any Hunter. However, due to him being a "prototypical candidate" for the Division, he is more stronger, resilient, faster and coordinated than the average Division Agent. This has contributed to his high confidence and borderline arrogance.
- Gifted Intelligence: A key attribute that separates Aaron Keener from other Division Agents is extraordinary intellect which is combined with his great decision-making skills and critical anticipation skills. This made him a prototypical candidate for the Division.
- Financial Analyst: Prior to the Outbreak in New York, Aaron Keener worked as a very successful Futures Trader on Wall Street. Aaron states that this contributed to his critical thinking and how he sees the current situation as a "balance sheet". This helps him calculate and decide who is best to be killed, who is best to be kept living and who is best to be his ally.
- Master Strategist: By observing the Division Agent's progress, he quickly anticipated the inevitable defeat of the Last Man Battalion and had formulated a plan to employ into action after he had patiently waited for the Division Agents to assault the United Nation's Building, he kidnapped Dr. Vitaly Tchernenko, Dr. Amherst's equipment and with his fellow rogue agents he had departed from the city.
- Manipulative Charisma: A key attribute to Keener's manipulative success is that he uses the truth and realism to manipulate people. He was able to use this to sway many first wave agents to his side and even establish himself as a high ranking member of the Last Man Battalion. He was even able to sway Vitaly into creating the Eclipse Virus, sway Theo into creating the Rogue Network, sway other many Division Agents into joining his Rogue faction.
- Tactical Combatant: Like all Division Agents, Aaron Keener is a masterful combatant, particularly in tactical combat. He was able to take on an entire battalion of Rikers on his own all the while protecting civilians from danger, which he inevitably failed to do so. He was also able to engage multiple foes to the LMB as well as Rioters without breaking a sweat. Aaron Keener showed his true tactical combat abilities when he was able to single-highhandedly hold his own against a group of Division Agents.
- S.H.D. Technologies: Like all Division Agents, Aaron Keener has SHD Technology, which gives them first aid equipment, seeker mines and turret guns, hacking protocols, assault drones, chem launchers, stinger hives etc...
- Offensive Weapons: Aaron employs SHD Tech such as Assault Drones, Stinger Hives, Various Turrets, Riot Foam Chem Launcher as well as Seeker Mines during combat.
- Defensive Weapons: In addition to First Aid Kits and Armor Kits, Aaron Keener is also capable of using the Reinforcer Chem Launcher on himself in order to regrow his Armor and regenerate his health. He can also use Tactical Shields to defend himself.
- SHD Tech Jamming: Unlike most Rogue Agents and all Division Agents, Aaron Keener has specialized EMP technology which is used only by him. It allows him to disable the SHD Tech of his enemies, thus taking away their greatest tactical advantage in any combat situation.
- Technology Hacking: Unlike most Division Agents, Aaron Keener is capable of rapidly hacking into complex technology systems thanks to the technological developments of Theo Parnell. He was even able to hack into the Black Tusk's Marauder Drone as well as their Warhounds. He could also automatically control and deploy assault drones, turret, hives and seeker mines whenever he wanted.
- Bio-Organic Weaponry: Thanks to the research and special technology of the late Gordon Amherst as well as the virology expertise of Dr. Vitaly Tchernenko, Aaron Keener finally had access to the Eclipse Virus, a bio-weapon which is more deadlier, more unstable and more fast acting than the Green Poison. He even entrusted stock piles of the Eclipse Virus to his Rogue Agent Cells.
|“||Normally I'd do this face-to-face but I'm not one hundred percent sure which way you'll jump. You act one way when Ms Lau is watching and another way entirely when you're off the leash. That's an interesting contradiction. You see, I think that deep down you get it. You know the old rules; laws, government, those things died on Black Friday. But the feral PM Cs, the convicts, the ones smart enough and good enough to take what they need, they'll survive. Me, I'm gonna prosper. Oh, you could too, but you took an oath, right? You got a duty. Those are both ways of saying your conscience is fucking you. You ask yourself; who has earned a right to tell you what to do? Do you know how many agents died to hold the Dark Zone, just for the brass to give up and put a wall around it? You don't believe me? You should check the place out for yourself. [...] You should think about getting in on this thing. I'll be seeing you.||„|
|~ Aaron Keener in Tom Clancy's The Division.|
|“||I'm talking common sense! Look around! There is nothing left to save! The JTF is trying to save a Manhattan that doesn't exist anymore. It is all about power now. Power and Survival. They are done but I am not. And you won't be either. Not if you work with me.||„|
|~ Aaron Keener to Scarecrow.|