“ 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 ”
Aaron Keener, call-sign "Vanguard", was a First Wave Strategic Homeland Division agent who, after the Joint Task Force's disastrous surrender and retreat from the Dark Zone, disavowed The Division and went rogue. Recruiting a number of other First Wave agents to his cause and killing those who resisted, he developed his own ambitions for establishing order and a future for the country or possibly the world, even if he is accused of high treason and branded a traitor of the United States federal government to do it.
While Keener's identity was shrouded throughout Tom Clancy's The Division, his intentions were unraveled during the events of Warlords of New York, making him somewhat of an antagonist whose intentions were far worse than that of Gordon Amherst.
Before the Outbreak
Keener graduated from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, before serving in the Navy as a Coastal Riverine Squadron small boat operator and weapons expert. He served a tour of duty fighting the war on drugs in South America, and at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti and has a mild reputation as the sarcastic, yet charismatic individual. His military experience and education in military treatise and psychology made him an excellent candidate for The Division. Eventually, Keener and his army buddy Carter Leroux was contacted by Division recruiter Elija Le to join The Division. Keener and Leroux passed the psychological tests, they were then given Smart Watches and joined The Division.
Keener is noted to combine his military experience and decision-making skill to achieve extensive success in the private sector. Upon leaving the military, Keener took up a job as a futures trader on Wall Street. Keener is labelled to be adaptable and confident, where he always assumes that he is going to come out on top.
Keener is twice divorced. However, he maintains friendly relationships with both ex-wives. One of them has described Keener as too much work to keep up with.
Keener also has a privileged upbringing and has never faced real adversity. Despite this, he has been able to overcome any obstacle through a combination of willpower and intelligence. Keener also has a personable character, enabling him to get others to work together to achieve his goals.
Keener was thus noted to be a "potentially prototypical candidate" for joining The Division. This is probably due to his intellect as a person, as well as his military expertise from his time in military school as well as his time serving the military.
Tom Clancy's The Division
Keener was part of the First Wave of Division agents to be activated after the outbreak of Green Poison. One of his objectives given by The Division was to secure what would be known as the Dark Zone, constructed to contain the infected citizens. However, CERA and Joint Task Force lost control of the Dark Zone quickly after its establishment and ordered all forces to pull out at all costs, including Keener and his fellow First Wave agents, forcing them to leave behind expensive equipment and any hope of ever establishing order in the region.
During the JTF's retreat, Aaron was leading a group of civilians out of the Dark Zone when they were ambushed by a group of Rikers. Keener sheltered the civilians in an apartment building and fended off the overwhelming number of Rikers all by himself. He radioed the JTF for reinforcements but was denied despite explaining his situation. One of the Rikers then threw a Molotov cocktail into the building, killing everyone inside except for Keener who managed to escape and/or kill all the attackers. These incidents changed Keener's perspective of the federal government and left him disenchanted with his role as a Division agent, feeling a great deal of anger and betrayal. As such, he made the choice of turning rogue against The Division.
Sometime between Keener turning rogue and joining the Last Man Battalion, he and Leroux encountered a fireman and his family. The fireman was threatened by Rioters. Despite Keener having been rogue agent already, he helped the family. He then told the family that he can protect them and get them to safety. Keener pointed them towards New Jersey and told them to stay low, avoid going into crowds. Later, Leroux asked him why he helped the family, Keener replies that he admired the fireman stepping up to the rioters, while the logical solution was to run away.
His first actions after turning rogue were to gather as many First Wave agents as possible, intending to form a unit of rogue agents to work for him in future operations. Agents who chose not to ally with him were executed by Keener in cold blood, and eventually, the entirety of the First Wave went missing or was killed. This event had triggered The Division to deploy the Second Wave of agents to investigate what had happened to the First Wave, coupled with continuing the mission to restore order in New York.
Keener met Charles Bliss, the commanding officer of the Last Man Battalion. Keener wanted to make use of the Last Man Battalion to establish dominance over Manhattan, while Bliss wanted to take advantage of Keener's SHD technology to get an advantage over other factions controlling Manhattan. Together, Keener and the Last Man Battalion had launched many operations against belligerent factions, including the JTF.
One of the joint operations conducted in the bombing of an osprey helicopter carrying the Second Wave of Division agents into Manhattan, killing everyone aboard, including the Division Commander tasked with leading the Second Wave. The bombing also resulted in Faye Lau being critically injured, as well as knocking another agent unconscious.
While conducting the operations with the Last Man Battalion, Keener also investigated the outbreak on his own, eventually discovering that Gordon Amherst was responsible for the Outbreak. After Faye Lau discovered several bodies of the First Wave agents, clues pointing to Aaron Keener started to emerge, introducing Aaron Keener to the Player. After the Police Academy mission, the player first caught a glimpse of Keener through a recovered CCTV footage, which showed Keener convincing a fellow agent to defect after the JTF and Division’s disastrous and costly failure to hold the Dark Zone.
Later on, the player is tasked to save Dr. Vitaly Tchernenko from the Russian Consulate. Keener was contacted by Tegan Silver , a follower of Keener's cause, citing an assault on the consulate was imminent. Keener contacted Leroux and warned him about it. When the player waited for him to open the secret door to the panic room, Leroux break-in, taking Tchernenko to a chopper seen leaving by the player, the player injured Leroux. The chopper is presumed to be heading towards an LMB base for Keener, later revealed to be the U.N. Headquarters.
However, once the JTF and The Division storm the U.N. Headquarters to drive out the LMB and eliminate Bliss (with a secondary object to find Tchernenko and Keener), an ECHO reveals that Keener sees that the LMB are finished and instead takes Tchernenko with him while ordering two other rogue agents to stall the Second Wave agents and also jam The Division tracking hardware to prevent them following him, after which they would regroup at another location (the location of which at this time is unknown). This was to earn Bliss' anger at Keener for betraying the LMB.
After Bliss was killed and the U.N. Headquarters was secured by the JTF, an ECHO reveals that Keener had found Amherst's lab, as well as some virus samples, a 3D DNA printer, and also Amherst's notes and ideas. Following on from an earlier discussion he had with another First Wave agent, he stole as much as he could put into a duffel bag, then left a message (via his hacked SHD Tech) for any Second Wave agent who picked up the signal and then took off. At this point in time, thanks to Faye Lau and the Second Wave, the JTF and the U.S. government are now and well truly aware of Keener's activities and intentions, with him now wanted for high treason and the possibility of being registered as a terrorist now.
Keener found Lori Baker, a Rogue Division agent and a field surgeon. Keener asked Baker to join the team and told him that they are going to eradicate the weak. Baker accepted his proposition. Later, Keener went back to the Russian Consulate at some point, to retrieve the injured Leroux. Right after he took him to Baker. Leroux promised Keener he won't fail him again and Baker nursed him back to good health.
With the recent deployment of both The Division and the JTF to the West Side Pier to help secure the area, Second Wave agents have recovered numerous smartphone messages out in the field, with five of them being left behind by Keener himself. These messages revealed that he was also in the West Side Pier district earlier to hunt down a few things that he needed for his plans, given the fact that by now, according to him, that both Central and Eastern Manhattan had 'been picked clean' of anything useful to him. Keener then states that he decided to broadcast his location in West Side Piers in order to drag all the warring factions (all of them apparently having various feuds against Keener, the reasons of which are unknown, with the exception of the LMB) to the area to chase him, which in doing so, dragged the JTF and The Division to the area in order to keep them occupied and 'keep their eyes off the prize'.
After revealing this, he then starts to taunt the agents about how no one will find him, no matter what before revealing that despite the Quarantine Lockdown on the island, with the U.S. Coast Guard/U.S. Navy's blockade on the Hudson and the JTF guarding all tunnels and bridges out of Manhattan, Keener was able to either slip past the patrols or, more likely, bribed someone in either organization (be either with a false promise of hope or by force) in order to let him through and off the island.
His last message states that he is now well and truly gone, and also reveals that he's got his eyes set on not just the United States but now the world. Once again, Keener attempts to try and convince the agents that working for groups like the JTF or the U.S. government is not worth the time and effort, and should they finally see his way and beliefs, then he might be able to allow them to work together. The final thing that Keener states is that should any Second Wave agent (once they start to follow his line of thinking) is able to finally get out of Manhattan, he said not to look for him but rather he would come to them when the time was right.
Thanks to the intel gathered by Manhattan's second wave, Keener's agent status has been electronically revoked and is now wanted for high treason with the strong possibility of being placed on both the U.S. government's and Interpol's Most Wanted list.
At this point in time, Aaron Keener's location is currently unknown but now confirmed that he is no longer in Manhattan, possibly in New York City altogether.
Tom Clancy's The Division 2
6 months later, dozens of audio logs left behind by Aaron Keener show up in Washington, D.C., indicating that Keener is still at large. One of the audio logs found in Washington, D.C. talks about the quarantine around New York City falling apart, indicating that he has returned to N.Y.C. within the time between Tom Clancy's The Division and Tom Clancy's The Division 2.
In Episode 3 of Tom Clancy's The Division 2, which takes place on Coney Island in Brooklyn, after the Russian Scientist Vitaly Tchernenko successfully engineered a more lethal chemical agent based on the Green Poison, he gave Vitaly Tchermenko to a battalion of Black Tusk, in exchange for unspecific support in his future projects, according to him. It is still uncertain what Keener wants from the Black Tusk, but one thing however certain is that Keener intended on double-crossing the Black Tusk all along. During or before his deal with the Black Tusk, he informed Vivian Conley, a Rogue Division agent and the current leader of the Cleaners, that the Black Tusk has Tchernenko all along, and Keener tells Conley to bring her Cleaners to kill all the Black Tusk on Coney Island and get to Tchernenko so she and the Cleaners can have their revenge since Tchernenko help create the Green Poison. However, in reality, Keener was the one who held Tchernenko as a prisoner in a secret location. After Conley sent her Cleaners on Coney Island to kill Tchernenko, and a squad of Division agents from Washington, D.C. raid the Island, Aaron fled during the chaos, once again one step ahead of everyone.
It is later on revealed that when he had Vitaly Tchermenko in his custody and with the possession of Dr. Amherst's notes of the Green Poison, he engineered his own deadly biological virus and along with his other fellow four rogue agents, he attacked The Division's Base of Operations in Manhattan killing top Division Agents and Analysts. He then went on to take control of four districts in Lower Manhattan and each of the four districts are given to his four rogue agents. He managed to secure an understanding between the Cleaners and the Rikers. The two factions now serve as allies to him and his band of rogue agents.
Pre-Warlords of New York
Months after the Second Wave Division agents reclaimed the city, Keener met James Dragov, a fellow Rogue Division agent who was also the leader of the Rikers, right after Keener killed several of the Rikers to threaten Dragov. Keener then offered a partnership between them, with Dragov providing Keener with supplies, as well as help on certain occasions.
Keener then brought Dragov along to find Theo Parnell and recruit him. Keener met Parnell at the Arch in Lower Manhattan. Parnell pointed his gun at Keener at first sight, while Keener kept calm, and persuaded Parnell to join his cause. He persuaded him by confirming his suspicions on his father's death and telling him that The Division is corrupt from the people at the higher up. Little did Parnell know if he failed to turn rogue, Dragov will shoot him dead from behind.
Keener then met with Vivian Conley, a fellow Rogue Division agent and now the leader of the Cleaners. Conley was surprised to see Keener, assuming he had been killed in the Dark Zone retreat. Keener then thanked Conley for saving him with her turret and offered her partnership. Conley rejected at first, but Keener persuaded her in the end.
Keener then found Javier Kajika, a Rogue Division agent at the tunnels. Keener persuaded Kajika to join him, in return for the names of the people that betrayed Kajika and his squad during a previous mission.
Keener found his Division recruiter, Elija Le, and sought to recruit him for his cause. Keener introduced him to Tegan Silver, and have him the codename "Huntsman". Le eventually accepted his proposition.
Keener found Jason Barnes, a Rogue Division agent and an eco-terrorist, and manipulated him into joining his team of rogue agents. Barnes joined as his goal was to eradicate humanity. Although Keener had a different goal, but their methods of doing it are more or less the same, by committing mass murder.
Before attacking the Base of Operations in Lower Manhattan, Keener had orchestrated a plan to attack Washington, D.C. Unable to fulfill the plan himself, Keener found Molly Henderson, a Rogue Division agent. He tasked her to carry out his plan. To do so, Keener told Henderson to assemble a team of rogue Division agents, while Keener told Conley to give Henderson some Cleaners support.
Warlords of New York
Main article: Warlords of New York
Aaron Keener, along with his four Rogue Division agents, launched biological attacks on multiple sites in New York City limits, mainly targeted Joint Task Force facilities and highly-populated area, one of those include the New York City Hall.
Faye Lau, acting commander of The Division in New York, requested emergency help from Washington, D.C. Division Agent Alani Kelso and the player then travel to New York City to assist with the situation. Through a surveillance video in the City Hall, the player identifies the perpetrators of the attack as First Wave Rogue Division agents Vivan Conley, Theo Parnell, James Dragov, Javier Kaijika with the infamous rogue agent Aaron Keener leading them. The Division in New York then launched a manhunt for Keener and his rogue agents.
Having difficulty tracking the rogue agents with the limited data, the player starts tracking the rogue agents with intel from the Peacekeepers. In the meantime, Keener prepared his endgame for the world. With Dragov providing the supplies, and Parnell with his technological expertise, Keener was able to build Ground to Air missiles for spreading the virus, more lethal forms of SHD Techs and a Rogue Agent network.
After the player defeats Conley, Kajika, Parnell, and Dragov, the player was able to give their smartwatches for Faye Lau to pinpoint Keener's exact location, which she said, and tracked Keener to Liberty Island. Agent Kelso and the player then proceeded to the ferry terminal for transport to the Liberty Island to kill Keener. Faye Lau revealed to be working with the Black Tusk, told Bardon Schaeffer where Keener is located at, which led to Schaeffer sending Black Tusk forces on the ferry terminal to stop the agents from having Keener killed or captured while wanting to kill Keener himself.
After an unsuccessful interception for the Division agents at the ferry terminal, Schaeffer launched a missile attack on the Division agents' ferry, destroying the boat, but the agents survived. Keener watched the whole thing through cams, then he hacked into the SHD Network and teased the agents.
Schaeffer sent Black Tusk ground forces to kill Keener, while the player stops the overwhelming ground forces. Schaeffer then sent a Razorback drone platform to kill Keener, which the player stopped almost immediately. In a final attempt to kill Keener, Schaeffer sent his last Marauder Class Quadcopter to kill the player and Keener. Keener, having advanced SHD Tech, hacks the Quadcopter and uses it against the player. The player however prevailed in eliminating the quadcopter. After all the Black Tusk forces on the island are dead, Keener then asked the player to meet him inside. Using ECHO, he explained to the player his agenda and attacked the player with more advanced SHD Tech. The player again prevailed and chased Keener to outside the Statue of Liberty. Keener then attempted to launch his Ground to Air missile containing Tchnernenko's new Eclipse Virus. In the final seconds, the player stopped the machine. Keener pissed at his lifelong work being destroyed, went to kill the player.
Although Keener fought hard with his skills and techs, Keener was fatally wounded by the player in the fight. Keener then attempted to escape to the pier, but his wounds prevented that from happening. Agent Kelso and the player then approached Keener. Keener, having one last trick up his sleeve, activated his Rogue Agents' network, then warned the Division agents, saying "you have no idea what is coming", as his last breath. The agent then grabbed Keener's smartwatch, while the Rogue Network revealed that Faye Lau had gone rogue to work with the Black Tusk, while Keener's watch broadcasted the live conversation between Lau and Schaeffer.
Aaron Keener's personality before (and during) the outbreak is that of high intelligence but also one that shows that he sure of himself and right all the time, regardless of whether he's right or wrong. Keener also possesses a very strong determination and perseverance to ensure he achieves his goals. As his profile states, due to his personable character, he is capable to have other help him either achieve one of his goals or a common objective. Despite this, he still felt a sense of duty to protect the weak and innocent as he escorted a group of civilians out of the Dark Zone and fended off a group of Rikers attacking them. After being denied help and the civilians being killed by the Rikers, Aaron felt a great deal of anger and betrayal from the government as he believed he could've saved the civilians and the First Wave could've saved the Dark Zone all together had the government been more competent and allow the First Wave (as he puts it) "to do their fucking job". It is then he begins to lose faith in the government and any hope of restoring order in New York City.
Following his decision to go rogue and when the Second Wave starts to investigate him Keener's personality has changed somewhat. While he still has his determination and perseverance, his attitude towards the JTF and the U.S. government has changed dramatically. He now believes that rule and law no longer exists and now the only way to survive is by obtaining power. While Keener is still a personable character, he now uses others to help achieve his own goals - regardless of either their lives or the cost to others.
With the release of Update 1.8., Keener's personality has now changed considerably. Judging by his voice and also what his intentions are, it is possible that now he has developed a lust for power and also now possess a sadistic trait due to his views on the government, the JTF and why The Division is wasting their time helping people "who aren't worth it" and should be left behind. It is possible that he may also be starting to go insane.
The audio logs that Keener left behind through Washington, D.C. as dead drops indicate that he has a superiority complex and a massive ego, showing contempt and derision towards anyone who doesn't share his ideologies and ambitions.
With the help of the new biological weapons he has engineered, he now wants to create chaos and his lust for power has led him to control four districts in Lower Manhattan and now he wants to expand his control more.
Keener is also prone to paranoia, as during the fight in ANNA's control room, he taunts the agent by hacking into their system, asking them who can they trust.
In spite of his cruelty and ambitions, he does show moments of compassion on a few occasions. One of them was helping a family escape Downtown Manhattan, to the chagrin from one of his fellow Rogue Agents. He also showed kindness to Tchernenko during a failed experiment developing the Eclipse Virus, as well as reassuring Hornet after coming back from the dead due to his failure from stopping The Division in the Russian Consulate.
What's more important to Keener is leaving a legacy when he dies. Seeing the tyranny in the post-Green Poison U.S., he sees anarchy as the only solution to end it. It is why he dedicated to make the Eclipse Virus and use it to wipe the slate clean and had Parnell develop the Rogue Network as a way for all rogue agents to enact their operations and continue his work if need be.
- Drone (Defender, Striker, Fixer and Bombardier)
- Turret (Assault, Incinerator, Sniper and Artillery)
- Seeker-Mine (Explosive, Air-burst and Mender)
- Chem-Launcher (Riot Foam, Firestarter, Oxidizer and Reinforcer)
- Firefly (Blinder)
- Hive (Stinger)
- Trap (Shock; Hacked from the Player)
- Decoy (Holographic Distraction; Hacked from the Player)
- Pulse (Jammer and "Hacker")
Known Criminal/Treason Charges
- Execution of civilians
- Failure to prevent JTF deaths
- Convincing many members of the First Wave to go rogue
- Execution of loyal First Wave Division agents and assigned Division Commander
- Working alongside the Last Man Battalion
- Massacring members of the Second Wave of Division agents and assigned Division Commander, save for Faye Lau and the Player (with LMB support)
- Hindering Joint Task Force and The Division missions
- Massacring people, diplomats, and VIPs in the Russian Consulate in New York City
- Kidnapping Russian virologist Vitaly Tchernenko
- Theft of Gordon Amherst's notes, laptop, virus samples, and 3D biological printing unit
- In tandem with the kidnapping and thievery charges, Keener made Tchernenko unwillingly create a new virus and vaccine, construed as handling illegal biological weapons and assets
- Working with Black Tusk
- Attacking The Division's Manhattan Base of Operations with his illegal bioweapon, killing numerous top Division agents, Manhattan JTF operators, civilians, and other JTF/Division analysts
- Working with the Cleaners and the Rikers with four like-minded rogue agents, also charged for high treason.
- Aaron Keener's last name is a reference to ISAC's voice actor who is named Brandon Keener.
- Aaron Keener bares a lot of similarities with Lucas Grey from HITMAN and HITMAN 2 and it's upcoming installment HITMAN III both are voice acted by the same voice actor. Both characters were shrouded in mystery until It's second game was released.