- "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, callsign "Vanguard," is 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.
Aaron Keener is one of Tom Clancy's The Division's primary antagonists, though his identity is shrouded for much of the story campaign.
Before the Outbreak
Keener graduated from The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, before serving in the military. He served a tour of duty at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti and has a mild reputation as a Fobbit (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 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.
After the Outbreak
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 the JTF 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.
His first actions after turning rogue were to gather the First Wave agents and form a unit of agents to work for him in future operations. Agents who chose not to ally with him were killed by Keener in cold blood. This event had triggered The Division to send a second wave of agents to investigate as much of the First Wave of agents has appeared to have gone MIA as a whole.
Keener then 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 Shade 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 is the bombing of a JTF helicopter that was carrying the Division Commander in charge of bringing the Second Wave of Division agents into Manhattan. The bombing also resulted in Faye Lau's injury as well as knocking the Player 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. Later on the player is tasked to save Dr. Vitaly Tchernenko from the Russian consulate. When the player waits for him to open the secret door to the panic room, Rogue agents working with Keener break in, taking Tchernenko to a chopper seen leaving by the player. The chopper is presumed to be heading towards a LMB base for Keener, later revealed to be the U.N. headquarters.
However, once the JTF and The Division storm the U.N. to drive out the LMB and eliminate Bliss (with a secondary object to find Tchernenko and Keener), a 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. 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 (or what remains of it) 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.
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 Smart Phone 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 Lock down 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 his 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.
With this recent Intel, there is a strong chance that Keener may now be placed on the U.S. government's Most Wanted list along with the possibility of having an arrest warrant from Interpol.
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.
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. His whereabouts still remain unknown.
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 possess 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 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 begin 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 indicates that he has superiority complex and a massive ego, showing contempt and derision towards anyone who doesn't share his ideologies and ambitions.
Known 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 Division agents and assigned Division Commander, save for Faye Lau and the Player (with LMB support).
- Kidnapping Russian virologist Vitaly Tchernenko.
- Massacring people, diplomats and VIPs in the Russian Consulate in New York City.
- Hindering Joint Task Force and Division missions.
- Theft of Gordon Amherst's notes, laptop, virus samples and 3D biological printing unit with intent to create a new virus and vaccine, which he will solely have the ownership to place the population at his mercy.