When a devastating attack on an American base opens a terrorist war against the US, elite agent and Splinter Cell Sam Fisher is asked to lead the newly formed Fourth Echelon to confront the Blacklist threat. Working with a team for the first time, Sam must transform from lone wolf to leader in time to prevent a series of devastating attacks on American soil. But as they grow deadlier, Sam’s margin for error vanishes, and the choices he makes lead him to places he never thought he’d go.
00. Blacklist Zero
“American Power” was the opening salvo of the Blacklist initiative. The Engineers infiltrated the base, executing its commander and filming his death before launching a full-scale strike. The assault on the US Air Force base in Guam caught Sam Fisher and Victor Coste in the crossfire. Coste was critically wounded protecting Sam from a grenade blast, and subsequently hospitalized. The assault was eventually repulsed, but casualties were high. The Engineers subsequently released footage of the attack to the internet as part of the initial Blacklist video. In the wake of the attack, President Caldwell activated Fourth Echelon, and recruited Sam Fisher to lead it.
A routine extraction of an informant, arms dealer Andriy Kobin, from a CIA safehouse went wrong when local militia kidnapped him. Working on the ground with Isaac Briggs in support, Sam Fisher tracked Kobin to a repurposed police station. He rescued Kobin from the militia, who were prompted to act by the Engineers, and returned him to Paladin for debriefing. Onboard, Kobin confessed he sold the weapons for the Guam attack, and offered up any intel he has on the buyer. Sam decided to keep Kobin in custody on board, in case he might be useful in the future.
Kobin’s intel led to a series of terror training camps linked to the Engineers. 4th Echelon coordinated assaults on all of them, with Sam taking the largest, in Mirawa, Iraq. The camps proved to be traps. The other assaults turned into slaughters, with the Engineers uploading the footage to the net. Sam reached the heart of the Mirawa camp and found a video camera and an execution video. The video showed a US soldier captured in Guam, killed by Majid Sadiq, the leader of the Engineers.
Despite a trail of false evidence leading to Dallas as the target for the next Blacklist attack, “American Consumption,” Sam’s team pinpointed Chicago instead. Their work was borne out when a hostage situation erupted on the city’s Navy Pier. Infiltrating the Navy Pier, Sam quickly realized it is a distraction. The real assault was taking place nearby, at the local water treatment plant. There, the Engineers dumped weaponized plague bacillus into the water in hopes of infecting the entire city. With help from the team, Sam was able to stop the attack.
04. Private Estate
Changing tactics after Chicago, 4th Echelon pursued a known terrorist fixer named Reza Nouri, resident in South America’s tri-border region. As Sam reached Nouri in his panic room, Qods Force guards assaulted the estate. Nouri agreed to turn over intel he has on people he shipped to Sadiq in exchange for protection.
05. Abandoned Mill
Pursuing the intel provided by Nouri, 4th Echelon located a chemical weapons lab in an abandoned London building. Infiltrating the site, Sam discovered material suggesting that Iran is behind the Blacklist, and mapping out potential attacks. Sam also found a shipment of chemical weapons about to leave the site, and risked exposure to plant a tracker inside one of the devices. Overcome by the effects of the chemical weapon, he was captured, and interrogated by Sadiq. Briggs rescued Sam but chose to save his life rather than go after Sadiq. He did this over Sam’s direct orders, enraging Fisher to the point where he told Briggs he was done. Sadiq escaped London, possibly with the help of double agents inside the British intelligence community. The chemical weapons were shipped to the United States, with Charlie monitoring them through the SMI.
When President Caldwell released the intel pointing at Iran as the source of the Blacklist, the country demanded war. Grim distributed the intel, however, and proposed a risky plan: infiltrate Qods Force HQ to see if the evidence was real. Extorting a Qods Force general with a threat against his family, Sam was walked into the facility and then ambushed. He was nevertheless able to penetrate security and find the servers with the data he needed. This intel provided conclusively that Iran was not behind the Blacklist. Sam escaped the compound with the team’s support, including Briggs, whom Grim had tapped as a getaway driver. When the two were chased, Grim chose to use a UAV to take out the pursuing vehicles. The new intel cooled down the war fervor and left 4th Echelon looking for answers. Meanwhile, the tagged chemical weapons approached US territory.
07. Transit Yards
Using the SMI, the team tracked the chemical weapons – identified as nerve gas – to Philadelphia. There, the Engineers intended to use the subway system to spread it throughout the city, in an attack they called “American Freedom”. Sam and Briggs assaulted the Engineers on the ground, disabling most of the devices. The last one was planted on a moving train. Sam boarded the train, pursuing the lead Engineer on site and disabling the device. The Engineer chose suicide over submitting to questioning.
Facing an accelerated Blacklist and new intel implicating Iran, the team discovered that Nouri has turned himself in at Gitmo. He was the source of the “new intel”, clearly designed to push the US into war. Using the last of Briggs’ favors, Sam was placed inside the prison as an inmate. Briggs, posing as a guard, released him and led him to Nouri. Nouri confessed to falsifying intel, saying he acted on Sadiq’s orders. He also stated that Sadiq had targeted Fourth Echelon. Sam then escaped the prison, aided by Briggs. The two then traveled by boat to rendezvous with the team in Mexico.
The refuel and refit of Paladin was cut short by an attack from Mexican cartel operatives. Sam held them off while the plane prepared for takeoff. Later, it was revealed that a slip on Charlie’s part had allowed the cartel to learn of their presence, and that Sadiq had put a price on the team’s head. Grim kept this knowledge from the rest of the team, using it to motivate Charlie to step up instead.
10. American Fuel
Using a hole in security, the Engineers hacked the SMI and Paladin, sending it into freefall and knocking the pilot unconscious. Sam was forced to use Kobin, a pilot with a knowledge of large military cargo craft, to help right the plane and restart the systems. While 4th Echelon had to jettison some gear and their communications were damaged, Charlie was able to reverse-engineer the virus that had been used in the attack. However, the same virus had been unleashed to disable security at dozens of refineries along the Gulf Coast. This opened the door to “American Fuel”.
11. LNG Terminal
4th Echelon had already been pursuing a fuel tanker as a vector of the Blacklist’s “American Fuel” attack. However, they were unable to prevent the Engineers from ramming a loaded tanker into the Liquid Natural Gas terminal at Sabine Pass. This set off a massive explosion and threatened to spread to other facilities. With security and other systems offline, it seemed impossible to stop. Sam inserted into the site, assisting first responders and flushing the Engineer virus out of the system. He then pursued the leader Engineer onsite, capturing him and discovering that the Blacklist was a feint, designed to provoke a specific response. With public fear rising and the Gulf Coast in flames, President Caldwell had declared the Continuity of Government plan Active. This – specifically the COG bunker in Denver – was Sadiq’s real target.
12. Site F
By the time 4th Echelon left the Gulf Coast, Sadiq had put “American Blood” into action. Engineers seized the bunker with the Secretary of Defense inside, and opened negotiations with Caldwell. The President ordered 4th Echelon to stand down, but the team flew to Denver with Kobin as pilot. Sam and Briggs infiltrated the COG bunker, disrupting Sadiq’s plan to use SecDef’s access to download key governmental and military files for later use against the West. Wounded in the operation, Briggs told Sam to go after Sadiq. Escaping onto the tarmac after his plan to force 4th Echelon to fly him out failed, Sadiq confronted Sam and taunted him. If Sam killed Sadiq, that would make him a martyr. If Sam arrested Sadiq, he’d spill his guts about his mysterious backers and embroil the US in a dozen wars. Faced with an impossible choice, Sam instead chose to exercise the Fifth Freedom – the freedom to do whatever it takes to protect the United States – and instead made Sadiq disappear. Much later, a recovered Victor Coste began interrogating Sadiq about the “twelve nations” he mentioned standing behind the Engineers. Meanwhile, 4th Echelon prepared for the next mission in its ongoing mandate.