December 16th 2015
The initial explosion occurred on August 23rd, 2546 at 12:00 SET. The corresponding echo carried through the biodome in Jata, alerting everyone that something was terribly wrong. Stunned Citizens and civilians gathered to gawk as first responders scanned the rubble for survivors. Shortly after the Spectrum began to broadcast live footage to the rest of Davien System, a second and third explosion shook the enclosure. The strategically placed charges inflicted critical damage to the biodome’s structural integrity, causing it to collapse and kill thousands below.
The explosions shocked the UPE, which had just survived the First Tevarin War. The public was terrified that a Tevarin sleeper cell was responsible for the attack, but it was not long before Advocacy investigators declared otherwise. Analysis revealed the bomb components were Xi’An in origin.
On the day of the “Atrocity at Jata,” Ivar Messer, at the time the High-General, was actively campaigning for an initiative to eliminate the UPE’s governing triumvirate and consolidate power into a single office. He claimed the Tribunal system was a toothless, outdated, ineffectual system where every issue was obsessively discussed without any clear direction or resolution. He believed that ultimately the decision needed to come down to one person, a Prime Citizen who would be able to guide Humanity out from the mire of bureaucracy.
When news of the bombings finally reached the Sol System, instead of immediately meeting with the Tribunal, Messer met with the press instead. Standing before reporters, Messer declared, “I have drafted a plan that will hunt down those responsible for the atrocity at Jata and ensure this never happens again. If we had a Prime Citizen in place, these measures would already be in motion. Instead, the Empire must wait for the Tribunal to convene and debate. Who knows how many more systems will suffer similar attacks by then?”
Over the ensuing weeks, the Advocacy failed to find those responsible for the attacks. While Messer stopped short of accusing the Xi’an government of orchestrating the explosions, his intensifying rhetoric left little doubt as to who he blamed. Meanwhile, the Tribunal’s two other members, High-Secretary Janis Rezaian and High-Advocate Mauricio Tusk, publicly chastised Messer for “inflammatory speech and an unwillingness to discuss strategies other than his own.” The intra-Tribunal bickering ground the government to a halt and angered an Empire that yearned for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.
Two months after the Atrocity at Jata, an explosion ripped through Tram’s bustling TDD building and killed close to 700 people. The Advocacy determined the bombs featured the same Xi’an technology used in Jata. Over the following weeks, fear festered in the UPE as four more terrorist bombings occurred, killing hundreds more. Convinced only a strong leader could curb the attacks, Citizens voted in favor of replacing the Tribunal with a single Prime Citizen, then in an emergency election on December 15th, promptly selected Ivar Messer for the position. The rest, as they say, is history.
One of Messer’s first actions as Prime Citizen was to increase the military’s presence near highly populated areas as a deterrent against further attacks. The plan seemingly worked, as no more bombings occurred. History books even credited the end of the terrorist campaign to Messer’s strong leadership.
Then, in 2806, the UEE sanctioned a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to atone for the outrages of the Messer era, releasing a trove of previously classified data to the Ark. Sydney Kamarck, a Rhetor-based historian and professor of Human Political Systems, spent years scouring the information. Fascinated by the sociopsychology behind Humanity’s transition from the Tribunal to Messer’s fascist rule, she dedicated weeks each term teaching students the significance of each attack, but always struggled to answer why the perpetrators had chosen Jata’s dome as a target.
While digging through the now-unclassified documents, Kamarck came across an arrest record from the Jata police that contained a familiar name, Cyrus Ishitaka. Days before the attack on the city, Ishitaka got caught in a police dragnet of local SLAM dealers. He was arrested and booked before being released without charges. There was no reason given for his release — only a name: Pat Mora. A search for Pat Mora turned up a surprising answer. It was a military alias used by Adam Corr, another name familiar to Kamarck. Both Corr and Ishitaka had fought alongside Ivar Messer in the battle of Idris IV. Adam Corr led an infiltration team and Cyrus Ishitaka was a demolition expert.
Sensing a possible connection, Kamarck searched for evidence of Corr and Ishitaka in the other systems that experienced attacks. Traced through the regularly maintained contact he kept with his son, Ishitaka was placed in four of the five systems in the days leading up to each explosion. Meanwhile, neither Adam Corr nor his alias Pat Mora could be found anywhere. Other than springing Ishitaka from jail, Corr was essentially a ghost. That is until Messer was elected Prime Citizen and Corr was given a prominent position in the military.
Fate would not be so kind to Ishitaka. Days after the last terrorist attack occurred, Ishitaka was found dead in a New York City alley with a laser blast to the back of the head. The local police ruled it a SLAM deal gone wrong, but no suspects or witnesses were ever found. The only information on the case Kamarck could find was Ishitaka’s autopsy, which was sealed at the time. After reading it, she discovered her most damning piece of evidence. The coroner had found something under Ishitaka’s nail: traces of a rare chemical compound used in Xi’An explosives.
Kamarck unveiled her discoveries and chronicled her interpretation of events in the 2812 best-seller The Path to Prime Citizen. The book blamed Ishitaka and Corr for the bombing campaign, but ultimately accused Ivar Messer of masterminding the plan as a way to ascend to Prime Citizen. While some critics complained that the theory was heavily predicated on circumstantial evidence, the court of public opinion accepted Kamarck’s version of events.
To this day, the truth behind the Atrocity at Jata may never be fully known, but what cannot be disputed is that it was a crucial step down the dark path to dictatorship.