Advocacy Press Conference Only Raises More Questions
By. Aaron Frost
NEW YORK CITY, EARTH, SOL
Nearly two weeks have passed since the failed assassination attempt on Imperator Costigan, but the public has scrambled for any kind of information. Both the government and law enforcement have maintained a complete media blackout on their findings, as unconfirmed rumors swirled through the various news agencies. Finally, on Wednesday morning, mere hours after the passing of the Human-Xi’an Trade Initiative was announced, Advocacy Director Thomas Carmody took to the podium to publicly address the current state of the investigation.
The director began by confirming the name of the assailant killed fleeing the scene — Maurice Vano. Carmody went on to explain that blood toxicology reports of the autopsy indicated that Vano’s system had a significant amount of e’tâm in it. This relatively new street drug, commonly known as Flow, Blinder or TickTock, has been rising in popularity for its ability to put users into a state of hyperfocus and cognitive enhancement.
Whatever part e’tâm played in Vano’s actions remains unknown. However, Carmody suggested that it is possible that Vano could have used the drug to bolster his nerves in order to carry out this heinous act. And while there have been a handful of reported incidents where users of the drug have exhibited sociopathic breaks that led to violence, Carmody refused to speculate as to whether Vano suffered from a similar episode.
Director Carmody’s remarks were brief and focused on what little the Advocacy is currently willing to reveal about the attack. When finished, he refused to answer questions from reporters, claiming that it would be improper for him to comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation. Though many unknowns still remain regarding exactly what transpired at the Banking Federation Summit in New York City, the revelation of Maurice Vano as the assailant has only raised more questions than it answered.
New United launched its own investigation to uncover more information about the suspected assassin. Maurice Vano was born in Stalford, Bremen system, in 2890, and raised in the countryside. At the age of 13, he became a ward of the Governors Council when his parents were killed in a Vanduul attack along the outskirts of Vega while visiting with relatives. When he came of age, Vano left Bremen and enlisted in the Navy.
While at basic training in the Kilian system, several of his fellow recruits recounted numerous conversations where Vano stated that he wanted to be a Marine, in no small part due to the events surrounding the death of his parents. However, although Vano distinguished himself during training, he was not selected. Instead, Vano continued with the Navy and was assigned to the UEES Chimera, part of 33rd Battle Group patrolling the UEE-Xi’an border. Specifics about Vano’s service time are still classified, but several former crewmates we contacted painted the picture of a man who preferred to keep to himself. UEE Navy records released noted that Vano did receive a service reprimand during his third year, for fighting while on leave in Cestulus. While the cause of the incident is not mentioned, it seems that an unidentified Xi’an was sent to the hospital with a minor head injury as the outcome.
When his enlistment ended in 2918, Vano returned to private life instead of signing up for a new tour. He received an honorable discharge and became a Citizen of the UEE. Over the following three decades, Vano traveled extensively throughout the Empire, working as a mercenary for hire. Former clients indicated that he was serious and professional and preferred to work alone.
While reviewing public tax records that were filed in 2929 as part of an audit, New United uncovered some unusual contracts that could hint at Vano’s motivations when he attacked Imperator Costigan. The files indicated that Vano was hired on several occasions by Pells Shipping, a transport company that was later proven to be a front for the notorious Bascal crime syndicate. The Bascal family has been linked to several contract killings over the years.
The other employer of note is one Suvi Lorenzo, leader and founding member of the xenophobic group Empire First. Twice Vano acted as her bodyguard while she was in Oya to protest the Xi’an settlement on Oya III. As of yet, no further connections have been made between Lorenzo and Vano, but Lorenzo has publicly spoken out against Imperator Costigan numerous times and in 2937 two members of the group were arrested for planning to attack the Xi’an consulate on Earth.
Outside of his life as a mercenary, at some point in the early 2930s, Vano became a regular at meetings and political rallies put on by Terran Political Freedom (TPF), a hardline Terran independence group based in New Austin. Vano wrote several spectrum posts to the organization stating his support of dividing the Empire and the importance of systems governing themselves. When asked to comment, Jonas Lester, a spokesperson for TPF, was quick to distance themselves from the actions of their former member. Lester pointed out that Vano had not been associated with them for several months and that they in no way condone his actions.
Though several details about Maurice Vano’s life have now come to light, there is still very little publicly known about his actions immediately preceding the assassination attempt. There has been no clarity given to how Vano gained access to the Banking Federation Summit, nor word on how he was able to get a weapon so close to the Imperator. And no hint of whether he had any help at any point in his endeavor.
Of course, until further details are revealed, all we’re currently left with is an incomplete portrait of Maurice Vano, a troubled man with years of military training and ties to numerous radical groups around the UEE. Were his actions an attempt to liberate Terra? Was he motivated by a distrust of the Xi’an and a desire to see the Human-Xi’an Trade Initiative fail? Was he just a hired gun of some still unnamed third party? The fact that no group has so far come forward to claim this act perhaps points to the possibility that this tragedy was not politically motivated, but rather the irrational actions of Vano’s drug-clouded mind. At this time, it yet remains to be seen what additional information will be uncovered as investigators continue to work on revealing the truth behind this assassination attempt on Imperator Costigan.