On May 7, 2041 a shocked world could finally put a face to the tragedy that had dominated the news for days. 37-year-old Ben Drakes confessed to the bombing attack at a Veilcorp company Luau that left 10 dead and dozens injured. Veilcorp’s founder Eric Oeming was seriously injured in the explosion and his wife and daughter were among those lost. As Drakes’ case moves into it’s final phase this week, officials have announced new details about his alleged accomplice and say more arrests are soon to come.
A member of the radical environmentalist group Gaia Guard, Drakes turned himself in a day after releasing a manifesto to the press in which he claimed, “Oeming and his followers thought they were above Gaia’s law, so we made them answer for their cruelty.”
Although Hawaii abolished capital punishment before it was granted statehood in 1959, a decision was made to try him federally, making him eligible for the death penalty. While unusual, the move was not unprecedented. The government did the same back in 2014 when they sought the death penalty for a soldier who had murdered his daughter. Drakes plead guilty and represented himself during the speedy trial. He has pledged that he will not seek to appeal the decision of the court during this final phase, and is ready to “sacrifice my life for our mother Gaia.”
From the very beginning investigators had their doubts that the Veilcorp lift operator had acted alone. The arrest of 31-year-old Richard Yates early this year seemed to confirm that suspicion. However, officials have been tight-lipped about the investigation and little information has been released until today.
Yates moved with his family to Maui in late 2039 to work as Lahaina’s marketing specialist on the inter-island rail project. Friends say that he was devastated by Veilcorp’s sudden departure from the project and blamed the company for the loss of his job. Mayor Albert Cravalho worked closely with Yates and says he was shocked when he heard about the arrest. “Richard was a bright and positive young man. Together we had a beautiful vision for what the rail project would become. Of course I was disappointed when the project fell through but what he’s done is unconscionable. I don’t know what would make a person so twisted.”
Friends of Yates say the cancellation of the project began a year-long downward spiral. “He had just moved his entire family to Lahaina, and within a few months he was jobless. They struggled quite a bit and he blamed Eric Oeming personally.”
Eventually Yates and his wife separated and he was forced to take a job as a branding associate at Reality Machine. “It was a blow to his ego. He became even more preoccupied with Oeming and his family. When he wasn’t working, he was spending most of his time is some pretty dark corners of the internet. It got so bad that his parents took a trip to the island to have an intervention but he flipped out when he learned that they had veiled there,” says an anonymous family member.
Officials say that Yates began making contact with Gaia Guard members at this time and became convinced in a number of conspiracy theories. He was obsessed with the idea that Oeming was a time traveller, SSHAM was made from unnatural products brought in through the veil, and Veilcorp was secretly conducting experiments on residents. It was these beliefs and his hatred of Eric Oeming that investigators say led him to work with Drakes.
One of the biggest questions up to this point has been how Drakes got the explosives used in the attack. Authorities now say that part of the puzzle was solved by Yates. “We believe that Mr. Yates provided access to an unrestricted RMIII machine in order to make the explosives used in the attacks. These two, along with at least one other accomplice, broke down various safeguards in the machines in order to produce the raw components needed for the bombs.” This is the first time officials have publically announced that there are other suspects in the case, and they say they are close to making more arrests.
Veilcorp COO Lisa Hunt praised today’s announcement and said, “They say that for every cockroach you see there are 100 hiding. I want everyone involved to know that we’re working closely with law enforcement and we have not forgotten what you’ve done. There is no place you can hide. Our reach extends to some very bad places across the globe. Places where justice is harsh and swift. It would be in your best interest to turn yourself in. It’s just a matter of time until we shine a light on you too.