Ad Astra Incident
The Ad Astra incident was a major news item in 2038, when it occurred, and the trial made headlines across the world. The pilot was Anton Roderick Davis – he was a fighter pilot for CanaArm back in the corporate wars of 2032. After an honorable discharge, he was hired to pilot the first space cruise liner to Mars, the Ad Astra.
His wife and daughter – Mary Fisher and Danielle Davis, respectively – were allowed on-board as a recruitment incentive. Anton and Mary were known to be having some marital problems, possibly due to the stress of Anton’s military job – CanaArm security guards were called to their residence on two occasions before the transfer to the Ad Astra, and there was video evidence of one of those fights. There is no evidence that it ever got physical, but the video includes plenty of shouting, cursing, and negative things said between the spouses.
His wife was two years younger than Anton – 32 at the time of her death, while their daughter was 12. They got married when Anton graduated from the CanaArm Flight Academy, when he was 22.
The Ad Astra trial was big, big news, and everyone covered it in great detail. There is video evidence that Anton was at the helm of the Ad Astra prior to its spectacular descent, and logs were recovered showing that the pilot set the Ad Astra on a course to intersect with the Earth. Anton himself survived only by escaping the falling craft in a space suit intended for orbital diving – a high-risk sport the Ad Astra had available prior to closing up when it was scheduled to depart Earth orbit.
Because the Ad Astra wasn’t in a normal orbit, the orbital dive didn’t quite work out as normal – Anton hit the atmosphere at the wrong angle and his suit heated up way past the safe zone, leaving Anton with massive burns across his body by the time he finally hit ground.
Due to the burns, he wasn’t able to attend the trial in person – it was streamed to his hospital bed, and he appeared in the defendants box covered in bandages and on pain medication. Still, the evidence was considered strong enough to convict. It was unclear what the actual purpose was, but two primary theories were held: first, that it was to get back at his wife, who had hired a lawyer (though not yet met with him) a few days prior to the Ad Astra incident. The alternative theory is that it was intended as an act of terrorism – several terrorist groups, among them the ‘White Knights’ and the ‘Proletariet’ took credit for his actions and claimed him as a member, though evidence specifically for that was rather thin. Still, he was convicted of mass murder with ease and sentenced to death of personality.
Anton was quiet throughout the trial and never gave any reason for why he did it, or even claim that he was innocent – though he didn’t admit guilt, either. The fact he didn’t claim innocence is cited as one of the biggest reasons that he was convicted.
There are conspiracy theories out there that Anton was set up, with the primary ‘true perpetrator’ being the US government as retaliation for the Militia Wars, but none of them hold all that much water.