by Max Barry

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The 1980 Outer Coast Crisis and the Mystery of the Manille Island Massacre.

In the history of La Paz de Los Ricos, many unfair, controversial, mysterious, and even downright despicable things have happened. However, one even stands out: the 1978 Outer Coast Crisis.

In 1941, the expanding kingdom of Las Tierras Ricas, which would soon become the current day La Paz de Los Ricos, sent an expedition to map out the northern coastlines and the oceans north of the coast for a 100 mile radius. The expedition, name the El Rio expedition, came ashore on the greater island of Manille, and island than was over 6900 kilometers squared, a massive discovery for the former United Kingdom.

Ships came from the south island (which was around 14,000 kilometers squared in size, for comparison) and unloaded their cargo: materials to build a new life. In 1943, the city of Manille City was founded, and became the capital of the newly-named Manillia Island, claimed for the Kingdom.

Communities formed well, apples and berries were grown and exported to the south island, life in general was very pleasant. The island was even named "Haven Island" by the viceroy of the region, due to the fact that it was much more accepting than the distrustful and hateful south island ethnic groups, and many people's from many ethnic groups came to escape racial tensions in the south island.

However, in 1980, a group of 140 government-linked officials and citizens were found dead in a vacant warehouse/storage building in the far-north corner of the city, including the viceroy, governor, and even the viceroy's cook and one of his bodyguards. Mystery still surrounds this to this day, for three main reasons.

1. The victims were found poisoned, so no one is certain whether it was a mass homicide or mass suicide.

2. Other than working or being related to the government, the victims were not linked in any relation.

3. The sheer amount of victims made it unnerving to speculate who, or what did this.

The discovery was hidden from the public for about three to four months, and documents were kept top secret. However, one official, who was described as "paranoid" leaked four major documents to the public. Mass panics ensued, not just on Manille island, but the south island as well. People created conspiracy theories linking the deaths to the government, the illuminati, the wildlife, some ethnicities were blamed, and some people even blamed aliens or monsters to the deaths.

Then came the Outer Coast Crisis of 1980.

Unrest flooded the northern island of Manille. Many people began to pour onto ferries and shipped to the south island. However, the northern provinces couldn't take the influx of "quasi-immigrants," plus the king was worried the perpetrator or perpetrators were hiding as one of the people coming from Manille City.

Finally, came the Manille-Outer Coast Travel Ban.

This new bill was an "emergency solution," which the government banned anyone from leaving Manille City, or all of the Manille Territory, for that matter. The whole territory was treated like one giant "crime scene."

Such an unexpected and unfair ban led to the uprise of independence movements. "Treat us like citizens or we won't be citizens!" was not an uncommon chant to hear, or slogan to see printed on propaganda posters strewn throughout Manille City. Sometimes, however, peaceful protest turned to extremist battle, leading to at least another 13 deaths linked to protests that turned violent.

Mentioned before, 140 officials were lost to this massacre/suicide so Manille Territory ran on a skeleton government. These officials were vastly unprepared for the massive unrest the area produced, and since the south island was unwilling to provide any new officials, support, or supplies due to the travel ban, the skeleton government was quickly deposed.

Though the officials had little power, they controlled a large area, and still had a very important job: "keep the Manille territory together." This resulted in a massive power vacuumed that sucked the island into anarchy. Groups of protestors formed the only thing remotely close to governments on the island, and inter-group battles were not uncommon. Eventually, the two largest groups united as one group, hijacked a ferry, and sailed it down to the south in an attempt to attack the seat of the king. The protestors' ferry was gunned down and sank just off the coast of the capital city.

The Territory of Manille was eventually excused from the ban, and became a province in 2004, yet controversy still shrouds the deaths of 140 officials in mystery.