Portrait of a Killer

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Portrait of a Killer is an article from The Manhattan Herald published on March 23, 2023, later reprinted by the Defiance News.


Details emerge about the assassin who gunned down Onulu Toruku March 23, 2023

Five days ago, a reclusive elevator maintenance worker named John Paul Bullock assassinated the Votan Ambassador to the United Nations. The State Department has officially classified him as a terrorist, former co-workers have come out of the woodwork to call him a “psycho nutjob,” and Votan leaders have gone so far as to label him the most dangerous man in the world. But who is he really? Shocking details have now come to light, painting a picture of the man who single-handedly destroyed any hope for a peaceful settlement between humans and aliens.

Bullock grew up in Columbus, Ohio as the only son of a homemaker and an aeronautical engineer. As a child, Bullock was withdrawn and temperamental. Several of his grade school teachers noted that he seemed intelligent, yet he didn’t apply himself in the classroom. His passive-aggressive tendencies blossomed into outright hostility, as evidenced by a high school record full of truancy and (our sources have revealed) several stints in a juvenile reformatory.

At 17, Bullock dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Earth Military Coalition. There, he seemed to find renewed purpose, taking a shine to the regimented lifestyle. He scored highly as a marksman and was deployed to Brazil as a peacekeeper near the border of the Sulos colony. Little record exists of his years in South America, though some who claim to know him speculate that he may have had an affair with a local Castithan woman. The romance didn’t last, however, as Bullock’s performance in the military began to suffer. He was dishonorably discharged and sent back to the United States. His parents disavowed him, and Bullock moved to a small utility apartment on the outskirts of Chicago.

Bullock became involved in a number of failed business ventures and soon found himself penniless. He began to attend meetings of an underground “humanity first” organization and was observed on several occasions handing out leaflets. Bullock was arrested in May 2020 for the attempted kidnapping of a well-known Votan businessman. His compatriots were charged, but Bullock himself was released for lack of evidence. He moved to New York City, where he took on a variety of maintenance jobs. Coworkers knew Bullock as a wiseass, always one for an off-color joke and a beer after work. It was on one such occasion that Bullock began to relentlessly taunt a Liberata coworker. When others came to the Liberata’s aid, Bullock became enraged and didn’t show up for work the next day, instead sending his foreman a text message announcing that he’d quit.

It was at this time that Bullock married and moved into a run-down tenement building in lower Manhattan. Police came to the apartment several times on domestic disturbance calls, but Bullock’s wife refused to press charges. Medical records (obtained through a confidential source) show Bullock making repeated stops to a local clinic, complaining of a persistent “pain in the stomach.” He took a job as an elevator repairman for a company that serviced the United Nations building. On the day of the shooting, Bullock waited outside with a small caliber pistol wrapped in a handkerchief. As the Votan envoy exited the building, Bullock approached the Ambassador, yelling “Umya ksa myunda, usha ksa myunda,” (Castithan for “Not now, not ever”). He fired three times, dropped the gun, and bolted through a nearby service corridor.

Bystanders next spotted Bullock seven blocks away, where he ran a red light and crashed into oncoming traffic. Bullock was seen fleeing the scene, limping with a badly injured leg. Police found him back at his apartment forty-five minutes later. A brief gunfight ensued. Two officers were injured as well as Bullock himself, who was taken into custody. Police found anti-Votan leaflets in the apartment, as well as what appeared to be a manifesto written by Bullock about the dangers of human-Votan integration. Votans bristled when human authorities, citing the laws of due process, refused to hand over the shooter. Now they’ve changed their tune, but it seems too little, too late.

With conspiracy rumors rampant, resentment between humans and Votans has reached a fever pitch. Some Votan politicians have suggested that the Earth Military Coalition commissioned the attack to avoid negotiations and spearhead a first-strike scenario. Conversely, some pro-human organizations have accused Votans of shepherding the attack themselves in order to garner public sympathy.

Of course, none of this information has helped to calm the violence that has erupted in the wake of the riots in New York City. Similar skirmishes have broken out across the globe. The Votanis Collective has cut off all diplomatic relations and closed the borders of the Sulos, Omec, and Irath colonies. Unless talks resume—which seems highly unlikely at this point—there is a strong possibility humans and Votans are heading for all-out war.