This newsfile covers important events that impact the lives of many individuals in the years leading up to the beginning of PersonaMUSH in IC 2009. It is by no means an exhaustive account of events, and not all of what is contained in here is necessarily common IC knowledge, particularly where specific characters and the supernatural are concerned.
For specific periods of time, see the short summary below of some of the major events explained in this file. Further details and other events can be found in detail on their respective pages.
1996: Early Shadow reseach by the Kirijo Group.
1999: Death of Akinari Kashihara. Arsons occur in Sumaru. The Kirijo Incident occurs.
2000: Takahisa Kandori becomes head of the Lunarvale branch of SEBEC.
2001: Mitsuru Kirijo becomes the first observed Persona-user by the Kirijo reseachers.
2002: Tatsuzou Sudou becomes the Foreign Minister.
2004: Deaths of Kaoru Saga and Miki Asai in Taiwan.
2006: The founding of SEES.
2007: Darkside website established. Shinjiro Aragaki leaves SEES. DVA research underway.
2009: Murders occur in Inaba. SEES welcomes new members, encounters a giant Shadow. DVA nears completion.
The Kirijo Group during this year became aware of the existence of Shadows. They were strange things, created from the presence of humans, and gifted with great power. What's more, when they were drawn together, they gained further power still.
It was through their research on Shadows that they became aware of another power: Persona. It was exceedingly rare, though, enough that no one connected with Kirijo had ever met or seen a Persona-user in action. Furthermore, the qualifications that granted people that ability were nebulous. In time, they learned that it was possible to induce Personas within people through various methods... few of them kind. It was one particular up-and-coming researchers in Kirijo who spearheaded the method and selected the test subjects, all of them orphans. His name was Takahisa Kandori.
Among other things, they begin the development of machine weapons that are capable of combating Shadows, utilizing the latest in robotic technology. Their research fails to bear significant fruit for several years to come.
Tragedy occurs within Rengedai Ward in the late spring as a teacher, Akinari Kashihara, perishes within the gears of the Seven Sisters High School clock tower. Ultimately, police are unable to determine if Kashihara was pushed... or if he willingly jumped into the mechanism. He had been known for some rather unorthodox beliefs concerning the history of humanity, and had been claiming several months before his death that he had discovered the truth of man's origins.
The spring also marks the completion of the seventh generation of Anti-Shadow weapons, dubbed 'mechanical maidens' for their appearance by the Kirijo researchers who created them. Of the weapons developed, these are considered to have the most promise for future operations.
The summer of 1999 was marked by a series of arsons across Sumaru City. Despite police effort, there was little evidence at the scenes and few witnesses. After civilians perished in the blazes, the pressure was on to discover who was behind these incidents and bring them to justice.
The last arson took place at the Araya Shrine in Rengedai Ward, late in the August of that year. Though no one ultimately perished, Tatsuya Suou, the son of an officer, was grievously wounded by the arsonist and spent some time recovering from his injuries. In a strange twist, a couple months later that same officer was arrested and charged with accepting bribes from organized crime groups, such as the Yakuza. He lost his job and spent several years in prison before his eventual release.
Though it never became known to the public, the arsonist was a young man named Tatsuya Sudou, a former student of Akinari Kashihara. Spurred on by voices, he set the buildings ablaze to fulfill what he took to be a grand prophecy. He was ultimately sent to a mental care facility, the Morimoto Sanitarium, in the days after the Araya Shrine blaze.
By the fall of 1999, Port Island, the great Shadow experiment under the auspices of the Kirijo Group and the then-CEO Kouetsu Kirijo was reaching its final stages, though the public knew nothing about it. Their researchers were seeking to exploit the powers of the 'Shadows' discovered in 1996. Something backfired, or perhaps was even tampered with. The experiment went awry, and the Shadows were released.
Almost all of the researchers and scientists were killed in the explosion, as well as Kouetsu himself, and almost all of the Anti-Shadow weapons are destroyed in the aftermath, as they battled the powerful Shadows. That night, the first instance of the Dark Hour occurred.
One of the few researchers to escape the blast was Takahisa Kandori, who had left the vicinity of the experimental building many hours before the disaster.
Damage control came after. The site of the explosion had to be contained, and there was this new 'Dark Hour' that only a few people seemed to experience. Worse, monsters were walking the streets during those nights. With so few able to experience the Dark Hour and combat the Shadows within it, though, it seemed that there was nothing that could be done.
Takahisa Kandori, one of the few survivors, officially left Kirijo in early 2000 to take up a regional manager position for the Saeki Electronics & Biological & Energy Corporation (SEBEC) in Lunarvale. He brings with him all the expertise he learned under the tutelage of Kouetsu Kirijo and the other researchers from the corporation's laboratories.
Early in the year, an exploration of the Tartarus in the Dark Hour of Port Island goes awry. Those present are only rescued by the timely and unexpected manifestation of the Persona of Mitsuru Kirijo, granddaughter of Kouetsu Kirijo and daughter of his son and current CEO Takeharu Kirijo. This marks the first time that Kirijo witnesses a natural rather than artificial Persona. Through her and the data her ability provides, they are able to in time develop technology to discover other Persona-users and assist the evocation of Personas.
Tatsuzou Sudou rises to the position of Foreign Minister, in what is considered to be the high point of his political career.
Rumors circulate within Sumaru about the Foreign Minister Tatsuzou Sudou and certain 'shady' ties with certain unsavory groups, particularly the Tien Tao Lien, the Taiwanese Mafia. The Sumaru Special Investigation Unit Prosecutor Kaoru Saga and his assistant Miki Asai are sent to Taiwan to investigate, but tragically, both are killed. This nearly sparks an international incident between the countries.
The presence of Shadows in Port Island has not abated by the time 2006 rolls around. Seeking to lessen her father's burden, she searches for others who possess the potential for a Persona. She happens upon two, Akihiko Sanada and Shinjiro Aragaki, and founds the group she calls SEES, or the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad, to hunt down Shadows and end the Dark Hour. In time, they are joined by another girl, Ran Itoh, and the four form a tight bond.
Some rumors seem to have a grain of truth within them, particularly within the boundaries of Sumaru City. Strange stories that turn out to be at least partially true are nothing new, but it's in this year that more rumors, particularly odder ones, begin to become true despite what logic should dictate. A few individuals who keep track of the word on the street begin to notice this trend, and keep an eye on it.
A website and BBS dedicated to the underbelly of Sumaru City is launched this year, calling itself the Darkside of Sumaru City. The webmaster is enigmatic, and only goes by the screenname 'Baofu'.
In Lunarvale, development is well underway on the Dimensional Variance System, or DVA by that regional branch of SEBEC. It's intended to be a device that will generate pocket dimensions, though its cost for the one who uses it is steep. Maki Sonomura is chosen at this time as the best-fit candidate for the machine.
In Port Island of this year, the survivors of the early Kirijo artificial Persona experiments band together, calling themselves Strega. They use the Dark Hour to commit several untraceable crimes.
Tragedy strikes SEES in October. After losing control of his Persona, Shinjiro Aragaki kills a woman and orphans her only child, Ken Amada. This shatters SEES. Unable to deal with what he's done, he departs from SEES. Ran also temporarily departs the group at this time, unable to cope with what happened. Only Akihiko, Mitsuru and she remain to uphold their sworn duty to protect Port Island.
2009, Early Spring
A small town out in the countryside called Inaba is rocked by a couple of odd murders. The first is a disgraced TV reported, Mayumi Yamano, who had returned to the town to escape a scandal. Her body is found hanging in the power lines. There's no obvious sign of what caused her death. Following that is the death of a local student who had found Mayumi's body, Saki Konishi. Much like Mayumi before her, her body is found entangled in the power lines with no evident cause of death. An investigation is launched, and the local police department begins to draw upon police talent from outlying cities.
In Port Island, SEES recruits new members at long last, and evidently just in time. Not long after, their dorm is assaulted by an extremely powerful Shadow, and only the awakening of the Persona of a new recruit, Minato Arisato, serves to destroy it. More venture forth in the months and years to come.
Within Sumaru, the seeds of the organization that would become the Masquerade are sown. A certain man by the name of Tatsuya Sudou, prophet and madman, foresees the coming of the one who will transform humanity into their Ideal form. Released from the sanitarium, he begins to seek out others, who will make up the Masquerade Executives, as he begins to craft the organization his master will require to fulfill the prophecy
Out in Lunarvale, the DVA is nearing completion. What use Takahisa Kandori and his researchers will put a machine like that to is yet uncertain.
And then the story of PersonaMUSH officially begins...