Kisangani, Congo, Earth -- 8 Apr. 2057: An explosion caused by an attempt to damage the space elevator has destroyed several city blocks, killed 750 people and injured thousands. Drones operated by the Department of Emergency Services continue to comb the rubble, searching for the many who remain missing.
Deep Green, the downleft-wing extremist network which directs the actions of independent anti-civilization groups across the planet, has released a statement on a fire-and-forget hyperlayer page claiming responsibility for the destruction. The statement reads, in part, "The so-called 'beanstalks' are in fact skyhooks which tear into the heart of our mother goddess, sucking away her life blood into the devouring maw of the space vampire our capitalist technology has created. Civilization is a cancer, and it is high time that it is excised by radical surgery. Let homo parasiticus flee into space where they belong, or be cleansed from the face of the Earth by fire. Let nature reclaim the ruins of our toxic cities, and let our twisted genes die out and find deserved oblivion."
According to Colonel Hapgood Mugende of the Stellar Alliance Space Marines, who spoke at a press conference late this day, the cause of the explosion was a piece of military hardware known colloquially as a Superball: a small, extremely dense projectile which was 'dropped' on Kisangani from orbit. "The Kinetic Orbital Stealth Impactor, or Superball, is composed of a Unilhexium core wrapped in hyper-ablative foam and coated in radar-opaque stealth composite. The projectile is carried by an orbital platform programmed to release it at a designated time, giving it a slight push which de-orbits it. The projectile can then drift near-undetectably for weeks or even months before contact with atmosphere sends it into a sudden and steep plunge to the surface, impacting the surface with a kiloton kinetic explosive yield." Superballs were designed during the Softwars by military technical-design Avatars which had joined the Insurrection and were intended as a weapon of mass destruction, but were never deployed; all of the devices were believed to have been accounted for. Col. Mugende also stated that a simultaneous cyber-attack on orbital traffic control prevented Alliance space-based weapons platforms from detecting and neutralizing the weapon. "We have most of the hackers in custody, but the cyber-attack itself was carried out by partials with scrubbed personality and memory schemas. Investigations are continuing. The Superball was apparently perfectly aimed to strike the Beanstalk but was deflected by a railgun burst fired from a ground-based anti-orbital defence station, itself a relic of the Softwar.
Eyewitness Makemba Youla remembers seeing "a trail of intense fire which grew longer by the second. There was a high-pitched whistling sound, growing quickly lower and lower. It was like an old movie, when a bomb drops. Then the terrible flash; it made me blind. The ground shook, the windows shattered and glass was everywhere. I could hear and see nothing; then, little by little, screams and shouting and sirens. I could feel nothing. I did not understand what was happening. I still don't understand. Why would they do such a thing? How can they hate us so?"
According to Dr. Bilney Pilominous of Heinlien University, things could have been worse. "Even if the weapon had hit the beanstalk, it's not likely that the damage would have been sufficient to break the tension cable, which is heavily reinforced to prevent just such a situation; but there is the possibility. And if the tension cable had snapped, that would be the end. The slightest perturbation of the orbit of Ring One would be enough to cause the station superstructure to buckle, the rest of the beanstalks to snap, and the whole shebang to rip itself apart, with most of the debris coming straight down on our heads. If these deepgreen whack jobs want to end civilization on Earth, there could hardly be a more efficient way to do it."