The turn of the year YC110 saw events carry on much as they had the previous year, with little to suggest the tumultuous changes that would begin to take place in only a few months' time. Looking at the early months of the year, we might discern faint traces of what was to come, but only with the gift of hindsight could they be marshaled into a pattern leading to a day that will forever be remembered in the history of New Eden.
January began with some controversy as the Secure Commerce Commission (SCC), accompanied by CONCORD police, raided the headquarters of the Caldari State's Chief Executive Panel (CEP) in search of records that might show the involvement of the Angel Cartel in Caldari corporate affairs. The submission of the CEP to this search, subpoena or no, marked perhaps the lowest point yet in the independence of the State, a guiding principle since its foundation, and arguably, given events later in the year, the zenith of CONCORD's power with respect to the four great empires.
The Independent Gaming Commission formally announced the 5th Alliance Tournament and the rules governing the always keenly anticipated clash of independent capsuleer alliances. Interest among planetside broadcast networks was said to be at the highest yet for an event of this type.
The month closed with the Amarr 7th Fleet under the command of Admiral Vanazir Saracen - the fleet styling itself 'The Saracens' in his honor - scoring in the Bleak Lands what may have looked like a crippling blow against the Minmatar rebels known as the "Defiants," destroying two capital ships and a dozen support vessels. Admiral Saracen, having fought the Defiants for many months, may perhaps have realized privately that the rebel group was down but not yet out.
February saw the official launch of a new advanced frigate class, the electronic attack ships. Lai Dai Corporation in particular trumpeted the virtues of its Kitsune-class version and seemed to eclipse other manufacturers in promoting its electronic countermeasure platform.
Scientists concentrated on the unusual 'stellar object' that had been looming bright in the star field across the New Eden cluster, with the University of Caille organizing a conference to discuss it. The Blood Raiders chose to express their views on the object by disrupting an Amarr Holder's 85th anniversary celebrations in order to broadcast claims that it heralded their triumph over the Amarr Empire.
Controversy erupted in full force as the month drew to a close with the leak of a confidential report on CONCORD operation in the so-called "Drone Regions" (also known as the "New Regions") in the "northeast" quadrant of the New Eden cluster. The activities of the Code Aria Inquiry into rogue drone infestations, and the implications of the leaked dossier, caused outrage across the major empires, with the Caldari State and Amarr Empire being most vehement in their condemnation of CONCORD's Inner Circle.
Even the start of the 5th Alliance Tournament at the very end of the month was not free of controversy. The Guristas denounced the organizers for excluding them from entering a team, and it was revealed that Caldari mega-corporations had sent recruiters from their corporate security forces to watch the event.
March kicked off with the all the drama and destruction of the 5th Alliance Tournament. With various factions sponsoring teams, the interest among planetside populations was at an all-time high. Maleatu Shakor, Speaker of the Republic Parliament, even went so far as to endorse the Ushra'Khan team, causing much comment outside the Republic. One Amarr Holder incurred much disapproval by betting heavily on the anarchist Star Fraction alliance, avowed enemies of the Amarr Empire. The tournament continued through the first week to crescendo toward the thrilling final between Triumvirate and Ev0ke. A hard-fought battle saw Ev0ke triumph and win the championship and glory for their Serpentis Corporation sponsors, who wasted no time in boasting of the win.
Interest in the so-called 'Bright Star' continued, with Sanyen Grulliver, a Vherokior Tribe shaman, mounting an expedition to investigate the anomaly, believing it to be a gateway to a spirit land inhabited by the ancestors of Minmatar. Much mocked, the expedition faltered when the anomaly abruptly disappeared around the middle of the month. Interest in the Bright Star diminished after the incident.
Warfare in the Bleak Lands continued in the meantime, with the Defiants striking back in resounding fashion after their losses in January, with eight key 7th Fleet installations destroyed in one day of co-ordinated assaults. The Amarr reaction to this was largely confined to looking for and finding a traitor in their own ranks, with the Holder Hejaaz Momir executed for treason after being found guilty by a military tribunal appointed by Admiral Saracen. Somewhat controversially, in an act of literal nepotism, this was followed up with the appointment of Jalir Saracen, nephew of the Admiral, as the provisional Holder of House Momia assets.
Amarr troubles continued to the end of month with three prominent Theology Council Justices Falek Grange, Aulus Gord and Victor Eliade going missing along with other council members and many associates. Conflicting reports surrounded the mysterious disappearances from the start, with rumours of a massive military build-up in the Sahkt border system and even sightings of Blood Raiders confusing the picture. The status of the missing Justices as capsuleers and members of the 'Reformist' tendency within Amarr politics only fueled conspiracy theories, as did connections to the court of House Family.
April began with a shocking address to the Amarr Empire by Court Chamberlain Dochuta Karsoth - de facto ruler of the imperium in the absence of an emperor - in which he revealed that the missing Theology Council Justices had been members of a conspiracy to assassinate him and take over the Theology Council. Karsoth went on to announce the capture of the missing justices and their execution as traitors to the Empire. The Royal Heirs were notably silent about the entire affair, seeming content to leave matters to the Court Chamberlain. This turn of events was seen to substantially enhance Karsoth's power, together with his secure grasp on the loyalty of Ministry of Internal Order paladins and the denunciation of the justices as Reformists who sought to overthrow the traditions and religion of the Amarr Empire.
While the Theology Council Justices dominated in the first few days of the month, the major theme of April was increasing instability in the Caldari State, with shocks experienced on the Kimotoro Stock Exchange after major mega-corporations such as Kaalakiota, Lai Dai and Wiyrkomi issued profit warnings on only the second of the month. Together with signs of the economy running down, protests over working conditions flared up. On Yoma III, work at the Zumol Chemical plant came to a halt amid violent clashes between workers and corporate security forces. These came to an end with Zumol Chemical laying off the entire workforce and shipping in 'strike breakers.'
Further unrest arose at reports of Kaalakiota's security division, Home Guard, treating prisoners and even innocent civilians badly, an embarrassment for Kaalakiota as it opened a new Home Guard training center. Economic turbulence continued as the CEP debated higher tariffs on imported goods and it was revealed that both the Lai Dai and CBD Corporations were considering investing in foreign markets to hedge against the faltering Caldari economy.
No improvement in the fortunes of the Caldari State was seen as the bad news piled up. A planetary agricultural blight took place on Tennen VI, mass deaths occurred in a Wiyrkomi drugs trial and a massive industrial accident befell a Sukuuvestaa plant, killing 57 and injuring over 1,200. Indications of a booming Federation economy, even to the point of labor shortages and the need for Minmatar immigrants to fill positions, were surely a bitter twist if not directly related.
May was to give its name to a revolution. While the appointment of a Brutor officer, Admiral Ferius Ljarl, as Republic Fleet Chief of Naval Operations on the first day of the month was notable enough in indicating increasing power for the charismatic Maleatu Shakor, the May Revolution was to take place in the ailing Caldari State. Although it seemed at first that the trend of problems in the Caldari State was simply continuing where it left off in April, what started as a mere worker's revolt at an industrial plant on Piak III was to become the seed of sweeping change throughout the Caldari State.
Rise of Tibus Heth
The Caldari Constructions Armor Forge on Piak III was not unique in experiencing a worker's protest on the second day of May. Facilities in the Aikantoh and Lituria systems were also the scene of revolts and a general shut-down as workers employed by Caldari Constructions coordinated a protest against working conditions and the general lot of the Caldari wage-worker. The unique aspect of the revolt on Piak III was that it was led by a man the entire cluster would come to know: Tibus Heth.
The revolt on Piak III also paralyzed and threatened one of the most important assets of Caldari Constructions, the Armor Forge being a key facility producing essential components for starship construction. Perhaps this was why Constructions chose to call in Home Guard, the security arm of the Kaalakiota mega-corporation, who promptly deployed dropships full of mechanized infantry to the site. Caldari Constructions themselves claimed that Heth was holding hostages and threatening to kill everyone in the Armor Forge, claims that later were shown to be exaggerated at best. Whatever the rights and wrongs, the dropships fell and the worker's revolt on Piak III became something altogether more complicated.
As news of the revolt and deployment of Home Guard dropships was reported, the Caldari stock markets reacted by plunging the price of Caldari Constructions downward. Months of financial shocks had enervated the Caldari share-traders and the fall of Caldari Constructions stocks was steep, and slated to become steeper when the Home Guard were deployed rather than being arrested. The use of mega-corporation security forces to restore confidence on the markets seemed to have come to an end. Falls across the Caldari stock markets followed in the wake of the plummeting Constructions stock. In the narrow sphere of share movements, the day had already acquired historic aspects.
Events took a grim turn as Home Guard troops opened fire on protesting workers when Caldari Constructions CEO Torkebaira Shutsu began negotiations with revolt leader Tibus Heth. If it was an attempt to cut off the head of the worker's movement by assassinating Heth, it was spectacularly bungled. With at least one sniper apparently targeting Heth, a young man who apparently was leading the way to the negotiations was shot in Heth's stead, prompting further rioting from the workers and a fierce struggle at the gates. Tibus Heth was recorded by numerous cameras carrying the body of his comrade to safety, images that were flashed around the State and New Eden within moments.
Even as Torkebaira Shutsu retreated from the fiasco on Piak III in his personal dropship, something remarkable was happening on the Caldari stock markets: Caldari Constructions stock was soaring. A mystery buyer had started to buy the depressed stocks in increasingly large tranches even as they had reached rock-bottom and deadly violence erupted at the Armor Forge. While a stand-off developed at the Armor Forge, with Home Guard troops unwilling to press forward and create what would undoubtedly be one of the bloodiest massacres in the history of industrial unrest in the State, Caldari Constructions stocks were snapped up. Even as the Kaalakiota Corporation denied giving Home Guard the authority to open fire, someone acquired a controlling interest in the corporation at the center of the unrest.
Astoundingly, it transpired that the someone in question was Tibus Heth. How this happened remains a mystery and theories abound as to secret backers and puppet masters behind Tibus Heth. Yet the facts undeniable are that Tibus Heth, industrial MTAC operator at the Caldari Constructions Armor Forge on Piak III, became majority owner of the very corporation he worked for shortly after noon on the Second of April YC110. Setting the seal on the new order at Caldari Constructions, the disgraced Torkebaira Shutsu ceded his personal stocks to Heth before taking his own life.
As news of the revolutionary events on Piak III spread through the Caldari State, worker revolts broke out in the territories of all the mega-corporations with a notable exception being the Ishukone Corporation holdings, where little civil disorder was experienced. Mindful of the outrage and escalation caused by the manner in which Home Guard handled the Piak III situation, the mega-corporations adopted a less confrontational stance toward such revolts. Even so, arrests reached into the hundreds as disaffected workers and youths targeted corporate assets and symbols of the wealth and authority of the mega-corporations.
The rioting and disruption across the State reached levels that might have caused the mega-corporations to use deadly force had it not been for the final remarkable event of that day in May. Having been formally invested as the CEO of Caldari Constructions, Tibus Heth secured access to the primary news hub of the Caldari State and broadcast an unauthorized address to the entire State. In his remarks, Heth railed against the corruption of the State by the mega-corporations, blamed Gallente influence for distorting the values of the State's leaders and pledged to restore Caldari to dignity and power.
Perhaps stunned by the sight of one of their own leading a major corporation, rioting workers began to return to their homes. The megacorporations, if anything even more stunned, remained silent. The first day of the May Revolution was over.
Ambassador Keitan Yun
As New Eden absorbed the events in the Caldari State, one man's career began an arc that would lead him to be reviled by some and cheered as a hero by many others. It started as a fairly mundane matter of the appointment of Keitan Yun as Minmatar Republic Ambassador to the CONCORD Assembly. An academic and quiet servant of the Republic held in some regard by Prime Minister Karin Midular, Yun seemed a choice entirely in keeping with the thoughtful, technocrat-heavy mode of government Midular had always stood for.
Many were surprised therefore, not least among them Karin Midular, when Yun used his inaugural speech to the Assembly to condemn CONCORD for acquiescence in the slaving practices of the Amarr Empire and its "hypocrisy" in allowing the Amarr to send representatives to CONCORD at all. Ejected from the Assembly for refusing to recant, Yun seemed a broken man. Shunned by his Prime Minister, he disappeared from public view. His reappearance was to be quite a different matter.
The Malkalen Incident
In the meantime, simmering resentment over the anti-Gallente sentiments expressed by Tibus Heth broke out into ethnic violence on Caldari Prime- the ancestral home planet of the Caldari abandoned when the Caldari seceded from the Gallente Federation- as Gallente gangs vandalized Caldari heritage sites and attacked Caldari living on the planet. The violence escalated over the next few days as Gallentes and Caldari repeatedly clashed over heritage sites and in settlements with high Caldari populations. The cities of Tovil and Arcurio, in particular, saw heavy rioting and multiple deaths.
The situation spread from Caldari Prime to the Caldari State after Federation security forces used deadly force to quell Caldari rioters. Gallente expatriates in the State came under increasing attack in retaliation for the violence and rising death toll on Caldari Prime. By the 12th of May, many Caldari and Gallente were so repulsed by the rioting and killing that they held anti-violence demonstrations. The most poignant of these was the vigil held at the Landfall Shrine on Caldari Prime, one of the most sacred of Caldari sites, but spontaneous demonstrations were held across the Gallente Federation.
Capturing the mood perfectly, Otro Gariushi, the popular CEO of Ishukone Corporation, pleaded for calm and denounced the anti-Gallente rhetoric of Tibus Heth in a State-wide broadcast. Caldari stock markets reacted favourably to Gariushi's sentiments and approval was seen in the Gallente Federation and even in the Caldari-allied Khanid Kingdom. The impact of Gariushi's speech, and the grassroots anti-violence movement, was to stymie the violence before it escalated beyond control.
Within two days, a further remarkable development emerged as Otro Gariushi and Souro Foiritan, Gallente Federation President, agreed to hold an Economic Summit at Ishukone Headquarters in Malkalen. Appearing somewhat wrongfooted, Tibus Heth welcomed the news of the Malkalen Summit just as citizens and markets across New Eden breathed a sigh of relief.
Moving quickly, the Federation sent its Economic Minister, Wadis Chene, at the head of a delegation transported aboard the mighty FNS Wandering Saint, a Nyx-class supercarrier piloted by the venerable Admiral Alexander Noir - veteran of the Gallente-Caldari War and respected on all sides as a man of peace who knew what it was to fight. As the great vessel, dwarfing its escorts, arrived in Malkalen and approached a parking orbit with the Ishukone Headquarters station, it seemed to carry the hopes of both the Caldari State and the Gallente Federation with it. History will surely view that as the cruellest of ironies.
We now know that as Otro Gariushi welcomed Wadis Chene at the formal opening of the Economic Summit, Admiral Alexander Noir was preparing to initiate a sequence of events that would leave hundreds of thousands dead. The first sign of trouble came as the FNS Wandering Saint seemed to, indeed, wander out of its parking orbit and turn toward the station itself. Alarm grew as the mighty supercarrier began to accelerate toward the station and all attempts to contact Noir were ignored.
As the point of no return was reached, those that watched expected a tragic accident, the destruction of the supercarrier certainly, some damage to the station perhaps. It is doubtful they expected the station's shields to fail - a mystery that remains unsolved but is attributed by many to sabotage by Noir sympathizers - and the ship to plow into the station like a knife thrust into a living body.
The destruction that followed was on a scale like nothing in recent memory. No station of this size and density of population had ever suffered such a catastrophic blow. The situation was so extraordinary and the nature of the event so crippling that there was a considerable delay in assessing what had happened. Communications networks came under severe overload almost as the first brief outlines of events hit the Caldari State. When realization dawned that a Federation Nyx had rammed into and partially destroyed a State mega-corporation's headquarters, it was stunning in its effect. Yet the State rallied and a massive relief effort swung into action as corporations and independent capsuleers alike rushed to offer assistance. Reeling and decapitated, the Ishukone Corporation announced an emergency disaster relief program and the Servant Sisters of EVE responded in their efficient and practiced fashion. By the next day, Ishukone was able to confirm the deaths of Otro Gariushi and the entire Gallente delegation. The estimated death toll stood at 421,000 with as many persons remaining unaccounted. In its scale the disaster was immediately seen as a matter for the whole Caldari State and in its nature an attack on the entire State.
Quick to recognize this, the Amarr Empire's Theology Council declared an official day of mourning for the Malkalen victims. The Minmatar Republic seemed to await the position of its ally the Federation, but this was days in coming. Eventually, four days after the event, President Souro Foiritan of the Gallente Federation confirmed in all particulars the Ishukone Corporation's account of the Malkalen Disaster, condemning it as the act of a single man, Noir, and denying any complicity on the part of the Federation. Incredible as this may have seemed to some, the Caldari State took this in grief-stricken silence with little if anything in the way of anti-Gallente protests or violence breaking out.
While the citizens of the State mourned the victims of Malkalen, Tibus Heth was not idle. The May Revolution was to enter its next stage with the foundation of the Caldari Providence Directorate. This began with the surprise announcement by Ytiri Warehouse CEO Tantima Iwisoda that he was stepping down and handing full control of his corporation to Heth's Caldari Constructions. In addressing the new partnership, Heth announced the formation of the Caldari Providence Directorate as the controlling organization within the new corporate structure. The members of this unusual corporate entity soon became known as the "Provists."
The ability of Tibus Heth and the Provists to acquire another corporation may have startled some, but Ytiri was a relatively minor corporation. More than startling - in fact, simply amazing - was the takeover of Kaalakiota Corporation, the biggest mega-corporation of them all, by Heth and the Caldari Providence Directorate a mere two days after the Ytiri acquisition. Apparently effected by virtue of former KK CEO Haatakan Oiritsuu stepping down in Heth's favor, the Kaalakiota takeover transformed Heth from a demagogue with the power of a corporate CEO into arguably the most powerful man in the State.
Concerted opposition by the other mega-corporations could have stopped Tibus Heth in principle, but it was soon established that the others were of no mind to act. Addressing the population as a member of the leadership of the Caldari State, Tibus Heth mourned the passing of Otro Gariushi and the fallen of Malkalen, now numbering over 600,000 dead, and then declared a quarantine of all Gallente expatriates within State borders. This move was not opposed by any of the other Big Eight mega-corporations.
In other empires, while the Caldari's May Revolution and the Malkalen Disaster was watched carefully, serious events merited the immediate attention of the Amarr Empire and the Minmatar Republic. Increasing attacks on Amarr shipping in Minmatar territory throughout May had caused disquiet enough, but a new upsurge in Defiants activity in the Bleak Lands caused serious diplomatic friction. In particular, the presence of informal 'Minmatar militias' bolstering the forces of the Defiants rebels in fighting against the Amarr 7th Fleet awoke the Amarr Empire's wrath.
While the Minmatar Republic denied any support for the Defiants, the Amarr Empire's representatives at the CONCORD Assembly demanded that the Republic curb the Defiants and any militias. With a sense of timing not lost on the Amarr Empire or the Caldari State, the Republic and the Gallente Federation began large-scale fleet exercises in the Metropolis region using the none-too-subtle name of 'Operation Brotherhood.'
Any confidence Operation Brotherhood may have given the Minmatar Republic, however, was wiped out when the Angel Cartel declared itself the sovereign power of Skarkon, a Republic system on the border of 0.0 space in the Cartel's sphere of influence. Even though CONCORD dismissed the claims as illegitimate, the Republic looked powerless to intervene as the population of Skarkon welcomed the change, having been neglected for years by Republic authorities.
The final act of the May Revolution came as the arc of Keitan Yun's career blazed into a prominence no mere ambassador could hope for. On the twenty-ninth of May, the Kaalakiota-Ytiri conglomerate agreed on strategic partnerships with all the other Big Eight mega-corporations, save for Ishukone. With this agreement, Tibus Heth's Caldari Providence Directorate gained control of the vast majority of the Caldari State's industrial base. A unity not seen in the State for decades had been achieved, and would soon be improved on yet further.
The penultimate day of May bore witness to two extraordinary events. One of them transfixed the attention of all and eclipsed the other, rather quieter and almost resigned occurence. Both were important in understanding what was to come. At approximately 110.05.30 10:30, an armada of Minmatar ships jumped into the Yulai system without using any of the system's stargates. Within seconds a fleet composed of multiple Naglafar-class dreadnoughts bearing Republic Fleet markings, but broadcasting no identifiers, surrounded the CONCORD Bureau Station, escorted by many Thukker Tribe vessels equally bereft of electronic identifiers. Only a few minutes after their arrival and menacing encirclement of the CONCORD headquarters, the mystery capitals and escorts jumped out of the system without a shot being fired.
As CONCORD grappled with the pressing question of quite how an entire armada had jumped into the most secure system in New Eden, without using gates and bypassing cynosural suppression fields with contemptuous ease, the news of the nature of the ships raised equally urgent questions for the Minmatar Republic and Prime Minister Karin Midular. The revelation later in the day that Keitan Yun, the disgraced Minmatar Ambassador to CONCORD, had spoken to CONCORD authorities just before and during the Yulai Incursion with apparent knowledge of the purposes of the mystery fleet, only intensified pressue on the Midular administration. Disavowing Yun and denying the involvement of any Republic Fleet assets in the incident, Karin Midular appeared to many observers to cut a bewildered figure losing control of the Republic, its institutions and its people.
As the impact of the Yulai Incursion made itelf felt, the second extraordinary event of the day passed with relatively little notice. Still in mourning and administratively crippled, the Ishukone Corporation agreed to grant strategic control of its industrial operations to the Caldari Providence Directorate, completing the May Revolution and bringing all Caldari megacorporations under the effective control of Tibus Heth. For the first time in centuries, the Caldari were controlled by one man, with the question for many being whether he was the saviour of the Caldari nation or its newly-crowned tyrant.
The second half of YC110, continues here.