Year YC111 - April
Wormhole Cults, Minmatar Unity, and Caldari Settlements
The continuing impact of the cluster-wide emergence of wormholes on New Eden's populace was reflected in early April with reports of multiple 'wormhole cults' spreading throughout the empires. Varying from Amarr heterodox and schismatic sects to Gallente radical nature-worship cults, the many hundreds of groups springing up in response to the wormholes appeared entirely spontaneous and unconnected to one another.
Despite mixed reactions among the Minmatar Republic and Thukker Tribe populations regarding the union of the Thukker with the Republic, the overall response to the development appeared to be quietly positive. In particular, the Thukker were impressed by the swift and decisive action of Sanmatar Shakor over the missing, and subsequently lost, Lakat-Hro Great Caravan. Even so, many Thukker voices emphasized that their traditional autonomy had to be maintained at all costs.
The successes of the Caldari offensive in the militia warfare zone covering Black Rise and neighboring regions appeared to be emboldening large numbers of Caldari to settle in the newly-opened region. A House of Records report showed that the numbers of colonists moving to Black Rise had more than doubled in the first months of the year. With megacorporations such as Kaalakiota and Lai Dai Corporation committed to large-scale projects, and a myriad independent ventures springing up in their wake, the Caldari spirit of expansion seemed in full flow. In contrast to this, the Federation Navy was forced into a humiliating cancellation of its "search and recovery" mission in Black Rise, terminating "Operation Justice's Reach" in a response to the reality of Caldari occupations and continuing gains in the Verge Vendor and Placid regions.
Ishukone Succession Decided
With Ishukone stock having fallen sharply at the end of March, apparently due to investor concerns over perceived indecision regarding the appointment of a new CEO, the matter of the leadership of Ishukone Corporation became urgent in April. One sign of the interest taken in the matter by State Executor Tibus Heth was the meeting held between Haatakan Oiritsuu, former Kaalakiota CEO and special envoy for Heth, and Soisonen Okalala, the Minedrill CEO contending for the Ishukone CEO position with Mens Reppola of Ishukone Watch. Some days later, Okalala visited the Landfall Shrine on New Caldari and spoke about the issues concerning Ishukone. He was also able to declare that the Ishukone board had informed him and other Ishukone subsidiary CEOs that a decision on the megacorporation CEO spot would come "within the next two weeks."
With the contest between Okalala and Reppola stepping up a gear, a major panic was caused by the sudden collapse of Ishukone board member Natasha Ogemi at her home. The news of Ogemi's collapse sparked a rush to sell Ishukone stock as investors panicked, presumably believing that the Ishukone CEO appointment process would be further delayed. The Ishukone board responded by calling an emergency meeting at the Malkalen headquarters of the megacorporation the following day. Mens Reppola and Soisonen Okalala were called to the meeting amid speculation that the board was to act decisively to appoint a new CEO. Reppola announced that he had personally purchased a five percent stake in Ishukone before leaving for the meeting. As Ishukone stock once more rebounded, Reppola's enormous personal investment appeared to be his final move in the contest for the CEO position.
Hours later, after the emergency board meeting, Mens Reppola emerged as the new CEO of the Ishukone Corporation. The Ishukone Watch CEO succeeded to the post with all board members voting in his favor, including Natasha Ogemi from her hospital bed. Reppola pledged to steer Ishukone on a course honoring 'the legacy of Otri Gariushi.' He emphasised the strong culture of innovation and technological development at Ishukone, while also pledging to seek new markets and abandon protectionism. Reppola also called on the Ishukone board to encourage employee investment in the megacorporation and release two-thirds of the shares under board control for purchase by Ishukone workers. His declared vision was one of corporate citizenship and stock ownership going hand-in-hand.
The reaction of State Executor Tibus Heth to the appointment of Mens Reppola as Ishukone CEO remained unknown with a distinctly muted reaction from the Caldari Providence Directorate. However, the Provists also had to contend with mixed reactions, and some opposition, to their planned military reforms. Set against a background of large costs from occupying Caldari Prime, the reform plans aimed at further modernizing the Caldari Navy and Army while centralizing the military chain of command. The Patriot bloc corporations were quick to back the plan, most notably the dynamic Lai Dai Corporation, but indications of Practical faction opposition caused some concern to the CPD. The opposition of the Liberal megacorporations, Ishukone and Hyasyoda, was expected but with Practicals unenthusiastic it seemed as if the reforms could be watered down or even blocked.
Empire and Mandate
In the Amarr Empire, the Imperial Navy announced its decision to withdraw from W-space exploration, citing a lack of immediate threat and declaring the wormholes to be a matter of scientific interest rather than military concern. The Navy went on to urge loyalist capsuleers to continue exploration efforts on behalf of the Empire. Cynics might have observed that the Imperial Navy had taken unknown losses in its encounters with Sleeper Drones in W-space and was simply choosing to offload dangerous and costly work onto capsuleer paramilitaries. However, in the Amarr Empire at least, such thoughts went unspoken.
Meanwhile, in the Ammatar Mandate, the Ardishapur Family announced a major package of aid and reconstruction to be implemented in the Derelik region. The multi-trillon ISK package, announced by Ardishapur finance cheif Adreyi Ezion, aimed to 'bring the region up to par with other regions of the Empire in terms of piety, learning, health and economy.' Commentators suggested that the package was probably the largest ever initiated in the Empire in terms of its scope and financial backing. The desire of Yonis Ardishapur to transform the Mandate from a neglected fringe province to a 'vital node' of the Empire seemed clear.