Year YC111 - January
Responses to Emancipation
With New Eden still absorbing the implications of Empress Jamyl I's emancipation of all slaves of 9th generation and upwards, New Year brought news of some holders in outlying regions of the Amarr Empire refusing to comply with the Imperial decree on slave releases. While hundreds of millions of slaves had been or were in the process of being released following the Empress's proclamation, holders controlling several million slaves in systems in the Aridia and Genesis regions defied the edict and demanded the Theology Council make a ruling on the religious legality of the order. Some recalcitrant Holders also went so far as to appeal to the Speakers of Truth, in itself suggesting that this was for them a direct dispute with Empress Jamyl I.
The hopes of the so-called 'Refusard' Holders were to be dashed when the Theology Council swiftly condemned them and called on all Imperial subjects to enforce the will of Empress Jamyl I. The Theology Council's trenchant ruling reaffirmed the ancient doctrine that "the word of the Empress is the word of God, the will of the Empress is the will of God" and warned of harsh punishment for those continuing to refuse the edict. Empire-wide transmission of the Council's ruling, and news that the Speakers of Truth declined to intervene, led to a widespread collapse of the Refusards with many immediately complying and repenting before officials of the Imperial Chancellor.
However, several holders on several planets in the Aridia region, known for its plethora of hardline cults and ultra-orthodox sects, maintained their refusal to release slaves under the terms of the edict, citing religious justification. Chancellor Kor-Azor instructed a fleet seconded to the Chancellery to enforce the edict using all means necessary. It is known that the enforcement fleet subjected several Refusard holder estates and associated targets to heavy bombardment from orbit, and numerous locations were assaulted by Chancellery troops. In all, these actions resulted in the seizure of over 15 million slaves who were subsequently released in line with the emancipation proclamation.
The treatment of the most recalcitrant Refusards was harsh indeed, with the leaders summarily executed and their followers and families reduced to slavery for generations. Others who less dramatically sought to evade the edict's terms were also firmly dealt with as holders using subterfuge and fraud to keep their 9th generation slaves were pursued by the Ministry of Internal Order. In a notable case, the wealthy slaveholder Adash Korta, Holder of Dakba and owner of something over half a million slaves, was found to have altered the genealogical records of his stock, thereby hiding the 9th generation and above status of approximately 100,000 slaves. The Theology Council made an example of Korta, condemning him to slavery, stripping his family of noble rank and distributing his assets between the new Holder of Dakba and other local Holders.
Reactions to the emancipation edict across New Eden were somewhat mixed. The Caldari State was muted in its reactions but clearly many saw it as an opportunity to ease old tensions between the Caldari, legally and culturally opposed to slavery, and the Amarr over the issue. In the Gallente Federation many welcomed the release of hundreds of millions of slaves, although concerns were expressed by some politicians that it could result in a new influx of refugees to Gallente regions. The Minmatar diaspora in the Federation was more sceptical as to the quality of Empress Jamyl I's mercy. This view found more than an echo in the response from the Minmatar Republic, where Sanmatar Maleatu Shakor warned of 'Amarr treachery' even as he welcomed millions of slaves home to the Minmatar worlds.
Reaction to Executions
Reactions to the widely-publicized executions of the Gallente Admiral Anvent Eturrer and former Amarr Court Chamberlain Dochuta Karsoth at the end of the last year continued for some time. Most strident in their criticism of the very public and grotesque method of cellular immolation used by the Federation to put to death the traitor Eturrer were the Servant Sisters of EVE, calling it "barbaric and inhumane" and urging the method be banned. The Federation government made no official response to this but many Gallente citizens defended the public execution and even the immolation method. Pro-war rallies saw many thousands backing the Federation's approach, though other citizens expressed quiet reservations. In contrast, reaction to the private, almost dignified execution of Dochuta Karsoth were few. However, an Amarr Imperial Navy observer's report of the Royal Khanid Navy operations against the Blood Raider Covenant that netted Karsoth told of the heavy cost on both sides.
Early in January, in another bold initiative from the Amarr Empire, Empress Jamyl I announced a multi-trillion ISK package of investment into the Caldari State. The Caldari-Amarr Economic Stimulus Agreement (CAESA) was negotiated with the assistance of the Tash-Murkon Family and the Khanid Kingdom but reactions within the Empire were mixed. While the more liberal Tash-Murkon and Kor-Azor hailed the investment package, religious conservatives and Amarr business leaders expressed concern that such investment should more properly be aimed at Amarr businesses. In the Caldari State reactions were almost entirely favorable, with Executor Tibus Heth welcoming the package and pledging that the Amarr Empire would receive a profitable return on the investment. In a development related to the emancipation, the Caldari Providence Directorate announced it would be making available a number of experienced trainers for secondment within the Amarr Empire to train former slaves who choose to take up residence there.
Militia Warfare Increases
Other developments across New Eden as the year began included increased levels of fighting between the militias in the war zone even as the Caldari Navy's logistics command published a report detailing the costs of occupying Caldari Prime. The scale of the costs both in ISK, materiel and morale among occupying troops came as a surprise to some and the liberal faction megacorporation Hyasyoda used the occasion of a debate on the report in the Chief Executive Panel to criticize the military policies of State Executor Tibus Heth. While this criticism elicited some support, the patriot bloc corporations, in particular Lai Dai, supported Heth's policies vigorously. Perhaps more ominous for Heth than the almost expected criticism from the liberals was the silence of the practical faction corporations. Certainly, the grim tally set out in the report had clearly caused disquiet among the profit-conscious Caldari megacorps.
Competition for Ishukone Succession
Another significant development in the Caldari State concerned the Ishukone Corporation, without a CEO since the Malkalen Disaster in May YC110, and the megacorporation's long search for a new chief executive. With several candidates having fallen by the wayside the previous year, it emerged that the Ishukone board was seriously considering two leading contenders: Mens Reppola, CEO of Ishukone Watch and a friend of the late Otro Gariushi, and Soisonen Okalala, CEO of Ishukone mining subsidiary Minedrill. With both candidates being chief executives within the Ishukone family of corporations and appealing to different tendencies within the Ishukone board, the competition between the two was expected to be close.
Traditions and 6th Tournament
In the Minmatar Republic, an upsurge of interest in the history of the Minmatar and its tribes was most interestingly manifested in a great increase in enthusiasm for the traditional cuisine of the Minmatar peoples. The Minmatar Native Freshfood corporation reported a rise in sales of traditional ingredients and recipe books, attributing it to the cost-effectiveness of traditional cuisine as well as the attraction of eating "like Minmatar."
The Independent Gaming Commission announced its 6th Alliance Tournament for capsuleers would begin at the end of the month. In a move that was perhaps designed to play on patriotic feelings in the core empires, and thereby increase viewing figures, the IGC announced that teams from the four militias would be accepted into the qualifying rounds of the tournament. In the event, none of the militia teams progressed past the qualifiers into the final rounds, perhaps unable to score sufficiently against seasoned and well-equipped capsuleer alliance squads despite some individual wins.