One of the big takeaways from the storyline and live events panels at Fanfest this year was that the live events have brought a lot more attention to the EVE storyline, more than there has been since possibly the pre-Empyrean Age era. For those of you who have been more interested in nullsec politics, commodity prices, or what kind of ludicrously expensive fit you can shove on your missioning Raven, you may feel like these new live events are fun to watch, but you don't know (or don't care about) the context surrounding them. Unfortunately, the commentary for the Caldari Prime event focused more on the shooty spaceships and less on what it all meant in the grand scheme of things, and diving into the fiction portal on the Evelopedia can be like entering the TV Tropes black hole. So, as an alternative, here's a primer on the main events of the storyline at the moment and how they fit together, to get you at least somewhat up to speed with those of us that follow the storyline a bit more closely.
The Aftermath of Caldari Prime
The big storyline that seems to be reaching its conclusion at the moment is the collapse of Tibus Heth's power base in the Caldari State, which has been sped along by the destruction of the Caldari titan and its support fleet during the Battle of Caldari Prime. For a lot of us in the Caldari RP community, this has been a long time coming, but Heth's call to nationalize the Caldari megacorporations has likely sealed his fate. The fact that all those corporations run their own military forces, and that none of them seem particularly likely to roll over, likely means that Tibus Heth is going to enter into a forced retirement of one sort or another very soon. This seems especially likely since the Chief Executive Panel, which is ostensibly the actual head of the Caldari government, appears to have significant disagreement with the Executor at this point.
Personally, I think anyone looking for a civil war in the Caldari State is delusional; not just because it would be hard for CCP to pull off in a satisfactory way, but also because Heth is doing a very good job of alienating every military force in the State except perhaps Kaalakiota's Home Guard (his megacorporate security forces) and the Caldari Providence Directorate (his brownshirts). Considering the fact that there are plenty of enemies of Heth's within Kaalakiota as well, any fight, if there is one, is likely going to be very short. Hopefully, this will see the State return to a corporate plutocracy, much more interesting than the post-Empyrean Age fascist dictatorship.
Meanwhile, Caldari Prime itself has been set aside as a demilitarized zone thanks to negotiations between the Gallente Federation and a coalition of the Caldari megacorporations led by Ishukone. Mordu's Legion, the Intaki mercenary group that has a long-standing history with the Caldari State, has been brought in to police the planet. The more hard-line Patriots in the Caldari State aren't too pleased with this turn of events, but with Tibus Heth committing slow suicide-by-megacorp, their star appears to be descending.
Trouble Between Friends
With all the attention on Caldari Prime, you may have missed the assassination of Karin Midular in the Federation last month. Midular, who was the Prime Minister of the Minmatar Republic prior to the rather disappointing turn she took in The Empyrean Age, was shot during a Minmatar cultural festival in the Federation. This has caused more than a bit of tension between the Minmatar and the Federation, as Midular was a cultural hero to many in the Republic, especially the Sebiestor Tribe. The Federation has been reluctant, to say the least, to disclose any details about the shooter. The Republic demanded that he be turned over to them for trial, and the Federation refused, leading to a showdown in Colelie between Federation and Republic dreadnoughts that ended with a lot of dead Naglfars and Moroses.
With tensions riding high, don't expect this plotline to die down anytime soon. The fact has come out that the shooter, a Gallente with an axe to grind against foreigners, was apparently a great admirer of Mentas Blaque. Blaque is the former Senator who railed against non-Gallente in the Federation before he became head of the Federal Intelligence Office's dirty tricks and jackboots squad, the Black Eagles. This isn't likely to make the Minmatar less suspicious about the circumstances of Midular's death.
Speaking of the Black Eagles, I don't think it's a coincidence that the limits of their extralegal authority appears to be getting called into question at the same time we see them getting wrapped up in the Midular controversy. Seeing the Gallente civil authorities (in the form of the Supreme Court) start to show a little backbone toward the Black Eagles is a welcome development; seeing the Federation turn into a caricature of post-9/11 America was another of my pet peeves with the post-Empyrean Age storylines, so it's good to see this being walked back a little.
Where all this is going, I couldn't tell you, but I have no doubt interesting times are ahead for the Gallente-Minmatar alliance, especially since the storyline team has said that the Minmatar and Amarr are likely to be the focus of the next storyline cycle. This is probably where you should look if you're interested in participating in more live events in the near future.
Give 'Em That Old Time Religion
Speaking of the Amarr, things are getting interesting over in the Empire lately as well. There are signs that the Empress's rather fragile state of mind is starting to show to the wider world, and we have the heir of House Sarum calling for an end to pussyfooting around with the Minmatar in factional warfare. Merimeth Sarum supports a resumption of the Reclaiming, the Amarr crusade to turn the rest of the cluster into their personal theocratic utopia. While the other Amarr royals appear to be mouthing support for Sarum's religious fervor, it's unclear if this is genuine sentiment or just trying to stay on the good side of the Empress and her House.
The arch-conservative House Ardishapur is also bringing Amarr religion back front and center with educational reforms designed to improve student performance, but also (and not coincidentally) to put the Amarr Scriptures once again in a prominent place in Amarr schooling. This effort is evidently much to the pleasure of the Empress herself (depending on her mood).
Last month also saw violence break out at a religious celebration hosted by House Kador, after the Empress forced the House to get rid of “foreign elements” at the celebration, which included a number of Caldari security personnel usually brought in to keep the peace. Religious fervor got a bit out of hand and four people died during the revival ceremony, but this outburst evidently only impressed the Empress.
All of this has led to what you might call “concern” on the part of the Minmatar and the Federation, and a bit of speculation from some that this is going to be turned on the Caldari as well. Personally, I think anyone predicting that the Amarr are going to suddenly try to storm the gates of the Citadel has been hitting the Blue Pill a bit hard, but there's little doubt that saber rattling from the Amarr mixed with a good dose of religious nuttiness should make everyone sit up and take notice.
Keeping Up On Current Events
Now that you've got the lay of the land, you can keep up to date with the latest news by watching the community portal's world news feed and this thread on the Intergalactic Summit, where CCP Eterne has been posting additional news from the ISD Mercury team. If you're looking to see more discussion about the news, you can always stick your head into the Intergalactic Summit and pick through the threads there, or head over to Backstage, where many members of the roleplaying community have been pulling apart the latest stories from an OOC point of view.