This article, the fourth of five discussing the major empires of New Eden, is concerned with the Caldari State.
The Caldari State: Nothing Says Love Like a Giant and Soulless Megacorporation
If it’s difficult to describe the Minmatar without referring to the Amarr, it is impossible to describe the Caldari State without describing the massive impact the Gallente Federation has had on it. Having developed in the same system as the Gallente, the State was born in blood and fire, through their determination to not be governed by anyone. Any description of the Caldari as a people have to start and end with the concept of megacorporations: gargantuan corporate entities that control a person’s life from cradle to grave. A person lives and dies by the grace of his corporate heritage. In some respects, though, this has lead to an even more equalitarian society than even the Gallente: the harsh realities of darwinian economics and corporate bottom lines have made the State an almost ideal version of a meritocracy, where anyone can make it far if they have the talent and are willing to work at it. Although the eight megacorps control most aspects of a person’s life in the State, things have begun shifting in recent years to a more centralized system thanks to changes wrought by Tibus Heth, the Executor of the Caldari Providence Directorate.
The early history of the State has made a lasting impact on the Caldari, moreso than the other races. The planet that would eventually be known as Caldari Prime was purchased by a megacorporation in 7993. Caldari Prime, unlike its sister Gallente Prime, was a harsh and cold world. Indeed, heavy terraforming would be needed to make it habitable, and the terraforming had only just begun when the Eve Gate collapsed. It would take another 250 years before the surface was habitable, and even then the air was thin and the soil fairly barren. Despite the harshness of the only minimally terraformed world, the Caldari managed to eke out an existence in the temperate regions near the equator. This harsh history ultimately lead to the Caldari’s well-known utilitarianism, and profound belief in the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few (making Vulcan proud in the process). The Caldari didn’t care how pretty something looked, it would kill you all the same if it didn’t do something to help the people survive. Eventually, however, the Caldari managed to unite the entire world under the banner of the Raata Empire in 17453 AD. The Empire survived for over 3,500 years before collapsing 20,998. The Empire collapsed into a myriad of smaller states that would eventually lay foundation for the megacorporations.
This was essentially the state that the Caldari were in when first contact was made with the Gallente. Rather than rehashing the history of the Gallente-Caldari War again, I only want to touch on a few things about the impetus for the war from the Caldari’s perspective. To understand the desire to secede, one has to understand that the Gallente were seen as, for lack of a better word, rather meddling. Almost from the beginning, the Gallente seemed to enjoy lording their sophistication over the Caldari, a culture that prided itself on its self-sufficiency. The first face-to-face contact came through the Gallente Cultural Deliverance Society. Although information on the Society is sparse, given the name it wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to say that it probably had the purpose of “civilizing” the Caldari. From there, the situation continued to worsen as the Gallente dragged the Caldari (essentially kicking and screaming) through the formation of the Federation. By then, the megacorporations had begun to assert themselves as the primary governing body of the Caldari, and they did not appreciate the regulations and rules the Federation put in place on them, again bumping up against that Caldari pride in self-sufficiency. It seemed that everywhere they turned, the Federation was ready to gobble them up. The Federation trying to assert jurisdiction over the hidden colonies was simply the straw that broke the camel’s back, and things spiraled from there. Meddling lead to anger which lead to Nouvelle Rouvenor which lead to the blockade which lead to Hueromont. Neither party and both parties are at fault for the lead up to the war; it was just a situation where societies just don’t mesh well with one another.
More recent history has been rather eventful for the Caldari. Starting in YC 110, a worker named Tibus Heth rose to national prominence after rising quickly from factory worker to CEO of Caldari Constructions. After the aforementioned Malkalen incident, Tibus was able to use the nationalist fervor to get himself appointed head of the newly formed Caldari Providence Directorate, essentially taking direct command over much of the Caldari State. This was an unprecedented consolidation of power when the megacorporations were known to have almost unilateral authority in many areas. Heth has changed this dynamic, getting de facto dictatorial powers over much of the State. He has used these powers to, among other things, gear up for another war with the Gallente and, more benevolently, re-establish the meritocracy that some felt had gotten lost in recent years.
After taking power, Heth was able to leverage the Elder fleet invasion to his own advantage. In a daring lightning strike, Heth used the failure of CONCORD’s rapid response capabilities (and with help from Admiral Eterrur, who sabotaged the Federation’s early warning systems) to sweep through Algogille (the headquarters of the Federation Navy) and Luminaire to retake control of Caldari Prime. President Foiritan had little choice but to cede the planet back to the Caldari after he found Luminaire blockaded and 20 million troops landed on the surface of Caldari Prime. The Caldari quickly took control of the planet and showed the flag by leaving a Leviathan-class titan in orbit of the planet. This titan was eventually brought down in rather spectacular fashion, leaving nothing but smoldering ruins and a demilitarized Caldari Prime.
After losing the Shiigeru, Heth reacted to the devastating strategic loss of leverage over the Gallente with poise and aplomb by immediately forcing the Admiral commanding the ship (a capsuleer) to commit ritualistic suicide. You know, as galactic leaders do. Once the news of this broke, Heth’s reign quickly spiraled downwards. Most of the Caldari mega-corporations had grown tired of Heth’s centralization, and yearned for a return to the prior status quo. The news of the Tea Maker Ceremony (leave it to the Caldari to make ritualistic suicide sound like an afternoon with grandma) was the impetus the megacorps needed to boot Heth. Within a few days, Heth was on the run. First, he and his remaining followers seized control of a station in Haatomo. Since you can’t exactly have the ostensible leader of your nation laying siege to your own stations, the Caldari Executive Panel denounced Heth and went so far as to eliminate the position of State Executor. He was removed as CEO of Caldari Construction, and there are now warrants out for his arrest. Heth’s current whereabouts are unknown, but given that his lungs are slowly turning into lumps of coal, we’ll probably be hearing about his death soon enough.
A person’s daily life in the State still begins and ends with one of the eight megacorporations: Sukuuvesta, Nugoeihuvi, CBD, Ishukone, Hyasyoda, Kaalakiota, Wiyrkomi, and Lai Dai. Although the corporations each have their own agendas and ideologies, they generally fall into one of three philosophical blocs: the Practicals (consisting of Sukuuvesta, Nugoeihuvi, and CBD, whom are generally the most exploitative and the most supportive of Heth), the Liberals (Ishukone and Hyasyoda, whom generally are the most supportive of free trade and cordial relations with other nations), and the Patriots (consisting of Kaalakiota, Wiyrkomi, and Lai Dai. This faction is by far the most powerful, and advocates putting Caldari interests above all else; they’re known for their fierce nationalism. A fourth faction, the Provists, had risen as Heth’s primary power bloc before he, umm, went crazy. Needless to say, they’re pretty much out of the picture with Heth’s downfall, though he still has loyalists scattered throughout the State.
Traditionally, the corporations were given extensive leeway to conduct their own business and affairs as they saw fit. Individual megacorporations run their own schools, have their own currencies (indeed, the Caldari financial system is so complex as to warrant two extensive wikientries), and their own justice systems. Each megacorp even has their own police force and military. A contract between megacorporations is considered almost sacred: only the quasi-judicial Caldari Business Tribunal has authority to cancel contracts. The CBT isn’t a traditional Supreme Court, however. It’s only meant to settle disputes between the megacorps, even if they have extensive powers at their disposal to do so. For most traditional crimes and legal appeals, the megacorporation’s own justice system is the first and last stop. Before the rise of Heth, any executive power needed was exercised jointly by the megacorps through the Chief Executive Panel, with each megacorp having a seat at the table. The CEP is what sets the national budget as well as runs the State’s military apparatus (not to be confused with the individual corporate militaries).
Heth had attempted to centralize power in the State and remove much of freedom to act that the megacorps had previously enjoyed. For quite a while, the CEP was reduced to essentially a rubber stamp, blindly approving any and all of Heth’s reforms with minimal modification, given his popularity with the Caldari masses. The one true outlier in the new system was Ishukone. Prior to former CEO Otro Gariushi’s death, Ishukone was the leading corporation pushing for peace with the other Empires. They even managed to develop an antidote for Vitoc (explained in Part 4, but essentially the drug the Amarr use to help control slaves) which they were willing to give to the Minmatar. Even after Gariushi’s death, his replacement as CEO refused to be cowed by Heth (as detailed in Templar One). With Heth out of the picture, however, the previous status quo is quickly reasserting itself.
Despite the fact that bloodlines play even less of a role in Caldari culture than in the Gallente, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge the different racial backgrounds in the State. First there is the Deteis, who are seen as hard-working and efficient. Often the face of Caldari leadership, they truly believe in society-above-self. The Civire tend to be quick thinkers, and handle themselves well under pressure. They seem to genuinely enjoy being constantly busy, and they always strive for excellence. Finally, and as a bit of an outlier, we have the Achura. Unlike the Deteis and the Civire, the Achura were not a founding member of the State, but were absorbed about 300 years ago. Spirituality appears to feature more prominently in Achura life, but unfortunately the details of the main religion appear scant in the literature. Suffice it to say that the Achura are more introverted than the others, but more renowned for their intelligence.
The Caldari are probably best known for being fiercely nationalistic, and proud both of their state and their parent corporation. Given that the corporation has essentially raised their members since birth, their views on various affairs are likely to closely match their parent corporation when it comes to foreign affairs or Tibus Heth. The Caldari are also fiercely proud of their meritocratic system, and tend to look harshly upon slackers or those who do not pull their weight. Finally, they tend to be fairly utilitarian, caring little for how something looks if it’s able to get the job done. They tend to mirror the Amarrian’s view of their alliance: it’s more one of convenience than of any particular ideological similarities, as is their view of the Minmatar. Obviously, their hatred for most things Gallente can be well-explained given their history.