Black Rise is a frontier region of the Caldari State, and the latest area of space to be colonized by them. Previously, the region was classed as an inexplicable black void, believed to be without mass or dimension. There were attempts by both the Federation and the Caldari during the Gallente-Caldari War to establish travel routes through Black Rise to try and outflank their foe, but all such endeavours failed. Ignored for the most part, it was only recently colonized in secret by a coalition of like-minded Caldari megacorporations, despite the poorly-misunderstood stellar phenomena that plague the somewhat unexplored region. In YC 110, the eruption of the Empyrean War forced the State to reveal the region to CONCORD, and wartorn Black Rise is now a key front between Federation and Caldari forces.
During the Gallente-Caldari War, after the Caldari State had begun stemming the tide of the advancing Federation, military planners started devising ways to break the ensuing stalemate. The stellar ‘phenomena’ known as Black Rise was earmarked by both sides as being a potential sector of space that could be used to maneuver around the enemy. For the Federation, the Placid region had been settled around Black Rise, and its status as being a relatively remote and decentralized area of the nation meant that it was under threat from Caldari invasion, should they establish routes through the uncharted region first. Black Rise also offered a way to penetrate into the highly-entrenched Citadel region, which had begun proving extremely difficult to attack. For the Caldari, the inverse applied. If Black Rise was to be traversed, then there would be an unmatched opportunity to destabilize the Federation via the conquest of the Intaki home region, as well as denying the Gallente the chance to strike at the heart of the State.
However, expeditions by both sides into Black Rise ended in absolute disaster, contact being lost with any and all scout ships that ventured into the treacherous region. It was thus dismissed by both sides for the remainder of the conflict and post-war period.
In YC79, thanks to the increased ease of FTL communication due to the rise and role of CONCORD, the Kaalakiota, Wiyrkomi and Lai Dai megacorporations believed that colonization could be reattempted with greater ease, having found ways to traverse the expanse safely. The Patriot megacorps saw it as an opportunity to increase their standing within the State overall, where Sukuuvestaa and their Practical allies had begun establishing their dominance. Moreover, should war erupt again with the Gallente Federation, Black Rise would serve as a key area for the previously abandoned tactic for outflanking. The Federation, meanwhile, no longer considered the region a matter to be concerned with, scaling back its presence in Placid and leaving development to Intaki and independent colonists, who showed neither interest or awareness for Black Rise.
Swearing their subjects into secrecy on pain of prosecution, the Patriot megacorporations began establishing a gate network in YC 80, with only a few colonies and outposts in deadspace and asteroid belts. Planets and moons were not marked for development, as the numerous phenomena that exists in the region were believed to make such endeavours extremely difficult. Moreover, the highly secretive nature of colonization meant that the megacorps were heavily limited in the scale of any development projects. With only a relative few colonists, any large endeavours would surely be noticed by the other megacorporations, be it the form of audit reports or the mysterious shifting of people and resources.
The Empyrean War
With the outbreak of renewed hostilities with the Gallente Federation in YC110, the Patriots were finally forced to reveal Black Rise to the rest of the cluster. Thanks to the immense popularity of Tibus Heth amongst the Caldari people, the other megacorporations said hardly anything at all regarding the questionable nature of Black Rise’s secret colonization. In addition, CONCORD, who were too busy scrambling to draw the battle lines of the Emergency Militia War Powers Act than wanting to fuel any more international incidents, had little to say on the matter either. Noting the minimal level of infrastructure and military presence, CONCORD labelled most of the region as low-security, and deemed it be the main contestable area of Caldari space for the capsuleer militias to fight over.
Moving quickly, the Caldari Navy, along with Home Guard, the Wiyrkomi Peace Corps and the Lai Dai Protection Service, moved into Black Rise in full force to secure the territories militarily. The Chief Executive Panel convened to confirm that areas of the region originally settled by the three megacorporations would be their sovereign territory, while other portions were up for debate. Fully aware of the threat of the very angry Federation following the Luminaire invasion, the CEP saw little wisdom bickering over the issue.
Across YC110, many portions of Black Rise fell to Gallente occupation. Large swathes of the region lacked any notable population to begin with, while many systems had yet to be developed beyond working stargates. This allowed the Federation free reign as to do whatever they wished with their conquered territories, especially considering that the few colonists that would find themselves under foreign military rule simply returned to their original homes in the State heartlands. When Federal forces were eventually ejected from the systems by the State Protectorate, the Gallente adopted a scorched earth policy, destroying any infrastructure that had been established, whether by themselves or the Caldari previously.
The eventual resecuring of the region allowed the Kaalakiota corporation to announce a full-scale survey program for Black Rise in March YC111, with the aims of discovering valuable resources and colonization the opportunities. The surveying was primarily to be conducted by the Home Guard, KK’s security arm, hoping to develop a comprehensive resource database for the region. Days after KK’s announcement, the Lai Dai corporation followed suit, stating that it would consider moving a number of facilities into the Black Rise region, as well as constructing two new planetside aluminum production plants, while Wiyrkomi were to establish several mining colonies over the next six months, creating as many as 60,000 new jobs. Though it was rumoured SuVee would also announce their own plans, no public statement ever reached fruition.
In October YC111, not long after the State Protectorate had established complete military dominance of both the Caldari and Gallente warzones, Lai Dai announced a Black Rise development conference to take place on their station in Kinakka, inviting allies Kaalakiota and Wiyrkomi. Major subsidiaries of these corporations were also invited, including Ytiri, Top Down, Propel Dynamics and the Zero-G Research Firm. Technological pioneers and the general public attended the conference, attendees numbering in the thousands. The many pieces of technology showcased included Zero-G’s prototype for a next-generation orbital habitat, an experimental deadspace garden module by Kaalakiota and Caldari Provisions, and a low-maintenance atmospheric craft developed by Lai Dai. However, a day into the conference, an electromagnetic attack on the station, causing damage to attendees’ cybernetics as well as wiping numerous data networks on the station. Though there were no fatalities, the conference was cancelled, and an irreparable blow was struck to Black Rise development for the following months.
There were several attacks against Lai Dai in the months following, as well as rival Sukuuvestaa’s assets also suffering from attacks, with an explosion at one of their production plants in the Arvasaras system. Initially, SuVee attempted to implicate a group of Gallente terrorists operating in their annexed territories of the Federation, and increased their defense spending. However, the Caldari Navy occupying forces in Federation territory did note any increase in terrorist activity. Instead, it was revealed that both Lai Dai and SuVee had been engaging in “unlawful anti-competitive measures” with one another, facing sanctions by the Caldari Business Tribunal. Analysts interpreted the episode as SuVee’s general resentment against Lai Dai and other Patriots for their hegemony over Black Rise.
During the occupation of Gallente space in the latter half of YC111, several of the megacorporations began to focus on Placid operations. Not believing that the Federation were capable of a counterattack, attention was drawn away from Black Rise and other developments across the wider State due to the pre-existing infrastructure in the occupied territories. The setbacks of the Lai Dai conference attack, as well as the ability to not be concerned with the local population played a major influence in these decisions. This came at the cost of increased piracy across sovereign State territory due to the megacorps shifting their defensive presence into the Federation, with Guristas activity plaguing Wiyrkomi holdings in the Okunda constellation in Lonetrek. However, the massive Gallente counterattack at the end of YC111 proved ruinous, with the Patriot megacorps shifting their attention back to the development of Black Rise, eager to recuperate the losses sustained.
Today, despite colonists flocking to the region in droves, Black Rise remains wartorn and underdeveloped. The stellar phenomena that litter the sector of space often make life and communication difficult, while the Federation, eager to keep as much of the fighting outside of its own territories, pose a constant threat to any further infrastructural development. Many suspect that Black Rise will only reach its full potential if and when the current conflict ends.
Black Rise is currently a hot topic of debate within the Chief Executive Panel for its possible ascension to officially become the Caldari State’s Fourth District. However, the lack of non-Patriot megacorporations in the region have been a source of debate as to whether or not it is truly deserved of this title. Moreover, the mostly-lowsec region is not very integrated with the wider State compared to the other regions, all of which remain highly centralized. While the remaining Big Eight all have operations in Black Rise in some form or another (though mostly limited), KK, Lai Dai and Wiyrkomi still maintain somewhat of a hegemony in the sector.
There were limited negotiations between the Patriots and other blocs about loaning out territory to other megacorporations. However, the aligning of the Liberals and Practicals against the Patriots during YC112 has caused Kaalakiota, Lai Dai and Wiyrkomi to cling onto Black Rise more than ever before. To the Patriots, Black Rise is one of their key military and industrial power bases, considered a trump card to use against the other megas should corporate relations decline further.
Black Rise has a generally higher prevalence of independent corporations than in other areas of the State. The volatile military situation of the region means that the megacorporations themselves are reluctant to invest their own assets into development, and thus rely on contracting out these independent firms. This does mean that the region is the most decentralized in the Caldari State, which is generally subject to monolithic control by the megacorporations. As such, rebellious Dissenter groups have an easier time flourishing in Black Rise, able to establish footholds and operations away from the purview of the corporate authorities. Caldari security forces often spend their time hunting these groups down, who sometimes align themselves with the Federal military operating in the region.
In some cases, independent companies have attempted to strike out on their own, not renewing their contracts with their parent corporations. The State, where 90% of all property is owned by the megacorporations, treats these independent firms harshly, viewing them as self-serving and not contributing to the wider good of the Caldari. For the most part, the Caldari are relentless in asserting its authority over Black Rise, which remains the most disconnected region of the State.
The region of Black Rise is mineral rich, though remains underdeveloped, regarded more for its potential than its current uses. Industry is heavily orientated around mining, manufacturing and automated agriculture. These operations are primarily concentrated in deadspace, moons and planetary orbit. Groundside colonization has yet to take off fully, as the stellar phenomena cast severe doubt as to whether it is entirely safe or sustainable to carry out such endeavours. Capsuleer planetary industry seems to have rendered these concerns moot, however, and the megacorporations are beginning to catch up. Given the low-security status of the region, it will be many decades for Black Rise to ever reach the development level of other sectors of space.
Black Rise is generally a testbed of new colonial technologies developed by the Caldari megacorporations, particularly as they seek methods to counter the stifling effects of the local anomalies. However, the Federation proves a constant threat to the region, and the Gallente are ever-watchful for attempts to disrupt or destroy ongoing development projects. This keeps investor confidence at a constantly low level, though there have been several entrepreneurs who have gone against the flow and became ruinously rich as a result.
Demographics & Culture
Black Rise is important for the contemporary Caldari people as it is perceived to represent a new frontier of colonization opportunities. The frontier mindset has never been strong in Caldari culture, as it is often seen as overly romantic and self-serving, associated with the Gallente. However, the Caldari Providence Directorate has been efficient in propagating the benefits of such a mindset for the greater good of the State. The profit opportunities of Black Rise are seen as endless by the Caldari people, who have not successfully expanded into new areas since the end of the Gallente-Caldari War. The overemphasis on personal initiative and enterprise has been harshly criticized by Tibus Heth’s opponents amongst the Caldari, who believe that Black Rise will never be fully integrated with the rest of the State as long as it is settled on what is perceived as an overly individualistic mindset. They often use the examples of anaemic regions in the Federation (such as Verge Vendor) as an example of how decentralized colonization ultimately does not bring economic prosperity.
Nonetheless, Black Rise on the demographic level is otherwise an anomaly when compared to the rest of the State. Because of its widespread disconnection, several communities have sprung up that are completely independent of the Caldari authorities, who otherwise do not tolerate disconnected entities within their borders. Caldari who have fallen off the bottom rung of the corporate ladder often come to settle in remote areas of Black Rise, away from the remainder of State society. These exiled communities are often ignored by the greater authorities, be it Federation or Caldari military, so long as they do not get in the way of any greater schemes. Opportunistic Gallente and Intaki from bordering Placid often migrate to the region, seeking to exploit the new riches in the region. Naturally, the Caldari military are often ruthless with these individuals. The high level of armed conflict in the region keeps everything in a constant state of motion, as Black Rise has not been settled long enough for any truly permanent settlements to be established. Gallente charities are often seen operating in the region, the Caldari authorities permitting them to do so, simply seeing it as outsourcing a matter they would otherwise be disinclined to bother with. A notable example is Renyn Relief, founded by a prominent Caldari prospector, and privately backed by Caldari firms such as SuVee and Zainou.
Overall, however, Black Rise is in a state of flux. Its widespread colonization and development was only initiated thanks to the outbreak of a war that rages within its very confines, and no state of permanency has been established. It will take many years, if not decades, for Black Rise to reach the same level as more homogeneous regions such as the Forge and Citadel. For now, Black Rise must live under the effects of the ongoing war, but this is sometimes seen as a positive thing by the militaristic-minded Caldari.
- News: Kaalakiota announces Black Rise survey program: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=2804&tid=6
- News: Lai Dai, others announce Black Rise plans: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=2806&tid=6
- News: Lai Dai announces Black Rise development conference: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=3501&tid=6
- News: Development conference attracts pioneers, public: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=3503&tid=6
- News: Lai Dai conference suffers electromagnetic attack: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=3504&tid=11
- News: Explosions strike Sukuuvestaa Corporation production plant http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=3511&tid=6
- News: Further attacks against Sukuuvestaa assets revealed, corporation to increase defense spending: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=3514&tid=11
- News: Lai Dai, Sukuuvestaa facing sanctions for “unlawful anti-competitive measures”
- News: Piracy increases in the Okunda constellation: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=3493&tid=6
- News: Black Eagles search conducted at Gallente charity: http://www.eveonline.com/news.asp?a=single&nid=2940&tid=5