Ermagerd hai! Missed you, dude!
tl;dr Alpha Clones are a limited free to play option. Your skills are heavily limited based on your race, basically restricting you to T1 cruisers, destroyers and frigates of that race (plus navy ships), with only T1 weapons. (Well, you can use faction guns and ammo, technically.)
If you actually enjoy undocking and doing stuff in space, being an Alpha isn't all that fun if you happen to like anything fancier than the above. For just RP, it's fine though.
The Drifter storyline is probably the only interesting thing going on for you storywise, since it's relevant to some of the stuff you've done in the past.
Storyline department is still going. It's pretty much Falcon, Affinity and Delegate Zero these days, which I believe occasional help from other people every now and then. The rest of the usual suspects are definitely still chilling in Reykjavik.
Yes, we're always bitching about PF, though the tweetfleet Slack has made the current lore devs a bit easier to reach and poke with questions about things in the absence of the wiki.
DZ is unfortunately not the CEO yet, but Hilmar seems to have been doing okay lately. Things are slow at times, but I think the company's sort of getting back onto the right foot.