The Kilrathi War had been raging on between the Terran Confederation and the brutal Kilrathi Empire for over thirty years prior to the late 2660s. The Kilrathi had always had the upper hand in the War, but finally, in the year 2668, humanity was turning the tide against their hated enemies. The Battle of Vukar Tag was in progress but was so far proceeding in humanity's favor, and Confed had just succeeded in destroying the Society of the Mandarins, an alliance of human traitors committed to the Kilrathi cause. Kilrathi losses were higher than in any previous year, and Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka was losing his credibility as a competent commander of the Kilrathi Armed Forces. However, the Kilrathi were far from defeated. They still had millions of troops and over twice the carrier force of the Terran Confederation, along with an endless supply of war materials. Confed High Command realized that if they were to continue their momentum, they had to deprive the Empire of their war supplies and cause some severe damage to their navy.
During the first half of 2668, Confed High Command and Special Ops made plans to launch deep-space strikes and raids on Kilrathi military facilities and naval yards located deep within Kilrathi airspace. Most of the Kilrathi's military strength lay within its borders where its vast array of shipyards and colonies worked tirelessly to commit new ships to the frontlines. It was decided that the destruction of these facilities were the key to ultimate victory over the Empire, so Confed moved quickly to commission several new starships to undertake this task.
Planning the BattleEdit
Over the course of the year, Confed High Command arranged for several deep-space strikes against key Kilrathi bases and planets located deep within Imperial airspace. Among these attacks was easily the most dangerous mission any human being dared to accomplish: An attack on the Kilrathi homeworld of Kilrah. A mission of this magnitude would require some of the finest ships and soldiers Confed had to offer, so Admiral Wayne Banbridge commissioned the famed TCS Tarawa to the mission. The Tarawa had already played a key role in securing Confed's victory at Vukar Tag, and now was to be assigned to Strike Force Valkyrie. The Tarawa would be accompanied by two escorts, the TCS Kagimasha and the TCS Intrepid, as well as a full complement of marines. Their mission would be to destroy the Kilrathi construction facilities on Largkza, Kilrah's second moon. This would disrupt the assembly of several of their carriers, whose numbers were overwhelming Confed's own carrier fleet. Once this was done, Strike Force Valkyrie would stay in the system until Prince Thrakhath called parts of the Kilrathi Home Fleet at Vukar Tag to eliminate the humans at Kilrah. Confed could then conquer Vukar Tag while Tarawa and her team fled Kilrah. However, they would be on their own due to the dangers of sending an entire fleet to pull them out.
Strike Force Valkyrie set out towards Kilrah on 2667.175 with Captain Thaddeus O'Brian in command of the Tarawa and famed pilot Jason Bondarevsky on the flight squad. The fleet jumped to Kilrah through a newly-discovered jump point that straight to the Kilrathi homeworld, its crews fully aware that they might not come back alive.
Strike Force ValkyrieEdit
- Flagship: TCS Tarawa (Escort Carrier)
- TCS Intrepid (Southampton-class Destroyer)
- TCS Kagimasha (Venture-class Corvette)
- Three Flight Squadrons
- 1st Marine Battalion (500-1,500 Marines)
- Ten Landing Craft
- Captain Thaddeus O'Brian (Captain of the TCS Tarawa)
- Captain Grierson (Captain of the TCS Intrepid)
- Captain Teng (Captain of the TCS Kagimasha)
- Wing Commander Jason Bondarevsky
- Major Svetlana Ivanova (1st Marine Battalion)
First to Kilrah!Edit
Strike Force Valkyrie penetrated the Kilrah System on 2667.175 and immediately launched the attack on Largkza, the second moon of Kilrah. Tarawa launched all ten of its landing craft, which deployed the entire First Marine Battalion on Largkza, where they stormed the construction yards and prepared to destroy the facilities with mines. Many marines, including Major Svetlana Ivanova, were killed during the battle. However, the marines were wreaking havoc on the Kilrathi bases. As planned, part of the Kilrathi Home Fleet returned from Vukar Tag and attacked the Tarawa, but unfortunately the ship was severely damaged by Strakha Stealth Fighters. During the ambush, one Strakha made a suicide run on the carrier's bridge and killed the entire bridge crew, including Captain O'Brian. Jason Bondarevsky assumed command of the Tarawa and moved quickly to save the marines, most of whom managed to escape while others died when their landing craft were destroyed in Largkza orbit. Before she died of her wounds Major Ivanova detonated the mines in the facility, destroying six carriers, six construction yards, a cruiser construction facility, and killing thousands of Kilrathi personnel. Having completed their mission and facing overwhelming odds, Strike Force Valkyrie prepared to evacuate the Kilrah System.
Piercing the HeartEdit
The Tarawa succeeded in its assault on Largkza, but lost nearly 100 crew members. The vessel was critically damaged with its Helm, Combat Information Center, Communications, Weapons Control and Damage Control all put out of commission, so Bondarevsky commanded the vessel from the flight deck. Shields were down, there were many air leaks, long-range scanners were damaged, and the Inertial Dampening System that cloaked the vessel was down, leaving Tarawa with few means of defense. Desperate to save the vessel, Bondarevsky piloted the vessel to Kilrah's first moon, Igrathi. There, repairs proceeded on the ship, and then the strike force launched an attack on Kilrah itself when Prince Thrakhath attacked. Tarawa launched a shuttle and a P-64 Ferret Light Fighter loaded with nuclear weapons to attack Kilrah, but the attack failed when both craft were shot down. One of Tarawa's escorts, the TCS Kagimasha, was destroyed when a Sartha collided with the vessel, killing the entire crew. The Tarawa and the Intrepid used their tractor beams to slingshot around Kilrah by aiming their respective beams at the planet, and then fled to the nearby Baragh System.
Ambush at BaraghEdit
The Tarawa and the Intrepid finally escaped the Kilrathi Fleet at Kilrah and made it back to the Baragh System in the Vukar Tag Sector, where the Battle of Vukar Tag remained in progress. Unfortunately, Tarawa found no safety in this system as it was tracked down by three enemy carriers, one of which launched a torpedo strike that slaughtered 35 crew members on the Tarawa. With their sensory and surveillance hopelessly damaged, the Tarawa was forced to rely on the Intrepid to keep their intelligence updated. Sadly, the Intrepid was destroyed in an act of self-sacrifice when it and its crew faced off against a Kilrathi cruiser. Both vessels engaged each other in a massive exchange of missiles, killing everybody on both ships. Fortunately, help finally arrived when the famed TCS Concordia, under the command of Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn, jumped into the system disguised as a Kilrathi carrier. The Concordia and her fighter wing succeeded in defeating the Kilrathi pursuers, and the surviving forces from Strike Force Valkyrie fled to human space.
Strike Force ValkyrieEdit
- TCS Tarawa severely damaged
- Nearly 200 crew members on Tarawa KIA; 30 of 44 pilots KIA.
- TCS Intrepid Destroyed
- TCS Kagimasha Destroyed
- Unknown number of members of First Marine Battalion KIA.
Kilrathi Home FleetEdit
- Six Construction Yards Destroyed
- Six Carriers Destroyed
- One Cruiser Construction Center Destroyed
- At least one Cruiser Destroyed
- Unknown number of Starfighters
- Over 4,000 Kilrathi Dead
Strike Force Valkyrie suffered significant losses during the attack on Kilrah and almost all vessels. The TCS Tarawa was so badly damaged that she narrowly avoided decommissioning by the insistence of Admiral Tolwyn and Jason Bondarevsky, who was promoted to Captain for his leadership during the battle. Despite these losses, the devastation to the Kilrathi Home Fleet was far greater. With the loss of six carriers, several construction facilities and over 4,000 naval personnel and soldiers, the Battle of Kilrah was a clear victory for humanity. The attack deprived the Kilrathi Navy of a large amount of irreplaceable equipment and starships, and it proved to be an enormous humiliation for the Kilrathi as a whole. Humanity regained hope that they would win the War against their bloodthirsty rivals, strengthening their resolve and giving humanity an advantage on the battlefield.
The success of the Battle of Kilrah prompted the Terran Confederation to assemble and commission about another dozen Escort Carriers, all of which would participate in deep-space raids on high-profile Kilrathi targets deep within the depths of the Kilrathi Empire. Within a year, these strikes effectively rendered the Kilrathi Military undermanned and deprived of equipment. By the end of 2668, The Kilrathi Empire was losing the War, forcing its leadership to enact daring plans to destroy humanity before losses could mount any higher. Unfortunately, this series of events culminated in the return of exiled Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra, who would turn defeat into victory with the proposal of the 2668 Armistace on 2668.191.