More than 30 billion lives were lost on both sides.
First official contact between humans and the Kilrathi race was on 15 April 2629, when the TCS Iason, a Terran Confederation research vessel, encountered an unknown vessel along the frontier of space in the Vega Sector. The Iason's captain chose not to prepare the ship's weapons in order to avoid hostilities. However, the Kilrathi detected a wide-band radiation eminating from the message and believed that the signal was an attempt to lower their shields. The Kilrathi vessel then attacked and destroyed the Iason, with all hands lost. The Iason incident was followed by the Miaquez incident, about which the Kilrathi claimed mistaken identity.
Confed created a non-aggression policy in a failed attempt to soothe the faltering relations between the two sides, though threatened with military action if raids against its vessels and colonies were not stopped. These warnings fell on deaf ears, and from 2629 to 2634, the Kilrathi conduct numerous raids on Confed vessels. From its side, the Empire wished to conquer the Confederation to continue the tradition of each Kilrathi Emperor conquering an alien race.
The War begins
In 2634, a Kilrathi destroyed the Anna Magdalena, a civilian transport carrying orphans to the planet Dieno, with all aboard killed. In response, the Confederation Assembly officially declared war on the Kilrathi Empire on 5 July 2634.
The first few months of the war largely favored the Confederation, with many Kilrathi border outposts taken with minimal loss of life or equipment. However, per the limited engagement orders of the declaration of war, most of the Confed fleet remained inactive, with much of the fleet stationed at Alexandria Base above the planet McAuliffe, the second-largest base in the Confederation after Earth. While intelligence reports and certain military leaders believe that the Kilrathi were preparing for a massive counteroffensive to quickly overrun the Confederation, they are rebuffed by the President, who is facing an election in which an anti-military coalition is set to take power should the war needlessly escalate.
However, the commander of Confed Navy, Admiral Spencer Banbridge, personally orders the commanders at McAuliffe to cancel leaves and prepare for a full Kilrathi attack on Confederation Day, and orders a Confed task force, led by Admiral Dayan aboard the TCS Ark Royal, to reinforce the fleet at McAuliffe. Due to complications, the orders never arrive to McAuliffe, leaving the fleet mostly inactive on Confederation Day, when a massive Kilrathi fleet invades the system. Using a new torpedo that renders Terran shields ineffective, the base and over eighty ships in the fleet, including four carriers, are lost in the opening wave of the attack, with only the TCS Concordia and a handful of other ships, all undermanned, escaping to rendezvous with Dayan's task force, which had arrived hours after the battle started.
Instead of ordering the remaining fleet to flee back to Earth, the acting captain of Concordia, Commander Winston Turner, decides to counterattack the Kilrathi fleet, despite having an enormous numerical disadvantage in all classes of ships and fighters, in hopes of relieving the entrenched marines on the surface of McAuliffe as well as dealing the Kilrathi a psychological blow. The plan works, with Confed fighters destroying numerous troop landing crafts and the fleet destroying two carriers and a battleship. Surprised by the ferocious counterattack, the Kilrathi quickly retreat from the system. Despite the victory, Concordia is lost soon after the battle and Ark Royal sustains such significant damage that she must be taken offline for six months. Furthermore, the destruction of much of the fleet leaves the Confederation with only three active carriers, placing them at a numerical disadvantage with the Kilrathi for the rest of the war.
The rest of the Confederation suffered significant defeats in the weeks following the battle. Within thirty days of the Battle of McAuliffe, the Kilrathi had taken over 153 star systems, with over 30% of the Confederation's industry capability, 40% of its strategic resources, and over twenty-eight billion Confederation citizens captured by the enemy.
In 2639, Enyo, a Confederation planet, was invaded by the Kilrathi, leaving a quarter of a million colonists on the planet prisoners. Fortunately at Enyo, Confederation forces in the area, commanded by Captain Geoffrey Tolwyn, was able to launch a counterstrike against the Kilrathi. Using the Raptor-class Heavy Fighters, Tolwyn's forces destroyed a great deal of the Kilrathi forces and saved almost all of the people on Enyo. This event became known as the Enyo Engagement.
In 2640 the Kilrathi managed to make the Confed withraw from about 30% of its systems in Vega, but a Confed counter offensive retook nearly all the lost colonies. In late 2644 the Confed attempted to control the Epsilon Sector but the Kilrathi repulsed them. Soon after heavy fighting the Confed overwhelmed T'Kon Meth and T'Rel Meh but while the invasion effort was stalled a Kilrathi counter offensive in 2646 took both worlds back, leading to the Battle of Repleetah. During that decade the Confederation suffered losses from worlds which decided to secede. In 2645 the Kirlathi abandoned their effort against the Terran central sectors and turned against the Pleiades Sector.
In 2649 the Confederation sent most of the Vega Sector Fleet for an all-or-nothing attack against Kilrah, but they were routed by stronger forces than expected. The TCS Tiger's Claw was sent to fight a desperate but heroic supporting action to cover the retreating Terran forces. The fateful engagement was referred as Custer's Carnival.
The Kilrathi under Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka proceeded to different strategies against the Confederation, such as stealing fighter plans from the Space Naval Academy on Hilthros or manipulate the primitive Dioscurans like deities and turn them into pilots of surplus ships against the Confederation. the TCS Tiger's Claw gained control and explored a pulsar hypernode used by the Kilrathi but this led to a fateful ambush at Seti Beta 1. The Kilrathi also managed to develop a stealth fighter and steal the Fighter Transport TCS Morgan and launch Confederation fighters against the Claw. However the greatest personal feat of Commodore Tolwyn would be the destruction of the Prince's flagship, Agon Ra Sivar over Dolos.
Christopher Blair was assigned to the TCS Tiger's Claw, where he played a vital role in the winning most campaigns in the Vega Campaign. Terran Intelligence discovered that the Kilrathi High Command war efforts were based in Venice system and destroyed their base. After this the Kilrathi abandoned the Vega Sector and moved their central military command back to Kilrah.
It is also at this time that the Firekkans from the Firekka system ally themselves with the Terran Confederation and when Kilrathi lord Ralgha nar Hhallas defected to the Confederation. In 2656, the Tiger's Claw was ambushed by an unknown enemy, later to be revealed as Kilrathi Strakha Stealth Fighters, and Blair was the only survivor in the immediate vicinity. His missing flight recorder disc and stories of invisible stealth fighters earned him the scorn of Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn. He was convicted of negligence and relegated to the backwater Caernarvon Station in the Gwynedd System for some nine years.
In the year 2665, a fluke attack near Caernarvon Station forces Blair to come to the aid of the flagship TCS Concordia under the command Geoffrey Tolwyn. Wing Commander Jeannette Devereaux helped Blair stay aboard the Concordia, where he was able to clear his name by proving Zachary Colson framed him for the Claw's destruction. With Blair's help, the Concordia won the Enigma Campaign by destroying the base at K'tithrak Mang, although it was later revealed that was a strategic move on the part of the Kilrathi to take the Confederation's Headquarters in the Deneb Sector.
By 2668, the Kilrathi found themselves in a losing situation. Though their military outnumbered the Terran Confederation, the Confederation's percentage of trained personnel exceeded that of the Kilrathi's, and their technology was becoming old and obsolete. Because of a successful raid on the Kilrathi home planet by the TCS Tarawa, which destroyed a number of dry docks and the nearly-finished carriers within them and a sudden shortage of transports, forcing the carriers to return to base for supplies and putting further miles on spaceframes that were already overworked, the Kilrathi Empire was on the verge of defeat. Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka revealed to the leaders of the eight Kilrathi clans the reason behind the transport shortage. The majority of the Kilrathi transports were transporting materials in the outer reaches of Kilrathi space, where the new Hakaga-class heavy carriers were under construction. These new carriers were far more powerful than any capital ship the Kilrathi had and with this in mind, Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra suggested an armistice and promising peace with the Confederation. Because the Confederation was in a similar losing situation, they accepted the peace terms, although many speculate this because the Kilrathi were warriors that were against surrender.
However, later that year, the Hakaga fleet is discovered, but it was too late. Thrakhath already had several of these new carriers fully operation, and had formed a massive fleet that was in a direct course for Sol. The fleet first entered the Sirius system. At Sirius Prime, the first of the Confederation's inner colony worlds, Geoffrey Tolwyn had a small fleet to protect the colony worlds. The fleet consisted of four old carriers, less than two dozen support crafts, and perhaps three hundred fighters. With a small fleet that wasn't fully prepared for the large Kilrathi fleet, Tolwyn lost. Only one Hakaga carrier was crippled and another significantly damaged, but none were destroyed; where Tolwyn lost most of his bombers and fighter-bombers, two of his carriers, and almost his flagship, the TCS Concordia. Because of his loss, the inner colony worlds on Sirius were sterilized by the Kilrathi's thermonuclear missiles loaded with strontium-90, a loss of almost two billion lives. The Third Fleet retreated to Earth.
By 2668.365, Thrakhath's remaining Hakaga fleet, still strong, entered the Sol System, where the Confederation would make their stand. A heavy battle followed, resulting to heavy losses in both sides, mainly the Terrans. The Kilrathi were able to destroy the majority of the Confederation's industrial sites, including shipyards and starfighter factories. In return, Confederation marines boarded and planted bombs inside Kilrathi carriers, destroying many of the Kilrathi ships in the fleet, including most of the Hakaga carriers. With the arrival of the Tarawa and several more reinforcements, the Kilrathi cruisers orbiting Earth didn't have a chance to launch thermonuclear warheads towards Earth. Prince Thrakhath, seeing as that his mighty fleet had suffered heavy losses, ordered a retreat. With this, Earth was saved, but at a heavy price. The majority of Confed's fleet was crippled as well, along with their shipyards and factories. This battle would be documented as the Battle of Earth.
The end of the Kilrathi War
Because the Confederation suffered heavy casualties after the Battle of Earth, Confed officials were starting to get desperate. With most of their starships and fighters lost, Confed started production of newer capital ships and fighters (WC3 era ships) and started developing a few new weapons in hopes of ending the war in desperation. For now, the Confederation assigned older carriers and other older capital ships from secondary duties to the front lines in order to make up for their capital ship losses from the Battle of Earth indefinitely. One such carrier was the famous TCS Victory, where Christopher Blair was assigned to and played a vital role in the final times of the Kilrathi War.
Several attempts were made to find ways to end the Kilrathi War for the Confederation. In 2669, Jeannette Devereaux, aka Angel, embarked on a Special Operations mission assigned by the Confederation, aimed to secretly penetrate into Kilrathi territory. Flying a captured Kilrathi transport ship, Devereaux and her crew reached Kilrah, the enemy home planet, and conducted a geological survey, confirming that the planet was, from a seismic standpoint, ready to fall apart at the seams. They then set up three secret asteroid bases within the Kilrathi star system for use in a future Temblor Bomb strikes, which would prove vital in the end of the Kilrathi War. The TCS Behemoth, one of the largest spacefaring structures ever built by the Confederation, its major weapon, a planet-killing superconducting particle beam cannon, was successfully deployed against the test planet Loki VI. However, a traitor amongst the Confederation had leaked the weak points in the Behemoth's defenses to the enemy, and a massive Paktahn bomber squadron attacked the Behemoth and destroyed her. The Victory, charged with overseeing Behemoth, was forced to retreat, suffering a major blow to the Terran Confederation.
With almost all hope abandoned, the Confederation turned to their results from Angel's Secret Operations mission. Through her findings, Confed was able to determine that the Kilrathi homeworld, Kilrah, was seismically unstable. Thanks to the information provided by Angel, Confed began plans of a weapon that would use this information to their advantage. Thus, the Temblor Bomb was introduced. However, the person in charge of development for the weapon, Dr. Severin was being held captive by the Kilrathi on Alcor V. Blair was able to rescue Severin and work on the Temblor Bomb would start. The Temblor Bomb was a weapon that, once deployed onto a fault-line, would disrupt seismic activity on a planet, destroying it. Christopher Blair, along with Todd Marshall, personally flew into Kilrah in a F-103 Excalibur Heavy Fighter and deployed the bomb onto Kilrah. During his flight to Kilrah, he manages to eliminate Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka, and the Confederation traitor, who happens to be the Kilrathi defector Ralgha nar Hhallas. After the delivery of the Temblor Bomb, Kilrah was destroyed, along with the Grand Fleet of the Kilrathi which was stationed in Kilrah's orbit. With the heavy loss of their homeworld, the Kilrathi had no choice but to surrender. Melek, a servant for Thrakhath, declined to take revenge for the loss of his homeworld. Instead, he offered the Kilrathi's surrender. Melek believed that the Kilrathi had paid the price for their bloodlust and corruption,and that the Confederation and the Kilrathi may have to work together in the future against the races harassing the far side of the now fallen Empire. He asked Blair to carry the offer of surrender to his superiors. A Kilrathi delegation, which included Melek, met with Confederation officials on a Confederation carrier, where they signed the Treaty of Torgo. With both sides signing the treaty that insured long-lasting peace between the two sides, the Kilrathi War had finally come to an end.
The cost of the war on both sides in nearly every aspect was enormous. The Confederation lost over thirty billion citizens, leaving countless worlds devastated and some, such as Sirius, incapable of supporting life. What remained of the Confederation's fleet was either outdated or damaged beyond repair. Severe military funding cutbacks left Confed in an even more precarious state. With an economy that had been geared towards military production for over forty years, the post-war Confederation quickly entered a depression of epic proportions, with a lack of transports for interplanetary trade, a large number of unemployed war veterans and a lack of security throughout space only adding to the problem. While budget cuts were widespread, some criticized the level of resources dedicated to rebuilding the military rather than helping rebuild the devastated economies of countless worlds.
The impact of the war on the Kilrathi was even more devastating. The Kilrathi Empire ceased to exist, leaving a power vacuum that quickly led to a full-scale civil war between the major Kilrathi clans. With most of the Kilrathi fleet destroyed over Kilrah, most clans operated out of small transports, effectively ending the Kilrathi's influence over much of their galactic region.
- William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, Chapter 0
- William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, ch. 1
- William R. Forstchen, Action Stations, ch. 7
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