The Second Extrasolar War was the second major war in the Alpha Centauri system waged between the ISA Alpha Centauri/United Colonial Nations and the Helghan Empire that lasted from 2357 to 2360. The war began in 2357 when the Helghast, under the leadership of Scolar Visari, sought to dramatically expand their empire by reconquering Vekta, and then invading Earth and destroying the UCN. Any opposition from the ISA-controlled systems would be crushed in a subsequent invasion of all other colonies. However, the combined forces of ISA Alpha Centauri and the United Colonial Army repelled the Helghast from Vekta.
In 2359, the ISA launched a counter-invasion of planet Helghan in an attempt to end the conflict by capturing Scolar Visari. But the assault failed with the death of Visari and the ISA forces were routed and forced to retreat. In 2360, the Helghan Empire plotted to directly invade Earth and bombard the planet with irradiated Petrusite warheads. However, the Helghan government, without Visari's leadership, fell into civil war over who was to be Visari's successor. Combined with the in-fighting, remnants of the ISA invasion force prevented the Helghast plot and inadvertently detonating a payload of Petrusite over Helghan, utterly devastating the planet in what became known as the Terracide, which marked the end of the war.
The roots of the Second Extrasolar War trace back to the First Extrasolar War. The first war from over one-hundred years ago resulted in the dismantlement of the Helghan Corporation and Vekta, once a planetary holding of the Helghan Corporation, was turned over to ISA control. Colonists from Earth were brought to Vekta to supplement the planet's corporate-affiliated population. The introduction of the colonists brought violent tensions between the Earth minority and Helghan corporate majority, and resulting in the Helghan corporate colonists relocating to the planet Helghan, where they declared their sovereignty.
The colonists endured Helghan's harsh environment, transforming the later generation into the current day Helghast, and was subjected to ISA blockades and restrictions until diplomatic relations were normalized. From 2330 to 2350, due to incredibly unfair trade rates enforced by the ISA, Helghan was hit hard by a major economic depression, leading to widespread poverty and famine across the planet. Though Vekta was also affected by the depression and cannot spare the resources to support Helghan, Helghan's people blamed the ISA and their collaborators for the cause of their misfortunes, and the Helghan Administration lost its people's trust for its handling of the crisis.
The economic crisis soon gave rise to Scolar Visari, a charismatic politician who capitalized on Helghan people's growing anger in which he quickly gathered a massive following. In 2347, Visari staged a successful popular coup against the ruling Helghan Administration and declared himself the "Autarch". Under Visari's rule, he reforged Helghan into a militaristic and xenophobic society, deeming Helghan's people a new race separate from and superior over humanity which he dubbed as the "Helghast". Furthermore, Visari rejuvenated Helghan's economy by trading its rich mineral resources such as Petrusite to non-aligned planets after breaking the ISA embargo and reaching a lucrative deal with the Independent Colonial Strategic Alliance, thereby allowing Visari to pour Helghan's newfound wealth into the Helghast military and turning it into a reckoning force. With Helghan on the verge of returning to its former glory Visari espoused his intent of reconquering Vekta and expanding his empire across the stars.
Meanwhile the ISA had grew complacent in the face of Helghan's re-militarization. Since the early 24th century, the ISA had abandoned their containment of Helghan due to the relative peace established between the planets. Instead, the ISA High Command constructed the Orbital Defense Network as Vekta's main defense against Helghast aggression and was seen as cost effective over maintaining the ISA Navy, which had been reduced to a smaller customs fleet. Unknown to the ISA, however, the Helghast infiltrated the ISA's upper echelons and secretly converted some within to support the Helghan Empire. Two high ranking ISA officers, Generals Stuart Adams and Dwight Stratson, agreed to join Scolar Visari's cause and plotted to sabotage the ISA's defenses from within.
Invasion of VektaEdit
The first stage in the Helghast's expansionist plans was the reclamation of the ISA-controlled world of Vekta. With a pair of double agents in the ISA, Visari planned to have Vekta's orbital defenses deactivated and allowing Helghast forces to land on Vekta unimpeded and taking over the defense platforms that would be use to decimate the inevitable support fleet sent by the UCA. After defeating the UCA fleet, the Alpha Centauri system would then be under Helghast control and the UCN are force to sue for peace. Thereafter, the Helghast will use the resources of Helghan and Vekta, as well as technology captured from the wrecked UCA Navy fleet, to build a Helghast fleet capable of defending the system from the UCA Navy and later on to wage direct war on the UCN, taking control of its colonies and strangling Earth into submission.
Beginning in early August 2357, the Helghast launched their invasion. Two Helghast fleets were dispatched, one to send after the ISA Navy and the other to invade Vekta. A UCA scouting force gave early warning of the imminent invasion, but their word to the ISA came too late. The ISA were taken surprise in which they suffered massive casualties and territorial losses on Vekta after the Orbital Defense Network was shut down, opening up the planet to a mass invasion force of the Helghast Third Army led by General Joseph Lente. With Stratson and Adams disrupting the ISA, the Helghast managed to take large swaths of territory and inflict severe ISA casualties in a savage blitzkrieg. By late August, however, the invasion incurs casualties on both sides. The Helghast's ground campaign is disrupted by their failure to capture Vekta City and the death of Lente by the actions of four unlikely heroes, led by ISA soldier Captain Jan Templar.
A UCA fleet was soon dispatched to reinforce Vekta, as anticipated by the Helghast as they await for their arrival and prepare to ambush the fleet with the defense platforms. By the time the UCA fleet arrive, the Helghast managed to inflict losses to the fleet until their attacks were thwarted by Templar's group, who they disabled the defense network. The UCA fleet destroyed the Helghast's hold over the defense network and killing General Adams. The few remaining Helghast of the Third Army were then forced to fall back and regroup.
Two months later, Scolar Visari appointed General Armin Metrac to take full command of the Third Army along with the Eighth and the Ninth Helghan Army in taking southern Vekta. Under Metrac's leadership, the Helghast were able to establish a stronghold in the Adlez Mountains and relentlessly taking over the eastern continent. However, by January 2358, the Helghast were forced into retreat before making one last decisive battle in the Redavni Plains which cost Metrac's life at the hands of Jan Templar.
All remaining Helghast forces left on Vekta fell under the leadership of the Helghast collaborator Dwight Stratson and continued their resistance until Stratson was also defeated by Templar and arrested by the ISA. Despite of the Helghast having failed to reclaim Vekta, they managed to stole nuclear weapons and other high-tech weapons from the ISA, and brought them to Helghan.
The UCA deemed the situation on Vekta stabilized and withdrew its fleet from Alpha Centauri after issuing the ISA to restore the Helghan blockade and not taking any other offensive action against the Helghast, and await the arrival of a Judge Advocate General's inquisition team to investigate the matter. However, the ISA and Vektan Council refused to allow the Helghast go unpunished for the deaths and destruction they had brought to Vekta, and began drafting plans to defeat the Helghan Empire.
Two years later, the ISA launched a counter-invasion of Helghan in November 2359 in an attempt to end the war and neutralize the Helghast by capturing Visari and establish an easy-to-control puppet state on Helghan. However, the ISA invasion was set to fail due to unexpected fierce resistance from the Helghast, culminating in the nuclear devastation of their own capital, killing the ISA forces attacking it, and in turn the bulk of the ground invasion force. Furthermore, the destruction of many of their cruisers, including the flagship New Sun, and finally the death of their fleet commander Colonel Jan Templar, by a large counterattack led by Colonel Radec has handed dominion of space and air to the Helghast, who bombarded the remaining ISA forces and overwhelm the few remaining ships.
Finally, Scolar Visari, the ambitious emperor of the Helghast and the objective for the entire campaign, was gunned down by ISA soldier Rico Velasquez before he could be taken into custody, causing the ISA to stage a frantic evacuation, which quickly devolved to a total rout, in a hurried and unsuccessful effort to withdraw from Helghan. Roughly six months after their defeat on Helghan, the Vektan government capitulated to the Empire, formally ending the war in a status quo ante bellum as neither side could counterattack after that time, although the Helghast government played it off as the Empire's victory. However, conflict persisted between the Empire and ISA remnants on Helghan.
Helghan's Civil WarEdit
In the wake of Visari's death, a political conflict over who will assume the role of Autarch was waged between Admiral Orlock of the Helghast Military and Jorhan Stahl, influential chairman of the private weapons manufacturer, Stahl Arms. As the remnants of the ISA fought to survive, Stahl developed weapons using irradiated Petrusite gathered from the Pyrrhus nuclear blast zone, such as newly advanced Arc Cannons or irradiated Petrusite-based perimeter defenses and energy shielding. In particular, an experimental flagship built by Stahl carried hundreds of missiles whose warheads were filled with irradiated Petrusite and, alongside a massive Helghast invasion fleet, planned to eradicate all life on Earth by saturating the entire planet with the new Petrusite missiles.
However, the political struggle between now-Autarch Orlock and Jorhan Stahl began to escalate, with successful operations conducted by the ISA remnant only making the situation worse. Eventually, the political conflict came to a climax aboard a Helghast space station, resulting in the death of Autarch Orlock and the Helghast race being plunged into civil war. This allowed the remaining ISA forces to destroy Stahl's cruiser with hijacked Helghast Strike Fighters, causing it to plummet to, then explode in low orbit over Helghan. The cruiser's destructive payload of irradiated Petrusite missiles then detonated due to secondary explosions, with the resulting wave of energized radiation incinerating the entire Helghast invasion fleet, a large space station, and violently irradiating all life on Helghan in what became known as the Terracide. Managing to avoid the cataclysmic explosion in time, the remaining ISA troops onboard hijacked ships then made their way back home to Vekta.
The Second Extrasolar War ended with the death of an entire world. With the devastation of the Helghast species and complete destruction of their military, industry and leadership, the ISA have emerged as a pyrrhic victor. The ISA, out of pity, granted refuge to the Helghast survivors on Vekta, allowing them to colonize half the planet which they dubbed it New Helghan.
However, the Second Extrasolar War left a permanent bitter hatred between the Vektans and Helghast, who the latter loathed their enemies for—though accidentally—destroying their world. Both civilizations refused to seek peaceful coexistence, as domestic violence became increasingly common between humans and Helghast on Vekta. As a result a massive wall was constructed to separate the Helghast and human communities, setting the stage of a highly tense cold war between the Vektans and New Helghan.
Unknown to the public, only a portion of the Helghan population took refuge on Vekta. Others had remained on Helghan, having established military facilities deep underneath the planet's shattered surface. Jorhan Stahl survived the Terracide and led the Helghast on Helghan in rebuilding their military and armada for the next three decades, preparing for their final war with Vekta.