Second Extrasolar War
ISA Avenger Convoy under assault.
Date:

August 2357 – May 2360

Location:

Alpha Centauri

Outcome:

ISA Victory

  • Helghan devastated in the Terracide
  • Fall of Helghan Empire
  • Helghast refugees given half of Vekta
Belligerents

United Colonial Nations
Vekta
ISA Alpha Centauri

Helghan Empire

Commanders

Vektan Government
Earth Command
Gen. Bradley Vaughton (K.I.A.)
Col. Jan Templar (K.I.A.)
Adm. Alex Grey (K.I.A)
Col. Gregor Hakha
Cpt. Jason Narville
Cpt. Mandaloniz
Cpt. Donaggio

Scolar Visari (K.I.A)
Adm. Orlok (K.I.A.)
Jorhan Stahl
GA. Joseph Lente (K.I.A.)
Lt. Gen. Stuart Adams (K.I.A)
Gen. Dwight Stratson (P.O.W.)
Col. Mael Radec (K.I.A.)
Col. Vyktor Kratek (K.I.A.)
Gen. Armin Metrac (K.I.A.)
Col. Tendon Cobar (K.I.A.)

Forces

UCA Navy Only during the invasion of Vekta
1st ISA Invasion Fleet
2nd ISA Invasion Fleet
3rd ISA Invasion Fleet
Battle Group Mandrake
ISA Marines
Avenger Convoy
Punisher Convoy
Nemesis Convoy
6th Marine Division
8th Infantry
32nd M.A.T.
Hell Hounds
Rico's Raiders
Rapid Reaction Force
Phantom Talon Corp

Helghast Army
Helghast Third Army
Helghast First Army
Stahl Arms' Private Army
9th Division
Elite Guard
Phantom Talon Corp

Ships

UCA Cruiser
ISA Cruisers
New Sun
Arcturus
Compulsion
Cromwell
Dauntless
Bright Dawn
Zephyr
De Ruyter
St. Nicolaas
Mora

Helghast Cruisers
Arc Cruisers
Overlord Dropship
Khage
AC-15

Casualties

Heavy casualties

  • 11,500 killed or wounded in the Helghan invasion of Vekta (VEKTA TODAY statistic)
  • Over 100,000 civilians killed[1]
  • Near complete loss of ISA invasion force in Operation Archangel

Heavy casualties

  • More than three-fourths of Helghan's 2 billion population are killed.
"Defenders of the Helghast dream, NOW IS OUR TIME!"
—Part of Scolar Visari's speech during the invasion of Vekta[src]

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 with the Helghast invasion of Vekta in which it was repelled by the combined forces of ISA Alpha Centauri and the United Colonial Army. In 2359, the ISA launched a counter-invasion of planet Helghan in an failed attempt to end the war by capturing Scolar Visari in which it resulted in his death.

The war came to a very bitter end with Helghan's destruction in the Terracide; in which ISA forces under the leadership of Captain Jason Narville prevented the Helghast under Jorhan Stahl from attacking Earth with irradiated Petrusite weapons, and indirectly causing Stahl’s Petrusite payload to detonate over Helghan and completely devastating the planet. In the aftermath, an uneasy peace was signed and the survivors of Helghan were given refuge on Vekta.

Prelude[edit | edit source]

The roots of the Second Extrasolar War traces back to the aftermath of the First Extrasolar War in which the people of Helghan was subjugated to years of ISA sanctions and unfair trade restrictions. Consequently, the Helghan people lived a grueling life on the harsh planet, coping with poor working conditions and shorter life spans. Even as the Helghan people improved their conditions and even profit from Helghan's rich natural resources, they are constantly imposed by ISA restrictions while the Helghan Authority meekly accepted the status quo, creating an eternal resentment the Helghan people has toward the ISA.[2] Over a century of the resettlement, the Helghan people spawned a mutated generation that are biologically adapted to the planet's harsh environment.

By 2330, the continuation of Vekta's exploitation of Helghan ultimately led to a planet-wide economic depression. Vekta made massive profits from their monopoly of Helghan trade, but they did not reinvest their wealth on Helghan. This deprived Helghan from the money needed to repair and maintain the planet's industrial infrastructure, leading to frequent industrial accidents where expensive machinery is not serviced sufficiently to cope with the harsh Helghan conditions, while Helghan's wealth was mainly spent on universal basic services for the planet's growing population. This resulted in a severe economic downturn that lasts for twenty years and causing a deadly famine on Helghan, which has never happened since 2220. Vekta was also affected by the depression and cannot spare the resources to aid Helghan. As Vekta was at fault for the depression, Helghan's people more than ever despised the ISA and their collaborators for the cause of their sufferings and misery, and the Helghan Administration lost its people's trust for its handling of the crisis.[3]

The depression soon gave rise to Scolar Visari, a charismatic politician who capitalized on Helghan people's growing anger and spoke of reclaiming Helghan's right from the ISA, which he quickly gathered a popular massive following. Visari voiced his opposition to the Helghan Administration and spread his ideology of Helghan superiority, claiming that Helghan's mutated people are a new and entirely superior race which he dubbed themselves "Helghast". In 2347, Visari staged a successful popular military coup against the Helghan Administration after feigning an attempt on his life, taking over the Helghan government and assumed the title of "Autarch". Under Visari's rule, he reforge Helghan into a true independent power, turning it into a militaristic and xenophobic society.[4] Visari succeeded in rejuvenating Helghan's economy by trading its rich mineral resources to black-market suppliers on Vekta and later non-aligned colonies as the ISA began to lose interest in blockading Helghan. The depression on Helghan officially ended in 2350 with the Helghast establishing a resource contract with the Independent Colonial Strategic Alliance and allowing Visari to pour Helghan's newfound wealth into expanding the Helghast military and turning it into a reckoning force.[5][6] With Helghan on the verge of returning to its former glory, Visari made his intent to not only reclaim Vekta from the ISA but also toppling the UCN and establishing Helghan hegemony over all the colonies.

Meanwhile the ISA had grew complacent in the face of Helghan's resurgence. Since the early 24th century, Vekta had been at relative peace with Helghan and as a result, the ISA loosen the blockade of Helghan and significantly downsized the ISA Navy to a smaller customs fleet in favor of an orbital defense network, a series of satellite defense platforms to deter Helghast aggression.[7] However, the ISA's reliance on the defense network became their undoing. Unknown to the ISA, 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 Vekta[edit | edit source]

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 would be 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.[8]

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 warnings came too late. The ISA were taken surprise when the defense network failed to stop the Helghast Third Army from landing on Vekta due to the actions of Stuart Adams, who was the appointed commander of the defense network. The Helghast overwhelmed unprepared ISA ground forces and managed to take large swaths of territory in a savage blitzkrieg. ISA forces struggled, and failed, to hold the invaders back,[9] and strategic locations such as the ISA Central Command were captured by the Helghast,[10] a result of both the reliance on the SD platform, and the years of peace which the ISA forces on Vekta had lived under.[11] The ISA attempted to restore the defense network, but only to unwittingly allow General Adams to giving control of the network to the Helghast and using it to target ISA forces on Vekta.[12]

The UCA fleet destroying the SD Platform.

By late August, however, the invasion incurs casualties on both sides and gradually shifted to the ISA's favor. The Helghast's ground campaign is disrupted by their failure to capture Vekta City and the loss of General Joseph Lente, the commander of the Helghast Third Army, by the actions of four unlikely heroes, led by ISA soldier Captain Jan Templar. The UCN received news of the attack and dispatched a UCA fleet to reinforce Vekta. As anticipated by the Helghast, they awaited for their arrival and ambushed the fleet. After inflicting losses to the UCA, 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.

Though the Helghast failed in their objectives, a sizable contingent remained on Vekta. 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 mountains of the Redavni Plains and relentlessly taking over the eastern continent. The ISA was left in a desperate position due to the loss of manpower from the Helghast's surprise attack and could only fight back through targeted surgical strikes. Stretched thin in committing the fight against Metrac's forces, the ISA High Command gave the approval to contract mercenaries.[13]

The ISA took into consideration of utilizing nuclear weapons against the Helghast from General Dwight Stratson's proposal, with the weapons being prepared in Rayhoven Base, but requiring the approval of the ISA Council, as nuclear weapons are seen as a taboo weapon that is highly political damaging for the ISA to use them. Unknown to the ISA, Stratson secretly plotted with Metrac to giving the nuclear weapons to the Helghast. Metrac's forces attacked and claimed Rayhoven while the ISA Council was in the midst of voting for the use of General Stratson's proposed nuclear plan. While Metrac succeeded in capturing the weapons, he was unable to acquire the launch codes. Metrac attempted to extract the codes from nuclear weapons designer Evelyn Batton while threatening the ISA of using the weapons against them unless they surrender. But Metrac did not gained the launch codes and was only to be confronted and dying at the hands of Jan Templar before his fortress was destroyed by a pre-emptive ISA air strike ordered by General Stratson.[14]

All remaining Helghast forces left on Vekta fell under the leadership of the Helghast collaborator Dwight Stratson, who concealed his treachery to the ISA and used his seniority in the ISA in allowing the Helghast to continue their resistance in southern Vekta. Through Stratson's deceptions, numerous ISA commanders were eliminated in order to allow Stratson to be in control of the south. However, Stratson's treachery was soon discovered by Sergeant Rico Velasquez and Jan Templar, and was defeated by the latter in combat 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.[14][15]

The UCA deemed the situation on Vekta stabilized and withdrew its fleet from Alpha Centauri after issuing the ISA with specific orders 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.[16] 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.

Operation Archangel[edit | edit source]

Main article: Operation Archangel

Helghast infantry during Operation Archangel.

Two years later, the ISA assembled an armada and launched a counter-invasion of Helghan in November 2359 in order to swiftly end the war by capturing Scolar Visari and thereby pacifying the Helghan Empire despite the UCN's orders to merely reestablish a blockade. Visari had anticipated of ISA retaliation and made preparations to defend Helghan at all cost. The ISA invasion force faced fierce resistance from Helghan's air defences and were unprepared to suffer heavy losses from their cruisers being shot down by Arc Cannons, stalling the invasion until the cannons were disabled by ISA-sponsored mercenaries.[17][18]

The ISA fleet moved over the Helghan capital of Pyrrhus and besieged the city. Prior to the invasion, Visari had the city's population evacuated to Konstantin.[19] A second wave of the ISA invasion fleet, Battle Group Mandrake, was organized by fleet commander and now-Colonel Jan Templar and deployed in the assault of Pyrrhus.[20][21] The ISA and Helghast fought in a brutal urban warfare, incurring very high casualties on both sides, though the ISA continued their advance and capturing Visari Square and the Helghan Military Academy.[22] However, the Helghast under Colonel Mael Radec activated a network of Arc Towers hidden beneath Pyrrhus which stopped the ISA from attacking the Imperial Palace. To ensure Pyrrhus's defenses remain standing, Radec had made orders to defend the Petrusite refineries that powered the Arc Towers.[23]

ISA forces in action on Helghan's bleak urban slums.

Colonel Templar's special forces, Alpha Squad, managed to identified the location of the Petrusite distribution grid that powered Pyrrhus's defenses and made plans to disable the grid and allowing the ISA to resume their attack.[24] However, Battle Group Mandrake soon came under a surprise attack led by Radec. The flagship New Sun was boarded and Templar was fatally wounded by Radec, who then downloaded the ISA nuclear launch codes from the ship's computers. A dying Templar made his last moments to crashing his flagship into the Petrusite grid.[25] Although Templar's actions allowed the ISA an opening to Visari Palace, the Helghast used the stolen nuclear launch codes to rearm a ISA nuclear warhead and detonating it on Pyrrhus after having evacuated the bulk of the Helghast forces from the city.[26] The ISA lost most of its remaining forces from the nuclear attack, and those that survived were outside the city and conducting rescue operations following the attack on Battle Group Mandrake.[27]

The remains of the ISA were rallied under Captain Jason Narville and launched a final desperate push on the Palace. Colonel Radec led his forces in fanatically preventing the ISA from reaching Visari until they were driven to the Palace's doorsteps and dying to the last man. After securing the palace, Narville sent Sergeant Tomas Sevchenko and Rico Velasquez to take Scolar Visari into custody. But in an unfortunate turn of events, Visari was killed by Velasquez in a fit of anger and denying the ISA their chance of winning the war.[28] Shortly after Visari's death, the fleet of the Helghast First Army under Admiral Orlock launched a surprise attack on the remnants of the ISA invasion force. The ISA was forced in a frantic evacuation, which quickly devolved to a total rout, in a hurried and unsuccessful effort to withdraw from Helghan in which many ISA personnel were left stranded.[29][30]

Roughly six months after the failure of Operation Archangel, the Vektan Colonial Government capitulated to the Helghan government, agreeing to a ceasefire. The ISA forces that had been left behind on Helghan waged a guerilla war against the Helghast and attempted to find a way to escape the planet. The ISA under Captain Jason Narville would later learn of Vekta's ceasefire after establishing communication with Vekta. Narville was ordered to stand down and surrendered himself and his men to the Helghast in order to be negotiated in their release as prisoners of war; however, Narville refused to follow their orders due to how prisoners were poorly and brutally treated under the Helghast. Shortly after learning the ceasefire, Narville and his men were either executed or captured by Stahl Arms,[31] with the captives being brought to Stahl Arms Deep South.[32]

Helghan Civil War[edit | edit source]

In the wake of Visari's death, a political conflict occurred within the High Council between Admiral Orlock of the Helghast Military and Jorhan Stahl, influential chairman of the private weapons manufacturer Stahl Arms, concerning on who would become Visari's successor. Stahl, in a bid to prove himself as more competent to lead Helghan's military,[33] developed advanced weapons using irradiated Petrusite gathered from the Pyrrhus nuclear blast zone,[29] such as newly advanced Arc Cannons, irradiated Petrusite-based perimeter defenses and energy shielding, and his experimental flagship which carried hundreds of missiles whose warheads were filled with irradiated Petrusite.[34] Alongside a massive Helghast invasion fleet to accompany his flagship, Stahl planned to eradicate all life on Earth by saturating the entire planet with Petrusite missiles and fulfilling Helghan's victory and dominance over the colonies.[35]

However, the political power struggle between Orlock and Stahl began to escalate, with Stahl's refusal to hand over his irradiated Petrusite weapons to the military and the successful operations conducted by the ISA remnants, which include the liberation of Captain Jason Narville from a live execution overseen by Stahl. The Helghan Senate, having grown tired of Stahl's arrogance and his failure to execute Narville, eventually voted Orlock as Autarch, who then used his new authority to order Stahl to turn over his Petrusite weapons and ships to the First Army. Stahl had no intentions of obeying the new Autarch as he was aware Orlock had made plans on killing him after securing his weapons. The rivalry came to a violent climax aboard Helghan's spaceport, resulting in the death of Autarch Orlock and the Helghast race being plunged into civil war.[34]

In the midst of this, the ISA remnants were given the opportunity to steal several Helghast transports and to foil Stahl's attack on Earth. ISA soldiers led by Tomas Sevchenko hijacked Helghast Strike Fighters and attacked Stahl's flagship, destroying its Warp Coil from traveling to Earth and causing the flagship to plummet toward Helghan's surface. When Stahl attempted to land his ship, Sevchenko launched a nuclear missile on the flagship, and causing the vessel's irradiated Petrusite arsenal to detonate over Helghan. The resulting wave of energized radiation incinerated the entire Helghast invasion fleet, the spaceport, and violently irradiating all life on Helghan's surface in what became known as the Terracide. Managing to avoid the cataclysmic explosion in time, the remaining ISA forces under Narville and Sevchenko then made their way back home to Vekta.[34]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The war ends with Helghan's destruction.

The Second Extrasolar War ended with the death of an entire world. With the devastation of the Helghast race and complete destruction of their military, industry and leadership, the ISA have emerged as a pyrrhic victor. The ISA, out of pity and in order to broker peace, granted refuge to the Helghast survivors on Vekta, allowing them to colonize half the planet which they dubbed it New Helghan.[36][37]

The flight to Vekta, and so ends the war.

Despite peace returning to Alpha Centauri, the war had only left a permanent bitter hatred between the Vektans and Helghast, especially the latter who loathed their enemies for—though accidentally—destroying their world. Both civilizations were unable 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. These survivors were led by Jorhan Stahl, who survived the Terracide and oversaw in rebuilding their military for the next three decades, preparing for the Helghast's final war with Vekta.

References[edit | edit source]

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