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The Cold War originated with the devastation of Helghan in the Terracide, caused by the destruction of Jorhan Stahl's fleet by ISA forces in preventing their invasion of Earth that inadvertently unleashed irradiated Petrusite upon the surface of Helghan. With the Helghast military, industries, and planet in ruins, the Vektan government offered the survivors of Helghan refuge on Vekta where they established New Helghan. Following the resettlement, the Helghast and Vektans were unable to seek peaceful coexistence as many harbored strong resentment and painful memories for their roles in the Second Extrasolar War. The Helghast in particular blamed the ISA for the destruction of their world and refused to assimilate into "human" culture and desired to maintain their independence, which they began isolating themselves.
As a result of the irreconcilable animosity between the Helghast and Vektans, Vekta was partitioned and a massive wall was constructed to divide the planet into half. Soon tensions rapidly escalated, with ISA cruisers patrolling their skies of Vekta City and keeping a close eye on the Helghast, who likewise have counterparts patrolling their own airspace.
The Cold War began some time after the wall was built. Both the Vektans and Helghast routinely perform covert operations against each other. The Vektan Security Agency was created as a result, and Shadow Marshals were inserted into Helghast territory, collecting information and engaging in full scale fire fights with Helghast Security Forces. The Vektan Council and Earth uphold trade embargoes and economic sanctions against the Helghast. Helghast terrorist groups, such as the Black Hand, were formed and conducted attacks on Vektans in defiance of the New Helghan government's compromises with the Vektan government. In public however, both sides acted as though nothing had occurred to prevent civil unrest.
Unknown to the ISA and the public, Jorhan Stahl survived the Terracide and had rallied Helghast survivors that were left behind on Helghan, and secretly plotted with Chancellor Hera Visari to rebuild their military might and reignite their war against the Vektans for the next several decades.
The VSA established a secret biological weapons program specifically designed to eliminate the Helghast. The research ship ISC Cassandra was used for this program, in which abducted Helghast migrant workers were taken to the ship to be use as living test subjects.
On June 22nd, 2390, the leading scientist of the project, Dr. Hillary Massar, planned to defect to the Helghast after realizing the VSA would eliminate her as a "loose end" upon the completion of her bio-weapon. Massar released classified data to the New Helghan government, leading to the VSA to scuttle the ship into a nearby sun in order to destroy all evidence of the bio-weapon. However, the VSA were unable to prevent Massar from defecting to the Helghast, as she intended on helping them to develop her weapon that is re-purposed to target humans and Helghast half-breeds.
Black Hand attack on Vekta CityEdit
On June 29th 2390, the Black Hand under their leader Vladko Tyran launched a surprise attack on Vekta City. VSA Headquarters was bombed and Vektan civilians were taken hostage. The Black Hand also hijacked several trains to turned them into makeshift missiles. The VSA repelled the attack, managing to save the hostages and preventing the terrorists from launching the trains. However, the VSA were unable to capture Tyran, who escaped to New Helghan.
As a result of the terrorist attack, the Vektan government began deporting Helghast citizens and half-breeds residing on the Vektan side to New Helghan, and increasing ISA forces along The Wall. The New Helghan government was quick to deny involvement in the Black Hand's attacks and Chancellor Visari publicly condemned the Black Hand and was willing to provide cooperation with Vektan security forces to stop the terrorists.
ISA assault on HelghanEdit
The VSA's attempt to covertly apprehend Vladko Tyran from New Helghan lead to the discovery of Jorhan Stahl's survival and the Helghast's plans surrounding Dr. Massar's bio-weapon, which was being developed on planet Helghan where Stahl had amassed a colossal army for his attack on Vekta. VSA Director Thomas Sinclair dispatched Shadow Marshal Lucas Kellan to recover Massar while leading the ISA in their assault on Stahl's base in July 7th 2390. ISA ships engaged against Stahl's forces but only to be annihilated by Massar's weapon. Massar herself was killed in Kellan's custody.
Despite the horrendous losses the ISA had suffered, Stahl was killed by Sinclair, who then claimed Massar's weapon with intentions of using it to wipe out the Helghast. Vekta was saved from a devastating attack, but the ISA covered up all information relating to the Vektan-made weapon of mass destruction and claiming that the excessive ISA casualties were caused by "friendly fire."
The public disclosure of Stahl's thwarted attack nearly lead to the end of the Cold War and reopening a new conflict between the Vektans and Helghast as both sides accused each other of initiating the hostilities. Thomas Sinclair became one of the most prominent war hawks in Vekta who called for war against the Helghast. However, Sinclair's life was cut short when he was assassinated while making a pro-war speech on August 5th 2390.