The Homeworld War (1 BHL-0 AHL) was a major galactic conflict fought by the Kushan, Taiidan Empire, and the Taiidan Rebellion. It was composed of two individual wars as well such as the Taiidan Civil War and the Exodus which were interdependent of one another. The war ended in 0 AHL when a Kushan-Rebel alliance stood off the Taiidan Imperial Fleet at Hiigara and destroyed the Taiidan Emperor’s flagship, killing the Emperor and making the Taiidan Empire crumble.
There was never any definitive declaration of war, so it is unknown the exact time that the war started. However, the most likely event which marked the start of the war was when the Kushan Mothership performed the hyperdrive test to the Khar-Selim before they began their journey.
The Kharakian Genocide
When the Mothership’s hyperdrive signature was detected the Taiidan launched their fleet into action. A Turanic carrier group led by an Attack Carrier intercepted and destroyed a Kushan space watch ship, the Khar-Selim, within a matter of minutes, as the vessel was unable to withstand a hostile assault because of lack of initiative and weaponry. This attack marked the beginning of the Homeworld War although there was never any outright declaration of war. During the attack the Turanics learned after intercepting a transmission from the Khar-Selim that the Mothership was due to arrive in the area and they remained on standby, ready to strike.
By the time the Mothership reached the Khar-Selim’s wreckage the Taiidan attack fleet had begun its assault on Kharak. Quickly destroying the Scaffold in orbit over Kharak as well as its small defense force of fighters, the Taiidan then launched a devastating atmospheric deprivation strikes against the planet. The resulting firestorm depleted the atmosphere and biosphere and melted the sands of the desert world into glass. In all, the planet's entire population of 300,000,000 Kushans were slaughtered in a matter of minutes. The majority of the fleet departed then, leaving only a few frigates to vaporize the Cryo Trays floating, the last remnants of the Exiles.
The Mothership and its escort fleet however, had discovered the threat posed to them and drove off the Turanic Raiders. They were surprised by the ferocity and skill of the hardened Kushan, who had never fought any interstellar war. Retreating, the carrier left the area to regroup, failing to mention for unknown reasons to the Taiidan that the Mothership had not been destroyed, nor its escorts.
Unaware of the devastation at home the Mothership returned to Kharak to upgrade its defense systems. The Exile fleet was shocked however to discover Kharak burning and the Scaffold destroyed. Quickly discovering the Taiidan frigates sweeping out the Cryo Trays, the Mothership Fleet launched into action, protecting the Cryo Trays and capturing one of the enemy frigates. The crew was then interrogated in order to learn the details of the attack. It is unclear if the captured Taiidani were summarily executed or simply perished during harsh questioning by the enraged Exiles. Either way, the Exiles destroyed them utterly.
The Exiles, who had forgotten their history, quickly discovered the reason for the attack. It was because of the hyperdrive treaty. The Exiles knew nothing of their past. The prisoners informed them that they were the exiles from Hiigara, their original homeworld. The Exiles, now fully aware of their situation and with nothing left for them in the Kharak system, immediately left to seek their revenge.
The Taiidan people’s reaction to the Genocide is perhaps actually more important than the Exiles. While the Exiles fought hard and well it is without a doubt due to the efforts of the Taiidan Rebels that the war was eventually won.
Riesstiu and his advisers in the Assembly of Lords, in a devastating failure at propaganda, almost immediately released records depicting the attack on Kharak. The motive was to try and raise morale amongst a dissatisfied people and convince them that their immortal Emperor was still ever observing and immortally powerful. It had the opposite effect.
Immediately after this news, protesters took to the streets, clamoring for the abdication of the Emperor. Military officers resigned their positions and outside governments broke relations with the Empire. It was not simply the act of genocide that set forth this chain of events. During recent centuries the Empire had done similar things to other worlds, but it was the fact that it had been the Exiles’ world. Already pitied for their fate the fact that the Empire punished a world for violating a long-forgotten treaty enraged the Taiidan people, believing that their government had become not only immoral but genocidal and sadistic.
The Emperor gave the orders then for the regional security forces to whip the mobs into order, fearing another rebellion. This only incited more resistance. The people, more angry than they were afraid, united into just what the Emperor had feared. A new rebellion, but this time, one stronger than ever before.
The Exiles’ Retribution
The Exiles’ struck quickly and effectively. As of now no one in the galaxy realized they were still alive. The Mothership Fleet was believed vanished, the planet Kharak known to be lifeless. In addition, the Exiles covertly received the aid of the Bentusi who granted technology to the fugitives at a downsized price. The first of these new technologies was that of the ion cannon, with which the Exiles were able to destroy both of the fleets which had attacked their world.
The news of an Exile strike in the Great Wastelands was shocking. Until now it was presumed that the Turanic-Taiidan fleet had finished the job, as the Imperial Fleet was fond of doing. The Emperor, now fearful that the Exiles might pose a greater threat as they moved closer to the Core Worlds and gathered support, mobilized the Fleet a second time. All border outposts were put on full alert and patrols were rigidly enforced, running on tight shifts in order to catch any Exile attempt to penetrate the Imperial defenses.
Once again, it was the Bentusi who came to the Exiles’ aid. Not just offering technology this time the Bentusi told the Exiles of a way to sneak past the Imperial defenses. If they were to go through the Great Nebula, a place taboo to all of the galaxy they would find no Imperial fleets. The Bentusi warned however that the Nebula contained its own unknown dangers and that no fleet in recent memory had passed through it successfully.
Regardless, the Exiles moved on through the Nebula. In the process they discovered a branch-off from the original Hiigarans, the Kadeshi and defeated them and moved on, although only through the greatest perseverance. Escaping the Nebula intact the Exiles had successfully bypassed Imperial defenses and exited within Imperial borders. Shortly after they began their next assault, on a weaker point in the interior defenses of the Empire shielding the outer regions of it from the more precious Core Worlds. Once again, the message spread: the Exiles were on the move and they were coming with a vengeance.
The Emperor then made yet another drastic mistake. Realizing that the Exiles could not have reached this far into the Empire without outside help, he and his advisers immediately suspected the Bentusi. He gave a secret order to his more trusted officers, commanding that they intimidate the Bentusi into neutrality. However, this transmission was discovered and decoded by the Exiles who were constantly intercepting Imperial transmissions and decoding them.
Although the Imperial Fleet was certainly massive enough to hunt down and destroy the Bentusi despite the Bentusi Exchange possessing heavy firepower, they did not anticipate the arrival of reinforcements. Just as their assault was beginning the Mothership Fleet arrived to aid one such tradeship, successfully destroying the vessel’s attackers just in time to prevent its destruction. In return, the Bentusi not only offered information but agreed to inform the Galactic Council of the Taiidan’s crimes and mandate an end to the war.
The Emperor’s mistake was then realized in full. The Galactic Council was appalled at the arrogance of the Taiidan to try and intimidate one of the Unbound and immediately began to make moves to intimidate the Taiidan into submission, for even the Empire could not stand up to the united will of the Council. Still, there were disagreements and the Council could not arrive on a final decision immediately.
The Flight of the Kapella
The rebellion however was far from succeeding. They had vastly underestimated the preparations a paranoid Emperor like Riesstiu had taken in preventing a successful rebellion. Suspected rebel elements were riddled with Imperial spies even before the rebellion had begun and the Taiidan Empire had several Heavy Cruiser strike groups already in position to begin bombardment of rebellious worlds.
Still, the rebellion fared better than its predecessors did. This was in part due to leadership as several top Imperial Fleet officers defected to the new rebellion, adding both firepower and additional cunning to the rebel fleet. However, early attempts at fighting an open rebellion were disastrous. Indeed, by the time the Exiles had reached the Core Worlds the rebellion was almost defeated.
At the Battle of Vorshan's Rift, the majority of the rebellious fleet was lured out and destroyed. An ambush set amongst the dangerous rocks it was only a small matter for the better disciplined and better trained Imperial Fleet to wipe out a surprised group of rebels. The victory was lauded in Imperial propaganda and the rebellion’s future looked dim. Yet complete victory was not yet at hand for the Empire.
The rebels still had their agents in place. While the majority of their fleet was now destroyed there were still rebellious cells working within the fabric of Imperial society, ready to heed the command of the rebel leadership. In addition, the ships that were not present at Vorshan’s Rift were careful to spread themselves thin, covering more ground while the Imperials scoured the Galaxy looking for the rebel remnants.
In addition, not all of the fleet at Vorshan’s Rift was destroyed. One of the rebel leaders present, the legendary Captain Elson had escaped with his life and his ship the Kapella. Fleeing the scene, the Kapella’s escape started a wild goose chase as Imperial warships raced to find and catch the rebels. Setting up gravity wells all over key locations the Imperial Fleet waited for Elson to fall into their trap.
The Imperial Fleet was unfortunate enough to have the Mothership Fleet fall into their trap instead. The Fleet present at this particular location was ill-prepared to deal with a fleet as large as the Mothership’s escort fleet and was immediately ravaged. Shortly after the Kapella arrived. Chased by Imperial warships Elson broadcasted a plea for help to the Exiles, swearing allegiance. Although hesitant at first and cautious of a trap the Exiles eventually mobilized and escorted the Kapella safely into their protective grasp and then jumped away.
The Core Worlds Invasion
The final days of the war drawing near, Elson informed the Exiles of the scope of the rebellion and of the possible ways it could aid them in their war against the Empire. He told them that if he could find a long-range hyperspace transceiver he could inform the rebellion of their new alliance and negotiate an arrangement. Indicating that he knew of one such transceiver in the Karos Graveyard, Elson directed the Mothership Fleet to its location. Arriving at the point shortly after the Exiles managed to disable the unknown ancient defenses in the location and help Elson access the transceiver. He was soon able to contact the rebellion and arrange a coordinated strike at Hiigara.
As the Exiles drew closer to their goal they encountered more and more defenses laid down by the Empire. One such defense was the Bridge of Sighs, a defense network left by the Empire around the throne world of Hiigara to prevent an enemy fleet from entering the system by pulling enemy vessels out of hyperspace. Yet even this the Exiles managed to bypass, sending them straight into the Hiigara System.
Desperate, the Emperor grew increasingly frustrated and paranoid, trying more and more unorthodox tactics to slow the Exiles down or destroy them. Using another gravity well the Taiidan pulled the Mothership Fleet out of hyperspace in the outer limits of the Hiigara System, ambushing them with a huge fleet and a large asteroid equipped with drives to accelerate it towards the Mothership in order to destroy it. Yet again the Exiles proved their determination to reach home and concentrated their efforts on destroying the asteroid, escaping once again intact.
Finally, the Emperor was left to try one last ace in the hole. Knowing the Exiles to be coordinated by a neuroscientist and Unbound named Karan S'jet, Riesstiu, using a hidden telepathic trick, sent her into a coma through unknown means. Their leader out of commission the fleet was left open to attack and barely managed to hold off its attackers, an immense fleet laid out in orbit above Hiigara.
Yet the rebels came as promised, just in the nick of time. Their fleet, large enough to make the difference against the Imperial Guard, the rebels and the Mothership Fleet together launched an assault on the Imperial Flagship, centre of the Taiidan war effort. Before the rest of the Imperial fleet could come to their Emperor’s rescue, the vessel was destroyed, along with the Emperor onboard, just as Karan recovered and was brought back online.
Although it is likely that the Imperial Guard could still have wiped out the remaining Exile-rebel fleet the Galactic Council arrived as well shorty afterwards. Too powerful for a shattered and leaderless Imperial Fleet to resist, the Empire’s remaining leaders surrendered, allowing the Galactic Council to mandate a peace settlement.
The Galactic Council ruled that the Taiidan Empire would surrender Hiigara to the Exiles and leave to govern from other worlds. In addition the Council required Imperial forces to stand down to the Mothership Fleet and depart the area for the next five lightyears. Anything left in that area within a set timeline would transfer to the control of the new Hiigaran government.
Although the Galactic Council did not mandate the end of the Empire the rebels took quick advantage of the treaty. Following a signal from above the rebel cells on Hiigara leaped into action and assaulted the Imperial Gene Bank, destroying Riesstiu’s clones before the Empire could react and destroying a clear line of succession. Although pretenders to the Imperial throne would arise in following years the Emperor’s leadership was shattered and it would not be until the rise of Makaan that the Imperials would again be reunited.
In the chaos most of the systems within the Empire vied for independence, turning on one another. Out of these two key factions emerged: those hoping to establish a new Taiidan Republic and those still loyal to the old Empire. Eventually these two factions would emerge as separate different factions: the Taiidan Republic and the Taiidan Imperialist Faction.
The Exiles reestablished their rule over Hiigara and through great struggle managed to become a key power in the galaxy despite being so vastly outnumbered. Eventually this power would grow until they became a ruling force in and of themselves.
Behind the scenes
- The Homeworld War is the focus of the game Homeworld and is several times mentioned in the backstories of its sequels Homeworld: Cataclysm and Homeworld 2. Interestingly enough the actual name "Homeworld War" is never used in any canonical source but it is generally assumed by fans to be the name based on the idea that the world focused on the homeward journey of the Kushan Exiles.
- The Homeworld War shows many influences. For one thing the story of Homeworld is supposed to be based partially on that of Battlestar Galactica, where a fugitive people seek out a mythical world while being chased by an evil empire. This certainly follows the Kushan perspective in the Homeworld War.
- Similarly the Taiidan side of the story may be based on Star Wars. It is worth mentioning that the story of the Taiidan Empire’s fall shares many similarities with the fall of the Empire in Star Wars. A rebellion rises up to destroy an oppressive regime, the rebellion is nearly destroyed but then triumphs as the result of one critical battle in which the Emperor is killed. In the aftermath the rebels form a new republican government while the loyalists of the old Empire form a remnant faction.
- Homeworld: Cataclysm
- Backstory for Homeworld Cataclysm
- Homeworld 2 Strategy Guide Appendix C - History of Hiigara
- Taiidan Civil War
- Taiidan Empire
minor Taiidan Civil War
|Major Galactic Conflicts
1 BHL-0 AHL