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The Defense of Firekka was a brief yet vital campaign fought from 2655 to 2656 in the third decade of the ongoing Kilrathi War. It was fought between the Kilrathi Empire and the Terran Confederation, alongside their allies, the Firekkans.

BackgroundEdit

During the year 2655, the Terran Confederation was saught an alliance with a newly-discovered alien race living on its frontiers of Confed: the Firekkans, an isolated but friendly civilization which they met in 2653. Upon first discovering the friendly nature of the Firekkans, the Terran Confederation promised to protect them from outside threats. The two sides quickly saw each other as friends and formed an alliance in which both sides could benefit from a defense from the Kilrathi.

In 2655, the Terran Confederation sent a Diplomatic Corps delegation to the Firekkan leaders; should they accept, they would become a member of the Terran Confederation. Given the highly-diplomatic nature of this mission and the unwanted attention it might gain from the Kilrathi, the Terran Space Navy was deployed to Firekka to provide defense for the planet and the delegation as part of the Honorary Guard. The TCS Tiger's Claw and TCS Austin were two of the leading ships in this effort.

The Honorary GuardEdit

Much to the annoyance of Confed, Kilrathi vessels did penetrate the Firekka System, forcing the fleet to intervene before they reached the planet. Confed High Command assigned the Claw to intercept any Kilrathi vessels that approached the diplomatic vessels. TCS Perez de Cuellar was harassed by a number of Kilrathi patrols. Fortunately, its escorts, Prankster and Iceman defended the vessel and the diplomats arrived on Firekka safely.[1]

Meanwhile, strange occurrences were taking place all along the frontlines; Kilrathi fleets were retreating from several star systems without even bothering to engage the Terrans. At Firekka, the Drakhai Imperial Guards, suddenly appeared escorting a large convoy into the system. Despite these confusing developments, the Terrans engaged the Drakhai and discovered that the Kilrathi were up to more than Confed realized. Prankster and Iceman once again faced off with the Kilrathi in one such engagement, but they ran into a force of three Fralthi-class Cruisers, escorted by a great strength of starfigters. The pilots completed their reconnaissance mission and then fled back to the Claw. Disturbed by the nature of these infiltrations in a strategically worthless system, Confed proceeded to investigate.[2]

Alliance

Eventually, the Diplomatic Corps and the Firekkan leadership came to agreeable terms and on 2655.239, the Firekkans signed their joining to the Terran Confederation becoming official members. The new alliance was celebrated by both sides.[3] Several Terran pilots, including LaFong, received a brief shore leave on Firekka, and they quickly befriended the native Firekkans.[4]

The Invasion of FirekkaEdit

But few realized what was to come to Firekka in the wake of the increasing Kilrathi incursions. Following the signing of the treaty and the end of the shore leaves, the Claw was informed that several Kilrathi battle fleets were en route to Firekka. Among these fleets were several brand-new Snakeir-class and more of the new Hhriss Experimental Fighters.[4] At the same time, a fleet retreated from the Deneb Sector and traveled to Firekka. Confed finally realized that all of the Kilrathi fleets were converging on Firekka, and they immediately sent in reinforcements. The Diplomatic Corps were evacuated from Firekka in ships such as TCS U Thant and TCS Trygvie Lie and the Terrans sent out several patrols to engage the Drakhai. One of these battles saw the death of Major Kien Chen, one of the best fighter pilots on the Claw. The Austin was reassigned to defend Firekka. It was becoming clear that the Kilrathi had every intention of invading Firekka.[5]

During the impending invasion a Fralthi, the KIS Ras Nik'hra, requested asylum with the Terrans. Its commander, Lord Ralgha nar Hhallas, had lost his faith in the Kilrathi Empire and hoped to provide assistance to the Terrans. The Austin sent troops to secure the ship while it traveled towards the Confed Fleet, and the Claw was sent to reel them in. Despite enemy resistance, the Ras Nik'hra was able to retreat safely to human space. The humans also gained possession of a full squadron of Dralthi Mk. IIs.[6]

In the following days, a message was received from Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka:

"Warriors of the human ships, hear me now. You are trespassing on the holy ground of Lord Sivar. If you remain, the Sons of Kilrah will destroy you. We must prepare the Way of Lord Sivar, and no unbelievers may remain here alive. But because you are brave warriors, I shall grant you this: You have one planetary rotation to leave this system. Leave here now, and no harm will come to you until we meet again in honorable combat."
― Thus speaks Prince Thrakhath, Firstborn of the Firstborn, Heir to Kilrah.

The humans agreed to retreat, but were not about to give up Firekka. On their way out they assisted some of the evacuating Firekkan transports,[7] and held position in the nearby Corsair System.

The Claw received two pilots from the Austin on a temporary basis, Zachary Colson and Etienne Montclair. Determined to get more information on the Kilrathi assault, The Claw refitted a few captured Dralthis and used them for undercover reconnaissance missions, equipped with masking equipment that would simulate the communications of real Kilrati pilots. During one mission, Blair ran into two Snakeir Carriers.[8] The Terrans continued to use the Dralthis for undercover reconnaissance until it was discovered that the Kilrathi had caught on to the true identity of their pilots.

The Sivar-Eshrad CeremonyEdit

Following his surrender to the Terrans, Ralgha nar Hhallas was interrogated about the Kilrathi invasion on Firekka. Ralgha revealed that Firekka had been chosen to host the annual Sivar-Eshrad Ceremony in order to appease him and be successful on the battlefield; any nonbelievers present at the ceremony are considered a taint and would all be forced into conversion to the Sivar cult. The Firekkans were threatened with extermination, so Confed moved quickly to try to save them.[9]

Confed deployed two fresh battalions to Firekka to prepare for an attack on the Kilrathi priestesses hosting the Sivar-Eshrad Ceremony. Along with over 3,000 Terran soldiers was a fresh load of weapons for the Firekka to use against the invaders.[Source?] The Confederation Marines transports were to be escorted into the system by the pilots of the Claw. Several transports arrived safely, but one ship, the TCS General Powell, was captured by the Kilrathi while en route to Firekka. Fortunately, the marines on board under Major Kristi Marks led a successful mutiny against the hijackers while Prankster and Doomsday protected the transport against an external attack and escorted it back to the Claw.[10] Once all of the transports and shuttles arrived, 4 Marine assault shuttlecraft did a successful splashdown landing on Firekka and left their ships submerged in the planet's oceans in order to maintain the element of surprise. They met with the Firekkan leaders to plan an attack.[11] Unfortunately, they would be on their own as Confed could no longer risk sending in more reinforcements. To make matters worse, the Kilrathi discovered the plot against the ceremony and having traced the vector of the transports, they begun an attack against the Claw[11] and then attempted to send troops to the planet to exterminate the Marines, forcing the Claw to intervene. Although some Kilrathi successfully landed on Firekka, the vast majority did not, allowing the Terrans to commence their plan to disrupt the Way of Sivar.[12]

Ceremony

On 2655.293, the Terran Space Marines, alongside their Firekkan allies, attacked the Sivar-Eshrad Ceremony using improvised weapons.[Source?] Although the marines and the Firekkans suffered severe losses, most of the Kilrathi priestesses were killed and the ceremony effectively disrupted. The failure of the ceremony prompted fear in the Kilrathi, as they no longer had the war god's favor.

RetreatEdit

The disruption of the Sivar-Eshrad Ceremony was a tremendous victory for the humans, but Firekka was still under the firm control of the Kilrathi. Because of the hybris, the Kilrathi warriors were reluctant to fight, and in the same time, the Confed managed to move into the abandoned Kilrathi sectors; the Kilrathi forces that amassed in Firekka would soon have to move back.[13]

Nonethtless, the Kilrathi forces patroled the area above the planet to prevent the surviving Terran Marines from escaping. 4 ships were lost while ascending from the surface.[14] Prince Thrakhath then sent his second message to the Terrans:

"Human warriors, hear me now. You have proven that you are brave, astonishingly brave, for mere apes. Because of this bravery, I shall grant you one quarter of a planetary rotation to leave this sector. But your land soldiers are ours. We shall run them to the ground like the apes that they are."
― Thus speaks Prince Thrakhath, Firstborn of the Firstborn, Heir to Kilrah

Confed refused to abandon their troops, and moved quickly to rescue them. A few marine transports managed to escape. Confed then had to retreat immediately out of the Antares Quadrant. However, they were intent on destroying as much of the Kilrathi fleet as possible in order to save the Firekka. After neutralizing several Kilrathi vessels,[13] the Claw retreated to the Charon System, on its way to the Vega Sector.

A small Kilrathi strike fleet awaited them by the borders and they had no other support from the Terran Space Navy. Desperate to escape, the Tiger's Claw sent all of its pilots to engage the Kilrathi, and were eventually successful in smashing through their lines.[15] As the fleet converged on the lone carrier, the pilots fended off a last fighter assault before the Claw sped back to the Vega Sector, leaving the Firekka to fend to face the Kilrathi all alone.[16]

The Liberation of FirekkaEdit

Liberation

Despite the retreat of the Terran Space Navy, the Firekkans were not totally helpless in the face of the superior Kilrathi. Thanks to the damage the Confed inflicted to the Kilrathi fleet, and using the weapons given to them by the Terran Space Marines, the Firekkans rebelled against the Kilrathi and eventually forced them to abandon the planet. The invading troops fled from the surface on their transports, and the entire fleet retreated back to friendly airspace. The Firekkans reclaimed their freedom and rejoined the Terran Confederation as a brave, new ally willing to face the threats of the Kilrathi.

AftermathEdit

The Liberation of Firekka had a severe impact on the Kilrathi war effort. The loss of Firekka proved an embarrassment to the Kilrathi leadership, and the disruption of the Sivar-Eshrad Ceremony ruined the morale of many Kilrathi soldiers, as they no longer had the war god's favor. Several prized Snakeir-class Carriers were lost, inflicting severe equipment losses on the Kilrathi fleet. Finally, the Antares Quadrant had been fully liberated by the Terrans, as were several human colonies in the sectors the Kilrathi had temporarily abandoned. These developments severely impeded the Kilrathi Empire's war efforts, and it would be a while before they fully recovered from these failures.

Unfortunately, the Kilrathi would turn the tide against the humans once again when the Tiger's Claw was ambushed and destroyed at K'tithrak Mang less than a year later.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission a1)
  2. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission a2)
  3. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission a2) cutscene
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission b1)
  5. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission b2)
  6. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission c1)
  7. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission c2)
  8. Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission a1)
  9. Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission b2)
  10. Wing Commander I, Firekka series (Mission d2)
  11. 11.0 11.1 Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission b1)
  12. Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission b2)
  13. 13.0 13.1 Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission c2)
  14. Wing Commander I, Corsair series (Mission c1)
  15. Wing Commander I, Charon series (Mission 1)
  16. Wing Commander I, Charon series (Mission 2)
  17. Wing Commander II: Vengeance of the Kilrathi Introduction

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