After the annihiliation of Korhal, the various colonial powers and pirate militias continued to spar with the Confederate forces and although many of the groups were constantly at odds with one another, the overall presence of mankind within the Koprulu Sector continued to strengthen and expand.
These petty squabbles would soon come to an end, however, as mankind was caught in the midst of a struggle of epic proportions.
The Battle of the Sara System
Approximately five years before the establishment of the Sons of Korhal, a marshal on a Fringe World planet reported the presence of a strange lifeform to the Terran Confederacy. Agents of the Confederacy determined the infestation to be widespread, as several nearby worlds were also infested and they immediately opted for a "final solution". The entire population of the infested planets was wiped out using a genetically engineered plague, which the Confederacy disguised as a form of cholera.
Soon after, the Confederacy began the construction of specialized research stations to conduct experiments on the alien lifeforms. It was at one of these stations that Mengsk found and "rescued" Sarah Kerrigan. By the year 2499, their scientists had had several major breakthroughs. They learned that the alien lifeforms reacted and responded to the psionic energies of Ghosts, which also explains why Sarah was at the Fujita Facility. Confederate scientists and engineers had created small devices called psi emitters, which would broadcast the telepathic signals of a ghost across interplanetary distances. The goal? To lure more of those strange lifeforms to the human colonies.
As the rivalries between the Sons of Korhal and the Confederacy went worse and worse, the Confederacy decided to activate such psi emitters in the Sara System, to lure more of those xenomorphs, which they named "Zerg", into their traps in order to fashion them into a weapon - a dangerous weapon to finally fully and completely eradicate their rivals, but without any of the bad press that followed the Korhal incident. Indeed, with the Confederacy coming in and destroying the xenomorphs after they had done their work, they would be lauded as heroes, as the saviours of humanity.
Surely enough, by November of the same year, the Zerg had arrived in the outskirts of the Koprulu Sector. But with the psi emitters active, what had started as isolated specimen became an entire swarm.
The invasion of the Terran sector by the Zerg fully began when they reached the Terran Confederacy colony of Chau Sara. The invasion started very subtly: the atmosphere was seeded with spores that made their way down to the surface, giving rise to creep, thus allowing the Zerg to construct their hive clusters.
What the hell is that? Looks like the ground there is alive."
--- James Raynor during the Battle of Backwater Station.
Soon after the arrival of the Zerg, the "Sons of Korhal" invaded Chau Sara as well, which prompted Magistrate Collins to call upon the Confederacy’s Alpha Squadron, lead by General Edmund Duke, for help. The Alpha Squadron established itself in a base, west of the Sons of Korhal encampment. It didn't take long for the Zerg to register the activities of the humans and first skirmishes started shortly after.
To aid against the Zerg, the secretive Cerberus Recon Squad appeared on the battlefield.
Magistrate Collins confirmed that he had known about these xenomorphs for quite some time and that they were being studied in the Flannum Installation; but contact to the facility had been lost. The installation was surrounded by Zerg, which had created large, semi-organic structures, some of which were capable of defending themselves. Cerberus Recon Squad and Alpha Squadron cooperated in clearing a path to the installation and a squad of elite soldiers managed to clear the installation, under heavy losses.
Only shortly after the skirmish at the Flannum Installation, a large Zerg force attacked Los Andares, the capital city of Chau Sara. After a long battle, the Confederate forces lead by Edmund Duke eventually defeated the Zerg, beating them back from the capital.
Following their victory, Magistrate Collins and his advisers proposed establishing a tight defensive perimeter. However, the Cerberus Commander insisted on attacking the primary hive clusters, believing the time was right to wipe the Zerg off the surface of the planet. When Collins disagreed, the Cerberus Commander imposed the Colonial Crisis Act, taking command of the entire planet and imposing a Class 7 Seal on all information surrounding the Zerg, threatening "immediate termination" for those who did not comply.
From now on, the Confederacy controlled all communication and travel to the planet, hiding the events of the battles and even the existence of the Zerg.
The first contact with another sentient race and they blow up a planet. Helluva calling card.
--- Michael Liberty reflecting on first contact with the protoss.
In the long run, humankind lost that first skirmish against the Zerg. Eventually the Zerg overran the entire planet - and brought another race of alien lifeforms to the Terran sector.
Those new aliens, immediately - without a word, without a warning - began a purification operation against the planet - all life on the planet was to be eradicated. Strangely enough, the Zerg swarms did barely nothing to defend themselves against the new usurpers.
During the first attack all hostile orbital presences were destroyed, before massive alien starships bombarded the planet surface, to burn down the Zerg infestation and to annihilate all Terran settlements to make sure no Zerg lifeforms survived at all. The Romans would have been proud.
As it was clear that the planet Mar Sara, the "little sister" world of Chau Sara, was infested by Zerg as well, the alien armada set course to enter the orbit of Mar Sara. Yet this time their commander hesitated - as if questioning the morality behind his genocidal orders.
The general population was quite slow to react to the knowledge that humanity was not the only sentient species in the galaxy, not to mention that said other species had just vaporized an entire world, as initially the Confederacy placed censorship on what could be reported concerning the attacks in the Sara System. Rumors eventually still made their way all the way back to the Confederate capital of Tarsonis, as Universe News Network ran sensationalist pieces about how an alien species was going to wipe humanity out. The panic generated by the news inflicted an economic slowdown on the Confederacy.
And yet, although they had never encountered alien species of any kind before, humanity rushed quickly to defend themselves against this new, mysterious enemy. The Confederacy tasked Edmund Duke to launch a clumsy counterattack against the usurpers - and strangely enough the golden fleet in orbit over Mar Sara ... retreated. The Confederacy saw that as a sign of weakness, in truth, however, the alien commander retreated out of respect for the bravery of this tiny species all new to the Koprulu sector.
Struggling with his inner doubts, the alien commander could not bring himself to destroy Mar Sara, nor the fleet that had come to protect it - in vain. Refusing to follow through with his genocidal orders, he sought a way to defeat the zerg without arbitrarily wiping out humanity in the process. Thus, he pulled his fleet back beyond the range of terran sensors.
Mar Sara had been spared, but with the zerg infestation gaining ground, a fact known to both the Confederacy and the mighty armada lurking just outside the sensor range of the Terran radar stations, how long it would remain a viable world, was unknown.
No Terran agency could account for the disturbing presence of not one, but two strange alien races within their colonies. Overcome by a collective, paranoid terror and encumbered by their own political infighting, the hapless Terran factions could only watch as an ever-increasing tide of alien invaders made their way towards the heart of the war torn Terran Sector.
The Confederacy flew into a state of panic over the attacks. In order to keep the population of Mar Sara calm and to be able to evacuate the planet in an orderly manner, a new magistrate was appointed. The Confederacy continued to limit information about the events at Chau Sara, though they did not hide the existence of the mightly fleet lurking in the shadows.
Chau Sara took the role of Sarajevo. The Archduke Franz Ferdinand was dead. The first Great Intergalactic War had just begun.
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- Tracy Hickman – Speed of Darkness