(2629 to 2634)
First contact with the Kilrathi did not come to a total shock of Confederation HQ, but it did to the crew of the TCS Iason. The Iason was on a planetary survey mission beyond the frontier of the Terran Confederation, that is the official border. Numerous human colonies have been established beyond the frontier, which had not moved to include any new worlds into the Confederation in over three centuries. Confed knew much of what happened beyond its legal boundaries. Ships were sent regularly into the frontier to catalog human colonies and chart new worlds as new jump points were being discovered.
On April 15, 2629 A.L., the Iason encountered an unidentified ship in the Warhammer System, a previously unexplored system with no known human inhabitation. Captain Jedora Andropolis attempted to establish contact with the ship, at first believing it to be from a frontier colony. However, the asymmetrical design and sharp angles of the ship quickly forced her to change her mind. No human would design a ship to look like it came out of a nightmare. The alien ship was larger than the Iason and Andropolis ordered her ship to back away from it. What exactly happened next may never be known, for only the initial contact information was transmitted back to Confed. Shortly after encountering the alien ship, the Iason was destroyed with all hands. The Iason Incident is the first documented contact with the Kilrathi, but by all means not the first absolutely. Human ships have traversed the frontier of the Vega Sector and beyond for decades, and no doubt some have stumbled on to the Kilrathi, as the Kilrathi stumbled upon frontier settlements. When the first human met the first Kilrathi will never be known, but interaction with aliens on the frontier was common enough for decades before.
Around the same time as the Iason Incident, a reptilian alien species known as the Varni began to flood across the Confederation border in the millions. At first, Confed believed this was an invasion and sent the 5th and 7th Fleets out into the coreward systems of the Vega Sector. However, few ships were armed and all were damaged to a degree. The aliens were in poor health, and the fleets were quarantined. Several ships were destroyed attempting to break out of quarantine. The Varni were known by Confed for more than fifty years. They inhabited six systems beyond the Vega Sector and had only recently developed their own jump drives, circa 2610.
It was soon discovered these Varni were refugees, fleeing an unstoppable invasion of their territory by a species that called themselves the Kilrathi. By data retrieved from the Varni ships, it was determined the Kilrathi were also responsible for the destruction of the Iason. The conquest of the Varni, and their near extinction at the hands of the Kilrathi took less than three months. Confed HQ was extremely interested in everything the Varni knew about these new aliens. It was soon discovered the Kilrathi were a violent people, with atrocities that make human history almost pale in consideration. Surviving Varni leaders swore by their ancestors that the Kilrathi made no attempts to contact or negotiate, nor did they state any demands. They simply attacked the Varni after a short period of non-contact.
Confed HQ realized that the same period of non-contact was upon them now, and there was deep concern that the Kilrathi might start targeting human colonies in the frontier. One Rear Admiral Wayne Banbridge was tasked with learning as much about the Kilrathi before they did attack. Banbridge took this assignment, believing it to be his last before retirement.
One of the most distance frontier worlds, settled over a century before by the Fawcett Party, fell to the Kilrathi even before the Iason Incident. For over a year before, the Kilrathi were taking apart the colony and interrogating all its inhabitants, attempting to learn all they could about these hairless apes they have encountered. At first, the Kilrathi Emperor believed the apes were as small as the Varni. After capturing star charts and jump points from Fawcett’s World, the Kilrathi learned that the Confederation was large, maybe even larger than their own empire.
Of the Council of Eight, the Ki’Ra Pride was given the planet and the responsibility of learning more about the Confederation before the Kilrathi would launch a decisive strike against them. Of the Council of Eight, the King of the Ki’Ra Pride and his sons were considered untrustworthy by many of the Eight. Their tendency to think and plot instead of act brought them scorn. This trait was also the reason the Emperor assigned the task to them. It was the final act of the Kilrathi Emperor, who died in 2630, and was replaced by the Final Emperor, his son. The Emperor would continue to value the advice of the Ki’Ra throughout the war.
Fawcett’s World fell without a fight. The twelve thousand humans living there were no match for the landing of a Kilrathi Army Battalion. For good measure, the invaders killed off more than a thousand of the colonists, eating some of their victims. The Ki’Ra Pride developed cordial relations with the colonial leaders, despite the fierceness of the Kilrathi soldiers. It was through them, that the Ki’Ra Pride learned not to underestimate this new enemy. Much was learned about human history, with its violence second only to the Kilrathi. The Ki’Ra King quickly decided that humans were not warlike because they were weak, but because they were exceedingly proficient at it. When he advised the Emperor to delay attacking the Confederation, the Emperor removed Fawcett’s World from his control and the Kilrah Pride launched its own investigation of the Terran Confederation.
Through 2629 and 2630, the human public knew little about the Kilrathi. Only those living on the border in the Vega Sector knew anything, and most was from second-hand accounts of Varni refugees. Public reaction to allowing aliens to settle within the Confederation was very negative, with some in the Congress considering bills that would eject the Varni. Only President Mellen’s charisma convinced Senators from the Vega Sector to withdraw the bill. The Varni were an excellent source of intelligence concerning the Kilrathi, and when if they could rebuild their population, would make willing allies.
Kilrathi raids beyond the Vega Sector border continued throughout 2631, finally drawing in public notice. Isolationists said that it was the colonists own fault for going out into the frontier and unknown. More jingoistic elements of Terran society wanted to take the war to the Kilrathi. Since 1337, when the first jump-capable ship was launched from Luna, humanity had defeated every alien species it ever encountered. Of them, only the Wu were jump capable, and were not relegated to a reservation consisting of their home world and its system. Humanity was undefeated, and could lick the cats with little effort.
The general attitude was one of live and let live. The people demanded a sort of non-aggression pact with the Kilrathi, especially after learning that their empire was the largest alien entity humanity had ever encountered. Space was large, and there was plenty of room for Terran and Kilrathi alike. The Congress of the Confederation attempted to do just that, but messages sent into Kilrathi space were not returned, and ships that entered did not either. Banbridge’s initial report on the Kilrathi, gathered mostly from the Varni, poured water onto the flames of hope. The Varni described a ceremony where the Kilrathi sacrificed countless Varni after conquering their homeworld. More attested to Kilrathi expansion being tied into their religion. From the lessons of human history, that would make negotiations nearly impossible.
Nonetheless, on February 1, 2632, the Congress passed a resolution calling for enforced nonaggression towards the Kilrathi. As long as they do not cross the Confederation border, then the Kilrathi would be officially ignored. Unofficially, Confed HQ would send several fleets into the Vega Sector and continue recon missions across the frontier. Alexandria Station in orbit of McAuliffe VI, a world of seventy million humans. The station would serve as command and control for the entire sector, as well as primary fleet base. The McAuliffe System was only a jump point away from the official border, and there was some concern such a move by the TCN (Terran Confederation Navy) might provoke the Kilrathi. As such, TCN was ordered to pull away some of its forces from so close to the border.
Storm before the Flood
During 2633, the Kilrathi expanded their raids and attacks along the frontier into the Epsilon Sector and even towards the Landreich worlds. The Landreich was a stretch of frontier anti-coreward from the Enigma Sector, populated by outlaws, criminals as well as part of the Boer Diaspora. The Landreich operated as an independent state, outside of Confed with not interest in joining. Normally, a threat to the Landreich would garner no attention from Confed HQ, however, the Kilrathi were moving in scope to be able to attack not only the Vega Sector, but the Epsilon and Enigma as well. Intel still believed the Kilrathi would try for a direct strike at the heart of Confed first.
The TCN entered its first skirmish with the Kilrathi on December 29, 2633, in the Mylon System, a system just on the other side of Confed’s borders. Some three million colonist live in the system, and the TCS Belgrade, a Acropolis Class Cruiser was already in system when a Kilrathi cruiser jumped in. It was not the first time the Kilrathi had entered the system, and they had destroyed several local ships. For an hour on the 29th, the Belgrade and the Kilrathi Fralthi exchanged fire. Neither ship was heavily damaged, and the Kilrathi withdrew from the system with still more than a little fight in them. It is now believed the ship’s mission was to gauge the strength of the Confed cruiser. The captain of the Belgrade was relieved of command for his actions asa it clearly violated the nonaggression stance.
The Kilrathi continued to grow bolder in their attacks, starting as a drizzle, transforming into a torrent, with an eventual flood to follow. The Kilrathi continued to test Confed’s borders, but never crossed into Confederation territory. That is until June 6, 2634, when the Kilrathi destroyed the transport Anna Magdalena in the Deino System. The ship was transporting refugees from the frontier, mostly orphans, to their new home when a pair of Kilrathi Dralthis attacked and destroyed it before returning to their ship. The attack on an unarmed ship within the Confederation’s borders sparked outrage and forced the Congress to declare war against the Kilrathi Empire on June 12, 2634, officially starting the thirty-five year long Kilrathi War.