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Ariel fell to the Kilrathi sometime prior to 2669, and has since been a stronghold for their forces. Confed did not possess the means to drive them out and so Ariel was abandoned. Ariel hosted a nebula, which are notoriously difficult for pilots to navigate. By 2669, a Kilrathi garrison was installed to defend the system.
During that year, the TCS Victory and her task force breached the system in a covert operation aimed at wearing down the garrison's forces. It was hoped that such an attack would help increase Terran morale in the War and disorganize the Kilrathi security forces. The attack saw enormous success as the Terrans destroyed several capital ships, including two Bhantkara-Class Carriers.
The Kilrathi eventually discovered the Terran presence and the Victory was forced to retreat. However, as it fled towards the jump point, the Kilrathi closed it off by carpeting the jump point via the nebula's gases. The Victory managed to find an alternative jump point that brought them to the Caliban System, much to the outrage of the Kilrathi. Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka withheld the news of the Terrans' success in Ariel from the Emperor.