During the year 2668, the Kilrathi Empire, which had been engaged in a brutal crusade against humanity for over thirty years, found itself badly outmatched by the Terran Confederation during the later years of the war. The Kilrathi had suffered many humiliating defeats against the Confederation during the 2660s, including the loss of the strategically-vital Enigma Sector. The proportion of trained Confederation personnel was far higher than that of the Kilrathi, outstripping them in terms of manpower. To make matters worse for the Kilrathi, their fleet had been badly weakened from years of fighting: The first was a series of deep-space raids conducted by Wake-Class Escort Carriers, such as the TCS Tarawa, which damaged or destroyed numerous shipyards and capital ships under construction. Second, the Kilrathi were running low on transports, forcing capital ships to travel to remote space outposts to resupply. Finally, although the Imperial Armada's warships outnumbered those of the Confederation, the vast majority of them were undergoing refits, and the Confederation had four new fleet carriers due to be commissioned a year later. This left the Empire's badly-weakened fleet of carriers at a numerical and technical disadvantage. The Imperial Armada was losing momentum and its failure to repel the Confederation fleets meant that the Empire faced possible defeat.
In response to this dire situation, Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka put into effect a plan that he hoped would ultimately defeat humanity. Prince Thrakhath informed the eight noble clans that he had been relocating Kilrathi resources to the Hari Sector, where the military was undertaking Project Hari. The plan saw the construction of the new Hakaga-Class Heavy Carrier, over twice as long as a conventional fleet carrier and capable of carrying 300 fighters in six hangar bays. The vessels bore incredibly thick armor that could not be penetrated by conventional weapons. These carriers were meant for a future strike that would see the fall of the Terran home world, Earth.
However, Thrakhath's plan could not hope to succeed, as several Terran escort carrier task forces waited on the front lines, poised to strike at the Kilrathi shipyards from within the Empire. Such an offensive jeopardized the project's success, so Baron Jukaga nar Ki'ra, a member of the noble nar Ki'ra clan and the foremost expert of Terran culture, presented his own plan to complement the project's deployment: Sue for peace with humanity.
The Kilrathi Emperor agreed to these unconventional terms, and Jukaga become the Ambassador to the Terran Confederation. However, the plan came at great risk. With the war stalled, the Kilrathi populace were liable to turn against their ruling clan, the Kiranka, potentially risking a hostile takeover by Jukaga's Nar Ki'ra clan. Jukaga himself had his eyes set on the throne. However, such a coup would be silenced if the ruling clan defeated the Terrans, so the Emperor agreed to throw all of his resources behind this bold strategy.
The Kilrathi presented the proposed ceasefire to the Confederation, but many Terrans saw the ceasefire as a deception, with some insisting that the Kilrathi were planning behind the cover of an armistice. Despite these concerns, President Rodham was convinced to sign the armistice by his Foreign Secretary, Rhonda Jamison, who argued that the costs of continuing the war were just too great. Agreeing with his secretary, Rodham formally signed Confed General Order #2312A, ordering an immediate ceasefire in the Terran-Kilrathi War on all fronts.
Support and Opposition
The Armistice proved unpopular in the Terran Confederation. The colonies which would later comprise the Union of Border Worlds, the Grovsner Colonies, and the Free Republic of the Landreich all opposed the measure. The Firekkans were so outraged at the signing that the Teehyn Ree, Rikik, withdrew Firekka from the Terran Confederation. The Confederation military was especially critical of the this move. To make matters worse, the Confederation government decommissioned much of its fleet, greatly reducing the Confederation's defences and leaving thousands of military veterans unemployed. Unconvinced with the Kilrathi's sincerity, the Confederation military launched undercover investigations into the motives behind the Armistice. Most of the President's support came from his advisers and his cabinet, with some notable exceptions. Vice President Dave Quinson was fully opposed to the cessation of hostilities.
Prince Thrakhath continued progress on Project Hari, the Imperial plan to restore the might of the Imperial Armada and to ultimately end the war. As a part of the plan, he had commissioned the construction of a new line of carriers known as the Hakaga. These mammoth warships were equipped with the latest weapons and armor of the Kilrathi Empire, and were more than a match for virtually any Terran warship. These ships would be the ones to end the war through one simple task: The destruction of the Terran home world, Earth.
The Confederation Space Navy was largely inactive as a result of the Armistice, with the majority of its leaders obeying the President. The fleet saw the decommissioning of several obsolete warships whose intended service life had been prolonged by the war. Meanwhile, a large number of volunteers joined the Special Operations Division in the hopes of uncovering the true nature of the ceasefire.
Among the naval personnel that was the most vehemently opposed to the Armistice was Rear Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn, who remained unconvinced of the Kilrathi's intentions. When it came to light that Tolwyn had continued an attack on a Kilrathi carrier after learning of the armistice, he was found guilty of disobeying direct orders, stripped of rank and dishonourably discharged. However, this was actually a cover to allow President Rodham, choosing not to take chances with the Armistice, to order Tolwyn on a top-secret mission to investigate the Empire's activities. A fleet of Wake-Class Escort Carriers was sold to the Landreich for this purpose, with the TCS Tarawa and the TCS Normandy were among those vessels sent to the Landreich.
While Tolwyn prepared his fleet at Landreich, Commodore James Taggart initiated a secret mission of his own. Assuming command of the Errant-class Merchantman TCS Bannockburn, Taggart prepared a Special Operations force to penetrate the Kilrathi Empire. Among those who volunteered for the mission were pilots Ian St. John and Etienne Montclair. Soon afterwards, both the Bannockburn and the Tarawa were en route to Kilrah. The Tarawa and her force were departing from Fleet Yard 5 above Landreich when a Confederation peace commission attempted to stop them, claiming that they were violating the truce. Tolwyn had arranged for the carriers to be bought out by the Landreich to serve as civilian transports as a guise for their true mission. The Confederation had discovered this and tried to stop the mission, but the fleet escaped before anything further could be done.
The two forces penetrated Kilrathi territory and eventually entered the remote Hari Sector. It was here on 2668.341 that Taggart and his team discovered the construction of the Hakaga carriers, of which five had been fully completed. The task force acquired photographic evidence of the fleet and relayed it to the Tarawa, only to come under attack by Kilrathi forces. The Bannockburn successfully fought off the attackers as it fled, at the cost of Ian St. John, who sacrificed himself to defend the vessel. The Confederation forces rushed back to inform the military of the impending attack.
Upon realization that the plot had been discovered, Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka ordered Baron Jukaga to launch the attack on Earth, despite the fact that at least four carriers remained incomplete. Taking advantage of the the Terrans' weakness, Jukaga committed to the attack.
Resumption of Hostilities
The Joint Chiefs of Staff remained unaware of the impending attack. On 2668.341, Kilrathi Ambassador Vak'ga requested to meet the Joint Chiefs of Staff and many prominent military officers to discuss truce violations and shaky relations with the Landreich. In reality, Vak'ga had been ordered to assassinate the entire committee by means of an anti-matter charge implanted in his chest upon word that the assault on Earth had commenced. Vak'ga eagerly agreed to the act and detonated the bomb at the meeting. The explosion killed approximately 150 Terran military officers, including five admirals and seven generals. Among the dead was Admiral Wayne Banbridge, head of the Joint Chiefs. The sole survivor of the attack was Marine General Duke Grecko, who left the meeting before the bomb was detonated. The blast crippled the Confederation military leadership, thrusting the Navy into complete disarray.
Upon receiving news that the Kilrathi were planning to assault Earth, President Rodham ordered the Confederation military to mobilize to defend Earth, formally declaring the end of the Armistice. He informed the people of the Confederation of the attack, causing panic and forcing the entire union to prepare for battle. Emergency Decree 394 was thus initiated, so Admiral Tolwyn assumed command of the Third Fleet to fight off the invaders. Confederation forces fortified the Sirius System, which was located just outside of the Sol System, however, with their fleet largely decommissioned and its leaders dead, the Confederation military was not in any state to effectively defend against the Kilrathi.
It was eventually discovered that Foreign Minister Rhonda Jamison, who had pressured the President to sign the Armistice, was actually a Kilrathi agent. She had been blackmailed into assisting the Kilrathi in exchange for her son, who was being held prisoner by the Kilrathi. Outraged by this treachery, Rodham ordered her immediate resignation, but she refused. Public uproar erupted against the President, and bowing to public pressure, President Rodham agreed to resign from the Presidency, forcing both Jamison and his cabinet to resign as well. Vice President Quinson immediately assumed office and swore to defend Earth at any cost, and quickly organized the defense. Rodham left the office in disgrace, and Jamison would be charged with treason. With the cessation of the Armistice and the arrival of the Kilrathi Armada, humanity prepared to defend its home world.
Aftermath of the Armistice
The False Armistice ultimately proved to be both a political and military disaster for the Terran Confederation. By trusting the Kilrathi Empire, the Confederation had let its guard down and made itself vulnerable to the Kilrathi attack. This, combined with the decommissioning of the fleet and the loss of the Confederation leadership badly impaired the Confederation's ability to defend against the Kilrathi assault. The Armistice eventually culminated in the Battle of Sirius and the Battle of Earth, which almost led to the fall of humanity.
Although the defending action ultimately was a Confederation victory, the battles at Sirius and Earth saw the decimation of the Confederation fleet, the loss of incomprehensible amounts of infrastructure, and the loss of as many as 2.5 billion lives. The battle crippled the Confederation and through the whole of 2669, the Confederation remained on the defensive. The failure of the Terran Confederation to recognize the Kilrathi ruse almost led to the galaxy-wide destruction of the human race.