Modern flag of the Terran EmpireChapter Two: To The Death
(All images are post-war due to a goof of mine)
Emperor Stark and the recently promoted Fleet Admiral Brooks were standing on the bridge of the ISS Wolf. The Admiral looked nervously at the Emperor. "I still don't think it was wise of you to come to the front," he said. The Emperor sighed. "The Thalan fleet in this sector was defeated, and if the Empire is to survive, it needs a leader who knows how war is fought. It is crucial that I observe the fall of Thala."
Stark sighed deeply. The war had not gone well, and it was pure luck that the M.A.C.O forces had the oppurtunity to delivier such a blow. The onset of the war had gone well. Thalan starbases had been defeated and their defense forces had been brushed aside by Imperial Starfleet. However, the conquest of the Devora and Epsilon systems had cost more than 4 billion Terran lives, and improved Thalan ships began taking a toll on Starfleet as they pushed deeper into Thalan space. The Wolf-class was soon barely able to keep up. The entire 2nd Fleet had been destroyed attempting to assault a Thalan staging area in the Tycho system. However, Imperial Starfleet had been able to grind through Thalan space and reach their home system itself. The new longrange M.A.C.O. transports, the fearful Okinawa-class, carried billions of Terrans into orbit of the world.The ISS Audie Murphy launches an asteroid at Thala with it's mass driver
Over 11 billion Thalans were ready to defend their homeworld, against which the Empire could pit a mere 4 billion M.A.C.O troops. However, the Thalans made poor fighters and Stark had authorized the use of a weapon dreaded throughout the galaxy since it's inception. The Terran Empire would pummel Thala with mass drivers slung under the bellys of the M.A.C.O transports before commencing the invasion. The Thala system had an asteroid belt in it, which insured an endless supply of ammunition.
Stark took a deep breath as he watched the driver undernearth the ISS Audie Murphy power up. He shivered inside his black Imperial regalia as he watched the driver spit out a large asteroid, and he winced as he watch the massive explosion it caused on Thala's otherwise pristine surface. The ISS Okinawa, the transport from which General Clark was conducting the invasion, hailed the Wolf. Appearing on the viewscreen, General Clark informed the Emperor that the bombardment was commencing. Stark watched in silent awe as dozens of drivers spewed death onto the surface of the world below. As the cataclysm unfolded, Stark wished for the days when he had delighted in managing each new Terran colony and had been more concerned with building his people's future than destroying anothers. He wished that, once again, he could occupy himself with the day-to-day affairs of social production instead of total warfarel. But he knew full well what wishes amounted to in this harsh galaxy. For hours, the drivers lunged the gigantic rocks onto their enemie's homeworld. Then, finally, the transports began disgorging the countless landing crafts the M.A.C.O soldiers took onto the surface. Resistance was expected to be light. Stark doubted expectations would pan out.
Stark walked over to the communications console and tuned into the frequency being used by one of the M.A.C.O divisions in Thala's northern hemisphere. Staring out into space, the Emperor listened to the sharp cracks of gunfire, the shouted commands of M.A.C.O officers, the screeching of the insectoid Thalans being dying, and, to the Emperor's great dismay, the screams of the wounded and dying Terran soldiers as they fought to secure their landing zones.
Several days later, the Battle of Thala was over. Over 17 billion Thalans had been exterminated in the bombardment and subsequent battle. 500 million Terran soldiers had been slain as well. The Thalan Empire, Stark was informed, was now willing to enter into peace negotiations. The Earth-Thalan War had been won, but at a great cost to the Terran Empire in men, material, and it's own conscience. Even Stark, a staunch believer that Humans were the master race, was shaken deeply by the butchery inflicted upon the Thalan homeworld. Shaken though he was, he still knew this was the only way to secure the safety of his people. The wholesale slaughter of the Thalans would continue.Terran M.A.C.O forces trudge through what had one been a lush Thalan field before the mass drivers.
The result of the war was, actually, unfavorable for the Empire. The economy was in shambles (it had been a struggle to simply keep from going bankrupt during hostilities) and it's ships were now outdated. In the grand scheme of things, the Terran Empire was now only stronger than the crippled Thalans. Emperor Stark ordered the expansion of the M.A.C.O Corps, and Imperial Starfleet began the development of a new cruiser. The economy was slowly rebuilt, and Deep Space 2 was built to mine a resource that increased the Empire's prestige, another spoil of the Thalan War. Although triumphant in it's first interstellar war, the Terran Empire would have to work hard to become something more than a regional power. For the next 6 months, the Empire was forced to deal with the abhored alien races in attempts to generate enough money and keep it's borders secure. However, the Empire refused to pay tribute to the belligerent Arceans. Stark, humiliated that they had been in a position to make a demand on humanity in the first place, swore that one day the sword and globe of the Terran Empire would fly above the Arcean Royal Palace.
In late 2230, Imperial Starfleet unveiled the NX class warship. Armed with the premier of the new plasma weapon banks and Harpoon missle launcher, it also boasted impressive Barrier-class beam defenses and state-of-the-art ECM technology. A sizable upgrade from the Wolf class, the prototype, ISS Enterprise, departed the Terra Fleetyards to join the 1st Fleet on garrison duty in the Thala System. Mission patch of the ISS Enterprise, worn on the left sleeve of all crewmembers.
However, the Thalans decided to act before the NX models could enter active service, and declared a war of vengeance on the Terran Empire. Imperial Starfleet acted quickly, clearing out the defenses on Devora II, which soon fell to M.A.C.O forces. The Enterprise, joining with the 1st Fleet, attacked the Tycho system, sight of the death of the 2nd Fleet during the First War. The ISS Wolf and ISS Juno, both refitted into NX ships, along with the Enterprise, succeeded in devestating the Thalan fleet. At the same time, an attempted invasion of the Terran world of Thebes IV was thwarted by the Imperial garrison located there. Though still numerically weak, Imperial Starfleet had a distinct technological edge. Emperor Stark, hungry to secure the Empire and elevate it to major power status, declared that the Terran Empire would not stop, would not rest, until every single Thalan world had been crushed under his iron fist.
As if in response, the Thalans unveiled a new frigate at the head of an assault fleet, and attacked a joint attack fleet comprised of elements of the 1st and 2nd Fleets as it was guarding the M.A.C.O transports conquering the sole planet in the system. Though the fleet was victorious, the ISS Enterprise and ISS Wolf were destroyed, leaving only the ISS Vladivostok and a squadron of Bumblebee fighters remaining. Two new NX class ships were built and re-christened in their honor. Though the loss of Enterprise was embarassing, the Wolf's destruction was devestating, as no other crew in Starfleet had been more tested in battle. The new ISS Enterprise henceforth would serve as the new flagship of Terran Imperial Starfleet.The ISS Enterprise is destroyed by the new Thalan frigate
The war went back and forth, particularly on Harper III. Billions of Terrans and Thalans died as the planet changed hands again and again, but finally the Empire was able to secure victory after driving the Thalans out of the nearby Hifleheim system, removing their staging area. The world of Baldur IV, surrounded by the 1st Fleet and a M.A.C.O contingent, was all but rendered lifeless as the outnumbered M.A.C.O forces devestated the world with mass drivers. Though never a "garden world", after the coming of the Terran Empire, the planet was little more than a ball of rock and dust. In the years to come, the planet essentially became a gigantic memorial to the members of both races who died there.A group of NX and Wolf-class warships finish off the remainder of a Thalan fleet during the final days of the Second Earth-Thalan War
Desperate to save some of their people from the ruthless Terrans, who showed no mercy to the native Thalan populations on the worlds they siezed, formally handed over their remaining planets to the Drath Legion. Though frustrated that the hated Thalans had escaped extermination for the time being, Emperor Stark declared an Empire-wide Week of Celebration to commemorate the victory. However, once again, the Empire's delicate economy was in shambles. Although the post-war years saw great advances in domestic regards, namely in the realm of industry nothing seemed to be working as the Emperor tried to restore the Imperial coffers. Imperial weaponry was also falling behind.
The hastily designed Reviver-class freighter began opening trade with the Torian Confederation and Dominion of Korx. Stark's attitude towards aliens changed somewhat during the Second Earth-Thalan War, when the the Dominion gave two frigates to Imperial Starfleet. Christened the ISS Chenault and ISS Lafayette, the ships and their Korxian crews served valiantly, although the Chenault was lost during the Third Battle of Tycho. Their sacrifice made a powerful statement, and the raging xenophobia mankind had gone into space with and carried with them through two cataclysmic wars with the Thalans began to cool, and for the first time in it's history, the Terran Empire began approaching an alien race with trade goods in hand, in lieu of weapons.Terran advances during the Thalan Wars.Red circles = Systems conquered by the Terran Empire
Red arrows = Terran advance during the First War
Blue arrows = Terran advance during the Second War
Green square = Thala, the homeworld of the Thalan race
Red X = Tycho System, site of heavy Terran losses (Also houses a Precursor mine)
As if to throw this new, more enlightened mindset back into the Empire's face, the Torian Confederation and Drath Legion formed a coallition and declared war on the Terran Empire several months after the Thalan surrender...