Ur-Quan Slave War
The Ur-Quan Slave War, also sometimes called the (Great) Crucible of Sentience, the Ur-Quan Conflict, or simply the Great War, is the original war between the Alliance of Free Stars and the Hierarchy of Battle Thralls, which lasted from 2098 to 2134 AD. To date it remains the greatest military conflict known to the histories of Alliance races. Indeed, the Alliance, the defining political entity of local space, only formed in reaction to the creation of the local Hierarchy of Battle Thralls, itself formed by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za for the sole purpose of subjugating all known races, which, for a time, they succeeded in doing.
Beginning of Ur-Quan aggression
The first contact between the two sides occurred when the Chenjesu's extraordinary complex HyperWave sensing abilities detected the intrusion of a previously unknown species, the Ur-Quan, into the far antispinward reaches of known space, in the Ophiuchi constellation. The strange, discordant signal, which they were unable to translate at the time, was an Ur-Quan hunting cry, calling Lords toward an area of many developed sentient civilizations.
Thraddash, Umgah, and Ilwrath subjugation
The Chenjesu, unable to communicate with the Ur-Quan, failed to detect the Ur-Quan's first major battles with the Thraddash in Draconis. When the Thraddash had been fully subjugated, the Chenjesu watched as the Ur-Quan conquered the Umgah, who had until then maintained an apparently benign but aloof presence in the spacefaring community. The Ur-Quan then turned rimward and conquered the technologically underdeveloped Ilwrath. The Ilwrath's warlike culture proved fertile ground for Ur-Quan propaganda and with the benefit of new and improved technology tailored to their sadistic combat style, they greatly enhanced the now quite imposing Hierarchy military whose attention now turned to the ripe resources and population of Earth and the riches of the Chenjesu civilization at Procyon beside it.
Creation of Alliance and expansion of Hierarchy
In response, the Chenjesu formed a makeshift military alliance with their friends, the Mmrnmhrm, to directly counter Ur-Quan aggression. Together the two races were able to temporarily repel the Ur-Quan, who, undeterred, turned aside from their defensive lines and began to send forces further spinward toward the Spathi and Androsynth. As they conquered those two races and began using the Spathi and Androsynth manpower and ships to bolster their fleets, the Chenjesu, realizing the enormity of the threat, began to negotiate with the most militarily powerful of the local races they knew of to form a true military alliance -- the Alliance of Free Stars -- capable of withstanding the growing Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. The two sides began to race to amass troops. The Chenjesu quickly gained the support of the military powerhouses of the Yehat and Shofixti, and initiated first contact in 2112 with the still-primitive Humans and their dormant military and industrial potential.
Unfortunately the Umgah had already accepted status as Battle Thralls rather than lose their freedom; after the Ur-Quan had quickly cowed the Spathi into submission, the Umgah, trifling with the Spathi for amusement, tricked them into likewise joining the Hierarchy, swelling their ranks with their numerous (if cowardly) forces. These combined forces made short work of the hopelessly outnumbered Androsynth and were able to harness the Androsynth's technological genius and deep hatred of the Humans in the Alliance to bolster their forces. On the Alliance side, the formal entry of the Humans to the Alliance in 2116 precipitated the unexpected appearance of the Arilou Lalee'lay, who appeared by unknown means at Earth's moon, Luna, and inexplicably asked to join the Alliance. Alliance authorities, unwilling to turn away allies, however mysterious, agreed, and the Arilou became a powerful wild card during the war.
After the subjugation of the Androsynth was completed, Ur-Quan forces began to increasingly pull away from the contested territory near Earth as incoming Yehat and Shofixti forces, bolstered by Earth's growing Star Control military, took greater tolls on the Hierarchy. More and more forces went spinward, now attacking the VUX, with whom the Yehat had only had sporadic and hostile contacts. An attempt to investigate Ur-Quan activity in this area and, if possible, recruit the VUX to help the Alliance cause ended disastrously in the famous incident of the Insult of Captain Jeffry L. Rand. Rand's blunder apparently destroyed any chance of VUX cooperation or even communication with Alliance forces, leaving them to helplessly watch as the Hierarchy conquered and absorbed them. Hierarchy forces then finally made contact with the home stars of the Yehat and Shofixti, but the fortifications there were far too strong for Hierarchy forces even after the assimilation of the VUX and their brilliant tactical genius Admiral ZEX.
Mycon and Syreen involvement
The Ur-Quan pulled out coreward, toward Brahe; no known races lived there, and Alliance forces dared speculate that the Hierarchy was now satisfied and choosing to end hostilities and retreat. Unfortunately, it turned out that the Mycon race, which had existed undetected until now, had openly initiated communications with the Ur-Quan asking to voluntary join the Hierarchy. The Alliance were unable to determine why, only knowing that the Mycon's unique Podship technology greatly multiplied the sheer firepower potential of the Ur-Quan forces, making them far more offensively powerful. At the last moment, the advance of the Hierarchy through Mycon space forced the flight of the also previously unknown neighbors to the Mycon, the Syreen, who had been wandering in fleets of habitats and vessels since the recent destruction of their home planet Syra. Flying desperately just ahead of the Mycon advance and increasingly harried by raids from the unscrupulous VUX, they were forced to join the Alliance despite their extreme military weakness; though their fleet was small and primitive, their unique form of hypnotic technology proved an effective tactical device to help reduce the Hierarchy's advantage.
With no other major races willing or able to join either side, there was nothing left for it but increasing escalation of hostilities, fought along what the Alliance termed the Coreward Front running through the Indi and Mira constellations. The struggle continued for over ten years, during which many legendary battles were fought, such as the famous Battle in Draco. The Hierarchy's apparent military advantages never quite allowed them to gain a permanent foothold against the embattled Alliance.
Defeat of the Alliance
Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm
Finally, in 2134, the Ur-Quan successfully pushed the Alliance back beyond Raynet, and immediately seized the opportunity this gave them. Though Procyon was heavily defended by the Chenjesu, the Ur-Quan finally chose to use the decisive ace in the hole they had reserved until then, the Sa-Matra. The powerful Chenjesu fleet was helpless against it, and the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm's main defense fleets had no time to even send more than a few scattered distress transmissions before the Sa-Matra utterly destroyed them. Their homeworld devastated, the Chenjesu leaders of the Alliance attempted to send a transmission -- never received -- advocating a new strategy of retreat and surrender, taking advantage of Ur-Quan largesse in allowing conquered races to live settled and mostly uninterfered-with lives as fallow slaves to somehow develop a covert resistance among slave-shielded species and seek a technological answer to the Sa-Matra's power. The Mmrnmhrm, lacking their own homeworld, chose to join the Chenjesu in becoming fallow slaves at Procyon II and integrate themselves into their plans.
Following the subjugation at Procyon II, Earth was next in line for attack, and the Humans were quickly defeated by a massive, multilateral attack. Without the support of the powerful Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm, the remaining defenders of the Sol system had no chance of standing against a combined attack by the entire Hierarchy. The Star Control forces, soon separated from their allies, were pushed back all the way within the Sol system, but heroically continued to fight until their entire force had been destroyed; finally, with all their materiel and troops gone, the Humans agreed to surrender terms, and elected to go through the pain of becoming fallow, which they had been told to do by the Chenjesu and Mmrnmhrm, rather than fighting for their enemies.
Syreen and Arilou
Seeing the Alliance in tatters, the Shofixti and Yehat rushed back spinward to defend their home systems, leaving no one at the Coreward Front but the meager Arilou and Syreen fleets. Expecting a final defense against the Hierarchy, the Syreen were shocked to find the Arilou wordlessly scattering and vanishing, leaving them no choice but to surrender to the Hierarchy as well (possibly following the final defense at Raynet), choosing fallow status and being relocated to a new world, Gaia, in the Betelgeuse system.
Shofixti and Yehat
The Hierarchy now turned spinward again toward the two hardest nuts to crack, the martial cultures of the Shofixti and Yehat. As the Hierarchy reached the Delta Gorno system, the Yehat, who had prepared a desperate strategy to use their outnumbered fleets as a tactical wedge to divide and weaken the Hierarchy forces, suddenly withdrew under orders from the Veep-Neep Queen, who had seemingly lost her heart for combat. Against the protests of the Starship Clans, the Yehat left the Shofixti to fend for themselves; without Yehat support, there was no strategic possibility of even forcing significant casualties on the Hierarchy. The Shofixti fleet nonetheless fought valiantly, using the only weapon they had left, their self-destructing Glory Devices, to destroy Ur-Quan squadron after squadron. Even so, their entire fleet had soon been consumed and their homeworld left undefended; unknown to either the Yehat or the Hierarchy they had prepared one final act of defiance. As the bulk of the Hierarchy fleet stationed itself in Delta Gorno to put down the Shofixti resistance, the surviving Shofixti lowered a Precursor Bomb into their sun and activated it, causing the star to suddenly flare and flood the entire system with radiation -- a massive re-creation of the Shofixti Glory Device. All Shofixti forces had been called back to the system to participate in the final defense, and with a few scattered exceptions the entirety of their race was killed by this Ultimate Glory Device; even so, a third of the Ur-Quan fleet had been taken with them.
Unfortunately, this was not enough to change the outcome of the war. Shocked and horrified by the Shofixti's fate, the Starship Clans' protests were fruitless; unwilling to undermine the cultural source of her throne's legitimacy, the Queen finally ended the war by formally surrendering to the Ur-Quan and, moreover, volunteering the Yehat's services as Battle Thralls to prevent the dismantling of their military. Official hostilities now ceased, and the Ur-Quan, after putting into place the various Hierarchy Starbases as signs of dominance over the fallow slaves and implementing maintenance and control systems among the Battle Thralls, began to turn to their own concerns, vanishing from public sight, it is now known, to begin the Doctrinal Conflict against the Kohr-Ah.
The interbellum period lasted twenty years, and no one outside of what had been the special ops division of Star Control, Corridor Nine, knew of a secret mission that had been sent to the Vela system just before war's end to investigate strange Precursor relics there. Cut off from the Alliance forces, this expedition had become the makeshift Vela I or Unzervalt colony. Eventually the ancient Precursor technology there was used to construct a functional Precursor vessel, later to be known as The Flagship. Captained by a young man from Unzervalt, usually called simply The Captain, this vessel emerged from Vela to restart guerrilla actions against the Ur-Quan and overthrow them in the events of Star Control II.
The Campaigns of the Ur-Quan Slave War are as follows (taken from Star Control for Genesis, in rough chronological order):
- First Encounter - When spheres of influence meet, battle is inevitable.
- In a far sector along the Coreward Frontier, an Alliance resource development team has encountered a small Hierarchy ravage/reclaim unit. Both commanders face a similar decision: fortify their holdings then expand into enemy space, or make an immediate charge into the enemy's zone, hoping to disrupt his plans before they come to fruition.
- The Art Of War - Match your strength against your enemy's weakness.
- TO ALL COMMANDERS! It has come to the attention of the leadership that certain ships are especially vulnerable to attacks by particular enemy vessels. In your new assignment, beware of these fatal match-ups as you seek to destroy the enemy's Starbase. Consider multi-species, wingbeing pairs. That is all . . .
- Exterminate! - The Hierarchy must curb rampant Shofixti breeding!
- Perhaps the bravest species in the Alliance is the marsupial Shofixti. Though young as a sentient species, and near feral in psychology, no other race in the Free Stars is so quick and efficient at exploring and exploiting an uncharted region of space. One such Shofixti-built zone has attracted the attention of the Hierarchy, in the form of an Ur-Quan Dreadnought. Its mission: a seek-and-destroy sortie to eliminate all Alliance colony worlds. The only way the Shofixti can emerge victorious is to destroy the Dreadnought before all their colony worlds are lost.
- VUX Incursion - A VUX task force attacks an Alliance StarBase. (Sega Genesis only)
- Early in the Ur-Quan conflict a stupid mistake caused the VUX to side with the Hierarchy, when a foolish Earthling captain uttered "That's one ugly sucker!" without realizing how good VUX translation systems were. The enraged VUX, a tad touchy about their appearance, proceeded to mount a large assault force to destroy the Alliance StarBase.
- Proving Ground - The Spathi fleet meets the Mmrnmhrm in deep space.
- The newly conquered Spathi are commanded by their Ur-Quan overlords to capture the Mmrnmhrm Star Cluster mines as proof of their worth. The cowardly Spathi have no choice but to engage the tricky Mmrnmhrm in a pitched battle over a thinly populated region of space. The Spathi goal is to destroy all the Mmrnmhrm mining worlds, which supply a large portion of the Alliance income. The Mmrnmhrm must prevent this, at any cost.
- Lost in Space - A solitary Chenjesu must survive a harsh universe. (Sega Genesis only)
- A prototype ultra-stardrive has accidentally sent a Chenjesu Broodhome deep into hierarchy territory. Recognizing that survival is the most important consideration, the Chenjesu captain has planted a colony. Contact comes soon after . . .
- Beginner's Luck - A lone syreen must prevent Androsynth deployment.
- A single Syreen patrolling a distant star cluster comes across an Androsynth development. The newly commissioned Syreen commander decides to engage the Androsynth, thereby ending the threat, and quite possibly winning a quick promotion. The Syreen commander must quickly defeat the Androsynth before he can build additional ships. The Androsynth Alpha+ Commander must choose between defending its colony world, and its Starbase. Time is on the Androsynths' side, and the enemy must come to him.
- Escalation - A war of production.
- In an unexplored sector, the Hierarchy and Alliance detect each others presence from their newly constructed starbases. Though alone and vulnerable, each starbase has a substantial initial budget with which to build a new star fleet. Long range deep-radar scans of this region confirm the presence of Precursor artifacts and installations!
- Target Earth - Planet Earth comes under surprise attack. (Sega Genesis only)
- The Earthlings, at first a minor annoyance for the Hierarchy, have become an increasingly serious threat. Mass-produced Cruisers deployed from the Detroit Ship Yards have become the backbone of the Alliance fleet. The Hierarchy launches a daring attack to crush the threat once and for all. A wave of Ilwrath ambushes are followed by the massive Ur-Quan Dreadnoughts, with Androsynth and Umgah reinforcements close behind. Earth's Cruisers, with the help of a few visiting Alliance ships, stage a desperate battle for Earth's survival.
- Syreen's Song - A Syreen recruitment drive begins. (Sega Genesis only)
- The Syreen are looking for a few good beings, and have decided to begin their hunt deep in hierarchy space. As colony after colony vanishes, the outraged Hierarchy strikes back, assembling a task force to decimate the Syreen. The Hierarchy must strike with lightning speed. To hesitate is to face a Syreen force replete with captured colonists.
- Mushroom Cloud - A bold Alliance attack on the Mycons. (Sega Genesis only)
- Priority One Alpha, Visual Receptors Only: Star Control General Staff and Warship Captains . . . As is well known, the number of Mycon Podships in the theater of operations is increasing at an alarming rate. At last we have found the source! 14 solar hours ago, Long-range scouts uncovered a previously uncharted cluster of Mycon colonies. If these colonies are allowed to survive, the Mycons will overrun this quadrant within the month. These colonies must be destroyed at any cost! All Alliance vessels within 30 parsecs are ordered to join the effort. This is a Must Win situation. Good Luck!
- The Nebula - The Hierarchy assaults the Yehat homeworlds. (Sega Genesis only)
- After an exhaustive search, Ur-Quan spies have discovered the nebula which holds the secret homeworlds of the Yehat. The unsuspecting cluster is targeted for destruction. The inhabitants must use the flexibility of their many colonies and substantial cash reserves to defend against the Hierarchy's genocidal attack.
- Onslaught - The Ur-Quan offensive begins!
- An Armada of 6 Dreadnoughts approaches an established Alliance area of space. Can the Alliance withstand the onslaught in this thinly held star cluster? The Hierarchy seeks to conquer this region as a stepping stone to the core of the Free Stars, and the defeat of the entire Alliance fleet. The Alliance must annihilate the Ur-Quan menace.
- Counter Attack - The Alliance strikes back!
- For the moment the table is turned, and the Alliance has made a strong counter attack against newly established Hierarchy holdings. Multiple Alliance star fleets move through Hierarchy space towards a final rendevous for battle in Draco. An Alliance commander arrives in enemy space with a starbase and a small task force. Additional vessels must be commissioned immediately in order to mount an offensive. The Hierarchy sector-chief must attempt to hold out until the income from its mining worlds allow it to build enough forces to repel the attack.
- Total War - Two full fleets face off in a battle to the death!
- GENERAL ORDER 1216: For maximum flexibility in forthcoming combat situations, it is hereby designated that war fleets be composed of a mixture of ships from each of the available races. Due to shortages in raw materials, starbases are not available. Concentrate on making good use of Colonies and Fortifications, as well as your knowledge of ship-vs-ship tactical advantages. That is all . . .