The Kharakian Genocide, also known as the Burning of Kharak, was a significant turning point during the Exile Era. An unprovoked attack by the Taiidan Empire resulted in Kharak's destruction and the outbreak of the galaxy-wide Homeworld War.
In 9510 GSY, the Kushan had completed construction on the Mothership and commissioned her for the eventual exodus to their long-lost homeworld of Hiigara. Upon the conduction of its first hyperdrive test in the Kharak System, the Taiidan Emperor deemed the Exiles to be a threat to his empire and immediately deployed a large Imperial fleet to lay waste to the Kushan's home planet. Upon entering the Kharak System, the Taiidan immediately attacked all orbital installations above Kharak, encountering little resistance from the space-based Kushan defenses. Kharak's Missile Defense System reacted almost immediately, taking down several Capital Ships in a massive missile volley and damaging many more as they advanced upon the planet.
The defenses were however not enough to stop the fleet from nearly fulfilling their mission assignment: Annihilation of the planet's population and infrastructure and destruction of all orbital structures. All orbital facilities, including the massive Scaffold that had built the Mothership, were destroyed by Taiidan fighters and bombers. The planet was bombarded with the devastating Atmospheric Deprivation Weapon, leaving the surface consumed by a firestorm spanning half of the northern hemisphere, presumably killing everyone on the surface in a matter of minutes.
When the Mothership returned from its Hyperdrive test-turned-combat trial to warn Kharak and inform the defense authorities of the threat of the Turanic Raiders they had encountered, the crew found the planet already ablaze. Fleet Command conducted a search for any signs of survivors, yet all signals in the orbit as well as on the surface had been silenced, not even beacons.
The only things that were discovered were the Cryo Trays, containing the hundreds of thousands that were in cryogenic sleep. They had evaded initial detection by broadcasting only on a maintenance frequency. Fleet Command however noticed massive systems failure in one of the trays: The last remaining alien ships that had not left the system for the Great Wastelands were a group of Assault Frigates firing relentlessly at the containers.
One of the frigates was captured for studies, the others eliminated or captured for combat use. Flight recorders replayed the events of the Burning to the shocked Kushan crews while the interrogation of the prisoners from the warship revealed the reason for the attack: Apparently the Kushan had broken a 4000 year old contract that forbade the use of hyperdrive technology among their people. Several Taiidan crew members and the captain of the captured frigate would die before the interrogations ended.
Bent on revenge, the Kushan fleet took aboard the remaining colonists and departed the system for the final time to hunt down the remains of the Taiidan fleet responsible for Kharak's annihilation. They eventually cornered them in the Great Wastelands, decisively destroying this fleet in its entirety and their allies among the Turanic Raiders as they began their journey to reclaim their homeworld from the empire that had taken everything from them.
Short Term Effects Edit
There were many horrifying and detrimental effects of the Burning. The short term effects were almost as terrible as the long term ones. One of the most immediate was that the Kushan society on Kharak was almost completely annihilated. All of the other planned Mothership designs were bombed into nothingness, and what little life on Kharak that managed to scrap out a living was probably destroyed.
Adding bitter irony to the Burning was the requirements for cryogenics volunteers. A strict age range, which was set to maximize the survival odds of the colonists, prevented anyone too old or young from entering cold sleep. This meant every experienced elder and expert on Kharak didn't survive. Perhaps most devastatingly of all, no children were on board the Mothership before the Burning.
There was, however, a positive effect of the Burning. It revealed the true corruption and tyranny of the empire, helping spark the Taiidan Rebellion. Without it, many would-be-rebels would not have been spurred to take arms to end the brutal Taiidan regime. This rebel movement would prove a critically important ally to the emboldened Kushan, providing them the means to penetrate the Empire's vast reach and defenses as they advanced closer to their homeworld.
Long Term Effects Edit
The long term effects of the Burning were disastrous. Many of them have still rippled to the Homeworld 2 era. One of the most potent, was when the Sleepers were awoken from their pods, and almost immediately shown the fate of their friends and family. All were devastated, and dozens committed suicide in the first couple of weeks after landfall. Many of those that did manage to cope with their grief found solace in a boiling hatred for the Imperial Taiidani. While most Kushan Kiiths saw enough of their members make landfall on Hiigara to ensure their survival far into the future, others were doomed to extinction as there were too few members for their clans to rebuild.