| Zarkhator War is a Historical Event
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“We were here long before your races were beyond the stage of single-cellular development. We were here before the Grox dominated the stars, we were here long before the rise of the final Warlords. We are not outsiders; we are reclaimers.”
The Zarkhator War was a twenty six year-long conflict between the member states of the Polar Crystal Alliance and the mysterious faction known as Zarkhator, a force from beyond mapped space who sought to depose the Alliance and assume complete domination of the Borealis Galaxy. The conflict was marked by the deaths of billions of people and the destruction of hundreds of worlds across the Western Arm, though the Alliance would ultimately emerge victorious following the imprisonment of the Sovereign of Zarkhator, the being known as Zarkhator Prime, which would lead to the extinction of his race by the fleets of the Kormacvar Legacy.
First contact with the Zarkhator race occurred in the early months of 2794, during the fourth year of the Ice Age. The leader of the mysterious aliens, Zarkhator Prime, made himself known to the Council of the Polar Crystal Alliance by temporarily overriding the systems of Hyperborea to relay a message, looking for the whereabouts of the Kormacvar Warmaster Arkarixus and declaring war upon the Polar Crystal Alliance when he discovered he was serving in a mission at the Andromeda Galaxy at the time. The incident sparked fear across the populace due to Zarkhator being an unknown name to all of its member races, though the Mechanic would immediately recognize him as an ancient enemy of the Kormacvar Empire and explain to his allies the threat he truly posed. Following Zarkhator Prime's visit to Hyperborea, the Naombur inhabiting it immediately upgraded its defenses so that it would not occur again, while the Council collaborated with the Mechanic in order to find out more about this suddenly revealed adversary.
In 2795, the event known as the Zarkhator Incident took place; Tetra Terya, a Krektal member of the Penumbra Unit, would fight against Zarkhator raiders while providing help to a Rovegar research colony after they uncovered an ancient Kormacvar beacon. This piece of technology would grant the Krektal blurry visions of Zarkhator's might, which if cleared, would give him the knowledge of all of their race's strengths and weaknesses. The Penumbran would race against the Zarkhator Custodian Zaharalei and the Soltako Armed Military, the private military company of Zoltik Relkhul, to get a hold of more of these beacons, with the Krektal hoping to clear his visions, the Zarkhator wishing to keep knowledge of their race out of the modern races' hands, and the Armed Military seeking to sell them to the highest bidder. The incident ended with the Polar Crystal Alliance emerging victorious, granting them and the Kormacvar Legacy extensive knowledge of Zarkhator's technology and history.
The defeat on the incident aggravated Zarkhator, who retaliated by launching fleets to destroy worlds belonging to the Polar Crystal Alliance. Among them, the Rovegar Matriarchy would be the first attacked, with the greatest battle resulting in a Zarkhator armada being single-handedly defeated by Gallarade Erureidan Darach, who challenged the aliens to dare threaten his people again - which they would do anyway. However, their attacks came to a halt when Zarkhator found itself attacked by Vorius and his Children of Synthesis - controlled by the twisted mind of Regnatus, a former Kormacvar, Vorius found himself inclined to devour and consume Zarkhator. The aliens would seemingly end all hostilities for the following years, with no traces of them being detected from the defeat of the New Wranploer Legion to the conclusion of the Ottzello Revolution. The truth was that Zarkhator had retreated in order to build up its strength, before they launched their true might upon the Alliance.
Escalation of ConflictEdit
The great half-organic fleets of Zarkhator launched their true assault on the Polar Crystal Alliance at 2811, three months after the end of the Ottzello Revolution. Suddenly pouring out of the Cold Relays of Zoleia, Friura, Ottzello and others, Zarkhator's armada spread like tendrils from unmapped space and begun a campaign of destruction across the galaxy. At the helm of these fleets were the Custodians, the military masterminds of Zarkhator and the closest servants of Zarkhator Prime: Zandrascus the Grey, Zaharalei the Red and Mukharduuild the Black, who led the fleets seeking to destroy the Polar Crystal Alliance and any alien who would even think about opposing them. The Zoles Imperium and the Paladian State were immediately attacked by Zandrascus' fleets, while Zaharalei attacked the planets of the Niaka Special Forces and the Seagon Cryptocracy, and Mukharduuild led his soldiers into attacking the worlds of the Union Republic of Ottzello, the Ransio Empire and the Rovegar Matriarchy.
Thanks to the information gathered by Penumbran Tetra during the Zarkhator Incident, the Alliance knew what to expect: Zarkhator's technology was a mixture of synthetic and organic materials, from their weapons to their dreadnoughts, and the creatures who attacked them were not in fact pureblood Zarkhator, but rather hordes of non-sentient clones created from Zarkhator Prime's genetic material, devoid of any emotion and free will and focused entirely on the orders of their master. Their technology, while very advanced, was also completely stagnant, having only degraded over time due to Zarkhator's past attempts to combat the old Borealis Grox Empire and failing, nearly leading to his destruction multiple times over history. The beacons had also allowed the Alliance to learn of their origins: a race of vicious conquerors, the original Zarkhator were the sole rivals of the Kormacvar during their golden age, refusing to submit themselves to them and choosing instead of fight to the death, causing terrible atrocities as they were overcome with wrath and envy. As Zarkhator's fleets spread across the galaxy, the Polar Crystal Council united and gave the order to mobilize all member states to war, with Warmaster Arkarixus ordering Zarkhator Prime to be either apprehended or destroyed as soon as possible.
The Zoles and the Paladians would immediately join forces in blockading the Zoleia Sector, combating the Zarkhator offensive up-front with Grand-Commandant Asraels leading the defense - a veteran of the Zarkhator Incident, he was immediately chosen to combat the alien invaders, while the Paladians would choose war hero Olcinius to work alongside the Zoles in their battles. At the Friura Sector, the worlds of the Niaka which once belonged to the Old Niaka Order were quickly annihilated by Zarkhator's fleets due to their comparable fragility, though the Seagon Cryptocracy's fleets eventually came to the aid of the Niaka, evening the odds against Zaharalei's favour as their ships proved nearly equal to Zarkhator's in power. Meanwhile, the fleet under Mukharduuild's supervision attempted to carve into the territory of the Ottzelloans, who used their Chronoscopic-based technology to fight them on roughly equal terms while Vileraz IV, Matriarch of the Rovegar, displayed a surprising act of empathy and sent part of her fleet to support the Ransio Empire at the Outer Core. The truth, however, was that she sought a means to control and dominate Zarkhator, focusing her time on this research while aiding the Ransio in order to improve her image.
As the situation grew increasingly grave, a call for aid was sent by the Polar Crystal Council; while they calculated they could hold Zarkhator off by themselves, continued warfare would slowly cripple the military of the Alliance. The Indoctrinate Collective was quick to pledge their support, merely requesting living Zarkhator prisoners for scientific purposes in exchange, while the Draconid Imperium and the Divinarium of Andromeda too voiced their support, giving the Alliance extra ships to combat the Zarkhator menace. In Ottzello, the Union Republic would coarse Da Rogue Boyz into throwing themselves at Zarkhator's fleets with promises of a good fight, which they were quickly to accept due to being extremely bored, giving the Ottzelloans precious time to regroup. A pleasant surprise was felt by the Alliance as aliens previously unassociated with the galaxy, the Fordanta and fleets of the Iron Circle, stepped in with interest in combating Zarkhator, opening relations with the Polar Crystal Council and pledging their support in the war. Some extragalactic allies of the Alliance would request access to battlefield wreckage and salvage for the purposes of researching Zarkhator and their technology, which the Polar Crystal Council would comply.
The Grey BetrayalEdit
Several hundred worlds fell over the course of six years of war. Mukharduuild would halt the fleets of the Custodians at random intervals, giving the Alliance and their compatriots a false sense of security before ordering the others to ambush them at the most opportune moments. Warmaster Arkarixus would recognize the Black Custodian as the largest threat in the Zarkhator offensive and seek means to bring him and the others down so they could finally fight back and hunt down Zarkhator Prime. However, the mutant Alvino's intellect was vast - he had been in every war Zarkhator had ever fought and was a master of strategies, meaning he was not so easily defeated. Billions of lives had been lost across the Zoles Imperium, the Niaka, URO and the Ransio, not counting all the extragalactic soldiers who fell supporting the races of Borealis.
At the commanding room of his dreadnought, however, the Grey Custodian Zandrascus was frozen in thought. These aliens, these supposed lessers had not only brought the Zarkhator offensive to a grinding halt, but even before then, his Progenitor had already lost countless wars - through the course of five billion years, Zarkhator Prime's forces rose and marched the galaxy, only to be cast down by the likes of the Grox, the old Alvino Brood or alliances of aliens such as the Polar Crystal Alliance. They were supposed to be the greatest warriors... was this a lie? He had also been raised repeatedly told his people were the genetic rulers of Borealis, yet when he thought about it, he realized he was not even a true Zarkhator. He was merely a clone of the Progenitor, who was lucky enough to be given a consciousness while his lesser-ranking brothers and sisters were not too different from mindless robots. How are they the genetic masters of Borealis when they are nothing but imitations? And the Kormacvar... Zarkhator Prime demonified the Kormacvar at every turn. Yet, Zandrascus could only see one single Kormacvar in the entire galaxy - and he was fighting to protect it from their slaughter.
Slaughter... The slaughter of Borealis, demanded by the Progenitor.
At the sixth month of 2817, Warmaster Arkarixus would be taken off-guard as a transmission was sent from an alien shuttle of clear Zarkhator design. It was the Grey Custodian. And he was surrendering.
News that the Polar Crystal Alliance had captured one of the Custodians of Zarkhator spread like wildlife across the front-lines, reinvigorating the morale of the troops as Zandrascus' fleet fell in disarray, their commander suddenly vanishing. Mukharduuild, infuriated as he realized what had truly happened - he had not been captured, he was a traitor - took control of the Grey Custodian's fleet and ordered Zaharalei to follow him into the Zoleia Sector, where they sought to overpower the Alliance and take Hyperborea from them. Zarkhator Prime's own reaction was of great fury, telepathically commanding Mukharduuild and Zaharalei to not return to him without Zandrascus, though he could not help but feel amusement for his decision; he thought it foolish, as he was after all a mere false image of a Zarkhator. He could never truly understand the reasons for his goal of taking all Kormacvar technologies for himself, for he was nothing but an imitation.
The Battle for Hyperborea would take place in November 2817, with Mukharduuild and Zaharalei's fleets making a bee-line to the space station. However, Zandrascus, now working with the Polar Crystal Council, saw this move coming and instructed them to prepare for it, and as Zarkhator arrived to the Victory Nebula, they were met to the sight of an immense blockade formed by the Alliance and its extragalactic allies. The Black Custodian ordered Zaharalei to charge, and what ensued is considered the greatest battle of the war, with the damage and casualties being astronomical, and the space around the station not being completely cleaned from the resulted wreckage for the next five years. During the schism, Zandrascus identified Zaharalei's vessel to the Alliance, and Penumbran Tetra volunteered him and his Associates to board it and capture the Red Custodian; his mission was a success, and the fight they had started so many years ago ended as Zaharalei was defeated by Tetra's blades, taken away by the Polar Crystal Alliance and sent to Exile Station to be permanently imprisoned after all information could be extracted out of her.
With the Zarkhator offensive shattered, Mukharduuild and what remained of his vessels retreated. With Zandrascus on their side and Zaharalei finally dealt with, the Alliance finally was given the chance to take the fight to Zarkhator Prime: using information given by the Custodians, they finally discovered where Zarkhator inhabited, at the center of the unmapped sector located east of Friura and south of Vijaha. With Arkarixus's command, the fleets mobilized as the Mechanic supplied his own help, and the great fleets of the Kormacvar Legacy accompanied the Alliance in their journey to finally put an end to the Zarkhator threat.
Fall of the SovereignEdit
With the aid of Zandrascus, the Alliance and its allies were able to tell what they should look for; the Zarkhator drones inhabited not conventional worlds, but immense spaceships known as Worldships. A total of exactly 175 of these immense vessels were spread across unmapped space, and only by destroying every one of them would the Zarkhator race be destroyed. As the decision to exterminate the Zarkhator was made, certain members of the allied fleet came to protest, some believing it was an immoral decision while others - most specifically, the Rovegar - wanted the Zarkhator under their control instead. Zandrascus would assure the creatures they were hunting were not self-aware and could not be saved, and any doubts were overruled by Warmaster Arkarixus as he made his decision final, ordering the destruction of all Worldships, much to Matriarch Vileraz IV's chagrin.
The Kormacvar Legacy initiated the purge of the Worldships, while the Alliance combated the remnants of the once-mighty Zarkhator armada which desperately tried to combat the combined forces of the modern races, their allies and the Grox. Mukharduuild, fearful for Zarkhator Prime's reaction, would break all contact with him as he attempted to combat the Alliance, but the stress of defeat and the fall of the other Custodians slowly shattered his focus, causing him to make glaring mistakes in his strategies and lose more of his troops; never had any race, not even the Grox, chased the Zarkhator all the way to their home sector. It would culminate with his ship being disabled by Grand-Commandant Asraels, and with the Black Custodian being captured and sent away to be imprisoned alongside Zaharalei at June 2818.
By March 2819, only a fourth of the Zarkhator Worldships still remained. On his mothership, Zarkhator Prime could do little else but contemplate on all that had transpired so far; his hordes of drones were destroyed. His Grey Custodian, meant to be his heir, had betrayed him. Zaharalei had failed again, this time permanently. And Mukharduuild... his only friend, which he had not treated as one for billions of years, was gone. Such was the rage in his heart, he could not truly emote it - rather, he remained quiet and contemplative, ignoring the alarms across his ship as the Kormacvar Legacy surrounded it and Arkarixus himself marched through its corridors, crushing any Zarkhator who stood in his way while followed by an elite force of Dronox Commanders. Only when Zarkhator Prime noticed Arkarixus standing at the foot of his throne did he realize what was happening. They were finally meeting him person. As the massive lord of Zarkhator rose from his throne, he exchanged no words with Arkarixus as he charged at him - there was nothing to say anymore. He knew only battle, and that is what he would do.
Despite the power he held within him, Zarkhator Prime could not match the near-Ultraterrestrial power of the Kormacvar Warmaster. His body broken and battered, the last words spoken by the Progenitor before he lost consciousness would be "Your... kind... ruined me...". Without a word, Arkarixus and his guards took the defeated Zarkhator Prime with them and departed back to the Western Arm, and the news were then spread across the allies: the Sovereign of Zarkhator had fallen. The Progenitor would find himself reduced to a vegetative state, as were all those sent to Exile Station, being placed on the most secured cell of the entire installation - with Mukharduuild sharing his cell. Once imprisoned and given biological immortality by the ancient Kormacvar, Zarkhator Prime was once again suffering the same fate, except this time, he was not conscious. He would merely dream for the rest of his existence.
At January 2820, as the Mechanic confirmed the destruction of the last Worldship, a declaration was made to the First Gigaquadrant by the Polar Crystal Council: Zarkhator was no more. The war was over.
The Zarkhator War was easily one of the largest conflicts in the galaxy's modern history, its scale being comparable to that of the Borealis Grox War. The Polar Crystal Alliance, which had to face Zarkhator while simultaneously combating the threat of the New Wranploer Legion, the Children of Synthesis and the Loron during Da Reckoning, found themselves pushed to their limits. However, at the brink of defeat, the races of Borealis continued to prove their endurance and survivability. It was hardly a war without cost, as a very heavy toll was taken on the militaries of the Zoles, Niaka and others, and it would take decades to repair the damage caused by Zarkhator. Several billion lives were lost across the West, East and Core, and the Alliance would never forget the feeling of facing Zarkhator up-front; they were truly as terrible as they claimed.
Zandrascus, now the last Zarkhator in the Gigaquadrant, would become a member of the Penumbra Unit. The Council agreed getting rid of the most powerful of Zarkhator Prime's creations would be wasteful, and he had proven himself loyal enough to follow their orders. With such, Zandrascus was now bound to the Alliance, not just as a reward for his contributions in the war, but also as penitence for the millions of lives he had taken when he was still serving under Zarkhator. The Grey Custodian did not complain or resist in the slightest, bowing to the Polar Crystal Council and to Warmaster Arkarixus as his new masters, realizing they were the ones who truly had the galaxy's best interests in mind.
Zarkhator Prime, Mukharduuild and Zaharalei would remain in custody for eternity, unable to bring harm upon the modern races of the galaxy ever again. But even with their threat coming to an end, Borealis was still not safe, as terrible forces still lurked in the shadows of the Polar Crystal Alliance, merely awaiting for the opportunity of making their own move... and take what they believed was rightfully theirs.