Homeworld is the critically-acclaimed first installment in the computer game series of the same name. The game was developed by Relic Entertainment and published by Sierra Entertainment in September 1999.
110 years before the events of Homeworld, a satellite orbiting the planet Kharak had malfunctioned and instead began scanning the surface of the dying world. These scans revealed the existence of an enormous object underneath the Great Banded Desert. In the years after this discovery was noticed by the Kushan, several archaeological teams were dispatched and the site excavated, revealing the remains of a large city surrounding the wreckage of an ancient ship. Inside the vessel, the explorers discovered much technology, far more advanced than anything seen before. The most impressive piece of technology was the hyperdrive module, which the Hiigarans had taken with them on their journey. The Kushan salvaged this hyperdrive and explored further through the ruins, naming the ship and surrounding city as the Khar-Toba.
In 1110 KDS, an expedition sent by Kharak’s northern kiithid finds the wreckage of the Khar-Toba
The depths of the ruins held the most important artifact: a piece of rock on which was etched a map of the entire galaxy, showing a path from Kharak to a world known as Hiigara, which translated to “Our Home” in the Kushan language. The Guidestone confirmed Kriil S’jet’s XenoGenesis Theory for which scientists had been arguing about for decades: Kharak was not their homeworld and that their origins belonged far across the Galaxy.
With the discovery of the Guidestone, the Kushan were spurred into co-operation. Now certain that they did not belong natively to Kharak, they worked together for the next 100 years to build the ship that would seek out their homeworld. Over the course of that time, a Scaffold was built to house the framework of the Kushan Mothership, a colony ship that would carry 600,000 people from Kharak to act as the progenitors on their destination. The scientists also worked on basic Fighter Drive technology, which would allow them to construct some combat vessels, should their fleet come under attack from hostile forces.
The most important aspect of the Mothership was the hyperdrive module. The scientists reverse-engineered the technology for later use, then repaired and installed it aboard the Mothership, allowing them to reach Hiigara quicker by performing large span jumps across areas of space. The construction of the Mothership would take 60 years and consumed almost all resources available to the Kushan. The entire race was unified in their efforts and devoted all their time towards it, thinking only of their goal of reclaiming their ancient planet.
During construction of the Mothership, a problem was identified and no known solution could be found. The mainframe computer, later dubbed Fleet Command, had to control and co-ordinate the entire journey and even the Kushan’s limited knowledge of artificial intelligence could not create anything near powerful enough. However, an innovative solution was proposed, one never tested in reality: Karan S’jet was a young and brilliant neuroscientist from Kiith S’jet, who suggested that a cybernetic interface be created, using a living Kushan mind to control it. Karan offered herself for this technology and she was installed into the ship and became Fleet Command.
With the Mothership nearly complete, a research vessel called the Khar-Selim was dispatched to the very outer limits of the Kharak System. The purpose for this deployment was to provide the Mothership with a target for testing its hyperdrive module.
The Journey Begins
The game begins with the Mothership launching from the Scaffold and undergoing basic tests to ensure it was ready before jumping. Construction capabilities were tested with the construction of a Research Ship, for which research teams would work on new technology to enhance the Mothership, should it come across hostile forces. A Resource Collector was used to test harvesting technology, with Scouts testing combat capabilities. With all tests complete, the Mothership prepared to hyperspace to the location of the Khar-Selim.
However, the hyperdrive test would not go un-noticed. Somewhere in the Great Wastelands, the Taiidan Empire detected the use of the hyperdrive and, following the terms of the treaty, called upon the Turanic Raiders to attack the Khar-Selim. Meanwhile, the enemy sent its fleet to attack Kharak and bombarded the planet with Low Orbit Atmosphere Deprivation Weapons, killing everyone instantly. The Khar-Selim sent a demand for the Mothership to abort its test, but this was not received and the Mothership exited hyperspace near the location of the now-destroyed vessel.
Fleet Command attempted to signal the Khar-Selim, tracing the automated beacon. A probe was sent, discovering that the Khar-Selim had been destroyed by an unknown enemy. The same enemy sent some fighters to deal with the Kushan people, but they were repelled each time by the Mothership’s own technological advances. During the battles, the Kushan salvaged data from the Khar-Selim and decided that it needed to return to Kharak and inform the Daiamid of the threat.
Kharak burned by the Taiidan Empire
However, upon re-entry to the Kharak System, they found damage and destruction. Their planet had been burned and the Scaffold destroyed, obliterating all traces of the Kushan people. But the enemy had not finished, for Fleet Command heard the signals of the Cryo Trays being attacked and, knowing that the trays contained the remainder of their people, ordered that the fleet be sent to defend them. When approaching the trays, the enemy ships attacking them were noticed to be different to those they encountered earlier: Fleet Intelligence ordered the retrieval of one ship and the destruction of the rest.
After capturing one of the attacking ships, the data tapes revealed what had happened and the crew aboard also revealed that Kharak was attacked because of an order by the Taiidan Empire. The Cryo Trays were salvaged, stored aboard the Mothership and the Kushan left for an empty area of space known as the Great Wastelands, for which they could prepare a counter-attack against the fleet that devastated their planet.
Revenge Against the Taiidan
Now out for revenge, the Kushan fleet arrive in a resource rich location known as the Great Wastelands. While they begin harvesting resources and building their fleet with new Capital Ships, based on the technology reverse engineered from the captured frigate, an unknown Mothership vessel appears in the region and is approaching fast. The fleet goes to high alert, but the signal is discovered to be a friendly ship. The arrival calls themselves the Bentusi and wishes to engage in trade, by providing them with an Exchange Unit.
Recognising that the Bentusi could be a useful ally, the Kushan purchase Ion Cannons from the Bentusi Exchange. They warn the Kushan of the arrival of the Turanic Raiders, before departing. Shortly after, the Turanic Raiders arrive, but sporting a much larger fleet in an effort to destroy the Kushan. But despite the Raiders using Ion Array Frigates, and even using their Attack Carrier, the Kushan prevail with their own Ion Cannon Frigates and destroy the enemy. The Kushan regroup and rebuild their fleet, ready to exact revenge against the Taiidan.
Jumping from the site of their battle, they arrive in a much more resource rich location. However, the Taiidan can’t be detected due to the vast number of resources, so probes are sent to find them. With the enemy found, the Kushan battle against the larger and more powerful fleet, but still manage to prevail, even capturing some Destroyers to use in their fleet.
The enemy destroyed, the Kushan push further towards their goal: however, their attack on the fleet that destroyed Kharak has alerted the Taiidan to their existence and many outposts have been strengthed. Knowing that they do not have the attack strength to power their way through these outposts, Fleet Intelligence decides to bypass many of the outposts by passing through the nearby nebula.
Arriving on the outskirts of the nebula, the Mothership is stranded in an asteroid field and many asteroids are on course with the Mothership. The fleet is scrambled to protect their colony ship and survive the field. On the other side, the Bentusi return with another trade for the Kushan, but the Kushan asks whether they can guide them through the nebula. The Bentusi leave, only providing a cryptic warning that “no one returns” from the nebula.
The Great Nebula
The Kushan enter the Nebula, unaware of the enemy dwelling there. Needing resources, they begin to harvest and an enemy mothership appears nearby. They call themselves the Kadeshi and explain that the nebula is a sacred location and by harvesting, the nebula had been defiled. The Kushan had an ultimatum: join the Kadeshi or be destroyed. Negotiations failed and the Kushan were thrown into another battle.
The Kadeshi launched many Swarmers from their Mothership, who mercilessly began to attack the fleet. But the Kushan held their own and managed to repel the many attacks, even developing the Multi-Gun Corvette to deal with the threat. But the problems were far from over, for the Kadeshi Mothership emitted a strange hyperspace inhibitor that prevented the Kushan from leaving. The Kushan continued their attack and the enemy left, leaving the Kushan free to hyperspace.
During the hyperspace jump, Fleet Intelligence examined their enemy and noticed something strange: the hyperspace signature used by the Kadeshi Mothership is identical to their own, raising many questions as to the Kadeshi’s origin. They decide that they need to leave the nebula, but their plans are thwarted again by the Kadeshi, who laid a trap to stop them leaving.
Utilising three Motherships with the same inhibitor technology, the Kushan were forced out of hyperspace and into a large trap. Again, the Kadeshi tried to negotiate, but Karan uses their knowledge to suggest that the Kadeshi were related. Their enemy, however, would have none of it, clearly frightened of the Taiidan Empire, determining that the Kushan would fail in their task. With that, the Kadeshi swarmed the Mothership, bringing their strongest frigate to defeat them: the Multi-Beam Frigate.
However, the Kushan were prepared and managed to deal with the enemy, even choosing to capture some of the enemy frigates for their own. They also managed to wipe out two of the enemy motherships, before the assault was over. While the remaining mothership moved out of battle, it was noticed they were moving to a point with a consistent reading and which had a friendly signature. The Kushan regrouped and prepared the final attack, but when they reached the enemy, the truth was discovered: the enemy had hidden near similar Khar-Toba wreckage, proving that the Kadeshi were related. Unfortunately, the enemy had to be destroyed so they could leave the Great Nebula and continue their journey.
The Kushan exit hyperspace in an empty area of space to regroup and prepare for the enemy. During their preparation, an enemy signal is detected and is investigated. When investigated, several enemy vessels are seen to be surrounding the signal and only attack when the Kushan go near it. Almost immediately, they order an attack on the Ghost Ship to disable its field. After hard losses, the gravitational field is disabled and the enemy ships become available to the Kushan, including an enemy Missile Destroyer. The Ghost Ship is salvaged and the Kushan learn that it’s very old, but they don’t know the purpose of it: after this, the Bentusi arrive to obtain this knowledge as a free gift for Super Heavy Chassis, who also promise to go to the Galactic Council for help.
Now prepared to attack the Taiidan Empire, the Kushan decide to attack a lightly defended Research Station which is studying a supernova. The attack is not easy, for the supernova is emitting intense radiation, forcing the Kushan along tight corridors of dust to reach the station. The station and its garrison is easily wiped out by the Kushan fleet, allowing them to progress further towards Hiigara.
However, progress is halted again. The Kushan must save a Bentusi Exchange, which is under fire from some Taiidan vessels, for now the empire knows the Bentusi have been helping the exiles in their journey. The Kushan scramble to save their allies, capturing an enemy Heavy Cruiser in the process. With the Bentusi saved, they decide to tell the Kushan more about what happened, promising to go to the Galactic Council.
As the Kushan travel in hyperspace, they are pulled out of it in another trap, this time set up by the Taiidan Empire. Using some Gravity Generators and various support ships, the Kushan Mothership is assaulted, with no access to their Strike Craft as a result of the field. But the Taiidan were underprepared, because the trap had actually been set up for a different person entirely. Elson arrives, just after most of the enemy trap fleet had been destroyed, also under attack from the Taiidan. Fleet Intelligence orders for the protection of Elson, even though it could be a trap.
After protecting the defector, he reveals that he is a member of the Taiidan Rebellion, a large task force who opposes the current Empire. He asks that the Kushan direct him to the Karos Graveyard to send a coded transmission to the other leaders of the Rebellion, for which they agree.
In the graveyard, the Kushan push through the many automated defences, destroying the Junkyard Dog and many Auto Guns placed around to protect the derelicts from harm. Using their own Strike Craft, the Junkyard Office is activated and the transmission sent. Before leaving, Elson provides important co-ordinates to the Kushan, promising to rejoin them later.
The Final Battle
Now so close to Hiigara, the Kushan push on, but are stopped by a large Field Generator that forms part of the inhibitor network surrounding their homeworld, for Hiigara is actually the capital of their enemy. Elson gave co-ordinates for the most vulnerable generator, although the Kushan realise that the generator is still heavily protected. Through cunning and a tactical mind, helped by the improvement of the sensor grid through a Sensors Array, the generator is destroyed and all enemy ships captured or destroyed.
With the generator down, the Kushan have full access to reach their homeworld and proceed at full strength towards it. However, they had to assume that the generator’s destruction wouldn’t go un-noticed and had to prepare for the final battle. The Kushan were momentarily stopped in their tracks on the very outskirts of the Hiigara System: through a last ditch attempt, the Taiidan pulled them from hyperspace and sent the Headshot Asteroid to destroy the Mothership. But the Kushan had a strong fleet, able to destroy the small fleet and the asteroid, now ready to fight the Taiidan Emperor at Hiigara.
However, their final battle would not be easy. During the jump to Hiigara, the Taiidan Emperor disabled Karan S’jet and placed the fleet into disarray. Without Fleet Command, it would only be a matter of time before the Kushan’s attempt would be foiled. But Fleet Intelligence directed the fleet to defeat all the attackers while they focused on Karan’s well-being. Captain Elson, as promised, arrived in the system and helped the Kushan to defeat the Emperor and the Taiidan fleet.
In the final seconds S’jet comes back online at last and witnesses the death of the Emperor. With the war over and the Kushan victorious, the Galactic Council arrives and allows the Kushan access to Hiigara. Their exile at an end, the Kushan begin landfall and celebrate. Karan S’jet insisted to be the last person to set foot on Hiigara, who had survived the extraction from the Mothership.