Operation Unseen Death - 2669
For years prior to 2669, the Kilrathi Empire vied for control of the Locanda System, home to several human colonies of the Terran Confederation. Locanda was home to a substantial amount of natural resources, perfect for the construction of Kilrathi vessels and weapons. The Kilrathi Empire invaded Locanda and all of its native colonies, forcing the Confederation to withdraw and wage war on the invaders. The Kilrathi then enslaved the human colonists and forced them to harvest the system's resources, leading to the deaths of many humans and a significant amount of damage to their homeworlds.
The Death Sentence
During the year 2669, Crown Prince Thrakhath nar Kiranka and the Royal Fleet arrived at Locanda for an evaluation of its status. Thrakhath's retainer, Melek, informed the Crown Prince that the Locanda System had been effectively depleted of all natural resources and that the Terran slaves were no longer of any use to the Kilrathi. Thrakhath stated that the Empire had plenty of slaves and decided that the Locanda System to be strategically worthless to the war effort, choosing to feign "surrender" of the system and its remaining population to the Terran Confederation. In reality, Thrakhath sought to exterminate all life within the system and render the system worthless to the Terrans as well. With this decision came the initiation of Operation: Unseen Death.
Thrakhath's plans were to employ the Kilrathi Empire's highly lethal yet often-denied biological weapons. A Kilrathi force would be sent to the largest Terran colony of Locanda, Locanda IV, and terminate the population with bio-tipped Skipper warheads. The warheads would be detonated high in the atmosphere for high air bursts that would allow for a Kilrathi-made virus to infect the entire planet within mere minutes. The virus was rumored to have a half-life of 500 years, so Locanda IV would be rendered unsuitable for human life for over nearly 1,000 years. The civilians would die slow, agonizing deaths and the virus would spread across the entire star system, infecting every unfortunate soul still within its perimeter, be they on a planet or a spacecraft. The Terran Confederation would then be forced to abandon and quarantine the system permanently.
Operation: Unseen Death
The Kilrathi set their plans in motion during the middle months of 2669 and began to withdraw their raiding parties, who had spent years harassing the colonists. The Terran Confederation grew suspicious of these Kilrathi activities and sent the TCS Victory to investigate. Until they knew more about Thrakhath's intent, they focused their efforts on destroying the raiders so that the colonists would be free of their abuse. One of the Victory pilots, Lieutenant Robin Peters, was born on Locanda IV, so she took the mission in Locanda more personally than her wingmen. Some feared that her personal feelings might interfere with her battlefield performance. For the most part, the Victory strikes against Kilrathi raiding vessels were successful, but the Confederation still had little evidence of the Kilrathi's true intent.
The Kilrathi withdrew most of their remaining ships and then sent a Bhantkara-Class Carrier, the KIS Sar'hrai, to locate and destroy the Victory before the vessel could interfere with the attack. However, the Victory sighted the vessel and was able to avoid direct contact with it. After the Kilrathi withdrew all essential assets, a single Ralarrad-class Light Destroyer was sent to launch the biological attack on Locanda IV. By this point, the Victory crew determined that this was probably a biological attack, and they scrambled to Locanda IV's defense. Colonel Christopher Blair and his wingmen intercepted the Destroyer, which was already launching biological warheads at the planet. Blair's strike team fought off attacking squadrons and chased the missiles, but their efforts ultimately proved to be futile. Five warheads struck Locanda IV high in the atmosphere, dooming the population and infecting the entire Locanda System. The Victory called back all patrolling pilots, aware that if they waited too long, they too would be infected.
Before retreating, the Victory reported to Colonel Blair that Lt. Peters was engaging the Kilrathi strike force against Captain William Eisen's orders. The Victory requested that Blair set out to rescue her, and Blair complied. He found Peters engaging a Kilrathi Fralthi II-Class Cruiser and moved quickly to rescue her. Despite some due hesitance from Lt. Peters and a fierce Kilrathi resistance, the two Terran pilots escaped and returned to the Victory. The Confederation fleet then fled the system, leaving millions of suffering colonists behind.
The success of Operation: Unseen Death had its intended effects. The Confederation had no use for the Locanda System, and was forced to quarantine it. The citizens of Locanda IV very slowly but completely died off in the following weeks. Lieutenant Peters was forever disturbed by the Confederation's failure to save her homeworld. Along with Locanda, the Trafalgar and Delius Systems suffer similar attacks, resulting in major Confederation losses. To worsen the situation, the fall of Locanda also destabilized the balance of power in the sector. The Blackmane System, a Confederation stronghold, had no means by which to hold back the Kilrathi onslaught, forcing the Confederation to scuttle the Blackmane Base. All personnel and equipment were shipped to the nearby Confederation systems of Torgo and Vespus. The disaster at Locanda killed millions of Confederation citizens and badly crippled the Confederation's war efforts in that sector, further boosting the Kilrathi's advance into Terran space.
The operation was featured in Wing Commander 3.
In the PC version of WC3, there is more than one possible outcome to the Locanda missions. If the player succeeds in destroying the Kilrathi warheads, Locanda IV will be saved and Operation: Unseen Death fails. This in turn allows the Confederation to preserve its vital position in the Blackmane System, forcing the Kilrathi to slow their advance and buying millions of Confederation citizens more time to rally their forces.
The player, as Blair, also has the choice of whether to rescue Lt. Peters or not. If Blair does not pursue her, Lt. Laurel Buckley will instead rescue her unscathed. Both decisions lead to the same outcome, with Peters returning home alive.