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The Battle of Char was fought during the Second Great War, between a joint Terran Dominion and Raynor's Raiders force against the Zerg Swarm. It was instigated by Prince Valerian Mengsk but executed by Commander Jim Raynor. The terrans struck at the primary hive and used a xel'naga device to de-infest Sarah Kerrigan.
Prince Valerian developed an interest in xel'naga archaeology prior to the war. Emperor Arcturus Mengsk was aware of this and Valerian sought to keep his involvement in certain avenues of investigation secret from both the public and his father. To this end, the prince privately sponsored the Moebius Foundation. The Foundation went about acquiring components to a xel'naga device that the prince believed could deinfest Kerrigan. He believed such a feat would prove his worthiness to be the next leader of the Terran Dominion.[note 1] Valerian did not tell his father of his objectives.
The scheme ran into difficulties on the eve of war. The Dominion was attempting to acquire alien artifacts for itself. Valerian was not to be stopped, and he turned to illegal means. Through recently freed Tychus Findlay, the Foundation recruited anti-Dominion rebel Jim Raynor and Raynor's Raiders to continue acquiring the xel'naga components. The Raiders were unaware of the Foundation's true master, and accepted for the desperately needed income. The war broke out as the Raiders acquired the first component and from then on it was a race to retrieve the rest before Kerrigan did. The prince continued to support the Raiders even after an official Dominion edict banning the private possession of alien artifacts.
Valerian's faith in the Raider's was rewarded with the delivery of all the components. However, the prince had more uses for the Raiders. The prince revealed his involvement with the Foundation and his plan to deinfest Kerrigan to Raynor, and then boldly proposed the Raiders help to carry it out. Raynor agreed; Valerian had correctly wagered on the rebel's personal interest in saving Kerrigan.[note 2] The Raiders were initially despondent at helping their mortal enemy, but were quickly persuaded by the logic that the zerg as well as the Dominion were a danger to terran freedom.
The Queen of Blades returned to Char while most of the Swarm remained deployed in the Sector from the search for the components. The reduced zerg presence on Char gave the impending terran invasion some hope of success.
The prince requisitioned half the Dominion Fleet, including the flagship Bucephalus and the services of General Horace Warfield; this was done without informing the emperor. The assembled device had short range. Warfield planned a frontal assault to deliver it close to the primary hive. Raynor regarded the plan as over-optimistic, but the general disdained the Raiders and refused to reconsider.
Valerian formally informed his father of the offensive and of his aspirations only after the fleet arrived at Char. The emperor was impressed by his son's ambition, but was uncertain Valerian had the experience to carry it out. Arcturus was also unpleasantly surprised by the alliance with Raynor. Nonetheless, the offensive was allowed to continue.
Meanwhile, during the attack Arcturus Mengsk kept the portion of the Dominion Fleet not taken by Valerian near to the battle but far enough away to stay out of the fighting, letting his two enemies weaken themselves.
Return to CharEdit
Unfortunately, Valerian had badly underestimated his opponent, and the Queen of Blades did not wait for the terrans to strike. Zerg attack waves pre-emptively attacked the orbiting fleet even as terran commanders were in conference. The battlecruisers were engaged by mutalisks at close range, and by spore cannons on the surface of the planet. The fleet responded by bombarding the surface with weapons of mass destruction. Ground forces began landing even as near-Char space was contested.
Terran troops struggled to make land-fall; as Raynor had warned, the zerg were better prepared than planned. Most battlegroups were destroyed in mid-drop or quickly overrun after landing; isolated survivors held on with little fire support, and some units were forced underground into the more defensible tunnels. Surviving support structures were also too scattered to form a coherent forward base. The situation was exacerbated by a communications breakdown; contact with higher command was sporadic, and Warfield was temporarily unavailable after transferring to the battlecruiser Helios and being attacked himself. The landing zone remained contested despite continuous reinforcement and heavy casualties. The zerg took their numerous prisoners underground for infestation.
Raynor and his Raiders landed relatively intact and established a base, despite of the disaster unfolding around them. The rebel commander seized the initiative and impressed Dominion forces landing nearby. The force that slowly grew around the Raiders was enough to secure a small foothold. This happened not a moment too soon. The battlecruiser Helios, with Warfield aboard, was disabled and crashed near the Raiders. The survivors dug in and were being overrun when they were rescued by the Raiders. A surrounded Warfield was rescued personally by Raynor and Tychus Findlay.
During the initial invasion, the Hyperion was attacked by the zerg, taking damage.
Push to the HiveEdit
The foothold was renamed Warfield Forward Base. Warfield met with Raynor there at 16:58 to discuss strategy.[note 3] Zerg strength was too great for a direct push on the primary hive cluster,[note 4] and the Queen of Blades was recalling zerg forces back to Char from worlds conquered earlier in the war. The terrans knew the window of opportunity was rapidly closing, but there was time for only one secondary attack to weaken the defenses before the main assault. Tychus Findlay believed attempting to advance while the rear was threatened by the nydus network was futile. Taking a contrary view, Warfield was convinced securing air superiority was paramount.
Raynor was unwilling to proceed with the nydus network intact. Flooding the area's subterranean tunnels with lava would disable the network. The rebel declined Warfield's offer of elite troops. Raynor's previous experience in the tunnels suggested a smaller unit would be more successful; he would bring only Tychus Findlay, Egon Stetmann, and Rory Swann to plant the seismic charges. Warfield was not prepared to send the Raiders in without any reinforcements. He promised to relay the positions of any Dominion troops who had taken shelter in the tunnels.
The Raiders encountered numerous obstacles underground, and discovered the infested terran nests guarded by a very large queen. The squad escaped as the last charge detonated and the tunnels filled with lava.
Raynor' concurred with Warfield. 80% of zerg air support was based on a collection of orbital platforms tethered together. The nests were buried too deep for nuclear weapons. However, destroying coolant towers would cause power systems to meltdown, wrecking the platforms and the nests. The attack succeeded, despite the arrival of a zerg battle group centered around a leviathan. The threat of mutalisks and brood lords was removed, and the terrans gained air superiority.
Assault on the Main HiveEdit
The terrans moved quickly to attack the main hive. Warfield delivered the fully assembled xel'naga device to Raynor, who made an inspirational speech to the exhausted troops. The device was moved to the base of the hive, where it was defended by remaining terrans while it charged. The Queen of Blades personally joined the counter-attack to eliminate the invaders and seize the device; she was impressed, but not deterred, by the device's tactical "energy nova." Despite her formidable psionic powers, the terrans held the line; the device's full-power discharge obliterated the zerg from the area.
Raynor and Findlay led a squad of Dominion and Raiders marines into the hive itself. They found a de-infested Sarah Kerrigan inside. Findlay attempted to kill Kerrigan, to win freedom from Emperor Mengsk, but was stopped and killed by Raynor.
Raynor's Raiders and Prince Valerian Mengsk refused to turn over Kerrigan to Emperor Arcturus Mengsk for execution. The Raiders and the prince fled Char with the survivors of the invasion fleet, pursued by the Dominion Armada, and eventually reached the Umojan Protectorate.
The Zerg Swarm was broken by Kerrigan's defeat. Most of the Swarm returning to Char from earlier conquests fought and destroyed each other. The few survivors fell under control of broodmothers, like Nafash and Zagara.
Alexei Stukov speculated that the psionic energy released by Kerrigan's deinfestation was collected by nearby hybrid and used to resurrect Amon. Later, Phasesmith Karax, after extensively studying the keystone, discovered that the device had been modified by Narud to extract the void energies from the Queen of Blades on Char. These energies had been stored within the device, and later used to revive Amon. 
- ↑ Conversation with Valerian Mengsk after StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty mission, "Supernova".
- ↑ Conversations with Tychus Findlay and Matt Horner after StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty mission, "Supernova".
- ↑ Conversation with Horace Warfield after StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty mission, "Gates of Hell".
- ↑ Conversations with Tychus Findlay after StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty mission, "Gates of Hell".