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The Defenders of Man Insurgency was a conflict that took place after the End War, between the Terran Dominion and the separatist group the Defenders of Man, who sought to undermine the rule of Emperor Valerian Mengsk. In an attempt to expose the weakness of the new regime, the Defenders of Man planted psi-emitters on Dominion worlds, moving to save them after showing the Dominion was too slow to provide any help.
The Vanishing Ghosts
Some time after the End War a separatist group known as the Defenders of Man began to gain popularity through the Dominion, seeing the Emperor's more diplomatic stance with the alien races of the sector as a weakness humanity could not afford. Secretly this group was commanded by General Carolina Davis, prominent figure in the Terran Dominion, who was loyal to the Mengsk family, and after receiving intelligence linking Valerian to Arcturus's death at the end of the Second Great War, sought to bring down his rule. Defenders loyalists in the Dominion engineered for the transfer of ghost agents such as Nova Terra and Stone to the Defenders of Man's command. They ordered the two to plant anti-zerg devices on Antiga Prime, but secretly they were psi-emitters. Nova and Stone attempted to take the mission files and expose the Defenders' plans to the Dominion, but was stopped by Defenders marineㄴ. General Davis ordered Nova to be mind wiped, as she had seen too much, but Nova was able to implant a message to herself in her visor. The zerg overran Antiga Prime, and the Dominion's forces were slow to evacuate the planet.
With several ghosts missing, the Dominion Intelligence Section began sending operatives to investigate the fate of these ghosts. Encoded transmissions were sent back and forth over public channels, disguised as innocuous Dominion military and government transmissions. These were picked up on by the revolutionary media group Radio Liberty, who discovered the messages "SCOUT AREA" and "ACQUIRE INTELLIGENCE" in these transmissions.
After revealing what they discovered to their audience, Radio Liberty was raided by a group of masked intruders, who took Radio Liberty staff hostage. Radio Liberty was forced to write a retraction, but a hidden message in their retraction lead readers to email them. They revealed that their point of contact leaking information on the missing ghosts was Michael Liberty, famed journalist, and that he would be sending information soon. On a Kate Lockwell broadcast, a phone number was shown on a wall that would lead viewers to Michael Liberty, who set up a time and a place to meet. Readers of Radio Liberty met with him, and Liberty revealed an access point into the Defenders of Man database. The Radio Liberty readers broke through the various layers of security, revealing profiles on the team sent to infiltrate their base. Finally, they discovered the fate of the Dominion Intelligence Section Agents; killed by Nova Terra.
The readers brought this information to Admiral Matt Horner, who thanked them for their service. As a result, Nova Terra was branded a traitor to the Terran Dominion. This footage was also leaked to Universal News Network, who broadcasted a piece on rogue Dominion agents.
Meanwhile, the Defenders of Man began to plant psi-emitters across the sector, namely planets such as Antiga Prime and Bountiful. This attracted swaths of feral zerg to these colonies, which would overrun them. Each time, the Defenders of Man would send a force to rescue the colonists after the Dominion reacted too slowly, broadcasting that the Dominion had proven itself too weak to take care of them. This increased the people's faith in the Defenders while discrediting the power of the Dominion, and leading key political figures like Magistrate Grayson to publicly denounce the Emperor's leadership.
Months later, agent Nova Terra awoke in a Defenders of Man facility, not remembering where she was. A wrangler in a nearby command room began to do an equipment check on her, when she found that her visor had the message "YOU ARE IN DANGER. THEY WILL KILL YOU." Nova activated her suit's cloak, and then choked out the wrangler, who refused to reveal any information to her. Nova escaped the facility, and then contacted Stone, who had also broken out with the rest of her team, though denied knowing anything of the message she got.
Nova snuck through the Defenders of Man's base and retrieved her C-20A rifle. From there, Stone mentioned that Delta Emblock and Theodore Pierce were also pinned down, and could use rescue. Nova and her squad reached the end of the base, which began to undergo self destruct. Nova and her squad split up, with Nova and Stone taking vultures out of the base and into the city of Sharpsburg. Their goal was to reach the city's spaceport and escape the planet to contact the Dominion. Nova and Stone battled Defenders of Man forces on the streets of Sharpsburg, including a warhawk. Nova took it down and upon reaching the spaceport, left the planet on a large transport ship.
Escaping the atmosphere, she contacted a Dominion battlecruiser, who lead her to Admiral Matt Horner's base on Borea. Horner informed her that she was wanted for treason, though Nova insisted she had no memory of the past few months. Just then zerg began to attack Borea due to a Defenders of Man psi-emitter, and Horner asked Nova to aid him. Nova took a team to defend the cliffs near Horner's base, and she held off against waves of feral zerg. As the zerg began to send heavier waves, the Defenders of Man arrived and began attacking the zerg, demanding the Dominion leave the planet and surrender Nova. Horner used the chaos of their attack to escape the planet with Nova, leading her to Valerian Mengsk.
Nova met Valerian, who told her he would give her a Covert Ops Crew and a griffin starship in exchange for her loyalty. She said he had it, and he assigned his chief weapons and technology specialist Reigel to her. Reigel used a device to try to undo her memory wipe, which revealed she had been in Tarsonis City during the months she was with the Defenders of Man. Valerian assigned her to investigate Tarsonis to gather intelligence on their operations.
Nova moved her forces to Tarsonis, and used her new Covert Ops Crew to set up a perimeter around the base as feral zerg began to dog their position. Nova infiltrated the facility, stealing a Monomolecular blade and sneaking through the base. After tapping their communication, Nova found she had been discovered, and the base had begun to evacuate. However, they first activated a psi-emitter in the base, luring feral zerg into the structure. Nova moved further into the base, dodging Defenders of Man forces and enraged feral zerg, and tailed a technician into the base's command bunker. There she killed him, and discovered that the Defenders of Man intended to unleash the zerg on a civilian world using psi-emitters, but this time letting the zerg destroy it to show the price of Valerian's weakness. Nova insisted they needed to act quickly to save the world before thousands died.
Plots and Schemes
At some point during the conflict, the Defenders of Man assaulted a fringe Tal'darim outpost, fleeing before the Death Fleet could retaliate. In response, Highlord Alarak and First Ascendant Ji'nara mobilized to destroy the Defenders of Man.
Meanwhile, the Defenders of Man used a Viking to release psi-emitters on Tyrador IX, luring a massive swarm of zerg to the planet. The world was immediately overrun, and suffered high civilian casualties. Dominion forces on the world were outnumbered. The Defenders of Man fleet arrived, offering their support in evacuating the civilian population. Meanwhile, Nova and her Covert Ops Crew arrived, intent on taking out the zerg, saving civilians and stopping the Defenders of Man.
Nova and her Covert Ops Crew deployed to the surface, and using banshees they began engaging nearby zerg hatcheries. The Defenders of Man meanwhile set up a defensive perimeter around a stadium housing a number of civilians. However, soon after the Tal'darim Death Fleet under Ji'nara arrived, and bombarded the zerg from orbit. Ji'nara then stated her intention to destroy the Defenders of Man, and stated the Dominion should not interfere. The Tal'darim then deployed a Tal'darim mothership, and four shield projectors to defend it. Nova, knowing the Tal'darim would kill the civilians alongside the Defenders of Man, destroyed the shield projectors and left the mothership exposed. Infuriated, Ji'nara sent the mothership after Nova's forces, but Nova was able to destroy it. With the Tal'darim defeated, the Defenders of Man were able to rally and destroy the last of the zerg and evacuate the civilians. The Defenders of Man took credit for the defense of the planet, though Reigel was able to inform Emperor Valerian Mengsk of the actions Nova's forces took. In response, massive protests began to form outside of Korhal Palace calling for Emperor Valerian Mengsk to step down.
Meanwhile, Highlord Alarak boarded the Griffin, Nova's flagship, to confront her. He told her of the Defenders' attack on the Tal'darim, and how he desired vengeance. He saw she was once a member of the Defenders of Man, and made her a bargain; he would help her get terrazine to undo her mind wipe, and in return she would lead him to the Defenders of Man. Nova reluctantly agreed, and Alarak lead her to Jarban Minor.
On Jarban Minor, Nova found the remains of a Umojan Protectorate expedition that had been destroyed and infested. She also found the Umojans had been extracting terrazine from the native Jarban gliders. Alarak allowed Ji'nara to also deploy her forces to the surface to challenge Nova; she would attempt to destroy the extraction devices while Nova tried to harvest them. Nova met with the surviving Umojan Protectorate forces, and they aided her in defending the extraction devices from the infested. Nova extracted enough terrazine, and Alarak stated now she had what she needed to restore her memories, and that when she found the Defenders of Man he would know. With that, the two factions parted ways.
Nova met with Valerian, who requested Nova proceed with caution when using terrazine. He quickly had to leave, as the protests in front of Korhal Palace were escalating. Nova took a microdose of terrazine, and began to remember being briefed by Maxwell on an operation taking place on Antiga Prime. Nova and her crew went there, and landed in the city. They confronted the feral zerg that had overrun the planet, and in spots that Nova felt like she knew she took a dose of terrazine. This brought back memories of her operations with Stone, and the discovery of the psi emitters. This also made her remember that the files in their operations center were not purged. Nova fought her way to the operations center, and recovered the files. There she took one final dose of terrazine, and remembered the Defenders' leader; General Carolina Davis.
Nova brought these findings to Valerian, and stated she intended to kill Davis. Valerian insisted she not be made a martyr, and stated that he had a plan and that Nova needed to play her part in it. Nova reluctantly agreed. Valerian then contacted Davis, stating his intention to step down as Emperor of the Terran Dominion.
The Battle of Vardona
Valerian Mengsk agreed to make a speech announcing his resignation on Davis's homeworld of Vardona. Davis was however skeptical that he would attempt something, and ordered his forces to kill him should the operation go awry. Valerian did indeed have a plan; while the Defender's forces were busy watching his forces, Nova would slip into Davis's compound through the sewers and apprehend her. She would then bring her before the people, where Valerian would announce her arrest.
Nova infiltrated the sewers of the compound, which was lightly guarded by Defenders forces. Reigel noted an energy signature coming from a lab in the sewers, where the Defenders were working on an indoctrination visor. Nova escaped the sewers and entered the compound itself. Reigel located the security terminals leading that controlled the doors leading into Davis's chambers. He also located two energy signatures from weapons tests, one for special ordinance and the other for a phase reactor suit. While exploring the facility, Nova found Pierce and Delta inside holding cells, with Delta not recognizing Nova. Nova was appalled, but said they did not have time to evacuate them. Reigel noted that he would send an evacuation team. Nova opened the two security terminals, and moved to confront Davis, but was first met by Stone, who had his memories rewritten by the Defenders. After a firefight, Nova managed to incapacitate him, but not kill him, and ordered Reigel to send a team for her old squadmate. Nova then entered Davis's office, and apprehended the traitor general.
Nova brought Davis before Valerian, who was in the middle of giving his speech to the population. Valerian noted that Davis would be brought to trial and made to answer for the lives lost in the conflict. However, as soon as she was brought out, Alarak and his Death Fleet arrived and began to attack the city, burning Defenders, Dominion and civilian alike. Alarak contacted Nova, stating their bargain was fulfilled, and he would kill the Defenders as they agreed. Nova stated she would not allow them to harm civilians.
The lower ranks of the Defenders, who stated they were unaware of Davis's agenda, allied with the Dominion. Together, they formed a defensive line against the Tal'darim, with the support of Nova and her Covert Ops Crew. Admiral Horner noted that the Dominion Fleet was on their way to provide support. Reigel pointed out the research center in the middle of the city was on the verge of a breakthrough. Alarak sent his forces against the unified terran front, but the terrans held their ground. Soon the Dominion Fleet arrived with Gorgon-class battlecruisers, which provided cover for the terran forces on the ground. Ji'nara sent her Tal'darim motherships against the lines, but those too were defeated. After immense casualties battering themselves against the terrans, the Tal'darim were defeated. However, in the chaos, General Davis took control of the Medusa and escaped the planet. Nova boarded the Griffin and began to track her.
Nova was contacted by Alarak, who stated she had made a powerful enemy by breaking their bargain. She said he did as well, and the two cut communication. She was then contacted by Valerian, who said that Davis was using the tactics of his father to gain support, and he needed her to bring the general in alive. Nova disagreed, but Valerian ordered her not to kill Davis. Nova reluctantly agreed, and walked away.
After hours of having lost the Medusa, Reigel was then contacted about the secret Cerros Shipyards coming under attack by a Dominion ship. Davis and the higher ranking Defenders of Man who still supported her seized a section of the shipyards, and activated an ultra-powerful experimental weapon named Xanthos. She intended to use it to destroy the Gorgon-class battlecruisers stationed there, crippling Valerian's fleet and making him unable to control the Dominion. Nova moved to stop her, deploying her forces in the shipyards.
Reigel noted that the Xanthos was immune to all small arms fire, except while being repaired. If they could destroy its weapon systems, it would be forced back to repair itself. Nova did just that, warding it away before it could cause too much damage to the Dominion fleet. Admiral Matt Horner arrived with the Hyperion, using it to push back the Defender's line into the repair bay. Soon the bay was exposed, but the Xanthos activated a transformation that Reigel was even not privy to the existence of. In spite of this and throwing all remaining Defenders of Man loyalists at Nova, the Xanthos was destroyed, but Davis was still alive inside.
Nova boarded the Xanthos, and Davis said she knew Nova's family, and warned Nova that if she killed her Nova would become just as bad as the Defenders. Nova entered her room, and against her orders killed Davis.
Later aboard the Griffin Nova was loading up on what munitions she could find when Reigel entered. Nova hid, and prepared for a fight, but Reigel stated that after his failures in the Moebius Foundation that this was his life now, and he and the crew had a loyalty to her first. Nova stated that the Dominion would always have enemies, and they would need them to fight these enemies their own way. With that, the Griffin and her crew broke away from the Dominion, becoming a vigilante group.
Valerian and Horner watched UNN as their reported on the end of the conflict. Popular opinion swung back in Valerian's favor after documents on the Defenders of Man were revealed, and the people even supported the assassination of General Davis. Horner tracked the Griffin, and asked if they wished to do anything about Nova, but Valerian stated he would let her go, for now.
Nova took Stone, Delta and Pierce with her, with Pierce refusing memory wipes while Delta had her false memories removed. Stone however clung to the false memories implanted by the Defenders, and took time to be convinced they were false, and that he had been used by Davis. In the end, Delta and Peirce stayed with Nova, while Stone went his own way.