The Fall of Tarsonis was the battle that saw the effective end of the Terran Confederacy. The Sons of Korhal overwhelmed Confederate defenses by luring the Zerg Swarm to the capital world with psi-emitters. Despite interference by the Protoss Koprulu Expeditionary Force led by Executor Tassadar, the Sons of Korhal and zerg achieved a devastating victory.
The anti-Confederate insurrection spearheaded by the Sons of Korhal gained intractable momentum after the Battle of Antiga Prime. That battle saw the defection of Alpha Squadron to the rebel cause and validated the effectiveness of the psi-emitters. Thus strengthened, Arcturus Mengsk, leader of the Sons of Korhal, planned to strike Tarsonis and destroy the heart of Confederate power. He kept the exact nature of the plan secret from subordinates such as Sarah Kerrigan and Jim Raynor.
Course of the Battle
Breaking through Tarsonis's orbital defenses was delegated to General Edmund Duke and Alpha Squadron. Duke was intimately familiar with the defenses. Three orbital platforms served as staging points for the Confederate military and Duke proposed a strike on the central platform. This would cause enough confusion to allow a small force to break through to the surface. The rebels secured the platform after defeating defending Delta and Omega Squadron forces.
Descent to Tarsonis
A Sons of Korhal force led by Sarah Kerrigan and Jim Raynor descended to the surface. Confederate General Ledbetter coordinated the Confederate response. Heavy fighting took place between the Sons of Korhal and the Confederate Delta and Omega Squadrons in the streets of Tarsonis City when a battlecruiser crashed in its western districts, during which Kerrigan, Raynor and Michael Liberty received the news of Duke's forces setting up psi-emitters.
The active psi-emitters drew the zerg to the planet. Billions of zerg arrived and quickly began overrunning the surprised Confederates and rebels on the surface. Entire cities would be consumed in the zerg's rampage. Tassadar's expeditionary force arrived in pursuit of the zerg sooner than Mengsk expected. The protoss were interested in only fighting the zerg, but fell into conflict with the Confederacy as well.
The protoss efforts against the zerg alarmed Mengsk. He knew that they would arrive, just not so soon. The rebel leader feared the Confederates would escape while the zerg were diverted. Mengsk ordered Sarah Kerrigan to defend the zerg hives at New Gettysburg from the protoss over the objections of Kerrigan and Jim Raynor. Fighting in the city degenerated into a four-way melee between the rebels, Confederates, zerg, and protoss. The rebels eventually forced the protoss to withdraw but were in turn overrun by the zerg. Kerrigan was lost after requests for support and retrieval by the rebel fleet were ignored, much to the horror of Raynor and several followers.
As Mengsk ordered the rebel fleet to withdraw, Raynor and reporter Michael Liberty disobeyed orders and commandeered a dropship to New Gettysburg. On the ground political affiliations were discarded as terran troops banded together in a desperate fight against the zerg while the protoss forces began to withdraw from the city. The pair retrieved a number of soldiers and refugees before being forced to lift. Despite the retrieval team's efforts, Kerrigan was not among the rescued. The dropship rendezvoused with the battlecruiser Thunder Child which also acted as a safe haven for refugees before departing from Tarsonis.
The end of the Confederacy followed quickly after the fall of Tarsonis. On the rebel side, Jim Raynor led his own unit and other Sons of Korhal soldiers disenchanted with Mengsk or the rebels in a break from the main group, forming a rebel movement. These outcasts escaped from Tarsonis after fighting the Sons of Korhal. The Confederate Resistance Forces barely escaped from the scene of battle.
The Sons of Korhal moved to fill the vacuum left by the Confederacy. As the victorious rebels received the allegiance of many former Confederate worlds, Mengsk proclaimed the formation of the Terran Dominion, with Korhal as the new capital world.
For the years following the battle, the ruins of Tarsonis would be inhabited briefly by the main body of the Zerg Swarm under an infested Sarah Kerrigan, then by feral zerg, various bandit groups and insurgents, with Terran Dominion salvage teams trying to recover what they could from the ruins.
Ghosts of the Past
The Confederacy intercepted a number of Sons of Korhal transmissions during the battle. These implicated Mengsk as being responsible for bringing the zerg to Tarsonis. However, these records were lost after the Great War, and Mengsk was able to use the battle for Tarsonis as a positive, if solemn, part of the Terran Dominion's founding myth.
Dominion excavations on Tarsonis during the opening of the Second Great War recovered a record of the transmissions in the form of Confederate Adjutant 23-46. The Dominion did not know it had the records, but viewed the adjutant as usually valuable. Informants alerted Raynor's Raiders, who attacked the excavation and stole the adjutant.