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A star system in the Viper Nebula, destroyed shortly prior to the Reaper War in a successful effort to buy a limited measure of time before the Reaper invasion. The system was batarian by affiliation.

There was one habitable garden world, Aratoht.

First Planet: Clogon

A hothouse planet with a thick atmosphere of methane and ethane, Clogon was left relatively untouched by the Hegemony. As with many batarian planets, spy satellites circled it, watching for pirates or other enemies of the state who came by to discharge their ships’ drive cores.

Second Planet: Aratoht

Aratoht was settled by batarians after a year-long political battle between the Batarian Hegemony and the Systems Alliance. A large-scale operation to increase the oxygen content of Aratoht was soon under way; skilled workers constantly dumped cyanobacteria into the oceans and seeded the habitable zone with invasive plant species. Slave labour was largely reserved for the planet’s extensive mining industry, which took advantage of Aratoht’s rich lodes of ferrous and heavy metals. Alliance intelligence also confirmed that the colony was home to several batarian military installations, a threatening sign for a planet this close to the Local Cluster and the Exodus Relay. Its infrastructure included many satellites and several space stations.

Third Planet: Yunaca

A tiny rock planet, Yunaca’s atmosphere was a thin sheen of carbon dioxide and monoxide. The world had abundant metals, but Hegemony protectionism made mining on Aratoht more profitable for batarian corporations. A few aging spy satellites circled Yunaca, watching for unlicensed mining operations.

Fourth Planet: Urmola

A sizeable naval station was stationed at Urmola, its ships guarding the installations from enemies without and within. As with other planets in the system, spy satellites were ubiquitous.

Fifth Planet: Bastzuda

A gas giant. Spy satellites were once again in abundance here, watching for undesirables entering the system or fugitives fleeing it.

The Alpha Relay

Bahak's mass relay was unique. Outwardly, the so-called "Alpha Relay" appeared to be a standard model, differing little, if at all, from the rest of the relays scattered throughout the galaxy. However, it was highly unusual in its potential range and versatility. Alpha usually sent and received mass at the range of a normal secondary relay, but if certain controls were adjusted, it became powered by an unprecedented amount of dark energy that could send cargo to sixteen other relays, even across a great distance to the Citadel. The Batarian Hegemony had long been aware of Alpha’s capabilities, but covered them up to avoid retaliation by other races who would view the relay as a direct threat to their territories.

Political Tensions

Aratoht, like several planets in the Skyllian Verge, was claimed by both the human and batarian governments, but the Alliance backed out after learning more about the planet's atmosphere - its dangerously low pressure and oxygen levels. Instead, they concentrated their colonial efforts on planets that could support human life without the aid of domed habitats and rebreathers. Human leaders saw it as a wise move; batarians saw it as cowardly. The batarians then rose to the colonization challenge, shipping in large numbers of laborers to Aratoht. They took the high financial costs and casualties due to accidents or logistical snafus in stride.

Shortly before the Reaper War, the Bahak system was the site of a political incident. A frigate from Aratoht discovered an Alliance cruiser, the SSV Budapest, on patrol in the system. The Alliance that claimed the Budapest was chasing a pirate fleet that had been harassing human colonies in the Skyllian Verge, and that it was fully within its rights to travel through Bahak’s space. The Batarian Hegemony demanded the Alliance’s immediate withdrawal. Three batarian cruisers stationed on Aratoht were dispatched to join the confrontation. The Alliance cruiser then retreated from Bahak. Hegemony officials claimed to have found no trace of the pirate fleet the Alliance vessel was allegedly pursuing. For its part, the Alliance maintained that it was chasing pirates when it crossed into batarian space, but refused to release any of its ships’ logs. Despite this, Citadel observers noted that the Alliance’s withdrawal had been enough to ease tensions:

“The Hegemony knows the Alliance is attempting to save face. At this juncture, the humans’ retreat from Aratoht has gone from a diplomatic crisis to an embarrassment they want swept under the rug”.

Arrival

Commander Shepard was dispatched to Bahak to locate Dr. Amanda Kenson, a deep-cover operative and scientist who claimed to have proof of an imminent Reaper invasion. Kenson, rescued by Shepard, claimed that she and her people were investigating rumors of Reaper artifacts on the fringes of the system. They'd found proof that the Reapers would arrive in the system and then use the Alpha relay to travel throughout the galaxy. She had a plan to crash a nearby asteroid into the Relay, thereby destroying it before the Reapers arrived.

Her research team had established Project Base on the "Object Rho" asteroid, and smuggled in engines and navigation systems from Omega. Before they could act, however, the team became indoctrinated by a Reaper artifact at the heart of Object Rho. When Commander Shepard intervened, she managed to activate "the Project" despite Dr. Kenson's attempt at sabotaging the asteroid's propulsion system. The asteroid indeed struck the Alpha Relay and tore it apart, though seconds before the asteroid hit, Shepard's Normandy escaped the Bahak system through the relay. As anticipated, the explosion resulting from the relay's destruction obliterated the system, killing more than 300,000 people.

Aftermath

Outrage erupted across batarian space as it became public knowledge that Bahak’s sudden disappearance was due to the destruction of the mass relay. Hegemony spokesmen were quick to address the crowds in a number of addresses, the highlight of which was a rare appearance by Councillor Mat’othon Grob, who offered the following:

“It is with the greatest sorrow that we must announce to the galaxy that Bahak and its people are no more. A proud colony has been reduced to nothing in a cowardly attack, but the Hegemony will not bow to terrorism, and asks all civilized people to join it in the hunt for the perpetrator: Alliance commander Shepard.”

Shepard was the first known human SPECTRE, and was a controversial figure well before the incident at Bahak. Long seen as something of a conspiracy theorist, Shepard was instrumental in defending the Citadel from the geth attack, and securing humanity a seat on the Citadel Council. Shepard was subsequently rumored dead, before re-emerging amidst rumors that her SPECTRE status was being used to the advantage of shadowy forces within the Systems Alliance.

Abron Gral’thub, minister of the interior, described Shepard’s actions as “part of a secret agenda put into place by the Systems Alliance well before their agent was promoted to the height of authority in Council space...merely a manifestation of longstanding Alliance policy - a policy dedicated to the eradication of the batarian people.”

High Archon Brazik Il-tara, recognized leader of the nearly-extinct shenzaw order of warrior-monks, was quick to denounce humanity as a scourge upon the galaxy, calling for a holy war to end the threat once and for all. In his sixteen-hour exhortation he railed against the failures of State apparatus to keep the batarian people safe from harm in the face of repeated human aggression, as well as the diminishing faith of the batarian people as a whole. Early reports indicated that membership in the shenzaw order had burgeoned in light of the speech, which the leaders of more widely-practiced faiths dismissed as the rantings of an obsolete madman.

Other official channels urged the public to wait and see, citing their demand for the extradition of Commander Shepard as an opportunity for the Alliance to come clean and “begin to mend the many wounds caused by their past actions”. Despite Shepard’s Alliance affiliations, SPECTRE status technically terminated service under exclusively human authority. The official government position remained that this was the act of an individual, albeit an individual with the tacit support of the newest Council race.

Across Khar'shan and other batarian worlds, entire cities darkened in mourning as hundreds of thousands of batarians gathered to hold memorials to the three hundred thousand dead.

Riots on Omega were short-lived, as the so-called “Big Three” mercenary groups - Eclipse, the Blue Suns, and the Blood Pack - quickly cracked down and established curfews and other crowd-control measures. Such measures restored some semblance of peace to the streets, though intermittent riots were expected so long as Bahak remained in the news. Restricted public movement didn’t entirely halt violence against humans, with multiple smaller organizations and private citizens taking matters into their own hands. Smaller, mostly-batarian organizations such as the Sons of Torfan, the Ashadru Batara, the Crimson Chains, the Eleint Abyssal and the Chainers were all reported to have evicted the human populace from their territories, often in groups large enough to attract the attention of the mercenary patrols.

Many governments hired mercenaries to bolster their defenses, and the Blue Suns and Eclipse each reported a deluge of new contracts.

Extranet attacks were also on the rise, as increasingly net-savvy batarian youths expressed their outrage from homes across the Hegemony. Numerous Alliance agencies suffered hacking attempts of varying success, most notably the Department of Agriculture, whose page temporarily offered “human pigdogs” as “triple-purpose servitors, fertilizers, and sexual partners”. Other popular sites were changed more subtly; it took some time for the Department of Health and Safety to determine that all the humans pictured on their site had had their eyes removed. The only affected site not linked to a human agency or business was Extrapedia, on which all instances of the word “human” were briefly replaced with “vrodal”, referencing the Khar’shanian ape-like herbivore best-known for re-ingesting its own dung. As a result of the attacks, numerous extranet security agencies sprung up seemingly overnight.

The CDN Response

The News Breaks: CDN is in uproar.

Good Going, Humans: Lepantis Corvax is not pleased.

**** You All: Abad Sam-mel is not pleased.

The Aftermath on Omega: It's riot and lynch mob time!

Favourite Colour?: Some cooler heads are evident.

Has Bahak Proven...that the humans weren't ready for a Council seat?

Later fallout

Shortly after the fall of the Hegemony during the Reaper War, a number of Special Intervention Unit, StateInt, and StateSec documents and records were discovered indicating that the Alpha Relay had been capable of sending ships to anywhere in the galaxy. Adherents of this belief held that many of the rumored mass-disappearances during the Hegemony’s rule were in fact disguised colony efforts; the destruction of Bahak prior to the Reapers’ arrival was used as evidence to support the claim that the relay was unique in this capability. Even stronger ‘evidence’ was found in the Hegemony’s failure to colonize the Skyllian Verge despite having settled the entire Kite's Nest and parts of the Omega Nebula - a failure adequately explained if the Hegemony had been concentrating its colonization efforts elsewhere. Despite the lack of evidence beyond the circumstantial, belief in this lost Batarian Empire began to spread quickly, appealing as it did to the inherent batarian sense of pride, as well as providing a beacon of hope in a galaxy which had grown much darker. See also: Deep State.

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