Operation Pesthouse was a military operation undertaken during the Fourth Interstellar War and which culminated in one of the greatest defeats ever suffered by the Terran Federation.

Precursory Events

The surprise arrival of an Arachnid scouting fleet through a closed warp point in Proxima Centauris would shock the Federation. The following battle would come to be known as the First Battle of Centauris or better known as the Centauris Raid. During this raid, the closed warp point out of the system was discovered and thus laid the foundation of what would become known as the Pesthouse Campaign.

Operation Pesthouse

Admiral Antanov, realizing that the Arachnid survey fleet that had raided Centauris had to have come from a frontier system, pushed for the use of the Terran home fleets to take advantage of this priceless opertunity. It was priceless and considering he was the senior ranking officer on site, personally led the offensive through the Proxima Centauris - Bug 15 warp point. Phase 1 of the invasion would see many of the traditional TFN advantages during the first phase of the war continue to be utilized with the brutal efficiency that all sides had come to expect. It also saw the first introduction of the 4th generation SBMHAWK pod and it's deadly payload of close assault missiles.

It would prove to be a decisive victory for the Alliance with few casualties. Arachnid forces when they were able to from the battle, leading the Alliance fleet to the only other warp point in a completely unsurveyed system but bolstered by reinforcements coming in from Sol, the fleet decided to push as deep as they could into Arachnid space. Logic dictated that any foe would withdraw towards a strong and valuable position.

The breakthrough into the second system of the chain was much more fortified and costly to Second Fleet. The deployment of mass gunboat attacks armed with 2nd generation fighter missiles and the appearance of Arachnid warships with command datalink blunted many of the Alliance's advantages up to this point in history. Valiant efforts by the Alliance drove the Arachnid fleet from the space above Harnah. The following days would see the remaining space fortifications sweeped clear and the fleet began to maneuver to carry out Directive 18.

The discovery of a domesticated sentient species on the planet would halt the carrying out of the directive out of fear of making themselves into the monsters they hated. Wishing not to waste time, percision strikes against Harnah's orbital industries and ground infrastructure were ordered while the fleet began to move into position to assault the system of Bug 16. 2nd generation Recon Drones would show that there were a lack of the heavy orbital weapon platforms that had made the break into Harnah so painful. There were no sign of heavy reinforcements, convincing the Alliance admirals that there were no further reinforcements available to be called up. Bolstered by this mentality, the admiralty sailed straight into the Arachnid trap.

Bug 16 was a deadly stand up fight between 2nd Fleet and Deep Space Force 1. Abandoning their long standing tactics, the Arachnid fleet showed itself to be innovative and heavy losses were inflicted on both sides. Theories abounded aboard the flagship of the 2nd fleet as to why the Arachnids were suddenly acting differently, most ranging from a lack of desire by the Arachnids to risk their new equipment armed ships. Refusing to fall back onto the standard suicide tactics the Arachnids up to this point were known for made the Alliance pay a heavy price in terms of fighter strength and warships to finally break the bugs and uncovered the next key system in the chain.

Events that played out within the battle fed the mentality that the Alliance had finally cracked the bugs and that they were into the heartworlds of the Arachnids. A probe into Bug 17 showed the heavy minefields that were expected in Bug 16. Additional probes into the system that was to become known Pesthouse showed the first signs of heavy reinforcement by the Arachnids. This was enough to push Antanov to press forward the attack, despite the 2nd Fleet being weaker that when it made it's break into Bug 16.