- "The time for diplomacy has passed, the Helghast do not see reason, they started this war when they invaded Vekta, and it's up to us to conclude it."
- —ISA spokesman, to UCBN News[src]
Operation Archangel was the Vekta ISA counterattack against Helghan in retaliation for their invasion of Vekta during the Second Extrasolar War. It was the biggest and most complex military action in the history of mankind. The ISA intended to defeat the Helghan Empire by arresting Autarch Scolar Visari and wrestling away control of Helghan, before establishing an easily controlled ISA-puppet regime to govern the planet, thus stopping the hatred and militarism that was the hallmark of Scolar Visari's reign.
The plan was first put forward by the UCN, in cooperation with the Vektan Council, to end the war and destroy the Helghan Empire. However, the UCA and UCN soon turned against the plan, preferring to isolate Helghan instead and keep Visari's forces bottled up with a significant force of blockading ships in orbit. The Vektans; however, were utterly unwilling to see the Helghast go unpunished for the atrocities they committed on their world, and claimed that so long as Helghan remained unpacified, the whole of humanity would be threatened.
The operation consisted of three waves of assault with a total of 12 ISA battle groups. The first wave was to secure a local firebase and capture the Helghast capital of Pyrrhus. The second wave in which Battle Group Mandrake took part, had as primary objectives capture Scolar Visari and eliminate the ground opposition as well as the remaining ships and orbital defenses. The third and final wave was in charge of deploying supporting troops to assist the ISA ground forces, aid the others battle groups and escort Battle Group Mandrake in his way back to Vekta with Visari as prisoner of war to be judged for his war crimes.
By 2359 the ISA put the plan into effect, acting against the mandate of the UCN whom continue to aid ISA efforts. Under the command of now Colonel Jan Templar, the invasion soon failed as the ISA forces sorely underestimated the sheer scale of the Helghan defenses and resolve, as well as failing to take into account the charismatic leadership of Scolar Visari and the fanatical Colonel Mael Radec.
The goals originally were:
- The removal of the Helghast as a military threat.
- The capture of Scolar Visari for a public trial.
- The establishment of a more easily controlled regime, ending the oppression that sparked the ongoing conflict.
All three plans have failed with the ISA fleet being almost obliterated by the Helghast's large amount of cruisers, Scolar Visari being executed by the ISA Special Forces, and the Helghast now being determined to make the ISA bleed more than ever.