The Bentorii attack upon the unsuspecting Behraanese fleet above Suragaa Three would be the first of many. Even from above the desert world, reports poured in from both the Galanet and Behrnet that surprise strikes had happened all across Dominion territory. Even with limited information, it was clear to all that this was by far the most coordinated attack ever seen to be orchestrated by the Bentorii—or anyone, for that matter.
Bentorii were scavengers—occasionally, raiders at the farthest reaches of space. The handful of attacks they had made were small-scale, on one lonely cargo ship in the wrong end of the galaxy, or on a stray fightercraft that took a wrong turn or stumbled into blackspace.
In the course of a single Behraanese day—almost identical to one Suragaan day—these Bentorii not only targeted the most powerful fleets existent, but did so with entire fleets of their own, exhibiting controlled yet aggressive tactics, coordination only seen in organized military organizations. The most dangerous trait of all that they had shown, like never before, was adaptation.
At first, the waves of Bentorii fighters—modified makes of all kinds they had salvaged or stolen over time—would be swatted away by the defence-oriented Behraanese fleets.
But they learned. The pilots of those downed vessels would eject safely away, to be picked up by their own. Those pilots would then fly another fighter—often in the same day. They would pass on what they learned, and before long, the same defensive parameters the Behraanese employed were no longer effective. Tactics had to be changed by the hour, for the Bentorii clearly displayed an intelligence, and a level of internal communication unseen before—which the Bentorii used to their advantage.
Yet still, in spite of this completely new behaviour, they did not seem to forget that they were still raiders, scavengers.
They punched through the closed docking bays of capital ships of all sizes, or the cargo ships of freighters, with ram-equipped boarding vessels, which then poured out a fearsome lot of these monsters.
The Behraanese quickly learned that if ever they were to be boarded, it was a death sentence. A perfect success rate of boardings to captured vessels, leaving no prisoners, quickly became the legacy of the Bentorii. So perfected was their technique, that the Behraanese vessels were barely damaged and quickly repaired by their new hosts. Those same vessels would just as quickly turn around and fire upon the other Behraanese ships.
This was especially apparent in the Suragaa system. Many Behraanese ship captains were forced to scuttle their own vessels if boarded, lest they be butchered mercilessly and their ships be used against them. Even then, many times they were not fast enough to even pull out a pistol to take their own lives.
Just hours into the battle, thousands had died.
In days, it would be millions.
The new-found cause or force driving Behraan's new and powerful enemy to attack with such fervor, was the subject of much speculation and no evidence.
Those who knew about the ancient Oasiians would surmise that the Bentorii--twisted and deranged descendants of that long-extinct race--blamed Behraan for their fall and had plotted revenge.
Others believed there must have been someone controlling them--perhaps the remnants of the psychic T'pauzi--turning this chaotic, disorganized race into something as fearsome as the Oasiian Empire was.
The theories and variations thereof were many, but all attempts to find the answer were met with catastrophe. Expedition vessels into blackspace and known areas with heavier Bentorii presence--such as around Oasiia--would be completely erased from existence, never to make as much as a mayday call.
Not even automated beacons would make it out.