Beneath the scorching sands of Kharak, the Kushan people have discovered the remains of a long-forgotten titanic spaceship. Buried within the ancient remains, the secret of their lost homeworld.
For thousands of years, the Kushan have survived on the arid planet Kharak, corralled into the temperate geographical poles by a vast, unforgivingly hot desert. Scarcity of arable land and natural resources has coloured Kushan history with near constant inter-clan (or "Kiith") warfare.
As new technologies emerged, religious and political conflict partially gave way to unified scientific exploration. DNA sequencing of Kharak's native life revealed no genetic resemblance to the Kushan, giving rise to their "XenoGenesis Theory" - which stated that they were not native to Kharak at all.
The first space flights reinforced this idea. Small pieces of metallic debris, the largest no bigger than a hand, were retrieved from low orbit and, when analyzed, were found to be made up of materials totally unknown to Kushan metallurgy. In addition to helping accelerate their space technology research, the debris confirmed that a large advanced spacecraft had once been in orbit. It was an ironic twist of fate occurring later in their history that boosted them even further along their development.
A high-powered satellite designed to scan the planetary system malfunctioned upon deployment and ended up facing entirely the wrong way, scanning the Great Desert around Kharak's equator instead. Despite this error, however, it found something, beneath the sands: a derelict city with a massive central metallic structure. An expedition discovered that the central structure was the spacecraft of which they had earlier found traces in orbit. It carried advanced spaceflight technologies including a Hyperspace Core, one of a few ancient machines that were the Homeworld setting's foundation for all faster-than-light technology.
More importantly however, a stone with a galactic map bearing two coordinates was found. One was recognized as Kharak. The other bore a name so ancient it was common across all their languages and dialects: Hiigara. "Home". The stone would become known as the Guidestone, and confirmed the XenoGenesis Theory. Kharak's people united in building the "Mothership", a vast colony ship that would bear 600,000 of them to their destination, made rugged and self-sufficient in order to survive possible problems during the long trip. It is during the Mothership's final testing phase that the single-player game begins.