At the end of the campaign of Homeworld 2, the Big Bad goes through the warpgate to claim the Lost Superweapon and leaves a big chunk of his fleet behind to destroy the warpgate and prevent you from following him. Except that you still hold two of the three PlotCoupons needed to unlock it. If you fail that mission, the Big Bad has failed just as much. And when you succeed the mission, you have to fight his admittedly big fleet which still would've been bigger if he hadn't wasted half his escort on the previous mission.
As in real life, screaming, panicking and generally losing control while you're under fire tends to be counterproductive. Best to train your soldiers to remain calm in any situation - this allows them to give more accurate reports as said situation progresses, and also increases the survival rate of anyone moving for the Escape Pods (compare: coordinated evacuation versus mad scramble.)
During the Karos Graveyard mission in the first game, there are rows and rows of derelict ships... some of which may seem strangely familiar. Depending on which fleet you chose, this can have two interpretations: Either this is where The Empire dumps their obsolete warships, or (more likely, considering the Kushan are the "canon" choice) this is where the Taiidan dumped the remains of the defeated Hiigaran fleet after the Exile. While the chances that the Kushan would design their ships the same way the Hiigarans did 4000 years ago are slim at best, there are some some downright uncanny similarities. No clear answer is given, and the derelicts are never directly remarked upon, but which makes for a better story: that these ships are merely relics of an unrelated time, or that you're passing through the graveyard of your ancestors? It's also possible that this is (or was intended to be) inverted as well—the most common type of vessel in the derelict fleet is something that looks a lot like a Heavy Cruiser, and this is the first mission where the technology required for such vessels can be obtained. Perhaps the Mothership's research team took some design cues from the wrecks outside.
As brought up in the Analysis section, it can seem odd that there's so much backstory on Kharak's people, planetside history and culture given how Kharak is glassed to oblivion early on. But that's precisely the point. in a meta-sense. In knowing about this race and the desire for finding its true homeworld that would lead to building the Mothership, it makes the entire tragedy of Hiigara all the more poignant.
When they reveal the Exiles' backstory, the Bentusi also explain that many cultures had prophetized their return. This actually explains a few things: The Taiidan emperor's paranoia toward the Exiles was motivated by those prophecies. Chance is that many of them foretold the fall of the Taiidan Empire, so he sent the Turanic Raiders to keep an eye on them and a fleet armed with doomsday weapons in case the Kushan redeveloped hyperspace technology, and surrounded Hiigara with large numbers of hyperspace inhibitors guarded by massive fleets in case that failed. In turn, this also offers a partial explanation to the small Taiidan Rebellion posing a threat to the Empire: the massive expenditures to develop and build the hyperspace inhibitors to guard against an ancient tale would increase the malcontent in the civilian population, and with so many ships tied to guard the inhibitors the loyalists didn't have as many forces available as they should have, and the Rebellion was able to gain some ground. The prophecies also explain part of the Kushan's success: everyone knew they had been wiped out... And then both the border fleet that had carried out the deed and the Turanic Raiders' fleet that had helped them just disappear, and some time later, in the middle of the Rebellion, a research outpost on one of the paths from Kharak to Hiigara is destroyed by unknown forces. The Emperor's loyalists were likely panicking as a doomsday prophecy was being fulfilled right under their very eyes, even before the Exiles appeared out of nowhere and saved the leader of the Rebellion, for once leaving survivors to identify them and announce they were now fielding destroyers and carriers. The Emperor dying at their hand, alongside the open support of the Bentusi, would have been the coup de grace, with most loyalists just giving up and joining the Rebels.
Moments before the Kuun-Lan jettisons the lower decks section, the head engineer in the lower decks screams at the Kuun-Lan to cut them loose via radio as people are being consumed all around him. As the lower decks spin off into space, the transmission continues, broadcasting the crew's final agonizing moments. One can imagine the remaining crew of the Kuun-Lan listening, horrified, as the ships speakers broadcast the screams of the damned. Even a bit more so when you glance at the box art, and find that the ESRB has assigned both Cataclysm and the original an 'E' rating; suitable for everyone and anyone.
The Bentusi are understandably even more freaked out about the Beast than every other race, as captured Bentusi aren't just reduced to biomass; they remain alive and conscious inside the infected ship, as their bodies are integrated into the ship's circuitry. The Fridge Horror? How exactly do the Bentusi know that's what happens? At least one of their own must have gotten infected already, couldn't self-destruct in time, and probably had to be put down by the others. Brrr...
What happens to the crews of all those ships you capture?
Probably just captured as Prisoners of War or killed off by the Mothership crew boarding the ship.
The crew of the ship you have to capture in the first game is imprisoned. At least part of it: we know the captain was questioned about the attack on Kharak and did not survive the interrogation.
Imagine what it must be like in Homeworld 1 when you find out that your beloved ones are gone while you are in cyro-sleep, especially the families of all those pilots and ship crews.
No need to imagine: Cataclysm's manual explains just how horrific it was... And that not only the suicide rate among the Sleepers was very high, but many of those who did not commit suicide waited only the first chance to go on a potentially suicidal Roaring Rampage of Revenge, such as the pilots of the Mimics (whose only weapon is the overpowered warhead of the self-destruct system) and Iifrit Tambuur-sa (he and his wife were the only ones of their kiith to embark, and his wife's cryo tray, damaged during the Taiidan attack, failed during the voyage. He declared eternal revenge on the Taiidan Empire, and, alongside a few other Sleepers who joined his kiith to have a slice of revenge, went on and collected the bounties of over 300 Taiidan war criminals).
According to Cataclysm's backstory, there were other relics of the ancient Hiigarans aside for the Guidestone, namely some sacred scrolls in the hands of Kiith Somtaaw, that refused to let anyone even see them from afar, let alone decifer them. They may have contained mention of the Binding Ancient Treaty, and if so the refusal led directly to the destruction of Kharak.
To make it worse, the original game's manual explains that Kharak was dying, and the Mothership was the only hope for the Kushan to survive. While the Mothership had to be launched anyway, had the scrolls been deciphered and revealed the treaty the Kushan would have been able to improve her defenses and increase Khakak's missile defenses, that exacted heavy losses on the Taiidan armada.
Also in Cataclysm, think about what happened to the crew of the Naggarrok. Before the Beast took over their ship completely, they managed to destroy the propulsion and communication equipment. With the entire crew assimilated, the ship had nothing to do other than drift endlessly in the void for one million years. Let's hope that either the Beast completely destroyed the minds of the alien explorers or that it placed itself in some kind of suspended animation. Because if their minds survived their conversion by the Beast (something which is explicitly stated in the game to happen when they convert the Bentusi) and they were conscious the whole time, then they they had to endure a million-year long And I Must Scream, along with knowing that any kind of "rescue" might doom every sentient being in the galaxy.
More Cataclysm fridge horror: When the Naggarrok jumped through hyperspace, it passed through a patch of the Beast. A patch. This implies that even though the fragment that latched onto the Naggarrok was destroyed, there's far more still lurking deep in hyperspace, just waiting for something else to pass through it and spread it to another galaxy.
It gets worse: The Bentusi use a unique, possibly experimental hypergate to leave the galaxy, and we see a few of them actually succeed in leaving for parts unknown. Now remember how the Naggarok got infected: using an experimental hyperdrive to make an extra-galactic jump. There is a very good chance that the Bentusi evacuees unwittingly threw themselves into the very same Fate Worse than Death that they were trying to avoid.