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History of the Free Planets AllianceEdit

Early HistoryEdit

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Flag of the Free Planets Alliance

The history of the Confederation of the New Free Planets Alliance begins with a nuclear war that devastated the Earth in 2039. The nuclear exchange between the United States of Euro-Africa and the Northern Coalition extinguished 90% of life on Earth and led to 90 years of chaos until the Earth Unity Government was able to reestablish order in 2129. Following its establishment, the EUG began to expand into space, constructing a massive research complex on Io that eventually eclipsed even the capital of Brisbane in personnel and importance. After the first FTL flight in 2360 indicated deleterious effects on females, large-scale expansion did not occur until 2391, when the problems with the drive were solved.

In order to protect the ever-growing number of colony ships and colonies, the EUG organized the Navigation Safety Department, later known as the Department of Public Safety. The Department later reorganized itself into a formal Navy in 2428, and continued to safeguard humanity's growing colonies for another 200 years. However, during this period, both the Earth government and the Department became dangerously corrupt and decadent, levying heavy taxes on the colonies and denying proportionate representation in the Congress of Humanity in order to maintain power. As complaints rose, in 2682 Earth began to target Sirius as a scapegoat to its problems, accusing it of attempting to spread dissent and subversion. Eventually, most colonies also flocked to Sirius' leadership and established the underground "Sirius Congress."

Four years later, the EUG attacked Rondolina (Sirius IV) to suppress the growing dissidents. Severe lack of discipline from the attacking troops resulted in rampant looting and pillaging, and eventually culminated in a massive friendly-fire incident wherein an airborne division attacked and nearly destroyed a friendly armored division in an attempt to secure a warehouse complex full of valuables. The battle destroyed the city of Laglane and wiped out nearly all of its civilian inhabitants, whose bodies were also raided for spoils and loot. With Earth's belligerence known, the colonies began organizing their own militia to counter Earth's imperialism.

The rebel "Black Fleet" managed to score a stunning victory over the undisciplined and corrupt Earth navy, and blockaded Earth for two months before beginning a bombardment that killed most of the population. However, shortly after securing victory, the rebel leader, Carl Palgrem, died of a heart attack in 2706 and his subordinates turned on each other, destroying any hope of a new government. Another 90 years of chaos followed, until in 2801 the United Stars of the Galaxy was formed, marking the start of the Universal Calendar (1 U.C.). As the USG continued to pick up the pieces of nearly a century of warfare, it was confronted with a large contingent of pirates and rebels who had refused to reintegrate into society, and in 2906 (106 U.C.) authorized the creation of a large navy to combat the insurgents.

In the following years, the expansionist and progressive spark of humanity began to wither, and eventually humanity returned to its old decadent ways. The space force created to suppress the insurgents continued to exist and expand, with the existence of a few scattered pirate pockets to justify its existence. Progression gave way to conservatism, and optimism to pessimism. The Golden Age of Humanity that started at the founding of the USG was a bygone era by the time humankind moved into the new millennium.

Rise of the Galactic EmpireEdit

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Map of Alliance and Imperial Territory. Imperial Territory represents the greatest extent of Earth's original colonies.

In 3088 (288 U.C.), military genius Rudolf von Goldenbaum led the USG Navy to defeat the pirates once and for all, and was hailed as a Caesar-esque hero. Eight years later, he retired and became a politician, successfully winning a seat in Parliament. As the outspoken leader of the new National Reform Alliance, he gained more and more power in each election, eventually being elected both Prime Minister and President, posts that were normally meant to be kept separate. With his newfound power, he declared himself President-for-life, and began to solidify his own authority.

In 3110 (310 U.C.), Goldenbaum declared the creation of the new Galactic Empire, with himself as Emperor. He also declared the start of a new calendar, the Imperial Calendar with 3110 as Imperial Year 1. Ten years later, he passed the Inferior Genes Exclusion Law, which ordered the extermination of all physically and mentally handicapped persons and terminated all assistance for the poor. Emperor Goldenbaum began to select "superior genetic specimens," all of white ethnicity and with Germanic names, and created a new class of nobility, handing out titles to this new aristocracy. In 3141 (341 U.C., 42 I.C.), Goldenbaum died and is succeeded by his grandson, Sigismund, while large-scale republican riots broke out throughout the Empire.

As a result of these riots, hundreds of millions were killed, and more than 10 billion people were forced into slavery. One of these men was Ale Heinessen, who was imprisoned as a relative of a rioter. In 3263 (463 U.C., 164 I.C.), Heinessen and a group of fellow slaves constructed a ship made out of a hollowed block of ice, dubbed the Ion Fazekath, and escaped from their work camp on the Altair VII planetoid with 400,000 refugees. Stopping only to construct a fleet of 80 conventional starships to replace the Fazekath, the refugees set out on an arduous trek to find a safe world for their democracy. In 3327 (527 U.C., 218 I.C.), the refugees finally arrived at a planet, which they named Heinessen in honor of their now-deceased leader. They revived the Universal Calendar, and created the Free Planets Alliance.

For more than a hundred years, the Alliance flourished and expanded in seclusion. The population expanded, and the fledgling nation finally began to turn into a true republic. Knowledge of the Empire forced the settlers to construct a powerful navy as they advanced, but they were weary of the past and kept a tight leash on their military. Eventually, in 3440 (640 U.C., 331 I.C.), they came into contact with the Galactic Empire again, and the start of an 150 year conflict began.

The WarEdit

The opening battles of the war heavily favored the Alliance, which had been building a strong and well-disciplined military since their exile. At the time of contact, the Empire was ruled by its 20th Emperor, Friedrich von Goldenbaum III, and the Imperial military had become stagnant, led by unimaginative and unqualified nobles. When the Alliance was first discovered, an invasion and subjugation force was quickly organized under the command of Grand Duke Herbert. The massive Imperial fleet was completely obliterated by the well-trained Alliance fleet, led by the strategic brilliance of Supreme Commander Lin Pao and Chief of Staff Yusuf Tpalour. The First Battle of Dagon was a stunning victory for the Alliance, and not only bolstered morale at home, but sparked a mass emigration to Alliance space by Imperial dissidents, allowing the Alliance to voluminously expand its power and population.

However, these refugees would both help and hurt the Alliance. Not all of the new immigrants shared the Alliance ideal of freedom and democracy. Many were former nobles who had lost out in a palace coup or political deal. Others were convicts or criminals escaping sentences in the Empire. Over time, this resulted in a paradigm shift within the Alliance as the original citizens became a smaller and smaller minority, and the nation became split between the anti-Empire radicals, composed mainly of Imperial refugees who truly believed in democracy, and those who favored the Empire but could not join it.

Between these two warring superpowers was the planet-state of the Phezzan Dominion. Although officially a territory of the Empire, it was granted self-governance by the near-unnatural bargaining ability of wealthy Earth merchant Leopold Laap, who was appointed the first Landesherr of the new Phezzan Dominion. Phezzan was located in the middle of one of two navigable corridors that separated the Empire and the Alliance, and thus became a major center of trade, lending money to both sides and accumulating vast amounts of political power. The Phezzani were known as shrewd traders and negotiators, and eventually managed to use their financial power as well as secret connections to the Terraist cult to influence the war to their benefit. Phezzan eventually became powerful enough that the power balance between the Empire, Alliance, and Phezzan stood at 5:4:1, despite Phezzan being only one planet and having only 2 billion people.

As the war progressed, the two sides quickly became locked in a stalemate. The open corridor that would later become known as the Iserlohn Corridor made the perfect choke point for both sides, and hundreds of battles were fought across its length. The corridor constricted fleet movement and allowed the Alliance to negate the Empire's definite numerical advantage, but at the same time it could not progress beyond the corridor itself, lest it be overwhelmed in Imperial territory. Long stretches of peace permeated the conflict, some lasting for years between major battles, but the war never reached a peace treaty or even a cease-fire. The Empire never acknowledged the Alliance, and up until the end of the war referred to them as the "rebels," while the Alliance remained committed to "liberating" the Imperial populace from the yoke of the Goldenbaum dynasty.

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The Year 730 Mafia. Bottom Row from Left: Wallice Warwick, Bruce Ashbey, Alfred Rosas; Top Row: Fang Tchewling, John Drinker Cope, Friedrich Jasper, Vittorio di Bertini

One particular incident of note in the vast stretch of history is the career of Alliance Fleet Admiral Bruce Ashbey. Born in 3510 (710 U.C., 401 I.C.), Ashbey entered the Free Planets Defense Force Academy and quickly became its star student, scoring higher than any student before him. When he graduated, he formed a command staff of his former classmates, all of whom graduated in 3530 (730 U.C., 421, I.C.). They became known as the Year 730 Mafia, and went on to become an unstoppable fighting force in the the war. Ashbey's compatriots included the flashy Frederich "March" Jasper, the aristocratic "Baron" Wallice Warwick, the dependable John Drinker Cope, the hulking Vittorio di Bertini, the unflappable Fang Tchewling, and his persuasive chief-of-staff, Alfred Rosas. Together, they scored a number of victories and gained the personal ire of the Imperial chief commander, Fleet Admiral Keltring, after Ashbey killed both of his sons in battle.

Ultimately, Ashbey would become best known for his utterly lopsided defeat of a massive Imperial invasion fleet in the Second Battle of Tiamat. Using his uncanny ability to predict enemy movements as well as his force of will, he was able to force a victory that took the Empire decades to recover from, although he himself was killed shortly after in an ambush. The battle also resulted in a falling out among his old cadre, many of whom had begun to resent his arbitrary orders and the lack of information, as well as the death of Vittorio di Bertini in battle when his flagship was sunk. Ashbey was killed in 3545 (745 U.C., 436 I.C.), and was posthumously promoted to Fleet Admiral, the youngest person to be awarded the rank, and a national holiday was declared in his honor. The remainder of the Year 730 Mafia dispersed, and while all led distinguished careers for the rest of their lives, they never managed to recapture the glory they once had under Ashbey.

Ashbey's tactical brilliance would later be undercut by his strategic shortsightedness. As the Space Fleet Commander, he was in charge of a project to construct a fortress in the empty corridor to guard against Imperial invasion. However, as a frontline commander who thirsted for more glory, he instead lobbied for the resources to be devoted to ship construction instead, which it was. During his lifetime, this allowed him to score many major victories, but none that changed the tide of the war, and eventually it was the Empire that constructed their fortress first, naming it Iserlohn and blocking any Alliance passage. Constructed in 3566 (766 U.C., 457 I.C.), twenty years after Ashbey's death, it would result in tens of millions of Alliance casualties through six capture attempts, each of which failed miserably.

The construction of Iserlohn fortress gave strategic momentum to the Empire, but they were unable to parlay that advantage into any strategic victories. Aside from a few minor skirmishes, nothing changed, and the war dragged on for another three decades without major change, until two men finally brought the war to an end. They were Free Planets Alliance Fleet Admiral Yang Wen-li, and the Galactic Empire's Kaiser Reinhard von Lohengramm.

The Rise of Yang Wen-liEdit

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Yang Wen-li at Iserlohn Fortress.

Born in 3567 (767 U.C., 458 I.C.) as the son of wealthy merchant Yang Tai-long, Yang grew up aboard Tai-long's starships traveling the Alliance. Tai-long had a great interest in history, and had accumulated a vast stockpile of artifacts with the money he had earned. Much of this interest rubbed off on young Yang, and he expressed an early interest in studying history in college. In 3582 (782 U.C., 473 I.C.) when Yang was 15, Tai-long was killed in a reactor accident aboard his ship when he sacrificed himself to allow his engineering staff to escape. Yang was left penniless after it was realized that his father's company was mortgaged, and that his entire stockpile of artifacts were fake. While able to pay off his father's debts, Yang himself had no money and no close family to rely on. Wartime shortages had forced reductions to the education budget, and Yang was unable to find a scholarship to study history at a civilian university.

As a last resort, Yang enrolled in the Free Planets Defense Force Academy, in the Department of War History Research. There, he met and quickly befriended Jean-Robert Lap, with whom he would have many adventures through his academy days. Yang excelled in war history research, but barely passed his other classes, making him an average student at best. One point of hope that indicated his future greatness was his aptitude for strategic simulation and planning. In a simulation against Marcom Wideborn, the Academy's top student who was hailed as a once-in-a-decade genius, Yang soundly defeated him through simple but subtle strategy of resource and supply denial. In his third year at the academy, the Department of War History Research was closed down due to shortages, and his skill at strategy made his superiors force his transfer to this Department of Strategic Research. A pacifist and easygoing person by nature, Yang wanted nothing more than to study history and grow old, but fate had different plans in store for him.

Throughout his academy days, Yang and Lap enjoyed many adventures, and courted many women, although Lap generally took the lead in these encounters. Both became good friends of Jessica Edwards, a local girl, and had a friendly rivalry between them for her affections. Ultimately, Yang gave Jessica up and Jean-Robert Lap married her shortly after their graduation and commissioning. Lap went on to a staff job, while Yang was assigned to the garrison fleet of the planet El-Facil, near the Iserlohn Corridor. It was at El-Facil that Yang would first gain fame.

An Imperial assault of the corridor entered Alliance space and quickly advanced on the El-Facil system. Unable to scramble a large enough defense in time, the Alliance garrison fleet was caught off guard. When it was determined that the citizens of the planet could not all be evacuated, the garrison fled under the command of Rear Admiral Arthur Lynch, and left the civilians and Yang behind. Yang had been assigned to devise a plan for civilian evacuation, which was ultimately abandoned when Admiral Lynch fled, but as the people panicked, Yang calmly organized the evacuation he had already planned. With the Imperial fleet hot on the tails of the retreating garrison, Yang was able to load and evacuate the entire population of El-Facil and see them to safety. These actions were later dubbed the "Miracle of El-Facil" and Yang became the "Hero of El-Facil."

For his actions, Yang was promoted two ranks from Lieutenant Junior Grade to Lieutenant Commander, becoming the youngest Lt. Commander in the history of the Free Planets Defense Force. He was reassigned to Heinessen for a propaganda tour, and was assigned to investigate the possible murder of Fleet Admiral Bruce Ashbey. After an inconclusive investigation, Yang was assigned to a prisoner of war camp on the planet Econia, where he was present for a prisoner rebellion which he helped quell by discovering and arresting the corrupt camp commander. In 3589 (789 U.C., 480 I.C.), he was assigned to the Headquarters of the 8th Fleet. He served as a tactical advisor to the fleet during the fifth Iserlohn capture operation, which ultimately ended in failure when his advice was ignored. In 3594 (794 U.C., 485 I.C.), Yang was promoted to Captain, for his role during the sixth Iserlohn capture operation, wherein he devised a bold plan that allowed the bulk of the Alliance fleet to escape destruction.

One year later in 3595 (795 U.C. 486 I.C.), Yang was promoted to Commodore, and was assigned as the tactical adviser of the 2nd Fleet under Admiral Paeta. Jean-Robert Lap had been assigned to the 4th Fleet, and the two were still good friends. Later that year, the 2nd Fleet was involved in a skirmish near the planet Legnica, against the expeditionary force of Admiral Reinhard von Lohengramm. This would be the first known time the two faced each other, although Yang's advice was largely ignored at the outset, his quick thinking and daring actions eventually allowed the fleet to escape back to Alliance space.

At the beginning of 3596 (796 U.C., 487 I.C.) another Imperial fleet under the command of Admiral Reinhard von Lohengramm crossed the Alliance border. Composed of 20,000 ships, it was quickly surrounded by an Alliance task force composed of the 2nd, 4th, and 6th fleets, each numbering 13,000 ships. Despite being outnumbered and surrounded, Reinhard was able to turn the tide in his favor by launching blitzkrieg attacks on each Alliance fleet separately, using his numerical advantage in single-fleet combat to force a victory. After defeating the 4th and 6th fleets, which also resulted in the death of Jean-Robert Lap, he turned his attention to the 2nd fleet, where Yang was still the tactical advisor. The battle initially went poorly for the 2nd Fleet, until a glancing hit on the Alliance flagship Patoroklos incapacitated Admiral Paeta, who named Yang as the new commander. Rallying the fleet, Yang was able to maneuver the battle to a standstill, which ended when the Imperial fleet withdrew back to Iserlohn Fortress.

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Iserlohn Fortress, with its garrison fleet deployed.

Returning home, Yang was hailed as a hero of the battle that would be known as the Astate Encounter. He was once again paraded around by the military, and by Defense Chairman Job Truniht in particular. Despite this, Yang had a run-in with the ultranationalist Patriotic Knights Corps when he defended the now-widowed Jessica Edwards from their attacks after she publicly criticized Chairman Truniht at the memorial service for those fallen. Shortly after, he was assigned command of the newly formed 13th Fleet, composed of survivors of the Astate Encounter as well as a horde of fresh recruits. Promoted to Rear Admiral and put in command of this 6,500-ship, half-strength, hodge-podge fleet, his first assignment was the capture of Iserlohn Fortress, a task the Alliance had failed previously with more than five times the ships. As a loyal soldier, however, he set about his assigned task with efficiency, and devised a cunning plan to pit the fortress' commanders against each other. It was at this time that he was also assigned his first aide, Lieutenant Junior Grade Frederica Greenhill, daughter of Chief-of-Staff Admiral Dwight Greenhill, and Yang's future wife. Yang also received his flagship, the Hyperion, which would serve as his trusted steed for nearly all of his remaining battles.

To assist in his plan, Yang requested the notorious Rosenritter regiment be assigned to his fleet. The Rosenritter were composed of Imperial expatriates and their descendants, originally created as a propaganda group. They eventually proved to be unmatched in combat, garnering a fierce reputation on both sides of the war. It was not uncommon for enemy soldiers to flee upon hearing their name, but they were often a curse to their allies as well, since no commander ever trusted them. Of the 12 previous regimental commanders they had, four were killed in battle, two were promoted to flag officers and retired, and six ran back to the Empire, including the most immediate previous commander. The infamous Rosenritter disobedience was not due to hatred of the Alliance or its ideals, but due to their hatred for the often distrustful and incompetent officers under whom they served. At the time of the Iserlohn capture operation, the regimental commander was Brigadier General Walter von Schenkopp, and rumors were circulating that he would be the seventh traitor to run back to the Empire. Despite this, Yang quickly and publicly declared his implicit trust in the general and his troops, and the mission went ahead as planned.

The 13th Fleet started a diversion that quickly lured out the 20,000-ship strong garrison fleet led by Admiral Stockhausen. Stockhausen was locked in a bitter rivalry with the fortress commander, Admiral Seeckt, and at the first sign of trouble, sortied his fleet without a plan. Schenkopp and his men disguised themselves as Imperial crewmen aboard a damaged scout ship that was welcomed into the impregnable fortress walls. Once inside, they took the command staff hostage, although a last minute effort by the stations second-in-command allowed the Empire to lock out the computer core, trapping the 13th Fleet outside of the fortress with the garrison fleet bearing down on them, outnumbering them 4-1. The Rosenritter launched an assault on the computer core itself, which was guarded by a full company of troops while the Rosenritter only numbered a squad. Despite this, they were able to force a close-quarter battle, and defeated the defenders without the loss of a single man. With the computer in Alliance hands, the 13th Fleet quickly docked within the fortress and turned the station's defensive Thor Hammer superweapon against the garrison fleet, forcing their withdrawal after the flagship with Stockhausen aboard was destroyed. The fortress was captured in May 3596 (796 U.C., 487 I.C.).

Returning home triumphant, Yang was hailed as a hero once again. He had done the impossible: he had captured the impregnable Iserlohn Fortress with half a fleet and without a single casualty. He became known as "Miracle Yang" and "Yang the Magician" for his efforts, and was promoted to Vice Admiral. Despite this, he intended to retire from the force, having turned the tide in favor of the Alliance, he believed that he was no longer needed and wanted to settle down to study history. However, the efforts of General Schenkopp and Admiral Sidney Sitolet, the Headquarters Chief, eventually persuaded Yang to remain as the commander of the newly reinforced 13th Fleet. Yang had hoped that with the capture of Iserlohn Fortress, that the Alliance would take time to heal its wounds and possibly negotiate a peace treaty with the Empire. But the scheming politicians on the High Council thought otherwise, and pushed for a full-scale invasion of the Empire, both to win support for their reelection and to possibly destroy the Empire once and for all. This later-disastrous operation would later be referred to as the Amlitzer Disaster, and would ultimately lead to the defeat and collapse of the Free Planets Alliance several years later.

The Amlitzer DisasterEdit

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8th Fleet flagship Kulishuna at the Battle of Amlitzer

The Alliance mobilized the largest fleet in its history for the operation. 8 fleets with more than 30 million men were called up, including Yang's 13th Fleet. The invasion plan was devised by the power hungry Commodore Andrew Fork, who outlined a plan with no details and open to a devastating Imperial counterattack, which would be exactly what befell the Alliance. Coordinating the Imperial defense was the newly-promoted Marquis Reinhard von Lohengramm, who devised strategy of scorched earth and defense in depth to draw the Alliance fleets in, cut off their supplies, and then smash them in a single decisive blow. As the Alliance advanced, it began to spread its lines dangerously thin, and when a surprise attack destroyed the incoming supply convoy, the starving troops began to loot food and supplies from the Imperial worlds they had just liberated. Yang, with his foresight, was able to avoid this, and kept in communication with other weary commanders, including Admiral Ulanfu of the 10th Fleet and Admiral Bucock of the 5th Fleet. When the counterattack came, the 13th Fleet was stationed in the Jawanhahr System and was attacked by an Imperial fleet under the command of Admiral Karl Gustav Kempf. Yang was able to escape the ambush however, and hurried to the planet Lugen, where the 10th Fleet was under attack. Upon arriving, he found that the 10th Fleet was gone; Admiral Ulanfu's daring defense had allowed half of the fleet to escape, although he and his flagship the Bang-goo went down covering the retreat.

The few remaining fleets regrouped in the Amlitzer System under the order of Admiral Lazzll Lobos, who refused to allow a retreat back to the safety of Iserlohn Fortress. Only three fleets managed to make to Amlitzer: the 5th Fleet under Admiral Bucock, the 8th Fleet under Admiral Appleton, and the 13th Fleet under Admiral Yang. The Empire began to draw the noose, however, and the entire counterattack force converged on the Amlitzer System. The 5th and 13th Fleets were able to escape successfully after yet another daring defense by Admiral Yang, but the 8th Fleet was destroyed after its flagship, the Kulishuna, went down with Admiral Appleton aboard. Retreating to the safety of Iserlohn Fortress, the results of the invasion were surveyed. The loss of six fleets left the Alliance with only four fleets left: the 1st Fleet guarding Heinessen, the 5th Fleet under Alexander Bucock that had suffered tremendous damage, the 11th Fleet under Admiral Lublanju that had been held in reserve, and the 13th Fleet under Admiral Yang. With the Empire hot on their heels, Yang was named the commander of Iserlohn Fortress, and the 13th Fleet became its garrison fleet and promoted to full Admiral, attaining the esteemed rank before he even reached 30. Serving under him were his adjutant, Lieutenant Frederica Greenhill, his chief-of-staff, Rear Admiral Murai, his vice chief-of-staff, Commodore Fyodor Patriochev, his vice fleet commander, Rear Admiral Edwin Fischer, his squadron commanders Commodores Guen van Hugh and Dusty Attenborough, his aerial corps chiefs Lieutenant Commanders Oliver Poplan and Ivan Konev, fortress defense commander Brigadier General Walter von Schenkopp, and Yang's adopted son Julian Minci as an officer's orderly.

It would later be determined by most historians that the Amlitzer Disaster would be the beginning of the end for the Alliance. Although Yang's daring defense of the Iserlohn Corridor managed to keep the Empire at bay for several years, the Alliance was ultimately unable to recover from the crushing blow dealt by the loss of more than half its military strength. By this time, the Alliance had already run up substantial debts to Phezzan to finance the war, and was on the verge of an economic collapse. Additionally, it was very short on manpower, having maintained its military in a draft state for decades, and the lack of skilled personnel in the civilian sector was beginning to take its toll. When the Empire under Kaiser Reinhard von Lohengramm would later finally commit to a mass invasion, the Alliance lacked the strength to resist the attack, being further weakened by the event known as the Alliance Civil War.

The Alliance Civil WarEdit

Having accumulated a good deal of power for himself, Marquis Reinhard von Lohengramm was now ready to stage his coup d'etat and seize control of the Empire. With his pool of highly talented commanders, all of whom were loyal to him, he was ready to begin his war against the corrupt aristocracy. However, he could not have the Alliance taking advantage of his schemes, so he concocted a plan to drag the Alliance into its own civil war to keep it occupied. Speaking with the disgraced and disgruntled Admiral Arthur Lynch, who had been captured years earlier at El-Facil and was bitter toward Yang for taking all of the glory, he convinced him to start formenting a military coup among the Alliance officers who were disgruntled with the government. Lynch and a number of other dissenters were returned to the Alliance in a massive prisoner exchange presided over by Yang Wen-li for the Alliance and Siegfried Kircheis, Reinhard's closest friend, for the Empire and carried out at Iserlohn Fortress. By promising back pay, promotions, and greater loyalty than the corrupt nobility, he was able to turn these repatriated soldiers to his own side, while many of the Alliance soldiers became bitter. Yang was astute enough to see through Reinhard's plan, however, and began to talk with Admiral Bucock, now the Space Fleet Commander after the attempted assassination of Headquarters Chief Kubersly about covertly keeping an eye on the conspirators. Unfortunately, the conspirators included Chief-of-Staff Dwight Greenhill, and the coup d'etat was successful, with the new government naming themselves the Free Planets Alliance National Salvation Military Council on April 13th, 3597 (797 U.C., 488 I.C.) with Admiral Greenhill as their leader.

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One of the Artemis Necklace defense stations preparing to fire.

Despite optimistic predictions on the part of the coup d'etat leaders about Yang's support, the Admiral refused to back the new government, steadfastly defending the democratic ideals the Alliance was founded on. In response was ordered to put down the "rebellion" on three separate worlds simultaneously, in a ploy to split his forces and allow the dispatched 11th Fleet to destroy his fleet piecemeal. The illusion was furthered through the use of a planted spy, Commander Bagdashu, an information warfare specialist who was secretly working in collusion with the NSMC to distract Yang's forces and lead them into a trap. Yang refused to follow his orders completely, however, and quickly retook the planet Shampool from its NSMC defenders to secure his supply lines on his path to fight the 11th Fleet. Seeing through the planted misinformation, he was able to turn the tables by ambushing the 11th Fleet in the Doria Starzone. Despite Vice Admiral Lublanju's fanatic defense, the battle was a complete rout for the 11th Fleet as Yang first split their formation and encircled their command ship. Lublanju refused to surrender despite his unwinnable position, and committed suicide with less than 10% of his fleet left. With their commander dead, the remnants of the 11th Fleet surrendered and were taken into custody.

The Iserlohn Fleet's victory had emboldened the anti-coup factions, and as a result, nearly every planet previously held by the NSMC was retaken by its own people, although occasionally at great cost. The Iserlohn Garrison Fleet moved on the Heinessen, the last bastion of the National Military Salvation Council. By that time, Yang had managed to turn Commander Bagdashu to his side, after making him see the inevitable defeat of the NSMC and promising him not to reveal his actions if he joined Yang's camp. Using his talents in information warfare and propaganda, Bagdashu gave a rousing speech decrying the brutality of the NSMC and speaking of the need to overthrow them. Martial law was barely keeping the planet under control after a peaceful meeting in a local stadium protesting the NSMC government had turned into a bloody massacre, resulting in the death of politician Jessica Edwards and thousands of other protesters. Nevertheless, the Council decided to make a last stand at Heinessen, reasoning that the Artemis Necklace defensive satellite network would protect them. Using his signature terrain tactics, he was able to destroy the Necklace with several blocks of ice propelled to near-lightspeed, and moved to land his ground troops. The Council had just been informed of Admiral Lynch's treachery and their manipulation by Marquis Lohengramm, and with the Necklace gone, had submitted to surrender. A last-minute firefight between the coup members and Admiral Lynch resulted in the deaths of both Lynch and Admiral Greenhill, with several other high-ranking members committing suicide rather than face trial. With their surrender, however, the Alliance Civil War was at a close.

In the aftermath, Yang and his victorious fleet returned to Iserlohn Fortress, once again determined to defend the Alliance from Imperial aggression. Former Defense Chairman Job Truniht, who had found refuge with the Terraist cult and had survived the coup unscathed, now became the Alliance's de facto leader, while Space Fleet Commander Bucock and others were reinstated to their positions. One new development was the defection of Imperial High Admiral Willibald Joachim von Merkatz, the former military commander of the nobility-based Lippstadt Alliance in the Imperial Civil War. Admiral Merkatz was a revered commander and veteran of hundreds of battles, but his strategies could not temper the brashness of his noble subordinates, who often disobeyed his battle plans. As a result, he was defeated, and urged by his subordinates, fled to the Alliance, seeking refuge with Admiral Yang. After discussion with his senior staff, Yang granted Admiral Merkatz amnesty, and he became a frequent consultant and honorary member of Yang's command staff. He would later go on to command Yang's forces in battle in Yang's absence, being the most experienced fleet commander on the staff and one of the most experienced in the galaxy.

Temporary LullEdit

Following this turbulent period, both the Alliance and the Empire refrained from any major attacks in order to lick their wounds and recover. Despite the sheer scale of the Imperial Civil War, damage was relatively light due to the sheer swiftness of Prince Lohengramm's assault and the skill of his subordinates. Even the storming of Geiersburg Fortress, the headquarters of the Lippstadt Alliance, had incurred relatively few casualties. It had entrenched Prince Lohengramm as the de facto leader of the Empire, which began to change from a corrupt, elitist, and decadent society into a much fairer and more honorable one. The Alliance, in contrast, had been almost ruined by its Civil War, which had cost it one of only three fleets remaining, and had placed the corrupt Job Truniht in charge of the nation. While the Alliance desperately attempted to recover, Count Lohengramm refrained from any major assaults, preferring to consolidate his power and popularity at home before embarking on a war abroad.

Although no major battles took place, this period was not without conflict. In early January 3598 (798 U.C., 489 I.C.), a training squadron under the command of Rear-Admiral Attenborough conducting exercises in the Iserlohn Corridor encountered an Imperial squadron under Admiral Eihendorf. Although outnumbered and outgunned against a better-trained force, Attenborough's recruits, which included Yang's adopted son Julian as a fighter pilot trainee, managed to hold off the Imperial force long enough for Yang himself to arrive with reinforcements from Iserlohn Fortress, forcing an Imperial retreat.

LoGH Battle Iserlohn

Rosenritter commandos fight against Imperial boarding parties on Iserlohn's hydrometal surface.

Later, in mid-March of the same year, the Empire launched a rather inventive assault, using the captured Geiersburg Fortress as a mobile base. The fortress, along with a fleet of 16,000 warships and 2 million troops warped into the Iserlohn Corridor, intent on confronting the Alliance fortress and either retaking it or destroying it to clear the way for an Imperial invasion. Leading the attack were Admirals Kempf and Muller, but the most surprising feature of the battle was the absence of Admiral Yang on the Alliance side, who had been recalled for a formal board of inquiry regarding his actions during the Alliance Civil War. Yang had departed secretly, however, and had not taken his flagship with him, giving the Empire the impression that he was still present at Iserlohn. As a result, Imperial forces attacked cautiously, but even so managed to almost breach Iserlohn's walls through a combination of resources and brilliant strategy. It was during this time that Julian Minci would begin to display his tactical talents, correctly evaluating the Imperial plan to blockade the Fortress' garrison to prevent it from linking up with the reinforcements Yang was leading to relieve the besieged station. With this information, the Iserlohn Garrison Fleet under the command of Admiral Merkatz was able to trap the Imperial forces between themselves and Yang's reinforcements, and eventually destroyed Geiersburg Fortress itself, resulting in a huge loss of Imperial men and materiel, with Admiral Muller barely escaping the battle, albeit with extensive injuries.

Subsequent investigation of the attack resulted in some interesting finds. Prince Lohengramm himself had no high hopes for the attack, believing it foolhardy and a waste of resources, but needed to placate those within the military that called for an immediate attack. By sending the fortress, he could simultaneously remove the symbol of the former nobility, as well as pin the blame squarely on the hawks within the military, while consolidating his own power. Yang's absence had also been planned by the Phezzani, who used their financial leverage over the Alliance to pressure the Alliance government into recalling Yang for his board of inquiry, from which he was later acquitted.

Renewed ConflictEdit

On July 7, 3598 (798 U.C., 489 I.C.), the young Kaiser Erwin Josef was abducted by pro-nobility elements of the military in conjunction with Phezzani agents, and was taken to the Alliance to set up a government-in-exile, claiming that Prince Lohengramm had become an illegitimate ruler of the Empire. This situation, however, was orchestrated by Lohengramm himself, who used it as an opportunity to not only directly take the throne of the Empire, but as a cassus belli for a renewed war against the Alliance and a method to reign in the previously rogue planet-state of Phezzan. With his own personal popularity as well as a legitimate cause for war, he was able to quickly rally an enormous force of men and materiel, with some whispering of a million ships with a hundred million men. While the Alliance had exhausted its financial reserves, the Empire under Prince Lohengramm had only increased its wealth despite its losses by appropriating the collective wealth of the nobility. With the nobility gone, land was repartitioned to the commoners, and the vast wealth and holdings formerly controlled by the landed gentry and nobility used to fund the state, significantly reducing the tax burden while at the same time increasing revenue.

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