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Gunther Stein was a Major General of the Terran Alliance.
During the Outer Reaches Rebellion was made head of the 2nd Interstellar Strategic Combined Assault Force, that contained at least the 4th Para-Cavalry Division and the 23rd Alliance Striker Regiment.
Stein believed that the resulting military campaign would take a little over four months at most to complete; computer projections, double-checked against every available contingency, agreed with Stein, citing a maximum campaign length of just eighteen weeks. The calculations were wrong, and the resulting military campaign escalated, lasting eighteen months and involve more than a million soldiers.
Composed of several squadrons of strike cruisers, assault carriers and transports, the Second Interstellar Combined Assault Force was planned to be reinforced by troops from other Alliance worlds, and the military campaign was to be partly funded by loans from various financial concerns. Almost immediately the Alliance faced problems on both fronts; the Alliance militia battalions on some worlds, such as Lipton, refused to participate in the campaign, while major financial firms on planets like Kaus Australis refused to float the Alliance government loans to pay for the campaign. Without realizing it, Stein's military campaign was already cut off from many of its anticipated sources of supply before the Second Interstellar Combined Assault Force arrived in the Freedom system.
When the Second arrived in the Freedom system, he discovered that the rebel forces had placed armed merchant ships at the main jump points in the system. None of those involved in planning the campaign had anticipated that the rebels would contest control of the jump points, and while the merchant ships were more lightly armed than the alliance's armed cruisers, they were also more maneuverable. The rebel ships avoided a slugging match with the more powerful Alliance ships, but many of rebel ships launched ramming attacks against the various Alliance transports and supply ships, hoping that their suicide tactics would take as many of the Terran marines with them as possible. More than ten percent of Stein's ground forces had been lost before his troops managed to make groundfall on Freedom.
The Second was attempting to launch campaigns in more than one system at the same time; troops first landed on Izar, only to discover that capital city was deserted, with the population having decamped into the thickly-forested hills around the capital, terrain they knew well but which hampered the efforts of the Alliance troopers to deploy their high-tech but cumbersome weaponry. The rebels on Freedom took a different course; anticipating the worst, the city fathers of Jefferson City had spent months preparing a vast array of fortifications before the first Alliance landings in June 2236. Having constructed fortifications capable of withstanding anything short of orbital bombardment, President Tudella Dupont was determined to resist the Terran Alliance, despite having just fifteen hundred men available to defend the entire planet. Vowing to burn the city down before letting it be captured, Dupont responded to the first attack from Stein's forces - an assault against the weak southern gate of the fortifications conducted by the six-thousand-strong Fourth Para-Cavalry Division, led by General Desmond - by leading a sortie out against the attackers. Dupont had predicted the attack against the southern gate and planned accordingly, and his sortie captured several mobile artillery batteries that he quickly pressed into service against the Alliance, forcing Desmond to put a siege in place and call for reinforcements.
According to accounts from individuals on Freedom after the end of the conflict, during the siege the Alliance forces killed anyone found outside the city walls after dark, regardless of age or gender, and Desmond ordered the bodies of the dead - many of which had been horribly mutilated - dropped over the city. In retaliation, insurgents frequently slipped into the Alliance camps after dark to kill Terran soldiers and steal weapons. Alliance reinforcements finally arrived on the 25th of August, in the form of General Seth Van Dome and the Twenty-third Alliance Striker Regiment. Van Dome and the Twenty-third had spent four months engaged in a battle to recapture Summit that was described as a holocaust that killed more than ten thousand civilians, and his freshly-blooded forces - equipped with heavy laser cannon - were enough to turn the battle for Freedom in favor of the Alliance.
The Twenty-third bombarded Jefferson City for hours; when three-quarters of the city was on fire, Desmond ordered his assault. The result was a twelve-hour marathon that saw Dupont and the people of Jefferson City fight a brutal, desperate defensive action; men, women and children all fought against the Alliance forces, making Desmond's troops fight for every meter they took; Dupont finally fled the city with just seventy surviving supporters, taking shelter in the hills to the north of the city. Desmond was left with a city in ashes and combat losses totaling more than two thousand Alliance personnel.
In the autumn of 2237, short on supplies and manpower and subject to growing criticism on Terra, the Terran Alliance withdrew the bulk of its forces from Freedom and the other worlds involved in the Outer Reaches Rebellion; while the Alliance never officially declared the conflict over, the Alliance military effectively gave up and went home, effectively ending the Outer Reaches Rebellion. A sea-change in Alliance politics saw the Expansionist Party ousted from power in the Alliance Parliament in 2242, ending more than a century of rule by the Expansionists; that same year, the Liberal Party issued the Demarcation Declaration, removing Alliance control and authority from worlds more than thirty light years from Terra, and leaving worlds like Freedom truly independent.
As the conflict on Freedom and nearby worlds quickly escalated from martial law to full-scale guerrilla warfare, the Alliance's military response to the situation grew increasingly unpopular. When word of the fighting slowly spread throughout inhabited space, many still-loyal colonies expressed extreme dissatisfaction. Within a matter of months, what had begun as a mere handful of rebellious colonies had grown to several dozen. The Alliance military, which had been having enough trouble coping with the colonists' unorthodox tactics on just a few planets, now suddenly found its resources being stretched throughout known space. The sheer cost of mobilizing and transporting troops and matériel to the frontier, not to speak of the actual costs of combat, rose to astronomical levels. Reports of colonists being executed (true but exaggerated), rumors of biochemical agents used (completely untrue), and Alliance casualty reports (increasing hourly) led to discontent on Terra.
- The Periphery, First Edition, p. 13-14, "Outer Reaches Rebellion"
- The Periphery, First Edition, p. 14, "Siege To The Death"
- The Periphery, First Edition, p. 14, "Beyond The Farthest Star"