Paul von Oberstein

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Fleet Admiral Oberstein (801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE))
Gender: Male
Affiliation: Galactic Empire
Rank: Fleet admiral
Occupation: Minister of Military Affairs
Status: Deceased (murder)
Died: 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE)
Played by: Shiozawa Kaneto (Deceased)

Paul von Oberstein (Japanese: パウル・フォン・オーベルシュタイン) was an Imperial military officer who was notable for his role as an advisor to Reinhard von Lohengramm. Known for his ruthless nature and artificial eyes, Oberstein used every means at his disposal to obliterate the Goldenbaum Dynasty and ensure Reinhard von Lohengramm's rise to power.

Contents

Early Life

Little is known of Oberstein's childhood, other than that he caught a disease rendering him blind. More than once, Oberstein commented that, had he been born but a century earlier, he might have been murdered as an infant because of his blindness in accord with the Inferior Genes Exclusion Act. Oberstein was granted sight through the use of a pair of cybernetic implants: artificial eyes.

It is likely that Oberstein was forced to endure ridicule as a child for his perceived physical inferiority, and equally likely that this abuse is what fed a deep-seated resentment in him toward the nobility of the Empire and the Goldenbaum Dynasty. At some point, Oberstein contemplated attempting a revolution of his own, but abandoned the ambition, realizing himself to be lacking the charisma required of a revolutionary leader.

Military service

Iserlohn Fortress

In 796 UC (487 IC / 3596 CE), Oberstein was appointed as a staff officer to Admiral Hans Dietrich von Seeckt, commander of the Imperial garrison fleet stationed at Iserlohn Fortress, after serving a stint as staff officer to the Commander of the Space Fleet Gregor von Mückenberger. Oberstein thought his own talents were wasted under an incompetent commander, and approached Siegfried Kircheis shortly after the Battle of Astarte, indicating a desire to serve under Reinhard von Lohengramm, having successfully discerned Reinhard's true political ambitions. (My Conquest Is the Sea of Stars, LOGH: 'Empire's Afterglow')

Shortly after Oberstein returned to Iserlohn, the fortress was attacked and subsequently captured by Free Planets Alliance Rear Admiral Yang Wen-li's 13th Fleet in the Seventh Battle of Iserlohn. Oberstein attempted to persuade Admiral Seeckt to press the attack when Yang was at a disadvantage and the fate of the fortress still undecided, but Seeckt chose to ignore Oberstein, insisting on waiting, then later upon a futile attack when the fortress had already fallen. Yang killed Seeckt with a single well-placed shot from the Thor Hammer, prompting the Imperial Fleet to withdraw from the star system. Despite the loss of the flagship, Oberstein was able to successfully flee the ship before it was destroyed. (LOGH: 'Iserlohn Captured!')

Vilified as a deserter, the Imperial Navy commanders sought to punish Oberstein for the loss of Iserlohn Fortress, seeking to court-martial and execute him. Obertsein, in response, arranged a meeting with Reinhard von Lohengramm. Oberstein openly expressed his hatred of the Goldenbaum Dynasty, and his desire to help Reinhard destroy the Goldenbaums and rule over a new, reformed Galactic Empire.

After their meeting, Reinhard decided to take Oberstein in as a subordinate and advisor. To accomplish this, he advised Kaiser Friedrich IV not to accept the resignations of the three military joint chiefs of staff, arguing that the fault for the loss of Iserlohn Fortress lay solely with Seeckt, who was dead, and Stockhausen, who became a prisoner of war. Minister of State Klaus von Lichtenlade agreed with Reinhard's assessment, and the resignations were turned down. In exchange for this intervention on their behalf, the three joint chiefs of staff dropped any plans to punish Oberstein. (LOGH: 'Cool, Clear Artificial Eyes')

Free Planets Alliance Invasion

Oberstein was promoted to Commodore as Reinhard's staff officer, which was unusual given that Oberstein gained no battle accolades since joining Reinhard's admiralty. During the Alliance's invasion of Imperial territory, Oberstein served on the front line, at Reinhard von Lohengramm's side. After the Battle of Amritsar, he was further promoted to Vice Admiral. (LOGH: 'The Battle of Amritsar Starzone', 'New Trends')

Imperial Civil War

In October 796 UC (487 IC / 3596 CE), after Reinhard incurred the wrath of the high nobles by supporting Lichtenlade's installation of Erwin Josef II as Kaiser of the Galactic Empire, he asked Oberstein to formulate a plan to divide the Alliance from within to prevent it from interfering with his upcoming power struggle with the high nobles. Oberstein's plan was to plant an agent provocateur in the Alliance to instigate a military coup d'état and this was realised in January 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE) when the agent, former Alliance Rear Admiral Arthur Lynch, was successfully dispatched to the Alliance under the cover of a prisoner-of-war exchange. (LOGH: 'New Trends', 'Before the Storm')

In April 797 UC (488 IC / 3597 CE), as open conflict between the Lohengramm-Lichtenlade faction and the high noble faction led by Duke Otho von Braunschweig and Marquis Wilhelm von Littenheim became inevitable, Oberstein provided intelligence on the high nobles to Reinhard in his plan to take them down pre-emptively. Despite his efforts a significant number the high nobles, which by then had formed a pact and took the name of Lippstadt League, managed to escape Odin and gathered in Geiersburg Fortress with their troops and ships. Reinhard then decided to suppress the Lippstadt League by force and also departed Odin leading fleets under his command, thus starting the Imperial Civil War. (LOGH: 'The Lippstadt Conspiracy')

Throughout the civil war, Oberstein served as Reinhard's chief of staff on board his flagship Brünhild, and constantly provided him with amoral but ultimately effective advices. For example, after an assault on Rentenberg Fortress led to the capture of the Commander of the Imperial Panzergrenadiers High Admiral Ovlesser, Oberstein recommended that Ovlesser, who was well-known for his hostility towards Reinhard, be allowed his life and freedom. He predicted Duke Braunschwieg's paranoia of the unharmed Ovlesser, and the Lippstadt nobles executed Ovlesser. Later on when Oberstein learned of Westerland's impending doom, he recommended that Reinhard not prevent the nuclear attack and use it instead to turn public opinion in the Empire against the Lippstadt League, thereby shortening the civil war. Torn between the cold logic of Oberstein's words and his own moral compass, Reinhard asked when the attack was to occur to give himself time to reach a final decision. Oberstein thereupon lied to Reinhard in order to allow the nuclear attack to take place. He told Reinhard the attack would occur in 6 hours, but in reality the attack occurred in 4 hours and Oberstein had secretly dispatched a ship to record images of the attack. Reinhard was furious with Oberstein for the filming of the event and the clear manipulation he had been the victim of, but did not punish Oberstein over the dissimulation. (LOGH: 'Bloodshed in Space', 'The Fall of Goldenbaum')

The Ascent of the Goldenlöwe Dynasty

Immediately following the Lippstadt League's surrender and the end of the Imperial Civil War, High Admiral Kircheis was murdered by the chief retainer of the deceased Duke Braunschwieg, Commodore Ansbach. This sent Reinhard into a inconsolable state of mourning and his admirals were fearful of what Reinhard's remaining enemies might try to do to take advantage of his mental absence. In an attempt to prevent any possible complication in Reinhard's consolidation of power, Oberstein suggested that the various admirals make their way to Odin as quickly as possible to assert control over the Imperial Capital and, as a result, the Empire as a whole. Taking his advice, Reinhard's admirals took command of the space around Odin and forcefully seized all government and military facilities in a blitzkrieg operation. Once Minister of State Lichtenlade was apprehended and forced to commit suicide, Reinhard became the sole power in the Empire, Kaiser in all but name. (LOGH: 'Farewell, Distant Memories')

Oberstein then went to work routing out the corruption of the now puppet Goldenbaum Dynasty while building up the foundations for the future Goldenlöwe Dynasty through meticulous planning and organization. He performed his duties quickly and efficiently, but because of a total lack of visible emotion and his now famous calculating, unapologetic logic, he received the ire of his fellow admirals. One of his more notable decisions was to appoint Heydrich Lang, formerly the Chief of the Department of Social Discipline, as the Chief of its successor, the Internal Security Department, causing even more anger and distrust from the rest of Reinhard's subordinates. (LOGH: 'Operation: Ragnarök')

In November 798 UC (489 IC / 3598 CE), Oberstein participated in the first Ragnarök operation in his capacity as Imperial Chief of Staff and accompanied Reinhard on board the Brünhild as he led the Imperial Fleet in the Battle of Rantemario in February 799 UC (1 NIC / 490 IC / 3599 CE) and later, the Battle of Vermilion in April 799 UC (1 NIC / 490 IC / 3599 CE). After the Alliance government unexpectedly surrendered in the midst of Battle of Vermilion, Oberstein was tasked by Reinhard to deal with the post-war Alliance. Oberstein opined that it was still too early for the Alliance to be directly integrated into the Empire, and thus advocated retaining a semblance of autonomy for the Alliance while simultaneously impoverishing it. Reinhard agreed to Oberstein's suggestions and subsequently Oberstein, representing the Empire, signed the Treaty of Ba‘alat together with the Supreme Chairman of the Alliance High Council Job Trunicht on 25 May 799 UC (1 NIC / 490 IC / 3599 CE), formally ending the Alliance–Imperial War. (LOGH: 'The Two-Headed Snake: The Battle of Rantemario', 'The Battle of Vermilion (Part One)', 'The Battle of Vermilion (Part Two)', 'Long Live the Emperor!')

After Reinhard crowned himself as Kaiser on 20 June 799 UC (1 NIC / 490 IC / 3599 CE), Oberstein was promoted to the rank of Fleet Admiral and appointed as the Minister of Military Affairs of the New Galactic Empire. (LOGH: 'The Kümmel Incident')

Minister of Military Affairs

In 800 UC (2 NIC / 491 IC / 3600 CE), during Reinhard's second invasion of the Free Planets Alliance, Oberstein handled military administration from Fezzan. During this time he was injured in a terrorist bombing. Unlike Cornelius Lutz, who was injured in the same attack, Oberstein received little sympathy as he was highly unpopular with the other high ranking admirals. (LOGH: 'To the Windy Corridor')

After the Battle of the Corridor Oberstein proposed that a senior officer be sent to Iserlohn as hostage against Yang Wen-li's safe return. However, once Yang was in Imperial hands he should be executed regardless of consequence to the hostage. Oberstein explicitly stated his own readiness to be the hostage in this scenario but Reinhard rejected the plan. In the end, the proposal was rendered moot when Yang was assassinated by Terraists before he could even attend the ceasefire talks offered by Reinhard. (LOGH: 'The Magician Doesn't Come Back')

Later when Oskar von Reuenthal rose up in rebellion against Reinhard in November 800 UC (2 NIC / 491 IC / 3600 CE), to a considerable degree due to the strong dislike he had for Oberstein and for Heydrich Lang, Oberstein expected to be sent as a special envoy to Reuenthal. When Lang protested his own inclusion in the proposed delegation on the grounds that Reuenthal would probably shoot him on sight, Oberstein unemotionally observed that the rebel admiral's hatred for him was just as strong. (LOGH: 'Rebellion Is a Hero's Privilege')

In February 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE), Oberstein was tasked to restore order in Heinessen alongside with Fritz Joseph Bittenfeld and Neidhart Müller. However, upon his arrival in April, he infuriated his fellow admirals with his plan to round up scores of former Alliance politicians and high-ranking military officers and use them as negotiation fodder against the Iserlohn Republic Government, and his acerbic criticisms of his colleagues only stoked their angers even more, resulting in Bittenfeld assaulting Oberstein. Oberstein immediately placed Bittenfeld under house arrest, which outraged Bittenfeld's subordinates. A potential infighting within Imperial forces in Heinessen was however prevented with the efforts of Müller and August Samuel Wahlen, and Bittenfeld was subsequently released. However, Oberstein's initial plan was sabotaged by the Terraists when they instigated a riot in Rugpool Prison where the political prisoners were detained in. Even after Reinhard personally went to Heinessen after the riot was quelled and released the surviving prisoners, negotiations with the Iserlohn Republic Government became stalled and before it could be re-opened, the Battle of Shiva broke out in May 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE). (LOGH: 'Cosmic Mosaic', 'Towards Peace, Through Bloodshed', 'Planet of Confusion', 'The Crimson Star Road')

Death

Despite constantly being viewed with distrust, Oberstein remained unflinchingly loyal to Reinhard von Lohengramm and the Goldenlöwe Dynasty for his entire life, never faltering in the least. His loyalty to the idea of the Empire as a whole was stronger even than any personal loyalty to Reinhard, and he disagreed with some of Reinhard's later military expeditions, arguing they were wasteful of lives and material wealth when other more efficient (albeit more ruthless and distasteful) methods were available. Oberstein even went so far as to say that if Reinhard treated the military and treasury of the Empire as his own personal possessions, then he would be no better than the rulers of the Goldenbaum Dynasty. (LOGH: 'Cosmic Mosaic')

After the Battle of Shiva when Reinhard returned to Fezzan, aware that he was terminally ill, he agreed with Oberstein to use himself as a lure to draw out the remaining Terraists. Oberstein let it be known that Reinhard expected to recover and would then resume his mission to destroy the organization entirely as a blow against the Terraists. As expected this led to an attack on the temporary Imperial Residence, repeating their earlier attempt that had been foiled by Ulrich Kesler.

Although the Terrarists were unsuccessful, Oberstein was mortally wounded by a bomb and refused futile medical efforts. He left a message for his butler advising of where his will could be found and instructions as to how his dog should be treated. He died within thirty minutes of the attack, on 26 July 801 UC (3 NIC / 492 IC / 3601 CE). (LOGH: 'Dream: To See It to the End')

Appendices

Appearances

Memorable quotes

  1. "I am the only living survivor of the Iserlohn garrison fleet. Just by surviving I am to be punished.*"
  2. "As you see, both of my eyes are cybernetic. I had no right to live, as a weakling. If it had been during the reign of Kaiser Rudolf, I would have been killed long ago. Do you understand? I hate them: Kaiser Rudolf, his descendants, and all those influenced by him."
  3. "The Galactic Empire — no, the Goldenbaum Dynasty must perish. If it is possible, I want to destroy it with my own hands."
  4. "There is nobody other than your Excellency who can build a new empire."

Background information

Oberstein is part of Idar-Oberstein, a town in the Birkenfeld district in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Apocrypha

Stage

Played by Takami Hiroyuki

Oberstein is played by Takami Hiroyuki in the 2011 stage adaptation of LOGH.

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