In February, General Kwan wins an astounding victory by capturing Boros for the Alliance. By April he is nearly dismissed from duty after loosing more than 13,000 troops in an Independent surprise attack. He then leads an involved ground battle on Athens, lasting for the rest of the year. While the Independents are distracted, General-in-Chief Devchenko leads an assault on Hera, but is forced to flee after heavy loses against Independent General Rui Li. Upon arriving at Osiris the Alliance Directorate relieves Devchenko of his duties, appointing Jeremiah Hildebrand General-in-Chief of all Alliance Forces.
Hildebrand immediately seeks to retake Verbena for the Alliance, ordering General Stewart Irvin to lead the campaign. Irvin is forced to retreat after embarrassing losses. Returning from the failed attack, Irvin’s fleet is bombarded by Independent General Rui Li on the ‘Coreside’ of the Halo Asteroid Belt. Li is successful and continues on to liberate Persephone of its Alliance blockade. Li is forced to retreat due to General-in-Chief Hildebrand’s well-trained space fleet. Hildebrand, hoping the tide has turned, leads an attack on Verbena himself. He is sorely mistaken and relieved of duty. Evan Ambrose is appointed General-in-Chief of Alliance Forces.
Ambrose’s plan to retake Verbena is superseded by the Alliance Directorate’s decision that the ongoing campaign on Athens must end. He is ordered to detonate warheads in order to force capitulation. Athens falls, returning to the Alliance, but the public outcry by the Core worlds’ citizens force the Directorate to think fast.