Alexander MacGregor was a co-founder of the Independent and later Republican Fleet with fellow Admiral Hugh Sims and a major supporter of the independence movement of the Republican Star Cluster. A former captain in the United States Navy, MacGregor volunteered to provide the necessary military expertise required to secure independence from the UUHA.
Life on Earth
Alexander MacGregor was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 2106 to an accountant and a school teacher. His parents were born-again Christians who raised him in a strictly religious household, a belief that stayed with him for the rest of his life. He was said to have been active in the Boy Scouts as a young man and later attended the Naval Academy. As a student, he also played as a running back for the school's football team and was said to be fast and agile.
Following graduation, he received his appointment to the United States Navy as a second lieutenant and was posted aboard an attack submarine in the Pacific Ocean in 2128. He reached the rank of commander by the age of thirty-five. It was at this time that the United States had begun building a small fleet of vessels for operation in space. The pool they chose to draw from was primarily the submariner corps because of similarities in three-dimensional navigation. MacGregor volunteered and was appointed to the rank of captain over a crew of fifty.
The bulk of his work consisted of intercepting vessels coming from the Colonial Star Cluster and searching it for illegal goods such as imported alcohol, weapons, or narcotics. This was done in cooperation with the United Nations and was generally boring. But MacGregor loved the work. The routine of it appealed to his ordered mind and he felt the cause was just. Still, his family pressured him to retire after just eleven years.
Move to the Colonies
In 2147, just a year after Hugh Sims would move to Galileo, MacGregor and his family relocated to Columbus with other members of their church congregation. The idea had not been his own, rather it was his wife who hoped that their four young children could be raised in a "Christian" environment and Columbus was thought to be the best place to do so.
During this time, MacGregor parlayed his experience with ship inspections into a job at the city of Matthew's spaceport. Here, he inspected all landing ships for alcohol and narcotics generally coming from the Fenghuang worlds. He did his job and did it well, eventually being appointed lead inspector by a commission created by the major towns and cities of the planet in . His job was to intercept smugglers who wouldn't land at the spaceports and to confiscate and destroy any illicit materials. With a small fleet of six ships, he again excelled at his task and in the first year alone, 2152, he was credited with impounding over ten-thousand liters of smuggled alcohol and well over nine-thousand kilograms of narcotics.
In the eyes of the commission and censors across the world, MacGregor had become something of a savior. Before him, it had been almost impossible to stem the flow of the goods they deemed "immoral". True, even with him patrolling the world, some still made it, but it began to seem possible that MacGregor could stop the vast majority. Just as before, MacGregor took great pride in his work but, unlike before, this time he was also well rewarded. By 2155, MacGregor was being paid an astonishing CD$4.8 million.
But while his popularity with the leaders on the world was on the rise, some aspects of his home life were falling apart. His eldest son had been killed after a man who took something he said as an insult shot him dead on the street. And his only daughter, Kimberly, ran away to Galileo at seventeen in 2156. She would, a short time after arriving, find work at the Little Moscow club in Galileo City as a prostitute, something that would become a point of contention between him and future president Ivan Boldyrev. Still, he was determined that his youngest two children would be brought up right and, in 2160 at the age of 54, MacGregor would retire to spend the rest of his time with them.
Of course, taking care of teenagers could be a full time job but MacGregor found himself increasingly involved in the independence movement. Upset at Earth's treatment of the colonies and Columbus in particular, not to mention the taxes Earth was attempting to levy, MacGregor began attending rallies and meeting designed to foster the independent spirit. When, in 2169, the First Independent Congress was called on Galileo, the then governor of Columbus asked if MacGregor wouldn't attend also as a military advisor.
MacGregor reluctantly agreed, if only to find Kimberly and bring her home.
It was while in Galileo City that he discovered Little Moscow was owned by Galilean governor Ivan Boldyrev, the man who had both called for the Independent Congress and was setting its agenda. He immediately took a dislike to the short, stocky, black-haired man but kept it mostly to himself and ground his teeth through the discussions. Whatever he had to say to Boldyrev, he said it through the governor's military advisor, Hugh Sims, a man ten years his younger but with very similar experience. They had little else in common though and frequently clashed with opinions. But once appointed Admirals to the new Independent Navy, MacGregor made a great deal of effort to keep such disagreements outside the public eye.
One thing he found himself agreeing with Sims on without hesitation was that if the worlds truly wanted to maintain their newly achieved home rule, they would need to become independent of Earth and that such an adventure would require a military to ensure it. That the Congress was aware of their other disagreements, the consensus on this point struck home deeper than it might have otherwise.
And while there were other military advisors to Congress, both Sims and MacGregor stood out from the others for their actual military experience and professionalism. And though both were recent immigrants to the Colonial Star Cluster, the native political leaders to whom they gave advice professed their utter satisfaction with their loyalty to the cause.
Thus, when Congress issued its Article of Independence, they followed it with the creation of the Independent Fleet and appointed both men to be admirals of equal rank to co-command it. This was not without its difficulties. While both men had served in their national navies, each had an entirely different belief in how a new fleet should be run. Sims turned out to favor a looser fleet made up of men of skill, regardless of their personal characters. MacGregor was a "blue light captain" and strict authoritarian, wishing to compose the new fleet out of men of substance and good morals. And, had it not been for the dire need for immediate protection, MacGregor might have won out given that many Congressional delegates had lofty ideas for what their independence might represent.
As it was, the threat of an Earth invasion made such weeding and training unfeasible to organizing a fleet in a short amount of time with any hope of defending against Earth's already trained military forces. Sims won the day by convincing first MacGregor then Congress that what they needed, and needed now, was the type of person who had been a thorn in Earth's side almost since the beginning, namely smugglers. With the proven skill at avoiding UUHA forces, outside the box thinking, and leadership skills honed under less than ideal circumstances, they were exactly who the Independents needed to captain their ships. And Congress reluctantly agreed.
Leaving the matter of recruiting to Sims, MacGregor focused on the ships that would compose the new Fleet. He purchased dozens of old and retired cargo ships and contracted mainly with Rayo to retrofit them with weapons and armor plating. They were not purpose built and were not as tough as even the old cruiser MacGregor had once commanded but they were something that wouldn't leave the new Independent worlds undefended. And these ships paid off.
In 2172, when the UUHA invaded the Republican Star Cluster, they were unable to prevent the invasion. But, as the UUHA spread their forces throughout, organized as a coherent fleet, they proved more than capable of facing off against, and defeating the purpose built cruisers. Still the losses on both sides was high. And it was on this point that MacGregor was said to have been conflicted. While he wholeheartedly supported the independence movement, the loss of so many Earth sailors, possibly men he might have served with when they were younger, disturbed him.
It is said that this is when he began to conceive of the NOVA, a ship large and threatening enough that no one would want to engage it. But it is certain that this is when he conceived of the "Blue Line", a point in space where Earth's reach would end and the independent's would nominally begin. In the future, he would prefer not to have any civilian losses and he hoped that creating an engagement point so far out in space might prevent such a thing.
Still, the losses taken during the First Republican Defensive proved to both MacGregor and Hugh Sims that the fleet they had was not the fleet they needed. What they needed was something larger, something with the full support of the worlds, and enough personel and a budget large enough to get it done.
While Hugh Sims is commonly thought of as the father of the NOVA Program, it was actually conceived and implemented by Alexander MacGregor. Only he had the organizational mind needed to pull off a project so large and complex. However, Sims usually receives most of the credit due to his pushing it on Congress and generally being the public face. It was MacGregor, however, who had to convince Sims of the idea.
Working with the major space vehicle manufacturer, MacGregor lined up the necessary support from industry that would make the project a success. In fact, it was he who decided that the companies should do most of the design work rather than the admiralty.
Organizing the NOVA Program was not the only thing MacGregor did. With the founding of the Unified Republic of Stars and the Republican Fleet, MacGregor saw that the various tasks would be too many for the general top down structure the Independent Fleet had used. Instead, he proposed dividing the Fleet into five divisions, each to handle a specific task. Additionally, and perhaps because of his days catching smugglers, he also wanted a division devoted entirely to intelligence, thus creating the Fifth Fleet.
All of these proposals went into effect, but unfortunately before the NOVA Program could bear fruit, the UUHA invaded a second time in 2174 in what became known as the Second Republican Defensive. While Sims took over command of a battle group, MacGregor instead chose to hide aboard a vessel, leaving its running to her captain and instead devoting himself fulltime to organizing where and when the dispersed ships of the Fleet should rendezvous. It was maybe not as glorious as the battles Sims involved himself in but was essential and, like everything else MacGregor had done in his life, he threw himself into it fully.
Following the Second Republican Defensive, MacGregor found himself increasingly unhappy in the admiralty. With Ivan Boldyrev now President of the Republic and his direct superior, MacGregor discovered that he could no longer stand it. So, with the NOVA Program well under way and the Republican Fleet organized along the lines of his plan, Alexander MacGregor retired from the Fleet in 2176 at seventy years old.
He and his wife returned to Columbus from Galileo and re-opened their house in Matthew. He saw both of his younger children succeed in their chosen professions, the third-eldest becoming a school teacher and the youngest an executive at Two Girls Tobacco, but never did repair his relationship with his daughter. Never again involving himself with military or planetary matters, MacGregor chose instead to live a relatively quiet life, attending the same church in the city as when he'd arrived and devoting himself to the bible. He died in 2192 at the age of eighty-six from a stroke and was buried in his congregation's grave yard. While also a Fleet Admiral, his wife chose not to return his body to Galileo to lie in state, opting instead for a quiet funeral of friends and family only.
His daughter did not attend.
- ↑ The term "blue light captain" tends to refer to a man who views his military authority as being a blessing from God and will often run his ship not unlike a congregation, insisting on respect of a higher power and frowning on such things as alcohol or vice.