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John Patrick McGrady (born 29 May 3234), also known as Jack McGrady and Handsome Jack, is a Terran spacer condottieri, labour activist, and alleged gangster. He is the eldest child and son of Shannon McGrady and Patrick David McGrady. He was a senior officer in the Imperial Marines during the 3250s, and entered a political career in 3260. However, after failure to win a major election in 3262 to the provincial parliament, he abandoned politics. He went off the grid for some time, his precise whereabouts being unknown to the public. It is suspected that he departed to join one of a number of ethnically Irish space gangs, which became united as the Fenian Daggers in 3266. It is believed by crime historians that McGrady played a vital role in forming the gang and was the unequivocal leader of the Fenian Daggers from its foundation. In 3285, the Fenian Daggers as an organisation were pardoned for its pirate activities and were chartered as an affiliate group of the Honourable Galactic Corsair Company, an interstellar mercenary network. He was brought to trial in 3286 for piracy and conspiracy, but was acquitted. Afterwards, he was elected chairman of the public Fenian Daggers Mercenary Band, making official his leadership of the legitimised group.

Early life and education

John Patrick McGrady was born on May 29th, 3234 at the McGrady Estate on the orbital habitat Wallerstein, to Shannon Hazel McGrady and Patrick David McGrady (nee Drake). He was educated at the Saint Xavier School for Boys in Wallerstein from autumn of 3239 to Summer 3244. He attended the Wallerstein Catholic Academy of St. Francis and St. Claire from 3244 to spring 3252. His next youngest brother, William, began attendance of the Wallerstein Academy the year after John matriculated. While at the Academy, he participated actively in extracurricular activities including speech and debate, chess, gridiron football, association football, rugby, team rowing, and track-and-field. He matriculated the same year his mother was elected to the Inner Colonies Provincial Parliament, so his father attended his graduation ceremony on 5 May 3252.

In summer 3252, he enrolled in the prestigious Choate School of Wallingford, Connecticut on Earth, and departed his hometown for the capital world of the Empire for a summer session of college preparatory school. Alone for the first time in his life, he made friends quickly at the school, many of whom accompanied him in enrolment at Harvard University in autumn of that year. He attended studies at Harvard Law School for two years. He did not graduate, however, due to enlisting in the Marines.

Military service

Jack

LT McGrady, c. 3255

During the Christmas break between classes in late 3254, McGrady enlisted in the Imperial Navy Marine Corps. With college credits and a prestigious name, he was promoted to Corporal following basic training,Harsh Environment training, and Orbital Combat training. He went to Officer Candidate School, earning his commission as a Lieutenant in June 3255. He was assigned to the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 3rd Rifle Battalion of the 215th Marines regiment, 35th Marine Division. The 35th Division was deployed to the Orion Frontier to combat insurrectionist and piratical elements. He was rapidly reassigned and promoted to Major as the staff executive officer of the 3rd Battalion in 3256.

McGrady's success in leading troops led to his commendation during his years of service. However, his promotion to higher officer rank was due to a tragic incident on 16 March 3257; during a staff meeting of the battalion staff, most of the battalion-level command and several platoon commanders were killed in action in a mortar attack by pirates on the surface of the planet Linus. He became acting commander of the battalion, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. On his request, the battalion was deployed to police duties in the Orion Frontier, combating organized crime and piracy that had been wrought by the Green Dragon syndicate, an Orionese pirate guild, in Orion space and Terran frontier nebulae. The 3rd battalion engaged in numerous raids and direct-action strikes on Green Dragon safehouses and fronts, but to little effect. The Green Dragon syndicate retreated to Orionese space, and the Imperial Marines were ordered to restrict their activities.

On 4 July 3260, Lieutenant Colonel McGrady resigned his commission, citing a sense of shame from being unable to destroy the Green Dragons. He returned to Wallerstein.

Political career

McGrady was the leader of the National Humanist youth group in high school, and a registered member of the NHILP while in college. He returned to his hometown in 3260 and ran in a special election in August 3260 after the death of Deputy Tanya Adkins. John McGrady was elected as a Deputy to the Kolossen Assembly. He served in the Assembly for two years, earning legislative experience. His mother did not run for reelection in the Inner Colonies Provincial Parliament in November 3262, leaving it open for her son to run, as she was chosen to be part of the Party List for the Imperial Parliament. She was elected in May 3262, but the the Provincial elections weren't until the last week of November. She nominally held the seat but devoted most of her time to establishing her offices on Earth.

John McGrady ran throughout late 3262 for his mother's vacant seat. However, he lost the election. After losing, he resigned his seat in the Kolossen Assembly and departed home once more.

Criminal activities

McGrady went "off the grid" after 3262 for several years. Crime historians and researchers have constructed a broad narrative of his activities during this period. It would not be until 3286 that he publicly acknowledged any elements of the narrative, but his criminal career was accepted in popular culture and by the media as true. The narrative only accrued piecemeal through the gradual research by Space Police and State Security investigators, journalists, and historians.

After the end of 3262, John McGrady chartered a spacecraft and departed for the Outer Colonies. He then became a passenger on several tramp freighters throughout the colonies, linking up with criminal gangs who purportedly had ties to the McGrady Corporation. Using his family's name, he gained the trust of these groups and came to be an underboss in several gangs by 3266. In a series of conferences estimated to have occurred some time between December 3266 and February 3267, these groups came together at McGrady's urging and organised into a formal confederacy, with a commission of leaders to jointly make decisions. McGrady was nominated and chosen to be the inugural chairman of this commission. The group, primarily composed of ethnically Irish and Irish-American settlers, called themselves the Fenians. After a series of violent attacks later tht year on opposing gangs in the Banat and Arcturus provinces, the gang came to be called the Fenian Daggers.

The group benefited from a sturdy organisation and a hierarchical administration that enabled it to make long-term strategic plans for increasing its share of the criminal underworld. Over the next several years, it expanded its power base in the colonies through arms trade, drug trafficking, counterfeiting, wire fraud, and a widespread network of protection rackets; their focus was on financial crime and smuggling. On some colonies, like Keystone, it became well-integrated into the existing network of patronage and corruption. It is alleged by historians that the connection between the McGrady Corporation and the Fenian Daggers was more than coincidental, and the expansion of McGrady corporate assets on many colonies served to mask the illegal activities of the gang members, many of whom held cover identities in the corporate world. By 3270, the Fenian Daggers had risen to dominate street gangs in most urbanised worlds in the Outer Colonies, Arcturus Stream, and Horsehead Colonies provinces. It lacked, however, the integrated space assets to control its own shipping network and mercenary defence force. The Orion-based Dragon Syndicate was too large, wealthy, and well-equipped to be sufficiently challenged, until October of 3270. A rpolice aid on a syndicate meeting led to the deaths of nearly all of its leadership, and the major clans not only turned on each other, but split themselves into feuding factions. The massive gang war saw the collapse of the Dragon Syndicate within a year. The Fenian Daggers under John McGrady leveraged their considerable monetary assets to purchase many former Dragon Syndicate spacecraft, and seduce many Dragon gangsters to their employ. Almost overnight, the Daggers rapidly expanded; they were suddenly capable of shipping their own goods and personnel, defending those shipments, and raiding the shipments of others. By 3272, they were the single largest space gang. Their main rival came to be the Yellow Jackets, who also capitalised on the power vacuum and materiel trade caused by the fall of the Dragon Syndicate.