McGowan is the leader of the Associated Guild of Free Traders and widely reputed to be a racketeer, murderer, and all-around slimeball. His takeover of the Guild, which led that organization to be regarded as little more than a pack of freebooters, prompted the formation of the rival Association of Free Traders. McGowan's headquarters are said to be on Harbor in the Scheall system, but his influence may be felt in nearly any system on the fringe of the Federation, especially those with shady or ineffective local administrators.
In the Pirate preamble, McGowan lured much of the Association of Free Traders, including its leader Capt. Morgan Greyshoulders, into a trap for the Bureau of Internal Investigation. A Federation Navy task force led by an E-60 Carrier came close to wiping out the Association. The only survivors escaped because Greyshoulders managed to hold off the Federation with the Unrelenting long enough for them to make the jump to hyperspace, losing his life in the process. The only confirmed survivors from the Unrelenting were Morgan's brother Olaf, and his child, the player, who evacuated in a hyperspace-capable escape pod after the carrier was disabled.
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