The son of Edwina Smythe, an ambitious Agrarian Democrat politician on Cronos, young Joseph Smythe went to the best schools and tried to enlist in Earth Fleet as a fighter pilot at the age of 16. Instead, due to his exceptional academic record, he was assigned to the engineering department, spending his first tour of duty maintaining the airlock doors on fighter launch bays aboard a Star Control Ship. Doggedly working his way up the ranks, he eventually was given command of a frigate, then a destroyer, and finally a sscout carrier. He became a leading advocate of starfighter-based battle tactics over the more orthodox capital-ship based tactics of the day. His flamboyant personality and iconoclastic ideas held his career back somewhat, but the rapid turnover in the upper ranks of the Third Civil War soon saw him promoted to Commodore and given command of the 1st Tactical Carrier Group, part of the forces under Admiral Shoemaker defending New Paris.
When Avalon was attacked by a major Rebel fleet in August of 2243, Smythe defied orders to bring his fleet through the digital gate in response to a desperate plea for reinforcements from Commodore Erich Von Shrakenberg, who had just captured the Rebel cruisers who had been blockading the Avalon end of the digital gate connection. Shortly thereafter, due to Samuel Wall's blackmail of the Rebel Fleet commander, Admiral Danielle Twedt, the rebel fleet began to withdraw to Wilke's Star. On the suggestion of Factor Wall, Smythe moved to attack the fleeing fleet, and he was joined by Von Shrakenberg's battlecruiser squadron. Together they nearly wiped out the fleeing rebel fleet by destroying the Avalon-Wilke's Star Jumpgate just as the bulk of the Rebel fleet tried to enter hyperspace.
After the battle, Smythe returned with his carriers to New Paris just in time to face a Jurvain invasion of that system. Ordered by Admiral Shoemaker to sit the battle out as the tactical reserves, Smythe again disobeyed orders and laid a brilliant tactical trap for the enemy. Correctly predicting just how the Jurvain would defeat Shoemaker's uninspired tactics, Smythe repositioned his forces to ambush the pursuing Jurvain as they chased the shattered remnants of Shoemaker's capital ship force. Once more, his fighters nearly annihilated a superior enemy force, and Smythe was the hero of the day.
After the war, he fell out of Chairman Arthur Clarke's favor and was sent to desk duty, until the devastating losses in the Vin Shriak War. Commander of the Poseidon Battle Group during the Caal Invasion, he refused to obey Clarke's order to move to Avalon.After most of the ships who did come to Avalon were destroyed defeating the Caal, Smythe was left commanding the largest intact fleet in known space. After Vin Dane allowed himself to be delared Emperor and dissolved the Federation, many of those systems, ships, and individuals who refused to bow down and worship a Horadrim as God-Emperor of Humanity rallied around Smythe as their best hope for defeating the Holy Terran Empire.
Smythe worked tirelessly to preserve his Rump Federation, successfully negotiating the integration of the Ministry of Public Safety back into the Federation, and launching a two-pronged offensive into Imperial space. A northern prong successfully took the industrial system of Minos, but then stalled out for lack of ships to advance further. A southern prong recaptured Kalintos and landed on St. Michael's Star, before fizzling out there in the face of a superior Imperial fleet that stranded the invasion force on the ground. Smythe himself brought his flagship the EFS Poseidon to St. Michael's Star to relieve his stranded army, but it was too little, too late. The immense losses in fighting on the ground had so depleted their numbers that it was more of a rescue than a reinforcement.
Smythe threatened to bombard the planet from orbit if the Imperial commanders did not surrender the planet to him, but they initially refused. So he carried out his threat, destroying the capital city of Port Prosperity. Realizing that Smythe could continue until the planet was totally devastated, General Vandemaar, the Imperial Army commander, assassinated the Duke Jordan Landon and took over, agreeing to switch sides and become the new Federation governor of the system in exchange for he and his men being spared further bombardment. However, while this gave him enough troops to garrison St. Michael's Star, it was not enough to continue the advance on New Paris, and Smythe had to return to his temporary capital of New Madrid. On the way, he raided the Jurvain forces that had invaded his flank and taken Kalintos back from him, destroying enough of their ships to halt their further advance, but he lacked the forces to follow up with a counteroffensive of his own.
Unable to defeat the Empire with conventional military forces, and alliance talks with the Terran Republic having broken down, Smythe hatched a desperate scheme. He negotiated an alliance with the Sabbat, and sent a small joint Federation-Sabbat strike team to Avalon aboard a captured Imperial vessel. There they attempted to assassinate Emperor Vin Dane, on the theory that since he lacked a clear heir, if he died, the Empire died with him. However, the mission was not a success, and Vin Dane seemingly survived to become stronger than ever.
With the last real hope for victory gone, Smythe was assassinated by his own spymaster, Herbert Gergenstein, who made it look like he'd been killed in a dispute with his own mother. With Smythe gone, his rump Federation fell apart, and was annexed with a minimum of fuss by the Holy Terran Empire.
Behind the ScenesEdit
This page was supposed to be larger, but Marcus hit the wrong key and deleted all the carefully crafted back story. Originally, Smythe was created to be a rival to Martin's character in Season 4.3, but only got three acts of screen time. He was based off the character of Admiral Zhukov Pashtun from the 2nd Season finale of Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, which is why his Actor Avatar is Chris Humphreys, the actor in that episode. Unfortunately, Martin wasn't initially told that, and so he tended to write the character as if based on General Melchett from Blackadder. This is why his characterization in both Season 4.3 and Season Nine is so uneven, based on who was writing for him at the time.