At age eighteen, he enlisted in the Royal Manticoran Marine Corps, and rose to Platoon Sergeant within five years. He was even considered for an officer's commission, when an incident occurred that left many people dead and earned him the Osterman Cross, the highest military honor exclusively for enlisted personnel. He accepted the offered officer's commission, but requested a transfer to the Navy so that he could become a medical officer.
Harrington attended Semmelweis University on Beowulf on a military scholarship, where he met Captain Jacques Benton-Ramirez y Chou of the Biological Survey Corps, as well his twin sister, Allison. Alfred and Allison were almost instantly attracted to each other when they first met, although neither chose to act on it. When she was kidnapped a short time later to force information out of her brother, Alfred was able to locate her through a latent psychic connection he felt. Killing several of the Mesan kidnappers, he freed Allison and carried her off. Jacques came to their rescue when the Mesans cornered them in a ditch not far away, killing all remaining kidnappers from an assault shuttle. A short time later, Alfred and Allison confessed their feelings for each other, with the young woman explaining that maybe their love would be able to cancel out their respective shortcomings and make them both whole. (HHA6.3: BATB)
He warned her when he proposed marriage that his scholarship meant he owed the Navy fifteen years of service, and that they would need to return to Sphinx, which was considered quite conservative compared to Manticore, let alone Beowulf. (HH7)
He held the rank of Surgeon Commander when he retired from the RMN around 1870 PD. (HHA3.1: MMH) His final duty assignment was Assistant Chief of Neurosurgery at Bassingford Medical Center. He was one of then-Captain Thomas Caparelli's physicians after Caparelli's injuries suffered while assigned to duty in the Silesian Confederacy (HH9)
After retirement he and his wife eventually became senior partners with the Duvalier Medical Association. (HH1) In 1903 PD, he and his wife attended the recommissioning ceremony for HMS Fearless aboard the space station HMSS Vulcan. (HH2)
Dr. Harrington would repair his daughter's battle wounds through reconstructive surgery and therapy. It would take over a year for her to recover. In 1903 PD, he and his wife had an apartment in Duvalier City, residing at the Harrington freehold only on weekends. (HH3)
In late 1922 PD, he was recalled from the retired list to become the 103rd commanding officer of Bassingford Medical Center. This was done due to the massive casualties in the wake of the Yawata Strike and the Second Battle of Manticore, and came with a promotion to Commodore. (HH14)
Alfred Harrington was a strong-willed and energetic person, with a potential for violence far beyond that of most humans. He was afraid of his own exceptional ability to kill and destroy, and only found peace with himself through the marriage to Allison and his work as a healer. (HHA6.3: BATB)
- Sergeant (RMMC)
- Lieutenant (JG)
- Surgeon Lieutenant
- Surgeon Lieutenant Commander
- Surgeon Commander (rank at retirement)
- Surgeon Commodore (following reactivation of commission) - 1922
- Assistant Chief of Neurosurgery, Bassingford Medical Center (City of Landing, planet Manticore)
- Commanding Officer, Bassingford Medical Center (City of Landing, planet Manticore)
- Faith and James were born several decades after Honor after her presumed death. Howard and Michael were born a decade later.
- When Honor was about eleven T-years old.
- In Uncompromising Honor, his last pre-retirement post is referred to as "Head of Neurosurgery".
- Although officially he had been recalled to active duty, he personally chose to return, in an attempt to help deal with the loss of much of his family in the Yatawa Strike.