Peter Lancaster was an engineer specializing in warp technology. Born in England, Lancaster was a dwarf (as he identified himself, not caring for the terms “midget” or “little person”), a rare condition in the fifth century Interstellar Era. He had the gene for dwarfism that genetic therapy could not fix in the womb. As a hormone treatment for the condition was misstimed, he was the “one tenth of the one tenth of the one tenth they couldn’t fix.” Lancaster chose to be philosophical about it as he had the intelligence to do anything he wanted. With a lecherous personality, he earned the nickname “Tripod,” which he encouraged.
After the test flight of the Alcubierre in 429 IE, Lancaster left the Compact Navy believing the program to have been cut.
After the Gelt Incursion began, Vice Admiral Eileen Burke recalled him to service. The timing proved fortuitous as he found himself embroiled in a scandal with an Etruscan politician’s wife. He returned to duty to serve as chief engineer aboard the Challenger under his friend, Captain Hideki Okada.
Lancaster oversaw the final phase of refit of the Challenger before its initial flight to Earth. During the journey to Earth, the ship fell into the gravity well of an uncharted rogue planet, knocking it out of warp. Lancaster discovered no spare parts for the plasma injectors burned out by the sudden drop into normal space. He told O-4 Weiss that, if Cybercommand ever interfered with another warp project he worked on, he would take the next burned-out plasma injector to the G-5 and “shove it so far up his ass he will be shitting plasma for a week.”
On Earth, Lancaster took part in a meeting between Fleet Admiral Tran, Major Liu, Rear Admiral Austin, and Okada. Over Lancaster and Okada’s objections, Tran gave the Challenger a secret assignment to be revealed at Nereid. Once at the base there, O-4 Weiss brought four fission-triggered fusion devices aboard for use on an unspecified Gelt colony. Lancaster attempted to resign his commission only to be informed that he had been drafted and could not leave. Predictably, he protested the loudest when sealed orders revealed the Challenger would be using the warheads on a Gelt colony on Garrod 75 e.
During the mission, the Challenger hit the gravity well of a brown dwarf. Lancaster informed Okada that the wiring job done by Cybercommand had not been completely mitigated. The overload cause the projection and EM drives to fail as well. He would, he said, need hydrogen from two of the warheads brought aboard for the mission.
Once repaired, the Challenger warped to Amargosa. There, Weiss determined the Gelt had colony transports on the surface, including over two fusion-blasted cities. Once the Challenger escaped, Okada gathered the senior officers to discuss continuing the mission, revealing the sealed orders from Austin and Burke.
The ship made a quick sweep of Amargosa, discovering the Ban Ki-moon with probable survivors. After a stop in an uncharted section of space, the senior staff voted to continue the mission with modification. With three warheads stripped, the two nuclear weapons targeted remote, uninhabited areas, while a third, reduced to a mere kinetic weapon, targeted farmland. A fourth was used against the planet’s orbital station. Lancaster had rigged the final one as a ship-to-ship fission weapon. Although a Gelt ship damaged the ship’s EM and projection-drive systems, the Challenger escaped going to warp.
The ship returned to Nereid for repairs. There, Admirals Burke and Austin debriefed them, revealing that they had helped sabotage the mission, including suggesting Lancaster do his trick with extracting the fissile material from the warheads for use as a ship-to-ship weapon. They revealed that, while probably treason, they could not permit the Compact to sink to genocide. Lancaster, along with Okada and Weiss, were then permanently assigned to the Warp Program.
In 430 IE, Lancaster had to go retrieve Giddeus Modesto and Mitsuko Yamato after Modesto crashed his shuttle en route to the Challenger. He informed Modesto that he would be on punishment duty once aboard. In the meantime, he had to mollify the mine manager for damage done to his facility.
On the way to the Challenger, Lancaster expressed admiration for Yamato that she could use a sword in combat. He explained to Modesto that the Gelt did not respect firearms or energy small arms, preferring to incinerate an enemy before cutting down the survivors with blades. Similarly, he said, humans disliked using weapons of mass destruction and often rationalized using kinetics or fusion warheads when they did. Finally, he revealed that the Challenger was a warp vessel.
On Hanar, he joined Modesto in a bar when the latter sulked over what he thought was Mitsuko Yamato’s rejection of him. Lancaster set him straight. He also explained the reasons behind his dwarfism.
Lancaster took on Connor Duffy as a recruit into the Navy’s warp program. Duffy, along with JT Austin, provided information used to send the resistance holographic messages via impact probe to prepare for liberation. They also decided on the final impact point of the probe, selecting the colony transport over Arcanum. Lancaster expressed disgust that Austin found what he called terrorists admirable, warning him to watch his rhetoric should he ever end up on The Caliphate.
In 433, the Challenger made a port call to Amargosa despite the planet seceding with Metis from the Compact. JT Austin came aboard to brief Captain Havak on the death of Patty Friese. Lancaster voiced concern over the captain’s state of mind as she never behaved so disconnected before. Austin said he knew how she felt, having gone through it himself.
Appearances: No Marigolds in the Promised Land, Broken Skies, Warped, Flight Blade