Beowulf Shaeffer - Supporting Characters - Gregory Pelton

Gregory Pelton

Pelton, (aka "Elephant" for a certain anatomical resemblance to a feature of the large Earth land animal), a native of Earth, is probably the richest human alive. His great-to-the-eighth grandmother invented the transfer booth. It is rumored that he actually owns known space, and gets income from renting it out, and that General Products Corporation is actually a front for him.

Pelton lives in a house on the side of a cliff in the Rocky Mountains on Earth, and having spent a lot of time in space resents being called a flatlander. Pelton is of average height but strongly built, looking not so much overweight as solid. Most humans in this period of time on Earth are in excellent health, with autodocs to maintain their bodies and boosterspice to prevent aging; Pelton presumably uses both.

Pelton and Shaeffer's personalities tend to complement each other, and they quickly made friends when Shaeffer first encountered him aboard the Lensman, bound for Earth from Jinx after Shaeffer's fateful trip to the core of the Milky Way galaxy. Pelton can be cordial and pleasant but also very direct and blunt when it suits him. He is patient but his patience has limits, and while he is as cautious as anyone he can sometimes act without thinking, a trait that would have gotten him killed if Shaeffer had not talked him out of landing on the protosun's planet when they visited it in 2645, as the planet, named Cannonball Express by Pelton and Shaeffer, was composed of antimatter, which would have destroyed even Pelton's General Products-hulled ship, the Slower Than Infinity. Indeed, the hull eventually disintegrated due to annihilations by antimatter particles but Pelton and Shaeffer were able to escape and managed to return to Jinx.

After Shaeffer and Pelton returned from Cannonball Express Pelton made plans to return but when government agencies became involved the plan bogged down in details. Ander Smittarasheed told Shaeffer that as of 2655 it was unclear whether Pelton was still involved in the project at all. Shaeffer and Pelton still maintained contact after the trip to Cannonball Express; when Shaeffer secretly emigrated to Fafnir with Sharrol, their children, and Carlos Wu and Feather Filip, Elephant gave him the money he received from General Products Corporation for the indemnity on his General Products hull, destroyed by exposure to antimatter particles from the Fast Protosun's solar wind; the money was deposited on accounts in Fafnir and Home, where the group planned to emigrate to, using assumed identities, after secretly arriving on Fafnir.

Gregory Pelton appears in the Beowulf Shaeffer story Flatlander and was mentioned in the stories Grendel, The Borderland of Sol and Ghost.

In Juggler of Worlds, Pelton is powerful enough to control the SecGen of the fictional UN, and becomes a wanted criminal on the run, the authors' way of explaining why he never returns to the Known Space universe.

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