In 2268, Cartwright held the rank of Rear Admiral, and was assigned as an administrator on Starbase 29. That year, he ordered Captain James T. Kirk to obtain a Romulan cloaking device. Even early on, Kirk always voiced his suspicions to Spock about the admiral having a secret agenda. This was later revealed to be a small part of a larger scheme planned by the rogue intelligence agency known as Section 31. (TOS episode: "The Enterprise Incident"; TOS novel: Cloak)
Two years later, in 2270, seemingly having accepted a reduction in Starfleet rank to captain, Cartwright took command of the USS Ark Royal. Responding to a distress call sent by Vulcan ambassador Sepel, the starship curtails a Klingon attack on planet Nidrus Gamma, chasing off a Klingon bird-of-prey and rescuing the ambassador's daughter, a young Valeris. (TOS novel: Cast No Shadow)
- This would appear to slightly contradict Section 31: Cloak's information that Cartwright already held Rear Admiral rank some two years before he is next seen, when he holds the rank of Captain. This can possibly be reconciled by assuming that Cartwright accepted the same deal offered James T. Kirk just a few years later (during the events of Star Trek: The Motion Picture) — a temporary field rank of captain, enabling formal starship command, with reactivation to flag rank if deemed necessary by Starfleet Command.
In 2286, Cartwright succeeded Harold Morrow as Commander, Starfleet following the Genesis Incident. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) He oversaw Starfleet operations during the Cetacean Probe crisis on Earth. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)
In 2288, Cartwright then went to Starbase 79 to order the Enterprise-A to rendezvous with the USS Pacific to observe its weapon's test. Before the Enterprise-A left, Cartwright spoke with Kirk about his objections to using this Protomatter weapon. Cartwright assured Kirk that this protomatter was more stable then the protomatter used in Dr. Marcus's failed experiment. Cartwright saw the weapon as a peacemaker against all their enemies, known and unknown. Cartwright also saw the weapon as way to destroy the Klingon Empire to ensure peace for the galaxy.(TOS - Revisitations comic: "The Peacekeeper, Part 1")
In 2293, Cartwright strongly opposed the Federation's plans to negotiate a peace treaty with the Klingon Empire and became part of a conspiracy to prevent this. He was exposed by Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise-A, and was arrested at Khitomer. (TOS movie, novelization & comic adaptation: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
Following his arrest, Cartwright was convicted for his role in the conspiracy and was sent to prison. Cartwright died in 2298 from what appeared to be a respiratory infection. Starfleet Intelligence operative Darius Miller however harbored doubts that Cartwright died of natural causes, and that one or more of the man's many enemies may have had Cartwright eliminated. (TOS novel: Cast No Shadow)
In an alternate timeline created by the death of Spock in 2237, Cartwright was killed in the destruction of Starfleet Headquarters when the Cetacean Probe ravaged Earth in 2286. (TOS - Myriad Universes novel: The Chimes at Midnight)
- Cartwright was played by Brock Peters.
|Commanding Officers, Starfleet Command|
|Robert L. Comsol • Heihachiro Nogura • Harold Morrow • Lance Cartwright • Leonard James Akaar|
|Known members and associates of Section 31|
|Primary universe|| ||31|
|Kelvin timeline||Thomas Harewood • John Harrison • Robert April • Alexander Marcus • Yuki Sulu • unnamed Section 31 personnel|