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A Merchant's Loyalty is a Star Trek: The Original Series comic strip. It is the 14th story in the US Comic Strips series, published daily in newspapers over a period of seven weeks by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. The story depicts events from Captain Kirk's second five-year mission aboard the refurbished USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). In this story, scrap merchants conspire to destroy the Enterprise and sell it as salvage.


Captain's Log: Stardate 8123.2.
We must pass through the Deltan 300 graveyard sector to make the meeting with the Komar ambassador on time. An unpleasant shortcut...

Approaching a pair of merchant ships shooting at each other, the Enterprise is suddenly fired on. Chekov disables one of the ships, then restrains both with tractor beams.

Ship's Log: Supplemental.
We have captured the two merchant ships, in hopes of resolving their conflict quickly.
Ship's Log: Supplemental.
The leaders of the battling merchant ships have beamed aboard—but their battle rages on.

Beamed aboard are Merchant Captain Krieger of the Latimor Recycling Plant and his opponents, Merchant Captain Kro-Regas and Merchant Lieutenant Zaia from a competing salvage operation. The salvagers recycle and sell large amounts of scrap in the sector left over from the Delta Wars, but thanks to Federation peace missions, the scrap is running out and their livelihood is endangered.

Ship's Log: Supplemental.
A feisty merchant lieutenant has agreed to give up her weapon. Hopefully there will be no further delay in resolving this conflict.

Unknown to the crew, the merchants' rivalry is a ploy. While "feisty" Zaia distracts Kirk, Spock and Scotty, Regas plants a bomb on the wall of the transporter room. En route to the conference room, while Zaia and Kreiger tussle in the hall, Regas plants a second bomb on a wall near the ship's main circuits. However, Zaia drops a bracelet during the fight, which Kirk keeps. Sulu alerts Kirk to a large debris cloud approaching, and as Kirk gives the merchants a tour of the bridge, Regas hides a third bomb on the bridge's life support panel. Done with their sabotage, Regas signals for beam-up as the first bomb explodes, but minus her bracelet, Zaia does not beam away with the others; Kirk does.

Ship's Log: Supplemental.
Admiral Kirk has been captured by the merchant captains while Zaia has unfolded the plot to the crew of the Enterprise.

Sensors reveal that the debris cloud hides more than one hundred of Krieger's salvage ships. The second bomb detonates, leaving the ship defenseless. However, Regas implores Krieger not to destroy the Enterprise because Zaia is aboard and she is secretly his daughter. Krieger ignores him, locking Kirk in a storage room. Regas hides a bomb on Krieger's ship, then flies himself and Kirk in an escape pod back to the Enterprise. Spock diffuses the bomb on the Enterprise while Krieger's detonates. Seeing their leader's ship damaged, the rest of the Latimor Recycling Plant merchant ships flee. Regas says "A merchant's loyalty extends only as far as his purse strings."

Uhura reports that Deltan authorities have arrived to take Regas and Zaia. Kirk ordered the ship to Manark V.



Pavel ChekovJames T. KirkKriegerKro-RegasLeonard McCoyMontgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluNyota UhuraZaia
Referenced only
DeCorteKomar ambassador

Starships and vehicles

USS EnterpriseLatimor Recycling Plant shipMerchant escape podRegas’ Merchant ship


Deltan 300 graveyard sector
Referenced only
Manark VRegulaZiba

Races and cultures

Referenced only

States and organizations

Kro-Regas Merchant FleetLatimor Recycling Plant
Referenced only
Deltan authorities

Science and technology

Merchant hand weaponphasertractor beamtransporter

Other references

Deltan creditDeltan floggingDelta WarsMerchantScitilli duckSimian slime worm


Published Order
Previous comic:
#13: “The Nogura Regatta
Star Trek: The Original Series
(US Comic Strips)
Next comic:
#15: “Taking Shape
Previous story:
First story
Stories by:
Padraic Shigetani
Next story:
Last story
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
"Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update"
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
"Taking Shape"


Related stories

  • TOS movie: The Motion Picture - Describes the starship refit, crew ranks, and technology seen in this story. Depicts crew uniforms seen in this story.


  • This is the 14th of 20 newspaper story arcs. It is the first of seven stories where the crew wear maroon uniforms. This story was set between TOS movie: The Motion Picture and TOS movie: The Wrath of Khan aboard the refurbished USS Enterprise (NCC-1701).
  • This story was not printed with a title. Rich Handley chose the new title for the 14th arc's reprinting (
  • This story contained the series’ final Sunday segment on 10/24/82. Subsequently stories unfolded only on Monday through Saturday in black and white.
  • Based on the uniforms alone, this story is set either in 2277 or 2278. The uniforms were white and gray in 2276's TOS comic: "Silent Cries". Maroon uniforms were worn when the second five-year mission ended in 2278's TOS comic: "Odyssey's End". According to Starfleet uniform (2278-2350s): "At James T. Kirk's personal request, the new Starfleet uniform issue was instated early as the ship's uniform of the USS Enterprise, replacing the white and grey uniforms. (TOS novel: Wagon Train to the Stars) By 2278, the new uniforms come into in widespread use on other vessels, such as the USS Bozeman. TNG episode: "Cause and Effect"".
  • Considering the further evidence of Chekov's rank, this story is set in 2277. In the 15th comic strip arc, which takes place immediately after this one, Chekov is a lieutenant (1/29/83). That would place both comic strip stories prior to the events of TOS anthology: Star Trek II Short Stories, set in 2277 (Pocket Books Timeline), where Chekov was a lieutenant commander (page 124), and prior to the events of TOS YA novel: Distress Call, where Chekov was also a lieutenant commander (pages 2, 10, 67, 78).
  • "Firing at a Federation starship is a criminal offense," Kirk told the merchants. Spock said the penalty was "hard labor on Ziba."
  • At the end of the story (10/30/82), Kirk’s reason for having to be in the dangerous Deltan graveyard—to meet with the Komar ambassador—was ignored in favor of sending the ship to the location where the next story began (11/1/82), Manark V.


  • Writer artist Shigetani was dissatisfied with his work on story arcs 14 and 15. (He wrote arc 14, Martin Pasko wrote arc 15. Shigetani was the artist for both arcs.) He said syndicates usually had three months of strips in reserve, but they'd run out on Star Trek, and he was asked to produce material in "as little as a day! It killed me!" ("Forgotten Frontiers," by Rich Handley, Star Trek Communicator #121 Feb/Mar 1999)


External links