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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.

SummaryEdit

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 was suddenly fired on. Chekov disabled one of the ships, then restrained 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 were 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 recycled and sold large amounts of scrap in the sector left over from the Delta Wars, but thanks to Federation peace missions, the scrap was running out and their livelihood was 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 was a ploy. While “feisty” Zaia distracted Kirk, Spock and Scotty, Regas planted a bomb to the wall of the transporter room. En route to the conference room, while Zaia and Kreiger tussled in the hall, Regas planted a second bomb to a wall near the ship’s main circuits. But Zaia dropped a bracelet during the fight, which Kirk kept. Sulu alerted Kirk to a large debris cloud approaching, and as Kirk gave the merchants a tour of the bridge, Regas hid a third bomb on the bridge’s life support panel. Done with their sabotage, Regas signaled for beam-up as the first bomb exploded, but minus her bracelet, Zaia did not beam away with the others, Kirk did.

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 revealed that the debris cloud hid more than 100 of Krieger’s salvage ships. The second bomb detonated, leaving the ship defenseless. But Regas implored Krieger not to destroy the Enterprise, because Zaia was aboard and she was secretly his daughter. Krieger ignored him, locking Kirk in a storage room. Regas hid a bomb on Krieger’s ship, then flew himself and Kirk in an escape pod back to the Enterprise. Spock diffused the bomb on the Enterprise while Krieger’s detonated. Seeing their leader’s ship damaged, the rest of the Latimor Recycling Plant merchant ships fled. Regas said “A merchant’s loyalty extends only as far as his purse strings.”

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

ReferencesEdit

CharactersEdit

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

Starships and vehiclesEdit

USS EnterpriseLatimor Recycling Plant shipMerchant escape podRegas’ Merchant ship

LocationsEdit

Deltan 300 graveyard sector
Referenced only 
Manark VRegulaZiba

Races and culturesEdit

HumanVulcan
Referenced only 
DeltanKlingon

States and organizationsEdit

Kro-Regas Merchant FleetLatimor Recycling Plant
Referenced only 
Deltan authorities

Science and technologyEdit

Merchant hand weaponphasertractor beamtransporter

Other referencesEdit

Deltan creditDeltan floggingDelta WarsMerchantScitilli duckSimian slime worm

TimelineEdit

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

AppendicesEdit

Related storiesEdit

Information Edit

  • This story contained the series’ final Sunday segment on 10/24/82. Subsequently stories unfolded only on Monday through Saturday in black and white.
  • Considering the further evidence of Chekov's rank, this story was 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.

Background Edit

  • 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)

Images Edit

External LinksEdit

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