In that year, the Impeller was attached to the Belle Terre Colonial Expedition as an escort ship under the command of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise. During the journey, the colonists on the passenger ship Yukon decided to turn back toward Federation space, Kirk ordered the Impeller to accompany it.
Not long after, they were ambushed by five Orion slave ships. In the course of the battle, Impeller's bridge was hit, killing or injuring most of the bridge crew. The blinded Merkling was pulled out of the danger by Lieutenant Pavel Chekov. Unable resume command, Merkling named Chekov acting captain and went down to engineering to help out with repairs. Chekov was able to hold off the Orions long enough for the Enterprise to arrive.
After the situation was resolved and Merkling and his crew recovered enough, Kirk ordered the heavly damaged Impeller to return to Federation territory. (TOS - New Earth novel: Wagon Train to the Stars)
|USS Impeller personnel|
|Burnell • Grenski • D. Merkling • Molyneaux • Verdicchio|