Merete AndrusTaurus was a 23rd century member of the Palkeo Est civilization that originated on Altair IV. A qualified doctor of medicine, she was a member of Starfleet, serving as a junior medical officer on the staff of Leonard McCoy aboard the Federation starship USS Enterprise in the year 2270.
As a Palkeo Est woman, Merete's skin had a slightly purplish tint and her hair was of notably bright platinum coloration. She had somewhat of a stocky build and the shape of her eyes was upturned compared to Terran norms. Merete grew up in the Proxima Centauri star system, on Earth Outpost Walter-12, and during her education she had visited Proxima Alpha for biomorphology training.
When Merete was the Palkeo equivalent of six Earth years of age, her family was traveling on the freighter Perceptive, bound for Deep Space Station K-7, when they were set upon by Orion pirates. Merete's mother hid her child in a storage compartment so that the pirates would not find her. Because of a misunderstanding about the value of the freighter's cargo, enraged pirates found nothing but textiles in the holds, and slaughtered the crew and passengers. After the pirates left the vessel adrift, Merete emerged from her cubby and found the results of the terrifying sounds she had heard—everyone aboard had been murdered. She ended up sitting in spreading pools of blood for seventeen days, sharing a ship with corpses. She found her parents' bodies in the cargo bay, chopped to pieces. Fearful of being alone, young Merete found a sewing kit and attempted to repair the wounds on the bodies in the hope that she could save some of the dead. Because of her young age and the fact that she had not visually seen the attackers, Merete's testimony regarding the violation of Orion neutrality could not be used as evidence by the Federation, despite the fact that she remained the only living survivor of such an Orion raid.
Orphaned, Merete pursued a medical career in the hopes of being able to save wounded people as she had tried and failed to do with the Perceptive corpses. Because of her status as a survivor of Orion brutality, Merete was taken into confidence by Vice Admiral Vaughan Rittenhouse, who wished to safeguard the Federation from such threats by militarizing the Federation government.
The Rittenhouse affair
When the Enterprise left Earth Spacedock in 2270 to confront the stolen starship USS Star Empire, Merete was assigned shared quarters with Piper, "Scanner" Sandage, Telosirizharcrede and Sarda. Merete became friends with Piper, and noted the growing tension between Piper and Sarda.
Merete sought out friendship with Piper, and shared with her the holographic program technology that was in place aboard the Enterprise, noting that she knew it to be an outgrowth of work Sarda had done on the dreadnought Star Empire, as commissioned by Rittenhouse. After showing Piper a hologram of Proxima Beta, Piper's homeworld, the pair investigated simulations of the planet Vulcan. Curious as to why Sarda experienced so much difficulty in dealing with Humans and other Vulcans, the women examined records of Vulcan educational disciplines that applied to Sarda.
When Piper and Sarda stole an Arco-class attack sled and attempted to board Star Empire to make contact with the mutineers who had stolen the dreadnought, they were instead taken into protective custody by Rittenhouse, aboard the USS Pompeii. Merete and Scanner beamed over to Pompeii to assist their friends, and the four escaped from Rittenhouse's security forces, who had also taken the Enterprise senior staff into custody. Because Rittenhouse had confided his true goals to Merete, she knew why he was attempting to derail the negotiations and recapture the Star Empire—the "mutineers" aboard the dreadnought were attempting to halt Rittenhouse's plan to take over Starfleet. In support of Rittenhouse, Merete surreptitiously warned him of the escape of the Enterprise officers. During a confrontation with security, Merete collected a dropped phaser and fired on a Pompeii security crewman. Not realizing the phaser was set to kill, the man was vaporized. Merete was horrified, and the incident drove home the wrongness of the situation—Rittenhouse was ordering his men to shoot to kill against anyone who worked against his plan.
When the Enterprise junior officers boarded Star Empire, a full scale starship battle began, with Rittenhouse bringing numerous starships against the dreadnought and the Enterprise. During the battle, Merete and Piper attempted to restore the dreadnought's defensive capabilities in that ship's sensory. While the pair was alone, Merete held Piper up at gunpoint and explained to her the plan Rittenhouse was enacting. Piper tried to talk her friend out of working for the mad admiral, but to no avail. The confrontation did end, however, when a weapon blast against the hull caused a power overload, injuring Merete.
After the conclusion of the battle, Merete recovered and was offered the Starfleet Silver Palm for her part in defeating the conspiracy. On the basis of her treacherous acts against her friends, Merete declined the award. (TOS - Fortunes of War novel: Dreadnought!)
Theft of transwarp technology
After a short shore leave, Merete was placed on detached duty as on-site physician for Starfleet work being done refurbishing a small spacecraft for a special mission. On Earth, Merete joined Scanner working on the SS Banana Republic, a craft intended to be commanded by newly-minted Lieutenant Commander Piper. (TOS - Fortunes of War novel: Battlestations!)
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|SS Tyrannosaurus Rex/SS Banana Republic personnel|
|commanding officer: Piper • crew: Merete AndrusTaurus • "Scanner" Sandage • Sarda • supercargo: Leonard McCoy|
It can be determined that AndrusTaurus was an officer, since she had completed a doctorate degree of higher education and was known to have been quartered with other officers whose ranks (where known) ranged from lieutenant junior grade to full lieutenant. However, her exact grade is not known, and is likely to have been ensign, lieutenant JG or lieutenant.