Lieutenant Commander Piper was a Starfleet officer assigned to the USS Enterprise under Captain James T. Kirk in 2270. Piper and her Vulcan companion Sarda were instrumental in defeating the attempted military coup of the Federation by Vice Admiral Vaughan Rittenhouse and the recovery of stolen classified plans for transwarp technology. (TOS novels: Dreadnought!, Battlestations!)
Piper was born on Proxima Beta, where her parents worked as scientists; they were both still living at the time of her graduation from Starfleet Academy. Because Proxima was colonized only four generations earlier, the colonists were all one family and had no need of surnames. Piper had light brown hair and O-positive blood.
While at Starfleet Academy, Piper befriended a Vulcan cadet named Sarda, who became her lab partner. Her ignorance of Vulcan culture caused her to inadvertently hurt Sarda by telling their training captain he was interested in weapons design. Sarda was awarded a position in that field, contrary to Vulcan ethics, causing him to be ostracized by fellow Vulcans in Starfleet. Piper was profoundly remorseful, but Sarda did not begin to forgive her until they were subsequently caught up in the Rittenhouse crisis. Also while at the Academy, Piper attended a seminar given by Hikaru Sulu on the subject of "The Helm and Spaceborne Weaponry".
As a command track student, Piper's Academy dissertation was on "Political Collectivism As Causal to Earth's Third World War". Her unusually excellent performance on the Kobayashi Maru test brought her to the attention of Captain Kirk, who requested that her assignment upon graduation with the rank of Lieutenant be transferred from the Magellan to the Enterprise.
Piper's lover while at the Academy was Brian Silayna, an engineering cadet who became involved in Commander Paul Burch's counter-conspiracy against Rittenhouse's coup attempt. Because Silayna knew he could trust Piper, when Burch and his colleagues commandeered the dreadnought USS Star Empire they transmitted Piper's biocode to Starfleet Command, requiring that she be present for Enterprise to communicate with them. When Enterprise confronted Star Empire, Silayna relayed Burch's request for a diplomatic boarding party to include Piper and at least one Vulcan. Kirk allowed Piper to be placed under arrest for conspiring with terrorists, instinctively knowing that she would escape and take unauthorized action to get to the bottom of the situation. Piper's quest for the truth took her and Sarda to Rittenhouse's ship, the Pompeii, and eventually to the Star Empire itself, where Piper took command after Burch was severely wounded and helped bring about the defeat of Rittenhouse's plans. For her actions, Piper was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and became the youngest recipient of the Congressional Medal of Valor, the Federation's second-highest honor. (TOS novel: Dreadnought!)