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Literature / Rihannsu

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A series of popular Star Trek novels by Diane Duane, focusing on the Romulans, or as they call themselves, the Rihannsu. The books fleshed out Rihannsu culture and history in some detail—and in a quite different direction than what ended up becoming canon.

Following the disappearance of several Vulcan-crewed ships along the Romulan Neutral Zone, Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise is on patrol when he is contacted by a Romulan naval officer, Commander Ael i-Mhiessan t'Rllaillieu, whom he's fought before. Faced with orders to carry out a war plan against the Federation which she considers dishonorable, she has chosen to defect to the Federation with her crew instead, and hopes to get Kirk's help to foil the plan.

The books are:

  1. My Enemy, My Ally (1984)
  2. The Romulan Way (1987, with Peter Morwood)
  3. Swordhunt (2000)
  4. Honor Blade (2000; originally meant to be the second half of Swordhunt, but Divided for Publication due to Executive Meddling)
  5. The Empty Chair (2006)

The first four books were re-released in Omnibus form as The Bloodwing Voyages, with some minor Orwellian Retcons to clean up internal continuity and with books three and four merged back together. While some of the events of this series were Outdated by Canon by later developments in the live-action canon, much of the background worldbuilding done in this series was borrowed by the writing team of Star Trek Online, and the later showrunners on Star Trek: Enterprise did apparently really like the novels and wanted to try and bring the show-Roms and novel Rihannsu closer... in the seasons that ended up getting canned.

Tropes in the Rihannsu novels include:

  • Aborted Arc: The Klingons repeatedly turn up briefly and look like they're going to get more deeply involved in the story (they turn up in Swordhunt raiding a Romulan colony, then there's a scene at the High Council, and then they attack Artaleirh in Chair), and just as quickly are forgotten each time.
  • Action Girl: The norm for Rihannsu women in most cultures. It’s mentioned there are actually more women than men in their military. Justified: Romulan matriarchalism goes back to the Ruling Queen Vriha t'Rehu.
  • Action Mom: Ael t’Rllaillieu has an adult son and is still a capable fighter.
  • Affably Evil: Praetor Eveh tr’Anierh — one of "The Three", praetors who dominate the Tricameron and funded the research into mind-control at the cost of many Vulcan lives — is nonetheless polite, Nice to the Waiter, and very courteous to Arrhae.
    • It's mentioned in The Romulan Way that Rihannsu are supposed to be this: no matter what, mnhei'sahe demands you be polite and treat even your worst enemy with honor and respect as if he were your companion, and when subcommander tr'Annhwi gloats to a captured McCoy about what will happen to him after the trial his superior commander general (the equivalent of a commodore) t'Radaik promptly disciplines him, with the humiliation made worse by it happening before civilians and an enemy.
  • Alien Blood: Arrhae has been altered to have green blood, like all Rihannsu and Vulcans. When she contemplates being able to go “home” to the Federation, she thinks of bleeding red again… and immediately after, that it now seems like an odd color to bleed.
  • Alien Sky: The skies of ch'Rihan and ch'Havran are green-gold in color, with the other planet sometimes visible.
  • The Alternet: The Enterprise has an internal discussion board for the use of the crew, and the proto-Rihannsu planned out much of their future society on similar boards on Vulcan. (Usenet was already in use at universities at the time of the first novel.)
  • Antagonist in Mourning: When the Travelers heard of Surak’s death, many of them actually did mourn him — especially his old pupil S’task.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: Ael’s son Tafv secretly plots against her in the first book - not for power, although that would've been a side effect, but to take revenge on her for not doing everything she might have to defend his beloved cousin (the unnamed Romulan commander from "The Enterprise Incident"), who was then exiled and declared Unperson.
  • Arms and Armor Theme Naming: When they’re not re-using the names of the Journey ships, the Rihannsu tend to use these types of names for their warships. Examples include Cuirass and Gorget (although the latter was also a Journey ship).
    • Subverted by Rhea's Helm, named after the most infamous creation of a rather nasty Jackass Genie that was worse than useless as armor (Rhea was a mage that got captured by an enemy who wanted to become invulnerable. Rhea made that helm... And bound to it a demon that bit off the captor's head, making him invulnerable because dead men cannot be wounded).
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: The section of The Romulan Way on how the Romulans created Rihan by going back to Old High Vulcan and aging it in a different direction mistakenly refers to Basque as a Romance language. If Duane had said Spanish or Italian she would've been correct, but the Basque language is famously a linguistic isolate with no known source or sister languages.
  • Ascended Meme: In-Universe, the Rihannsu religion, something resembling animism blended with the concept of karma centered around the four Elements, actually began as a Vulcan Internet messageboard joke whose origin was forgotten over the course of the Journey and the settlement of ch'Rihan and ch'Havran.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: Ael becomes the Empress at the end, after winning a civil war.
  • Bad Boss: Discussed. Early in My Enemy, My Ally Ael bitches out the crew of ChR Cuirass in untranslated Rihan. Her Internal Monologue explains that a judicious tantrum is a common management tool for Romulan COs, although she personally doesn't like doing it (she prefers to be A Mother to Her Men).
  • Badass in Distress: The whole crew of the Intrepid, in the first book. They’re extremely competent Starfleet officers- especially their captain, Suvuk, who’s something of a war hero- but they also all get kidnapped and have to be rescued.
  • Band of Brothers: The core crew of Bloodwing is a Band Of Sisters And Brothers. Then Tafv betrays Ael, and the fallout from that betrayal continues throughout the series. The Enterprise crew also qualifies, of course, as does the crew of the Intrepid from what we see of them.
  • Bawdy Song: In Honor Blade a Rihannsu song called "The High Queen's Bastard Daughter" is mentioned twice, but no lyrics are given.
  • Becoming the Mask: Terise, to the point where she thinks of herself by her Rihannsu name, Arrhae, and feels a considerable dissonance when reminded of her old life.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Ysailsu resistance- which includes most of the planetary population of an established Rihannsu colony- has retreated into the vast Saijja Caverns, a network of caves so deep that they cannot be accurately scanned from space, and which have never been completely mapped, even by them.
  • Best Friends-in-Law: Averted to tragic effect. Ael is close friends with Chief Surgeon t’Hrienteh. It turns out that t’Hrienteh was in love with Ael’s son Tafv, and intended to marry him… but after Tafv’s death, t’Hrienteh vowed revenge on Ael and began acting as a spy for her enemies, ending in Ael killing her as well.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Vulcans are logical pacifists, but the Intrepid crew in My Enemy, My Ally show Ael that they do not lack for courage, loyalty, or fighting skill when freed from captivity. She considers their cold fury a match for even the angriest Romulan, and that's before they Mind Rape the research chief to death.
  • Big Bad Triumvirate: The antagonists of the book are the Three, three (out of twelve) praetors who have come to dominate Rihannsu government. Despite some disagreements, their alliance lasts as long as their power does.
  • Brutal Honesty: The writer Lai i-Ramnau tr'Ehhelih practiced this. Combined with his sour view of his people, it made him very unpopular: he was killed and his books banned in most parts of the Two Worlds.
  • Call-Back: An older and wiser Ambassador Fox from "A Taste of Armageddon" appears in Swordhunt and says that the peace process between the Eminians and Vendikari is ongoing but the prognosis is positive.
  • Calvinball: Remember fizzbin? In The Empty Chair Bones comes up with Tournament Fizzbin, wherein everybody makes up the rules as they go along, drinks lots and lots of Romulan ale, and laughs incessantly. (This after Ael has trouble telling card suits apart when they try to teach her to play poker.)
    Kirk: All right. So each player gets six cards, except the one on the player's right, who gets seven. The second card is turned up, except on Tuesdays.
    Sulu: Is today Tuesday?
    Scotty: It's got to be Tuesday somewhere, Mr. Sulu.
    Kirk: Stipulated. Now, two jacks is a half-fizzbin, but you don't want three. Three is a shralk. You get those, you get disqualified.
    Ael: You do?
    Kirk: Absolutely. Now look there: Sulu's got two jacks. That's good. Now he wants a king and a deuce.
    McCoy: Except at night. In which case he wants a king and an ace.
    tr'Keirianh: How is "night" determined? If playing aboard ship, does ship's time prevail? Or is it always determined to be night in space?
    Kirk: Only in leap year.
    Sulu: When the moon is full.
    K's't'lk: Now wait a minute. Whose moon?
    Ael: And why should a year leap?
    (reportedly goes on for two more hours)
  • Can Not Tell A Lie: Explored for Vulcans in The Romulan Way.
  • The Cavalry:
    • At the end of the first book, Constellation and Inaieu arrive to bail out Enterprise, Bloodwing, and Intrepid against some Rihannsu warships.
    • The timely arrival of Tyrava to the Battle of Artaleirh in The Empty Chair saves everybody's bacon again, this time from a Klingon fleet that meant to take the system, and its dilithium refinery, from both sides of the incipient Romulan Civil War.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The 4D chess machine in the rec room on the Enterprise that contains a small built-in transporter to move the pieces. It's later used to beam grenades into the middle of Rihannsu boarding parties attempting to capture the Enterprise for real during the climax of the first novel, in a I Did What I Had to Do way, as it was the only way to retake control of the ship.
  • Cloning Body Parts: In Honor Blade, Gurrhim tr'Siedhri miraculously survives both a gunshot wound during an assassination attempt and a subsequent, purposely botched surgery supposedly meant to repair the damage. Once some of his allies manage to get him to the Enterprise Bones is shown harvesting small amounts of tissue to grow him replacement organs.
  • Conflicting Loyalties:
    • Ael tries not to put her people in such situations, considering it a matter of honor not to put them in situations they might not be able to handle. However, in the first book, Nniol has to choose between family loyalty and his loyalty to his commander, when Bloodwing and Enterprise face the ship his sister is serving on. He chooses his commander… and is disowned by his family as a result, except for one brother who holds that he made the most honorable choice, and that their sister would've done the same.
    • Defied by the Romulan government in The Empty Chair. The Romulan rebels note that the force sent to crush the rebellion on Artaleirh won't have any locals in the fleet due to distrust for their loyalties. Fortunately, according to Uhura this also means they can't understand the rebels' communications: despite being broadcast unencrypted, the local language has drifted so far from Hearthworld Rihan as to be virtually unintelligible.
  • Conlang: The Rihannsu language, on both sides of the Fourth Wall. Out of universe, it’s a partial conlang created by Diane Duane (originally she was going to do a Romulan dictionary to match the old Klingon one, but that project wasn't successful). Fandom has taken it and run with it, with the Imperial Romulan Language Institute being the main online source. In universe, it was created by the Declared when they left Vulcan, as they wanted to leave behind as much as they could of their homeworld.
    The discussion of this contains Artistic License – Linguistics. The Rihannsu language was made by going back to Old Vulcan and modifying the roots; the result is said to be as different from the modern Vulcan language as "Spanish is from Basque and their parent, Latin." Latin spawned a large number of descendants, the Romance languages; Spanish is indeed one of them. But Basque not only isn't, it's (famously) a "linguistic isolate" that isn't related to any other known language!
  • Continuity Nod: In a flashback, Terise Haleakala wonders if she should transfer back to the Excalibur rather than become an agent on ch’Rihan, reflecting that while the war games it has scheduled don’t sound fun, they also sound a lot less dangerous than deep-cover work. The entire crew of the Excalibur perished in “The Ultimate Computer”; Terise would have died if she hadn’t stuck with the supposedly more perilous assignment.
  • Conveniently Close Planet: Averted, sadly for the Travelers. Because they got their star charts from the Space Pirates that they had just spent many years fighting, they assumed that those charts were likely misleading and they definitely didn't want to go to an area the pirates were likely to visit. So, they headed purposefully into a barren region of space, and most of the planets they found were uninhabitable. By the time they found the hospitable worlds they ended up settling on, they’d been searching for many years and most of their ships had been lost.
  • Cool Starship:
    • The Enterprise (refit version), the Intrepid (a Constitution refit, only with improved reactor and nacelles. Scotty wanted to copy the modifications), the old model warbirds in general and Bloodwing in particular, the new generation of Rihan warbirds based on Klingon designs (especially the larger one), the Ship-Clan vessels, and most of all the Inaieu (think of the Constitution refit, only over a km long, four-nacelled, and with enough firepower to wipe out anything else in space in seconds).
    • Averted with Klingon ships: the ships can outrun the Enterprise and the guns are top-notch, but the hulls are badly built by the lowest bidder with substandard parts, something that irked the Rihannsu when they were duped into buying a number of them per year.
      • This makes the new Rihan warbirds even cooler, as they were based on these lemons and yet manage to excel.
  • Cool Sword: The S'harien, named after the Vulcan and Rihannsu equivalent of Masamune, are the finest blades ever made in their shared history. The Rihannsu originally had five, three were destroyed in battle and one was lost leaving just one used as symbol of imperial power. Naturally, Spock also owns one.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: In My Enemy, My Ally, Kirk reads intelligence reports from the Romulan Empire, which state among other things that several senators have died of natural causes. He reflects that an inability to live after being poisoned is natural enough.
  • Cosmic Horror: The Iruhe, a race of “intellivores” who devoured the minds of whole starship crews- and later learned to move their planet at will to devour whole planetary populations. They appear in The Romulan Way, where the Travelers get off lightly in losing just two (of eighteen) ships- that’s about ten thousand people. The Iruhe lure in passing starships by projecting the illusion of each species' ideal planet, which worked perfectly on the crews of T'Hie and Corona, before devouring the minds of the crew and passengers and crashing the ships into their planet's seas. What saved the other ships was that after their meal, the Iruhe fell into a torpor and that they let the illusion fall for the third Rihannsu ship entering their system, Sunheart. Sunheart's crew had no idea what was going on, but saw that their ships had apparently been destroyed, so they turned around and fled before the Iruhe "woke up", warning the rest of the Travelers on their way out. The Iruhe themselves are never seen, although the fact that Iruh's seas are composed of methane implies they likely aren't humanoid. It’s stated that the Organians did something about the Iruhe (no one knows what, although it appears to have been quite final), apparently before the present-day events of the book. However, Duane’s Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Intellivore has them as the villains a century later.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: What the Rihannsu do to spies. We don't get much description, except for Arrhae's colorful statement of someone being "slowly shredded" on the local equivalent of broadcast television.
  • Cunning Linguist: Yes, Uhura actually gets to do something useful besides answer the phone, and doesn't need to look things up to do translations, either. McCoy has apparently also learned to speak fluent Rihan by the later books, as well.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The Duthulhiv/Etoshan invasion was this for S’task; he went from Surak’s most devoted student to his greatest opponent, because after seeing the kind of dangers the wider universe contained, he no longer believed that a pacifistic Vulcan could survive it. Tafv’s cousin’s fate was one for him as well.
  • Deep Cover Agent: Teries Haleakala-LoBrutto, alias Arrhae t'Khellian, is an anthropologist working for Starfleet Science who's undergone Magic Plastic Surgery and been inserted onto Romulus in order for the Federation to learn about the secretive Romulans and hopefully be able to have more amicable relations with them in the future.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Rihannsu aren’t human, and their values can be quite different from human ones; additionally, they’re based on the society of Ancient Rome, and like the Romans think nothing of conquest and slavery. And then you get to the point where they lack the concept of doing anything for someone else’s good- you do things for the good of your own honor. If you’re competent about it, the action ought to benefit everybody’s honor, but you’re supposed to be thinking of your own. There's also a fair amount of casual Fantastic Racism directed at everyone from the Federation to the Romulans who live on Remus.
    • Case in point; during her meeting with the triad, Ael describes the horrific things the Rihan at the Levaeri V installation are doing to captured Vulcans. McCoy is literally trembling with fury and says, "This is monstrous, Commander". Ael agrees but then sets McCoy a bit aback by wondering what honor there can be in torturing helpless prisoners - true enough, but not quite exactly what McCoy had in mind.
  • Deuteragonist: The first book has two leads, Jim Kirk and Ael t’Rllaillieu. In the second, it's McCoy and Arrhae t'Khellian. Books three through five swap between Kirk, Ael, and Arrhae.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Ael believes that her sister-daughter’s punishment for her failure in “The Enterprise Incident”—exile and being declared Unperson—is this.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: During one of the space battles in My Enemy, My Ally Sulu makes the Enterprise do a 180-degree backflip while traveling at high warp, in order to bring the ship's more powerful forward phasers to bear on a warbird.
  • The Dreaded: As Ael muses in My Enemy, My Ally, "For Intrepid was out there waiting, along with Constellation, and worse still, the destroyer Inaieu; and worst of them all, Enterprise."
  • Driven to Suicide: Rihannsu politicians can be removed from their positions only by their deaths. The positions are also hereditary, unless there is a lack of heirs or some question of dishonor. However, constituents may express their displeasure with their representative by sending them their swords…
    • "Such suggestions are rarely ignored."
  • Drowning My Sorrows: McCoy at the end of The Romulan Way, after minor character Ensign Luks's Heroic Sacrifice. As the owner of the drinks cabinet, Ael puts a stop to it.
  • Dude Magnet: Arrhae. She’s extremely beautiful by Rihannsu standards, and after the events of The Romulan Way, she’s also a rather romantic figure as well as holding political power, so she gets still more suitors. On the other hand, few of her admirers play any role in the plot.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The Romulan Way states that upon learning of the death of his mentor Surak (a.k.a. Vulcan Confucius), S'task, leader of the proto-Romulans searching for a new homeworld and a former follower of Surak, placed a sword across an empty chair in the Travelers' council chamber in his memory. The chair was eventually placed in the Romulan Senate and remained empty but for the Sword of S'task into the present day. The last book of the series is named for the chair, and after becoming Empress of the Rihannsu, Ael orders a new chair brought in for her throne because she will not sit in the Empty Chair.
  • Enemy Mine: The premise of My Enemy, My Ally. The enemies in question are Captain James T. Kirk and Khre'riov Ael i-Mhiessan t'Rllaillieu, old foes who have always dealt with each other honorably and now have common cause.
  • Enlightened Self-Interest: The Romulan concept of honor, mnhei'sahe, can align with this. While a Romulan is supposed to be thinking of their own honor and benefit first and foremost, ideally what they do should benefit everyone else involved as well. The problem is, the latter part seems to have fallen out of vogue among those in power...
  • Epigraph: The first and last books use a quotation from Lays Of Ancient Rome by Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay, followed by a quotation from a Romulan-written Fictional Document.
  • Eternal English: Averted in Chair. Before the first major battle of the Free Rihannsu uprising, Uhura comments that, despite the Free Rihannsu communicating in the clear rather than over encrypted channels, it's unlikely the Grand Fleet ships will be able to understand more than one word in ten—the local dialect has diverged from homeworld Rihan that much.
  • Everyone Can See It: Everyone, from Starfleet Command to their own crews to the Klingons are convinced Kirk and Ael are something of an item. Only Kirk (and Ael, to a lesser extent), insist their relationship is warm but completely professional. Which it is. . . until the very end of the series.
  • Exact Words: In My Enemy, My Ally, Kirk asks Ael for whom the Rihannsu ship Rea's Helm was named:
    Ael: You would have liked him, Captain. He was a magician whose enemies captured him and forced him to use his arts for them. They told him they wanted him to make a helmet that would make the person who wore it proof against wounds. So he did—and when one of those who captured him tried it on, the demon Rea had bound inside the helmet bit the man's head off. A corpse will not care how you wound it...
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Kirk is surprised that Ael t'Rllaillieu—who he had known by name and actions, but never seen—is a very small woman.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Llaekh-ae'rl, a Romulan martial art whose name translates as "laughing murder", appears a few times. It requires the practitioner to root themselves to the ground and control their movements. Ael's crew member N'alae is a master but Ael herself isn't—her temper tends to get the better of her.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Rihannsu names are composed of three parts: a first name (Ael, Tafv, Arrhae), a second name including a prefix (i-Mhiessan, ir-Mnaeha), and a house-name with gendered prefix, t' for a woman and tr' for a man (t'Rllaillieu, tr'Siedhri). One possible explanation here. Rihannsu also have a secret fourth name that they find within themselves and only tell to people whom they consider closer than family. This fourth name actually began as the proto-Rihannsu equivalent of an Internet username during the Sundering.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Rihannsu towards... everyone else. As an example, their name for the Federation literally translates to "Them, from There"; their name for the Klingons is "More Of Them, From Somewhere Else."
  • Fantastic Ship Prefix: Romulan ships use the prefix ChR, which appears to be short for ch'Rihan, the Romulan name for the planet Romulus.
  • The Federation: The Federation, naturally. Also, as described in The Romulan Way and Spock's World, the long-extinct Inshai Compact is implied to have been this.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The books' vision of Romulan culture is slightly matriarchal (there are more women than men in the Grand Fleet and many political leaders are female), and while there is some slight Ship Tease between Ael and Kirk, she is written as his equal and a fellow commander rather than another Girl of the Week. She's also a mother and a widow, and tends to be A Mother to Her Men as well. The novels also give supporting roles to Enterprise communications officer Nyota Uhura and one of her female subordinates (whose expertise in the Rihan conlang is vital) and to Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto, a Federation anthropologist in deep cover on Romulus.
  • First Contact: The Vulcan people had their First Contact with the predecessors of the Orion Pirates. It went very, very badly, and was the main trigger for the Sundering. Thanks to their records of this event, the Rihannsu were inclined to think the very worst of the next aliens they met—who happened to be the Federation.
  • First-Name Basis: Ael addresses many, though not all, of her crew by their first names. May play into the fact that she’s A Mother to Her Men, as well as to Rihannsu conventions that equate a ship’s captain with the head of a noble House.
  • Four-Star Badass: Ael's rank of khre'riov ("commander-general") roughly equates to a Starfleet commodore, a type of senior-grade captain who is also authorized to command fleets. She technically outranks Kirk and is no less of a badass for it.
  • Gambit Roulette: McCoy's whole contact and extraction plan for Arrhae revolves completely around the Rihannsu military deciding to incarcerate him for a prolonged period of time in the same House Arrhae is serving in, instead of taking him to a proper prison, or just straight up executing him immediately, to say nothing of bringing him to literally any other place on Romulus or Remus.
  • Gargle Blaster:
    • Romulan ale, naturally, explained here as due to being harsh to the throat rather than because of its alcohol content. One of the infodump chapters in The Romulan Way comments that the Romulans drink it partly to prove that they can.
    • In My Enemy, My Ally Ael mentions that Romulan wine is stronger. The Enterprise crew is suitably shocked.
  • The Ghost: Ael's niece, the unnamed female Romulan Commander from the TV series, is repeatedly mentioned and very important to Ael's and Tafv's motives, but never appears.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Vriha t’Rehu, although very little is made of the fact she was a woman. In fact, while her reign turned the Rihannsu firmly against lone rulers, it also increased the number of women in the military and the government.
  • Going Native: The deep cover mole in The Romulan Way.
  • Good Old Ways: The noble, old-school Romulans such as Ael and Senator tr'Khellian versus the younger cutthroat schemers like Subcommander tr'Annwhi.
    • The Romulans-to-be left Vulcan in the first place because they wanted no part of Surak's casting aside of passion and violence in exchange for logic and peace. Interestingly, the proto-Romulans decided the Good Old Ways weren't good enough, and created from whole cloth a new language and culture to be the New Good Old Ways.
  • Greeting Gesture Confusion: In My Enemy, My Ally, James T. Kirk tries to shake Ael t'Rllaillieu's hand on their first meeting and is informed that among the Romulans, holding hands is considered a display of affection on the level of a Big Damn Kiss. Retroactively turned into a Chekhov's Gun at the end of The Empty Chair when, before parting for the last time, Kirk and Ael first hold hands, then kiss.
  • Hereditary Republic: Senate and Praetorate positions are almost always hereditary (the exception being if there’s no clear heir or if there’s dishonor involved). So the Rihannsu government is by an aristocratic council system, with the constituents having only the power to pressure their representative to commit suicide if they’re doing a poor job.
  • Heroic BSoD: Arrhae "going native" is strongly implied to be due not only to her growing understanding of and appreciation for Rihannsu culture, but because she witnessed the arrest and subsequent execution of the Rihanha double agent who helped get her into position to do her job. Fearing exposure, she deepened her cover and stopped sending reports to Starfleet. . . and forgot to start sending them again when the danger had passed. She suffers another after first meeting McCoy and being forced to recall her human nature, resulting in extreme cognitive dissonance. And some vomit.
  • Highly-Conspicuous Uniform: Averted in the first book due to the following exchange during the mission briefing for the assault on the research facility between the the Enterprise's Chief of Security Matlock, Ael and Kirk.
    "Commander", the dark young man said to Ael, "what color are the halls in that station going to be?"
    "White, mostly or bare-metal silver."
    "Captain", Matlock said to Jim, with a faintly ironic expression, "I don't think it would be wise for us to attempt a board-and-storm operation dressed in bright blue and black, or gold and black, or green and black-or especially orange and black. Everyone in the party would stand out like zebras in the snow; and as for my people they might as well have targets painted on them.
    "Noted, Mr. Matlock. Order light gray battle fatigues for everybody."
    "Already done, sir," said Matlock, just a little sheepishly. "Quartermaster's working on it now."
  • Holding the Floor: In the second book, McCoy demands Right of Statement and demonstrates the fine art of the filibuster, talking about everything from how the proceedings are a Kangaroo Court to various Earth foods until Naraht arrives.
  • Homing Projectile: The Empty Chair features the scariest of all: a homing Wave-Motion Gun shot (a modification of the plasma torpedo from "Balance of Terror").
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: In The Romulan Way, only the history chapters have titles—the present-day chapters don't. And Honor Blade begins with Chapter Six, although this is because it was originally the second half of Swordhunt, which was split in two at the last minute.
  • I Have No Son!: Nniol’s family not only disown him but declare him Unperson because they believe he may have killed his sister. Particularly heartbreaking if you remember from My Enemy, My Ally that he actually did everything he could to avoid being in a situation where he’d have to fight the ship she was on—in Rihannsu terms, he actually acted with perfect mnhei'sahe.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Arrhae's master H'daen tr'Khellian is a Land Poor Praetor who comes from an old and noble House with a vast estate, but little wealth for his position. His flitter is an older model, though well-appointed, and Arrhae notes that his servants were a slovenly and incompent lot because he could afford no better until she came along. Her suggestion that he sell some land inspired an angry rant about trading property enriched with blood for a few dirty chains of cash.
  • In My Language, That Sounds Like...: When Ael hears Kirk’s nickname "Jim", she bursts out laughing and begs him not to make her explain what it means. She does tell him at the end of the book, and he starts laughing as well. We're never told what's so funny.
    • A Romulan dictionary was later released, and explains it:"jihm" means "sworn enemy, nemesis". Considering the whole situation, it's no wonder they find it funny.
  • In-Series Nickname: The younger members of Ael's core crew call her "susse-thrai," after an animal on one of their homeworlds that resembles a wolverine. The Three disparagingly refer to opposition Praetor Gurrhim tr'Siedhri as "Farmer Gurri".
  • In the Original Klingon: Parodied. Chekov claims that rollercoasters were invented in Russia, continuing the Running Gag from TOS. They actually were, but nobody believes him because he's overused this joke too much.
  • Infodump: The Romulan Way alternates one entire chapter of exposition about Rihannsu history with one chapter of narrative.
  • Invented Linguistic Distinction: Diane Duane developed a partial Romulan Conlang for the novels. In the final book of the series, Uhura remarks to Kirk that the dialect of the language spoken on the rebelling planet Artaleirh has diverged so far from the version spoken on Romulus that she doubts the warbird crews sent to crush the revolt will understand one word in ten.
  • Ironic Echo: S'task uses phrases that recall his old mentor Surak a few times, despite having turned his back on him and left the planet because of their disagreements. First, he uses Surak's "cast out fear" while contributing to an Internet-analogue discussion that turns into the dominant Rihannsu religion (yes, really); and later, his last words echo Surak's own philosophy that beginnings must be clean.
  • Kangaroo Court:
    • In The Romulan Way, McCoy is tried before the Romulan Senate for spying and the verdict and death sentence are foregone conclusions. There's a couple of twists though: First off, in theory, to even bring the case to trial, the prosecution is supposed to have ironclad proof of guilt beforehand, since under Romulan law an acquittal results in the prosecutors suffering the defendant's would-be fate for wasting the court's time. In the second twist, McCoy uses his Right of Statement (granted by Romulan law and allowed to reinforce the impression of legality) for an old-school filibuster, mocking the situation (even stating that the Klingons would have given him a fair trial) and ruminating for hours on end about topics as far afield as barbecue, until The Cavalry, including a Horta (who, as a silicate-based lifeform invulnerable to disruptors, the Romulans mistake for an Eldritch Abomination - one of their Elements incarnate) and Commander Ael, who humiliate the corrupted Romulan leadership and sets in motion a revolution.
    • Normal Romulan trials subvert this, however. The burden of proof is on the defendant, but that's because to even hold the trial the prosecution had to gather enough evidence to get a conviction. If they get it wrong, the prosecution will receive the maximum sentence for the charges in question, up to and including execution.
  • Karmic Death: S'task is murdered in the middle of a council meeting by Vriha t'Rehu when she seizes power. As observed by Terise's narration, it's the violent "old Vulcan" he tried to preserve that kills S'task in the end.
  • Kill Sat: The Rihannsu have a system of these surrounding their homeworlds. When originally built, they were unreliable- there were too few of them, and they were so badly programmed that they sometimes fired on their own ships- but the system was revamped and made effective after contact with the Federation.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ael believes that Tafv's betrayal was the natural consequence of her actions.
    Ael: It is not a question of blame. It's merely the way the universe is, the way the Elements are. Become careless with fire, and sure enough, fire will burn you. Do treachery, and treachery will be done you. Kill, and be punished with death. All these I’ve done. Now I pay the price, in my own flesh and blood.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: When a Rihan senator particularly displeases their constituents they would mail them swords, expecting them to use one of said swords on themselves and leave the post to their heirs. If they don't do so the constituents will carry out the deed themselves-or, if the senator acted especially heinously, remove them from their post and elect a replacement.
  • Like a Son to Me: In a poem discovered after his death, Surak addressed his estranged disciple S’task as his son.
  • Line in the Sand: In The Empty Chair, Kirk, unable to reveal his secret orders addresses the crew and tells them that anyone who doesn't feel comfortable serving with him in his new effective capacity as Admiral of the rebel Rihannsu fleet is free to leave. Not only does no one take him up on his offer, Sulu and Chekhov break out a pirate flag they'd made up for the occasion.
  • Made a Slave: It's treated as a relatively minor detail but the Romulans do practice slavery: part of Terise's original cover ID as Arrhae ir'Mnaeha is being a household slave to another Romulan (a Double Agent for the Federation), with carefully set-up rumors that she's being used as a concubine. Her master then sold her to H'daen tr'Khellian, who freed her.
  • Meaningful Name: Rihannsu are great believers in the importance of names. Some notable examples:
    • The name of their people means "the Declared", referring to their decision to leave Vulcan.
    • Ael means "winged", which ties back both to her ship's name (Bloodwing - also a symbol of her family) and her Element of Air.
    • Arrhae’s name means a servant that deserves a higher position. At the end of the second book, she's promoted to Senator.
    • Vriha—the regnal name of an ancient tyrant—means "highest".
    • Rihannsu believe that a ship takes the power of whatever it's named after, for better or worse. The Enterprise being named after the spirit and history of the entire concept of bold undertakings explains why the ship has seen so much action and glory but also so much sadness and loss. Intrepid is considered a dangerous name: name a ship for the quality of fearlessness, and it may forget caution.
    • The Vulcan swordsmith S'harien chose his name—"pierceblood"—to reflect his opposition to Surak's reforms. It's also a suitably Meaningful Name for his famous swords.
  • Meaningful Rename: In Rihannsu history, the early tyrant T'Rehu renamed herself as Vriha t'Rehu- not only giving herself a Meaningful Name, but changing her name from one that could pass for Vulcan to one that strongly resembles a modern Rihannsu name. Terise/Arrhae has a serial case of this, with her name changing as her situation in life does. Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto becomes Arrhae ir-Mnaeha when she went undercover as Rihannsu slave, then gained a House-name when her new owner freed her (becoming Arrhae ir-Mnaeha t'Khellian) and finally she is granted an entirely new new House-name when she's promoted to Senator as Arrhae i-Khellian t'Llhweiir.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The Battle of Artaleirh is initially between the Free Rihannsu rebels, with the Bloodwing and the Enterprise backing them up, and a Grand Fleet pacification force. Then the Klingons show up late in the fight, with the obvious intent of snatching the system from both sides, and are only defeated by the timely arrival of the Tyrava.
  • Memetic Mutation: In-Universe example in The Romulan Way. The main Romulan religion of the series present (a form of animism focused on the Four Classical Elements, Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, crossed with a karma-like concept) began life as a meme on the Vulcan version of the Internet while the Rihannsu were planning their future society. It reached the point where idioms began to derive from it, such as that a particularly stubborn person "had too much Earth in him", and its origin as a joke was gradually forgotten.
  • Microts: A lot of Rihannsu units of measurement.
  • Mile-Long Ship:
    • The USS Inaieu, a Starfleet Defender-class destroyer. It resembles the Constitution-class refit, but has four nacelles and a saucer a kilometer wide.
    • The Rihannsu Ship-Clans finance colony ships of this scale, three kilometers long, with the savings of entire planets, in hopes of leaving the Empire and starting afresh elsewhere. They double as extremely effective warships (just one wipes out fifteen of sixteen Klingon K't'inga-class cruisers sent to Artaleirh), and later as troop transports for the invasion of ch'Rihan.
  • Mind Rape: The director of the research station that developed the Sunseed protocol also developed ways to artifically duplicate Vulcan mental arts, including a "damper" to suppress consciousness. Once freed from the damper, the Vulcan crew of Intrepid tear the location of his research data and other information from his mind, leaving only a corpse.
  • The Mole:
    • In the later books, there's a spy for the Three in Ael’s crew. It turns out to be her old friend Dr. t'Hrienteh, who was in an unmentioned-til-then romantic relationship with Tafv.
    • And an interesting variation, fitting quite well with Star Trek's themes: human Terise Halakala-LoBrutto is altered and placed on ch'Rihan not to gather military, political, or technological intelligence, but sociological data, so the Federation can learn who the Romulans really are and form a lasting peace based on that understanding.
    • Arrhae is a Federation deep-cover agent. Other examples are Vaebn tr’Lhoell, now deceased, and Ffairrl, Arrhae’s steward on Gorget, who's another altered human.
  • Mole in Charge: Arrhae becomes a senator by the end of the second book. Downplayed in that she's a very junior senator with very little actual authority, but she uses what she does have quite cleverly. By the end of the final book, she's Empress Ael's personal advisor, though Ael is well aware of who she really is.
  • A Mother to Her Men: Ael to her crew on Bloodwing. She actually calls them her children sometimes. In return she's affectionately called susse-thrai, referring to the female of a wolverine-like animal.
  • Multiethnic Name: One of Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto's surnames is Hawaiian, the other Italian.
  • Named After Their Planet: The Federation calls them "Romulans" after the placeholder names of their planets—Romulus and Remus—originally intended only to be used until they found out the proper names of those worlds. In their own language, the Rihannsu named their planets after themselves: ch'Rihan, planet of the Declared (that being the meaning of "Rihannsu," the name they chose for themselves when they left Vulcan), and ch'Havran, planet of the Travelers (a name they used later during their journey to find a habitable world). The inhabitants of ch'Havran are called Havrannsu.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Downplayed. While Rihannsu can consume most human food and drink (and vice versa), McCoy takes the liberty, when Ael's crew has pretended to hijack Enterprise, in noting which dishes the food processors can make which will give Romulans "the Titanian Two-Step."
  • Number Two: Ael's second in command is her son, Tafv. After his betrayal and subsequent death in My Enemy, My Ally, her third in command Aidoann becomes the new Number Two on Bloodwing.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Ael is An Officer And A Lady- honorable, courteous, and tries to avoid involving innocents in her battles.
  • Offing the Offspring: Ael kills her son Tafv for his betrayal. Although it's made clear he would've died in a few days from his injuries, a Mercy Kill was not the objective.
  • Oh, My Gods!: The Rihannsu characters frequently swear "Oh my Element" and variations. They can also swear by the Sword in the Empty Chair—or just the Sword; everyone knows what they’re talking about.
  • One-Word Title: Swordhunt, the fourth book.
  • Only Serves for Life: Gurrhim tr’Siedhri lampshades this. “Once a senator in ch’Rihan, always one—while you breathe, anyway.”
  • Overly Long Name: A number of Rihannsu.
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Or rather, "I have lost my best pupil to madness." S'task, the first of the Rihannsu, was originally Surak's most fervent disciple.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Ael is described as a quite small woman. It doesn't stop her from being a holy terror in hand-to-hand combat. Justified and somewhat deconstructed: Vulcans (and thus, Romulans) are about three times as strong as a human on average, so Ael has no problem dealing with humans much larger than she is. On the other hand, she's never been particularly good at Romulan martial arts, so against another Romulan, her size places her at a distinct disadvantage, Ael notes she primarily defends herself with a phaser or her wits. And Kirk manages to land one good, "friendly" sucker punch on her.
  • The Political Officer: In The Empty Chair, Ael discusses the possibility that one may have been planted in her crew, in addition to the possibility that one of them has turned on her for other reason. According to Ael, the Romulan Grand Fleet once openly placed "political" or "loyalty" officers on ships to ensure that captains and crews obeyed the leadership. They suffered such a high rate of "accidents" that officers would rather be demoted than take up the post. These days, the identities of political officers are a secret.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Rihannsu are definitely this, sometimes to their detriment. In the first fifty years after colonisation, they managed to halve their population through war—almost beneath viable numbers.
  • Rags to Riches: It used to be relatively common for a servant who had distinguished themselves to be elevated to the nobility. At the end of The Romulan Way, Arrhae goes from housekeeper (and former slave) to senator, with a completely new house-name created for her.
  • Ramming Always Works: At the beginning of the war between the ancient Vulcans and the Space Pirates who would later become the Orions, S'task rams a pirate ship into their mothership, escaping in a lifepod before the impact. Ensign Luks does this to allow Bloodwing—with McCoy aboard—to escape at the end of the second book. Sadly, unlike S'task he doesn't have a means of escape to hand.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ael to the entire Rihannsu government at the end of Book Two.
  • Red Shirts: Averted in the first book—see Highly-Conspicuous Uniform above.
  • Rejection Ritual: The ultimate form of dishonor for the Romulans is to have one's name thrice written and thrice burned by the Senate, after which one is considered an Un-person and one's name may never be spoken again. This happens to Ael t'Rllaillieu after she teams up with the Enterprise against her own government in My Enemy, My Ally, and many of the Free Rihannsu rebels in the fifth book still refuse to speak her name despite her being a leading member of the rebellion. It's undone after she becomes empress.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: In The Romulan Way, it’s explained that the various factions on the Journey have evolved into very different cultures—with the result that there can seem to be several different Romulan Star Empires, all behaving differently to different ends. The best example of this trope comes from the East Continent of ch'Havran, whose nations descend from from groups of people who were forced to go on the Journey against their will and subsequently drew lots to settle in an isolated, inhospitable area, where they had little contact with the rest of their world, let alone ch'Rihan. At their best, they overthrew the Ruling Queen and then didn't set themselves up as tyrants in her place. At their worst, they’re primarily responsible for Hellguard—the horrific colony world where Saavik was born—as well as numerous atrocities in the first war with the Federation.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The War mentioned in The Romulan Way. The aliens kidnapped the Vulcan ambassadors and tried to hold them for ransom. The Vulcans developed advanced sublight drives from the remains of the ships formerly of the pirates.
  • Scotty Time: Subverted in the second book, during the fight between Bloodwing and Avenger. Ael wants to go into warp; her chief engineer tells her he needs seven minutes, and she replies that she isn’t sure she can give him seven seconds. The engineer doesn’t pull off a miracle. Ensign Luks tries to create a diversion, but the cutter he’s in is damaged, so he decides to ram it into the enemy’s ship, taking them out at the cost of his life. Then they get Bloodwing’s warp drive back online.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: H'daen tr'Khellian refuses a hefty bribe from tr'Annhwi, who wanted McCoy handed over to him for "revenge".
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Lyirru tr'Illiallhlae gets away with his excesses because he has connections in both the Senate and Praetorate—most prominently his wife Hloal, who is one of the mid-tier Praetors.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Ael betrays her government because they’re pursuing a project she feels is morally reprehensible.
  • Sealed Orders: The Empty Chair": Jim Kirk is secretly under orders directly from the President of the Federation when he launches his covert mission into the Romulan Empire, which allows him to call in a Starfleet battle group as The Cavalry at the critical Battle of Augo midway through the ensuing Romulan revolution.
  • Sequel Episode: Ael and Tafv's backstory is heavily tied to the TOS episode "The Enterprise Incident"—as is Tafv's motivation for turning traitor at the end.
  • Sex Slave: Not What It Looks Like. When Arrhae is first placed on ch'Rihan, she's apprenticed to a Rihannsu double agent working for the Federation, to learn enough about Romulan language and culture to not blow her cover. All his household staff sees is a young, pretty, new slave spending lots of time in the Master's chambers and emerging exhausted.
  • Ship Tease: A bit between Kirk and Ael, who do grow extremely close over the course of the last three books in particular. At one point he worries that Starfleet thinks the two of them are an item. (Given that it's Kirk we're talking about, not a surprise.) After she is crowned Empress, they share a Big Damn Kiss in private before bidding each other farewell.
  • Shout-Out:
    • It’s mentioned that there’s a planet just barely inside the Rihannsu side of the Neutral Zone that is almost richer in dilithium than Direidi. In Swordhunt, a Klingon refers to a "Thought Admiral".
    • In Chair Gurrhim tr'Siedhri comments that it will be better for the rebellion if he remains Legally Dead for the moment because that way his heirs will maintain control of his considerable wealth and corporate resources, as they're pro-rebellion, just like him. McCoy makes a snide remark about staying dead for tax purposes.
  • Sleight of Tongue: Nveid uses this to slip a data chip to Arrhae. She covers it by decking him for daring to kiss a senator without her permission.
  • Someone to Remember Him By: In flashback, Ael regrets that Tafv's father did not live to see his birth.
  • Space Romans: The Rihannsu culture has a strong resemblance to the Romans on Earth, which is even lampshaded. However, the effect is exaggerated by the Federation names for the people, their planets, and the translations of their ranks.
  • Stab the Scorpion: In My Enemy, My Ally, Enterprise and Bloodwing are fighting off Romulan ships, when one of them cloaks. Suddenly, Kirk orders to open fire with everything they have. . . right at Bloodwing, to the consternation of Bloodwing crew on the Enterprise bridge, thinking Kirk's taking an opportunity to backstabber his best enemy. Ael, aboard Bloodwing, has apparently had the same thought, as she opens fire straight at Enterprise. . . and their combined firepower meets in the middle, obliterating the cloaked Romulan ship hiding between them.
  • Star Killing: In the backstory shown in both The Romulan Way and Spock's World, it's widely believed that the supernova that destroyed the capital of the Inshai Compact, leading to the collapse of the Compact into anarchy and the emergence of the Etoshan and Duthulhiv pirates who made so much trouble for Vulcan, was caused by a sunkiller bomb. A Rihannsu superweapon that does this becomes a plot point in the final book.
  • Take That!:
    • McCoy thinks Sun Tzu is overrated; he prefers Confucius.
    • During the advance on the Romulan capital city Ra'tleihfi in The Empty Chair, Kirk's Internal Monologue directs one at the Hollywood Tactics idea of one branch of the military (the Space Navy, in this case) obsoleting all the others. No matter how many advancements you make, and despite efforts by centuries of tacticians, taking and holding planets in anything resembling the condition they started in still requires boots on the ground. The Ship-Clans' Mile Long Ships, intended as colony ships, are re-purposed as troop transports.
  • Theme Naming: Grand Fleet ships are typically named after either the original generation ships of the Journey from Vulcan to their new homeworlds, or after the gear of an armed, armored, and possibly mounted warrior. Meanwhile, the capital ships built by the Ship-Clans are named after the families who crew them, for example Kaveth and Tyrava.
  • Think Nothing of It: Ael doesn't want thanks or rewards from Vulcan or the Federation for her actions in the first book, because she didn’t do any of it for them.
  • Thicker Than Water: Played with. In Rihannsu culture, the loyalty to one’s ship and captain is supposed to overrule all others. However, one character is actually disowned by his family for putting his loyalty to his commander before that to his relatives, and fighting on the other side of a battle that killed his sister.
  • Threatening Mediator:
    • In The Romulan Way, Arrhae deals with two lower-ranked servants who are at odds over their son and daughter being in a relationship by threatening to sell both children to another house halfway across the planet.
    • In Honor Blade the neutral Lalairu agree to host a diplomatic summit between the Federation and the Romulan Empire aboard their city-ship Mascrar. The Lalairu are militant about maintaining their reputation as neutral intermediaries and threaten to destroy any ship that disrupts the negotiations regardless of affiliation, to which both sides agree. They carry out the threat when the Romulans attack the Federation-allied Romulan ship ChR Bloodwing, joining with the Starfleet ships to rout the enemy vessels.
  • Translation Trainwreck: In-universe during McCoy's filibuster. It's especially bad once he gets to Earth cuisine, with some translating less as foods and more as torture techniques (ex. "Fvhon-due.)
  • Translator Microbes: The universal translator takes the form of a subcutaneous chip throughout the series, and is noted to have trouble dealing with idioms: There's a scene in The Empty Chair where one of the humans uses one that confuses Ael. Uhura explains the expression to her and complains that she has to make yet another adjustment to the translators' idiom-handling code.
  • A True Story in My Universe: The Romulan Way is framed as a "subjective-conceptual history" work by Terise Haleakala-LoBrutto (a.k.a. Arrhae), also called The Romulan Way.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: Metric-Rihannsu conversions become relevant in My Enemy, My Ally. While arranging a rendezvous between the Enterprise and a Romulan vessel, Kirk tells Uhura to give the Romulans a second-tick for reference; the officer he's speaking to tells him they know what a second means to Terrans.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: My Enemy, My Ally is more or less a standalone novel, but the other four books are a close-knit series.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Lyirru tr'Illialhlae, a bloodthirsty military commander, and Hloal t'Illialhlae, a nasty lesser Praetor, although they don’t appear in the same book.
  • Unperson: A name being thrice written and thrice burnt makes that name’s bearer Unperson in Rihannsu law. The government does this to traitors and disgraced officers such as Ael’s niece, and eventually, Ael herself.
  • The Unpronounceable: Rihannsu names and words have a tendency to use consonant diphthongs that don't have any counterpart in English. Seriously, how the heck are you supposed to pronounce the first syllable of "Rllaillieu"?
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Kirk and Ael to some extent.
  • Untranslated Catchphrase: The Romulan word mnhei'sahe. It's variously translated as "luck," "love," and "The Ruling Passion," but none of these are entirely adequate. It's less a word than it is a name for the Romulans' Blue-and-Orange Morality, and if you were to truly understand it, you would truly understand the Rihannsu.
    Ael: (to her crew on the intercom) Honor to you, and mnhei'sahe.
    Kirk: (looks confused)
    Ael: I wished them luck.
    Kirk: I thought that word meant "love."
    Ael: What's the use in a word that can only mean one thing? Besides, in this context, they're close enough.
  • Uriah Gambit: Ael’s enemies in Command try this. They promote her away from her loyal crew on Bloodwing, put her in command of a small task force, and plan to order her to her death... in a way that would start a war between the Federation and the Klingons. She expected it—aside from the set-up war, which came as a shock—so she's able to evade their plot.
  • Waif-Fu: At least three:
    • Ael i-Mhiessan t'Rllaillieu, commander of the Romulan warbird Bloodwing, who is described as "tiny", yet takes out a much larger opponent with a single punch. Twice.
    • Her crewmember "little" N'alae, a master of llaekh-ae'rl ("laughing murder"), is able to throw Mr. Athende, an eight-foot tall Sulamid (whose hobby is hand-to-hand combat).
    • Starfleet medic Lia Burke, who holds her own in a mass melee.
  • Wave-Motion Gun:
    • The Sunseed protocol, created to cause ion storms at will, can be used to fire what is effectively a laser capable of boiling all life from a planet in the same system of the "seeded" star.
    • We also have the return of the plasma torpedo from the original series, with a modification: it homes on target.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: This is actually the ideal state of the Rihannsu government—all those Senators and Praetors are supposed to spend lots of time infighting, because that discourages tyranny. Unfortunately, the system doesn't actually prevent a small cadre from assuming effective control of the government.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill:
  • We Used to Be Friends: Surak and S’task were very close before S’task repudiated Surak’s philosophy. Despite their real and severe personal differences, they never did stop caring for one another.
  • When Life Gives You Lemons...: The saying is quoted in The Romulan Way. The Rihannsu version is "When a sword shatters, take its fragments back to the forge"—which Arrhae prefers, saying it has more dignity.
  • Who Needs Enemies?: The Rihannsu and the Klingons are technically allies, but by present times the alliance—which was based on mutual fear and hatred for the Federation—has decayed badly enough that the Klingons are openly raiding Rihannsu worlds . Even before the current hostilities, the alliance did the Rihannsu little good—when a Rihannha in the series speaks of the Klingon-built warships the treaty obligates them to buy they always mention they're shoddily built by the lowest bidder in spite of their good speed and firepower, and Ael recalls that her son's father was killed in a so-called misunderstanding with the Klingons, several decades before the main story.
  • Why Won't You Die?: After Gurrhim tr'Siedhri survives the assassination attempt by his political rivals, said rivals complain that "Farmer Gurri" can't even die right.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ael considers James Kirk to be this... which is why she seeks him out when her friends and allies among her own people fail her. Kirk feels much the same way about Ael.

Alternative Title(s): My Enemy My Ally, The Romulan Way, Swordhunt, Honor Blade