Kerla was a male Klingon officer of the 23rd century Klingon Empire. By 2293, he had attained the rank of brigadier and served as military adviser to Chancellors Gorkon and Azetbur.

In that year, immediately after the destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis, Kerla responded to a message sent from the USS Excelsior by claiming that there had been an incident on Praxis, but also that everything was under control and they thus did not require assistance, and warning the Excelsior to obey treaty stipulations and stay outside of the Neutral Zone. Janice Rand asked the outraged Hikaru Sulu, who then commanded the Excelsior, whether they should report that to Starfleet; Sulu responded to Rand with the rhetorical question, "Are you kidding?"

Two months later, Kerla accompanied Gorkon and his contingent to Earth to engage in peace talks with the United Federation of Planets, escorted by the USS Enterprise. On the rendezvous with the Enterprise, he attended a formal dinner on board with Captain James T. Kirk and his staff. During the dinner, Kerla noted the illegality of Romulan ale and later voiced his opinion that peace talks with the Federation would inevitably lead to the annihilation of Klingon culture.

Following the assassination of Chancellor Gorkon, Kerla continued to act as military adviser to Azetbur, Gorkon's daughter, who was elevated to the position of chancellor in the wake of her father's death. In this capacity, Kerla recommended attacking the Federation while they were still capable, but was rebuffed by Azetbur, who preferred to pursue her father's goal of peace. Kerla later accompanied Azetbur to the peace talks on Camp Khitomer, and helped to protect her during an assassination attempt on the Federation president. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Kerla was played by actor Paul Rossilli.
His quote that it would be "better to die on our feet than live on our knees" is an oft-used remark by Emiliano Zapata, a leader of the Mexican Revolution and contemporary of Pancho Villa.
The novelization of the film states that Kerla and Azetbur are lovers.

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