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Romulans board the USS Enterprise – and Kirk joins forces with his deadliest enemy!

My Enemy, My Ally is a Pocket TOS novel – #18 in the numbered series, and the first in the Rihannsu series – written by Diane Duane. Published by Pocket Books, it was first released in July 1984.


From the book jacket
Ael t'Rllaillieu is a noble – and dangerous – Romulan commander. But when the Romulans kidnap Vulcans to genetically harness their mind power, Ael decides on treason. Captain Kirk, her old enemy, joins her in a secret pact to destroy the research laboratory and free the captive Vulcans. When the Romulans discover their plan, the Neutral Zone seethes with schemes and counter-schemes, sabotage and war!

Excerpts of copyrighted sources are included for review purposes only, without any intention of infringement.

Commander-General Ael t'Rllallieu is one of the Romulan Star Empire's most decorated starship commanders, but she has become increasingly disillusioned with her Empire as they throw away honor (mnhei'sahe) for riches and power. She has spoken out in front of the Senate one time too many and sent out on an "honorable" tour of duty to the Neutral Zone. Ael soon escapes from the broken-down warbird Cuirass and its disloyal crew and returns to her own ship, Bloodwing. She and her crew, including her son Tafv and close confidant Aidoann, cross the Neutral Zone and destroy Cuirass using Klingon-augmented gunnery circuits. She purposely initiates the conflict between Bloodwing and Cuirass close to where Captain Kirk and the Enterprise are patrolling the Zone with the starships USS Constellation, USS Intrepid, and Inaieu. In Federation space, Ael meets Captain Kirk face to face for the first time. She tells him about two secret projects currently under way in her home space: Sunseed, a device to destabilize a star and create ion storms, and a project to harvest Vulcan genetic material to enhance the telepathic abilities of the Romulans. Kirk sympathizes with her, but says he cannot in good conscience order the Enterprise across the Neutral Zone. That changes, however, when the all-Vulcan crew of the Intrepid is captured and taken into Romulan space. Kirk accepts Ael's plan to have Bloodwing "capture" the Enterprise and take her into Romulan space – coincidentally passing right by Levaeri V, the station where the mind research is going on.

Bloodwing and Enterprise succeed in breaking away from the escort sent to meet them, and launch their attack on Levaeri V. However, while nearly half of Enterprise's crew is on Levaeri, Tavf stages an attack of his own – on the Enterprise. With the help of the loyal Romulans still on board Enterprise, including Khiy and Eriufv, the crew manages to repel the invaders. Tafv, though, is mortally wounded. After the Intrepid crew is rescued and Levaeri V destroyed, Enterprise, Bloodwing, and Intrepid successfully battle several Romulan ships sent to destroy them, by seeding Levaeri's primary with Sunseed. Ael sees Tafv in Enterprise's sickbay, but McCoy tells her that no matter what, he will die. When Ael asks him why he betrayed her, he responds that it was mnhei'sahe, his loyalty to his cousin (Ael's niece) who had been exiled for losing the cloaking device to Kirk. Ael releases him from life support, doing what mnhei'sahe requires of her.

Before Ael beams back to Bloodwing, she tells Kirk that she is now exiled from her home. She tells him that they will burn her name, essentially saying that she no longer exists, for "A Rihannsu without her name is nothing". She tells Kirk what all three parts of her name mean, and then giving him the greatest gift of all, she tells him what her fourth name means – "The name by which only one closer than kin may know her". On Earth, Kirk hangs a pennant with Ael's first three names on it in a secluded valley, ensuring that the Commander and her memory will live on.

Memorable quotes[]

"… Entirely too many ion-flux measurements, according to Mr. Chekov, who has declared to the bridge at large that his mother didn't raise him to compile weather reports. (Must remember to ask him why since meteorology has to have been invented in Russia like everything else.)

"However, even Spock has admitted to me privately that he looks forward to solving this problem and moving on to something a little more challenging. His captain agrees with him. His captain is bored stiff. My mother didn't raise me to compile weather reports, either."

- Kirk, recording his log

"Mr. Naraht, are you quite sure of that figure for the iridium?"
"To six decimal places, sir! Zero point three zero four one four one two two."
"That is eight decimal places, ensign."
"Oh. I'm sorry, sir! I thought you might like some more."

- Spock and Naraht

"Aha! The truth will out! That's it! You only like that boy because you knew his mother the Horta – and she liked your ears!"

- McCoy, about why Spock likes Naraht

"Gentlemen, I will be open with you. I am a warrior, and I find peace very dull. But honor I cherish; and I see, with the completion and release of this technique, the rise of a new Romulan Empire that will have lost the last vestiges of the glory and honor of the old one. I have sworn oaths to that Empire, to serve it loyally. To stand by and do nothing about the destruction of the ancient and noble tradition on which that Empire is based is to put the knife into oneself. I will not."

- Ael

"I was thinking of capturing the Enterprise. Would you mind?"

- Ael, proposing her plan to get the Enterprise across the Neutral Zone

"Mnhei'sahe. I'm sorry, captain, but you would ask me to render one of the most difficult words in the language. It's not quite honor – and not quite loyalty – and not quite anger, or hatred, or about fifty other things. It can be a form of hatred that requires you to give your last drop of water to a thirsty enemy – or an act of love that requires you to kill a friend. The meaning changes constantly with context, and even in one given context, it's slippery at best."

- Lt. Janice Kerasus, Enterprise linguistics officer, attempting to explain a concept all-important to the Romulans.

"I suppose I'd better get down there and see how Scotty's doing with 'blowing up' his engines…"
"I bet he's doing most of the 'blowing up' himself."
"Mr. Chekov, amen to that."

- Kirk and Chekov

"What use is a word that means only one thing?"

- Ael

"The translator is having problems. You have little round flying insects on Earth eating a ship named Intrepid? And you ask me about the danger of names?"

- Ael, after Kirk's colloquial use of "mothballs"

"How's Lieutenant Sjveda's music appreciation seminar coming along?"
"Classical period still, sir. Beethoven, Stravinsky, Vaughn Williams, Barber, Lennon, Devo. Head hurts."

- Kirk and Athende

"I beg your pardon," the man said merrily in a British accented voice, apparently looking right at Jim, "but is this Heathrow?"
"Brother, have you ever taken a wrong turn!" was Jim's first thought.

- 3D hologram of the Fourth Doctor and Kirk

"What the devil was that? Sounds like you've got a problem down there, lieutenant. A malfunction that shouts."
"No, doctor. It's taken us the last half-hour to get it to do that."

-The modified holography console, McCoy, and Uhura

"Daisemi'in rhhaensuriuu"
"   meillunsiateve"
"     rh'e Mnhei'sahe yie ahr'en:"
"Mnahe afw'ein qiuu;"
"   rh'e hweithnaef"
"     mrht Heis'he ehl'ein qiuu."

- Of the chief parts of the Ruling Passion, only this can be truly said: Hate has a reason for everything. But love is unreasonable. (V. Raiuhes Ahaefvthe)

"Never complain about our transporters again, yours are even worse!"
"Physician… stuff thyself."

- McCoy, after the landing party's hasty extraction from the space station, and Kirk

Background information[]

  • Although this is designated as the first book in the Rihannsu series, that term was not applied until the 2000 reprint.
  • The Science Fiction Book Club released a special edition of the novel in hardback in December 1984.
  • Although the Romulans considered attempted suicide a crime by 2372, Ael's enemies in the Senate hoped that if she received orders to cross the Neutral Zone, her honor would force her to kill herself.

Cover gallery[]


James T. Kirk (β)
Enterprise captain
Spock (β)
Enterprise exec and science officer
Leonard McCoy (β)
Enterprise surgeon
Montgomery Scott (β)
Enterprise chief engineer
Uhura (β)
Enterprise communications officer
Hikaru Sulu (β)
Enterprise helmsman
Pavel A. Chekov (β)
Enterprise navigator
Abernathy (β)
Ahrens (β)
Amekentra (β)
Green, scaly, Enterprise crewwoman who served in the dietary department.
Athendë (β)
Sulamid officer assigned to the maintenance department
Austin (β)
Roz Bates
Bischoff (β)
Brand (β)
Brassard (β)
Lia Burke (β)
One of McCoy's nurses, helping him in sickbay while Christine Chapel works on her doctorate
Canfield (β)
Carver, young


Carver (β)
Claremont (β)
Fisher (β)
Freeman, command


Jerry Freeman (β)
Harrison spores


Harrison (β)
Enterprise officer who was injured in the assault on the Levaeri station
Hwavirë (β)
Sulamid ensign
Janíce Kerasus (β)
Enterprise linguist
Khalifa (β)
Korren (β)
Krejci (β)
Langsam (β)
Lee (β)
Lihwa (β)
Litt (β)
Robbie London (β)
Enterprise ensign
Diane Maass (β)
Donald Maass (β)
Colin Matlock (β)
Miñambrés (β)
Morris (β)
Mosley (β)
Muller (β)
Naraht (β)
Horta ensign serving on the Enterprise, he earned the nickname "Ensign Rock" from Ael and participated in the mission to recover the Intrepid's crew
Norton (β)
Oranjeboom (β)
Paul (β)
Harb Tanzer (β)
Starfleet lieutenant and Enterprise's chief of recreation, he participated in the battle to re-take the Enterprise from Tafv's forces
Ael i-Mhiessan t'Rllaillieu (β)
Romulan, commander of the Bloodwing, aunt of the Romulan commander the Enterprise previously met
Aidoann (β)
Romulan, Uhura's "guard" on the bridge and "took over" her station, also was Ael's third-in-command
Dhiemn (β)
Romulan officer
Romulan officer who Ael ordered to warn the crew about possible communication leaks
Romulan officer
Giellun tr'Keirianh (β)
Romulan chief engineer of Bloodwing
Romulan officer
Hvaid (β)
Romulan officer
Romulan officer who Ael ordered to warn the crew about possible communication leaks
Romulan officer
Khoal (β)
Romulan officer
Romulan officer
LLunih tr'Raedheol (β)
Romulan, commander of the Javelin who has earned the intese dislike of Ael
Romulan officer whom Ael ordered to warn the crew about possible communication leaks
Lyirru tr'Illialhae
Romulan, commander of Battlequeen
N'alae (β)
Ael's martial-arts expert
Nniol t'AAnikh (β)
Romulan officer serving aboard the Bloodwing, he had a sister on the destroyed Javelin
Security officer on the Cuirass
Engineering officer on Bloodwing
Romulan communications officer on the Cuirass, he was loyal to security officer t'Liun and Ael's enemies
Romulan officer on the Cuirass
Tafv Ei-Leinarrh tr'Rllaillieu
Romulan Sub-Commander and Ael's son, he betrayed her and tried to take over the Enterprise as revenge for his cousin
Romulan officer
Raela hr'Sassish
Tellarite Constellation first officer
Aline MacDougall
Constellation chief surgeon.
Nhauris Rihaul
Denebian captain of the Inaieu, she was old friends with Kirk
Iwao Sasoaka
Constellation chief engineer
Vulcan Intrepid first officer
Vulcan Intrepid CMO
Vulcan captain of Intrepid
Vulcan Intrepid helm officer
Vulcan chief engineer of Intrepid
Michael Walsh (β)
Captain of the Constellation; Walsh had previously served with Kirk aboard the Excalibur


USS Constellation II (β)
Captain Michael Walsh
The Constellation has the registry number of the previous ship to bear this name, although later canon works contend this replacement Constellation might have had the number NCC-1974, and would have been the prototype for the Constellation-class ships later seen in TNG.
USS Excalibur (NCC-1664)

Excalibur, neutralized by M-5

USS Excalibur (β)
Both Jim Kirk and Mike Walsh served together on this vessel earlier in their careers, they met again in the aftermath of the Excalibur crew's decimation, by M-5 multitronic unit
Constitutions formation

Excalibur, Hood and Potemkin fly in formation

USS Hood (β)
The Hood and Potemkin were due to arrive and take over patrol from Kirk's task force after the incident at Levaeri
USS Inaieu (NCC-2003) (β)
Defender-class destroyer of Captain Nhauris Rihaul. Built in the Deneb system with a primary hull three times the size of a Constitution-class heavy cruiser. Inaieu had four nacelles and a mile long secondary hull that was a quarter-mile in diameter.
USS Intrepid II (NCC-1730) (β)
Captain Suvuk, the second starship to bear the name. This vessel was noted to be of Vulcan-designed specifications similar to Enterprise's upcoming refit.
USS Intrepid (CV-11)
A World War II-era aircraft carrier, decommissioned after that war and currently a museum ship in New York City; Kirk refers to it as one of the forbears of the current Intrepid.
USS Potemkin (β)
The Hood and Potemkin were due to arrive and take over patrol from Kirk's task force after the incident at Levaeri
Arakkab (β)
Romulan ship, a modified K't'inga with a purportedly Klingon name
Arien (β)
Romulan ship
Battlequeen (β)
Romulan ship, a modified K't'inga, of Commander Lyirru tr'Illialhae, destroyed in battle
Bloodwing (ChR-63) (β)
Commander-General Ael t'Rllaillieu / Sub-Commander Tafv ei-Leinarrh tr'Rllaillieu
Courser (β)
Romulan ship
Cuirass (β)
Romulan ship, a modified K't'inga with the false Klingon name Ehhak, destroyed in battle
Eisn (β)
Romulan ship, named after the sun around which Romulus and Remus (ch'Rihan and ch'Havran) orbit
Hakask (β)
Romulan ship disguised as a Klingon flagship
Helve (β)
Romulan ship
One-man scout carried in Cuirass, property of Ael, destroyed in battle
Javelin (β)
Romulan ship, a modified K't'inga-class of Commander Llunih tr'Raedheol, destroyed in battle
Kenek (β)
Romulan ship, a modified K't'inga with a false Klingon name
Lahai (β)
Romulan ship
Rea's Helm (β)
Romulan ship, destroyed in battle
Wildfire (β)
Romulan ship, destroyed in battle
Ykir (β)
Romulan ship, a modified K't'inga with a false Klingon name
Four-dimensional chess (β)
A new variant of chess, designed by Harb Tanzer. The players are able to "rest" their pieces by temporarily taking them out of the game, but once a certain time has expired, the pieces come back into play. The game uses sophisticated transporter technology, which came in handy when Tafv's forces took over the Enterprise.
Romulan Commander (β)
Ael's niece, she was stripped of her rank, title, and house in front of the Senate after the incident with the Enterprise and sent into exile
Sunseed (β)
A program developed by the Romulans that generates an ion storm, which was used repeatedly to abduct ships with Vulcans on them
On the Waterfront
20th century Earth film; while Uhura and an enthusiastic lieutenant are augmenting the Enterprise entertainment library, Kirk catches a glimpse of a scene from the film, when Marlon Brando's character delivers his famous line, "I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contender!"
a predatory bird on Romulus, which Ael describes in similar terms to a Terran condor: on the ground, it is squat, slow-moving, and rather easy to contain, yet once it is airborne it is unrivaled in both airspeed and elegance.

External links[]

Previous novel: Series Next novel:
#17: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Pocket TOS
Numbered novels
#19: The Tears of the Singers
Vulcan's Glory (#20) Titan Books release order  Double, Double (#22)
First novel in series Rihannsu The Romulan Way