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Introduction (blurb)


They call themselves Rihannsu -- the Declared. To the Federation, they are the Romulans. By any name they are adversaries as formidable as they are inscrutable. Self-exiled from Vulcan in ages past, they retain an ancient martial philosophy and a code of conduct that has sustained them through centuries of hardship, warfare, and thwarted ambition.

Now their empire is gearing for war once again. Armed with the revolutionary Sunseed technology, which can destabilize entire stars, a Romulan vessel is warping toward the heart of the Federation. Its target: Earth's sun.

But this offensive comes at a perilous time, as a growing number of Romulan worlds are joining a revolution -- one led by the renegade Commander Ael t'Rllaillieu of the warbird Bloodwing, with the aid of Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise and the Hamalki physicist K's't'lk, the Federation's foremost authority on Sunseed technology. As the threat to Earth looms ever larger, Bloodwing and Enterprise lead an armada toward the Romulan homeworld for a final reckoning that will decide the future of the Rihannsu people.


Enterprise and Bloodwing arrive at Artaleirh, a world that has declared itself a member of the Free Rihannsu. They join with local forces to defend the world from the Romulan Grand Fleet, who are trying to regain control of the planet. Just as the tide of battle is turning in their favor, a group of Klingon ships begin attacking both sides. They are saved by Tyrava, a world ship created by the inhabitants of a disaffected colony.

Kirk is shocked to find himself appointed the head of the Free Rihanssu fleet and decides their next target should be Augo. Meanwhile, Arrhae discovers that the Romulans have launched a Sunseed probe to destroy Earth's sun and warns Kirk and Ael. Her former steward, Ffarl, in reality another Federation agent, warns her Romulan Intelligence are on to her, so she decoys them by informing tr'Anierh that Intelligence plan to blame him for the attack on Earth. As a result, he recalls ships from Augo, tipping the balance in Kirk's favor. The campaign is a success thanks to the intervention of a group of Starfleet vessels, but the USS Ortisei is destroyed in the process, killing Commodore Danilov. Kirk sends Starfleet back to Earth with news of the Sunseed probe, while also having Spock send a message to the Federation President via Sarek.

The Free Rihanssu fleet then descend on ch'Rihan. Thanks to disinformation spread by Gurrhim and a civilian uprising, Grand Fleet HQ and the Imperial city soon fall. The Three launch the probe anyway but Scotty, K's't'lk and tr'Keirianh are able to use Eisn to remotely expel the probe. The Three are taken into custody until their fate can be decided and Ael is hailed as Empress.


Kirk: Mr. Spock, are you thinking what I'm thinking?
Spock: Yes, Captain, and without the benefit of extraneous instrumentalities.



Helga BirgisdottirPavel ChekovHarold GutierrezTerise Haleakala-LoBrutto (a.k.a. Arrhae t'llhweiir) • K'hemrenKhiyJames T. KirkK's't'lkKathy LiMahanLeonard McCoyDai MehkanMoiraRon Ruis (aka Ffairrl) • Montgomery ScottSpockHikaru SuluHarb TanzerHvaid t'KhaethaetrehAidoann t'KhnialmnaeAel t'RllaillieuEveh tr'AnierhAlal tr'FvennihTr'HrientehThala tr'KavethGiellun tr'KeirianhHdaen tr'KhellianAhrm'n tr'KiellUrellh tr'MaehhlieCourhig tr'MahanGurrhim tr'SiedhriVeilt tr'TyravaNyota Uhura
Referenced only
Winston ChurchillCarl von ClausewitzZefram CochraneConfucius (as K'un-fu-tse) • DaminsAlbert EinsteinGioufvhr'TeeilihImessaKalavTadeusz KosciuszkoLinebargerJabilo M'BengaGeorge S. PattonSarekNveid tr'AAnikhSun TzuV'GerXenophon


Battle of ArtaleirhBattle of AugoBattle of Eisn

Starships and vehicles


USS al-BurakUSS DauntlessUSS EnterpriseUSS HemalatUSS KilimanjaroUSS Lake OnondogaUSS Lake PonchartrainUSS MarathonUSS OrtiseiUSS San DiegoUSS Speedwell


ChR ArestChR BerouinnChR BloodwingChR ChapeChR EliethChR EsemarChR GauntletKavethChR LlendanChR MoerrdelSitheshChR SumpterTyrava


IKS KartadzaIKS MelikaphkazIKS PefakIKS TevekhIKS Zajikh


553 TrianguliArtaleirh (Artaleirh) • AugoEarthEisnMirhassaOutworldsRa'tleihfich'RihanSsuvat
Referenced only
Donatu VGahvennThalawir

Races and cultures


States and organizations

Free RihannsuImperial Ground ForcesKlingon EmpireRomulan Star EmpireStarfleetUnited Federation of Planets


DilithiumForce fieldQuantum-vacuum shieldingSunseed

Other references

AnalectsContemplationsLays of Ancient RomeThrice written and thrice burnedTivish


Related media


  • Although the Pocket Books chronology places this story in the year 2276, following the previous books in the series, those stories make repeated references to uniforms of the TOS style. The texts describes uniforms resembling those of the mid-2260s decade, rather than the Star Trek: The Motion Picture-era uniforms that were in place circa 2271, which is also an issue with the cover art in Duane's previous novels. This indicates that Starfleet used uniforms matching this description, of an intermediate style, for a time before changing again to the later maroon uniforms in use by 2278 (as established in TNG episode: "Cause and Effect").
  • An excerpt from this novel was published in issue 129 of the Star Trek Magazine.




Published Order
Previous novel:
Burning Dreams
TOS unnumbered novels Next novel:
Excelsior: Forged in Fire
Previous novel:
Honor Blade
Next novel:
Last novel in series
Previous story:
Honor Blade
Stories by:
Diane Duane
Next story:
The Scaean Gate
Chronological Order
Previous adventure:
Honor Blade
Memory Beta Chronology Next adventure:
A Merchant's Loyalty
Previous novel:
Honor Blade
Continuing voyages of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) Next novel:
Distress Call!