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Romulan Commander (Balance of Terror)

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No. No, that is not our way. I regret that we meet in this way. You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you "friend."
~ The Romulan Commander, to Kirk, after his ship is crippled by the Enterprise

The Romulan Commander (real name unrevealed) is a villain appearing in the Star Trek franchise, serving as the main antagonist of the TOS episode "Balance of Terror."

He was portrayed by the late Mark Lenard.

A veteran of past military operations for the Romulan Star Empire, this Romulan, by the time of his final mission, had grown weary of battle, believing that enough lives had been sacrificed for the sake of galactic conquest.

In 2266, he commanded a Bird-of-Prey on a mission to field-test a cloaking device as well as a new weapon. The Romulan starship destroyed numerous Federation outposts along the Romulan Neutral Zone, leading to a fateful confrontation with the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) in which the Romulans' nature as an off-shoot of the Vulcans was revealed to the Federation.

During his ship's encounter with the Enterprise, the Romulan Commander was impressed with Captain James T. Kirk's tactics. At one point, he tried to have his ship return to Romulus, only to be stopped by the Enterprise; this led to a final battle in which the Bird-of-Prey was severely damaged. Wounded, he made contact with the Enterprise to express his admiration of Kirk's abilities, even remarking that, had things been different, they could have been friends. He then destroyed his own ship to prevent capture by the Enterprise.


Danger and I are old companions.
~ To centurion
No need to tell you what happens when we reach home with proof of the Earthmen's weakness. And we will have proof. The Earth commander will follow. He must. When he attacks, we will destroy him. Our gift to the homeland: Another war.
~ To centurion
Must it always be so? How many comrades have we lost in this way?
~ To centurion
Obedience. Duty. Death and more death. Soon, even enough for the Praetor's taste. Centurion, I find myself wishing for destruction before we can return. Worry not. Like you, I am too well-trained in my duty to permit it.
~ To centurion, expressing his weariness with battle
How pleasing to the eye it is. Behold, a marvel in the darkness.
No. No, he's shrewd, this starship commander. He tries to make us waste energy. He has estimated we have only enough.
~ Assessing Kirk's tactics
Forgive me, my old friend, but I must use all my experience now to get home.
~ To centurion's dead body
He is there, somewhere. I feel it.
~ To Decius
He's a sorcerer, that one. He reads the thoughts in my brain. Our fuel supply all but gone and he stays out of reach.
~ To Decius, on Kirk
We are creatures of duty, Captain. I have lived my life by it. Just one more duty to perform.
~ The Romulan commander's last words to Kirk, before destroying his own ship


  • The actor, Mark Lenard, went on to play Sarek, Spock's father.
  • In the TOS novel The Return written by William Shatner, the Romulan commander is given the name "Keras" (a backwards spelling of "Sarek"). Additionally, his granddaughter, Salatrel, seeks vengeance on Kirk.

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