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Posted on October 11th, 2009 by Ian Blackthorne and Kuari

T’Kirr as Kuari and Ian Blackthorne as A.C. Zuriyev

“Admiral Zuriyev will see you now.”

The desk clerk pointed the way down the imposing corridor, and Kuari told herself again not to be intimidated. She made her way in the indicated direction, head cocking at every shiny surface she passed. Everyone was so nice here. She had no reason to feel hesitant. After all, this was the easy part.

The difficult part would come later. It wasn’t something she wanted to think about.

Humanoid species were many times just like Rucara in some ways. They could be polite to each other, especially when meeting someone new. Surely Admiral Zuriyev, although considered to be a very important person, would be kind to her.

Then again, Major Riggs was another example of humanoid behavior. He had yelled and he had ordered, and had made her do things she hadn’t wanted to do. Dr. Karmen had insisted this was a perfectly normal attitude to take on while training marines, and that many needed such motivation to pay attention and work together. It was part of their culture, and Kuari liked to think she adapted well to new cultures. It was merely the way the society was made to work. She would take it in stride.

She stopped at the door, which was also shiny, marked with Admiral Zuriyev’s name, and Kuari waited only a moment before the door swished open to admit her.

The humanoid sat behind his desk, watching her as she pulled her tail around so the door would close behind her. His shiny pips winked at her and her training kicked in. She dropped her haunches and puffed out her chest, sitting stiffly at attention.

Admiral A.C. Zuriyev put down a PADD and removed his reading glasses as the Rucara entered. “At ease, Lieutenant. I have some idea of what you asked to see me about, after my conversations with your father. Let’s hear it in your own words.”

Kuari relaxed, slouching only a little, and she nodded. “He told me about the reports from Starbase Vinland. Someone attacking people at Outpost Mayflower. His signature is distinct.” She swallowed. Was she really getting herself into this? “We know who it is, sir.”

“Yes, Ambassador Karwayin mentioned that,” Alexi began, looking back at the PADD a moment. “The Rukagru, he said.”

Kuari swallowed again at the name. “Yes, sir. I’m requesting that you send me to help catch him, sir.”

Peering at the precocious lieutenant, Zuriyev said, “You’ve been out of the Academy, what, five months now? Assigned to guard duty at the Council building. Why should I send you instead of your father?”

Turning her eyes downward, Kuari thought a moment. She again looked up at Zuriyev. “I joined Starfleet not only in hopes of integrating with the cultures of the Federation, but also to help protect it, even the outer reaches if that’s where I can serve best. My father, he…” she hesitated. This was a dangerous mission. Her next words would imply she knew the risks. “He has a duty to represent the Rucara in the Federation.” She paused. “He has my mother to take care of.”

The Admiral considered for a moment. “In your opinion, is it possible that this could be resolved diplomatically? Your father is an ambassador with more knowledge than anyone on the matter.”

Kuari shook her head vigorously, feeling the strangeness of the adopted humanoid expression. “No, and I’m sure Karwayin would tell you the same thing. The Rukagru can’t be reasoned with. He is what he is… he can be no different. He would sooner kill you than talk to you.”

The ambassador had, in fact, told him the same thing, but considering that Alexi had met exactly three Rucara, it was good to see if they all held the same opinion of the severity of the problem. However, there were still political considerations to deal with, as usual. “That’s what I’ve heard. Lieutenant, you must realize your service in Starfleet is a bit of an ambassadorship in itself for the rest of your species. There’s some… pressure to keep you close to home.”

Kuari pressed her eyes closed, then rose up onto all fours. “With respect to you and Karwayin, I’m not a whelp. I can make my own decisions. Someone’s got to go after the Rukagru!” She realized her voice was rising, so she took a deep breath and quieted herself. “The Rucara aren’t responsible for the Rukagru’s actions, but I do believe we have a responsibility to stop him. Especially when he’s killing like this.”

With a long exhale, Alexi nodded; this Marine wanted to be treated like one, regardless of being an ambassador’s daughter. “You’re right, you’re not a whelp; you’re a Starfleet Marine, and right now you’re definitely acting like one. You’re trained for this sort of thing and have knowledge that can help the situation. I’m assigning the Atlantis to investigate the Rukagru attacks. Be on the next transport to Starbase Vinland and report to Admiral Blackthorne.”

That was it, then. She was going. Kuari raised her head higher until she was almost eye level with Admiral Zuriyev and nodded sharply. “Understood, sir.”

“Travel orders will be waiting at the spaceport. Do yourself and Starfleet proud, Lieutenant. Dismissed!”

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