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MSNPC Rugen - Do Not Make Me Kill You

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@Sal Taybrim’s portrayal of Rugen has been a joy to read and I think this sim sums up why.

Rather than a typical one-dimensional, diabolical villain, Commodore Taybrim made the character not only believable, but even relatable, as a product of his environment and up-bringing.

Anyone who wants to write believable villains with depth to them, I urge you to read this sim. I know I got a lot from it, myself.

((Byzallian Cave Network))

Rugen: A very naieve viewpoint.  You think all worlds are as rich as your Bardeez.  You think all people are as kind as yours Federations.  The galaxy is a far more cruel place for this without your privledges.

Rugen’s life had never been easy.  Not a single day had been flush with food or full of guaranteed safety.  He had parents who cared for him and his brother, who taught him to hunt, to cook, to dress for the weather, to build shelter and to survive in harsh times.  He had family who banded together.  He had a clan that were a family.  And each and every one of them had suffered exposure, starvation, disease and loss.

That was the way of things.  The Dorfmen might have never come together as clans, worked to build anything if they were not pushed to do so.

Fairhug: Come with us back to the peace talks. State your position. Make us understand through words, not violence.

Willow: We will listen. We don’t have to agree, but we can compromise. Find a way where we can all be half-way happy. 


He didn’t trust the word.

Wethern: I don't blame you. I wouldn't trust us. We are a corporate uniform. All looking alike in good health wealthy to you. I wasn't always in Starfleet it's a new addition to me. I got tired of the suffering and joined with those who have the resources to help. Why not listen to us what do you have to lose?

Rugen: We have our traditions to lose.  What made us strong.  What bound us together.  I have seen the space nomands.  No-people with no-family.  No-souls.  We have soul.  We wish to keep it burning brightly.

He was strong in his convictions, compelling.  And yet there was a rigidity to his thinking, a cold, solid wall of belief that was not cracking.

And worse, it was delivered in a calm, rational voice.  He had thought about this.  He was not working in anger.  He was working from a place of considered rational thought.

Fairhug: ::frowning:: Then let’s start with names. I am Lieutenant Commander Fairhug, First Officer of the Federation Starbase One-One-Eight. This is Lieutenant Haukea Willow and Doctor Corey Wethern. Who is it we are speaking to?

Rugen: I am Exalpius Rugen, First of the Clan of Fire.

He said it with pride and then watched the Bardeezan.

He was known.

It was not that he wanted to be known.  Or tried to be known.

But he had been the one to never back down, even as weaker clan leaders faltered.  And for that he was proud.  He had lived by his values.

Willow: I am a security officer. I do take an unorthodox tactic framed by non-violent actions. I will not shoot unless I am provoked.  

Wethern: A pleasure I'm sure. I'm not here for surprises I just want to make sure our people are in health. I'll happily deal with any of your wounded as well. 

Fairhug: Rugen. You were responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the war.

He fixed his gaze on the Bardeezan.  Fairhug.

Rugen: You say that as if war is not an atrocity.  It is.  That is what it is.  And yet it is our life.

Fairhug: Justify it however you want, you attacked civilian populations. Those people were not soldiers, they were unable to defend themselves. Is that Byzallian honour?

The sound he made was not disrespectful, but one of non-comprehension.  A non-verbal exclamation.

Rugen: Civilian?  ::The universal translator struggled with the word, as well as his next words:: There is no person outside of war.  Every Dorfman is raised in war.  I do not understand.  There is no corresponding word.

No one escaped war.  No one had the choice to not be a solider on Byzatium.

That was the difference between them.  Bardeez had luxury.  Byzatium had none.

Willow: Those actions are in the past. We must now think to the future. 

Wethern: We all have our skeletons in the closet. I know I've exchanged phaser fire for medical supplies before. I've also done things I'm not proud of. The question is are you willing to leave that behind and actually lead your people in a meaningful fight rather than perpetuating the cycle of death. 

Fairhug: ::calmly:: Show yourself, Rugen.

He moved, slowly, like a panther.  He stayed in the shadows, guarded.  You could see the form but not the features.  Not the detail.

Rugen: Here is where I stay.

He was coiled, like a spring ready to snap, but not overtly hostile.  

In fact, he looked so perfectly at home in this harsh environment.  These dry caves, this mottled darkness.  The low hiss of steam somewhere beneath the surface and the occasional rustle of a predator in the depths of the cave.  It would have looked tremendously out of place for him to be anything but tense.

Rugen was a part of Byzatium.  Byzatium was part of Rugen.  They were inseparable, and here he was, a product of this plant, this culture, this life.

Willow: ::Lowering her arm, the quick action having tweaked her back further:: Step into the light so that we may know your true form. 

Wethern: Rugen, believe or not the Commander here is trying to do this in your best interests. We can guarantee you a seat at the table for the talks but you have to be willing to talk. 

Fairhug: ::sighing:: And to listen.

He blinked, shaking his head very slowly.  He was, admittedly, surprised that this had not yet come to violence.

And as much as he did not ever want to admit it, he wanted to be heard.  He wanted his point of view, his people’s point of view, his experiences to matter.

Not Toral, richest of them all, to speak for them.  Not Toral who had grown soft and known luxury.  No, he wanted to voice of his kind heard.  The ones who scraped for every last bit of food, shared scraps with the children, boiled and ate every last part of every kill to ensure the tribe stayed strong.

And at this point he didn’t even care if he died.  He wanted someone to hear his clan.  His people.  There were others who would take up his torch with fervent pride should he fall.

Rugen: To listen.  When you already stated I was a … ::His mind clicked as his universal translator worked:: Atrocity.

He said it like it was a title or a name.  It was clear he did not see his acts in the same light Gogi did.  He could not even fathom that there a population could have the luxury and privilege of keeping a portion of the population completely out of war.

Would be own up to his acts?  Surely.  Did he think they were wrong?

Depends.  He believed – with fervent conviction – that he had followed all established rules of war.  His opponents believed in different rules.  His opponents had convenient rules to allow themselves an advantage.  Such was war.

And war was life.

Willow: We cannot absolve you of your past atrocities. However, your current innocence can still be decided. How would you prefer to be remembered long after you are gone? As a murderer who could not learn the error of their ways, or someone that saw repentance? Hated by many in most cases but at least allowed some freedom in the ladder. 

He knew others would follow his example.  Maybe some of them would have better, prettier words to tug at the heartstrings of these Federations.  Not him.  His words were short and blunt and to the point.

Wethern: Come on Rugen, at least come to the table, release the captives. We can't write the whole incident off but you could be at the talks and receive a fair hearing. 

Fairhug: Say what you want about the Federation, but that much is always guaranteed.

Fair.  Sure, they would listen.

And then they would always, no matter what, side with the Bardeez.  Because the rules the Bardeez followed more closely matched the rules the Federations followed.

Rugen did not follow those rules.

Therefore Rugen was an Atrocity.

And Atrocities must be eliminated.

Rugen: So they will hear us.  Try us fairly, find us guilty and then either re-educate us, force us into their culture or quietly eliminate us.  I could do it; I know.  I could prolong my own existence of… atrocity as you say.  It will not change the fact that we lose our very identity.  The Byzatium that was will die by Toral’s hand.  

And that was what he mourned.

He had an identity in war.  His clan had an identity in war.  And what these Federations were talking about was a complete and utter destruction of self.  He could not comprehend who he would be in the aftermath.

So wasn’t it best to be dead?

Willow: Do not spoil what is yet to come by clinging onto the past. 

Wethern: There is always a choice, remember that. We are remembered by pivitol moments in our life. Make sure this one is for the better. 

Fairhug: Make the right choice, Rugen.

He was a wiry man, of middle height.  Dark hair just starting to grey.  Tanned skin.  Angular features.  A weathered, hardened man.  

But not an imposing man.  Not physically at least.  He had an aura about him that told of confidence, unwavering conviction and true love for his people.  The warriors around him moved to protect him in instinct, not order.  For whatever cruelties he had poured on others, he had apparently treated his own clan as family.

The sad thing was, had he been raised on another world he would have easily looked like a scholar.

Rugen: This is me.

Fairhug: How do *we* know we can trust *you*?

Willow: Trust is not earned lightly. We can never be sure it is truly there. Yet we can hope. 


Wethern: How about we all lower our weapons as a first show of faith. Wouldn't want anyone to accidentally get shot now would we.

He considered this and then calculated.  He knew exactly where his hunting knife was, and it was strapped for the fastest release.  He believed that if the Federations discarded their beam weapons he could take all three in under a minute with just his knife.  If he needed to.

He held his disruptor pistol out, but did not yet release it.

The speaker – he understood that was the healer – dropped his weapon first.

Note to self – do not kill the healer if at all possible.  Healers were valuable.

Rugen: I am willing…

He looked at them as if to say ‘you first.’

Willow: For a doctor my friend here makes an excellent point. We should all do better to follow his example.

Fairhug: Good idea, Doctor Wethern.

The Bardeez dropped his rifle.  Rugen dropped his pistol.  The Bardeez still had a hostered pistol.  Rugen still had a knife strapped to his leg.

And this is why Byzatium training was so important.  Rugen estimated it would take the Bardeez three to four seconds to unholster his pistol from that position.  He also estimated that he could pull his knife with its special bindings in less than a second, while running towards the Bardeez.

So, should this turn ugly – bullrush the Bardeez, pull knife on the way, go for the jugular.  That should hamper him before he got his pistol pulled.

The entire plan worked through Rugen’s mind as he kept his expression neutral.  

Wethern:  Why don't you tell us where the hostages are then maybe we can help you with something?

Rugen: They are here.  ::He said vaguely waving to the caves beyond.::

True and yet so vague.

The Federations didn’t have much time to be upset about his answer.  

Rugen tensed again, coiling downwards ready to strike.  His warriors huddled down under cover, fingers on the triggers.  They all knew that sound.  The scratching, scuttling doom.  The sound that haunted the nightmares of every Dorfman child.

Fairhug: What is that?!

Willow: Hard to say. For all I know it could be a rodent of unusual size. ::Her humor disappeared into the darkness, lost in the seriousness of the situation:: 


Wethern: I would like to point out my earlier comments about caves and things tending to want to kill you. Whatever it is it does not sound happy.....and that is my professional opinion.

Rugen said one word.  One little word.  Even without context that one word was chilling, as if he was describing the devil itself come to devour them.

Rugen: Omunics.

The walls of the cave seemed to come alive with figures rushing toward them.

Immediately the Dorfmen warriors engaged.  

The speed of their response was mesmerizing.  They entered into a well-practiced dance of battle with the most ever-present threat on Byzatium.  Every warrior knew the deadly stakes and yet had honed their skills like an artist.

If anything told of why Rugen was the way he was – it was this response.  The ever-present knowledge that one could be attacked at any time, no matter who they were, that was the overwhelming nature of growing up as a Dorfman.

The Federations were not even remotely ready.

Fairhug: Weapons!

Willow: Get back! Get Down!

Wethern: You heard the lady. We can still end this peacefully.

Rugen ogled at the medic, having already snatched up his weapon, ready to defend himself.

Rugen: you think the Omunics will ever know peace?  You will be torn to shreds, your flesh will fill their feasting table should you think such soft thoughts.

Fairhug: My father was in the city of Ifar the day you and your men attacked it.

Oh, so this was personal.

Rugen: Now he rests in the Hall of the Not Forgotten.

For Rugen it was not personal.  He offered that as respect to the Bardeez.

Fairhug: I will make sure you answer for it.

It was not taken as respect.

That was a failing of the Bardeez.  A failing of the Federations.  Everything was personal.

On Byzatium, taking things personally was a liability.  There was not personal reason for the Omunics to attack.  They were hungry.  They craved resources.  They would use the flesh of a Dorfman to feel their young and grind the bones to fertilize their underground gardens.  It was not personal, every Dorfman was another resource, another piece of meat.

Rugen did not personally kill anyone in Ifar.  He attacked by the Dorfmen rules of war a city of a warring faction.  He assumed everyone in that city was a warrior and prepared for an attack.

Apparently the Bardeez – he now learned – had completely different rules.

Apparently this Fairhug assumed his father was to be left out of the war.

And apparently this Fairhug had not placed his father in the Hall of the Not Forgotten to live on.  Instead he gathered up his father into his heart and carried him everywhere.

That would get a Dorfman warrior killed.  Revenge was the path to dishonorable death.

Rugen was intent on facing the bigger threat – the oncoming Omunics.  But Fairhug had other ideas.  The massive Bardeez tackled him, and unlike Namhug, this one was tall and strong and built like a warrior.

Rugen was smaller and wiry and almost all muscle.  There was no softness to his form, no luxury, no waste.  He curled up and rolled with the impact until it came to a stop and both men were facing one another.

The Bardeez Fairhug made a lunge for the throat, and Rugen caught him by the hair

Rugen: You fight like a wild animal…

Fairhug: ?

He dodged the next blow and considered pulling his knife.  Considered, but he was somewhat enjoying this savagery from the Bardeez.  He didn’t know if the planet ever had it in them to be true warriors.  They had always seemed like reluctant children dragging their feet to go to war because they felt they had to.

Rugen: That is because your father’s soul rests inside you.  Controls you.  Maybe you should let him go.

Oddly spot on advice for a person one was trying to strangle.

Fairhug: ?

Wethern: Right behind you! You got this Commander?

Fairhug: ?

In the background the two Federations were fighting and bantering.  Talking about ale and rest.  The Dorfmen warriors were silent, staving off the hoarde of Omunics.  

If there were not six Dorfmen warriors, the entire remaining group would be dead.

But he supposed that the Federations would take the credit.

Rugen: My people are saving your people.  And yet you think our way of war is worthless.

Fairhug: ?

Rugen was a slippery opponent.  No matter how hard Fairhug tried, he could not get a solid grip on the Dorfman. Decades of practice came to the forefront, and Rugen kept sneaking in quick jabs to the joint or muscle in the fight – things that would ache and hurt even if they didn’t break.

He jabbed a knuckle punch into the inner muscle of Fairhug’s thigh, causing the quadriceps to spasm.

Rugen: Do not make me kill you…

He was done with playing punching bag for an angry youth.  His hand went for the knife strapped to his leg.

Fairhug: ?


Dorfman Chieftain

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Agreed! This quote especially gave me chills. It's such a fascinating insight to Byzallian culture and a very inspiring perspective on mourning/memorials in general. 



And apparently this Fairhug had not placed his father in the Hall of the Not Forgotten to live on.  Instead he gathered up his father into his heart and carried him everywhere.


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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Evan Ross said:

Agreed! This quote especially gave me chills. It's such a fascinating insight to Byzallian culture and a very inspiring perspective on mourning/memorials in general. 



Absolutely. The whole sim explained Rugen’s reasons for his actions and the way he understands the universe so well. The part about him not wanting the Dorfmen to lose their identity was particularly relatable, I think. It almost made him sympathetic! 😅

Edited by Gogigobo Fairhug
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