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Kirha hrai Ralgha nar Hhallas was a Kilrathi from Hhallas. His family served the hrai of nar Hhallas for over 10 generations.

BiographyEdit

When he was little, his father delivered him to the service of Ralgha nar Hhallas, under whom he studied. He grew up extremely loyal to Ralgha, whom he considered the finest officer.[1] As a little cub one of his favorite stories was the tale of "How Clan Ishta Got Its Stripes".[2] He had dreams that someday he would prove himself heroically, and would be rewarded by his lord, even by making him a noble and behin his own hrai.[3]

When the Terran Confederation made a retaliatory attack on the planet, Kirha was defending the estates; during that same attack, the local kalrahr mistakenly fired on the nar Hhallas ship where his parents and siblings were in. Hating all humans, he asked Ralgha to take him aboard the KIS Ras Nik'hra and fight against them.[1] He served as a junior officer, equivalent at least of that of an ensign.[4]

While the ship visited Ghorah Khar, Ralgha was arrested for treason. Kirha expected his lord to return and resume their orders to report to the N'Tanya System. He threatened and attacked Drakj'khai nar Ghorah Khar who dared expressing his concerns that Ralgha would remain in prison.[1]

Indeed, Ralgha returned to the ship, but gave new orders, to set course for the Firekka system instead. Puzzled, he ran after him in the lift and asked the purpose. Ralgha explained to him his views on the Terran-Kilrathi War, a meaningless series of trading territories in the cost of many losses, including those of their families. He revealed to him that he is part of the rebellion against the Kilrathi Emperor and he intended to surrender the ship to the humans. Kirha felt like falling inside a void hearing this, but his loyalty to Ralgha overcame all his doubts and shock.[1]

DefectionEdit

On their way to the Firekka system, Kirha was surprised that Ralgha ordered not to launch scout ships. As usual, he noted his surprise but Ralgha put him in his place to not question his orders. Together they went to his cabin and Ralgha dictated to Kirha his message of surrender to translate and transmit to the TCS Tiger's Claw. After that, he left quickly with his tail curled low around his legs.[3]

While they were approaching Firekka, Kirha detected on his console a readout of old jump-system emission traces of a Gettysburg-class and another unidentified ship. Ralgha, displaying once more t him his impressive captaincy, showe that the traces belong to the multiple jump engines of a Terran carrier, and after deft checks, he showed a corollation proving that the other ship was TCS Tiger's Claw. Ralgha then ordered Kirha to follow him; he explained that in order to complete their task, they must prevent any other from firing at the Terrans as this would cause them to destroy the ship. He gave him a laserpistol and a communication unit, and ordered him to secure the Bridge, and he'd join him later.[3]

On the Bridge, Drakj sardonically inquired Kirha about Ralgha's bizarre stance. Kirha produced his pistol and ordered them to stand away. He detected TCS Holmen a Terran troopship approaching and notified Ralgha, and instructed them to board them from the aft airlock. Realizing the treachery, Drakj lunged toward Kirha and attacked him with his claws; Kirha didn't have the time to aim and lost his grip on the pistol. With Rakj's claws raking his face, he held onto him with a death-grip, until Drakj hurled Kirha away and hit his head against a console, losing his senses.[3]

He woke up shorly later, hearing Ralgha's voice coming to him over the communicator, asking him to open the airlock. He regained his senses and saw Drakj contacting Imperial ships to come to their assistance. Immediately he launched himself at Drakj, and sank his teeth into his throat. Then he shoved himself away and spat out fur and flesh as Drakj staggered back and fell down dead. The other officers were petrified and nobody dared to touch the fallen laserpistol. He ignored the Navigation Officer who knelt in submission and started searching for the aft airlock control; the Terran ship was already attached to the coupling system so he triggered the outside door to cycle open, overriding the system to keep the interior door open as well. Unable to stand any longer, he slid down and crawled to the pistol, gesturing at the other officers. Soon after he saw a Fralthi, KIS Kraj'nishk approaching and orderng to surrender, and notified Ralgha through the airlock intercom.[3]

When they were being boarded by the Marines, pilots from the Claw protected the ship from the Kraj'nishk and Hunter destroying it. Kirha waited with Ralgha and Major Kristi Marks for the pilots, and translated the Ralgha's welcome; Ralgha owed Hunter a debt of honor and surrendered the ship personally to him, as well as his retainer-Kirha himself-as a gift. Kirha was frustrated with this action, but Ralgha did this in order to protect him. Kirha was further frustrated as he expected Hunter to either accept his oath, or kill him, and he did neither. In order to avoid a diplomatic episode, Hunter completed the ceremony as instructed; Kirha then complied to his order to seat himself into a shock-chair on the bridge, and remained so until further orders, translating when he was called upon to do so.[2]

When the shp formed up with the Claw, humans came to take Kirha for interrogation to his surprise. He insisted to Hunter that he was oathsworn and as a junior officer was not allowed to possess any secrets; but Hunter replied that humans don't understand how oaths work and he should go with them.[2]

On the ClawEdit

Kirha expected drugs and torture but instead he was doctored and interrogated by the Terrans of the carrier; with instruments trained on him, he was questioned by 3 people about religion and clan-customs; he realised they were establishing a base-line for truth and in order to save time, he told them he knew what they were doing, and one of the interrogators told him to recite a cub's tale; he told them the story about Clan Ishta. After a thorough interrogation, they found out he hid no secrets and he was bound completely to his new liege lord.[2]

Then he was ordered to go to his new quarters, but refused to leave without Hunter's permission. The interrogator understood that his "stubborness" was part of the honor-code and they summoned Hunter who gave him new orders.[2]

After the interrogations, Kirha joined Ralgha in his quarters, with a messenger told them that urgent matters prevented the Captain from sending them out-system. The following days passed in great anxiety. Kirha usually ate when Ralgha did, out of deference for his lord, and Ralgha varied the time to alleviate the boredom. He also persuaded Kirha to share exercises with him. In the next visit by Thorn, Kirha stood behind Ralgha, in the position normally taken by a personal guard. When asked, Kirha explained to Thorn the reliious significance of the Sivar-Eshrad to explain why the Kilrathi forces are retreating.[5]

On Sol StationEdit

He and Ralgha were taken to Sol Station where they were separated. The Station hadn't had the facilities the Claw had and Kirha was left in a tiny holding cell with just a mattress of compressed fabric, a plastic sink and a plastic toilet. Unable to understand Terran furniture, he used the toilet as a replenishable (with the switch) source of water and the mattress as his necessary, resulting to a foul odor about which he could do nothing; as he didn't see a sleeping fur, he slept on the floor. He felt alone and abandoned by his lords Ralgha and Hunter.[6]

At times a pair of guards came and tied his arms behind him and took him to the interrogation room. He was getting dizzy and sick with some drugs, and was asked the same questions, over and over again about fleet movements and battle plans, about which Kirha knew nothing.[6]

Kirha was the first prisoner ever on the Station and the Terrans didn't know about the Kilrathi diet; for two days they brought him a mixture of plants and roots with terrible brown meet, and a foul bubbling yellow liquid with a terrible smell of rotting plants. Duke mentioned to Paladin that he didn't eat for 2 days and he visited him in his cell to talk. He requested fresh raw meet and arakh leaves and Paladin promised to look at that. Seeing the situation in his cell, he told him the intended use of the facilities (Kirha initially complained that he wouldn't foul his "drinking water" with his extractions, until Paladin pointed to him the other fixture on the wall). After Paladin left, a pair of humans replaced his mattress and although he couldn't sleep on it either, he followed Paladin's instructions; edible food began arriving and Kirha kept up Ralgha's exercises so as to be able to serve his lords.[6]

Hours later Paladin returned with the company of a young woman, Gwen Larson to question him. Despite showing weakness, but following Hunter's orders to request what he needed, he asked to see his liege-lord. Paladin was amused to hear that his liege-lord was his old friend, Hunter, and Paladin promised that he'd show up soon. The Terrans were interested to know about Ghorah Khar and the rebellion about which he knew very little, but as Hunter would be happy to help his friends, he related to them what he knew about the planet itself.[6]

The Firekkan K'Kai asked an audience with him and after he swore that he would not harm K'Kai, they let them sit in a table without guards. K'Kai started talking to Kirha about the common things the Kilrathi and Firekkans share, two alien stranded in a sea of deceitful hairless apes. Ensuring him it was not poison, she produced a bottle of Firekka's Finest which Kirha was more than excited tasting. As they were both being intoxicated, K'Kai revealed to him that the Kilrathi took hostages and wanted from humans to save them. Kirha agreed that Prince's decision to use hostages violated the Warrior's Code.[6]

CharacterEdit

Kirha was a broad shouldered Kilrathi 6 feet of furred muscle.[7] Like Ralgha, he wore heavy leather hauberk, and his ears were pierced with multiple gold rings.[4]

Kirha was the only one in his ship (beside Drakj'khai) who spoke Terran language, although heavily accented.[7].[3]

In office, it was always him who delicately pointed out Ralgha's mistakes, without ever inferring that they were actual mistakes.[3]

As a Kilrathi sworn retainer, he was extremely loyal to his lords, failing to understand the logics of Terran society; he took Hunter's statements (such as ignoring Paladin's remarks or stop staring at him) as orders and followed them literally.[7] Paladin also took some time teaching him that Terrans prefer short names instad of "Captain Ian St. John, also known as Hunter" or "Major James Taggart, whom everyone calls Paladin". Looking for a name to reflect the new situation, Kirha briefly considered changing his name to "Kirha hrai Hunter nar Aussie".[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 6
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 4
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named f6
  5. Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 8
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon, Freedom Flight, Chapter 9
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fr10

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