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"Ru'afo, we're getting too old for this."
"After today, that won't be a problem… for either of us."
– Jean-Luc Picard and Ru'afo, 2375 (Star Trek: Insurrection)

Ahdar Ru'afo was the leader of the nomadic Son'a people, who attempted to oust the Ba'ku people from their homeworld in 2375.

Attempted takeover

Born Ro'tin of the Ba'ku, Ru'afo became dissatisfied with the simple life that the other inhabitants of the colony endorsed, and led a group in an attempted takeover of the settlement. Ru'afo was eventually foiled, and he and his compatriots were exiled from the planet, becoming the Son'a. Over the course of the next century, the Son'a built up their military forces, and even conquered two primitive races, the Tarlac and the Ellora, integrating them into their society as a labor class.

The Son'a soon found, however, that in the absence of the metaphasic radiation being emitted from the rings of their planet, the aging process began to take its toll, and they became obsessed with recapturing their youth, undergoing numerous medical procedures to rejuvenate themselves and maintain a younger appearance. By the 24th century, Ru'afo initiated a plot to take revenge on those who had banished him, and harvest the metaphasic radiation with which to reinvigorate the Son'a.

Alliance with Starfleet

In 2375, Ru'afo entered into an alliance with the Federation through Starfleet admiral Dougherty in order to facilitate the Ba'ku's forced relocation from their planet in the area of space known as "the Briar Patch." According to their agreement, Starfleet would covertly transport the Ba'ku from their colony in a Starfleet holoship, and the Son'a would subsequently perform a procedure on the planet's rings to collect the metaphasic particles, leaving the planet uninhabitable.

Dougherty was convinced that the technology which would evolve from the alliance would be of a great benefit to the Federation, particularly due to the hardships suffered by them during their then-ongoing war with the Dominion, but Ru'afo actively hid the fact that the Son'a and the Ba'ku were the same race. Eventually, however, their plot was uncovered by Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E. As Picard and a group of his officers remained on the planet in an effort to defend the Ba'ku, Picard's first officer, Commander Will Riker, attempted to reach the perimeter of the Briar Patch to inform the Federation Council of the Son'a assault against the Ba'ku.

Knowing that, if the Federation were to become aware of the assault, they would put the project in hiatus, Ru'afo managed to convince Dougherty to authorize the deployment of two Son'a ships to intercept the Enterprise. Ultimately, however, Riker was successful in defending the Enterprise against the Son'a attack, and Picard was able to protect the Ba'ku. When Picard informed Dougherty of his discovery that Ru'afo was simply trying to gain revenge on those that had exiled them, Dougherty attempted to put an end to the mission, a decision to which Ru'afo responded by killing him.

Picard and Ru'afo witness the destruction of the collector

Ru'afo eventually decided to activate the Son'a collector, a vessel designed to collect the metaphasic particles, while the Ba'ku were still on the planet, an act which would have resulted in the deaths of all life on the surface. Picard managed to win over Ru'afo's second-in-command, Gallatin, who deactivated the collector and transported Ru'afo and his bridge crew to the holoship. Ru'afo, however, was able to beam aboard the collector alone and restart the launch sequence.

To stop him, Picard boarded and attempted to activate the self-destruct. Ru'afo attempted to kill Picard, but Picard was able to avoid his attack long enough to attain his objective. As Picard activated the self-destruct, the vessel began to explode around the two of them. Ru'afo was killed in the destruction of the collector while the Enterprise returned in time to beam Picard out. (Star Trek: Insurrection)

He was played by F. Murray Abraham.
In an earlier version of the script, reflected in the early editions of the novelization of Star Trek: Insurrection, Ru'afo escapes into space before the collector explodes. He is protected from the vacuum by a personal shield, but he drifts into the planet's rings, where the metaphasic radiation is so intense that it doesn't just reverse his aging, but also disintegrates him completely.
In a character description that was written by Michael Piller and was used by Casting Directors Junie Lowry-Johnson and Ron Surma to seek a performer to play the role, Ru'afo was described thus: "One of two primary villains, he is an alien leader, 52 to 70 years old, of a race known as the Son'a [....] They are a dying race and have come to the Ba’ku world to steal the magic of the environment, which will help them survive. Ru'afo has formed an uneasy alliance with the Federation in order to accomplish this, but he and his people are far more willing to do anything, including total destruction of the environment, to get what they need." (Fade In: From Idea to Final Draft, The Writing of Star Trek Insurrection)

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