|“||In six hours, every living thing in this system will be dead or dying.||„|
Ru'afo is the main antagonist of the film Star Trek: Insurrection.
He was portrayed by F. Murray Abraham, who also portrayed Antonio Salieri in Amadeus, Grimmel the Grisly in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Bernardo Gui in The Name of the Rose, and Cyrus Kriticos in Thirteen Ghosts.
Ru'afo was born Ro'tin of the Ba'ku race, part of a group who had settled on a planet in the Briar Patch where the metaphasic radiation gave them advanced lifespans. However, he and other younger people objected to their anti-technology policy and attempted a coup. They were defeated and sent into exile. They became known as the Son'a, with Ru'afo becoming their leader with the title of ahdar. Deprived of the metaphasic radiation, their bodies began to degenerate to the point they were no longer recognisable as Ba'ku and no-one knew of their connection. They established a technologically advanced society, conquering two other races and using them as a labour class.
Ru'afo dreamed of controlling the metaphasic radiation again in order to halt his people's deterioration, while starving off their physical deformities with constant cosmetic surgeries and skin stretching. He contacted the Federation and convinced them of the medical benefits of the metaphasic radiation, and that since they were not native to the Briar Patch, the Ba'ku's use of it was not part of their natural development. Allying with corrupt Starfleet admiral Matthew Dougherty, he made plans to use a holoship programmed with a recreation of their village to remove the Ba'ku from the planet. They would then trigger a metaphasic collector which would gather the radiation in a way that would be fatal to anyone in the region.
As cover for the operation, they arranged for a joint Federation-Son'a cultural observation of the Ba'ku. Data discovered the true intention and took the Starfleet and Son'a observers prisoner. They were freed thanks to the intervention of the Enterprise but this resulted in Picard learning the truth and confronting Ru'fo and Dougherty. Picard and many of his command staff travelled to the surface to protect the Ba'ku from removal while the Enterprise attempted to leave the Briar Patch in order to communicate with the Federation and convince them to halt the operation. Ru'afo received authorisation from Dougherty to send ships after the Enterprise, to "escort them back" by force if necessary.
Although the Son'a managed to destroy some of the Enterprise crew's transporter inhibitors and beam some of the Ba'ku on board, the remainder took refuge in the hills where mineral deposits shielded them. Ru'afo wanted to send a team to take them by force but Dougherty was worried about the public reaction. Ru'afo's second-in-command, Gallatin convinced him to instead send down drones to tag their targets with darts that they could transport. This met with limited success, with many of the drones being destroyed by the Enterprise crew but did lead to them capturing Picard.
Picard had learned the truth - that the Ba'ku and Son'a were the same species and the operation was motivated by revenge - and shared it with Dougherty and the Ba'ku prisoners. Ru'afo had by now tired of doing things the Federation's way and decided to activate the metaphasis collector, killing anyone remaining in the system. Dougherty attempted to object but Ru'afo killed him by subjecting him to an invasive cosmetic procedure. He ordered the remainder of his Starfleet "allies" imprisoned in the aft section of the ship where the radiation would kill them.
At this, Gallatin changed sides and helped Picard beam Ru'afo and the bridge crew to the holoship, which fed them the illusion of still being on their ship and witnessing the Ba'ku's destruction. Ru'afo quickly realised the deception and beamed over to the metaphasic collector, activating the procedure. Picard also beamed over and, after an exchange of fire, operated the collector's self-destruct. The Enterprise beamed Picard clear but Ru'afo was killed in the explosion.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger was first offered the role of Ru'afo.
- Anthony Zerbe originally auditioned for the role of Ru'afo, and was considered to be the best choice for this. However, the production team decided instead to cast him in the role of Vice Admiral Dougherty.
- On the DVD commentary, Jonathan Frakes says that for the scene where Ru'afo has his skin folded over his head, producer Rick Berman and several of the make-up artists had visited a plastic surgery clinic and watched surgeries being performed to get ideas for that particular scene.
- An alternate ending had Ru'afo escaping the explosion in a pod only to drift into the metaphasis radiation, which rejuvenated him to the point that he ceased to exist. Despite the scene being cut, the finished film still credited Philip Glasser as playing the young Ru'afo.