INW Exclusive Interview Mandukaru'us
IC Date: Tue Mar 1 2405
"This is Vrihtaen tr'Radiak reporting from Ra'tleihfi, ch'Rihan. The leadership crisis continues to deepen here in the Rihannsu Star Empire as the hfihrnn and the people as a whole divide into faction over the sudden appearance of Fvillha Mandukar'us i-Ra'tleihfi tr'Hlaveen, who has been presumed dead by assassination for the last twelve years. The former Grand Admiral of the Galaxy Alliance who led Starfleet in numerous critical campaigns against the Borg decades ago abruptly stormed onto the public stage days ago to announce his intention to resume his tenure as Fvillha of the Empire following what he categorized as 'treasonous' acts by Fvillha Llaerh tr'Aegis. Fvillha tr'Aegis responded by painting Fvillha tr'Hlaveen as a pawn of Starfleet and Offworlders and criticizing his support for the Galaxy Alliance and his service in Starfleet during the Borg War."
The camera zooms in on the face of the reporter.
"This reporter managed to gain a rare interview with Fvillha tr'Hlaveen. Earlier today I met with the Fvillha and his vadia, Saeihr i-Ra'tleihfi t'Hlaveen, who appears to be serving as his liaison to the press."
The screen fades out briefly, only to return with a view from inside the s'Khnialmnae estate, specifically an office of some sort. The reporter sits in one of several chairs placed for a large wooden desk, a female Rihanha sits in a chair directly to his left and an older male Rihanha sits behind the desk itself. To anyone who's viewed images of the Borg Wars or the Rihannsu Stelam Empire, the man behind the desk is easily recognizable as Mandukar'us tr'Hlaveen. The reporter begins by speaking into the camera.
"I'm here with Mandukar'us and Saeihr tr'Hlaveen, on location within the walls of the s'Khnialmnae estate." He turns to the female Rihanha. "Saeihr, thank you first for allowing this interview. We appreciate your time. Tell me, have things gone as you expected?"
"As I expected? Certainly not." The female Rihanha straightens his tunic. "Until just moments before his appearance in Bloodwing Tavern I was under the impression, as were most Rihannsu, that my beloved vadi had been murdered at the hands of cowards over a decade ago." She produces a smile, though it's a hard one. "Of course I was overjoyed to hear of his survival and I threw myself into his cause from that moment on." Mandukar'us himself says nothing, simply observing the exchange.
Vrihtaen nods with understanding. "And what of Fvillha tr'Aegis recent claims that this is all surprise to him as well? That he had nothing to do with the assassination attempt and hasn't been hunting Fvillha tr'Hlaveen down?"
Saeihr's face breaks out into a near snarl. "What do you expect that Sseikea to say? He's backpedaling, nothing more. Like a child caught trying to conceal a shameful misdeed. Fvillha tr'Hlaveen came quite close to being found by the hunters Llaerh tr'Aegis sent after him, only narrowly making it to ch'Rihan before them. Let us all thank the Elements."
Vrihtaen looks down at his notes. "During his rebuttal to the statements in the Bloodwing, Fvillha tr'Aegis directly attacked Fvillha tr'Hlaveen's support of the Empire joining the Galaxy Alliance during the Borg Wars and his service as Grand Admiral of Starfleet. Do you have any comment?"
Saeihr becomes visibly infuriated and opens her mouth to respond, but stops when Mandukar'us raises a hand. The elder Rihanha turns to address the reporter.
"Llaerh tr'Aegis is a career politician who knows how to talk himself out a corner, but knows very little about anything else. His response shouldn't surprise anyone - the man's spent his entire career either campaigning for or enjoying the spoils of public office. My vadia's five year old son knows more about running a military campaign than Llaerh." He smirks. "And while I trust young Ta'evh will make a fine Galae officer one day, I wouldn't entrust him with the safety of the Empire. If it wasn't for Enriov Maec tr'Kheriov and others like him, the Galae would be in shambles today.
"I, along with others including Fvillha tr'Radiak, pushed for the Empire to join the Galaxy Alliance out of necessity. It was clear that the Borg would overrun the other Alpha Quadrant powers without our assistance. And though it pains me to say it, the Empire could not have stood alone against the Borg after the others had been defeated. Llaerh tr'Aegis may dispute that, but only a dha'rudh who's never set foot in battle would dare do so." The smirk briefly returns to Mandukar'us' face, but it's quickly dropped for a more serious look. "The fact that he would criticize my acceptance of the Offworlders' offer to lead them into battle shouldn't warrant comment. If they realized our martial superiority why chastise them for it? And the moment that necessity ended, the Borg threat defeated, /I/ was the Rihanha who lead the secession effort. Perhaps Llaerh was too busy at the time to pay attention - he might do well to pull up the old news feeds." His hard gaze suddenly softens, resulting in a chuckle. "Though I'll give him this - either he's found a hidden fount of courage or he's genuinely crazy: for by condemning my choice he's condemned the service of the millions of Rihannsu who joined me in the fight against the Borg."
The reporter seems surprised by the Fvillha's decision to speak and has a hard time finding words once Mandukar'us is done.
"Tha...Thank you Fvillha tr'Hlaveen for that explanation of the situation." He hesitates. "If I may? Our viewers are wondering - why step in now? What about tr'Aegis' rule would you change?"
Mandukar'us bows his head in acknowledgement and offers what was once his 'famous' smile. "A fair question. One a bright young Galae officer posed to me just today. I'll tell you what I told him: I will bring the Rihannsu back to life. Rihannsu are a proud and noble people and they don't need a nursemaid. Llaerh may have believed he was strengthening the Empire by neutering the Senate and silencing dissenting voices, but he was doing just the opposite. The people have always been at their best when given the chance to demonstrate their ability, to meet the challenges of life. mnhei'sahe demands nothing less. Instead, that dha'rudh who claims to be Fvillha thinks he can bring greatness to the Empire by controlling every facet of Rihannsu life." He snorts. "I can not deny his political acumen, but the man is an incompetent leader at best. To cage the Rihannsu spirit is to cage a wild beast - the result is a shell of its former self."
Before the reporter can respond, an aide ducks his head into the room and catches Saeihr's eye. She nods and stands, ushering the reporter to the door. Mandukar'us offers him a nod as he's guided out of the room. The screen fades and then resumes with the view of the outside of the s'Khnialmnae estate, the reporter in the foreground. *
"There you have it folks - an exclusive INW interview with Mandukar'us i-Ra'tleihfi tr'Hlaveen. This reporter will be doing everything he can to secure a similar interview with Llaerh tr'Aegis. Stay tuned."