| Worldwar |
POD: June 5, 1942
|Appearance(s):|| In the Balance|
|Type of Appearance:||Direct (POV SC-A)|
|Nationality:||Empire of the Race|
|Affiliations:||The Race's Conquest Fleet|
Straha was shiplord of the 206th Emperor Yower of the Race's Conquest Fleet. In the Fleet's chain of command, he was subordinate only to Fleetlord Atvar and Shiplord Kirel, and was a bitter rival of both. He was extraordinarily flexible by the Race's standards and was frequently frustrated by the slowness with which his colleagues, and especially Atvar, adapted to the Fleet's unexpected circumstances. He insisted that he would make a better commander for the Conquest Fleet, following a much more aggressive strategy of using the Fleet's most powerful weapons against the Tosevites before they could design countermeasures.
When the Soviet Union detonated an atomic bomb against the Race, Straha called for a vote of no confidence in Atvar, a very rare legal maneuver for the Race which occurred only when an appointed officer of the Emperor was accused of gross malfeasance or incompetence and there was no higher imperial authority available to whom his or her subordinates could appeal. Straha's measure was supported by an overwhelming 68% of his colleagues, but not by the 75% super-majority needed to take effect.
After his failed attempt to overthrow Atvar, Straha defected to the United States near St. Louis, Missouri. There he made propaganda recordings encouraging the Race's soldiers to desert and defect which were broadcast all over the world.
After the war ended with the Peace of Cairo, Straha was not allowed to rejoin the Race's society. He endured twenty years in exile, a difficult time for him during which he became addicted to ginger. He was not fully trusted by the US Government, which assigned OSS agent G. Gordon Liddy as his driver and "assistant"--but his real mission was to keep an eye on the shiplord. Straha was not fully comfortable with the Race's expatriate community in the United States, made up mostly of POWs such as Ullhass and Ristin; he saw them as too quick to give up their allegiance to the Empire. The only bright spot for him in those years was his friendship with Sam Yeager.
It was Yeager who eventually provided Straha with a means to end his exile. When Yeager determined that President Earl Warren had ordered a secret attack on the Colonization Fleet in 1962, the OSS seized him and took him to an undisclosed location for an indefinite amount of time. Fearing for his safety, Yeager had entrusted Straha and a number of others with an envelope to be opened in the event of his death or disappearance. The envelope contained evidence proving Warren's involvement. Straha opened the envelope, took it to the Race consulate in Los Angeles, California, and sent it to Atvar, who in his gratitude ended Straha's exile.
Atvar, Kirel, and Reffet all reluctantly consulted Straha on matters related to Tosevites after his return to Cairo. He was also quietly allowed to continue his ginger use despite its strict illegality in the Race's territory.
In 2031 the United States invited Straha to be an observer for the Race on the inaugural flight of the FTL starship Commodore Perry. On reaching Home, he confirmed that he had not been put into cold sleep and that the journey had indeed lasted only five weeks. Atvar attempted to discredit him, and the two immediately resumed their antagonistic relationship. At one point a quarrel was prevented only by the intercession of their mutual friend, Sam Yeager.
Of all the members of the Race to have dealings with humanity, Straha had perhaps the best understanding of the human mindset. After decades of antagonism, Atvar accepted that Straha had probably been right all along in calling for aggressive tactics against the Tosevite not-empires. This did nothing to change their dislike for each other, however.