A Starfleet Science Officer and Lieutenant Commander initially on the U.S.S. Shenzhou and then on the U.S.S. Discovery, Saru is a Kelpien, an alien prey species that lives in a perpetual state of fear and has biologically fostered the ability to sense threats, particularly impending death. That ability is manifested in their threat ganglia, which pop up by their ears when a Kelpien perceives danger.
Following the destruction of the Shenzhou and the death of Captain Philippa Georgiou during the Battle at the Binary Stars in 2256, Saru – the first Kelpien to serve in Starfleet -- was promoted to First Officer on the Discovery under Captain Gabriel Lorca. He served as acting captain during and after the Discovery's excursion to the Mirror Universe, and also learned, much to his distress, that in the Mirror Universe, Kelpiens were not only slaves, but a delicacy.
Saru initially had an uncomfortable relationship with Michael Burnham, as Captain Georgiou favored her over him during their time together on the Shenzhou, and Burnham later led a mutiny against Captain Georgiou, shattering even the tenuous trust between them. History repeated itself when Saru – nervous as ever but equally ambitious - looked on helplessly as Burnham arrived aboard the Discovery and immediately became the favorite of Captain Lorca. Saru and Burnham butted heads frequently, often out of sheer competitiveness, but ultimately achieved an understanding and worked together as colleagues and friends to help defeat the Klingons. Saru, as acting captain, also delivered an impassioned speech to the Discovery crew following the revelation of Captain Lorca’s deceit. The speech rallied the troops and brought them together as a family.
For his efforts in helping win the war against the Klingons, Saru received the Starfleet Medal of Honor, becoming the first Kelpien to be so honored.
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