Admiral Jean-Luc Picard has to face up to the consequences of a decision taken way back when he was the Captain of the USS Stargazer, in the second issue of IDW’s new mini-series, Star Trek: Picard – Stargazer.
In the first chapter of the story, we saw a young Picard face off against the Romulans over the fate of the planet Jenjor VI. The Romulan Empire was seeking to claim the world to mine the substance known as Csylium, but Picard came to a solution without firing a single Photon Torpedo. Always the diplomat, Picard thought that he had secured the safety of Jenjor VI and its inhabitants, but the older, more seasoned Admiral finds out what happened after he left orbit so many years before.
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One of the themes of Star Trek: Picard, certainly in its latest season, has been to strip down the man we know and love, in an effort to not only try and deconstruct him, but also show his fallibility and vulnerability. In the series, Picard has been seen confronting a childhood trauma that was so disturbing to him, he had repressed it deep within. So late on in his life, Picard’s latest voyage has been one of self-discovery, which continues here as he finds the road to Hell was paved with his good intentions.
The greener, less experienced Picard failed to realise that the Romulans would renege on their word, returning to conquer Jenjor VI and enslave its natives, ravaging the environment with the Csylium mining operations. The older, wiser Picard realises he has to atone for his error of judgement, teaming up with Seven of Nine and the Fenris Rangers to try and liberate the planet from the Reman slaves who were left behind after the Romulans had abandoned the damaged planet some 27 years earlier, having caused such harm.
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Whether intentional or not, writers Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson have ended up mirroring a course of events which had occurred in The Next Generation. In that series, Picard found himself confronted by the half-Romulan daughter of a version of Tasha Yar from an alternative timeline, who had travelled back in time on the Enterprise-C, to help preserve the flow of history. That unexpected offspring – Sela – was to prove something of a thorn in Picard’s side, as she sought to destabilise the Federation.
Here, we encounter Reska, the product of a liaison between a Romulan Commander and a Reman slave, something which was frowned upon, and so Reska’s existence was not actually acknowledged by her father, who fled Jenjor VI, abandoning all the Remans to their fate. This gives us a chance to try and explore the Remans beyond the little of what we saw of them in Star Trek: Nemesis. Hybrid characters are nothing new in Star Trek, with the original example of this going all the way back to the pilot, with Leonard Nimoy’s Spock.
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This particular clash of cultures in the form of Reska appears to present a worthy adversary for Picard, and a reckoning for the choices he made decades ago, as Reska is a very tangible representation of this, being someone who would never have existed, had he taken a different path when dealing with the Romulans. He also seems to still bear some guilt for feeling that he had let down the Romulan people in the aftermath of their planet being destroyed, while also wanting to atone for unknowingly leaving the Jenjorans at their mercy.
All of the pieces are starting to fall into place, and Star Trek: Picard – Stargazer is shaping up to be quite the intriguing story. As if the sheer setup alone was not enough to entice the reader back next time, then the climax to the issue will surely do the trick.
Star Trek: Picard – Stargazer #2 is out now from IDW Publishing.