Star Trek: Picard is set to catch up with Jean-Luc Picard, former captain of the USS Enterprise. We know from trailers, convention panels, and interviews that Picard became a Starfleet admiral, but that he then left Starfleet after leading a rescue armada around the time of the Romulan supernova. But what happened on that mission that convinced Picard to leave behind the Starfleet career he’d dedicated his life to? Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1, the first issue of IDW Publishing’s Star Trek: Picard prequel comic book series, reveals the first part of that answer. Spoilers for Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1 by Kirsten Beyer, Mike Johnson, and Angel Hernandez follow.
Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1 takes place in the year 2385, about two years before the Romulan supernova destroys Romulus. Adm. Jean-Luc Picard is in command of the Odyssey-class USS Verity. As the hero who saved Romulus from the coup by Shinzon, he’s been assigned by Starfleet to lead efforts to relocate anyone living on a planet in Romulan space that is threatened by the coming supernova. The Romulans, with little choice left to them, have agreed to allow Starfleet to help them, but remain as secretive as ever.
Picard reaches out to Cmdr. Geordi La Forge, now in charge of the Utopia Planitia Shipyards orbiting Mars, to confirm that the first wave of ships for the rescue armada are good to go. Picard gives the order for the Verity to head towards Romulan space.
Along the way, Lt. Cmdr. Raffi Musiker — Picard’s first officer and Starfleet’s top analyst on Romulan affairs — brings Picard’s new orders from Starfleet. They’re to divert to Yuyat Beta, a Romulan colony on the edge of the supernova’s blast zone, to evacuate 10,000 inhabitants. Picard and Musiker are suspicious since the Romulans had told them Yuyat Beta was uninhabited. Nonetheless, they head to the colony.
Upon arriving, they soon learn why the Romulans were so secretive about Yuyat Beta. Given free rein to explore the colony, Picard soon discovers a vineyard like the one his family owns on Earth. He’s startled to discover a species of aliens native to Yuyat Beta working in the vineyard. There are millions living on the planet, most of them in the wilderness, that the Romulans did not mention. That’s more than the Verity can hope to evacuate.
But the Romulans have no plans to evacuate the natives of Yuyat Beta. The natives are viewed as primitives not worth the effort or expense of saving. Picard refuses to evacuate the Romulan population of the colony until plans are made to save the natives as well. The Romulans imprison him and Musiker and prepare to take the Verity by force.
That’s where this issue leaves off. Picard says throughout that his mission from Starfleet is to save all sentient life in the supernova’s blast zone. What about this then makes him later lose faith in Starfleet? Is it that he fails to save the natives? Or could Starfleet decide to go along with the Romulans, valuing the new channels of communication opened between the Romulan Empire and the Federation more than the lives of the Yuyat Beta natives? Those natives don’t seem to possess warp capabilities. Could Starfleet justify their abandoning the natives as falling under the mandate of the prime directive? Fans will have to keep reading to find out.
What do you think of Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Picard — Countdown #1 is on sale now. Star Trek: Picard premieres on CBS All Access on January 23rd.