The new, highly-anticipated streaming series Star Trek: Picard finally debuted on CBS All Access last week. The episode offered fans a chance to catch up with the retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise, now living on his family's Chateau. What may have come as a surprise is that Picard lives there with two Romulans, Laris (Orla Brady) and Zhaban (Jamie McShane). So how did two Romulans, once sworn enemies of the Federation, come to live on Chateau Picard? That answer can be found in the prequel comic book series Star Trek: Picard – Countdown. Spoilers for Star Trek: Picard — Countdown by Kirsten Beyer, Mike Johnson, and Angel Hernandez follow.
Star Trek: Picard — Countdown takes place in the year 2385, about two years before the Romulan supernova destroys Romulus as revealed in 2009's Star Trek movie. Adm. Jean-Luc Picard is in command of the Odyssey-class USS Verity. He also has some pull with the Romulan Empire after ending the coup by Shinzon in Star Trek: Nemesis.
Now Picard is leading the efforts to relocate Romulans living within the blast radius of the coming supernova to safe planets. The Romulans, with little choice left to them, have begrudgingly agreed to allow Starfleet to help them. As part of that mission, Picard heads to the colony Yuyat Beta. Starfleet had been told that Yuyat Beta was uninhabited, so the request to evacuate it seem odd.
Upon arriving, Picard discovers a vineyard like the one his family owns on Earth. It is tended by Zhaban and Laris. He's more startled to discover a species of aliens native to Yuyat Beta working in the vineyard. There are millions living on the planet that the Romulans did not mention. The Romulans have no plans to evacuate the natives of Yuyat Beta, which is a problem for Picard.
The colony's governor imprisons Picard, but he's eventually freed by Zhaban and Laris. The couple reveals themselves to be Tal Shiar agents who fell in love. Now they're going rogue to help Picard save the people of Yuyat Beta.
With Zhaban and Laris' help, Picard manages to get back to his ship. His problems don't end there as a Tal Shiar ship soon decloaks nearby. It turns out that the Tal Shiar have been laying a trap to steal Picard's ship and Zhaban is still in on it. But Zhaban has a last-minute change of heart and helps Picard hold the Tal Shiar off until reinforcements arrive.
Having disobeyed orders, Laris and Zhaban can never return home. Picard, thankful for their help, inquires as to whether they're still interested in tending a vineyard. He offers them a place in his home. And thus, Picard brings Laris and Zhaban back to Earth, where they have worked at Chateau Picard ever since.
Star Trek: Picard -- Countdown is on sale now. New episodes of Star Trek: Picard become available to stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.
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