After a year of anticipation we’ve finally seen the first footage from Star Trek Picard, and we have some clues about the series beyond a vague premise, but we’re left with a big question.
What is the unimaginable?
We’ve known for some time that the destruction of Romulus will deeply affect Picard and that he will no longer be a Starfleet Captain, but the teaser trailer left us with a lot more questions than answers. (Yes, that is the point).
- Who or what was the greatest rescue armada in history assembled to rescue?
- What happened to it?
- How could anything shake Picard’s faith?
- Why did he leave Starfleet?
- Since when is he an Admiral?
"“Fifteen years ago today, you lead us out of the darkness. You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history – then the unimaginable. What that cost you? Your faith? Your faith in us? Your faith in yourself? Tell us: why did you leave Starfleet Admiral?”"
Examining the facts as we know them.
We know from the Teaser that Picard has returned to La Barre, France, to his family home at Chateau Picard, a place he hadn’t visited in twenty years until the aftermath of the Best of Both Worlds when he returned to find himself. We don’t know if he had returned to France since the unfortunate death of his brother Robert and nephew Rene at the beginning of Star Trek Generations, but we know that anything that pushes him back here must be a major personal crisis. No word yet on whether his sister-in-law Marie Picard will make an appearance.
We also know that in the past twenty years Jean-Luc was promoted to the rank of Admiral, a promotion long overdue but I would dare say may have been unwelcome to some degree for our former Captain. This would likely mean he left the Enterprise behind within five years of Star Trek Nemesis.
Next on our list of facts is that Jean-Luc has been profoundly affected by the destruction of Romulus and the dissolution of the Romulan Star empire, we learned this early in pre-production from Alex Kurtzman and Patrick Stewart. I would also venture to say that the subsequent loss of Spock, a man who he had shared his second mind meld with, the first having been Spock’s Father Sarek, would have also been a devastating blow to him.
Now the speculation…
The most obvious answer to the question “what is the unimaginable” is that it’s actually easily imaginable by audiences in the know, that is the destruction of Romulus. To the people of the 24th century this was an unimaginable catastrophe, after all they had dedicated resources to saving Romulus, and with their vast fleet and advanced technology there would seem to be no way they could get caught by surprise with the death of their star.
But would this have pushed the Admiral to quit?
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The aftermath of Nemesis, an unprecedented coupe against the Romulan leadership by none other than a clone of Jean-Luc Picard, and subsequent salvation of the Romulan people from his no doubt tyrannical and maybe even genocidal reign would have been no small feat in the eyes of the Romulan people, after all the clone was their doing.
Add to that the Romulan participation in the Dominion War (the deception of In the Pale Moonlight not withstanding) and we would see a changed Empire. One possibly open to peace, maybe even friendship.
We had previously speculated about the possibility of the Romulans and the Federation having close ties some time ago, and if this were to be the case the logical choice to bring their people closer together would have been some combination that included Spock and Captain/Admiral Picard.
In this case it would seem to fit that their destruction would hurt him, but to leave Starfleet? To willingly become the crazy old man from All Good Things?
No. Not Picard, not for that reason.
Our own David Goodman recently postulated the idea that the Enterprise may have been destroyed during the Romulan Supernova, I must admit I hadn’t first considered the possibility, but as soon as I read it I had this feeling, if Admiral Picard put together a rescue armada, of course the Enterprise MUST be involved, they’re the flagship, the crew he knows best, he would have to send them.
Would the destruction of the Enterprise cause him to quit Starfleet?
I have to say no, this is a man who has lost the both USS Stargazer and USS Enterprise D, and this time it wasn’t even his ship. Sure the death of the crew would hit him hard, but quit?
No…. Unless… It was directly his fault. At least from his perspective.
Did the Admiral make a cocky decision? A misstep so grand that he believes either:
- He is personally responsible for the loss of the Enterprise and her crew.
- He is personally responsible for the loss of the entire Federation Rescue Armada.
- He is personally responsible for the loss of the bulk of the Romulan people.
- All of the Above
It’s unthinkable that our hero could be responsible for such a decision…. So is that the unthinkable?
Was Admiral Picard responsible for such a massive loss of life? Could he have prevented it? Will the series focus on his redemption, or reversal of that event? I can’t help but hope that if this is the case Q will make an appearance and we will see the far-reaching aftereffects of the last time someone offered Picard a chance to change his past in Tapestry.
Redshirts Always Die will keep you up to date on new information as it becomes available for the upcoming Star Trek Picard.