Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
"Picard: Countdown, Issue 3" is the third issue of Picard: Countdown.
- Jean-Luc Picard has traveled to the furthest reaches of the galaxy, defeated impossible foes, and survived in the face of unthinkable odds, but it's the end of this one mission that will change his life forever.
The official countdown to CBS All Access' Star Trek: Picard ends here, and things will never be the same...
Jean-Luc Picard has lived a fortunate and varied life. With experiences both glorious and terrible. If there is anything to be learned from such an experience, it is that nothing is as final as it truly seems. A lesson that Picard is once again eager to embrace.
Held in chains, Picard and Raffi are brought to the Romulan security room by Zhaban and Laris. Though an initial attempt at diplomacy is attempted, the guards are soon gunned down and the room secured. At Picard's request, Zhaban opens a channel to the USS Verity. Much to Picard's shock Shiana answers him. Picard soon regains his composure and notes that a digital takeover of a Federation starship is a difficult prospect, something Shiana petulantly confirms before demanding the command codes. Picard is stone-faced as ever, noting that his crew is no doubt working on reestablishing computer control and that the slight tingling feeling is perfectly normal as Shiana and her aid are transported to the brig. As the Verity reestablishes contact with Picard, he invites Zhaban and Laris to join him. Beaming aboard, Picard, far from being angry, praises Newton's altruism and encourages him to keep up that attitude in the future.
Confronting Shiana in the brig, Picard is met by more Romulan paranoia that the evacuation efforts are but a smokescreen for slow conquest. As Picard tiredly notes, if conquest was the Federation's goal, why don't they just let the supernova kill the emperor and go from there? As he begins explaining how he's called for more ships, Raffi calls him to the bridge. A Romulan ship has decloaked directly in front of them.
Running to the bridge, Picard finds that the ship is a Tal Shiar vessel. Though he attempts to use Zhaban and Laris' presence as deterrents, the Tal Shiar know of their agents and confirm that Zhaban's mission is complete. He, much to Laris' shock, now controls the Verity. It was the Tal Shiar who gave Shiana the incomplete code, all so he could upload the complete code free of suspicion, in a very Romulan manner. As the Tal Shiar keep insisting that the Verity be destroyed, Laris renounces her allegiance before two D'deridex-class warbirds decloak, responding to Picard's earlier broadcast informing the Imperial Romulan State of what has been going on. Much to Picard's relief, Commander Vinux is in command and he is very much against the Tal Shiar. What happens next is up to Zhaban.
Zhaban admits that he was skeptical of the Federation's claims that a mere supernova could threaten the Romulan Star Empire. But thanks to Laris' love and Picard's dedication to the evacuation, Zhaban has reevaluated that position. As a Tal Shiar agent, his job is to protect Romulan citizens, the very people whom the Tal Shiar would have him doom by blowing up the Verity. As such, he renounces his allegiance to the Tal Shiar, choosing to stand with Picard and returning him control of the ship.
Defeated, the Tal Shiar flee while Vinux takes Shiana into custody. On the surface, Picard discusses the Tal Shiar's schemes with Raffi before he meets with Zhaban and Laris in the smouldering vineyard. Though he offers to put them in touch with some friends of his in the Empire but the duo refuse, aware that the looming threat of the Tal Shiar has all but banned them from Romulan society. Inspired by the vineyard, Picard offers them alternative accommodations.
On Mars, Geordi La Forge reminisces about Data before he receives a call from Picard. Asking his former captain how things are going, Picard admits that though there were a few bumps in the road, he is quite confident that the future is very bright.
- Athus • Borg Queen • Geordi La Forge • Laris • Murcia • Raffi Musiker • Newton • Jean-Luc Picard / Locutus / Kamin • Shiana • Vinux • Zhaban
- Referenced only
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- TNG episodes: "The Best of Both Worlds", "The Inner Light", "Chain of Command": Picard recounts his experience as both Locutus and Kamin. He also recalls the lights from Gul Madred's interrogation.
- TNG movie, novelization & comic adaptation: First Contact: Picard remembers his encounter with the Borg Queen.