Picard’s time in the Starfleet has earned him countless accolades and, likewise, enemies who’ll pay any price and cross any boundaries, morals, or galaxies to see him suffer. Picard has a sterling reputation for having a firm sense of morality and for always acting in accordance with the guidelines established to keep the cosmos peaceful. This has placed him in conflict with individuals who disagree with his ideals or are ready to sacrifice his values for their personal benefit. Picard has been known to make tough calls at times, some of which have caused resentment or other unforeseen effects, like that with the Borgs. However, this time he isn’t the target. Vedic, the captain of the massive ship nicknamed Shrike, is actually after his son, Jack, but her reasons and motives are still shrouded in secrecy.
A Way Back Home
Episode 5 of “Star Trek: Picard” season 3 opens up with rejoicing crew mates who have managed to outsmart Vedic’s plans and are now heading home. Unfortunately, their celebration is cut short as Jack barges into the bridge and opens fire at them, killing everyone. Nevertheless, Jack was safely ensconced in his quarters, suggesting that what he saw was just an apparition or a warning that the Titan and its occupants were in grave danger. Meanwhile, Picard, Ryker, Seven, and Shaw are hard at work trying to figure out how a “changeling” managed to infiltrate their ranks. Changelings are capable of mimicking most species available in the galaxy on sight alone and have somehow managed to bypass the Titan’s internal security system, leaving everyone on board at risk. During her examination, Beverly learns that even in the absence of any DNA strands, changelings possess blood-like plasma, which helps them pass any traditional blood test. Somehow the changeling managed to completely duplicate human organs, adept at easily fooling Starfleet’s scanners, and there’s no way to learn of their real identity until or unless they’re put through intense dissections. Indeed, these shapeshifters are a lot more advanced and dangerous species than everyone gives them credit for.
The Day Storm Conspiracy
Meanwhile, Worf and Raffi are denied access to investigate the explosion at Starfleet’s recruiting headquarters, prompting them to believe that someone with the highest clearance in Starfleet is hiding its tracks. Raffi, unlike his new partner, has a short temper and, after repeatedly being denied, decides to break into Starfleet’s system herself, believing that the key to the entire conspiracy could be hiding inside Daystorm. But Daystorm is guarded by a state-of-the-art AI system, and entry is impossible without proper authorization. But how did the changelings manage to break into the system? In reality, Sneed, a black-market weapon dealer, has provided the changelings with the required technology to accomplish the job, and since Sneed is dead, the duo will have to fend for themselves. With no choice left, the duo decides to enlist the help of Krinn, the Kingpin of the V’Lashi crime syndicate. Unfortunately, Krinn has a very sordid history that spans from theft and extortion to cold-blooded murders, and he is a brother to Sneed. Krinn reveals that the AI guarding the Daystrom Station is not without flaws and can be bypassed using a special device that he had earlier brokered for the shapeshifter changelings for a big paycheck.
Who Is Ro Laren, And How Does She Know Admiral Picard?
With the news of Starfleet’s arrival, Ryker and Will relieve themselves of the command and request Beverly to examine the changelings’ bodies to gain more insight to help their case in front of Starfleet. The USS Intrepid orders the Titan to shut down and wait for further orders while they send a shuttle of security officers onto the vessel. Picard and Will find it rather odd, as Starfleet generally utilises transporters to navigate to and from the ship. Picard and Ryker are shocked to see Ro Laren heading the team, who informs them that Starfleet is charging them with treason, and they are requested to submit for questioning. Fortunately, Picard has already anticipated the possibility and has asked Seven to hide Jack. Picard and Ro Laren shared a tainted history, as decades ago, Ro Laren betrayed her commanding officer (Picard) and joined forces with the enemy. Even though it was a questioning request, Laren’s tone heavily implied that their guilt had already been predetermined. However, Ro Laren has other plans, holds Picard at gunpoint, and advises him to step into the hollow point. Neither of them trusted the other since they knew a changeling lurked in their midst. Ro joined Enterprise-D on an operation to penetrate the Maquis hierarchy, an extremist organisation. With her problematic history and propensity for disobedience, Picard is initially reluctant to take Ro into his team. But Picard comes to appreciate and admire Ro when she exhibits her abilities as a lieutenant and her dedication to the federation—until she changes sides for reasons Picard could never understand. After putting aside their differences, Ro Laren reveals that Starfleet has been compromised.
Titan isn’t the only compromised ship, as there have been reports of the same incidents across multiple starships, which Starfleet has decided to bury. Ro Laren found out about this and has been trying to unearth the truth since. Ro Laren begs Picard to investigate further and advises him to abandon the ship while she returns to the Intrepid to buy him some time. Unfortunately, before Ro could return to the Intrepid, she was trapped and killed inside the navigational shuttle with an explosive device by the changelings posing as her security officers. Fortunately, before leaving the Titan, she had provided Picard with the data chip containing her entire investigation. Also, the Starfleet handler Worf has been referring to was none other than Ro Laren.
As the explosion went off, the Intrepid began arming its torpedoes, suggesting that Titan should surrender. In reality, the Intrepid is under the command of changelings posing as Starfleet officers, who intend to frame Picard and Titan for the murder of a Starfleet officer. Picard suggests Captain Shaw warm up the thrusters; however, the latter is hesitant, as refusing to surrender will turn him and his entire crew into fugitives. On the other hand, Jack comes across a group of changelings determined to teleport him back to the Intrepid, but he effortlessly manages to kill them without breaking a sweat. Jack hasn’t been himself lately, and his hollow eyes and mood suggest that he hasn’t been getting good sleep. Also, the constant voices in his head and visions of him killing innocent crew members tells a whole different story. Beverly notices something odd with her son, and the tears rolling down Jack’s eyes suggest the same. But what? Well, that’s the story for the next episode.