Disc No :
First Aired :
12 Mar 2020
Great Moment :
The scene with all the Rios holos in Picard's chateau is quite funny. Seven as the Borg Queen is quite worrying. Picard's vindication in front of Clancy is good.
Body Count :
Eight Romulans during the Admonition. There are 10 there plus Oh. Only Narissa and Oh completely survive, Ramdha lives but loses her mind.
At least 1,152 Borg are blown out into space, if the lifesigns readout that Seven and Elnor see is accurate. It is a 32 x 6 x 6 grid. It's likely many more were lost.
Lots of xBs are killed by the Romulans.
Quite a few Romulans are killed by xBs.
We finally get to see all of the Emergency Holos for La Sirena. The Engineering one turns out to be Scottish, clearly a nod to TOS. The Navigation holo also refers to Medusan astrogation techniques, which we hear about in TOS : "Is There in Truth no Beauty?"
This episode is a nominee for the DITL "Best of Trek
As the non-Borg group, Queen once sung: ♪Flash, Ah-ah, back...♪
The episode begins with a stunning view of a nebula, very similar to the NASA image called Pillars of Creation, not quite the same though. We move through the nebula and pass a series of stars. Next we find a planet and a caption says it is Aia, the grief planet. It is 14 years ago, 2385. We pan down to the surface and there are a group of Romulans standing around a circular structure. It stands about waist high and looks like an electrified coffee table, it has no top and is large enough for 10 people to comfortably stand around it. Ten Romulans are standing with their backs to the 'table' all dressed in the same black hooded gowns, we see that one is Narissa and another is Ramdha. An eleventh person, dressed in the same way, is walking around and talking. It is Commodore Oh, saying, our foremothers came to this system looking for an answer to the riddle of the Eightfold Stars. What they found was a storehouse of preserved memories that showed them the grim fate of the civilization that perished here long ago. We still do not know the name of the mighty race who left behind this object, this Admonition, warning us of the horror and annihilation that came from the skies. When our foremothers first endured the Admonition, we, the Zhat Vash, were born. For hundreds of years since, we have worked in shadow to prevent a second coming of the Destroyers. It is this dreaded work that you must now carry on. What you are about to experience will drive some of you mad. But those of you who endure... will be stronger. Witness the devastation that must be prevented. Endure the Admonition... if you can. The others begin to chant and turn to face the circle, remove their hoods and grab it with both hands. Immediately on touching it images start to flash before them. Some lava... coloured liquids... a planet surface... a foetus... a plant... a white plastic looking android, the eyes flash and it morphs into Data... an image of a dead fox being consumed by maggots... a flash of what looks like warp drive... a city in the fog... a device pointing into the sky... a planet exploding... a city lifting into the sky and breaking up... a planet exploding... Everyone starts letting go of the ring, most falling backwards to the floor. Narissa remains standing. One of the Romulans shoots herself in the head. One picks up a rock and smashes it into her head. Another does the same. One tears at her face. Ramdha starts tearing her own hair out. Narissa is upset but hasn't moved. Oh comes over and grabs her hand. Narissa says, we have to stop them. Oh says, we will. Narissa says, how? Where do we begin? Oh says, on the world the humans call Mars. Ramdha is crying on the floor, Narissa goes over and says, Auntie? Ramdha says, no more. Narissa says, we have our work to do.
On The Artifact, present day. Narissa is in a large room and Ramdha is laying asleep on a bed. Narissa says, Doctor Kabath says there's no medical reason for this, Auntie. I do believe you're malingering. You were never entirely sane to begin with, were you? It was folly taking in Narek and me after our parents died. And sheer madness submitting yourself for Admonishment. Though, when you lost your mind, you certainly did it with panache. Breaking a Borg Cube by the sheer force of your despair. The Collective picked the wrong Tal Shiar ship to assimilate that day. They ought to have picked mine. I'd have made a much better Borg than you. "Resistance is futile." Narek's located the synthetics' nest. I've dispatched ships. I'll be joining them as soon as I've shut down this house of horrors. If you wake up... you can come along. We've our work to do. Her communicator beeps, she answers it saying, tell me you found the freak. The voice on the comm says, yes, Colonel. We've tracked him to the office of the former director of the Reclamation Project.
In Hugh's office Elnor is hiding in a corner. He hears a noise at the door and prepares to fight, removing his sword from its sheath. The door opens and a grenade drops in. A flash temporarily blinds him and two Romulans rush in. He starts fighting them, killing one with his sword. More Romulans are arriving and they overwhelm him. Someone else enters and starts killing Romulans. It's Seven of Nine, between them they kill all the Romulans. She asks, where's Hugh? What is happening on this Cube? Elnor runs over to her and throws his arms around her. She comforts him.
On La Sirena, Picard and Soji have just beamed up and Rios, having seen her has gone very quiet. He is almost paralysed by the sight of her. Picard is talking to him, Rios? Rios doesn't respond. Picard continues, Rios, this is Doctor Asha. I need a secure subspace link. Rios? Hey? Picard raises his voice, Rios! Rios appears to come around and responds, what? Picard repeats, I need a secure subspace link to Starfleet Command. Rios still isn't listening saying, what? Picard continues, and what's the nearest starbase? Rios finally responds, Deep Space 12. Picard says, lay in a course. No responce so he repeats, hey, lay in a course. Rios says, I will lay in a course for DS12. But after that, you're on your own, Picard. I'm done. He is clearly bothered by Soji and he leaves. Soji says, you said you'd take me home. Picard agrees, yes, and I will. But we face a powerful enemy. We can't do it without support. Look, you have no choice but to trust me. And I know that would make me angry too, but... I understand. Let me find you a cabin. Raffi walks over saying, Hi. Raffi. Soji replies, Soji. Raffi says, Soji, I'm sorry, but your new best friend, Jean-Luc, already brought us one adorable little homicidal double agent. Picard interupts asking, what the hell are you talking about? I'm talking about how big a fool you really are. Picard starts to walk away saying, yeah. Come. I'm sorry about her rudeness. Raffi moves and picks up a phaser and points it at Soji. Picard continues, Raffi! Raffi says, A neuron. That's all you know about her. You built this whole giant fantasy of rescue and sacrifice and redemption out of one pissant little neuron. Picard responds, now you put that away or be prepared to use it on me. Raffi lowers the phaser and continues, Agnes Jurati had a tracking isotope in her blood. She's a Romulan spy. Picard says, fact or theory? Raffi admits, theory. Picard starts to usher Soji away again saying, come. Raffi says, we think she killed Bruce Maddox. Picard says, who is "we"?
Down in sickbay the EMH is tending to Agnes, he says, she injected herself with a hydrogen compound. She was trying to destabilize the viridium tracker already present in her system. Raffi interjects, and as soon as she did, we shook our Tal Shiar tail. Fact. Not theory. Picard says, but to say that she's a Tal Shiar agent? Maybe she didn't know about the viridium until you picked up the tail. Raffi says, maybe. Or maybe they put her on this ship to kill Bruce Maddox. Right after they got done killing Soji's sister. Picard says, tell me about Maddox. EMH says, his injuries need not have been fatal. She deactivated me. Then she turned off the hematic micro repair unit that was stabilizing his cardiovascular function. Picard says, she was in distress. Raffi says, ugh. I told you it was careless to bring her along. Now you're telling us that we need to trust the synth girl too? Tell me, JL, what is Soji really like? Hmm? Do you know? Does she? Picard looks sheepish, Raffi continues, yeah, that's what I thought. Raffi starts to walk out and Picard asks, where are you going, Raffi? Raffi says, to tell Rios I was right about Jurati. See if it feels any better to rub his face in it.
Picard is in his chateau, sitting at his desk, on the other side is Admiral Clancy. Clancy says, that's a hell of a report. Picard says, and you thought I was a desperate old man. Quixotic, paranoid, possibly senile... Clancy interupts, let's just leave it at "quixotic." Picard continues, And now the windmills have turned out to be giants. Clancy says, you want an apology? Picard corrects, I want a squadron. Clancy says, Jean-Luc... Picard interputs, Clancy! Out there, in the Vayt system, right now, beings who have as much right to life and liberty as you and I or Commander Data are being hunted down by an enemy who seeks to exterminate them... Clancy tries again, Jean-Luc! Picard continues, no, Clancy. If you say this is not a job for Starfleet, then I'm sorry, but you are a waste of space! Clancy counters, Admiral Picard, with all due respect and at long last, shut the fuck up. I'm sending a squadron to rendezvous with you at DS12. Now stay put until they get there. Clancy out. She vanishes.
On the bridge of La Sirena, Raffi is sitting in the captain's chair and Rios at the helm. Raffi says, you all right, buddy? You seemed a little rattled back there. Rios turns around and says, tell me how I can help you. Raffi faces him and says, the Tal Shiar had a tracker inside your girl Jurati, and it looks like she killed Bruce Maddox. Rios says, well, that's bad news. Raffi is confused and says, uh. Yeah. Unless you like giant, all-encompassing, paranoid conspiracy theories, then it's, you know, kinda awesome. You know, in a horrible way. Rios says, in bad situations, it's so important to try and find something positive. Raffi catches on, it's one of Rios' holos, she says, goddamn it. Which one are you? The ENH responds, navigation. ENH. Call me Enoch. Raffi asks, where is Rios? After he laid in the course for Deep Space 12, he activated us holograms and went to his quarters. Raffi asks, did he tell you why he got so freaked out by that girl? ENH answers, no, but... (chuckling) he said if I kept smiling at him, he would punch me in the face. Let me see if I can identify her for you. His eyes flicker and he says, yes. Her name is... Jana. Raffi says, mm-mmm. Her name is Soji. The ENH says, ask me about astronavigation! Raffi thinks for a little and is about to leave but turns and asks, this caught my eye while I was surveilling the Cube. All these Romulans sitting around drawing this over and over. Eight circles. See? Could those be planets? The ENH replies, looks like an attempt to depict an octonary. Raffi says, a what now? ENH continues, a planetary system with eight component stars. Showing her a diagram he continues, this is Nu Scorpii, a septenary system, which are extremely rare, but an octonary? There are accounts of one in some ancient Romulan star atlases, but... they're considered apocryphal. They don't appear in any of their modern charts. The gravitational mechanics would have to be... incredibly complex. Raffi thinks for a little then says, all this time I've been thinking that the Conclave of Eight was eight people who planned the attack on Mars, but maybe the name refers to the place where they met. You are my favourite holo. She kisses him on the head.
On The Artifact, Narissa and some troops are walking into Hugh's office. Narissa says, killed by a phaser. The boy has a confederate. Narissa finds the Fenris beacon, saying, Fenris Rangers. And it's not hard to guess which one.
Seven and Elnor enter the Queencell, Seven says, why didn't you go with them? Elnor says, Picard released me. I found a cause even more lost than his. Is this where the Borg Queen lived? Seven says, no. Elnor says, she used to visit sometimes? Seven responds, I can explain, or I can steal this Cube. She turns something on and the Cube starts to power up, alarms go off all around the ship. Seven starts manipulating controls and the ship activates more and more systems.
Narissa walking again asks, what the hell is going on? The guard with her looks at a device and says, the Cube. It seems to be... I would almost say it's regenerating. Narissa says, we have to get rid of every Borg still held in stasis immediately. Can they be gassed? Electrocuted? The guard says, we can blow the seals and jettison them directly into space. Narissa says, oh, I like that. See to it. The guard replies, yes, Colonel. Narissa continues, I'll get started on the xBs. She takes a gun from another guard saying, I'll need this one too. Come.
On the surface of the Cube, slab-like droids move, fixing things and using their own bodies to bridge gaps in the structure. The camera pulls out and there are millions of them.
Picard and Soji are in the mess hall of La Sirena with some food, Soji is picking at hers and Picard asks, is it all right? Soji says, it's good. Picard asks, is there something you'd prefer? Soji says, honestly, I don't know. You don't know what it's like... to have this vacuum inside of you, Picard. To have someone ask if you like eggs and have no idea if the answer is coming from you or your instruction set. Picard says, you're right. I don't know what that's like. I can only try and imagine it. Your memories, your history, to you feel like incidents you heard about, something that happened to someone else. Soji says, yes. Picard continues, you feel that you don't have a past anymore. Soji says, because I don't. Picard says, that's not true. You have a past. You have a story just waiting to be claimed. Soji says, you're talking about Data. Picard says, among other things, yes. Soji says, all right. Tell me about Data. What was he like? Picard says, well, Data was brave. Curious. Very gentle. He had a child's wisdom... unclouded by habit or bias. He made us all laugh, except when he was trying to make us laugh. Soji says, and you loved him. Picard starts to respond, I... Yes. In my way. Soji asks, did he love you? Data's capacity for expressing and processing emotion was limited. I suppose we had that in common. Soji says, if I could see you with his eyes, with his memories, what would I see? Picard answers, how would I know that? Soji asks, what do you hope I would see? How do you wish he would remember you? You mean, if he had survived me rather than the other way around? Picard answers, I hope he would remember Jean-Luc Picard as someone who believed in him, who believed in his potential. Celebrated his successes. Counselled him when he fell short. Helped him if he needed help, and if he didn't need it, got out of his way. Words to that effect. Soji says, he loved you. Picard looks at her as if to wonder if this is something she has surmised or something she has remembered.
At the back of the ship's upper deck the Engineering holo is working on the engine. Raffi comes over, checking if it is Rios says, Chris? Are you Chris? no, lassie. I'm the Emergency Engineering Hologram. But I go by Ian. Raffi says, first of all, I'm gonna ask you never to call me "lassie" again. Ian responds, duly noted. Raffi continues, have you seen Rios? No. Captain's still hiding out in his cabin. Raffi asks, hiding out? From what? From Soji? Ian responds, I dinnae ken for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised. Sight of that lassie's bound to stir up unwelcome memories. Raffi asks, and why is that? Where does he know her from? Ian responds, I dinnae have the faintest notion. I ken it's true, but I dinnae ken why. Raffi says, mm, Lot of that going around. Uh, engineering, right? Let me ask you something. What are the chances that an octonary star system would occur naturally? Ian thinks, close to nil, I'd say. Raffi says, meaning it would have to be built. You'd have to capture eight suns. Move them across light-years of space and set them in motion. Why would you want to do that? Ian responds, showin' off. Saying, "Look what I can do.". Raffi says, or maybe you had something really important to say, and you wanted to make sure that people were paying attention. Like, if you wanted to leave them a warning. Raffi gasps continuing, I'm getting closer. Ian, I can feel it. Ian asks, aye. And how's it feel? Raffi answers, absolutely terrifying.
Raffi returns to her room now and asks the replicator for a glass of Burgundy. The replicator beeps and does nothing. Raffi says, red wine. Which is met with more beeping. A holo appears and asks, what is the nature of your hospitality emergency? Raffi says, I need a glass of red wine. The EHH replies, you disabled alcohol service from your quarters two days ago. Raffi says, reinstate it. Override. EHH continues, you locked yourself out of override and... checking his padd, out of meta-override. Raffi says, then shoot me in the head. Raffi asks the EHH, what's with Rios? Should I be worried about him? EHH says, he could use someone to talk to. Someone who doesn't look exactly like him, only better groomed. Raffi asks, how do you know that? Are you all networked directly to Rios? EHH says, when Captain Rios acquired La Sirena, he selected the self-scan option. He claims it was an accident, but he never bothered to revert it, so... Raffi muses, so, you're all Rios? Overlaid on the five basic installs? EHH says, not, not, not precisely. He went in later and made some deletions. Careless ones, I must say. Ask me the proper temperature for making Yridian tea. I no longer have any idea. In any case, it's hard to explain. But I am aware, or rather my algorithms allow me to predict with a high degree of confidence, that Captain Rios is in sore need of a confidant right about now.
Rios is in his room, he's been drinking. An empty bottle of brandy rolls away from him, he finishes a glass. He moves over to a box under a table. Opening it it has a number of items in it. A Starfleet uniform in red. Similar in style to those we saw Picard and Raffi wearing when discussing saving the Romulans. A case with the logo for the USS ibn Majid and a zipper bag which he opens. Inside he takes out a cigar box, which he starts to open. The door goes and Raffi can be heard to say, Rios? Honey, it's Raffi. Thought you might need some company. Rios says, piss off. Raffi says, pissing off. Rios goes back to his cigar box and opens it. There's a Starfleet commbadge, what looks like a cigarette lighter, a burnt out dilithium crystal, a pip from a 22nd century uniform, rank pips (nine gold and two black, enough to do any rank up to and including captain and still have some left over). He digs out a picture of himself and an older officer with white hair. He stares at it for a while and then puts it down. Next he removes a piece of paper with a drawing on it. It's two people, one is him and the other looks like Soji.
Back on The Artifact, Seven is looking at a diagram saying, these are the ones Hugh reclaimed. Thousands more are still in stasis. Elnor says, wake them up. Seven says, they'll be useless, lost without the voice of the Collective. I could reactivate and reconnect their transceivers. Create a kind of micro-collective of just the Borg on this Cube. Coordinate their movements, deploy them against the Romulan troops. Elnor says, that sounds amazing. Do that. Seven says, assimilate them. Invade their minds. Suppress their identities. Enslave them again. Elnor says, you can release them when we win. Seven says, they won't want to be released, and I... I might not want to release them.
Raffi is in Picard's chateau hologram. She has all of the Rios holograms in with her. She says, hmm. Maybe this was a mistake. All right. Somewhere, underneath this absurd spectacle I see before me, are five broken pieces of Captain Rios. It's like you each got dealt a hole card. How about you turn them over, hmm? The EHH tells the ETH to sit up and pay attention, he looks drunk. The ETH says something unintelligible in Spanish. Raffi says, okay. Let's start with the girl. Um, Ian, you called her "Jana." You said you recognized her. Ian responds, I did. I do. Enoch says, I do too. Yes, Jana. Poor thing. It was just so tragic. I... No. Sorry. It's like my knowledge of Medusan astrogation techniques, totally gone. EHH says, it's something to do with his time on the ibn Majid with his captain. Ian says, aye. Captain Alonzo Vandermeer. Raffi asks, oh... What about him? Were they close? Is he alive? EMH says, it's, um... The information's there somewhere. I can feel it... but I can't quite get at it. Emmet starts snoring. Raffi shouts, Emmet! Emmet puts his feet up on the table and says, what? Raffi asks again, what happened to Vandermeer? Emmet says, Capitán Vandermeer? Emmet puts his fingers in his mouth and shoots it like a gun. EHH says, mm. Raffi says, oh. Well, that's awful. Do we know why? Ian says, it's one of those things you ken but you do not say. Emmet grunts. EHH pushes Emmet's feet off the table and then says, turns out we don't actually "ken.". The EMH says, I can feel the answer, or a ghost of it. The EMH says, this may violate my Hippocratic coding, but after the whole thing was over, Captain Rios suffered some kind of breakdown. Emmet says, oy oy oy oy. EMH continues, that's why he was discharged. Raffi says, wh.. Um. "Whole thing"? What whole thing? Nobody seems to know. Raffi says, something happened on the ibn Majid, something that had to do with Vandermeer and a girl named Jana. She gets a device out and starts searching. The ENH says, don't bother searching for ship's logs or personal records on the ibn Majid. Raffi asks, why? ENH continues, it was all classified. Raffi says, because? They all look for an answer. Raffi says, oh, come on. One of you knows. What happened on the ibn Majid? Emmet says, one of us knows. Ian says, and he's sae fou as a piper an' awfu aff the fang. ENH says, so true, Ian. Raffi says, I mean... it's not even a language.
In the sickbay Agnes wakes up and opens her eyes. Picard is there. She says, did it work? Picard says, you neutralized the viridium, if that's what you mean. We're no longer being tracked by the Tal Shiar. We are now headed for Deep Space 12. When we arrive, you will surrender yourself to the authorities for the murder of Bruce Maddox. Agnes nods in agreement. Picard continues, I have been trying to work it out. How you could have done such a thing. He was your mentor. Your... lover? Agnes nods again. Picard continues, why? Agnes looks upset and says, I had to. When Commodore Oh came to find me that day, she... She did something to me. Poisoned me. Picard says, so, the head of Starfleet Security had you ingest a viridium tracker? Agnes says, yes. But that's not what I'm talking about. She put poison in my mind, Picard. She... put her hands on my head and poured in... Agnes sees flashes of the Admonition. She says, she put in a psychic block to keep me from talking about it. Picard says, oh... you must fight. Agnes says, I don't want to talk about it! Do you believe in hell? Picard looks at her in a pitying way. Agnes says, yeah, neither did I. Until I saw it. Now... I think about suicide every day. That's how I comfort myself. Picard asks, was this experience, this... vision of Oh's, one that she lived through herself? Agnes says, no. No. It happened... thousands of centuries ago. Because of hubris. Hubris like Bruce's. Because of synthetic life? We are at a threshold. I saw it, Picard. Oh showed me. Unless we act quickly and destroy even the possibility of synthetic life... Picard says, hell will come again. Agnes nods. Picard continues, and this threshold... Soji is suddenly there and says, is the coming of Seb-Cheneb... the Destroyer. Me.
In Rios' room he is playing a record on an old record player. The door opens and Raffi walks in. She walks over to the replicator and presses a button. A cup of coffee is produced and she picks it up. Raffi sits down next to Rios and sniffs the coffee, she hands it to him. Raffi says, so... Captain Alonzo Vandermeer. Is that his Walkman? Rios says, I used to pretend he was my father. Called him "Pops" in my head. Couple of times, it almost slipped out. Kind of a surprise when he turned out to be a cold-blooded murderer. Raffi asks, who? Who did he murder?
Down in the sickbay Agnes is there with Soji, Picard has gone. Agnes asks, do you sleep? Soji answers, every night. Agnes says, you sleep every night. My God. Do you eat? Soji says, when I'm hungry. Agnes asks, what do you do when you're sad? Soji says, cry. Agnes says, thirsty? Soji says, drink. Agnes laughs and says, you drink when you're thirsty. That is so beautiful.
Back in Rios' room he says, we were way the hell out in the Vayt sector. Picked up a diplomatic mission out of nowhere. Tiny ship. Unknown design. Two passengers. We scanned them. They checked out. We sent the info to Starfleet and notified them of a first contact. Then we beamed them on board. The ambassador, Beautiful Flower... and his young protégé. Raffi says, Jana.
Down in sickbay, Agnes continues, you have a constellation of three beauty marks on your right cheek. Soji says, which is a good thing? Agnes says, which is artistry. Noonien Soong, who made Data, thought of himself as an artist, but... he never gave Data three beauty marks. I also have a mole on my chest. And a crooked pinkie toe. Agnes says, you are a wonder. A... technological masterpiece and a work of art. Soji says, am I a person?
Back in Rios' room. Rios continues, we shake hands. We sit down, have a bite to eat. Few hours later, Alonzo Vandermeer kills them both in cold blood. Takes them both out with two quick pops of a phaser. Raffi says, why?
In sickbay, Soji repeats, am I a person? Not in theory. To you, right now, looking at me, talking to me. Do you consider me to be a person like you?
Back with Rios he says, it was a black-flag directive, straight from Starfleet Security. Raffi scoffs. Rios continues, he told me they said if he disobeyed, the ibn Majid would be destroyed with all hands. Raffi says, what? Rios says, I went at him hard. Pretty hard... That's when he put the phaser in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Raffi says, oh, Chris. Rios continues, Raffi, then I covered it up. Like he was supposed to do. So it wouldn't all be for nothing. So they wouldn't blow up the ibn Majid and everyone on it. I beamed the bodies into space, deleted it from the transporter log. Let the whole fleet know that Alonzo Vandermeer had killed himself for no fucking reason at all. Six months later, I was out of Starfleet. They called it "post-traumatic dysphoria." But I was just... Broken. Raffi says, I'm so sorry, babe. Rios says, when that girl beamed aboard today... I mean, Raffi... it's the same girl. The other one sketched it while we were talking. They were synths. That's why they had to die. Raffi asks, Chris. Who gave the order?
Back in sickbay. Soji says, Commodore Oh ordered you to kill me too. I would never give you the opportunity. Agnes says, now that I've met you, I would never take it. Never, ever again. Okay? Soji nods slightly.
Back on The Artifact, alarms are still sounding. Narissa is walking along a corridor followed by another Romulan. She enters the room full of xBs and starts shooting them. She shoots so many that one of the disruptors fail. She exits the room and hands the pistol back to the guard saying, I'm afraid I broke your gun. Someone get me another weapon.
In the Queencell Elnor says, the lights are going out. Are those Borg life signs? Seeing it Seven adjusts a control.
Out in the Cube the Borg alcoves are starting to light up. A voice on the tannoy says, this is not a protocol drill. If you will not reach your evac station in the allotted time, seek immediate shelter and employ all possible measures to avoid detection. Narissa asks another Romulan, do they frighten you? He replies, I'd be a fool if they didn't. Narissa says, something far worse is coming, Centurion... if I fail in my work.
Back in the Queencell, Seven is standing and cables descend from the ceiling connecting to her spine. Her eyes glow green. She says, we are Borg.
Out in the Cube the rest of the Borg are saying, We are Borg. We are Borg. We are Borg. Narissa says, now. The walls open and Borg start getting blown out of the hole. Thousands of them start flooding out of the Cube into space.
In the Queencell Seven screams, no! No!
On La Sirena, Picard, Raffi and Rios are sitting at a table in the mess hall. Soji walks in helping Agnes into the room. Agnes says, well... I'm done murdering people. So, that's a good thing. When we get to Deep Space 12, I'm gonna turn myself in. Rios asks, are you all right? She nods and they both sit down at the table. Agnes says, I'm sorry. You all are the closest I've come in a long time... maybe ever, to having a... crew. I'm sorry I had to fucking ruin it. Rios gets up and walks over to the replicator. Raffi says, should we get into it? Rios brings two plates over to the table and gives them to Soji. One is a plate of French fries and the other a tub of peppermint ice cream. Rios says, I'm sorry too. Rios continues, peppermint. French fries. To me it looks kinda disgusting, but you love it, right? Soji asks, how did you know? Raffi says, we'll get there, honey. Now listen. 200,000, 300,000 years ago, somebody drags eight suns together. They hang a planet in the middle. And on this planet, they place a warning. Agnes says, the Romulans call it the Admonition. Raffi continues, this warning says, "Don't do what we did. We created synthetic life-forms, and..." Agnes interjects, and they evolved. And it did not go well... at all. Rios asks, meaning? Picard says, apparently, these people believed there was a threshold of synthetic evolution. A dividing line. Rios says, like the Zefram Cochrane warp drive? When you cross that line, somebody shows up. Agnes says, somebody really bad. Picard says, the Romulans, it seems, took this Admonition very seriously. They created a group, the Zhat Vash, dedicated to finding and terminating all synthetic life. Raffi says, so, imagine 30, 40 years ago, Doctor Noonien Soong starts turning out synthetic life that's equal to human beings, superior in some ways. The Romulans send in a mole, a half-Romulan Vulcan named Oh. She burrows into Starfleet, rises through the ranks and becomes head of Security. And all the while she has one mandate... to put a stop to the Federation's research and development of synthetic life-forms. To this end, she decides to engineer a situation so terrifying that the Federation's only response will be to ban synths forever. Agnes says, the Romulans were behind the attack on Mars. Raffi says, has a certain ring to it. Am I right? Picard says, carry on. Raffi says, but the Commodore's work wasn't done. Nine years ago, a Starfleet vessel had first contact with a pair of emissaries from a strange new world. Rios says, one called himself Beautiful Flower. The other one was... Soji says, Jana. How do I know that? Rios says, the same way I know you like to dip French fries in peppermint ice cream. Raffi says, Jana and this Flower came from the world that Bruce Maddox fled to when he left Earth after the ban, bound and determined to carry out his work. Picard says, and the Zhat Vash have been searching for this world ever since. Soji says, which they have now found because of me. Soji gets angry and smashes her fists into the table. It leaves large dents. She calms a little and says, excuse me, and walks out.
The ship starts to power up. Rios walks to the bridge and Soji is at the controls. He says, Soji, what are you doing? A forcefield is raised around the bridge. Rios shouts for Emmet, he is nowhere to be seen. Soji says, I deactivated them. Don't worry. I'm not going to hurt anybody. I just need to get back home. You'll get your ship back, Rios, the minute we're there. Rios says, kid, I understand why you're doing this, but it's not right. We wanna help you. You cannot just... Soji asks, how can you possibly understand? Is someone trying to wipe out your family? Do you even have a family? Rios says, I do not. Raffi says, what is that? Is that some kind of subspace tunneling? Soji says, it's a map of the Borg transwarp conduit network. At this speed, we're about nine hours from the nearest node. I don't actually know how I know that. I must have picked it up on the Cube while I was busy being Doctor Soji Asha. The second I heard the truth about the ban, the Admonition, and what happened to my brother and sister on the ibn Majid, I suddenly seemed to know a whole lot of things. Rios says, do you know this? He starts singing a Spanish lullaby. The ship powers down. Rios continues, it's a lullaby my mother used to sing to me. She didn't like other people playing with her things either. Picard says, she's done it Maddox's way. She's done it my way. Let's try doing it her way and hope we get there in time to warn them. Picard sits in the Captain's chair, he starts pulling up the ship's controls. He rubs his hands together... and then turns to Rios and says, actually... I don't know how to work this. Rios goes to his seat and says, so, your plan is just fly into a transwarp conduit, don't set up a structural integrity field, no chroniton field, just jump right in, gravimetric sheer be damned? Sirena is my goddamn ship, hija
. Soji says, Captain Rios, please take me home. For Jana's sake. Soji plays with the console showing Rios where to go. He looks and says, I got you.
Back at The Artifact. Ships start arriving. Inside Narissa says, the fleet has the coordinates for the synthetic homeworld. They're leaving now. Have all the Borg been jettisoned? The Romulan says, yes, Colonel. In an hour, we'll have the xBs mopped up and be ready to embark. The following Romulan is grabbed by xBs and more follow Narissa down the steps. Narissa says, and is my ship ready for departure? When she doesn't get an answer she turns to see what is happening. She draws her weapon and starts shooting xBs, but there are so many of them that she is overwelmed. Falling to the floor with lots of xBs around her. Outside the Romulan fleet leaves.
In the Queencell Seven stands looking at a diagram of the Cube. She says, they are gone. It is over. The Cube is ours again. Elnor says, so... are you gonna assimilate me now? Seven says, Annika still has work to do. The cables disconnect from her back and she returns to normal.
Picard and Rios are on the bridge. Picard says, you know, I remember standing the night watch as a young ensign on the bridge of the Reliant, feeling I was the only one awake... in all that emptiness, all that silence. I'd forgotten, until... just now... how much I loved it. I knew Alonzo Vandermeer slightly. He was first officer to an Academy classmate of mine. Rios says, Captain Marta Batanides. Picard says, you knew her? Rios says, no, but... I felt like I did. She was a legend to the old man, my old man... Captain Vandermeer. Picard says, hmm. Did he know they were synthetic? Rios says, I have to believe that he did. He must have thought that because of that... he'd be able to live with it. Picard says, I didn't know him well, as I said, but... I felt he was a good man. One of the best that Starfleet had to offer. Rios says, he was. I, um... I hate that he died thinking it was really Starfleet that betrayed him, betrayed itself. Picard says, but Starfleet did betray him. We did betray ourselves, long before Oh gave Vandermeer that order. The ban itself was a betrayal. Oh, the Zhat Vash, they set the trap. But we could merely have sidestepped it. Instead, we gave way to fear. Rios says, it took her all of five minutes to hack my ship, Picard. And now maybe there's a whole planet of them? Raffi said the Romulans call her The Destroyer. What if they're right? Picard says, they may be right about what happened 200,000 years ago. The past is written, but the future is left for us to write, and we have powerful tools, Rios. Openness, optimism. All they have is secrecy and fear. And fear is the great destroyer, Rios, not... Soji walks in. She says, we're here. She presses a few buttons and they drop out of warp. In front of them a transwarp conduit opens up, Soji takes the broken compass from her pocket it points at the entry point. She looks at Rios and Picard, they nod and Rios sends them into the opening. A cloaked Romulan Snakehead ship moves forward and follows them into the opening.
Ok, a pretty decent episode all told. Things have really started to come together after a very slow start. Between them Raffi, Rios, Agnes and Picard have collectively discovered the existence of the Zhat Vash, uncovered their mission, their involvement with Mars and their long-term goals. All while sitting around a dining table. It's one of those Hollywood / TV show coincidences that the only four people in the universe that could have worked all this out just happened to end up on the same mission together. Rios is the most extreme example I suppose, out of all the Captains in all the galaxy it just happened to be him that Raffi called on to help Picard, and he just happened to be the first officer to the captain that killed androids on the orders of Oh. It pushes credulity significantly.
The Seven of Nine on the Borg Cube scenes were very good. She pushed back at the idea that the Borg can just be turned on and used as a weapon without causing issues for those involved.
Agnes the murderer. Ok, this is another of those difficult ones. We don't know what Agnes is going through since the mind meld but the pictures that we saw are pretty non-descript. I've detailed them in each occurence and they seem like nothing more than you get in typical scifi movies. Nothing that would seemingly make a perfectly normal person into a murderer. Now Ok, a mind meld isn't exactly watching a movie, we've been told before that there are emotional elements too. We'll just have to see how that pans out going forward. Seemingly just meeting Soji has been enough to stop all of that dead in its tracks. A short discussion and it's all better now, no more homicidal thoughts. I'm no expert but I don't think it works that way.
Finally on the subject of the images in the Admonition, there is clearly a picture of Data amongst the images. And not during the segment that is seen from Agnes, it's in the one seen by the Romulans at the actual Admonition itself, how can that be 200-300,000 years ago Data didn't even exist.