The thing that stand out to me Timo is Picard twice stated in The Battle that just prior to Battle of Maxia, he was the helmsman. Which implies that he wasn't the ship's captain at the time.
He says he did what "any good helmsman could have done". That doesn't mean he was the helmsman.
In his dream state, he's shown sitting in the captain's chair. Wouldn't have been much of a command if he had only been captain for fifteen minutes. When he returns to the Stargazer
to attack the Enterprise
, he once again sits in the captain's chair.
I think he was the captain already.