Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Khan 2.0, Aug 1, 2019.
Episode 2 reveals that
He is alive
Plot twist: synthetics assassinated him and replaced him with an impostor!
(Copy of post I just made to my personal Facebook page.)
I finally got around to reading (because it’s taken my the public library awhile to get a copy ordered for me) Star Trek: Picard: Countdown, the trade paperback collected edition reprinting issues one through three of the comic book mini-series of the same title that was published by IDW (November 2019 to January 2020 cover dates).
Written by Kirsten Beyer and Mike Johnson (in practice, story by Beyer and Johnson, comic book script by Johnson), with art by Angel Hernandez (and colors by Joana Lafuente). Original covers (reproduced inside the trade) painted by Michael Pangrazio, Sara Pitre-Durocher. Trade paperback cover art by Jim Salvati.
Star Trek: Picard: Countdown is one of two prequel tie-ins that came out prior to the premiere of the “Star Trek: Picard” streaming television series on what was then CBS All Access (now Paramount+) in January 2020. (The other being The Last Best Hope, a Star Trek: Picard prequel novel written by Una McCormack that I read back in February and March of that year (prior to my watching the TV series).)
Like The Last Best Hope, Countdown takes place well prior to the events of the first episode of the tv series. Without going overly much into the basic set up for “Star Trek: Picard” again, I’ll just say that this story takes place mostly in 2385, during the period when Jean-Luc Picard is now “Admiral Picard” and has assumed command of the USS Verity and is leading the Federation’s and Starfleet’s efforts to relocate as many Romulans (and other sentient beings) living within the “blast zone” of the soon-to-go-supernova Romulan star. His first officer and partner in the effort is Lt. Commander Raffi Musiker (played by Michelle Hurd on the TV series).
Seen briefly at the start and end of this story (for seemingly no other reason than to establish his role as the one overseeing the construction of a brand new fleet of transport ships at the Utopia Planitia shipyards orbiting Mars) is Star Trek: The Next Generation regular, Commander Geordi La Forge. (He is also featured in this same role, much more extensively, in The Last Best Hope novel.)
The story here is a nice little one detailing Picard, Musiker, and the Verity being rerouted to evacuate a population of “just over ten thousand” Romulan refugees from a planet along the edge of the blast zone, only to discover that there is also an indigenous sentient population of another species native to the planet that the Romulans have been using as slave labor. Their numbers are four or five million, to which Picard remarks that they aren’t equipped to move that many people. The Romulans are not concerned by this as they have no intention of attempting to relocate (and rescue from the supernova) this servant population. This leads to Picard holding firm that Starfleet will not relocate just the Romulans and leave the millions of others behind to die, to which the Romulan governor orders Picard and Musiker detained and makes plans to try to hijack the USS Verity.
Out of this story comes the origin of two Romulan characters, Laris and Zhaban, seen living with Picard as friends and servants of his at his ancestral French chalet and vineyard at the start of the tv series, which takes place fourteen years after the events of Countdown and The Last Best Hope.
Also included in the trade paperback collection are a couple text articles in the back. First, an interview with Kirsten Beyer, co-writer of this story and also co-creator of the “Star Trek: Picard” television series and a member of its regular writing staff. The other article, “Visualizing the Verity”, goes into the design history of the USS Verity (Odyssey class, of which the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-F was also of the same design) by Cryptic Studios (the makers of the Star Trek Online massive multiplayer online game) and IDW (the publishers of the Star Trek comic books). (The design of the USS Enterprise-F was actually created by fan Adam Ihle, his design winning the “Design the Next Enterprise” contest in December 2010. The article goes into this, as well.)
Star Trek: Picard: Countdown is an enjoyable read, especially for those wanting a bit more back story on what happened in the gap of time between the last of the Next Generation movies, Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), and the start of “Star Trek: Picard” (2020). (Why the title Countdown? Well, while Picard does refer to the clock counting down to the supernova, a narrowing window of time to try to rescue and relocate hundreds of millions of people, the other reason this mini-series was called “Countdown” is because it’s the third prequel comic book mini-series to a Star Trek movie or television show published by IDW Publications. The first was Star Trek: Countdown (2009), which was a prequel tie-in to the 2009 Star Trek film by J.J. Abrams. The second was Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness (2013), a prequel tie-in to the Star Trek Into Darkness film (2013). So, “Countdown” is merely a common sub-title that IDW likes to used to indicate that it is a prequel tie-in to a simultaneous major Star Trek television or film project.
I gave Star Trek: Picard: Countdown four out of five stars on GoodReads.
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