How Star Trek's new Short Trek could set up Picard
The upcoming Star Trek: Picard seems primed to shake up the world of Star Trek — set 26 years after the conclusion of The Next Generation, the new show follows Jean Luc as he turns his back on retirement to take on a new adventure.
If the trailers are anything to go by, the fate of the Federation hangs in the balance, and now, thanks to new Short Trek 'Children of Mars', we may finally know why.
'Children of Mars' is a poignant addition to the Trek franchise, and at 8 minutes 21 seconds, it's one of the shortest. Yet it makes up for its brief run-time with a beautifully shot story about two children, each with absentee parents working at the Utopia Planitia Shipyards on Mars, as they take out their angst on each other.
But their escalating conflict is interrupted by a shocking news report: Mars has fallen prey to a vicious attack, with 3000 already reported dead, and the Shipyards almost completely destroyed. Their fight forgotten, the two girls hold hands in the wake of their newfound bereavement.
This attack, obviously, has huge ramifications for the Federation — and the timing suggests it may well be a jumping-off point for the upcoming Picard series. There's a lot to unpack in the Mars attack's two minutes of runtime, so let's take a closer look at what 'Children of Mars' could mean for Picard — and why one Next Generation character may have been killed in the attack.
First up, let's examine the location of the attack, which has huge strategic significance for Starfleet. The Utopia Planitia Shipyards are where the vast majority of the fleet is constructed, and in 'Children of Mars' we see strange crafts destroying saucers from Galaxy-class ships along with new starbases, as the surface of Mars is wracked with explosions — implying that the civilian colonies are being attacked as well. Clearly, whoever or whatever carried out the attack wanted to hit the Federation hard, and close to home.
This event also occurs on First Contact Day, which commemorates the first meeting of humans and Vulcans, a historic event that paved the way for the founding of the Federation. Whoever these attackers are, they’re making a statement. Yet, whether that statement is a declaration of war, an act of vengeance or something more sinister remains to be seen.
Then of course there's the question of who the attackers are. The ships carrying out the attack haven't featured in any Star Trek show before, but they might be known to the Federation: in 'Children of Mars' one news report states that "rogue synths attack Mars." Are these "synths" some kind of Starfleet drone ship, hijacked and controlled by the Mars attackers?
Of course, the identity of the attackers is shrouded in mystery, even though two main antagonists are involved in the new show. We know that Picard will explore the fallout of the destruction of the Romulan homeworld, which left the surviving Romulans with more than a little resentment towards the Federation.
The Borg, too, seem to feature heavily in the show, with the trailers revealing Borg cubes and the return of fan-fave ex-Borg, Voyager's Seven-of-Nine. However, with the Romulans scattered and the Borg mostly defeated, neither of these classic antagonists fit the bill for the Mars attack.
Whoever they are, the attackers' motives will no doubt be explored and revealed in the new show. But motives aside, there’s one person we should all be worried about: Geordi la Forge, who is now the commanding officer of the Utopia Planitia Shipyards, as revealed by a recent tie-in comic.
Although many Next Generation alumni will return in Picard, however fleetingly, Geordi has so far been absent from this list of cameos. And perhaps this is why, for as commanding officer, Geordi would have been present during the attack on Mars — the attack that left at least 3000 dead. So did Geordi go down with his ships, or did he survive? With two more weeks to go until Picard airs, we’re just going to have to wait to find out the fate of this beloved character.
Suffice it to say, the Mars attack truly is a "devastating" event, one which will throw the Federation into panic and could even launch them into a new war. And at the midst of all this, there is a strange young woman who needs protecting, so it's no wonder that Picard isn’t content to sit on his laurels and sip wine in his family vineyard.
Whatever the reason for the Mars attack, one thing's for certain: we're in for a bumpy, but thrilling ride when Star Trek: Picard finally hits our screens.
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