Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard Reveals What the Romulans Are Doing On the Borg Cube

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 1, Episode 2 of Star Trek: Picard, "Maps and Legends," now streaming on CBS All Access.

The premiere episode of Star Trek: Picard ended with a shocking revelation that Romulans were apparently stationed on a Borg Cube in deep space, working on something ominously titled the Romulan Reclamation Project. With the Romulan Star Empire having crumbled in the wake of their home world's destruction and the status of the Borg decades after their last major role in the Star Trek: Voyager series finale unclear, speculation arose if the two enemies of the Federation were working together in an insidious alliance against their common foe. The sophomore episode seemingly answers this question, while bringing other dark developments to the Star Trek universe.

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The episode reveals that the Cube is largely dormant, with the Collective's drones in stasis throughout the imposing spacecraft. This dormancy may be due to the time-displaced Admiral Janeway unleashing a virus into the Borg Collective through their queen in the Voyager finale, with a briefing to new arrivals working on the Cube revealing that the Collective severed its connection to any drones and vessels that were compromised.

Despite this, the drones are apparently still a threat if disturbed and reactivated, with non-Borg personnel on the Cube wearing devices to render them invisible from the Borg's monitoring and a sign displayed keeping track of the number of days since a worker was last assimilated into the Collective by a drone; it has been years since such an incident occurred.

As the android doctor Soji begins a new day at work, the Romulans' mission is shown to be one primarily driven by salvage. The personnel bring the dormant Borg drones to harvest them for their cybernetic implants, with Soji monitoring the procedures, lending her medical expertise as needed. The salvaged parts are then sold on the black market, presumably to help the Romulans finance some unseen mission. But given the Romulans' stance on artificial intelligence and synthetic life, the revelation of the Romulans' activities on the Borg Cube opens up a whole new line of questions.

The second episode of Picard revealed that the Romulan Star Empire had completely sworn off integrating synthetic life and artificial intelligence into their daily life to the point where their computer systems still ran off completely numerical coding. To ensure that this ban was carried out throughout the empire, a clandestine organization dubbed the Zhat Vash ensured that such technology and research would be eradicated with extreme prejudice while serving as the true power within the Romulan Empire.

While the Romulan Empire itself may have been laid to waste with Romulus' destruction, the Zhat Vash is revealed to be still active in the remnants of the Empire, including Romulans that have risen to positions of power within Starfleet and the Federation. And with the Federation now similarly exercising a ban on synthetic life following a devastating attack on Mars 14 years before the start of the series, the Romulans may have orchestrated this for Starfleet to continue its anti-synthetic agenda.

The presence of the Romulans on a Borg Cube is puzzling and signals that the technology-fearing race may taken desperate measure to rebuild itself after losing so much. With the advances of Borg technology likely highly lucrative on the black market, the Romulans' salvage mission is a necessary one to raise much-needed finances. However, while the Borg appear dormant for now, the Romulans may be interfering with forces beyond their control if that latency proves to be temporary.