Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard’s Romulans Achieve What Discovery’s Klingon’s Couldn’t

Star Trek: Picard's Romulans have done what the Klingons couldn't in Star Trek: Discovery - successfully infiltrate the Federation. Over the centuries, the Federation has faced countless threats, from the Dominion to the Borg. But their greatest foes and their most insidious enemies have always been those who managed to get worm their way into Starfleet.

Star Trek: Picard has revealed Romulan moles inside Starfleet. The most disturbing is Lieutenant Rizzo, an agent of the Romulan Zhat Vash who runs missions on Earth. She's the one responsible for leading the multiple attacks on Data's daughter, Dahj, and her operatives were the ones who messed up and killed her. Most concerning of all, though, Lieutenant Rizzo is absolutely indistinguishable from a human.

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Rizzo appears to have undergone some form of surgery in order to allow her to appear human. At the very least, this has involved dramatic modification of her ears, removing their telltale points. It's more likely it went a lot further, though, simply because Rizzo's Romulan bio-patterns would be recorded by any transporter.

This was pretty much the same approach conducted by the Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery season 1. That featured a disturbing sub-plot in which the Klingon Voq was transformed into Starfleet officer Ash Tyler. The process was horrific and agonizing, involving the compression of Voq's entire skeletal structure, the altering of his internal organs, and the grafting of human DNA into his genetic structure. It's likely the Romulans wouldn't need to undergo quite such a horrific process, given Romulans are closer to humans than Klingons are.

The Klingon attempt to infiltrate Starfleet was doomed to fail. The aliens unwittingly created a being with a form of multiple personality disorder; Voq/Ash Tyler became mentally unstable, with a human and Klingon psyche warring against one another. Fortunately, the Romulan procedure wouldn't require psychological manipulation in this way; Romulan culture may be very different to humans, but Romulan society encourages subterfuge.

No doubt the Zhat Vash are some of the best clandestine operatives of all, given their very existence is a closely guarded secret from even their fellow Romulans. According to Jean-Luc Picard's allies, they're even a myth among the Tal Shiar - the infamous Romulan secret police. It's no surprise these spies are able to worm their way into Starfleet as well, even to the disturbingly senior position of Lieutenant. The interesting question is, of course, whether or not Rizzo is the only faux human in Starfleet? If she's not, then Picard could be dealing with an entire network of skilled agents who have compromised the Federation up to the highest levels.