Star Trek Picard: Data's Daughter's Borg Mission - Is Soji [SPOILER]?
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 3.
The third episode of Star Trek: Picard shed new light on what Dr. Soji Asha (Isa Briones) is doing on the Romulans' Borg Cube - and she could even be "the Destroyer" the Zhat Vash fear. The new CBS All-Access series starring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard centers on the retired Admiral's new mission: investigating an expansive conspiracy involving the ancient Romulan cabal called the Zhat Vash and why they are hunting synthetic life forms, specifically the twins Dahj and Soji Asha, who are the 'daughters' of the late Commander Data (Brent Spiner).Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now
Data's synthetic offspring were 'cloned' from one of the android's neurons by Dr. Bruce Maddox; unlike Data, Dahj and Soji are highly evolved synthetic humans inside and out, complete with the emotions their father spent his life trying to understand and master. After she solicited Picard's help, Dahj was assassinated by a Zhat Vash death squad but Jean-Luc learned of the existence of her twin sister, Soji - Picard just doesn't know where she is. However, Soji is actually aboard the Borg Cube controlled by the Romulans, which they call "the Artifact", and it's the site of the Romulan Reclamation Project where the pointy-eared villains are harvesting and selling Borg technology.
Meanwhile, Soji is the target of two secret members of the Zhat Vash: Narissa (Peyton List), who poses as Starfleet Security's Lieutenant Rizzo, and her brother Narek (Harry Treadaway). Narissa led the shock troops that ultimately killed Dahj but Narek's more "subtle" mission is to learn where a purported "nest" of synthetics is hiding from Soji, but the crafty Romulan took it upon himself to seduce her in order to glean the information. Narek soon realized that Soji has not yet "activated" and thus, she is unaware of her true nature and her true purpose; the synth is in deep cover aboard the Artifact as a scientist of the Romulan Research Project and she doesn't even realize she is fulfilling her true mission objectives. Here's what we have learned about Soji Asha's purpose aboard the Borg Cube and why the Romulan Zhat Vash fear her.
What Is Soji Doing Aboard The Borg Cube?
Like Dahj, who was accepted into the Daystrom Institute in Okinawa as a cybernetics research fellow, Soji has been planted aboard the Borg Artifact. As the Daystrom Institute's Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) told Picard when she ran a background check on Dahj, the twins' histories were manufactured three years prior (presumably around the time they were built) and all of their qualifications are faked. So, "Dr. Soji Asha" is a lie, but she was nonetheless accepted into the Romulan Reclamation Project. Soji believes she's an anthropologist but her work mostly involves "therapy" for the XBs (i.e the reclaimed former Borg), whom the Romulans call "the Nameless". While Romulan technicians actually perform the separation of Borg tech from the assimilated organic beings, Soji speaks to the Nameless in their own language and eases their suffering - what Narek described as Soji "fixing broken people".
Soji's gift for languages and her ability to recall countless amounts of information - she is even able to access restricted Romulan files and perfectly recalls their contents - is because she's synthetic and reflects the similar programming Data possessed. However, because Soji is more human than her 'father' was, she has a full range of emotions; her conversation style is far more natural, and she doesn't robotically recite information to the chagrin of others like Data used to. Soji certainly empathizes with the XBs, sensing a kindred spirit with the Nameless even if she doesn't fully realize it at this stage, but her compassion for the XBs could actually reflect what her true mission aboard the Borg Cube Artifact might be.
Soji's True Mission On The Borg Cube Could Be To Find Spirituality
In Star Trek: Picard episode 3, "The End is the Beginning", Soji told Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), the former Borg who is now the Director of the Romulan Reclamation Project, that she wanted to meet the Romulan survivors of the Borg Cube (known as 'the Disordered') because she is interested in the "therapeutic utility of a shared mythical framework". The Romulans possess ancient mythology which Soji believed helped them regain their sense of selves after they survived assimilation. But why would this be of such vital interest to a synthetic woman (even if, at this stage, she's unaware that she is a synth)?
Soji's true mission could be researching the XBs - and specifically the Romulan Borg survivors - in order to develop her own "shared mythical framework" - in other words, she might be looking for religion or spirituality. If Soji is indeed just one of a "nest" of synthetics who are hiding somewhere in the galaxy, she could be trying to find a belief system for herself and her race. This would be the next step in her evolution and a leap beyond Data's own personal quest; her 'father' wanted to be human and to understand what that means, an ambition he never fully realized.
However, Soji (and Dahj, and presumably the other synths like them) were already born to be the 'humans' Data wanted to be, and they may be looking for something more, i.e. something to believe in. Data himself did not believe in any deity or a higher power but synthetics like Soji are further evolved and she could be looking for her own form of spirituality. It's also possible the other members of Soji's synthetic race could be damaged somehow. This would explain Soji's empathy for the XBs and her mission might be to find a way to not just heal their minds but to also give her fellow synths a belief system as a framework that grants the same benefits humans find from having religious beliefs.
Why The Romulans Think Soji Is "The Destroyer"
When Hugh brought Soji to meet Ramdha (Rebecca Wisocky), one of the assimilated Romulans who were reclaimed from the Borg, Ramdha reacted violently to the synth and claimed she "knew her from tomorrow". Ramdha was the Romulans' foremost expert on their mythology (although they used the term 'the news' as if the past is current or prologue) and, although her brain was damaged by the Borg assimilation, Ramdha used a form of Romulan tarot cards to maintain some level of her sanity. But the cards also (accurately) revealed that Soji is one of "two sisters" that the ancient Romulans feared and she frantically demanded to know if Soji was "the one who died or the one who lived" before she labeled Soji "the Destroyer".
It's possible that Ramdha and the other 25 Romulans who were aboard the Shaynor - the Imperial scout ship assimilated by the Borg - were members of the Zhat Vash. Because of their ancient and unassuageable hatred of all artificial life, a prospective Zhat Vash devotee like Ramdha coming face-to-face with Soji would indeed terrify her - Soji, the most advanced synthetic being in the galaxy, would be the Zhat Vash's worst nightmare come true. Hence, Soji and the other synths like her - who the Zhat Vash call "abominations" - could even be a prophesied enemy of the Zhat Vash who they believe will destroy them (and all organic life to replace them with synthetics). Whether or not the Zhat Vash could be right about Soji being a "Destroyer" and that she isn't as innocent and well-meaning as she appears is a mystery Star Trek: Picardwill solve - especially when Jean-Luc Picard finds himself in the thick of the action.
Star Trek: Picard streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.
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