Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Picard: How The Romulans Captured A Borg Cube Explained

Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Season 1, Episode 3.

The Romulans captured a Borg Cube in Star Trek: Picard, and while the question of how they managed to accomplish this feat has been answered, the mystery of why it happened could be far more intriguing. The devious cousins of the Vulcans, the Romulans are more prominent than ever in Star Trek: Picard, which is set in 2399. In fact, the new CBS All-Access series' backstory is built around the Romulan supernova that was first introduced in J.J. Abrams' 2009 Star Trek movie.

In the 2380s, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) led a failed attempt to save the Romulan people from the supernova that ultimately cost him his Starfleet career. Despite the cataclysm that destroyed the planet Romulus, the Romulans themselves survived the supernova and they somehow acquired a Borg Cube, one of the most dangerous weapons in existence. Redubbed as "the Artifact" by the Romulans, the derelict Borg Cube is now the site of the Romulan Reclamation Project, where the thousands of assimilated Borg Drones are "reclaimed" by scientists from various species, including Dr. Soji Asha (Isa Briones), who is secretly a synthetic and the 'daughter' of the late Commander Data (Brent Spiner). The Romulans are now harvesting the XBs - for ex-Borg or, more derisively, "the Nameless" - and selling Borg technology for profit. In fact, by the time Star Trek: Picard begins, the Romulans have possessed the Artifact for over 16 years, and now we know how the pointy-eared villains came to possess the Borg Cube, to begin with.

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At some point in the early 2380s, the Borg Cube entered Romulan space in the Beta Quadrant and encountered the Imperial scout ship Shaynor. One of the 26 passengers was Ramdha (Rebecca Wisocky), the foremost expert on Romulan mythology. However, soon after the Romulans were assimilated, the Borg Cube underwent a sudden submatrix collapse. The Borg Collective immediately severed its link to the Cube, permanently deactivating it and all of the Drones within. Further, once a Cube's link to the Collective is broken, it will never be reactivated and the Cube is considered dead to the Borg. With the Borg Cube no longer posing any threat, the Romulans took possession of it - and all of this occurred during the midst of the Romulan supernova crisis, very likely without the knowledge of the United Federation of Planets, since the Romulan Star Empire's Beta Quadrant was, at that point in time, separated from the Federation's Alpha Quadrant by the Neutral Zone.

While the process of how the Borg Cube was deactivated was clear, why it happened poses a more interesting question. According to Hugh (Jonathan Del Arco), the former Borg from Star Trek: The Next Generation who is now Director of the Romulan Reclamation Project, the crew of the Shaynor were the only Romulans ever assimilated by the Borg. The submatrix collapse happened right after Ramdha and the other Romulans were turned into Borg Drones. So, it's probable that the Romulans were the direct cause of the submatrix collapse - possibly because these 26 Romulans were members of the Zhat Vash. The Zhat Vash are an ancient Romulan sect with an unassuageable hatred of all artificial lifeforms, and the Borg embodies their greatest fears and enemies.

It's possible the Zhat Vash came up with a way to neutralize the Borg Cube, perhaps by planting some kind of virus into the Collective, but it required Romulans to be sacrificed for assimilation. If this was indeed the case, the plan worked and the Borg Cube was defeated. The Romulans even survived the experience, through their minds are damaged and they are now called "the Disordered". Further, Ramdha's violent reaction to Soji and her accusation that Soji is "the Destroyer" points to her being Zhat Vash since Soji, the most advanced synthetic in the galaxy, would be an even greater threat than the Borg to the A.I.-hating Romulan cabal. If this theory holds, the Zhat Vash not only found a way to neutralize the Borg, they now want to destroy Soji and the other synthetics like her in Star Trek: Picard.

Star Trek: Picard streams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Amazon Prime Video.


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