Picard & Sisko’s Dark New Bond Challenges Star Trek’s Core Ideals

Warning: contains spoilers for Star Trek #1Captains Jean-Luc Picard and Benjamin Sisko share a dark bond, one that challenges Star Trek’s lofty ideals. Picard and Sisko have not always had the best relationship, stretching back to Picard’s assimilation into the Borg. But now in IDW Publishing’s new Star Trek series, they share a new bond, one forged in shared trauma–a far cry from the hope and optimism that is a hallmark of the franchise. The issue is on sale now in print and digital.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation’s third season, Captain Picard was captured and assimilated into the Borg. Now called “Locutus,” the enslaved Picard was forced to lead an assault on Starfleet at Wolf 359; because of Picard’s knowledge of Starfleet tactics and weapons, the battle ended in huge losses. One of the starships destroyed during the battle was the Saratoga; Ben Sisko was the first officer aboard the ship, and when the Borg attacked, his wife was killed. Although Sisko managed to escape the ship with his son, he held a grudge for many years against Picard, blaming him for the death of his wife. This came to a head in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s pilot episode; Sisko confronted Picard, resulting in one of the most tense exchanges in Star Trek’s history. Sisko came to terms with his wife’s death by the episode’s end, and there was a hint that he reconciled with Picard as well. However, the two never met on-screen again, leaving fans to wonder if the two truly made up. Now, in IDW Publishing’s new flagship Star Trek comic, the two captains meet again.

A powerful and mysterious force is slaughtering the god-like beings of the Star Trek universe, and the Prophets have returned Sisko to our plane of existence to find out who is responsible. Realizing he will need a starship to complete his mission, Sisko comes to Picard. He tells Sisko he cannot just get a ship, and encourages Sisko to just ask for one–he is a war hero after all. Yet Sisko reminds Picard that, for the past three years, he was “taken by a mysterious alien race no one else understands and had my body and mind forever changed.” An uneasy silence falls across the room, but Sisko has made his point. Picard agrees to give him a ship, but Sisko must take a first officer of Picard’s choosing–Data. The issue is written by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, illustrated by Ramon Rosanas, colored by Lee Loughridge and lettered by Clayton Cowles.

Picard and Sisko’s Feud Has Ended, For Now, Thanks To Their Shared Borg Trauma.

Captain Picard and Captain Sisko share a unique bond–both were taken by aliens and had their identities wiped, and Sisko uses this shared trauma to appeal to Picard. While the Prophets are far more benevolent in their goals than the Borg, the fact remains they took Sisko, giving him very little say in his fate. For three linear years, Sisko lived with the Prophets, apparently part of a large, central consciousness–much like Picard experienced with the Borg. Both Sisko and Picard were ripped away from this consciousness and forced to deal with the after-effects on their own. Picard’s assimilation into the Borg traumatized him, stretching his psyche to the breaking point. Sisko is still dealing with the fallout from his return, but he understands now what Picard went through with the Borg–and this gives them a dark new bond.

Picard and Sisko’s new bond is forged on shared trauma–something that stands in far contrast to the hopeful, utopian ideals Star Trek is known for. However, this bond may be the one that saves the galaxy; Picard understood all too well what Sisko was going through, and gave him a ship to complete his mission, a mission that will have ramifications for the entire galaxy. Star Trek is built on hope and optimism, but Picard and Sisko’s dark new bond challenges that.

Star Trek #1 is available now from IDW Publishing.