Star Trek: Picard -- Short Trek Episode Reveals A Clue About Picard's Past

Get a brief look into Picard's past in "Children of Mars."

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Details surrounding the story of Star Trek: Picard are still pretty hazy. We know it concerns the storied Starfleet captain, Jean-Luc Picard, 15 years after his retirement from Starfleet. But we know very little about why Picard retired from the rank of admiral.

Ahead of the Star Trek: Picard release date on January 23, CBS All Access has filled in the gaps--at least slightly. The streaming service released an episode of its Star Trek short film series, Short Treks, that works as something of a setup for the events of Picard. In "Children of Mars," we see some of the events that eventually spur Picard to leave Starfleet and take on a more reclusive life.

The episode follows two girls in a Martian school who have a tumultuous relationship. Their animosity grows throughout the episode, until they're together during a tragic attack on Mars by a group of powerful ships. While it's not clear that the two characters will play a role in Picard, we do know a few things about the situation in which they find themselves.

"Children of Mars" takes place some 15 years before the start of Picard, and it's this attack on Mars and the trauma surrounding it that's had such a profound effect on the legendary captain. From a news cast that plays during the attack, we now know that it's executed by "rogue synthetics." You might also spot a shot of Picard on those screens as well--as an admiral in Starfleet during the attack, he's a major figure in responding to the attack.

So we know that a tragedy perpetrated by these "rogue synths" is a big part of the setup for Picard, although it's still not clear what synths are or how they relate to the bigger picture of what's going on in the series. It's worth noting, however, that a big part of Picard's story is his relationship with Data, the android who served on the Enterprise in The Next Generation and spent his life endeavoring to be more human. Data sacrificed himself to save Picard and the Enterprise at the end of the last of the Star Trek: The Next Generation films, Star Trek: Nemesis, and the trailers for Star Trek: Picard suggest that event still haunts Picard as well.

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