Admiral Picard meets with Lieutenant Commander Raffi Musiker after the synth attack on Mars in 2385. Raffi is hopeful that the evacuation plan for the Romulans can still be achieved, but Picard informs her that synthetic lifeforms have been banned in the Federation, and all research into synthetics has halted. Raffi suspects the Tal Shiar sabotaged the synthetics, but Picard is skeptical: why would they attack a fleet created to help them? Picard then tells Raffi that the Federation has halted plans to assist the Romulans. After Picard offers his resignation, Starfleet accepts it. Raffi is determined to act, but Picard has run out of ideas and believes that a multi-world evacuation of tens of millions of Romulans without Starfleet’s support would be impossible. Raffi cannot move forward without Picard’s help, and when she is summoned by the CNC, she realizes she is about to be fired. Raffi scolds Picard for giving up before leaving.
Raffi Can’t Let It Go
At Vasquez Rock, Picard and Raffi are talking about their plan to find Bruce Maddox. Raffi is upset with Picard for neglecting her and not checking in on her after she was dismissed from Starfleet. She reminds Picard of how she lost her security clearance and has been living in a difficult situation for the past 14 years. Picard apologizes and tries to convince Raffi to help him in his mission, but she refuses and tells him to leave. However, she does mention that she knows a pilot named Rios who can help Picard in his mission. Outside the Daystrom Institute, Dr. Agnes Jurati is confronted by Commodore Oh, who introduces herself as the director of Starfleet Security and wants to speak to Jurati about her two recent visits with Picard.
Raffi receives a call from Picard while she is sitting outside and researching on her tablet. Picard sends her information the Daystrom Institute has on Bruce Maddox. He told her to “carry on” as he figured she was researching what he’d previously told her.
Picard is beamed onto La Sirena, a ship in orbit around Earth. The ship’s captain, Cristóbal Rios, is a former executive officer from a Starfleet cruiser named Ibn Majid, which has since been stricken from Starfleet records. Rios greets Picard with a British accent and a cigar, and offers him a drink. Picard declines and asks Rios about the ship’s destination, but Rios says Picard needs to work on it. During their conversation, Picard notes Rios’ bitterness towards Starfleet and believes that he is still Starfleet to his core. Meanwhile, Raffi continues her research on Maddox and finds a connection to Freecloud.
The Emergency Navigational Hologram (ENH) on La Sirena, another version of Rios with an Irish accent, informs Rios that the navigation sensors are back to their maximum range. The ENH starts to list off Picard’s accomplishments and accolades in his Starfleet career. These include his involvement with the Q Continuum, role as the Klingon Empire’s Arbiter of Succession, saving Earth from a Borg invasion, commanding the USS Enterprise-D and -E, and working with Spock. The ENH tells Rios that Picard is a good man, and that it’s been a long time since Rios has worked with someone like him. However, Rios says that he does not want another heroic captain to work with, since the last one he served with was killed and still haunts him. Rios deactivates the ENH before it can continue.
Follow Your Heart
Back at the vineyard, Laris joins Picard and asks if he will miss it, to which Picard says that he will miss her, Zhaban, and Number One, but that he never felt truly at home there despite trying. Laris comments that she assumes Picard always kept one eye on the stars.
Zhaban is giving Picard supplies for his journey, including bread, cheese, terrine, and a plum. Suddenly, the household is attacked by the Zhat Vash, a group of Romulan assassins. Laris, Zhaban, and Picard fight off the intruders and succeed in defending Picard. Another assassin charges in, but is killed by Dr. Jurati with a dropped disruptor rifle. Picard settles Jurati down with a glass of wine and comforts her as Laris restrains one of the unconscious assassins for interrogation. Picard questions the assassin about why the Zhat Vash killed Dahj Asha, but the assassin only says that Dahj was not a girl and that Picard will not find her before the Zhat Vash do. Laris punches the assassin after he calls Picard an epithet in Romulan, but the assassin quickly disintegrates after biting down on a capsule and spitting acid on Zhaban, killing himself and taking parts of the chair with him.
Dr. Jurati tells Picard she told Commander Oh everything but one thing: she would be joining Picard in his mission to find Dahj’s sister. Picard then receives a call from Rios who informs him that the mission is about to heat up. Picard and Jurati beam to La Sirena where they are surprised to find Raffi on board. Raffi tells Picard that she has found Maddox and will be joining them to Freecloud but only to catch a ride. Raffi scolds Picard for letting Jurati join without running a background check on her. When asked why she wants to go to Freecloud, Raffi refuses to answer. The crew takes their positions, Picard gives the command to engage, and La Sirena sets off to Freecloud at warp speed.
Soji the Destroyer
Hugh is watching a video of Soji Asha speaking to an unconscious Romulan Borg and is impressed by her work. He visits her and congratulates her for speaking to the unconscious individual in its native tongue. Hugh informs Soji that he has granted her an interview with an xB named Ramdha and is curious about why Soji is interested in interviewing Ramdha. Soji reveals that Ramdha was an expert in ancient Romulan mythology and wrote about the therapeutic utility of a shared mythical framework. Hugh is intrigued and grants Soji a thirty-minute interview with Ramdha. They go to the unit where Ramdha is being held, and the guard allows them access. Inside the unit, they see many Romulan xBs engaging in simple tasks. They approach Ramdha and Soji greets her, but Ramdha merely returns to her cards without a word.
Soji, an anthropologist, begins the interview by asking about Ramdha’s cards, which she calls pixmit. Ramdha refers to the cards as the news and reveals the symbols on each card have a connection to Romulan mythology. Soji expresses her interest in understanding the trauma Ramdha expresses through the cards and their connection to archetypes. However, when Soji mentions that she was on the Imperial scout ship Shaenor, Ramdha becomes disturbed and identifies Soji as “Seb-Cheneb”, the Destroyer. Ramdha grabs the disruptor of a guard and aims it at Soji, but Soji disarms her. Hugh intervenes and calms Ramdha while the other Romulan xB’s look at Soji with fear.
Soji is disturbed after the incident with Ramdha and calls her mother to check on her twin sister Dahj. Her mother tells her Dahj is fine, which is not true. After Soji falls asleep, Narek comes to her quarters and she tells him that, before the interview, she doesn’t remember anything about Ramdha or the Shaenor ship. Soji assumes she had learned about them from unclassified documents regarding the Artifact. When she asks Narek if he believed her, Narek whispers to her that he is falling in love with her and they embrace.
Later, Narek is confronted by his sister Narissa, who can smell that Soji has been close to Narek. Narissa asks Narek what Soji has told him, to which Narek says that he has been told nothing and that he believes Soji is unaware of what she truly is. Narissa warns Narek to be careful with his feelings for Soji. Narek tells his sister it is good to see her restored to her Romulan appearance.