Star Trek: Picard – Second Self (2022) – Una McCormack

Simon & Schuster tapped author Una McCormack to deliver a second Star Trek Picard tale and this time she lets the reader join Raffi Musiker on a diplomatic mission with a secret agenda to bring a war criminal to justice.

Set after the events of Picard: Season One and following on the heels of the enjoyable audio drama No Man’s Land which featured Seven and Raffi, this story sees Musiker at a crossroads. He’s summoned to the home of Jean-Luc Picard and offered a couple of choices for her future; join Starfleet Intelligence (again) or teach at the Academy.

Events guide her to choosing, at least to test the waters, the diplomatic mission.

Romulan refugees are being denied entry to a Cardassian-held world, Ordeve, that previously had been open to them. Raffi, while working with Starfleet Intelligence, had previously been to Ordeve, after the Dominion War to help with the situation there and had made a contact with her opposite number, a Tal Shiar agent named Sokara.

She is contacted and asked for help by the Romulan agent, and Picard tasks her with her actual mission, to track down a missing Cardassian war criminal, Mas Gherrod. The Bajorans want him, and Picard’s friend and aide, Laris, wants to exact some vengeance on him.

With Elnor in tow, she hitches a ride aboard the Stargazer and is away.

But Ordeve has its secrets, and Raffi has a past there, is she ready to confront the things that she happened, and encounter the strange things that seem to happen there?

McCormack doles out a fascinating tale, tying threads from across the Trek universe and series to remind the reader that it is all one big place. The reveal of Gherrod’s true self wasn’t a big surprise, but it was damned delightful to see the way things get tied up.

McCormack has captured the voices and personalities of the characters. I’ve mentioned it before, she has become my favourite Trek novel writer. She layers in the character’s existing histories with her narrative, and tells an engaging story. This one slides back and forth through time highlighting important events, not only in Raffi’s life but in the planet’s history, and all of them tie the story up with a perfect bow.

It leaves you thinking about justice, punishment, the future, and living with the past.

Now, I suppose I’ll have to wait impatiently for McCormack’s next Trek novel, but until then there are a number of other Trek novels available from Simon & Schuster. So pick this one up, dig into it, discover some of the things that happened between season one and two of Star Trek: Picard, and boldly go.

Star Trek: Picard – Second Self by Una McCormack is available now from Simon & Schuster.

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