Ardrabian Nights

Picard said “what the devil” one too many times so she decided to make an appearance.

He really attracts the most interesting characters doesnt he

The Enterprise arrives at a planet called Shanzibar for some shore leave… against Captain Picard’s better judgment.

The planet has a reputation rivaling that of Risa, but only recently has it earned it. Prior, it was more a planet of pickpockets and thugs. While the Federation has approved of the changes made by the Council of Kings, Jean-Luc remains skeptical.

On scanners, Data picks up a familiar vessel already in orbit. It’s Ardra’s! The crew grumble about her presence here and Ro, sitting at navigation, asks who this Ardra person is that has them all so worked up.

How many con artists has he run across to make this determination?

Ardra should be locked up on Ventax II, but she is nothing if not resourceful. And Picard is even less inclined to allow for shore leave now that he knows she’s here.

Riker makes the case that it is even more important to beam down than ever. If Ardra is here, she’s likely causing trouble. Shouldn’t they investigate?

Picard takes what Riker says to heart and decides to lead the away team himself. He beams down with Counselor Troi, Lt. Cmdr. La Forge, And Ensign Ro.

Troi likes the place immediately

Ro makes mention that she has been to this planet before many years ago. Picard asks her if she knows a place they can go to track down Ardra, and Ro leads them to a local tavern called The Cauldron.

In 10 forward, Data and Worf share a drink and the Klingon states that he has no intention of beaming down for some shore leave. Data is curious as to why since everyone–including himself–seems eager to beam down and experience “one of the most stimulating venues of the known universe.”

Worf explains that with Ardra around, he would consider himself derelict in his duties as security chief if he were to leave the ship. Data notes there are many other officers just as capable of keeping an eye on things, but that doesn’t sway Worf.

The colorist went a little wonky here

Besides, Worf adds, the place sounds boring. If they still had the pickpockets and dueling in the streets he would be much more interested.

When they reach the tavern, Captain Picard is pleasantly surprised. The place seems rather… Genteel. And he expected some rather shady sorts.

There is even a show which the away team enjoys watching. It is a mix of ballet and opera and Picard is starting to think maybe this planet isn’t that bad after all.

Picard’s earring is killing me lol

While the show goes on, a nearby patron is so moved that he breaks down in to tears. Ro jokingly points it out to Deanna, but the man overhears and takes great offense.

Let men express emotions, Ro. This is the 24th century ffs

Right when I think we are gonna get a moving speech in defense of men being able to express other emotions besides anger, dudebro defends his tears by trying to punch Ro in the face. Oh well. So close.

Ro quickly knocks the guy on his ass using her chair to assist, and Picard yells at her to back down. Surely we can discuss things like civilized people?

Nah. Time for a barroom brawl. Troi points out the Shanzibarans are highly emotional so the fight isn’t likely to die down any time soon. In fact the entire bar is in on it now.

Ro reels from a hit to the jaw. Geordi attempts to come to her defense but nearly gets pummeled instead. Lucky for him, Counselor Troi is there.

Breaking a chair over his head like “have a seat!”

Even Troi can’t believe she pulled off the stunt, but they don’t dwell on it long as they need to get gone before the 5-0 gets there to shut everyone down.

The away team makes their way out the front door only to be stopped at the threshold by the police. So close.

Ro remarks they could easily make a run for it. Theres only 2 cops but 4 of them. Picard shuts that down immediately. They are Starfleet officers not fugitives! So instead they climb in to the police bus to be carted away to jail. Their communicators are confiscated and they didn’t have weapons to begin with.

Meanwhile Riker and the gang on the bridge are all talking about how hard it is to get Picard to take time off, and even thanking Ardra for giving him a reason to beam down.

Worf asks if they should check in with the captain but Will says if there’s something he needs to say, the captain will hail them. In the meantime let him enjoy his time on the surface.

Poor Worf is right again but no one listens

Picard is feeling humiliated as he’s forced to share a giant cell with the “dregs of Shanziban society.” Which is pretty harsh of him to say tbh.

Besides the company, Jean-Luc worries that this will actually cause a diplomatic incident with the Federation having to negotiate for their freedom.

Ro apologizes to the captain. She understands this is her fault for not keeping her mouth shut. Picard says of anyone should take responsibility it is him as captain.

Before they can really discuss the matter further, they are interrupted

Surprise!

Ardra happens to be in the jail cell with them!

Well at least Ro wasnt wrong that going to the tavern would lead to information about Ardra. Just not in the way they had planned, lol.

Also Will is gonna feel really silly when he realizes that maybe keeping in close contact with your captain while he is in search of a fugitive is a good idea after all???

On to the letters

It’s always wild to me to read letters from teenagers and then realize those people are now like 30+ years old. I wonder if they still have these comics.

The letter got split on the page but the rest reads: “where there was a panel discussing ways to kill Wesley.”

Of all the panel topics they could have gone with…

Wesley (and by extension, Wil) have gotten a lot of hate. I won’t pretend I didn’t dish some out myself (nothing like the panel but more just annoyance–and hardcore jealousy–towards the character in general) but Wil has gotten way more shit than he ever should have.

I’m so glad he remains a huge Trek fan despite how other fans have treated him over the years. And if you watch Star Trek Picard, make sure you watch Wil’s Ready Room episodes as well. He is such a great host! We are all lucky to have him around. 🖖

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