Fifteen years ago you led us out of the darkness. You commanded the greatest rescue armada in history. Then...the unimaginable. What did that cost you? Your faith. Your faith in us. Your faith in yourself. Tell us, why did you leave Starfleet, Admiral?
Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope is a Prequel to Star Trek: Picard. It chronicles the events leading up to the supernova that destroyed Romulus in Star Trek (2009) as well as their fallout.Romulus is going to be destroyed. Its sun is set to go supernova and the Romulan Empire cannot evacuate all of its citizens. Accepting responsibility for the mammoth task, Captain Picard accepts a promotion to Admiral and begins the enormous task of trying to resettle close to nine hundred million refugees—only to find out that the job may require much more from the Federation.
The Romulan government is covering up how quickly their sun is about to explode and also shutting down any efforts by the Federation that could potentially make them look weak. Meanwhile, Bruce Maddox and the Daystrom Institute have been dragooned into using their genius into manufacturing unintelligent synthetic laborers to help in the evacuation.
- A God Am I: Bruce Maddox has a relatively benign example of this as he is obsessed with creating sentient life. He finds working on non-sentient androids to be demeaning.
- All for Nothing: Essentially the nature of the book due to being Doomed by Canon. Picard and the Federation devote uncountable resources and five years of its officers' lives to try to save as many Romulans as possible, only to have the vast majority of their work undone by the Mars' attacks.
- Big Bad: Surprisingly lacking one. The problem is the petty politics and bigotries of citizens running up against a natural (?) disaster.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The Tal'Shiar goes to town on Vritet in order to get him to agree his figures were wrong and the Romulan Sun will not be going supernova for several more years yet. It prevents him from evacuating with the rest of the refugees when it's clear it is happening now.
- Broken Pedestal: Geordi comes to respect and like Bruce Maddox despite their past history. This is all gone when Geordi blames Maddox for the destruction of Mars.
- Call-Back: Clancy brings up the incident on Soukara as reason why Worf shouldn't be trusted to command the Enterprise. Picard vouches for Worf, suggesting that he learned his lesson.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Bruce Maddox plans to go off and continue his research into the Soong type androids but requires leaving the Federation. Doctor Jurati is unwilling to leave behind her life and their relationship ends.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Very deliberately so, many of the sentiments and actions on display are reminiscent of Brexit. Particularly that the Federation has several planets threaten secession over the refugee crisis and claims that it is diverting supplies from their own planets.
- The Romulan denial of how fast their sun is collapsing is based on climate change denial.
- The attack on Mars is shown via the reaction of the public and it's meant to strongly invoke 9/11. Word of God is the Paris cafe conversation is based on a real-life incident that happened during the actual attacks.
- Downer Ending: The fleet of relief ships is destroyed, Mars is devastated, the relief effort is cancelled, and billions of Romulans die that might have otherwise been saved. Captain Picard tenders his resignation from Starfleet and it is accepted, leaving him adrift. Raffi is fired for her substance abuse and her marriage is dissolved. Worse, no one knows who is responsible for any of this.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Several times it is hinted that the supernova is probably artificial in nature but who is responsible, if anyone, is unknown.
- Hot for Teacher: Doctor Jurati is infatuated by Bruce Maddox before she becomes his student and is a Hero-Worshipper.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Bruce Maddox and Doctor Jurati have this reaction after the Mars attacks. They think they're responsible. They're not.
- My Greatest Failure:
- The events of these become Picard's, surpassing even becoming Locutus and attacking the Federation.
- Bruce Maddox can't discount that he might have made some catastrophic error that resulted in the Synths destroying all of Mars.
- No, Except Yes: Olivia Quest claims she doesn't want to leave the Romulans to die but all of her suggestions amount to this. In the end she gets her wish in the most horrifying manner possible as the Federation cancels all relief efforts after the attack on Mars.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat:
- Olivia Quest is a Federation Council member representing a small farming colony that becomes the face of the movement to discredit the evacuation process.
- The entire Romulan government proves to be this as they don't ask for Federation help until the very last second and actively cover up the speed at which their star is collapsing.
- Retcon: The book retcons the events of Star Trek: Countdown that established the star that went supernova was one called Hobus and systems over from the Romulan Star System.
- Shout-Out: Picard is described as "accustomed to believing many impossible things before breakfast". This is also considered an on-point description of Luna Lovegood.
- Sleazy Politician: Olivia Quest is one of these, gladhanding at every opportunity and undermining the Federation relief effort.
- Student/Teacher Romance: Bruce Maddox and Doctor Jurati have one of these. It is intiated by Doctor Jurati (the student), notably.
- You Are in Command Now: After accepting a promotion to admiral, Picard leaves Worf in command of the Enterprise.