The USS Titan-A fled to escape the Shrike on impulse power in Star Trek: Picard season 3, episode 2. Here’s why warp speed wasn’t an option.
Warning: SPOILERS for Star Trek: Picard Season 3, Episode 2 – “Disengage”The USS Titan-A decides to make a run for it to escape the Shrike at the end of Star Trek: Picard season 3, episode 2, “Disengage,” but here’s why Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) didn’t order the Titan to jump to warp. The Titan under the command of a reluctant Captain Liam Shaw (Todd Stashwick) entered the Ryton system nebula in order to rescue Picard and Captain Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes). To Shaw’s chagrin, the renegade Starfleet Officers beamed back to the Titan with Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) and her son Jack Crusher (Ed Speleers), who may be a criminal.
Worsening the Titan’s predicament, Star Trek: Picard season 3’s hero ship is now in the crosshairs of Captain Vadic (Amanda Plummer), a mysterious new adversary who wants Jack Crusher turned over to her. Ostensibly a bounty hunter, Vadic has been chasing Jack and Beverly Crusher across the galaxy for weeks. Somehow, Vadic’s forces have been impersonating other organizations and species like the Fenris Rangers, the Klingons, and even Starfleet Officers. Captain Shaw wanted no part of embroiling the Titan and his crew in Picard and Riker’s rescue op, but the Titan has now become Vadic’s target because Jean-Luc refused to turn Jack over after he learned that the young Crusher is his son.
Why The Titan Didn’t Jump To Warp To Escape The Shrike
Star Trek: Picard season 3, episode 2, ends with Admiral Picard ordering the Titan further into the Ryton nebula, but the Constitution III Class starship didn’t jump to warp to escape the Shrike, Vadic’s fearsome starship. The Titan fled using impulse power only because the Ryton nebula was interfering with the ship’s long-range sensors. Jumping to warp was not an option within the nebula, so Picard had two options: try to escape the nebula with the Shrike on its tail or delve further into the nebula and hope to lose the Shrike because its sensors are also inoperative in the galactic cloud. The Titan is betting on the latter.
Nebulas rendering a starship’s sensors inoperable is a classic Star Trek trope best utilized in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which Star Trek: Picard season 3 homages in multiple ways. The Titan’s escape route sets up a similar game of cat-and-mouse that Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the USS Enterprise played against Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalbán), who hijacked the USS Reliant. But whereas Kirk and Khan‘s starships were more evenly matched, the Titan, despite being newly refitted, is at a huge disadvantage against Captain Vadic and the Shrike.
Can Picard & The Titan Beat Vadic & The Shrike Like Kirk Beat Khan In Star Trek II?
The USS Titan-A may be a top-of-the-line starship, but it is hopelessly outgunned by the Shrike. When Captain Vadic confidently invited the Titan to scan her pirate ship, their sensors found “40 isolytic burst warheads, 88 plasma torpedoes, 236 photon torpedoes, 18 antimatter missiles, 20 pulse wave, 30 series five… and something loaded in primary position in the bay.” Essentially, every weapon known to Starfleet and a mystery device that can only be bad news. Indeed, the Shrike already used its tractor beam to “throw a starship” – Dr. Crusher’s SS Eleos – at the Titan. Escape was the Titan’s only logical option outside of surrender, but warp speed isn’t possible until Picard’s ship is free of the Ryton nebula.
Kirk and Khan engaged in a chess match in Star Trek II, but the Titan has a different challenge against the Shrike in Star Trek: Picard. Luckily, the Titan does have a few advantages: it has three experienced starship captains in Picard, Riker, and Shaw, and their starship has the most advanced impulse engines in Starfleet. However, they simply don’t know who and what they’re up against in Captain Vadic. Kirk didn’t beat Khan without tremendous loss and the sacrifice of Spock (Leonard Nimoy) in Star Trek II. It remains to be seen if the Titan can escape the Shrike without a tragedy of its own in Star Trek: Picard season 3.
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.