Observations in PIC: "Broken Pieces"
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
Here are some observations about sets, props, make-ups and visual effects in PIC: "Broken Pieces", with special attention to continuity with previous Star Trek series and movies.
Some beautiful images of nebulae can be seen at the beginning of "Broken Pieces". The images are reminiscent of the opening scene of the pilot episode "Remembrance" and to the "Pillars of Creation" as photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.
The octonary star system, called the Conclave of Eight, assembled by an unknown species many millennia ago. By lowering the brightness and enhancing the contrast, the different colors of the stars can easily be made out. It seems one of the stars is pink or purple, another one is green. Both are colors that normally do not occur with stars.
While the camera moves past one of the stars, it comes very close to a solar flare. This is similar to what appears in the opening credits of Star Trek Voyager.
Behind an asteroid belt, the planet Aia, called the Grief Planet, is located.
The Zhat Vash agents are standing in a circle around what the Romulans call the Admonition.
Several of the images during the vision also seen appeared in the mind meld between Oh and Jurati in the previous episode. Other images were culled from various stock image/video sites.
- Footage of the volcano Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Images of organic materials.
- A satellite photo of a planet surface.
- An android opening its eyes which then flash momentarily. The android then morphs into Data. The footage of Data was originally filmed for the poker scene in "Remembrance". The flash in the android's eyes looks like the flash seen when the A500-type Synth units activate in "Maps and Legends". The android image is commercially available. Perhaps the production purchased the CG model by Willyam Bradberry to accomplish the modifications.
- A decomposing fox. This is stock footage seen in many TV shows and films.
- An alien(?) city covered in fog.
- A tower-like structure (which will be revealed as a transmitter in "Et in Arcadia Ego II").
- The camera flies away from a sun or very hot planet towards a green ring-shaped object in space.
- A massive explosion on a planet surface. This footage was already seen in "Nepenthe". It appears completely unchanged.
- A city being destroyed. This footage was also already seen in the previous episode. Notice how the structures on the left side are mirrored to widen the footage.
- This footage shows an exploding reddish planet. It is a re-use of footage from the mind meld between Burnham and Spock in the Discovery episode "If Memory Serves". In that episode, it showed the destruction of Vulcan. In contrast to the previous episode "Nepenthe", where this footage was heavily modified (completely replacing Vulcan by a more Earth-like planet, for example) here it is simply mirrored and otherwise not changed at all.
The image of the Romulans being knocked over by the Admonition was also seen in "Nepenthe", as were several of the scenes of the women hurting and killing themselves.
A final shot shows the planet surface and two of the suns that planet Aia is surrounded by.
A bottle of Romulan ale on a table in Ramdha's room. The same bottle was previously seen in "Absolute Candor", when Soji and Narek share a drink, and in Narek's room in "The Impossible Box". The bottle is very similar to the Romulan ale bottle given to Captain Kirk by Dr. McCoy as a birthday present in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan".
Narissa refers to a Doctor Kabath in this scene. Dr. Kabath was the doctor that performed the "de-Borgification" in "Maps and Legends".
Narissa is using her in-ear communications device again. Narek's similar device was shown up close in "Maps and Legends".
A Romulan stun grenade (or flash/photon grenade) appears in this shot. Stun grenades were seen in several Enterprise episodes.
La Sirena's armory is visible behind Raffi. The two phaser rifles taken by Seven of Nine at the end of "Stardust City Rag" have still not been replaced.
The area above La Sirena's sickbay can be seen here. In the foreground, there are several cargo crates with the La Sirena logo. Later in the episode, another crate appears with the logo. In front of Picard and Soji, two skylights are visible in the floor that are also present on the ceiling of the sickbay set, as can be seen in the cap from "Stardust City Rag".
Several weapons and weapon-like devices are kept in La Sirena's armory. The weapon Raffi is holding is not the same type as the Type-2 phaser used by Seven in "Stardust City Rag" many years earlier.
A good look at the port side of the aft section of La Sirena's main area. On the right, Raffi's room can be seen. The armory is right next to it. In the foreground, the transporter platform can be seen, and parts of the engine on the left. Behind Soji and Picard, a corridor leads to other sections of the ship.
The medical device the EMH uses here is the same one he used on Rios in "The End is the Beginning". Similar medical tools were seen in several DS9 and Voyager episodes.
The medical replicator used by Jurati in "Nepenthe" has gained a number of new labels on the right side of the device. Careful examination of the earliest appearance of the prop in "Stardust City Rag" reveals, however, that the replicator on the left side of sickbay always had those labels. For the appearance of the device in the previous episode, the replicator on the right side (both can be seen in "Stardust City Rag") was moved to the left. Here, it's back in its original position.
We learn in this episode that the tracker Dr. Jurati ingested was a viridium tracker. In "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" Spock attached a small viridium patch to Kirk's uniform before the Captain left for the Klingon battlecruiser to be able to track him to Rura Penthe. Fortunately, Kirk could keep his jacket and the Klingons were not overly careful or suspicious.
A microscope with a screen is on the left side on this screen cap. Similar devices were already in use aboard the USS Enterprise-D. The neutron microscope seen in the Enterprise "Stigma" also shares some similarities with this device.
A number of medical tools, including a hypospray, seen up close in "Nepenthe", and two tools used by the EMH when operating on Rios in "The End is the Beginning", are visible in a stand on the right side of this shot and in another shot from later in the episode.
Picard's office with all its paintings and keepsakes can be seen well in these three screenshots. Three wine boxes can be spotted behind Clancy in the first shot. An old black and white photo is placed on Picard's desk in the second shot. Two crystals are also lying on his desk, one shaped like a dog toy. Picard always kept a crystal on his desk aboard the USS Enterprise-D in TNG. Two of the pieces of art behind Picard have already been identified.
- The painting on the left in Picard's study is "Foreigners Riding Along the Coast at Takanawa in the Eastern Capital" by Utagawa Hiroshige II..
- The upper picture on the right is a sketch by Cherubino Alberti called "Two Draped Figures".
- The painting below it has eluded identification so far as the light from the window nearly always reflects on the glass of the picture frame.
- The green bottle seen behind Picard is similar to one seen on the table outside of Raffi's mobile home in "The End is the Beginning", only the stopper is different. It's a Kluk Kluk decanter by Jacob D. Bang. The bottle was already present in "Stardust City Rag". One of the Château Picard wine bottles, still seen in that episode, has since then been drunk, it seems.
Raffi uses a small hand-held holographic display to look at a graphic of a hypothetical octonary star system. She remembers seeing the Romulan disordered draw similar sketches. The sketches were seen in "The End is the Beginning" and "Nepenthe".
A graphic of the real-world (presumably) septenary star system Nu Scorpii is displayed on the bridge of La Sirena.
When the ENH accesses its database, his eyes light up in a similar way to the holographic Index in "Remembrance".
The dead Romulan is wearing one of the flat gradient badges. When the prop was introduced in "Maps and Legends", it was still a much thicker badge, as seen in the shot of Dr. Kabath.
The Fenris Rangers card as previously seen in "Stardust City Rag" and "Nepenthe". Elnor drops this small card, attached to a chain, earlier in the episode. This cannot be the same card and chain he picked up from Hugh's office at the end of the previous episode, however, as the hole in the card the chain is attached to is located at a different spot on the transparent card.
The transparent PADD-like Borg devices were also seen when the queen cell last appeared in "The Impossible Box".
Seven interfaces with a large holographic Borg display. Screen caps from earlier episodes show what Borg interfaces looked like in the past.
Corridors leading to the queen cell and elsewhere on the cube in "The Impossible Box" showed some similarities to the queen's chamber in the Great Pyramid at Giza. Here, the upper sections of the queen cell show similarities to the king's chamber (including the so-called relieving chambers) of the same structure.
The Romulan centurion is using a device similar to the one Soji utilized to contact her mother in earlier episodes.
The holster of the Romulan disruptor pistol briefly comes into sight. In the past, as the shot from "Birthright II" shows, the large bag-like holsters were made from the same material as the Romulan baldrics.
Bug-like robots crawl all over the surface of the Borg cube as it reactivates and repairs itself. They build bridges using their bodies, just like ants would do, to bridge holes in the hull. A Borg cube repairing itself was also featured as soon as in the TNG episode "Q Who".
In "The Impossible Box", Picard leaves La Sirena's mess hall through the door behind him as seen in this shot. This leads to a room located underneath the bridge of the ship.
The shot of La Sirena's mess hall, as viewed from behind cargo nets, is similar to one from "The Impossible Box".
Stairs leading down to the lower level of La Sirena and a side corridor can be spotted behind Raffi. The opposite side of the set was seen in "The End is the Beginning".
In this scene, Raffi meets the fifth and final Rios hologram located on his ship. It's Ian, the Emergence Engineering Hologram. Like Scotty, he's a Scotsman and like previous engineers on Star Trek, such as B'Elanna Torres and Montgomery Scott, he is carrying around small tools with him. Here, he seems to be working on a part of the engine of La Sirena, holding a never before seen PADD-like device. While Geordi La Forge was never seen with a toolkit like Scotty's or Torres', he always carried around a unique engineering PADD.
The aft section of La Sirena's upper level can be nicely seen in these two screenshots. Light shines through the skylight in the ship's sickbay and the set can be made out through the transparent window, which makes sense, as Dr. Jurati is still lying there in a coma.
Raffi realizes that the chances of a naturally occurring octonary star system are close to zero so it must have been created artificially by moving eights stars across light-years to their new location and setting them in motion. Only one species has been described as possessing that ability in Star Trek so far: The Tkon Empire encountered in "The Last Outpost". When Michael Chabon was asked by fans on Instagram whether "the ancient star moving people [were] the Tkon Empire mentioned in TNG" he responded by saying "Yes, they were". He later clarified in an e-mail communication that he thinks "it's no more than a possibility, as it's a possibility that Trelane was a Q".
Raffi's quarters were last shown in the episode "The Impossible Box".
Two books are lying next to Raffi's replicator. The cover of one of the books seems to depict the lower half of a woman's face and a mountain.
The Emergency Hospitality Program carries a PADD-like folder. Later in this scene he says he no longer knows the proper temperature for making Yridian tea as Rios deleted the information. Counselor Troi ordered Yridian tea from a replicator in the TNG episode "Eye of the Beholder".
Several books by famous philosophers can be spotted in Rios's quarters. From left to right they are:
- The Stranger by Albert Camus, published by Heritage Press in 1971.
- Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway. This is the first edition of the book printed by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1932.
- A casebook on Existentialism by William V. Spanos, published by Ty Crowell in 1966.
- The Concept of Dread by Søren Kierkegaard. This edition of the book was published by Princeton University Press in 1957.
- Fear and Trembling / The Sickness unto Death by Søren Kierkegaard. This edition was published by Doubleday anchor books in 1954.
- The Rebel by Albert Camus. This edition was printed by Alfred A. Knopf in 1974.
- The Tragic Sense of Life by Miguel de Unamuno. The Tragic Sense of Life was repeatedly shown since Rios's introduction in "The End is the Beginning". The prop (or the book jacket) was especially created for the series. All the other books were already present in his quarters in that episode, as screenshots a little later in this article will reveal.
There's one book that was especially created for this episode. It's Surak and Existentialism by Nicolaus Notabene. Michael Chabon posted a photo that better shows the prop on his Instagram account. Nicolaus Notabene was a pseudonym used by Kierkegaard for his book Prefaces. The cover also features Vulcan writing. This is the exact same text written on the hull of the long range shuttle Surak from "Star Trek: The Motion Picture". As the book was written by Surak, it makes sense to feature exactly the same writing. This is the second book written by or on Surak seen on Star Trek. In "Two Days and Two Nights", T'Pol gifted Captain Archer a copy of the book The Teachings of Surak.
There's what looks like a futuristic pen lying on Rios's desk. Similar pen-like objects have previously appeared on Star Trek, especially during the early episodes of TNG.
Several small sculptures of mermaids in Rios's quarters. The one on the last cap is Suvannamaccha, a mermaid from Thai folklore. Many of the mermaid sculptures were also visible in "The End is the Beginning". All the above mentioned books can be seen again.
Like in "The End is the Beginning", Rios is drinking the same brand of pisco, a South American brandy.
Rios's moodily lit quarters were first seen in "The End is the Beginning". Not much has changed since then, only the bright white office chair was moved away.
Rios opens a box with mementos from the time when he was a Starfleet officer. When Picard returned to his quarters aboard the USS Stargazer in "The Battle", he also found an old box with mementos from his time on the ship, including an old uniform. Rios's box contains several old vinyl records.
The box and the bag feature the Starfleet logo in use since the first season of DS9. It could be found on countless cargo crates on DS9, VOY and the TNG films.
Both the small case and the duffle bag seen a little earlier feature the name and registry of Rios's previous Starfleet ship, the USS ibn Majid, NCC-75710. The case also features a dorsal view of the vessel. It shares some design elements with the USS Emmett Till, created for the DS9 documentary "What We Left Behind" by John Eaves.
Rios keeps some mementos of his past in a cigar case. The cigars are produced by the company Romeo Y Julieta and are called "Reserva Real Churchill".
This is only visible when increasing brightness and contrast but on the side of the box, Rios's Starfleet Serial Number is written. It's SC-850-705.
Rios's cigar box contains several mementos from his time as a Starfleet officer.
- There's a communicator like the ones worn since the third season of DS9. Picard also used his communicator from that time in "Maps and Legends". The box also contains a shoulder disc worn with the Starfleet uniform in use between "Star Trek II" and "Star Trek VI" (or "Generations", to be precise).
- The box also contains what looks like a lighter and the horned skull of a small animal.
- Rios's rank insignia are also seen. The box contains 9 golden pins and 2 black pins. This is exactly the amount needed for all ranks until the rank of Commander, Rios's final rank.
A photo showing Commander Christóbal Rios with his former commanding officer, Captain Alonzo Vandermeer. Both are wearing the Starfleet uniforms in use in the 2380s. The photo was taken in front of La Sirena's sickbay door, as can be seen in the screenshot from "Stardust City Rag".
Here we get our first look at the drawing of Jana and Commander Rios.
A Borg graphic of the cube featuring a dot for every Borg on the cube appears in several shots in this episode.
The painting to the right of Raffi is a self-portrait by Camille Pissarro, currently housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
The EEH (Ian) plays with very old-fashioned tools from his toolkit that look remarkably like a screwdriver. Doctor Soong used a similar tool on Data in "Brothers". In the background, one of Picard's medals can be seen.
The sketch to the right of the lamp showing several dogs is called "Five studies of a French Pointer" by Richard Parkes Bonington.
All five Rios holograms appear in Picard's study at the same time.
The ENH says that his knowledge of Medusan astrogation techniques is totally gone. The Medusan Kollos, known for his navigational abilities like the rest of his species, was seen in the TOS episode "Is There in Truth No Beauty?".
The double playing the Emergency Hospitality Hologram can be briefly seen in the background in these two shots.
Two nice shots of Picard's study showing all the pieces of art located close to his desk.
Raffi uses a small handheld holographic interface to find out more about the USS ibn Majid. She uses some kind of search engine. When flipping the shot horizontally, several words can be read, like ship name, crew member, keyword.
Glimpses of the images seen during the mind meld in "Nepenthe" and the vision of the Admonition, seen at the beginning of the episode, are briefly seen. The first two images are identical to what was seen before in this episode. The third and fourth image feature the white android seen earlier in this episode in front of a different background than before and using different footage. The android also does not morph into Data and the camera moves closer to the android during the brief shot. The third image, finally, has not appeared in this episode but comes from the mind meld in "Nepenthe". It shows an exploding planet.
Picard's reaction when Dr. Jurati asks him if he believes in hell is similar to his reaction to religion in "Who Watches the Watchers".
The right side of sickbay can be seen in this shot. Some medical tools on the right side also appeared in "Stardust City Rag". They seem to be regular 21st century pipettes. The replicator used by Jurati in the previous episode (the one with a smaller amount of labels) also appears again. The door leading to the room under the bridge can be seen standing open in the background.
This is the replicator used by Jurati in "Nepenthe". In that episode, it was on the left side of sickbay, now it's back at the right side where it was in "Stardust City Rag". The prop is a Monoprice MP Voxel 3D printer.
The area outside Rios's cabin is briefly visible in this screenshot. The cabin must be located on La Sirena's main deck. The door to his cabin is possibly the one seen on the left in the cap from "The End is the Beginning".
We get another good look at Rios's spacious captain's quarters.
Raffi uses Rios's replicator to replicate a cup of coffee.
More of Rios's mermaid sculptures can be seen in this shot.
Two records can be seen in these two shots. The first one (the one Rios is listening to) is "Solitude" by Billie Holiday, released in 1956.
The second one, seen on the floor of his quarters, is also an album by Billie Holiday. It's called "The Essential Billie Holiday Carnegie Hall Concert" and it was released in 1961.
Rios is not the only Captain to possess an old record player. Captain Janeway also had an old phonograph in her quarters aboard the USS Voyager, as did Captain Georgiou in her ready room aboard the USS Shenzhou. In the second shot, Rios's Starfleet serial number can be seen again on the large box.
The drawing of Commander Rios and Jana is shown up close.
As previously mentioned, this corridor shows similarities to the queen's chamber in the Great Pyramid at Giza. The 2D interface of a Romulan console can also be seen.
Two food replicators (one still containing a meal) are visible in these shots. Again, real-life 3D printers were used, this time two Flashforge Finders. It seems the devices are Romulan, as the Romulan logo can be seen on a label.
A close-up of the tip of one of the new Romulan disruptor pistols.
The cavernous interior of the Borg cube. A parked Romulan ship with an upfolded wing can also be seen. This is the same ship type previously seen in "Remembrance" and briefly in "Maps and Legends" and "Nepenthe". The ability to fold up the wings was seen at the very end of the pilot episode when the camera zooms out of the cube. Romulan workbees, seen in several previous episodes, also appear again.
While Seven is taking control of the Borg cube, she is hooked up to some cables, similar to the Borg Queen whenever she is lowered onto her body. Her irises appear black briefly before the whole eyes turn black and a green Borg interface appears. The Borg Queen usually has silver irises. While Seven's right eye is a normal human eye, her left eye is a cybernetic implant created by Voyager's EMH. It is unclear how the effect of the Borg taking over Seven's body works on the two very different eyes (one organic, one cybernetic).
The Borg drones are ejected into space. Similar scenes of drones being thrown off a ship through an airlock are known from "Scorpion II" and "Regeneration". It is unclear how damaging this will be for the Borg, as Borg have been seen in the past (in "Star Trek: First Contact", for example) to function in the vacuum of space without any problems. Screenshots from "The Best of Both Worlds I" and "Star Trek: First Contact" show the interior of the Borg cube as seen in that episode and the film.
In this shot of the La Sirena mess hall, even the bridge and the large windows can be seen.
Here, it is finally revealed that Commodore Oh is half Vulcan, half Romulan, explaining why she wore sunglasses to protect her eyes when visiting Dr. Jurati at the Daystrom Institute but still was able to perform a mind meld in "Nepenthe".
Soji powers up the engines of La Sirena.
After a Romulan (or possibly Borg) forcefield appeared earlier in the episode, a forcefield aboard La Sirena (similar to those seen a century earlier on Discovery) is visible here. They seem to be identical, only the color is different. All these forcefields have the regular structure in common. Forcefields in classic Star Trek always looked "noisy" and often only became visible when something came in touch with them.
A map of the Borg transwarp conduit network. A map of the whole network in the Milky Way was seen in the Voyager episode "Endgame". Maps of single nodes appeared in "Descent I".
The last time we saw Picard in the Captain's chair was in "Star Trek: Nemesis"
A parked Borg sphere is briefly seen inside the Borg cube. Comparison screenshots from "Star Trek: First Contact" show what the docking bay, including the sphere, looked like in the film.
The Romulan ships seen towards the end of the episode are of the same types as ships flying around the cube in "Absolute Candor". Their hull color seems to be a lot darker then previous Romulan ships. Maybe these are Tal Shiar or Zhat Vash ships. When increasing the brightness, the shape of a Bird of Prey can be seen painted on the underside of the hull, similar to what the ventral side of 23th century Birds-of-Prey looked like.
Some small ships leaving the Borg cube. They might be Romulan shuttles or support craft.
Just like in "Nepenthe", Rizzo beams away just in the nick of time.
It seems as if the studio ceiling is visible in this brief shot of the xBs attacking Rizzo.
Two types of Romulan ships leaving the Borg cube behind. More prominent are the ones arriving at the cube earlier in the episode. Some of the larger ships introduced in "Remembrance" are also seen departing the cube, however.
La Sirena is traveling at warp speed. While we have seen the vortex-like warp effect from the bridge or behind the ship before, here it is shown from the side outside La Sirena.
Picard references his time on the USS Reliant and his Starfleet Academy classmate Marta Batanides. The fact that he served on the ship was established in the extended version of "Measure of a Man". Marta Batanides appeared in "Tapestry".
A transwarp conduit opens, as seen through the cockpit window of La Sirena. In "Descent I+II", a conduit only opened when a ship passed through it. It did not appear before the ship actually made contact.
La Sirena and Narek's scout ship enter a Borg transwarp conduit. Screenshots from TNG and VOY show what transwarp conduits looked like in the past.