Concerning Jean-Luc Picard's run-in with the surly Nausicaans, why are the recollections different? In "Samaritan Snare," while in the shuttlecraft with Wes, he says, "I stood toe-to-toe with the worst of the three (Nausicaans), and I told him what I thought of him, his pals, his planet, and I possibly made some passing reference to his questionable parentage..."

Later, in "Tapestry," "young" Picard attacks the Nausicaan after the latter insults him.

I suppose one could say that in "Tapestry," Q gives Picard a certain amount of free will to act as he wishes. Q gives his assurance that the timeline will not be affected. However, "Tapestry" makes it clear that the fight was instigated by the Nausicaan's cheating in dom-jot, whereas in "Samaritan Snare" the cocky young Picard apparently wanted to simply rile up the Nausicaan.

  • 5
    Could it be because Picard, not anticipating that Wesley would ever gain the ability to travel through time and check the veracity of what he was saying (oops), was bragging and embellishing a little to make his part in the story more dramatic?
    – Valorum
    Sep 17, 2018 at 21:05
  • 2
    But that doesn't seem to fit Picard's character! Sep 17, 2018 at 21:06
  • Picard tell the expurgated version of the story, the one without the drunkenness and gambling.
    – Valorum
    Sep 17, 2018 at 21:08
  • Could also be that the episodes were not written by the same person and the one who wrote or suggested the idea for Tapestry did not check Samaritan Snare or decided to change it because it would look better on screen.
    – Sava
    Sep 17, 2018 at 21:12
  • 2
    Obviously I'm looking for a canon explanation, Sava. Sep 17, 2018 at 21:47

1 Answer 1


In "Samaritan Snare", Picard was framing the story as a cautionary tale. To that end, he removed or elided parts of the story that might make Wesley more sympathetic to his past self, the self he doesn't want emulated.

WESLEY: Really? Then what happened?

PICARD: Nothing. I was no hero, Wesley. I was an undisciplined, loud-mouthed, opinionated young man who was way out of his league. I learned a very hard, very painful lesson that day, but I learned it well. I hope you never have to learn it the same way.

In "Tapestry", he clearly still regrets that the incident ever happened:

PICARD: I was a different person in those days. Arrogant, undisciplined, with far too much ego and too little wisdom. I was more like you.

Q: Then you must have been far more interesting. Pity you had to change.

PICARD: The pity is that I had to be impaled through the back before I learned that lesson. I started that fight with those Nausicaans. I started it because, because I was young and cocky. If I'd been more responsible in those days...

The details of the fight itself in Tapestry are pretty faithful to the description in Samaritan Snare, down to the stress-induced laugh he gives at the moment that he's stabbed. So I would conclude that it's not a matter of ignorance of the original script, but rather a deliberate modification. Assuming that we're not meant to conclude Picard's memory is faulty, it seems like the most straightforward reason for him to frame the story the way he did is to make sure it leaves the correct impression on Wesley. As with keeping his heart issue a secret in the first place, it's a matter of "image".

More speculatively, it's possible Picard is misremembering events in "Samaritan Snare". It was more than 40 years ago, after all. Picard's memories might be influenced by his guilt and regret, focusing on more negative aspects of the encounter and leaving him to fill in the rest. Or, more innocently, he could be conflating it with another incident where he encountered Nausicaans, such as the time in his sophomore year he begins telling Riker about in the denouement of "Tapestry".

  • 3
    Also he got stabbed and had to have major abdominal surgery. It wouldn't be at all surprising if his memory was at fault
    – Valorum
    Sep 18, 2018 at 6:42

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