It is well established in canon that Jean-Luc Picard assumed command of the USS Stargazer in 2333, being one of the youngest captains in history, only six years out of the Academy. He commanded her for 22 years until it was lost in 2355 at the Battle of Maxia. He is given command of the USS Enterprise in 2364.

I have not been able to locate any canon material as to what he was doing for the intervening 9 years. It seems he was not in command of another ship as no such vessel was ever mentioned, nor has another major post been mentioned. It also seems like it would be an unlikely decision to hand the flagship to an officer who's been on leave for nearly a decade.

What was Picard doing between 2355 and 2364?

Obviously, canon is prefered if it exists.

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    Memory Alpha "What Picard did for the nine years between the Stargazer and the Enterprise is unknown and has never been discussed in any Star Trek production. The amount of time would have been sufficient for him to command another starship, but Picard has never mentioned another starship command beside the Stargazer and Enterprise. The novel The Buried Age filled in many of the gaps, including Picard's first meetings with Deanna Troi, Data, Natasha Yar, Kathryn Janeway, and Geordi La Forge."
    – Paulie_D
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 16:17
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    Since there was an inquiry into the Stargazer, we can assume the first year was something administrative while that was being investigated and litigated.
    – eshier
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 16:24
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    @Eshier - I would imagine that losing a very expensive ship would result in an instant and automatic court-martial that could take several years to go through.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 16:47
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    good question - does make one wonder how you go from command of an unremarkable ship (and losing it at that) to command of the flagship. Had never considered that
    – NKCampbell
    Commented May 30, 2019 at 16:54
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    He was busy setting up another prequel series to air in a decade or two...
    – Tronman
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 14:37

2 Answers 2


There are no canon sources describing what Picard did during the years of 2355 to 2364. However, there are several short stories and a novel which cover that period in his life. According to the novel The Buried Age, after the destruction of the Stargazer Picard began to question whether command was right for him, leading him to spend some time as a guest lecturer at Starfleet Academy and pursue his Ph.D. in Archaeology. After discovering mysterious alien artifacts during the course of his archaeological work he rejoined the fleet and was given command of the USS Portia in 2360 on a mission to track down a race of ancient aliens called the Manraloth. After the events of that mission he was given command of the Enterprise-D.


The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard gives a few details of his life between the Stargazer and taking command of the Enterprise.

The highlights are:

  • He worked with Admiral Quinn in Starfleet Tactical moving ships, personnel, and equipment around.
  • He meets all of the original bridge officers in TNG in various places (with the exception of Riker, He also already knew Beverly Crusher).
    • Cadet Deanna Troy meets him in Sick Bay on the USS Saratoga
    • Data meets him on a mission to discover what happened to the Denobulans
    • Geordi La Forge meets him as a pilot assigned to shuttle him somewhere
    • Worf meets him on the bridge of the USS Constellation
    • Natasha Yar meets him on the colony Carnellia IV

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