In Star Trek: Picard second series, Picard and friends travel back in time to 2024, in order to prevent Q from doing something to endanger the existence of the Federation.

But in Deep Space Nine episode "Past Tense", Sisko and some of his crew also travel back to 2024, and also have to save the Federation! When they arrived, they discovered that in this point in history, they were in a dystopian world, where unemployed people were forced into ghettos and to survive under terrible living conditions. A riot in one of these ghettos, and historical figure Gabriel Bell's management thereof has knock-on effects that end up changing the world for the better.

Is this still the case when Picard and his band arrive in 2024? Disappointingly, there doesn't seem to be any mention of it at all. Their saving of the Federation is a completely unrelated mission.

While one could argue that the point was that outsiders didn't know what was going on so it's plausible that there was just no reason to show it, some sort of allusion or clue would have been nice (I wasn't expecting them to meet Sisko or anything!) But some evidence shows that it appears to be forgotten by the writers:

  1. Raffi and Seven encounter homeless people when they first arrive. These people would surely have been taken away to the ghettos for the crime of being homeless.
  2. Rios is arrested by the immigration authorities and is to be deported from the country, but surely it would have made more sense for him to be put in there, as Sisko and Bashir were when they were found not to have ID.

Did the writers just forget about Past Tense? Are there any clues left that this piece of history might still be going on? Is there any reason they chose 2024 to set Picard in other than, presumably, it's the near future from the time the episode was made / first streamed?

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    "Did the writers just forget about Past Tense?" - probably they did. It's not even close to the worst timeline inconsistency between different Star Trek shows.
    – Philipp
    Mar 27, 2023 at 11:45
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    @Philipp - if so, it's up there with the worst... It's really a pity to go through the trouble of building such interesting depth into the history of Earth and the Federation, then to totally ignore/forget it... :(
    – komodosp
    Mar 27, 2023 at 11:49
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    Well, I don't know whether the writers forgot about Past Tense, or didn't know about it in the first place. Not all Star Trek writers are fully familiar with the show in all its incarnations...
    – Basya
    Mar 27, 2023 at 12:15
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    @M.A.Golding that's like saying French people should speak English so as not to confuse Americans - it's honestly pretty evidently ridiculous.
    – N. Virgo
    Mar 28, 2023 at 4:15
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    @Philipp not only did they not forget it, the whole Rios/Teresa arc in that season shows how 2024 treats people on the fringes of society and build heavily on what DS9 has set up.
    – Philipp
    Mar 28, 2023 at 8:51

1 Answer 1


Picard's second season, Episode3: "Assimilation" does show the Los Angeles version of a Sanctuary District, even though it is not of the same strict nature as the one shown in DS9: Past Tense. It's a bit hard to make out in the following screen capture, but the sign to the right reads "SANCTUARY DISTRICT REGULATIONS".

Raffi in a Sanctuary District

Rios also experiences first-hand the power the ICE has in the year 2024, he can be detained immediately for not providing an ID, and then transported away, as evidenced in Episode 4: "Watcher".

[Man] LAPD won't have ICE detainees in their system. You want Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Look, you're in the wrong place. Not that it makes any difference, because if you don't get to... Cristobal before he's transferred... gone. No trial. No paper trail.

( Picard Season 2, Episode 4: Watcher)

It's unclear whether or not Rios will actually be deported or thrown into a Sanctuary District, but another (spanish-speaking) detainee who shares a cell with Rios certainly assumes the former:

ICE GUARD: Need your hancock on these transport papers. Got a bus seat with your name on it.
DETAINEE (in spanish) You mean deportation papers.

( Picard Season 2, Episode 4: Watcher)

This is not at odds with DS9, where it is mentioned that that Sanctuary Districts were pretty widespread in the early 2020s, but at no point is it said that a) all Sanctuary Districts in all cities work the exact same (e.g. with restrictions on who can go in and out), and b) once caught, you will automatically land in a Sanctuary District (as opposed to being deported).

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    I forget which episode (I think it might be the one that screenshot is from), but they do say "Sanctuary District" at least once in dialogue
    – Izkata
    Mar 27, 2023 at 19:15
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    My recollection is that Rios wasn't being deported - he was being sent to a Sanctuary district. The choice of 2024 as the setting was almost certainly a deliberate reference to Past Tense. Mar 27, 2023 at 21:11
  • @Izkata I rewatched the episode and now noticed a sign that specifically says it's a sanctuary district. Added this to my answer.
    – Philipp
    Mar 28, 2023 at 8:32
  • @HarryJohnston I think it's not stated explicitly, but the detainees sharing a cell with Rios all speak Spanish, and they assume they're being deported: OFFICER: I need your hancock on these transfer papers. Got a bus seat with your name on it. INMATE (in spanish): You mean deportation papers.
    – Philipp
    Mar 28, 2023 at 8:39
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    Well spotted! Nice to know that they kept the whole thing in mind, but without feeling the need to make it a "sequel" to that story.
    – komodosp
    Mar 30, 2023 at 9:59

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