DS9: "The Way of The Warrior":

SISKO: They've decided to condemn the Klingon invasion. In response, Gowron has expelled all Federation citizens from the Klingon Empire and recalled his ambassadors from the Federation.

KIRA: You're saying he cut off diplomatic relations?

SISKO: He's done more than that. The Klingons have withdrawn from the Khitomer Accords. The peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire has ended.

O'BRIEN: Captain, you're never going to believe this. A Klingon ship just decloaked off upper pylon three and is requesting permission to dock. They claim they have Chancellor Gowron on board and he is demanding to speak with Mister Worf, personally.

TNG "Unification I":

Picard: "Very well, tell Gowron, Leader of the High Council of the Klingon Empire, that his Arbiter Of Succession, Jean-Luc Picard, needs...a favor."

B'Ijik: "'A favor'?"

Picard: "I require a cloaked vessel."

B'Ijik: "'A cloaked vessel'...is no small favor, Captain."

Would Gowron refuse to at least discuss it with his "Arbiter Of Succession"? Couldn't Picard have worked this out immediately? Why isn't he involved? Or was he behind the scenes? STU, writers notes, or EU is welcome.

I understand later that things will work themselves out. I'm just wondering why at this point in history Picard who is the logical choice wouldn't be involved or mentioned in some way.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 6:15
  • Favors are not an infinitely reusable resource. Picard did Gowron a favor. Gowron did one back, even if he had to be coerced into it. Picard no longer has a favor to call in. Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 4:20

4 Answers 4


Yes, Gowron would avoid having Picard involved. He's been cutting that part out of the history books since long before DS9 - this is from Unification I, not long before the dialogue in the question:

Riker: "It seems after hailing him for three days, he coulda found a minute to talk to you."

Worf: "Sir."

Picard: "Yes, lieutenant."

Worf: "I believe I know why our messages are not being answered. Gowron has been rewriting Klingon history."

Riker: "Rewriting history?"

Worf: "Yes, he is claiming that it was his courage, his genius, that brought an end to the civil war."

Picard: "I see."

Worf: "In the new version, there is no mention made of the Federation's help in his rise to power."

Riker: "If Worf's right, then our arrival will be an uncomfortable reminder of the facts."

  • Good answer. But as I recall didn't Unification I & II bring Picard and Worf closer to Gawron. Gawron really wanted Worf to fight with him again in this fight. But my question really centers around Picard. It's been a long time since I've seen Unification I & II although I've seen them a bunch of times. I'll have to review them again.
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 9:13
  • 2
    @JMFB Not really - Gawron did give him a ship, but only after Picard threatened to "show their graditude" to someone else (presumably in the Empire). I think this is really the best in-universe explanation for this situation. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 9:33
  • @Izkata was this the conversation just before Picard asked for the ship?
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 4:04
  • @JMFB Yeah, it's the first thing that happens when Riker and Picard arrive on the bridge (minus a couple of sentences at the beginning)
    – Izkata
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 4:44
  • @Izkata Do you think his rewriting of history also indicates his personal feelings and/or indebtedness towards Picard?
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 5:21

I think this is all answered in the quotes in your question:

Gowron has expelled all Federation citizens from the Klingon Empire and recalled his ambassadors from the Federation... The peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire has ended.

The Klingons do not like the Federation any more. Picard is an enormously high-profile member of the Federation. I suspect a Klingon does not roar at his enemies, then sit down for a chat with his favourite of them.

They claim they have Chancellor Gowron on board and he is demanding to speak with Mister Worf, personally.

They clearly want to deal with Klingons. If I recall correctly, Sisko, O’Brien and Odo (I think?) have to disguise themselves as Klingons to go investigate.

Arbiter Of Succession or not, this is apparently not a time for consulting outsiders. Don’t forget that Gowron is a politician as much as anything (see @Izkata’s excellent answer for more details). Later on, he

downplays Martok’s contributions to the Dominion War in an attempt to defend his own position as Chancellor.

If listening to entreaties from Picard wouldn’t help achieve his goals, which in this case they presumably wouldn’t, Gowron’s not going to do it.

  • Yes but Klingons value honor above all else. Loyalty is also very important to them. Picard had such a valuable role in Gowron attaining power, and also with the whole Worf situation. This isn't a relationship of Picard the Federation Captain that I'm referring to. What about Picards role in the Klingon empire? It's deeper then what you suggest, don't you think?
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:33
  • @JMFB: “honor” is a wonderfully elastic word. It’s been a long time since I saw any of TNG, but I don’t think Picard’s involvement in Klingon affairs is enough in the unprecedented DS9 situation (i.e. literally dissolving the peace treaty) — Starfleet may well have got Picard to try to contact Gowron, but I bet Gowron would have refused. As regards Picard’s relationship with Worf, remember that Worf is, most of the time, not particularly respected within the Klingon empire either. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:54
  • @JMFB: And don’t forget, as we see through DS9, Gowron is a politician. He later on downplays Martok’s war contributions to try to defend his own position as Chancellor. He’s about as honourable as he needs to be at any given moment. Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:55
  • 4
    @JMFB: Klingons value being seen as honorable above all else. It's sad but true; the only Klingon we see who truly strives to be honorable as part of their personal code is Worf, who was raised by humans! Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 11:32
  • 1
    @MasonWheeler : Martok always seemed to be an honorable guy as well. But yeah, that's two Klingons out of the dozens (hundreds?) we see on-screen.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Jun 23, 2015 at 18:59

Warning: the following is speculation, but based on actual events

According to my calculations, season 4 of Deep Space 9 is set in 2372. This is the same year that Picard is given command of the Enterprise-E. In First Contact we see that there is some distrust of Picard amongst Starfleet with regards to the Borg, so it is possible that this could be extended in other areas as well (perhaps explaining why he never made Admiral Picard despite probably being otherwise deserving of it). Hence, this may explain in part why the Federation wasn't willing to use Picard in this way. Just a theory, but supported by some evidence at least!

  • Can you give me the timetables and the distrust you're talking about? Are you just talking about the Locutus thing? I don't think that under the situation of Gowron responding to noone at the Federation, Picard would have been used. What did they have to lose? I'm interested in what you're saying further though.
    – JMFB
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:37
  • @JMFB I'll get back to you tomorrow; I'm just a bit too tired at the moment to do justice to this 😉 Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:54
  • Kirk told him not to accept being promoted to Admiral. Knowing what happened to him, Picard may have preferred being on the front line and passed on any promotion. Apart from that, Star Fleet only seem to express concern when dealing with the Borg, and that is, IIRC, firstly mentioned in First Contact.
    – Davidmh
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 14:27
  • @Davidmh as I say this is purely speculation on my part. It is entirely possible that Picard was perfectly trusted by Starfleet in areas other than the Borg, just another perspective to think about Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 23:02
  • @JMFB Yes, following the Locutus incident there was a little bit of hostility towards Picard in Starfleet. I'm just extending this out a little more to propose that perhaps this was also impacted. Considering Picard isn't always a 'by the book' captain (considering the number of times he has violated the Prime Directive for starters) they may have not wanted to make a bad situation worse by getting into a direct war with the Klingons. Just my thoughts Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 23:04

Because Picard had already fulfilled the asigned role; he established and proved the necessary leader. Worf Killed the competitor to the claim in Fair combat indicitive of Klingon law and customs. Picard's role as arbiter of succession was fulfilled, with only one candidate left.

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