While April 5 was just another Monday for the rest of the world, for Trekkies, it was a veritable national holiday: First Contact Day. This year's many celebrations included a number of exciting announcements, including a trailer for the hotly anticipated second season of Star Trek: Picard. Understandably, most Trekkies were losing their marbles over a number of not-so-subtle references to the return of fan-favorite character Q, but they may have missed another, possibly equally as mind-blowing, blink-and-you'll-miss-it reveal in the Picard Season 2 trailer.
Although it's only onscreen for a split second, eagle-eyed fans can catch a glimpse of the Bajoran Reckoning Tablet, an artifact from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that could hint at the return of another beloved character.
Unless you go into the trailer looking for it, the Reckoning Tablet may pass you right by. If you watch with a discerning eye, you'll spot the tablet in the second shot of the trailer (right around the 12-second mark): It's an oval-shaped stone with Bajoran carvings that's missing a few pieces from wear and tear. It's easy to miss among the hodge-podge of other Trek references in there, but if you're a fan of Deep Space Nine, it's an exciting Easter egg that may point to the long-awaited return of everyone's favorite Emissary: Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks).
But wait, what is a Bajoran Reckoning Tablet? If the name doesn't ring a bell, don't feel bad — it certainly isn't any major part of Trek lore like a Borg cube or Data's beloved cat Spot. The Reckoning Tablet made its first and only TV appearance in the DS9 episode "The Reckoning," when it was discovered and taken to Deep Space Nine to be studied. Captain Sisko worked with Dax to try and decipher the markings on the Tablet, which is an ancient Bajoran artifact with significant ties to The Prophets, wormhole aliens who also serve as gods to the Bajoran people. In addition to housing a Prophet, the Tablet also housed a Pah-Wraith — an evil false Prophet.
The Tablet bore a number of inscriptions, some of which Dax and Sisko were able to translate before Sisko destroyed it in a fit of frustration. Among the inscriptions was the phrase "Welcome Emissary" — which, of course, refers to Captain Sisko himself — who serves as the Emissary of the Prophets (or, in other words, the Bajoran Pope).
So, big whoop — the Picard trailer had a shot of an old, broken Tablet that used to play house to a Bajoran god. Why is it significant in the larger context of Picard and Deep Space Nine?
A quick refresher on the DS9 finale: The series ends with Captain Sisko remaining in a spectral plane called the "Ancestral Temple" where the Prophets tell him he will stay indefinitely and continue his duties as the Emissary. Although the epilogue shows Kira Nerys and Jake Sisko mourning the loss of the Emissary, Sisko promises his wife Kassidy in an earlier scene that he'll return to her at some point — though, with the Prophets, time can be a fickle thing — and the viewer is left unsure if that means Sisko will come back in a few months or a few hundred years.
Deep Space Nine ends on that final mystery: If and when Captain Sisko will return. With the Bajoran Reckoning Tablet in the Picard trailer, we may finally have a hint toward an answer. Captain Sisko smashed the Tablet to pieces during the events of Deep Space Nine, but in the Picard Season 2 trailer, it's been pieced back together. Considering the Tablet itself bears the inscription "Welcome Emissary," it's not a huge leap in logic to wonder if the Tablet could indicate the long-awaited return of Captain Sisko.
Of course, out of the context of the show, Sisko's return would be a big surprise on an entirely different level; actor Avery Brooks is, for all intents and purposes, believed to be retired from acting. Even if Sisko doesn't return, though, the presence of the Tablet in the Picard trailer is an encouraging sign for any DS9 fan because, up until this point in Picard's run, there haven't been any references to the "dark horse" of the Trek universe. Still, the Star Trek franchise is no stranger to surprise cameos — so when it comes to the return of the Emissary, never say never.