'Star Trek: Picard': Who are the Qowat Milat, the Romulan warrior nuns of absolute candor?
The nuns first featured in the 'Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope' prequel novel
Spoiler alert for 'Absolute Candor' - Episode 4 from Season 1 of 'Star Trek: Picard'
The latest episode of 'Star Trek: Picard' features Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) reuniting with and recruiting a young warrior named Elnor (Evan Evagora), who has been touted as the first male member of the Qowat Milat in the galaxy. According to Zani (Amirah Vann), though, because of his gender, Elnor is not officially a member at all. He has, however, gone through their training, learned their ways, and offers his services in the same way they do, making him the closest thing to being a member. But who exactly are the Qowat Milat?
We first meet them in the official novel set before the show, entitled 'Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope' by Una McCormack. Picard meets them through his efforts towards Romulan Reclamation. They are a group of, essentially, female Romulan warrior nuns - only their faith is not directed towards any one god, but instead to the principles of honesty - towards absolute candor. The nuns believe in absolute truth. In a distinctly un-Romulan fashion, the Qowat Milat always say exactly what they are thinking, with even concepts like sarcasm being foreign to them - they say what they feel, as and when they feel it.
The Qowat Milat are also fierce warriors. They are not mercenaries, though they do offer their services to people. As we learn in this episode, you cannot request a nun's aid -- only tell them your story and hope that they offer it to you. The nuns have one major criterion when it comes to choosing who they will help - they seek to aid lost causes.
The Qowat Milat have a particular enmity with the Tal Shiar, as the ideologies of the two Romulan factions are diametrically opposed. As the Tal Shiar are the Romunal secret police, dedicated to cover-ups and secrets, a Romulan sect that is all about open, frank honesty goes against everything that the Tal Shiar stand for.
The sect is exclusively female, meaning that while they raised and trained Elnor, he was never truly a part of the sect. One imagines that Elnor frequently let them know just how frustrating he found that - but he has been raised in their ways, their beliefs, and has adopted them as his own. Now, he has taken up Picard's lost cause, giving Picard a formidable warrior on his team.
The next episode of 'Star Trek: Picard' airs on February 20, on CBS All Access.