Great news! Captain Picard is alive!
A little over twelve hours ago, Deep Space 4 (on the far northern border of the Federation) sent a subspace message to Starfleet Command on Earth. They reported the unexpected arrival of Captain Picard aboard a Federation science vessel. He had been discovered by the science crew surviving, alone, on an uninhabited forest planet beyond the Typhon Expanse. He was immediately rescued, and transported to DS4.
Starfleet then sent a message here, to Starbase 123 (in the Federation Annex), informing the Enterprise of his rescue.
According to Captain Picard, just before the explosion on Iconia twenty-four days ago, he stepped through an advanced transportation portal in the now-destroyed command center. That portal instantly transported him 146 light years to the distant uninhabited planet. With no communications equipment, he was forced to survive in the wilderness, alone, for three weeks, until the science vessel unexpectedly arrived to chart the planet.
Captain Picard was, indeed alone on that planet. Lieutenant Commander Data, and Petty Officers Jando and Mathews (the other members of Captain Picard's away team) stepped through the transportation portal on Iconia just before the Captain, and appear to have been sent somewhere else. Their location and whereabouts are still unknown, however, they are, most likely, still out there.... somewhere. There is hope for their survival.
Captain Picard has referred to the now-destroyed transportation portal on Iconia as an "Iconian Gateway". That seems like an appropriate designation. If the ancient Iconian empire possessed this level of transportation technology, perhaps there are other Gateways out there yet to be found as well.
According to Starfleet Command, Captain Picard is currently en route from Deep Space 4 to Earth aboard a Federation transport. When he arrives at Earth, he will debrief Starfleet Command, and then board another transport out here to the Annex. Upon arrival, he will resume command of the Enterprise.
Unfortunately, it will be about two and a half months before he will arrive out here where the Enterprise is assigned. But we'll be waiting. Eagerly, I'm sure. In the meantime, Captain Halloway will command the Enterprise on her scheduled exploratory mission into deep space, and we will meet up with Captain Picard sometime in April.
It could be worse, folks. But, we'll take what we can get. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is safe, and alive. This will make many people very happy! -- And a Federation-wide search can begin for Lieutenant Commander Data, and Petty Officers Jando and Matthews.
Great news everyone! An impromptu celebration is scheduled for later this evening in Ten Forward. The entire crew is invited!
-Lieutenant Sam Archer