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Following the USS Stargazer's encounter with the Nuyyad, Mehdi summoned Lieutenant Commander Jean-Luc Picard, acting captain of the Stargazer following Daithan Ruhalter's death, to his office to deliver a report on the mission. Although Picard was expecting Mehdi to promote first officer Stephen Leach, who himself was seriously injured in the Nuyyad encounter, Mehdi conveyed similar wishes as the late Captain Ruhalter about reassigning Leach. As such, he promoted Picard to captain and assigned him as the new, permanent, commanding officer of the Stargazer. (TNG novel: The Valiant; STA novel: Gauntlet)