Disclaimer: I do not own Star Trek, Shinzon, or Picard.
"Move, puny human animal," Data ordered as he and Picard headed down the hall.
"A bit less florid, Data," Picard suggested. Just then, they rounded the corner, and Shinzon and a few guards saw them.
Data reached into his arm and pulled out the prototype transportation device. He handed it to Picard, who, seeing his chance, ran into the midst of the Reman guards and slapped it on Shinzon. Everyone looked startled for a moment as the Romulan Pretor disappeared.
Data hurried over to help, grabbed a gun and began shooting, and soon the two of them were headed for the shuttlebay.
Commander Riker was pacing the bridge when Shinzon suddenly appeared. Worf immediately shot him with a phaser on stun. Shinzon hit the floor with a thud. Seconds later, Geordi reported a shuttle headed for them. Riker grinned. "Let 'em in."
Ten minutes later, they were all gathered in Sick Bay -- Picard, Riker, Geordi, Troi, Data, Worf, and Dr. Crusher, with Shinzon sedated on a bed nearby, and restrained in case he somehow regained consciousness.
"Shinzon is dying," Dr. Crusher finished, after explaining about his cells breaking down.
"Can anything be done for him?" Picard asked, looking over at his clone with pity in his eyes.
"Nothing except a complete transfusion from the only donor with compatible DNA -- you."
Picard nodded. "So that's why he wanted me." He sat back in his chair. The Enterprise was headed towards a rendezvous point with seven other Federation starships. The Scimitar was cloaked, but no doubt in pursuit. But if they could reach help first, with Shinzon on board, alive, they would have more of a chance of ending this encounter peacefully.
Picard looked around. "Dr. Crusher, are you capable of this procedure?"
"Capable, yes, but you can't possibly be thinking--"
"Relax, Doctor. You said a complete transfusion was needed?"
"What would happen if it was only half done?"
"A medical mess, Captain," Dr. Crusher said, shaking her head. "I wouldn't suggest it at all. Neither of you might survive."
"Might. So there is a chance?"
"Slim at best."
"But it could save him?"
"It could also kill you."
"I realize that. How long does he have?"
"Twenty-four hours, at best. It's accelerating."
"How soon can you be ready?"
"Good. Number One, you will take command."
"Captain, I don't like this," Riker shook his head. "He just tried to kill you."
"To save his own life, Number One. Let's not forget that his whole life has been a struggle to survive. This must just seem one more battle to him."
"It will never work," came Shinzon's strained voice from the bed. "One of us must die, Captain; only then can the other live."
"I don't believe that, Shinzon. There is a better way. This is it. Dr. Crusher, be ready in ten minutes. Dismissed."
Dr. Crusher shook her head as Picard lay down. "I still don't like this, Jean-Luc. The risk is too great, and you'll be too weak afterwards to resume command."
"Commander Riker knows what he has to do. And . . ."
"I would hate to be up against the Scimitar and have to tell them we didn't do anything to try to help him."
"They never wanted help. They never wanted peace. The thalaron radiation--"
"Is an issue we will have to deal with. But I don't wish to abandon all thoughts of peace so quickly."
"Let's hope you're right." She looked over at Shinzon on the bed nearby. "Let's hope he sees it the same way."
'For now we see but through a glass darkly,' Picard thought, and only just had time to wonder where the thought had come from before sleep took him.
On the bridge, Riker watched the screen, which provided a wonderful view of the blank space where the Scimitar should have been. It was surely following, but had made no aggressive moves as of yet. They had lost their main strategist, and Riker suspected they were quite unsure of what to do. They didn't want to attack and risk killing Shinzon. But surely they knew of his condition, knew it was only a matter of time before he would die, anyway. Would that make them reckless?
Riker shook his head. He knew why Picard had made his decision, but he was still uneasy about it.
"How long before we reach the rendezvous point?" he asked.
"Five minutes, twenty seconds," Data reported. "If they're on time, Sir."
"Let's hope so," Riker nodded. "I don't like this."
But a little over five minutes later, they reached the fleet without incident. "I would love to know what they're thinking over there," Riker mumbled. "Are they even here?"
Deanna nodded. "They're here."
"A suggestion, Sir," Data said. "They may be waiting until they are sure that Shinzon is dead, then attack."
"Attack eight-on-one? I'd think they would have at least a little more sense, even without him."
"Perhaps they did not know we would have reinforcements," Data suggested.
"Well, if everything's all right here for the moment, I'm going to go check on the Captain."
Just then, there was a loud explosion. Riker, halfway out of his seat, was thrown to the floor. Then everything went black.
Cold. It was terribly cold, Jean-Luc Picard thought. But it shouldn't be cold. It was always the same temperature on the Enterprise. It must be him.
Slowly, he opened his eyes, shocked by the effort it took to do even that. His whole body felt weak. But he was alive.
"Captain." Data's voice. He managed to turn his head slightly towards the sound, setting off a ringing in his ears and a pounding deep inside his skull.
Data was there, and behind him on a bed lay Shinzon. He looked terribly pale, but Picard realized he probably did, as well. He tried to speak, but his throat felt so dry . . .
Data took the hint anyway. He wanted news. He wanted to know what was going on. "We reached the other Federation ships," Data reported. "The Scimitar fired on us, but they were overmatched. Their ship was destroyed; the crew is aboard the other ships. Casualties were light, but . . . perhaps now is not the time."
Captain Picard's eyes blazed with the message he wished he could shout. "What?" he managed to ask at last, in a raspy voice.
"Sir," Data said reluctantly, "it's Commander Riker. He was injured, a blow to the head. Dr. Crusher is . . . unsure if there will be any permanent damage."
Picard's mind was racing. Will was injured? His own weakness he could accept, but Will! He was supposed to be on his honeymoon! He and Deanna were supposed to live out the rest of their lives happily! How could this be happening?
Picard forced himself to take a deep breath. Panicking wouldn't help anything, especially in his condition. He closed his eyes, and immediately sleep washed over him like a wave.
Dr. Crusher came up silently behind Deanna. "You really should get some sleep."
Deanna shook her head stubbornly. "I can't leave him."
"I will tell you immediately if anything happens. There's nothing you can do here." Wrong thing to say, but if she didn't go to bed soon, Troi would collapse, and she would have yet another patient to deal with.
"Can I . . . stay here tonight?"
Dr. Crusher knew she was fighting a losing battle. "All right, but be sure you actually go to sleep."
Just then, Data walked in. "The Captain regained consciousness briefly a moment ago. He knows what has happened."
"Picard," came a voice. It took the captain a moment to realize that it belonged to Shinzon.
The room was dark, just the way the Pretor liked it. Even Picard had to admit, his headache preferred this to the blazing white light that had greeted him before. Not that he was about to give Shinzon the pleasure of knowing that.
Picard turned his head in Shinzon's direction. Shinzon was restrained, but unlikely to have been able to go anywhere even if he hadn't been. "We're alive," Picard said at last.
"For the moment, Captain."
"Shinzon, stop this nonsense. Your ship has been destroyed and your weapon with it. You have survived without killing me. Perhaps the echo and the voice can learn to live in peace."
Shinzon smiled his smug smile. "Are you truly so foolish, Captain? Did you really think this would work? When your android came in, did he once say, 'Oh, by the way, Captain, you're going to be fine,' or did he conveniently avoid the matter with talk of your first officer?"
"You were awake."
"Yes. And isn't it strange that you haven't seen the doctor?"
"She must be with Riker."
"Must she? Or could she be avoiding you? Avoiding the truth, perhaps." He fixed Picard with a cold stare. "I don't need to kill you, Captain. Your foolishness has already done that. We're both going to die." He turned his face from Picard.
The captain stared up at the ceiling, Shinzon's words ringing in his ears. Could he be right?
Or was Shinzon concocting reasons out of his own wishes? He had nothing left. His ship was destroyed, his crew taken. He was in the hands of people he considered to be his enemies. Wouldn't he want to believe he was going to die?
Or was he right? Dr. Crusher had said the risk was great. Had the odds beaten him at last? Would he die, not even having saved Shinzon by his death?
Had all of this been pointless?
Shinzon stared out into the darkness. He saw nothing. For once, the darkness did not bring the comfort of not being seen. Now he truly had no one. He was completely alone, except . . .
Except his enemy, Jean-Luc Picard. His enemy who had tried to save his life. Why?
It had never occurred to Shinzon to try a half-transfusion. He had simply assumed it wouldn't work. Which it hadn't, he realized, but Picard had been willing to try, to risk death to try to save him. And he had been ready to kill Picard. Why was the captain so foolish?
Of course, there were things Shinzon was willing to die for, but the life of his worst enemy was not one of them.
"For now we see but through a glass darkly," came Picard's voice, "but then we shall see in full."
Shinzon turned. He was delirious, for sure. "What are you talking about?"
"If what you say is true, if we are both dying, then we have no reason to be enemies. Before we saw each other through the mirror of the world, Shinzon. Now the veil can fall. We can see each other as we truly are. Just the two of us."
Shinzon considered saying, 'Just the one of us,' but stopped himself. They were not the same person, after all. Perhaps they could have been, had they lived the same life, but they hadn't. Picard would never know what it had been like, to have your dreams crushed at every turn. Shinzon would never know what it was like to grow up free.
"Shinzon?" Picard asked. "Peace. Can we have peace, you and I? You spoke of it once. I would welcome it now." Picard hesitated, then added, "Brother." He reached out his hand, nearly touching Shinzon's.
Shinzon reached the rest of the way, fighting his restraints. "Strange things happen when death is near, I see. All that seemed important fades into the background, for it is now beyond our control. Peace it is, then . . . Brother."
Dr. Crusher heard the alarm and rushed into the room. No! It couldn't be! She'd known all along it could happen, and yet now it didn't seem possible! No! This couldn't be happening!
But it was. Both Captain Picard and Pretor Shinzon lay dead, their faces turned towards each other in testimony to their final act -- one of peace.
Riker slowly opened his eyes. Counselor Troi was at his side, asleep. He smiled.
Just then, Dr. Crusher entered, looking like the world had fallen on top of her. "What is it?" Riker asked.
Even that slight question woke Deanna. Beverly collapsed into a chair beside her friends. The Captain . . . Shinzon . . ."
Riker sat up immediately, and his head started to spin. He didn't care. "Where?" he demanded. Dr. Crusher pointed to the next room. He ran inside, and Deanna followed him. Beverly also came, tears streaming down her cheeks.
They were dead, Riker realized without even a glance at the monitors. He took Deanna in his arms and held her close. Somehow, none of it seemed real. He and the captain had faced death together so many times. This time, Picard had faced it with his enemy. Not only faced it, but met it.
Riker closed his eyes. It had been the Captain's choice. He had chosen the danger. He had chosen the risk.
And in the end, in spite of everything, he and Shinzon had chosen to die in peace. Together. No longer an echo and a voice. No longer mirrors. As two people willing to coexist.
Yeah, I know, it was short and cheesy, but I had to do it. Shinzon is a really neat character and I identify with him really well, so I had to dosomething. :)
Gollum: You killed him.
Smeagol: But first I saved him.
Gollum: You make no sense.
Smeagol: Please review, I don't mind if you think it was dumb. :)