Duty. A starship captain's life is filled with solemn duty. I have commanded men in battle. I have negotiated peace treaties between implacable enemies. I have represented the Federation in First Contact with twenty-seven alien species. But none of this compares with my solemn duty today... as best man. Now, I know on an occasion such as this, it is expected that I be gracious and fulsome in my praise on the wonders of this blessed union. But have the two of you considered what you are doing to me?! Of course, you're happy, but what about my needs? This is all a damned inconvenience. I mean, while you are happily settling in on the Titan, I will be training my new First Officer. You all know him. He's a tyrannical martinet who will never, ever allow me to go on away missions.
On Romulus, the Romulan Senate is hearing a proposal from Commander Suran. He is proposing that the Senate ally with the Remans, saying that Shinzon of Remus has offered a unique proposal and that it would be madness to oppose it. Suran believes with the Reman forces working with them, that the Federation would not be able to stand in their way. Unfortunately their proposal falls on deaf ears, as the Praetor silences him, telling him that the military does not dictate policy on Romulus and that Shinzon and his followers will be met with force and sent back to "that black rock they came from!" Seeing that the Praetor has made himself clear, Suran and his aide leave. Then Senator Tal'aura stands and excuses herself, telling the Praetor she is to meet with the Tholian ambassador and the Praetor gives her permission to leave. Then the Senate begins discussions about trade relations with Celes II. But before the Praetor can get deeply into the subject, a small container opens, spreading greenish particles throughout the room. The Praetor calls for security and for Tal'aura to return, but it is too late – the senators start decaying and they all fall to the ground and break apart like clumps of dirt, leaving dust behind.
On Earth, Captain Picard speaks about duty and how a Starfleet captain's life is filled with solemn duty. Picard mentions commanding men in battle, negotiating peace treaties and first contact missions but all of that pales in comparison with the duty he is performing now... as best man.
As it turns out, Picard is giving a toast as best man to Commander, soon to be Captain Will Riker and his new wife Deanna Troi. At the table, along with Picard and the Rikers, are Data, Geordi La Forge, Worf, Beverly Crusher, and Wesley Crusher. Guinan is there also, out in the crowd close to the main table. Picard talks about how as a best man, he is expected to be gracious and very complimentary on this blessed union but he begins jokingly complaining that they are not considering what they are doing to him. Picard calls all this a "damned inconvenience," and while everyone laughs, Picard explains that while Will and Deanna leave the Enterprise for Riker's new command, the Titan, Picard will be stuck having to train a new first officer. And as everyone at the table, looks over at Data, Picard describes him as a "...tyrannical martinet who will never, ever allow me to go on away missions!" Before Data can quote the relevant regulation, Picard tells him to "shut up." While the assembled laugh, Picard remarks he's waited fifteen years to tell Data that. He then tells Riker and Troi they still have time to change their minds and asks if they will, but they decide "nah." So Picard raises his glass tells Riker that as his trusted right arm for the last fifteen years, having kept Picard's course true and steady. He then calls Deanna "my guide and my conscience," telling her she helped Picard to realize the better parts of himself. Picard proceeds to call Riker and Troi his family and so as in old maritime tradition, Picard wishes Riker and Troi clear horizons and tells them "My good friends, make it so." He raises the glass to all and simply says "To the bride and groom!" Everyone raises their glass in a toast and Riker leans over and kisses Deanna, his new wife.
Later, as many people at the wedding dance, La Forge sits with Guinan and asks if she ever considers remarriage and she says that "23 was my limit." Just then, over at another table, Worf moans and La Forge asks if he's alright and Worf complains that Romulan ale should be illegal and La Forge reminds him that it is. Worf puts his head back on the table as Romulan ale apparently does not agree with him. Back at the main table, Troi compliments Picard on his toast and she assures him she will brief his new counselor on all she needs to know, but Picard absolutely forbids it, saying Troi knows too much about him as it is. Picard then asks if he'll have to make a speech during the ceremony on Betazed. Riker tells him there'll be no speeches and no clothes either, a fact that Picard does seem a bit uncomfortable with.
Data then gets up and announces to the audience that as he's studied Betazoid and Terran marriage traditions, he found that it is customary to give the couple a gift and so, taking Riker's fondness for archaic Terran musical forms, Data's gift to Riker and Troi, "in honor of their conjugation," is him singing Irving Berlin's Blue Skies. While Troi laughs at Data's saying "conjugation," Worf merely bemoans the fact that Data is singing an Irving Berlin song and puts his head back down on the table as the others dance the time away.
Next Stop Betazed
Later, as Enterprise is making its way to Betazed, Picard steps out onto the bridge and hears Troi talking to Worf about understanding traditions, Worf exclaims that he will not do it. When Picard asks what Worf won't do, he explains that he does not believe a Starfleet officer should appear naked. Picard wonders what a big, strapping fellow like Worf would have to be embarrassed about. Before Worf can say anything, he is interrupted by a beeping from the tactical console, he has detected a signal coming from the Kolarin system – a positronic signature. La Forge narrows it down to the third planet in the system. Data speculates that as this signature has only been transmitted so far by androids created by Dr. Noonian Soong, Data's creator. Picard decides to set course for the planet. Picard assures Riker that they will still arrive in time for the ceremony on Betazed where, Picard makes it clear, especially for Worf, that they will all observe the Betazoid tradition. And with that, Picard is off to the ship's gymnasium. Riker orders the ship to the Kolaran system and La Forge wonders if Data is about to discover a long-lost relative.
In orbit, there are six separate pieces being detected. La Forge recommends that they not use the transporter as there is an ion storm nearby and there's always a chance that it could come their way. With that in mind, Picard tells Worf and Data to go with him. Riker tries to tell Picard that it's his job to go down and not Picard's, but Picard invokes Captain's prerogative, especially as he's been wanting to try out the Argo. Plus the fact that Picard knows that Troi would never forgive him if anything should happen to Riker and as he leaves the bridge he jokingly tells Riker "You have the bridge... Mr. Troi," causing snickers all over the bridge.
What do we have here on Kolarus?
The Argo flies out from Enterprise and lands on the surface. The away team takes the Argo's auxiliary buggy out and Picard drives it quickly around the local area. The team find pieces of an android lying about and although the android is completely disassembled, its various pieces, including the head, are still active; as an arm reaches out an grabs Worf by the foot, startling him and the head speaks to Data. However, just as they find the final piece they come under attack from Kolaran natives in vehicles of their own so Picard drives the Argo back to the shuttle while Worf mans the phaser cannon. Data has the shuttle waiting behind a cliff, Picard jumps the buggy off the cliff and into the shuttle where it is secured. The shuttle lifts back off toward the Enterprise.
Back on Enterprise, Dr. Crusher looks at the new android's head and decides that Data has nicer eyes even though, as Data does point out, their eyes are identical. La Forge's scans reveal that the android is likely a prototype built by Dr. Soong as the android has the same physical makeup as Data, but not nearly as much development in neural pathways. Data asks the head what its name is and the head refers to himself as B-4. Picard notes that Soong's penchant for whimsical names continues. Data asks if B-4 knows how he got to the planet or knows anything about his life prior to that, but B-4 knows nothing. Picard tells La Forge to reassemble him. Data asks if B-4 knows him and B-4 tells Data "You are me." Data corrects him and tells B-4 that his name is Data and that he is B-4's brother.
A New Mission
In his ready room, Picard receives a message from Starfleet Command and when the signal comes through, he's pleased to see the recently returned Admiral Janeway on the screen. Janeway asks Picard if he'd like a trip to Romulus, and Picard has to ask if he'll be going with or without the rest of the fleet, but Janeway assures him this is a diplomatic mission and believe it or not, they were invited. The new Praetor, a man called Shinzon, wants to discuss peace with a Federation envoy. Janeway informs him that the new Praetor is Reman, which startles Picard and Janeway tells him they don't understand it either. Since Enterprise is the closest ship, Janeway wants Picard to go and see what's happening because an unstable Romulan Empire could cause trouble for the entire area. Janeway also tells Picard they're sending all their intelligence but there's not much to go on and she tells Picard to be careful. She then jokes that with the Son'a, the Borg, the Romulans, Picard seems to get all the easy assignments. Picard quips that he's just been lucky and Janeway hopes the luck holds up and then closes the channel. Picard steps out onto the bridge and tells the helmsman to set course for Romulus and regretfully tells Riker "I'm afraid the Opal Sea will have to wait, Number One." With Picard's command, the Enterprise races off toward Romulus.
In the observation lounge the crew is receiving a briefing. Data shows a display of the Romulan system, which shows how Remus is in tidal lock and as the dayside is roasting with extremely high temperatures, the Remans live on the night side of the planet. The only thing they know about Remus itself is that there have been Intelligence scans of dilithium mining and heavy weapons construction. Data notes that the Remans are, in the hierarchy of the Empire, second class citizens. Riker notes that the Remans are proven to be formidable warriors and that in the Dominion War, Reman troops were used as cannon fodder in the most violent encounters. La Forge wonders how such an individual could have become Praetor and Riker theorizes that the Reman must somehow have gained the support of the Romulan fleet in order for him to overthrow the Senate. Picard asks about Shinzon's record and Data says that all they know of it is that he fought twelve engagements in the war, and was successful in all of them, showing him to be a capable commander. Picard asks everyone to keep up their work and that any information they can give him will be helpful.
On the way, Data, with La Forge's help, begins a memory download into B-4. Data is hopeful that with his memories and information that the B-4 will be more successful in becoming a productive member of society. At first, the results of the memory download do not appear to be successful but La Forge notes that B-4 is assimilating a lot of information and it could just take some time. La Forge keeps B-4 with him in order to see if there's more he can do for him.
"Captain's log, stardate 56844.9. The Enterprise has arrived at Romulus and is waiting at the designated coordinates. All our hails have gone unanswered. We've been waiting for seventeen hours."
Troi tells Picard they're out there. Worf recommends raising shields but Picard won't let him. Riker comments that "with all due respect to diplomatic protocol, the Federation Council isn't sitting out here, we are." Picard reminds Riker that diplomacy is an exacting occupation and that they will wait. Just then a ship decloaks in front of them, loaded with weapons, clearly a predator. Then they are hailed by the warship. A Reman comes on the screen and identifies their ship as the Reman Warbird Scimitar. Picard, thinking this is Shinzon, begins to address him, but the Reman tells them he is not Shinzon, but that his is Shinzon's Viceroy, and he relays transport coordinates to the Enterprise and cuts off communications. The senior staff head for the transporter room to beam to the coordinates.
They beam over to Scimitar and find themselves in a darkened room. A man from up a flight of stairs asks their forgiveness for receiving them in such a darkened room but Remans are uncomfortable in light. The man, Shinzon, finally walks into view although his face is still hidden by the darkness. He tells Picard that he imagined Picard to be taller and that Data may scan him without trying to hide the tricorder. Picard tells Shinzon he is not what they imagined him to be and Worf correctly identifies him as Human. Shinzon takes notice of Troi while Picard asks why they were summoned here. Shinzon says he's never met a human woman before, but Troi tells Shinzon she's only half-Human.
Shinzon recites many statistics about Troi, how she's from Betazed, and the ship's counselor. When Riker comments that Shinzon seems to know a lot about their personnel, Shinzon tells Riker he does indeed. He then asks Troi if he can touch her hair, but Picard steps in and tells Shinzon that they came on what was made to sound like an important mission and if Shinzon has any real business to do with them, he should get on with it. Shinzon apologizes and says there is much to discuss. Shinzon proposes unity, tearing down the Neutral Zone and establishing peace. Shinzon tells Picard that he's likely thinking this is too good to be true, but that a chance for peace cannot be ignored. When Picard confirms it, Shinzon raises the light level in the room, which causes the Viceroy to step back into the shadows. No one but Picard recognizes who Shinzon appears to be. Shinzon looks just as Picard did in his early 20's. They are of the same flesh, the same blood, the same person. Shinzon tells Picard to come tomorrow to Romulus and the two of them - or rather - the one of them, will have dinner and speak more about the future then. He pulls out a knife, cuts his hand, and gives the blood stained blade to Data, knowing they'll want to scan it. He bids them farewell, returns the light back to the previous levels and he and the Viceroy leave the room and the away team beams back up to Enterprise.
In sickbay, Beverly examines the bloodstain in the computer and tells Picard that right down to his aggressive strain of Shalaft's Syndrome, Shinzon is a clone of Picard. Riker wonders why the Romulans would clone Picard and he tells Riker that he intends to find out.
On Romulus, Suran is growing impatient with Shinzon, telling him that they only supported him because Shinzon said it was time for an attack on the Federation but now Shinzon is delaying and he wonders what purpose bringing the Enterprise here serves. Shinzon tells Suran he doesn't have to understand Shinzon's purpose and that he should really learn patience and that spending eighteen hours a day being harassed by a Romulan guard will teach a man patience. Shinzon sends them away but asks Commander Donatra to remain a moment. Shinzon tells Donatra to consider the word "allegiance," and that he demands that from people who serve him. He says that Donatra serves him and he believes she does so faithfully but not so with Suran. Donatra asks Shinzon to consider the word "trust" and asks if he trusts her and to what extent. She then asks what she should do to prove herself faithful as an officer and as a woman. Shinzon, however, tells her that she's not a woman, but merely a Romulan. He then tells her to watch Commander Suran and if he shows any sign of disloyalty he is to be eliminated. Then she will have proven herself. And on her way out, Shinzon tells Donatra that if she ever touches him again, he will kill her. She then leaves the Senate hall. Shinzon doubles over immediately after and the Viceroy touches his chest and appears to calm him. Donatra meanwhile, watches the entire incident outside the door. In Data's quarters, B-4 seems to receive a signal. He then stops petting Spot and walks over to the computer and begins working it with the apparent skill and ability of Data.
That next day, in the Senate Hall, Shinzon tells Picard he was created from a sample of Picard's DNA and that at the right time, he would replace Picard and be a Romulan spy in the heart of Starfleet. When Picard asks what happened, Shinzon explains that the plan was abandoned some time ago when a new government came to power and they deemed the idea too risky so the plan was canceled. Shinzon explains that his face isn't exactly as Picard's was because of how he's endured a lifetime of violence. But Shinzon says that the eyes should be very similar and Picard agrees. Shinzon says a man's eyes reflect the life he's led and says Picard's eyes are so confident. Shinzon then confesses he hoped to grow to a height of two meters, a feeling Picard shared. Picard then asks how Shinzon ended up on Remus and Shinzon tells Picard that he was sent to the Reman mines to die. They didn't think a child would last very long there. Shinzon recalled not seeing the stars again for almost ten years after he arrived and also how the only thing the Romulan guards hated more than the Remans was him. He would have died quickly had a man not taken pity on him and kept the Romulans away from him. The man that helped him when he was only a small child became his Viceroy after Shinzon began his rise to power. He tells Picard that everything he has done has been for the sole purpose of liberating the Remans, from building the Scimitar at a secret shipyard to assembling his army and finally coming to Romulus in force. Shinzon realized the Romulans would never willingly liberate them and so they would have to forcibly take their freedom.
When Picard asks just how many Romulans died for their freedom, Shinzon has to admit that too many died, but he is also glad to see that the Empire is finally beginning to realize there is a better way and that is the way of peace. Shinzon realizes that Picard doesn't trust him and Picard has to admit it is so. Shinzon tells Picard that if it had been him on Remus, he would be doing the exact same thing and Picard tells Shinzon if he were in Picard's position he'd know that Picard's responsibility to the Federation prevents him from letting his personal feelings affect his judgment. Shinzon remarks that all he has to go with are his personal feelings and that he wants to know what it means to be human. While the Remans have given Shinzon a future, he wants to know about his past. Picard says that he can tell Shinzon about his past and Shinzon asks if the Picards were always warriors. Picard says he prefers to think of himself as an explorer so Shinzon asks if they were always explorers. Picard says he was the first of the family to ever leave the solar system and it caused a great stir in his family. But Picard spent his life looking at the stars and dreaming of new worlds. He says that he wants to believe Shinzon and that the Federation strongly believes that all races can be united and that a Starfleet captain standing in the Romulan Senate is a good example of that. And Picard says that when the trust of the Romulan Empire has been earned he will be pleased to take Shinzon's hand in friendship.
Later, back aboard Enterprise, Worf reports an unauthorized access of the ship's computer and La Forge is working on locating the source. But what he finds strange is that no restricted material was accessed. Just basic stellar cartography and colony tracking station uplinks, for example. Picard says that they must still find the source of the break-in. La Forge also tells Picard that when the Scimitar decloaked, they detected thalaron radiation and because it was thought to be theoretical explains why initial scans didn't detect it earlier. Picard remembers how research into thalaron radiation was outlawed in the Federation because it could be used as a biogenic weapon. Beverly tells Picard that only a microscopic amount of the radiation could kill all life on the Enterprise-E in seconds.
In the Senate, the Viceroy tells Shinzon that they are wasting time and that Shinzon must not forget their mission. Shinzon says he'll spend his time how he pleases but that he was merely curious about Picard.
In Picard's quarters, Crusher comes to visit him. They reminisce about how Picard was when he was younger and Crusher mentions that he turned out alright. Picard says that he wanted to believe Shinzon but with the evidence of the thalaron radiation, it proves he's not after peace. Picard tells Crusher that Shinzon is very much as Picard was when he was younger. Just then Data calls and tells him he and La Forge have found the source of the unauthorized access and a way to take advantage of it.
In Riker's quarters, Troi comes and takes him to bed. Just as they begin to make love, from Troi's point of view, Riker disappears and is replaced by Shinzon, telling her that Riker can never know Troi as Shinzon could. Troi realizes this isn't real and then the image of Shinzon changes into the Viceroy. As it turns out, the Viceroy is creating a sort of mental bond and placing himself and Shinzon in Troi's mind, a sort of telepathic rape. Riker finally manages to snap Troi out of the assault, and Shinzon tells the Viceroy to find her again. Just then, another Reman comes in and tells Shinzon that they've received the transponder signal. As he leaves, Shinzon doubles over again. The Viceroy touches Shinzon's chest and tells him that Shinzon's condition is accelerating and that he has no more time for games. Shinzon tells the Viceroy to get the doctors ready.
On the bridge of Scimitar, Shinzon orders B-4 beamed aboard and the Remans tap into him and begin a download of the files that he accessed from Enterprise. Meanwhile Shinzon orders a cup of hot tea.
In sickbay, Crusher tells Troi she's all right. Troi tells Picard that she was violated and that she feels herself to be a liability and asks to be relieved of duty. Picard denies her request, telling her if she can withstand any future assaults, he needs her by his side now more than ever with the Enterprise so far from Federation space. Before he can say anything further, Picard is beamed away before Riker can order the shields up. Just then, the Scimitar cloaks and moves away from Enterprise.
On Scimitar, Picard is restrained in a medical lab. Shinzon has the doctors take a sample of Picard's blood and he points out B-4 as bait that Picard couldn't refuse. Shinzon says that with the information obtained from B-4 he has all of Starfleet's communications protocols and he knows the exact locations of the entire Federation fleet. Shinzon says his life has no meaning as long as Picard is alive. Picard says that if Shinzon has issues with him, then deal with him and leave the Enterprise and the Federation alone but Shinzon says that the Remans will no longer bow before anyone. Not the Romulans and not the Federation. Shinzon says that if Picard had lived his life, Picard would do the exact thing Shinzon is doing. Picard then tells Shinzon that he's a mirror for Shinzon as well but Shinzon says he won't be for long and he's about to see the echo triumph over the voice.
On Enterprise, La Forge tells Riker Shinzon's cloak is perfect and there's no way for him to detect the Scimitar. Riker tells La Forge to keep trying.
On Scimitar B-4 enters and tells the Reman guard that Shinzon wants the prisoner. As the guard releases Picard, B-4, actually Data posing as B-4, gives the Reman a Vulcan nerve pinch to incapacitate him. After completely freeing Picard, Data tells Picard that Scimitar is, for all intents and purposes, an enormous thalaron generator. He also tells Picard that the information he gave Shinzon was false, created by himself and La Forge. He then offers Picard the prototype of the emergency transport unit that La Forge gave him. Since it will only work for one person, Picard says he and Data will find a way off together.
The Viceroy comes to the bridge and tells Shinzon it's time and Shinzon goes with him to the medical lab. Meanwhile Data, acting as B-4, has Picard cuffed and taken at gunpoint away as an act for any passing Remans. Eventually when Shinzon and the Viceroy arrive at the medical lab they find the doctor just waking up and Picard gone. The Viceroy kills the Reman doctor on Shinzon's order and the alert is sounded. Picard is freed of his manacles and given a disruptor. Once they reach the shuttlebay, Data attempts to decipher the code while Picard holds off the Reman security force by himself. Data does not have much luck initially as Reman is a very complex and difficult language but Picard urges him on telling him "we really need that door open!" Finally Data manages to punch in the right code and he and Picard enter the shuttlebay and Picard welds the bay doors shut with his disruptor rifle. Data tells Picard the shuttles on board are Scorpion-class attack fighters. While the Reman guards try to shoot through the door, Picard tries to become acquainted with the controls of the fighter. After being able to lift off, Data tells Picard that force fields have been erected around exterior portals, preventing them from leaving through the shuttlebay doors. So Picard has Data fire through the door and he flies the fighter through the Scimitar's corridors, finally going back to the observation deck where Shinzon initially received them, and flying out through the window, causing a disruption in the cloaking field, revealing the location of the Scimitar. Shinzon notices the fighter flying toward Enterprise and orders it to be caught in a tractor beam. At the same time on Enterprise, they see the fighter flying toward them and Riker has Worf transport the fighter aboard into a shuttlebay. As transport completes, the Enterprise races away from Romulus at maximum warp.
Commander Suran shortly thereafter calls Shinzon and tells him his patience is wearing thin, wondering why Shinzon delays yet more after he promised it was time for action. Shinzon tells Suran that Enterprise won't even make it out of the Neutral Zone and two days afterward, the Federation would be crippled beyond repair. He asks if that will satisfy Suran and he says it will, "for the moment." Shinzon say that when he returns to Romulus, he and Suran will have a little chat about showing proper respect. He then closes the channel. Tal'aura wonders about what's happening to Shinzon's face. Before everyone leaves the Senate Hall, Donatra stops Suran and asks him if he's truly ready to have his hands drenched in blood as Shinzon, instead of trying to conquer Earth, he is going to destroy it and that crime will dishonor and stain their hands with blood for many generations.
On route to Earth
Later, aboard the Enterprise, Beverly explains that Shinzon is dying from genetic degeneration because he was created with a temporal RNA sequence, which would allow him to skip thirty years of his life in order to reach Picard's actual age more quickly. But since that wasn't activated, his body is beginning to break down and the only thing that will save him is a complete blood transfusion from Picard, which would kill him. Beverly doesn't know how long it will take for Shinzon to die, but that the effect is accelerating. With this information at hand, Picard realizes that Shinzon will come for him.
In Data's quarters, Data has B-4 restrained and activates only cognitive and vocal subroutines. Data tells B-4 that because he is a danger to the ship he must be deactivated indefinitely. However B-4 does not understand and wishes to be released but Data cannot allow it. B-4 asks how long "indefinitely" is, and after deactivating him, Data says it is a long time.
During a senior staff briefing, La Forge calls Shinzon's weapon a cascading biogenic pulse and that the properties of Thalaron radiation allow the weapon to expand its radius enough to affect a ship, or even a planet. Picard realizes that the only reason Shinzon would have built such a weapon would be to destroy Earth. If humanity is destroyed, the Federation is crippled and an easy target for a Romulan invasion. La Forge also has to unfortunately tell Riker there is no way to penetrate Shinzon's cloak. Beverly notes that Shinzon will likely come after Picard before going to Earth, which is what Picard is counting on. He then tells the crew they're being sent to Sector 1045 to meet Star Fleet Battle Group Omega. Hopefully the fleet will be able to stop the Scimitar. Picard stands and tells the staff that under no circumstances can Shinzon be allowed to use the weapon and that all other concerns are secondary. After Riker assures him they understand his order, Picard orders the ship to battle stations.
"Captain's personal log, supplemental. We're heading toward Federation space at maximum warp. The crew has responded with the dedication I've come to expect of them. And like a thousand other commanders on a thousand other battlefields, I wait for the dawn."
On Scimitar, the Viceroy touches Shinzon's chest and tells him that he only has a matter of hours and they must begin the procedure. As it turns out, Scimitar is cloaked and right behind Enterprise. The Viceroy tells Shinzon they will reach the Bassen Rift in seven minutes.
In stellar cartography, Picard asks Data where their current position is. Data reports they will reach the fleet in forty minutes. Picard comments on how Shinzon called himself a mirror of Picard, but Data disagrees as the events of Picard's life have created a unique individual. He then compares Picard's situation with Shinzon to his situation with B-4, telling Picard that the B-4, while being physically identical except for less developed neural ability, is not Data even if he did have equal mental prowess. Data explains that he aspires to be better than he is, as does Picard. But neither B-4 nor Shinzon share that trait. As they begin passing through the rift, their connection to Starfleet Cartography is interrupted and Data explains that all long-range communication will be affected and as he does, both he and Picard realize that is what Shinzon has been waiting for. Picard orders Riker to take evasive maneuvers, but it is too late as Shinzon has begun firing at them. Shinzon orders his gunner to only target weapons and shields, that he doesn't want Enterprise destroyed.
The Battle of the Bassen Rift
The next shot knocks out the Enterprise's warp drive, causing Scimitar to overshoot them. On the bridge, Riker reports that they're firing through their cloak and La Forge reports warp drive was knocked out with their first shot. Picard orders Worf to prepare a full phaser spread and to scan for shield impacts. They fire, but only cause minimal damage to the Scimitar, although Enterprise is about to lose dorsal shields. Riker orders evasive pattern Kirk Epsilon and Picard calls Troi to the bridge. Just then, Shinzon hails and asks to see Picard in his ready room. In the ready room, Picard encounters a holographic Shinzon, who tells him not to bother trying to trace the holographic emitters. Shinzon wants Picard to surrender and allow Shinzon to transport him aboard his ship. When Picard asks about Enterprise, Shinzon says he has little interest in it. Picard asks Shinzon to look at him and that Shinzon's heart, hands and eyes are all the same as Picard and they all have the same potential. Picard tells Shinzon that using the potential to make yourself a better man is what it means to be human. Shinzon dismisses all of it as childish dreams lost in the Reman mines. Picard says that he knows that they are a better man than someone who would exterminate an entire planet's population. Picard asks if Shinzon will waste his life with hatred and he can make another choice. But Shinzon says he can't change and he will show Picard their true nature and his voice will echo through time after Picard's fades to a dim memory. With that, the hologram disappears.
Shinzon returns to his bridge just in time to see two Romulan warbirds decloak. On the Enterprise, Picard steps out just in time to see the same thing. Riker tells Picard this is happening "just when I thought it couldn't get any worse." At that moment, they are hailed and Commander Donatra, aboard the warbird Valdore, offers her assistance to the Enterprise. Picard is amazed that they're here to help them instead of Shinzon. She explains that the Empire considers this situation a matter of internal security and she apologizes that Picard has had to get involved. Picard says when this is over, he owes Donatra a drink. Donatra suggests Romulan ale. So the three ships get to work coordinating with each other to make a full attack on the Scimitar. Shinzon attacks the flanking Warbird and manages to disable it. The Valdore makes a strafing run on the Scimitar. Shinzon orders a partial de-cloaking and has the ship come to a full stop. At the critical moment, Shinzon fires all weapons just as Valdore passes over them and Valdore is disabled as well. Donatra tells Picard they have life support but are otherwise disabled. With the Romulans out of the way, Scimitar turns its attention back to Enterprise. With shields failing and the hull beginning to fail in certain areas, Troi has an idea.
On Scimitar, the Viceroy appears to be being affected. Troi has used the same trick the Viceroy did earlier to get Shinzon in her mind. She is locating the Viceroy through her mind and at the same time, guiding Worf's hand to precisely locate the Scimitar. After a few moments, she locks onto the Viceroy, tells him to "Remember me!" And at that point, she tells Worf "now!" and Worf fires quantum torpedoes toward the Scimitar, disabling the cloak and then Enterprise makes a strafing run over and continues to fire. At that point Shinzon orders the Viceroy to prepare a boarding party and to go get Picard. Shinzon orders full disruptors on one specific point on the shields and it is enough to disable the Enterprise's shields and the Reman boarding party beams to the Enterprise. Riker and Worf lead a team to confront their intruders. On the way, Worf admits to Riker that the Romulans fought with honor, which Riker agrees.
At that moment, the parties meet and a firefight ensues in the corridor. The Viceroy eventually ducks into a Jefferies tube and with Worf covering him, Riker follows. They soon meet in the tube, the Viceroy knocking Riker's phaser rifle away and cutting Riker's arm with his knife.
Just then, the Scimitar fires, hitting the bridge, destroying the viewscreen and blowing the helmsman, Lieutenant Branson, out into space. Before anyone else can be blown out, the emergency force fields are put in place. Picard calls for medical teams as Troi races down to take the conn position. Data reports that they have exhausted their torpedo complement and phasers are down to four percent. Picard considers targeting all phasers in one spot, but with Scimitar's shields still at seventy percent, La Forge tells him it would make no difference. Scimitar pulls into position so they can see it right through the hole in the bridge where the viewscreen was. Troi wonders what Shinzon is doing. Picard realizes that Shinzon is trying to look him in the eye and thinking he knows what Picard will do, makes Picard realize they have a chance to get him. Picard tells La Forge to divert all power to engines and has Troi standing by. Just then, Shinzon hails and asks if Picard is still alive and he says he is. Shinzon suggests that Picard go ahead and surrender. Picard tells Shinzon about when he was in the Academy, he was considered to be very overconfident and then cuts off the channel before Shinzon can finish his reply. As he was talking to Shinzon, Picard sent Troi an order via text message to prepare to engage the engines at full impulse on his command. As he cuts off the channel, he tells Troi to "engage," and orders all hands to brace for impact. Troi takes the Enterprise to maximum impulse on a direct collision course with the Scimitar. Shinzon quickly notices what Picard is doing and orders evasive action, but unfortunately it's not in time and the Enterprise collides with the Scimitar, throwing everyone about and destroying the Scimitar's hangar deck as well as several other decks . In the Jefferies tube, Riker gets the drop on the Viceroy and kicks the knife away from him and at that point their battle becomes a hand to hand brawl.
On Scimitar Shinzon orders full reverse on the engines which separates the ships and destroys several decks, leaving part of Enterprise's saucer section in the Scimitar. During the pull away, Riker and the Viceroy fall into a chasm, likely caused by the ship's separation and with Riker hanging onto a metal causeway, kicks the Viceroy off his leg, sending the Viceroy plummeting to his death.
With both ships separated and all options gone at that point, Picard orders autodestruct sequence omega. Unfortunately, the auto-destruct is off-line. On Scimitar Shinzon is told their disruptors are off-line and so Shinzon orders the weapon deployed and then afterward they are to set course for Earth and complete their mission. As the thalaron matrix begins to activate, Shinzon says that there are some ideals worth dying for.
The activation is noticed on Enterprise. When Picard asks how long they have, La Forge says the sequence should take about seven minutes and then the thalaron radiation will be relayed to the firing points and no one on Enterprise will survive. When Troi wonders how Shinzon can do that, knowing it will kill Picard, Picard tells her it's not about him anymore. Picard picks up a phaser rifle and orders La Forge to prepare for a site-to-site transport. When La Forge begins to tell Picard he might not make it, Picard tells him it's an order. Data asks Picard to let him go, but Picard says he must do this. He leaves Data in command and tells him to try to put some distance between them and the Scimitar. Just as the transport completes, they short out and transporters are down. Data then tells Troi to assume command and takes La Forge with him. Data and La Forge head for an exposed corridor that faces Shinzon's vessel. After looking at each other and La Forge proudly nodding to him, La Forge activates another force field between him and Data, and then as Data runs toward the hole in the ship, La Forge deactivates that force field which, as he leaps, blows Data out of the Enterprise and Data flies toward the Scimitar. When he reaches it, he grabs hold and activates a hatch, allowing him access.
On Scimitar Picard heads toward the bridge, shooting any Reman he comes across. Upon reaching the bridge, Picard destroys the door and begins firing at any and all Remans on the bridge. One gets close to him and he beats the Reman with his phaser rifle, which unfortunately destroys the rifle. Shinzon and Picard begin brawling and Picard loses his phaser pistol. Picard gets away from Shinzon long enough to get up close to the Thalaron generator but then realizes he's lost his phaser and between it and him is Shinzon with a knife. They have another close fight and the knife is lost into the thalaron generator, destroying it immediately. Shinzon pulls out a smaller blade and Picard, against the wall, pulls down a pipe and impales Shinzon with it. Shinzon pulls himself along the pipe, running all the way through him, puts his hands around Picard's neck and tells him he's glad they're together at that moment and that their destiny's complete. Shinzon, then lying against Picard, dies and Picard is left stunned at the events.
Just then Data enters the Scimitar's bridge and goes up to the generator and pulls Shinzon's body off of Picard. In ultimate sacrifice, Data activates the emergency transport beacon on Picard, and after he disappears just as he begins to protest, Data softly says "Goodbye," turns and with ten seconds until firing, aims his phaser at the thalaron generator and fires at the last second, which destroys the thalaron generator, the Scimitar, and himself along with it.
On Enterprise, La Forge and Troi witness the destruction of Scimitar and are shocked by what they see. They turn and see Picard standing on the bridge. Troi asks about Data, but Picard can only shake his head. Riker comes on the bridge and Troi runs to him crying over Data's destruction. Just then they are hailed by the Valdore. Commander Donatra tells Picard she is sending shuttles with medical personnel and supplies. She then tells Picard he's earned a friend in the Romulan Empire, which she hopes will be the first of many. A devastated Picard asks La Forge to open the doors as the Romulans won't know their procedures. He then tells La Forge to "just open the doors." La Forge gently assures Picard that he'll take care of it and Picard goes into his ready room, leaving the bridge to Riker.
Later in Picard's quarters, he hands glasses of Chateau Picard to Riker, Troi, La Forge, Crusher and Worf. He then makes a toast to absent friends and to family, a remembrance of and remember their fallen comrade Data. Troi begins to cry, and in Irish wake tradition, Riker, through tears, chuckles and recalls the first time he saw Data on the holodeck, how Data was trying to whistle but he couldn't ever get the tune right. But Riker can't remember the name of the tune Data was trying to whistle.
Back at Spacedock Earth
Later, after the Enterprise is taken to Earth, the ship is undergoing extensive repairs in drydock. Picard is reading something in his ready room when Riker comes in, now wearing his captain's ranks and asks Picard for permission to disembark, which Picard grants. Picard asks where Titan is headed off to and Riker tells Picard they're going back to the Neutral Zone and that they're heading up a task force out there. It seems the Romulans are now interested in talking. Picard offers Riker one piece of advice and Riker is happy to take it. Picard tells Riker that when his first officer insists that he can't go on away missions to ignore him. Riker says he intends to. The two men and old friends clasp hands. Riker tells Picard that serving with him has been an honor and Picard says the honor was his. And with that, Captain Riker leaves the Enterprise to head for the Titan.
Picard then goes to Data's quarters and talks to B-4, telling him about Data's goal of becoming more Human and that Data's wonder about Human nature allowed them to see the best part of themselves and Data embraced change because he always wanted to be better than he was. B-4 doesn't understand though and Picard says he hopes B-4 eventually will and that they will talk again. Worf calls and tells Picard they're ready to put the warp engines online and Picard leaves for the bridge. B-4 then begins to mumble lines from Blue Skies. Picard helps him continue by singing along a couple of lines. As he walks down the corridor, Picard smiles and he knows that with all that's changed, with Riker and Troi marrying and leaving, Crusher leaving for Starfleet Medical, and the death of Data, that things will indeed, be all right.