Star Trek Nemesis: Sins of Blood


==^== Romulan Council Chambers ==^==

Tal'Aura listened to the consistent prattle of the senators around her
and reminded herself again that she had made the correct alliance. The
senators would bicker until the Arieyenne'ahiav themselves rose up to
take them. Romulus had suffered too long under the boot of democracy.
When politicians preached of freedom they only saw power for
themselves. The people were a means to an end, a predictable,
malleable mass that only served to elevate the righteous few whose
empty promises were the most intriguing. It was disgusting.

She let her hand brush the cord of the maroon disk on her desk.
Covering with intricate carvings, it could be one of numerous gifts
bestowed onto an Ambassador throughout her career. Though the reddish
metal was out of place in the elegant grays and blacks of the
beautiful senate, the patterns on its surface made it a worthy
adornment. At the base of the cord were three simple black beads. As
Proconsul Rhiesen again went over the trade agreements between Legarr
Seven and the newest Ferengi sect, she twisted the first bead twice
around the cord. The second one only moved a half turn, and the third
only needed a brush of her hand.

Her fidgeting went without notice. The Legarran trade agreement would
pad the pockets of most people in this room. She stood slowly, feeling
the strength of cl'vangam strengthening her legs beneath her. This was
the true path.

"Excuse me, I must attend an appointment with the Tholian Ambassador."
The Proconsuls nod was quick and courteous. Tal'Aura steps were
unhurried. She had a full three gohern to be out of the room. Someone
might notice that her gift had been forgotten, but it had been set,
and with it the course of an entire planet. Not that the unsuspecting
senators would see their fate. By the time they realized the brilliant
flash of green light would cause all of their deaths, their brains
would have already burned beyond the point of conscious thought.

She ducked into her office. Oblivious to her plans, her aide waited
outside. She tapped the code for her personal transmission frequency,
and then sent the message of success. She steepled her fingers a
moment and exited her room with the data PADD she had pretended to
forget. Her aide, Korshan, activated the transporter, and the alarms
of warning started just as the sound faded away. He turned to her in
surprise, a question still on his lips as she vaporized him cleanly
with her disruptor. She would not need groveling aides in the new
empire. In Shinzon's order she would need bodyguards.

The gray-green skin of the hideous Reman guard glistened even in the
weak light. He nodded to her curtly and lead her out of the
transporter room. She followed slowly, trying to adjust to the
darkness. Tal'Aura felt the chills of victory already racing through
her fingertips. The mission was a success. By now she was the last
living Romulan senator.

==^== Scimitar Bridge ==^==

Shinzon of Remus echoed the fanged smile of his viceroy. "The people
are free." He leaned back in his chair and imagined the boiling of
blood, and the exquisite agony of bones burning through muscle. In his
mind, he heard the rushing of dust as the bodies of the mighty Romulan
senate fell in ashes. The oppressors had fallen beneath the sword of
the just. The slaves would rule both worlds, bringing the light to
darkness. He steepled his fingers and smiled. In the darkness of the
Reman bridge, no light reflected from his cruel teeth.

==^== Starfleet Recreational Facility, Alaska ==^==

"Why is it you seem to be the only man with a spring in his step
today? Worf and Geordi both look like they've been through the warp
core exhaust." Beverly Crusher leaned closer to his ear as they waited
for the guests to be seated. "What's the secret?"

Jean-Luc Picard stared out over the sea of faces assembling for the
wedding all of Starfleet seemed to be betting on. He politely ignored
Beverly's good-natured teasing, and steered her to his own question.
"Who ended up with the pot?"

She pretended to be adjusting the neck of his uniform. Running cool
fingers along his throat in a most distracting fashion. "Dr. Selar
made off with 1300 credits. Alyssa was certain she was cheating, but
she insists Vulcans do not cheat."

"What's she doing with the money?" He put a hand on her shoulder,
keeping her close to him as the anxious voices of the guests grew
slightly louder.

She couldn't find any emotion other then patient curiosity in his
voice. "Buying some piece of sculpture for her new quarters. Chief
Medical Officer is a bit of a room upgrade."

Jean-Luc paused for only a moment, but it left them bother wondering.
Companionable silence had become pregnant and heavy between them every
since she had walked into his ready room with her request for
transfer. It was time to 'move on' with her life, he remembered
vividly. He studied her eyes for a long moment, looking for the hint
of sorrow in the blue that might give away her secrets. Nothing spoke
to him.

"Good." He announced finally. "There's nothing worse then an empty
room." Picard turned away from her and fell easily into a whispered
conversation with the newly minted Admiral Kathryn Janeway. Beverly
watched them speak in whispers, and wondered what lonely secrets of
the captaincy they shared. What things could Jean-Luc voice to her
that he had never said aloud?

Beverly's imagination was cut short by the soft chime that sent
everyone to their chairs. Will and Deanna entered at the front of the
chapel. Deanna's arm wrapped smoothly around his elbow. They smiled
benevolently, beaming their faith outward to their guests. She
remembered her own wedding, the nervous rush of energy as she took
Jack's hand.

There as nothing nervous in the couple that stood easily before
Admiral Janeway. They stood a step down, allowing the petite woman to
look into Will's eyes. "I'm told this has been a long time coming."

Deanna's dark eyes were painfully bright. Her own sense of peace and
well-being nearly overwhelmed by the thoughts of the friends around
her. She nodded, but Will took the opportunity to wink at the admiral.
"Some things are worth waiting for Admiral." His whisper only carried
to the attendants on both sides.

"I'll take your word for it Will." Kathryn returned his wink with a
soft smile and began her benediction. "Since the inception of the
military hierarchy, it has been the privilege of a ranking officer to
stand up in lieu of the village elders to perform the joining of
hearts. It is my great joy to stand before you, Captain William Riker
and Commander Deanna Troi, as your superior in rank only, truly not in
knowledge of the heart." She paused, allowing the silence to
acknowledge their accomplishment. She took a lighter tone as she
continued. "Captain Picard approached me a few weeks ago with his
dilemma. It seemed that his infamous bachelor first officer had not
only gotten himself engaged, but he had also gotten himself promoted.
And it wouldn't do for a Captain to marry another Captain." A few soft
chuckles agreed with her.

Beverly recognized the bitter twist to the Admiral's smile and
recognized the carefully controlled loneliness behind it. Something
she had been deeply aware of in herself the past few weeks. Jean-Luc
had been more then willing to listen to her this morning, but somehow
the sense of isolation she felt had eluded the conversation.
Ironically, the safety of his quarters had been too much. Instead of
talking about feelings, they talked about careers. Will and Deanna
were starting a new life, and both of them were return to the old. She
was heading back to Starfleet Medical, a desk job that would let her
age grow on her gracefully. Jean-Luc would shepherd his crew. Guiding
them like the father he would never be.

She sighed, feeling the weight of her dress uniform. Beverly had
missed the last part of Admiral Janeway's speech, and Jean-Luc looked
like he was paying even less attention. He'd be useless for recanting
it later.

Captain Picard was wondering how many choices it took to reach this
point in the road. He couldn't help feeling that he had made a wrong
turn, that somewhere in the woods of his memory there was a woman
beaming at him with Deanna's radiant smile that he had left to chance
and lost along the way. Through all the turns of life, Will and Deanna
had finally found the path that brought them together. In the quietest
part of his soul, he admitted he was jealous.

"For many people a wedding is the first step they take together."
Admiral Janeway, motioned to the attendants to hand over the rings.
"This feels like a formality." Everyone laughed gently. Will stole
Deanna's hand as she tried to brush a tear from her cheek. Smiling as
though it was the punchline to the greatest joke in the world. He
slipped her ring onto her finger, and kissed her hand.

"May this ring remind you where ever you are, I'm with you."

Deanna gently slipped his ring over his finger. "I've always been with
you imzadi." They kissed without needing to be told it was time. After
a few moments, the polite clapping turned a bit more raucous as Will
tilted her back to continue the kiss. The Admiral nodded to Picard,
who took the opportunity to tap his former first officer on the shoulder.

"There will be plenty of time for that number one." Will reluctantly
released Deanna, and Admiral Janeway stepped forward for the final
part of the ceremony.

She extended their hands, Deanna's over Will's, and bound them lightly
with a sash in Federation colors. "As you came here as two, let you
leave knowing you are one." Will used her free hand to again brush a
tear from Deanna's cheek. Janeway gestured to the attendants, and
Beverly lifted the silver goblet etched with the ancient Betazoid
script Lwaxana had sent for the occasion. Jean-Luc crossed to her and
filled it from the two ceremonial flasks. The wine from the Picard
stock, and the honey from an old friend who still kept bees in old
France. Beverly handed the goblet over to Admiral Janeway and wrapped
her fingers into Picard's.

Thankful for the gesture he squeezed back with a warm smile. "May all
the universe bless you with fair travels as you finish your journey
together-" Janeway wished them heartily. Deanna held the cup as Will
drank, and then he returned the favor, their bound hands on one side
adding to the synchrony of their movements. "As wife and husband."

"You can kiss her again Will." Beverly teased, though Will needed no
urging to kiss his imzadi. Their first kiss as one.