TITLE: Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night

AUTHOR: Michelle aka Micaela


CODES: P/C, R/T, angst



SUMMARY: The crew of the Enterprise say goodbye to one of their own.

DISCLAIMER: Characters are the property of Paramount/Viacom,

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story dedicated to the memory of a lost friend.  

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night
– a Tribute
by Michelle

William Riker stood there in front of his crew, dressed in his formal uniform, as he gently touched the fourth pip on his collar.  It felt so strange to him.  This was once his life’s ambition and now he was Captain of the USS Enterprise.  But at what cost?

Counselor Deanna Troi was at his side, her fingers interlaced with his, sending all of the strength and support she could along their Imzadi bond.  She was grieving as well, for her friend – her mentor.  However, it was at this very moment that Will that needed her most.  He was about to do the hardest thing he had ever faced … say a final farewell to Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

She could sense his deep sorrow and his uncertainty of accomplishing this task.  Yes, they had lost companions before.  Death was one of the risks that came along with serving in Starfleet.  But this death was another matter entirely.

Jean-Luc Picard had faced down Cardassian tormentors.  He had ‘died’ once and been brought back by the technology of a mechanical heart.  He had been assimilated by the Borg and forced to massacre thousands at Wolf 359.  He had gone back in time chasing down and destroying the Borg Queen all the while losing half of his crew.  He had courageously faced so many dangers and had come out victorious.

This time it was different.  There had been no Borg, no Cardassians, no Dominion, no Romulans.  Just a Kelfian pirate ship and a small cargo trader.

Picard and Beverly Crusher were in a shuttlecraft returning to the Enterprise from an extended holiday when they had picked up the distress call.  Picard had immediately informed the Enterprise, but they were a few hours away.  The shuttle dropped out of warp at the coordinates of the signal.  There they found a small cargo ship named the Reyoth with 15 humanoid life signs being pummeled underneath the fire of a Kelfian pirate vessel.

Jean-Luc had used all of his diplomatic skills to try and reason with the pirates – doing all he could to buy those traders the time they needed for the Enterprise to reach them.

….”Kelfian vessel… this is Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise.  Please stand down your weapons and let us discuss this before any irreparable harm can be done.”

… “This isn’t your concern, Federation Man.  This is between us and that treasure there waiting for us.”

Communications had been severed.  Jean-Luc tried to reason with the Reyoth cargo ship.  While the loss of their supplies
would be devastating, the Kelfians would likely leave them in peace once the materials had been taken.

…”But Captain Picard, we have TRIED to explain to them that we have nothing on board.  We have already made our delivery to Micasia VI and we were traveling to pick up our next load.”

…”Surely they did a scan...”

…”Yes and they do not believe us.  They think we are somehow shielding a very valuable item or something.  Please help us!”

At that Picard looked at Beverly for guidance, support, reassurance.  He had a horrible sense of dread about this situation.  He knew deep down that someone was going to die this day – he just didn’t know it would be him.

Beverly took his hand and squeezed it firmly as she spoke softly.

“We have to help them, Jean-Luc.  They are defenseless.   I know we don’t have much, but they will be slaughtered.  We have to do something.”

Picard could see the fear in her eyes, but he knew she was right.  They couldn’t walk away.  He knew the odds; he knew there was little he could do without the firepower and support of the Enterprise.  He was well aware of how far they were from their present location, even at warp nine.  All he could do would be to buy the cargo ship enough time to flee.  But to that he would have to draw the Kelfians’ attention.  That prospect was virtual suicide as they had a well-armed ship.

He turned to Beverly and looked deeply into her eyes as if saying goodbye.  She knew what this all meant.  She knew…

Tears shimmered in her eyes as he put out a personal priority one message to Riker and the Enterprise…

“Enterprise. Will.  We are in a precarious situation.  We have responded to the distress signal and have failed in negotiations.  We will attempt to draw the fire of the pirate vessel in order to allow enough time for the empty cargo vessel and all 15 of her crew aboard to escape.  We are outgunned, but I am not giving up yet.  We will see you when you arrive to lend assistance.  Picard out.”

Jean-Luc placed the message on auto-repeat and took Beverly face in his hands.  He kissed her gently and whispered into her ear, “I love you, Beverly Crusher.”

“I love you, Jean-Luc.  I always have and I will for all eternity.”

“Open a channel to the Reyoth vessel.”

<channel open>

“Captain Roberts.  I will handle this from here.  Choose your heading and take your vessel to warp.  Get your people out of here.  We will handle the Kelfians.”

“Captain Picard, you are no match for that ship.  We cannot leave you here alone.”

“Roberts.  I have the Enterprise on her way and she will be here any minute.  Now GO!”

He shrugged to Beverly as she looked at him with admiration in his ability to lie when necessary.

“If you are certain, Captain.  Good luck.”

“Godspeed to you and your crew.”

<Reyoth vessel has entered warp>

No more words were needed as a last look of love and support passed between the two of them.

It was all over in less than fifteen minutes.  When the Kelfians attempted to pursue the Reyoth cargo ship, Picard had fired upon them with his minimal phasers.  The Kelfians returned fire and battered the small shuttlecraft.  Impact after impact rocked the shuttle.  One final explosion blasted them and the console erupted in flames.  Beverly was thrown backward against a bulkhead and was rendered unconscious.  Jean-Luc fought to keep his senses as the hull was breached.  He felt the blood pouring from numerous gashes in his body.  Shrapnel was embedded deep within his abdomen and he knew there wasn’t anything to be done, except to try and save Beverly.  He transferred enough of the remaining power to erect a forcefield around the breach and contain what little oxygen they had.  Then he struggled to her side and lay down beside her, his hand on hers.  That vision of Beverly’s bruised and bloodied, yet beautiful face was the last thing he ever saw.

The Kelfian ship, sensing victory at seeing the shuttle in flames and drifting, took to warp themselves in search of their next target.

Upon hearing Picard’s final message, Riker had ordered the Enterprise to maximum warp.  The arrived within an hour, but still too late.  A sense of dread fell over him when he gazed upon the blackened hull of the shuttlecraft.

“Data, report!”

“One life sign, very faint, Commander.”

Deanna looked at Will as the realization came upon them both that only one of their friends had survived the ordeal … that one of them was already gone.

Riker had ordered the EMH online to assist and had both officers beamed directly to Sickbay.  The medical team had done a remarkable job saving Beverly, though she remained in a coma.  They tried, but there was nothing that could have been done for Picard.  Too many wounds, too much blood loss, too much time.


Will Riker fought back the tears that threatened to fall from his blue eyes as he prepared to give his eulogy.  There stood his crew, his staff, his friends - surrounding him – supporting him and sharing his grief.

He leaned down and touched the metal coffin that held Picard’s remains.  He motioned for Geordi and Data to step forward and cover it with the Federation flag of honor.

Will looked down into Deanna’s dark eyes, gathered his courage and finally spoke.

          “My friends.  We are here today to remember one of the finest men I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  Captain Jean-Luc Picard.  Jean-Luc was like a father to me, even more so than my own father was.  He was my Captain, my companion, my friend.   He was a fair man; he rarely acted in anger and always maintained a balance.  He always sought and uncovered the truth of a situation.  Jean-Luc Picard was a man of principle, who saw things very clearly and had a keen sense of right and wrong. He was consistently even-handed to a fault, but not afraid to unload if the situation merited it, as many of us have seen.

          In many ways Jean-Luc for me illustrated the meaning of a phrase often ascribed to Teddy Roosevelt, a 20th century political leader on Earth, "Speak softly but carry a big stick."  Jean-Luc did speak softly, but if necessary that big stick could be used. Without fail his ‘big stick’ was the weight of truth behind his words, his honor, his loyalty and his integrity.

         And now Jean-Luc Picard has left us, but I for one am a better person for having known him.  He sacrificed his life to save another, many others.  That is the greatest gift that anyone can give another person.

Jean-Luc and his death have taught me some valuable lessons and has given me a perspective in my own life.  He epitomized what a Starfleet officer should be.  He showed me what true friendship was all about.  He gave me a sense of direction and purpose.  He showed me what genuine courage is.  His death also made me realize that not one of us knows what the next hour will bring.  We should live life to the fullest each and every moment that we are given.  Jean-Luc did that and he will forever live on in my memory, my mind, my heart.

         Farewell, my friend.”

At that William Riker, Captain of the Enterprise, stepped off the podium and into the arms of Counselor Deanna Troi.  She held him close as he softly lost his battle with his tears.

As Picard’s coffin was being prepared for burial in space, Data stepped up to the podium to recite a poem that had been a favorite of Jean-Luc’s and was so fitting as a tribute to this great man who had tragically lost his life while saving others.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night -- by Dylan Thomas

The audience raised their hands in a final salute to their commanding officer as the coffin slipped from its hold and into the blackness of space.  This is what Picard had lived for, what he had died for and was where he would eternally rest.

The senior staff gathered together, holding hands, as a silence to his memory unfolded.  They were all there, including Worf.  Everyone was in attendance with the exception of Doctor Beverly Crusher, who lay unconscious in Sickbay, unknowing that her Captain, her love was gone.

Deanna knew that that her office would be filled in the coming weeks as the impact of the loss settled upon them all.  She
understood that Beverly would need special care when she finally awoke to the harsh reality that faced her.

She thought of her friend and the emptiness that she would feel at losing her soulmate.  Jean-Luc and Beverly had only recently admitted their feelings for each other allowed their relationship to develop.  Now Beverly would awake to life alone once again.

Tears streamed down her soft cheeks as Deanna’s mind drifted to Will.  What would she do if she lost him?  How could she continue?  She caressed him gently through their link.  A tiny smile spread across her lips as he returned the mental kiss to her.

Friendship … that was the answer to all of their questions.

Friendship would see Beverly through both her discovery and recovery.  Friendship would bind them together as they shared their sorrow and their strength.   Friendship would fortify any one of them if a similar fate befell another.

The most fitting tribute they could have for Jean-Luc Picard would be to carry on his legacy of being a true friend.

The End

*A special thank you to Gordon for allowing me to use a summary of his own words to our friend in Riker’s eulogy.  Thank you also to Les for posting that poem in reference to our friend as it was the inspiration for this piece.  The greatest appreciation goes to the man himself for the simple joy in having known him.  Rest in peace, my friend. *

April 30, 2000