In Star Trek: Nemesis, we learn that the antagonist Shinzon is actually

a clone of Jean-Luc Picard. We also learn that he is dying because of this.

From the blood sample Shinzon provides, Dr. Crusher figures out why:

BEVERLY: The more I studied his DNA the more confusing it got. Finally I could only come to one conclusion... Shinzon was created with temporal RNA sequencing. He was designed so that at a certain point his aging process could be accelerated to reach your age more quickly, so he could replace you.

PICARD: But the Romulans abandoned the plan...

BEVERLY: As a result the temporal sequencing was never activated. Remember, he was supposed to replace you at nearly your current age. He was engineered to skip thirty years of life. But since the RNA sequencing was never activated, his cellular structure has started to break down. He's dying.

To repair the damage, Shinzon comes up with a convoluted plan to

capture Captain Picard and perform a full blood transfusion.

I understand that this requirement drives the plot, but was it ever explained in a novel or elsewhere why Shinzon did not simply activate the RNA sequencing to age himself?

  • 2
    It's possible that it was time based, and he's past that point of return, or the infusion is the activator.
    – PiousVenom
    Apr 27 '15 at 14:34

The movie implies that the RNA activation needed to happen while he was young, he was meant to age rapidly when he was a young child, instead he was sent to the mines on Remus, where he grew up naturally, and had no opportunity to activate those genes. Hence by the time he comes to power it is already to late for him to "activate" those genes and instead he has to find a new means to save his life, aka stealing the real Picards DNA. Again it was implied that once his RNA started to break down he no longer had to option to age himself(as in real science broken down RNA wont "work" right any longer). We know that he only recently as i a year or 2 seemed to come into a prominent position and not a slave any longer.

From the script,

PICARD: Dying?

RIKER: He wasn't designed to live a complete, human life span.

PlCARD: Can anything be done for him?

BEVERLY: Not without a complete myelodysplastic infusion from the only donor with compatible DNA. But that would mean draining all your blood.

So it also appears that even if he was able to activate the temporal RNA, he still was engineered to only live X amount of years, So that after replacing Picard on in Starfleet he couldn't betray the Romulans and live a long life, essentially a safety net built in, something that the Romulans would do.

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