Star Trek: The Q Continuum
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Star Trek: The Q Continuum is a Star Trek novel trilogy written by Greg Cox and published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc. The three books, Q-Space, Q-Zone and Q-Strike, tell the early history of Q himself, and lead up to an ultimate confrontation between himself, the Enterprise, and another omnipotent being from Q's "childhood", which may lead to the destruction of the galaxy.
The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E), staffed by its usual crew (except for Worf, who's on DS9), is on a mission from Starfleet Command, to assist Lem Faal, a Betazoid scientist, in breaching the barrier which encircles the Milky Way Galaxy. Along the way, Q interrupts them, warning Captain Picard to abandon his mission, with the usual warning of impending doom but no explanation.
Along the way, Q introduces his wife (as seen in the Voyager episode "The Q and the Grey"), and newborn son, q (seen at the end of that same episode), who for the most part remain on board the Enterprise during the story, assisting them at times only when it suits Mrs. Q. The Enterprise is attacked by the Calamarain, a species of gaseous creatures it had encountered before ("Déjà Q", season three of TNG). Q takes the opportunity to remove Picard from the Enterprise, taking him with him on a journey back through time and space to his own early childhood.
Q shows Picard his history (including how Q created the Nexus, and an experiment which resulted in Q's invention of antimatter), and eventual meeting with another omnipotent being called 0 ("Zero"), who Q eventually helps escape from his frozen prison planet in another plane of the multiverse.
Q foolishly offers 0 the use of the Q Continuum, the shortcut to everywhere, and unwisely vouches for 0. Now with the continuum to give him freedom of the galaxy at superluminal speed, he tries to harness the Calamarain to use as his "transport", but the Calamarain drive him off. Enraged, he condenses them and freezes them, though Q stops 0 from condensing them into their own black hole. This explains the Calamarain's hatred of Q.
0 summons three of his servant minions - Gorgan, The One and (*), slightly less powerful than himself, and begins his escapades of "testing" species to see if they're worthy of eventually ascending to the same levels as himself and Q.
After testing the Tkon Empire, 0 shows how poor a loser he is when the Empress of the Tkon brilliantly puts an end to the civil war that Gorgan started, The One and (*) fled. 0 causes the Tkon sun to nova, destroying the heart of the Tkon Empire and dooming it to extinction. The Continuum steps in, deals with protracted resistance by the four non-Q entities, and, gaining in the battle, arrests three while Gorgan and (*) flee into a black hole. (Gorgan later troubles the Enterprise under Kirk's command, and (*) troubles Kirk and Kang.)
Q, 0, and The One are put on trial, and 0 is banished outside of our galaxy, establishing the energy barrier to keep him sealed out. The One, reduced to merely a head during the arrest battle, is similarly exiled to the center of the galaxy with a barrier to keep him in. The Enterprise-A, under Sybok nearly sets The One free. Q's attempt to help arrest the four is recognized, and his punishment is relatively light, with Q's rehabilition to include repairing a small planet, the third in distance from a Class G star that had been thriving with dinosaurs. Although it is not stated implicitly, this reference may indicate that Q has had a hand in the development of Earth after the extinction of the Dinosaurs, though the planet was never mentioned by name in the book, leaving the inference of the planet's identity entirely to the mind of the reader.
While Q has been showing Picard a history that Q is not all that proud of, the Enterprise has been enduring the assault of the Calamarain, its shields steadily failing, its systems overloading. Data works to establish communications using the Berthold rays that the Calamarain generate. When Riker is finally able to talk with the Calamarain, they finally understand why the Calamarain are attacking. Riker's offer to withdraw from the energy barrier is not enough, as the Calamarain associate the Enterprise crew (most of which are on the Enterprise-E) with their old enemy Q.
Picard learns that if the Enterprise is successful in breaching the barrier, 0, now insane, would be released back into our galaxy to gain revenge on Q, and continue destroying the galaxy. Q brings Picard back to the present, arriving on a ship in terrible condition from the Calamarain assault. Unfortunately, at one point, the Enterprise took shelter inside the energy barrier, letting its psychic energy flow through the bio-neural gel packs to power shields; Lem Faal refused to be put in protective stasis, and he was zapped by the barrier, gaining superhuman power. He launches his wormhole-generating device, and 0 gets into the galaxy again before the wormhole collapses.
While 0 is chasing Q around the ship (Q even uses the transporter and the holodeck), Picard employs his diplomatic skills and his knowledge of the ancient Calamarain to persuade them to cease fire and talk with them. With the eventual help of the Calamarain who join with Q, 0 is finally defeated, and Q can rest peacefully free from his threat. 0 is again exiled outside the galaxy, and the Continuum shores up the energy barrier, which was particularly weakened by the Q Civil War.
Through the course of the books, several well-known phenomena are mentioned and seen, insinuating that Q and his escapades were the cause. Some of these things are:
- The Great Barrier at the center of the galaxy, seen in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The entity The One is shown to be one of 0's associates. This explanation is non-canon as it has never been mentioned in Star Trek TV or films.
- The entity named only as "(*)", another of 0's associates, compelled people to fight so it could draw upon the energy of violence and hatred, while causing people to heal or awaken from the dead. It also caused equipment to regenerate. (*) did this in "Day of the Dove".
- The entity named Gorgan, another of 0's associates, specialized in supporting generational strife, giving his unwitting followers the ability to employ telekinetic powers, as he did in "And the Children Shall Lead".
- The Galactic Barrier surrounding the galaxy, as seen in "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and several other episodes of the Original Series, was forged by the Continuum to keep 0 from ever reentering it as punishment. It also trapped him in intergalactic space, as 0 is unable to travel faster-than-light.
- The Nexus from Star Trek Generations, which was created by Q accidentally while playing with plasma in the core of a star.
- The battle to arrest 0 and his associates caused numerous other ramifications, including the cooling of Exo III's sun and the resulting android civilization discovered by Roger Corby ("What Are Little Girls Made Of?"); it caused a final, devastating war on Arret, where Sargon took shelter with his wife, Henoch from the enemy forces and 17 others ("Return to Tomorrow"). One of the battling entities also shoots energy "arrows" at the Q, after he attempts to enter the wormhole from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine only to be blocked by the Prophets, and many Bajorans interpret this as a sign from the Prophets-though the Kai of the time understands that it is not.
- The blame for the extinction of the dinosaurs on Earth can (and has been) placed squarely on Q's shoulders. During the battle, 0 supercharged an iridium asteroid and hurled it at the female Q. Unwilling to see his mate hurt, Q created a temporary wormhole in front of the asteroid, not really caring where it went. The asteroid ended up striking Earth. Q's punishment was to watch over the planet and any intelligent species that evolves on it - the reason for the Q's constant tests of humanity.
- Tagus III comes up. In "Qpid", Q hinted to Picard that they really knew how to party on Tagus III a billion years ago, and in this novel series, Q actually does show Picard how the "Imotru" (ancient Taguans) partied, since Q and his future wife sat in on one of those parties.
- Three Q who show up in TNG and Voyager episodes also figure in the novels. Q2 (played by Corbin Bernsen in "Deja Q") and Q(uinn) (played by Gerrit Graham in "Death Wish") are involved in trying to arrest 0 and gang. The future Mrs. Q (played by Suzie Plakson in "The Q and the Grey") makes several appearances in the novels, as well as, of course, being present on the Enterprise while Picard and her husband are in the past. q first appeared in "The Q and the Gray", but these novels were written before q, shown as a teen-age boy, appeared in another Voyager episode, "Q2".
- The Enterprise tactical officer/security chief in the three novels is Baete Leyoro, an Angosian (see the TNG episode "The Hunted"). She is another soldier in their wars who was altered for battle, then a prisoner on a lunar colony after the war, and then somehow successfully rehabilitated and joining Starfleet. Initially hating the Calamarain because they attack the ship, in the end she sacrifices herself to thaw out the Calamarain while 0 makes her phaser overload. This sacrifice convinces the Calamarain that cooperation is the key to defeating 0.
- The energy barrier gives psychokinetic power to those with some form of ESP, like Betazoids, or Terrans like Lt. Cmdr. Gary Mitchell and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner. In these novels, it affects Lem Faal and his son Milo, but not Faal's daughter or Deanna Troi, who were put into stasis in time. The barrier also seems to affect Leyoro, but it doesn't affect Vulcans (it didn't affect Spock a century earlier).
- Beverly Crusher makes use of the EMH Mark One, relying on it in the emergency.
- According to 0, The One invented monotheism. This is probably why every time there is a description of an action by The One, certain words are capitalized (e.g., "He raised His Mighty Hand").
- Apparently, the creators of the Guardian of Forever anticipated someone like 0 trying to use the portal to enter the Milky Way galaxy, as the Guardian refused to let 0 through until Q forced it.
- Q states that a building on the Guardian's planet was built by one of his direct biological ancestors.
- The worm-like creatures from the TNG episode "Realm of Fear" were shown to have been created by a careless young Q.