The Federation starship Enterprise brings aboard a young Starfleet intern, Amanda Rogers, who plans to study biological sciences under Dr. Crusher. The crew soon finds that Amanda has unusual abilities such as redirecting a falling cargo crate to avoid injury to Commander Riker, and the ability to contain an explosion in the warp core. Q appears and reveals that Amanda is actually a member of the Q Continuum, having been conceived by two other Q when they opted to take on human forms and hide their Q-enabled abilities. Q has arrived to teach Amanda how to harness her powers, as well as to decide whether to return to the Q Continuum, or remain living a normal human life.
Captain Picard, suspicious of Q's motives, orders Lt. Commander Data to investigate Amanda's parents. He finds that they died from a freak tornado in their Kansas home, something that would be nearly impossible with Earth's weather modification network. Picard asks Q about this, and Q reveals that the Continuum, having seen Amanda's parents as a threat, killed them while they were in mortal form. Picard forces Q to reveal his true intentions: to determine if Amanda is truly a Q, or if she is a Q-human hybrid, in which case he has orders to destroy her. Picard argues with Q, and eventually Q agrees to give Amanda the choice of joining the Q Continuum or remain living as a human and voluntarily avoid using any of her "Q" powers.
As Amanda contemplates her choice, the ship receives a distress call from a nearby planet where their ionic anti-pollution systems are failing rapidly, which would flood the atmosphere and block out the sun. The Enterprise crew races to help the inhabitants, but cannot keep up with the failures. Q taunts Amanda that should she not join the Continuum, it would be very difficult to resist the urges in using her powers in cases such as this. Amanda makes her choice and uses her abilities to restore the planet's atmosphere to normal, saving its inhabitants. Q prepares to take Amanda to the Q Continuum, but she demands time to explain her new situation to her adoptive parents and to say goodbye to the crew, fearing that she will not see them again, particularly Dr. Crusher, who reminds her that as part of the Q Continuum, she can do anything she wants.