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The Courtship of Jean-Luc Picard, as Observed by Q

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 It ends, as most things do, with fire (or is it that they begin this way?  Mortal understanding of time can be so confusing. Either way, there was fire.  And a lot of it.). Fire hot enough to melt bone and boil blood. Hot enough to make atoms collide and create new elements.  (Ah, yes, I remember now. This is the beginning.)  

The Q didn’t start here.  They started before (and yet after.  And yet simultaneously.). They saw this happen.  They watched it. They didn’t say it was good (that was Someone else.  Sometimes.). They didn’t interfere. Though one did go visit. And they brought a friend along with them, some mortal.  Not that important.

Here’s the thing about mortals: none of them are important.  That’s right! Not a single one of them has any bearing on the entire universe.  And yet...there’s something remarkable about them. Or was there? Anyways, this Q was not particularly good at being a Q.  You see, they had several things that were against the very nature of Q. First off, they had a name. All Q are Q, that’s all they need.  No other moniker or title. Why would you ever need another name when Q would do? It’s not like you ever didn’t know who you were talking to or about.  Mortals though, they’re easily confused when there’s no unique identifier(for all of them that are named Xill and Sh’gue and Chris). So this rebel went and got themselves a name.  Quetzalcoatl. Eww. Anyways, with their name they got a son. An actual son! Look, occasionally there’s new Q (well, technically speaking, there are and aren’t. Every Q that ever was, is, and will be has always been a Q and will exist in perpetuity as a Q.) but a son?  Quetzalcoatl tried to pass their son off as a Q, but nothing like that could be a Q.  Not to mention the whole Q Civil War thing…

Not a very good Q, this Q was.  But they’d gone and befriended a human.  Remember how humans aren’t important? And now this human is seeing the beginning of all things (or was it the end of all things…).  That human’s name is Jean-Luc Picard and someday (which was simultaneously not yet and already past) he will be the destruction of a Q.  And one Q is all Q.


 

Q can’t help their curiosity.  They know the story, every Q does, of the man who killed a Q.  A man named Jean-Luc Picard. And here is a perfect opportunity to meet the mere mortal (a human, of all things!) who killed a Q.  All Q share a flaw and today (and yesterday but also tomorrow) that flaw is curiosity. And so Q goes to say hello.

It is the fall of the Q.  But the Q had already fallen. 

“Thou art notified that thy kind hath infiltrated the galaxy too far already.”  Q said as they appeared with a single thought on the bridge of the Enterprise. They gazed across the crew without looking, finally settling on the man who would somehow cause the end of Q.  Jean-Luc Picard didn’t look like much any way you looked at him. “Thine art directed to return to thine own solar system immediately.” There, that should take care of the whole business.

But of course, the human didn’t do as he had been commanded.  He approached Q, the audacity! And demanded that Q identify itself. 

“We call ourselves the Q.”  Q answered, letting their presence solidify in the shape they had chosen for this. “Or thou mayest call me that.  It’s all much the same thing.” They had chosen archaic English, one of the many languages their “universal” language had been born from and Q could feel many minds scrambling to understand what they had said.  And then some foolish humans (why so many humans?) attempted to surprise them by coming through the turbolift, as though Q couldn’t sense them! A simple forcefield put a stop to that.

“I present myself to thee as a fellow ship captain that thou mayest better understand me,” Q had completed their circuit of the bridge, approaching Jean-Luc again. “Go back whence thou camest.”  And leave the Q alone, so that none might fall prey to the parlor tricks that Jean-Luc would use to turn Q against Q. Another human attempting to surprise Q and they turned, commanding the human calmly. “Stay where thou art.” And then Q froze them.  Humans must be terribly fragile, for everyone attended to the man. All Q had done was change the temperature a bit. Surely that could be understood?

Only apparently not, at Jean-Luc approached Q again, showing him a phaser set to stun.  As though Q didn’t know what that was! “Knowing humans as thou dost, Captain,” Q told him, “wouldst thou be captured helpless by them?” Q certainly had no intentions of letting that happen!  Bad enough one of the Q would be ensnared by this...this human! “Now go back or thou shalt most certainly die.” For who could hope to love and be loved by a Q and survive? Not these poor, weak sacks of flesh.  Though all it did was make the Captain more stubborn.

“Captain, thy little centuries go by so rapidly. Perhaps thou will better understand this .”  And Q changed, though they kept the form of a male they evolved the look.  No longer a seafaring Captain of early Earth history, but a respectable uniformed man from one of Earth’s World Wars.  “Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies.” Information about the Red Scare and other Earth facts flooded Q, who pushed them all the side.  All useless, useless information. “All it takes are a few good men.” Vile propaganda, was that all humans were good for? Perhaps Jean-Luc had lied to the Q he had seduced.

Jean-Luc said that it was all behind humanity, but Q didn’t believe it for a second.  “But you can’t deny that you’re still a dangerous, savage, child-race.” Sleeping with one of them would be like...well, there really wasn’t a comparison. All Q were fully Q, even if they were newly introduced to the Continuum.  And no Q would lay with anything that wasn’t Q, such would be a great disservice to themselves.

And, of course, the human denied it.  Q expected nothing less. “In which you slaughtered millions in silly arguments about how to divide the resources of your little world.  And 400 years before that,you were murdering each other in quarrels over tribal god images.” Wasn’t it a human that had said the only uniquely human thing was murder?  “Since then, there are no indications that humans will ever change.”

Then Jean-Luc said humans had been in the midst of progress.  Q suddenly understood the human urge to ‘roll ones eyeballs’ though they didn’t partake in it.  “Oh, yeah? Do you want to review your rapid progress?” Q changed to a form wearing another military suit, sure that the Captain would recognize it for what it was.  A little peak into the Captain’s mind confirmed it and Q understood the urge to smirk and take pride. How...quaint, these humans were. “Rapid progress--where humans learned to control their military with drugs.” In another part of the galaxy, the Vorta were doing the same with their Jem’Hadr and they weren’t alone.  Seems like humans weren’t the only savage child-race out there, but they were the only one that was a threat to Q.

Worf, the Klingon, stepped forward then to inform Jean-Luc that Lieutenant Torres’ was getting better and Q felt the Captain’s focus shift.  Q couldn’t have that. They had to find out why a Q would find this man so fascinating. “Oh, concern for one’s fellow comrade.” Q mocked, pacing the bridge again. “How touching .”  Then the humans started aruging about who was going to take care of Q. As though they could!  At least Jean-Luc properly recognized that he was outmatched.

“Oh, better!” Q exclaimed, pretending to take some drugs. “Then later, on finally reaching deep space, humans, of course, found enemies to fight out there, too. And to broaden those struggles, you again found allies for still more murdering.”  Q had been a people completely without war and death until this man. “The same old story all over again.”

And then Jean-Luc got all righteous.  Q could feel his anger and reveled in it.  “What an interesting idea.” Q mused. “Prosecute and judge.”  Oh, what they would do to Jean-Luc! Now, no Q would ever love a creature like him. “Suppose it turns out we understand you humans only too well.”  Jean-Luc claimed he had no fear of what the truth would reveal. A peak around the minds of everyone else on the bridge revealed they didn’t have similar thoughts.  For shame!

“Fact about you? Splendid, splendid, Captain.” Q crooned, grinning.  “You’re a veritable fountain of good ideas.” That wasn’t a compliment. “There are preparations to make, but when we next meet, Captain,” which wouldn’t be too far in the future, “we’ll proceed exactly as you suggest.” And then Q disappeared.  Q kept watch, they didn’t need such primitive ways to keep an eye on this starship. And it was curious to watch them scramble around like ants, trying all sorts of inadvisable things to ‘outrun’ Q, as though that was possible. It was a merry little chase, though Q didn’t even use a fraction of their power.  And how cute for them to believe Q could be blinded! They were creative, Q would give them that much. Hopelessly outmatched, but very creative. Q rather liked Yar, much more then Picard, she had a bit of fight to her, instantly going to trying to blow him up.

Q brought him to a trial room when they heard Picard say he’d given up.  It was a bit old fashioned, but they liked the look of it. And Jean-Luc proved he had a bit of a spine, directly defying Q’s orders by sitting when he was told to stand!  Perhaps this wouldn’t be completely droll.  

Q was brought before the criminals on a throne, with honor due a Q.  Then Yar fought with a guard and the guard just had to be put down. Unfortunate.  “The prisoners will not be harmed... until they’re found guilty.” Q was experimenting with smug and found they quite liked how it felt with this body. “Dispose of that,” Q commanded another guard, shifting his eyes to the corpse.  It both was and wasn’t real, Q didn’t care anything for it. It was swiftly removed from their courtroom. 

Jean-Luc wanted to know if this was going to be a fair trial.  If it wasn’t going to be, Q wouldn’t have bothered and just killed them all! “Yes, of course.  Absolutely equitable.” Q agreed.

The bailiff spoke, but Q didn’t listen.  They already knew what was being said. They’d written the script, after all. The android tried to weasel their way out, but Q had been smart.  “Objection denied. This is a court of the year 2079, by which time more rapid progress had caused all “United Earth” nonsense to be abolished.”  Which, apparently, Yar took exception to as she stood up and yelled at Q, citing her poor, sad childhood- which Q knew all about and didn’t care for at all.  But she did say curious things, despite her anger and Q could feel the truth coming from her. Everything she said, she believed. Q drew closer and froze her where she stood.  If they allowed her to continue, she could distract from Jean-Luc and Q would never learn that which had enraptured one of their race. The court cheered, because that is what they do, but the little group of Starfleet officers...well, they accused Q of being a barbarian and said Q couldn’t torture or frighten them into silence.  As though that is what they were trying to do. 

Q yawned.  They’d already followed Yar’s spool of time, this was not her end.  And Jean-Luc got to his feet, demanding the treatment Q had promised them. Oops.  “I suggest you center your attention on this trial, Captain. It may be your only hope.”

And then Jean-Luc spat back that he thought Q would lose in a fair trial. “Lose?” The question was rhetorical from Q, but Jean-Luc answered it anyways, insisting that Q was going to lose.  

As if that was possible.  “And jury,” Q reminded Jean-Luc.  They controlled everything about this little trial, except the half-betazoid, two humans, and one android.

Jean-Luc kept harping on and on about Yar.  “This is a merciful court,” Q replied, kissing their gloved fingers (and how weird it was to have fingers at all!).  Yar unfroze, though even if Q hadn’t done this, she would’ve been fine. Such a worrywart this Captain was. Of course, the court hated that but what could Q do?

Q’s throne rose and they stood to their current vessel’s full height. “Silence!”  It was only a shout because it fit the aesthetic of the time period. “Continuing these proceedings, I must caution you that legal trickery is not permitted. This is a court of fact.”  Jean-Luc joined him to spit those last three words with some contempt. A bee in the captain’s bonnet? All over one measly human? How utterly exhausting.

Then Jean-Luc proved his adeptness at history, recognizing the court and that all the lawyers were dead.  Fancy words would get Jean-Luc no where, though it meant his android crewmember was all but useless. And that little tidbit about guilty until proven innocent!  Jean-Luc would’ve made an excellent Q. “Of course. Bringing the innocent to trail would be unfair.” Q got right up in Picard’s face again, though he made sure to keep Jean-Luc beneath him.  “You will now answer to the charge of being a grievously savage race.” It was unfortunate that Q couldn’t bring to trial things which had yet to happen, like Picard dooming the Q race to an ugly end.

But what would a Starfleet Captain be without honeyed words?  And the man had dated a lawyer at one point… He refused to answer such broad accusations, demanding ones much more select.  “Are you certain you want a full disclosure of human ugliness?” Q asked, trying to hide their glee (they’d never felt glee before, it was fun).  “So be it, fool.” And Q went back to presiding above the court. “Present the charges!” The bailiff rushed to obey, handing an old PADD to Jean-Luc and telling him to read the charges.  Jean-Luc read the PADD and without reading it, handed it back to bailiff. Then he addressed Q again, insisting the charges weren’t against any of them. The crowd cheered and Q considered dismissing them.  They made the scene but they were grating. Q didn’t like the feeling they generated anymore, much to their frustration.

“You are out of order.”  Q just wanted this to end now.  So he sped things up just a little, having two guards put guns against Data and Deanna’s heads.  “Soldiers,” Q verbally ordered, even though he didn’t need to. “You will press those triggers if this criminal answers with any word other then guilty.”  Yes, it was a bit of a shitty move on Q’s part, not quite fair, but Jean-Luc needed to be dealt with. Jean-Luc’s anger was an absolute balm to Q. “Criminal, how plead you?”

And Jean-Luc said that one wonderful word, sounding absolutely distraught.  “Guilty.” Oh, Q could hear singing. Then Jean-Luc went and ruined it by continuing to speak. “Provisionally.” 

Why couldn’t the human just admit he’d be beaten by the Q? There was nothing to be ashamed by in that. “The court will hear your provisions,” Q allowed, settling back into the throne.  If nothing else, this hadn’t been boring. Perhaps that’s what the other Q had seen in Jean-Luc, some amusement. And then it’d gotten out of hand…

“There will be no legal trickery.”  Q reminded the human, but Jean-Luc was insistent.  Data repeated exactly what was said early, but Q didn’t care.  “Irrelevant testimony, entirely irrelevant.” What were rules to a Q, after all?  Jean-Luc’s anger was marred by something else now. Grief, perhaps? Human emotions didn’t have starkly unique flavors and tended to run into each other, but Q didn’t bother to puzzle it out too closely.  Q couldn’t possibly expected what would come of the maelstrom inside of Picard. Picard had agreed that humans were petty savages and that there was evidence that what they were now was not so far removed from what they had been.  But then Jean-Luc demanded a test. That caught Q’s attention. They had been wondering what to do with the Hietlza that had been taken captive by the planet below...Q would step in if the humans went too far, but perhaps they could reunite the lovers without intercession. 

“I see, I see. And so, you petition the court to accept you and your comrades as proof of what humanity has become?” Despite two of them not really being human.  Jean-Luc pointed out the journey ahead of them and Q made up their mind. “Another brilliant suggest, Captain, but your test hardly requires a long mission.” Oh, this next mission would do nicely.  “Your immediate destination offers far more challenge then you can possibly imagine.” Q leaned forward in their throne. “Yes, this Farpoint Station will be an excellent test.” The bailiff rang his bell and demanded all stand.  “This court is adjourned to allow the criminals to be tested.” 

The bells rang, Jean-Luc and his compatriots finally stood, and Q let their throne be lifted up.  But before they left the presence of the Starfleet officers, Q had one last bit of advice. “You may find, Captain, that you are not nearly clever enough to deal with what lies ahead for you.” Q put them right back on the bridge, but couldn’t resist finish their sentence in Jean-Luc’s head.  “It may have been better to accept sentence here.” It certainly would’ve been better for the Q.

Either way, Q took a back seat to watch.  If nothing else, it’d be a fun adventure.