A terrible decision
. . Enterprise . .
. . . 2366. . .
John-Luc awoke from his sleep. He had a strong feeling about there being a temporal abnormality occurring where there shouldn't be. It was happening in Q's timeline. It was . . . The Q-depiction sense. A sense that had grown over the past five billion years. A couple years ago Q left John-Luc back on his ship once they had spent a eternity together. Before Q had left, though, John-Luc voiced that he had could sense wrong temporal abnormality coming into focus and were co-existing.
Q put his hands on John-Luc's shoulders with a shocked expression.
"How long have you felt this?" Q asked.
"It started two billion years ago," Came John-Luc's reply. "It has recently. . . Become more clear. You remember the set of car keys that we lost on Karboios Three and then they suddenly appeared in my hand?"
"Yes." Q said.
"I thought of them and there they were." John-Luc said.
"I told you that wasn't me," Q said, taking his hands off John-Luc's shoulders. "John, you are evolving to a higher being. It takes Vulcans less longer than it does for humans."
"E. . .Evolving?" John-Luc repeated.
"You are going to be what I am in a years time, I see it!" Q said. "Or maybe longer. But ten years: tops." Q rubbed his hands together. "Humans have two routes of evolution; hyper-humans or . . . what I am. Vulcans, on the other hand, base everything they do on logic. Thought. Reason. Thinking. You just took a short cut to on the evolution chain."
"But I have not aged." John-Luc said.
"Why you haven't. But perhaps that forever curse can . . . well. . . allow certain abilities to develop such as the telepathic communication you told me about seven thousand hundred six hundred twenty four years ago." Q said. "You need to be with your own kind and decide when to leave this version of Star Fleet on your own terms."
Q had one finger under John-Luc's chin, affectionately.
"Ten years," John-Luc said. "That is not too long!"
Q lowered his hand with a laugh.
"Time will be very irrelevant to you once the evolution is complete," Q said. "And aging will take a very long time. Heck, you can chose to appear as anything you want!"
"Yes, honey, anything."
"I like what I appear as now."
Q smiled, nodding his head.
Then he had that look on his face.
The one that indicated he could read the thoughts on John-Luc's mind.
It turned into acceptance.
"You want to stay until the war is over."
"Can't blame you for wanting to see that day."
Q stepped back and they were back on the planet. Not a minute had passed since Data and Yar had left. The sand was white. The water was blue. The sky was young. He could see the shape of the Enterprise above in orbit from afar. John-Luc chose to block out hearing the thoughts of his many crewmen. He could feel their doubt about Q. He could feel their unsure-attitude toward him remaining on the planet with Q. He blocked out those feelings as well.
"If you ever want a short chat, just pick up the telepathic phone."
"See you later!"
Q vanished with a snap of his fingers in a white flash.
John-Luc could feel a change in Jean-Luc's timeline, he could feel it in Q's timeline. The Q-depiction sense meant a change in the past. He could feel a rather wrong time abnormality being born.
God, did he not like these time abnormalities!
He couldn't snap them away like Q could.
He couldn't fix them.
John-Luc got out of bed then he put on slippers to cozy up his hairy feet.
He could feel timelines converging on each other. One moment he was on the bridge where there appeared a naked Q floating in a rather unnnatural posture that seemed so Q'ish. John-Luc felt his heart beat quicker. God, did he miss Q. He could telepathically speak to the entity while on different matters but not all the time. Q looked so young and rather natural in his floating state. John-Luc had a warm feeling traveling up to his brain at the sight of naked Q. To hell with it; he has seen Q naked so many times in the five billion years that passed. He enjoyed to see Q naked. Q was a lovely partner in bed.
John-Luc was back in his quarters.
"What in heaven's name is going on?" John-Luc said.
"Soong to Picard." Data's voice came over.
"Picard here," John-Luc said.
"Captain, I have just seen Q naked in the bridge when I wasn't on the bridge." Data said.
John-Luc turned pale.
"And you saw me, is that correct?"
"We may have to wait a couple hours but I have an idea as to what is going on . . ."
. . .Enterprise . .
. . . 2366. . . 7:48 PM. . .Mistake timeline . . .
Q was in the brig 'powerless', he claimed.
Jean-Luc found it hard to believe Q would be depowered and vulnerable but the way he acted and reacted was different from all those times he terrorized his crew. He was in his captain's uniform walking into his quarters. The room was very dark. He almost could not see where he was about to be heading if not for his eyes adjusting to the star light that left him a semi-good vision of where he was heading. Jean-Luc felt that someone was in his quarters.
He saw a figure in a chair beside a table.
The words came from the figure who sounded exactly like him!
At first Jean-Luc expected those words to come from Q but they did not.
"Security!" Jean-Luc said, tapping on his combadge.
The figure shook his head.
"You are not in your quarters," Came the oddly familiar figure. "You are in mine, captain."
"These are my quarters."
"Technically in every universe that exists featuring the Enterprise and her Captain Picard; it is our quarters," The figure stood up. "Is Q aboard this vessel?"
Jean-Luc froze seeing himself lacking a left eyebrow.
"Captain, answer me. This is extremely vital."
The other him looked in the other direction.
"Mr Soong." The other Picard said.
Jean-Luc turned in the direction that he had turned his attention.
There was a human Data with crystal blue eyes.
"Is he human?" Data asked.
Jean-Luc was almost too stunned to say a word but he cleared his throat, and said, "We are not sure."
"Where are you heading?" Data asked.
"To Star Base 22.11." Jean-Luc said.
"The Calamarain. . . " The other Picard said. "Have you met them? What about the falling moon?"
"What are you talking about?" Jean-Luc said, confused.
The other Picard looked toward Data's direction.
"It makes sense, Number One."
"It does, Captain."
Data was. . . That? That is odd.
"What makes sense?" Jean-Luc asked.
The two vanished before his eyes and Jean-Luc was back in the hallway leading to his quarters. He looked over his shoulder confused and rather . . . finding it odd. He looked around searching for any change that didn't occur in his head. Perhaps Q was getting to him. Perhaps it was all a game! Yes, that must be what it was! A game. A rather bad game playing around with duplicates of the bridge crew including he. A game that made Q seem powerless. It wasn't the first time Jean-Luc had come face to face with himself. It wouldn't be the last. Jean-Luc resumed heading to his quarters.
. . . 2366. . .
. . . War timeline . . . Enterprise . . 6:10 AM. .
"What you are saying is that we have a problem with time." Evans said.
"Precisely," John-Luc said. "And if it continues, then this timeline collapse in on itself and everyone will die."
"A collapsing timeline is nothing that we haven't fought against," Yar said. "We can fix it."
John-Luc had his hands together on the table.
"I do not believe we can fix it single handedly, Lieutenant," John-Luc said. "The problem must fix itself."
"Since when has a problem solved itself?" Evans asked.
"We have had to solve problems on our own when the Federation wasn't close by and ships could not help us, sir." Yar said.
"This is not one of those times," John-Luc said. "The people on the other Enterprise are very unaware of it due to the sudden arrival of Human Q. They refuse to believe it is real."
"By my experience, they might think it is a dream," Davis said. "A well crafted dream. The Klingon thought I was a mad crew-member invading his dreams."
"Captain, what is the problem?" Beverly asked.
"Death is the only outcome-" John-Luc started to explain but Yar cut him off.
"KLINGON!" Yar shouted, standing up holding her phaser.
John-luc looked up to see a puzzled Worf at the doorway.
"Don't fire, Miss Yar!" John-Luc ordered.
". . , Yar?" Worf said. He shook his head closing his eyes. "No, this cannot be real. This is a dream. A trick!"
John-Luc willed himself over to Worf.
"Mr Worf, step out of the room and compose yourself," John-Luc said. "I will not let a Senior Officer break apart in this room or any room," He put his hand on the younger Klingon's shoulders. "This is no. . ." He saw three pips. "Trick, Mr Worf. Tell your Data and your Captain Riker what you have just seen." He took his hands off Worf's shoulders. "Go, now, and change course to the planet .Bre'el IV with Q aboard. Is Q aboard your ship?"
Worf lowered his head,
"He . . is dead, . . And that planet was destroyed." He looked up. "I. . . I saw you die in Sick Bay last year."
"My name is John-Luc Picard and I am a Vulcan," John-Luc said. "I am not dying anytime soon."
"Captain, this Klingon could be lying!"
"Do you give your word that you are not lying?"
"I give my word."
That pissed off Yar.
"We can't rely on just that!" Yar shouted. "'After all they've done to us!"
John-Luc shot Yar a sharp glare.
"A Klingon means their word, Miss Yar," John-Luc said. "Now, Mr Worf. . . Disregard what I just said about the planet. You are excused."
Worf went out the door and he vanished into thin air.
"Captain. . ." Beverly said. "This is very unusual."
"This is out of regulations, Captain!" Yar said. "I will report this to Star Fleet."
"Do it and you are demoted," John-Luc said. "And I will assign Davis to your position instead."
Davis's eyes grew wide.
"But Captain!" Yar shouted.
"This is none of Star Fleet's concern," John-Luc said. "This meeting is over."
And shortly afterward there was a red alert sent throughout the ship including the briefing room. Most of the senior officers went to the bridge. The red light was beeping off and on making its typical wail. Donnel had been the silent one in the group contemplating how this entire scenario could be possible. He had growing concerns for his captain as did Data. Data and Donnel shared a look easily reading 'there's a temporal abnormality because Q saves our captain's life' that was brief but very visible between them. John-Luc ordered the view of space on screen. There was 20,000 Enterprises in different versions out there.
"Find out which version has a human Q," John-Luc said.
The order was sent.
And they waited.
And they waited for what seemed to be an hour.
In that hour, the Vulcan heard a voice in his mind that belonged to Q.
John-Luc?, Q thought.
Yes?, John-Luc thought back.
What is wrong? I can feel something is disturbing you. Q sounded concerned. Did you get attacked by a Klingon Bird-of-prey again?
No. John-Luc thought.
John-Luc could mentally picture Q furrowing his eyebrows.
Something is off. Tell me.
You are omniscient, you should know.
Don't give me that attitude,John-Luc Picard. Tell me!
Usually John-Luc could handle the pestering but this was Q he was dealing with!
The entity who asked questions and wanted answers from them.
Simple as that.
It was a statement like that which would normally earn a eyebrow raised from Q.
Hm?, Q thought back, explain.
I am sorry, but this is a temporal abnormality that you too would find disturbing.
Ha. Ha. Ha. Q had a laugh.
Quarty, don't laugh.
I am never disturbed, don't you know that? Q sounded so amused right then.
John-Luc recalled each and every-time he had caught Q with a disturbed look on his face.
It involves the day you were a human aboard the Enterprise. John-Luc could picture the blood drain from Q's face. There is a timeline out there that exists when it should not.
Oh, Q's voice had lowered, that one.
You are aware of it. John-Luc assumed.
Of course, I am aware of that! Q's voice had rose voice then lowered back to the usual tone. I can't intervene in my own timeline and it is frankly. . . A wild hair stray that shouldn't be allowed to exist. . . Then there was silence. You are in it. Then there was a intended pause. Aren't you?
Yes, I am. John-Luc thought,
I should have told you in one way or another; our counterparts have a strong connection to each other. One dies and so does the other. Q explained. We are a lot like yin and yang.
So wait, we were. . . connected. . . from the beginning? John-Luc thought, in shock.
I don't know how or why, but it just appears so. John-Luc could easily picture Q giving a small shrug. In the beginning it was more of a 'rivally' existence like the Decepticons and Autobots. The Autobots ALWAYS needs their good old bad guys. Can't live with them, can't live without them! Like the Doctor and his enemies-that-owe-their-existence-to-him.
I see, John-Luc thought.
John-Luc, get out of there. Q thought, urgently. Your Proto-Q senses are still coming through. They shouldn't be exposed to a catastrophic temporal abnormality!
Then John-Luc had a pain in his head.
A very terrible pain.
Then there was only silence in the thought connection between Q and John-Luc,
John-Luc?, Q thought in panic as he lost the thoughts of John-Luc. John!
John-Luc collapsed on the floor in pain and unconscious.
"Captain!" Data shouted.
. . .Enterprise . .
. . . 2366. . . 11:48 AM. . .Mistake timeline . . .
Even though Q wasn't a Q anymore, Q could sense something was . . . off. He had a pain in his head. He got up and rubbed both sides of his temples. It was so strange and off. Not the kind that he liked. It brought up questions. Why the hell was it happening to him? He closed his eyes contemplating what the hell it could be. Migraines. Irritation at his pathetic useless form. He opened his eyes feeling . . . Like he should be dead. The brig was different. It was dark and crudely made with a electronical blue force-field. He rubbed his temples muttering, "This is not happening, this is not happening, I am not aboard a ship of ugly and massive proportions."
He opened his eyes to see Jean-Luc Picard come in with a android Data.
Q rubbed his eyes and then Data was at the lead with a Klingon male who. . . strangely was in armor with a fierce look. He rubbed his eyes again.
"I have decided to let you stay, with Data to make sure you don't get into trouble."
"I am shifting."
"Shifting through what, my mind?"
Then he heard a mental but frightened and worried scream of the name 'JOHN-LUC? ANSWER ME. ARE YOU OKAY? TELL ME YOU ARE OKAY.' then Q realized that was HIS screams. But why would he be worrying over such a figure? Who was John-Luc? 'JOHN-LUC PICARD, YOU BETTER ANSWER ME BEFORE I GO SEARCHING THROUGH YOUR MIND.'
"So you do have your powers."
Q was staring at the floor.
"That is a unusual name. . . John-Luc Picard." He rubbed his temples.
He looked up feeling the pain dying down but the scream has lowered into a worried man. 'Come on,he can take care of himself. He is probably tuning you out. He is a Vulcan. He is Picard's counterpart. Count to three. Count to a million. I have to check on him. Screw the rules!' Then he heard a body thump. Then he realized that he had presently fallen off the bed stiff, unable to move, or better yet respond. It was due to a conflict of two different minds coming into contact with another.
Guinan could feel the explosion that never happened sending both minds across from each other including the people they belonged to.
It was a bad headache to Guinan.
When Q opened his eyes he was in Sick Bay.
"I never seen brain activity like that before," Beverly said. "It is like someone flipped a switch in a section of his brain that disturbed most of his brain sections."
Q leaned forward rubbing the side of his head.
"My head." Q said, groaning.
"That wasn't nice of you to pull that stunt on us," Jean-Luc said. "Is it all part of your game?"
Q glared at Jean-Luc's direction.
"I am not a Q, Picard." Q said, then he realized he was trembling.
Q held up his hand and it wasn't standing still. The next Q knew is that he was pressed against the wall by Data. A different Data with three pips. He had brown eyes instead of yellow eyes. He had grabbed Q by the civilian uniform in a overly strong grip. He still had that perfect dark hair. His skin was white as some of the civilians from Earth.
"You helped a Klingon get aboard MY ship!" Data with brown eyes said.
"Data, you are scaring me!" Q said.
"Good," Data with brown eyes said. "We are getting somewhere."
"We are getting no where in this facility because I DON'T AFFILIATE MY SELF TO HELPING KLINGONS GETTING ABOARD THE ENTERPRISE!" Q shouted. "I never would do that!"
Data with brown eyes tossed Q to the floor knocking him against the wall.
"Ow," Q whined, getting up. He touched his face feeling a fine long scar. "Where did I get that from?" He felt his ears then his forehead. "No. . . " He felt his chest where his heart should be. "No," Then he felt along the side of his chest. "No way."
"You are to die,you traitorious Vulcan, for betraying the Federation," Data with brown eyes raised his phaser.
"Who do I look like to you?" Q asked.
"You are Q who is a Vulcan," Data with brown eyes said. "Is that really your last words?"
Q was left horrorfied.
"Where is Captain Jean-Luc Picard?" Q asked.
"Exiled due to your interference," Data with brown eyes said. "Goodbye, Q."
Data with brown eyes pressed the trigger.
Then Q recoiled on the biobed frightened with sweat traveling down his skin.
"Q,what is wrong?" Data asked.
Q saw that Jean-Luc had long gone.
Data had two pips.
"I am shifting in time," Q said. "And through realities, apparently."
Q started to go forward to get off the biobed only to feel a sharp pain in his right leg. He hit his head first on the other biobed landing on the floor. Q only got a bruise on the side of his head and a right leg that suddenly went limp. Data helped Q get up. Q looked down to see that his right leg was missing.
"MY LEG!" Q panicked. "What happened to my leg?"
Q looked up to see to his horror that the wallpaper was dark purple.
"You lost it before you came here, remember?" Data asked.
Q closed his eyes then he reopened them, and he was looking at his trembling hand.
"If you are not a Q, then what are you?" Jean-Luc asked.
"Human." Q said.
. . .Klingon War Timeline . . .
. . . 2366. . . Enterprise . . .2:39 PM.
Acting Captain's log: We are still at 20,000 Enterprises where there is no sign of Q. We have one mission: to go deeper into this abnormality and find the timeline that has where the problem started. End Log.
Commander Data walked down the hall contemplating.
His Captain had fallen into a coma,oddly enough.
Doctor Beverly had diagnosed his condition 'as annoyed brain cells that have become sensitive to time abnormalities and suffered trauma to it'.
"Data!" Came a voice he never heard before. "Finally I found you!"
Data turned in the direction of the voice to see a fairly middle-aged man in white and gray civilian's attire. He had dark brown hair and a look that seemed like he was miserable from the beginning of his life and viewed everyone not as great as him inferior. He was a random man.
"You were with me in Ten forward, Data, when they attacked. When I came to I was in a separate quarters with a ice bag under my head."
"When who attacked?"
"You are Q."
"Yes, that I am."
Then Q stepped back, afraid, of Data.
"Are you going to try to kill me?" Q asked.
When John-Luc had regained consciousness. . .It went like this:
"Captain, are you alll right?" Data asked, by his captain's side at Sick Bay.
"Mr Soong. . ." John-Luc said, in a great deal of pain. "Q must not die."
Data raised a brow.
"We can't stop that." Data said.
"Yes, you can," John-Luc said. "You must get to the heart of the reality. The reality where this problem has grown . . . " He winced. "Mr Soong . . . If I do not make it another day . . . You are a fine officer, you know that. I want you to captain this ship."
"Captain . . ." Data said.
"And if you meet him when I am gone . . . Q. . . Tell him I am sorry I couldn't make it." John-Luc apologized.
"Nonsense," Data said. "You will make it."
"If I do not make it. . .Just promise me you will do all your power to ensure the Federation comes to a compromise with the Klingons," John-Luc said. "I order you to promise me!"
"I promise,Captain." Data said.
And there John-Luc fell into his coma.
Data stepped forward.
"Mr Q, it is imperative you do not die today." Data said.
"Uh . . . What?" Q said, surprised..
"My captain, who has since fallen ill, has made it clear you must not die today." Data said
"Well, whatever his intentions are; I might not live another day." Q said.
"Don't say that, never say that, Q." Data said.
Q looked at Data oddly.
"What did I ever do for you?" Q asked.
"This is the first time I met you,Q," Data said. "You must not be all that bad if my captain insists you live."
Then Q smiled.
Q vanished before Data's eyes.
"Q?" Data said. "Mr Q?"
The ship shook side to side tilting sideways making everything inside tremble.
"Bridge to Commander Data."
"We have made it to the heart of the abnormality."
"On my way. Data out."
. . .Enterprise . .
. . . 2366. . . 3:48 PM. . .Mistake and War timeline . . .
The members of the Enterprise believed they out ran the Calamarain. No activity what so ever. Q, on the other hand, had been oddly. . . In a good mood. That time-shifting (Or so he claimed) had allegedly stopped. They had made it to the Star base, dropped Q off, and were back on their mission to explore the galaxy. Now, leaving Q behind was their greatest mistake that could be counted on that made the problem of 20,000 Enterprises come into being. Geordi was having trouble with his visor so he decided to take it off.
That was mistake number 2.
Geordi found himself on the bridge capable of seeing in the Turbo lift.
Data was in the captain's chair speaking to a man who looked a lot like Geordi except he had on a pair of goggles.
"I understand your problem, Captain La Forge," Commander Data said. "But everyone wants to get home."
"I don't understand why we were plucked out of the war against the borgs!" Captain La Forge said. "We were on the tipping point of ending the war!"
"The Borgs?" Commander Data asked.
"Yes, the damn Borgs, they are the most infectious alien robotic beings I ever came across since the Enterprise D." Captain La Forge said.
"We never met the Borgs." Commander Data said.
"I will send you schematics of the Borg-resistance technology we have made," Captain La Forge said, rubbing his beard. "Hey. . . I didn't know you had a me with eyes."
"Data?" Geordi said.
Commander Data stood up turning in the direction of Geordi.
"Geordi?" Commander Data said, as Yar aimed her phaser at Geordi. "Don't shoot, and if you shoot, I will promptly ask for your resignation."
Geordi's eyes were wide.
"I am a human with a positronic brain unlike your friend who might be an android or very human, depends on who is controlling my security officer Geordi La Forge."
"I am Chief Engineer."
"Geordi, where is Q?"
"Star Base 22.11."
Commander Data lowered his head and his eyes briefly closed.
"Tasha, put your phaser away," Commander Data ordered. "Right this instant." Commander Data turned toward the screen. "I am sorry for the off topic. You may send us the schematics."
"I will," Captain La Forge said. "La Forge out."
Commander Data faced toward Geordi.
"I want you to see something, Engineer," Commander Data said. "Your mind will be boggled."
Geordi went on the bridge then came to Data's side and he looked at the screen.
"What is that?" Geordi asked, pointing at the starship with a gigantic rounded ball that has a medical corps symbol on the wing blades.
"The Olympic version of the Enterprise fully armed," Commander Data said. "Which is unlike your version as hospitality is defined as 'harmless'. It is commanded by William T. Riker with his devoted wife (counselor, might I note) Deanna Troi Riker and his son Thomas Riker. His first officer is Data. Second officer is Lnt Commander Jean-Luc Picard. The Chief Medical Officer onboard that ship is a version of yourself with eyes genetically cloned to be able to see."
"What about Beverly?" Geordi asked.
"She died two years ago to them and the Tactile/security position is held by a Klingon named Worf." Commander Data said.
"Wow . . ." Geordi said. "Do they have a Q?"
"Their version died. Their Second Officer is dying and there is no way to treat him," Commander Data said. "And I need your help to bring your version of the Enterprise and our version of the Enterprise into contact."
Geordi saw there was multiple versions of the Enterprise varying in designs easily identifiable due to the '1701' markings.
He was very much mind blown.
"But wouldn't that make the universe explode?" Geordi said.
"The universe has not exploded yet." Commander Data said.
. . . Mistake timeline. . .
. . . Star Base 22.11 . .
Q was on his bed with hands behind his head staring at the ceiling. Why did he feel so lost and unsure if he was meant to be here? Maybe it was the Calamarain's attacks weighing in on his mind. Perhaps he had some form of brain trauma. That could be a reasonable assumption. There were beeps coming from his door. Q sighed.
"Come in." Q said.
In the doors came in Geordi.
"Why hello Q." Geordi said.
Q took his hands off from behind the back of his head then raised himself halfway up to see Geordi.
"You are blind!" Q said. "Where did you get those eyes?
"Apparently, I am temporally possessing the body of Security Officer Geordi La Forge," Geordi said. "Don't know what exactly happened that made it possible. Well. . . Actually." He handed Q a unusual contraption that seemed to be making an unusual blue glow. It clamped around his right wrist just as a blue fog lingered into the room. "I am doing you a favor."
Q's surroundings changed, but not before the Calamarain passed through Geordi, carrying their intense hatred inside their cloudy appearance, that this version was killed however his mind was returned to the correct body. Q felt like he had been struck. That's when it hit him. He fell. Off what? Off a bed under unusual circumstance. Q's eyes struggled to open.
"I never seen brain activity like that before," Beverly said. "It is like someone-"
"Flipped a switch in a section of his brain that disturbed most of his brain sections." Q finished for her feeling a part of his headache.
"So you do have your powers."
"I do not!" Q said. "This is the second time it has happened for me and if I am not mistaken, a man just died saving my life! It never happened, to you, but to me it is happened. . .Time travel is complicated for you human beings." He shook his head feeling a pain in his right leg. He looked down to see it is still there. "Picard . . .In the next few hours there will be a race out for vengeance against me called the Calamarain. Could you please take me to some abandoned location so I won't be the cause of some-one's death?"
"No." Jean-Luc said.
"Why?" Q asked.
"Because leaving you alone will probably make it that you get your powers back and turned out it was a trick." Jean-Luc said.
"Jean-Luc, I would NEVER EVER do that!" Q said.
"I have assigned Data to your particular case to make sure you don't get yourself killed being the 'entity' you are," Jean-Luc said. "Don't try to trick us this time. Until we get to Starbase 22.11."
Our scene transfers to Jean-Luc's ready room about thirty minutes later where he is drinking Earl Gray tea. It was all going according to his plan regarding Q's unexpected arrival and his weakend moments. Jean-Luc lowered his cup down noticing the darkness in the room. The intensity of it had dawned on Jean-Luc. The atmosphere felt intense, dark, and serious. He noticed the wall paper was a dark gray. Which was odd because it was a nice shade of pink normally.
"Hello, Jean-Luc." Came the familiar voice.
Jean-Luc turned his gaze forward to see himself.
It was more like an apparition.
"You are just a figment of my imagination." Jean-Luc said.
John-Luc smiled,tilting his head.
"Now am I?" John-Luc asked.
"Yes, you are. And Q, stop this acting." Jean-Luc said.
"I may be becoming a Q but I am not your Q." John-Luc said.
"Then who are you?" Jean-Luc asked.
"I am your other self and your ship will not be moving for the next twenty-four hours until you reconsider on taking Q to the nearest Star Base," John-Luc said. "You may call me, Vulcan Picard, if you'll like." The darkness in the room lifted. "I want you to realize something very important about you and Q." There a white screen appeared. "Since the beginning of time; you and Q's lives have been connected so . . ." He rubbed his fingers. "Dearly; that when one dies. . . the other follows eventually."
"We are not that connected." Jean-Luc said,
"In some timelines you live for a awful long time, but that is just because they followed the original timeline featuring the falling moon," John-Luc said. "I am here to say if you prefer to die in the next couple of years by a heart attack then so be it. Riker will take your position. Data will be sad even after getting his emotion chip and becoming first officer. Your name will be forever attached to the name Enterprise along with Kirk,Archer, and Garrett. Only you were striken down nine years into the mission the Enterprise sailed upon."
Jean-Luc stood up, with a frown.
"What is the point of telling me that?" Jean-Luc asked.
"You are not supposed to die, Human Picard," John-Luc said. "In fact, one of these days you must admit to Beverly you really, really, really like her. Well, you do, really but that is getting ahead of ourselves. You have one fine boy with a ridiculous long name." He had a laugh. "But that's only if this timeline does play out the way it has to."
"What do you mean?" Jean-Luc asked.
John-Luc's voice grew lower and bitter.
"If I told you, you would expect it to happen and it will be fixed."
"Fixed as in?"
"You know well as I that just because it is non-negotiable doesn't mean we can try to stop it."
"The Prime Directive is not a term to use as a weapon."
John-Luc grew silent.
"Do you want to live, human Picard?" John-Luc asked.
"Yes." Jean-Luc said.
"Then don't go to Starbase 22.11!" John-Luc said, making the white screen show the image of himself on a biobed with a burn on his uniform. "Here is how you will die."
Jean-Luc saw the biobed read he died.
"You must be kidding me."
John-Luc shook his head.
"I am afraid not," John-Luc said. "Without Q. . . You are a dead man, human Picard."
"I refuse to believe that my life depends on Q's existence," Jean-Luc said. "I can make plenty of different choices and not die."
"I used to be that way," John-Luc said, as the white screen vanished. "But . . ." He paused. "Fine, You should see what mess you are making!"
"Are you telling me you are in control of these events?" Jean-Luc asked.
"I am the one who's been harmed and otherwise keeping them from destroying each other," John-Luc said. "About time I take the gloves off."
John-Luc snapped his fingers and he vanished. The starship trembled side to side violently followed by a white flash. The Enterprise tilted sideways then it returned to its natural position once scraping the side of an Olympic class Enterprise. It returned to its normal position with a wide scar seen along the secondary hull of the Enterprise while the Olympic class Enterprise has a inward dent pressing inwards. Jean-Luc exited his ready room.
"Status report!" Jean-Luc said.
"Decks 11 through twenty have been damaged, heavily," Worf reported. "We are being hailed by. . . Ourselves?"
"On screen." Jean-Luc said.
On the screen appeared Commander Data.
"Hello, this is acting captain Commander Data Soong of the USS Enterprise D," Commander Data said, scanning the room. "Do you have Q aboard?"
"Commander, Enterprise twelve thousand three hundred forty-two and Enterprise one thousand thirty three hundred have collided," Yar said. The Enterprise shook ever so violently so everyone took on their grip while Commander Data stood his ground. "We have five Borg infested Enterprises appearing."
"Send the message to the other Enterprises regarding it: shoot to kill," Commander Data said, then he returned his crystal blue eyes upon Captain Jean-Luc. "I am waiting."
"Yes," Jean-Luc said. "By the way, Commander Data,who is your captain?"
"My captain?" Commander Data asked.
"Yes." Jean-Luc said.
"John-Luc Picard," Commander Data said. "Last Vulcan in the Federation. . . or at least. . . " He looked down with what seemed to be a sad expression. "Was." His voice had become small. He raised his head up. "He passed four minutes and two seconds ago."
"How do we fix this?" Jean-Luc asked.
"By turning around," Commander Data said. "And directly heading away from Starbase 22.11. I highly recommend going on the original course."
Jean-Luc raised his eyebrows.
"And then?" Jean-Luc said.
"Time will resume and repair itself," Commander Data said. Tasha reported the destruction of ten Enterprises who had believed each other were imposters/evil duplicates of themselves when clearly it was not. "Q and our crew will remember it. It will be as though none of this ever happened. We will make sure your path is clear, Captain Picard."
"I feel he is telling the truth, Captain." Deanna said.
The Enterprise of this timeline was still.
The Enterprise of the Klingon-War era shook.
"Captain, we are being attacked by the mirror verse of ourselves!" Yar shouted.
"By. . ." Commander Data said, at least stunned. "We. . .What?"
On the side screen appeared a Constitution class version of the Enterprise flying in the direction of a Sovereign class firing at the Klingon War Enterprise. On the bridge of the Constitution class sat a rather familiar figure in command red in the captain's chair with legs crossed, leaned forward, and had his fist under his chin. Sure it wasn't Kirk, Garret, Archer, or Picard. But it was someone they (as in Enterprise D of the mistake timeline and Enterprise D of the Klingon-War era including other timelines that were hurt/not hurt by Q's intervention) never really did expect. Quarty had expected this were to happen. He had communications intercept their conversation. They were the source of this mess. They WERE helping.
Sure, it seemed reasonable to take the captain's chair after his captain, Tonya, went mad at seeing various versions of the Enterprise.
Commander Quarty preferred to stop the carnage.
"Fire all torpedoes on the firing Enterprise," Commander Quarty said. "Karzine, send the message to both Enterprises that are not firing and are having a conversation regarding our help."
". . . Uh, Commander, should we tell them that you are Q's counterpart?" Karzine, the Klingon woman, asked.
Quarty shook his head.
"Hell no," Quarty said. "That is a totally different me."
The evil counterparts had it out with the Enterprise-F.
Our perspective goes back to the original Enterprise.
"So many Enterprises . . ." Jean-Luc muttered.
"Captain, we have hailing coming from Enterprise-F."
"On screen." Jean-Luc said.
"Why, hello, legendary man with bald hair, hi, I actually have no relation to Q what-so-ever so . . " Commander Quarty said. "This is acting captain Commander Quarty of the USS Enterprise-F." Jean-Luc seemed to be hardly able to believe what is coming out of Quarty's mouth. "It sounds a lot better than Captain Quarty, anyway, fix this mess! Quartin out!"
The ship was turning away from the 19,990 versions of the Enterprise. The Enterprise-F rammed its way blocking the parallel versions of the Klingon-war Enterprise from attacking their counterparts. The phasers struck in through the armor hitting most of the important and very dangerous sides. There was no way to announce an evacuation for this crew. As all hands aboard the Enterprise-F were obliterated by the counterparts of the Klingon-War Enterprise.
The original Enterprise warped off at Warp 8 into space leaving the sector.
All the Enterprises vanished as did the scrap metal.
. . . 2366. . .
. . . Klingon-War timeline. . . Enterprise. . .
John-Luc awoke in his bed to where he saw Q sitting at the edge appearing as though he had been waiting a really long time to wake up. He tilted his head feeling like he had the best nights sleep in weeks and also that everything was perfectly fine. It was even on Q's face. Everything is the way it should be.
"Hello, sleeping beauty." Q said.
John-Luc leaned forward off the biobed that was in a secured room. John-Luc had a wacky bio-reading on the biobed scanners due to his Vulcan half.
"What happened?" John-Luc asked.
Q raised a brow.
"Don't you remember?" Q asked, one hand on the bed.
John-Luc appeared to be rather clueless.
"Remember what?" John-Luc asked.
"You fixed a timeline. Your very first temporal abnormality as a progressing-to-Q." Q said,now standing up. "It nearly killed you to warn your other self but that wasn't enough." He walked back and forth. "You have been bed ridden for the past week due to your brain repairing itself. Doctor's orders you stay bedridden for a week and you actually listened! Bravo! Braaavo!"
John-Luc frowned, folding his arms.
"So all of that was real?" John-Luc asked.
"Yep," Q said. "It was the continuum's idea to test you. See how you would handle it as would your crew."
"That was a very uncalled for test!" John-Luc said.
"That it was," Q said. "And I learned something new about you, John."
"Such as?" John-Luc asked.
"You are sensitive to extreme temporal abnormalities," Q said, now stopped right at the side of the bed. "Over time, as a Q, that sensitivity will go away. No pain. No hunger, well, you can control your hunger in a sense. No diseases. Nothing. Nothing will ever harm you unless the continuum took your celestial status away."
"I don't get how they can do it. Isn't the point of Celeestial meaning nothing can ever happen. You just said so yourself!" John-Luc pointed out.
"We need people to give us order and keep us straight," Q said. "Sometimes we need it," He shook his head. "Sometimes it is not needed but . . . when we go in over our head." He snapped his fingers: nothing happened. "We get our mortality. Face our. . Mistakes. Our past deeds to certain civilizations are brought back up after they learn we are vulnerable." John-Luc had a short laugh. "The whole point of the continuum is to teach civilizations lessons and make them better not just play with the tapestry of the universe and explore."
"So what if I lose mine?" John-Luc asked.
"You earned yours,John-Luc," Q said, sitting down at the edge of the bed. "Many Q in the continuum admire that. It will be difficult to remove your status . . .Because well . . " He paused. "One of the judges recently dissipated." He rolled his shoulders. "Really, they recycled themselves into a new Q."
"And?" John-Luc asked.
"They asked me to replace him." Q said.
"You?" John-Luc asked.
Q sighed, in relief.
"I know right,"Q said. "I thought they were joking so I laughed at them."
"And what happened?" John-Luc asked, curiously.
"They made your little headache happen," Q said. "It is a serious position to ponder about so I want to ask . . . Would you want someone in your favor?"
"Why yes, I would," John-Luc said. "My god, Quarty, you have become quite the man."
"Ha. ha. ha." Q had a laugh.
"I mean it," John-Luc said. "One moment they hate your guts the next they want you."
I am the one to be hated and be loved by my enemies,John-Luc, Q thought.
Namely those who want to rip your guts out, John-Luc added.
They had slipped unconsciously into their telepathic communication.
Q cleared his throat.
We can't always talk in a room like this without speaking, John, Q reminded John-Luc, In fact it can make a cat stand perfectly still while being afraid of dead silence.
You are afraid to say you are a responsible man, John-Luc thought.
Am not!, Q argued back.
Then tell me why they would chose you . . . with your words, John-Luc said.
"I am pretty reliable advocating for certain civilizations," Q said. "Maybe it is because of my interest it serves to many. I represent those who like to break rules or bend them or read them creatively or using them as candy with a low IQ civilization. . ."
John-Luc brought Q into a warm, passioniate kiss that lasted for a complete minute.
Then John-Luc ended that little kiss.
Q smiled, catching a mental image John-Luc had shared with him.
"Ah," Q said. "You make a good point. I can really talk a man to death."
"Did you really?" John-Luc asked.
"I did," Q said, with one hand on the side of John-Luc's face. "I will accept the position. . ." He stroked the side of John-Luc's face. "I will see you in four years,honey."
Q vanished in a white flash.
John-Luc was left with a feeling that was left in his heart by Q. A gift to show how proud he was of him. A gift to show dearly he loved the Vulcan Captain. John-Luc could feel the love that Q had for him. Q had given him love. The way Q felt around the Vulcan. The way Q felt for him. The way Q would feel when scared if he was gone; far out of his reach. The way he would feel for the Vulcan when he missed him. John-Luc looked out the window briefly thinking how lucky he was. How lucky he was to have saved so many timelines with his crew.
John-Luc got off the bio bed.