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Literature / The Q Continuum

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The Q Continuum is a trilogy of novels by Greg Cox. The books are Q-Zone, Q-Space, and Q-Strike.

When the Enterprise-E is sent on a mission to study the Great Barrier at the edge of the galaxy, Q suddenly appears and attempts to dissuade them. When Picard refuses, Q takes him on a trip through time to show the captain what really lies beyond the Barrier. In the meantime, the Enterprise crew are left dealing with Q's wife and young son, as well as the scientist who's intent on reaching the Barrier and learning its secrets.

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Trope Examples

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Q began his explanation to Picard by turning them both into beings that actually existed in the time frame: Aldebaran serpents, which are three-headed. Picard becomes disoriented and uncomfortable (especially when two of his heads look at each other), and implores Q to return him to human form, despite the anachronism.
  • And I Must Scream: After his attempt to harness the Calamarain like a team of horses fails, 0 flies into a rage and compresses them down into a single inert lump. Picard notes it looks no different than any typical comet, thinking if they'd seen them on the Enterprise's scanners they'd note it and fly right by. And 0 would have kept going, possibly reducing them to a miniature black hole, had Q not stopped him.
    • 0's final fate is a further example of this; trapped outside our galaxy by the Galactic Barrier, and crippled in some undefined manner that prevents him from travelling at faster-than-light speeds under his own power, Picard compares 0's fate to a man marooned in a distant ocean with the only land in sight forever cut off from him, musing that 0 would be alone for millennia even if he had set off immediately after the Barrier was established to try and reach the nearest other galaxy.
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  • A God Am I: The One constantly speaks in the manner of a wrathful god.
  • Berserk Button: Q finally acts against 0 after he threatens the future Mrs. Q.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • 0's three associates are Gorgan (from "And the Children Shall Lead" episode of TOS), an entity with no name that fed off of conflict (who would appear in the TOS episode "Day of the Dove"), and a monotheistic entity calling himself "The One" (whose head would be imprisoned at the center of the galaxy, where the Enterprise would find Him in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier).
    • One of the random things that past Q creates at the beginning of present Q's story is a familiar-looking energy ribbon.
    • Quite a few of the holoprograms on the Enterprise are references to ones used in previous episodes in the series.
  • Divine Conflict: 0 and his gang's actions eventually lead to a confrontation with the Q Continuum, which ends with 0 trapped outside the Great Barrier and The One imprisoned in the center of the galaxy. Gorgan and (*) both escape to do their mischief, dismissed as lesser threats by the Continuum compared to their fellows.
  • Enemy Mine: It takes Q and the Calamarain, two mortal enemies, working together to bring 0 down.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: 'Evil' might be a strong word, but Q uses his time with Picard to reinforce how he differs from 0, as he always sticks to the rules of his games and allows his 'opponents' a chance to win (even if Picard considers Q's standard of 'playing fair' a flexible one considering the vast power difference between Q and his potential opponents), whereas 0 'changed the rules' to ensure his own victory when it looked like the Tkon were going to pass his test.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: Past Q found 0 in a place that was completely frozen over, or at least the present Q presents it to Picard that way. Picard recognizes it as Cocytus, the frozen lake in the ninth circle of Hell.
  • Evil Is Petty: 0 destroys an entire civilisation just because they were about to 'win' his game after his actions provoked a civil war that lasted for around fifty years.
  • Foil: 0 is basically this to Q; they may both 'test' lesser races for their own agenda, but while Starfleet is frustrated by Q's actions, Picard must concede that Q has allowed his human opponents to 'win' on occasion where 0 just changed the rules the second he was about to lose.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: 0 has spent millions of years isolated outside the galaxy (and his inability to travel at light speed precluded him from travelling to distant galaxies), and has turned mad from the isolation, making him even more powerful than Q.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: It doesn't take much to set 0 off, even before he goes insane.
  • Happily Married: Q and Mrs. Q.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Lieutenant Baeta Leyoro, the current chief of security on the Enterprise-E, sacrifices herself to save the Calamarain so that they can help Q stop 0.
  • Hope Spot: Just as it looks like the Tkon have beaten everything 0 and his gang have thrown at them, 0 wipes them out in a fit of pique by destroying their sun.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Essentially applies to how Q and Picard are able to observe Q's younger self; Q admits that his past self would be able to see them if he had any idea they were present, but without any reason to suspect he's being watched, Past Q continues to act as though he's alone.
  • Mad Scientist: After enough of 0's influence, Lem Faal pole vaults into this trope.
  • Mama Bear: Mrs. Q pulls out all the stops to protect her son, and admits to being sad at the idea that she might have 'only' millions of years before her son is the equivalent of an adult.
  • Oracular Head: The One is reduced to one at the end of the fighting.
  • Origins Episode: Shows where several of the enemies that Kirk and co. encountered in their original five-year mission came from.
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: Well, Q's redirection of an asteroid during the battle royale did. This becomes a minor plot point, as Q is tasked with keeping an eye on Earth, as penance for what he'd done.
  • Power Born of Madness: 0 after spending countless eons trapped alone is more than a match for Q, as he can twist reality on a level beyond what even Q is capable of. It takes Q teaming up with the Calamarain to finally defeat him.
  • Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies: When the Tkon seem to be about to beat 0's "test", 0 causes the Tkon star to explode before they can move the planet away.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Inverted. The galactic variet is the can that keeps 0 out of the galaxy. Played straight with the One's imprisonment at the center of the Great Barrier.
  • Sore Loser: After causing the Tkon star to go nova, Q asks 0 if anyone's ever beaten his games. 0's only response is a Slasher Smile.
  • Supernormal Bindings: After being released, 0 traps Q aboard the Enterprise which is shown by a pair of manacles that will apparently stop him teleporting anywhere off the Enterprise. Q later finds himself in hydroponics trying to pick them with a cactus needle.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The 0- possessed Lem Faal attempts some nasty experiments on baby q. Mama Q nearly rips him to shreds for it later.

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