. . 2364. . .
. . Enterprise . . .
Picard found himself in the long hall where there were crew members walking past. A few of them had the skirt uniform that was being phased out and he had the new uniform on. He could tell it was 2364 as that was the year the old uniforms were being phased out. He had a good idea where he has heading to: the bridge.
But then he saw Ensign Carly headed his way.
She wasn't dead.
Ensign Carly stopped in her tracks looking up from her padd. She had the characteristics of Cippallon and seemed to be rather clueless at first at who he is. She raised a brow up then her eyes darted to to his pips then straight to Picard. She lowered her eyebrows.
"Yes?" Carly said.
"How is Kevin?" Picard asked.
Carly blinked,startled by the question, looking at Picard rather strangely.
"I don't know who you are talking about, Captain." Carly said.
Kevin hadn't been born yet.
Come to think of it. . . Geordi and Carly hadn't got close until after the polywater intoxication.
"Sorry, I got confused," Picard apologized. "I must have confused you with another Carly I know."
"It is is all right." Carly said, then she walked past Picard.
Picard watched her walk away then he went on his way.
It all went eerily similar to how it went the first time except . . . Someone was missing. Picard couldn't put his finger on it. They were heading to Far Point. At every moment Picard expected an unusual chase. Why? He recognized Ensign Carly. He talked about Kevin. Who in heavens name was Kevin? Kevin was Carly and Geordi's kid. But something wasn't right.
Without much problem they picked up the Enterprise crew members at Far Point.
"Remember what Q told you." He heard Ensign Carly's voice.
It was from long ago.
Picard was in his ready room.
Earlier he had transport beams sent to Far Point once everyone was evacuated. He went off a gut feeling. A gut feeling that saved the life of a alien space squid. Another of its kind came by for the pink space squid. Then they both floated out of the Enterprise's reach. Picard then heard bad news from Sick Bay, at the time in his ready room, that Ensign Carly had passed unexpectedly.
"Remember what Q told you." Carly had said, clear as day standing in front of his desk with hands behind her back.
"Why?" Picard asked.
Carly had a small sad smile.
"That's the point." Carly had said.
The memory faded. In this memory Carly had on a new kind of uniform similar to Picard's except it was black and blue. She had one pip on her collar. Her hair was a little sorter. She had some scaring around her chin that might have been the result of a accident. She seemed to be fairly tall for her age, pretty tall.
Picard closed his eyes.
Who was Q?
Was he an entity?
A godly being?
Somehow Picard figured Q leaned more toward entity than godly.
Then he remembered that story a man once told him. The godly being and the captain. It was vague. Very vague. This man had complimented his piano skills. This man had a wound on his right shoulder that seemed to be healing. The man had a uniform just like Riker's: the kind of uniform. Somehow his younger self made the connection to the man and the godly being calling out the man to what he truly is.
"What happened to the captain?" Picard had asked.
The man sighed.
"He lived." The man had said.
"And the entity?" Picard had asked.
The man smiled.
"You have to remember to find out,Mon ami." The man had said.
Then the letter Q seemed like it had a connection to this man.
THAT IS HIS NAME!
His name was Q.
It pleased Picard that Q had used french, correctly.
"It is more of a story really," Q had said. "There was once a godly being. Once. But then he had to save the universe as you know it."
Picard opened his eyes thinking back to an earlier conversation.
A conversation that never happened.
"So you lowered the Q shield to undo Q's mistakes?" Picard had asked.
"One of many mistakes, dear Picard." This entity named . . . Sam . . . had said.
"Don't you dear me!" Picard had said, in rage.
"It would be in-polite to do so." Sam had said.
"You have been in-polite from the start, Sam!" Picard had said.
Sam rolled an eye.
"I made you make a choice and you used it to bring back the Q-shield," Sam had said. "If I were you, I would have just let her die with that fetus and have this mess be over with." Sam was sitting down in a chair then he lowered his head. "I don't see the reason behind Ensign Carly living." He raised his head up toward Picard. "She does not belong in your universe. Get it?" Sam stood up. "She belongs in her depressingly boring life. I can't seem to understand how she lives to be ninety-two just being happy all the damm time!"
"Perhaps you don't see what makes life worth while." Picard had said.
"I don't have the eyes of a human or the time to be one," Sam had said. "Your Q made himself the protector of humanity after one thousand years being stuck to Earth making up for the end of the dinosaurs!"
"Q has. . . strange games but the best intentions." Picard had said.
"And now, here you are, defending him!" Sam had pointed out.
Picard had a drink of Earl Gray Tea.
"Quite so," Picard had said. "But . . .He has done good."
"What kind of good?" Sam had asked, approaching Picard. "Your lives are anything like ants. Follow the leader, gather, then return to your home, and then out again! You need someone to give you directions around obstacles! If I wasn't assigned to this I would have obliterated this timeline already."
Sam had pushed his buttons.
Sam made Picard angry.
"Get out of my quarters, Sam." Picard said.
"I don't understand how Q can stand your stupidity!" Sam had said, then he vanished in thin air within a dark flash.
Picard cleared his throat.
"I remember." Picard said.
He expected to see this entity pop up, randomly at the couch or in the air or in a costume.
That is when all the memories pertaining to Q returned.
A whole lot of them.
The memories settled down for Picard clearing his world up. In a black flash in a seat in front of his desk appeared a red head. She had on a black uniform with silver designs and the upside down version of the combadge. She had a golden necklace around her neck that sparkled due to the shiny expensive jewelry.
"Hello there, little captain." M said.
"You are not Q." Picard said.
"I am M," M said. "From the M Continuum. We are very interested in your universe. We offer our help and condolensces to your normal universe."
Picard leaned forward.
"The last one who offered their help and vanished with a black flash nearly killed my bridge officers," Picard said. "And he is very dead."
"There is no fooling you," M said. "That was our spy."
"No, that was you meddling in my timeline," Picard said. "You did exactly what he did but you made it worse."
"You don't have proof!" M said.
"I have memories and that is enough proof for a continuum to judge over." Picard said.
"You have no idea how our Judges preside over cases." M said.
Picard leaned back.
"And you are working with the M Continuum from letting out the Q continuum along with several other species who are missing to the Federation," Picard said. "If you want a friend out of me then you will let them go."
"You are asking me to betray my continuum!" M said.
"So you made this mess," Picard said. "Why?"
"It was my idea," M said. "We had to make a hole in the fabric of time. It had to be huge. So huge it would take the Q continuum with it." She had a sinister smile. "So we went with the most logical choice. We turned the Q continuum's power against them. Their greatest weapon . . . Thought . . . absorbing them in a pocket universe where nothing exists. It was my idea to plant it inside Q first, i mean the one who regularly visits the Enterprise once per year."
Picard went to the replicator.
"Earl Gray, hot." Picard said.
On the table appeared Earl Gray tea.
Jean-Luc picked up the tea cup then had a sip.
"Regulary?" Picard asked. "You mean, annually."
"I know he took you on impromptu trips, little captain," M said. "I can make your life easier by bringing Jack Crusher back from the dead and Tasha Yar."
"No." Picard said.
"Why not?" M asked.
"Then their deaths would be in vain," Picard said. "The death of Jack Crusher made the crusher family who they are today and after Yar's death Tactile and Security were both merged by the Federation for the bridge section."
Picard had a sip of Earl Gray.
"You suck the fun out of everything."
"Why, won't you just let them out?"
"I can let out a mess, every single mess that Q had made and then you will want it over that you would plead for my return."
"I find it hard to believe you'll do that."
"You relish in being superior and being feared. I, however, will not be afraid."
"You are so in the headset of Q's games. There's no way coming back for you."
"You want a reaction. I am not giving you that luxury."
This made M furious.
"That is not how this is supposed to be!" M said.
"Come in." Picard said.
M turned in the direction of the door appearing to be surprised.
In walked a twenty-five year old Kevin holding a phaser and he had tear-stained eyes.
"This is for my mother." Kevin said, with the gun aimed at M.
Kevin pressed the trigger firing right into her chest.
"AH!" M shouted. "I will obliterate your existence!"
M snapped her fingers.
"I am sorry, that is well beyond your reach," Kevin said, rubbing his eyes. "My Uncle Q gave me the Q-shield before he left." M fell to the floor slouched up against the chest. "Captain Picard, I am sorry for coming in so. . . Compromised." He looked at Picard with a smile. "They are going to be forced to open that door while she dies."
Kevin dropped the phaser that has a 'Q' symbol.
"No!" M shouted. "You didn't just shoot me with a Q phaser!"
"I did." Kevin said.
M's eyes grew wide
"You have condemned me to die!"
"Only a Q can heal a M injured by a Q phaser!"
"This was given to me by my Uncle when I was eight years old and it finally worked. I'll see you later, Captain Picard."
Kevin went out of the room into a white light.
"Don't just stand there, help me!" M demanded.
"I cannot help one who is very capable of healing themselves," Picard said, then he takes a sip of the Earl Gray tea.
"Fine," M said. "There is a specific memory that can bring them all back!" Picard lowered his cup down. "You have to think of the last time you saw him as a cadet and demand for him to show himself or else. . ." M winced. "He is a inferior being who knows nothing of the universe! Remind everyone about Q."
"And now wasn't that easy to say?" Picard asked.
Picard walked past M right out of the door.