Stardate 213404.8 (Thu 17 Oct 2374): Janeway must deal with five Q aboard Voyager—at the same time.
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
Seven of Nine’s Quarters
17 October 2374 2111 hrs
"Oww!" Harry Kim exclaimed after banging the back of his head while trying to extricate himself from under the regeneration alcove in Seven of Nine’s new quarters.
"Are you damaged, Harry?" Seven asked, kneeling by him.
"No, I’ll be OK," Kim said, touching the injured area lightly with his fingertips. "I’ll have to remember to be more careful in the future."
"I am still uncertain as to the necessity of occupying these quarters," Seven said.
"I told you, Seven," Kim said, "if you really want to know what it’s like to be human, it helps to live like one. You can’t do that from a cargo bay."
"There are one hundred ninety-seven crewmembers aboard this vessel," Seven said. "Voyager was designed to accomodate one hundred fifty. Would it not have been logical for these quarters to have been occupied by someone else, while I remained in Cargo Bay Two?"
"These used to be B’Elanna’s quarters," Kim said. "Now that she’s moved in with Tom, it’s true that they could have been used as you suggested, but the captain agrees with me on this one."
"One could question if you had any complicity in Lieutenant Torres’ change of accomodations."
"Seven," Kim said, "one thing I know is certain, is there’s no way B’Elanna would move out of her quarters just so that you could have them. I had nothing to do with it."
Seven arched the eyebrow over her unenhanced eye, then returned to the task of attaching the alcove to the bulkhead next to the bed.
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
21 October 2374 2001 hrs
A few days later, Naomi Wildman ran down the corridor, laughing. Quentin came charging after her. He was a normal-looking boy, with dark brown hair and crystal blue eyes.
Everyone on Voyager thought Quentin wasn’t real. They kept calling him her "imaginary" friend. As far as Naomi could tell, there was nothing imaginary about him.
"Catch me if you can," she taunted. In response, Quentin leaped forward, unconsciously putting all his effort into the dive.
As he tackled her, there was a tremendous surge of energy. The ship shook, the lights flickered, and the stars in the window ground to a halt.
"Uh, oh," Quentin said.
"What the hell just happened?" Janeway demanded as she strode onto the bridge from her ready room.
"There was a massive energy surge," Kim said, "We still have primary power, but the warp field collapsed and the engines are offline."
Janeway turned to the Tactical station. Lieutenant Commander Everett Dyson, one of the survivors they’d rescued from the wreckage of the Starship Challenger and former shipmate of Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, had assumed the position of vice chief of Security and was now on bridge duty.
"Could that have been some kind of weapon?" Janeway asked.
"I’m not reading any other ships," Dyson responded, "but I wouldn’t discount the possibility. I recommend we go to yellow alert until we know more."
"Do it," Janeway said. The alert klaxon sounded and the bridge lighting darkened.
"What happened?" Naomi asked, looking out the window.
"Uh, I think I did that," Quentin said.
Naomi turned, confused. Before she could say anything, a young blonde woman appeared next to Quentin in a flash of light.
"Captain," Torres’ voice said from the comm system, "I don’t see any reason why the warp drive stopped working. By all rights, it should still be working!"
"Keep looking, B’Elanna," Janeway said, "maybe you missed something."
"Aye, Captain," Torres responded, unsuccessfully trying to hide her annoyance at the slight—intentional or not—to her engineering skills, and the channel went dead.
Janeway stood from her chair on the Bridge, threw her arms up and said, "Can anyone tell me what the hell happened?"
There was a flash of light and Naomi, Quentin and the blonde woman appeared on the bridge to Janeway’s left.
"I think I can," the blonde woman said.
Dyson had his phaser to bear and pressed a button on his control panel, alerting a security team. "Don’t move," he warned.
"I don’t think that’ll be necessary," the woman said, and with a flick of her wrist, Dyson’s phaser disappeared.
"You’re a Q," Janeway observed.
"That’s right," the woman answered. "I was born and raised on Earth. My parents were Q, but they were killed by the Continuum when I was young."
"Then that must make you Amanda Rogers," Janeway said. "What brings you to Voyager, and what happened to my ship?"
"Me," Quentin said sheepishly.
"And who are you?" Janeway asked.
"He’s Quentin!" Naomi supplied eagerly.
A security team, led by Tuvok, stepped out of the turbolift, their phasers at the ready.
"Everything’s under control," Janeway said, turning to the newcomers. Turning back to Amanda, she said, "Now, about my ship…"
There was another flash, and Q and his mate appeared on the Bridge to Janeway’s right.
"Q!" Janeway exclaimed. Tuvok’s team once again brought their phasers to bear.
"Now, Kathy, is this any way to treat an old friend?" Q asked, indicating the security detail.
"As for you young man," Q said to Quentin, "you’ve got a lot of explaining to do."
"Q," Amanda interrupted, "don’t start trying to act like a concerned parent."
"What act?" Q asked with mock indignance.
"You know as well as I do that you let this child run wild across the universe. Did you know he’s already caused six supernovae?"
"Ah," Q said wistfully, "following in his old man’s footsteps already."
"The only one who’s been keeping an eye on him is me! You threw the Continuum into an uproar, had a kid and left him to fend for himself!"
"Let me get this straight," Janeway interrupted, "Quentin is your son?"
"My," Q said dryly, "aren’t we slow today, Kathy."
"We want our son, Amanda," the female Q said.
"Take him," Amanda said. "I’m sick of playing an intergalactic babysitter."
Quentin walked over to stand with his parents, his head hanging on his shoulders.
Amanda looked at Janeway, "Now, about your warp drive, I have a solution to all your problems."
"What are you planning, Amanda?" Q asked. "Do you seriously intend to just wave your arm and take them home?"
"In fact," Amanda said, "that’s exactly what I’m going to do."
"Oh, this’ll be good," Q said, sitting in Janeway’s chair.
Amanda waved her arm and there was a flash of light.
Within moments, Torres’ voice came over the comm system, "Captain, I don’t know what happened, but the warp drive is back online."
Janeway hardly noticed, her gaze fixed on the viewscreen. "We’re home," she said, as she watched Earth slowly rotate on the screen, seen from their position in standard orbit.
"O-open a channel," Janeway said.
"Channel open," Dyson acknowledged.
"Starfleet Command, this is the Starship Voyager," Janeway said. "We’ve just entered Earth orbit. Please confirm."
"Acknowledged, Voyager," came the reply. "We have you on our screens. Welcome home."
A cheer rose on the Bridge. Janeway turned to Dyson. "Replay that on ship’s speakers," she ordered.
"Aye, captain," Dyson said. He pressed a few buttons, and within moments, one could almost hear the cheers coming from throughout the rest of the ship.
"Command," Janeway continued, "be advised we currently have four Q on our bridge."
"Acknowledged, Voyager. Initiating system-wide yellow alert."
The screen changed to the aging face of Admiral Owen Paris. "Voyager," he said, "it’s good to see you again. Tom," he said, upon noticing his son at the helm, "I’m glad to see you’re all right."
"Never better, Dad," Paris replied.
"Admiral," Janeway said, "we’re about to transmit recent data we’ve acquired from our experiences in the Delta Quadrant. Command may be very interested in it."
"Acknowledged. Proceed when ready." Star charts, technological data, information on new races and civilizations and a multitude of other discoveries were transmitted into the computers at Starfleet Headquarters, to be transferred later for archival at Memory Alpha.
"Admiral," Janeway said, "would you like to beam aboard? I’m sure we could arrange a small family reunion for you."
"Of course, Voyager. I’ll make arrangements to beam aboard in thirty minutes." Admiral Paris closed the channel and his image disappeared from the viewscreen.
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
In Earth Orbit
21 October 2374 2023 hrs
"Mom, Dad!" Kim said, the excitement of the situation audible in his voice. "It’s so great to see you again! It’s been so long! I was afraid I wouldn’t see you again."
"Harry," Kim’s father, John, said, "we knew we’d see you again. We just didn’t think it would be so soon."
"We have someone here who’d like to see you," Kim’s mother, Mary, said. On that cue, Libby Lattimore stepped into range of the viewer.
"Hi, Harry," Libby said. "How have you been? When are we going to meet this new girlfriend of yours?"
"Pretty good," Kim said. "She should be here any second now." As if on cue, the chime to Kim’s quarters sounded. "Come in," he said. Seven stepped into the room.
"You wished to see me, Harry," Seven said.
"Yeah," Kim said. "Come here, please, so they can see you in the monitor." Seven stepped into view, and the three on the Earth side of the message blinked simultaneously. "Mom, Dad, Libby, this is Seven of Nine."
"Harry’s said so much about you in his letters," John said. "He thinks quite highly of you."
"We were a bit concerned at first," Mary said, "because he said that you were Borg, but he said that once we got to know you, we’d agree with him how special you are."
"Thank you," Seven said. "I… appreciate it. You are Libby, Harry’s former mate, correct?"
Libby blushed. "Uh, yeah," she said. "I guess you could call me that."
"Harry said," Seven began, "that we would become good friends, once we had the opportunity to meet. I look forward to our forthcoming interaction."
"Uh, yeah," Libby said, surprised by Seven’s choice of wording. "Me, too."
U.S.S. Voyager NCC-74656
In Earth Orbit
Transporter Room One
21 October 2374 2030 hrs
Janeway, Chakotay and Paris stood in the transporter room, with Torres operating the controls. The panel beeped and an indicator blinked, announcing Admiral Paris’ request for beamup.
Torres activated the transporter, and Admiral Paris appeared on the pad. He stepped down and embraced his son.
"I’ve missed you, Tom. When I thought you’d died in the Badlands, I realized what I’d missed out on while you were growing up. I’m sorry."
"It’s okay, Dad," Paris responded. "I’m alive, and I’m here now. That’s all that really matters."
Admiral Paris looked over to Torres, who was still behind the controls of the transporter. "You must be B’Elanna," the elder Paris said. "Tom’s told me about you in his letters. It’s a pleasure to meet you."
"Likewise," Torres said.
"You have no idea the stir it caused when we got your original message, captain," Admiral Paris said, turning to Janeway. "The fact that you were not only alive, but in the Delta Quadrant was phenomenal, but the fact that you had integrated the Maquis that you were sent to capture into your crew caused more than a few ripples."
"I saw no other alternative, Admiral. We were both stuck out there and the only way we would have a chance of making it back was to cooperate towards a common goal. With their ship destroyed, it seemed only logical to incorporate them into the crew." With a flash of light, Q appeared before them. "Q," she said, "haven’t you left yet?"
"Kathy, I allowed Amanda to take you home, but I didn’t say how long that homecoming would last." There was another flash of light.
"Captain," Dyson’s voice came from the comm system. "We-we’re back in the Delta Quadrant. Right where we were when the warp drive failed."
Janeway, Chakotay, Torres, and the Parises stepped onto the bridge from the turbolift. All four Qs were still aboard, and Q himself was sitting in the captain’s chair.
"Q," Janeway said, "get the hell out of my chair."
"Kathy, you wound me," Q said, clutching his chest.
"Not yet I haven’t," she growled.
"I demand you return us to Earth," Admiral Paris commanded.
"You’re in no position to demand anything," Q said, standing so he could tower over the smaller man.
"Q!" Amanda exclaimed. "I sent them home before. I can do it again."
With a flash of light, another Q appeared behind Amanda. "But the Continuum wants them in the Delta Quadrant," the new Q said in her ear, making her jump. He looked at Admiral Paris. "We don’t need you, though." With a snap of his fingers, the admiral disappeared in a flash of light.
Paris leaped from his position at the helm. "What the hell did you do with my father?" he shouted at the new Q.
"Oh, he’s fine," the new Q said. "I just sent him back to Starfleet Command where he came from."
"Send us back," Janeway demanded.
"I’m afraid I can’t do that, Captain," the new Q replied. "The Continuum wants you here."
"Why?" Janeway asked.
"I’m not at liberty to say," the new Q said. "Q, you can leave now. The Continuum has a few questions they need answered."
"Great," Q muttered. He snapped his fingers and disappeared.
The female Q held Quentin near her by his shoulders. "Come on, little one," she said. "Let’s go."
"Can I say goodbye to Naomi first?" he asked.
"Yes," his mother sighed.
The two disappeared, leaving the bridge crew with Amanda and the other Q.
The female Q and Quentin appeared in the Wildmans’ quarters. Samantha Wildman jumped in surprise, while Naomi rushed to greet her friend.
"Quentin!" Naomi called.
"Quentin?" her mother echoed.
The female Q moved to stand beside Samantha. "It seems our children are friends," she said.
"Friends?" Wildman said in surprise. "You’re a Q!"
"Typical of humans," the female Q muttered. "I’ve brought my son here so that he can say goodbye to Naomi. He won’t be returning to Voyager."
"I hope that goes for the rest of you, too," Wildman muttered.
"Really," the female Q said, "I have no interest in returning. Q, however…" She let the sentence trail off, as both women knew how it would end.
Quentin walked over to his mother. "Well, I gotta go now, Naomi," he said. "Maybe I’ll see you again sometime. I know this great place to play called Gothos!" Quentin and his mother disappeared with a flash.
On the bridge, the officers of the Starship Voyager waited patiently while Amanda argued with Q to return the ship to Earth.
"Damn it, Q!" Amanda exclaimed. "These people have been cut off from everything they knew and everyone they loved for years! Let’s take them home!"
"We can’t do that," Q replied. "The Continuum made its position clear when you first raised the issue. They’re to stay in the Delta Quadrant and that’s final."
"OK," Amanda said, a devilish look forming on her face, "what if I were to just give them a little hand, but small enough to keep them in the Delta Quadrant. Would the Continuum still have a problem with that?"
Q looked off at nothing for a moment, then said, "You should have tried to be a lawyer instead of a Starfleet officer. I don’t know about any of this."
With that, he vanished. Amanda turned to Janeway and said, "I’m sorry I can’t get you all the way home, captain."
"I understand," Janeway said. Amanda waved her arm, there was a flash of lightand she disappeared.
"Captain," Torres’ said, shocked, from the Bridge’s Engineering station, "engines are back online again and at one hundred fifty percent efficiency!"
"Tom," Janeway said, turning to Paris, "take us home." Voyager‘s warp nacelles moved into position and the ship surged ahead on a course for home.