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Thursday, September 2nd, 2010 10:24 pm
Author: J. Rosemary Moss
Genre: Star Trek TNG; Gen 
Rating: PG 
Disclaimer: Alas, I don't own Star Trek or the characters
Summary: Q teaches Picard a painful lesson in Q Who--a lesson that not only cuts Picard down to size, but shows him just how ruthless a teacher this entity is...

~oOo~

Picard stared at Q. The entity had just rescued the Enterprise with a snap of his fingers.

But the Borg had killed eighteen of Picard’s crew—and Q had done nothing to prevent it. Those people had died just so that Q could teach him a lesson in humility. Just so Q could show him that he had best re-think his hubris. Just so Q could prove to him that humanity was not prepared for the enemy to come.

Picard swallowed, but somehow stopped his voice from shaking as he spoke. “I understand what you’ve done here, Q. But I think the lesson could have been learned without the loss of eighteen members of my crew.”

Q was unimpressed. “If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed,” he taunted.

Picard started at that. So those eighteen were truly lost. Q had no intention of restoring them with another snap of his fingers. For the first time Picard realized—not just intellectually, but in his very soul—that Q was something . . . something other.

He might argue with Q, he might reason with Q, he might anger Q, he might inspire Q’s compassion or even…even a love of sorts. But he could not relate to Q man-to-man. Q was no mere mortal. He was an ancient being—no, an eternal being—and he viewed humanity from a cosmic perspective.

The Borg were an unimaginably dangerous enemy. If it took eighteen innocent lives to prove that point, then Q was more than willing to sacrifice them. But why had Q wanted to prove that? Merely to score a point against Picard?

The entity had done humanity a favor. Perhaps he had done it for the wrong reason; nonetheless, the Federation would have some warning about the Borg.

Or had it been for the wrong reason? Picard chided himself for his arrogance—this same arrogance that Q had set out to destroy. Why should he think that Q’s interest extended no further than himself? It was possible that Q had acted on behalf of all humanity.

But the thought of Q as the advocate and protector of humanity frightened him even more than the thought of Q as capricious and indifferent. If Q were merely indifferent to humans, he might grow weary of these games. But if Q were working toward some higher purpose for humanity, he would never give up on them—and he would pursue his purpose with utter ruthlessness.

From Q’s cosmic perspective, the ends would always justify the means. And eighteen innocent lives would remain, for him, an unfortunate ‘bloody nose.’

All that flashed through Picard’s mind in an instant—but none of it was lost on Q. The entity leaned in ever-so-slightly.

“It’s not safe out here,” he said, giving Picard a look that somehow combined compassion with mockery. “It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires, both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.”

And with that, Q disappeared. Picard swore under his breath. He was no closer to understanding the entity. But at least now he had an inkling of just how little he understood.

If nothing else, Q had kicked him out of his complacency. Now Picard would have to do the same to the Federation.

~The End~

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