I am curious. Have the Q always had an absence of manners, or is it the result of some natural evolutionary process that comes with omnipotence?

-Tuvok

Immortal judge.

Immortal judge.

Module BI-01T: Immortals

The focus of this module is the number one threat to humanoid existence in the universe. The immortals. Encounters with these lifeforms aren’t as comfortably rare as they should be. Sightings from Apollo to black slime to incorporeal disembodied entities have found their way into captain’s logs since space travel became a reality. And, in only a few cases, obvious potential for the destruction of all humankind was not apparent. So, it behooves us as a species to find out everything we can about this ultimate threat to our existence. Perhaps, in knowledge we can find some glimmer of hope that we may be able to save ourselves if the need ever arises.

Thus, the top priority when encountering immortals is to gather intelligence. However, information garnered from these beings is often cryptic, and encased in coded language, on purpose, we suspect. The most forthcoming of immortals, Q, a member of the Q Continuum, danced linguistically around enigmatic phrases, glaring meaningfully at the inquirer as if he’d actually answered the question. For instance, when once asked, “Would you mind identifying what you are?” His answer? “We call ourselves the Q. Or thou mayest call me that. It’s all much the same thing.” Huh?

Q as human criminal.

Q as human criminal.

Well, at least, he attempted to satisfy the curiosity needs of mere mortals. The only real data we gleaned from him was that he perceived his existence as one long stretch of boredom. Depicting it as “a road in the desert” with only brief flashes of excitement. And that excitement was sometimes us.

We first encountered this threat to humanity one starry solar day when Q suddenly appeared on the bridge of the starship Enterprise-D, under Captain Jean-Luc Picard. He arrived just in time to judge all of humankind for being “a dangerous savage child race.” But his conclusions were off by about four hundred years. You’d think a mind this powerful would have his facts straight but this wasn’t much of a discrepancy to him. Evidently, these eternal beings measured time by millennial increments so getting it down to the century must be tricky.

Q immediately put Picard and crew through their “you-are-mere-mortals” paces. He showed his grasp of human carnage by regaling them with various displays of soldiers dressed in period attire. In the end, Picard had to admit that Q had a point, and humbled himself before Q’s post-apocalyptic courtroom. “Alright! We agree there is evidence to support the court’s contention that humans have been savage. Therefore, I say test us. Test whether this is presently true of humans!”

Astonished at the bravado of this bipedal specimen, Q readily agreed, and the cosmic mad-hatter allowed the “criminals” to be tested. Eventually, the ship arrived at Farpoint Station. There they discovered a humongous luminous shapeshifter, being used ignominiously as a space station. Its masters, the Bandi, foolishly attempted an alliance with the Federation by getting the transformed creature to cater to the needs of Starfleet personnel. Of course, no attractive lifeform wants to be treated this way, and its distressed emotions were picked up by, fortunately, the only empath on board, Counselor Deanna Troi.

Immortal says blow up jelly-fish

Gotta save the jelly-fish.

But the creature was not alone. It had a suitor who was none too happy with the bullying of its long-distance love interest. This pissed-off alien gallant beamed up the Bandi leader, Zorn, and tortured him for good measure. Q returned and offered some not-so-friendly advice to Picard. “Use your weapons!” An obvious attempt to goad him into destroying the creature and losing the bet. But Picard decided not to blast the invasive lifeform into smithereens. Instead, he ordered the Bandi parasites to evacuate the she-station, then sent an energy beam down to the weakened monstrous alien to feed it. With renewed strength, it transformed into a giant space jellyfish and reunited with its sweetheart. Humanoids one. Continuum zero.

Q seemed impressed, but not for long. His self-righteous arrogance resurfaced and he declared, “I see now it was too simple a puzzle. Generosity has always been my weakness… I will not promise never to appear again.” He kept that non-promise, again and again, returning to taunt, harass, endanger and even romance, at least one human, when it suited him. How can so volatile a being be trusted. He once threatened us with annihilation by a powerful enemy. He may one fine solar day decide to do so again.

Another incorporeal lifeform, the Organians, were only slightly better. Though I hesitate to mention them (they may be listening). They have a habit of not announcing their presence (unlike Q-ball), adhering stringently to their policy of observation without interference. When first encountering humans, they possessed the bodies of various Enterprise NX-01 crewmembers when Commander Tucker and Sato were infected with an alien virus after an away mission. They wanted to see if humans demonstrated any glimmer of what they called elevated intelligence. The fact that we had the wherewithal to build spaceships capable of reaching infested planets didn’t seem to count for much.

Immortal impostor.

Impostor!

In our second encounter with them, the Klingons were showing their collective asses on Organia. And Captain James T. Kirk went to the planet to keep them from forming a base there. The Organians seemed a primitive agrarian people. Of course, the Klingons being what they are, soon started killing them. But this bloodbath wasn’t enough.  So, a fleet of Klingon ships arrived to war with the Federation. (And Q talks about us.)

That’s when the Organians revealed their true form. That they were imposters disguising themselves as good aliens. They also declared that not a single one of them had died under the Klingons. They just pretended to be. Huh? Who pretends to die? And not only that, they refused to allow us to give the Klingons the much needed ass-whooping they so richly deserved. The Organian leader, Ayelborne, stated, “As I stand here, I also stand upon the home planet of the Klingon Empire, and the home planet of your Federation…. I’m putting a stop to this insane war.” That dingbat stopped what would have been the glorious war of the century. The only thing we and the Klingons could agree on.

Here’s one more immortal engagement for the ages. Picard and crew met yet another charlatan, Kevin Uxbridge, when entering the Delta Rana star system. After receiving a distress signal, they found him and his companion, Rishon, the only survivors of a Husnock attack. Not only that, they were dancing obliviously on the only patch of green on the whole damn planet. Picard found this particularly bizarre and demanded an explanation which Uxbridge withheld.

Husnock exterminator

Husnock exterminator.

After attempting to deceive Picard and crew with various illusions, the alien finally came clean. Uxbridge’s companion, Rishon, was yet another illusion. The real Rishon had actually been killed in the Husnock attack. Upon discovering her body, he explained, he went a little batty. With an insane burst of unfiltered divinity, he killed the Husnocks that attacked the planet. Every last one of them. Everywhere they existed. And he couldn’t bring them back. The absolute worst kind of omnipotent overreaction.

Picard, understandably, backed away slowly. Though he had gotten his explanation, he really didn’t want it. The Douwd returned to the planet in everlasting self-imposed exile. (Hopefully.) Even if he offered to put himself at the mercy of Federation judges, Picard was astute enough to know that eventually it would be the other way around.

Contact with the most benign and stealthy of these immortals, the Organians, still resulted in interference in human affairs. And as elusive as Organians proved to be, who knew the Douwd skulked among us? To date, we’ve only met one member of this lifeform, and we hope never to meet another one. Though interaction with members of the Q Continuum and the Organians can be frightening in their effect, we have survived encounters with them, even under tenuous circumstances. We’re not so sure we would fare this well if meeting another Douwd. Nevertheless, all immortals, everywhere, are our number one threat. So, gather as much information as possible if you ever have the misfortune of meeting them. Whilst hoping, frequently and fervently, that the Husnocks, somehow, return to existence.

References:

Fontana, D. C. Roddenberry, Gene. “Encounter at Farpoint.” Star Trek: The Next Generation. Paramount Television. 28 February 1987. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Encounter_at_Farpoint_(episode)

Reeves-Stevens, Judith. Reeves-Stevens, Garfield. “The Observer Effect.” Star Trek: Enterprise. Paramount Television. 21 January 2005. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Observer_Effect_(episode)

Coon, Gene L. “Errand of Mercy.” Star Trek. National Broadcasting Company. 23 March 1967. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Errand_of_Mercy_(episode)

Wagner, Michael. “The Survivors.” Star Trek: The Next Generation. Paramount Television. 9 October 1989. Television. Retrieved: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/The_Survivors_(episode)