In the fictional televised Star Trek universe, the Q Continuum is an extradimensional plane of existence inhabited by a race of extremely powerful, hyper-intelligent beings known as the Q. Their attitude toward the affairs of the non-Q beings living in normal space, or in the many dimensions parallel to their own, is one of general indifference, the exception being an interest in the development and progress of life. The Q have appeared in episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager. One of the Q is known as Quinn to the Voyager crew.
The Q are a unique race, and they possess many extraordinary, "God-like" powers including the ability to manipulate time, space, matter, and energy. They have an almost omnipotent ability to perceive and know events in the past, present, and future. They are invulnerable and immortal except when faced with weapons designed by others of their kind: in sufficient numbers, Q can strip other Q of their powers and make them mortal or make them any lifeform they wish.
It is suggested through their appearances on the various series of Star Trek that the Q have evolved since the Big Bang to their current state, and that possibly they were like humans very early on.
One member of the Q once referred to a "New Era" among the Continuum, during which an important change occurred in the species. No further details were given. The Continuum is on a separate plane of existence and thus not subject to linear time as normal space is. It has been suggested by Quinn that when the Q gave up their physicality and achieved their godlike powers, they also gave up any chance of growth or evolution, thus leading to stagnation (since change was unnecessary).
They usually appear as human simply because they can assume any form they wish, and when interacting with humans they usually appear as one of them to make the humans feel more comfortable.
In the episode "All Good Things..." Q mentions that Picard is destined to explore existence itself. Q's meaning of that statement has never been explained in any episode or movie of Star Trek.
Known members of the Q Continuum
- Q (Corbin Bernsen), also known as Q2 or Q2 - manifested as a blond man in the Next Generation episode "D j Q", and was responsible for getting Q (John de Lancie) kicked out and stripped of his powers, and his subsequent reinstatement; he once misplaced the Deltived asteroid belt. (In non-canonical novels, Q2 helped Lwaxana retain Q power to thrash Q in Q-In-Law, and he helped the Q put down 0, Gorgan, The One and <*> in the novel trilogy Q Continuum (#47, 48, 49 by Pocket Books). He also assisted Q (in a way) in the hardback I, Q.)
q (Keegan de Lancie), aka "Junior" son of Q and Lady Q appears in the Voyager episodes, "Q2" and "The Q and the Grey". (In the novels, usually rendered as a lower-case 'q' rather than upper-case 'Q'). His father asserts that Q is the first Q ever born as Q have "always existed".
Q (Gerrit Graham), appears in the Voyager episode "Death Wish", manifesting as a middle aged human, actually one of the Continuum's most famous philosopher-writers who felt that the Q had become stagnant in stopping to quest for the development of their species, desiring to leave the Continuum and end his immortal life. After his request was grudgingly granted, he was made human and given the name Quinn, thereafter committing suicide by poison.
- Q (Suzie Plakson) appeared in the Voyager episode "The Q and the Grey" She has had a long relationship with Q, and they finally had a child circa 2373. Like all her race she introduced herself merely as "Q"; in the non-canonical novel "I, Q" by de Lancie and Peter David she is called Lady Q.
Amanda Rogers (Olivia D'Abo) appeared in the Next Generation episode "True Q" - born to two Q who took human appearance and, living in Kansas on Earth, conceived her in the "vulgar" human fashion; her parents, who were also members of the Continuum, were killed by a powerful Q-created tornado that specifically targeted only their house. While she longs to live as a normal human, eventually this proves to be impractical and she leaves to explore her powers with the other Q.
- In the Next Generation episode "True Q", an unknown Q representative, or composite of several Q, queried Q (de Lancie) on his progress with Amanda. This Q was represented as a shadowy form. This Q was voiced by veteran Star Trek actor Michael Ansara, who played the Klingon captain Kang in the classic Star Trek episode "Day of the Dove."
William Riker, who was offered membership in the Q Continuum and briefly had all the powers of a Q in the episode "Hide and Q".
- Several other Q appeared in "The Q and the Grey", although only the "Confederate" colonel (Harve Presnell) and Lady Q had speaking roles. Several non-speaking Q also appear in "Death Wish". In dialog, any Q character will address another Q merely as "Q", with no distinction made between them.
Episodes featuring one or more Q
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