Kathryn Janeway's log, stardate... oh, who knows? There isn't any way to tell time here, even if it made sense to -- the timeflow of the Continuum doesn't correspond to our time back home, or so I'm told. And without day or night, in a place where clocks are a metaphor and simply show the time you think it is whether that makes sense or not, there's no way I can even guess how much time I've been here.

I'm not even sure why I'm keeping this log. Most likely, no one from the Federation will ever get to hear it, and if the Q want to know what it has been like for me to live in their dimension, they can probably read my mind. But I've been an explorer too long, logging every new experience I've had for over three decades. I guess I'm stuck with the habit. And who knows? Someday perhaps I'll find a way to get this log to Starfleet, so they know what happened to me.

I'd rather be here with a starship and crew, and the ability to go home someday. But being here beats being dead any day. And if I'm to be trapped somewhere... well, Starfleet's charter is to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before. If 'one' in that charter is defined as 'mortals', then I'm doing all of the above. The fact that we have had nearly two decades of contact with the Q doesn't change how alien, how unknown they are to us, and their world certainly qualifies as both strange and new.

I'm sitting here in a room that looks exactly like my quarters aboard Voyager. When I look out the porthole, I see my mother's backyard in the bright Indiana sun, looking just like it did when I was a little girl. If I step out my front door, I might be on the main street of a small town, where people dressed in period Americana from the 19th century or medieval costumes implying some sort of ancient European village walk past me, most of them completely ignoring me. Or I might be on a suburban front lawn, and q-ling might run over from next door in her toddler form, red hair in wild curls, to show me her latest piece of artwork. The last one was a gas giant. Or I might be staring into a wild alien jungle. It appears to be completely random. They tell me that as I get more skilled at manipulating the fabric of the Continuum, I'll be able to change it, but right now, since I have to work through metaphors to understand any of what I see and there's no metaphor that allows me to grasp the concept of changing reality around me, I have very little ability to control anything outside my house. Which, I understand, is not actually a house at all, but I have no way of comprehending what it actually is, so to me, it's a house.

Some of the Q have taken me touring. Junior, in particular, seems to be thrilled to show me around his home. On my travels with him, the Continuum has been a series of spaghetti junction freeways, tangles of superhighway more complex than anything I ever saw in San Francisco, sometimes to the point of ludicrousness -- like the roller coaster loops and the Moebius strips. Or it's been the main street of a small town -- that one happens a lot; I suppose it's the most useful metaphor to describe the home of what turns out to be a very small number of people. Or it's been a winding cobblestone path past stately manors up on hills. Or a busy metropolitan street with skyscrapers, teeming with people (most of whom are props for the metaphor, I'm told, because actually, there are only about a thousand Q or so, total. Which, since they live forever, I suppose isn't as big a problem for them as it would be for a mortal species.) Lady Q took me once to see a glassy crater, a blasted, glittering ruin that seemed to stretch for miles, which she said was one of the battlefields from the war, so badly damaged that no Q can actually survive there for long because of the tears in the Continuum in the area. The last time I went out with Junior and lowercase q, my house was on the edge of a park by a lake and there were Q all over the place, playing Frisbee (it looked like a galaxy they were tossing around, actually), listening to music, lying in the grass as if they were sleeping or working on tans, and, um, having public sex. As a spectator sport. That other Q were betting on. I've been some places where the taboos are, shall we say, rather different than they are where I come from, but taking bets on public sex is something new. And no, I really have no idea exactly what aspect of it they were betting on.

I haven't met very many Q... most of them ignore me, as I said. My understanding is that this is not necessarily snobbishness; because I am, or was, mortal, I have very little impact on the Continuum and thus I'm hard to see. Although I'm pretty sure some of it is snobbishness, too. Still, the Q that I have met have all been very friendly; they're all incredibly arrogant, of course, but most of them are actually rather nice despite that... more like Quinn than like Q or Lady Q. I'm beginning to guess that maybe the reason those two can put up with each other is that they're both much more abrasive than the average Q. Either that, or the only ones I'm meeting are the ones who are nicer than average.

Let me see if I can remember them all... difficult when they all have the same name and their physical appearances can be variable, but a lot of them have either given me different names I can use for them, or I've come up with some sort of mnemonic tag I can use in place of a name. I was brought here by Lady Q, the... I suppose at the moment the ex, although she still seems to care about him... the former lover of the Q I'm more familiar with. She appears to be in a new relationship with a Q who says I can call her Queria, who seems to have a personal interest in humans herself and is one of the friendliest of the Q I've met, and they have a new baby, who I refer to as q-ling. The baby appears as a little girl but changes at whim between a nursing infant, an energetic toddler, and a young adult woman... she's declared me her Aunt Kathy as well, shows me her artwork, and introduced me to her 'dolly', a poor hapless Romulan commander that q-ling was forcing to dress as an ancient Vulcan princess and live in some sort of pre-Surakian cave palace. I managed to talk q-ling into letting her captive go, and had a talk with Lady Q and Queria about the appropriateness of ignoring the fact that their daughter was kidnapping mortals. Lady Q insisted that Junior used to do that all the time and as long as he didn't kill any of them, she and Q had thought it was good experience for him. This explains a lot.

Lowercase q (she doesn't actually say the word 'lowercase', but somehow I can hear that it's a lowercase letter, and no, I don't understand how) is apparently one of the youngest of the original Q, the ones created before they invented reproduction or started bringing mortals into their ranks, and she's some sort of student at an institution the Q apparently maintain to educate their own and other noncorporeal powerful beings. This seems to be why the lowercase. She actually knows Tom and Harry -- in fact from the hints she's dropped it sounds like she dated Harry -- but refuses to tell me any of the details, and I admit it's driving me half-mad trying to figure out when Tom and Harry might have run off on an adventure with a Q to save the universe and why they didn't tell me about it when they got back. Still, a friend of my crew is a friend of mine, and she's friendly enough. Junior seems to have a huge crush on her, although I get the impression Junior has a huge crush on any Q that the Q define as "young" even if the entity in question is actually billions of years older than him. It must be hard for him; aside from his baby sister, who he pretends does not exist, the only other Q even remotely close to his age is Amanda, and Amanda is too human to find someone she used to babysit attractive.

I've met an inventor who fought in Q's side in the war, and a being who as best as I can tell is something like Q's older brother, and a Q who says I can call him "Wash" and is a close friend of Lady Q's, and Amanda's mentor who fought on the opposite side in the war, and an old woman who was one of the creators of the Continuum. But oddly, I have not yet seen Q. I've attempted to contact him, but I get an answering machine message that says he's busy and not to bother him. It's not just me; none of the other Q can get hold of him, but none of them seem to be worried about it. I'd think, though, that since ostensibly Lady Q brought me here as a favor to him, that he might drop by to say hello. I wonder if he's angry at me for refusing to listen to Lady Q's warnings and getting myself assimilated and killed, but he has to have known I had to find things out for myself. I can't -- I couldn't -- just take a cryptic warning of 'don't go there or you'll regret it' seriously... what did either of them expect me to do, hide under my bed? If I hadn't gone, someone else would have, and then Seven wouldn't have known, and the Earth would have been destroyed. Devoured. I had to do what I did. Surely Q knows me well enough to know that. I had to learn for myself, even if it killed me.

Which it did.

None of the Q will explain to me exactly in what state I exist, now. Am I dead? Did they resurrect me? Did they make me a new body? Am I an energy being? A spirit? I think, I feel, but I don't have the needs I had when I was alive. Lady Q promised me bottomless cups of coffee when I got here, and she was true to her word -- the replicator will make me any cup of coffee I've ever drunk in my life, if I just think about it, or will surprise me with coffee I've never had before if I ask it to. But I don't need it. I'm always as alert and focused as I would have been after two cups, and I never feel jitters, never get dry mouth or irritability or headaches. The same with food. I can eat anything I want, but I'm never hungry and I'm never full. I can have a four-course steak dinner with sinfully rich mocha berry cheesecake for dessert, and it's like eating a basket of leola crisps that Neelix used to leave in my office for me to snack on. I'm eating solely for taste, and because I'm bored... I never feel the need for it, and I'm never full.

I have a beautiful bathroom here, the dream bathroom I always wished I could have, but the only parts of the facility I've used are the shower and the hot tub. And I've stopped taking the showers once I figured out I wasn't sweating anymore and I always smell clean. I don't need to sleep, either. In fact I can't. I lay down on the bed, but sleep never comes.

If I ask it to, the viewscreen in my quarters will show me any time, any place in my home universe. I've been watching my crew. Chakotay and Seven in particular, because my death hit them hardest... Seven feels as if she should have saved me, Chakotay feels cheated because I died before he and I could ever fully explore a possible relationship the way we'd intended to. All of my crew mourn for me, and I wish there was some way to send them a message. "I'm alive and well and living in the Q Continuum!" Although I suspect I'm not alive and this isn't living. I don't know what I am. But at least I wish I could say I still exist, that I'm thinking about them, that I miss them and I care about them and I wish my death didn't hurt them so much. And my mother, and sister... God, it hurts so much to watch them mourn for me. If only I could tell them...

Only the Q can transmit any information out of the Continuum, though, and they won't do it for me. I haven't given up hope -- I might be able to persuade q-ling to do it, since she's little enough that she might not have been told the reasons she's not supposed to. I feel bad about using a child that way, but no one has explained to me exactly why, if I'm not really dead and I'm existing in the Continuum, I can't let my loved ones know that I'm not really dead. And I did warn Lady Q, when I came here, that I would try to find a way back home. It's what I do, apparently.

End log entry.

Author's Notes:

Lowercase q comes from "String Theory 3: Evolution" by Heather Jarman. Janeway does not remember that Tom and Harry ran off with Q and q to save the universe because at the end of the series her memories of the whole thing were wiped to save her sanity; I believe the entire series was actually supposed to be a retcon of the episode "Night".

Q's "older brother" is Q2 from Deja Q. The inventor and Queria are OCs and last appeared in "Judgement Day: The Partisan"; Amanda's mentor "Auntie" is an OC from my fic "Amanda Goes To War"; q-ling is an OC and new to this series.

The reference to "Wash" comes from my fic "Game Over", a Star Trek/Firefly crossover.