AN: This is just something I cooked up after watching some episodes of VOY and TNG. It's absolutely ridiculous, but try to suspend some disbelief and enjoy.
Chapter One: Q, Q, and Q
Captain Jean-Luc Picard entered the boardroom with surprisingly little on his mind. There were no major missions sent by star fleet, no distress calls, no new planets or space anomalies, there were no new major developments on the ship. In fact, if he was not so occupied with trying to get used to the absence of Data, he'd be bored.
But staff meetings still happened, whether or not anything exciting was happening. They all still had their basic duties and Picard was hoping there'd be something to distract him from the giant hole in the ship and the crew.
Troi, Riker, Dr. Crusher, Geordi, their new chief of security Lieutenant Price and B-4, who had taken the post of ship's navigator, were all sitting at the table waiting for him when Picard entered. He could not help but feel strange with this newly modified version of his senior staff. The Frenchman sat down in his chair and looked around. "Alright, what have we got on the agenda?"
"Captain, Ensign Vera and I have plotted out some new experiments that might lead to greater stabilization of the warp core. If our theories are correct, the risk of major damage to the ship in case of core breach will be greatly reduced." Geordi said.
"And you need my approval on this?"
"What exactly will this new experiment involve?" This was the closest thing to interesting he was going to get, by the looks of it.
"Well, believe it or not, the Ensign and I have found evidence that introducing Helium composites to the Alpha Transducer of the core might inhibit runoff and enhance shock absorption within the core. It could completely-"
"Oh blah blah blah, it's all the same techno-babble." An unwelcome and very familiar voice interrupted.
Everyone in the room froze, except for Picard, who turned around. It was as if everyone in the room were stuck in time except him. He didn't have to look far for the source of the anomaly. A couch was suddenly behind him and sitting on it was the familiar figure of Q, accompanied by an unfamiliar young man and an even more unfamiliar baby sitting in Q's lap.
Picard rose swiftly. "Q!" He shouted, annoyed as usual by the entity's presence but curious enough about the baby and young man to appreciate the diversion despite himself. "What are you doing here? And where did you get that infant?"
"Oh come on!" The young man said. "Aren't you the least curious about me too? Or do I get no love because I'm bigger than a sack of potatoes?"
The obnoxious manner with which the young man spoke rose some red flags. Q looked at the young man. "Oh, he's curious, but he's more nervous about me handling a baby. Humans are very protective of anything small and young, especially when it looks like them." He turned back to the Captain. "Really now, Jean-Luc, why so angry? Was I really that bad last time we met? Anyways, since you're so interested, this is my son, Q and my daughter," he bounced the baby on his knee a little. "Q."
The captain gaped. Since when did Q have children? How was this possible? Something was obviously very wrong.
"Oh, don't look so horrified, after all, you are her God-father."
That just floored him even more. The thought of Q reproducing, and even more, asking him to be a God-father!
"What is this, Q?" Picard demanded. "What's going on and why have you brought your… Children here?"
"Well, I was assigned eternal custody of Junior here," Q said, motioning toward his son. "He made a few people angry, so now the Continuum insist that we always be in the same place. And the reason I came was because of the little one. I have decided that she should live here until she grows up, and I'm willing to make you an offer you can't refuse in exchange."
"Q, this is a Starship, not a nursery! How you could expect us to even be tempted into taking in your offspring is absolutely ridiculous, even for you!"
That was what Picard managed to utter after the long silence that shock had made after Q's announcement.
"I told you we should have tried Aunt Kathy." The young Q said. "You said so yourself that Picard had the sentimentality of a dead Klingon."
"Why have you frozen my crew, Q?"
"Why, to keep out all the babble that would impede on this negotiation, of course. I could really do without the input of Dr. Crusher."
"Q, you either un-freeze my crew, or I won't listen to another word."
Q groaned. "Alright, alright, if you're going to be difficult about it!" He snapped his fingers and everyone in the room suddenly reacted to Q's appearance.
"What are you doing here, Q?" Riker demanded, "And who are the children?"
"Children?" The young Q said incredulously.
"Down boy." Q said to his son before rolling his eyes and groaning once again. "Since I have to repeat myself, the children are mine and I have come to bring my daughter to be raised at least partly on The Enterprise. Don't worry, I'm willing to give incentives."
"How can a parent possibly try to dump his own child on a bunch of people who don't even like him?" Dr. Crusher demanded. "Are you insane?"
"See, this is what I wanted to avoid, Jean-Luc. Anyways, I have a good reason, if you're willing to listen."
The crew all looked around at each other.
"Willing or not, I'm going to explain. Now, basically, after the suicide of an esteemed brother of mine, the Continuum was thrown into chaos. To resolve the civil war that had sprung up, my mate and I had a child to bring forth a messiah, hence, Junior. Unfortunately, until recently, Q brought even more chaos to the universe and to the continuum with his bad behavior. If it were not for the crew of Voyager, he'd have been turned into a single cell amoeba. So, since Q failed, my mate, who disowned him, consented to trying again on the whole procreation thing on the condition that it be female and not raised the way our son was, always in the continuum and being indulged. Unfortunately, my mate decided to abandon Little Q here too while I searched for a way to raise her differently. Since I am bound to follow Junior here around wherever he goes, I can hardly find the time to properly coach the girl. And then I thought, 'well, living on a starship did wonders for the boy, why not the girl?' So with one idea I figured out how to make sure the girl doesn't become a little horror and find her supervision at the same time. Voyager is no longer in space and I don't care much for those aboard DS9, so you were my only choice. You don't have to worry, I'll be around frequently to take her home to the continuum and teach her to control her powers, but I need someone to teach her responsibility, and I could think of no one better than you all."
"And what makes you think we are willing or able to raise a Q?" The Doctor asked.
"Oh come now, Doctor, you're a successful parent, far more successful than I. She won't be any trouble, I promise. If she gets out of control, I'll be there in a second to curb her mischief. I'll inhibit her powers enough to keep her from causing any major damage and make her controllable. It won't be for long, either, just four of your years. Q children mature four times as quickly a humanoid children. She'll be a delight, really."
"You still haven't told us why we should do this for you." Riker said.
"Ah, yes, the incentive, very well. If you take in Little Q then I'll bring back your honorable Commander Data. Back to life and fully functional."
They all looked at each other again. Picard could read the faces of his senior staff well enough to know that they were surely tempted. Q had found their weak point and exploited it, Data, back again? That was not an offer he could just turn down. A few minutes ago he had been sure he would have given anything to have Data back. Now… He took a deep breath.
"That is a very serious matter, Q, and I cannot give you an answer without some consideration and input from my staff. Leave us for a while and we will make a decision."
"Really, Jean-Luc, it's not that hard a decision. Take the kid, get your droid back it's very-"
"Q!" Picard shouted. "You will give us time or there's no deal!"
Q sighed. "Very well, if it takes you that long to make your decision, we'll leave you."
He snapped his fingers and all three Qs disappeared.
"But I'll be back soon, Jean-Luc!" His voice sounded around the room.
Several hours later, after what seemed ages of deliberation between him and his senior officers, Picard was reclining in his quarters and trying to relax.
Getting Data back… What that would mean to him, to his crew, was beyond words. Everyone aboard ship was feeling the loss of Data. Even having B-4 around was bittersweet. The pain seemed constant, how could he deny his crew the chance to be with their friend again? Data's death had been senseless and unfair, this could fix all that had gone wrong since his death.
But would this be what Data would want? Would being brought back from the dead make him happy? Data had said that knowing of his mortality made him feel more human and more human was exactly what Data had always wanted to be. Bringing his back might negate that. Data had denied Q's interference in his life before. He had even denied the granting of his dearest wish to be human because he wanted to be true to himself. Would he feel the same way if he were brought back?
The Captain had no doubt that Q could and would do this for them if they took in his daughter. But what of that? Would the crew be happy having a Q on board? The staff had made it very clear they were willing to do it if it brought Data back, but would they come to regret that decision? And what about Q's promise to visit the Enterprise frequently to see his daughter, could he allow that further interference from an entity he disliked so much. Q was disruptive enough, ensuring that he'd visit again did not sound like a nice prospect. And what about the child? How could they possibly raise a Q? Would the child be happy being raised by humans? Would she be like her father, or could they prevent that?
He had to admit, watching a new Q develop and being able to help mold it in terms of personality was a momentous opportunity, particularly in the professional sense. This could be a type of exploration they had not considered. They could learn so much from this. They could gain a better understanding of the Q entities and the Continuum that they could not otherwise have learned. And then there were the records of what happened on Voyager to consider. The young Q had been quite a nuisance when he had his powers, but then again, he showed what Vice Admiral Janeway had described as "incredible improvement" in just a few short days. Doing this might ensure that this Q never became a nuisance indeed, maybe even would become a valuable asset to the Federation.
"There's also something else you haven't considered, Jean-Luc."
The captain jumped. Q was there, on the couch opposite the one Picard was sitting on, with his baby in his lap again.
"Q! I thought I told you…"
"And I have, haven't I? I've given you time, and I'll give you some more, if that's what you need. But not right now. I want to talk to you."
"I want you to consider how rewarding this could be for you personally. You don't have any children and chances are you won't have any in the future."
Picard glared at Q. "Are you suggesting that I somehow regret that? I am perfectly happy and fulfilled by the course my life has taken. I do not respond well to children."
"Oh yes yes. But think about it, Jean-Luc. You must have thought about it before. A chance to mold a new life? To teach and raise someone? To help create another being, especially a being like this? I never thought I'd be the type to become a parent—"
"And here you are, trying to hand over your child to us."
"I'm only doing it for her own good! Do you think I want her to end up like my son? Having to be looked after and supervised for the rest of eternity because he spent four years as a spoiled brat. Do you think I want her to treat the universe as some sort of plaything, causing chaos everywhere, completely uncontrolled until she forces powers greater than she to strip her of what she has? I don't want what happened to me or my son to happen to her." Q snapped his fingers and suddenly the baby was in the Captain's arms. Q leaned forward and resting his head on his chin with a grave look on his face. "I can't present her with a structured world with limitations and codes. I exist throughout the universe and in a dimension filled with omnipotent beings. What's she going to learn from that? Exactly what caused the men in her family and the countless beings their foolishness affected so much pain and hardship. She'll learn that she can do whatever she wants and that's all. She needs to understand that just because she has the ability doesn't mean she can. I can't teach that to her flying through the cosmos in all my Q-ness. She can't just be a Q, she needs to be a good Q, and I can't do that for her. Especially not while I'm monitoring Junior. I need her to be better."
Picard was stunned. Despite himself, he began to sympathize with his old enemy's dilemma. He looked at the child. She looked like such a normal baby, it was hard to see her as anything other than that. He could hardly believe that such an innocent little face could possibly end up causing an insane amount of mischief and damage to the universe.
"Come now, Picard, you can at least admit that she's adorable."
"Oh, definitely, Q," Picard said, not dropping his guard. "Very well. I do favor granting your request, but I feel I must consult my crew first. And there are matters to attend to so that we can accommodate your daughter. I will call for you when we are ready. " He handed the baby back to her father.
"Splendid! Splendid! Wait until I tell Q!" He looked down into his daughter's face. "Are you ready to go stay with Uncle Jean-Luc and Auntie Beverly? Yes you are! Yes you are!"
He snapped his fingers and the two of them vanished.