The Senior Officers, plus a brooding Q, were seated along the conference table. The Observation room was quiet for a long moment, everyone looking to Picard, who was staring very hard at his steepled fingers. Eventually the Captain gave a great sigh, glancing up at his crew. The present omnipotent was silent, hands folded in his lap, not even lounging just a bit in his chair- this was more than slightly unnerving for Picard. It meant that this was a more serious situation then they had first thought, serious enough that it warranted Q's best behavior. That was positively frightening.

"I think," Deanna started once she'd gathered enough sense of the room, "We should start with the woman- Persipnei. Q, you said that the continuum was watching her; you seemed to recognize her."

Q leaned back in his chair, "That… thing," he seemed to wince, just very slightly, "has been making trouble in the continuum for eons." And that fact that she'd chosen 'Queen of the Underworld' as her present form was not a good sign. That meant, metaphorically speaking after all, she'd dragged Amanda down to Hell. Q suppressed a shutter. "Mostly it was peanuts, you know," he said casually. "Causing mayhem betwixt the morals, playing God- or Goddess- whatever. That we could ignore! I mean," he scoffed, hand to his heart, "I do it all the time…"

Riker shifted in his chair, looking peeved. "That's right," he spat, "You cause mayhem and destruction wherever you go. What makes her any different?"

"Because she became dangerous," Q said softly. "I may," he walked his fingers across the table, "interfere with your lives from time to time… but I've never threatened the continuum's existence! It's very foundation!" No one said a word to that. Oh yes, that got their attention, didn't it?

Troi folded her hands, "Is she trying to overpower the Q?"

Q thought for a long moment, "Given enough power she could certainly do some damage. Maybe lock us out of the universe…" His eyes grew wide, "Or worse, turn us human! We knew she was planning something… we could only speculate as to what."

"And you didn't feel it necessary to divulge any of this information?" Picard grumbled.

"How could I have known? The last time I saw her was clear across dimensions centuries ago! I had no idea she could even be here…" Riker rolled his eyes, but Q ignored him. "I had no idea she would have tried to use the Enterprise to trap me, let alone Amanda."

Picard sighed heavily, "But why?" He looked pointedly at Q. "Why take out her frustrations on you?"

At this Q shifted uncomfortably. "I had been investigating her presence for a while, got wind of some sensitive information, and reported it to the appropriate authorities... and it might have resulted in her expulsion from the continuum." The Captain shook his head in disbelieve. "What? How should I know she'd carry a grudge for two millennia?"

"And now she's planning revenge," Troi quipped, "and Amanda can help her achieve this?"

Q narrowed his eyes, "Alone a Q would have no chance against the continuum, but Persipnei is powerful- and Amanda is very powerful. Amanda is young and inexperienced, yes, but her sheer force of being is extremely intense. She has been reared human for much of her life and it has resulted in… some interesting traits. Most Q are taught that their power has limits, that while they can create and destroy whole dimensions, there is an element of restraint interwoven into their subconscious. If a Q unbridles himself to his power it will destroy him. Amanda does not understand this. Her human nature makes her very willful; she fights with all her strength, without safety limits."

Picard glanced down the table, "If someone like Persipnei could harness Amanda's power, what would happen?"

Q shrugged nonchalantly, "Rule the existence of every life form for three dimensions, maybe more." The table sat in shocked silence. "Or…" and this was the real clinch, "destroy them."

Leaning back in his chair, Riker stroked his chin thoughtfully. "But how would this, as Persipnei said, 'torturing' Q?" Q stiffened, and the other occupants of the room didn't answer. Riker continued anyway, looking across the table at the indignant omnipotent, "I'm sure it would be terribly annoying for you, having that woman gain control of the entire universe, but couldn't you just leave? Pass into another dimension? I don't think I quite understand how your… discomfort fits into this equation."

There was a silent moment where Q debated whether or not to use his remaining powers and turn Riker's face inside out. It would be terribly amusing, and he would deserve it. Data tilted his head, speaking into the quiet, "I do not believe it is Persipnei's goal to torment Q by expanding her powers. Indeed, if she was able to capture Amanda she could have taken Q just as easily. I believe it is with Amanda that Persipnei intends to cause Q distress."

The metal man gets there in the end, doesn't he?

Q could feel Picard looking at him. He could hear all their thoughts, unspoken questions, so he tried to focus on something else. Riker, on the other hand, let out a barking laugh. "Really?" he implored, "Are we suppose to believe Q actually cares what happens to Amanda?" Riker pointed a finger across the table, "I don't believe it. You couldn't give a damn less about anyone else but yourself, never have, and we're suppose to accept the fact that somehow you've found a soft spot within that blackened husk of a soul?" Q looked up sharply, glaring.

"Will…" Deanna said warningly.

"No," Riker retorted, "I think we have a right to know." And then his voice went soft, deadly so, as he hissed, "Maybe Q's been beat to the punch. Maybe you were going to use Amanda all along and Persipnei just beat you to it."

In a swift motion, so fast it was hardly discernable to the naked eye; Q slammed his fist down on the table. The force was so strong the surface fractured, hairline fissures splintering away from his clenched hand. For a terrifying instant rage twisted inside him; really was going to hurt Riker, even in his weakened state. Q had to reminded himself such an act would help Amanda's chances not at all. He forced himself to once again retreat behind an uncaring mast of detachment. The table whined and repaired itself with just the flick of power.

Deanna, eyes wide, straightened up, "I don't think we have any right to question Q's feelings."

"I want him to say it," Riker folded his arms, undaunted and unaffected by Q's display.

This was ridiculous! Q glanced imploringly at the Captain. Surely he could call off the dogs? But Picard didn't catch his eye; he was turned inward, reflective. Gently Q skimmed the surface of his mind, trying to find some part of the man that believe him. How could he wish for Amanda to be in pain? Chained and bound like some immense battery, life force draining for the soul purpose of enslaving the entire cosmos? But there was doubt in Picard, latent and undermining. There was distrust.

Q sighed finally, "Amanda means a great deal to the continuum."

"To the continuum?" Riker puffed.

"To me."


"How do you expect me to say it, oh wise and powerful Commander of the Enterprise? Interpretive dance? Shall I write you a poem?"

"That would be nice."

"Are you listening to this, Picard?" Q gestured wildly at the Captain, who opened his mouth to speak-



Nothing but mmmm.


Only mmmm.

Quiet, blissful mmmm.

There was no time, no container to wrap around the tight, constricting mmmm. She- although there was no 'she', was there? There was no 'feel'. There was nothing but mmmm. It was the womb before birth, the universe before the fizz-bang! of existence. It was glorious and sated, loud in its silence, beckoning and safe. Safe. She- was there knowledge of she?- felt safe. It was a feeling that could have been tied to a memory, if there were memories.

Dimly there was awareness of being, but of nothing save the sweet, silent mmmm. Was there anything besides the blackness? But why would anyone leave this sacred place?

A muffled sound.


A dull metronome.


A heartbeat.


Again, again.



Life. Alive. Knowledge.

It was a weight, a heavy blanket to claw through. Energy unwound itself from a singularity, a pinpoint so depressed it existed not at all. From within this place she stretched.


She could see it, whatever it was, just beyond her reach!

Like a head breaking the surface of black, oppressive water, Amanda pushed upwards through the thin membrane of her tight sub-existence. She gasped, drawing her energy and her strength. Life flooded through her being, sizzling white-hot from the bare tips of her to the hot heady center. Clawing through the sludge she was born out onto the ground. Only… not ground. She wasn't in her physical body, she was her natural ebb of energy, and all around her was the color of yolk. It was bright, a stark contrast to the world of dark before. It was a cocoon, and it throbbed like a heart and pulsed as if she were part of it and it were part of her.

She reached out and brushed her energy along the wall. The surface clung to her fingers like sticky gel. If she could just apply enough pressure it would open, rip down its seam, but it even that was too much an exertion. The mere thought of it made her weak and sleepy.

"What is this place?"

How had she ended up here? Where was 'here' for that matter? She culled her energy, radiating outward to try and probe, to try and find something solid to grab onto. Out in the distance, perhaps beyond the membrane of her floating egg, there was a voice. It was female, and it was pleasant in its tone.

"Amanda?" It called to her, sweet and low. "Amanda?"

"Hello? Yes? Here! I'm here!"

"Amanda?" The voice grew as if the speaker had turned to her, noticing her, smiling at her. "Amanda, there you are."

That voice…

Sharp, unnerving panic flooded her. No. This was impossible. "M-mom?" And in the back of her mind there was a screeching, nails down a chalkboard, unending microphone feedback growing louder and louder and louder. Thoughts, emotions, awareness, all pouring back to her so suddenly. Her parents, her powers, the continuum, Q- She was enveloped by it, doused in it, and it was filling up her dome-like space until it engulfed her completely. Amanda held herself through the wake of it and tried not to scream.

Through the haze she could feel someone coming closer, the issuer of the voice. It made soothing sounds as if to comfort her, but where was there room for comfort in utter confusion? She wanted to get back to the Enterprise where there were people, not this disembodied voice.

"Don't struggle-"

Amanda froze, her essence shrinking into itself. Before her there was a small flash of light, another being materializing before her in a similar state of flux- energy wrapped up within itself- the form of the Q but... wrong somehow. The woman's voice was strange. It was not her mother, no, but it was- it was her mother's voice and Beverley's and Troi's and Guinan's and all female voices she had ever heard speaking all at once. It was a chorus, and it was directed at her.

"There now," it said, "Doesn't that feel better?" And as it spoke the voice deepened, thinned, until it became one resonating note, a single entity.

"Who are you?" Amanda spoke, although it was not human speech they used, "You look like a Q, you speak like a Q-"

The entity "That's because I am a Q."

"But you're all... wrong..."

The Q before her swelled with something akin to pride, "I am evolved, Amanda, much like you are."

"Evolved?" It was hard to keep the skepticism from her voice.

"Yes. For instance, I am not simply 'Q', I have a name: Persipni, just like you have. And I no longer associate myself with that bothersome continuum."

Shock swelled in Amanda. "You're discontinuous? How? How is that possible? The only way to do that is to-"

"Be removed, yes." Persipnei quavered, "I was unceremoniously shut out of the continuum for wanting to be more, Amanda, just as you are. I thought it possible to evolve myself, to better my eternity. And they crucified me for it, Amanda, but you they worship. You're their savior." The constricting space seemed to grow smaller as Persipnei moved in closer, shoving her face into Amanda's

Amanda scoffed, "They hardly worship me. I'm hated in the continuum; I'm seen as some weird hybrid with uncontrolled Q power and human idiocy."

"Q worships you."

The inflection in Persipnei's voice made it very clear as to which Q she was talking about. Amanda felt embarrassment ripple through her. "'Worship' is a little strong… and he's the only one who even bothers with me…"

"Such a hypocrite," Persipnei hissed. Amanda recoiled back in surprise. There was a strong element of rage and madness in the Q's voice she hadn't heard before. It sounded alarm bells. It was all very well she was talking to this entity, but there was something very wrong about the whole situation. Amanda had to get right to the point she'd been skirting ever since she'd regained consciousness.

"Why am I here?"

But the woman went on as if she hadn't even heard her, "He wanted to be more too, to be more connected with the mortals. He wanted to evolve, but once he saw how to do it he was frightened, scared; ran off to tell the council and left me to my fate. Q turned me in; he destroyed everything I was, everything that meant anything to me. I've waiting millennia to destroy what he is, what he values most…"

Oh god, she was mad, crazed. Amanda hoped that by preoccupying her she might be open to reason, at least then she'd have a chance.

"What did they do to you?"

Persipnei swelled, "They ripped me from the continuum, setting me back into mere atoms- space dust. Do you know how long it took me to re-constitute myself? Thousands of years! Thousands of years of sub-existence! That gave me a lot of time to think, oh yes, and I knew what I had to do, how to finally achieve what I always wanted! And that's you Amanda. You and I, think of the possibilities!"

Amanda pushed away, "No. I won't help you."

Persipnei laughed, a cold, chilling sound, "Help me? Help me? Oh no, Amanda, I'm going to have you, wither you like it or not. You'll be a part of me, a part of this evolution. Don't worry," she soothed at the plain horror flickering in Amanda, "you'll come willingly into my existence, and then you'll sleep Amanda, sleep forever as I expand to every single corner of this universe."

"You're insane!"

"I knew you'd not make the choice willingly, but you'll see how important it is in the end. We need to destroy the continuum, don't you see? They are what's wrong with this existence, Amanda. They are cruel overlords that make rules and regulations; limits to the true beings we can become! They want to stifle our growth. They don't understand us, Amanda. But now we can become one and achieve a level far beyond any other being has ever attained."

Amanda snarled, "Q will never let that happen."

"Q is the worst of them all, and by the time we're done I know you'll agree with me…"

And she was gone, poof, vanished, and Amanda was left alone in her cocoon. For a moment she thought she'd been left to wait it out, stuck in some prison cell. But slowly the was a pull, gentle in the beginning. Horror seized her. It was that feeling… from the bad place Q had shown her, like her essence was being squeezed and pulled through a buttonhole, draining.

"No. No, no, no…" Amanda whimpered as it took hold of her, clammy hands wrapping around. Her vision quavered, and images of a different time, a different place were coming into focus. It was confusing and it hurt oh god. "Q…" It was futile, she knew, but just before her mind was engulfed entirely, she called out, radiated her power, desperate. And then there was blackness once more.


Before Picard could harshly silence Q the Enterprise titled sharply starboard in one solid, sudden, jerk. The occupants of the Observation Room clung to their chairs and edge of the table as the ship around them shuttered and lurched. Q, where just before he had been staring incredulously at Riker, suddenly went ridged in his chair. Then, just as it began, the movement stopped. The Enterprise floated calmly on, eerily so, as if nothing had happened at all. Deanna sighed a great whoosh of relief.

Picard looked sharply to his Security Officer, "Worf, I want you at your station; damage report as soon as possible. Everyone, return to your post."

The computer chimed, "Captain?" an Ensign voiced. "There's a message coming in for you from Command."

"Acknowledged, I'll take it in my Ready Room," he looked pointedly about at his Officers, "I want theories as to how we deal with this. We cannot leave Amanda Rogers to be enslaved for her powers. Persipnei's actions threaten us all." With that they all stood, taking leave one after another, except the Captain, who was looking down at Q with a hard expression. The omnipotent was touching his temples as if they pained him. "What's wrong?" Picard was momentarily surprised at the sincerity in his voice, but he let it pass under the circumstances.

Q let his hand drop slowly, the strange expression dropping from his face in one smooth motion. "A ripple of power," he said thinly, "I'm not sure."

"What are you going to do now?"

Q looked at him, "I don't know! Maybe wander the ship aimlessly with a horribly dejected expression on my face until the Councilor finally decides to pry into my- "

"I meant," Picard said in a decidedly level tone, "are you going to go back to the continuum?" Q shook his head.

"As I said before, even my connection to the Q is being disrupted. I'm…" his face twisted, "helpless to stop it."

Picard put his hand flat on the table, leaning down. "We are going to fix this."

"Ha! What a thing to say," He scoffed, "Fix this? That woman could squeeze you out of existence! You're all are ants to her, Picard!" Q knew the man was hardheaded, but he never pegged Jean-Luc as stupid. But that's what this whole notion was, utterly and totally stupid. It was fruitless, to be sure! How was he, an omnipotent all but stripped of his powers, and a handful of humans going do anything against the combined powers of two super beings? That terror that Q had suppressed on theBridge was now bubbling up inside him. He had the strange urge to find a dark corner and curl up in it. But that was such a… human response. Damn it. Amanda must be rubbing off on him.


Damn it.

"Are you giving up, then?" Picard folded his hands over his chest, looking down his nose at Q. "I want to make it very clear that that is exactly what you are doing. If you really do care about Amanda, as terrified a thought I think that is, you have an obligation to at least try with some ounce of your being." Q said nothing in retort. He sat in the chair, mind off somewhere internally, and Picard wasn't sure he had even heard him. The Captain gave a snort of distain and left the room.

"Sir," Worf said at tactical as he entered the Bridge, "There has been zero reported damage to the Enterprise. Some of the crew were shaken, but there have been no injuries."

"Very good. I want a full analysis of the planet," Picard nodded out the view screen, "Anything and everything you can get and as soon as possible. Any theories on how to break through that atmosphere would be greatly appreciated. You may Patch Starfleet through." Picard stepped into his Ready Room, called up his usual tea, Earl Gray, hot, and took a seat behind his desk. Part of him was focused on the task at hand, ruminating the information gathered and the possible courses of action, and yet a small portion of his brain was still focused on the omnipotent brooding in the conference room.

For Q the whole situation would be overwhelming, he could appreciate that, but he didn't need a cowering Q at the moment. Picard needed a helpful Q- if it were any way possible. He needed a Q that would lend some of his expertise to the task at hand. When it came right down to it, even in his currently limited form, Q was still their best defense against Persipnei. This sat awkwardly with Picard. He never trusted Q; he still didn't. That fact that on numerous occasions that had had to rely on Q's assistance had always troubled him. And now they were going to willingly; entering into a situation where Q could possibly hold all their lives in his hands. No, it didn't sit well with him at all.

The screen upon Picard's desk lit up with the Starfleet emblem, a slight chime signaling the incoming message. He tapped the control panel and the screen lit up with arguably the most formable woman in Starfleet.

Alynna Nacheyev folded her hands upon the desk in front of her, "Captain, I have just received your telecom concerning your reaching the Tulcarean system. What have you gathered on your expedition thus far?"

Inwardly, Picard let out a noise of frustration. How was be ever going to explain this?

"Well…" he paused. One of Nacheyev's eyebrows raised just a fraction at the Captain's unusual hesitancy. "We are positive that the readings Starfleet has gathered are not a natural occurring phenomenon."

"… Go on."

"It seems, Admiral, as if a… being has taken residence on the planet and has been causing disruptions in the space around the system."

A brooding expression set over Nacheyev's face. "Is there any danger to the Federation?"

"The being has taken one of the Q hostage-"

"Is there any danger to the Federation?"

Picard placed his cup and saucer on the desk with a slight clink. "At the moment the power fluctuations are not extending beyond the system, but it has been made abundantly clear that the entire sector may be at risk."

"Do we have a timetable for-"

He resisted pinching the bridge of his nose out of frustration, "I don't believe it gave us a itinerary of its takeover of the universe, no."

If Nacheyev had caught the dripping sarcasm she didn't let it show, "There has been elevated tension between a Cardassian outpost and a Federation trading route in a sector near your position. We need the Enterprise to act as liaison. I am calling off your expedition for the time being and re-routing you."

"Admiral," Picard started with the mildest of sighs, "This very powerful being has taken a member of the Q continuum hostage and has threatened its other members. We are under the impression that this hostage is in a great deal of danger."

Nacheyev scoffed, "The Q can sort out their own problems. They are omnipotent, are they not? I see no reason why we should interfere with their little squabble."

A muscle over Picard's left eye twitched. "Admiral, we have several away teams currently on the planet's surface and there are severe electrical storms interfering with our transporter. Shuttle will be necessary to collect them all, and that could take well over forty-eight hours with the storms as they are."

Nacheyev took a deep breath, "Fine. But I want you out of that sector immediately after, Captain." The screen snapped back to the Starfleet emblem. Picard sat back in his chair, staring down into his cup of tea. He never fancied lying to his superior officer…

"Jean-Luc…" His head snapped up to see Q standing in the doorway. His powers must really have been waning for him not to simply appear sitting on the sofa. "You aren't leaving her down there," Q continued, "You can't…"

"No, we're not, but I couldn't very well tell the Admiral that." It was unnerving. He'd never seen Q look so desperate. "If you want my help you're going to do exactly as I tell you. No more of this running amuck aboard my ship."

"Tried that once," the omnipotent snapped, sitting hunched on the arm of the couch, contempt boiling over his worry, "The last time I tried acting civil to your crew I had a fork stabbed into my hand."

"You're going to have to deal with that for the time being, Q." Picard nodded down to his hands, "I want to make this very clear. I am not, not doing this for your benefit. This is not some 'thank you' or peace offering in order to solidify a friendship. This is for Amanda, because she is an innocent in your game." He wanted to punish the omnipotent, to make him see just how much he disrupted people's lives throughout the galaxy. "Amanda is suffering because of the trouble you have caused here." But the look on Q's face made it clear that perhaps this was punishment enough. The Captain sighed, "Go back to your room, sit there and try to figure out how we are going to breach Persipnei's defenses." Q opened his mouth in protest but Picard cut him off, "I'll have the senior staff working on it too, just go." He pointed to the door, Q exiting with a huff of annoyance. Picard sipped his tea, looking out the window to the stars beyond, his brain wracking.


The planet Amanda suddenly found herself standing on certainly wasn't Lectus V; in fact, it wasn't any kind of planet she had ever seen before. But it was beautiful.

One moment she'd been in such terrible pain, oh, it hard torn her skull apart, and the next she was standing on a street made of stone, columned buildings all around her, and a purpling sky overhead. Finding herself once again in human form, she walked over to a Roman-esk building, touching her fingers to the stones. It was cool against her skin, and she could feel the inconsistencies in the rock- the pockmarks and grooves. It felt real enough. But where was she?

"Hello?" She called out into the violet twilight. No one answered her, not even Persipnei, who she knew must be watching her. Fine. She wanted Amanda to play? She'd play, and then she'd figure out a way to beat her at her own game. Amanda started slowly forward, wobbling a little on her legs. It felt weird… unsettled.

The sky overhead was dusky, oranges and purples spilling across the clouds like upturned ink jars. Or perhaps the sky was always purple… Amanda squinted at the patches of clear peeking out from behind the puffy skyline. She noticed the buildings were strange too as she made her way down the narrow lane.

In the front the houses were built open; columns bordering a stone verandas that led down to small gardens. Down on her knees she leaned closer to some of the vegetation sprouting up on the roadside. One of the flowers was like a rose, but with angular petals. Like nothing she had ever seen before.

Amanda paused.

Strange sky, strange buildings… strange plants.

She was on an alien planet.

Her chest heaved. Okay, she thought to herself, don't panic; just find someone to speak to and you'll be fine. Persipnei couldn't have thrown her across the universe, could she? Persipnei was a Q- had been a Q.

As she walked, Amanda's mind reeled.

Persipini had said she'd figured out a way for the Q to evolve, and that the Q Amanda knew had been there during the discovery. That he'd wanted to take part too, only… only once he realized what would have to happen he'd backed out.

Well, that was par for the course, Amanda thought with a huff.

But Q was always one for more power and knowledge, he practically relished in it. What was was bad enough for him to bail? Something Persipnei obviously thought she and Amanda would be able to accomplish... together. Amanda shuttered, picking up the pace as she rushed through the deserted streets.

Odd… where was everyone?

There was a faint noise up ahead, like a multitude of voices in a great surge of yelling. Amanda rounded the next corner up ahead and stopped short. Filling up what looked like a town square was an immense crowed of people, all dressed in simular garb and all surging forward. They were all in an uproar, faces turned towards the front of the pavilion. Squinting, Amanda could see four figures at the front, two standing at odds with one another, the other two laying strewn, upon a large dais. One of the standing figures, tall, male, and with his hands on his hips and his back to her, was speaking clipped sentences to the woman across from him.

Amanda gasped audibly when she took a look at the scowling woman. "Guinan!" There was no doubt in her mind that it the Enterprise barkeep there on the raised platform. The lines in her face were softer, younger, and her hair was down in a long plate against her spine. Despite those differences, and the long dark-blue robes wrapped around her person, it was definitely Guinan.

Amanda grit her teeth and dove forward, entering the throng of bodies. People surged against her, but no matter how much she elbowed and kicked, they didn't seem to notice. She ducked and squeezed her way through the crowed, catching snippets of angry voices as she went.

"Move!" She yelled over the noise, but no one even spared her a glance. It was like she was invisible. Coldness settled in the pit of Amanda's stomach. What if she was invisible? What if no one was paying her any mind because they couldn't? She pushed through the crowed with renewed zeal, determined to get to the front. If Guinan was there, then she needed to speak with her.

Finally Amanda was able to see the dais from between the bodies. She'd tried to use her powers to simply appear there, but no matter how hard she focused it wouldn't work.

"Guinan!" She called, pushing past the last figure, an angry man with his fists raised up into the air. She stumbled, falling to her hands and knees outside the ring of people. Catching her breath she got to her feet, looking around. "Guinan…"

But the woman wasn't looking at her; she was looking at the two bodies on the ground. Amanda looked too, her eyes wide, mouth agape. Two dark skinned males lay bleeding on the floor of the platform, blood pooling beneath and running down to drip off the side. One of the bodies had a knife still clutched in his grasp.

Guinan pointed a finger at the man across from her, "You! Murderer!"

"I did nothing," said a sarcastic voice. "They killed each other! Don't you see!"

Amanda's jaw clamped closed. She knew that voice. Looking up, scarcely able to believe it, she saw exactly who was standing so arrogantly on the opposite side of the platform.

"Q," she breathed. Her Q.

A snarl twisted his lips, a kind of half-grin, like he was pleased with himself. "It was jealousy, obviously, that drove them to this. Not me. Not little old moi. " He touched an open hand to his chest, as if the very insinuation that he was involved was some rude and unfounded accusation.

Guinan shook her head fiercely, fists clenched. "No. You planted the idea in their minds. They thought each was plotting against the other, that their secession to my father's thrown was in jeopardy. They would have never thought that if you hadn't show up. We trusted you! My brothers were good men, not petty criminals!"

Hands firmly planted on his hips, Q let out a peal of delighted laughter. It rang inside her head, echoing, and Amanda felt faint. She'd never heard such uncaring malice in Q's voice before. He was taunting her, toying, and it made Amanda sick to her stomach. But she didn't move, couldn't move, it was like shock was rooting her feet to the floor.

This couldn't be happening. They were all supposed to be back on the Enterprise. What was going on?

A/n- Hello readers! I must apologise for the lack in updates. I was working on my NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) novel the whole of November. I thought I was going to have a little time to update this fic but my novel had other ideas. But it's now December, and although I'm still working on my NaNo novel I will be writing more Xenon. Again, sorry for the gap, but hopefully we're on track now.

Thank you so much for reading! Please review!