"What could we meet in this forest?" Picard asked, trying to remember the movie. Though he liked it when he saw it, it had been a while ago.
"The Cowardly Lion." Geordi said promptly.
"Though this story appears to be following the MGM movie, in the original book Dorothy and her friends met 'Kalidahs', tiger/bear hybrids," Data informed them. "In the illustration, they looked like tigers. This could be tiger territory."
"You said they were bears too." Riker pointed out.
"I think we're going to follow the movie and just meet the Cowardly Lion." Geordi maintained.
"But perhaps a tiger before that." Data reminded.
"Don't forget, bears," Riker added.
"Lions." Geordi said.
"Tigers." Data said.
"Bears." Riker said.
"Oh my." Picard added with a grin.
"RAWR!" Something growled and leapt onto the road, baring its teeth, and the threesome and Riker immediately retreated a few steps. Then the creature's expression softened a tiny bit, as much as a Klingon's expression could soften.
"Hello, Captain." Worf said.
His hair was long and tangled like a lion's mane, and there was hair on every bit of skin that showed under his Klingon armor. Added to his height, breadth, and ridged forehead, he presented a formidable image.
"It appears you are the Cowardly Lion." Data said innocuously.
Worf growled again. "I am NOT a Cowardly Lion!"
"The Cowardly Lion was not a coward, he simply believed he was." Data clarified, which seemed to appease Worf a little.
"But we are in the Q continuum, and this is not Oz." Picard said, and briefed him on the rest.
"We must go find Q?" Worf protested.
"That is the only way we can leave the continuum." Picard reminded him.
"Fine," the Klingon said reluctantly.
They pressed on, emerging from the forest a few minutes later, meeting no other lions, no tigers, and no bears.
"Look! It's the Emerald City!" Picard said, pointing.
"It's not very far at all!" Geordi added.
"We should run." Data suggested.
They did so, joyful that their journey was almost over. Data led, Worf followed closely, Picard and Geordi were about even, and Riker, with his small dog paws, panted in the rear.
When they were very close to the city, Picard abruptly stopped running. Geordi slowed, and even Worf brought himself to a halt. The tireless android Data turned to see what the problem was.
"I'm tired. I can't run anymore," Picard yawned.
"Me either." Geordi said, catching a yawn from his captain.
"I find it difficult to keep upright." Worf said, swaying where he stood.
"But Captain! Geordi! We are almost there!" Data said, sounding concerned. He knew what was happening, and this was the Q Continuum, meaning that it could affect them all if they didn't get out.
Riker was already asleep at Picard's feet, and the captain gave Data a look before swaying and dropping next to his first officer.
Geordi quickly followed suit, and Worf used Klingon control to stay up for a few more seconds before collapsing and snoring loudly.
Data looked at them. "Poppies," he remembered out loud. He bent down to pick up Geordi and carry him out of the poppy field, but as he got close to the flowers a strange feeling washed over him (something like being deactivated). He clattered to the ground next to his friend, his last thought being a musing that even he could be affected by the powers of Q.
A/N This is my favorite chapter, just because of that bit at the beginning.