|“||Oh, you wound me, mon capitan! After all this time you still hold grudges. No matter, I am quite magnanimous when I want to be. Consider yourself forgiven.||„|
|— Q to Jean-Luc Picard|
2381 ("Much A-Q About Nothing")
Q was a highly powerful entity from a race of omnipotent beings also known as the Q.
Q appeared to the crews of several Starfleet vessels and outposts during the 2360s and 2370s. As a consequence, all command level officers in Starfleet were briefed on his existence thereafter. One such briefing was attended by Benjamin Sisko in 2367. He typically appeared as a Humanoid male (though he could take on other forms if he wished), almost always dressed in the uniform of a Starfleet captain.
In every appearance, he demonstrated superior capabilities, but also a mindset that seemed quite unlike what Federation scientists expected for such a powerful being. He had been described, in turn, as "obnoxious," "interfering," and a "pest". However, underneath his acerbic attitude, there seemed to be a hidden agenda to Q's visits that often had the best interests of Humanity at their core.
In 2370, Q returned to the Enterprise to continue the trial against Humanity. Claiming that the seven-year-old trial had never actually ended, Q proclaimed Humanity guilty of "being inferior" and informed Picard that his race was to be destroyed. He sent Picard traveling through time to his own past and present, as well as to a potential future. In all three time periods, Picard was presented with a temporal paradox, in the form of an eruption of anti-time in the Devron system. In this paradox, Picard himself was responsible for the creation of the anomaly, which propagated backwards in normal time (anti-time having the opposite properties of normal time), thus destroying Humanity in the past.
However, in addition to sending Picard jumping through time, Q also provided Picard with hints to understanding the nature of the paradox. Ultimately, Picard determined the solution and devised a way to close the anti-time anomaly in all three time periods. Following the success, Q revealed that the entire experience had been a test devised by the Continuum, aimed at determining whether Humanity was capable of expanding its horizons to understand some of the advanced concepts of the universe, including the potential of Humanity's own evolution—but helping Picard was his idea. Q promised to continue watching Humanity, proclaiming that "the trial never ends."
Following the death of Quinn, a massive Q Civil War broke out, as the forces of the status quo resisted the calls for change in the Continuum, by a faction led by Q himself. Seeking to end the conflict, Q devised a plan to mate with Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager, in order to create a new Q/Human hybrid—a new breed of Q that would help bring an end to the civil war. Janeway, however, flatly refused.
Q then kidnapped Janeway and took her to the Continuum, where he again tried to persuade her, by explaining the nature of the conflict. However, Janeway again declined (though she openly sympathized with Q for his inability to understand love), and attempted to negotiate a truce between the two sides. These negotiations failed, however, because the status quo faction refused to accept any terms other than surrender. They attempted to execute both Q and Janeway, but they were stopped by personnel from Voyager, with the assistance of a female Q, an old flame of Q's. Q and the female Q were able to equip Janeway and the rest of Voyager's crew with Q weapons, which they were able to use to battle the opposing status quo faction.
Q then proposed mating with his old girlfriend (instead of with Janeway) and she agreed. The new child, nicknamed Junior, became the first child born in the Continuum for millennia, and his presence brought an end to the civil war.
Q's child, however, did not prove to become the perfect "savior" child that he was meant to be. Junior grew into a spoiled brat, causing chaos and disorder. Q tried to briefly leave his son with "Aunt Kathy" aboard Voyager, hoping that Janeway's "vaunted Starfleet ideals" would rub off on him. Q himself began to learn more about the role of being a parent (revealing that much of Junior's actions were not punished properly by Q). However, after spending years with the child, Junior only began to behave worse. As a result, the Continuum stripped his son of his powers and left him aboard Voyager, again under the care of Janeway, telling him to reform his ways within a week or Junior would be sentenced to spend eternity as an Oprelian amoeba.
Although Q was initially unimpressed by his son's progress, he devised a test of "Q-ness" to determine whether his son had improved his attitude. He masqueraded as a Chokuzan captain and threatened Junior and his friend Icheb after they stole the Delta Flyer II from Voyager. Junior passed with flying colors, offering to sacrifice himself to face the consequence of his actions, which had endangered Icheb.
However, the Continuum was not impressed by Junior's progress, and sentenced him to remain Human. Outraged, Q proclaimed that he would leave the Continuum if his son was not allowed to rejoin—the pair was a "packaged deal." "Begging for [Q's] return" as a deterrent to instability (Q earlier stated that he "holds them all together"), the Continuum acquiesced, on one condition—that Q retain eternal custody of the boy. Grateful for her assistance, Q provided Janeway with a map to a shortcut that would shave three years off Voyager's journey home. Janeway asked Q why he didn't send them all the way back to Earth, his response being that it would be setting a bad example for his son if he did all the work for them.