• Keith Birdsong

Picard looked in horror at the nightmarish image into which his bridge had been transformed. The bridge: his nerve center, the place that was the essence of the Enterprise herself, changed into some sort of hideous, nightmarish travesty of itself. In an insane way, Picard felt violated.

He was surprised at the hoarseness of his own voice as he spun to face Q and said, "Change it back!"

But there was a look of surprise on Q's face. "I'm trying," he said. "I'm trying, but I don't seem to—"

"Do it, Q! Now!"

"Shut up, Picard!" Q shouted with a ferocity that he had never before displayed.

That was when Picard realized that there was something akin to fear in Q's eyes. This is beyond anything he's experienced , Picard realized, and that thought in turn was followed by the horrified speculation, What could possibly be beyond what he has experienced?

Q immediately composed himself. He closed his eyes and seemed to be drawing into himself, finding some calm center to tap, some inner resource upon which to draw. His breathing (if a creature such as Q could actually be said to be breathing, as opposed to putting on some sort of illusion of same) slowed; his eyelids fluttered.

"Today's Random Passage from Q-Squared, a 1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Novel by Peter David" will continue on Blogtown throughout the week. Can't wait until tomorrow's installment? Q-Squared, a 1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation novel by Peter David, is available at Powell's.