"Are you serious?"
Maggie asked the question of herself – literally: an 'older', addressing a 'younger' Q named Maggie.
Older. Younger. Age. Time was nothing to an omnipotent being who could live forever (and had, in a sense). This anachronism caused the younger Maggie to chew on her lip (a nonexistent, humanoid feature, sported for the benefit of her mysterious watcher). Age? Time? Living forever? She existed in a transtemporal state, beyond time, making her the same 'Maggie' then, now... anywhen. Yet how did she exist in such a state, second to second, moment to moment, eon to eon, measuring time's progression, if she was timeless, like all Q? That seemed to be a requirement, in order to vocalize, to interact, in this physical, fleshly medium of matter and energy. How could a Q be constrained by physics, yet surpass them? Why was she in that medium, and not beyond? Or... did she, in fact, exist in both – but then, why was she unable to tell if she did?
"You ask a lot of questions," the elder Maggie chided.
"That's funny. I don't remember asking enough," younger Maggie said, puzzled at the perspective. "But yeah, I have questions," she said. "And you have answers."
Her watcher, the mysterious Vulcan, gazed upon the pair with an unsettling, cold, dark stare, silent until that moment. "It is not in your nature to provide answers," she said. "The essence of Q, of what it means to be Q, is to pose questions, challenges... to test limits."
Younger Maggie studied herself... the watcher... then the deceased organic form of the humanoid male laying at their feet. His name: Charles 'Trip' Tucker. He was the chief engineering officer of this 'ship', this 3-dimensional transportation vessel, a silly human construct named Enterprise. He was, until that moment. An explosion ended his frail humanoid life. He was dead. Maggie wondered why she was here, why this was happening, what was this setting's point of interest.
"We don't ask enough questions," she decided. "Merge," she commanded herself – her 'older' self, her 'younger' self... herself. (At the same instant, she wondered in the back of her Q mind, which one of herself made that decision; who gave the command... or whether it came from some other... place.)
Elder and younger Maggie were, became, one: One Q, named Maggie. Questions attained answers. And she understood. "I am here to test the limits," she said. "Like a true Q. But... not like the Q of before."
"And what does that mean?" her watcher companion asked, with the tone of knowing the answer before she spoke.
"A ruse," she realized. "His death was a cover-up. But... why am I—" She paused, understanding more. The next generation of Q... a new generation, the first new generation of their kind, since... since Q became Q... Maggie: the new Q. "That's what I am," she said. Q Prime decreed that they would no longer wreak childish havoc in affairs of non-Q species, like that at which he had once excelled. It was unfitting... limiting... and frankly absurd, of an omnipotent race. Their role, as Q, had changed. "That's why I'm here," she said, and in the instant she said it, "A ruse," she realized. "His death was a cover-up. But... why am I – oh. I get it." She eyed the watcher with a new appreciation, with respect – no longer interested in turning the woman into a dung beetle. "You loved him."
The watcher remained still, motionless, her face impenetrable. "You've completed today's task," she said. "Let us return."
TBC (to be continued)