Star Trek has quite a long mythology, and one thing that most fans love is find a million different ways to connect a billion different ideas, all to create sometimes amazing stories.
Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, A.C. Crispin, and Manny Coto have proven themselves very very adept at creating these type of stories, but one writer who has achieved an 100 percent success rate at this is noted author Peter David.
And Star Trek The Next Generation Q-Squared is yet another major win for him in this category.
David takes the idea of Q and combines him with The Original Series character of Trelane, and of course chaos erupts. Now this concept has been around ever since Q first snapped his way onto the Enterprise D, but this story takes it, pumps it full of adrenaline, and smashes it into time travel and universe hopping dramatic craziness.
The tale, simplified and made linear as best as possible, is the following: Q and Trelane arrive on the Enterprise D and seek Picard’s guidance in helping mature Trelane, who is a younger member of the Q continuum. When that inevitably falls apart, Trelane goes on a tear and starts playing hopscotch with different realities. Cue Q and Picard trying to stop the mad Trelane, and survive all the crossovers of Picards and Rikers and Worfs clashing.
One of the realities shown is our main Star Trek, as seen on television and movies, that we all known and love.
Another reality is based on the Federation at war with the Klingons, as introduced in the classic TNG episode Yesterday’s Enterprise. This version is far more militaristic, paranoid, and downright brutal. You definitely would not want to hang out here.
The third reality is a David creation, and while more like our television version, it is also more dire. This is where Jack Crusher is still alive and Captain of the Enterprise, with his ex-wife Beverly Crusher as ships doctor, and busted to First Officer his best friend Jean Luc Picard. Riker and Troi have followed, shall we say, different paths here as well.
David brings his considerable skill, not only as a writer of immense complicated tapestries, but as a guru of Star Trek myth and magic, to Q-Squared. Literally millions of bits of Trekkiness pop up all over the place here, and it all works because the powers of Q lends itself to just this kind of time and dimension jumping adventure. Reaching back to earlier Kirk tales is just one such example, and how it works so well here. Some connections are more obscure, and are probably meant to be so, because sometimes David goes abit dark.
Which means we all love Tasha from one place fighting side by side with Worf from another place, we also see how tragedy ripped the Crushers apart in another place. Cheers and tears mere pages away from each other in some cases.
Now David has done this before, it is another trademark of his starting with Strike Zone, his first Star Trek book which had Worf and Wesley in lighter and darker subplots respectively, and gives Q-Squared a definite feel of realism to it. Yes, a time travel tale set on a space ship can be realistic.
That is because David knows how to focus on the characters. Whether it is the Picard and Data we know and love, or the variations that pop up, we believe in them. One particular new creation that David logically inserts into one universe is completely natural and is a testament to his prowess as a writer.
The last part of Q-Squared smashes forward at super speed, with everyone and everything colliding in a massive derailment, so to speak. This breakneck ending is powerful and wonderful and funny and tragic and thinking and all Star Trek.
Just like Star Trek should be.
…is currently reading Star Trek Voyager Violations by Susan Wright.