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Star Trek: The Q Continuum is a Star Trek novel trilogy written by Greg Cox and published by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Inc. The three books, Q-Space, Q-Zone and Q-Strike, tell the early history of Q himself, and lead up to an ultimate confrontation between himself, the Enterprise, and another omnipotent being from Q's "childhood", which may lead to the destruction of the galaxy.
The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-E), staffed by its usual crew (except for Worf, who is on DS9), is on a mission from Starfleet Command, to assist Lem Faal, a Betazoid scientist, in breaching the barrier which encircles the Milky Way Galaxy. Along the way, Q interrupts them, warning Captain Picard to abandon his mission, with the usual warning of impending doom but no explanation.
Along the way, Q introduces his wife (as seen in the Voyager episode "The Q and the Grey"), and newborn son, q (seen at the end of that same episode), who for the most part remain on board the Enterprise during the story, assisting them at times only when it suits Mrs. Q. The Enterprise is attacked by the Calamarain, a species of gaseous creatures it had encountered before ("Déjà Q", season three of Star Trek: The Next Generation). Q takes the opportunity to remove Picard from the Enterprise, taking him with him on a journey back through time and space to his own early childhood.
Q shows Picard his history (including how Q created the Nexus, and an experiment which resulted in Q's invention of antimatter), and eventual meeting with another omnipotent being called 0 ("Zero"), who Q eventually helps escape from his frozen prison planet in another plane of the multiverse.
Q foolishly offers 0 the use of the Q Continuum, the shortcut to everywhere, and unwisely vouches for 0. Now with the continuum to give him freedom of the galaxy at superluminal speed, he tries to harness the Calamarain to use as his "transport", but the Calamarain drive him off. Enraged, he condenses them and freezes them, though Q stops 0 from condensing them into their own black hole. This explains the Calamarain's hatred of Q.
0 summons three of his servant minions - Gorgan, The One (cf. Sybok's "god" in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; see § Details) and (*), slightly less powerful than himself, and begins his escapades of "testing" species to see if they're worthy of eventually ascending to the same levels as himself and Q.
After testing the Tkon Empire, 0 shows how poor a loser he is when the Empress of the Tkon brilliantly puts an end to the civil war that Gorgan started. The One and (*) flee, and 0 causes the Tkon sun to nova, destroying the heart of the Tkon Empire and dooming it to extinction. The Continuum steps in, deals with protracted resistance by the four non-Q entities, and, gaining in the battle, arrests three while Gorgan and (*) flee into a black hole. (Gorgan later troubles the Enterprise under Kirk's command, and (*) troubles Kirk and Kang.)
Q, 0, and The One are put on trial, and 0 is banished outside our galaxy, establishing the energy barrier to keep him sealed out. The One, reduced to merely a head during the arrest battle, is similarly exiled to the center of the galaxy (cf. the Sha Ka Ree of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; see § Details) with a barrier to keep him in. The Enterprise-A, under Sybok nearly sets The One free. Q's attempt to help arrest the four is recognized, and his punishment is relatively light, with Q's rehabilitation to include repairing a small planet, the third in distance from a Class G star that had been thriving with dinosaurs, which it turns out is the primordial Earth.
While Q has been showing Picard a history that Q is not all that proud of, the Enterprise has been enduring the assault of the Calamarain, its shields steadily failing, its systems overloading. Data works to establish communications using the Berthold rays that the Calamarain generate. When Riker is finally able to talk with the Calamarain, they finally understand why the Calamarain are attacking. Riker's offer to withdraw from the energy barrier is not enough, as the Calamarain associate the Enterprise crew (most of which are on the Enterprise-E) with their old enemy Q.
Picard learns that if the Enterprise is successful in breaching the barrier, 0, now insane, would be released back into our galaxy to gain revenge on Q, and continue destroying the galaxy. Q brings Picard back to the present, arriving on a ship in terrible condition from the Calamarain assault. Unfortunately, at one point, the Enterprise took shelter inside the energy barrier, letting its psychic energy flow through the bio-neural gel packs to power shields; Lem Faal refused to be put in protective stasis, and he was zapped by the barrier, gaining superhuman power. He launches his wormhole-generating device, and 0 gets into the galaxy again before the wormhole collapses.
While 0 is chasing Q around the ship (Q even uses the transporter and the holodeck), Picard employs his diplomatic skills and his knowledge of the ancient Calamarain to persuade them to cease fire and talk with them. With the eventual help of the Calamarain who join with Q, 0 is finally defeated, and Q can rest peacefully free from his threat. 0 is again exiled outside the galaxy, and the Continuum shores up the energy barrier, which was particularly weakened by the Q Civil War.
Through the course of the books, several well-known phenomena are mentioned and seen, insinuating that Q and his escapades were the cause. Some of these things are: