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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

For the member of the Q Continuum with the same name, please see Q2.

Facing his son's banishment from the Q Continuum, Q leaves him on Voyager in the hopes that he will gain self-discipline.



In her ready room, Captain Kathryn Janeway listens to Cadet Icheb's presentation about "Early Starfleet History". Although Janeway breaks off his presentation – he wanted to be thorough so his presentation took more than the required 20 minutes – she congratulates him on passing the exam and walks him to the door.

"I would have failed him" a voice sounds. When Janeway looks around she sees a young Human male, dressed in Starfleet command red and wearing the insignia of a Starfleet Captain. When Janeway calls for security there is no answer, and she is told the rest of Voyager's crew is in a time loop. When she asks him who he is, another, more familiar, voice sounds, that of Q. It turns out the young male is Q's son, Q Junior.

Act One

"Scan, scan, scan. That's all you people ever do!"

Janeway is told by Q that Junior has taken a vacation from the Q Continuum, on USS Voyager, to experience Humanity first hand. After Q has left, Janeway, having no further say in the matter, tells Junior that some rules need to be followed, whereupon Junior tells her that he makes his own rules and with a flick of his fingers he disappears.

Q's party in main engineering

On Voyager's bridge, Lieutenant Commander Tuvok is trying to locate where either Q is when Junior appears. He wants to see more interesting things than bipeds pushing buttons or replacing relays and tries to convince Janeway to do something else, such as detonating some omega molecules or flying into fluidic space and fighting Species 8472. When Janeway refuses, Junior tells her he is bored and will amuse himself and disappears. The next moment Janeway is contacted by Chief Engineer B'Elanna Torres, who requests her presence in main engineering.

"Relax, aunt Kathy. It's a party!"

Accompanied by Tuvok and Commander Chakotay, Janeway enters main engineering where a party is going on. Torres warns Janeway that Junior's light show might cause a warp core breach but when Janeway tells Junior his party is over, he tells her that she has no unlimited control over space, matter and time so he gives the orders. With a flick of his fingers, he sends Janeway and company to the corridor. There they decide to try to ignore Junior in the hope he might get bored and leave Voyager.

In the cargo bay, Junior removes Seven of Nine's clothing to stare at her naked body which he describes as "perfection"; utterly nonplussed, Seven dismisses the incident as an attempt to embarrass her and continues her work, which has the desired effect of getting Junior to leave.

"Watch this!"

Meanwhile, in the mess hall a food replicator rudely tells Captain Janeway to "Make it yourself" when she asks for coffee. Neelix tells her that ignoring Junior might not be the best solution and offers to be his mentor. Neelix is greeted with "Can I help you, kitchen rat?" when he enters astrometrics where Junior is watching a battle between Wyngari and Vojean starships. The two species lived in peace when Voyager traveled through their region of space some time ago, but now, with some of Junior's help, are fighting each other. Neelix suggests playing Kadis-kot, but Junior is uninterested as it is a game without explosions. After Neelix suggests that Junior uses his powers to alleviate the food shortage on the Wyngari homeworld, Junior fuses Neelix' jaw and removes his vocal cords because he thinks he talks too much.

"Is this enough pressure?"

While in sickbay, where Neelix is examined by The Doctor, Janeway is contacted by Junior, now on the bridge. When Janeway enters the bridge she sees three Borg cubes on the viewscreen, firing on Voyager. Junior wants to see how Humans act under pressure and tells Janeway that this time she will not defeat the Borg.

Act Two

When Borg drones appear on the bridge, Janeway is grabbed by one of them and just before the drone has a chance to use his assimilation tubule, they vanish. In their place is Q, who has reversed all the things Junior has done, including restoring Neelix' voice. When Janeway tells Q his son has no place on Voyager, he takes her aside to explain.

In the following discussion it becomes clear that Junior's birth should have brought peace and compassion, but instead he brought chaos. Junior started wars, tampered with primordial gene pools and punched holes in the fabric of space-time. His mother was so humiliated that she disowned him. The Q Continuum held Q responsible and that was the reason Junior was brought to Voyager, in the hope that some of Starfleet's ideals would rub off on him. Janeway tells Q that Junior needs parenting and instead of dumping him on Voyager, he himself should set an example by spending time with Junior. Q finds Janeway a genius, kisses her and disappears.

Q paying a surprise visit to Janeway

Janeway gets a surprise visit from Q, in her bath no less. He blames Janeway that her plan did not work. Q spent every minute of his time with Junior – ten minutes representing years on Q temporal plane – but the son ended up becoming embarrassed to be seen with the father. Junior shifted the tectonic plates on Bozel Prime and refused to apologize for it. Janeway tells Q that Junior needs to understand that his actions have consequences. "Consequences... mmm", Q mumbles. He takes back his last statement and goes to kiss her again only to meet her foot; he instead kisses that and disappears.

In Voyager's sickbay, Q returns his son from a life as an Oprelian amoeba in a petri dish. Q tells him that he needs to become an upstanding citizen of the cosmos or he'll spend the rest of his life as an amoeba. Junior is given one week to change. To make matters worse for Junior his powers are temporarily removed by the Q Continuum. Despite Janeway's protest that Q had agreed to take a more active role in parenting, Q leaves Junior on Voyager and departs. An angry Junior leaves sickbay, crushing the petri dish under his foot on his way out, in search of a way to leave Voyager. Janeway calls security.

While being escorted to his quarters, Junior is told by Janeway that he no longer has unlimited control over space, matter and time, meaning she gives the orders, not him. Janeway tells Junior she has prepared a curriculum for him to follow so he can learn some respect and responsibility. Junior thinks he has little hope because he's been abandoned on an antiquated flying machine run by primates.

Junior's first lesson is that of spatial causality, taught by Seven of Nine, who is also tutoring Icheb in the subject. Later, Junior is given diplomacy lessons, under the guidance of Commander Chakotay, who reminds him that one of the responsibilities of a Q is to maintain order in the universe. Junior refuses Chakotay's help and cheats on the lesson, changing the personality subroutines of the people in the holographic program to make them more agreeable.

In Voyager's mess hall, Junior helps Neelix. He complains to Neelix whether he "ever stopped talking?" but there is nothing Junior can do about it. Here Junior again meets Icheb, who wants to know if he would like to participate in some recreational activities. Junior declines, saying "Aunt Kathy" wants him to write an essay about the history of the Q but he has no experience writing essays. After Icheb offers to help, Junior hands over Icheb's essay instead of writing his own.

In the captain's ready room Janeway confronts Junior with his cheating, as Icheb's writing style is quite familiar to her, telling him "We may be common bipeds but we're not stupid." Janeway tells him to wait for his father to return, and Junior objects, fearing he will be turned into an amoeba. Janeway offers to help him one more time but only if his motives are sincere.

Act Three

Q Junior exercising

"Captain's log, stardate 54704.5. It's been four days since my ultimatum to the young Q, and he appears to be making progress. His instructors inform me that he's taking on his assignments with new determination, and he's made a concerted effort to be more courteous to the crew. It's hard to believe this is the same brazen young man who came aboard a few days ago."

In the mess hall Junior hands Janeway a new draft of his essay "I, Q: An Insider's View of the Continuum", although she did not ask for it. Junior says he owed it to her for giving him a second chance. That same moment Icheb walks in, asking if Junior would like to join him for a piloting lesson by Lieutenant Tom Paris. Janeway thinks he has earned a break and allows him to go.

In the Delta Flyer, while maneuvering through an asteroid field, Junior is a little apprehensive and asks Icheb to be careful, since he is now mortal. Junior even gets a chance to fly himself, despite how the Q normally do not operate primitive machinery. When an alert sounds, Junior finds it distracting but because fixing it would require them to return to Voyager they ignore it. "Hear what?", Icheb replies when Junior asks him if he still hears the alert.

Back on Voyager Janeway runs into Q again and tells him Junior has made progress. Junior presents his essay to them, concluding with saying Voyager's crew has taught him to see the Continuum as home instead of different perceptions of reality. Q is not impressed, which irritates Junior and Janeway. After Junior leaves, Janeway learns that Junior needed to display nothing more than exemplary Q-ness. Anything less would result in a life as an amoeba.

When Janeway visits Junior in his quarters he tells her he does not care what Q thinks. Janeway offers to let him stay on Voyager, as a Human, if the Continuum decides not to turn him back into a Q. Junior thanks the captain, but tells her he doesn't want to be Human, he wants to be a Q, like his father.

Act Four

Q Junior in search of Icheb

Junior finds Icheb in a Jefferies tube – they refer to each other as "Itchy" and "Q-ball" – and asks him to help repair the fault which caused the alert during their piloting lesson. Icheb agrees, but soon finds himself trapped on the Delta Flyer where Junior starts the engines and erects a dampening field to prevent communication with Voyager. Junior wants to escape, by means of a spatial flexure, and hide from his father. Although he no longer has his powers, he still knows good hiding places.

Q Junior stealing the Delta Flyer

With the help of the Delta Flyer's phasers, Junior destroys the shuttlebay door and escapes, despite Voyager's tractor beam trying to hold them.

The Delta Flyer in the Clevari system

Icheb tells him to go back and apologize to Janeway but Junior does not listen.

The Delta Flyer attacks the Chokuzan vessel…

When a Chokuzan vessel appears, Junior chooses to attack it instead of complying with their demands, despite Icheb's comment that he learned from Janeway to respect other cultures' laws. During the battle Icheb is critically injured.

...and attempts to escape

Junior takes Icheb back to Voyager, but The Doctor is unable to treat Icheb because he needs to know what weapon caused his injuries. Q appears, and at first, Junior tries to blame the whole incident on Icheb. Janeway sets the record straight, and Junior pleads with his father to save Icheb. Q refuses, telling Junior it is time to learn the consequences of his actions, and leaves.

Act Five

Because Icheb is the only friend Junior has ever had, he agrees to go back with Captain Janeway to Chokuzan space and try to ascertain the type of weapon used to wound Icheb.


When the Chokuzan Captain agrees to give them the information to save Icheb, he also tells them that in Chokuzan culture, adults are held responsible for the actions of their children. Captain Janeway will be punished for Junior's actions. Junior does not agree and takes full responsibility, even if it means execution, to save the life of his friend. When the Chokuzan captain hears this he starts to laugh. It turns out the Chokuzan is actually Q. When Junior tells him they have no time for his games, Q tells them he was the one they fired on and that Icheb is alive and well. It turned out it was a test and according to Q, better than the tests Janeway devised, and Junior passed it. It was now time to face the Continuum's verdict.

"I wish you could see the look on your faces. Oh, wait, you can!"

Back on Voyager, Janeway, Q and Junior face three Q judges for the verdict, "We, the Continuum have found that Q has not made sufficient progress to warrant the reinstatement of his powers". Although Q objects, saying Junior was willing to sacrifice his life to save that of his friend, the judge dismisses it. She reasons it was Junior who endangered the Icheb's life in the first place. However, because of his subsequent actions, Junior is not condemned to spend his life as an Oprelian amoeba but to suffer the next worse fate, to remain Human. Q, declaring the verdict an outrage, disappears right after the judges do.

A disappointed Junior talks with Janeway in her ready room. He wanted to continue his training, despite having nothing more to prove to the Continuum. Junior does not expect to see his father again anytime soon because Q already left him on Voyager, twice. Q appears in the corner of the room, saying, "The question you should be asking is why I keep coming back." He apologizes for his abrupt disappearance and explains to Janeway and Junior that he threatened to leave the Continuum if Junior was not reinstated. According to Q, the Continuum crumbled like a Gelbian sandsculpture at the prospect of losing Q, to Junior's admiration, and already have returned Junior's powers. As a gift to Janeway, Junior places red roses all over her office and leaves for Golos Prime where his father will meet him after finishing talking to Janeway.

Q helps Janeway get Voyager a few years closer to home.

Q, knowing that the amused Janeway was not fooled like his inexperienced son was, freely admits he had to make some concessions. He will have eternal custody and has to go wherever Junior goes. Q gives Captain Janeway a PADD, as a thank you for her help, containing information which will enable Voyager to shave a few years off from their journey to Earth. When Janeway asks Q why he doesn't just send them all the way, he tells her "What sort of an example would I be setting for my son if I did all the work for you?" and disappears.

Memorable quotes

"Coffee, black."
"Make it yourself."

- Janeway and the Computer, after Q Junior "gives it a personality"

"Then it's single-cellular city for you my boy!"

- Q telling Q junior what will happen if he fails

"I would've failed him. Kirk may have been a lowly Human, but at least he had pizazz. That report made him sound as interesting as a Vulcan funeral dirge!"

- Q Junior, on Icheb's presentation on Starfleet history concerning James T. Kirk

"I'm not detecting either Q."
"I want to be alerted if they resurface keep running scans."
"Scan, scan, scan. That's all you people ever do. I've been through every deck on this ship and you know what I've seen? Bipeds pushing buttons! Bipeds replacing relays! Bipeds running diagnostics. When are you gonna do something interesting?"

- Tuvok, Janeway and Q Junior

"What are you watching?"
"What's it look like? A battle between the Vojeans and the Wyngari."
"We passed through that region a few months ago. They were at peace."
"Not anymore."

- Q Junior and Neelix

"Itchy, are you in here? Itchy??"
"What can I do for you, Q-Ball?"

- Q Junior and Icheb

"If the Continuum has told you once, they have told you a thousand times: DON'T PROVOKE THE BORG!!!"

- Q, to Q Junior after moving the three cubes and the three drones that were on Voyager

"You can't just dump your child on someone and hope he learns something."
"I can't?"

- Janeway and Q

"Junior was supposed to inspire peace and compassion and instead of order, he's brought chaos. He's been starting wars among innocent species, tampering with primordial gene pools, punching holes in the fabric of space-time!"

- Q on the antics of his son

"You really should have picked a better godparent."
"Hmm, wonder if it's too late to ask Jean-Luc?"

- Q Junior and Q

"You're not going to do your son any favors by indulging him."

- Janeway

"I'm sure you'll do whatever you can to avoid returning to that petri dish."

- Q, to Q Junior

"Don't tell me you're actually going through with Q's plan."
"I may not approve of his methods, but for once his heart seems to be in the right place."

- Q Junior and Janeway

"Talk about perfection."

- Q Junior, admiringly to Seven of Nine after snapping her naked in the cargo bay

"Can I see you naked again?"

- Q Junior, to Seven of Nine

"I'm offering him the chance to fail."

- Chakotay

"Tell me, how do you save a race that is already omnipotent?"

- Q Junior

"You're a genius!!"
(Grabs Janeway's face and kisses her, leaves Janeway with an unforgettable expression)

- Q

"The boy needs to demonstrate nothing less than exemplary Q-ness."
"And what exactly is Q-ness?!"
"Oh, it's impossible for your minuscule mind to comprehend, but I know Q-ness when I see it. And this [indicates PADD with Q Junior's essay] is not it."

- Q and Janeway

"Don't you 'Aunt Kathy' me!"
"Yell at me later, we need to get Icheb to sickbay."

- Janeway and Q Junior

"If your little playmate has to die to teach you a lesson, then so be it."

- Q, to Q Junior

"In our culture adults are accountable for the actions of their children."

- Chokuzan commander, putting responsibility for Q Junior on Captain Janeway

"I wish you could see the look on your faces! Oh wait, you can!"
(mirrors appear out of thin air, everybody involuntarily grabs one and looks into it)

- Q

"He's been here for five days and what have you taught him? How to scribble essays and play with holograms? What's next, basket weaving?"

- Q, to Captain Janeway

"Can I help you, Kitchen Rat?"

- Q Junior, to Neelix

"We could play kadis-kot?"
"Are there explosions in kadis-kot?!"
"Well, no, but..."
"Then I'm not interested!"

- Neelix and Q Junior

"He isn't so bad once you get to know him. He's just misunderstood."
"He tried to kill my crew!"
"No one was hurt. I repaired the damage to your ship. I even gave your pet Talaxian his vocal chords back. Everything's exactly as it was."

- Q and Janeway, on the subject of his son's antics

"What sort of an example would I be setting for my son if I did all the work for you?"

- Q, after he gives Janeway a shortcut back to Earth

"Please, Aunt Kathy, you're my only hope."

- Q Junior, to Captain Janeway; possibly alluding to the Star Wars quote, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope".

Background information

Story and script


  • Keegan de Lancie (Q (Junior)) is the real-life son of John de Lancie (Q). Regarding the experience of acting alongside his own son in this episode, John de Lancie said, "It was both great and... a lot of actors will understand this, but while part of acting involves being very attentive to the other people and what's going on, you have to keep some of your power for yourself, to do your job and maintain your presence. In the case of my son, the majority of my attention was, 'How's Keegan doing?' If I go on a regular job, where someone might have a cold or an actor doesn't feel well or there's just an upset in their family, I am very sympathetic. But when we were acting, it's real tennis." (Star Trek Magazine issue 168, p. 50)
  • It was Rick Berman who had suggested bringing Keegan de Lancie in to read for the role after having seen his performance on an episode of Ally McBeal. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 5, p. 26)
  • The title of the final draft of Q Junior's essay is "I, Q: An Insider's View of the Continuum". I, Q is also the name of a Q-related novel co-written by John de Lancie.


  • Q appears for the third and final time on the series in this episode, having previously appeared in the second season episode "Death Wish" and the third season episode "The Q and the Grey".
  • This was the last episode of Star Trek to feature the Q until LD: "Veritas" in 2020.
  • This episode finally establishes in canon that James T. Kirk's five-year mission ended in 2270.
  • Q tells his son not to provoke the Borg. It was Q himself who first introduced Starfleet to the Borg in TNG: "Q Who".
  • Q makes a reference to Jean-Luc Picard when they doubt the choice of Janeway as Junior's godparent.
  • After modifying the diplomacy simulation, Junior convinces the Cardassian to apologize for the occupation of Bajor. However, Cardassia had already issued a formal apology for the occupation in DS9: "Life Support".
  • The presence of Q represents the fifteenth occasion besides the series premiere (after "Eye of the Needle", "Prime Factors", "The 37's", "Cold Fire", "Threshold", "Death Wish", "False Profits", "Future's End, Part II", "The Q and the Grey", "Timeless", "Dark Frontier", "Equinox", "Dragon's Teeth", and "Inside Man") that the Voyager crew is presented with the possibility of returning home much faster than by conventional warp travel. On this occasion, the Q could facilitate an instant return, but instead, to "set an example" for his son, merely provides data to allow Voyager to cut its journey time by a relatively small amount.
  • This episode features an attempt to give the ship's computer a personality, which previously occurred in TOS: "Tomorrow is Yesterday".
  • Junior's willingness to sacrifice himself to save a friend from the consequences of his actions mirrors Q's willingness to sacrifice himself to prevent the Enterprise-D from suffering for his actions in TNG: "Deja Q". The Continuum is not convinced this time.
  • A Nausicaan appears in this episode for the only time in the series, albeit a holographic representation of one.
  • One of the Vojean/Wyngari starships was previously used as the U.A.P. Icarus in Jonathan Frakes' Star Trek spoof Star Patrol!.


  • It is hinted in the novel Q&A that the "homework" Q gave Janeway was intended to lead Voyager to the Borg transwarp hub in VOY: "Endgame".

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also Starring

Guest Stars

Special Guest Star


Uncredited co-stars



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External links

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