Some acknowledgments and thanks are in order.  First of all to Patrick Stewart and John de Lancie for such memorable, electrifying, and erotically-charged performances and to Ron Moore for writing "Tapestry," and co-writing "All Good Things . . . ," without which this wouldn't be possible.  I also interviewed John de Lancie (on the phone, and I was a babbling idiot, BTW) and Ron Moore for some more scholarly ventures of mine, and I hope they'll excuse me for adapting some of their observations and insights to a considerably less scholarly venture here.  I also need to acknowledge some published sources.  I consulted the Star Trek The Next Generation Technical Manual by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda (as well as the CD-ROM, which is a blast) quite often; Treknobabble is not my specialty, and any egregious errors are, of course, my own.  The Star Trek Encyclopedia by Michael Okuda, Denise Okuda, and Debbie Mirek was incredibly helpful, and I consulted it continuously.  Finally, there's bound to be some influence from Peter David's Q-in-Law and Q-Squared, and my references to the Academy Marathon were largely shaped by Carmen Carter's The Devil's Heart.

At the risk of sounding like an Oscar winner, I also have to thank several people for reading this and offering support and/or constructive criticism:  Ruth Gifford, for being Ruth and for flattery (which got her everywhere), Bill Richey, Brian Lenertz, Chris Van Winkle, Janet Coleman, KC Kleinman, Mercutio, and, especially, Alara Rogers, editor and Q expert extraordinaire, without whose thoughtful and brilliant editorial suggestions, as well as her many insights and ideas about his Qness, this story would be a lot less true to character and make a lot less sense.  Reading "Only Human" and Alara's other stories while working on this was extremely intimidating but tremendously edifying, and she's had a huge and unquantifiable influence on all my writing about Q.

A note on punctuation:  Dreams and alternate realities, which are discontinuous from the novel's "normal" timeline, as well as the characters' inner thoughts and telepathic "silent" conversations are indicated with italics.

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