The Return of Charlie Evans—Chapter 2

The Q vanished as quickly and mysteriously as he had arrived, and the shuttle docked without further incident. Tola found it unconscionable that the Q wanted to kill a man just because he didn't want to work for them and probably just wanted to be free. 'Putting him out of his misery' was something you did to a sick animal, not a sentient being. Odo saw the pensive look on her face but did not pry. He wordlessly guided the security officer through the pressurized airlock and into the space station, which was bustling with activity. The young alien woman quietly scanned her surroundings, recognizing the architecture as Cardassian. Like many other such structures, this one was Spartan and gloomy, but the atmosphere of the place was so cheerful that the security officer almost lost sight of her shape shifter guide.

"Go right in, Lieutenant." He instructed her flatly. "The two captains are expecting you."

He left her standing there without a backward glance, and, she observed, with some alacrity. She knew why. Andorian women possessed a potent hormone which repelled would-be suitors, or other beings that happened to get too close. It didn't work on everyone, including, thankfully, humans. The doors to Captain Sisko's office were already open. She saw that Sisko and her new captain Picard were seated at Sisko's desk. She found human males to be fairly likable, even though on her planet they were considered a bit backward. Their attitudes towards the females of their species had changed so radically in the last century that she often wondered if they still thought that Andorians just enslaved Orion females. When Andor was first contacted almost two centuries before, human males would not let their females command star ships or do other traditionally male (traditional on Earth, not Andor) tasks. It was true that her people enslaved Orions, but they had enslaved both sexes for centuries.

"Lieutenant Tola, I presume." Sisko greeted pleasantly, as both men stood. "Welcome to Deep Space Nine."

"Thank you, sir. Captain Picard, I have to tell you about an unexpected visitor to the Galileo III shuttlecraft. The strange being who called himself Q told me about some strange former human."

"Oh, yes, the Q." Picard said. "We…I mean I…have had dealings with him. However, Lieutenant, this is no place to discuss him. Something of great historical importance has been discovered on an obscure planet called Thasus. Being one of our new security officers, you understand the importance of keeping this as quiet as possible."

"Agreed, sir. However, this Q person seems to have a big mouth. I would like to know more about the person they want to dispose of. It might prove useful."

"All the information about this individual has been uploaded into your computer on board the Enterprise, Lieutenant. That is all for now."

"Lieutenant," Sisko added, "as long as you are going to be here for a while, you might as well be more comfortable. There is much that Captain Picard and I have to discuss. The promenade has a much more relaxed atmosphere than this stuffy old office."

"Again, thank you, Captain. However, I am eager to get on with my duties as one of the Enterprise's newest security personnel."

"That's very commendable, Lieutenant Tola." Picard said. "But, since some of the components of the transporter that were damaged need to be replaced, it looks like we won't need your services for a little while. Please feel free to enjoy yourself. You will find Deep Space Nine to be a very interesting place."

Sisko was looking over her shoulder at a passing woman in a green and brown uniform.

"Jadzia" He called.

Dax paused at the open door and looked from one to the other in mild curiosity.

"Yes, sir?"

"Will you please show Lieutenant Tola to the promenade? We two captains have some business to discuss."

"Certainly, Benjamin. Follow me, please."

Tola had turned to see who Sisko was addressing and knew almost right away that her new guide was a Trill. She found the mind of Jadzia Dax very interesting, indeed. With a polite bow to the two captains, Tola left the office with Dax.

The two alien women found a table in Quark's bar. The Ferengi soon saw that he had customers and approached with a wide, almost shark-like grin.

"What'll it be, ladies?"

"Andorian tea, Quark. My treat for our guest here."

"A very good choice, Lieutenant." He gushed. "It is not often I have the pleasure of serving two females of such beauty and poise."

"If you are looking for a tip, Quark, here's a hot one for you. Get our drinks or I will erase all of your x-rated holosuite programs."

Normally, Quark would have replied with 'You wouldn't dare!', but he suddenly felt ill-at-ease without knowing why. Much to Tola's amusement, he left rather abruptly to get their drinks.

As Tola finally materialized aboard the Enterprise, she saw Captain Picard standing near the controls. She read in his mind that he had arranged a meeting with several of his staff concerning their new mission. He wanted to save Mr. Charles Evans from an untimely death at the hands of the Q. It was a tall order, to be sure. First officer Riker was there, too. He seemed to take quite a liking to her, which made her a little uncomfortable, but she didn't let herself show it. The two human men led her to the nearest briefing room on the observation deck. Counselor Troi and Lieutenant Worf were already there waiting for them. Tola could read in the counselor's mind that she already had acquainted herself with the historical facts concerning Mr. Evans. She recalled that the Q told her that Charles once lived on Thasus.

The captain spoke first.

"Everyone, now that we are leaving DS9, we are freer to discuss the issue at hand. Something has been discovered on Thasus that is of immense historical importance. It is also so incredible that whatever I will tell you must stay within this room. After almost a century, we have discovered evidence of an extremely powerful transporter device on Thasus. Deanna, you have had the chance to review the historical records. Please fill the rest of the crew present in on what this means."

"Yes, sir. The planet Thasus is inhabited by non-corporeal beings, and was once the home of an enigmatic young man named Charles Evans. Also, this new development means that this planet has been the hideout of the even more mysterious human named Gary Seven. If that is true, this would be the most incredible find of this century."

"Come to find out, Seven's planet was right under our noses, not hidden as previously thought. There is something more about this planet. Tola?"

"Yes, Captain. The being Q appeared to me in the shuttle craft Galileo III, and told me about this man named Evans. He did not tell me very much, however; just that he wanted to kill him."

"I see. As some of you may or may not be aware of, Thasus is the home of beings who adopted and kept prisoner a human male named Charles Evans. Evans' real parents were killed when their vessel crash-landed on Thasus. Evans was only three years old at the time of the crash. Charles grew up with these entities and escaped once when he was seventeen. There is something I neglected to mention here. The Thasians gave young Charles certain…gifts…to help him survive. They included molecular transformation, telekinesis, invisibility, and telepathy. Now here's the scary part: Shortly after he was recaptured by the Thasians, Charles discovered the Q continuum. They offered him a life free of the restraints imposed on him by the Thasians. He apparently jumped at the chance without thinking it through and became a Q. Soon after that, he apparently destroyed his Thasian foster parents, and went on a quest to find his one true love: a young woman he met while he was on Captain Kirk's Enterprise. We believe that he does not know how much time has passed since then."

"What has Mr. Evans got to do with Mr. Seven?" Riker asked.

"I was getting to that, Mr. Riker. Seven and his assistant Miss Lincoln were supposedly killed when Evans discovered their headquarters and ransacked it. He escaped via their transporter."

"The historical accounts also indicate that Seven's transporter was also capable of moving objects and people through time." Troi added.

"Correct, Deanna. Your job is to find him, find some way to strip him of his Q powers, and transport him to Colony Five, where he can live out the remainder of a human lifespan in peace. We also have to keep him from reaching Yeoman Rand, if we can. That's the woman he met on NCC-1701."

"That's a tall order, Captain." Riker said. "How are we going to accomplish this?"

"That's where I come in, fuzz face." Answered an all-too-familiar voice from behind their new security officer.

Picard sighed.

"Q, I wish you would stop popping in and out like that. It's very unnerving. At any rate, ladies and gentlemen, the Q is right. He knows where Evans is and can take his powers from him with ease. Counselor Troi, what is your expert opinion on this?"

"This will no doubt be a difficult assignment, Captain, not only for the crew, but for Charles as well. He has probably grown accustomed to his powers by now and may feel lost without them. Also, I do not think he should be kept from Rand, if his love for her is as strong as I think it might be. We could cause serious psychological trauma to him."

"What about serious psychological trauma for Rand?" Worf asked.

"Although it was true that Rand became frightened of him when he first began to manifest his Thasian powers, I do not think she will be frightened of him now. She may take pity on him." Troi answered.

"I have done a bit of research on this vile little creature myself." Interrupted the Q casually. "Rest assured, that lowly little yeoman will come to no harm as long as I'm around."