The Q are a seemingly omnipotent and immortal species who form the Q Continuum, possessing the ability of instantaneous matter-energy transformation and teleportation, as well as the ability of time travel. The Q have control over space, matter, and time. In addition, Q spectacularly claimed to possess an IQ of 2005. They didn't make official contact with Humanity until 2364, when the crew of the USS Enterprise-D met "Q”. At least one Q, acting on his own, had intervened and influenced Human affairs since at least the time of Isaac Newton.
The Q evolved over countless centuries into their current form and consider themselves to be the ultimate form of evolution. However, this often lead to a "been there, done that" feeling of apathy with regard to most of the universe. The exact circumstances of how the Q came to exist is unclear. While Quinn stated that the Q were once not unlike humanoid lifeforms, Q implied that the Q never came in to existence, but rather always were.
The true extent of the abilities of the Q is somewhat unclear. While most Q claimed to be omnipotent, and at least one Q claimed they were all knowing, there is some reason to dispute these claims. Quinn implied that the Q are not completely omnipotent. Considering that Quinn was a dissident, his claims may not have been entirely accurate, though it is supported by the fact that Q can be killed, which if they were completely omnipotent, would not be possible. At one point Q indicates that Humans may one day surpass his species.
Guinan considered some of the Q to be "almost respectable." One exception was the Q who often visited the crew of the USS Enterprise-D.
An aspect of 24th century interactions with the Q included involvement in a Q Civil War. The Q had come to fear the influence of Human compassion and curiosity into their otherwise timeless, apathetic, and stable culture. The war was incredibly destructive to our dimension and involved weapons which, during a firefight, "incidentally" destroyed stars in various regions of Delta Quadrant space. The war was ultimately avoided upon the birth of Q Junior, restoring the Continuum to the status quo.
The Q Continuum is an extradimensional plane of existence inhabited by a race of beings known as the Q. As a race, the Q are immortal, omniscient, and omnipotent, possessing the ability of instantaneous matter-energy transformation and teleportation, as well as the ability of time travel. Their apparent abilities include moving entire asteroid belts and stars, creating alternate timelines, and affecting universal states of nature such as the gravitational constant. In fact, the only time a Q is seen as unable to do something is during a period where their powers are reduced or revoked by the Continuum. The Q claim to have always existed, with no explanation as to how they first came into existence. Based on descriptions by numerous Q, including the Q later known as Quinn, as well as Amanda Rogers (the child of two Q in Human form), the Q Continuum is a highly ordered society, but is also the result of eons of evolutionary stagnation. Because of their immortality, everything possible has been done, and their omniscience has become boring; members of the Q race no longer felt the need to even speak to each other, because everything has been said. As a result, Quinn, a respected philosopher in the Continuum, stated that he wished to die – because he had no further purpose in life. The Continuum, however, denied him this act because, it was claimed, extraordinary chaos would result from such an act – his influence among the Q was expected to make this act have unpredictable social consequences, which was, actually, exactly what Quinn believed to be necessary to end stagnation in the Continuum. Quinn was imprisoned on a rogue comet for eternity to prevent him from ending his own life, until he was accidentally released by the crew of the USS Voyager in 2372. In a courtroom hearing to determine his right to political asylum, Quinn described the Continuum as a lazy, old roadhouse along a deserted desert highway – he argued that the road could take them to anywhere in the universe, but the Q had already been everywhere. In addition, everything both old and new had already been discussed, and so the roadhouse was silent – there was nothing left to say. Therefore, Quinn argued that being forced to remain alive was a continued burden to him, a burden that he did not want to continue to bear. Q argued that the death of a Q would create chaos in the Continuum. Voyager captain Kathryn Janeway ruled in Quinn's favor, granting him asylum. A day later, Quinn committed suicide. As a result of Quinn's action, the Continuum was plunged into a massively destructive civil war that set the "Freedom Faction" against the traditional Q. The two factions were able to construct weapons that could even compromise the immortality of a Q. When these weapons were fired in the Continuum, this resulted in massive damage to subspace, causing some stars in normal space to go supernova. Eventually it damaged subspace to such an extent that Q outside of the Continuum lost their powers and immortality. Q had the idea of mating with Janeway to produce a being with the powers of a Q, and to put the morals of a Human to use in order to end the war. The crew of Voyager flew through a supernova into the Continuum with help from a female Q, who had lost her powers and could not return without Voyager's help. Voyager's crew quickly overpowered the Q by using Q weapons. A ceasefire was called. Q mated with the female Q instead of Janeway and the damage to subspace was restored, making the Q omnipotent and invincible again. Later on, the new Q became an intergalactic troublemaker. He started wars between innocent races, knocked planets out of orbit, detonated Omega molecules, and created havoc in every way he could. His mother disowned him, humiliated by his actions. Q, however, followed him, cleaning up all the damage. Under advice from Janeway, Q implemented punishment on the boy. Q dumped him on Voyager, and with the help of the "Q government" took away his powers. Junior, as he was called by his father, had one week to become a good citizen, or he would be sentenced to eternity as an Oprelian amoeba. Junior did well for the first few days, until he stole the Delta Flyer. After his friend Icheb was injured, however, he returned to Voyager. Janeway made him apologize to the ship he attacked, which was in fact Q, who masqueraded as a likely target to test his son's attitude. When Judgment Day came, Junior was still found unworthy of being a Q, but was good enough to be a Human. After this sentence, Q threatened to leave the Continuum unless his son was allowed to stay. After further pleading, the Continuum agreed to grant the young Q's powers back to him on the condition that his father act as his guardian and supervisor in perpetuum, or at least until he could prove himself worthy.
The Freedom Faction was a large group of political idealists led by Q. After the death of Quinn, they started a war in the Q Continuum.
The Old was a representation of the original, orthodox philosophy of the Q Continuum. When crewmembers from the USS Voyager visited the Q reality, The Old was presented to them in a form they could understand, as an old time-worn book which a member of the Continuum was seen to be reading. The Q's New Era, on the other hand, was presented as a young woman reading a magazine called The New.
The New was a representation of the revitalized change in the philosophy and ideas of the New Era of the Q Continuum. When crewmembers of the USS Voyager visited the Q reality, The New was presented to them as a young woman reading a magazine by that name. In this representation of the Continuum, Quinn wrote a column for The New entitled "My Corner of the Continuum".
Q time was a term used by Q to describe the differences between the passage of time for the Q Continuum and the space-time continuum. In 2378, Q suddenly appeared in Captain Kathryn Janeway's ready room and was followed shortly by his father, Q. Janeway was shocked by the younger Q's appearance as a teenage boy given that he was a toddler when she last saw him five years previously in 2373. Q explained to Janeway that because of Q time, he had aged more than normal.
Q-ness is an attribute that a Q should have. According to Q, 'Q-ness' is an ideal that is too difficult for a Human to understand. After Q Junior gave a speech to show what he had learned to Kathryn Janeway and Q in 2378, Q thought that the speech did not show any 'Q-ness'.
The Q Civil War was a conflict between two factions of the Q Continuum that took place in 2373. The deeper nuances of the conflict were beyond the understanding of "mere" Humans, who perceived the conflict in the format of the American Civil War. The war was apparently fought between a faction interested in the status quo of the Continuum, and a faction interested in disrupting the static order of the Q's existence. The latter faction was led by Q, the being who had previously appeared to the crews of the USS Enterprise-D, outpost Deep Space 9, and the USS Voyager.
The war first broke out following the suicide of Quinn in 2372– the first death of a Q in many years, and an event which severely disrupted the sense of order of the Continuum. Although Q had previously been a supporter of the status quo faction, Quinn's death, and his ideas of freedom and individualism, convinced him to switch sides and become a proponent of less order and control over the actions of individual Qs. Q himself started the conflict by "sounding the trumpet and carrying the banner." The other Q's who believed in Quinn's ideas followed him. When the status quo Qs tried to destroy them, they fought back, and the war spread quickly.
One of the side effects of the civil war was a series of supernovae that erupted across the Delta Quadrant within the space of a mere few days; the occurrence of multiple supernovae only a handful of light years from each other in such a short time span was unheard of, and believed to be caused by the use of some type of Q weapon as part of the civil war.
Seeking to bring an end to the conflict, Q proposed conceiving a child with Kathryn Janeway, whom he had met the previous year. Q hoped that a Q/Human hybrid child would unite the best qualities of both species and restore the balance of order in the Continuum on a level that both sides would accept. However, Janeway refused to accept Q's plan, arguing that, aside from the fact she did not want to mate with him, his plan, though noble, offered only a "quick fix" without addressing the underlying problems that the conflict was about.
Janeway then attempted to negotiate a truce to end the civil war by contacting a leader of the opposition faction, Colonel Q. However, the status quo faction refused to negotiate, and instead planned to end the conflict by executing Q and Janeway. Before the executions could be carried out, however, the pair were rescued by personnel from Voyager, who were assisted by a female Q, an old flame of Q's.
Q then made his proposal of conceiving a child to his old girlfriend, and she accepted. The two touched fingers, and in a small glow of energy created the first new Q in over ten millennia. This newborn child (nicknamed Junior) was hoped to be a herald of a whole new era of peace for the Continuum, and brought about a quick end to the civil war. In gratitude for her assistance, Q named Janeway the "godmother" of his new son.