After Q freezes the crewman/ensign/whatever in "Encounter at Farpoint," Picard insists that he wouldn't have been harmed: the phaser was set to stun. Q then states something along the lines of, "Would you want to be taken defenseless, captain?" I forgot his exact words, but it was something like that.

In-universe, I suppose Q was playing with the crew. Q isn't always straightforward, of course. Out-of-universe, I think maybe Q's character hadn't been fully fleshed out, and this was bad writing.

I prefer in-universe explanations.


1 Answer 1


Picard says that Q was in no danger because the crewman only had his phaser set on stun.

Q tells him that given that they both know how dangerous and savage humans are, that even being stunned is something to be frantically avoided, even to the point of defending oneself with lethal force.

Q: Knowing humans as thou dost, Captain, wouldst thou be captured helpless by them?

[e.g. Knowing humans as you do, Captain, would you want to be held captive and at their mercy]?

Obviously we know now that Q is essentially invulnerable but at the time it was not as clear.

  • In other words, he's making a show of it to emphasize the implicit violence of the crewman's action? Aug 13, 2017 at 22:41
  • 2
    @ApproachingDarknessFish - Very much so. His entire premise is that humanity is barbaric and untrustworthy
    – Valorum
    Aug 13, 2017 at 22:50

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