Q was made human, at his request, in TNG "Deja Q," due to his misbehaving. The only guideline was that Q needed to choose a mortal species.

Now I realize that Q chose human because he considered Picard the closest thing he had to a friend, etc. However, he wouldn't need so much protection if he asked the Q to make him into a member of a species that was greatly more powerful than humans. A Prophet, for instance, or a Metron. Or an Organian, etc.

I realize there wouldn't be an episode without Q choosing the way he did, but is there an in-universe reason that Q didn't choose something much more powerful? The "friendship" excuse seems ridiculous to me. You know that various alien species are going to be after you, and you choose to be transformed into a human? That's silly.

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    And Q is the last entity we'd expect to do something silly! – Ryan Veeder Dec 2 '15 at 4:20
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    I hardly think that the Q-Continuum are going to punish Q by making allowing him to choose to be an immortal super-being. The clear implication of their punishment was that he had to take a limiting form, mortal and, y'know, squishy. – Valorum Dec 2 '15 at 21:09

Q does explain the reason for his decision here, in the script. I've emphasised the important aspects:

TROI: They made you human as part of your punishment?

Q: No, it was my request. I could have chosen to exist as a Markoffian sea lizard or a Belzoidian flea. Anything I wished as long as it was mortal. And since I only had a fraction of a second to mull and I chose this and asked them to bring me here.

TROI: Why?

Q: Because in all the universe you're the closest thing I have to a friend, Jean-Luc.

Let's break this down a bit:

Mortality: Q couldn't choose any species he wanted; it had to be a mortal one. It's not entirely clear whether Changelings are immortal or not, but it does stand to reason that shape-shifting beings made of a morphogenic enzyme could be immortal. Of all the possible species Q could have chosen that are mentioned in the question (the Prophets, Organians and Metrons), we actually don't know whether they even are mortal; surely species as powerful as that could well be immortal! So, by placing a restriction on mortality, that too restricts the species' power; a species that is very powerful may have overcome their mortality.

Time: Q didn't have long to think about it, so he couldn't necessarily have a long, well-thought out choice made.

Friendship: I think that the 'friendship' excuse is quite important. If you had enemies what would you prefer; using your sole intellect, or having others help you - he does say that Picard was the closest thing he had to a friend. By becoming a human, it means he can more easily assimilate (no pun intended) into the predominately human community of the Enterprise-D.

And whoever said humans weren't powerful? The basis of the episode 'Hide and Q' is that humans, although somewhat limited, will soon overcome these limitations. Q himself says:

Q: Well if you'll stop interrupting me. This is hardly a time to be teaching you the true nature of the universe. However, at Farpoint we saw you as savages only. We discovered instead that you are unusual creatures in your own limited ways. Ways which in time will not be so limited.

RIKER: We're growing. Something about us compels us to learn, explore.

Q: Yes, the human compulsion. And unfortunately for us, it is a power which will grow stronger century after century, aeon after aeon.

RIKER: Aeons. Have you any idea how far we'll advance?

Q: Perhaps in a future that you cannot yet conceive, even beyond us. So you see, we must know more about this human condition. That's why we've selected you, Riker, to become part of the Q, so that you can bring to us this human need and hunger, that we may understand it.

So, although humans are quite limited currently, Q knows that perhaps humanity will eventually overtake the Q. So, one factor in choosing to be human may also have been to get back at the Q continuum, being part of a race that may overtake the one he was expelled from. By learning more about them, combined with his Q-knowledge, he could eventually become quite a powerful entity again!

Similarity of species: as @DavidS rightly points out, from the perspective of an extremely powerful species like the Q, the relative power of humans to other species is like comparing a snail and a slug! From our perspective, yes there's much more powerful species around, but from a Q's perspective, the difference could be quite negligible.

  • Picard has non-human friends. He could've been a Vulcan with feelings, and been the Spock to Picard! – user31178 Dec 2 '15 at 5:08
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    In this answer it might also be worth considering that, to a Q, ALL mortal beings would seem weak and unable to protect themselves. It's like asking us to choose between being a snail and a slug. – DavidS Dec 2 '15 at 10:23
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    Snail every time – Burgi Dec 2 '15 at 11:32
  • I suppose that the Continuum meant "mortal" to be "incapable of dying of old age/natural causes." I have no doubt in my mind that ALL species in Trek are capable of being killed, and thus not immortal in the ultimate sense (even the Q can be killed by other Q). And it's quite possible that the Organians, Metrons, Prophets, etc., don't die of old age, and so these were not acceptable choices. However, Q is smart enough to realize that some species are "better" than others: he even complains in the first scene that he was made into this "lowest of species." Why the heck did you choose it then? – Ham Sandwich Dec 2 '15 at 22:38

Q's motive in choosing human may have been a calculated attempt to get his powers and immortality back. On the Enterprise he knew Picard would protect him from getting killed right away. He also knew he would have the chance to demonstrate a selfless act which might get him reinstated into the Continuum. He would have had knowledge of how the Continuum works and would have chosen his best chance for reinstatement.

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