In episode 1, Encounter at Farpoint, part 1, there are 5 members of the crew present on the battle bridge after saucer separation:

  • Jean-Luc Picard, a human
  • Tasha Yar, a human
  • Miles O'Brien, a human
  • Deanna Troi, half human, half betazoid
  • Data, an android

Soon, Q starts his trial against humanity, taking from the bridge all except O'Brien. This doesn't make sense to me.

  • Why take Troi? She's only half human. Would Q consider her half responsible for the crimes of humanity? What about the crimes of Betazoids?
  • Why take Data? He's artificial. Does Q hold Data responsible for the crimes of his inventor?
  • Why not take O'Brien? He's fully human. How did he get a pass?
  • 5
    Because the main cast are always selected from among the same 8-9 people in every episode?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Jun 30, 2016 at 7:16
  • 2
    It's actually a really good (in universe) question! I don't know how many times I've seen this, but I've missed this detail every time.
    – Jane S
    Jun 30, 2016 at 7:33
  • 2
    Given the vast number of times O'Brien has traveled in time, I'm assuming that killing him would result in the universe being ripped in twain.
    – Valorum
    Jun 30, 2016 at 7:52
  • Data was created by a human, and thus is a product of human culture.
    – Andrew
    Feb 26, 2022 at 13:27

1 Answer 1


Humanity isn't on trial, just Picard.

It's really quite important to note that it wasn't Q's idea to hold a trial in the first place. He was just riffing off what Picard said during their "Captain to Captain" conversation earlier in the episode.

PICARD: (interrupting; angry) No! The most dangerous 'same old story' is the one we're meeting now! Those who go on misinformation, half-information, self-righteous life forms who are eager not to learn but to prosecute, to judge anything they don't understand or can't tolerate.

"Q" (21ST CENTURY): What an interesting idea. Prosecute and judge?

As such, the selection of crewmen is largely driven by those that Picard surrounds himself with, his co-conspirators as it were.

When we finally see the latter part of the "trial" in the show's final episode, it's not the crew that are put to the test, only Picard.

Q: You just don't get it, do you, Jean-Luc? (leans in to him) The trial never ends.

He smiles patronizingly.

Q: (continuing) We wanted to see if you had the ability to expand your mind and your horizons... and for one brief moment, you did.

PICARD: When I realized the paradox...

Q: Exactly. For that one fraction of a second, you were open to options you'd never considered. That's the exploration that awaits you... not mapping stars and studying nebulae... but charting the unknowable possibilities of existence.

  • Of course, Picard has barely done anything on-screen like what Q challenges him to do since that last episode. The closest thing is probably when Picard figures out how the Nexus works, although he had his hand held for that. Other than that, it's mainly been fire phasers and photon torpedoes since.
    – Ellesedil
    Jun 30, 2016 at 15:49
  • 5
    @ellesedil - In fairness to Picard he's shown remarkable restraint when it comes to blasting aliens out of the sky, even when sorely provoked.
    – Valorum
    Jun 30, 2016 at 16:06

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