Early on in TNG, it's easy to see Q as a supremely evolved being of godlike power who can simply will things to happen. However, as the various series progress - particularly Voyager - the "magic" seems to disappear.

For example:

  • In Deja Q, when La Forge asks Q how he would solve the problem of the falling moon, Q says he would "change the gravitational constant of the universe" instead of "I'd just put it back in orbit." The Enterprise crew then tries to use a Warp (subspace) field to do just that.

  • In The Q and the Grey, simple shield modifications are all that is needed for Voyager to enter the Continuum.

  • Possibly the biggest hint is the visual effect early on when Q does something. The flash of light is similar to the flash that a ship makes when it breaks the warp barrier.

So is all of this a coincidence or do the Q exist in subspace?

  • 2
    Changing the gravitational constant of the universe is infinitely more magical than merely moving a massive object. Voyager could only make a single moon lighter (an impressive feat by today’s technological standards, to be sure), not change the gravitational constant of the universe. Besides this, of course, there’s no particular reason to think that Q couldn’t put the moon back however he chose (when properly empowered, naturally); he was giving Voyager a little clue as to how they might do it.
    – Adamant
    Jan 8 '17 at 6:39
  • Those tags belong there, that's the policy.
    – Mithical
    Jan 8 '17 at 6:49
  • The dupe question answers this about as well as anything else is going to. We don't know and they aren't telling. The Q are "multi-dimensional" so I'd guess that includes subspace as well as every other kind of space.
    – Valorum
    Jan 8 '17 at 10:32
  • I have reopened the question, as I do not believe that (a) the question is a duplicate of the claimed duplicate; and (b) the answer to the claimed duplicate does not address this question. A "near answer" or a "best we can do answer" in a different context is insufficient.
    – Praxis
    Jan 11 '17 at 0:11
  • @Praxis - That's fair enough and I understand the points you've made. For the record, the answers this question gets will basically be a redux of the dupe question.
    – Valorum
    Jan 11 '17 at 0:17

The answer to this question is generally not a simple one.

The specific Q entity portrayed by 'John de Lancie' has made references to the true nature of the Q and their existence starting from his first appearance in the TNG episode "Encounter at FarPoint"; that the human mind is not capable of comprehending the true nature of much of the universe (the crew's confusion about the nature of the events supports the theory).

In fact, every time Q appears something happens that is well beyond human comprehension and in one occasion the TNG crew find themselves in Sherwood Forest.

In the episode "Deja Q" de Lancie's character has been stripped of most of his abilities by the other Q and is struggling to understand what the beings he has been "tormenting" are actually capable of. He says to "change the gravitational constant of the Universe" as a solution to a problem because altering the universe, and all of the subspace and technology within it, is something that would otherwise have been trivial for a Q. Changing the universal constant, however, is well beyond anything Star Fleet and their understanding subspace can achieve so they attempt to change the moon's gravitational constant instead (Note that the Federation often alters the mass, inertial and gravitational characteristics by pushing the ship and its contents into a subspace state).

In VOY episodes such as "The Q and the Grey", the Voyager crew end up visiting the continuum and it is explained that the reason the continuum seems to be a re-enactment of the American Civil War (with Voyager nowhere to be seen) is that their human minds are not capable of understanding what is really going on so it merely appears in simplified terms (usually something out of Earth history). By contrast subspace is depicted as a region through which space ships and other objects can travel (not wooded or desolate land in the limited human understanding). Further it is also referenced that the Civil War style weaponry that everyone is firing at each other are actually disrupting normal space and causing supernovae all over the place that are actually apertures into the continuum and that Voyager can only enter by flying through the Supernova that occurred in the aftermath (likely what the shield was needed for). I believe Q makes a reference that they should go nowhere near the actual business end of the weapons considering what it would do to a human if it can actually make him seem to "bleed".

What the writers seem to be getting at here is an that there are a very limited number of effects that can actually be visually produced by any character (either in universe or by the show's special effects crew); whatever coincidence there are in appearances the Q are NOT using any method or concept known to the Federation nor is the continuum anywhere that the Federation would be able to name. The Q ARE however often seen appearing on ships within subspace (Deja Q, The Q and the Grey and several others) and capable of using subspace techniques and technologies to do what they desire should they so choose.

  • 2
    Note that the original series had already worked its way through an extensive list of similar types of character. Jan 17 '18 at 15:48

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