As the Captains try to figure out how to beat Q at his own game, the godlike beings offer a dangerous new challenge – drawing the extra-dimensional Prophets out of their wormhole to join the competition! The stakes have never been higher in the biggest Star Trek crossover ever.

Star Trek: The Q Conflict writers David and Scott Tipton speak more about the next chapter in the crossover with Star Trek: The Q Conflict #4 (of 6), coming May 22nd from IDW Publishing. 

StarTrek.com: What is the challenge working with multiple series and therefore multiple fanbases?

David Tipton: There are a lot of characters in The Q Conflict! They all have important parts to play, but it’s definitely been important for us to strike the right balance when it comes to the large cast of this story.  Also, the various crews (and Star Trek series) all have different personalities and sensibilities, and it seems deviously typical of Q to mix up the crews and see how that would play out. 

Scott Tipton: Well, I think the biggest challenge is making sure that each series and its characters get their due and their time in the spotlight. All of these characters are somebody’s favorite, and while it’s impossible to give all thirty-odd characters a big meaty scene or role in the overall story, we’re working really hard to make sure that the DS9 and Voyager crews are as much in the thick of things as the TOS and TNG crews are.

Are there any elements of Star Trek as a whole that you believe were important to incorporate throughout the entire storyline?

ST: We’ve been treating it the way we treat all of our Star Trek work: we work really hard to make all of our stories feel like they could be episodes. We have to play by the original rules set up by Gene Roddenberry, Rick Berman, Michael Piller, Ira Steven Behr, Brannon Braga and so many other of the series’ storytellers. And our characters have to be true to the way they were envisioned, and have to live by the ethics that Roddenberry believed in.  Even in the bizarre situations in which they find themselves at the hands of Q and the other godlike beings, they have to be Starfleet officers first and live by that code.

DT: Yes. Another very important element was making sure that Q himself in The Q Conflict is consistent with the Q that everyone has come to love and hate.  He’s extraordinarily intelligent and powerful, yet annoying, deceitful, self-centered...and also insightful. He’s operating on a level beyond the understanding of just about everyone else, but he also engages with others in very emotional, personal ways.  His interactions with others are essential to this story.

If you were one of the godlike beings, who would be some of your first player picks?

ST: Captain Kirk. He cheats. Or as he would say, he doesn’t like to lose.  I’d also go with Data as an all-around utility player, Tom Paris for his craftiness, and Chief O’Brien for his ability to improvise.  Oh, and Worf for sheer angry tenacity.

DT: Along these lines, some of my favorite scenes in The Q Conflict are the exchanges between Janeway and the Metron, as well as Sisko with Ayebourne. I like those unexpected character moments.

Whose team would you want to be on in this conflict?

DT: I don’t really want to say which team I think is best, but more importantly, I think as we will see in issue 4 and later, in many ways the competition between the teams is not quite as important as it was initially as the stakes become higher and events begin to eclipse a mere contest.  All that said, I do think there’s some great stuff in The Q Conflict for the crew of Voyager, across all teams.

ST: Since I know how it ends, it’s not fair for me to say which team is best, and I also wouldn’t want to tip the readers to any upcoming surprises. What I will say is that Kirk’s team has been the most fun to write, mostly because of the matter-of-fact, all-business approach Kirk takes to the situation he’s in. As always, Captain Kirk remains unflappable.

How much does Picard’s relationship with Q play into the story?

ST: Observant readers undoubtedly noticed that was how our story began, and that was no accident. The relationship between Q and Picard was a landmark of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it grew and changed dramatically over the course of the story. What we have to do is honor that relationship as viewers saw it, while at the same time bringing it to a new place. 

DT: At one point in the story, other characters notice and comment on how Q and Picard so often end up arguing. There’s a long established relationship there that runs from the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation all the way to the end, and “The Q Conflict” is tied directly into that.

Any words to prepare readers for what’s next for the story?

ST: It’s an unforgivable cliché, but it holds up in this case: expect the unexpected. In issue four, we see The Prophets pulled into the affair, and…well, it may not go the way Q anticipates. The following issue sees the Captains and their crews sent off on the most dangerous hunting trip one can imagine. And I can’t even begin to describe what readers will see in the grand finale. Even I can’t believe it.

DT: Issue four does not end the way you might expect. That’s all I can say for now!