A complicated "Star Trek: The Next Generation" novel that springs from a TV episode of the old series, in which Captain Kirk is held captive to the whims of a little boy named Trelane, the son of gods from the Q Continuum. The character Q from "The Next Generation" series is his guardian. Trelane gets out of hand in his adolescence, scattering pieces of Q throughout time and inventing a machine in which all the dimensions of the universe chaotically intersect. He continues the campaign begun in his childhood, to play with human beings as toys, by collapsing three parallel "Enterprise"s into one. A madhouse ensues, with such quick cuts between scenes that overlapping, slightly different Worfs and Tasha Yars and Will Rikers, all bent on killing or rescuing one another, bring to mind a Marx brothers movie. The most intriguing of these alternative plot lines involves Beverly Crusher's long-dead husband, Jack, who is captain of the "Enterprise"; Picard is his disgraced second-in-command. In this "reality," Jack, and Beverly's son, Wesley, is dead, and Picard and Beverly are having an affair, until Trelane informs Jack, and he explodes in rage, murdering Beverly and killing himself. Purists may not enjoy the fact that every crew member on every "track" is helpless before Trelane, although the correct Picard, with the aid of a restored Q, eventually saves the universe by turning on Trelane as if he were a spoiled child.