As Picard arrives at the anomaly in all three time periods, he discovers that the anomaly is much larger in the past, but does not exist at all in the future. As the past and present Enterprises scan the anomaly with tachyon beams, the Pasteur is attacked by Klingon ships, but the crew is saved due to the timely arrival of the future Enterprise led by Admiral William Riker; Riker summarily dispatches the attacking ships. Q once again appears to Picard and takes him to billions of years in the past on Earth, where the anomaly, growing larger as it moves backwards in time, has taken over the whole of the Alpha Quadrant and has prevented the formation of life on Earth. When Picard returns to the future, he discovers the anomaly has appeared, created as a result of his orders, and the tachyon pulses from the three eras are sustaining it. Data and Geordi La Forge determine that they can stop the anomaly by having all three Enterprises fly into the center of it and create static warp shells. Picard relays the orders to each Enterprise; each does so, and in turn each succumbs to a warp core breach, with Q telling the future Picard that "all good things must come to an end" just before the future Enterprise explodes.
Picard finds himself facing Q once again, who congratulates Picard being able to think in multiple timelines simultaneously in order to solve the puzzle, and showing that humanity can still evolve, much to the surprise of the Q Continuum. Q explains that the anomaly never was, and that his past and present have been restored. During this exchange Q reveals that, contrary to his seeming role as antagonist, he has in fact advocated on humanity's behalf in spite of the wishes of the other members of the Continuum. Q leans close to Picard as if to impart a profound secret but pulls back, smiling. He then withdraws from the courtroom and bids farewell to Picard by saying "See you... out there." Picard then returns to the Enterprise of his present, and no longer skipping through time. Picard decides to join the officers' poker game for the first time, regretting not having done so before.