"Why the costumes?"
"Why not the costumes? Costumes are fun."
"No other motive, then? Simple 'fun'? I thought you more complex than that."
"It's more honest this way."
"No, Jean-Luc. The costumes. I'm answering your question."
"I don't understand. How can costumes be more honest?"
"You can't see what I really am, any more than an ant can perceive the totality of a starship. If I want you to see all of me, I'm forced to show you facets. The costumes show off different aspects of who I truly am."
"Hmm. I didn't think of that."
"They're also fun."
"Either put some clothes on or get off my bridge now!"
He can't do either one. But the amusement in watching Picard splutter is almost worth it.
"Mon capitaine, you're so stodgy. Where did this primitive moralistic streak come from?"
Troi hands him a bundle. "I think you had better put these on," she says, meaningfully.
She must sense the truth. He swallows. Best come clean now about the powers.
The outfit is dull, horrible. He smiles bitterly. It's appropriate. He's played a dozen human roles in different costumes. Now he's dressing for the role of drab impotence and mortality.
The bar was well-lit and the wine was excellent, but Picard still thought there were better places to spend a leave. He should really stop taking Will's advice.
"Hiya, sailor. Buy a lady a drink?"
The line sounded like something out of Dixon Hill. Picard turned. She was a film noir femme fatale-- tall, imposing, with long dark hair and arresting features, and an anachronistic slinky red evening gown from the 20th century.
He took a wild guess. "Q?"
The entity pouted. "Lucky guess! How'd you know?"
"Only you," he said, "would wear a period costume outside of a holodeck."