In the episode Q Who, at the end, Guinan says that the encounter with the Borg happened before it should have. Picard says "they will be coming" in response to Guinan saying that they are now aware of The Federation's (or humanity's) existence implying this was the Borg's first contact with them as well.

However, earlier in the episode, after Q first sends the enterprise light years away, when scanning a Class M Planet Worf comments that the suspected industrialized civilization that had been there there appeared to have been ripped away from the planet identical to what happened to the outposts along the Neutral Zone in the episode The Neutral Zone.

This made me think that in both cases the perpetrators were the Borg and that the Federation and the Romulans have encountered the Borg already.....just that no one's survived to report back.

If that is the case then didn't the Borg already know about the Federation? If Guinan was expecting the Federation to encounter the Borg much later, was she not aware that the encounter had already happened and they are already seen as they are just raw material for the Borg?

  • 3
    Out of universe, it was planned to introduce the Borg after the Neutral Zone cliffhanger, at the start of season two; but then the writers went on strike and the Borg had to be postponed.
    – chirlu
    Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 0:03
  • 1
    I'll do a comment as this is largely speculative, Its possible that the Borg thought humans/romulans weren't worth assimilating so decided to ignore them. Until they saw the enterprise escape/fly away from them faster than the Borgs maximum transwarp speed (Thanks to Q but the Borg didn't know that: they would just see 'cool tech - we want it'
    – Matt
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 19:09

5 Answers 5



Borg encounters were known to Starfleet but the information was not generally known throughout the Federation.

From the Memory Alpha page on the Borg

As of "Q Who" and "The Best of Both Worlds", it appeared that Starfleet had never heard of the Borg. Subsequently, Star Trek: Enterprise's "Regeneration" and Star Trek: Voyager's "Dark Frontier" showed that not only was Starfleet previously aware of the existence of the Borg, Federation scientists actually pursued them – even if they were considered mere rumor. Further, although Guinan indicates in "Q Who" that her people were attacked by the Borg, it is implied that Starfleet was not aware of the threat. However, it was later revealed in Star Trek Generations that Starfleet, in fact, rescued the El-Aurian survivors of the Borg attack including Guinan, and it seems unlikely that Starfleet would not inquire as to the cause of their plight.

  • Wasn't the question were the Borg aware of the Federation? (still yes, they would obviously have to be) Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 13:39
  • @zabeus; The exact time line of Borg contact is a little murky, to say the least. The Borg encountered in 2153 (Regeneration) were the result of the time travel almost 100 years earlier (Generations). In both cases the Borg had sent a message to the Delta quadrant. The message in 2153 would take about 200 years to reach the Delta quadrant. The events of "The Neutral Zone" were in 2364 so the Borg were aware of humanity and Earth but maybe not quite aware of the Federation or the extent of the Federation in the Alpha and Beta quadrants.
    – sfhq_sf
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 14:05
  • Was t that what Seven’s parents were doing, venturing out into the Delta quadrant before they were assimilated? Pursuing the Borg before they came after Picard? Or am I getting the canon timeline mixed up? Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 3:11

The Borg would have learned about humanity and the Federation when they assimilated Seven of Nine's parents in 2356.


If no one has survived to report the encounter then no one in the federation would know about the encounter and Guinan is in the federation.

If I remember correctly though the Borg do not rip planets apart they assimilate so if the Borg had attacked the M class planet they would still be present and assimilating biological and technological matter.

  • They do not rip planets apart but they do scoop up whole cities, leaving craters behind, as observed in The Best of Both Worlds part 1.
    – J Doe
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 23:27

Actually, It depends on if you include the books, all the television series and the movies. Just based on the television series, in Star Trek Enterpise, borg are found on Earth frozen and they assimilate the researchers. Technically, that would be the first contact and the Borg drones would have found out about the federation then and they did transmit a signal. However, I believe, the person that wrote they were not interested in us due to our level of technology and the low threat level we posed to them was correct. Remember, the borg did not attack Capt. Archer's crew or Capt. Picard's crew until they deemed them a threat. If you include the books and movies, then in Shatner's series of books that take place after the movie Star Trek Generations, Kirk, Picard and Spock agree that the "Machine Beings" that repaired the Voyager space probe in sent it back to Earth in Star Trek I were the Borg. Of course, they sent it back before the Federation was created and the Voyager probe never called them by name. However, it had collected so much data and transmitted to Earth and the Enterpise so I am sure that there was some mention of them in that data to. This of course took place after Capt. Archer's Enterprise encountered them and chased them. The crew of Archer's Enterprise may have met them before that during the episode when the Enterprise needed major repairs and found the automated repair hanger that had the beings attached to a central computer that could repair itself and modify itself as needed. Let us think about the similarities, an artificially intelligent computer that abducts intelligent beings and connects them to itself (assimilation), can modify (adapt) itself to complete this, can repair (regenerate) itself, refuses to answer questions not relevent to the task at hand and refuses to discontinue operations when told to do so or threatened (resistance is futile). Anyone else notice any similarities. As for Guinan and her fellow survivors, the Federation did not get involved with them until after the attack and the Borg had left. Not sure if any of Guinan's people that were assimilated knew about the status of the Federation and its tech, but she did already know about Earth and about Picard since they had time traveled and stopped the alien beings from attacking and killing humans where the Enterprise crew met Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) and the younger version of Guinan. During the STNG series she mentions that her people are listeners and watchers so her people might have continued to visit Earth and thereby seen the development of the tech and the Federation and that knowledge could have been assimilated by the Borg in the attack mentioned in Star Trek Generations.

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is quite a massive wall of text; you should break it up into paragraphs (leave a blank line between them), summarize your answer at the very start, and possibly even include headings.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 10, 2020 at 3:45

The Borg were in a different quadrant heading in the opposite direction from the federation in search mode the encounter with the enterprise. Q put the enterprise back in alpha quadrant which is why the federation was able to "prepare" for the Borg.

  • This doesn't answer the question about a previous encounter with the Borg.
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 23:57

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