After reading a question on ST probes, I was reminded of the Voyager episode "Course: Oblivion" where

A probe which was constructed out of non-affected materials is prepared for launch by Seven of Nine, but at the last minute, the launcher malfunctions and the probe becomes lodged.
However, after the duplicated ship and crew fully revert and begin to dissipate, the real voyager crew, on investigating the distress signal sent earlier, notice the debris field and scan it, finding only the base molecules of the silver blood, the substance that duplicated the crew.

So my question is, why did the real Voyager crew not find the probe and other non-affected materials?

  • 1
    I guess due to bad writing?
    – Hans Olo
    Apr 19, 2019 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


It's not entirely clear how the probe was destroyed but (Fake)Seven seem to feel that the damage is pretty much total.

SEVEN: It won't work. The launch mechanism is demolecularised.

KIM: Salvage the probe.

SEVEN: It's too late. It's been destroyed.

Given that no debris from the probe was detected in the debris cloud of the (Fake)Voyager, it seems likely that the probe was destroyed as it left the ship, presumably by the act of leaving (Fake)Voyager's warp field and getting smeared all over realspace at a gazillion miles an hour.

Since the (Real)Voyager didn't know which direction to backtrack along, the (now destroyed) probe, which almost certainly consisted of little more than a box containing a warp sustainer engine and a computer core, just wasn't large enough, post destruction, to create a footprint that would show up on the cursory sensor sweep that the ship did before leaving.

  • Nice man. Actually sounds plausible.You didn't mention the other materials that were not affected (acquired during their journey), although it doesn't say they weren't all used in the probe's construction. I don't think.
    – n00dles
    Apr 20, 2019 at 2:52
  • @n00dles - It's possible that (all of) the materials they picked up along the way were what they used to make the probe.
    – Valorum
    Apr 20, 2019 at 7:23
  • Out of interest, do you know how Seven would have recycled those materials? Is there a device that recycles materials which can then be utilized by a Replicator? Can't remember a particular device being mentioned, but in "Year of Hell", I remember Janeway tells Chakotay to "recycle" a pocket watch.
    – n00dles
    Apr 20, 2019 at 21:31
  • @n00dles - I suspect it's simpler than that. She's probably just cannibalising them the old-fashioned way, selecting parts and substances that she can use.
    – Valorum
    Apr 20, 2019 at 21:39
  • 1
    @n00dles yes, that is how replicators work per the TNG technical manual.
    – Darren
    May 9, 2020 at 10:24

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