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When hiding from the Borg cube in "The Best of Both Worlds", the Enterprise is able to scan from within the nebula what's outside of it, whereas the Borg vessel is unable to scan what's inside.

Has it ever been explained (or is it deducible based on information presented in other episodes), whether this is because of the relative positions of the ships or due to distinct differences in Federation and Borg technology?

Or is there a third option I'm not considering (except for 'plot armor')?

  • I'm likewise digging in my memory, but I don't recall the Enterprise scanning the Borg vessel. Any comments about the Borg were just military strategy & tactic guesses. 1): It seemed totally unlikely the Borg had given up, so they were still out there. 2) Since the Enterprise wasn't under immediate attack, the Borg obviously couldn't find them. So, sit, wait, catch our breath. Finally, the Borg resorted to "depth charges" to flush their quarry out. – Blaze May 19 at 13:31
  • How could the Enterprise detect a Klingon ship behind a planet in "A Private Little War" and not be detected? How could the Enterprise detect the Reliant behind Regula in WOK and not vice versa? – M. A. Golding May 19 at 14:48
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There were a couple of lines cut from the screenplay that explained this. In short, the Enterprise was using the Borg's active scans of the Nebula to estimate their position.

WORF: The Borg ship is continuing scans... attempting to locate us

PICARD: Good. As long as they're looking for us... they can't hurt anyone else.

[deleted dialogue]

RIKER: Shut down all active sensors, passive scanners only. Deflectors to minimum emissions.

PICARD: We'll maintain position. (looks at Riker and Shelby) Until we have a better idea.

Best of Both Worlds, Part I - Original Screenplay

This obviously ties in nicely with the submarine analogy (active ping versus passive reception), especially given that the Borg's next move is to try using depth charges to flush out their quarry.

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