In Regeneration Starfleet learns about a culture that we (as audience) know as The Borg. According to TNG, the Federation doesn't seem to know anything about these beings when they "first" meet them. Although Archer's crew doesn't learn the name of the Borg, it would be reasonable that the Federation would inherit the information about such a menacing enemy and it would also be reasonable to assume the crew of the Enterprise-D to be able to match their encounter with their databases' information.

Obviously, out-of-universe the explanation is that the scripts weren't written in chronological order, but how can the apparent obliviousness about the Borg be explained in-universe?

  • 17
    I'm betting that Captain Archer wrote crappy reports to his superiors. They were full of spelling and grammatical errors, and were eventually destroyed because they were not worthy of being kept in a starfleet database.
    – Zoot
    Aug 20, 2012 at 21:06
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    @bitmask Archer wrote his reports as comments, and he didn't think to clean them up until after 5 minutes had passed.
    – Xantec
    Aug 21, 2012 at 2:11
  • 4
    I don't think there is an in-universe explanation that works. My opinion is that this episode was the result of lazy writing or corporate pressure to bring back the borg.
    – SteveED
    Dec 9, 2012 at 19:30
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    He wrote an excellent report, in fact, but his dog ate it. Jan 1, 2013 at 5:06
  • 3
    inb4 wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff
    – IG_42
    Feb 10, 2015 at 11:57

12 Answers 12


Couple quick notes:

  • The Regeneration Borg had the nanoprobe assimilation technique. The Q Who borg did not seem to in that episode or in later ones.
  • The Q Who Borg tended to move slowly and weren't very aggressive, the two who were examining the Enterprise even left after being attacked.
    • Even when Riker and Worf beamed over, the Borg ignored them - something we know to be standard for the Borg, but there was no Borg cube in Regeneration, so it's unlikely to have been in the logs.
  • The Bynar were another species that used cybernetic augmentation.

These indicate that although we know that the Borg were what was seen in Regeneration, they don't necessarily know the same in-series. There could be enough cybernetically augmented species out there that the Federation knows not to lump them together. Mistaking the Bynar for the Borg would be a pretty big disaster.

  • When Data determines how far out from Federation space they are, Picard asks Guinan what they may find out here, since the Federation hasn't made it this far.
  • Guinan had secondhand experience with them, and was explaining to the crew how the Borg work and react.

These are fairly decent reasons for them not to have searched the computers - they expected to find nothing this far out from Federation space, so they didn't try searching Federation computers. And they had Guinan to act as their reference anyway.

As for later episodes, once the Borg started becoming more aggressive and started using the nanoprobes, what use would a historical reference have been? They had much more recent experience in dealing with the Borg at that point.

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    If Data can figure out the connection between The Naked Now and The Naked Time illnesses based on Riker's vague memory of someone showering clothed... I think he could make the connection between The Borg and the Enterprise's encounters, not to mention the more recent USS Raven.
    – Schwern
    Jan 29, 2015 at 2:52
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    @Schwern I believe the USS Raven's mission was classified, so Data would not have had access to it, and neither the ship the Borg had in Enterprise was configured like the Cube from TNG (nor did they ever identify themselves as Borg). But primarily, they had no reason to search the computers, and Data is not connected to the ship's computer
    – Izkata
    Jan 29, 2015 at 2:58
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    @Izkata I skimmed the scripts (Raven, Dark Frontier), there's no mention of the Raven's mission being classified, nor would it be entrusted to civilians with a child if it were. And the Enterprise encounters a new, hostile, powerful life form and they don't think to check the computers to see if anyone else has information on them? -_-
    – Schwern
    Jan 29, 2015 at 3:28
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    @ThePopMachine You remember correctly, their research never made it back. However when they set out 11 years before Q Who (32611.4 aka 2354) they petitioned the Federation Council to allow them to find "the Borg", knew they were cybernetic, and even had a model of a Borg cube (see Dark Frontier). They knew something and it would all be on record. A search for "giant cube shaped space ship" would have pulled it up.
    – Schwern
    Jan 29, 2015 at 18:42
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    @Izkata I'm referring to the VOY episode Dark Frontier which has flashbacks to 11 years before Q Who and before the Raven left Federation space to search for the Borg. (Little Annika is playing with a model of a Borg Cube.) ANNIKA: Zoom, zoom. MAGNUS: Ah, ah, ah, put down the cube, Muffin. It's not a toy.
    – Schwern
    Jan 29, 2015 at 20:02

I figure its like this...

In 2063, the remains of a Borg Sphere (First Contact) crash lands in the antarctic. In 2153, the remains of the borg ship are discovered by a group of scientists and are unearthed. The scientists are assimilated by the regenerated Borg survivors and the transport vessel is stolen. The Enterprise NX-01 persues the vessel and destroys it, but not before it manages to send a message towards the Delta quadrant. Archer probably sends a report to Starfleet and it is filed away.

In 2295 the planet El-Auria (in the Alpha Quadrant, but outside Federation space) is invaded by the Borg with the majority of the population assimilated. Only a few survivors, including Tolian Soren and Guinan escape aboard Federation transport vessels Lakul and Robert Fox. The survivors are rescued by the Enterprise-B and are escorted to Earth where they where probably interviewed about the incident. Another report is filed about the Borg.

In the 2350's, two Federation Exobiologists, Magnus and Erin Hansen, begin looking into these old reports by Archer and the ones by the El-Aurian survivors and become interested in looking for these cybernetic creatures known to the El-Aurians simply as Borg. Since they had already uncovered evidence of the Borg, Starfleet agreed to help the Hansens as long as they kept what the found out quiet. The Hansens, along with their young daughter, Anika, went looking for the Borg. Not long after, The Hansens find the borg, but are captured and assimilated.

Around this time, the signal sent out by the Borg from 2152 is intercepted by the Borg in the Delta Quadrant. With the information from the 2152 signal, coupled with the database assimlated from the Hansens ship the Raven, the Borg realize that the Federation exists and send a ship to investigate. This is the ship that comes face to face with the Enterprise D in 2365. Starfleet are informed as to the closeness of the Borg by the Enterprise D and this is when Starfleet fully opens the old files on the Borg and begins to prepare for their arrival.

Well thats my way of looking at it

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    The question was why they don't have any clue about the Borg in 2365. Your theory indicates that they did had (quite detailed) information about them, but TNG-canon contradicts this. Picard has to consult Guinan and even after her providing information about who they're facing, they still cannot produce any Starfleet information regarding the Borg (we can very safely assume, Data would have checked!).
    – bitmask
    Dec 9, 2012 at 16:44
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    I believe it was the arctic actually.
    – Praxis
    Jan 29, 2015 at 22:00
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    @bitmask Who says that events in TNG happen after First Contact? In the timeline that Q Who took place in just so happened to be one where the borg haven't gone back, but when first contact happens, it creates a new time line where in the federation has some familiarity with the borg. I wish I was good enoguh at ascii art to try and explain the timelines. :/
    – CBredlow
    Jan 30, 2015 at 19:38
  • @CBredlow: You can provide your own answer to do your theory justice.
    – bitmask
    Jan 30, 2015 at 21:52

how can the apparent obliviousness about the Borg be explained in-universe?

I'm not aware of a canonical answer, either in-universe or from producer/writer/etc. quotes. But since you asked how it's possible...

One possible way to resolve it is that the events occur on a different timeline. The Star Trek universe is filled with examples of alternate timelines.

Enterprise was created after the movie First Contact. In First Contact, the Borg went back in time, altering the timeline. This was, essentially, a "reboot". Those borg weren't there in the original TNG timeline, which was never fully restored after First Contact.

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    In "Q Who", Borg were already approaching Earth. @bitmask is right. See this: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/17354/…
    – user931
    Aug 19, 2012 at 12:40
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    Based on the comments, I've adjusted my answer. I'm not aware of a canonical answer, and the best I think we can do is offer reasonable explanations. My original answer read like "this is fact", when actually, it's just how I understood it. Big difference. Aug 19, 2012 at 12:54
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    @bitmask That's backwards, actually. The Sphere destroyed in First Contact is supposed to be the same remains that were found by the scientists on Earth in Regeneration. The signal sent at the end of Regeneration was the reason the Borg were already on their way to Earth by the time of Q Who.
    – Izkata
    Aug 19, 2012 at 14:02
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    @DavidStratton In Regeneration, Archer was talking about the events of the First Contact movie. And the scientists on Earth explicitly state that the wreckage would be in the shape of a Sphere if it was complete. The 200 years that was mentioned at the end of that episode ends up being about 10-15 years before Q Who, which lines up with the evidence in that episode that the Borg were already on their way towards the Alpha quadrant (and had already been in the Neutral Zone).
    – Izkata
    Aug 19, 2012 at 17:44
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    200 years is a long time. Records can be lost, misfiled, deemed no longer important and destroyed, etc. There's any number of clerical reasons why the information might not readily be available to Data & Picard.
    – BBlake
    Aug 19, 2012 at 19:38

In this answer, I will expand (greatly) upon those of @jaysmith and @bjornjoseph. Specifically,

  • an alternate timeline is required to explain the inconsistencies between The Next Generation, Voyager, and Enterprise;
  • an alternate timeline was in fact splintered off from the primary TNG timeline by events that occurred during the film First Contact.

The apparent inconsistencies

In the TNG episode "Q Who", Picard's Enterprise makes first contact (in 2366) with the Borg, as a result of an intervention by Q. The Enterprise crew show no recognition of the Borg whatsoever, and the computer does not make any kind of automatic identification of the Borg or their vessel (suggesting no such records exist). In this episode, it is revealed that Guinan's culture was decimated by the Borg. It is clear from her conversations with Picard in the episode that she has never discussed the Borg with Enterprise crew members on any prior occasion.

In "The Best of Both Worlds" (part 1), Fleet Admiral J.P. Hanson tells Picard that Starfleet has been preparing for a year for the eventual encounter with the Borg. He and Lt. Cmdr. Shelby both make statements that imply that the only information they have to work with are the sensor logs recorded by, and damage inflicted upon, the Enterprise during the "Q Who" encounter. This suggests that Starfleet has no data from any prior encounter with the Borg. This also suggests that neither Guinan nor any other El-Aurian refugee (e.g. Tolian Soran) living in Federation space had discussed the Borg with Starfleet or any official representatives of the Federation. (This is consistent with their reclusive nature.)

However, the first inconsistency with this appears in the Voyager episode "Dark Frontier" (part 1). Magnus Hansen, a Federation exobiologist and the father of Seven of Nine, says the following in a flashback:

MAGNUS: Field notes, U.S.S. Raven, Stardate 32611.4. It's about time. The Federation Council on Exobiology has given us final approval. Starfleet's still concerned about security issues but they've agreed not to stand in our way. We've said our goodbyes, and we're ready to start chasing our theories about the Borg.

Chronologically, he made these remarks in 2356, ten years before the events of "Q Who".

The next discrepancy occurs in the episode "Regeneration" of Enterprise. In 2153, human scientists at an arctic research station discover functional Borg drones who survived the destruction of the Borg sphere that went back in time to the 21st Century in First Contact. Captain Archer and his crew subsequently encounter the Borg in space. In particular, Dr. Phlox is exposed to Borg nanoprobes and almost becomes assimilated. He experiences brief periods of the Borg "hive mind". Surely, these experiences would be included in their logs and reports. Although the word "Borg" is not used, they do hear the catchphrase "resistance is futile", and they have enough data to make accurate records regarding the appearance of the Borg, about the assimilation process, and about the Borg's ability to adapt technology to fit their purposes (namely, their modifications to the simple transport ship that they used to escape Earth, which had a top speed of warp 1.4, which they increased to higher than warp 5).

Furthermore, they do research and find that Zephram Cochrane had made explicit reference to cybernetic creatures in a speech given in the 21st Century. His coworker, Lily Sloane, learned the term "Borg" for these creatures. (She remarked that it sounded "Swedish").

While the Bynar are an example of another cybernetic race known to Starfleet, the unique assimilation techniques of the Borg, their rapid adaptation, and their collective consciousness and hive nature would certainly mark them out in future encounters, e.g. in "Q Who".

Why these inconsistencies are not plot holes / continuity errors

The inconsistencies in "Dark Frontier" and "Regeneration" are not actually inconsistencies, but rather the result of a new timeline formed by the events of First Contact.

The formation of the new timeline happened like this:

When the Borg went back in time, they shifted their own "first contact" with humanity to the 21st Century. In the 22nd Century, they encounter Archer's Enterprise, and concrete data is collected for the first time regarding a species of advanced cybernetic organisms called the Borg (a named known to Lily Sloane and likely Zephram Cochrane) that can "assimilate" human beings and other species, and which function with a collective consciousness (all experienced firsthand by Phlox). In the 24th Century, Federation scientists Magnus and Erin Hansen follow up on this by requesting the use of the Raven and following the course plotted by the transport ship from the 21st Century (and also working on the suspicion that a subspace message was sent from that ship in the direction of the Delta Quadrant).

The existence of this timeline also has the following consequences:

  • The events of "Q Who" either did not occur in the new First Contact-induced timeline, or occurred differently. (For instance, if Q had still flung the Enterprise into the path of a distant Borg cube, the crew may not have had to rely purely on Guinan for knowledge regarding the Borg.)

  • The events of "Best of Both Worlds" may have been somewhat altered.

Finally, I want to emphasize that the existence of this splintered-off timeline is not supposition. For instance, the encounter with the Borg by the researchers in the arctic (and Archer's subsequent pursuit of the Borg) simply could not have happened in the pre-First Contact timeline. The events in the arctic were a direct consequence of the Borg Queen's decision to travel back in time. Therefore, we have the undeniable birth of a new timeline. The differences are minimal at first but become palpable as time moves on. For instance, Seven of Nine's existence as a Borg and her activities on the USS Voyager are features of the new timeline only, as a direct consequence of the Hansens' expedition.

  • 1
    You can only defend your claim "that the existence of this splintered-off timeline is not supposition... For instance, the encounter with the Borg ... could not have happened in the pre-First Contact timeline" if you don't believe in stable time loops. Sep 1, 2015 at 22:52
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    @Praxis this answer makes a fair amount of sense to me. I have one question. It's been quite a while since I've seen "Regeneration." Does the episode specify where in the Arctic Circle the Borg wreck was discovered? Given the ongoing melting of the sea ice in the real world, it's likely that any debris not on solid land would have ending up on the sea bottom by Archer's time. Mar 11, 2016 at 22:49
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    @rosesunhill : Thanks. I don't recall exact coordinates in the Arctic. The debris could very well have sunk to the sea floor, as you say!
    – Praxis
    Mar 12, 2016 at 0:17
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    If First Contact really created a new timeline, then that's deeply disappointing. One of my favorite things about that movie is the idea that that's how it has always happened.
    – DCShannon
    Oct 12, 2016 at 15:31
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    There's a slight problem with this reasoning - when Q first appears on Voyager, Janeway remarks that he introduced the Federation to the Borg ("thank you very much"). Which means either that the events of "Q Who" did still happen in the revised timeline, or else we switched timelines somewhere in the middle of the run of "Voyager" - ie, after Q's first appearance, but before Seven of Nine's.
    – Paul L
    Oct 14, 2016 at 15:19

I know this is an old post, but after watching (or rewatching) this episode today, I began looking for explanations to reconcile this apparent paradox, and thus found my way here. There are some excellent posts here, with still additional alternative explanations that have not yet been posed, so I thought I'd outline two of them.

Novikov self-consistency principle

The Novikov self-consistency principle states that, while time-travel is possible, altering past events is not. Therefore, the events of First Contact were not new in the sense that they had already occurred in the past, which shaped the future events in such a way as to trigger the time-travel event. This, of course, does not explain why the TNG crew seemingly had no information on the Borg, even though Starfleet had an apparent abundance of data that they collected during Regeneration.

Expanded Novikov self-consistency principle

As expanded on by others and similar to the Novikov's principle, this states that the universe bends probability in order to prevent paradoxes from occurring. For instance, if person A goes back in time to shoot their grandfather and succeeds, we thus have a paradox - person A could not have existed to go back in time to kill his grandfather (assuming no multiverse explanations). Thus, when the person goes back in time to shoot his grandfather, probabilities begin changing drastically to prevent the impossible death of the grandfather, such as the bullets in person A's gun jamming and anything else, no matter how improbable, as the improbable becomes more probable the closer one gets to creating a paradoxical situation (E.g. person A received the wrong shipment of bullets for his gun several times in a row as he planned his escapade - person A's bullet's jam as he shoots at his grandfather - as person A is strangling his grandfather to near death a meteor's path falls directly into the head of person A in such a way that prevented the death of the grandfather - sorry for all of the dark examples, but they just seem to work!).

Now to the question at hand: let's assume Novikov's self-consistency principle holds true here and that everything that we have been privy to in the Start Trek universe is also true (e.g. Picard and others were not hiding the fact that they knew about the Borg before they encountered the Borg - clearly, Q would know that). Thus, something must occur to sufficiently prevent the information/knowledge collected during Regeneration from being available in TNG. For example, perhaps the data centers that specifically stored this information (perhaps in a highly classified environment) had an unexpected failure (the universe preventing the paradox by bending probability), along with the backups and backups of the backups, resulting in the loss of all information collected during Regeneration. This allows for the events of First Contact and Regeneration to occur and not create paradoxes later on where the crew on TNG have no idea who or what the Borg are.

  • 1
    I like this, but it doesn't explain "Dark Frontier", where the Hansens decide to go chasing after the Borg. One could believe in unexpected data storage failures between the Enterprise era and TNG, but the Hansens were clearly acting on some prior knowledge of the Borg's existence, and it seems odd that their mission would not be noted by Starfleet during the Borg incursions of TNG. There is an apparent lack of self-consistency here. It's easier to conclude that First Contact altered the timeline.
    – Praxis
    Oct 12, 2016 at 18:10

Here's my take on it: paradox. Predestination paradox to be precise. Follow along best you can.

The reason Picard and crew didn't know about the Borg is because Archer's actions hasn't happened yet. Yes, it was 200 years in the past but from the Fed perspective it hasn't happened yet. But from the Borg's (Q Who) it already has. Think 4 dimensions instead of 3. So everything from Q Who to First Contact plays out as normal. However the sphere that crashed in 2063 sets everything in motion for the skewed time line.

----------------- (timeline to federation)

------_____(alternate timeline to set things in motion but prime to Borg of q who)

-----------------(new time line). In other words its a causality loop

Nothing to do with bad filing reports, poor record keeping for the last 200 years, or not finding it necessary to check historical archives. If we're talking about a computer that can regulate and control the bending of space time I'm pretty sure if something like that came into sensor range the computer would flag it.

So there's no way they could have know that the Borg was encountered by the Federation, rather Starfleet in the past.

A perfect example is Tasha Yar's EVIL Romulan daughter Sela. That small occurrence in the past that was minor as hell skewed the timeline again. Therefore the timeline that Picard and crew found Sela wasn't the prime timeline.

In all honesty who knows where the prime timeline is right now. They may be still on it with small deviations to account for time travel.

  • 2
    So there is a time line where Picard already has access to information about the Borg when Q hurls the Enterprise into Borg space?
    – bitmask
    Oct 4, 2013 at 17:25

Probably they took it into consideration and knew of a possible connection but that was partly un correlated data and probably irrelevant anyway.

We're talking about records from almost 300 hundred years before which would recollect, in the best ever written report, vague reference to a cybernetic set of individuals who stole a ship and flee, apparently having advanced technological knowledge that allowed them to "adapt" a lesser starship and try to escape, finally sending an unknown message to the delta quadrant.

Now, given that previous report, written 300 hundred years before is first of all, very easy to overlook and secondly even if you don't, the actual information contained is not relevant... Why would the federation fear such species? A group of Klingon warriors would have been able to make the same, as would have any other number of species, specially in the beginnings of the federation, when their technology was far behind other species.

With all that retrospective, from a purely militar point of view, the Enterprise D was the FIRST significant encounter with the Borg, the first that actually named the species, the first who asses the potential war risk and the first that assessed the full intentions of the Borg collective.

When America was first discover... Who discover it for the first time? Cristobal Colon. However there're doubts about whether vickings reached there first. Those records are really old, and there's no relevant information about it anyway so we might as well consider it gone. Out of universe you know those are the Borg, you saw the TNG episode 6 years before, and probably even rewarched it even, but if you think about 300 hundred years time, with no images and no relevant information, that connection is almost impossible to make.

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    Phlox conducted considerable research into nano-technology and even developed some sort of cure. He must have understood the actual nature of the nano-probes and their implications. I would assume such information would be "tagged" somehow and accessible by some form of keyword search. We are not talking about 300 years of our past but 300 years of Picard's past. The record keeping capabilities of the Archer era cannot be compared to the Viking era.
    – bitmask
    Jan 1, 2013 at 15:55

I find it unlikely that information on the Borg would be discarded or destroyed over time. This is a highly advanced technological society we are talking about with impressive data retention ever since Humans effectively started solving their own mess in the 90 years since the launch of the Phoenix (and First Contact with the Vulcans) and before launching the NX-01.

It is possible that Data simply had no access to this information because it might have still been classified by the time of Q Who, or simply available to different people with specific security clearance (it happened before).

There's no reason Picard might have been known about it as the Federation encountered other cybernetic races, and Human minds can be sketchy with this information (considering how much information and knowledge the Federation amassed in the mere 200 years of its existence). Besides, do we know that ALL SF captains would be briefed about the Borg? Possibly not.

SF may have rescued the El-Aurian survivors, but SF is not an interrogation oriented organisation. Most of the survivors might not have even known the Borg by their name, except for Guinan, and she demonstrated an ability to be sensitive to space-time changes. So it is possible she knew that SF or Picard couldn't be informed just yet as she needed things to unfold as they did. Or its possible they simply kept it at an 'invaders' without providing names, and that was that.

Keeping the data classified however makes potentially sense since SF knew very little about the Borg, and up until saving the El-Aurians, probably didn't even know their name. Perhaps they didn't have the right people interviewing them who might have looked into the potentially classified historical files and make the connection, or they did, and once the connection was made, SF made minor attempts at investigating potential encounters, rumours, etc. The Hansens however were the first who expressed an ACTIVE interest in the Borg (wish more SF officers were displayed to be like this in their enthusiasm about unknown cultures - even if they might be potentially dangerous) and they already seemed to have some information on them.

The surviving El-Aurians though might not have had any relevant information on the Borg that could help SF in tactical matters. SF technology was already quite capable of versatile adaptation and automated shifting through frequencies... it was a matter of using the said techniques... but if the tactical officer doesn't know that this procedure could be effective, it can easily thwart their efforts in first actual encounter with the Borg.

Plus, all these events lead eventually to First Contact that got the Borg interested in the Alpha Quadrant. The signal was likely badly degraded, but was enough to get the Borgh to the Federation/Romulan Neutral Zone where they attacked all their outposts (it was later confirmed the Borg did it by Data who noted the destruction was very similar to what happened before to their outposts - namely, in the same episode when the Romulans decided to 'come back').

Timeline stays intact, no need for any events to change realistically as a result of First Contact movie. I would imagine it was a part of history.


I agree with Praxis' theory that ST:TNG S2 E16 "Q Who" was an original timeline (OTL) episode wherein the Federation knew little if anything about the Borg.

  • The OTL USS Raven expedition was one of likely many such Federation missions chasing after 'space legends'. (ST:TOS S3 E22).

  • ThePopMachine cleverly points out that Praxis' theory only works if one believes in stable time loops. The litany of Star Trek continuity fumbles indicates that as far as the Star Trek Universe(s) are concerned, stable loops do exist. Its the only way to reconcile all the discontinuities.

The Star Trek:Enterprise new timeline... well, lets face it ST:ENT was an OK show sometimes, but it really should have been called Star Trek: The Temporal Wars. ST:ENT was like a kitbash of pre-existing canon, and not itself an original timeline.

  • In the new ST:ENT timeline, "Q Who" still works if one imagines something like the Temporal Integrity Commission (ST:VOY S3 E9 "Future's End Part II") intervening to ensure record of temporal intrusions are suppressed or destroyed so as to, as closely as possible, preserve as best as possible their own timeline. Star Trek: First Contact might have been part of a broader Borg Temporal Cold War action, not just random aggression specific to the movie.

The only real problem about "Regeneration" might have been placing the Borg wreck in the Arctic Circle, which is a semi-frozen ocean surrounded by technologically advanced countries. Even allowing for WWIII devastation, its unlikely the Borg ship would go unnoticed and uninvestigated by any northern hemispheric nation. The only way it would be unreachable is if the wreckage sank into the ocean.

Antarctica might have been the better location and contribute to explaining why it took 100 years to be discovered. Today's Antarctic research stations couldn't be maintained long after a ST-scale WWIII.

  • I managed to watch "Regeneration" again and one of the scientists mentions that the ship crash landed on a glacier. Now glaciers can extend over the seabed for some distance before calving, but most of a glacier is typically over a landmass, reducing the possibility the vessel would have sunk to the bottom. Mar 19, 2016 at 4:35

The Borg were still largely a myth

In VOY Dark Frontier, the Hansens eventually begin to burn their bridges trying to find the Borg. Starfleet knows something happened to the arctic researchers 200 years ago, just like they know something happened to Guinan and her people-- the Borg being a convenient name for it. The Hansens were totally stoked to find actual Borg-- they could prove they weren't crazy. They never made it home. None of their research made to Picard et al by the time of Q Who.

The Borg failed to introduce themselves to Enterprise

When Archer et al did encounter the Borg, they failed to state their name. Simply they said, "You will be assimilated, resistance is futile." Additionally, they lacked their traditional cubed shaped vessel. Even the scientists thought they came from a sphere. If Data searched for "Borg", or "Cube", neither of those terms would have brought up the incident in Regeneration. It's possible that Starfleet still hasn't connected the dots.

It was a long time ago

Off the top of your head, what can you recall from say, 1820? Who was the leader of your country then? What were the economic priorities? Generally, what was happening? Now think about 1920. What comes in your head? End of WWI maybe, flappers, economic boom? Things that happened in the last century are jut easier to access for the everyday person, as opposed to things from 200 years ago. If Enterprise NCC-1701 encountered the Borg, Picard et al would have a much better shot at recognizing the Borg, as opposed to an obscure and atypical Borg encounter by the NX-01 crew.


Archer was explaining to T'Pol that on First Contact, Cochrane said a group of cybernatic creatures from the future attempted to stop his first warp flight. They were stopped by a group of humans, also from the future. And at the end of the episode, T'Pol explained that a signal to the Delta Quadrant would only be received in the 24th Century.

Given the details, it would seem there is sufficient details about a dangerous species (regardless if we know their designation). Starfleet would have description of the way the alien looked from the remains of the bodies. Starfleet would also have had centuries as a head start to develop a defense for when the aliens invade.

It was good to see the Borg again but maybe a bit more thought should have been given into how to integrate them into the timeline.

  • Welcome to SFF:SE. OP is looking for an in-universe explanation, while this is more of a critique of the source material.
    – Politank-Z
    Jun 13, 2018 at 1:37

I have a possible answer which requires no retconning or time travel (even though I am a big fan of both). The one thing that I haven't seen anyone say explicitly is that the Starfleet we know in TNG has not been established in Enterprise yet. When you think about the mass collection of data that has to be incorporated into one database from Earth, Vulcan and Tellar at the beginning of the UFP, it is conceivable that the information about the Borg was at best, given a low priority and at worse, was not added in its entirety to the Federations database. Even T'Pol was skeptical about the authenticity of the information they have. "Captain Archer: ...He mentioned a group of cybernetic creatures from the future, who tried to stop his first warp flight when he was living in Montana. He said they were defeated by a group of Humans, who were also from the future. Sub-Commander T'Pol: As I recall, Cochrane was famous for his imaginative stories. He was also known to be frequently intoxicated. Captain Jonathan Archer: No one took him seriously. And he recanted the whole thing a few years later; but you have to admit, there are similarities."

If it was given a low priority as a "pre-federation source" then it would make sense for the Hansens to find references but not have the complete picture.

As for the El Aurian's, it is not stated that Starfleet rescued them from the Borg. I have always taken it as they were a nomadic people that were picked up by Starfleet at some point and then were involved in the events of Generations. So there would have been no reason to ask them about the Borg or the loss of their home world. But perhaps the Hansens connected the dots and were able to interview at least one El Aurian to find out the shape of the ships (cube). And since most of the information was from a "pre-federation source" it might not have been given as much credence as more up-to-date information, hence why the council didn't want to give the Hansens permission and resources to search them out.

Another possibility becomes Section 31. If they had hidden the info, it would make sense that no one knew about them. The problem I have with this is how the Hansens would have found the info.

Just the way my brain has made it make sense.

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