In the Voyager episode Year of Hell - Part 1 Seven of Nine says that the Borg witnessed Human and Vulcan first contact before either of them were warp-capable civilizations:

SEVEN: The correct response to your query. The vessel Ensign Kim was describing. It was designated the Phoenix.

KIM: Not bad. I didn't realise you knew so much about Earth history.

SEVEN: I don't, but the Borg were present during those events.

KIM: Really.

SEVEN: It is a complicated story. Perhaps another time.

Why were the Borg monitoring pre-warp species? And why were they doing it in the Alpha Quadrant?

What 'the hell' is the story behind this?

  • 2
    Do you have a specific quote mentioning this? Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 6:41
  • 1
    @DVK - threw it in.
    – Solemnity
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 2:19
  • 3
    @SpongeBob Star Trek VIII First contact
    – user126198
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 13:15

6 Answers 6


As others have mentioned, this is a reference to the movie First Contact, which can be inferred from the script in the question that Harry asked:

KIM: You're looking at a true sports aficionado. Let's see, how about interstellar history?
TORRES: Oh, great. You pick the one subject I almost failed at the Academy. Go ahead and ask - ah!
KIM: Are you all right?
TORRES: It just hurts a little. Feels like we've been here for days.
KIM: Actually it's been about six hours. Try to hang on, B'Elanna. Emergency crews are going find us any minute. Come on, hurry up!
TORRES: Go ahead, ask your stupid question before I pass out and you don't have anybody to play with.
KIM: Okay. Erm, it's a famous ship. Er, pre-warp civilization. Er, Montana. Er, second stage had chemical engines.
TORRES: Another clue.
KIM: Vulcans. Er, Earth, First Contact. It's er...
TORRES: Oh, right, right. Um, er, er, Zephram Cochrane's ship. What was it called? Oh, it's on the tip of my tongue.
KIM: Okay, here, here, you'd better lie down now. Enough trivia for now.

And a few moments later Seven answers the question, and blatantly says that the Borg were there, at first contact:

SEVEN: Phoenix.
KIM: What?
SEVEN: The correct response to your query. The vessel Ensign Kim was describing. It was designated the Phoenix.
KIM: Not bad. I didn't realise you knew so much about Earth history.
SEVEN: I don't, but the Borg were present during those events.
KIM: Really.
SEVEN: It is a complicated story. Perhaps another time.

Although in First Contact all the Borg were seemingly destroyed, we can believe that knowledge of this event was sent to the collective by the Borg in the Enterprise episode Regeneration.


The Memory Alpha page for Year of Hell indicates that:

In one scene, Seven of Nine tells Harry Kim and B'Elanna Torres that the Borg were present when Zefram Cochrane launched his first warp-driven starship. She claims it is "complicated" when they ask her to elaborate. This is an acknowledgment of the events of Star Trek: First Contact.

So you might have misunderstood this scene.

However it should be noted that there was a "First Contact" situation of humans and vulcans that far predates the flight of the Phoenix. In 1957, three vulcans chrash landed on earth. This story was told in the Enterprise episode Carbon Creek. There are no mentions of Borg in this episode though.

  • 2
    The Borg could have been silently monitoring this. But I wouldn't know why they would do such a thing.
    – bitmask
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 13:40
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    @bitmask Maybe they were scared away by Enterprise's opening theme song rimshot
    – CamelBlues
    Commented Feb 22, 2013 at 16:00
  • Oh. I've never seen the movie. That explains my confusion! Thank you.
    – Sponge Bob
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 3:08
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    @KeeganMcCarthy - see it at once! It's excellent!
    – Drew
    Commented Feb 25, 2013 at 3:19
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    @Gaius Only that final episode was on the holodeck. The rest really did happen.
    – Izkata
    Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 12:50

The mention of observing first contact could be possible, but pre-warp seems unlikely.

It could have been a reference to the movie Star Trek: First Contact (1996) in which the Borg send a cube to the Alpha Quadrant and travel back in time to prevent Zefram Cochran's first Warp flight in the Phoenix. However, if I remember correctly, the point in time when first contact is made is after the Borg Queen is killed by Data (which itself is contradicted by her presence in the Voyager series). Granted there are still Borg on the Enterprise at this point, so perhaps they saw the events (assuming the collective still exists without the Queen).

My confusion comes from the mention of first contact before either Vulcans or Humans were warp capable. If this were true, they would have never been able to get close enough to each other to make first contact.

First Contact was made when Vulcans detected the warp flight of the Phoenix. This article also details some "unofficial" first contact situations, but none of these involve the Borg.

I would conclude that this is either a "goof" in plot, a reference to First Contact in which the Borg really did witness the meeting, or some kind of Borg hyperbole on Seven of Nine's part.

  • Is it a different Queen in the voyager series? It was centuries later.
    – Sponge Bob
    Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 3:10
  • @KeeganMcCarthy: You really need to see the movie, or massively spoilerize yourself as to its premise, in order to get the answer to that question . . .
    – ruakh
    Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 22:38

I believe this is obvious but you have to consider 3 episodes

  • First contact movie: the queen was alive when the Data fired the torpedoes at the Phoenix (and missed) she knew at that point first contact would happen just like it did in the future
  • Voyager Relativity: tempus fugus was explained as, "the action to try and prevent an event actually causes that event", seven references first contact as an example. The borg are familiar with time travel and temporal paradoxes including this one
  • Enterprise Regeneration: there must have been at least 2 borg that died on earth (maybe crashed as derby when the sphere exploded) for this episode to happen, they would have been aware of the fact data misfired the torpedoes. the queen was still linked to them until she died a few minutes later, (and they did send a transmition to the collective too in this episode)

In conclusion: the borg in the delta quadrant would have got the signal (after a few years) and knew everything that happened in the paradox. Oh and 7 of 9 didn't say the borg watched first contact, she said the borg were present for those events. They would know from the signal that first contact went on as normal dispite the borg trying to stop it (which they obviously knew anyway or wouldnt have gone back to try to stop with the sphere in first contact).

So they were 'present' for the paradox version of first contact as 7 rightly says, and they knew of the borgs failed attempt too


One possibility could be that a Vulcan who was present at first contact was later assimilated giving the Borg access to the experience. Vulcan had a tendency to live long and they were also assimilated into the collective.

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    Do you have any evidence to this theory or is it just a complete guess? We try and prefer evidenced backed answers here so if you have any please edit some in.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Apr 27, 2020 at 7:38

This is a late answer but it's interesting to see how many people were questioning the logic behind Seven's knowledge of the events Kim describes. If anyone is still curious or any future viewers of this question are looking for an answer then allow me to clarify.

First off a correction needs to be made. The original poster mentioned Human AND Vulcan pre-Warp but during the episode, Kim never implied he was talking about pre-Warp Vulcans only pre-Warp Humans. The event was First Contact as shown in the movie Star Trek: First Contact.

Now Seven's knowledge of this event is completely logical if you understand that Star Trek: Enterprise introduces a predestination Paradox scenario into the equation in the episode Regeneration. Even though the Borg were defeated during First Contact, pieces of their sphere and two (if I remember correctly) Borg survived and ended up on Earth's north pole and got frozen.

These frozen Borg eventually get discovered, reactivated, and assimilate a few people including a ship. Before being destroyed in that episode they manage to send a signal to the Delta Quadrant with Earth's coordinates. Now it isn't a stretch to realize that this signal also contained data about the events of First Contact. You might even conclude that the Borg receiving this knowledge sparked the idea to go back into the past in the first place which eventually would complete the loop and start the whole thing over again.

So Seven knowing about the Borg's presence during that time isn't a goof or anything. It makes perfect sense because she would have gained this knowledge from the moment she was assimilated.

  • 1
    This feels like more of a response to badgerr's answer than an attempt to answer the question itself. It technically does answer the question as well, but the answer given here is the same as that in some of the existing answers, so this post is redundant in that respect. If your main goal was to reply to badgerr's answer, you should've really left a comment beneath their answer rather than posting an answer of your own, although you need to earn a minimum of 50 reputation to post comments in this thread. Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 19:27

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