In the intro to the Scorpion. Part I episode, we see a Species 8472 bioship attacking several Borg cubes. Their bio-lasers have absolutely no problems in penetrating Borg shields and completely destroying each cube.

Later in that episode, The Doctor explains to Kes, that each Borg assimilation starts with piercing a victim with two assimilation needles and injecting nanoprobes. Upon Kes' proposition to use some kind of force-field or shield, the Doctor objects that no known material, force-field or any other solution is capable of preventing the initial piercing.

I have the feeling that these things contradict each other. How can it be, that Borg created a material (clearly a metal sting) that can't be stopped or blocked by anything, and at the same time, they're unable to create anything, that would stop a bio-laser?

  • 8
    The answers already posted have sufficiently answered this question, but I'd also like to point out that assimilation tubules being able to penetrate any defense doesn't mean they can't be penetrated. After all, diamond can easily cut through water, but can also itself be cut by water jets. Also, even if the unstoppable properties of assimilation tubes is due to physical strength rather than some mechanical /geometric property, it may be impractical to coat entire drones, much less entire ships, using that material. Commented Apr 23, 2014 at 22:37
  • @Lèsemajesté I think that, at the edge of war with Species 8472 (where we find it in "Scorpion. Part I" episode) anything would be practical. Especially among Borg, which -- as we know -- does not have "limits" in their expansion.
    – trejder
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:07

2 Answers 2


Species 8472 is shown to be technologically superior to the Borg. The Borg are very powerful, but they have their limitations; this is part of the reason they strive for perfection, after all. As Species 8472 is seen by the Borg as the pinnacle of biological perfection, they attempt to assimilate the species, only to discover, much to their dismay, that the species is immune to assimilation. This, while rare, is not an isolated case; when two Borg drones attempt to assimilate Phlox in Enterprise episode Regeneration his advanced immune system is capable of fighting off the Borg nanoprobes.

Common sense would assume that a species that is immune to assimilation could, if given time, work out a means to combat the Borg. Combined with the fact that Species 8472 is already technologically superior to the Borg, this gives them a distinct advantage during their war.

As for the specific example you provide, bear in mind the difference between Borg, Species 8472 and Federation technology levels; just because nothing the Federation has ever come across can stop a Borg nanoprobe, doesn't mean that other species and polities are so handicapped.

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    1- Species 8472 was biologically superior to the Borg's technology (even their ships were biological); 2- Phlox's physiological resistance to the nanoprobes was a losing battle, only won by using a nearly lethal dose of omicron radiation to disable the nanoprobes.
    – Xantec
    Commented Mar 22, 2014 at 14:47
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    I was thinking of making this a separate question: did the Borg get their but kicked so bad by Species 8472 because they weren't able to assimilate them and therefore not able to learn about them and adapt to their weapons, or even if they were able to assimilate them they still had superior technology? Basically I'm saying is that 2 distinct advantages species 8472 had over the Borg? 1) they couldn't be assimilated 2) they were technologically more advanced
    – Celeritas
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 12:00

nothing that humans know of, at that time they didn't know about species 8472. The sum of what we don't know..... Hence the line 'a species more powerful than the Borg, it's hard to imagine'

Basically, any species that cannot be assimilated or adapted by the borg can conquer or destroy the borg. But as scorpion alludes, such a powerful species might consider all other species inferior and seek to destroy them too, 'the weak will perish' and so on.

I liked scorpion, good episode.

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