Since this text is visible on the main page, first some thoughts on assimilation tubules: Their purpose is to inject nanoprobes in the bloodstream of a victim. As far as I know, they are "one-way": The tubules don't take any material from the victim. And it wouldn't be smart if they did: Assume the victim is infected with something, the attacking Borg can't handle. Then the drone might die. Ok, no-one will shed a tear about it, but the whole point of assimilation is to increase in numbers...

So, in VOY Endgame Janeway injects herself a neurolytic pathogen, which

kills the Borg-Queen after she plunges her assimilation tubules into Janeways throat.

How is that possible? The neurolytic pathogen appears to be a (liquid) physical agent. Somehow that agent must

enter the queen's bloodstream. It doesn't help much, that Janeway is assimilated now. Granted: The agent is in a manner of speaking now "part of the collective" somehow, since Janeway is part of the collective.

But that doesn't explain anything. It can't be distributed via the hive mind, which is in essence a subspace radio and can't transmit liquids. So how is that possible?

If it helps: A similar question could probably be raised concerning Icheps special "gift".

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    In the case of Ichep, since he was genetically modified, it's probable that when his "individuality was added to the collective", it included the genetic modifications being spread around -- and wreaking havoc. In Janeway's case, I'd wager the "pathogen" is in fact more like a computer virus, activated by the nanoprobes, and then being uploaded and spread just like, well, a computer virus -- not unlike the "geometry problem" the Enterprise was going to use in I, Borg (TNG). This is all idle speculation though, but I don't think there ever was a specific description given, just technobabble. – Kromey May 28 '14 at 16:01
  • @Kromey I'm fine with technobabble. But if someone somewhere states "The tubules extract a dna-sample too, so that it can be analysed to... [whatever]" that would be even better! – Einer May 28 '14 at 16:11
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    Honestly, I suspect it was more about the link being established than any kind of infection transmission via the tubules. On the other hand, even one-way tubes (e.g. hypodermic needles) do get a small amount of material pulled/pushed into them as well, so a virulent-enough agent could be transmitted that way even if the tubules aren't designed to extract anything. – Kromey May 28 '14 at 16:21
  • The Borg are able to use their tubules to interface with computer devices. So to some degree there is some back and forth through them, even if it is more of a data transmission than actual physical sampling. – Xantec May 28 '14 at 16:29
  • @Kromey I'm not saying you are wrong! It might have been a kind of computer virus. If it was, that would qualify as an answer to my question too, which is primarily, how Janeway did it. I'm not particularly interested in the tubules - if they have nothing to do with how it was done... – Einer May 28 '14 at 16:29

The Borg Queen was infected through her tubules when she injected Janeway.

Note that the tubules retract after they've done their work, which would take some of Janeway's bodily fluids onto or into the Borg Queen's body. Later we see the Queen's arm begin to spark and rot. She rips it off and casts it away to slow the spread of the corruption.

Unfortunately, it is the wrong arm (she injected Janeway with the other one), but it was clearly meant to depict spreading infection.

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  • You explanation is better than anything I came up with yet. Just to get you right: You are saying that the error happened on the set/continuity: It's her right arm that is supposed to start malfunctioning first? Anyhow: It's an explanation how the physical agent is transmitted. Maybe the infection just started on her weaker arm earlier to show... so be it! – Einer May 28 '14 at 17:45
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    Yes, I think it was a continuity error. – Kyle Jones May 28 '14 at 17:51
  • Hm.. Biobabble time: If it was something that actually infected the bloodstream, then her circulatory system could possibly have whisked it away into the heart, then pumped it into the other arm - it would have reached the extremities of the "wrong" arm first in that case. – Izkata Sep 10 '14 at 23:18

Sorry if this answer is a bit late, but I always interpreted this scene differently from the existing answer. All of this is speculation - although I back up what I can think to.

Don't think of Old!Janeway as an infected person spreading a pathogen with bodily fluids, but as an infected USB drive. She isn't delivering some biological virus, but a computer virus that spreads soon after Old!Janeway gets connected to the collective. The liquid nuerolytic agent she gets injected with is there to either change her into a nano-machine-virus, or interact with the nanomachines she gets infected with directly. The Borg are getting infected because they brought an infected device onto their wireless LAN. Whatever this virus is doing isn't just hitting the Queen; the entire room starts sparking. We soon after see the entire complex they were in explode.

~5:27 (I want a video in my answer too!)

The Queen herself dying didn't seem to have such explosive consequences in First Contact (TNG Movie). Granted, there wasn't quite as much there to explode, so take that with a grain of salt...

The Queen is likely falling apart because the virus is causing her nanomachines to backfire (we know the nanomachines/implants can cause some serious damage based on various episodes dealing with Seven). The hivemind starts breaking down (evidenced by the queen's surprise that she can still contact the vessel chasing Voyager). The whole system is getting hit and it all starts at the same time - very shortly after Old!Janeway has the borg implants start popping out. We know Old!Janeway far enough along her assimilation process that she was getting connected to the hivemind, because the queen mentioned knowing about Voyager's new armor which she could only have gotten from Old!Janeway. Even the vessel chasing (at this point having swallowed) Voyager was unable to react to being in the middle of a bunch of Federation Starships.

This also explains why it was the "wrong arm". And leg.

-After writing this, I noticed most of the comments under the question propose the same answer, but since the existing answer tries to justify the physical-agent-as-cause I thought I'd post this version anyway.

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    worst LAN party ever. – Petersaber Jul 7 '15 at 12:30

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