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In the Voyager episode Death Wish (S2x18) in the hearing between Janeway, Tuvok and Q there is a moment when Q brings three people from Earth across space and time to illustrate the effect that the Q known as Quinn has on all life, even the little things like individuals.

Right at the end of this part Q says,

"Oh, and lest I forget... without Q the Borg would have assimilated the Federation."

Is this in reference to something in the canon I do not know of, or is it something new that we have no more details about?

Does anyone know the events he is speaking about?

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    To my knowledge no, we've never seen Q's direct involvement in saving Earth from the Borg. I always thought Q was making a very long-winded point about how he caused Riker to exist, and just look at all the good things Riker's done – Jason Baker Nov 24 '14 at 4:29
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    Ignore the downvotes. It's just our resident mystery downvoter at it again, I think. This is a perfectly good question, and I upvoted myself hours ago. – James Sheridan Nov 24 '14 at 8:47
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    @JasonBaker, I'm not sure the existence of Riker is a net win for humanity. media.moddb.com/images/groups/1/1/981/rikerwomen.jpg – A E Nov 24 '14 at 12:19
  • @JasonBaker - You're right. See my answer. He lists it in the list of things that Riker was able to accomplish due to existing. – Valorum Nov 24 '14 at 19:27
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Q1 (De Lancie) is referring to the fact that Q2 (Quinn) saved Riker's relative; Colonel Thaddius "Iron Boots" Riker at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain in 1864. Because of this intervention, Cmdr. William T. Riker exists in the future and was therefore able to prevent the Borg invasion of Earth in 2366 (TNG : Best of Both Worlds).

Please note that all my quotes are from the original show-script, not the episode transcript.

Q1: In fact, he carried your wounded ancestor two miles from the front line... (to Q2) Didn't you?

Riker looks over at Q2, who shrugs modestly.

Q2: Yeah, I did. - VOY : Death Wish

Q1 then goes on to stress that had Riker not been saved by Q2 . . .

Q1: Without that, there would have been no William T. Riker at all. And I would have lost at least a dozen really good opportunities to insult him over the years. Oh, and lest I forget, the Borg would have assimilated the Federation too. (turns to the witnesses) Thank you. VOY : Death Wish

The addition of the word "too" in the original script makes it explicit that Q1 is referring to Riker preventing the assimilation of the Federation.

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    Specifically, Riker providing some "some brilliantly unorthodox strategy". – Ellesedil Nov 24 '14 at 20:25
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    @Ellesedil - Yes. All things being equal, Shelby would have been in command and her plans were pretty uninspired. – Valorum Nov 24 '14 at 20:31
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    Was therefore will have been able? – Valorum Nov 25 '14 at 0:49
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    I think this is the best answer here. Thanks, I'm willing to go with this. – aJynks Nov 25 '14 at 6:12
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While the episode does not outright say as much, it is highly likely that Q is referring to the events of the episode Q Who, where Q sends Picard and the Enterprise-D into uncharted space where it encounters the Borg. This chance encounter - while later ret-conned as not being the first encounter between the Federation and the Borg - enables the Federation to prepare for the coming of the Borg, who were already probing Federation space, as hinted at in The Neutral Zone.

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    This is what I understood from the episode... though Voyager was not fastidious with it's continuity. – Hikaru Ichijyo Nov 24 '14 at 8:19
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    @HikaruIchijyo: Neither was any other Trek. Kirk worked for at least three separate fleets before 'Starfleet' was decied upon in Court Martial, and I believe one of the previous names (United Earth Space Probe Agency, or UESPA [you-spah]) may have even been used earlier in that episode. TNG changed the Borg invasion plot twice, and DS9, while better than the rest, was still prone to mistakes. Enterprise altered continuity on an almost weekly basis. Voyager's continuity changes were more annoying, possibly because often altered continuity deliberately. Other shows simply made errors – James Sheridan Nov 24 '14 at 8:45
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    I'm not sure about "chance encounter". It seems very deliberate. Q felt the Federation were ill-prepared for an encounter with the Borg and arranged a preview. – Valorum Nov 24 '14 at 9:24
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    I think that this is the right answer. Although this seems a little far-fetched as "without Q the Borg would have assimilated the federation", it suits Q's character perfectly to construe it that way. – André Stannek Nov 24 '14 at 10:00
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    @ James & Hikaru - Very true James, but I recall a few Voyager 'mistakes' like when they traveled to the 1990's and there wasn't a Eugenics War (or somehow that history was changed by having a new kind of processor and no one brought it up)... Though it was fun to see Sarah Silverman on Star Trek! – 22nd Century Fza Nov 24 '14 at 11:00
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just to add another perspective

Death wish episode was on stardate 49301.2 which is April 20, 2372, Time: 05:44:26

Q states that Quinn has been locked up for 300 years

2372 - 300 = 2072 the year Quinn was locked up

first contact was April 5, 2063

Quinn must have interfered somehow when the Borg tried to assimilate Earth. And since Quinn appears to be a Q that is sincerely helping humans out (as evidenced by the other witnesses) then Quinn's character would suggest he would try to help humanity.

references from http://www.chakoteya.net/Voyager/210.htm Q: A slight accident. Oh, let me guess. You were trying to commit suicide. Now you see why we've locked him up for the last three hundred years

Captain's log, stardate 49301.2. We have assigned quarters to our new passenger, who has entered his name on our crew manifest as Quinn. I am anxious to engage him in ship activities as soon as possible.

from http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/First_Contact#Human-Vulcan_first_contact The First Contact took place on the evening of April 5, 2063, when a Vulcan survey ship, the T'Plana-Hath, having detected the warp signature of the Phoenix, touched down in Bozeman, central Montana

  • This answer, albeit well-researched completely fails to take account of the fact that the Q are not bound by linear time. It's perfectly possible that Quinn could have been inside the comet as well as outside, at the same time. – Valorum Nov 26 '14 at 18:35
  • Also, the event that precipitated his incarceration was an article in "The New" about his desire to commit suicide; img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20060211220919/memoryalpha/en/… – Valorum Nov 26 '14 at 18:47

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