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In Star Trek: First Contact the Borg somehow transported themselves aboard the Enterprise when they knew that their ship was doomed. Was it ever explained how this could have happened?

  1. Why would the Enterprise have its shields down when it was just engaged in a huge battle with the Borg and was still pursuing a Borg vessel?
  2. Even if the main shields were down, doesn't a ship normally have its deflector shields up? Wouldn't this be enough to prevent the Borg from transporting?
  3. Is there really no security system in place to prevent intruders from transporting aboard (especially when all Borg are bad)?
  • I remember, it has been discussed here... – Captain Cold Jan 15 '15 at 10:19
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    @SachinShekhar: dupe or it didn’t happen, bro. – Paul D. Waite Jan 15 '15 at 10:20
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    Lets not forget that the Enterprise had just been through a fairly weird temporal disturbance deliberately caused by the Borg, which could have prevented the shields from working for a period of time... The Borg didn't have their shields up either. – Moo Jan 15 '15 at 12:35
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    i think they might actually say that in the movie, that the shields were down right after they came out of the temporal rift. or low, or maybe it was the sensors that were down which is why they didnt notice the teleporting of drones onto the ship(since they usually cant stop it from happening but they at least know it did happen.) – Himarm Jan 15 '15 at 14:22
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    The navigational deflector is less a shield and more of a highly accurate tracking sensor and laser/tractor beam combo. – user16696 Jan 15 '15 at 16:06
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Transcript from First Contact (after Picard returned to the ship after inspecting the Phoenix):

PICARD: Mister Hawk, before we lost internal sensors what were the exact environmental conditions in main engineering?

HAWK: Atmospheric pressure was two kilopascals above normal, ninety-two percent humidity, thirty-nine point one degrees Celsius.

PICARD: Thirty-nine point one degrees Celsius. ...Like a Borg ship. They knew their ship was doomed, our shields were down and somehow they transported over here without being detected. They'll assimilate the Enterprise, and then ...Earth. ...Picard to Riker. ...Enterprise to away team. ...Respond.


  1. Why would the Enterprise have its shields down when it was just engaged in a huge battle with the Borg and was still pursuing a Borg vessel?

Traveling through the temporal wake took their shields down. Transcript from when the Enterprise first gets through the temporal wake:

PICARD: Report.

RIKER: Shields are down. Long-range sensors are off-line. Main power's holding.

  1. Even if the main shields were down, doesn't a ship normally have its deflector shields up? Wouldn't this be enough to prevent the Borg from transporting?

Riker reports the shields are down, one could assume this meant all shields, including the deflector shields.

Edit: I forgot when writing this that the main shields were different from the deflector shields. Deflector shields are designed to protect a ship against particle impacts at high velocity (ex: traveling at warp speed) and could give some basic protection against weapons. The main shields, which are much more powerful and used in tactical situations, are the ones that have the ability to block out transporter signals. So even if the deflector shields weren't down, they may not have been strong enough to block transporter signals.

  1. Is there really no security system in place to prevent intruders from transporting aboard (especially when all Borg are bad)?

Yes, the shields :)

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    I wish Picard actually had a pet bird-of-prey called Mr Hawk. “PICARD: Mister Hawk, before we lost internal sensors what were the exact environmental conditions in main engineering? HAWK: SQUARK – Paul D. Waite Jan 15 '15 at 16:24
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    The deflector shields alone do not prevent beaming, only full shields do. – BBlake Jan 16 '15 at 2:25
  • Ninety-two percent humidity doesn't seem very conducive to correct behavior of the cybernetic components on a Borg drone, unless they're better-protected against moisture than current devices. – JAB Apr 19 '17 at 21:14
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Regarding the events in First Contact, @WizardKnight’s answer has the correct details (which are actually explained in the movie). Vote for that one!

But in general, since their first appearance in the Next Generation episode Q Who, the Borg have been able to transport through the Enterprise’s shields, presumably due to their advanced and ever-adapting technology.

Most other races can’t transport through shields, so that’s the usual defence. I presume that, like much Borg technology, by the time of First Contact the Federation had not been able to reliably defend against it.

As described by the Memory Alpha article you linked to, the navigational deflector is designed to “deflect space debris, asteroids, microscopic particles and other objects that might have collided with the ship”. I don’t think there’s any mention in Star Trek of it preventing transports from occurring.

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    i believe we also see the enterprise able to teleport through shields of lower tech races as well, so its really all dependent on your current level of technology. – Himarm Jan 15 '15 at 14:20
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    The Jem'Hadar also seemed to have no difficulty beaming through shields. – Boelabaal May 8 '15 at 8:00
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    @Boelabaal: yup. The first step when writing a Star Trek enemy you intend to be bad-ass is to make them able to beam through Federation shields. – Paul D. Waite May 8 '15 at 8:26
  • Umm, can you cite specific instances of the Borg transporting through the Enterprise's shields? Every encounter I can remember required the Borg to drain the shields first (which they're pretty good at), and then transport onto the ship. This is usually done with the tractor beam type weapon thing that they have, the Enterprise resists, the shields give way, the Enterprise gets locked down, and then drones start beaming over. – Ellesedil Feb 16 '16 at 19:43
  • @Ellesedil: yup: their first appearance in the Next Generation episode Q Who, as already linked in my answer. (Unless both I and Memory Alpha are mis-remembering it, which is possible.) – Paul D. Waite Feb 16 '16 at 20:17

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