In episode Q2 of Voyager, Q tells his son:

Q : If the Continnum's told you once, they've told you a thousand times. DON'T PROVOKE THE BORG!!

If Q are omnipotent / immortal / all powerful, why would Q tell his son not to provoke the Borg?

Q himself provokes humans (Janeway & Picard) quite regularly.

Do the Q fear the Borg?

Or could it perhaps be that the Q just don't want to annoy the Borg, since the Borg are possibly the most powerful guys in the galaxy (outside fluidic space) and the Q don't want to be responsible for anything the Borg do out of anger? Since the Borg could probably wipe out a good chunk of the galaxy if they felt like it.

Thanks to IQAndreas for finding a clip of the scene in question:


The question : What would be the effect of a Borg assimilating a Q? definitely explores similar territory to this question, but no answers really address that part of the question. There are a few opinions as to why Q wouldn't want his son to antagonise the Borg, but certainly no definitive answer on whether the Q fear the Borg or not.

  • 8
    Um... really persistent ants?
    – Omegacron
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 14:09
  • 5
    The following is a YouTube clip of the quote in question (in case someone wants to hear the "tone of voice" used, as it's not clear in the text alone): youtube.com/watch?v=i4FGvMdhG80
    – IQAndreas
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 16:02
  • 16
    Does anyone else find Q's exasperated exhortation a bit hypocritical, considering the Borg's first appearance in Star Trek? Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 19:58
  • 9
    @Daft: The first appearance of the Borg was in the TNG episode Q Who. Q snapped his fingers and catapulted the Enterprise across the galaxy into Borg space to prove a point to Picard... and in the process made the Borg aware of the Federation. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 10:14
  • 6
    After which Q was rendered mortal for being a general menace. Maybe he's trying to protect q from a similar punishment. Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 4:02

9 Answers 9


Each interaction with the Borg results in them learning more about you. Since they are driven by ultimate evolution through assimilation of worthy beings and cultures, the Q having interactions with the Borg could potentially cause the Borg to learn enough about the Q to make them a genuine threat rather than just a potential one.

  • 15
    +1 for a cool interpretation. This is supported by Q's statements to Riker about the Q having been more like humans earlier in their history. If the Q developed their abilities artificially or through study over time, the Borg could theoretically reproduce the process through their famous study and adaptation.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 19:49
  • 4
    @Nerrolken that's a terrifying prospect... Q-Borg?
    – Daft
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 20:55
  • 3
    @Daft Or perhaps once they assimilated the Q, the Borg would find all other species too inferior to be worth assimilating, and will leave the mere mortals alone from then on.
    – Marsh
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 22:57
  • 2
    @mg30rg that's not true, they just ignore unworthy species. Take the kazaan for instance. They co-exist in peace because the borq are disinterested in them.
    – Escoce
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 16:00
  • 4
    One finger snap and the Borg vanish into nothingness. The Q fear nothing from the Borg. There's just no way. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 2:57

The Q fear the Borg in roughly the same way you fear taking care of your neighbor's miniature poodle for the weekend. The likelihood of his truly injuring you is minimal, to put it mildly. At the same time, it is entirely possible he might pee on your carpet or chew up your favorite slippers, neither of which is likely to make you particularly happy.


If memory serves, by nature, the Q do not have corporeal bodies. They create them at will in order to better interact with humans.

"The Q evolved over countless centuries into their current form and considered themselves to be the ultimate form of evolution, existing in a state of "ultimate purity"."
- "Q (species)", Memory Alpha (Wikia)

I would imagine the only time a Q would have been physically vulnerable to the Borg would be something similar to the Episode "Q Who" where Q, (John De Lancie) was being punished and is stripped of his powers and given a permanent human body, or when Quinn wanted to be made human so he could commit suicide.

Otherwise I would imagine the Q only see the Borg as a true threat to Corporeal's alone.

  • 6
    i would assume telling his son not to provoke them, is that they will respond with being more aggressive towards "normal" people, and since the Q arnt reallllyyyy supposed to do anything it puts them in a weird spot of opps we killed a bunch of people lol.
    – Himarm
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 13:30
  • 2
    @Himarm That. Q is not so secretly quite fond of humans or he wouldn't interact with them the way he does (he's omnipotent after all). Borg being angry on humans is not in his best interest. Borg learning tricks from the Q would be bad for the same reason. It's not that the Q fear the Borg, the Q know the Borg should not become too much of a threat for the humans.
    – Mast
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 7:09
  • 1
    Let's assume, the human form is just an avatar of the Q. The question in this case is how much of the original Q this avatar is? Is it just a meat puppet -because in this case there is not much the Borg can earn from this, a simple drone that is. Is it a toy with its own pseudo-personality listening to quidience of the original Q? - in this case the "peronality" is in question. How much of the knowledge about the universe does this avatar possess? How much of the demonstrated capabilities? I assume the Borg assimilating a demigodlike creature would even be too much for the Milky Way to handle.
    – mg30rg
    Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 14:55
  • This is the correct answer, rather than the popular one. Commented Apr 15, 2015 at 18:22
  • 1
    @MarkRogers - Depends on how the omniscience of the Q really work. I mean OK, they know everything but are they aware of everything? You see, I think it is more likely they could possess every knowledge and every individual Q in every given time knows about a selection of things. Otherwise how could Q even attempt a suicide? (Of course I'm talking about Q, not Q or Q.) Not to mention when the crew of Voyager were armed with Q weapons to participate the Q civil war. How could a human(oid) be a threat to an omniscient being (no matter how (s)he is armed)?
    – mg30rg
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 14:43

The Q aren't contenders, they're catalysts. Sort of like a Maia (E.g., Gandalf) they have their own kind of prime directive (not exactly sure what, though).

Q likes meddling with humans; indeed, "there seemed to be a hidden agenda to Q's visits that often had the best interests of Humanity at their core", most likely because of "being sentenced to safeguard Earth as punishment." -Memory Alpha: Q and Q Continuum.

Even without all that, he is specifically concerned with his now mortal son who is aboard a tin can floating in space:

the Continuum stripped [Junior] of his powers and left him aboard Voyager


The Q are effectively omnipotent, They can't be harmed by the Borg. But, provoking them could lead to adverse consequences for other "lesser" races. The Q like to play, but they know there are lines they should not cross.

IMHO, I think that line was thrown in because they needed to complete a picture of a father/son relationship in the context of omnipotent beings. Sort of like "don't point that thing at the neighbor's cat!". It may not have been fully thought through.


I'm going to offer an alternative answer, originally proposed in the comments by Stephen Collings.

Does anyone else find Q's exasperated exhortation a bit hypocritical, considering the Borg's first appearance in Star Trek? – Mason Wheeler Apr 14, 2015 at 19:58

The first appearance of the Borg was in the TNG episode Q Who. Q snapped his fingers and catapulted the Enterprise across the galaxy into Borg space to prove a point to Picard... and in the process made the Borg aware of the Federation. – Mason Wheeler Apr 15, 2015 at 10:14

After which Q was rendered mortal for being a general menace. Maybe he's trying to protect q from a similar punishment. – Stephen Collings Aug 30, 2015 at 4:02

Q fears the punishment of The Continuum

The only thing Q really fears is being stripped of his powers, and that's just what The Continuum did to Q. He's transferring that fear to his son. Q was only given his powers back by committing a "selfless act" and presumably his powers are provisional on his continued good behavior (by Q standards).

Why specifically The Borg? In universe, presumably The Continuum did not appreciate Q altering the fate of an entire quadrant by using The Borg to make a philosophical point to Picard. Out of universe, introducing Starfleet to The Borg is one of Q's most impactful and deadly on-screen meddling, and it's funny.


I actually think the Q are not beyond assimilation.

Here’s the thing: we evolved in a 4 dimensional environment, so the other 6 dimensions predicted by String Theory are beyond our ability to even conceptualize. The 5th dimension we conceptualize as a tesseract. The Q, on the other hand, may have evolved in 11 dimensional space and interact with all 11 dimensions as we interact with 4 (time being the 4th). The way we perceive Q’s actions would be the way a two dimentional being may perceive our actions: as magic. However it is possible to create computers that can conceptualize and understand 11D space.

And that’s where the danger the borg pose comes from. Although we may see Q as all knowing, magical and beyond our ability to understand, the borg’s mechanical portions may see the Q for what they really are. The borg’s ability conceptualize 11D space may allow them to create really amazing tech. Including something that can manipulate 11D space in a way that can harm or even capture a Q.

  • There appears to be an attempt to answer the question here but I'm not entirely sure what your answer is to it. Can you edit to clarify if the Q really do fear the Borg?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 9:23
  • This answer makes a lot of claims, but provides no in-world references to support them.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 20:57
  • @T.J.L. Even without any reference, this is just a nice interpretation of the information given on the show. I don't know any mention in the show of the 'true' dimensionality of 'space', or in which portions of it the Q are residing. But given the different theoretical realisations of the dimensionality of space by different theoretical models and the theoretical possibility to compute arbitrarily complex operations in arbitrarily complex systems, I think this is a very good way to think about the problem.
    – trikPu
    Commented Nov 28, 2019 at 15:09
  • @trikPu "I don't know any mention in the show of the 'true' dimensionality of 'space', or in which portions of it the Q are residing."... So you agree with me that there is nothing presented in the setting to support this attempt at answering the question.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 13:11
  • @T.J.L. No, not quite. Every given answer can only make assumptions based on what we know about the Borg and Q from what we learned on the show. From there we know, that we don't know the dimensionality in which the Q reside, but we know that there are beings residing in e.g. spatial 2D, so also beings in higher dimensionality are a feasible possibility. We Addtitionally know that Star Trek is always at least loosely based on actual scientific facts or theories, which make the interpretation quite feasible. Nevertheless the mention of specific dimensions in the answer is quite arbitrary.
    – trikPu
    Commented Dec 3, 2019 at 14:24

Something that hasn't been mentioned is voyager was able to enter the continuum using just knowledge (given by the female Q), is it not conceivable that the Borg may find a way into the continuum using just technology too. Presumably once in the continuum they may be able to assimilate the Q, provoking one of the few species that had the technology to do it just not the know-how is very dangerous even for the Q

  • I think you might be missing the point here. Compared to the Q, the Borg are basically ants. Interesting ants and not something you'd necessarily want to provoke, presumably because of their propensity for killing the other wildlife around them, but in no way a threat to the Q.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 16:52
  • i dont think i am, while in the continuum voyagers crew could have 'killed' Q, if the borg got in the same way its possible they could be assimilated there, the borg got into fluidic space without assimilating an 8472, they could do this with the continuum if provoked
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 17:09
  • If you recall, they were given Q weapons by a Q to use.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 17:35
  • my point is if Janeway could rip her dress and use it as a bandage, everything there is real to the Q and had a impact, if Janeway smashed a vase on Qs head it would probably knock him out there, wouldnt this imply that borg nanoprobes would work there in THERE world, and they were Q weapons but everything in that environment was a Q creation even the ropes they were tied up with
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 17:46
  • It's not entirely clear what elements of the fantasy were real or generated by the Q to fuel his own ghoulish amusement. It may have been that the voyager crew were in some kind of shared delusion
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 18:03

There is one CRUCIAL factor that nobody here has yet mentioned. ... Q has often expressed great fear of Guinan. ... And we know that Guinan's race was assimilated by the Borg. ... This means the Borg have assimilated the resources needed to strike fear into the Q. ... This perfectly matches with the warning Q gave to his son - telling him to stay away from the Borg.

  • 2
    "Often"? Try naming one instance. Commented Feb 3, 2017 at 19:02
  • @HamSandwich - in the NG episode "Q Who" , Guinan faces off with Q and he backs away. From there it appears that Guinan has some sort of ability that would allow her to threaten/vanquish Q. See: youtube.com/watch?v=d1P7HMd_VPA - Here's some more interesting stuff: youtube.com/watch?v=Te9U3mihUZ8
    – Vector
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 4:38
  • Oh my gosh. This is used so often, yet it’s totally untrue! Where do you see Q “backing away”? I remind you that Guinan almost died from an energy blast and dehydration in “Times Arrow.” Dehydration! She is nowhere near being on an Organian’s level or a Douwd’s level, much less a Q’s. Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 10:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.