Maybe I missed something, but Seven of Nine clearly responds to a question of how long until the nearest conduit exit, with:

30 seconds away, but it will deposit us back to the Delta Quadrant.


A Borg sphere swallows Voyager while inside the Transwarp conduit, which proceeds to exit into Alpha quadrant. Voyager then fires a torpedo while inside and suddenly the Borg sphere explodes and they're all free in the Alpha quadrant

So to be blunt, how did Voyager return to the Alpha Quadrant, when clearly they said they were exiting back to the Delta Quadrant?

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    I had always assumed the Borg sphere changed direction once it "ate" Voyager.
    – Xantec
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 21:45
  • but what throws me off is that they seem to imply they knew where they would end up "Mr. Paris, what's our position?" "Right where we expected to be."
    – Jared
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 21:55
  • "Right where we expected to be." I think that was referring to being inside the sphere.
    – Xantec
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 22:27
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    Slowly at first...then very quickly.
    – Jeff
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 22:31
  • @Xantec - that seems to me that they they knew the Borg sphere would exit them in the alpha quadrant yeah?
    – Jared
    Commented Jan 19, 2012 at 22:35

4 Answers 4


I think you misheard or mis-interpreted the dialogue. Chakotay asks, "Where's the nearest aperture?" In other words, the nearest opening, so they can escape the transwarp conduit before the Borg sphere destroys them. That's when Seven says, "30 seconds away, but it leads back to the Delta Quadrant."

This puts them between a rock and a hard place: their armor won't last with the sphere firing at them, and if they exit the conduit, they end up back in the Delta Quadrant. Naturally, they focus on Janeway, with a tough decision to make (knowing that if they go back, which is safest, the network of conduits will not be there for them to use again) and then they cut to another scene.

From there, we see Federation space, with many ships all ready for when the Borg ship comes through and a Borg sphere emerges from the conduit. Then we see the Voyager bridge. Janeway asks Paris, "Where are we?" Paris says, "Right where we expected to be." Then she looks at Tuvok and says, "Mr. Tuvok?" He fires a torpedo that destroys the Borg sphere.

Their armor is strong enough to survive this and leave them there after the sphere is destroyed.

Obviously, you've filled in what happened, at least to a point. With depleted armor, Janeway lets the Borg Sphere pull them in, which means they'll stop firing on the Voyager. The sphere continues on its way to the Alpha quadrant, with Voyager captured in it, not knowing their captives have enhanced weapons that can blow away the sphere.

The misunderstanding seems to be that it sounded to you like the only course open was another conduit back to the Delta Quadrant. It wasn't, it was the only escape route that would get them away from the Borg sphere.

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    so essentially, there was always an exit to the alpha quadrant, but because of shields failing and they didn't want to go back to the delta quadrant, they let the sphere eat them so they can ride it out to the alpha quadrant? That begs the question, how'd they know the Borg would follow that trajectory? but I guess thats unanswerable. Appreciate that explanation.
    – Jared
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 0:29
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    @Jared: I suppose if I re-watch more of the episode, there might be more reasoning for what the sphere was doing and where it was going, but I only checked that section of footage. If you were to go to YouTube and search for "Voyager Endgame" you might find parts of the episode there. (As to whether those are authorized and legal postings or not, I won't get into it.) but, yes, you're essentially right.
    – Tango
    Commented Jan 20, 2012 at 0:34
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    The other problem is that the screenplay was awful and this wasn't made particularly clear. You're right though. Commented Jun 12, 2014 at 22:58
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    Thats all good and well, but one point bothers me then: after voyager entered the sphere, why would the sphere stay on course to alpha quadrant? Woulndt it logically try to return to delta quadrant with its pray ? It could take another opening before it reaches alpha quadrant, or perhaps skip the alpha quadrant exit and take another one after it. It seems to me that the sphere did the one single thing that I wouldnt have done. Commented Jan 7, 2015 at 8:52
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    @TuncayGöncüoğlu: A couple thoughts: 1) they were on course and didn't have enough time to change course. 2) I don't remember the episode, but it's possible the Voyager appearing led the Borg to decide to use that exit and attack the Alpha Quadrant, or 3) You're never going to make it in the Trek universe as a Big Bad because you're too smart for them.
    – Tango
    Commented Jan 8, 2015 at 17:30

Answer: They didn't, not for sure. They were hoping Admiral Janeway succeeded.

Remember a few minutes earlier when the Admiral tries to make a deal with the Queen? If the Borg sends Voyager to the Alpha quadrant, she'd give the Borg that shuttle with the future technology. Letting the Queen suggest giving her the shuttle was part of the plan, to make her more amenable to the terms. But plan A failed - the Queen didn't agree to the terms. Plan B was the neurolytic pathogen.

As to why the Sphere actually went to the Alpha quadrant? This is my own theory, but think about it: Why would the inside of a Sphere be safe at all?

  • The neurolytic pathogen was just introduced, so the command structure was probably breaking down.
  • Seven of Nine used to be Borg, and the Voyager crew has experience with Borg technology.
  • Voyager wasn't being attacked or damaged during the scene when Janeway asks Paris where they are.

So it seems they were able to commandeer the Sphere just enough to ride out the transwarp conduit to Earth.

  • 2
    Umm, I think Plan B was Plan A all along. The shuttle and technology was simply to sell Janeway's premise to the Borg Queen. But Admiral Janeway's intention the whole time was to be assimilated so she could disperse the pathogen. After all, letting the Borg assimilate technology from a future timeline is pretty much a worst case outcome, and certainly not worth shaving time off of Voyager's journey home. In fact, everyone would be better off if Voyager was destroyed compared to the Borg getting their hands on that shuttle.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 7:16

I may be simplistic, but in re-viewing it to understand it, I took a child's view approach. The Borg went after Star Fleet awaiting in the alpha quadrant.

They knew Janeway's plan was to be dropped off by them there, the queen communicates in her final breath that Janeway / Voyager shall die, and so the Star Fleet ships, obviously knowing the plan and awaiting Voyager's return, became the final target. The Borg would, having swallowed Voyager, destroy Star Fleet and Janeway before it itself died. A last revenge.

But they were destroyed before that could happen, and Janeway dumped out to alpha. One of voyager's barely escaped annihilations down to the second victories. And this victory was the one that took them home.

  • 4
    I don't see how this addresses the argument made in the question. Perhaps you can edit it to do that.
    – Blackwood
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 4:45

I think they were just referring to getting away from the possibly dangerous sphere.

However, I believe janeway and everyone realized something quite simple...

The borg were never malicious or even an enemy, per se. Far from it, in fact. The one time they made a borg collective out of a planet inventing borg tech, they found that people enjoyed being assimilated to the point that it was like a drug. In that case, the borg isnt really evil. Its trying to induct new members because it is essentially addicted to consuming people. So maybe since the borg was dying, it decided to make an act of kindness. There was no point in preventing janeway from getting home. They would still die. So why not help her?

This may sound strange, but it really makes sense. The borg queen clearly expresses seperate consciousnes, but she died. Therefore, the borg would be the sum of everyone it conquered and took. Those people would all know they were going to die. It was inevitable. To them revenge is futile and assimilation it futile as they would die. But they can do one thing the borg universally does understand.

The borg understands the purpose of a community and tightly linked civilization. The borg would never be able to handle seperation from itself or its queen. This means it can in fact sympathize with captain janeway so long as doing so does not serve to harm its own interests. The station was going to fall. The borg had been monitoring voyager for years. The station members had to be quaruntined. Nothing could be gained from trying to assimilate, and very little would be lost to the federation. So they gave them an act of kindness.

In an ironic sense, janeway's plan b was the deal that the borg would accept. Kill their oppressive queen and she goes home. It's a deal so insane that the borg would actually accept it.

  • "The one time they made a borg collective out of a planet inventing borg tech, they found that people enjoyed being assimilated to the point that it was like a drug. In that case, the borg isnt really evil." This is news to me. What is the source for this sentence? Is it canon, or from a novel or other non-canon source? In addition, I'm not sure I follow the rest of your reasoning either. But I'm willing to be convinced with sources.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 7:17
  • It was an episode. Chokate was stuck there or so,ething. I dont remember which episode it was, but after experimenting with mind meld like collectives of roughly six they wanted the signal put over the whole planet so that all could experience it.
    – user64742
    Commented Jun 4, 2016 at 16:23
  • That was Voy:Unity, and there's no evidence they liked being Borg, they were in a very bloody civil war, reactivating the cube/link was to stop the war before both sides wiped each other out, it was more desperation than like
    – Matt
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 19:27
  • @matt The American Indian character did express the fact that he enjoyed being linked but wouldn't want it long term. There was a general idea in that episode that perhaps the linking itself wasn't bad, but rather the true issue of the Borg had to do with oppression. After all, the Betazoids have literally no privacy (or tact) cause they hear everyone's thoughts. They definitely aren't Borg. That's why I'm saying that it is likely that perhaps the queen serves as an oppressive force like how queens in bees are ant colonies tend to be the guiding force of the nest....
    – user64742
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 3:03
  • ...the queen doesn't reflect the nature of the Borg. Rather, I believe it is what gives the Borg its nature. 7 of 9 indicates many times that there are features of it that are bad and ones that are good. It might be reasonable that the queen is one of those.
    – user64742
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 3:06

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