ST Voyager "Demon":

DEMON KIM: We'd rather die than be alone. We deserve life.

JANEWAY: This silver blood that created you. It duplicated Harry without killing him. So you don't need our bodies, only samples of DNA. Release Voyager and I'll speak to my crew. And if they're willing, I'll let you duplicate the rest of us.

TUVOK [OC]: Bridge to Janeway. We've stopped, Captain. We're no longer submerging.

JANEWAY: Understood. We're getting out of here, Tuvok, but first assemble the crew in Cargo Bay one

So they know that they are not the actual crew and cut a deal for the DNA of the real crew, they also cannot breathe oxygen/nitrogen air.

ST Voyager "Oblivion":

CHAKOTAY: That wasn't B'Elanna. It was a duplicate. A biomimetic copy.

EMH: Copy?

TUVOK: We are all duplicates. None of us are real.

(Later, Janeway is looking at a flask of silver liquid.)

EMH: Behold the primordial soup.

JANEWAY: That's what created us?

CHAKOTAY: Not just us. The entire ship is composed of the same material.

EMH: It's a biomimetic compound that duplicated the crew's molecular structure so precisely that I would never have detected it, if I hadn't known what to look for.

JANEWAY: I was born on Earth in Indiana. I remember growing up there. I remember graduating from the Academy. I have no memory of being a copy. Somehow, after the real Voyager left, we began to forget we were duplicates.

EMH: Apparently, the original Kathryn Janeway's memories were duplicated as well.

CHAKOTAY: Eventually, we assumed their lives and set a course for Earth.

I was really confused by this episode.

How could the crew have forgotten that they were duplicates?

(Please don't make your answer what I already stated that Chakotay said "somehow they forgot" that's not an answer that's the question. Also if you want to address how they adapted their lungs somehow, also unknown to anybody including the doctor whose memory shouldn't be affected and how they created an identical starship with all of the technology, computer memory, etc. in place that'd be helpful as well and plays into the question.)

  • 7
    As you've noted, it's explicitly explained in the episode how it happened.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 22:01
  • 6
    @Richard there is a difference between "what" and "how" which is often, more than often in fact, lost on this site. That is why I asked the question the way I did and included an explanation and quotes as I mostly do.
    – JMFB
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 22:09
  • But the answer is "somehow" - it's called (TVTropes) Lampshade Hanging
    – Izkata
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 2:03
  • 2
    @Izkata often times even with a "somehow" Lampshade Hanging type of answer, there is further explanation. If not, probably half the questions on this site wouldn't be here. We'd just accept what happens and blissfully move on. Especially with a technical/scifi show like Star Trek where it's been watched, & re-watched so many times by so many fans. Often times the writers will give answers in interviews, or possibly the actors will make statements. Sometimes there's further information in handbooks or guides that are published. Sometimes canon or non-canon sources can be used to fill things in.
    – JMFB
    Commented Aug 1, 2015 at 4:06
  • Brilliant episode! I mean the one where (SPOILER!) the duplicates perish just before sending the message! So close to the real voyager. ONE MISTAKE though; When the real Voyager inspects the remains of the duplicate crew, they should have found the objects that were brought on-board after the demon planet. There was quite a lot of stuff, plus the message buoy they created with those materials. None were found in the debris.
    – n00dles
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 17:38

4 Answers 4


They are exact duplicates, which means their memory engrams were duplicated as well, so they would have all of the memories of the original crew including the memories from before the time when they were created.

  • However they knew they were duplicates when they were left on the planet. They have a conversation with the original crew. After they were created they would start to have new memories that were uniquely their own and would continue to be a part of their new existence. Kind of hard to forget how you were made and when you come from, don't you think?
    – JMFB
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 17:37
  • 8
    @JMFB No, I think this makes perfect sense... sure you know where you came from, but it is now competing with all these new memories. Now you have the humanoid body, and you find you have to eat and sleep, and after a while you notice that when you sleep, like waking up from a dream and forgetting what you dreamed about, you start to forget what life was like before. It seems less and less important, so you don't think about it as much, and before you know about it, you have completely forgotten.
    – user11521
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 0:51
  • 1
    When told of their real origins, they actually start to remember their lives before Voyager, and begin to yearn to return home to the demon planet. I agree completely with this answer and comments though. When Chakotay says "We assumed their lives", that's exactly how I interpreted it.
    – n00dles
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 17:33

In the Demon Planet episode, the original duplicates, Harry and Tom do not know they are duplicates, even though they crawled out of goo that they themselves had been for possibly centuries. Why is it so hard to believe the dominance of memories of the forms they took overwhelmed them again? Especially now with an entire crew of duplicates and a duplicate ship. All those duplicates would themselves experience the same dominating mental condition of viewing themselves as originals. They simply slipped back into it. Like a drug induced state, or being partially awake. You can easily slip in and out of full consciousness.

  • Interesting idea which seem plausible, but are there any things which suggest they just felt original?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 5:44
  • Do you mean, did they believe they were the originals, or that they felt they were still individuals despite being copies? I think many interpretations are possible. For example (Paris or Kim?) specifically tells Janeway people are starting to remember their lives before they turned into the crew, this could mean they forgot they weren't originals, OR it could mean their older memories are just becoming more dominant. I think it's one of the best story lines in the series.
    – Joshua
    Commented Jan 9, 2022 at 0:39

Somehow, after the real Voyager left, we began to forget we were duplicates.

My answer focuses solely on how they could forget, because you've explicitly marked the above quote which already proves that they forgot (so it's obviously not part of the question).

This seems to be nothing more than human nature. They forget that they are duplicates, because they haven't thought about it for a long time.

So, why did they stop thinking about it?

Because it invalidates them as an individual. It is a continual reminder that they are fake, not real, nothing more than a knock-off from the original. It diminishes the value of their life and how they feel about themselves.

There are cases where a character is cloned/duplicated, and the person and his clone exist peacefully alongside each other. However, they both end up being unhappy near each other, because they are no longer unique individuals, they feel (unintentionally) undercut by their equal counterpart.

One example I can think of is Doctor Who, where the Doctor (David Tennant) ends up with another copy of himself. This is resolved by sending the clone to an alternate universe (voluntarily), they both seem happier with this than being around each other.

People always try to forget the things that make them feel bad or sad. This is exactly why we have a name for it: repressed memories.

Repressed memories are memories that have been unconsciously blocked due to the memory being associated with a high level of stress or trauma.

The term repressed memory is sometimes compared to the term dissociative amnesia, which is defined in the DSM-V as an “inability to recall autobiographical information. This amnesia may be localized (i.e., an event or period of time), selective (i.e., a specific aspect of an event), or generalized (i.e., identity and life history).”

The duplicates have clashing memories: those of their human life (copied from the original), and those of their own life (being duplicates). Because the latter memories make them feel bad, they invariably end up focusing on the former memories, because it balances them on an emotional level.

Note that the linked article delves into the details from a medical perspective. Star Trek is a fictional series that does not necessarily observe the intricate details of human psychology, but it can still ground itself on the generalized concept of repressing memories.

Repressed memories are also listed as a trope:

One major controversy regarding Abusive Parents concerns people who grew up thinking they have a good family, and then 'recover' memories of childhood abuse. On one side, there is the belief that people (particularly children) can subconsciously choose to forget something that is too painful to remember, and on the other side, there is the belief that therapists or others could potentially implant false memories of abuse into a person's psyche.

Although the memory of being a duplicate does not relate to their parents, it does relate to the origins of the duplicate (their parentage, if you go by definition 1.1).

The tropes page also lists Star Trek Voyager among the examples, though it does not list the repressed memories of the duplicates, likely because this was never explicitly pulled into focus during the plot of the episode that you are referring to. This answer is merely an extended discussion as to the credibility of why the crew could have forgotten that they are duplicates.

  • How does this apply to the many aliens on board Voyager?
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 10:53
  • 1
    @Valorum: Human behavior is not necessarily unique to humans. Everyone on board the voyager behaves in a way that is understandable to us humans. You're free to argue that this is forced by the writers to make the viewer connect to the aliens more (which is true, in my opinion. We would care less about an unemotional sentient ball of goo), but given that the characters are all capable of human(like) emotions, it's fair to assume that they are therefore prone to human behavior in general (except when explicitly contradicted, which is not the case for the repressed memories afaik).
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 10:56
  • 1
    @Valorum: Your question is a different version of asking why most recurring alien species are humanoid to begin with (bipedal, two arms, head on top). You're right that it should be equally likely for non-humanoid aliens to be shown and part of the Voyager crew, but this is an out-of-universe consideration by the writers, which has little bearing on the in-universe possibility of the humanoid aliens being able to repress bad memories. Note that nothing I've said hinges on being biologically human, I merely called the behavior "human", which is closer in meaning to "emotional, fallible"
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 10:59

The truth of the matter is, we is entities on earth believe of something which we only believe to be true, because that is the way our brains are programmed from an early age!

We are programmed to speak, to think, to talk, to see & hear, the way others want us to & human beings are mimics are similar to that of chameleons in some ways, which blend into surroundings

But in the case of humanity, we are on a higher plane of existence, we also have individual thought, although our thought process is manipulated & those who seek to control us!

Therefore the existence in which we live, is a higher level of thought & manipulation & we believe in what we are told to believe in.

When you also consider that we have people in each country who have got weapons, to make the people do exactly what they want us to do, if we fail to comply with what it is which is in their missguided agenda.

We would be killed.

In someway we are just like drones, but we are allowed to live lives under their control, we can have houses & cars & holidays, bank accounts with money, everything that we believe is available to us.

But anyone with a good education knows that everything that is available to us, is not available to us!

Another mitigating circumstance to our situation, is the lack of cohesion between nations, until we become a United Earth we cannot move beyond petty things, in some ways we are kept in the here & now moving forward very slowly, probably 1000 times slower than what we could be.

You may be asking what relevance this has to your question, the truth is it also goes to that these programs we watch on TV, fantasy, an escape from reality, but the storylines, are manipulated, just as human life is manipulated, just as thought is manipulated, everything is a manipulation!

All the people that rule the countries are millionaires or billionaires, but these people are so consumed with fame wealth & anything but uniting all the nations of the world to become one species.

So that we can start to put our technology together & begin our true purpose, the seven deadly sins coming to play whether you believe in god or not, the ideology of the seven deadly sins is a perfect analogy for these people, who rule us, sloth, wrath, greed, gluttony, envy, vanity, 7th escapes me at the minute!

But the point being is that these people who rule us cannot rule us sufficiently because the to greedy.

One day on our Earth there will be a person similar to that of William Wallace or someone like him who will lead humanity into salvation from the tyranny that we face under the hands of the government's that rule us now!

In reality the storyline to Star Trek Voyager is irrelevant to the greater picture.

Gene Roddenberry was an extremely intelligent man, all the people involved within Star Trek, Voyager, Deep Space Nine & all the other great film series which came from the writers & Gene Roddenberry.

The only thing that humanity has to hold onto in truth, is it's individuality, its ability to be able to learn, expand its knowledge, on its own without the assistance of the government's, & that sporadically through science & technology now, art commerce music & all the things that came before, which will be our legacy, & although our governments don't see humanity as a team, instead cause religious racial & sexual tension in discrimination, take money from people in insurance if they become sick or unwell, they abandon them,. They're not even willing, to help the damaged drones, because they know they have billions more to take your place!

When they don't have enough workforce in the nation that you live in, they will just import them from another nation, because they are all working together whether you believe it or not, so that they live a lovely life, go on holidays, have all the best of everything, all at the expense of the denial of a future or furtherment of humanity & of our race!

Even people in wheelchairs have purpose, people with mental health have purpose, but you've got so many corporate entities who also seek to undermine human for personal profit that our battle has only just begun!

Banking, pharmaceutical companies, any company that wants to make profit because they put profit over progress.

Hopefully one day we will get people in power who will see the benefit of uniting all the nations together as one letting people go where they want to go, as long as they give so many hours a week of work as a reward they should be allowed to do whatever it is they wish to do, in their free time.

The problem is the replacement of money, because in Star Trek there is no money, all medicine is free, the ideology of Gene Roddenberry, is not just a story, it's an ideology, but if we put into practice, we would evolve as a species, medicine, technology, science, everything, we'd just go into overdrive!

But people think that owning a stupid little house or a stupid little car car & having a wage is more important than building buildings & architecture & the civilisation where they put the advancement of the human race before their own needs!

Sometimes people need to be led, sometimes people need to follow, & sometimes people need to lead! But unfortunately for us, we all willing to follow, but we don't have one person in power who truly wants to lead!

Or even a United Nations of Earth that want to lead the world as a council of Nations deciding on the progress of humanity because they have their own selfish greed and needs!

I really don't care about material things! Although I do have material things, but my mother would tell you you I would give up everything I own to live a life where we become like the people on Star Trek the ideology that we have rulers of all the nations of Earth coming together sharing our technology & medicines or science, everything to make our species better so that we can travel the stars & our reward would be knowledge & understanding of the universe that we live in, to be part of that would be a dream come true for me!

It should also be a dream for every other person on this planet because you're all forgetting that one day this planet will supernova & blow up, then where will you manually be?

Do you care so little for your children or your children's, children's, children's, children or your legacy of children, that you would put your own personal ambition ahead of your future generations?

I know that I will be dead long before for humanity ever comes together as one!

Enough for this film is like a layer cake, different layers of the cake with different flavours, something looks the same but it doesn't taste the same, any story can be manipulated into the way the Gene Roddenberry wanted people to believe it, because his ethos was good primarily for his moment in history, it may have come from a dream that one day this is how we would exist.

But for the here & now he wanted to give you an escape from reality & the hardness & hardships of life!

My answer to your question is exactly what you said yourself in the storyline they forgot who they were & they believed that they really were the Voyager crew, they also adapted just as we adapt & evolve as human beings, particularly if you believe in humanity coming from apes?

Why not believe that they evolved to a point of believing their own illusions, if you wanted my personal opinion?

Here it is:

I would say that when Harry Kim fell into the liquid of silver, which was not a sentient lifeform, a sentient life form was born,

In reality Voyager didn't just leave the planet & all the clones behind, they left behind children & they may have been children with the memories of all the people that they cloned, but regardless they were children nevertheless!

When you consider that, you should also consider how many human beings on this planet who are in there are 30, 40, 50, 60, 70's can you remember anything before the age of 5?

In time people forget certain things, it's called irrelevant information, because your brain although so very vast & superior, only had enough space within it to store a certain amount of information, so the make-up & chemistry of your brain, is to keep important information, & expel irrelevant information, that is why you cannot remember every day of your life before you were 5!

I think that explanation would explain.

  • 1
    Does this really boil down to "there is too much to remember and they just forgot?" All that?
    – DavidW
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 22:18
  • Welcome to SciFi.SE! This is a really long answer. Are you sure all of this is relevant to the question?
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 22:18
  • 1
    There might be an answer here but it’s full of so much irrelevant commentary it’s hard to find the answer. Could you give it some major edits to address the question only instead of the massive tangent you have in most of the answer.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 22:20

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