(written from a Production point of view)
Seven is drawn into a virtual reality that some Borg drones inhabit during their regeneration cycles – a threat to the Borg Collective that Janeway wants to exploit. (Season Finale)
Aboard the unicomplex, the Borg Queen, increasingly concerned over the "malfunction" that has spread throughout the Collective, summons a Borg drone to ask him what he remembers about Unimatrix Zero. The Queen is attempting to locate the carrier frequency that all of the malfunctioning drones share. When the drone doesn't reply, the Queen severs his connection to the hive mind, causing him discomfort. The drone says he doesn't remember anything from Unimatrix Zero. Frustrated, the Queen first decides to remove him from her chamber, then reconsiders. She decides to have the drone dismantled and has his cortical array – his head – removed for analysis instead.
Seven of Nine sees an environment of trees during one of her regeneration cycles. When a man calls her "Annika" and reaches out to her, she wakes up from her regeneration cycle, unsettled.
Seven of Nine approaches The Doctor about her dream of Unimatrix Zero. She believes her dream is a malfunction and wants the doctor to repair it. The Doctor informs her that a dream is nothing to worry about. The Doctor believes that her dream is an expansion of her humanity and that the people in her dream may be hidden desires waiting to be released. He gives her a device to measure her rapid eye movement (REM) cycles.
On the bridge, Tom Paris arrives to an angry Captain Janeway. She states that he is late for his duty shift. Tuvok, standing at his tactical console, says that by the ship's chronometer he is late by 22 seconds. Paris, confused by everyone's reactions, responds that he will make it up at the end of his shift. Chakotay responds, "Be sure that you do." When Paris looks at B'Elanna Torres, she gives him a look of disgust. Confused, Paris walks to the helm console and finds a box sitting at his chair. When he picks up the box, Chakotay orders him to open it. Inside the box is a black pip. "Not only late, but improperly dressed. That belongs on your collar, Mr. Paris", Chakotay says. Everyone then congratulates Paris on being reinstated as a Lieutenant Junior Grade. Captain Janeway says she expects more of the same from him after one year of exemplary performance. Harry Kim, still an ensign, says that he didn't see a little box on his chair. The console beeps, and Paris asks if they had hidden a cake in the console.
Captain Janeway and the bridge crew receive a distress call at 0900 hours from a colony on an asteroid two light years away. Tuvok cannot pick up any transmission from the colony, just a carrier wave. The USS Voyager changes course to respond to the distress call. They arrive at 1100 hours, only to discover that the colony has been destroyed by the Borg. When Tuvok finds a Borg vessel departing the area after performing a scan, Janeway orders Voyager to leave the area at warp 6, making a note in the ship's log.
Axum tells Seven – called her Human name Annika Hansen in Unimatrix Zero – that she had been in the unimatrix for sixteen years. Axum explains that only one in one million Borg drones have the mutation that allow them to enter Unimatrix Zero. They only experience their individuality in the unimatrix and experiences the environment only while regenerating. Once their cycles are complete, they enter the real world, with no knowledge of what had transpired. Annika and Axum meet a child who had just been assimilated and was probably still in a Borg maturation chamber. They take the child to meet with other children in the unimatrix. Annika begins to remember people from Unimatrix Zero, including Laura, a Human woman who was assimilated at Wolf 359.
Axum tells Annika that all of Unimatrix Zero needs her help – the Borg Queen is attempting to eliminate the "malfunction" that has been afflicting the collective and detracting from perfection. Annika tells Axum that she will inform Captain Janeway of their request and return later.
Seven of Nine assembles the senior staff in the briefing room and informs them of Unimatrix Zero's call for help. Ensign Kim thinks she imagined her experiences as a dream but The Doctor informs them all that Seven was not dreaming; he was recording her REM cycles and found that she never reached REM sleep during her time in Unimatrix Zero. Encountering further resistance from the senior staff about further engaging the Borg, Seven of Nine quotes Starfleet protocol and states that when they receive a distress call, they respond. Kim agrees; this situation is no different. Captain Janeway wishes to get more information before making her decision, and wants to know if she can visit Unimatrix Zero. Tuvok suggests a "bridging of minds" to allow Janeway to share in Seven's thoughts while she is in Unimatrix Zero. The Doctor expresses his objections, but the plan goes forward anyway.
In cargo bay two, Tuvok bridges Seven of Nine and Janeway's minds as Seven enters Unimatrix Zero. They meet with Axum, who describes what the Borg Queen is doing to attempt to destroy Unimatrix Zero. Janeway thinks the idea is a good one; but she thinks that the drones should consider a more "permanent solution." The captain wants the drones to retain their individualities outside of Unimatrix Zero and fight back against the collective as a "resistance movement." Axum thinks the idea is ambitious, but unlikely to occur because he believes it is impossible to retain their memories in the real world. "That sounds like you're suggesting a civil war", Annika says. "I prefer to call it... a resistance movement", Janeway responds.
Meanwhile, the Borg Queen has used the first drone to locate other drones afflicted with the malfunction. She has also disassembled them and brought their heads for analysis, commenting that disembodiment is the epitome of perfection. Using their cortical arrays, she had found the carrier band and interlink frequency for Unimatrix Zero. She attempts to disrupt the frequency, but cannot because it is using a triaxilating modulation. She then devises a different plan – to send drones to visit Unimatrix Zero and root out the drones one by one and quickly analyze their cortical arrays to find out how to disrupt the interlink frequency. It does not work, so the Queen sends some drones to Unimatrix Zero to "Pay them a visit".
Borg drones arrive in Unimatrix Zero and begin to assimilate the individuals, causing them to revert to the real world. Once there, the Queen can track which drones have the malfunction. Janeway intervenes when one of the drones decides to assimilate a child. As the drone is destroyed, the Queen catches a glimpse of Janeway.
Captain Janeway asks The Doctor and Torres to work on a virus that will allow the drones to retain their memories in the real world. Janeway arrives on the bridge and asks Chakotay to accompany her into her ready room. Once there, Janeway asks for his full support in this action against the Borg. Janeway notes that in the past, she has proceeded in her plans without his support. She will not go ahead with this course of action unless her first officer is in full agreement. Chakotay believes this could be a turning point in Voyager's battle with the Borg, and so they begin their work against the Collective.
In engineering, the virus is prepared and Captain Janeway decides to infuse the virus into the central plexus of a Borg ship, thereby spreading the virus to the entire Collective. The closest vessel is a class 4 tactical cube that is heavily armed, with its central plexus shielded by multiple regenerative force fields. Seven informs Janeway that she would be detected long before she would reach the plexus.
Seven returns to Unimatrix Zero and helps with the fight against the Borg drones. Seven – now Annika – finds Axum and informs him of Janeway's plan. While she is talking, Laura tells them that several Borg drones are approaching. Axum and Annika hide behind a rock. Axum has his arm around her, and Annika says that feeling was familiar. She gives him a kiss and found that feeling to be familiar as well. Annika asks if they were more than friends. Axum tells Annika that they were in a romantic relationship in Unimatrix Zero for six memorable years – only while they were regenerating. Annika, angry that Axum kept that information from her, leaves Unimatrix Zero, informing him to refer to her as Seven of Nine.
Tuvok cites Starfleet Tactical Directive 36 that states the captain cannot place him/herself in a dangerous situation without being accompanied by a security officer. Therefore, he asks to come along. Torres asks to go on the away team as well because she believes that for the mission to succeed, an engineer needs to come along. She in turn cites Starfleet Tactical Directive 36A – a directive that does not exist. Janeway orders them to stay on board Voyager and leaves engineering, followed by Chakotay. He informs Janeway that his support was not unconditional – that if she wanted her plan to go forward, she would have to take Tuvok and Torres with her. Janeway reluctantly agrees.
The ship's power becomes affected by an unknown force. Janeway asks for a status report from the bridge, where Harry Kim says that it is an unknown transwarp signal that is attempting to access Voyager's main computer. The signal opens a comm signal from the Borg Queen. Janeway goes to the bridge and talks to the Queen. The Queen first offers to give Voyager transwarp technology in exchange for them staying out of things that don't concern them. Janeway says that she has no idea what the Queen is talking about. The Queen angrily informs Janeway that she knows about her plans and again warns Janeway to stay out of things that don't concern her. The Queen then tells Kim that she will see him soon – most likely a reference to Voyager being assimilated. Janeway thinks that the Queen is worried, and continues with her plan.
The Delta Flyer is readied for the mission and Tuvok, Torres, and Janeway are on board. Voyager begins an assault on the tactical cube and takes damage; however, they manage to cause one of the shield generators on the cube to fluctuate. The Delta Flyer moves into position and transports the away team onto the cube seconds before the Queen targets the Flyer and destroys it. The away team moves toward the central plexus while Voyager continues attacking the cube. The cube, after several direct hits to the hull and the warp nacelles, begins to target Voyager's warp core.
The away team continues to move toward the central plexus, when they are stopped by two drones. The two drones are disabled when they are shot with phaser rifles. More drones arrive – quickly adapting to the away team's weapons. The away team begins to walk away from the drones, but are stopped by two force fields, trapping them. Borg drones surround and assimilate them – first Tuvok, then Torres, and finally Captain Janeway. The Doctor says that their life signs are destabilizing as a result of the assimilation. Chakotay says that things are going according to plan, and then orders Paris to retreat at warp.
As Voyager warps from the battle, inside the cube; their Starfleet uniforms, hair, and skin pigmentation now gone, stand Lieutenant Commander Tuvok, Lieutenant Torres, and Captain Janeway... all Borg.
"Hiding a cake in the console?"
- - Tom Paris
- - Borg Queen
"We'll see you soon, Harry."
"What did she mean by that?"
- - Borg Queen and Harry Kim
"I didn't notice a little box on my chair..."
- - Harry Kim
"I wish you were alive to experience disembodiment. It is the epitome of perfection."
- - Borg Queen
"Too bad you don't have the luxury of an interlink-node"
"There is another possibility: a Vulcan technique known as the bridging of minds."
"I would need to initiate a mind-meld, with both you and Seven, acting as a telepathic conduit."
"You make it sound like a conference call..."
- - Chakotay, Tuvok, Janeway and The Doctor
"How many times have you actually performed this Bridging of Heads?"
"And how can you be certain it'll work?"
"Nothing is certain, Doctor. However, I once observed a Vulcan master perform the technique. I'm reasonably confident I can duplicate his success."
"Watching and doing are two different things."
"As always, your logic is impeccable."
(to himself) "What a comfort..."
- - The Doctor and Tuvok, discussing the Bridging of Minds
"They're using a triaxilating modulation!"
- - Borg Queen
"It's been a long time. How are things in the collective?"
"Perfect... for the most part. Voyager?"
- - Borg Queen and Kathryn Janeway
"Make that three. If you're going to pull this off you'll need an Engineer in there."
"Tactical directive 36-A."
"There is no directive 36-A."
"There is now."
- - Torres and Paris during briefing in engineering
"Mind melds. The last time I heard the words 'My mind to your mind' I had a headache for two weeks."
- - Kathryn Janeway
"Their life signs are destablizing!"
"So far, so good. You can take us out of here now, Tom."
- - The Doctor and Chakotay, on Janeway, Torres and Tuvok's progress
- The first draft of this episode's script was issued on 8 March 2000. The final draft of the teleplay was submitted on 16 March 2000.
- Tom Paris is promoted back to Lieutenant junior grade in this episode, after previously being demoted to Ensign in the fifth season episode "Thirty Days".
- Mark Deakins appears as Axum, fresh off his role as Tournel in Star Trek: Insurrection. He was last seen on Voyager as Turanj, a Hirogen hunter in season 4's "The Killing Game".
- Laura, a Human woman seen in Unimatrix Zero states that she was assimilated at the Battle of Wolf 359. (TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II") Riley, a former Borg drone featured in the third season episode "Unity", made an identical claim. Also, in "Infinite Regress", one of Seven of Nine's extra personalities is a Human female who claims to have been taken by the Borg near the site of the Battle at Wolf 359. Marika Wilkarah, a member of Seven's old unimatrix was a Bajoran Starfleet Engineering assimilated on the USS Excalibur during Wolf 359 ("Survival Instinct"). Finally, in the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Jean-Luc Picard remembered that the Borg Queen was also present at the battle, even being present at his assimilation.
- The Delta Flyer is destroyed by the Borg in this episode. It will be replaced in "Imperfection" by the Delta Flyer II, which was of the same basic design and specifications.
- In this episode, The Doctor says Seven has had her first dream. However, she had dreams in "Waking Moments" and "One".
- One of the decapitated Borg heads is actually a mold of Brent Spiner's head which was used as Data's head in TNG: "Datalore", "Time's Arrow", "Time's Arrow, Part II".
- Janeway's line about having a headache last time she heard the words "my mind to your mind" is likely a reference to the episode "Flashback".
- The episode ends with Captain Janeway having been assimilated by the Borg. TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds" ended similarly with Captain Jean-Luc Picard having been assimilated as well.
- The first shot of the final sequence, with the Borg tactical cube flying closely past the camera before being slammed with weapons, is visually similar to the first shot of the Battle of Sector 001 in Star Trek: First Contact.
- The original story, pitched by future Voyager and Enterprise staffer Mike Sussman, was to have featured the return of Seven's father, Magnus Hansen. In that version, it would have been revealed that the Borgified Hansen had managed to create a "cyber underground" where like-minded drones could meet and plan an insurgency against the Collective. Hansen would have called upon his daughter to help in their fight, giving Seven hope that her father might someday be liberated from the Collective, as she had been. The producers opted to pursue a romantic story for Seven instead of a father-daughter reunion.
Video and DVD releasesEdit
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 6.13, 22 January 2001
- In feature-length form, as part of the UK VHS collection Star Trek: Voyager - Movies: Volume 4 (with "Dark Frontier"), release date unknown
- As part of the VOY Season 6 DVD collection
- As part of the Star Trek: Fan Collective - Borg collection
Links and references Edit
Also starring Edit
- Robert Beltran as Commander Chakotay
- Roxann Dawson as Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Lieutenant Junior Grade Tom Paris
- Ethan Phillips as Neelix
- Robert Picardo as The Doctor
- Tim Russ as Lieutenant Commander Tuvok
- Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine
- Garrett Wang as Ensign Harry Kim
Guest stars Edit
Uncredited co-stars Edit
- Patrick Barnitt as a Borg drone
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Sue Henley as a Borg drone
- Dieter Hornemann as
- Tom Morga as
- Louis Ortiz as Borg Queen's drone
- Keith Rayve as
- Pablo Soriano as a Borg drone
- Chester E. Tripp III as a Borg drone
- Unknown performers as
Stunt double Edit
assimilation; asteroid; bat'leth; Battle of Wolf 359; Borg cube; class 4 tactical cube; carrier wave; central plexus; chronometer; colony; cortical array; cortical inhibitor; cortical monitor; cortical node; Cube 461; Cube 1184; Delta Flyer; dream; Earth; father figure; Grid 326; Grid 649; Grid 982; Hirogen; interlink frequency; interlink node; Klingon; logic; maturation chamber; Milky Way Galaxy; multi-regenerative security grid; mutation; nanovirus; plasma injector; pupil; REM sleep; security grid; shield emitter; Starfleet General Orders and Regulations; Tactical Cube 138; terahertz; transwarp conduit; transwarp signal; triaxilating modulation; Trimatrix 942; Unimatrix 525; Unimatrix Zero; Vulcan; Vulcan master; Vulcan mind meld; warp matrix
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