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Question about the Hansens (ST:VOY)

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I'm a newcomer to Voyager, despite the fact that it's been around for roughly fifteen years or so. I've always been a TOS and TNG fan, but started watching VOY when I caught it in reruns about a year or so ago. I'm just now getting into Season Five, and having just watched the episode "Dark Frontier," I am a little bit confused about the continuity between the events that transpired on TNG in the episode "Q Who?" and Magnus and Erin Hansen's rouge mission to discover more about the "mysterious" Borg in "Dark Frontier." At one point in the episode, Magnus states in a log entry that he was starting to doubt whether or not the Borg truly existed or were just nothing but a legend, based on speculation and rumors. In another scene, he states to young Annika that he didn't believe the Borg to be hostile, just different than they were and that hopefully they could make "friends" with the Borg. Obviously, the Hansens didn't have a lot of information about the Borg before embarking on that mission on the USS Raven, as it is clearly evident on TNG, ST: First Contact and Voyager, itself that the Borg are a vicious race that is only interested in assimilating technology and other races, and cannot be bargained or reasoned with, much less form friendships.

So I suppose what I'm trying to find out here is how the Hansens even knew about the existence of the Borg in the first place, since the Raven started its journey in 2353, and the Hansens were assimilated in 2356. The Enterprise-D had her first encounter with the Borg in 2365, twelve years after the Raven's maiden voyage, and those events wouldn't have even transpired if it weren't for the fact that Q sent them to the Delta Quadrant to teach Picard a "lesson." Obviously, the time line is bothersome to me. I'm a bit of a nitpicker, and if the Hansens were on a mission to study the Borg with Starfleet's blessing at first before they went rogue, that means that Starfleet's Exobiology department and the Federation, itself knew of the existence of the Borg years before the events that transpired in TNG's "Q Who?" Picard and the rest of the Enterprise crew, with the exception of Guinan, had no knowledge of the Borg before that encounter. Guinan's knowledge of the Borg was explained through the story of her El-Aurian heritage, a race of "listeners" that originated in the Delta Quadrant but eventually became scattered throughout the Galaxy due to most of her species being assimilated by the Borg. I suppose that the existence of the Borg could have been brought to the Federation's attention through survivors of races that managed to escape assimilation, but I have a really hard time believing that the Captain of the Flagship of the Federation would not have been debriefed on the existence of the Borg prior to its maiden voyage, or even as Captain of the Stargazer, for that matter.

So is this just a continuity error, or a purposeful act of straying from canon in order to enhance the storytelling for the back-story of Seven of Nine's origins? As I mentioned earlier, I'm a bit of a nitpicker but when all is said and done, I really enjoyed the episode "Dark Frontier" as a whole. Having Alice Krige reprise her role as the "Borg Queen" would have made it a better episode in my opinion, but Susanna Thompson did a pretty good job of making the role her own, and the episode really did dive into Seven's back-story in an almost heartbreaking manner. Great acting and storytelling all around with the exception of the discrepancies in the timeline.

-- Danyiel73 19:52, March 13, 2010 (UTC)

I too have given some thought to this, and figured that the Hansens' information came from a combination of the tales of the El-Aurian refugees, and Zefram Cochrane's musings about "cybernetic creatures from the future" (ENT: "Regeneration"). And we can't forget the Enterprise (NX-01)'s encounter with the Borg, also in "Regeneration"--while they didn't get that much contact with them and didn't even learn their name, it would have definitely been filed somewhere in Starfleet's massive database, put away for the future. The Federation probably didn't consider the Borg enough of a threat to bother briefing people like Picard on them; as far as they were concerned, they were just another potentially-hostile alien species that just happened to pick on the El-Aurians. The Hansens, however, probably dug a little deeper and started connecting the dots between all the aforementioned encounters, as well as (for all we know) some others that haven't been documented in Star Trek so far. For instance, they may have gotten the information about the Borg not reacting unless they're bothered or interested in technology from Enterprise's logs on their encounter. But, of course, as we know the Hansens seemed unconvinced that the Borg were truly and inherently hostile--perhaps they heard the part about them not reacting unless bothered and figured the El-Aurians just didn't know how to deal with them right and if they had, they'd be all nice and friendly. :-) Anyway, we don't really know the whole story behind the Hansens' reasoning, but nonetheless we can take some pretty decent guesses. So, in short, if you think about it, it doesn't really contradict established canon but rather fits quite nicely with it, especially if you consider the Enterprise encounter that was made after "Dark Frontier" (which may even have influenced the writers of "Regeneration" in that respect). -Mdettweiler 02:36, March 14, 2010 (UTC)

Very sound reasoning, Mdettweiler. I hadn't factored in the possibility that other species outside of the El-Aurians that managed to escape Borg assimilation may not have been members of the Federation. By your reasoning, it basically would have appeared to be two warring alien species and would have gone against the Prime Directive for the Federation to interfere even if they had been aware of their presence without knowing exact details about either race. The events that transpired in ENT's "Regeneration" raises even more valid points, despite the fact that it wasn't even written until four years after "Dark Frontier." The fact that Captain Archer referenced Zefram Cochrane's later recanted speech about how the crew of the Enterprise-E traveled back in time in order to stop a cybernetic race from the future from preventing First Contact and enslaving the human race proves that it was, in fact recorded in Starfleet's database long before 24th Century Picard and crew eventually encountered them in "Q Who?" T'Pol's comments about Cochrane having an overactive imagination and frequently being in a state of inebriation eluded to the fact that most likely, both the Federation and Starfleet didn't believe his wild stories, but filed them anyway on the off-chance that it could one day be relevant information. I'm sure that after Archer and the NX-01's encounter with this still yet-to-be named race was also logged into the database as well, therefore making your theory about someone along the way connecting the proverbial dots between the information given by the surviving El-Aurians, Cochrane's drunken ramblings and the NX-01's encounter being eventually what motivated the Hansens to go on that research voyage at their own peril due to insufficient information about how truly vicious the Borg are.

Unlike "Dark Frontier," I found "Regeneration" to be an extraordinary well-written episode that covered all of its bases: it put closure of sorts on what eventually became of the wreckage of the Borg sphere from ST: First Contact, didn't disturb canon, was genuinely entertaining as far as the storyline was concerned, and most importantly, it didn't leave any loose ends once the episode was over. It actually laid the groundwork for the Enterprise-D's eventual first encounter with the Borg in the 24th Century, which I thought was brilliant. And now that I think about it, "Regeneration" basically redeems almost all of the concerns that I raised about "Dark Frontier." Along with your theories, the episode really does make much more sense to me now and I'm not focusing so much on the timeline or Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D's lack of knowledge of the Borg. They just weren't perceived as a threat to Starfleet or the Federation until the events that transpired in "Q Who?" and "The Best of Both Worlds."

Thanks for your insights. They're very much appreciated.

-- Danyiel73 11:16, March 15, 2010 (UTC)

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