There are few franchises with the same longevity as Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. By the ‘90s, the franchise was on its third spin-off TV series, had released six successful motion pictures, and is still going today.
The fourth outing in the Trek TV universe, Voyager, was pioneering in a number of ways. It not only introduced the first female captain in Kate Mulgrews’ indomitable Captain Janeway, but it began to heavily utilize computer-generated imagery (CGI) rather than models for the ship for the first time in the show’s history.
Along with its fearless female leader, the show also introduced de-assimilated Borg drone Seven of Nine into the crew. Actress Jeri Ryan’s character brought a new perspective to Voyager but also received a mixed response from fans.
The emotionless Seven of Nine was introduced to act as the Spock to Janeway’s Kirk. Unfortunately, her impossibly-skin-tight outfit and desire to "explore human emotion" with the crew, perhaps spoke more of the showrunner’s desperate bid to inject the show with appeal than anything else.
Yet, in the end, Seven’s story helped explore many of the core tenets of the Star Trek story: suffering, redemption, love, guilt, and the human condition. Her journey was not an easy one.
Here are the 16 Worst Things That Happened to Seven of Nine.
Seven of Nine’s childhood was stolen by the Borg.
Born on Stardate 2349 on the Federation Tendara colony, she was an ordinary young girl who liked strawberries and wanted to become a ballerina. Her parents, Magnus and Erin Hansen, were eccentric exobiologists who were charged with studying an unknown deep space species. The couple took their young daughter Annika with them as they first traveled to study what became known as the Collective and attempt to understand the Borg.
Their studies lasted for three years, during which Annika’s father developed technology to shield their ship from the Borg. Unfortunately, their research came to an abrupt end when an ion storm struck their ship and damaged the shielding, causing the Borg to detect the family and move in for assimilation.
It is a no-brainer that capture and assimilation by the Borg is incredibly traumatic, especially for a young girl. However, Annika was too young for proper assimilation at age six and was essentially kept in stasis until she was completely assimilated by the age of eleven.
The Borg, due to her parent’s grim drive to discover all they could about the Collective, effectively wiped out the best years of her childhood.
Annika spent thirteen years in the Collective as Seven of Nine. Purged of any individuality, she personally assimilated many species.
In 2368, Seven of Nine and three other drones crashed into the Delta Quadrant. Her fellow drones, assimilated as adults, began to regain their original identities once freed from the Borg Collective. Seven, however, had been a drone far longer than she had been a human and her "liberation" felt, to her, as horrific as her assimilation. She struggled to retain her connection to the Collective.
Janeway personally strove to rehabilitate Seven once she ended up on Voyager, later trying to teach her mundane or creative human activities, such as sculpture.
When first aboard the ship, Janeway asked if Seven of Nine would like to be called "Annika", her original human name, but Seven of Nine refused. They settled on "Seven" as a compromise.
Her struggle to assimilate into Voyager society was often a pertinent plot point, as well as references to her growing sense of responsibility for her actions as Borg.
There’s very little that the Ferengi wouldn’t do for profit.
In “Inside Man” a group of criminal Ferengi planned to harvest the nanoprobes from Seven of Nine to sell for profit. After hijacking a hologram of Reginald Barclay, they used the friendly face to convince the crew of the Voyager to use a geodesic fold to return to the Alpha Quadrant. Secretly, this furthered their plan to abduct Seven for her profitable parts.
Luckily, the real Reginald Barclay had an inkling that his holoself was being used for nefarious means and stopped the Voyager from entering the geodesic fold.
Although it was a largely light-hearted episode where Seven escaped entirely unscathed, being almost kidnapped and harvested for your parts cannot be a positive experience for anyone.
Throughout her arc, Seven attempts to practice and perfect her human interactions and social skills.
In ‘’Human Error’’, Seven begins to extensively use the holodeck to train her emotions through playing musical instruments, interacting at parties, and even going on romantic dates.
Her obsessive holodeck activities begin to impact her work. Janeway calls out Seven for not being at her post during a crisis, revealing that Seven had spent forty-nine hours in six days inside the holodeck fantasy rather than doing her job.
During an emotional holodeck episode as she argues with a holo-version of Chakotay, a man she has been using to explore romantic relationships, Seven is struck by pain and passes out. Once the Doctor has examined her, he explains that her cortical node is designed to shut down her brain functions when she reaches a certain level of emotional stimulation.
She is literally incapable of the level of emotion that she has been working hard to reach.
The Doctor offers to reconfigure her circuitry to allow her to feel but, initially at least, she refuses and decides not to engage in her holographic fantasies any longer.
Seven believed that there was a massive conspiracy, involving the Federation, the Cardassians, the Caretaker, and many other alien races. She began to uncover evidence that the Voyager was deliberately stranded in the Delta Quadrant for unknown reasons.
During her investigation, she downloads far more information than even her system can handle and begins to act increasingly erratically. Seven becomes consumed by paranoia and trusts no one.
She begins to imagine a final conspiracy; that the Federation aims to capture a Borg drone and take it back to Starfleet to dissect in order to understand the Collective. She begins to think that she is that drone and that she is being tricked by the crew.
Janeway ultimately manages to convince her that the only conspiracy is the one to help her regain her humanity. She shows Seven that taking on too much information has made her ill and Seven allows herself to be helped.
“Course: Oblivion” begins with a joyful occasion for the whole crew. Lieutenants B'Elanna Torres and Tom Paris marry with Janeway as their Master of Ceremonies. Even Seven of Nine is involved, as she has the dubious honor of catching the bouquet.
Yet all is not as idyllic as it seems. Moments after planning their honeymoon, Torres is struck with a mysterious illness. She is not the only one and it appears the ship is suffering an epidemic. Torres dies not long after.
The ship itself and the whole crew begin disintegrating and decaying. It is established that the harmful catalyst was from the "Demon-class" planet they encountered in a previous episode. During this encounter, the organisms called the Silver Blood created duplicates of the entire crew.
It is revealed that the crew are not the crew, but copies. They are slowly deteriorating, while remembering their original memories entirely, forgetting they are duplicates.
Seven is one of the last crewmembers to succumb, meaning this version of Seven effectively watches all her crewmates, including Janeway, slowly die.
A Borg device found floating in space has a surprising effect on Seven in “Infinite Regress”. The object is a compromised Borg vinculum; debris of a Borg cube. Rather than investigate, Janeway wisely orders the ship to move on. That should have been that.
Except, after passing the cube, Seven begins to behave oddly. Robbing meat from the kitche and sniffing Torres and biting her, rather like a Klingon male would, she is definitely not herself. Later she begins behaving like a child. Then again later, like a clinical Vulcan.
To find out what is influencing her, Janeway swings back to pick up the vinculum and investigate, discovering the object has been infected by a virus. The last species to be assimilated introduced the virus to shut down the Borg Collective, sacrificing themselves to stop the Collective.
As time goes on, Seven continues to hear voices and manifest diverse personalities. She struggles to keep her sanity together, as she vacillates between the personalities and her mind begin to split.
The crew attempt to separate Seven from the vinculum and shut it down, eventually fixing Seven. It is undeniable that struggling with the multiple personalities leaves a mark on Seven.
In ‘’Day of Honour’’, when B’Elanna asks Seven of Nine if she feels any guilt for her part in the Borg’s atrocities, Seven replies that “Guilt is irrelevant.”
Yet as her arc continues, Seven begins to struggle with guilt regarding her chequered past. In “Survival Instinct” she is literally stalked by her past mistakes as three Borg drones she had once been separated from the hive with, return to force her to help them.
Although freed from the Borg, the three have remained connected. In her memory, they discover it was Seven who linked them in a desperate attempt for them to not regain their individuality and desert the Collective.
It is discovered that to remove the implants causing the link would cause the ex-drones to have only a short time to live. Seven is forced to make the decision of whether the three live a long life connected as Borg or die young but as individuals. She is compelled to come to terms with her own choices: "Survival is insufficient."
“Tsunkatse” is infamous for including an appearance from Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
It is also a distressing episode for Seven, as she and Tuvok are kidnapped by an alien vessel and forced to compete in fights.
While on shore leave, the crew are permitted to spend their time how they choose. Seven and Tuvok travel to study a micro-nebula nearby. On the way, the pair are captured and Tukov injured. Seven is forced to wrestle or Tuvok will be refused treatment.
Unwittingly, Commander Chakotay takes some of the remaining crew to watch a ‘Tsunkatse’ match. They are shocked when Seven follows out the first contender, a Pendari Champion played by WWE wrestler and actor, The Rock.
While the Voyager searches for them to arrange a rescue, Seven trains to survive in the fighting contests.
In “One”, the entire crew is placed in suspended animation to avoid harmful radiation.
Due to her immunity to the radiation, Seven is left in control of the ship, with the Doctor (being a hologram) as her only company. Before going into suspended animation, Janeway warns Seven that prolonged isolation is stressful for humans and for a drone used to being a part of a Collective, it could be catastrophic. Seven assures her that she can do it - an example of Seven’s early desire to prove herself to the crew.
After days of the same routine alone with the Doctor, Seven begins to get irritable with him. She is even more distressed with him when his system is damaged and she ends up completely alone.
She begins to have disturbing dreams and hallucinations due to her prolonged isolation. Yet despite it all, she fights against her panic and her aggressive hallucinations to sees the crew through this particular disaster.
A crucial part of Seven’s Borg implants malfunctions in “Imperfections”.
Suffering from headaches, Seven finally realizes something is wrong when she cries at an emotional departure. The Doctor tells her crying is only natural but Seven is proved correct when he scans her to find her cortical node is malfunctioning, meaning she is unable to regenerate in her Borg alcove.
In a simulation, the Doctor tries to replace her node but she dies every time. He realizes she needs a node from a living drone or she will die in reality.
Seven breaks out of sickbay, determined to get back to work. Icheb, another former Borg drone, who looked up to Seven, offers his node to save Seven but she refuses. Icheb believes as a younger drone, he would be able to survive without his node in a way Seven could not. He removes the cortical node anyway and Seven is persuaded to accept it to save her life.
In “Drone”, Seven and the Doctor accidently create and nurture a Borg drone.
When Seven and the Doctor perform a survey on a proto-nebula, it becomes unstable and the crew evacuate their shuttle. The malfunction briefly merges their patterns and Seven’s Borg nanoprobes enter the Doctor’s emitter. Once returned to sickbay, the emitter begins assimilating the equipment in the lab and a Borg drone grows from the tissue sample.
Janeway wants the drone destroyed but Seven persuades her to let her teach it about individuality.
The drone is responsive and becomes known as "One.: However, unbeknownst to him or Seven, his nanoprobes alert a Borg ship and they are soon in danger of assimilation.
This episode is important as it asserts Seven’s conscious decision to remain with the crew and not return to the Borg when given the chance. She explains to One that the crew are her "collective" now.
To defend her, One transports to the Borg ship and overrides it, crashing and destroying it. His death protects Seven and her crew but has an impact on Seven.
Five of Twelve, a Borg Drone previously named Axum, began to appear in Seven of Nine’s dreams.
He took her to Unimatrix Zero, a dream-state that some drones experience while regenerating where they can express individuality. It was revealed that for years while she was a drone, Seven was romantically involved with Axum while in Unimatrix Zero, something she had tragically forgotten.
Axum and the drones got in contact with Seven once she was freed, as they needed help releasing this "malfunction" to the whole Collective.
Voyager agreed to assist the drones in their attempt to successfully retain their memories as drones, in order to start a resistance movement. Axum headed up this movement but in doing so is separated from Seven once again and she lost the chance to rekindle their relationship.
In “The Raven” Seven’s traumatic backstory is fleshed out as she finds herself compelled once again by her Borg instincts.
She begins to have troubling dreams and hallucinations, firstly of a raven and of the Borg pursuing her. For some reason, her remaining Borg parts begin to reassert themselves and she flees Voyager, drawn back towards the Collective by a force she cannot fight.
However, instead of returning to the Borg as expected, Seven discovers a ruined ship. It is revealed to be The Raven, her parents' shuttle. Once there, Seven undergoes intense and traumatic flashbacks to her last moments as a human before the Borg took and assimilated her.
Not only does this episode express the pain of her assimilation, it shows that she is still susceptible to Borg influence, even so long after her de-assimilation.
“Endgame” is the finale episode of Voyager. It is set in 2404, the tenth anniversary celebration of the Voyager’s return to Earth.
The older Admiral Kathryn Janeway makes the decision to travel back to the Delta Quadrant in 2378 in order to get her crew home sooner and prevent a series of misfortunes and deaths that befell her crew.
Janeway seriously violates the Temporal Prime Directive to stop these negative events and save her crew, including Seven.
Once aboard her old ship, Janeway meets her younger self and provides advanced technology to help their journey. In the new timeline, Janeway is determined to save the ship from sixteen more years stranded. However, her younger self is equally set on using the technology to fight the Borg.
In this alternative timeline it is revealed that Commander Chakotay and Seven of Nine marry. Yet in their difficult journey back to Earth, Seven is injured on an away mission and dies in her husband’s arms.
Thankfully, Janeway will do almost anything to save her crew.
In a cruel twist, it is eventually revealed that Seven was allowed to be liberated as part of a wider plan to assimilate all of mankind.
The Borg were going to wait until the unknowing Seven had gained the trust of Starfleet and, finally, they would activate her to take down humanity from within.
What they had not counted on was Seven genuinely bonding with the crew, which ultimately foiled the Borg plan.
However, the entire sequence of events is particularly traumatic for Seven. As preparation to combat the Borg threat, Janeway simulates a mission to infiltrate the Borg. Even in simulation, this makes Seven very uncomfortable. With good reason, it turns out, as during the real mission, Seven hears the Collective in her mind. This causes her to return to the Collective.
After her time aboard Voyager, Seven is not the drone she once was. When the Borg ask her to assimilate a species, she instead helps them escape, showing how her redemption has been shaped by the Voyager crew.
Was Seven of Nine's suffering in Star Trek: Voyager too much for anyone -- Borg or human -- to handle? Sound off in the comments!