(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 have him deactivated, 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, though she's unsettled and would much rather never dream again. The Doctor believes that her dream is an expansion of her Humanity, that the people in her dream may be hidden desires waiting to be released, and that she will soon get used to and even grow to look forward to the experience. He gives her a device to measure her 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 cube at the edge of the system, Janeway orders Voyager to leave the area at warp 6, making a note in the ship's log.
Seven of Nine goes back to her alcove and regenerates, only to have the same "dream." She is approached by Axum, who tells her that she isn't dreaming and that she is in Unimatrix Zero and has been there many times before.
Axum tells Seven – called her Human name Annika Hansen in Unimatrix Zero – that she had been in the unimatrix for eighteen years and played a big part in all their lives. Axum explains that only one in one million Borg drones have the mutation that allows them to enter Unimatrix Zero. They experience their individuality only 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 is eager to help but that she's not alone, she will inform her Captain Janeway of their request and return later with a verdict.
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 mind-meld/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 individuality 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 a further two 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 on her scanner and is visibly concerned.
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 3.6 light years away, 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 invading 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 (which would allow Voyager to get home much faster) 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 she has the Queen worried, so 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, "So far, so good", apparently 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 assimilated 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 36A."
"There is no directive 36A."
"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.
- 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".
- 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".
- 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 Borg 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.
- The Borg Queen reappears for the second time in the series in this episode, having previously appeared in "Dark Frontier".
- Laura, a Human woman seen in Unimatrix Zero, states that she was assimilated at the Battle of Wolf 359, which was depicted in TNG: "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II". Riley, an ex-Borg, made the same claim in the third season episode "Unity". Also, in "Infinite Regress", one of Seven'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. Finally, in the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Jean-Luc Picard remembered that the Borg Queen was also present at the battle, and at his assimilation.
- The Delta Flyer is destroyed by the Borg in this episode. It is replaced in "Imperfection" by the new Delta Flyer, which is of the same basic design and specifications.
- In this episode, The Doctor says Seven has had her first dream. However, she has had dreams previously, in the fourth-season episodes "Waking Moments" and "One".
- Janeway says "the last time I heard the words "my mind to your mind", I had a headache for two weeks," likely a reference to the events of "Flashback", in which Tuvok mind-melds with her.
- Janeway tells Chakotay "we've had our disagreements and there have been times when I've chosen to proceed without your support," possibly referring to the events of the third-season finale "Scorpion" and the sixth-season premiere "Equinox, Part II".
- The Borg Queen tells Janeway "I understand you've established contact with Starfleet," referring to the events of "Life Line" two episodes prior.
- 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".
- 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 traveling 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.
Video and DVD releases
- 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
- 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
- Michael Bailous as operations officer
- Patrick Barnitt as Borg drone
- Michael Braveheart as Unimatrix Zero member
- Tarik Ergin as Ayala
- Sue Henley as Borg drone
- Dieter Hornemann as
- Eric Hunter as command officer
- Tom Morga as
- Louis Ortiz as Borg Queen's drone
- Keith Rayve as
- Pablo Soriano as Borg drone
- Chester E. Tripp III as Borg drone
- Unknown performers as
ability; alive and kicking; assimilation; asteroid; bat'leth; Battle of Wolf 359; boarding party; Borg Civil War; Borg cube; class 4 tactical cube; carpet; carrier wave; central plexus; chronometer; colony; conference call; cortical array; cortical inhibitor; cortical monitor; cortical node; Cube 461; Cube 1184; Delta Flyer; disembodiment; disorientation; dream; Earth; emotional response; Evora; father figure; gravity plating; Grid 326; Grid 649; Grid 982; heart; Hirogen; interlink frequency; interlink node; Klingon; logic; maturation chamber; Milky Way Galaxy; millimeter; multi-regenerative security grid; mutation; nanovirus; navigational array; plasma injector; pupil; real world; record book; regeneration cycle; REM cycle (REM sleep); sanctuary; security grid; shield emitter; shield generator; ship's captain; Starfleet General Orders and Regulations; synaptic pathway; Tactical Cube 138; terahertz; transwarp conduit; transwarp signal; triaxilating modulation; Trimatrix 942; Unimatrix 525; Unimatrix Zero; Varn's species; Vulcan; Vulcan master; mind meld; warp matrix
- "Unimatrix Zero, Part I" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Unimatrix Zero" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Unimatrix Zero" at Wikipedia
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