We are the Borg.
Existence as you know it is over.
We will add your biological
and technological distinctiveness to our own.
The cardinal... is a thief.
l delivered two portraits of his mindless nephew
more than three months ago
to be depicted in the heroic mode
of an Hercules or an Achilles--
so specified our contract.
making that young fool of a nephew
look far more heroic than nature ever intended--
an act on my part far greater than anything accomplished
by Hercules or Achilles.
And what have l, the divine Leonardo da Vinci,
received in payment?
The cardinal's eternal gratitude?
ln other words, signorina...
less than nothing.
All the more reason why you should accept my proposal.
Money is beside the point, signo...
Catarina, is it?
l'm only asking for a corner, one bench--
a place to work on my own projects--
Just being here in your company is inspiring to me.
Flattery, Catarina, is also beside the point.
Besides, l prefer my solitude.
What will you call it?
''The arm of Hephaestus.''
The god of the forge.
Every blacksmith who has ever swung a hammer
will thank me for this creation.
Someone once said...
''All invention is but an extension
of the body of man.''
Do not think
that just because l have enjoyed your visit today
that l am prepared to turn my workshop
into a traveler's inn.
Here-- let me help you.
You will get your hands covered in goose grease.
lt's good for the skin.
Let us see if we can find his big brother.
Hopefully, he will be stronger.
This looks like a flying machine.
l thought that because my imagination
took flight so easily my body could do the same.
l was wrong.
lt's this... flapping approach.
You've designed your machine
to mimic the way a bat or a sparrow flies.
So what if you based it...
on the hawk instead?
A creature that glides through the air.
We will design a new machine...
and, you, Catarina, will help me fly it.
l'll need someplace to work.
That will be fine.
Ten scudi a week
and you provide your own materials.
and l might need to borrow a few things on occasion.
Then we have an agreement.
Chakotay to Janeway.
Captain, we need you in Engineering.
There's something here you should see.
On my way.
Computer, end program.
What have you got?
Some bad news.
The long-range probe we sent out two months ago
has stopped transmitting.
At first, l thought it was a problem
with the communications grid.
Then l cleared up the last few seconds of telemetry.
Take a look at this.
This could be it, Captain.
We don't know exactly how many vessels are out there,
but their space appears to be vast.
lt includes thousands of solar systems--
We are, no doubt, entering the heart of their territory.
There's no going around it.
But there may be a way through it.
Before the probe was disabled,
it picked up a narrow corridor of space
devoid of Borg activity.
We've nicknamed it ''The Northwest Passage.''
Unfortunately, the passage is filled
with intense gravimetric distortions
probably caused by a string of quantum singularities.
Better to ride the rapids than face the hive.
Exactly. We're going to set a course
for that corridor and go into full tactical alert.
Where do we stand with weapons?
l have reprogrammed the phaser banks
to a rotating modulation,
but l suspect the Borg will adapt quickly.
We can use every edge. Ensign?
l've already configured the long-range sensors
to scan for transwarp signatures--
an early-warning system.
Doctor, how are you coming on the medical front?
l've analyzed every square millimeter
of the Borg corpse we recovered three months ago.
l'm closer to understanding
how their assimilation technology works
and l might be able to create some sort of medical defense.
Redouble your efforts.
This is your top priority.
Neelix, l doubt we can resupply the ship any time soon.
No problem, sir.
l'm working on a plan to extend our food
and replicator rations.
We have to act fast.
The Borg have captured one of our probes.
They know we're out here.
We'll do everything in our power to avoid a direct confrontation,
but, if and when we do engage the Borg,
l'm confident that we'll be ready.
l have faith in each and every one of you.
Let's do it.
l want to cut down the time it takes to seal off the decks.
ln case we take on some uninvited guests.
Exactly. And l want
to increase the magnitude of the force fields.
These injection tubules are the first step
in the Borg assimilation process.
Once inside the skin,
they release a series of nanoprobes
into the bloodstream.
Maybe we can develop some type
of protective shielding against them.
The tubules are capable of penetrating
any known alloy or energy field--
which means our battle must be waged
inside the body itself.
The first tissue
to be attacked by the nanoprobes
is the victim's blood.
Assimilation is almost instantaneous.
They take over the blood cell functions
like a virus.
Which suggests to me that we should try
to enhance the immune system--
create an ''assimilation antibody'' as it were.
l doubt we can actually destroy the nanoprobes,
but we might be able to slow them down.
Let's try a submicron
dissection on the probes we've collected so far,
see if we can discover the assimilation mechanism.
Kes, is something wrong?
l saw Borg.
You've had a telepathic experience?
There were bodies...
dozens of them dead.
Unsettled and uncertain.
Over the past two hours,
she has experienced several telepathic visions
about the death of Borg and the destruction of Voyager.
Some sort of premonitions?
We can't just ignore her intuition,
but l see no reason to alter our plan.
Tuvok, l want you to keep an eye on her...
long-range sensors are picking up
5.8 light-years distant...
closing from behind.
We've dropped out of warp.
Bridge to Engineering. What's going on down there?
l'm not sure, Captain.
Some kind of subspace turbulence is preventing us
from creating a stable warp field.
Turbulence is increasing.
l'm reading two Borg vessels.
Make that three.
15 Borg vessels.
Distance: 2.1 light-years and closing.
Shields to maximum.
Stand by all weapons.
They're in visual range.
l'm picking up a polaron beam.
We're being scanned.
Think good thoughts.
The last cube has rejoined the others.
Did we sustain any damage?
No. Shields held.
Warp engines are coming back on line.
All primary systems are stable.
Stand down Red Alert.
Harry... maintain a long-range sensor lock
on that Borg armada.
They seemed to be in quite a hurry, didn't they?
l'd like to know what they're up to.
l'll take this near-miss as a good omen.
Resume our course, Mr. Paris.
lf we needed any more evidence that we've entered Borg space,
l think we just got it.
l'll be in my ready room.
Yes. Come in.
We've just completed the latest sensor sweep.
So far, so good.
The Northwest Passage is still clear of Borg activity.
l'd like to see a tactical update.
According to my calculations,
neither of us has eaten since last night.
Join me for dinner?
No, thanks. l'm not hungry.
l've got a lot of work to do.
l've been looking through the personal log entries
of all the Starfleet Captains who encountered the Borg.
l've gone over every engagement
from the moment Q flung the Enterprise
into the path of that first cube
to the massacre at Wolf 359-- every battle, every skirmish,
anything that might give me an insight
into the mind of the collective.
ln the words of Jean-Luc Picard...
''ln their collective state,
''the Borg are utterly without mercy...
''driven by one will alone--
''the will to conquer.
They are beyond redemption, beyond reason.''
And then there's Captain Amasov of the Endeavor.
''lt is my opinion that the Borg are as close to pure evil
as any race we've ever encountered...''
What's so funny?
Obviously, l've said something amusing.
You sounded just like Amasov.
Just now, while you were reading his log,
you were using his inflections.
-l did not. -Yes, you were.
And before that, you were doing a pretty good Picard.
lt's nothing to be ashamed about--
echoing the greats.
Ensign Hickman in Astrophysics does a passable Janeway.
lf we manage to survive the next few days,
l'm going to have a little chat with Ensign Hickman.
lmitating the Captain, huh?
Surely that violates some kind of Starfleet protocol.
This day was inevitable.
We all knew it and we've all tried
to prepare ourselves for the challenge ahead.
But at what point is the risk too great?
At what point do we come about
and retreat to friendly territory?
Could the crew accept living out
the rest of their lives in the Delta Quadrant?
l keep looking to all these Captains--
my comrades in arms.
But the truth is...
lf that moment comes...
we'll face it together
and we'll make the right decision.
You're not alone, Kathryn.
Three years ago, l didn't even know your name.
Today, l can't imagine a day without you.
Captain Janeway to the Bridge.
Something strange is going on.
The power signatures of those Borg vessels
All of them?
They're dead in the water--
about 5.2 light-years from here.
Set a course for their position-- warp 2.
We're approaching the ships.
Slow to impulse.
A few but they're erratic.
l'm detecting two residual weapon signatures in the debris.
One is Borg.
The other is of unknown origin.
Who could do this to the Borg?
Someone more powerful than the Borg?
lt's hard to imagine.
But they did it-- 15 cubes.
We might have just found our ticket
through Borg space-- an ally.
Let's not jump to conclusions.
Scan the vicinity for other vessels.
There are none.
l'm picking up some sort of bio-readings.
They're coming from the outer hull of one of the Borg ships.
Let's see it.
Magnify, Mr. Kim.
lt's definitely organic,
but our sensors can't penetrate its surface.
Send a standard greeting.
This could be a space-dwelling organism
or a biological weapon.
l'd like to know what kind of weapon could destroy the Borg.
Can we beam it away from the ship?
l can't get a lock on it.
Whatever that thing is,
it's impervious to our technology.
are you reading an atmosphere in the cube?
l want you to take an away team inside.
Try to get a short-range scan of the bio-mass.
There are still Borg life signs, but they're unstable.
We'll keep an open com-link and an active transporter lock,
and we will pull you out of there
at the first sign of trouble.
you're with me.
Lower your phasers.
lf we don't appear threatening, they should ignore us.
Looks like they're a little preoccupied.
The alien bio-readings are getting stronger.
That's not the word l had in mind.
Those bodies are reminiscent
of one of the premonitions Kes described.
Didn't Kes say we were all going to die?
Let's keep moving.
lt looks like the bio-mass
dissolved right through the Borg hull.
This Borg is attempting to assimilate it.
Doesn't look like he's having much luck.
There's a chamber beyond this opening--
40 meters wide,
high concentrations of antimatter particles.
lt looks like a warp propulsion system of some kind.
lt's a ship?
Starfleet has encountered species
that use organic-based vessels--
the Breen for example.
There doesn't seem to be anybody inside.
Chakotay to Voyager.
Go ahead, Commander.
Captain, we've found an entrance to the bio-mass.
We think it might be a ship of some kind.
Permission to go inside.
Harry, that's a Borg distribution node.
See if you can download their tactical database.
lt might contain a record of what happened here.
They seem to be organic conduits.
They're carrying electrodynamic fluid.
lt may be an energy source.
This looks like a binary matrix,
but it's laced with neuropeptides.
Could be their version of a computer core.
This damage was caused by a Borg disruptor beam.
The wall appears to be regenerating itself.
Harry's in danger.
What do you see?
Get them out of there!
Sick Bay to Janeway.
There's something in here with us
and it's not the Borg.
l can't localize it, but it's within 20 meters.
Perhaps the pilot has returned.
Voyager to away team.
Stand by for transport.
We're getting you out of there.
l can't get a lock on them.
What's the problem?
lt looks like bio-electric interference
from whatever's coming toward them.
lt's within seven meters.
Let's get out of here.
Narrow the confinement beam.
l'm going to try a skeletal lock.
l think l can get a clean lock
on the minerals in their bone tissue.
l just came up with it, but l think it might work.
The life-form's five meters away and closing.
l've got them.
A skeletal lock, huh?
We'll have to add that one to the transporter manual.
The bioship is powering up-- like it's charging
some kind of weapon.
Mr. Paris, get us out of here-- maximum warp.
The alien ship is not pursuing.
l could hear its thoughts.
The pilot of the bioship
was trying to communicate with me.
They're a telepathic species.
l've been aware of them for some time now--
Captain, it's not the Borg that we should be worried about.
What did it say to you?
Captain's Log, Stardate 50984.3.
lt's been 12 hours
since our confrontation with the alien life-form.
There's no sign that we're being pursued
and we've had no further encounters with the Borg.
l've decided to hold our course.
The Northwest Passage is only one day away
and l won't allow fear
to undermine this crew's sense of purpose...
even if that fear is justified.
The infection is spreading.
What began with a few stray cells
contaminating the chest wound
is now infusing every system in his body.
lt looks like he's being transformed in some way.
The alien cells are consuming his body
from the inside out.
Mr. Kim is being eaten alive.
He's still conscious, Doctor?
l tried giving him a sedative, but it was rejected immediately.
ln fact, every treatment l've tried
has been neutralized within seconds.
These are alien cells.
Each one contains
more than a hundred times the DNA of a human cell.
lt's the most densely coded life-form l've ever seen.
Even l would need years to decipher it.
They have an extraordinary immune response.
Anything that penetrates the cell membrane...
it's all instantly destroyed.
That's why the Borg can't assimilate them.
Resistance in this case is far from futile.
Nevertheless, l believe Borg technology
holds the key to saving Mr. Kim.
l hope to unleash an army of modified
Borg nanoprobes into his bloodstream
designed to target and eradicate the infection.
As you know, l've been analyzing the nanoprobes.
They're efficient little assimilators.
One can't help but admire the workmanship.
But they're no match for the alien cells.
So l successfully dissected a nanoprobe
and managed to access its recoding mechanism.
l reprogrammed the probe
to emit the same electrochemical signatures
as the alien cells.
That way, the probe can do its work
without being detected.
The alien cells are completely oblivious to the probe
until it's too late.
Unfortunately, l've only created a few prototypes.
l'll need several days
to modify enough nanoprobes to cure Ensign Kim.
Does Harry have several days?
l wish l knew.
Fight it, Harry.
That's an order.
We've analyzed the Borg's tactical database.
They refer to these new aliens
as ''Species 8472.''
Over the past five months,
the Borg have been attacked by them
on at least a dozen occasions.
Each time, the Borg were defeated swiftly.
The collective has very little information
about the species.
ls anything known about where they come from?
l'm afraid so.
Get the Captain.
The Northwest Passage.
lt's clear of Borg activity for a very good reason.
l'm detecting 133 bioships.
More are approaching.
They seem to be coming from a quantum singularity.
l'm localizing the gravimetric distortions.
Yes, l can hear them.
They're in a place where they're all alone.
Nothing else lives there.
Some kind of parallel universe?
l don't know.
l feel malevolence...
a cold hatred.
The weak will perish.
lt's an invasion.
They intend on destroying everything.
Tom, reverse course, maximum warp.
Take us five light-years out and hold position.
Maintain Red Alert.
That moment we spoke about? lt's here.
Flying into that corridor would mean certain death.
The Northwest Passage is no longer an option.
So now the choice is between facing the Borg in their space
or finding a nice planet here in the Delta Quadrant
and giving up on ever getting home.
We'd be turning around, but we wouldn't be giving up.
We may find another way home.
l'm not ready to walk onto that Bridge
and tell the crew we're quitting.
l can't do it, Chakotay, not yet.
There must be another alternative.
Kathryn, you haven't slept in two days.
Try getting some rest and clearing your head.
We're safe for the moment.
We can tell the crew tomorrow if we have to.
See you in the morning.
Am l disturbing you?
What do you see?
with candlelight reflecting on it.
What do you see?
A flock of starlings...
the leaves on an oak...
a horse's tail...
a thief with a noose around his neck...
and a wall...
with the candlelight reflecting on it.
There are times, Catarina,
when l find myself transfixed by a shadow on the wall
or the splashing of water against a stone.
l stare at it, the hours pass...
the world around me drops away...
replaced by worlds being created and destroyed
by my imagination--
a way to focus the mind.
Sit and tell me why you have come.
There's a path before me--
the only way home.
And on either side,
mortal enemies bent on destroying each other.
lf l attempt to pass through them,
l'll be destroyed as well.
But if l turn around,
that would end all hope of ever getting home.
And no matter how much l try to focus my mind,
l can't see an alternative.
When one's imagination cannot provide an answer,
one must seek out a greater imagination.
There are times when even l find myself
kneeling in prayer.
l must deliver a bronzetto to the monks at Santa Croce.
Come with me, Catarina, eh?
We will awake the abbot, visit the chapel
and appeal to God.
Somehow l don't think that's going to work for me.
But there is an alternative l hadn't considered.
What if l made an appeal...
to the devil?
An alliance with the Borg?
More like... an exchange.
We offer them a way to defeat their new enemy
and, in return, we get safe passage through their space.
ln developing a treatment for Harry,
the Doctor has found a way to attack the aliens
at a microscopic level.
lt's still in the experimental stages, Captain.
l've only made a few prototypes.
Nevertheless, if we teach the Borg
how to modify their own nanoprobes,
they'd have a blueprint
to create a weapon to fight the aliens.
ln theory, yes.
B'Elanna, it's clear from the Borg database
that they know practically nothing about Species 8472.
The Borg gain knowledge through assimilation.
What they can't assimilate, they can't understand.
But we don't assimilate.
We investigate-- and in this case, that's given us an edge.
We've discovered something they need.
But the Borg aren't exactly known for their diplomacy.
How can we expect them to cooperate with us?
Normally, the answer would be no,
but if what l've learned from the aliens is true,
the Borg are losing this conflict.
ln one regard, the Borg are no different
than we are-- they're trying to survive.
l don't believe they're going to refuse an offer
that will help them do that.
What makes you think the Borg
won't attempt to take the information
by assimilating Voyager and its crew?
Because that won't get them anywhere.
Doctor, you're the only one on board
with full knowledge of the nanoprobe modifications.
l want you to transfer all of that research
into your holo-matrix.
You're my guarantee.
lf the Borg threaten us in any way,
we'll simply erase your program.
But it won't come to that, Doctor.
lt's in the collective's own interest to cooperate.
Voyager is only one ship.
Our safe passage is a small price to pay
for what we're offering in exchange.
B'Elanna, assist the Doctor with his transfer.
locate the nearest Borg vessel
and lay in a course.
They shouldn't be difficult to find.
You were awfully quiet.
l didn't want the others to hear this,
but l think what you're proposing is too great a risk.
There's a story l heard as a child, a parable,
and l never forgot it.
A scorpion was walking along the bank of a river
wondering how to get to the other side.
Suddenly, he saw a fox.
He asked the fox to take him on his back across the river.
The fox said, ''No, if l do that, you'll sting me
and l'll drown.''
The scorpion assured him,
''lf l did that, we'd both drown.''
So the fox thought about it and finally agreed.
So the scorpion climbed up on his back
and the fox began to swim.
But halfway across the river,
the scorpion stung him.
As the poison filled his veins,
the fox turned to the scorpion and said, ''Why did you do that?
Now, you'll drown, too.''
''l couldn't help it,'' said the scorpion.
''lt's my nature.''
l understand the risk
and l'm not proposing
that we try to change the nature of the beast,
but this is a unique situation.
To our knowledge, the Borg have never been so threatened.
l think we can take advantage of that.
Even if we do somehow negotiate an exchange,
how long will they keep up their end of the bargain?
lt could take months to get across Borg territory.
We'd be facing thousands of systems,
millions of vessels.
But only one collective
and we've got them over a barrel.
We don't need to give them a single bit of information--
not until we're safe.
We just need the courage
to see this through to the end.
There are other kinds of courage--
like the courage to accept
that there are some situations beyond your control.
Not every problem has an immediate solution.
You're suggesting we turn around.
Yes. We should get out of harm's way.
Let them fight it out.
ln the meantime, there's still plenty
of Delta Quadrant left to explore.
We may find another way home.
Or we might find something else.
Six months, a year down the road,
after Species 8472 gets through with the Borg,
we could find ourselves right back in the line of fire.
And we'll have missed the window of opportunity
that exists right here, right now.
How much is our safety worth?
What do you mean?
We'd be giving an advantage
to a race guilty of murdering billions.
We'd be helping the Borg assimilate yet another species
just to get ourselves back home-- it's wrong!
Tell that to Harry Kim.
He's barely alive thanks to that species.
Maybe helping to assimilate them isn't such a bad idea.
We could be doing the Delta Quadrant a favor.
l don't think you really believe that.
l think you're struggling to justify your plan
because your desire to get this crew home
is blinding you to other options.
l know you, Kathryn.
you don't know when to step back.
Do you trust me, Chakotay?
That isn't the issue.
Oh, but it is.
Only yesterday, you were saying that we'd face this together,
that you'd be at my side.
l still have to tell you what l believe.
l'm no good to you if l don't do that.
l appreciate your insights, but the time for debate is over.
l've made my decision.
Now, do l have your support?
You're the Captain.
l'm the First Officer.
l'll follow your orders,
but that doesn't change my belief
that we're making a fatal mistake.
Then l guess l am alone after all.
There are three planets in this system.
lnhabitants-- all Borg.
A vessel is approaching.
They are hailing us.
Open a channel.
We are the Borg.
You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.
They've locked on to us with a tractor beam.
This is Captain Janeway of the Starship Voyager.
l have tactical information about Species 8472.
l want to negotiate.
Negotiation is irrelevant.
You will be assimilated.
Borg vessel, what you're
receiving is a sample of the knowledge we possess.
lf you don't disengage your tractor beam immediately,
l will have that data destroyed.
You have ten seconds to comply.
We know you're in danger of being defeated.
You can't afford to risk losing this information.
Disengage your trac...
State your demands.
l want safe passage through your space.
Once my ship is beyond Borg territory,
l'll give you our research.
Our space is vast.
Your passage would require too much time.
We need the technology now.
lf l give it to you now,
you'll assimilate us.
Species 8472 must be stopped.
Our survival is your survival.
Give us the technology.
Safe passage first
or no deal.
State your proposal.
Let's work together.
Combine our resources.
Even if we do give you the technology now,
you're still going to need time to develop it.
By working together,
we can create a weapon more quickly.
lf you escort us through your space,
we can perfect the weapon as we...
Where did that ship come from?
A quantum singularity has appeared 20,000 kilometers away.
The bioship is heading directly toward the planet.
The Borg shields are weakening.
We might be able to break free of the tractor beam.
Can you get a lock on the Captain?
Commander, there are nine more bioships
coming out of the singularity.
What's going on?