In the ’90s, Star Trek was such a hot property that for much of the decade there were two concurrent Star Trek series running on television. Deep Space Nine overlapped The Next Generation for about two years, and then Voyager overlapped Deep Space Nine for the remainder of the ’90s– all this in conjunction with the four Star Trek films that hit theaters throughout the decade. That said, Voyager was both one of the franchise’s most groundbreaking series, and one of its most divisive.
Voyager had a strong start, and was initially popular with critics and fans alike. The show broke several long-standing conventions for the franchise–it was the first series to use computer-generated effects rather than models, the first to have a female captain, and the first to have a liberated member of the Borg join the crew after years of the alien race being one of humanity’s most dangerous adversaries.
Seven of Nine, played by actress Jeri Ryan, helped to inject some new life into the show when she joined the cast in the fourth season. Her looks and costumes brought people in, but they stayed for what ended up being one of the show’s most interesting and complex characters.
Here are 15 Things You Never Knew About Seven of Nine.
15. HER FULL BORG DESIGNATION WAS “SEVEN OF NINE, TERTIARY ADJUNCT OF UNIMATRIX ZERO ONE”
The Borg are more of a hive-mind collective than a group of individual creatures with their own purpose and distinctive personality. Like bees, ants, and other similar species, individual members of the Borg are known as “drones” and tend to exist only to serve the collective and its queen. Because of this lack of individual autonomy, Borg drones aren’t given traditional names–instead, they are given designations based on their basic details. Seven of Nine was one of a group of nine, and Unimatrix Zero was a virtual community that she lived in. Her designation, “Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One”, was essentially a quick summary of who she was with, and where.
Prior to being assimilated by the Borg, Seven of Nine’s original human name was Annika Hansen. Even after being liberated and joining Starfleet on the ship Voyager, she refused to return to using her original human name. Instead, she opted to be referred to by a shortened version of her Borg designation, deciding on the nickname “Seven.”
14. HER CHARACTER WAS CREATED TO BE A SPOCK-ESQUE COUNTERPART TO CAPTAIN JANEWAY
Voyager‘s ratings were never as strong as they were in the show’s earliest days, but it was season three in particular that saw numbers plummeting to worrisome levels. When speculating on why the show might be struggling, the show’s producers realized that past Star Trek captains had a direct foil to play off of, a character who would challenge them and present them with new angles to various situations.
In particular, they looked to the original series’ Spock and Next Generation‘s Data, who, in their own ways, saw things from a distinctly non-human perspective– often counterbalancing the flaws of human passion and emotion by taking the high ground of cold, hard logic.
The solution was to bring a similar character to Voyager that would be that counterpart to Captain Janeway. In an effort to again come up with a character that would have an outsider’s perspective on humanity and flawed human choices– and have no trouble challenging a Starfleet captain– they ultimately decided on the concept of a liberated Borg drone to fill that role.
13. HER OUTFITS CAUSED A LOT OF PROBLEMS
Her role as the Spock of Voyager wasn’t the only thing that Seven of Nine and actress Jeri Ryan brought to the show in an effort to boost ratings. Seven’s Starfleet uniforms were so tight that they almost looked painted on, and by all accounts, took impressive feats of engineering to create.
Underneath the uniform, Ryan had to wear a complicated corset-like piece that helped to give Seven her impressive curves and figure. The corset was so complex that it reportedly took 2o minutes each to get her into and out of it, making even a basic bathroom break a convoluted, manpower-intensive task.
However, Ryan probably didn’t mind having those annoyances when compared to the problems with her original, mechanical Borg costume. The neck piece on her Borg costume was so tight that it restricted blood flow, causing the actress to pass out multiple times.
12. SHE TUSSLED WITH THE ROCK
Seven had brawn to much her brains and beauty, and what better way to prove that by taking on one of the WWE’s all-time greatest wrestlers in an arena fight? In one of his first acting appearances, Dwayne Johnson appeared in an episode of Voyager as a character fittingly known only as “The Champion.”
Seven ultimately loses the match against him, but the fact that she escapes a battle against a hulking alien warrior with easily treatable injuries says a lot about her physical fortitude.
It wasn’t a coincidence that UPN, the network that aired Voyager, had also recently just started up their own weekly WWE series called SmackDown. Many Voyager fans disliked what they saw as a shameless cross-promotional stunt, and reaction to the episode was largely negative from both fans and critics. However, from UPN’s perspective, the stunt was a success as it drew the highest ratings of any Voyager episode for the entire sixth season of the show.
11. HER FAVORITE FOOD WAS (AND STILL IS) STRAWBERRIES
Following her liberation from the Borg, Seven had chosen to associate as little with her life pre-assimilation as possible. She refused to go by her original name, was reluctant to speak to one of her living human relatives (her aunt), and was largely just content to build a whole new life for herself as a liberated Borg drone slowly adapting to humanity, rather than trying to recapture her previous life as Annika Hansen.
However, there is only so much that can be done to override certain ingrained human traits. And apparently one of those traits is food preferences. Once Seven had transitioned back into eating normal food, she soon discovered that she considered strawberries to be her favorite food– something that carried over from her human childhood, where strawberry tarts had been her favorite treat.
10. HER PARENTS ARE PARTLY TO BLAME FOR HER CAPTURE BY THE BORG
Magnus and Erin Hansen were exobiologists who were studying the Borg and their behavior. As would be expected when studying such a dangerous species, it was a job that required considerable risk. The couple would frequently push their own limits and luck, getting into increasingly perilous situations and not taking sensible opportunities to escape, instead choosing to continue their research for as long as they could.
There was just one problem: they had a young child in tow as they conducted their extremely dangerous research. Their parental instincts to protect their then-five year old daughter never seemed to kick in enough to override their desire to continue studying the Borg, even in the face of ever-decreasing odds of safely getting out of their work unscathed.
During a particularly risky operation, Magnus had sneaked onto the Borg ship while his family’s own vessel sat nearby undetected. Sure enough, an ion storm hit that gave away their location and led to the Borg assimilating young Annika.
9. SHE WAS A BORG DRONE FOR 13 YEARS
Annika was assimilated by the Borg at the age of six, but was much too young to be turned into a drone. So the collective placed the child into a maturation chamber to begin the assimilation process and have her reemerge when she was a full drone and her body was mature enough to begin her duties. In Annika’s case, this process took five years, meaning that she was essentially in stasis until the age of 11.
While Borg assimilation ended up robbing Annika of 19 years of a normal human life, that entire time wasn’t even spent being actively conscious. Six full years were simply lost to her forever. Although, given the damage that she did as a Borg and the millions of lives she assisted in assimilating, that also meant that she had six fewer years in which to do the Borg’s evil work.
Seven first encountered the crew of the Voyager and began the process of liberation at age 25, effectively skipping from age 6 to age 25 in terms of her human life.
8. SHE RETAINS THE MEMORIES OF THE BEINGS SHE ASSIMILATED
Much remained unknown about the Borg prior to Seven’s liberation, and even less was known about how much would be retained of her Borg life once she returned to being human. However, when Seven one day began to exhibit signs of multiple personality disorder, everyone learned something quite significant.
As it turned out, the personalities she was exhibiting weren’t random or made-up– they were the memories and personalities of beings she had assimilated, coming out as the result of an accident. The first “personality” she exhibited is that of a Klingon male, who she saw when she looked at her reflection in that state. Others included a mischievous child and a worried mother.
When, in the Klingon male persona, Seven tried to forcefully mate with B’Elanna Torres, security got involved, and everyone went about trying to figure out what was happening. It was discovered that the neural patterns of all assimilated beings are stored within the Borg’s collective hive mind, and that the accident had caused Seven to interface with the neural patterns of the beings she specifically had assimilated herself.
7. THE BORG ALLOWED HER TO BE LIBERATED AS A PART OF A BIGGER PLAN
Very few beings are able to be successfully liberated once they have been assimilated by the Borg and live to tell the tale. It typically takes someone with the willpower, strength, and fortitude of a Jean-Luc Picard to be able to break free of the Borg’s grasp. Not to discredit Seven’s strength, but it does seem a little hard to believe that she was able to get away and then fully turn on her former Borg overlords.
As it turns out, there is a reason for that. It is eventually revealed by the Borg queen herself that Seven was intentionally allowed to be liberated and live on as a turncoat Starfleet officer as part of a grand plan to assimilate all of humankind. Not unlike a sleeper cell, the Borg was going to wait until the time was right and Seven had fully gained the trust of Starfleet before they would activate her to take down humanity from within.
That plan didn’t end up panning out, as Seven had subsequently bonded with her crew– and developed a hatred for the Borg– far more deeply than the Borg had expected her to.
6. SHE DID TEMPORARILY “BECOME” AN ADULT ANNIKA HANSEN AT ONE POINT
As was previously mentioned, Seven chose to build a new life as Seven of Nine rather than trying to resume her interrupted life as Annika Hansen. However, there was a set of circumstances that had caused Seven to take a stab at being the adult that Annika never got to be– albeit a severely distorted version of her.
Seven was part of an away team that was investigating a mine when they were captured by a group of Quarrens who altered their memories in order to force them into manual labor. The memory alteration involved giving everyone false memories of their homeworlds, twisting them into negative associations. Doing this to Seven completely erased her time as a Borg from her mind, and she was therefore forced to act as though she had always lived as Annika Hansen and was now an adult. However, her ingrained Borg instincts did remain, and as such she was given a managerial role– and she was far from being a kind, fair boss.
All the crew members did eventually regain their true memories and personalities, and “Annika Hansen” was gone once again.
5. HER FORAYS INTO HUMAN ROMANCE CAUSED SOME BUMPS AND BRUISES (TO OTHERS)
After having noticed crew member Harry Kim frequently ogling her, she eventually cornered him and bluntly asked him if he wanted to “copulate” with her. Kim was embarrassed and didn’t take her up on her pointed request. Next, Seven chose William Chapman as her first attempt at a proper relationship, for no other reason than her deducing that they had similar interests. As it turned out, she came on as physically strong as she did verbally, and accidentally tore a ligament in Chapman’s shoulder while the pair were dancing. He was done with their courtship after that.
Seven’s sexual power was so strong that even the ship’s holographic AI doctor began to develop romantic feelings for her, even fantasizing about her sexually. The fantasies eventually began to overrun his program and cause various malfunctions that affected the entire ship.
4. SHE BRIEFLY HAD A “SON”
For a short time, Seven was effectively the mother to a Borg drone known as One. Following an accident involving a transporter, a mobile emitter, and Seven’s nanoprobes, One was created, and the two were connected through said nanoprobes. The pair quickly developed a mother/son relationship, with Seven getting in touch with her human maternal instincts in her affection and care for One.
One would go on to accidentally send out a signal to the Borg that alerted them to Voyager‘s position, and soon after, a Borg cube was discovered to be heading their way. One knew that the Borg would think nothing of destroying the Voyager crew– including his “mother”– and decided to sacrifice himself in order to protect her and the rest of the ship.
This ended up being Seven’s first true taste of loss, after having largely been immune to feelings of mourning and personal sadness. The pain she felt over losing One opened up a whole new side of her humanity.
3. SOME NOTABLE ACTRESSES WERE CONSIDERED FOR THE ROLE
It’s difficult to imagine anyone other than Jeri Ryan playing Seven of Nine, and despite the difficulties of actually filming the role, she has since expressed mostly warm feelings about getting to play an iconic Star Trek character. However, as it usually goes when casting something on the magnitude of a Star Trek series, there were a number of other actresses that the producers had in mind when they were deciding who should play Seven of Nine.
Possibly the most famous name on their shortlist, at least to sci-fi fans, is Carrie Anne Moss. Had she taken the role, the actress would’ve made her Star Trek debut the same year as her breakthrough role in The Matrix.
2. HER KNOWLEDGE OF ADVANCED BORG TECHNOLOGY WAS OF GREAT USE TO THE VOYAGER CREW…
Much of the Borg’s technology greatly exceeds that of Starfleet’s, and Seven’s knowledge of such technology ended up being a great asset to the Voyager. Her crowning achievement was in helping to design and build an astrometrics lab aboard the vessel, which allowed the ship to harness Borg technology that ended up taking several years off of Voyager’s decades-long journey back to Earth. The astronomics lab also greatly enhanced the Voyager‘s communications capabilities, leading to faster, more reliable communication with the Alpha Quadrant.
Another major feat accomplished by Seven was when she used Borg nanoprobes to bring Neelix back to life even after he had already been officially dead for several hours. This discovery wasn’t just a one-time thing, and was something that Seven could’ve theoretically been able to do again on other recently-deceased beings under the right circumstances– although they never presented themselves again during Voyager‘s time on air.
1. …BUT IT ALSO HAD NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS, INCLUDING DESTROYING VOYAGER AND KILLING THE WHOLE CREW
Unfortunately, not all of Seven’s attempts to upgrade the Voyager with Borg technology went off without a hitch. One of her first endeavors was to upgrade the ship’s warp drive in order to be able to access transwarp corridors– which are the energy conduits that the Borg uses which allows them to travel such vast differences so quickly. The upgrade was a failure, and nearly led to the Voyager losing its entire warp core.
Seven’s greatest failing in this regard came when she tried to outfit the Voyager with a quantum slipstream drive, another Borg technology that allows for extremely rapid travel. Quantum slipstream technology is extremely unstable, however, as Seven and the rest of the crew found out when the Voyager‘s use of it resulted in the ship coming apart and being destroyed, killing the entire Voyager crew!
Luckily, this is Star Trek and time travel isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Seven was able to send a signal to herself in an alternate timeline that told the Seven of that timeline to–let’s stop right there before we go too far down that rabbit hole. Long story short: everything was fine and everyone lived.
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