For a character who joined the main cast in the fourth season of Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan) has since become a major icon in the Star Trek franchise. The former Borg drone has been compared to a "Spock"-type character for her outsider’s perspective on human events or even a former cultist struggling to regain her individuality. Her form-fitting catsuit has also drawn criticism from some fans, who feel she was over-sexualized in her initial appearances.
While all of these perspectives offer insights into Seven’s character, none of them paint a whole picture of a woman who first appears in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Scorpion, Part II," regains her humanity with the Voyager crew, and later evolves into a very different character on Star Trek: Picard. Seven has been a frightening cybernetic monster, a mother-figure, and even a vigilante action hero. She has striven to rediscover her humanity while helping others discover theirs, and has become the object of affection for many people (while struggling with relationships herself).
Clearly such a complex character has a rich history full of trauma and triumph. If you’d like to learn more about the woman who became so much more than just another Borg drone, here is Seven of Nine’s entire timeline explained.
The exobiologists’ daughter
While most people know her as Seven of Nine, Seven was born Annika Hansen in the year 2350 to exobiologists Magnus and Erin Hansen. In the Star Trek: Voyager season 5 episode "Dark Frontier," we learn that in 2356, Annika’s parents took their young daughter on a deep space mission to study the cybernetic race of creatures known as the Borg.
Using the U.S.S. Raven, a small Starfleet vessel, the Hansens illegally cross the Romulan Neutral Zone in search of the Borg. They even follow a Borg cube through a transwarp corridor that takes them into the Delta Quadrant. By modifying their ship with special multi-adaptive shielding, the Hansens manage to remain undetected by the Borg and continue their studies. Annika’s parents are also able to secretly beam aboard Borg cubes and even study unconscious drones up close and personal by transporting them onto their own vessel.
Unfortunately, the Hansens’ recklessness finally catches up with them. A subspace particle storm disables their multi-adaptive shielding, allowing the Borg to detect them. In the season 4 episode "The Raven" we see the Borg eventually capture Annika and her parents, assimilating them into the Borg Collective. The U.S.S. Raven itself is damaged and left on a moon for eighteen years.
Growing up in Unimatrix Zero
While being assimilated by the Borg seemingly robs Annika of her childhood, we later learn that she receives a form of reprieve. In the Star Trek: Voyager season 6 episode "Unimatrix Zero," it’s revealed that Annika is one of the rare people with a recessive genetic mutation that allows her to access the virtual Borg construct known as Unimatrix Zero. In contrast to the grim, mechanical world of the Borg, Unimatrix Zero is a very pleasant environment that resembles an idyllic garden.
Drones with the one-in-a-million mutation can enter this virtual reality whenever they regenerate or are kept in maturation chambers. Even better, the drones regain their lost memories and stolen individuality, allowing them to continue with some form of their lives. Annika gets to grow up in Unimatrix Zero over the next eighteen years during her regeneration cycles. She forms many friendships and even falls in love with a man named Axum.
Mercifully, the Borg drones forget everything they do in the real world whenever they come to Unimatrix Zero. This allows Annika to have a somewhat normal childhood and young adulthood without the emotional scars of her Borg activities.
Life as a Borg drone
In the real world, Annika’s life as a Borg drone is anything but pleasant. After spending time in a Borg maturation chamber, Annika emerges rebuilt as a half-organic, half-mechanical being meant to assimilate other life forms into the Borg Collective. She is given the designation Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One and obeys the orders of the Borg Queen without question.
Over the next several years, Seven of Nine assists in the capture and assimilation of many alien species. As a member of the Borg Collective, she gains access to the knowledge of thousands of civilizations, making her smarter and more efficient. Unfortunately, she only uses this knowledge to continue assimilating other species.
In the Star Trek: Voyager season 6 episode "Survival Instinct," we learn that Seven of Nine had a chance to escape the Borg in the year 2368 when she and three other drones crash landed on a planet. This caused their link to the Collective to be severed and the drones to begin recovering their individuality.
However, this also caused Seven of Nine to revert back to the frightened child she was when she was first assimilated. Unwilling to become an individual after spending so much time in the Collective (and unable to access the personality she developed in Unimatrix Zero), Seven fused the drones into a miniature hive mind and let them be recaptured by the Borg.
Seven of Nine assists Voyager
In 2374, the Starfleet vessel U.S.S. Voyager attempts to make it through a section of Borg space in their efforts to return to the Alpha Quadrant after being stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Remarkably, they discover the Borg are battling an alien race known as Species 8472 which poses both a threat to the Borg Collective and the rest of the galaxy. Seeing an opportunity to protect her crew, Voyager’s captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) forges an alliance with the Borg by offering them the technology to create weapons against Species 8472. In exchange, the Borg seemingly give Voyager safe passage through their space.
The Borg attempt to temporarily link Janeway and her second officer Tuvok (Tim Russ) to their hive mind, but Janeway refuses to allow the procedure. Instead, she suggests the Borg provide Voyager with a representative to speak for the Collective. The Borg agree and assign the role to Seven of Nine. Seven assists in the creation of some new photon torpedoes modified with Borg nanoprobes. However, once the Borg win their battle, Seven attempts to assimilate the Voyager crew into the Collective.
In response, Janeway’s first officer Chakotay (Robert Beltran) uses a neuro-transmitter to link with Seven, unlocking some of her human memories. This distracts Seven long enough for the crew to knock her unconscious. In the aftermath, Seven of Nine’s link to the Collective is permanently severed and her human biology begins reasserting itself.
Seven of Nine joins Voyager
No longer a Borg drone but now a traumatized woman unable to reassert her individuality, Seven of Nine demands that Voyager return her to the Borg to be reassimilated. In the season 4 episode "The Gift," Janeway refuses and points out that Seven’s reawakening human organics are rejecting many of her Borg implants. While Voyager‘s holographic Doctor (Robert Picardo) is able to save her by removing most of her cybernetic components, Seven feels violated. She misses the voice of the Collective and attempts, unsuccessfully, to contact the Borg.
Although Seven of Nine considers Voyager‘s crew hypocritical for claiming they want to give Seven back her freedom but denying her the choice to return to the Borg, she realizes she can’t exist as an individual without help. Deciding that interacting with Captain Janeway and the Voyager crew may be the only way she can adapt to her new status, she agrees to work with Voyager.
Unknown to the Voyager crew, severing Seven of Nine’s link to the Collective also eliminates her ability to return to Unimatrix Zero. As a result, the Annika Hansen who got to grow up in the virtual construct is essentially erased, although aspects of her memory and personality still exist in Seven of Nine.
Regaining her humanity
To help Seven of Nine adjust to her new individuality, the Doctor further modifies her appearance. Although he cannot remove all of her cybernetic components, he reveals in "The Gift” that he has extracted 82% of the implants, granting her an almost complete human appearance. He also stimulates her hair follicles and designs a silver catsuit to help her skin regenerate. As a result, Seven of Nine is now a very beautiful woman, although her personality remains cold and robotic.
Seven also retains vast knowledge from her time in the Borg Collective, making her an invaluable resource. However, her interpersonal skills are poor and after a short stint in Engineering in the season 4 episode "Day of Honor," she asks to be assigned to Astrometrics, a lab for stellar cartography where she maps and catalogues interstellar bodies. This means Seven works largely in solitude. She also needs to regenerate in an alcove located in one of Voyager‘s cargo bays, further emphasizing her isolation.
However, Seven also makes attempts to look out for her crewmates and grow as an individual. When Voyager‘s guide Neelix (Ethan Phillips) is fatally injured in the season 4 episode "Mortal Coil," Seven shows the Doctor how to use nanoprobes from her blood to revive him. And where she once considered the Borg a superior form of life, she begins realizing how traumatizing their actions are to others — including herself — as she experiences flashbacks of her own assimilation in "The Raven."
Seven of Nine and Captain Janeway
As the person who chose to have Seven of Nine remain on Voyager, Janeway feels responsible for encouraging Seven to embrace her individuality. As Seven’s captain, however, Janeway often has to set limits when Seven’s willful choices go against Starfleet regulations. This causes Seven to frequently call out Janeway on her contradictory stance, setting up a unique dynamic between the two women.
In the season 4 episode "Prey," Captain Janeway orders Seven to help a wounded member of Species 8472 escape a deadly Hirogen hunter. Instead, Seven beams both the hunter and his prey — an enemy of the Borg — onto the Hirogen ship. While Seven claims her actions helped save Voyager, Janeway revokes many of Seven’s privileges on the starship for the ex-Borg’s insubordination. In response, Seven points out that although Janeway claims she wants Seven to be an individual, she also punishes her when Seven doesn’t comply with Janeway’s point of view.
Despite this tension, Seven develops a great deal of respect for Captain Janeway, who in turn learns to place more trust in Seven. She even gives Seven command of Voyager in the season 4 episode "One" when the rest of the crew must go into stasis. They may not always see eye-to-eye, but both are willing to see the other’s point of view and support each other.
Seven of Nine and the Doctor
From the beginning, Voyager‘s holographic Doctor functions as a Pygmalion to Seven’s Galatea. Just as the mythical sculptor Pygmalion crafted Galatea, his ideal woman, from clay, the Doctor is responsible for physically restructuring Seven from a Borg drone into a functioning human woman. He also assists in Seven’s emotional development, even encouraging her to date people in the season 5 episode "Someone to Watch Over Me." And like Pygmalion, the Doctor develops romantic feelings for Seven of Nine but is crushed when she doesn’t reciprocate.
Seven remains the Doctor’s greatest flame and appears in many of his daydreams in the season 6 episode "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy." He also bases a character after her for his holo novel in "Author, Author." And while Seven never falls in love with the Doctor, she does consider him a close friend and regularly accepts his guidance and support.
Despite their lack of a romantic relationship, the Doctor and Seven technically become closer than most couples when the Doctor temporarily takes over Seven’s body in the season 7 episode "Body and Soul." Being able to eat and feel like an organic being proves intoxicating for the Doctor, although Seven isn’t thrilled when he becomes sexually aroused while in her form. Nevertheless, she understands his longing for physical sensation and later describes a meal for him so he can enjoy it vicariously.
Seven of Nine and Tuvok
While Seven develops relationships with almost all of the bridge crew, her friendship with Lieutenant Commander Tuvok is particularly striking. As one of the few Vulcans aboard Voyager, Tuvok possesses an outsider’s perspective similar to Seven’s. Seven also respects Tuvok’s logic and honesty, leading the two to have many conversations about human customs and interpersonal relationships.
Although Vulcans are known to suppress their emotions, Tuvok and Seven become friends after Tuvok helps Seven deal with her emotional trauma when she experiences flashbacks to her assimilation in "The Raven." Later episodes show them exchanging views on attitudes toward death and participating in research missions together.
In the two-part season 4 storyline "Year of Hell," Tuvok is blinded while attempting to protect Seven from a torpedo explosion. In response, Seven devotes herself to helping Tuvok with his daily tasks, even offering to help him shave. While these events are erased when Voyager resets the timeline, they show how Seven can form very powerful connections with people she respects.
Seven the den mother
Despite her aloof reputation, Seven forms several attachments with children aboard Voyager and finds herself falling into the role of surrogate mother more than once. Naomi Wildman (Scarlett Pomers), the first child born on Voyager, is initially scared of Seven but later bonds with her in the season 5 episode "Infinite Regress" when Seven manifests personalities from past Borg victims, including a girl Naomi’s age. Seven ends up mentoring Naomi and lets her know she thinks of Naomi as family.
Seven actually has a "son" with the Doctor in the season 5 episode "Drone," when her nanoprobes interact with the Doctor’s mobile emitter and a hapless ensign’s DNA. The combination results in a benevolent drone who calls himself "One" and sees Seven as a mother figure. Seven develops an attachment to One and is greatly distressed when he chooses to sacrifice himself to save Voyager.
However, Seven’s closest relationship is with Icheb (Manu Intiraymi), a young man genetically engineered by his parents to possess a virus capable of killing the Borg. Intentionally given to the Borg to be assimilated, Icheb and five other young drones are found and adopted by Voyager. Seven assists all of them with readjusting to life as individuals and develops a particularly strong bond with Icheb, who donates his cortical node to save her life in the season 7 episode "Imperfection." By the Star Trek: Picard episode "Stardust City Rag," Seven openly states she sees Icheb as her son.
Return to the Borg
If any episode truly emphasizes how far Seven has come from her time as a Borg drone, it’s the season 5 two-part story "Dark Frontier." Taking place in 2375, a year after being separated from the Borg Collective, the story has Seven come face-to-face with the Borg Queen herself. In a chilling revelation, Seven learns she was deliberately granted freedom by the Collective to develop a perspective that would help the Borg create a virus for assimilating humanity. The Queen actually tries to force Seven to help build the weapon along with other drones.
In contrast to how she was presented originally, Seven refuses to re-assimilate into the Borg, preferring to retain her individuality. She also shows compassion for the species the Borg attempts to assimilate and begs for their freedom. She even identifies herself by her human name — Annika Hansen — and is horrified when she sees her father, still alive, as a Borg drone.
Return to Unimatrix Zero
Seven experiences another powerful reunion in the season 6 episode "Unimatrix Zero." In 2377, three years after her liberation from the Borg Collective, Annika Hansen’s lover Axum manages to reconnect with her and allow her to re-enter Unimatrix Zero. However, Seven can’t access her old memories at first and doesn’t remember she once had an entire life in the virtual construct.
Over the course of the two-episode storyline, Seven’s original Annika Hansen personality appears to resurface. She remembers the names of old friends, appears as a fully human woman, and becomes noticeably more relaxed than her Seven of Nine persona. Although Axum doesn’t disclose their former relationship, Seven eventually pieces together her lost memories and realizes she’s still in love with him.
Voyager manages to liberate the Borg inhabitants of Unimatrix Zero although the crew’s efforts end up destroying the virtual sanctuary. Tragically, Axum reveals his drone form is stationed in a remote sector of the Beta Quadrant, making a real-life reunion impossible. In the end, Seven manages to salvage more of her Annika Hansen persona, but loses the people she grew up with.
Possible future and romance
Seven’s newfound interest in exploring human emotion leads her to pursue a serious romance with Voyager‘s first officer, Commander Chakotay. Initially, Seven only interacts with a holographic simulation of Chakotay in the season 7 episode "Human Error." When her attempts to experience strong emotion cause a Borg implant in her brain to hurt her, she chooses to have surgery to remove the implant in the series finale, "Endgame," and begin dating the real Chakotay.
At one point in "Endgame," an older Admiral Janeway from an alternate future travels to the present and informs Captain Janeway that the Chakotay and Seven of Nine of her reality married while serving on Voyager. However, Seven dies on an away mission and when Voyager returns to Earth in 2394, Chakotay dies shortly after. By traveling to her past, Admiral Janeway is able to bring Voyager home by the year 2377, erasing her own timeline.
In an interview with SyFy Wire, Jeri Ryan said that she felt the Seven of Nine and Chakotay romance came from "out of the blue" as the actors had no time to fully develop the new relationship. On his Instagram, Star Trek: Picard showrunner Michael Chabon stated that the Seven and Chakotay relationship likely ended by 2399. Regardless, Seven’s choice to have her emotion-limiting Borg implant removed may have allowed her to explore a fuller range of emotions, explaining how her personality dramatically changed by the events of Star Trek: Picard.
Return to the Alpha Quadrant
Returning home to Earth may have been Voyager’s main mission, but the homecoming comes with some major downsides for Seven of Nine. Although the Voyager crew accept Seven as one of the family, other worlds are less welcoming. People hold many prejudices against the Borg for the planets and people they destroyed. This extends to "xBs" or people like Seven who were liberated from the Borg Collective and are struggling to regain their lost individuality.
Fortunately, the xBs gain an ally in Hugh (Jonathan del Arco) a former Borg drone who regained his individuality in the season 5 Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "I Borg." By 2399, Hugh becomes a Federation citizen and the executive director of a Romulan Borg Reclamation Project. In the Star Trek: Picard episode "The End is the Beginning," Hugh reveals that the xBs are now the most despised people in the galaxy. By working with the Romulans, who seek to profit off the xBs by removing their implants and learning from the technology, Hugh hopes the xBs can be treated with more humanity during their recovery. While Seven knows of Hugh, she does not work with him.
Joining the Fenris Rangers
Seven of Nine joins a vigilante organization in the Romulan Neutral Zone known as the Fenris Rangers. Operating in the largely lawless Quris sector in the Beta Quadrant, the Fenris Rangers soon find themselves overrun when a power vacuum attracts many smugglers and warlords to their territory. Her experiences (and her newfound ability to process more emotion) radically alter Seven’s personality. No longer the uptight professional she was aboard Voyager, Seven now adopts a more sarcastic and edgy persona. She also abandons her famous catsuits and starts dressing in leather jackets and sweaters.
Seven receives an additional traumatic experience when she loses her "son" Icheb (Casey King). After successfully enrolling in and graduating from Starfleet Academy, Icheb becomes a lieutenant assigned to the science vessel U.S.S. Coleman by 2386. He also assists Seven and the Fenris Rangers by participating in reconnaissance missions for them. Unfortunately, one of the Rangers –- a friend of Seven’s named Bjayzl –- is secretly a black-market dealer in Borg parts who sees an opportunity to profit off Icheb.
After learning of Icheb through Seven, Bjayzl lures Icheb into an ambush and transports him to a facility where his implants are forcibly removed, leaving him in agonizing pain. Seven tracks down Icheb and kills the doctor torturing him, but she’s forced to fatally shoot Icheb to end his suffering. The experience scars Seven who feels less hopeful about the universe from that point on.
Meeting Jean-Luc Picard
By 2399, Seven is still working with the Fenris Rangers. In the Star Trek: Picard episode "Absolute Candor," she helps the ship La Sirena in a battle with a Romulan Bird-of-Prey and is beamed aboard the La Sirena when her ship is destroyed. Seven ends up meeting retired Admiral Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), who was once assimilated into the Borg Collective himself. Now seeking to rescue Soji (Isa Briones), a synthetic woman from the Borg Reclamation Project, Picard asks for Seven’s help in rescuing one of Soji’s creators, Dr. Bruce Maddox (John Ales), who had been captured by Bjayzl (Necar Zadegan).
Seeing an opportunity to take her revenge on Bjayzl, Seven agrees to help Picard’s crew. In the episode "Stardust City Rag," Seven lets herself be used as bait to draw out Bjayzl and helps Picard save Maddox. Shortly after, however, she beams down to Bjayzl’s nightclub and vaporizes her former friend before shooting her way out through Bjayzl’s security team.
Seven displays strong differences from her earlier persona. Where she once got drunk on a single glass of champagne in the Star Trek: Voyager season 5 episode "Timeless," by the time of Star Trek: Picard she downs an entire glass of bourbon in a single gulp. Despite her cavalier attitude, she admits she’s still working on regaining her humanity "every damn day of my life."
The new Borg Queen
At the end of "Stardust City Rag," Seven leaves a communication chip with Picard, offering her help in case he ever needs a vigilante. In the episode "Broken Pieces," Picard’s Romulan friend Elnor (Evan Evagora) uses the chip to contact Seven, who makes her way onto the Romulans’ damaged Borg vessel — known as the Artifact — just in time to save his life. When the Romulans begin jettisoning the Borg drones into space and killing the xBs, Seven decides to save them by connecting herself to the drones in a mini-Collective, effectively transforming herself into a new Borg Queen.
The experience unnerves Seven, who fears she won’t want to let the drones go once she re-experiences Borg life. However, she’s able to resist temptation and disconnect everyone (including herself) from the new Collective once they take control of the Borg cube. Still realizing she has work to do, she directs the Artifact to follow Picard’s crew to the planet Coppelius. She reunites with Picard and helps him contact Starfleet, but stays behind to help the xBs.
Joining a new crew
In the final scene of the Star Trek: Picard episode "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2," Seven of Nine apparently joins Picard’s new crew aboard the La Sirena to wander the galaxy. She’s also seen holding hands affectionately with Picard’s former first officer, Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). This, along with some hints about Seven’s past relationship with Bjayzl, indicates that Seven of Nine may now identify herself as gay or bisexual.
Jeri Ryan has announced that she will return as Seven of Nine in season 2 of Star Trek: Picard. She also admited in her Twitter feed that she enjoys playing Seven more on Picard than she did on Voyager. Seven’s dramatic evolution from her original incarnation on Star Trek: Voyager to her present form on Star Trek: Picard indicates that this former Borg drone will continue to change in surprising ways as her story continues.