Star Trek has had its ups and downs over the years. The original series, iconic to this day, was canceled due to poor viewership, and even the series that fans consider the greatest, “The Next Generation“, had a very low rating until the second season was released. One of the most controversial programs was and still is Voyager, which receives a lot of negative reviews not only because of the often poor writing, but also because of some morally confusing decisions made by the main characters. One of the clearest examples of this is that Captain Janeway sided with the Borg, who were on the verge of extinction, and decided to help them defeat species 8472. But was it really such a bad decision?
Starting with a giant tribble in the room, the biggest fan problem with what Janeway did was not that she sided with the Borg and helped them survive, but that she did it by committing genocide. Species 8472, the designation given to this alien race by the Borg, was one of the most obnoxious aliens found in the Star Trek universe, a group of superspace apex predators. They were, despite their first appearance, incredibly intelligent and came from a dimension known as fluidic space, which the Borg had accessed in an attempt to assimilate them through quantum singularities. They were, despite being organic, immune to assimilation, and the Borg attempt was regarded as an act of war. They banished the Borg from their space and followed them into the Federation/Borg dimension with the explicit purpose of xenocide of the Borg.
At first glance, this may seem like a good subtlety. Throughout their time in Star Trek, the Borg were basically villains, a terrifying force obsessed with assimilation and the destruction of cultures. They seemed unstoppable as the Federation could only contain them rather than defeat them properly, they were always an impending threat in the background. View 8472 offered a solution if the crew of the USS Voyager just sat back and let them destroy the Borg. The aggression of species 8472 was not even unjustified or unprovoked — the Borg invaded their space and tried to assimilate them. But, of course, things were never easy for Captain Janeway.
The biggest problem with implementing this plan was that the 8472 view was really unpleasant. Janeway did consider the idea of letting them destroy the Borg, making the universe much better and safer, but it all ended when she met a representative of this species. They were ruthless and attacked without provocation. All attempts at communication were met with the words “the weak will perish” — a motto on a par with Borg’s “resistance is useless”. Before she left the show, the character Kes managed to establish a telephone connection with them, as a result of which she was not only seriously injured, but also prompted her to reveal their nefarious plans: species 8472 will not stop at destroying the Borg, but will continue to “clean up” the galaxy. Considering how effectively they were killing the Borg, which the Federation had been fighting over for years, they posed a serious threat to all life in the universe.
Their plan to wipe out all life in the galaxy stemmed from their desire to never allow another living organism to enter their fluid space, as the Borg opened a door that could be opened again. Species 8472 just wanted to be left alone and they would destroy anyone who could potentially compromise this. Thus, it becomes clear why Janeway did what she did. Faced with two very powerful enemies who stood in her way of returning home, she made a deal with a more reasonable one. Moreover, they have developed an effective way to destroy species 8472. They found a way to use what was essentially a biological weapon by slowing down the nanoprobes created by the holographic doctor, but could not use them on the scale necessary to stop species 8472. Thus, they teamed up with the Borg, who used weapons in exchange for relatively free passage through their space.
Many fans disagree with how Janeway sided with the Borg, and the use of biological weapons of genocide applied to nocturnal intelligent intelligent beings is really the cherry on the cake. Nevertheless, everyone agrees that, on the whole, it was the right decision. The Borg were powerful and terrifying, and continued to pose a real threat to the Federation, but this is a case of “better the hell you know.” The Borg, with their entire culture absorbing, assimilating glory, were a much better option than the ruthless devastation and xenocide at the hands of 8472, who made it clear that they would not stop until every living organism that was not a member of their race was destroyed.