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In search for its origins, V'ger headed towards Earth, but failed to recognize Humans as intelligent lifeforms, much less as its original creators. Ilia was presumably killed by V'ger and secretly replaced by an artificial copy containing all of her memories, which V'ger used to communicate with the carbon-based "units" that it assumed were infecting the Enterprise. At the end, the Ilia probe was merged back into V'ger, along with Human crewmember William Decker; who had volunteered himself to do so in order to help the artificial lifeform learn about and acquire some humanity, becoming a more refined being in the process. Unsure of their fate, Admiral Kirk opted to list both Decker and Ilia as "missing", rather than "killed", in the official reports.